First Rotary Peace Pole arrives in Winchester

The first Peace Pole of its kind in the UK, that has a Rotary Wheel on it, arrived in Winchester on Monday 9 October.

The Peace Pole project started in Japan in 1955 and there are now believed to be about 250,000 Peace Poles around the globe, though not that many in the UK. A few of them in the US have the Rotary wheel on them but none in the UK do; until now.

The intention is for it to be installed in Abbey Gardens, a possible location being in the Soroptimist’s garden just behind Abbey House. Planning permission is being sought. The current Mayor (Cllr Angela Clear) and recent past Mayors are all very keen on this and are working with us to help make this happen. They recognise that Winchester is an ideal city to erect the first Rotary Peace Pole in UK as Winchester is one of the worldwide ‘Mayors for Peace’, is a ‘City of Sanctuary’ and home to PeaceJam, not to mention the long history and the significant number of visitors, international and national. 

All Peace Poles have the same standard message on but with a choice of any of the international languages, the English version being: ‘May Peace Prevail on Earth’ (MPPOE, which is also the name often used for the global project). The other languages on this pole spelling out MPPOE are: French, Chinese, Russian, German, Chinese and Japanese.

The vision is that Winchester Rotary leads the way such that all Rotary Cities/Towns in UK and Ireland install a Rotary Peace Pole, as do all their local schools, colleges and Universities, the poles then becoming focal points for communities of all types and ages and particularly youngsters, to be enlightened and learn about the benefits and need to strive for peace globally versus the horrors of conflict.

The pole was made at the Allanton Peace Sanctuary, Dumfries, who make poles for European countries. They are also made by their sister organisation in upper New York State for American requirements. The pole is 8 foot tall, 4 sided and made from durable recycled plastic. About 18 inches of the pole will be buried, with about 2 metres above the ground. A separate plaque will be needed alongside it to give an explanation.

It was procured at no cost to Club or members.

Richard Spalding

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