Double milestone for Sidmouth’s centenarian Rotarian

Dennis with his fellow Rotarians

Dennis with his fellow Rotarians - Credit: Rotary Club of Sidmouth

Dennis Bennett, who celebrated his 100th birthday and 55th year as a Sidmouth Rotarian at the end of last month, has been described as a ‘perfect gentleman’ by a fellow member of the club.

Long standing Rotarian David Burgoyne welcomed the 62 guests to Dennis’s birthday lunch at the Victoria Hotel.

He said: “Dennis is the perfect gentlemen in all ways. He is an ideal example of the Rotary spirit in every way.”

Dennis grew up in Exeter and spent his life working as a gentlemen’s outfitter, interrupted only by six years’ service in the RAF during the Second World War.

He joined the Exeter-based Yendells gentlemen’s outfitters in 1951, and shortly afterwards opened their new Sidmouth store. He was later able to purchase the Sidmouth Yendells business, and ran the popular Fore Street store until 2002.

He has also been an ardent supporter of the arts and a member of Exeter Operatic Society. He is a former President of the Sidmouth Chamber of Commerce, and served as President of the Rotary Club of Sidmouth in 1975. He is still well-known to many people and organisations in the town.

At the celebration lunch on Wednesday, September 29, Dennis was awarded honorary membership of Rotary Club of Sidmouth. He was presented with certificates recognising this honorary membership and his 55 years of Rotary service, together with letters from Rotary International President Shekhar Mehta congratulating Dennis both on his 100th birthday and 55 years of service. Dennis was also given a personalised birthday card signed by everyone present - and took the opportunity to show them his 100th birthday card from Buckingham Palace, signed by Her Majesty the Queen.

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The current Rotary Club of Sidmouth President, Alan Clarke said throughout Dennis’s 55 years with the club he had ‘inspired others and given so much in all aspects of his life to this very day’.

Dennis said he was ‘overwhelmed and overjoyed at being able to celebrate with so many fellow Rotarians and friends’, and added: “I am so proud to be a part of Rotary, and for what the Sidmouth Club does in support of the local community and towards wider international appeals”.

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