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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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Wonderful Christmastime!

The beautiful Charity Shop window

“December will be Magic Again” is what Kate Bush sang back in 1983, and for Swanage & Purbeck Rotary it’s December 2021 that’s been magic thanks to the activities of its Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO – the club’s fundraising arm) during the month.

From the pop-up shop in Station Road, to the Christmas Market, the Charity Mail to Santa’s Sleigh, our wonderful local community has stepped forward and supported the CIO’s fundraising activities in a quite phenomenal way.

The shop started back in November selling books and bric-a-brac before opening its Christmas door at the beginning of December. We have been delighted with the response from the community, who flocked to the shop and quickly snapped up virtually everything we had for sale. Last year was the first time we had tried to run the shop and the funds raised this year have smashed through what we already thought was a good year in 2020.

Swanage Christmas Market

On 4th December the CIO, after an enforced year’s absence, was once again able to run the popular Swanage Christmas Market in Station Road and despite forecasts of strong winds the day turned out to be beautifully clear and sunny with less strong winds, resulting in hundreds of people coming down to sample what was on offer. All the traders who spoke to us told us how pleased they were to be able to take part in the event again and it was great success.

Hard at work with the Charity Mail!

The CIO also ran the Charity Mail service, with offices in Swanage town centre, Studland and Langton accepting Christmas cards for local addresses and personally delivering them during the third week of the month. Our members and volunteers worked tirelessly to ensure that everything given to us was correctly sorted and delivered in plenty of time.

Santa & Elves at the Co-Op

And, of course, Santa came to town and spent almost three weeks travelling around Swanage, Herston, Langton Matravers and Corfe Castle (in association with Crazy4Corfe) with his elves, bringing happiness and joy to local residents and handing out sweets to the children. The reaction of local residents to the sleigh has been amazing and enabled the CIO, again, to break all records for fundraising.

Getting those Yellow Food Bags delivered!

As well as all that, we have been able to recommence our support of the Friendly Food Club. Our Youth committee was able to provide 149 Christmas food bags for local pre-schools, following on from the efforts that took place at the start of the pandemic in providing ingredients and preparation instructions for local people to cook wholesome festive meals for their families.

We never cease to be amazed by the support we get from our community, and we are incredibly grateful to you all for the way that you help us to help those less fortunate, not only in our local community but also in national funding initiatives in the UK and across the world with campaigns such as JabItForward, which has helped to fund COVID-19 vaccinations to poorer countries and End Polio Now, aiming to finally eradicate polio from the world.

From all of us in Swanage & Purbeck Rotary, and our lovely friends, volunteers and Business Partners, we wish you a very Merry Christmas and the hope that 2022 will be a better year for us all.

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Innovative Rotary

We used the opportunity of Zoom to re-run the presentation from Australian Rotarian Mark Huddleston, originally shown at the Virtual District Conference in October.

Mark is a renowned strategist, commentator, presenter and trainer in membership development and has very defined views on the future of Rotary, from the experience of his own club Seaford.

His views are of particular interest to Swanage & Purbeck, being, as it is, a seaside club within a similar population as our own. Mark was instrumental in the creation of the Seaford club as he couldn’t see the required level of change in his previous club and decided to create a new club.

it was comforting to see that many of the initiatives that Mark introduced have already been adopted by Swanage & Purbeck or are in the process of being adopted, including the concept of Business Partners, for which we are always grateful, including family and friends in our projects and activities and ensuring that our website and social media outlets are active.

There were many areas that we could embrace too, however, and we will be using the current situation where we are only able to undertake most of our activities online, to look at what we can do when we come out of the other side of the pandemic.

We are really interested in the views of those not yet members of our group, so if anyone has any ideas or suggestions on how we can innovate and change the way we do things we would warmly welcome them.

As always, anyone wishing to find out more about the Swanage & Purbeck Rotary group can contact our secretary for more information.

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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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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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The Return of Summer Heralds Successful Fête

Club President Ro Clark reports on a day of sunshine, laughter, fun and fundraising


After all the recent poor weather, Swanage Rotarians approached this week’s Summer Fête and Craft Fair with some trepidation, wondering even if the event would be able to go ahead at all.

We needn’t have worried. Although Sandpit Field was a little muddy to start with, the advance 7am party of Rotarians worked hard to get everyone on site to prepare for the opening of the event. They needed to chalk the lay out again as it had washed away (!) but after running around and unpacking endless boxes the site was ready for 10.30 and it looked great with all the stalls ready to go.

The Craft tent had many people manning their own stalls, selling their wares and what a pleasure it was to see many talented people. There were lots of entertainers ready to perform to the crowds young and old and they stopped people in their tracks to watch and listen.

As President I had the pleasure of opening the Fête, and gave thanks to a huge team of people that worked so hard to make the day possible. Particular grateful thanks go to our visitors, because without them it would not be a success at all and there would be no funds available to be able to do what Rotary does best – supporting the local community as well as International projects. Many thanks also go to our Business partners and local people who very generously supported the raffle by donating incredible prizes.

I tried very hard to go around and thank everyone in person for their contribution in making the day a great one. I also talked to lots of visitors and locals who come back year after year as they love the family feel that the event has, not to mention the wonderful food that is available too.


I drew the raffle (winning ticket numbers here) and awarded prizes for naming the Dalmatian, which will be called Buttons. There were also sports trophies for three age groups of football keepy-uppys. All the awardees were really pleased with their prizes.

At the end the clear up began, and again Rotarians put their shoulders to the wheel and worked hard in packing lots of heavy kit on to big tractors. In no time at all the field was once again cleared

It was a long and tiring day, but so worthwhile to see lots of smiling happy faces and to hear laughter and people clutching their precious purchases from the many stalls. Special thanks must go to the Fête Committee and also to the Treasurer and his trusty team, who will be counting out the money and paying the bills. We will know the final figure raised at some point in the near future. Then we can get down to the business of sharing it all out. That is what being a Rotarian is all about: the work and then the joy of helping others. It warms my heart.