Rotary kicks of 2015 in London New Year’s Day Parade

Rotary International in Great Britain and Ireland kicked off 2015 in style as Rotarians took to the streets of central London as part of the New Year’s Day Parade on 1st January, 2015, watched by millions.


This was the first time that we have gone into the Parade as Rotary International in Great Britain and Ireland, rather than linking with a London Borough.


Dozens of Rotarians, dressed in bright yellow Rotary sweatshirts, were joined by members of the British Sports Wheelchair Foundation charity WheelPower, including former Paralympian and WheelPower CEO Martin McElhatton, celebrating the Rotary Wheel Appeal and the legacy of the London 2012 Paralympics.


Our entry featured a Steam Traction Engine called “Obsession” with Rotary Youth Makes Music performer 17-year-old Cody Lee and his band The Retro Boys playing on board a trailer behind.  Saxophonist John Fordham from The Jive Aces joined the band for New Year’s Day, playing their blend of Jazz, Swing, Blues and high energy ‘Rock n Roll. (website: )


Rotaractors and Interactors also took part in the fun along with future Paralympian hopeful, 17-year-old Emma Alexander, as we danced along the streets to the band’s lively music.


RIBI President Peter King along with RIBI Vice President Elect Eve Conway, Rotary in London’s District Governor David Palmer, DGE Toni Finkel and DGN Jeremy Jessell were there.   PDG 1140 Mike Thorn wore four foot Rotary wheels.


Eve Conway, who organised for RIBI to be in the Parade, said: “This was a fantastic way to kick off the New Year and raise the profile of Rotary International in Great Britain and Ireland.  Rotary was mentioned by all the London New Year’s Day Parade Presenters along the route and we were interviewed by them.  We also featured on the live TV coverage of the Parade.”

Five hundred pounds was collected from the public during the Parade and this will be split with half going to WheelPower and half going to Rotary’s End Polio Now Campaign which, when matched with the 2 to 1 Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Polio pledge to Rotary, will become £750.


The Steam Traction Engine was built in Lincoln by William Foster & Co. in 1915 and was renovated by the current owners during a seven year period.


London’s New Year’s Day Parade has evolved into one of the world’s great street spectaculars with up to 10,000 performers from across continents, hundreds of thousands of spectators, and a ‘live’ TV audience of several hundred million. The theme for 2015 was “London on the Move”.  More details:



More details about WheelPower are on:

Displaying photo-56.JPG

About Jonathan Nish - Rotary in London Webmaster

Jonathan Nish grew up and studied in Durban, South Africa. After working in Finance and IT roles for listed companies in the Logistics and Retail sectors in Durban and then Johannesburg, he was persuaded by a friend to take a working holiday to the UK in May 1999 and cash in on the "Millennium Bug". Well over a decade later Jonathan is still in the UK! After spells with a Travel Operator and an internet startup in London, he joined the 1st Contact Group. Jonathan has worked on a number of web and software development, compliance, integration and change management projects and piloted new business units and products. He currently serves Sable Group as Head of IT & Operations. Jonathan and his wife live in Surrey. He enjoys travel and volunteering. Jonathan is an active Rotarian, a Paul Harris Fellow and Past President of the Rotary Club of Putney