Sierra Leone Update – Dec 2018
This a a project run by a Banbury Rotarian and supported by the Banbury Rotary Club and other important sponsors including: Oxford United FC, The Westminster Foundation and Books & Ink Banbury.
We have built a library & laboratory block for the secondary students and a library for the juniors at Liverpool School.
We have also equipped both libraries with furniture and are just completing the purchase of all the textbooks covering all the subjects studied.We have also installed mains electricity into 9 classrooms at the school and to key areas of the compound.
We have also sent literally thousands of pounds worth of school uniform & equipment, sports kit and knitted items to the 5 communities that I support.
This has only been possible with your support.
On behalf of the Communities in Freetown thank you and Best Wishes for the Festive Season & 2019 Rtn. Alan Wolstencroft
Royal Footman Talk – 30th Nov 2018
Speakers, Ian Scott-Hunter and his wife Rachael related how the family moved from North Wales to London forty-seven years ago in order to access regular treatment at Great Ormond Street for their daughter, Alexandra, who was severely brain damaged as a result of a haemorrhage when three days old.
Looking for employment, Ian responded to an advertisement for Royal Staff and was offered a job as a trainee footman at Buckingham Palace. Clearly he took to the role and is still working for Princess Alexandra to this day.
He described his role as a footman with accounts and anecdotes about royal events from state occasions to visits to the Royal Yacht and the Royal Ascot races. We enjoyed an illustrated journey through the many royal castles and palaces and intriguing and amusing stories with the odd (and totally discrete) peep into life in the Royal family.
Ian’s talk was followed by Rachael who described the problems in caring for their profoundly disabled daughter as a result of the council’s closure of her support centre in Kidlington. Not to be defeated the couple have been drawn up plans for a £2.5m centre Alexandra House of Joy after an un-named landowner gifted the couple just under an acre of land – worth approximately £1m.
They won official charity status from the Charity Commission and have since raised almost £20,000 through friends, family and public donations.
As Christmas approaches, Club members are busy organising two annual community activities. Firstly it’s ‘all systems go’ to make around 280/300 Christmas parcels for local families in need. We have sufficient funds to create the parcels and a factory unit to prepare them in. We aim to deliver the parcels during the second week of December. Secondly we have our annual collections for Katharine House Hospice at local supermarkets. Once again Rotarians Webb and Fairbairn will be greasing their elbows for lengthy stints on street organs to entertain shoppers and create a festive spirit while their fellow Rotarians collect. The dates and venues are: Sainsbury’s (15th and 24th December); Tesco (23rd December); Waitrose (16th and 22nd December).
Our daughter Club, The Rotary Cub of Banbury Cherwell, held their “Youth Speaks” event at Bloxham School on Wednesday 21st – an inspiring evening with Bloxham School winning the Intermediate Section (subject “Teenage Depression”) and the Senior Competition (subject “Saving Ourselves from Increased Sexualisation”) won by Chipping Norton School. Both teams go forward to the Zone final to be held in Witney.
Last Friday (23rd) Rotarians Ian Rodrick and David Sullivan gave short presentations on attracting new members, communications and improving our image. Club Members were urged to try and make the Club better known and more attractive to the community – and to encourage new members. Anyone wishing to find out more about Rotary should visit our website – banburyrotaryclub.org.uk – or contact the Club Secretary through email@example.com.
Children Singing for Children Concerts
At Banbury Rotary Club’s Children Singing for Children Concerts earlier this month 600 children from 25 local primary schools raised £7,000 for children’s charities!
Organiser Jonathan Meredith said, “Many, many thanks and congratulations to all the children and staff involved in making this year’s concerts another resounding success. The spine-tingling finales were matched once more by the individual school performances, which get better every year.”
Of the total raised for the chosen charities 70% will go to Banbury Sunshine Centre and 20% will be shared equally between Banbury Rotary Club’s Schools Projects in Sierra Leone and The Gambia. The remaining 10% will go to other local Rotary Children’s Charities in the period up to June 30th 2019.
Each school that took part receives a commemorative certificate and each individual child a smaller version of the same certificate.
Young Chef of the Year Competition
In line with the last 10 years of the local competition, plans for this year’s competition were developed in September, starting with discussions with Banbury & Bicester Campus of Active Learning Colleges regarding the hire of the kitchens and restaurant as a venue. Once the venue and date for use of the College for the Banbury heat cooking final were agreed all the secondary schools in the Banbury area were approached with full details of the competition asking for the appropriate staff members to encourage their students to take part and we were on the way!
Most of the schools expressed interest back in September and have taken part in the past but of course each year there is no certainty they will support the event again! As ever we await applications to see whether there is sufficient interest for the competition to take place.
The first stage of making an application with written details of their menus is required by the closing date – Friday 14th December.
Applicants are asked to cook two three-course meals in a two-hour period. On receipt of an adequate number of applications the normal paper assessment of applications will take place to select the most promising candidates with healthy menus. The eight finalists for the big day are then selected.
At last there will be certainty and we will carry on making the remainder of the arrangements for the final scheduled for Tuesday 8th January 2019.
The Main Event
After 2 hours of time-pressured cooking by the finalists the 3 experienced judges who have agreed to take part will then select a winner and runner-up. The evening will be concluded by the presentation of certificates for each Finalist and the trophies for the winner and runner up by the Town Mayor.
These two successful students are invited to take part in the next round of the overall National competition that takes place in Newbury on Saturday 19th January 2019.
The top three placed finalist in the National Competition will receive major trophies.
Full details of the competition and arrangements are available from Rotarian Bernard Goodchild firstname.lastname@example.org
Tour de Trigs
On the Weekend of the 2nd and 3rd of December sees the famous Banbury organised 49th Tour de Trigs take place. Competitors from 14 to 60+ years will navigate in teams of three over the 50 mile cross country course, nonstop within 24 hours. Younger and new to the event teams may take the option of the 30 mile (shorter) and 15 mile (Taster) distances. Special trophies are awarded to Duke of Edinburgh teams, Scout and school teams. Main trophies to classes and overall winner of the 50 mile event.
Competitors have entered from all over the country from as far afield as Norwich, Cambridge, Yorkshire, , Derbyshire, Lymington, local and all points in between. There are a number of school teams from Warriner school Bloxham competing
They will be competing for the main coveted Tour de Trigs trophy, and other category trophies. Certificates are awarded for those who finish the arduous course, and to those who complete the shorter routes
They will set off at 1 minute intervals from 9.30 a.m on the Saturday from the Warriner School.
Competitors will be given a detailed route 30 minutes before they start requiring them to visit manned Check points where drinks are available and unmanned Check points where they have to punch their cards with a unique orienteering punch.
The event is large with a volunteer staff of over 200 manning check points, emergency services, transport vehicles for retirees, communications, off road rescue teams and catering for all.
Presentation of Trophies will be on Sunday at 1 p.m by the President of Banbury Rotary Club
Crocus Planting 2018
Planting this autumn will bring the total number of ruby giant crocus corms planted to over 100,000 in the past five years.
Click on an image below to enlarge. You can then click through or play a slideshow.
Life as a Film Extra Talk – Oct 2018
After a career as an English teacher and latterly as Head of English, Andrew Whiffin turned to a career as a “supportive Actor”, or as the rest of us would call it, an extra in film and TV.
He had trodden the boards in some good Am Drams including the Banbury Cross Players and more recently with professional theatre companies including the Riverside Players.
He explained that he signed on with a number of agencies (not just one) and waited for the offers to come in, which they fairly rapidly did as extras are always in demand.
One attraction seemed to be the food – usually, a hearty breakfast – before commencing filming.
His appearances in films have included Johnny English Returns in which he had a line to speak (this merits an increased fee!)
He was also a member of parliament in the recent film “The Darkest Hour”, which he described as being extremely moving as the extras sat and listened to some of Churchill’s greatest speeches re-enacted by Gary Oldman.
Andrew regaled us with fascinating stories about how they make rain on set, and how they give the illusion of glass shattering.
In summary, not a career to make a fortune out of but very good fun meeting big stars of the stage and screen, and making some useful pocket money along the way 🙂
BANBURY TOWN HALL GOES PURPLE FOR POLIO
On Wednesday 24th October a purple glow lit up Banbury Town Hall to mark World Polio Day.
Rotary Clubs across the world have been raising awareness and funds since 1985 to make polio the second disease to be totally eradicated from the world. (Smallpox was the first.) Both of our local Rotary Clubs (Banbury and Cherwell) have been actively promoting the cause in recent years.
Local schools – primary, secondary and special – have formed a partnership with Rotary to carpet Banbury with drifts of purple crocuses and stage concerts each spring to celebrate the new year’s growth and raise funds tor vaccinations.
Over the past five years the local Rotary Club Crocus Projects Partnership involved 43 schools. Planting this autumn will bring the total number of ruby giant crocus corms planted to over 100,000. Since the concerts began in 2014, the local partnership has raised sufficient funds to immunise a third of a million children.
Both Cherwell District and Banbury Town Council have supported the schools and Rotary in this local contribution to the worldwide effort. Local churches, businesses, community groups and individuals have backed the events and a certificate to commemorate the achievements of the past five years was sent to all involved during summer and autumn this year.
The purple lighting of Banbury Town Hall will celebrate the whole community’s participation and commitment to continue the battle until the disease is finally defeated.
One extension of the local crocus concerts initiative in the coming year is a challenge to local adult choirs to match the efforts of primary school and secondary school choirs by staging concerts next spring. “We’ve had a very positive initial response from local choirs to our invitation,” commented Ian Rodrick, one of the organisers. “The secondary schools concerts will again take place in March – with proceeds shared between Polio Eradication and Helen and Douglas House Hospice. We’re still seeking a date for our adult choirs event – so watch this space!”
Combat Stress Talk – 19 Oct 2019
Dr. Robin Carr MB BS MSc, spoke to Club on Friday 19th October to raise awareness of the Combat Stress organisation.
For almost a century, this charity has helped former servicemen and women deal with trauma-related mental health problems such as anxiety, depression and complex post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
PTSD is an anxiety disorder caused by very stressful, frightening or distressing events such as bereavement, significant accident or injury. He described how 1 in 3 veterans will get complex PTSD precipitated by severe trauma and repeated exposure to harrowing environments: they go to places most people have never heard of, and witness the very worst that humans can do to other humans. He explained that these veterans were left deeply troubled by what they had seen, done and not done, and needed help to live in peace.
These people will present late, some as long as 10+ years when their coping strategies finally break down. Many will use avoidance, isolation, or distraction to cope with the repeated flashbacks, the nightmares, and the disturbing physical symptoms. Some turn to alcohol and drug abuse, and sadly some even take their own lives.
Combat Stress is the UK’s leading charity helping veterans on their journey towards finding peace with their mental health issues. Their services are free and available through a nationwide telephone number 0800 1381619. This is a 24 hr service and leads to a triage process that will sign post the individual or their families to the most appropriate service.
Their website (combatstress.org.uk) also has much to offer. Help can also be found through the Veteran’s Gateway (veteransgateway.org.uk) and treatment can also be sought through the NHS.