BUSINESSMAN Ian Park has been inducted as president of Haworth and Worth Valley Rotary Club in a groundbreaking ceremony.

The socially-distanced handover of office took place in the garden of outgoing president Nicholas Oughtibridge’s Haworth home.

Mr Park said: “Normally the chains of office and handshakes are exchanged after a meal and meeting at our headquarters at Newsholme Manor, Oakworth. But, because of the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdown laws, we had to think of some other way of marking the changeover between club presidents.

“That’s when we came-up with the idea of an open-air version in Nicholas’ garden. That enabled us not only to swap presidents, but to induct Gary Gardner as the new president-elect.

“Hopefully, by the time Gary is ready to take over from me in 12 months’ time, we’ll be able to perform the handover ceremony in our normal manner!”

The new-style ceremony was videoed and later shown to fellow members at the end of the annual general meeting, which was staged online.

Mr Park added: “It’s strange taking over as president of a Rotary club under the current circumstances but we’re learning to adapt to this new way of life and are meeting every week online.

“Also, we’re still looking to make a valuable contribution to our community as we all struggle to deal with the pandemic and lockdown. For example, we used social media to raise over £2,000 for Manorlands hospice and we have lots more ‘new normal’ fundraising ready to launch.”