Meet The Team 2021-2022

Jo Banthorpe

My Father was a Founder Member of Ipswich East Rotary Club 50 years ago. I first joined in 2012 as a fairly newly qualified Acupuncturist and two years into running my own business.

When I first joined I was lacking in confidence both as a person and within my new profession. I didn’t think I’d be taken seriously, neither as a female member in a predominately male club, nor as a complementary therapist amongst a club of ‘real’ professionals. I certainly never imagined that after 12 years I’d become President of the largest Rotary Club in the region. I couldn’t have been more wrong! 

From day one I was warmly welcomed into the Club and treated as an equal, with respect and interest. I thought I’d be content to quietly sit at the back of the room and volunteer here and there, but was soon asked to organise my first event (KidsOut – a zoo trip for mentally and physically disabled youngsters). Before long I became chair of the Community Service Committee, which further stretched my organisational and communication skills; I became a member of the Club’s 5-Year Development Plan Committee, which I later chaired for two years, whilst also chairing the Youth & Vocational Committee and becoming Junior, then Senior Vice President of the Club. 

So here I am, 12 years on – and now as President. I must say that I have been encouraged to stray well and truly out of my comfort zone, but have been fully supported at every single step. 

So, as well as volunteering and giving back to the community, Rotary has given me the opportunity to form friendships with fellow professionals in all walks of life, and also to really develop my leadership, organisational and communication skills. It has been a hugely rewarding journey! 

I am a mother of four children and have three (soon to be four) grandchildren. I live and work in Ipswich, and have my own private Acupuncture practice, with a special interest in mental wellbeing.

Tony Baker

He came to Suffolk in 1992 having moved around the country as a fire officer: “I wanted to put down some roots and make a contribution to my local community. A colleague introduced me to Rotary and my membership has been all I could have expected. It has enabled me to be involved in many worthwhile ventures in Ipswich with like minded individuals.”

Tony is a retired chief fire officer who has also been a member of the Suffolk Police Authority, a Non-Executive Director of the Ambulance Service, a Director of  Victim Support Suffolk and a magistrate for over twenty years. He is a trustee of a local charity and the secretary of a sports club.

David Chitttick
Past President

As a member of Ipswich East Rotary Club for 9 years, David has enjoyed the fellowship and valued learning from the life experiences of members. Meeting people from the community who are involved in local charities has given him an insight into the huge amount the voluntary sector does to help people. He has found it personally rewarding to be involved with the organising of events that the club puts on. David says “It is a great honour to be President Elect of the Club.  I am thrilled with the prospect of leading such a thriving club. I am fortunate also to be married to Patricia, who has worked as a GP in Ipswich for the past 24 years, as I have. Our 3 children are now getting on with their own lives, which gives us the opportunity to take on new challenges in life.”

Neil Hewitt

Neil is a director of Scrutton Bland Ltd. He has more than 25 years experience as an independent financial adviser. He began his career originally with the Halifax Building Society, then with a local IFA practice before his move to Scrutton Bland.

“Outside of work I am a keen sports fan and particularly enjoy playing golf. I joined Rotary to give something back to the local community, but Rotary has given me so much more back, including friendship and a real sense of achievement.”

George Woodward: Chairs the Community Service Committee.

Martin Whitworth: Chairs the Clubs Fundraising Committee. This Committee leads all of the Club’s charity fundraising activities.

George McClellan: Chairs the Clubs International Committee, which exists to promote better international understanding.

David Atkins: Chairs the Club Service Committee, in charge of organising all internal events and meetings.