Sturbridge, Stourbridge ‘Rotary Friendship Day’

Friendship greetings were exchanged with our Sister Club in Stourbridge, England again this year via skype.  The two Clubs have been twinned since 1988 and always exchanged greetings via snail mail but have since gone high-tech.  The Mayor of Dudley and the President of the Stourbridge Rotary Club are shown in front of the laptop in the UK and Chair of the Selectmen in Sturbridge, Mary Blanchard was with Sturbridge Rotary Club President David Zonia in front of a laptop.  Each read a proclamation and exchanged friendship greetings.

The meeting concluded with a toast of health to each Club.

Mayor David Tyler (L) and Stourbridge Rotary Club President Dr. Tony Blackman.

Mayor David Tyler (L) and Stourbridge Rotary Club President Dr. Tony Blackman.

Shown below is the Civic Group.  Back row (L-R) Alderman Fred Hunt, Mayor of Dudley as well as Councillor David Tyler, President Tony Blackman.

Front row (L-R) Alderman Jack Edmonds, The Mayoress of Dudley Mrs. Barbara Tyler, Mrs. Anne Blackman.

Civic Grp, Mayor of Dudley, Mbrs - Oct. 2017

Sturbridge, Stourbridge Celebrate Sister Club ‘Rotary Friendship Day’

Since 1988, the presidents of the Rotary Club of Sturbridge and its Sister Club, the Rotary Club of Stourbridge, U.K., have exchanged letters of greetings and goodwill in October via snail-mail.  The chair of the Sturbridge Board of Selectmen also mails a proclamation declaring October 16 as Stourbridge/Sturbridge Rotary Friendship Day and likewise, the mayor of Dudley in the U.K. does the same for the Sturbridge Club.

This year for the first time, the greetings were exchanged live via Skype. Mary Blanchard, chair of the Sturbridge Selectmen, and Sturbridge Rotary President Otto Prohaska arrived early at the home of Past District Governor Klaus Hachfeld and his wife and fellow Sturbridge Rotarian, Glenys Hachfeld, to deliver their messages during the regular weekly luncheon meeting of the Stourbridge Club. Similar messages from the Stourbridge President Rob Franks and Dudley Mayor Mohammed Hanifwere reciprocated.

The meeting concluded with President Franks toasting the health of the Sturbridge members using the tankard that Sturbridge had presented to them 28 years ago. The friendship has remained strong with nine visits alternating between clubs. Note the twinning banner in the background of the U.K. photo.

President Otto and Mary Blanchard, Chair of the Sturbridge Board of Selectmen.

President Otto and Mary Blanchard, Chair of the Sturbridge Board of Selectmen.

Stourbridge President Rob Franks (with Tankard) and the Mayor and Mayoress of Dudley.

Stourbridge President Rob Franks (with Tankard) and the Mayor and Mayoress of Dudley.


Sad News from our Sister Club

We are saddened to receive very upsetting news from our Sister Club in Stourbridge.  Past-President Roy Swinbourne passed away on December 27after a long illness.  Many of us recall Roy as President when Stourbridge visited with us in Sturbridge in 1993.  Further upsetting news is their current President Martyn Hall passed away on December 29th after being ill for a short time.  We send our heartfelt sympathy during this doubly sad time and know that we keep both families and the Club members in our thoughts and prayers.

Stourbridge-Sturbridge Rotary Friendship Day

Each year in October we celebrate Stourbridge-Sturbridge Rotary Friendship Day.  We became ‘twinned’ with the Stourbridge, England Rotary Club over two decades ago and the bond of friendship between both Clubs continues today.  Klaus gave a presentation to the newer Club members on the history of our Sister Club including showing them where the Stourbridge Club is located in the Midlands.  President Austin then read a letter of friendship he received from Stourbridge Secretary Fred Shaw and Sturbridge sent a letter of friendship to Stourbridge President Martyn Hall.  Both Clubs also exchange formal greetings from respective town leaders honoring the long-standing relationship between the two Clubs.  This exchange is an honored tradition.

Stourbridge Proclamation 2015Sturbridge Proclamation 2015

Bandy-Hefler Visitors & a Surprise

Sujoy and Richard Spencer-Thorlakson from the Brookfield Club hosted a Rotarian couple from the south of England through the Bandy-Hefler Friendship Exchange Program.  This program has been taking place for nearly 30 years whereby 20 British Rotarian couples travel to the U.S. and stay for two weeks.  The time is split by several U.S. Rotarians taking a couple for 3-4 days and then passing them on to another U.S. Rotarian.  The following year, U.S. Rotarians visit English Rotarians.  The third year in the 3-year cycle is a year of rest and planning.  Several Sturbridge members attended the welcome event to meet Diane and Rotarian Graham from England.  While there we had the pleasure of seeing President Lynn Duffy-O’Shea from the Brookfield Club receive a Paul Harris Fellow designation.  It was a great evening of fellowship across borders and ‘the pond’.  Rotary at its best.  Photo:  Exchanging Banners are the English on left, PHF Lynn in center, Spencer-Thorlakson hosts on right.

Bandy Hefler & Lynn PHF 10-1-2015

Sturbridge Helps Fund a Project in Pune, India

Check out the report in District Governor Jim Fusco’s weekly newsletter about the Mobile Blood-Collection Van for Pune, India.  Sturbridge was one of several Rotary clubs in District 7910 that contributed funds to be matched by the District and the Rotary Foundation bringing the international part of funding to $20,300.  That amount plus the amount raised by The Rotary Club of Pune and its District brought the total funding to $40,300 – enough to purchase and outfit the mobile blood-collection van.  Another example of Rotary clubs throughout the world working together to provide help where it’s needed.  Read the full story in this link

RAAGNE & Girl’s School in Afghanistan

The Power of Change Forum

This week the Nashoba Valley and Concord Rotary Clubs jointly hosted the Power of Change Forum in Concord MA, a public forum and awards ceremony in honor of Rotarian Razia Raj (founder of her Razia’s Ray of Hope Foundation) and Craig Norberg-Bohn (president of Jane Doe, Inc. & White Ribbon Day).

Klaus & Glenys attended the event, because Razia’s Foundation over the last 8 years has built a school in Afghanistan for girls (Zabuli Education Center) in an effort to break them out of their current subjugation by men; a phenomenon since the Russian invasion. The expectation is that giving women in Afghanistan a stronger voice in family and community affairs will temper the more violent aspects of the society. That school now has 500 students, all girls, in classes from Grade 1 to 12.

While Razia’s efforts have exposed her to personal danger, she has also won recognition by numerous organizations, including the Top 10 CNN Heroes of 2012.

Last year, RAAGNE (Rotary Alumni Association of Greater New England, co-founded by Klaus) organized the Rotary Foundation Alumni who contributed to that effort. So now the focus is on continuing that school support, but in addition to build a college alongside the school.

With that in mind, after the meeting, 10 Rotary Clubs in our District 7910 expressed support of a Global Grant that will provide at least $35,000 funding to Razia’s foundation, while requiring less than $1,000 contribution from each.

Also, RAAGNE today committed to a substantial contribution and will endeavor to partner with D-7910 clubs and the German Rotary Alumni Association(RFAD) for further support.

Towards the end of this forum Razia and Craig were presented with Paul Harris Fellowships.

These links are well worth viewing:


Craig Norberg-Bohn & Razia Jan speak at the Forum

Santa featured in Stourbridge UK Rotary Club Card

Our Stourbridge UK Sister Rotary Club created a Christmas Card this year; one that should be of interest to us in the Sturbridge Club.

Santa Arthur Baker, 2014

You may not know this Santa yet, but you surely will by this time next year.  Santa Arthur Baker will be the President of the Stourbridge Rotary Club when they visit us in the USA next Fall.  Naturally he will be accompanied by his wife, Maureen, and other Stourbridge Club members with their spouses.

Their visit will be fun.  The picture tells all!

INVITING Rotary Alumni & Rotarians – share ideas & build our network.

The Rotary Foundation is generously supporting RAAGNE’s first Annual General Meeting so that even young adults not yet RAAGNE members can afford to attend and assist a service project in the morning, meet for lunch, hear Past Rotary President Bill Boyd speak about Alumni opportunities, give direction to RAAGNE leaders and enjoy a dinner together on Saturday, May 10th, 2014.

The Rotary Alumni Association of Greater New England (RAAGNE) is an e-Association primarily for current and past participants in Rotary Foundation programs, such as Rotarians, Rotary Peace Fellows, Ambassadorial Scholars, Group Study Exchange Teams, Rotaractors and Rotary Volunteers, building a network of people willing to be active in local and international service projects.

Most planning is via the Internet, so members are located World Wide.  For more on RAAGNE, see .

The core AGM will begin 2:30 PM, Saturday May 10, 2014, at the Hilton Hotel in Baltimore, MD.  The $10 meeting registration is at

See also RAAGNE’s latest Newsletter at RAAGNE Newsletter 11, March 2014

Sturbridge Rotary Club hosts Brazil GSE Team, June 1-4

The Sturbridge Rotary Club will be hosting five people from Brazil, June 1 – 4. Known as a Rotary Group Study Exchange team, they will be shown Sturbridge and get to learn more about our community. They will also experience how we do things in the area, as each team member is matched with a local person having a similar vocation. Part of their time in Sturbridge will be spent visiting Old Sturbridge Village.

International Visits – Scotland

  • Sturbridge visitors to Scotland - 2004
  • 33 Stourbridge and Sturbridge visitors to Scotland - 2004
  • Stourbridge visitors to Scotland - 2004
  • Bill (Sturbridge) playing in Rotary International Championship at St. Andrews - 2004


To return to the International Visits page, click here.

Sturbridge USA visited Stourbridge UK

For a week in May 2012, members of the Sturbridge club visited the Stourbridge club in England. That coincided with Queen Elizabeth II 60th Anniversary of ascension to the throne. There were nation-wide celebrations, including a spectacular flotilla that paraded down the River Thames in London.

Stourbridge is located 18 miles southwest of the city of Birmingham, and has a long history, being active during the Industrial Revolution, with exquisite cut glass tableware, engineering (look up the Stourbridge Lion), and a great location for visiting many magnificent historical points of interest.

Similar to our Old Sturbridge Village, you can visit the Black Country Museum; an outdoor museum showing how people lived and worked in the Victorian era.

2012 Club Trip to Stourbridge

  • QE II Diamond Jubilee cake
  • Stoubridge Welcome Dinner
  • Severn River Railway
  • Bridgnorth Station
  • Bridgnorth signal box
  • Railway men at Bridgnorth
  • Bridgnorth Town Hall & Market
  • Birmingham Symphony evening
  • Stourbridge Club cookout
  • Diamond Jubilee Day
  • Ironbridge Museum visit
  • PC 49 on duty
  • High School music
  • Beware the Highlanders
  • Presidents at Progressive Supper
  • Progressive Supper
  • Stourbridge Junction train
  • Stourbridge Fellowship Luncheon
  • Brian, Jacqui & John at Fellowship Luncheon
  • DG-PDG-MP in Stourbridge
  • Golf Challenge Trophy returns to Stourbridge
  • Presidents toast with our gift
  • It all began here! Gordon, Mary, Klaus & Glenys made Twinning happen.

International Visits – Assorted Photos

  • Stourbridge and Sturbridge group in Plymouth, MA - 1996
  • Stourbridge group with two Sturbridge Rotarians who are English and the Sturbridge Club president at the Publick House in Sturbridge - 2008
  • Stourbridge and Sturbridge group in England at the Black Country Museum - 1994
  • Stourbridge and Sturbridge group at the Mashantucket Pequot Indian Museum in CT - 2008
  • Six Stubridge Rotarians visiting Stourbridge - Spring 1999.


To return to the International Visits page, click here.

International Visits – D-Day

  • Rotary Group near D-Day Bunker Display - 1994
  • D-Day Bunker Display - 1994


To return to the International Visits page, click here.