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Model Young Citizen

Swanage & Purbeck Rotary’s new President, Steve Parsons, recently presented the Clem Dennis Young Citizen Award to Year 9 student Lydia Cattle, at The Swanage School’s end of year Celebration of Learning. Clem Dennis was a much loved and respected Rotarian who was selfless, committed and passionate about Rotary and its motto “Service Above Self”. This award celebrates and acknowledges these qualities.

This year, four students were nominated by their teachers and then interviewed individually by representatives from Swanage & Purbeck Rotary. In their interviews, all four candidates showed kindness, willingness to help (often without prompting), enthusiasm & positivity, initiative, focus, self-assurance and commitment, but often in a modest and unassuming way.

Some of the qualities Lydia’s teachers listed in her nomination were that she is an excellent role model, is always willing to help others and that she always displays a happy persona. In her interview, Lydia demonstrated strong citizenship qualities in all aspects of her life – at school, in the community and within her family. Her positive contribution at The Swanage School started in Year 7 when she was elected to the School Council. In Year 8 she became a ”Buddy” to younger pupils and has been a “Big Sister” in Year 9, in which she listens to students’ problems and acts as a mediator to resolve friendship and other issues. Having recently received compassionate and invaluable support while going through a difficult time herself, Lydia is dedicated to being able to give something back to those who supported her and to other students going through challenging times and will be continuing in this role next year. Lydia enjoys being involved in the school’s drama activities and plays for the cricket team.

Outside school, Lydia also demonstrated positive citizenship skills in her community and family life. She volunteers with her Dad at Swanage Railway and particularly enjoyed being involved with the Santa Specials and Flying Scotsman visit. She also helps her Dad at the Great Dorset Steam Fair. Lydia helps care for her grandfather and takes great pride in helping her Mum get 5-star reviews for her cleaning job in National Trust holiday homes! Lydia is also a member of Swanage Cricket Club and plays golf.

Lydia demonstrated a thoughtful, kind and positive personality who enjoys giving to others and is a very worthy winner of the Clem Dennis Young Citizen Award. It was again a privilege and a pleasure to be involved.

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Changing of the Guard!

On a balmy late June evening, the traditional end of the current Rotary year and the start of a new one took place.

Outgoing Club President Linda Winter handed over responsibilities to incoming President Steve Parsons in front of almost 50 club members, partners, friends and associates, including visitors from Northampton West Rotary.

On taking office, Steve congratulated Linda for an excellent year where the club has raised more money than the previous year for worthy causes and supported the community and the wider world in both its well-established service activities and some new initiatives.

Outlining his objectives for the year, Steve highlighted the importance of making sure that we enjoy our Rotary and continue to have fun. He emphasised the importance of respecting our current membership and everything it brings to the club, at the same time recognising the need to continue to attract new members. But Steve was also conscious of the fact that the President is only the guardian of the office for a year and that he owes it to those that have gone before us as well as those to come to maintain the reputation of the club and continuously improve the support that it both provides to and receives from the local community.

Earlier in the evening, attendees had enjoyed a sumptuous meal prepared by club members and able to be served al fresco thanks to the weather behaving itself!

The club’s major summer event, the Fete and Craft Fair, is coming up in early August and it is hoped that this will make a great start to the new Rotary year’s fundraising efforts. More details are available on our dedicated web page.

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Presentation Night

It was a night to remember as members of the club and guests gathered to celebrate another great year for Swanage & Purbeck Rotary.

Jodie and Jude from President Linda’s chosen charity for this year, Little Birds Pre-School at St Mark’s School in Swanage, were joined by over 65 attendees from many local good causes and community organisations at Swanage Conservative Club to see a number of recipients receive cheques from fundraising undertaken by the club this year, including My Time, Swanage & Herston Football Club and Purbeck Youth Music Initiative.


Guests were treated to a light buffet and the opportunity to network with each other during the evening. Later, Swanage Town Crier Andrew Fleming and Town Mayor Mike Bonfield handed out samples of the new Purbeck flag and entertained the gathering with a rendition of the newly composed Purbeck Anthem, written in response to the demise of Purbeck District Council at the end of March when the new Dorset Council came into being.

An excellent evening was enjoyed by all and sets the club up nicely for the new Rotary year which starts on 1st July, when we will start our fundraising activities and activities to help and support the local community all over again!

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Eradicating Polio – Reminiscing on a Memorable Trip

We had a full house for our speaker meeting this week, with Rotarians Maggie Hardy, Sue Whitton and former Swanage (now Boscombe & Southbourne) Rotarian Ron Emmitt talking about a National Immunisation Day that they were involved with during a trip to Delhi in India in February 2010.

The talk had a serious side, of course, as the visit was part of the ongoing effort to eradicate Polio from the world. It is thought that the disease goes back hundreds of years to at least 1580AD (according to an Egyptian carving that was discovered). Many people still alive today will know people who contracted Polio in this country in the 1950s and 60s, although thankfully it is no longer something to be feared in the UK thanks to mass immunisation.

Only three areas now have the uncontrolled virus – Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nigeria. Hundreds of millions of children around the world have been immunised thanks to Rotary. By 2017, Polio cases had been reduced by 99.9%. But we’re not there yet. The virus is only a plane ride away and until it has been completely eradicated the effort must continue.

Maggie, Sue and Ron then spoke more about their visit to India, which was self-funded. The first impressions were what a country of contrast India is, with luxurious hotels sitting alongside very basic living accommodation.

Following that, however, they got down to business, visiting a local hospital and meeting local people involved in the immunisation programme. The operation is huge with hundreds of ‘booths’ ready to accept people coming to be vaccinated. The conditions in which some of the healthcare was being delivered was something of an eye-opener. But the children came across as so happy to have their photos taken and, in the main, extremely keen to have the vaccination administered.

Our three speakers had many wonderful stories of their experiences, good and bad, on the trip and the people that they met. And there was also time for some sightseeing and a visit to a local Rotary club who made them feel extremely welcome.

But there are dangers involved in trying to administer the vaccine. People have been killed in some of the more volatile areas such as the Pakistan / Afghanistan border, so absolutely ridding the world of the virus remains challenging for those reasons too.

On behalf of the club, Rotarian David Chalcraft thanked all three speakers for an really informative and entertaining talk.

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Fun in the Park

More than 30 local groups, charities and good causes joined Swanage & Purbeck Rotary in King George’s Field this weekend to raise awareness of all the fantastic activities that are available to our community.

Coupled with the Swanage Classic Car Rally, taking place in the adjacent Main Beach Car Park, hundreds of local residents, and some visitors to the town, came to take a look at the various stalls, activities, fun and games taking place.

The weather was dry and largely fine, allowing people to circulate around the the range of organisations represented. Interspersing the day was an interactive display from Herston Hall Zumba, Swanage Town Band and the group Singing for Pleasure in the performance area, which attracted good audiences during their performances.

A Treasure Hunt attracted many children of all ages, who explored the field for clues to a list of questions and were rewarded for their efforts with prizes of sweets, drinks, pens and baseball caps.

Rotary Community and Vocation Chair Maggie Hardy declared the day a huge success and it is hoped that this can become a regular event. Rotarian Dai Hounsell from the Community and Vocational Committee was delighted with the response from Swanage residents to this initiative.

Grateful thanks goes to Swanage Town Council and Swanage Development Trust for their help and support in enabling this event to take place.

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A Good Foundation

The Rotary Foundation celebrated its 100th Anniversary in 2017

Our speaker this week was Rotarian Maurice Turner from the Wareham club. Maurice came to speak to us about The Rotary Foundation (“TRF”), our very own charity.

The Rotary Foundation was founded in 1917, twelve years after the start of Rotary with a meagre $12 or so. To date it has provided in excess of $3 billion worth of grant aid.

TRF has five areas of focus under which all its work operates:

  • Peace and Conflict Prevention and Resolution, under which Rotary Peace Centers have been established and train scholars in peace studies. These scholars now work across the globe in many different vocations;
  • Disease Prevention and Treatment, under which the eradication of Polio Wordwide is the most high profile project;
  • Water and Sanitation, where the emphasis is on ensuring a clean water supply for all by providing pumps to remote villages, building sand dams in hot countries to store vast amounts of water and providing proper toilets;
  • Maternal and Child Health, aiming to train and educate mothers in bringing up their children and look after children from war torn communities;
  • Education and Literacy, where efforts have been made to build schools in poorer countries, provide tools such as literacy boxes and assist people with disability to gain an education.

But TRF does so much more. A lot of work is going on with economic and community development, including the use of modern technology. Sustainability is also key, to ensure that what Rotary puts in will still be there many years from now.

Much of the funding for the TRF comes from Rotarians, either through donations to the Annual Programmes Fund or specific donations to some of the specialist areas that are supported such as End Polio Now or Rotary Scholarships. Around $70 million is returned to club projects from TRF every year.

Questions were asked from the floor, following which Rotarian David Chalcraft gave a vote of thanks to Maurice for his superb presentation and for reminding us all of the importance of our own charity, The Rotary Foundation.

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Learning About Livability

President Linda introduced Sue Davison from Livability to our meeting this week.

Sue looks after the southern region of the charity, which may not be a familiar name to many but was born from the merger of two other more familiar names – The Shaftesbury Centre and John Grooms – in 2007.

The charity operates nationally but has a number of centres in and around Dorset, including Victoria Education Centre in Poole which is a school and also has a children’s home.

Holton Lee is another local centre that the organisation runs, in Holton Heath, where the ‘Flourish’ programme is run – a horticultural therapy project focussing in particular on disability and involving participants in gardening and conservation, working together in the grounds to develop valuable life skills, become more physically active and build self-confidence and motivation.

The charity welcomes people who would be interested in volunteering help. Details are available via their website (linked above).

Rotarian Mo Andrews proposed a vote of thanks to Sue on behalf of the club.

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Open Gardens

Our speaker this week was Mark Elling from The Lewis Manning Trust, who came to tell us about the Open Gardens scheme.

Lewis Manning was opened in 1992, originally in the house of the late Marjorie Lewis-Manning, a local business woman, who left it to three trustees to establish a day hospice. A facility for the public, it provides help to people suffering from cancer, as well as offering physiotherapy and better breathing clinics. As the trust has grown, it outgrew the original house and additional facilities have been added to the original site, which has an inpatient unit as well as welcoming outpatients.

It is free to patients and always will be, thanks to the deeds under which it was set up, but it is hugely expensive to run and only receives a small amount of income from the NHS.

The idea of Open Gardens is to ask people with really interesting gardens to open them to the public, and donate money which generates income for Lewis Manning. Currently there are five gardens in Studland that have signed up to the scheme, but more are needed. Promotion would be done on social media in the main, to reduce expensive printing costs, and the trust will also assist with insurance.

On behalf of the club, Rotarian David Pike thanked Mark for coming over from Salisbury to speak to us.

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Diamond Geezers!

The great and the good from Swanage and Purbeck, including Club members, Business Partners, Friends of Rotary, Past members and other Rotary clubs assembled at the Knoll House Hotel on Wednesday 20th March to celebrate the Club’s 60th Charter.

Amongst those present to commemorate all those years of fun, fellowship and service to the local community were our mother club Bournemouth, our daughter club Wareham and representatives of seven other Rotary clubs. We were honoured to also welcome RIBI National President Debbie Hodge and District 1110 Governor Allan Smith to the event as well as Swanage Town Mayor Mike Bonfield.

President Elect Steve Parsons and Teresa with Roy & Jill Parkinson and Dick & Julie Mattick from Swindon Old Town (Steve’s former club)

RIBI President Debbie, proposing a toast to the club, spoke warmly about the Club’s history and achievements. In response, PDG David Pike further detailed some of the more memorable events from the club’s past. Then Club President Linda Winter, proposing a toast to the guests, explained how important the local community and visitors to our community are to the club’s ongoing success.

District Governor Allan Smith responded on behalf of the guests and highlighted the important place that Swanage & Purbeck Rotary holds in the life of District 1110.

The event was a joyous occasion and we were delighted to welcome so many people to join our celebration. More photographs are available on our Facebook page

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Job Talk : Chris LeFevre

Our very own Rotarian Chris spoke to us this week about his career and charitable work.

Chris started work as a sponsored apprentice with British Rail in 1971, studying at Portsmouth Polytechnic. Since then, he has enjoyed a number of employments, Shell and Transco amongst them, before setting up his own consultancy in 2002 following redundancy.

In his career he has lived all around the world, including Sarawak, Athens, The Netherlands and Elmers End in Kent, where he was Station Master! Chris joined Rotary in 2006 – apparently the second best decision he has ever made (no prizes for guessing which was the first!).

A few years ago, Chris took the chair of the trustees of a charity called Action for Children in Conflict, based around the Oxford area. Set up as a relatively small organisation, it raised several thousand pounds to help children affected by various conflicts around the world, including the aftermath of the break up of Yugoslavia.

As is often the case with many smaller charities, however, it has not had a completely smooth ride. Some fairly serious issues have proved challenging at times, but the charity has overcome these and Chris highlighted some of the key lessons learned as a good guide to anyone thinking of getting involved in anything similar. These include ensuring that trustees are fully aware of their responsibilities and that they understand the objectives of the charity.

The charity has subsequently merged with another organisation and been rebranded as Acacia UK, and is thriving.

Chris fielded a number of questions from the floor. On behalf of the club, Rotarian John Thraves thanked Chris for a very interesting talk.

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