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Alicia Dance

My name is Alicia Dance, and I have lived in Richmond for just over 16 years, now.

I was born and raised on a dairy farm in California, and after attending university in Oregon, moved to Williamsburg, Virginia.  I worked as an intern for the Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation, assisting the museum's curator and serving as archivist.

From  there, I worked for the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation as an historical interpreter, then supervisor, for 17 years.  I met my now husband, Nick, and moved to England after our marriage in 2002.  Here, I have worked for Historic Royal Palaces, interpreting Kew Palace.  Otherwise, I have been employed as a housewife.

In the past, I have volunteered at the Vineyard Project, sung with St. Mary's choir for 15 years, and serve as Neighbourhood Watch captain for my road, and Police Liaison Group secretary.  I have three step-children and four grandchildren.

Clive Oxley

Clive was born in Beckenham, Kent, in May 1936. After his A level exams, he attended Jesus College Cambridge, studying Organic Chemistry.  During his time there, he volunteered to work with a group of Hungarian Refugees, and sadly picked up TB which put him in hospital for several months.  When he was pronounced clear of the disease he was able to return to Jesus College to finish his degree.

He has always been interested in music and during his time in college he directed several classical operas.  Whilst teaching in Kent, he was asked by the conductor of the local choral society to start a Junior Choral society.  A young lady was appointed as his accompanist, and this was Jean, who was to be his future wife.

Clive applied for a teaching post at St Stephen's College in Stanley, Hong Kong, and after two years Jean joined him and they were married in St John's Cathedral, Hong Kong, in 1966.  After four years, Clive changed from teaching to being an administrator in the Hong Kong Government.

His jobs were interesting and various ........ City District Officer, District Officer, Music Administrator, and his last job in the colony was as Commissioner of Customs and Excise.  During his time he also worked voluntarily as Chairman for the Hong Kong Society for the Blind, and the Asian Foundation for Prevention of Blindness.

He was a member of the RHK Volunteers, and conducted their military band for many years.  In recognition for his service to the Hong Kong Government and various charities, Clive was awarded the OBE by her majesty the Queen.

He has four sons and six grandchildren.  4 years ago he contracted throat cancer.  After successful radiotherapy, the cancer is no more.  Sadly, it has left him very thin,and easily tired. He enjoys watching sport on TV, particularly cricket.

He joined Rotary in Hong Kong, and when he retired he was able to join the Richmond Rotary Club, and spent some time before his illness, as President.

He has visited Rotary Clubs in other parts of the world ....... The Seychelles, Malaysia, Singapore, and Ulan Bator to name just a few.

John Hadler

John was born in Cambridge in July 1934 and has one older sister.  His father worked for Lloyds Bank.  John’s education began at the local primary school but his parents later transferred him to St John’s College Choir School, as a non-singer!.  When his  family moved away from Cambridge in 1946, he was sent away to boarding school at Wycliffe College in Gloucestershire.

After two years of national service in the Royal Air Force, he took articles to become a chartered accountant.  In November 1957, during his training period, he first encountered computers and they became his chosen career.  In the early 1960s, he programmed what was thought to be the first-ever computerised portfolio valuation system in the world for a London firm of stockbrokers.  He became self-employed in 1968 and carried on working with computers until turning 75.

He joined the Rotary Club of Isleworth in 1983 and, after a three-year gap, the Rotary Club of Richmond, Surrey in 1997.  He has been President once in Isleworth and four times in Richmond.

He bought himself an apartment in Mahón in 1983 and, having visited the Rotary Club de Menorca up to eight times a year ever since, was made an honorary life member on his 80th birthday.

His leisure pursuits have always been the performing arts, cooking and entertaining.

John Chalker

John was born in March 1936 and went to school in Mortlake, firstly to Mortlake Infant/Junior School and then to Mortlake Boys Secondary Modern School. After school he joined the family firm of monumental masons for a short period before taking an apprenticeship with Anselm Odling & Sons Ltd. training as a mason. His time there was interrupted by two years of National Service which John spent in the Royal Air Force where his time was spent as a catering assistant, steward and as a member of a Mountain Rescue Team.

Having served his time John returned to Anselm Odling & Sons Ltd to complete his apprenticeship after which he rejoined the family firm – Chalker & Gamble – in 1962 making, maintaining and erecting memorials and worked there, becoming Managing Director in 1984 until retirement in 1994.

John has been married to Judith for more than 50 years and has two children and three grandchildren.

John joined the Rotary Club of Barnes in 1970 as a result of his involvement in a Local Public Speaking Contest and served as secretary for two periods before becoming Vice President in1991/92 and President in 1992/93. When the Barnes Club closed John joined the Richmond Club in 1994 and has again served as secretary, Vice President and President (2009/10). John and Judith have hosted 3 Group Study Exchange Team members.

Apart from John’s involvement as a former Youth Leader of the Church Youth Club, he is also Trustee and Property Steward of Barnes Methodist Church.

John’s hobbies include Membership  of The National Trust, hill walking, reading travelling around Britain Europe and Canada and an interest in railways.

Robert Dowler

Robert was born in January 1944 in Churchdown Gloucestershire and was the third of four children. His father was a GP. He went to school in Bromsgrove in Worcestershire following which he trained as a Chartered Surveyor at the College of Estate Management in Kensington. On completion of studies he went to work for a firm in the City and then for a firm in Kingston Upon Thames and Richmond becoming a partner in 1969.  He married Gill in 1969 and together they have four children and two grandchildren.

Robert joined the Richmond Club in August 1977 and was President in the 1988/89 Rotary year. In addition to Club Committees and Club Council he was also a member of the District International Committee for two years.

Among other interests Robert has been a Governor of Esher College, a founding Trustee of Homelink and DayBreak , and Trustee of Community Housing and Therapy

Since 1987 he has been a Trusteee and subsequently Chairman of the Royal Cambridge Home, a residential care home in East Molesey. He was awarded an MBE in the Birthday Honours list in June 2011 for services in the voluntary sector.

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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