District Governor Sean Fitzgerald and his wife, District Secretary Liz visited Cookstown on Tuesday the 1st of November to discuss membership and the recruitment of new members.

           DG Sean pictured with President Brendan, guests, and members of Cookstown Rotary Club.

 An event to mark the 50-year anniversary of Cookstown Rotary Club was held in the Glenavon House Hotel in Cookstown on the 25th of June. Below is a selection of photographs. Click on the "thumbnails" to view a larger image.


Northern Ireland has an Oxygen Therapy Centre located in the Larne area. While the primary goal of oxygen therapy is to correct alveolar and/or tissue hypoxia some patients particularly those with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) have found oxygen therapy helpful. The Mayo Clinic has provided some information on oxygen therapy.

CFC Interiors wish to help support the Oxygen Therapy Centre by arranging to act as a drop off centre for used clothes. 

If you have old clothes you don’t need please donate them to help support the running of the Centre.

Drop in your old clothes in a sealed plastic bag to any CFC Interiors Store. The clothes will be sold off to raise money for The Oxygen Therapy Centre.
Please drop clothes off at any CFC Interiors Store by the 31st August 2021

What clothes are suitable?
New/Like New Underwear
Teddy Bears

Where to drop your clothes* Please No towels, blankets, sheets or duvets covers *

Thank you image


Rotary Great Britain & Ireland has joined with the /Together Coalition to ensure we are at the heart of community engagement development across the voluntary and community sector. Rotary is involved in the /Together Coalitions drive towards a national Thank You Day on 4th of July this year, where everyone can get together with neighbours and communities, to celebrate everything that we hold in common. Through food & drink, sport, music, volunteering and more, we want to say a big ‘Thank You’ to each other and everyone who got us through this past year. With so many organisations already involved, it promises to be an exciting day.

Alongside Scouts and Royal Voluntary Service, Rotary is one of ten organisations that will lead a ground-up ‘shout-out’ for Thank You Day.  Sandra McCabe from the Rotary Club of Lisburn is the Irish representative tasked with taking this forward.

To promote this initiative please join the new Facebook group and encourage others to join. The new Facebook public group can be accessed at: 

It is with great sadness that we report the death of our esteemed friend and colleague, Alastair Laird. All Cookstown Rotarians extend our condolences to his daughter Emma and son Nick.There will be a private cremation service in Roselawn Crematorium on Tuesday, 16 March at 10.00am, followed by a service of thanksgiving in the summer.

Alastair Laird

Past District Governor Alastair Laird

Alastair joined Rotary in 1984 and became President of Cookstown Rotary Club in 1989/90. Ten years later he became District Governor (DG) of Rotary in Ireland. During his time as DG he visited all 77 of Ireland’s Rotary Clubs developing deep and long lasting friendships with people across the island. He represented Ireland at the Rotary International Conference in Singapore in 1999 where he developed life-long friendships with Rotarians across the globe.

DG Alastair at the Rotary District Conference in Co Clare in 1998

District Governor Alastair at the Rotary conference at the West County Hotel, Ennis, with (from left) Gay Mangan, co-chair, Ennis Conference; Martin Mansergh, guest speaker and special advisor to the Taoiseach on Northern Ireland, Economic and Social Matters; Chief Superintendent Liam Quinn, president, Ennis Rotary Club and Jim Eastwood, co-chair, Enis Conference.

As a senior Rotarian he held several roles in Rotary at District level. He chaired the District Foundation (Rotary’s charity) Committee and was the District Extension Officer. As part of the latter he helped found the Rotary Club of Lagan Valley. This involved attending every meeting each week in the club’s first year and providing mentoring and support. He was passionate about encouraging young people to achieve their best and led and supported Youth Exchange projects that took local students to the US and elsewhere

He had a major role in Rotary Polio, Hope and Homes for Children, and  Mercy Ships projects raising hundreds of thousands of pounds.

Outside of Rotary he worked tirelessly in the community supporting local community projects including The Hub and The Mid Ulster Stroke Support Group.

Following the death of his wife Carol, Alastair raised thousands of pounds for the Newry Hospice.

Alastair was Cookstown's best known Rotarian and exemplified  "Service above self"  in everything he did. We will all miss his enthusiasm, jokes, WhatsApp videos and most of all his friendship. 

If you want to post a condolence then please write your condolence at http://www.steensonfuneralservices.com/ .

It is with sincere regret that we note the death of Edward Orr, brother of Past President  Philip. Edward died on the 19th January.

On behalf of all Cookstown Rotarians we wish to convey our condolences to Philip, Edward's wife Zoe and his sons Nicholas and Christopher.

Christmas is traditionally a time for thinking about others who are less well off than us. This year because of Covid-19 people been furloughed or lost their job and the situation is much worse than usual. As part of Cookstown Rotary Club’s Christmas charitable activities, it has partnered with the local St. Vincent de Paul Society to present food and fuel vouchers to struggling families in Cookstown and surrounding areas.  Cookstown Rotary Club is delighted to partner with St. Vincent de Paul, an organization that helps people in need regardless of ethnicity, age, gender, or beliefs.Cheque presentation to SVP

Cookstown Rotary Club President Brendan Conway presents a cheque of £500 to Marian O'Reilly of St. Vincent de Paul.

 Since today is "Giving Tuesday" an anonymous donor is doubling donations to St. Vincent de Paul.

It is with deep sadness that we report the death of our last founder-member, Mervyn Glover PHF. Past President Mervyn died on the 13th November, in his 99th year. Despite his advanced age Mervyn still attended major club functions, his last being to confer John Smyth with his Paul Harris Award.

Past President Mervyn pictured on his 97th birthday

We send our condolences to his sons John, Peter and Malcolm, daughters Valerie and Pamela, sisters Yvonne and Bertha and his family circle.

It is with much sadness that we report the sudden death of our esteemed colleague, Past President, Club treasurer and Paul Harris Fellow, John Smyth.

John had been an active member of the club for many years. Throughout the years' John used his professional knowledge of competitive cycling to help others and was a leader on the Rotary programme supporting the Joel Rider Bikes for Africa initiative. John was tireless in his support of Rotary ideals and his selfless approach at all time exemplified the Rotary aim of “Service Above Self”.

John Smyth

John Smyth (right) pictured with PDG Alastair promoting blood pressure awareness.

John died on the 11 th October 2020. We offer our support and sincere condolences to his wife Eleanor, son Jonathan, daughter Julie, brothers Thomas and Noel, and his sisters Florence, Mary, Margaret, Yvonne and the wider family circle.

He will be sorely missed.

Please give a thought to the scientists who are doing the research and testing for SARS-CoV-2 virus in Italy and elsewhere. Like the front-line doctors and nurses we all owe them our thanks and best wishes at this difficult time.

Dr Giuseppe Aprea and colleagues at the Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale dell'Abruzzo e del Molise.

One of our many luncheon visitors was Giuseppe Aprea from the Sorrento area in Italy. At the time he was doing his PhD at Loughry with Dr Michael Mullan. Now Dr Aprea, Giuseppe is currently a Veterinary Manager Officer for the Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale dell'Abruzzo e del Molise "Giuseppe Caporale" (IZSAM). He is an expert in virology and he and his colleagues are performing the official analysis of human swab samples for SARS-CoV-2 virus, the causal agent of Covid-19 in the Abruzzo Region. This region has over 1000 cases of Covid-19.

Dr Aprea is personally processing over 100 samples per day. Currently some 30% of the samples tested are positive for the virus.

We regret to inform you that all Rotary meetings have been cancelled as a result of the developing coronavirus situation. This includes the talk by Ewan Butler on Chile on the 24th March. We will keep the situation under review and announce changes as necessary.

Covid-19 virusElectron micrograph of SARS-CoV-2. Copyright  NIAID.

 Ewan Butler and his wife have spent the last 3-years working in Chile and have kindly agreed to talk to Cookstown Rotary Club about their experiences in Chile and their wider travel in South America.

This is an evening event and is open to spouses / partners and friends of Rotary. Please circulate to others.

 The presentation will start at 7 pm and it is suggested that we meet up for an evening meal at 6.20 at the hotel before the presentation. I will circulate the meeting room details at the Glenavon closer to the date.

 Please do not forget about Alastair's Mercy Ships event at Killymoon Golf Club on Friday the 13th March. Again I will circulate time closer to the date.

Mercy Ships logoAn unprecedented Rotary Global Grant application for $1,000,000 is under way to fund vital surgical equipment for Mercy Ships. This funding will enable hospital ships to be fitted with the necessary equipment to deliver free surgeries and medical training across the sub-Saharan region of Africa. For more information on Mercy Ships please see the video below.

Cookstown Rotary Club has already pledged to support this initiative. Past District Governor Alastair Laird is organising a quiz at Killymoon Rotary Club on Friday the 13th March to support this important humanitarian cause. Alastair's last fund raising event for Mercy Ships raised £6000!

I will post more information as details become available. Please visit this page every few weeks.



Club meetings for 2019 ended on the 17th December and will restart on Tuesday the 14th January 2020.


The Club's Christmas Dinner will be held at the Glenavon House hotel on the 10 th December.  The pre-dinner reception will start at 7 pm.

Cookstown Rotary Club as part of the world wide Rotary Polio eradication project purchased crocus corms for sale to generate income to pay for polio vaccine. The Club donated corms to the Phoenix Integrated Primary School in Cookstown so that the P7 pupils could learn about polio eradication and the need to help our declining bee population.

P7 teacher Steven Kelly pictured with Sophie Atkinson, Ranger at National Trust Springhill and Tom Jebb President Cookstown Rotary Club

P7 teacher Mr Steven Kelly pictured with Sophie Atkinson, Ranger at National Trust Springhill and Tom Jebb President Cookstown Rotary Club

Cookstown Rotary Club were assisted in this enterprise by Sophie Atkinson, who is the National Trust Ranger at Springhill. Sophie explained the difficulties bees face in early spring and highlighted the value of crocuses as a source of food for bees emerging from hibernation.

Sophie and the students planted over 250 corms in record time. The students' dedication was so great that even cold and rain failed to deter them! 


Sophie already for instruction in crocus planting!

Sophie already for instruction in crocus planting!


We look forward to returning in the spring to see the bees enjoying flowers. 

It is with much regret that Cookstown Rotary Club notes the death of Past District Governor Gussie Hynes.

Gussie was President of the Rotary Club of Omagh in 1982/83 and District Governor 1994/95. He is best known for his work with the Rotary Jaipur Limb Project, and was a trustee of the project. He was said to be responsible for over 10,000 people receiving limbs.

Gussie will be missed and fondly remembered by Rotarians in Cookstown and further afield. Members send their sympathy to Gussie’s wife Colette.

Mervyn Glover one of the founding members of Cookstown Rotary Club reached the impressive age of 97 on the 7th June 2019. Mervyn has been a member of the Club for some 49 years. All members pass on their best wishes to Mervyn.


Mervyn Glover has reached 97 years oldJohn Smyth pictured celebrating with Mervyn on his birthday!

There will be no Rotary luncheon on Easter Tuesday (23rd April). Thanks to Tony for notifying the hotel. Our next luncheon will be on the 30th April with Tom Jebb in the chair. Enjoy Easter with your families.


The annual football competition between Sperrinview Special School in Dungannon and Kilronan School near Magherafelt was held on the 29th March at Cookstown Leisure Centre. Both schools fielded Junior and Senior teams and the competition and fun was a delight to behold.

On the ball

The competition was intense!  

Ready for football 

Pupils from Sperrinview Special School ready for action

The competition between both schools was intense. The outcome reflected the close competition. Kilronan School won the senior and Sperrinview won the junior competition. The runners up were presented with silver medals and the winners with gold medals and a prestigious cup. The medicals and cup were presented by President Philip Orr.

After the competition both teams had lunch in the restaurant at the Leisure Centre.

Tom Jebb wishes to thank the teachers that accompanied the pupils and the staff of Cookstown Leisure Centre for their help in making this occasion fun and memorable for all.

We were pleased to meet the current District Governor Monica Robertson on Tuesday the 26th March. DG Monica is the 101st District Governor of Rotary in Ireland and believes that Rotary can "Be The Inspiration". Monica's visit was part of a programme to find out what Rotary Clubs across the Island of Ireland were doing and to provide inspiration. Club members provided feedback on the current Rotary Public Relations programme and on the IT system. Monica reminded members of the 5 Ps that provide the underpinning foundation for all Rotarians: People - Projects - Public Image - Polio and Peace.

Distric Governor Monica

 Alistair Laird, Michael Mullan, Philip Orr and Tony McMinn (L-R) pictured with DG Monica


 Breige Mulholland, Head of Operations and Finance, Air Ambulance-NI Ltd, gave a presentation to Cookstown Rotary Club and guests on Tuesday the 19th March.  Breige explained the role of the Air Ambulance and its successes in saving life and reducing the potential horrific after effects of accidents. The Air Ambulance service costs about £2m a year to run. This cost is just for the helicopter, pilots and servicing. The doctors and paramedics are volunteers and are provided by the NHS.

Breige Mulholland pictured with Cookstown Rotarians( picture courtesy of Norman Bell)

Breige Mulholland pictured with Cookstown Rotarians (picture courtesy of Norman Bell)


President Philip Orr presented a cheque for £500 on behalf of the Club.




Northern Ireland has  a new emergency service the Air Ambulance-NI Ltd.


Breige Mulholland, Head of Operations and Finance, Air Ambulance-NI Ltd,  will discuss the emergency air ambulance service, its successes to date and the challenges facing the new service to  Cookstown Rotarians and guests on the 19th March.


Rotarians and guests should assemble in the Foyer of the Hotel at 6 PM next Tuesday for the presentation which will commence at  6.15 PM. After the presentation President Philip will present a cheque on behalf of the Club. Then, Jack Moore, representing a local church bowling club  will also make a presentation. Following the presentations there will photographs followed by refreshments.


Please let the secretary know ASAP if you can attend so that refreshments can be ordered.


Note there will be no luncheon meeting on Tuesday the 19th March.



South West College are running a breakfast meeting on the 19th November at 10.30 am at their Dungannon Campus to help with doing business in China. For more information please see https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/breakfast-event-doing-business-in-china-tickets-51582343177 .


President Philip Orr, Secretary Michael Mullan and Treasurer Jack Moore joined Area Ranger Sophie Atkinson and her volunteers at Springhill Moneymore on the 1st November to plant the crocus corms leftover from the planting event on World Polio Day 2018.

ident Philip receives his spade and corms from Becky

President Philip receives his spade and corms from Becky

After 30 years of bold action, historic achievements, and sometimes discouraging setbacks, Rotary and its partners in the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) have nearly brought polio to an end. 

This ground-breaking public-private partnership and its innovative strategies were celebrated Wednesday during Rotary’s 6th annual World Polio Day event, held in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA, at the Hundreds of people attended in person, including representatives of all five GPEI partners, and thousands more worldwide watched it live online.

Cookstown Rotarians visited Team Aspie at their Molesworth Street Headquarters on Tuesday the 23rd October.

Team Aspie is a group for teenagers with Asperger's syndrome. It provides a safe forum for young people to socialise, have fun, learn skills and to help spread awareness and acceptance of this autistic spectrum disorder. The group was founded by a young teenager, Richard Collins, in 2014 to fill a need for young people with Asperger's to come together and meet others like them.

We met three very enthusiastic members of Team Aspies' Management Committee, Tracy Collins, Lorraine Heatherington and Gail Watt Dunseath. The challenges of intelligent, often exceptionally gifted, young people with limited empathy for others was explained. The need for sympathy and understanding of the condition so that these young people can develop their potential was explained passionately. Young people with Asperger's if not supported, are particularly vulnerable to anxiety, depression, self harm and exclusion from school. However, with support many young people can go on to achieve well. Tracy provided an update on the successes of very well known people who have the condition. 

Today Cookstown Rotary Club is joining thousands of other Rotary clubs around the world in supporting World Polio Day 2018.

 Rotary members throughout Great Britain and Ireland are holding Purple4Polio events to raise awareness and donations for the Rotary campaign to End Polio Now and forever.

 In Mid Ulster the club working with the National Trust at Springhill in Moneymore, Cookstown Wildlife Trust and Mid Ulster Stroke Survivors Club will plant 5,000 purple crocus corms.

We have accepted an invitation to visit Team. Aspie on Tuesday the 23rd October at 6.45 pm.

They are located in Molesworth Street, Cookstown. This group provides support to families who have children with Asperger’s Syndrome. It will be an opportunity to learn about their work and to provide much needed encouragement and thanks to the staff who do all the hard work.

After the event we will travel to the Braeside for an evening meal at around 7.45 to 8 pm.


Spouses, partners and friends are encouraged to attend!


Please let the secretary know who intends to go so that we can let Team.Aspie know and make the booking with the Braeside.

Note. There will be no luncheon meeting at the Glenavon House Hotel on the 23rd October.

Sharon Loughrin has notified us that Midnight Run, a Tennessee Bluegrass Band will be playing at Lissan House this Thursday night (27th September)  at  8.30 PM. Tickets are £15,available from Lissan House (tel 02886763312) or pay at the door on the night.

The video below is of the band playing Kentucky Girl at Gatlinburg in the US.


The Club visited the National Trust property at Springhill, Moneymore on Tuesday the 28th August. Our guide was Area Ranger Sophie Atkinson.

Sophie explained her role at Springhill and the wide range of projects she and her team worked on. Sophie's energy, enthusiasm and dedication to Springhill were evident.

The importance of links with schools and the local community through nest fests, allotments, bird box projects, bat nights, trails for primary students were discussed. 

Overall some 20 Rotarians and guests attended the event. We were delighted to meet up with Mervyn Glover and John Smyth and discuss old times.

 Rotarians and guests Selection of Rotarians and guests at event at Springhill

Selection of audience at Springhill

 John Smyth and Mervyn Glover enjoyed the presentation.


Sophie Atkinson Area Ranger

Sophie Atkinson Area Ranger at NT Springhill

It was agreed at the luncheon meeting today that we would have a short break in meetings over the peak July summer period.


There will be no Rotary luncheon meetings at the Glenavon House Hotel on the 10th and 17th July. Meetings will resume on the 24th July.


Enjoy the summer weather!

Cookstown Rotary Club has a new President, Philip Orr.

Handover of chain of office to Philip Orr

Ricky Butler presents the Rotary Chain of Office to Philip Orr

Philip, a retired solicitor, is one of Cookstown's most experienced Rotarians and will be our 2018 to 2019 President. 

During the handover, presided over by Joint Presidents Ricky and Tony, Tony recognised Philip's professional and Rotary knowledge and wished him well and hoped that he would enjoy his year guiding the club.

Philip thanked Ricky and Tony for accepting their roles of joint presidents at short notice and recognised their determination and commitment to the Rotary ethos and their work in guiding the club through a challenging period.

Ricky Butler, Alistair Laird, John Smyth, Tony McMinn, Jimmy McCabe, Philip Orr, Jack Moore, Nigel Stratton, colin Thompson, Steve Wilson and Tom Jebb (L to R) pictured after the handover.

Ricky Butler, Alistair Laird, John Smyth, Tony McMinn, Jimmy McCabe, Philip Orr, Jack Moore, Nigel Stratton, Colin Thompson, Steve Wilson and Tom Jebb (L to R) pictured after the handover. 


Thanks to the Hub, Cookstown had another excellent Summer Carnival on the 29th June. The many floats demonstrating great business and community support for the carnival were well received by a large crowd of interested locals and visitors. The unseasonal weather, 26°C, contributed to a memorable evening.

Cookstown Rotary Club members helping at the carnival

Two of Cookstown's Rotarians helping to keep the large crowd safe!

Cookstown Rotary Club were delighted to provide stewards. Thanks to Steve Wilson of CFC for the high visibility vests.

The Rotary Ireland Tree Garden located within the Colebrooke Estate, situated just off the A4 Enniskillen to Belfast Road at Brookeborough, was opened on World Earth Day on the 22nd April, 2018.

This Rotary Garden will form part of an extensive wooded estate containing a wide variety of trees that have been well managed over many years.

The project will help all Clubs in Ireland address a goal set by Rotary International President Ian Riseley when he challenged every Rotary Club to make a difference by planting a tree for each of its members on World Earth Day 22 April 2018. 


To achieve this objective, the Rotary Club of Enniskillen has worked with interested parties to create the Rotary Ireland Tree Garden in Fermanagh.

Balcas (NI) will oversee the planting and cover the cost of providing an interpretative panel and ceremonial tree in an appropriate location visible from the public road that will tell the story of all partners and list the names of all participating Clubs.

The names of all participating Clubs are included on the signage on the site.
The names of all participating Clubs are included on the signage on the site.


Names of supporting Rotary Clubs

The project was supported by the above named Rotary Clubs.

Superstars is a charity whose purpose is to provide life enhancing opportunities for people with learning disabilities which are not available elsewhere. Based in Cookstown, membership comes from throughout the whole of Mid-Ulster.

Details of the work of the charity are given on their website.

A proposal from the charity for funding for a "Multi Sports for Multi Abilities project" has reached the final 5 of the Big Lottery People’s Projects. This is a project deserving of support and you can vote On Line by clicking the link below:


  A vote from you could make a big difference to these young people

Tom Jebb has been organising annual football competitions with two local schools, Sperrinview Special School in Dungannon and Kilronan School near Magherafelt for many years.

Both schools fielded Junior and Senior teams and the competition and fun was a delight to behold.

This year the competition was held on the 11th April and ably refereed by Brian McKenna. Tom was assisted by Rotarians Michael Mullan and Sandra McKenna.

Sandra and Tom pictured with the teams from Sperrinview Special School

Sandra and Tom pictured with the teams from Sperrinview Special School  

Pupils from Kilronan School ready for action

Pupils from Kilronan School ready for action

The competition between both schools was intense. The outcome reflected the close competition. Kilronan School won the senior and Sperrinview won the junior competition. The runners up were presented with silver medals and the winners with gold medals and a prestigious cup.

After the competition both teams had lunch in the restaurant at the Leisure Centre.

Tom Jebb wishes to thank the teachers that accompanied the pupils and the staff of Cookstown Leisure Centre for their help in making this occasion fun and memorable for all.

Among the diverse aims of Rotary is to support the local community, and to improve the personal development and skills of individuals. These skills and qualities are often badly needed by industry, which requires innovative employees.

Considering the importance of the engineering industry in the Mid-Ulster area, the members of Dungannon and Cookstown Rotary Clubs held a Technology Tournament in South West College in Dungannon on the 8th March 2018.

The event was attended by eleven teams from Secondary schools from the Dungannon area.  The teams had to tackle a task, about which they, and their teachers, know nothing about until the day.  They were required to design, develop, build and then test a specified model from the very limited resources supplied, such as strip wood, dowel, paper clips, tape, wire, cardboard, glue, elastic bands and so on.  The results were judged by a panel consisting of an Engineer from AES Global, Shirley Patterson, STEM Centre Co-ordinator and a judge from Sentius.

This year the task required the teams to design, construct and test a launching device, complete with a remotely operated trigger mechanism.  This should enable the capsule to rise vertically above 3m. In addition, the capsule needed to carry a parachute that opened to allow descent as close as possible to the point of lift off. 

Dean Maguirc College winners of Rotary Technology Tournament

Dean Maguirc College students pictured receiving their award.

The tournament was a challenge, but an enjoyable and rewarding experience for those taking part. An interesting and fun day out was guaranteed for all students, which also tested their knowledge, ingenuity, innovation, application, manual skills and their ability to work in a team.  This year’s winners were from Dean Maguirc College.

The day was possible thanks to sponsorship from a number of sources including  South West College, Sentinus, and Quinn Fresh as well as the involvement of schools and their students, and the Rotarians who took part in the running of the event.

You can get an idea of the 'buzz' at the competition from the video below!


Past District Governor Alistair Laird has organised a quiz at Killymoon Golf Club this Friday, the 23th March at 8.30 PM. The proceeds of the quiz will be donated to Newry Hospice and CHARIS. Please bring a friend and support the work of both organisations.

Stroke can have a lasting effect on some survivors and their families.

Past District Governor Alistair Laird has arranged a Charity Breakfast in aid of the Mid Ulster Stroke Survivors Club on Friday April 13 2018 from 7 am – 11am at Killymoon Golf Club.

The cost is £10 per person and all the proceeds are going to the charity.

Past District Governor Alistair Laird has organised a quiz at Killymoon Golf Club this Friday, the 26th January at 8.30 PM. The proceeds of the quiz will be donated to Newry Hospice and CHARIS. Please bring a friend and support the work of both organisations.