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Rotary Goes Italian

Rotarian Jenny Hynan reports on the club’s latest fellowship event

Fifth Wednesday of the month and what better excuse for having a night out!

Venue of choice for this night out was The Italian Kitchen in Wareham, where 22 members, partners and guests assembled on a cold but clear night at Wareham Quay.

The venue had gone to a lot of trouble and effort to make everything perfect for the members of our club who were able to attend.

There was great fellowship across the evening and the group had a wonderful meal – an interesting take on the traditional turkey dinner as you can see below (with thanks to Immedate Past President John Thraves for the photographs).

President Ro thanked Jenny for all her hard work in organising and co-ordinating the event and looking after everyone and highly recommended another visit soon!

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Planting for Polio

Rotary has been involved in attempts to eradicate the wild Polio virus for more than 30 years, and it is heartening to learn that new cases across the world have fallen from more than 1,000 a day in the 1980s to less than 50 in the world so far this year.

The ‘Purple for Polio’ campaign is the latest initiative to finally rid the world of the remaining pockets of this terrible virus and as part of this campaign, Rotary clubs around the country have been buying crocus corms (proceeds from which go directly to the End Polio campaign) to plant and show their support for this final push.

Swanage & Purbeck Rotary’s intrepid gang of planters were out last week planting approximately 5,000 corms, the benefits of which will be there for all to see next spring when the purple (of course) crocuses flower.

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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.

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Stamp of Authority!

Our speaker this week was Eve from The English Stamp Company, based in Worth.

They don’t do postage stamps! That was made very clear right from the start. They actually make rubber stamps for stamping fabrics, business stamps, logo printing etc.

Some requests are stranger than others! And clients vary from individuals to local businesses to the rich and famous – the company counts Victoria Beckham amongst their clients.

At this time of year, the emphasis is on Christmas and there is a demand for stamping gift wrap, greetings cards and so on. Eve showed us how to create very effective designs simply by adding colours, powder and glitter onto a basic stamp design.

There were questions from the floor, particularly around how the stamps themselves are made and how the company gets the word out about what they do.

Rotarian Maggie Hardy thanked Eve for a most interesting talk and for enlightening us all. Then club members were invited to come up and try it for themselves.

Watch out for some interesting Christmas cards this year!!

Earlier in the evening we were delighted to welcome our latest new member to the club, Peter Davies, shown here being introduced to club members by Rotarian Hubert Pearce. President Ro conducted the induction ceremony for what is already our fourth new full member this Rotary year.

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Out on the Town

Swanage & Purbeck Rotarians demonstrated that they are just as good at the fellowship part of Rotary as the service and fundraising elements when they met up for a night out this week.

Over 20 Rotarians, Inner Wheelers, partners and guests descended on The Salt Pig Too in Station Road for an excellent meal and the opportunity to chat and socialise.

Those present enjoyed a two course meal, featuring a choice of venison, lamb, fish or risotto as a main course, followed by cheesecake, chocolate tart or sticky toffee pudding for dessert, and it was all washed down with a selection of beers wines and spirits from the well-stocked bar.

President Ro, fresh from her recent holiday in Malta, thanked everyone for coming out but in particular Jenny Hynan and Linda Winter for organising the evening.

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Thanks to Swanage & Purbeck Community

We were delighted to receive recognition from The Fire Fighters Charity, following the collection in Swanage following the Grenfell Tower Fire, thanking Swanage Rotary for the donation made to the charity.

Our thanks accordingly go to the whole community of Swanage and Purbeck for their generous donations which enabled us to make this donation. In addition to the money donated to The Fire Fighters Charity we were also able to make a sizeable donation to the Rotary Club of Kensington and Chelsea, who are the Club most local to the Tower, who are co-ordinating the funds raised.

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Where There’s A Will There’s A Way!

Our speaker this week was our very own Ann Corke, who as well as being a Swanage Rotarian is also a solicitor with local firm Humphries Kirk.

Ann talked to us in a most entertaining way about some of the unintended consequences around wills and why it is important to lay out in the form of a will exactly how you want your estate to be split up after death. It is clearly a complex area that is often not taken as seriously as it should be.

As important is making sure that wills are kept up to date, as siatuations change as do laws and what was right several years ago may have been affected by subsequent changes in legislation.

Ann also covered Powers of Attorney, whereby individuals can dictate who is able to manage their affairs should they become incapable of doing so themselves. The most common of these is Lasting Power of Attorney – property and financial affairs, which enables just those elements to be managed in the event of incapacity. It is also possible to include health and welfare, which enables all of an individuals affairs, for example financial; medical etc, to continue to be managed should they become unable to do so.

Ann fielded a number of questions from the floor, largely on some of the detail of people’s own arrangements, which generated considerable food for thought.

On behalf of the club, Rotarian John Babbage thanked Ann for clarifying what is a complicated area of law.

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From (Bela)Russia With Love!!

Our speaker this week was our very own Bernard Bettles, who spoke to us about his work with the Chernobyl Children of Belarus.

The children of Belarus were seriously affected by the nuclear cloud that was blown across the country after the Chernobyl nuclear reactor exploded in the 1980s. In the 1990s Bernard helped to co-ordinate visits from the children to the UK and he explained, in a touching and light-hearted way in equal measure, how the children benefitted from enjoying clear air and uncontaminated food for a few weeks and also how the people of our area got to know some of the children so well over several years.

Other work that Bernard got involved with included trying to provide better conditions for the children once they returned home, including clothing them with end of line stock from Animal (donated free of charge) and in particular The Seed Project – providing seeds so that they could grow their own produce. The seeds and equipment were all shipped out from the UK to one of the schools in Marina Gorka so that the local children could start to grow vegetables in uncontaminated soil that would not harm them further. Moreover, any surplus that they grew was sold to local people thus benefitting the wider community.

Another project that Bernard got involved with was in helping to provide furniture for another school in Minsk. The money was raised in the UK through local schools, churches, Swanage Rotary and Swanage Lions, but the furniture was bought locally in Belarus to benefit the local economy as well as the school.

On behalf of the club Rotarian Mick Beck proposed a vote of thanks to Bernard, not only for his presentation but for his years of service to Swanage Rotary on what is his farewell meeting. Happy ‘Retirement’ Bernard!

Earlier in the evening, President Ro Clark was delighted to present a Paul Harris Fellowship to Deirdre Selwyn for her many years of work with numerous charities and causes and her dedication to the health and welfare of the community. Deirdre was typically modest about her achievements but delighted to have received the honour.

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Right On Track!

Our speaker at this week’s meeting was Dr Mike Walshaw, an electrical engineer who volunteers as a signalman at the Corfe Castle signal box on the Swanage Railway. Mike came to talk to us about Project Wareham – the project to link Swanage back to the railway network.

Mike has been involved with the project since 2011. It was the Poole to Wool resignalling project that offered the “chance of a lifetime” possibility to recreate the link back to the network but over five million pounds had to be raised to give the project any chance of success. Network Rail did not contribute any money to Project Wareham but did fund the main line upgrades, eventually commissioned in 2014.

Amongst the challenges faced by the project was laying 6 1/2 miles of signalling cable from Corfe Castle to Wareham and the erection of a flat pack cabin at Norden Gates. Contractors were employed to undertake some of the works with volunteers assisting where they could. Mike himself was responsible for the design and installation of part of the signalling system – the token system, a system used on single track lines which dates back over 100 years to the early days of the railway.

Other challenges that had to be overcome were strengthening parts of the trackway itself (the embankments), replacing old and worn rail and creating a road/rail interchange and a new level crossing at Norden.

The talk was a fascinating insight into the efforts made to successfully enable the line to be reopened back to the main line at Wareham earlier this year, and Rotarian David Huntley thanked Dr Mike for coming to tell us all about it.


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.