Posted by Garth Stephanson on Dec 02, 2019
President Doug advised due to the inclement weather and a number of school buses being cancelled, the Mayors of the Week portion of our weekly meeting was postponed and we would instead continue with the recognition of Past President and Rotarian Neil Britton and have a fellowship time with fellow Rotarians.
President Doug advised Neil had been a member of our club for many years when due to some family health issues, he had to retire from the club in 2018, and it was felt that Neil's retirement from the club and his contributions to the club needed to be better recognized and with that President Doug introduced Rotarian Garth Stephanson who presented a biographical update of Neil to the club.
Garth advised he was greatly appreciative of the honour to be able to present this testimonial of Neil's contributions to both the club and community and see him awarded a Paul Harris +3 recognition.  Neil was a member of the club since 1971 and was the 2nd longest serving member of the club at 47 years (only Bob Ord has longer tenure in the club) when he retired from the club in 2018.
Neil was born in Newcastle Ontario  and graduated with a civil engineering degree from the University of Toronto.  After graduation Neil joined Ontario Hydro and moved to Belleville in 1955.  Eight years later Neil transferred to the Belleville Public Utilities Commission and became general manager and secretary of the Utilities Commission in 1972, a position he held till his retirement in 1994 after 31 years of service with the Belleville Public Utilities Commission.
Neil's efforts with the PUC were recognized by the City of Belleville when in 2003 the Belleville Utilities building on the corner of Sidney and College Street West was renamed the Neil Britton Public Utilities Centre.  Neil joins other celebrated Bellevillians such as Past Rotarians Dr. Joe Demeza, Jack Parrott, Mayor George Zegouras and Charlotte Sills in having buildings named in their honour.  
Garth spoke to Neil's humble, quiet spoken, thoughtful, logical and practical management approach but that he is also an attentive listener to those around. 
Neil was active in many organizations locally and here is just a short list of the organizations where he took leadership roles of the organizations:
1) President of the Association of Professional Engineers of Quinte Chapter, realizing 2 citations from the organization in 1985 and 1989
2) President of the Electrical Utilities Safety Association of Ontario in 1976
3) President of the Canadian Cancer Society, Belleville 1982-1984
4) President of the Canadian Red Cross Society, Quinte
5) President of the Masonic Order Foundation, Belleville
6) President of the 22nd Club of Belleville
7) President of the Rotary Club of Belleville in 1975 when we moved from the Sun Valley Hotel to the new Four Seasons (now the Ramada Inn for our weekly meetings).
During his tenure with the Rotary Club of Belleville, Neil was chairman of the annual Rotary Skateathon, and the Quinte Science Fair and Hobby Show, another Rotary sponsored event.  Neil and his wife Vivian of 65 years have graciously hosted many Rotary Exchange students during his time with Rotary.
In addition to his work with Rotary and the above other organizations, Neil served as a Boy Scout Leader at Eastminster United Church for 15 years and was one of the founding members of the troop.  A long time member of Bridge Street United Church, Neil has been actively involved in the church life and spent considerable years on the Finance division of the Church and was a long serving chair of the division.  
Garth personally spoke to his first hand opportunity to witness Neil's wise and sensible leadership as they worked together on the Board of the Belleville Cemetery Company over 10 years ago. 
Neil and his wife Vivian have 4 children,  Jane, John, Tom and Joseph (who passed away in the year 2000).  Happy to have Jane and Tom joining us today along with their spouses Bob and Helen joining us today.
Garth closed his presentation by congratulating Neil on the receipt of his Paul Harris Plus 3 recognition for his work in the community and the Rotary Club of Belleville.
President Doug presented Neil his Paul Harris Plus 3 and in his ever quiet and humble way, Neil thanked the club for this recognition and today's tribute.
President Doug talked about his experience as Vivian and Neil's sales agent when they sold their house and the 60+ year old fridge in the basement, which Neil had to modify when he first moved to Belleville to reflect our different electrical system versus what was available in Toronto and the fridge is still working and Doug noted was happy to see Neil had beer in the fridge.
After the presentation to Neil, President Doug announced that there would be 20 minutes of fellowship and encouraged members to reach out to fellow Rotarians that they have not had a chance to chat with recently or did not know well. The time was well employed by the club members in attendance and many conversations ensued.