Librarian keen to shout about work of Rotary

Jim Fitzsimons (right) is congratulated by Leonard Sproule on becoming the new president of the Rotary Club of Newtownabbey for 2016/17. INNT 28-506CON
Jim Fitzsimons (right) is congratulated by Leonard Sproule on becoming the new president of the Rotary Club of Newtownabbey for 2016/17. INNT 28-506CON

Members of the Rotary Club of Newtownabbey have appointed university librarian Jim Fitzsimons their president for 2016/17.

Mr Fitzsimons takes over the role from Leonard Sproule.

The Jordanstown man, a librarian at Ulster University, has been a member of Newtownabbey Rotary Club for the past eight years. He is married and has four grown up sons and three grandchildren. He enjoys sport, gardening and history.

Mr Fitzsimons, who has been a librarian for over 40 years, said it was a real honour to be asked to take on the role of Rotary Club president.

Paying tribute to his predecessor, he said: “It is an honour to take over from Leonard who was a very successful and hard-working president. He brought great credit to the club.”

With this year’s Rotary motto being ‘Rotary Serving Humanity’, the new president wants to use his term of office to highlight the charitable and humanitarian work the organisation does locally, nationally and internationally.

“I hope to increase the membership of the club to further strengthen and increase our charity and humanitarian work locally and internationally,” he told the Times. “The club does have very dedicated and committed members, but I want to build on that and make Newtownabbey Rotary Club known throughout our community.

“We believe strongly in social justice and equality, which are the goals of Rotary worldwide. We are neither religious nor political, but humanitarian and our motto for this year is ‘Rotary Serving Humanity’.”

Mr Fitzsimons added: “My hopes for the year ahead are to develop our links with young people in order to help them gain confidence and pride. One of our charities that we try to help is the Northern Ireland Children’s Hospice, as well as the schools in Newtownabbey that cater for children with special needs. Seeing these children helps put life into perspective for you.

“On the international side we support several different charities. Rotarians throughout the world have played such a major part over the past 40 years in eradicating polio and this is something we are very proud of, but there is so much more to do. As president I want Newtownabbey Rotary Club to be involved by continuing to raise funds for these charities.”