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“Everyone Needs a Shed”

. . . is the strap line for the latest project to be undertaken at Durlston Country Park.

We were delighted to welcome Ben Tolley, who is one of the rangers up at Durlston, who came to talk to us about the history of the park and some of the latest developments taking place.

It’s history dates back to George Burt, nephew of builder John Mowlem, who was keen to develop an area where people could enjoy the natural environment. But as a well travelled man, he was also keen to introduce some of the things he discovered on his travels and the park is full of non-indigenous species.

The park is a recent recipient of a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund, and the ‘Durlston Pleasure Grounds’ project has been underway since 2018 to further develop the site. Already the ‘Shed’ has been refurbished and opened in May of this year, enabling people of different ages and abilities, both able bodied and those with restricted mobility, other disabilities or health problems, to share skills and come together through volunteering.

Other plans for the project include thinning out some of the tree coverage to allow more light to come in to the woodland areas, refurbishing the footpaths and rebuilding the dry stone walls.

Although familiar to most of the audience, Ben really brought the park to life during his talk and there were a number of questions from the floor. On behalf of the club, Rotarian Jenny Hynan proposed a vote of thanks to Ben for coming to see us.

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Evergreen!

Rotarian Maggie Hardy reports on a very special occasion:

Club members and Friends gathered on the afternoon of Monday 12th August to celebrate the 95th Birthday of fellow Rotarian Hubert Pierce – a Rotarian of over 50 years’ experience. At a surprise party Hubert was accompanied by his daughter Nicki and friend Jackie. He was somewhat overwhelmed at the start to see so many present but thanked everyone for such kindness “in all my years in Rotary no one has ever done anything like this for me before“.

In a garden marquee at the home of Sue and Dave Whitton we all enjoyed a Ritz style tea and a very happy afternoon.

Jenny Huntley had kindly made a delicious cake decorated with a model Spitfire plane (flown by Hubert in the war).

Every member had paid £5 to attend the tea and after expenses Hubert was handed £175 to be donated to a charity of his choice, which he decided would be Swanage Dementia Friendly Community. He presented fellow Rotarian and Treasurer of Dementia Friendly, Mo Andrews, this generous donation towards local Dementia work.

Fellowship and Fun in celebration of Hubert’s 95 years – a well loved and respected Rotarian!

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No Ferry? No problem – Crowds flock to Rotary Fête

The well-reported problems with the ferry proved no concern for the annual Swanage & Purbeck Rotary Summer Fête, supported by our Business Partners, as crowds flocked to Sandpit Field to see the numerous stalls, entertainment and activities on offer.

From our major charity for this year Julia’s House and other local charities and good causes, to the ‘Boutique in a Bus’, there was a multitude of things to see and do. In the craft tent, there was a wide variety of stalls selling jewellery, clothing, works of art and other crafts. As ever, the refreshment tent, selling sandwiches, ploughman’s lunches, tea, coffee and cakes, proved very popular as did the barbeque which had a steady queue for burgers, sausages, bacon baps and, new this year, Portobello mushrooms.

There was no shortage of entertainment either. Curley the Busker started proceedings with a couple of sets incorporating 50’s, 60’s and 70’s classics, following which Kevin Burke did his magic show to an enthusiastic reception from the gathered crowd. Jurassic Rock and Roll, all musicians local to the area, rocked the field in the early afternoon and Karen G completed the line up with a selection of familiar and classic tunes.

Later in the morning, the Novelty Dog Show was a very competitive affair with winners claiming prizes for titles including prettiest bitch and waggiest tail and in the afternoon, the children’s games took place with several competitions keeping the children active and entertained.

Towards the end of the afternoon, the Grand Draw took place, with more than twenty prizes, nearly all of which were kindly donated by local people and organisations, being handed out to the lucky winners.

The weather just about held for the event and Club President Steve Parsons thanked everyone for coming and supporting the event and the Grand Draw, all the proceeds from which will provide valuable funds for many local good causes. More photographs from the day are available on our Facebook page.

Next year’s event will take place on Thursday 6th August 2020. Make sure it’s in your diary!

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Adventures with Wildlife

Our speaker at the very well attended first meeting of the new Rotary year was Sam Whitton.

Sam is a film maker and is currently completing a degree at Falmouth University with a view to becoming a wildlife photographer. He came to speak to us about his trip to the Galápagos Islands which he visited to better understand the diversity of the islands and the ecological challenges that they are facing.

It was a fascinating look at the islands and their wildlife, much of which cannot be found anywhere else in the world. Sam presented his subject extremely well and his passion for wildlife was abundantly clear. It was also an eye-opener to see how much research is taking place to try and protect what still exists and to prevent further erosion of both the indigenous wildlife population and the landscape itself.

Tourism clearly plays an important part in the economy of the islands but will need to be controlled to prevent long term damage to habitats.

There were numerous questions from the floor, all well answered, and there was great admiration for Sam’s presentation. We hope he will be able to return in the future when his film has been completed so that we can all have front row seats!

On behalf of the club, Sue Whitton have grateful thanks for a most interesting talk.

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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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