Unique honour for Bob and Ari from Belgrade Rotarians
Two former presidents of Hazel Grove Rotary Club, Bob Lewis and Ari Tsalikis, have been elected honorary members of a Rotary club in Belgrade. It's the latest move in an ever-developing relationship between Hazel Grove and the capital of Serbia.
In recent years both Bob and Ari have paid several visits to Belgrade, which is the third largest city in south-eastern Europe and lies at the confluence of two rivers, the Danube and the Sava.
In 2008 Bob, the former director of social services in Stockport, was responsible for raising $5,000 (£3,163) towards badly needed life saving equipment at a Belgrade hospital.
But the story really goes back to 2004 when Ari, a Greek-born accountant, helped the Hazel Grove club become twinned with a Rotary club in his home town of Kavala. A few months later a Kavala-Belgrade link was formed, and Ari was invited to the ceremony.
Next, a party of 25 Rotarians and partners from Hazel Grove went to Belgrade for the final part of the three-club twinning ceremony, following which a number of joint projects have been organised.
The Hazel Grove club has been supporting an orphanage in Serbia, provided two laptop computers and joined with local Rotaractors to install a broadband connection.
In June Bob and Ari, with their wives Margaret and Joan, went over for the installation of their friend, Nebojsa Kristic as the new president of Belgrade Metropolitan Rotary Club. At the same time they bought another computer and presented it to a young lady who had been brought up in the orphanage.
Looking ahead, the Belgrade Rotarians have said they would like to become involved in one of the Hazel Grove projects to help needy people in Africa. And Bob Lewis, who is planning a club visit to Ireland next year, is very much hoping that some of their new Serbian friends will be able to join them.
Hazel Grove Rotary Club meets at 6.45pm on Thursdays at the Deanwater Hotel, Woodford
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