Speaker Events

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.

WarHorse Event – 20th Oct 2018

Ruth Rogers explains the genius puppetry behind War Horse, bringing ‘Joey’ to life!

Saturday 20th October

6.45 for 7.00 pm

Tudor Hall School , Wykham Park, Banbury OX16 9UR


Ruth Rogers is an actress and puppeteer whose notable performances include operating Joey’s Head in War Horse in the West End. Her fascinating talk includes an account of the auditions and rehearsals, a detailed look at how the War Horse puppets work and tips on how to perform as a horse.

Ruth is the Artistic Director of The Canvas in East London, a cafe and arts space that hosts workshops, live arts events and ongoing debates. She is also the founder of the Body Gossip arts and education campaign and produces all of their theatre shows and short films.


Funds raised by the evening will go to support:

  • The Alzheimers Society
  • Katharine House Hospice
  • The Rotary Foundation

Youth Exchange Programme 26 Sep 2014

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.

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

John Ferguson – Snooker

On Friday the 6th June 2014 I was honoured to host Jason Ferguson, Chairman of the World Professional Billiards & Snooker Association (WPBSA) who gave a very interesting and entertaining talk about Professional Snooker at our club’s lunchtime meeting.
Jason began with a brief summary about how the game of snooker originated during the monsoon season at the military station of Jubblepore, India way back in 1875 by Colonel Sir Neville Chamberlain, who, as a young officer served on the staff of Field Marshal Earl Roberts and how it took another 138 years until a world ranking snooker event the Indian Open to be staged in India.
There are currently over 90 registered National Billiards & Snooker Governing Bodies with a staggering 120+ million participation worldwide.
Jason first served on the board of WPBSA between 1999-2003, has been a Councillor and Mayor of his home town Ollerton, as well as founded and ran successful businesses
Just over 4 years ago, when Professional Snooker had only 6 tournaments that year, Jason received an unexpected phone call from Barry Hearn, Chairman of Matchroom Sports to ask him to be Chairman of the WPBSA. Between them both they have probably saved Professional Snooker from requiring Rtn Maurice Humphris’ family funeral directors’ services. But, as we speak, there are now 32 Professional Snooker Tournaments worldwide with over £8.5 million in prize monies.
The recent World Professional Snooker Championship was televised in 82 countries worldwide with a massive 338 million watching the final. It is also not uncommon for snooker clubs in China to have 100+ tables!
The WPBSA have also set up Cue Zone into Schools and have created a new game called Functional
Snooker which is a fun way to learn English and maths.
Jason is also a great fan of Rotary and is very impressed with the excellent works that Rotary does worldwide especially our very strong connections with schools. Since Jason lunchtime talk last Friday, I’ve had several lengthy telephone conversations with him and we believe that there is a massive scope for both Rotary and the WPBSA to work together in the future – WATCH THIS SPACE!
Peter Williams

Andrew Tee – Child Brain Injury Trust

Every 30 minutes in the UK a child will suffer a brain injury. These injuries can be the result of road accidents but also falls, illnesses like meningitis, strokes, sports etc. Broken bones and wounds can heal but a brain injury often stays with a child for life and has a devastating effect on the whole family.
The Child Brain Injury Trust is a national organisation with a head office in Bicester. It has connections with 47 hospitals, support workers across the UK, a web site and a 24 hour help line. It exists to raise awareness of the problems caused by brain injury and to provide information, support and training to anyone affected by brain injury for as long as necessary.
The Child Brain Injury Trust also provides a valuable link between the families, schools and hospitals and where negligence in present specialised legal companies. Some of these injury claims can run on for many years until the full impact on the injured person’s life can be evaluated.
Very little money is provided by the Government and has to be raised from charitable donations and special events like Activity Days and Charitable Golf Days.
Mr Tee’s job is to give talks to organisations like Rotary Clubs, organise special events and raise awareness about the whole problem of brain injury in children whenever possible. They raise about £95,000 per annum in this way which does not seem a lot for the size of the task that they have undertaken.
John Brodey

Its been a Good One John!

President John Hansford:
My understanding of a Valedictory speech is that it should be reflective, give appropriate thanks and allow me to say goodbye.
Precisely 51 weeks ago it was my great privilege to become President of this Club and there is no doubt that it is a great honour.
I have one negative reflection on the year which I would like to get out of the way, and that is in 51 weeks I have not been able to get everyone to say good morning at the beginning of the meeting – Good luck Phil they are an unruly bunch!
You may recall from my speech at the Handover the RI President’s theme for the year of Engage Rotary-Change Lives and as we reflect on this year gone by I believe we will see that through the work within our Club and the Committees we have Engaged Rotary and in a variety of ways have changed lives.
I do not intend today to list items of the Club’s charitable giving, but I have been informed by the Hon Treasurer that the total is £49,978.02 of which over £16,000 has gone to Alan’s projects in Africa, £6,500 to Polio Eradication and nearly £4,400 to our own charity – The Rotary Foundation. There will also be about another £2,500 for Frank Wise for their European trip. I should point out that the £49,978.02 does not take into account the Gates Foundation effect which adds 200% to Polio Eradication donations which I think with the golf prize will amount to £16,000.00.

I would now like to review the year and perhaps highlight the work of the Club Engaging Rotary and Changing Lives.

My year started with the Banbury Symphony Orchestra concert at St Mary’s for Help the Heroes and by co-incidence it will end tomorrow with another concert at St Mary’s this time in aid of the Royal British Legion and the Army Benevolent Fund – I do hope that you have your tickets.
I remember attending one of Jonathan Meredith’s breakfast meetings and after, walking down the High Street with Fred Riches and he suggested the idea of the senior schools becoming involved with the Polio Eradication campaign, one of his initial ideas was for a flash mob concert, but this rapidly evolved into the Crocus Concerts as we now know them – but I will return to the Croci and Concerts later.
In August the foundation Committee held Stephen’s Summer streaming event – it is always good fun and fellowship and with good food – Thank you Stephen and Martin.
Early in the year Martin and I went to a meet the Scholars’ dinner – bad food but good company and Martin and Annie looked after Adonis for the year as he studied at Oxford.
As the year progressed the Club geared-up for the Children Singing for Children Concerts, a four evening event requiring considerable organization and hard work. This is an event that the children enjoy, is community based and brings Rotary to the attention of a wider audience. It also introduces to the children the idea of charitable giving both locally and internationally. I think this is Engaging Rotary on many levels and Changing Lives. Thank you Jonathan and Reg.
The first part of the Crocus Concerts took place in the Autumn – over 5000 crocus bulbs were planted at the Schools and at St Mary’s with the hope that they would flower in the spring at the time of the Concerts – Fred did you see any flowers?
Early in 2013 Simon was on one of his many holidays and I wanted to ask him to Chair the Community and Vocational Committee – so an email was necessary. He has quite often complained about the cost of his reply as he was on board a ship somewhere in the South Atlantic – I hope that I am now forgiven.
Anyway Simon took on the Committee and the considerable amount of work in organizing the street organ collection at Christmas. A considerable sum of money was collected which will change lives and he must have enjoyed it as there are more collection days at the end of this year.
Through the Community and Vocational Committee a donation of £1,000 was given to Lily Ilott for a new wheelchair. I met Lily at St Mary’s and I am sure that the new wheelchair will help improve her quality of life. Thank you Simon and the Committee.
Also at Christmas was the Family Christmas Festival of Music, part of the performance was the Snowman and I believe it was well received. John Bennett was the compare for the Concert and performed with his usual professionalism – Thank you John, Martin and the Foundation Committee.
We now move into 2014 with the heats and finals of Young Musician the 24th year of the event, I must say that we do have fantastically talented young people. I am aware how much work is involved in the organization of this event and thank you to all on the Youth Service Committee who were involved.
Back to the Crocus Concerts, two were held at St Mary’s church with four schools at each and the other at Tudor Hall School. They were all a great success which enabled us to give £5,000 to Polio Eradication. Sir Tony Baldry attended one of the Concerts and in turn reported the event to the Minister of State for Schools David Laws and I will read you his reply:
“I was very pleased to read of your pleasant experience attending the “Crocus Concert” at the St Mary’s Church in Banbury. I think this is a very positive initiative organised by the Banbury Rotary Club.
Projects such as these have an enormous impact on pupils and the entire community as a whole. As you mentioned in your letter, pupils and staff were able to participate in a positive and constructive learning environment with other schools in the Banbury area. I am sure the experience has left a great impression on all those who participated and helped build new and stronger relationships.
Thank you for writing to me on this important issue. I wish the Banbury Rotary Club the best of luck with its initiative.
Yours sincerely, David Laws MP”

In late March a group of us went to Torquay for the District Conference. There were a number of very interesting and emotional speakers including our own Alan who managed to reduce most of us to tears with the story of his work in Africa.
Alan has this year chaired the International Committee for which I must thank him, however I think you will agree over the years Alan has become an expert in building classrooms and toilet blocks and this year has been no exception. He also gathered together and sends a variety of things to Sierra Leone including clothing, football kits and water rollers. He has also this year achieved the status of being blacklisted worldwide as a money launderer and is now not allowed to transfer money. Seriously though Alan has done a splendid job and Changed Lives – Thank you Alan and your Committee.
An event that I am sorry I did not attend was the Party for the Blind, I am however aware it was well received, and those who attended were well entertained and well fed. Thank you Helen and the Community and Vocational Committee.
During the year we have inducted four new members, I do hope that you are all integrating well into the Club and enjoying membership. My thanks to John for taking on the Classification and Membership Committee I think you have had a really good year.
The Sports and Entertainment Committee who organize some of the social events of the Club, which are part of the social lifeblood of the Club, have had another good year. Thank you Nigel and your Committee.
Nearly two years ago I invited a small group, to be chaired by John Bennett to start the arrangements for the Contact Club visit. This is a very challenging event because you start not knowing where to go, how many people will be involved and what the costs will be.
For the event we had 58 guests from the four European clubs and 24 of our members plus partners and as you will have heard there was a surplus for the event, but more importantly someone said to me that it was the best Contact they had attended in 30 years. This was down to the meticulous planning of John, Phil, Martin and David. Thanks to all of you for your hard work, I do hope you were able to enjoy the weekend – I certainly did.
There are one or two others who I would like to thank Helen for all of the wonderful photographs and speakers, David H for cooking the books – a thankless task which he has done well. Mark who has acted as scribe for the Council and Ian R as immediate past President for his wise council.
My last thanks within the Club go to this chap sat next to me. Secretary is one of the hardest jobs in the Club and Paul has done a fantastic job, kept me on the right path and also put up with me for the year. Thank you Paul.
One other person who I wish to record my thanks is our District Governor John Greening. John has attended and supported all of our events, Children Singing for Children, Young Musician and a Crocus Concert and I am aware that he lives at the other end of our District which I am sure has always meant a very late night home. Our thanks to John.
There is a lot that I will miss in leaving Office but there is one aspect that I will be very pleased not to see and that is the 30 to 35 emails a day via the Club website all from the United States wanting to sell the President new vision, new windows, a new car, insurance, cure my tinnitus and diabetes or provide me with 4,000 plans for a garden shed – Ian, you will soon be receiving these as Vice President and Phil yours will carry on.
I am pleased to be able to confirm that we have the green light from Katharine House Hospice to progress to a detailed technical stage for the proposed green energy project for them, but more information at a later date.
I am aware that there are many things that have happened during the year that I have not mentioned – Practice Interviews, Young Chef, darts and golf competitions and Paul Harris Fellowships and many more and I would like to thank everyone who has become involved, by doing so you will have Engaged Rotary and Changed Lives.
In closing I would like to say that being involved and working together is the way that we achieve good things and that friendships are formed and I note with interest in the Rotary magazine that membership in Germany has increased by 27% and they believe this to be because of an emphasis on personal connections between members and their families. Please let’s not lose sight of this.
You may recall that I started this address stating that my understanding of a Valedictory speech was that it should be reflective and allow me to say goodbye.
I have enjoyed this year, it has been a great honour to represent the Club and I hope that you have also enjoyed the year and therefore all that remains is for me to say goodbye. – Goodbye
John Hansford

Club Assembly


Friday 20th June was an extremely important meeting for our Club where the incoming President and his team set out their plans for the year ahead.
President Elect Phil welcomed Assistant District Governor Keith Crawford and presented R.I. President in 2014/15 Gary Huang’s theme for the year – “Light up Rotary”.
Phil is seeking members’ views on how in our Club we can “Lighten up Rotary”, have fun, and make it appeal to local communities.
Phil introduced his team for the year, and outlined a SWOT analyses that he and the 1st Vice President elect had produced, and then asked the Committee Chairmen to outline their plans for the year.
Phil then outlined the District Citation requirements for the coming year and our plans to meet, if not exceed, them.
Keith Crawford’s report on the meeting is as follows:
“Name of New President: Philip Cavell (2014-15) Name of Outgoing President: John Hansford
Numbers Attending: about 60 including 2 visitors from West Point, USA
President’s remarks: Phil gave a comprehensive PowerPoint-supported preview of the year ahead. He introduced the “Light(en) up Rotary” theme.
The Club has published a program of major events for the year over which Phil has worked with his two successors to ensure that the program is sustainable. They have also done a SWOT analysis showing that the club has considerable strengths. The only causes for concern are internal communications, public awareness, and member participation (particularly with older members fading).
Phil is taking the District Citation seriously and has already thought how they can meet the criteria.
Phil then handed over to committee chairs to outline their programs.
Community/Vocational (Chair: Simon Bion) Their Christmas street organ collection will be extended to 5 days, and other activities will be broadly as before. They are keen to support other community organisations both with manpower and with financial support for specific local needs.
International (Chair Ron Barnett) & Foundation (Chair: Alan Wolstencroft):
Their preferred projects will be Alan W’s Waterloo School and Lunge Community Clinic. Banbury will continue their exemplary support of APF and polio, and hope to pursue both district and global grants.
Youth Service (Ian Calderbank substituting for Geoff Pollard): They will carry out their usual extensive range of youth activities (Young Chef, Children singing for Children, Practice Interviews etc) and will mark the 25th anniversary of their Young Musician competition with a special concert.
Membership (John Smith): They aim to increase their membership by 5% i.e. 3.7 members, which they will round up to 4. Two members, Charles Swain and Roger May were voted for promotion to Honorary Members on health/age grounds.
MPRC: (Chair: Bernard Goodchild). They will set up a new website and promote their presence on social media.


LARK – Link Hands with Rescued Kids


Ruth Champion, the current Chair of LARK and Libby Fuller (wife of former Club member David Fuller) joined us to speak about their work with this charity that was formed in 2005 and is based locally in Kings Sutton.

The charity’s origins date back to one of the Kings Sutton Baptist Church’s congregation members visiting a war torn Kenya in the early 2000’s and recognising the excellent work undertaken at a local Rescue Centre supporting orphaned, street children suffering abuse. On his return to the UK he outlined the awful conditions in Kenya, at that time, resulting from the civil war and the obvious need to fund protection for the children who were suffering wide ranging abuse, principally at the hands of warring soldiers. The rest is history as they say!

Since 2005 the Kings Sutton Church have raised substantial sums that have been transferred to the Rescue Centre in Kenya to provide daily food, increase the accommodation on site, provide primary, secondary education and vocational training for the young people. The result – the Centre has flourished and cared for and supported increasing numbers of young children. As an example Lark forwarded some £14k earlier this year to fund a new’ and independent ‘girls’ dormitory alongside that provided for the boys who have been rescued.

The charity has been successful in increasing membership within the UK and can now claim that circa 50% of its members are spread throughout the country, therefore substantially improving its fund raising potential. At the present time the charity is committed to transferring £4k per month to the Rescue Centre every other month on the basis that this amount will cover two thirds of the monthly overhead expenses.

The Rescue Centre is based in the town of Eldoret that is the administrative centre of the Uasin Gishu District in the western part of the country. It was founded in 1910, during the colonial era principally as a form of Post Office support for national and local communication purposes. It remains primarily an administrative rather than touristic location. It is situated in one of the poorest areas of the country and inhabited by the Nandi tribe. At the time of the civil war differences arose within the population, when an election was held and won by one of the principal tribes in the country. The Nandi population did not agree with the outcome – hence the bitterness and abuse that was seen.