Fun and Fellowship

Welcome to the new Team – July 2020

The ‘Rotary Year’ runs from 1st July to 30th June and so the meeting this week was the handover – albeit a Zoom affair.

Good luck to our new team who have the challenge of steering the club through a period when much of the work we would normally be engaged in is ‘on-hold’ pending improvements in the Covid-19 Pandemic situation.

The club, which is  is always studiously supportive of members facing health or other issues, quickly moved to Zoom meetings early on in the pandemic.
As we enter our 13th week of (the now reduced for most ) lockdown we know many members will have appreciated that extra link beyond their household that Rotary has afforded them though this period.

For more about the Principles of Rotary visit this page.



Speaker Event – The A12 – Jun 2020

Nigel Randall kindly agreed to speak at a Rotary Zoom Meeting last month and chose a subject close to his heart – an aircraft! It was a famous and special one to interest us all!
Most of those attending had little or no knowledge of this plane, which is not surprising as it was developed and manufactured by the Lockheed Corporation, in the USA, in the early 1960s.
The A12 was developed as a follow- on aircraft to replace the U2, (the existing major reconnaissance plane at the time) to overfly the Soviet Union that was being closely monitored in view of the Cold War.
The new plane was designated A-12 because it was the twelfth internal design for the code-named project ‘Archangel’. In 1959 the Lockheed design was chosen by the C.I.A over its competitors because of its higher specifications and projected lower costs. The aircraft was manufactured from 1962/64 and flew from 1963/68.
The plane began flying missions in 1967 and its final flight was in May 1968.
Nigel supported his presentation with several slides highlighting images and performance details of the very impressive plane in use, After development and production, the first A-12 was transferred to the Groom Lake test facility and in April 1962 it was flown unofficially and unannounced by a Lockheed test pilot. Five days later the first official flight took place and subsequently supersonic the A-12 reached speeds of Mach 1.1 at 12,000 feet.
The first loss was seen in 1963 when a test aircraft crashed but the pilot parachuted to safety. The reaction to the crash illustrated the secrecy and importance of the project. The CIA issued an inaccurate report of the name and model of the plane and two farmers who assisted the pilot were advised that the plane was carrying nuclear weapons to discourage any tampering with the wreck. In addition, a law enforcement officer and a passing family were paid $25k dollar each to keep quiet. Three more losses due to technical problems were seen but each time the pilots ejected safely. The first human fatality was experienced in 1967. The pilot escaped the crash but regrettably he could not separate himself from the ejection seat and died on impact.
The introduction of space satellites meant that the original purpose of the plane was no longer relevant with the superpowers monitoring the activity of each other from space. The planes were used however in the Cuba crisis, in relation to North Korea and the Vietnam war. In 1968 three missions were flown over North Korea following the capture of the U.S.S. Pueblo to monitor the subsequent activity of the North Koreans and the potential for a further attack on the U.S.
Even before the A-12 became operational, its intended purpose of reconnaissance flights over the Soviet Union became unlikely and unnecessary, as the Soviets improved their radar considerably leaving the A-12 more vulnerable. In any event President Kennedy confirmed publicly that the U.S would stop these flights.
Our thanks to Nigel for making the effort to become the first Friday Rotarian lunchtime speaker at a Zoom meeting. He still has the interesting slides that alongside the Internet offer further interesting facts and performance details regarding the A-12.

Club Speaker – Banbury Cross Players – June 2020


Our speaker last month was Rotarian John Bennett who ran through the history of The Banbury Cross Players first 50 years.

The society was formed on 25th January 1945, before the end of World War II. Their first production on 20th April 1945 was “Hay Fever” and took place in the Great Hall at Bloxham School, there being no other venue available at the time. Because of petrol rationing the audience had to travel by bus, train, bicycle or walk. They decided it was worthwhile carrying on because they played to 400 people over 2 nights.

Over the years their other “theatres” have been Banbury Town Hall, Christchurch Hall, The Church House, College Theatre and their current home, The Mill.

John recalled various successes, failures and heart stopping moments that had happened in their productions up to their 50th celebrations in 1995. He also pointed out that, if it was not for

The BCP committee on their 70th birthday Covid 19, they would have been celebrating their 75th anniversary this month by presenting a festival of one act plays featuring other drama groups from far and wide.

Community Fridge Talk – May 2020

Yasmin Kaduji joined club members at the Friday Lunchtime Zoom Meeting last month to give a short talk about the Banbury Community Fridge. She explained that it is situated at the Mosque on Merton Street in Grimsbury.

It began when members of the Mosque community contacted Tesco to discuss how they could help address the issue of food waste from supermarkets. A partnership with Tesco began and Banbury Community Fridge was born. Since then links have been established with the Food Bank and the CAB. A Hygiene bank was also set up through a link with the Post Office.

Once the Pandemic resulted in lockdown the Community Fridge had to close. As people were no longer able to collect food, the organisers began creating food parcels and delivering these to people in need. At the height of the pandemic they were delivering 400 parcels a week. Once government food parcels were issued, the Fridge volunteers linked with the kitchen staff at Tudor Hall to support local Food Banks.

The work of the Community Fridge, alongside a number of other voluntary groups, to support our local community was recognised by a letter from the Queen and celebrated through reports in local media. To discover more about the Fridge visit their Facebook Page.

Yasmin’s enthusiasm for the cause shone through her talk. What struck me as rather lovely was Yasmin’s Facebook post in response to the recognition by the Queen: “Wow” Wasn’t expecting that!”

Speaker Report by Fred Riches

Zoom Advice – May 2020

Besides the main meetings a lot of sub-groups are meeting using Zoom.

Rotary has highlighted advice on how to set up and run these meetings safely.

You can download the full document here but some key points include:

  • Ensure you have downloaded the latest version of Zoom. Updates were made early April 2020 onwards to upgrade security functions.
  • Use a strong password and not the same one as you use for other online accounts.
  • Never share meeting details on social media or public forums, it allows public access into your meetings. Send your meeting invitations only to the people you want to attend.
  • Protect meetings with a ‘Generate Automatically’ Meeting ID (don’t use the personal one)
  • Always use a ‘Meeting Password’.
  • Always use ‘Waiting Room’ – Take control of who joins your meetings. Set this as a default, it allows the Host to see who’s in the waiting room and allows you to ‘admit’ them to the meeting.
  • Host to consider using ‘Mute everyone’ to block out any inappropriate noise during presentations.
  • Share Screen option – set “who can share screen” option to ‘host only’. This will give added control as to who can share screens, otherwise any participant can start sharing their screen during your presentation!
  • Screen sharing – As host, if you share your screen bear in mind what else you have open, close other windows/applications not required. If used, don’t forget to switch off Outlook pop up messages for email.
  • When in a meeting, think about your surroundings and what people can see and hear around you. i.e. family photos (particularly of children), loud music, TV etc. Why not experiment with adding a ‘virtual background’ for complete confidentiality (specific system requirements are needed to support this, so depending on your device/OS system, virtual background may not be a best option for you). Generic Rotary backdrops for use with online meeting platforms are available below under ‘Resources’.
  • Use the ‘Lock Meeting’ facility. When everyone is in the meeting, lock down the meeting room to prevent others from entering. To do this, click ‘Manage Participants’ on the on-screen tool bar. At the bottom of the listed participants, there are 3 options (Mute All, Unmute All, More), select ‘More’ and then select ‘Lock Room’ from drop down options.
  • Chat function and recording – If the meeting is being recorded, the ‘chats’ between participants can be recorded and downloaded. Even a private chat between two people can be downloaded by the host.
  • Inclusivity – remember, not everyone will be tech savvy. Offer help to members/participants to ensure they can participate in online meetings safely and stay fully inclusive in Rotary activities.

As many clubs are using Zoom it’s also feasible for you to visit some of their meetings if you contact them.

Breathe Easy Talk- March 2020

On Friday 6th March Jenny Smith and Diane Avery spoke about the charity Breathe Easy.
Jenny explained that her mother in law had problems with her lungs and she joined Banbury
Breathe Easy. Jenny started going with her to the meetings and the Chairman Rev Keith Wakely asked her
to become secretary. Breathe Easy is a support group for people with lung problems and breathing difficulties for all ages.

It is supported by the British Lung Foundation which was started in 1956. People with lung conditions and those who care for them often feel alone. Making friends is important and Breathe Easy provides
a good opportunity to enable this to happen. The membership includes ‘fit’ volunteers who help out as well as dedicated health professionals from the Horton Hospital.

The Group raise smoney for the British Lung Foundation which undertakes research but also provides funds locally for respiratory equipment at the Horton Hospital and for the Oxon Community Respiratory
Nursing Team.

AGM Meeting – 24th Apr 2020

The AGM will be held on Friday  24th April at 1pm by Zoom and email

Further information should have been received by email and is also available in the members section of this site which members can log into using the link at the bottom of the home page.


Darts Evening – Jan 2020

Banbury Rotary put a lot of effort into raising money for, and helping out in, the community – but they also have a lot of fun!

January saw the Darts Event at Banbury Cricket Club.
Breathtaking action from President Surinder seeking to hit the board saw everyone run for cover!
In the final, Rotarian Helen Morris beat Harry Matthews winning the darts trophy for the second year in a row!

Thanks to Rotarian Nigel Yeadon for doing a brilliant job organising the event including a fish and chip supper for everyone!


Cherwell resettles refugees – 1st Nov 2019

On 1st November Banbury Rotary Club members received a talk about how Cherwell is participating in the “Vulnerable Persons Relocation Scheme.”

In September 2015 the UK Government agreed to resettle 20,000 refugees fleeing the conflict in Syria who have registered with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Turkey,Iraq, Lebanon, Jordan, and Egypt

As part of the Government’s efforts to achieve this, Cherwell District Council agreed to accommodate 12 families within the district.There are currently 9 families resettled in Cherwell District with the 10th family arriving soon.

Cherwell District Council have worked via an organisation called ‘Connections’ to help new families sort out accommodation, school places, language classes, employment and health issues.

Numerous Rotarians or their partners are engaged with this scheme.

If you are interested in making property available for such families  please make contact on 01295 753766 or 01295 227004 or via e-mail

If you are interested in volunteering for the scheme please contact Connection Support on 01865 711267 or .


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.