Choirs raise £4000 for Charities


To experience an evening of superb music in a packed St Mary’s Church is a rare pleasure for Banburyshire dwellers! “Six of the Best” was one of those occasions.

On behalf of everyone at Banbury Rotary Club – thank you so much to everyone involved  for taking part in what was – by common audience and participant acclaim – a highly successful concert on Saturday evening.

Congratulations to every single member of the six performing groups and to your conductors, accompanists and admin/tech support people. The sheer variety of performance pieces turned out in itself to be a piece of accidental brilliance – and the high quality of each group’s performance of its particular genre of song or anthem must have made every one of the conductors/musical directors really proud.

The evening also owed its success to everyone who pushed and facilitated ticket sales – so thankyou again to everyone in your choirs involved in this and to Malcolm Douglas and his staff at Henry’s. The concert was a sell-out!

And many thanks to the sound and lighting team, Ashley and Richard, whose expertise in their fields ensured smooth continuity and enhanced the whole atmosphere, and to Marilyn and Andrew Fairbairn and their teams of stewards at St Mary’s, who organised the stage setup on Friday evening and Saturday morning, assisted throughout the afternoon’s rehearsals, ran the bars in the evening and were there to reset the church afterwards ready for Sunday worship.

Once again – many thanks to all involved – especially to the co-ordinators for the singing groups. We know how much is involved in preparation for events like these on top of people’s own personal and society schedules!

We’re delighted to report that the concert surpassed our financial expectations as well. Final calculations have still to be made but you will be pleased to hear that after taking ticket sales, choir member contributions, retiring collection and donations + gift aid into account, adding £1000 matched funding from the concert’s main sponsor, Barclays Bank, then subtracting necessary expenses – First Aid, Advertising, Programmes – (everyone who took part in any way from choirs, Rotary Club and St Mary’s Church gave their time and talents freely) – we have raised a round figure of £4000 to share equally between Helen and Douglas House Hospice and Rotary International’s Flagship Polio Eradication Charity.

In addition, as most readers will be aware, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation doubles every £1 that Rotary Clubs across the world raise for Polio Eradication, so this means that with their help we shall have contributed £6000 to this cause.

What a great finale outcome! Well sung everyone!!!

Once again – many thanks to all involved!


Six of the Best Success -28th Sept 2019

Great concert last night (Sat 28th Sept) at St Mary’s Church.

Many thanks to the participating choirs and all those who attended.

Profits will go to Helen and Douglas House  and End Polio now.

World Polio Day – 24th Oct 2019


Rotary and polio


Poliomyelitis, or polio, is a paralyzing and potentially fatal disease that still threatens children in some parts of the world. Poliovirus invades the nervous system and can cause total paralysis in hours. It can strike people of any age but mainly affects children under five. Polio can be prevented by vaccines, but it is not curable. Unlike most diseases, polio can be eradicated.


For more than 30 years, Rotary and our partners have driven the effort to eradicate polio worldwide. Our PolioPlus program was the first initiative to tackle global polio eradication by vaccinating children on a massive scale. As a core partner in the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, Rotary focuses on advocacy, fundraising, volunteer recruitment, and awareness-building.

Rotary members have contributed $1.9 billion and countless volunteer hours to protect more than 2.5 billion children in 122 countries from this paralyzing disease. Rotary’s advocacy efforts have played a role in decisions by governments to contribute more than $8 billion to the effort.

Polio Today

With our partners, we have reduced polio cases by 99.9 percent, from 350,000 cases in 125 countries in 1988 to just 33 cases caused by the wild virus in 2018. Only two countries continue to report cases of wild poliovirus: Afghanistan and Pakistan. The infrastructure we helped build to end polio is also being used to treat and prevent other diseases and create lasting impact in other areas of public health.


Rotary and our partners have made tremendous progress against polio, but eliminating all cases is going to take even more progress and perseverance. Afghanistan and Pakistan face unique challenges, including political insecurity, highly mobile populations, difficult terrain, and, in some instances, logistical barriers. With sufficient resources, the commitment of national governments, and innovations that improve access to remote areas, we are optimistic that we can eliminate polio.

Ensuring Success

Rotary has committed to raising $50 million per year for polio eradication. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has pledged to match that 2-to-1, for a total commitment of $150 million each year. These funds provide much-needed operational support, medical workers, laboratory equipment, and educational materials. Governments, corporations, and private donors all play a crucial role in funding.

  Rotary in Action

More than 1 million Rotary members have donated their time and money to eradicate polio, and every year, hundreds of member’s work with health workers to vaccinate children in countries affected by polio. Rotary members work with UNICEF and other partners to prepare and distribute informational materials for people in areas that are isolated by conflict, geography, or poverty. They also mobilize to recruit fellow volunteers, assist in transporting the vaccine, and provide other logistical support.

Celebrity Support

Rotary has a growing list of public figures and celebrities who support our fight against polio, including Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; actresses Kristen Bell and Archie Panjabi; actor and wrestling superstar John Cena; supermodel Isabeli Fontana; Nobel Peace Prize laureate Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu; action-movie star Jackie Chan; actor Donald Sutherland; boxing great Manny Pacquiao; pop star Psy; golf legend Jack Nicklaus; conservationist Jane Goodall; premier violinist Itzhak Perlman; Grammy Award winners A.R. Rahman, Angélique Kidjo, and Ziggy Marley; and peace advocate Queen Noor of Jordan. These ambassadors help Rotary educate the public about the disease and the fight to end polio for good.

Rotary Youth Leadership Award (RYLA) – July 2019

What are the Rotary Youth Leadership Awards?

Rotary Youth Leadership Awards, or RYLA, is a leadership development programme run by Rotary for young adults. Whether you are a secondary school pupil, university student or young professional, RYLA will help you discover your potential and develop the skills needed to be a leader in your community, career and everyday life. Each RYLA course is sponsored by a local Rotary club or group.

What does RYLA offer?

RYLA programmes run between three to ten days and give participants the opportunity to:

  • Gain exposure to leadership scenarios
  • Explore problem-solving strategies as part of a team
  • Discuss and apply creative approaches to leadership and conflict management
  • Build confidence in yourself and what you can achieve
  • Meet new people and make lasting friendships
  • Learn how to arrange youth activities and community service projects at locally and internationally

Being a leader is not just about being confident enough to speak out and knowing what to say, it is knowing when to listen to others and understand. RYLA teaches this, and other soft skills, to help everyone to be the best they can be. Teamwork exercises bring people together from different walks of life in a safe environment where everyone can get to know each other without fear of exclusion or negativity. As with all Rotary programmes, Rotary members are appropriately DBS checked and risk assessments are carried out for all activities.

Who eligible?

The courses are open to people aged 14 to 30. You don’t need to be a high achiever with outstanding academic grades, just be willing to try something new through activity-based learning and discover new talents along the way, as well as having fun. RYLA programmes involve physical challenges so can be demanding. Some degree of fitness is required. More information can be found at the following website:

The Calvert Trust

Under the RYLA auspices, each year since 2012 the Rotary Club of Banbury has sponsored two students from the Griffiths Centre, Frank Wise School to attend the Calvert Trust, Exmoor.  This programme enables people with disabilities to achieve their potential through experiencing exciting, challenging and enjoyable outdoor activities. Students are transported to and from Exmoor by a Rotarian accompanied by a mentor from Frank Wise.  Their course starts at 4pm on Friday and they are collected at 10am on the following Monday.

The immediate challenge for participants is that, although the course is fully accommodated and catered, they have to be individually independent outside the carefully supervised daytime activities.  They are shown around the facilities for 30 mins by their accompanying Rotarian and escort before being left to fend for themselves ahead of their evening briefing by Calvert Trust staff. Griffiths Centre student do not generally have previous experience of living in a single room away from their family or school, nor organising themselves to such an extent. They are issued with mobile phones to record their experiences and, of course, contact their parents and school staff if necessary.

Over the weekend the students take part in adventures such as archery, canoeing, zip wire and abseiling, cycle riding and assisting other less capable participants in organised and social group activities both during the day and evenings.  After attending the course students have shown greater confidence, communication and independence and these skills have a direct influence on their subsequent selection for further educational or practical courses of instruction after leaving Frank Wise.

The Club is extremely proud to have worked with students and teachers from the Griffiths Centre at the Frank Wise School, and the Calvert Trust, Exmoor, and we know that our continued support is also much valued by them.

Nigel Randall, 29 July 2019





German Rotary buzzing about bees – July 2019


By Henrik Thiele, a member of the Rotaract Club of Paderborn, Germany, and president of the Rotaract Germany Committee 

Recently, Rotaract clubs throughout Germany were looking for a signature project and decided to concentrate on the environment. After watching a Swiss documentary on bees, “More than honey,” one Rotaractor became passionate about focusing our attention on protecting these little superheroes. Did you know, for instance, that wild bees are responsible for pollinating more than 80 percent of our crops and wild plants? We can’t survive without them.

Most of the dangers to bees are man-made. Climate change, monotonous agricultural landscapes, and pesticides are just a few of the many reasons why our little yellow friends are dying in ever-increasing numbers.

With the project “BeeAlive” German Rotaractors began to support wild bees by building bee hotels, educating people about the threat to the bee population, and sowing wildflower meadows. All German Rotaract clubs participated, starting with the most northern club of Flensburg, which visited a beekeeper with their sponsor Rotary club. The southern-most Rotaract club in Germany, Kempten Allgäu, planted a meadow of more than 32,000 square feet for bees to pollinate.

The Bundessozialaktion (BuSo) project, as it is called in German, is divided into three parts:


All the Rotaract clubs in Germany worked together to education the population about bee mortality and the associated consequences for our environment, organizing theme days and informational events. We found many opportunities to cooperate with beekeepers’ associations and nature conservation associations. Efforts ranged from the Rotoract Club of Berlin organizing an online presentation that was promoted across the country, by Dr. Kaspar Bienefeld, a renowned scientist and professor in the field of insects and bees at the Humboldt University of Berlin, to the Rotaract Club of Rheda Wiedenbrück holding a local fair.


Many of the projects are costly. Therefore, fundraising is an integral part of our efforts. The Rotaract Club of Duisburg-Niederrhein organized a Bee-Pong tournament, raising over $1,000 and the Rotaract Club of Paderborn hosted a Pub Quiz on the topic of bees. Clubs also got creative by selling homemade products, from beeswax chapsticks by the Bad Wörishofen-Mindelheim Club to bee-hotels (Herne-Wanne Eickel). There are also many organizations that do great work with our fundraising, like the NaBu; the German Nature and Biodiversity Conservation Union, or the local beekeepers associations.


By building bee hotels and diversifying local beds, we make room for wildflowers and create a better environment for insects. Over 100,000 square feet of meadows were planted by clubs in District 1841 and by the Rotaract clubs of Lemgo-Lippe and AC Landshut-Trausnitz. In many of these, Rotaractors, Rotarians, family and friends joined together.

Building a few thousand hotels, we were already able to surpass our goal of 500. The reason is simple. All you need for a hotel is a wooden frame for the outside, hardwood with holes drilled into it, and hollowed out bamboo for the inside. The best part is that you can put up a plaque reading “Made by Rotary/Rotaract” and you have the perfect ambassador for Rotary in your local community.

All in all, we hope to make the world a better place by raising awareness of this important issue and working to solve the problem in our local communities. But this is not an issue that can be solved locally. It is a global problem and we need to make a global impact. Join us in our efforts.

Timely talk on Middle East – July 2019


Our speaker on 19th July 2019, Robert Aplin, gave a fascinating talk about a period of his life serving in the middle east with the Jebel Regiment, Sultan’s Armed Forces at the time of the Dhofar Rebellion and general political unrest in Oman. He emphasized the complexity of this region of the world and  the approach of the British – including use of special forces working alongside locals – to achieve change by winning “hearts and minds” rather than just raw military power. It was a fascinating insight into what Robert described as ‘in some ways a secret war which received little coverage in the British press.‘

The talk turned out to be particularly well timed given troubles in this general area being the main news this week.

Rock Climb Achieved – July 2019

Charity Challenge

Banbury Rotarian Andrew Fairbairn has just completed a challenge to ascend the 1,000 metre sheer rock face of the Daubenhorn (Leukerbad, Switzerland). An 8 hour via ferrata route and the longest in the Alps.

Why? To raise money for two charities – a building project for a school in The Gambia and Katharine House Hospice, Banbury.

Education in The Gambia

Three years ago the Rotary Club of Banbury along with the Rotary Club of Tonbridge engaged in a project – spearheaded by Andrew and his wife, Marilyn – to fund a borehole at Prospects Upper Basic School, Mariama Kunda Village, The Gambia. It aimed to provide improved quality water thereby reducing health risks to pupils and staff. The borehole has been completed.

The school is currently expanding and has a two-storey building under construction but this can only continue as funds become available.

This project is being overseen by the Rotary Club of Bijilo and the ground floor and some of the walls are in place taking it to the stage of needing the structural concrete floor of the second storey to act as an interim roof over the three classrooms and examination hall to make it useable in the rainy season.

The school had sourced a donor offering 50% of the funds for this phase but that donor has withdrawn.

Banbury Rotary has donated £5,030.68 but is now seeking to fundraise a further £5,600 towards the approximate £10,600 needed.


Katharine House Hospice

Many people have cause to appreciate the services provided by this hospice in supporting a family member or friend. It not only provides accommodation and day treatment but is also active in care in people’s homes. More information is available on the following website –



If you wish to sponsor Andrew on the ascent of the Daubenhorn, you can choose for your donation to go to either or both recipients. If you are a tax payer then a Gift Aid form can be forwarded to you for you to complete in order that an additional 25% can be added to your generous donation.

If you wish to make a donation, you can either forward a cheque made out to The Rotary Club of Banbury and sent it to Andrew Fairbairn, Orchard Clare, Overthorpe, Banbury OX17 2AF (specifying which recipient you would like it to go to) or there is a JustGiving page for donations to Katharine House Hospice at

Please contact Andrew on either 07711 142887 or via e-mail at if you wish to have a guest speaker and/or are willing to make a donation to these deserving causes.  100% of your donation will go to the recipient(s). No amount will be deducted for expenses.

Alternatively, or in addition, if you know an organisation who would like a presentation regarding the ascent then please forward contact details to Andrew.

Rotarian. Andrew Fairbairn, Rotary Club of Banbury


Children Singing for Children Concerts – Nov 2019


The CSFC Concerts are now an established part of the Banbury Calendar.

Typically they consist of around 25 primary schools performing over a period of 4 evenings in St Mary’s Church, Banbury. The massed finale’s each evening are something not to be missed!

Organisational aspects are dealt with by Banbury Rotary who donate all the surplus from the admission fees to children’s charities. (Decisions on which are pending.)

The admission fee has been held at £5 / person for several years which is what it will remain at for the 2019 concerts on November 11th -14th.

So – if you want to inject an uplifting event into the potential gloom of the approaching winter, then get those dates into your diary!

The following dates are currently tentative

Allocated Evening
Monday 11 Tues 12 Wed 13 Thur 14
St Johns Priory Bishop Loveday St Mary’s Dashwood
Harriers Hill View Queensway St Joseph’s
The Grange Hanwell Fields Wroxton Orchard Fields
Carrdus School Deddington Christ’ Rawlins St Leonard’s
Shenington Middle Barton Bishop Carpenter King’s Sutton
Cropredy Greatworth Sibford Jnr Frank Wise
Chacombe NewBot-Charlton St John’s Prim (tbc)


Rotarians help out at Park Centenary – July 2019

Last weekend Banbury Rotary played their part in celebrating the 100th anniversary of the opening of the town’s first real park: the People’s Park.

The town council had organised a well balanced mixture of celebrations of the past whilst providing plenty activities (several free of charge) for children and adults of the present.
As usual Rotarians lived up to their reputation as ‘people of action’ by assisting with the event

Surinder Dhesi (current president of Banbury Rotary and Town Mayor Elect for 2020/21 ) noted that that the Park holds happy memories for  generations of Banbury families.

Mark Recchia (Town Clerk and  retiring Honorary Secretary of the Rotary Club of Banbury) was also present helping ensure things went smoothly.

Sir Tony Baldry attended in his role as High Steward of Banbury.


Tony Baldry, Surinder Dhesi and Mark Recchia at the celebrations.
Rotarian Alan Wolstencroft assisted with traffic control.