Historic Installation: Rotary Club of Crawley UK officially welcomes Bolaji Odunuga, the 70th and First Black President

It was an awe-inspiring event that captured the essence of service and unity at the official installation of Bolaji Odunuga as the 70th and the first black President of the Rotary Club of Crawley last Saturday, at the Crowne Plaza Hotel Crawley. The grand-styled occasion which left a profound impact on attendees, witnessed an immense show of love, cheers, trust, and support from far and near, as the club welcomed a new era under Bolaji Odunuga’s exceptional leadership.

With the attendance of esteemed Rotarians, dignitaries, and guests in large numbers, the installation ceremony marked a significant milestone in the history of the district. Present were the District Governor, Annemarie van Bochove Allen, the immediate past District Governor, Roger Stent, and the District Governor Nominee, Tunji Olaleye, along with many other district officers and representatives from various clubs. The presence of these distinguished individuals reaffirmed the sense of unity and camaraderie that defines the spirit of Rotary.

The event also featured notable guests such as Cllr Richard Biggs, the leader of the council in Reigate and Banstead, the Deputy Mayor of Basildon, Cllr Yetunde Juliet Adeshile, community officer of Horley, Tony Freeman, and Dr. Gillian Orrow of Growing Health. The distinguished presence of Erelu Valerie Ekpiteta Ayodele and Raf Abanum, who came all the way from Nigeria, added a unique and vibrant flavor to the installation.

The installation ceremony also witnessed the induction of new members, Adebayo Olaegbe, Lilian Kamau, and Agnes Gathoni, further strengthening the club’s membership and commitment to service.

In her opening speech, President Bolaji Odunuga set the tone for her term with a powerful and inspiring message. Emphasizing the theme “Create Hope in the World,” she spoke of Rotary International as a beacon of hope in a world often overshadowed by negativity and division. Bolaji highlighted the importance of unity and collaboration, inviting all present to join hands and create hope for their communities and the world.

Also in her address, Bolaji expressed her gratitude to the District Governor for the continued guidance and support and acknowledged the efforts of the organizing committee and volunteers led by President-Elect Yinka Odeajo (Yinka Bold), whose meticulous planning and hard work ensured the resounding success of the ceremony.

Notably, Bolaji’s illustrious background as the Organisation Lead for Africa Community in Surrey & Sussex, and her outstanding contributions to showcasing the achievements of African descents through Duchess International Magazine, has garnered her immense respect and admiration. Her appointment as President of the Rotary Club of Crawley further testifies to her exceptional leadership qualities and commitment to service.

The new President, Bolaji Odunuga has already begun demonstrating her readiness to spearhead a range of impactful initiatives and projects that will create lasting change in both local and global communities. With her vision of a modern and relevant Rotary club that upholds traditional values, Bolaji is poised to lead the club to new heights of service and humanitarian aid.

The Rotary Club of Crawley, established in 1953, has long been a pillar of strength in the community, addressing pressing challenges and creating positive impacts. With Bolaji Odunuga at the helm, the club is poised to continue its tradition of making a difference and promoting the Rotary ideals of “Service above self.”

As the installation ceremony concluded, the atmosphere was filled with hope and excitement for the new chapter. Many of the club’s distinguished Rotarians and supporters have expressed their strong belief in Bolaji’s vision, leadership, and commitment in shaping a world filled with positivity, possibility, and enduring hope. With her rallying call for unity and collaboration at the event, Bolaji Odunuga ignited a renewed sense of purpose and dedication among Rotarians and guests alike, leaving a profound impact on the Crawley community and beyond.

In the words of Bolaji Odunuga herself, “Together, we will be the architects of hope, shaping a world filled with positivity and possibility.” The journey has just begun, and the Rotary Club of Crawley stands united, ready to make a meaningful and lasting impact during Bolaji’s term as President.


Joseph Omoniyi