A NEWPORT group which raised well over a quarter of a million pounds for charity over the last century has closed its books for the last time, after admitting defeat over a lack of new members.
The Argus reported back in August that the city’s Round Table was appealing for new blood but the group only had one enquiry as a result. The club struggled on until finally, on February 20 this year, it folded.
For 40 years of its 85-year history the club raised up to £12,000 at each of its city firework displays, held variously at Rodney Parade, Tredegar House, Spytty Sports Stadium and the Speedway Track, bringing in at least £200,000 for local good causes.
Up to 5,000 people attended each display until it stopped in 2009, and now due to a lack of interest from new members and difficulty finding a suitable venue for the fireworks, the group has officially disbanded, with the writing of the final three charitable donation cheques.
During its heyday in the 1970s and early 80s the group had a membership of around 100 with a waiting list and a limit of two members per profession.
Former member Nick Mutch, also vice-chairman of the Friends of Newport Transporter Bridge, said: “Like many organisations, dwindling numbers caused by many different factors combined with being unable to run the fireworks due to the unavailability of a suitable venue has meant that the Round Table struggled to raise funds and interest from new members in Newport.”
He described the news as “the end of an era”, and said: “Friendships made in Table last a lifetime and cross many borders.”
The Round Table is a national organisation born out of the Rotary Club but with an emphasis on younger membership, with the maximum age of members 45.
Newport’s society was the 15th in the UK to form after the organisation was founded in Norwich two years earlier in 1927.
The last chairman of the group, Paul Thomas, tried to rescue the Round Table together with Craig Payne and past members Geoff Morgan and Nick Mutch, but to no avail.