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Musical Youth!

Swanage and Purbeck Rotary held its annual local heat of the Rotary Young Musician competition on Sunday 5th February and we were once again overwhelmed by the depth and range of talent on display.

Performers playing and blowing instruments and singing demonstrated their prowess at Swanage Methodist Church with an enthusiastic audience of family and friends enjoying every minute.

President Chris LeFevre was on hand to present certificates to all participants and the awards for the winners, who will proceed to the District Final at Canford School in Wimborne on Sunday 19th February.

We would like to extend our grateful thanks to St Mary’s Junior Choristers and the Purbeck Youth Choir for performing during the interlude.

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The winners were as follows:

KS2 – 1st Place: Guiliana Forte; 2nd Place: Indiana Sanders-Wishart; 3rd Place: Hannah Kent; Highly Commended: Lily Fawcett

KS3 to 5 – 1st Place: Martha Harwood; 2nd Place: Nicholas Aiko Dando; 3rd Place: Abbie Yew; Highly Commended: Rosie Kent & Suzanne Lejeune

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Music to Our Ears

We were delighted to resume after our summer break with a talk from Tim Arnold.

Tim has been involved for many years in the promotion of music for younger people in the Purbeck area and especially in local schools. Seeing the problems specific to our area in terms of a shortage of both teaching resources and instruments, Tim, together with representatives ‍of ‍Purbeck ‍Art ‍Weeks, ‍Swanage ‍& ‍Purbeck ‍Rotary, ‍the ‍Purbeck ‍Instrument ‍Loan ‍Scheme ‍and ‍other ‍educational ‍organisations, has set up Purbeck Youth Music in order to try and help and encourage young people in our area to take up music.

And early results are very encouraging. To date there has been a healthy take up by youngsters interested in leaning brass instruments which has resulted in a series of brass beginner groups. There are now plans for similar presentations for strings and woodwind to schools across the Purbeck area throughout the autumn.

Tim’s passion is very apparent and it is hoped that this initiative will help to stop the decline in young people taking up music in our area and identify hidden talent that can be nurtured in the years ahead.

Anyone interested in learning more about PYM and how they may be able to help should go to their website for more information.

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Young Musicians Defy Storm Dennis to Delight Audience

Storm Dennis may have wreaked havoc across the country but it still didn’t deter our young musicians from ensuring that they performed at the District Young Musician final.

Held once again at the excellent facilities of Bryanston School in Blandford, instrumentalists and singers from across our District performed for a decent sized audience to try and win a place in the regional final. Our very own Tim Arnold hosted proceedings as a very high standard of solo singers, flautists, violinists and pianists competed for the prizes.

Our adjudicators for the day were :

  • Philippa Topham, who has been Director of Music at schools in Dubai and England and has examined for ABRSM for 14 years;
  • Hannah Rose Innes, a multiple music prize winner and member of the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra;
  • Peter Leete, a member of the Bournemouth Symphony Chorus and the Bach Choir for 30 years.

They certainly had their work cut out but ultimately there have to be winners and the first placed voice competitor was Katie Conquest from Basingstoke, with Jessica Gill, also from Basingstoke, picking up the best instrumentalist and overall first place prizes. They will both now go forward to the South West Region final, to be held at Queen’s College in Taunton on 29th March.

Grateful thanks go to all the competitors and their families, accompanist Chris Dowie and the members of Swanage & Purbeck Rotary who turned up in good numbers to help the day run smoothly. And, of course, to Sue Whitton and Jenny Huntley who provided wonderful refreshments for everyone there.

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Celebrating our Young Musicians

Storm Ciara was not enough to stop our young musicians coming out to take part in the local heat of the Rotary Young Musician competition, held on Sunday 9th February at Swanage Methodist Church.

The competition was in two parts, with the key stage 2 candidates first to take to the stage. Competitors showed off their skills on violin, guitar and there was also a vocalist. The quality on display, even at that young age, was most impressive.

After a short break, it was the turn of the key stage 3, 4 and 5 competitors to take to the stage, and we heard a variety of genres of music played on the trumpet, saxophone and piano, which delighted the audience present.

We were extremely grateful to our adjudicators Dilys Thomas, Tom Davis, Philippa Topham and Simon Lole for their expert assessment of the candidates in the two classes, and special thanks as ever to accompanist Jay Buckle. We were also delighted that Swanage Town Mayor Mike Bonfield was able to attend to help present the prizes.

In the evening, their was a Celebration Concert, at which the prize winners took to the stage again and were joined by the Swanage Big Band and the Purbeck Youth Choir. During the concert MC Tim Arnold also highlighted the new Purbeck Youth Music Initiative which it is hoped will maintain and develop music in our area and encourage more young people to take up music.

The Rotary Young Musician competition now moves on to the District heat, which will take place at Bryanston School on Sunday 16th February. Winners from that will proceed to the South West Regional Finals in Taunton at the end of March.

More photos of yesterday’s event and some of the winners are available on the Swanage Rotary Facebook page.

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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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A Conference to Inspire Success

Members of Swanage & Purbeck Rotary, together with over 650 members of the District 1110 clubs and their partners, converged on St Helier, Jersey for the Annual District 1110 Conference.

Only held on one of the Channel Islands every few years, the event is always a great opportunity to meet members of other clubs in the District, compare notes, socialise and enjoy great fellowship over a long weekend.

And what a weekend we had lined up for us – inspirational speakers, music, entertainment and even a 1940s-style dance, suitably themed and decorated.

Right from the start of the first plenary session on the Friday afternoon, when we were first addressed by the Bailiff of Jersey Sir William Bailhache and RIBI President Debbie Hodge, we heard fantastic presentations from Barnado’s, Tools for Self Reliance, Wessex Heartbeat and Purple Community Fund.

In the early evening there was a Vin d’Honneur hosted by the Constable of St Helier, followed by the Gala Dinner, uniquely held in three separate locations due to demand, providing an opportunity to network with other clubs and enjoy a large amount of ‘fellowship’!

On Saturday, the high quality of speakers continued – Lee Durrell from the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust, The Jersey Good Companions Club, the Rotary Action Group for Clubfoot and Rotary Jaipur Limb – interspersed with presentation on Social Media and Southampton Rotary’s Centenary. And ‘Word on the Street’ played a medley of jazz numbers to make sure that the venue was rocking as we approached the end of the session. Colonel John Blandford-Snell, in his own unique way, ended the session with an hilarious look back at some of the highlights of his expeditions around the world.

Saturday afternoon was devoted to the Peacejam Slam, where Jersey’s youth, joined by some of the Rotarians attending the event, aired their views on how peace can be achieved in the world. In the evening, however, the main hall was transformed into Liberation Day 1945, with the ‘Optimistic Voices’, ‘The Lindyhop Dancers’ and the ‘Plus Fours’ providing entertainment reminding us all of the day the island was liberated from Nazi occupation.

Sunday morning was arguably the highlight of Conference itself. 52 Lives and Holiday for Heroes Jersey provided some genuinely emotional presentations and Bournemouth Rotary recapping their own 100 years of service. But it was after the coffee break that we were really spoilt, with award-winning author Peter James, writer of numerous crime thrillers including the Inspector Roy Grace series of books, thoroughly entertaining the audience. And as if that wasn’t enough, the final speaker was Steve Brown, Paralympian and former Captain of the Team GB Wheelchair Rugby team at London 2012, who truly inspired us all to strive to achieve as much as we could whatever our circumstances.

Although the weather was pretty good for most of the weekend, Saturday’s windy conditions sadly put paid to the planned ‘Aerosparx’ night flying pyrotechnics display and Sunday’s rain forced the cancellation of the beach clean.

All those who attended this year’s Conference weekend will be returning to their clubs with renewed vigour and plenty of food for thought. Next year’s Conference will be held over the same weekend in 2019 at the Warner Leisure Hotel on Hayling Island – get your bookings in now!

The Swanage & Purbeck contingent (less Neil!)

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Young Musicians Steal The Show

Last weekend (18th February) saw the running of the District Young Musician Competition, held this year at Talbot Heath School.

Those present, including the Deputy Lieutenant of Dorset, were treated to an exceptional array of talent from both instrumental and vocal performers.

It’s hard to believe how young the performers are when the quality of performance is so high, and huge credit goes to them all for providing those present with such an excellent day.

Swanage and Purbeck Rotary were delighted to receive a letter of thanks from the Deputy Lieutenant for the way that they organised the event (huge thanks to Rotarian Linda Winter for taking it on) and we had another reason to be pleased as the winning performer, Sally, was the winner of our own club event held just a few weeks ago.

More from the event can be found on our Facebook page here.

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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.