It has been a particularly challenging couple of years for Rotary and our club in particular. Last week, I made a list of the many club events and activities as I could recall from the past 18 months or so. And its important that we give ourselves credit where it is due.
So here goes…
Early 2020, First meeting of the Satellite Group, with inaugural guest, DG Judy Powell.
The Pandemic Lockdown followed very soon afterwards. Some clubs around the country struggled, but our President, Bob Barrett, ensured we kept up contact and regular club meetings via Zoom, as did Carmen and then Graham in the Satellite group. Along with the Friday Update members ensured contact with each other, checking on welfare during such an anxious time.
July 2020, Ray Norman took over as President and carried on the regular Zoom meetings. Both the 2020 and 2021 Annual Duck Race events were lost due to restrictions, but Ray issued a challenge to members to raise a minimum £50 a head towards our charities. Some members did remarkably well in rising to the challenge, raising significant amounts of sponsorship money for various charities, e.g. Charlotte did a 100 miles in a month cycling event, Mike Dunn ran a half Marathon distance and constructed geometric type birds to hang in his front garden, each with a sponsor. Pam Jackson ran her age (I couldn’t possibly say) in miles over a month, raising a staggering £600+ in sponsorship, Steph Trinci went sober in October, Melodie took on a diet challenge, and even I took on a month’s Treadmill challenge.
The Satellite Group established a weekly base at Goddard Park, as part of the FOOD SHARE scheme, providing weekly food donations to families facing very difficult circumstances. This is an ongoing project that has helped, and continues to help, many families in the area.
The Satellite Group in partnership with the Goddard Park Academy, also supported families under pressure during lockdown, particularly in co-ordinating times for families to access the school’s wildlife area, a relief from being confined indoors, and in a safe and quiet period to relax and enjoy fresh air.
Gary Walker co-ordinated the collection of unwanted, but still viable, laptops and iPads for refurbishment and re-use by children who were having their education conducted online while schools were closed.
Easter weekend saw us take up the opportunity to run the Café at the Town Gardens for four days. This enabled us to raise nearly £3000, topped up to that figure, for Brighter Futures. An excellent opportunity
At the end of Ray’s year as club President, two members, Melodie Beevers and Charlotte Mannion, were presented with well-deserved Paul Harris Fellowships, for all their good work for Rotary over the years. Both seemed taken aback but delighted.
Within a week or two of assuming the role of club President, we were confronted with an ultimatum from The Kings, our long-time venue, of either a significant rise in the weekly charge or leaving. We decided to leave. After a few weeks seeking, and trying out, a suitable new venue, we relocated to the Westlecot Bowls Club, who have been very welcoming hosts. We are delighted.
Some of our other activities in brief
Litter pick in Old Town, supporting the South Swindon Parish Council’s efforts
Assisting Satellite group with several Food Share sessions
Dick Mattick leading an ‘Old Town Ghost Walk’ for Phoenix Club
Support for Theatre in the Bowl, at Town Gardens
Soft Toy Tombola at the Faringdon Road Mela and the Town Gardens
Rotary Ride for Prostate – static Spin Bike in the Town Gardens
Charlotte and Cyril’s ‘Open Garden’ afternoon in aid of the President’s charity Jessie May Trust
Satellite group’s very good and well attended ‘Murder Mystery’ evening
4000 Purple for Polio Crocus Bulbs acquired and imminently due for planting
Young Photographer Competition for schools recently launched and ongoing
Donation of bags of soft toys and children’s’ clothes to Harbour Project, supporting Afghan Refugees
Taking part in the recent STFC Six-a Side Football Tournament in aid of the Alan McLoughlin fund raising – (notable for Dick’s heroics in goal).
And, last, but not least, the End Polio Now dinner, as mentioned at the start.
My apologies if I have missed out something, but I think it important just to remind ourselves what we have achieved during a difficult time. I think our members and supporters have done an excellent job and deserve credit for their achievements. A heartfelt thank you to all, from me, and let’s hope that we can grow and build on this success. Onwards and Upwards!
Peter Elliott President 2021 -2022