A HOWRAH born-and-bred businessman’s contribution to his community has been recognised with an award from the local Rotary Club.
For the past two years, the Rotary Club of Howrah has operated a second-hand bookshop at the Howrah Point Shopping Centre at Little Howrah Beach, in a space owned by Howrah businessman George Spiliopoulos.
Prior to opening the bookshop, the club raised much-needed funds by selling donated books at various events and markets, with Rotarian David Mitchell amassing a huge collection of books – so many, that storing and transporting the weighty collection became a major problem.
That’s when Rotarian Lindsay Chivers spotted a notice in the window of a vacant shopfront, offering the space free to an interested community group.
Mr Chivers spoke with the owner, Mr Spiliopoulos, and before long the empty space had transformed into the Howrah Rotary Bookshop.
The bookshop now opens Wednesday to Saturday each week, staffed by manager Beth Cooke and a small group of volunteers.
The shop is well patronised by the local community – many of whom donate books, or return books they’ve previously bought so they can be re-sold – with every dollar raised going towards Rotary’s worthy causes.
Mr Spiliopoulos and his family made a considerable donation of books when the shop first opened.
And he still pays the power bills.
To show their appreciation of his contributions, the Rotary Club of Howrah presented Mr Spiliopoulos with the Paul Harris Fellowship, an award launched in 1957 and given in recognition of outstanding service to the community and Rotary.
Mr Spiliopoulos was presented with his Fellowship at a special Rotary event late last year, where he assured guests that he would continue to “foster goodwill in our community.”
“I’m very lucky and grateful to receive the Rotary Award, but can’t claim credit for the great idea,” he said.
“(But) I did do a good thing for good people, and good things happened.”
Mr Spiliopoulos is now working to develop a community-driven master plan for the shopping centre and Little Howrah Beach area, and is keen to hear people’s suggestions and ideas for the future.
“Let me know at LittleHowrahBeachMasterPlan@gmail.com and let my big personality do the rest,” he said.
Caption: Rotary Club of Howrah president Ray Pickett, far left, with George Spiliopoulos and family.