As Roy steps down from the Presidency of the Rotary Club of Swindon Old Town he shares his thoughts and achievements with us here.
I joined the Club in the early months of 2003 when John Wren was President and was persuaded, or more like, cajoled into joining by my oldest of friends, Mike Dunn. I guess that in the end I became suitably embarrassed by the number of breakfasts he had bought me, but real the reason I eventually joined was that I could see the efforts that the Club was making to give something back to the community and this was an ethos that I could relate to. I am pleased to say that this has never changed.
For one reason or another it took sixteen years for me to take up the Presidency but I had always intended to do it after I had retired because I could never have fitted it in with the role I had at Intergraph where I was Contracts Manager of Northern Europe, Director and Company Secretary. Before I took up the Presidency I also felt that it was necessary for me to check with the Club that it was going to be happy with the style that I would bring to it.
So now its nearing the end how has it been from my perspective? Well we have raised over £26k during my year and as you would expect from my background of a 23 year career with an American software company to me the bottom line is everything so the money is a big tick. It’s also worth noting that the Club has now reduced to 24 members so to get over £1k per member is another big tick. On the debit side we have not been able to address the decline in membership and this is a serious problem that the Club has to find a solution for if we are to continue with our current operations.
Our key events have been the Duck Race, the Sporting Dinner and Soft Toy Tombolas. Yet again the weather was kind to us on duck race day which always makes for a good turnout. The sponsorship that we got again from Nationwide was another huge factor in its success. Twenty-one members of the Club worked very hard on the day and an interesting factor was that we had significant help from more than that number again, from people who are not members of the Club. Everyone, members and non- members, can give themselves a big pat the back for another successful Duck Race and if I have to single people out Gary and Graham deserve special mention.
The Sporting Dinner was a different animal and here a committee of five (three members and two honorary members) put the whole thing together and delivered it in less than two months from deciding to go ahead. The key to the great success of it all was the choice of David Howell, a local boy from Broome Manor who rose into the top ten golfers in the world and who has become an accomplished pundit for Sky Sports. With all of North Wiltshire’s golfing fraternity present among the 230 attendees that night it was like a home coming for the local hero and David and his audience loved it. The old rascal, Adger Brown also did his bit.
I also must give a big shout out for the Soft Toy Tombolas where every participant is a winner. What a great idea this is. I also have to confess to feeling just a little bit smug when we go to events like the Old Town Festival and our stall is surrounded by adults and children. I don’t know how long our monopoly of this can last but Steph and Pam have given us a great ride.
My final week as President will be another busy one, with Handover where we are expecting 50 attendees and President’s Night/70th Birthday bash where we are expecting 100 attendees, taking place. Of course anyone who has organised events like these knows that all the hard work goes into the preparation and so it has been over the last few weeks. Thanks very much to all those who have helped with this. Bob will receive the President’s Chain at the Handover and I want to wish him every success as he picks up the reins.
What will I do with myself? I intend returning to my old seat at the buffet end for breakfast far away from where the action is and with Charlton returning to the Championship for one season at least, I have bought a season ticket at the Valley. This will ensure regular meetings with my son and old friends and keep me close to my South East London roots, which even after 43 years in Wiltshire, still call me home.
Roy Parkinson President Swindon Old Town 2018 -2019