Mary Wins District Finals

Mary wins Rotary District 1090 Young musician Finals.

Mary Eckert, runner-up in the Banbury Young Musician senior singing section went one better in the District Finals last Saturday, winning the competition and securing a place in the forthcoming regional finals to be held at the end of March.
The Tudor Hall student impressed the judges with her virtuosity by singing “Vedrai Carino” by Mozart, “Somewhere” from Leonard Bernstein’s West Side Story (the piece she sang at one of this month’s Purple4Polio Concerts at St Mary’s Church Banbury) and “Per La Gloria D’Adorarvi” by Giovanni Bononcini.

Young Chef Competition

young-chefThe two Rotary Clubs in Banbury are once again this year organising a local heat of the Rotary national competition, and the winner will then subsequently represent Banbury in the next round that is scheduled to take place in February 2017.

The competition is open to anyone of secondary school age and under 17 on 31st August 2016, and is being managed in a similar fashion to previous years. The first round locally will take the form of a paper submission of a proposed menu; a judging team will review these and competitors will be selected to take part in the local final as in previous years.

The local final will be taking place on January 17th 2017 at The Banbury and Bicester College, Broughton Road, Banbury and those selected for this will be asked to prepare and cook their chosen meal for a panel of judges who will be in attendance. All finalists will be provided with the opportunity to visit the College to see the facilities to be used before the final takes place if they would like to.

The local winner will go forward to the Rotary District/Regional final and the winner from the latter then takes part in the National Final. This is being sponsored by Filippo Berio Olive Oils and will take place in Lincoln in May.

The National winner will receive the RIBI Trophy (and a replica to keep) plus £250. In addition they will receive a day’s experience at the Fifteen Restaurant in London.

Please click here to download a copy of the details of the competition with the entry form at the back.

Entries must be submitted to Malcolm Douglas, Henry’s Menswear, 52 High Street, Banbury, OX16 5JJ by 16th December 2016 at the latest.

If you need any further help please e-mail


Another Block in the Wall


Our appeal to give kids in Sierra Leone a safer school. See the video in the full article, just click below.

Banbury Rotarian, Alan Wolstencroft first visited the Liverpool Community School, Freetown, Sierra Leone in January 2013. Since then he has co-ordinated the funding to build and equip 8 classrooms and 2 toilet blocks at the school.

Unfortunately last month the school was broken into, items were stolen and some damage caused to the buildings.

A small retaining wall had been built to prevent a stream overflowing and affecting the school in the rainy season and it is now planned to extend this to form a security wall around the entire school – a 240 metre perimeter!!

It costs just £1 to buy a concrete block, all of which are made on site thus providing work for local people.

You can donate by e-mailing, ringing 07800-558524 or visiting and obtain bank details from the Buy A Brick Newsletter

They just want an education
But they need a, security wall
To stop the break-ins to their classrooms
Help us build these kids their wall
All they want is just another block for their wall
All they need is, a load more blocks for their wall

Thank you in anticipation of ANY support you may be able to offer


crocusesPurple4Polio Update

In spring 2014 and 2015 we hosted collaborative “Crocus Concerts” involving all local secondary schools. In each of these years our Rotary Club worked together with the schools to plant some 6,000 crocus bulbs and to send £5,000 to Rotary Foundation, where our donation was tripled by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. In each of the first two years of the project we raised sufficient funds to immunise 45,000 children.

Last autumn we initiated work on the third year of our five-year local contribution to this worldwide effort. Under the guidance of John Bennett & Ron Barnett and with the support of Cherwell District Council, Banbury Town Council and Sanctuary Housing, secondary students, local primary school pupils and Rotarians planted an incredible 19,000/20,000 crocus bulbs! Although circumstances prevented a third series of collaborative crocus concerts, individual secondary and primary school fundraising efforts together with Rotary Club commitments have so far raised almost £2,500.  A concert at Broughton Church by the Oxford Male Voice Choir on Saturday 2nd July gave the Purple4Polio Campaign and this fourth year’s crocus projects a brilliant start – raising over £1,600. Many thanks to Alan, Ron and the Foundation Committee.

This coming year Rotary International in Britain and Ireland (RIBI) has decided to celebrate the centenary of Rotary Foundation by planting five million crocus corms throughout the United Kingdom to raise awareness of the fact that we are on the verge of a tremendous achievement. RIBI has established a partnership with the Royal Horticultural Society on this national project – PURPLE4POLIO. Each pack of 5,000 crocus corms purchased by local Clubs through the scheme costs £85. In June we ordered one pack so that each secondary school will again receive 500 corms to plant on your grounds – adding to the 1,000 they each received during the first two years of our local project. In July – after consultation with Cherwell District and Banbury Town Councils about further planting in public spaces this autumn and Whitley Stimpson’s generous sponsorship of a further pack, we ordered a further seven packs. In partnership with secondary schools, community groups and the councils involved John Bennett will be leading as many volunteer Rotarians as possible in the planting of 40,000 bulbs this autumn.

Also, Ron is repeating last year’s Primary Schools Project. Club has requested a District Grant of £300, enabling us to match-fund and order ten packs for Primary Schools. In addition to planting 500 corms each, secondary schools will again be participating in collaborative Crocus concerts in early spring 2017. Our PURPLE4POLIO Working Group will oversee our Club response to the RIBI/District Projects which coincide with the fourth year of our own local Crocus Projects.

Current state of Polio: Just two countries remain where polio is endemic. Internet links for further details: and Here are a couple of headline facts:

  • In 2015, a total of 74 cases of polio were reported in Afghanistan and Pakistan, the only two remaining polio endemic countries, down from 334 cases worldwide in 2014.
  • “We’ve come a long way since the establishment of the GPEI in 1988, from 125 polio-endemic countries to just two,” said Chris Maher, manager of WHO’s regional polio eradication unit in Amman, Jordan. “We are at the final frontier of eradication. A lot of work is still needed, but if we can stop polio transmission in Afghanistan and Pakistan by the close of 2016, the whole world will finally be free of wild poliovirus.”
  • Latest statistics on Wild Polio Virus: This year to date Afghanistan 5, Pakistan 11 (compared with totals in 2015 of 20 & 54 respectively).


Cycling for Gambia

Two Banbury Rotary Club members are saddling up to raise money for good causes.

Bernard Goodchild and Andrew Fairbairn are both taking part in the Broughton Castle Sportive cycling events on Sunday, July 10, to raise money for a clean water project for Prospects School in Gambia.

Mr Goodchild is participating in the Cotswold Classic, a 50-mile route that twists and turns through the Cotswold scenery.

Mr Fairbairn will tackle the 100-mile Cotswold Monster which consists of a figure of eight course and takes in several steep climbs of the area and the smaller but no less leg sapping Cotswold hills.

The borehole project they are raising money for is a joint undertaking between the Rotary Club of Tonbridge and the Rotary Club of Banbury with the work being project managed by the Rotary Club of Banjul in Gambia. When finished it will enable present and future students to have access to clean water. Currently the children often only have access to dirty water that can host a number of water-borne pathogens and parasites.

Mr Fairbairn said: “All donations will be gratefully received. Especially by the children who are at the school now and others who will be educated there in the future.”

He added: “All children should be able to drink clean water.”

To sponsor the pair contact Andrew on


Oxford Male Voice Choir Concert

Male Voice Choir

A capacity audience filled Broughton Church on the evening of Saturday 2nd July to be entertained by the Oxford Male Voice Choir and soloist Tavia Lewis.
Under the baton of Musical Director Helen Swift, the choir entertained us with a varied programme ranging from traditional Welsh songs such as ‘O Gymru’ and ‘Myfanwy’ to more modern pieces like ‘Unchained Melody’ and ‘Rhythm of Life’, which were all very much appreciated by the audience.

The evening also saw our very own Young Musician of the Year winner, Tavia Lewis, give excellent renditions of pieces ranging from Fauré’s ‘Pie Jesu’ to ‘I Dreamed a Dream’ from Les Miserables.

The Church Concert was followed by an impromptu performance in the Saye and Sele Arms much to the delight of all present.
The evening was a double success for as well as being a most enjoyable piece of musical entertainment, it also raised the magnificent sum of £1,500 for the End Polio Now Campaign.

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