A COMMUNITY stalwart has been given one of the region’s top honours for his service to the borough.
The 58 Rotary clubs of the Thames Valley have named Dave Donaldson, a member of the Rotary Club of Bracknell, as its Rotarian of the Year in recognition of “the exceptional contribution” he has made to the club.
This includes organising the hugely popular Three Counties Cycle Ride and his work with Wokingham Fireworks.
The Rotarians said that several other nominations had been put forward from around the district, but Mr Donaldson received by far the most commendations.
It was his efforts with the Three Counties Cycle Ride that got him noticed.
This annual event is held on the first Sunday in June and enjoyed by hundreds of cycle enthusiasts and families alike.
Having cycled it himself for many years, more recently Mr Donaldson has focused on leading his small team who set the routes, ensure the safety and wellbeing of cyclists young and old who take part, and organise the supporting marshals from other Berkshire Rotary Clubs, notably the Rotary Club of Easthampstead, as well as the volunteers from Thames Valley Air Ambulance and the Scouts and Guides.
The event has generated more than £750,000 for local charities since it started 35 years ago. Among those supported this year were the Macmillan Cancer Support Unit at the Royal Berkshire Hospital, and Ascot Area Alzheimer’s Society.
And Mr Donaldson has also organised the Rotary Club’s annual Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols at Christmas, and Burns Night in January. These seasonal celebrations are enjoyed hugely by local families, and fund yet more charitable projects.
Mr Donaldson said that he was “Totally surprised and most honoured to receive this award”.
It was presented to him by Nigel Boshier, President of the Rotary Club of Bracknell.
Mr Donaldson added: “The local Rotary Clubs work well together, co-operating on major events and projects in the community. Without this support, these would simply not be possible.”
After a career in education spanning more than 40 years, Dave retired as headteacher at Wildridings Primary School and has since been teaching hundreds of Ascot, Bracknell, Reading and Wokingham residents to drive.
The Rotary Club of Bracknell meets over lunch most Tuesdays at The Old Manor in the town.