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Grateful Thanks from a Past International Commodore

It’s amazing how time flies!  It seems like only yesterday that I agreed to take on the role of Area 1 Commodore for two years, not intending to go any further on the International Bridge.  Actually, it was back in 2013 and in 2014 I finally agreed to become International Rear Commodore, which would eventually lead to International Commodore, sometime in the far and distant future.  However, now the time as IC has not only already come but also gone!  I never imagined then what a unique and amazing experience it would be – an opportunity of a lifetime.

During my term on the International Bridge (2013-2021) Ann and I have visited so many fleets in so many countries, attending and participating in the charters of new fleets or celebrations of others or just warm friendly meetings of others.  Whatever the occasion, we have always been greeted with a real warm IYFR greeting and made to feel really welcome and part of the occasion.  We have felt very humbled.  Unfortunately, we have not been able to fulfil our plans for travel and visit all the fleets we intended to during the past 18 months, but there have been lessons we have learned from our alternative virtual experience.

When I took on the role of IRC, as I explained at my Handover to David, I believed that people are all the same inside, experiencing the same emotions of joy and sorrow, irrespective of colour, race, religion or language and IYFR is an organisation that can bring us together to enjoy all our similarities and not be troubled by our superficial differences.  How I have been proved right time and time again!  Ann and I have met many amazing people all around the World and have made some real friends, who, I sincerely hope, will remain true friends for the rest of our lives.

Although IYFR, like Rotary, is declining in some countries, new fleets are still being chartered in others and overall IYFR is very healthy and growing, which is really encouraging to see.  I have been very heartened to see what friendship and fellowship there is in IYFR, it is a wonderful example of true Rotary Fellowship. 

I have been overwhelmed at the support and encouragement that has been extended to Ann and myself during my term of office and we would like to extend a huge thank you to everyone and offer you our best wishes for a long, successful and fun-filled future.

IYFR is not just a Fellowship by name, but is a perfect example of true Rotary Fellowship.

Robert Burns - Immediate Past International Commodore

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