A retired teacher has become the first female president in the history of the Rotary Club of Croydon. Barbara Harker, 63, from Sanderstead, became the first lady president of the 36-strong club last Monday, June 23, during a handover dinner at Addington Palace Golf Club. She described being chosen by her fellow members to make such a milestone in the 92-year history of the club as an "honour". "The other members are all very friendly and supportive, so I'm really looking forward to it," she said. "I was honoured to be chosen and I'm very excited about the coming year, it's going to be very busy." Barbara was looking to enrol the help of her husband and former president Graham, who used to be head teacher of Shirley Road School, where she taught. She said: "I think he's very pleased, but I'm going to make him do a load of the work for me!" Under Barbara's presidency the club is attempting to raise £4,000 to buy specially adapted bicycles for pupils at St Giles' School. "We're also looking to carry on our support for local charities like Lives Not Knives," she said. To top off a busy year, in 2015 the club is set to welcome fellow rotarians from all over Europe for a visit to Croydon. "People tend to think of rotary as just rummaging tins, but there's a very substantial social element to it too. "It will be a special year because we belong to a group of European clubs. Every year we all get together and have a long weekend, we have all sorts planned for when they visit." And since the club only boasts two lady members at the moment, Barbara hoped her presidency would help bring more ladies in. "We have one or two potential recruits lined up," she said. The Rotary Club of Croydon was founded in 1921 and meets weekly at Croydon Masonic Halls.
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