Richmond Business and Retail Asociation
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Richmond Business & Retail Association

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Richmond Rotary Club

Brian Frith
14th July 1964 is a notable date in the history of the Rotary Club of Richmond (Surrey) – as it was then known – for it was on that day 53 years ago that the Club acquired the membership of a 32 year old enthusiastic Brian Frith a member of a noted Richmond family.

Enthusiasm hardly does justice to Brian’s impact on whatever he sets his mind to and a quick trawl through notable events in his life reveal the following:-

Born in Twickenham on 13th July 1932 the family moved to Whitton where Brian attended Bishop Perrin Cof E primary School following which he went to Hampton School. His career then took a somewhat unusual path for a young man raised in the albeit leafy suburbs of south west London when he took himself off to be a farmer firstly in Sussex and subsequently in Berkshire.

The lure of the family business drew Brian to Richmond where he looked after a very successful family Chemists and Photographic Retailing business in a prominent position at the junction of George Street and Sheen Road overlooking what was then affectionately known as “Bog Island”. The farming gene however remained in the blood and Brian set up and ran very successfully a Young Famers Club from premises in Petersham Meadows.
Joining Round Table in 1952 set him on his way to joining Rotary some twelve years later though he remained a staunch member of Round Table until achieving his 40th birthday at which point the rules of Round Table dictated that he had to leave.
His Rotary career has seen Brian undertake many of the jobs available to a club member – Speakers Secretary, Membership Officer, etc but his abiding interest has been in the International Committee where with his usual enthusiasm he played a leading role for several years in offering hospitality and support for au pairs through their connection with Richmond Adult College where they were learning English. This involved various excursions to places of interest, participating in Club social and fund raising activities and generally giving the young ladies an insight into life in the UK. So successful and appreciated by them was this that Brian still has contact with many of them today.

Having been elected Club President for the Rotary Year 1981-1982 Brian led the members with his accustomed enthusiasm and on completion of his year of office went on to participate in District activities becoming District International Committee Chairman in the year 1984-1985 and subsequently was appointed District Governor in the year 1989-1990, a year well remembered by Rotarians around at that time, not only for Brian’s visits to the Clubs in his District to which he was usually chauffeured by Richmond Club Members – achieving visits to four Clubs in a single day – but also for a very successful District Conference where attendance broke previous records, the “Parade of The Presidents” was introduced (each President placing his/her Club’s piece on a jigsaw map of the District), and when Brian at the closing of the Conference was awarded a Paul Harris Fellowship.

One may be inclined to think that having achieved all of that Brian would take a step back and enjoy a quieter Rotary life – but that is not his way. While he and March enjoy cruising the Thames in the summer and he is the organizer-in-chief of hugely popular Jazz concerts Brian remains a very regular attender at weekly meetings and Club activities where very occasionally he is known to enjoy a tipple. His dark Rotary secret however is that in his 53 years of membership he has managed by various means to avoid delivering a “my job talk” to the Club.

And what makes 14th July 2017 extra special apart from being the day after his 85th birthday is that it makes Brian the longest serving member of the Richmond Club in its 93 year history.

Well done Brian – and thank you for all you have done for – and mean to -the Club

Alan Bowers
To be born in a whiskey distillery may, to some, be considered the ultimate good fortune but, for Alan, it was not by choice but by reason of his father being “head distiller” in the John Jamesons Distillery in Smithfield, Dublin.

After schooling Alan set out on a career in the hotel industry starting his training at the Royal Hibernian Hotel with stoking the coal fired ranges and peeling by hand piles of potatoes.

Having mastered those skills Alan moved to Cork where he was appointed a trainee manager of the Hotel Metropole followed two years later by spells in France and London before becoming Assistant Manager of two Trust House Hotels in Kinsale and Clonmel.

In 1970 Alan came to Richmond taking on managerial roles at the Richmond Gate Hotel and in 1978 became Operations Director of European Country Hotels then running not only the Richmond Gate Hotel but also the Petersham Hotel and Hotel Chateau Tilques in France. During this period at the Petersham Hotel Alan provided hospitality to many celebrities, not least the England Rugby squad at times of major matches at Twickenham Stadium.

After twenty eight years in the hotel business Alan left to pursue a new career and joined South West Trains in November 1998 shortly after its privatisation and worked in the Revenue Department as an Inspector. Clearly very successful in that role Alan after two months became a trainer and subsequently Training Champion for the entire South West Trains region from Waterloo to Exeter and Weymouth and the whole south coast.

2006 saw a further change of job when Alan was seconded to the Gateline Project at Waterloo – the introduction of ticket gates – the biggest in Europe with 52 gates.

Alan joined the Rotary Club of Richmond (Surrey)in 1998 as it was then known and has served as its President and throughout has played an active part in the widest range of Club activities. His work has been recognized in the award of a Paul Harris Fellowship, richly deserved.

Alan is married to Nannette, lives in Twickenham, has an abiding love of railways and in his spare time plays a leading role in the Richmond In Bloom Competition and can often be found helping visitors to Richmond to find their way around from his “Tourism Desk” in the main concourse of Richmond Station.

“By the way Alan – when’s the next train from North Sheen to Martins Heron?”

 

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