Today I proudly awarded one of our rotarians Mike White, A Paul Harris Fellowship Award in appreciation of all the hard work Mike has done on behalf of Farnborough Rotary Club and the other clubs that he has belonged to.

After National Service Mike worked at the Met Office in Cheltenham for a short period, then moved into Shop management with Woolworths and was “posted” to Buckingham.

Ann and he had their first child Linda whilst living in Cheltenham and unbeknown to them she was suffering from birth from displaced hip joints. They received tremendous help medically and from other people and thankfully Linda’s problem was properly diagnosed and rehabilitated.

Both Mike and Ann were very grateful for the support given to them and wanted to give something back to the community. Whilst Manager of Woolworths in Buckingham, Mike was approached to join Rotary and he became a founder member of the Rotary Club of Buckingham, and was there from 1968-70. Mike was presented with his badge by THE Robert Maxwell and Ann was a founder member of Buckingham Inner Wheel.

Paul Harris Fellowship award at Farnborough Rotary Club

On relocation to Farnborough in 1970 he joined our Rotary Club until 1974. He then relocated to Eastleigh with Woolworths and joined Eastleigh Rotary Club. He was a member from 1974 – 1981 and was Secretary for the latter two years. I have heard that Mike was very happy to join Rotary to get away from all the females in the Woolworth branch, so I hope he doesn’t mind all the females we now have in our Club!

Mike returned to Farnborough in 1981 and was President from 1992-93. He remained Manager at Woolworths until 1989, and introduced the now defunct Christmas shopping evenings which were very popular with the elderly residents of Farnborough.

Mike then took early retirement and then started real work opening his own business. His first shop was in Alma Lane just above the Hale traffic lights. Later, he and his son Robert opened Tongham Stores and when a pub called The Castle was closed, he saw an opportunity to revamp it as a grocery store.

This was eventually taken over by One Stop and now he and his family are landlords of a Tesco store! How nice to have the upper hand with Tesco!

In Rotary Mike has been a very supportive member. Apart from the introduction of the Woolworths shopping evenings, he has, since 2000, continued his sales role looking after the ticket sales of our Music in the Park. He took the helm in introducing to Rotary, a couple who work with children in Uganda, as well as being involved with the Tools for Africa project with Mr.& Mrs. Westmacott. He also voluntarily drives a school bus on a regular basis.

Mike is a member who can be totally relied upon and is happy to work tirelessly in the background to help our events achieve their success. From a personal point of view I have always found Mike to be a real gentleman, very calm and always happy to give advice and encouragement, and I’ve spent many an hour in the Sales caravan putting the world to right with him.

Mike is also now our Cruise Director in competition with Roy Sharpe – our Tour Director.

It gives me great pleasure today to present Mike with a Paul Harris Award, for which he was nominated by Ray Baldwin. I have recently learnt that Rotary International have now decided to do away with the padded folder and replaced it with heavy paper, which will give them a saving of $125,000. I am very happy to say that Mike’s award still has a padded folder.

Mike White Paul Harris Fellowship Award

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