History

The first Rotary club was founded in 1905 when four friends met in Chicago to discuss how they could work together to help the wider community. Rotary has since grown internationally to more than 1.2 million members across 200 countries.

“Whatever Rotary may mean to us, to the world it will be known by the results it achieves”
—PAUL HARRIS

Our organisation started when Paul Harris, a Chicago attorney, had an idea of forming a club where professionals with diverse backgrounds could exchange ideas and form meaningful, lifelong friendships. Rotary’s name came from the early practice of rotating meetings between the offices of each member.

In 1914 the organisation moved across the Atlantic and the British Association of Rotary Clubs was established. The association was renamed Rotary International in Great Britain & Ireland in 1924.

Today Rotary continues to respond to the needs of an ever changing world, whilst retaining its strong founding principles.

Meet Rotary

“Our club is organised around the spare time and lower budgets of 30+ young professionals and families. We meet in a coffee shop and welcome children to our meetings."

- Lisa Hunter, Rotary Club of Maidenhead Bridge

Lisa Hunter, Rotary Club of Maidenhead Bridge
Get Involved
News
World’s Greatest Meal to end polio exceeds US$1m

World’s Greatest Meal to end polio exceeds US$1m

Read more >

World’s Greatest Meal to end polio exceeds US$1m

Read more >
Peace experts confirmed for Bradford peace conference

Peace experts confirmed for Bradford peace conference

Read more >

Peace experts confirmed for Bradford peace conference

Read more >
Terry Waite addresses global scholars

Terry Waite addresses global scholars

Read more >

Terry Waite addresses global scholars

Read more >