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.

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 🙂

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 ( also has much to offer. Help can also be found through the Veteran’s Gateway ( and treatment can also be sought through the NHS.

What we do.

The bottom line is that we exist to provide service to the community (local, natonal and international) from within an organisation providing friendship and fellowship and mutual support.

Below are just a few of the community projects we’ve been engaged with recently. You can read more about some of these by checking out the other posts on this site.

………………and lots, lots more

Who are We?

Members of the Banbury Rotary Club come from just about every walk of life.
We’ve got men and women who are working, or have worked, in Engineering and manufacturing, retail, industrial chemistry, ground maintenance, social care, management consultancy, local government, education, sales and marketing, health and leisure, the NHS, accountancy, the police, estate agency, hotel management, corporate finance, foundry and metallurgical, transport and logistics, agriculture, dentists, security, lawyers ….. in fact – you name it and we’ve probably got a member with either experience or connections.

  • What we are is a ‘roll-up-your sleeves and find some solutions’ group of people of action.
  • What we aren’t is a stuffy bunch of folk looking to feed our egos.

Why become a Rotarian?

  • A Rotarian is simply a member of a Rotary Club. (See What’s Rotary)
  • If you join our club you become a member of Banbury Rotary and it’s with that group of Rotarians that you’ll be working most closely to help the community.
  • You’ll also be welcomed at almost 2000 Rotary Clubs up and down Great Britain and Ireland  and more than 33,000 clubs globally!
  • You’ll work voluntarily on the sorts of projects set out on the “What we do” page

What’s in it for me?

Well – if you’re a person of action then – in a word – LOTS!

Being part of Rotary is more than just giving back to the community.

It is also about you bringing your skills, experience and enthusiasm into play in a way that helps it thrive, whilst making some great friends along the way.

Our club is a friendly place which invites speakers from a wide range of backgrounds to share their knowledge, increasing the social and cultural understanding that we can bring to bear on projects.

What’s Rotary?

Rotary is a global network of 1.2 million neighbours, friends, leaders, and problem-solvers who see a world where people of action can unite to create lasting change across the globe, in our communities, and also in ourselves.

There are six broad causes that focuses our work focuses upon:

    1. Promoting peace
    2. Fighting disease
    3. Providing clean water, sanitation, and hygiene
    4. Saving mothers and children
    5. Supporting education
    6. Growing local economies

Charles Pollard Talk – 2nd June 2017

Sir Charles Pollard QPM – 40 Momentous Years that Changed the UK
7.00 pm for 7.45 on Friday 2 June 2017
Tudor Hall School, Wykham Park,
(with kind permission of the Headmistress, Wendy Griffiths).

Sir Charles Pollard has been an eminent figure in policing, both nationally and internationally, and still works in the Justice system today.  Retiring in 2002 from Thames Valley Police, the largest non-metropolitan police force in the country, he had earlier progressed through the middle police ranks in London and Sussex during one of the most turbulent periods of recent history, during which time he was personally involved in many of the key policing events:.

Sir Charles began his career at the age of 19 in 1964 as a constable in the Metropolitan Police and was selected for the ‘fast-track promotion course’ at Bramshill Police College. From there he took an LLB at the University of Bristol. Through the 1970s and 1980s he pursued an eventful and successful policing career in London and Sussex and in 1991 was appointed Chief Constable of Thames Valley Police, covering 3 counties with a population of over 2.5 million.

The talk will include, among other things, his personal experiences of the policing of public disorder, crime and terrorism.  We look forward to welcoming Rotarians, local Parishioners and the General Public

Guru Aasra Trust Talk – 18th Jan 2019


Rotarian Surinder Dhesi spoke as about the Guru Aasra Trust providing homes for the homeless in India.
She explained the background of the Trust’s formation and how it helps to provide care to children and prepare them for their life ahead.

Guru Aasra Trust in Mohali, India. The Trust was set up when four Sikh women were arrested and imprisoned after the 1984 Sikh massacre in Punjab,India and they made a pact with each other.
They promised whoever would survive should look after all of their children and two ladies survived and the other two did not.
The main objective of the Trust is to shape the lives of destitute children and give them a good education and enable them with skills to be
The Trust also looks after older people who have no other relatives and spouses and  children who are victims of drug abuse partners.

You can read more here


Brodey Scholarship Talk – 14 Sept 2018

Gemma Rowe-Jones is recipient of a Brodey Scholarship from Banbury Rotary to encourage young people into high-quality engineering courses.
She is studying Civil and Architectural Engineering at the University of Bath.
After two years she took a one year placement with ACOM in St. Albans who are an international firm of structural consultants. Among other things the firm
were working on the Thames Tideway Tunnel which is being designed to divert surface water from the Thames.
Gemma told us that she is also involved in the Northern Estate Programme to revitalise large circa 1900 blocks of residential houses.
After returning to Bath University to complete her three year degree she will stay on for an extra year to obtain a MEng.