RORY O'Donnell, the new president of the Rotary Club of Taunton Vale, is going to be doing things differently.

For starters, you won't catch him wearing red trousers as he tries to demolish the widely-held 'stuffy old men' perception of the organisation.

And talking of demolition, one of his first actions in his new role has been to oversee a £1,000 donation to help rebuild a hospital badly damaged in the massive explosion in Beirut.

Every penny gift will go directly to the huge repair bill following the blast on August 4 set off by a spark igniting tonnes of ammonium nitrate stored at the Lebanese port

"I had a phone call from the president of a Rotary club in Beirut," said Mr O'Donnell, who is also the first ever Taunton Rotarian to be elected district governor, covering Somerset and parts of Wiltshire.

"Every building in the city has been damaged in some way causing $15billilon of damage.

"Our donation will go straight towards the repair and renovation bill for the hospital."

Speaking of his Taunton Vale appointment, Mr O'Donnell said: "I want to dispel this image of Rotarians as old men in red trousers.

"Until now, we've failed to get our message across.

"For a start, 18 per cent of Rotarians are women. And I want to focus on getting young people to join in activities.

"There is so much young people can get out of Rotary - things such as youth competitions and scholarships abroad. (His wife Julie went to the United States on a Rotary scholarship in 1993).

"I want things to be less formal. I won't wear the chain of office to events unless I have to. I'm hoping for a dynamic year."

As well as international support, the Taunton Vale club does good work locally, particularly in the Halcon area of Taunton.

Members help out at the Link Centre there, assisting people with tasks such as job applications and handling money - and it has borne fruit with local people in return offering assistance at the annual fundraising Moonraker night walk challenge.

"It's tremendous that they're giving back into the community," said Mr O'Donnell.

As he turns Rotary on its head this year, Mr O'Donnell in his district governor guise is planning a festival conference in Taunton in April - no red trousers allowed.