Bill was only the fourth Rotarian from Britain and Ireland to achieve the Presidency of Rotary International. A past President of Rotary in Britain and Ireland Bill fulfilled every major function within Rotary; he received the Rotary Foundation’s Citation for Meritorious Service and the Distinguished Service Award. His extraordinary service to Polio Plus lead to the Polio Plus Pioneer Award and the Polio Plus International Service Award; his peers describe him as “a leader amongst leaders” Bill received many honours and awards including Membership of the Order of the British Empire, awarded for services to Rotary; he held Venezuela’s Order of Simon Bolivar and a degree from the University of Leeds in Religious Education; he also held honorary degrees from the Universities of Hull (his home town), Palermo (Italy), Hanyang (South Korea) and Bradford (England) the home of a Rotary Centre for International Studies in Peace and Conflict Resolution, a project in which he was heavily involved. Bill was a man dedicated to education and to serving others; he lost his Father at an early age and grew up in a single parent household during the depression years. The spirit of hard work and faith instilled in him by his mother led him to be successful in gaining a scholarship to Grammar School; however he was compelled to leave school to earn money to support his family.
A teacher throughout his life he taught religious education for a short time before moving to work in youth rehabilitation and training, his chosen path lead him to be a man of modest means but towering leadership. During Bill’s year of RI Presidential office he established a “Pooled Fund” within the Permanent Fund of Rotary Foundation in hope of gathering sufficient funds to establish a scholarship in his name.
After Bill died suddenly in 2006 when still active throughout the world on Rotary business his club never forgot his Presidential year theme “Be a Friend” and continue to be a friend to his memory to this day.
The Bill Huntley Endowment
Bill’s club operates in a particularly deprived part of the United Kingdom nevertheless his friends were determined to establish an Endowment within the Rotary Foundation in memory of this remarkable and compassionate Rotarian.
In June 2012, after strenuous fund raising, the Bill Huntley Endowment substantially exceeded its target of $500,000 which will fund a Rotary Peace Fellow attending at one of the Rotary Centres for Peace and Conflict Resolution (see below) every four years in perpetuity.
In the Spring of 2016 Francis Rothery of Exeter, England became the first “Huntley Peace Fellow”. Bill’s daughter Sue, speaking on behalf of his widow Audrey and all the family, said “Thank you from all of us, it’s fantastic to think that his memory will live on in this way and that many more Peace Fellows will follow.”
Rotary Peace Centres
The Rotary Centres for Peace and Conflict Resolution situated at six universities around the world and provide Masters Degrees in Peace and Conflict Resolution aimed at building the leaders of tomorrow and at one university a Professional Development Certificate aimed at strengthening the leaders of today. The programme, including the total expenses of our Peace Fellows, is entirely funded by Rotary.
The centres are:
- Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, Thailand (professional development center)
- Duke University and University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, USA
- International Christian University, Tokyo, Japan
- University of Bradford, West Yorkshire, England
- University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia
- Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden