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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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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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Meet the Governor!

We were delighted to welcome newly elected District Governor Allan Smith to our meeting this week. Allan lives in Jersey so he has a lot of travel to do to meet the majority of clubs in the District.

The DG highlighted the Rotary International theme for this year “Be the Inspiration” and how it can be adapted at a District and local level. His own target is to encourage clubs to increase community service  in their area and internationally and for all clubs to try and achieve two additional projects in the year.

Allan highlighted the importance of media, and how, if they will not help   we can make our own publicity in using local contacts as well as social media.  He also went into detail regarding the youth competitions that Rotary run and our club actively promotes and runs.

Above all, he urged all members to enjoy Rotary and Be Inspired.

On behalf of the club, Rotarian Steve Parsons proposed a vote of thanks to the DG for coming over to see us.