Werner bades fond farewell after 40 years

Werner Scheel, local businessman and organiser of the annual Rotary Tree of Remembrance at Foyleside, is retiring back to his native Germany after 40 years in Derry.

Mr. Scheel first arrived in Derry from Germany in October 1973 to work with Arntz Belting Co. Ltd.

He quickly became an active contributor to the community, joining Junior Chamber and other local organisations.

By the early 1990s, Werner had assumed the role of Managing Director of Arntz, then a major employer in Derry, contributing much to the company’s activities in the local factory and to its associated factories in Letterkenny.

After retirement from Arntz, Werner joined the local legal firm of Babington and Croasdaile as Practice Manager.

More recently, he became Treasurer of St Peter’s Church on Culmore Road.

In 1992, Werner joined The Rotary Club of Londonderry and quickly built a reputation across Ireland and beyond for his hard work and dedication to the organisation.

Famed for his efficiency, Werner became Club Secretary, rising to the position of Club President in 2000-01.

For the last four years, Werner has been the driving force behind the Rotary Tree of Remembrance, preparing the thousands of yellow ribbons on which passers-by leave messages of sorrow and hope, as well as contributing to various charities. Irrespective of temperature and snow, Werner stood at the tree for hours almost every day.

A spokesperson for the local Rotary Club said: “Sadly, for Rotary and our city, Werner has decided to retire back to Germany to be near his next of kin and to enjoy a warmer climate along the Rhine valley. It would be impossible to estimate the time, energy and ‘good deeds’ which he has put into our community. In saying farewell, our Rotary Club has made Werner an honorary member and presented him with an enhanced Paul Harris Fellowship Award. Werner will continue to serve as a Rotarian, having transferred to a Rotary Club in Germany.”