INTERVIEW Ilkeston Rotary president shares his love of the town

One rotarian only moved up from Essex three years ago and last month he became the new president of the Ilkeston branch of the club.

Tuesday, 2nd August 2016, 9:27 am
Updated Thursday, 25th August 2016, 6:07 pm
Kevin Smith, left, receiving his gong and being installed as the new president for Ilkeston Rotary, from immediate past president Chris Smith.

Kevin Smith, 56, loves living here and said he has been warmly welcomed by everyone.

He said: “The hospitality around the town has made me feel part of the community it was strange at first because people in the street talk to you but that really is a nice thing.”

Kevin, who lives in the Kings and Queens region, works for the Co-Operative bank. He has always been in banking and his career started in 1977 doing general office work.

A move to Royal Bank of Scotland took him to Bristol and then on to Chichester all the while gaining promotion.

When he became redundant in 2008 he joined the Co-Op and in 2013 moved to Ilkeston and is now in charge of the Midlands area.

He said: “I really enjoy my job and working with people and helping to find financial solutions for clients.”
When he was living in Esse he was a member of the round table but had to leave when he reached the cut off point of 41.

He said: “It was a group aimed at the younger and more active members.”
After a few years break he joined the rotary club where he continued to serve the community.

Now living in Ilkeston he joined the local branch and due to his previous experience was put forward as vice president where he served for a year and will be at the helm for another 11 months as president.

Kevin, who has two grown-up sons from his first marriage, said: “I really like being part of the rotary club it is nice to be involved with something that’s main focus is giving back to worthy causes.”
The group meet once a month in the Bull’s Head for an informal meal and organise their next charity projects.

Kevin said: “We have our trusty and well-loved burger and hot dog van that we take out to charity events such as summer fairs and on Sunday, August 14, we will be cooking for people at the vintage car rally.

“We have raised thousands of pounds by selling the food and then the money goes to groups or projects which need our help.”
Every year the rotary club organise the Snow Cave at Trowell Garden Centre and bring Santa down from the North Pole for the occasion.

He said: “That is such a great part of our work and I really like being involved with it.”

Last year £5,500 was raised which went in part to the Arena Church food bank.

Kevin said: “The social side of the rotary club is very good.

“We have a mixed group which I think brings a breath of fresh of air and changes the dynamic of what was previously an all-male group.”

For down-time Kevin likes to pick up his rugby boots and is returning as a coach for the under 12s.

He said: “I used to play rugby but now I can still be part of the sport but I don’t get hurt as much.”
He also likes spending time with his new wife Teresa, the pair have been married for three years and together for five.

They regularly take time to visit Kevin’s sister who lives in New Zealand and try to get over their every other year.

“I also like going away to Europe but the quieter parts such as Maderia,” said Kevin.

“I have a large LP collection and enjoy all kinds of music as well as good food and good company.”
For the London 2012 Olympics Kevin was selected along 40,000 other people to be volunteers and help out with the running of teh games.

He helped out during the handball games and said it was a great experience.

He added: “That was a once in a lifetime thing and very special.

“It was a great fun and a great learning experience of which I will never forget, and I’m glad I took part.”