Young Chef Winner


High standards were set at the Rotary Clubs of Banbury Young Chef competition on the evening of Tuesday 20th January, when five young chefs prepared 3 course meals for Judges Jim Cunningham and Joy Webb.

The winner Christina Welz’s main course was Saffron scented Monkfish tail, pea risotto, green beans, roasted courgette and cherry tomatoes on the vine. Runner up was Keaton Ward and both are students at Banbury and Bicester College.

Many thanks to the college for hosting the event, Bernard Goodchild for organising, Town Mayor Sean Woodcock for presenting the prizes and all the amazingly talented young chefs.

We wish Christina well as she progresses to the District Final in Surrey on 28th February

Banbury Young Musician Heats

Young Musician Poster

Friday 16th and Saturday 17th January saw over 70 talented young musicians competing in three age ranges with eight different categories to win places in this year’s Young Musician Finals on Saturday 28th February.

As in previous years the standard achieved by the young musicians gets higher and higher giving the adjudicators and extremely hard task of selecting those who would go through to the finals.

The Finals being held at Sibford School on Saturday 17th will be a showcase event of the many extremely musically talented young people in the Banbury area, so make sure you have the date in your diar


helping-handsA huge thank-you to everyone who helped us during 2014 to donated to deserving causes a magnificent total of £43,027 and organised the following events:

  • Young Musician of the Year Competition
  • Young Chef Competition
  • School Practice Interviews
  • Children Singing for Children Concerts
  • supporting Tour de Trigs
  • Family Christmas Festival of Music Concert
  • Christmas Street Organ Collections
  • Party for the Blind and Partially Sighted
  • Crocus Concerts
  • RYLA

Tour de Trigs


Banbury Rotary Club is proud to be associated with Tour de Trigs a long standing event, start originally by Bodicote Rover Scouts in 1966.

On Saturday 6th December the teams set off from Warriner School, Bloxham in beautiful morning sunshine for North Oxfordshire’s toughest non-stop cross country navigation exercise.

The Tour de Trigs takes in a number of Ordnance Survey Triangulation, (Trig), Points, and competitors use maps and compasses only, no GPS allowed.

The courses are 50 miles in 24 hours for seniors and 30 miles in 15 hours for juniors.

Banbury Rotarians manned checkpoint 24 at Brailes Sports Pavilion throughout the night, 35.4 miles into the hike. Paul Shea kept spirits up by feeding the team Sausages, Onion Gravy, Mash and Veg in the evening and a full monty breakfast for those that stayed into the early Sunday hours.

Meanwhile John and Joy Webb helped with the competitors and organisers catering back at the Warriner.

Well done to all teams that entered Tour de Trigs 2014 and congratulations to those that completed this testing exercise.

Winners of the 50 mile senior’s event were the Midland Marauders who completed the course in 16 hrs 36 mins, winners of the 30 mile junior course were Crusaders Winchester.

There was some great feedback about organisation and support from competitors.

The Rotary Clubs in Banbury wish you every success for Tour de Trigs 2015.

Go karting at Oxford


Twelve want to be Rotarian F1 drivers went Karting@Oxford on Wednesday. After the briefing and 4 warm up laps the group was split into two teams for 25 lap races. The fastest 6 and the more sedate 6 then raced off against each other for another 25 laps!!

With a damp track, there were plenty of spins and a few bumps but we all had a thoroughly exciting and enjoyable time. The winner was Johnny (Herbert) Webb, second Nigel (Mansell) Yeadon and a close third Malcolm (no F1 names come to mind) Douglas.

A good lunch, Rotary fellowship and some technical discussions about tyres, corner lines and bragging was enjoyed at The Royal Sun, Begbrook afterwards, definitely recommend the home cooked deep filled pies!

Thanks to Andy and his team @OxfordKarting for a good time and Bob Thompson for organising the day.

Ebola in Liberia


The Rotary Clubs of Banbury and Banbury Cherwell are combining with the Marlow Club to address the desperate situation in West Africa.

They are working with the Rotary Club of Monrovia in Liberia where already thousands of people have died in the Ebola outbreak, and the number has continued to rise.

Liberia, followed by Sierra Leone, are the worst hit countries.

The crisis has led to panic, rioting and fear. The hospitals are not equipped to cope; many have no gloves, no masks, no fresh water, even Doctors are dying!

The Rotary Club of Marlow, have been in touch with the Rotary Club of Monrovia, Liberia’s capital city. They have commenced action with vigour, good sense, and with a real knowledge of what is needed.

They found, can you believe, that the largest hospital in Monrovia had not even one standard Ebola protective garment.

By August 16th, the Rotary Club of Monrovia have given local hospitals 3000 surgical gloves, 10,000 examination gloves, 100 buckets with faucets, and petrol slips for the rapid response vehicles.

Further, they have embarked on a global campaign to raise USD $100,000.00 for this cause. They are engaging with local churches to raise funds, and to distribute the required items.

The Collection at Castle Quay Shopping Centre on Saturday 11th October raised £741.24 and we would like to thank the people of Banbury for their generous donations.

Almost £20,000 has been raised by Rotary Clubs in District 1090 and all the money will be passed to the Rotary Club of Monrovia.

Lucinda certificate web

Our Speaker on Friday 26th September was Lucinda Bourne Swinton Hunter, who lives in Willington, near Shipston-on-Stour.  She is well known to our Club having been a winner of our own Young Musician competition.

In April 2013 whilst completing her “A” levels in the final year at Tudor Hall School, Lucinda applied to take part in the Rotary District 1090 New Generation Exchange Programme. She gave an enthusiastic “Snap shot” presentation accompanied by pictures of her home life and her travels during the Exchange tour.

On the 3rd January 2014, after much emailing, planning and briefings by Rotarians, she was flying across the Atlantic to Auburn, New York State, America.

Arriving in a temperature of -20ºC and 2 feet of snow she was met at the local Airport by her host from the Rotary Club of Auburn

During the next 2 months in the United States, Lucinda really got to grips with the American culture and way of life. She said how fortunate she was to stay with two lovely families, the Ferros and the Butlers, and attending Auburn Rotary Club every week really made her feel part of the community.

The Ferros, hosting family were also owners the Reva Rollerdrome and that gave Lucinda the opportunity to go rollerskating almost every day, when free time permitted. Fine for the first week or so and by which time she became quite proficient, meaning she could skate backwards!  Then on a fateful evening disaster struck!  She endured a rather nasty fall managing to break the left wrist. In her own words:

“and it wasn’t pretty. I’d like to think I’m fairly “manly” when it comes to pain and I managed to last the first 10 minutes tear free. And then I saw that an apple sized lump was growing out of my wrist. So I now get to spend the next 5-8 weeks with a cast and only one hand!”

Mentioning that she had an interest in a career in the Legal profession she was introduced to Law – American style. She was able to shadow her hosts in the local Drug Court, Family Courts and even had the opportunity to read through cases and sit in on meetings.  Lucinda became very much aware of the problems with drugs and alcohol abuse and was impressed by the way some people managed to turn their lives around by taking advantage of the help given them.

Lucinda also managed time to make some visits, notably to Niagara Aquarium and Niagara Falls. She also went up the Tower of the Town Clock with the timekeeper and was given the opportunity to wind it up.

Like every other Tuesday Lucinda went to the Lunchtime Rotary Club meeting, where they always had a guest speaker. On one particular occasion Lucinda was given the floor to speak.

Her time had arrived and she gave a presentation, showing a multitude of pictures of her home, Stratford-Upon-Avon, the family/dog, classic English things, the Banbury Rotary Club etc. They looked intrigued and she really enjoyed herself.

The last rotary meeting was quite surreal.

“Nobody could quite believe I had spent 7 weeks in America; it felt like a few days! I gave a short “goodbye” speech (and when I say short, I mean my version of short i.e. a good 5-10 minutes!?) and just said some “thank-yous”. I handed over the District 1090 badges (Banbury District) and received a very bright orange banner of the Auburn Rotary. I was also given a number of small gifts for me… A mug with pictures of all the places I had worked, some postcards of the Finger Lakes in different seasons, a beautiful navy scarf with the Rotary symbol on it and a book of Auburn in the last century.

Whilst I was very very grateful for the generosity of the gifts, as I received more and more, I was becoming more and more concerned about the space (or lack thereof) in my suitcase.

A lasting memory is the 100 “Oh My God you’re English” when meeting people for the first time.

I got so much out of the Rotary Exchange.

Many thanks to the wonderful Rotary clubs of New York State and the Rotary Club of Banbury for doing so much to make this exchange happen; I could not be more excited or grateful!

After her presentation Lucinda was presented with Certificate of Achievement and Appreciation.

Following the meeting Lucinda travelled by road to Durham University for “freshers week” before taking up a place where she will be studying for the next three years….

For anyone interested in finding out more about Lucinda’s Exchange see her Blog

Matt Titman – A Brodey Bursery Scholar

Speaker Photo Matthew Titman 8-8-14 2Our speaker on Friday 8th August was Matthew Titman who lives in Bodicote and is now, after completing his Bachelor’s degree, intending to stay on at Sheffield University to do a Master’s. He is clearly extremely interested in aeronautical engineering and gave us a most interesting presentation on the development of aircraft allied with advances in structural materials over the past 100 years. He pointed out that the development from the early wood and canvas based structures has now extended to a range of exotic high-strength alloys and composite materials. Part of his recent course-work involved him in a team that was tasked with designing, building and then test-flying a powered model aircraft that they had designed and built. He showed us a film that he had made of the test flight which was quite impressive until the fuel ran out just before landing. Clearly, it had been an excellent learning experience that had given all the members of the team valuable insight into being involved in an engineering project from start to completion. He is currently doing vacation work at Norbar.

Matt was the seventh out of twelve students to whom we have awarded bursaries. Three have gone to each of Cambridge and Loughborough , two to Portsmouth, and one each to Bath, Oxford, Sheffield and Southampton. Most of the funding comes from a legacy left to the Club by Rotarian Ian Brodey, the older brother of Rotarian John Brodey, now Chairman of the Bursary Committee. The original bequest will be used up within the next two or three years, because we had to take the decision to increase the annual payment from £400 to £500 per year, for the three years of formal study for a first degree, after student living costs rose so sharply two years ago. No payments are included for gap, or study years. Another effect of this has been to increase the expenditure a student needs to make when arriving at university for the first time. Matt told us that the bequest contribution had been absolutely essential at that time. Before long we shall need to consider replenishing the Bursary fund, if we are to continue this worthwhile project.

Practice Interviews at the Warriner School

Warriner School Practice Interviews.
Forty volunteers – 18 Rotary Club of Banbury members and 22 other volunteer colleagues – have just conducted practice interviews with 225 students from Year 10 at the Warriner School over three days.
The scheme requires 14 to 15 year old students to submit their CV and a practice letter of application, for a job or course of instruction ahead of facing a panel of two interviewers during a 30 minute session.
From the outset, interviewers focus on gaining the student’s confidence so that they talk as freely as possible about themselves, their interests, experience, skills and ambitions. Being as positive as possible, students are assessed and provided with appropriate feedback (both verbally and in written form) all with a view to improving the future performance of these young individuals under interview conditions.
There is a competitive element to being interviewed for a job in real life, and we try to replicate this – at the schools’ request – by identifying a few outstanding candidates and inviting them to come to a second interview. This leads to the selection of a star interviewee who receives a £50 book token prize. This photo shows five of the six Interviewsstudents invited for second interview this year, together with Rotary interviewers and a Warriner teacher.

The Practice Interview Programme (PIP) was introduced to the Banbury Club over 10 years ago by the late Rotarian John Meeres, who imported it from his previous Club in Thornaby & Yarm. Blessed George Napier was the first school in Banbury to participate, covering some 140 Year 10 pupils each year. The scheme was later extended to include a similar annual interview for 225 students at The Warriner School in Bloxham.
Recent spin-offs include, a regular programme of interviews conducted as part of a Banbury Young Homeless Project mentoring scheme for disadvantaged young people, and individual practice interviews for suitable Frank Wise school 6th form students.
We currently have nearly 60 regular volunteer interviewers on our database, all of whom feel that taking part in the PIP process is an enlightening experience, and a good opportunity to observe how the new generations are coping with current educational, social and employment environments.
There are only just enough Club Members and volunteer interviewers to run PIP in its current form, without placing too much commitment on individuals. So, if you are interested in supporting this worthy programme, or know of suitable individuals with business or HR experience that might be interested in taking part, please contact the Hon Assistant Secretary at the Rotary Club of Banbury by email
Rotarian Nigel Randall

Wendy Biddington – Green Pastures Christian Nursing Home



Friday 13th was not unlucky for Rotarians attending lunch as we had a speaker who was both interesting and informative.
Wendy Biddington, the Vicar at St Mary’s Church Wellesbourne spoke about the new Green Pastures Christian Nursing Home project, of which she is a Director.
The new home aims to provide a home for the existing 30 residents and to provide an additional 30 beds; thus providing 40 dementia care and 20 nursing care units in the Holly House site on the corner of Bath Rd. and Park Rd. in a three story building in keeping with the Victorian architecture.
The cost will be £4.5 – 5.0 million pounds!
Planning permission has already been granted. Builders are working on details of the design and it is hoped to start work in October this year, with completion by November 2015.
Discussions are taking place with Commercial agents regarding the disposal of the current site.
It was interesting to hear that some 7,000 people in Banbury are over 65. Statistically one third of these will suffer from dementia and will need help.
Wendy gave us an outline of the proposed premise which will include a kitchenette, café area “wheel garden” a relatives room and a car park. There will be 8 care assistants on duty.
Wendy told us that they are looking for volunteers in various capacities. They need donations and fund raisers including legacies. She also asked that we might pray for the success of the project, which is quite a large undertaking.
Tony Wiltshire