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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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Out of this World!

Bill Coombes visited our club last week to tell us all about the International Space Station (ISS). Bill is a NASA Education Ambassador and has spoken on many occasions to groups including schools on the subject.

At more than 400 tonnes and travelling at over 17,000 miles an hour, it is quite a feat of human endeavour. It experiences 16 sunrises and sunsets every day and for the astronauts who spend 6 months at a time operating it, it is an experience like no other.

Bill explained the history of the station, how is has been assembled from its original very small space over a number of years, and the sort of work that astronauts undertake whilst on the station. There was also a fairly graphic explanation via a video made by a previous female astronaut of how the ‘residents’ undertake some of their personal requirements (which I won’t repeat here!).

The station was supposed to be decommissioned in the early 2020s but its life is being extended and we can expect many more missions to take place before it is finally replaced by whatever comes next. Topically, of course, the American Space X module is currently being trialled to enable the USA to once again launch missions to the ISS and we will now watch these developments with increased interest.

On behalf of the club, Rotarian John Babbage gave a very grateful vote of thanks for an extremely interesting presentation.

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Sunny Silver Saturday

In unusually fine and warm weather for late February, Swanage & Purbeck Rotary held their annual Silver Saturday afternoon tea at the Emmanuel Church.

Programmed to coincide with Rotary’s birthday, more than 60 of our community’s more senior citizens joined many of our club members to enjoy sandwiches, cakes and tea, all the while being entertained by a selection of musical favourites from the keyboard of our resident singer Dave Arnold.

Club President Linda Winter, Community and Vocational Committee Chair Maggie Hardy and Town Mayor Mike Bonfield made short speeches, welcoming everyone and thanked those responsible for helping to lay on the event. Maggie also thanked club members very much for their help and support, adding “I have received positive feedback from grateful guests who thoroughly enjoyed the afternoon. A great team effort!”.

More photos are available on our Facebook page.

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ShelterBox Update

Click here for the latest news from ShelterBox.

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Admiral Nurse Update


Rotarian Mo Andrews spoke to the club this week to give us an update on our Purbeck Admiral Nurse, partly supported by Swanage & Purbeck Rotary, who came to speak to us at a meeting in 2018 and has now been in post for 18 months.

Most appointed Admiral Nurses are associated with care homes and healthcare institutions, but Rachel Murray is the first community Admiral Nurse in the UK. Rachel works with more than 50 families through casework, but that is only part of the job as, amongst other things, she provides help, support, consultancy and supervisory duties within her very busy schedule.

There are as estimated 13,653 people suffering with dementia in Dorset, the vast majority of which are over 65, but 548 are between 30 and 64 years old. Rachel works with multiple family members in many cases and between 18 and 37 families at any one time.

The service has an average of 10 new referrals per month. The vast majority of these come from GP practices and social services.

On behalf of the club, Rotarian Susan Treadwell thanked Mo sincerely for a very uplifting and thought provoking address.

More information can be found at the Dementia Action Alliance Swanage Dementia Friendly Community website.

Bringing Joy to Others at Christmas

Club members were delighted to welcome around 30 local residents to the United Reformed Church on Christmas morning for breakfast.

This annual event has been running for many years and is always a very happy occasion, with a full English breakfast being served, accompanied by the Buckle family playing Christmas carols and songs. President Linda Winter welcomed everyone and Town Mayor Mike Bonfield also said a few words of welcome to those present.

And despite a very busy night, Santa found time to make an appearance, handing out small gifts as people were leaving.

We extend our most grateful thanks to  Budgens, the Co-Op and Costcutters for proving the food and to our Business Partners and supporters for all their help in organising this event. More photographs can be found on Facebook.

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Merry Christmas!

It’s been a busy few weeks for Swanage & Purbeck Rotary.

The Annual Christmas Street Market on the 8th was again a great success. Over 50 stalls braved the rather windy weather and the threat of rain, and were rewarded by being well supported by the local community.

Either side of that, Santa and his sleigh have been touring Swanage, Langton and Corfe Castle over a 16 day period from 3rd. Large groups of children came out in all weathers to see him and there were plenty of sweets to go round! Keep an eye out for the winner of the Giant Hamper, which is being drawn at Hays Travel on the afternoon of 22nd December from the free raffle tickets that were handed out on the sleigh’s rounds and which have been entered into the draw. It could be you!

At the same time, our Christmas post service has been operating over the first half of December, and we have hand delivered over 4,000 cards to local addresses in the run up to Christmas.

In total, we have raised thousands of pounds for Rotary-supported projects and our grateful thanks go to everyone who has supported, attended and contributed to our events.

We will once again be running our breakfast on Christmas morning, for people who will be on their own and who have registered to attend. This is always a happy and joyful event that we all look forward to.

We would like to thank our wonderful Business Partners for their fantastic and ongoing support of our activities, and we wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and a Happy and Successful 2019.

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Weather Fails to Dampen Christmas Spirit

Despite warnings of a washout, the annual Rotary Christmas Market proceeded as planned, with over 50 stallholders setting up in Station Road in Swanage. 

Although windy, the day remained relatively dry for most of the time and the event was well supported as ever by the local community. As well as the multitude of different stalls selling everything from jam and chutneys to clothes, ornaments and jewellery, there were food outlets selling mulled wine, spiced cider, hot dogs and beef burgers. 

The event was as ever visited by Santa in his grotto, with a healthy queue forming to see him, and entertainment was provided throughout the day on the main stage at Mermond Place. 

Take a look at some of the highlights of the day below :



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Life in the Hotel Business

Tracy Tennant, one of our club members, spoke to us this week about her life in the hotel business.

Tracy is currently the General Manager of the Knoll House Hotel in Studland and explained her background and her mantra “A Happy Team Creates Happy Guests”.

Tracy explained that all hotels are different and there are many different categories of business, from tourism to corporate, and from seaside retreats to city centre establishments. But there is a lot more to managing a hotel than meets the eye. A manager has to be a jack of all trades and be adept at everything from looking after the payroll, to meetings with staff, having Human Resources skills and forecasting room demand.

Tracy’s background is quite different from what she does now. She started out in nursing at a very young age but soon realised it wasn’t for her. So she took a job as a checkout clerk at a supermarket and quickly moved through the ranks, eventually achieving a role in supermarket management.

However, this wasn’t to be her long term career either and she saw a job advertised at a hotel and went for it. She’s come up through the ranks in this business too, and worked as a receptionist, events manager, reservations manager and a number of other roles in several hotels in the north of England. She then became a troubleshooter, going into hotels where problems had been identified and fixing them. Ultimately she took her first steps into hotel management, where she had since thrived, turning around the fortunes of many businesses.

Her career to date has enabled her to get involved in charity and she has been a staunch and active supporter of People Against Poverty, working in areas such as Romania.

Tracy has won a number of awards over the course of her long career, including Business Woman of the Year and Mentor of the Year.

On behalf of the club, Rotarian Jenny Hynan thanked Tracy for a most interesting talk. Sadly (for us) Tracy will be leaving us at Christmas to take up a new opportunity in the Winchester area, so we all wish her well.

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