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Recognition for Model Young Citizen

Rotarian Hilary Thraves reports on a night of celebration at Swanage school.

The Clem Dennis Young Citizen Award was presented by Swanage & Purbeck Rotary to Yasmin Unsworth at The Swanage School’s Celebration of Learning Evening on 13 July. 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, ten students were nominated by their teachers and then interviewed individually by Swanage & Purbeck Rotary President Ro Clark, Chair of Youth Committee Linda Winter, and Young Citizen Lead Hilary Thraves.

Some of the qualities demonstrated in Yasmin’s nomination and interview, as follows, made her a very worthy winner:-

• She is an excellent, trusted “Big Sister”, listening carefully to students’ problems and acting as a mediator to resolve friendship issues
• She has coached and supervised pupils at after-school sports clubs and outreach activities with local primary schools; Yasmin herself plays badminton at County level
• She has been a role model for younger students taking part in the school production and plans to do the choreography for next year’s production
• She recently joined the team for the school’s Cancer in Children Support project and is already making a significant and positive contribution to arranging fundraising events
• Outside school, Yasmin supports the RNLI and has taken part in the Weldmar Hospice’s Bubble Rush and a 5k run for the Alzheimer’s Society

In their interviews, candidates showed enthusiasm & positivity, initiative, focus, leadership skills and potential and self-assurance and commitment, but often in a modest and unassuming way. What also shone through was the students’ pride in and love for The Swanage School. It was a privilege and a pleasure to be involved.

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Busy Start to the New Rotary Year

There was a packed agenda for new Club President Ro Clark’s first meeting.

Not only did we have Chris and Hannah from Swanage Gymnastics Club but Swanage Town Crier Andrew Fleming was also present, and two Paul Harris Fellowships were awarded.

To start with, President Ro was delighted to present Paul Harris Fellowships to Paddy Rideal and David Dean for many years of support and endeavour to Rotary and our club. They were extremely grateful to receive the recognition.

Chris and Hannah addressed the meeting next, explaining how they had established the gymnastics club at Swanage School from scratch without having any idea whether it would be a success or not. However, when over 100 people signed up before they even opened they knew that they had identified a much needed gap in the Swanage area. Previously the nearest similar club was either Wareham or Lychett. They now run several classes a week on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, including classes for adults, and have a waiting list of around 120! They also showed a short video to demonstrate what happens at the club. Swanage Rotary were delighted to present them for a cheque for £1000 which will go towards a new trampette and other equipment. Rotarian Steve Parsons offered a vote of thanks on behalf of the Club for telling and showing us the fruits of their efforts.

Lastly but by no means least, Andrew Fleming addressed the meeting. He explained the history of the role of the Town Crier, which actually dates back to Roman times. More recently, in the 17 and 18 hundreds, the Town Crier would disseminate information to the general public, most if whom couldn’t read, especially when taxes needed to be raised to pay for wars! He held a unique position, however, as the role was protected by the Monarch and it was illegal to interrupt or otherwise interfere with the messages that were being cried.

These days the role is largely ceremonial but there are competitions held up and down the country for town criers to demonstrate their prowess. Andrew has won the South of England competition three years in a row and has finished second and third twice in the National competition, so perhaps this year will be his year. The role is unpaid but is for life so Andrew is looking forward to continuing to do it for many years to come. On behalf of the Club Deirdre Selwyn offered a vote of thanks for a most informative and entertaining address.

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Roger was Jolly!

OK, neither of them are actually called Roger, but you get the idea! Just over a week ago the 2nd Purbeck Pirate Festival, organised by the Swanage Pier Trust, took place in and around Swanage pier.

The event was well supported, largely thanks to the excellent weather, and the picture above shows our very own Hubert Pierce and Mo Andrews getting into the spirit of things.

Swanage & Purbeck Rotary was well represented at the event with the Hoop-la and trolley ride attracting plenty of interest, and the whole event couldn’t have worked without the ever-present David Pike who worked tirelessly across the weekend with the staging for the bands.

All in all the event was deemed a great success and we look forward to shiverin’ our timbers again in 2018!!

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Handover Goes With a Splash!


The handover from President John Thraves to new Club President Ro Clark took place last week.

In less than ideal summer weather, Club members, family and friends assembled at the home of Past DGs Dave & Mary Pike to oversee the changing of the guard. Not to be daunted by the wet weather, David had managed to put up a marquee in his garden to ensure that no one got wet during the celebrations.

The evening was also the opportunity to present a number of Paul Harris Fellowships to individuals who have gone above and beyond in helping the Club and the local community. President Ro presented the awards to Mike Humpherson, David Huntley, Jenny Huntley and Kathie Stimpson who were all both surprised and delighted to be recognised.



A sumptuous buffet was provided by our usual caterers Bliss Food Co and a ready supply of Pimms was on hand to ensure that everyone was able to toast the start of the new Rotary year.

But there’s no time to lose, as the next Rotary-Supported events are already looming large – the Kingston Country Fair over the weekend of 8th and 9th July and the Summer Fête in Sandpit Field on Thursday 10th August. More details are available under ‘Latest News’.


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‘Kids Out’ for Adventure

Last week saw the annual Kids Out day, this year at a new venue ‘Adventure Wonderland’, and as you can see everyone had a great time in wonderful weather.

Just under 600 children took part in this year’s event and they all really loved it.

The staff at the park were very helpful and we received really good feedback from many of those who attended.

Many thanks to all the volunteers and helpers who gave up their time to make the childrens’ day. Roll on next year!

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Living with Paralysis

Mark Taylor spoke to us this week about living with paralysis.

Mark originates from the West Midlands and has lived all over the southern half of the UK but now resides in Cambridgeshire. He spent many happy times in the Swanage area as a youngster. A keen sportsman in his teenage years, he played five different sports at school.

He took a history degree at Winchester college. Sadly, during a rugby match whilst at Winchester in his early 20s he incurred a spinal injury and despite being able to get very quick medical attention, the damage had been done. He attended the famous Stoke Mandiville Hospital within a very short time after the accident but the treatment was to no avail and he has been paralysed since that time.

However, Mark has not been one to moan about his lot, and has got on with his life by doing as much as he possibly can. He went to Southampton University to take a degree and was subsequently accepted at Downing College, Cambridge to take a PhD. Choosing not to stay at home, he moved into a care home in Wellingborough where he met a doctor who was also a Rotarian. The local club put him forward for a grant and he was ultimately successful in securing a Rotary Scholarship, which meant him travelling to the United States to study 17th Century politics as part of his PhD.

Mark thoroughly enjoyed his time in America meeting many great Rotarians while he was out there. He had a job working in a library during the day and worked hard on his studies while he was there but managed to find time to explore the California and West Coast areas of the States, where he was staying, as well and attended many Rotary Clubs and events. He also spoke to several thousand people at a Rotary Conference.

On returning to the UK Mark qualified as a teacher but has since worked as a local councillor and for his local authority. He has also stood for Mayor of Cambridgeshire where he was placed third.

Mark’s story is inspirational and on behalf of the club President John thanked him very much for speaking to us.

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Presentation Night

Our meeting this week included some guests who were receiving money from the proceeds of the club’s fundraising activities over the past year.

President John was delighted to present cheques to:


Swanage Lights

Lydia Bennett

Langton Matravers Lights

Admiral Nurses

Swanage Youth Centre

With the summer just around the corner, we are hopeful of raising many more funds to help support worthy causes, both local and further afield, from the various summer events that will be taking place over the coming weeks.

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Swanage goes Quackers for the Duck Race

In less than perfect conditions, Bank Holiday Monday saw the latest running of the Swanage Rotary Duck Race.

Tickets were on sale throughout the day from locations near the post office, in Station Road and on the seafront.

At precisely 4pm (actually a few minutes after than because the demand for tickets was still going on) the race itself started outside the Conservative Club, with the countdown conducted by Lydia Bennett, the winner of the Swanage Young Musician competition.

Good crowds were present both at the launch and, especially, at the end of the course next to The Mowlem Theatre to see which ducks would be first across the finish line. In the end the winning numbers were:

First – 1302 (pictured below receiving their winner’s cheque from club President John Thraves)

Second – 663

Third – 782

The Rotary Club of Swanage and Purbeck would like to thank everyone who bought a ticket, the proceeds from which will go to two charities, Médecins Sans Frontières and School in a Bag, helping to support children around the world less fortunate than our own.

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‘Etched’ in History

Members of the club visited the Etches Collection at Kimmeridge last week.

Following the visit, they enjoyed refreshments at the nearby Clavells Restaurant.

Full details of the trip to follow soon.

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Partners in Fundraising

Club was delighted to welcome two of our business partners to this week’s meeting, to tell us more about themselves and their businesses.

Gary Buglass from Bipcom Voice & Data Solutions addressed the meeting first, and told us about his background, from winning a cooking award when he was younger (possibly a missed opportunity?) to his passion for sailing which continues to this day.

Gary’s business installs telecom systems for a multitude of corporations up and down the country, including some overseas, offering tailored services to suit individual needs. Gary summarised the myriad of options (and price ranges) available across the market (with some recommendations of what to avoid!) and explained how Bipcom are different, and how they use Cloud technology to ensure that businesses can operate optimally going forward. Software provision is also part of the offering, which dovetails neatly with the rest of the technology on offer. At the end of his address, Gary took a number of questions from the floor. See here for more details about Bipcom.

David And Kathy Suruki relocated to Dorset from Los Angeles in California to take over as managers of the Isle of Purbeck Golf Club a little over one and a half years ago. They have made strenuous efforts to get the club to the place where they wanted to get it, including making it a friendlier and more inclusive place. The club has now introduced quiz nights, film nights, evening dinners and more, all aimed at getting more people to come even if they aren’t golfers.

Early signs are very encouraging and they have received many compliments from people who had never been up to the club before. By their own admission, however, it has been hard work and quite a steep learning curve, from driving on the other side of the road to moving from a huge city to a small community. David and Kathy took several questions from the floor. More information is available from Isle of Purbeck Golf Club.

President John thanked both Business Partners for addressing the club.

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