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Living with Paralysis

Mark Taylor spoke to us this week about living with paralysis.

Mark originates from the West Midlands and has lived all over the southern half of the UK but now resides in Cambridgeshire. He spent many happy times in the Swanage area as a youngster. A keen sportsman in his teenage years, he played five different sports at school.

He took a history degree at Winchester college. Sadly, during a rugby match whilst at Winchester in his early 20s he incurred a spinal injury and despite being able to get very quick medical attention, the damage had been done. He attended the famous Stoke Mandiville Hospital within a very short time after the accident but the treatment was to no avail and he has been paralysed since that time.

However, Mark has not been one to moan about his lot, and has got on with his life by doing as much as he possibly can. He went to Southampton University to take a degree and was subsequently accepted at Downing College, Cambridge to take a PhD. Choosing not to stay at home, he moved into a care home in Wellingborough where he met a doctor who was also a Rotarian. The local club put him forward for a grant and he was ultimately successful in securing a Rotary Scholarship, which meant him travelling to the United States to study 17th Century politics as part of his PhD.

Mark thoroughly enjoyed his time in America meeting many great Rotarians while he was out there. He had a job working in a library during the day and worked hard on his studies while he was there but managed to find time to explore the California and West Coast areas of the States, where he was staying, as well and attended many Rotary Clubs and events. He also spoke to several thousand people at a Rotary Conference.

On returning to the UK Mark qualified as a teacher but has since worked as a local councillor and for his local authority. He has also stood for Mayor of Cambridgeshire where he was placed third.

Mark’s story is inspirational and on behalf of the club President John thanked him very much for speaking to us.

Members Rotary Announcements Top News

Presentation Night

Our meeting this week included some guests who were receiving money from the proceeds of the club’s fundraising activities over the past year.

President John was delighted to present cheques to:


Swanage Lights

Lydia Bennett

Langton Matravers Lights

Admiral Nurses

Swanage Youth Centre

With the summer just around the corner, we are hopeful of raising many more funds to help support worthy causes, both local and further afield, from the various summer events that will be taking place over the coming weeks.


Swanage goes Quackers for the Duck Race

In less than perfect conditions, Bank Holiday Monday saw the latest running of the Swanage Rotary Duck Race.

Tickets were on sale throughout the day from locations near the post office, in Station Road and on the seafront.

At precisely 4pm (actually a few minutes after than because the demand for tickets was still going on) the race itself started outside the Conservative Club, with the countdown conducted by Lydia Bennett, the winner of the Swanage Young Musician competition.

Good crowds were present both at the launch and, especially, at the end of the course next to The Mowlem Theatre to see which ducks would be first across the finish line. In the end the winning numbers were:

First – 1302 (pictured below receiving their winner’s cheque from club President John Thraves)

Second – 663

Third – 782

The Rotary Club of Swanage and Purbeck would like to thank everyone who bought a ticket, the proceeds from which will go to two charities, Médecins Sans Frontières and School in a Bag, helping to support children around the world less fortunate than our own.

Events Members

‘Etched’ in History

Members of the club visited the Etches Collection at Kimmeridge last week.

Following the visit, they enjoyed refreshments at the nearby Clavells Restaurant.

Full details of the trip to follow soon.

Business Partners Members

Partners in Fundraising

Club was delighted to welcome two of our business partners to this week’s meeting, to tell us more about themselves and their businesses.

Gary Buglass from Bipcom Voice & Data Solutions addressed the meeting first, and told us about his background, from winning a cooking award when he was younger (possibly a missed opportunity?) to his passion for sailing which continues to this day.

Gary’s business installs telecom systems for a multitude of corporations up and down the country, including some overseas, offering tailored services to suit individual needs. Gary summarised the myriad of options (and price ranges) available across the market (with some recommendations of what to avoid!) and explained how Bipcom are different, and how they use Cloud technology to ensure that businesses can operate optimally going forward. Software provision is also part of the offering, which dovetails neatly with the rest of the technology on offer. At the end of his address, Gary took a number of questions from the floor. See here for more details about Bipcom.

David And Kathy Suruki relocated to Dorset from Los Angeles in California to take over as managers of the Isle of Purbeck Golf Club a little over one and a half years ago. They have made strenuous efforts to get the club to the place where they wanted to get it, including making it a friendlier and more inclusive place. The club has now introduced quiz nights, film nights, evening dinners and more, all aimed at getting more people to come even if they aren’t golfers.

Early signs are very encouraging and they have received many compliments from people who had never been up to the club before. By their own admission, however, it has been hard work and quite a steep learning curve, from driving on the other side of the road to moving from a huge city to a small community. David and Kathy took several questions from the floor. More information is available from Isle of Purbeck Golf Club.

President John thanked both Business Partners for addressing the club.

Members Rotary Announcements

Programme of meetings 1.3.17 – 30.6.17

Guests are very welcome to join us at any of our Speaker or Social evenings. Click on the following link to view our programme Programme March – July 2017 (public)  please phone Linda Winter on 01929 424807 – for further information.