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Summer Fête Hotspot!

President Chris LeFevre reports on a scorching hot day in Sandpit Field:

After a two year absence, we were delighted to hold our Summer Fête and Craft Fair on Sandpit Field on Thursday 11th August.

Temperatures were very high, but despite this we had a steady flow of visitors enjoying the wide range of stalls and entertainment on offer.

These included traditional favourites such as hoop-la and the tombola, as well as more recent innovations such as the Cornhole game.

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The refreshment tent and BBQ were on hand to sustain those attending and other options included vegan soups, craft coffee and, of course, Purbeck Ice Cream!

There were plenty of crafts on display too, as well as the ever-popular Boutique In A Bus.

Charities presenting included Sustainable Swanage, Planet Purbeck and the RNLI.

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There was no shortage of entertainment either. Kevin Burke did his magic show (when he wasn’t striding around the field on stilts!) and music was provided by Karen Grant, local musicians Jurassic Roll’n Roll and the Ukulele Band.

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The Grand Raffle was drawn towards the end of the day, with prizes, most of which were kindly donated by our Business Partners and other local organisations, presented to the lucky winners. Those winners not present will find their prizes delivered to them in the coming days.

All proceeds from this event provide valuable funds for the many good causes that we are supporting.

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Our most grateful thanks go to all those who have helped to support the fête this year, including Friends of Rotary, Business Partners, Harman’s Cross Fête Committee members and, of course, the members of our Rotary Group. Here’s to next year!

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Learning About Saving Life At Sea

Our meeting this week was very different as we were delighted to be invited to take a look around the new Swanage Lifeboat Station.

This state-of-the-art facility was only completed earlier in 2017 and houses not only the brand new Shannon class all-weather lifeboat but also the inshore lifeboat (ILB).

Our host was none other than Lifeboat Operations Manager Neil Hardy, a veteran of some 30 years experience with the RNLI. Neil gave us a detailed account of the background to the current facility, some of the challenges encountered in getting to where they are today and he explained how both boats are used and how they often work together, in conjunction with the Coastguard Service more often than not. We were also shown the crew room, where up to 30 crew members (not all on duty at once) deploy the equipment and protective clothing that they use every time they go out to sea as well as some of the technology used to enable the service to respond as quickly as it does.

The main boathouse is where the current all-weather boat is housed and the highlight of the tour, of course, was being able to go on board, where Neil explained the operation of the boat itself and the myriad of computer wizardry that has been installed on it. Every crew member on board during a call out has a dedicated role to perform, and their on board stations are set up specifically to enable them to do so.

The visit was a fascinating eye-opener into the hard work and dedication of the people, almost entirely volunteers, who ensure that the service continues to run. For those interested, you must be over 17 years old to apply to join the crew. The maximum age for the inshore boat is 50 and for the all-weather boat it is 65. Swanage alone has had over 70 call outs in 2017 and the RNLI itself can only carry on thanks to the dedication of those volunteers, be they crew members, on shore boathouse staff or workers in the shop in the High Street. More details about the RNLI, what it does and how you can get involved or donate to them can be found here.

President Ro sincerely thanked Neil for giving us such an interesting insight into the business of saving lives at sea.