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The Kingston Rotary Club is the cornerstone upon which Rotary in Jamaica has been built. The Club was formed in 1959, but its roots go back to 1931, when the late N.A. Polack attempted to have a Rotary Club established in Jamaica. Original letters, preserved in the Club's archives, show how his efforts came to nothing, as the then British West Indies lay in a territory where there was no District Governor to represent Rotary International, and there was then no qualified Rotarian in Jamaica who could act as the representative of the International Board of Rotary International.

The matter rested for 28 years, before the right conditions and renewed surge of interest led to the establishment of an Organizing Committee and to the chartering of the Kingston Rotary Club under the sponsorship of the Rotary Club of Toronto.

The Constitution and By-Laws of the Rotary Club of Kingston were adopted on April 30, 1959, and Officers of the Club were elected a week- later with Rev. Jack Peel as the Club's first President. The Club was admitted to membership of Rotary International on June 18, 1959 -becoming the 10,250th club member of Rotary International. At the time, there were some 475,000 members of Rotary in 114 countries and geographical regions.

When the Kingston Club was admitted to Rotary, there were 30 charter members. By the time the Charter Dinner was held, at the Myrtle Bank Hotel on October 10, 1959, ten new members had been added. At that dinner, the then President of the Rotary Club of Toronto, Bob Day, presented the Club's Charter on behalf of Rotary International.

The dinner was attended by the 30 Charter Member Rotarians and their wives, the 10 members enrolled after the charter was approved, and guests including the Lord Bishop of Jamaica, the Mayor of Kingston, the Honourable Custos of St. Andrew, and visiting Rotarians from overseas.

Since then, the Club has grown strong in service and has demonstrated its commitment to Service Above Self through the sponsorship of several Clubs in communities across the island. From its original 30 members, the Rotary Club of Kingston quickly grew to 63 members by 1961, including Honorary Life Member, then Governor, and subsequently Governor General, Sir Kenneth Blackburn. In the meantime, the demand for Rotary membership was growing in Montego Bay, where Robert Fletcher and Mervin Dullum were the leading lights. Kingston acted as the sponsoring club for Montego Bay which was granted its charter on March 21, 1961. The Club's Charter was formally presented at a banquet on May 13 of that year by Dr. Carlos Gonzales of Mexico, official representative of Rotary International. This was followed by the Rotary Club of Mandeville which received its charter in April 1963, with Karl Lyon as its first President.

The undertaking of a survey of membership and prospective membership in 1966 led to the formation of a second Rotary Club in the city - the Rotary Club of St. Andrew, which was sponsored by Kingston and which received its charter in December 1966 at the Myrtle Bank Hotel.

Three other Rotary Clubs have been sponsored by Kingston since that time - the Rotary Club of Ocho Rios which was formed in 1968; the Rotary Club of Spanish Town which was chartered in 1981; and the Rotary Club of Kingston- Downtown, which received its charter in 1982. But the work of Rotary has spread even further than is indicated by these clubs - as clubs sponsored by the Kingston Rotary Club have themselves sponsored new clubs, in Savanna-la-mar, Port Antonio, Christiana, Black River, Lucea, Santa Cruz, May Pen, New Kingston, Montego Bay East, and Portmore.

The Rotary Club of Savanna-la-mar was the first of these 'second generation' clubs, and was sponsored by the Rotary Club of Montego Bay in 1969. Then in 1970, the four-year-old Rotary Club of St. Andrew sponsored a new club in Port Antonio, and the Rotary Club of Black River was formed in 1972, with the blessing of Kingston and the sponsoring of Mandeville. Montego Bay sponsored the Rotary Club of Lucea in 1974, then Black River sponsored the Rotary Club of Santa Cruz in 1980.

In 1988, the Rotary Club of St. Andrew sponsored the Rotary Club of St. Andrew North and the New Kingston Club in 1990. Also in 1990, the Rotary Club of May Pen was sponsored by the Mandeville Rotary Club and a Club - Montego Bay East - was sponsored by the Rotary Club of Montego Bay in 1992 and in 1999 - the Rotary Club of Spanish Town sponsored a Club in the fast-growing area of Portmore in St Catherine.

As the Rotary ideals of service to the community spread throughout the island, the number of Rotary Clubs has increased, and membership has grown in accordance with the long held ruling of one member of each profession to a club. Overall membership has grown gradually, at some times more swiftly than others.

The number of Rotary Clubs in Jamaica has now been increased to 22 - all committed to the Rotary ideal of SERVICE ABOVE SELF. The current membership of the Kingston Club now stands at 110, making it the largest Club on the island.