As a young Wolf Cub in the Ballinamallard Scout group in the 1960s, Kenny Fisher was first introduced to the important role of voluntary service.

Every week he donned his scouting uniform, scarf tied neatly around his neck, peaked hat on his head, to attend the organisation which helps young people build life skills and nurtures leadership qualities.

Being a part of the Scouts set him in good stead as a young boy and initiated a life-long love of supporting his community through voluntary work.

From wearing his first hat as a Wolf Cub, to becoming a Cub Scout leader in 1982, Kenny has gone on to wear a variety of different hats, from Rotarian to High Sheriff of County Fermanagh, and many more.

At times he has swapped a hat for a chain of office, taking on the role of President for the Rotary Club of Enniskillen – a position he has held twice, first from 2012 to 2013, and again from 2016 to 2017.

On July 1, Kenny was installed as the District Governor of Rotary Ireland. It was a new chain, and one he will wear for the next 11 months as he travels the length and breadth of the island of Ireland, visiting the 70 Rotary clubs of the district.

Born and bred in Ballinamallard, Kenny has lived in the County Fermanagh village all of his life and has become a stalwart in his local community.

As a boy, he attended his local Wolf Cub pack, until the Ballinamallard Scout group ceased in 1964. In 1982, Kenny was instrumental in starting a new Scout group in the village.

“The group was reformed and I came in as a Cub Scout leader. The group has been going strong ever since,” said Kenny, who has been a group Scout leader now for more than 40 years.

“I enjoy working with young people and it’s amazing that we’re now into another generation of kids coming through.

“I would have had their parents as Cub Scouts; they are now moved on and they have their own children coming through the Scout group. It’s nice to have that link,” he added.

In 2001, Kenny’s brother Bertie, who was a four-time winner of the Irish Tarmac Rally Championship in the 1990s, was tragically killed in a helicopter accident along with his son, Mark, and daughter, Emma.

“It was a major shock to the family,” said Kenny, of losing his brother, niece and nephew all at once.

Following the tragedy, the Fisher family founded the Fisher Foundation – a charitable trust set up to commemorate Bertie and Mark’s interest in rallying, and Emma’s commitment to voluntary service overseas.

“It’s a charitable organisation set up in memory of Bertie, Mark and Emma. Funds are allocated every year to people who go out to do work in Third World countries.

“We also had safety initiatives for motorsport which was a passion of Bertie’s and Mark’s,” said Kenny, who is a trustee of the Fisher Foundation along with his brothers, Ivan and Ernie.

In 2002, Kenny joined the Rotary Club of Enniskillen.

“Rotary was a good organisation and I knew a lot of people in the club. I felt it’d be a good organisation to get involved in so I was asked to join. I said, ‘I would’, and I’ve been there ever since,” he said.

Through Rotary, Kenny has been involved in fundraising for many different charities, some locally, and others slightly further afield.

In 2019, Kenny, along with fellow Rotarian Angela McKinney, travelled over to Maasai.

“It was a real eye-opener, especially going to the Maasai village and seeing the conditions that people are living in.

“Everybody was so happy and friendly when you met them on the roads. They were all smiling,” he recalled.

Every year the Rotary President has a chosen charity, and in his 2016 to 2017 presidency, Kenny chose to support Willowbridge School in replacing their minibus.

“With the help of club members, we ended up raising £40,000 through a variety of different events and a district grant from Rotary Ireland as well. I see the minibus now out and about in the county,” Kenny said with a smile.

Prior to joining Rotary, charity work was always something that was very important to Kenny.

“Way back in the early years in the hospital, I would have been involved in a fundraising campaign for a baby scanner,” explained Kenny, who spent 17 years in finance in the Erne Hospital, and then worked for 17 years in Fermanagh College (later South West College) in Enniskillen before taking early retirement.

“I suppose I’ve always been involved in fundraising. A lot of charities depend on the goodness of people,” he added.

Another community hat of Kenny’s is his involvement in the band scene of his home town.

“I’ve been almost 50 years in Ballinamallard Silver Band,” he said, adding: “I started off in the early days playing a cornet and then moved to a baritone and now I play a euphonium.

“I’m not sure if I play it very well or not, but I give it my best shot,” he laughed.

Through the Ballinamallard Silver Band, the Silver Tones was formed, another musical passion of Kenny’s.

As Kenny embarks on his new role within Rotary Ireland as District Governor, he plans to follow the lead of the President of Rotary Ireland, Gordon McInally, in helping people with mental health issues through supporting the charity, Aware.


A recent survey by Aware found that close to 60 per cent of people have reported an experience of depression and that one in 10 people aged under 25 believe they are currently experiencing depression.

Kenny described the findings as very concerning, continuing: “Worryingly, what also emerged in the research is the high number of people who continue to suffer in silence because of feelings of embarrassment or shame.

“We hope that by supporting Aware’s work over the coming year through outreach and fundraising activities, that we will help to get the message out there that anyone suffering from depression or anxiety issues should not hesitate to reach out to their GP or relevant health professional for the support they need.”

He also believes that as a club, Rotary needs to start by looking at the mental health of their own membership.

“We can sort of say to somebody, ‘Are you okay?’ and they’ll maybe pass it off and say ‘Yeah’. But are they really okay? So I think we need to probe that a little bit more and ask people how are they, and if we can help,” he explained.

As per Rotary tradition, the District Conference for Rotary Ireland will take place in the current District Governor’s area.

Calling it an “honour” to be hosting this year’s conference in Enniskillen, Kenny is looking forward to welcoming Rotarians from across the island of Ireland and Scotland to the Killyhevlin Hotel at the end of September.

“It’s nice for us to showcase Fermanagh. There’s so much to offer from a tourist perspective. It’s nice to show off what we have,” he told this newspaper, proud to be able to share with others a community he loves so much.