Posted: 30.06.20 at 10:56 by Joseph Bulmer
July sees the start of the new rotary year, and Otter Valley Rotary has new faces leading the club - President Jacqueline Ridgeway (aka Jax), and President-elect Max Barnish.
Jax Ridgeway grew up in Devon, moving to West Hill 28 years ago. As a Devon lass she loves the outdoors, particularly walking, windsurfing and even wild water swimming.
Her career has been as a consultant specialising in employment opportunities for people with disabilities.
She worked with the Dept. for Work and Pensions, later she was an employment consultant to over 30 colleges helping youngsters with learning difficulties on their own career paths.
She said: “I particularly enjoyed my years as internship co-ordinator and job coach for the colleges. I felt I could really ‘empower’ the students, and genuinely make a lasting difference to their lives.”
Jax joined Otter Valley Rotary eight years ago and found the same ethos in the club.
“I am passionate about serving our community” she said. “The Rotary enables me to make a real difference to those who need our support.”
The Rotary club operates through teams covering different aspects of the club’s service activities.
Jax has served on several, but feels most passionate about helping development of local youngsters.
As the community emerges from the economic ravages of Covid 19, she believes Rotary will have an even more important part to play supporting those less fortunate in our community, but particularly the area’s youngsters.
Max Barnish was born to British parents in Germany in 1985, and has successfully built up an impressive portfolio of degrees, including his PhD.
In 2017 he took up a postdoctoral research post at the Exeter Medical School in Exeter University.
He came to live in Cranbrook and, having a strong interest in serving society, he joined his local Rotary Club - Otter Valley – which serves Cranbrook.
Last year Max led the team looking after the clubs community projects. His new role as president-elect is to manage the smooth running of the club, organising a busy programme of speakers, business meetings, social events, and a few special events throughout the year.
Max said: “Like every other charity organisation, Otter Valley Rotary has had to change. It has done so successfully, but it will need to further adapt going forward.”
Both Jax and Max know the community the club serves will need even more help than usual over coming months, but both are confident Otter Valley Rotary will rise to that challenge.
Click here to find out more about the work of the Rotary Club of Otter Valley.