THE Rotary Club of Ashburton & Buckfastleigh were delighted to celebrate the birthday of Len Merchant, who was 100 on September 11th this year.

Len joined the Rotary Club of Ashburton/Buckfastleigh soon after the Club was chartered in September 1978, with the classification of Farming. Although he never served as President, he was an enthusiastic member of the Community Committee, particularly appearing as Santa Claus on the Christmas Santa Sleigh.

His wife Hazel was a great support to him until her death a few years ago. Len became an Honorary Member in July 2020, and still attends our weekly lunch meetings, and indeed drove himself to Furzeleigh Mill, our meeting venue, until only a short time ago when he had a fall at home.

He has recovered immensely well and is now furthering his recovery in a residential home, Len had the distinction of living in the same farmhouse in which he was born and in which he has lived all his life. He recently told one of our members he wouldn’t be able to go home until he could peel potatoes!

He is always great company and can always entertain you with stories of his life, whilst being interested in current affairs. The club celebrated his birthday on September 5th and the District Governor, David Glover, attended, and many members’ wives, and visiting Rotarians, Adrian and Hilary Bell from Hove.

On Saturday 9th his son, Roger organised a party for friends and family where over 50 people attended. These two parties were only two of the six that he attended for his birthday.

He enjoyed all of them and was delighted to receive a card from King Charles.