Archive for Month: July 2014

District Conference 2015


Rotarians Shaena Whitney (from Faringdon) and Mike Ware (from Bourne End and Cookham) visited the Club and gave us a preview of the District Conference scheduled for the 6 to 8 March 2015. An amusing video, using two well known puppet oldies, introduced our DG Tim Cowling who then explained the benefits of the Telford International Centre and how the Programme had been structured to minimise cost while still providing a full experience with interesting speakers and events.

There will be no Rotary plenary sessions on the Friday although there will be a Golf Competition in the morning for those interested and Inner Wheel will have a session in the afternoon when the IPDG’s wife Joan Greening will give a talk on Famous Women as a follow up to her excellent talk on a similar topic at last year’s District Conference. For those travelling to arrive there for Friday evening there will be available a supper followed by entertainment (Fun Factory – a casino plus other “games”) costing £25.00 pp for the full evening or £10.00 for those who wish to eat separately and only attend the Fun Factory later.

Saturday will be a full day with the usual plenary sessions covering various Rotary activities interspersed with interesting guest speakers such as Stephen Howard (Business in the Community), Colin Parry (Peace Centre), and Helen McKinnon (See Saw). In the evening a Dinner Dance is arranged, with music provided by “Real Class” at a cost of £43.00 pp.

The Sunday morning start will see a change this year from just the conventional religious service, featuring a discussion between representatives of Christianity and Islam. This will be followed by more plenary sessions involving talks by senior Rotary representatives from RI and RIBI and covering District projects together with more guest speakers including Gay Morecambe, the daughter of the late comedian Eric.

Conference Speaker

Following their presentation, Shaena and Mike took questions and Ian Calderbank than gave a vote of thanks.

Ian had previously circulated the Club with details of the Conference and has already requested hotel accommodation at the Holiday Inn (located at the International Centre) for those who had responded expressing their intention to go. No deposit is required and all these bookings can be cancelled up to 8 January 2015 without penalty. Thereafter the number of room nights that can be cancelled without penalty is only four until 19 February, i.e., two weeks before the Conference, after which the full charge will be applied for any cancellation.

It is possible to travel there and back without staying in a hotel (1-1/2 to 2 hours each way) in which case the cost will be for Registration of £55 per member and £40 per guest if booked before 31 October 2014. After then the Registration cost will increase by £5.00 pp.

If other members wish to join the group planning to go (presently 21 in number) they should advise Ian as soon as possible so that he can ensure that suitable accommodation can be booked for those requiring it. Also, in a short while Ian will ask those intending to go whether they prefer to partake of the evening entertainment organised by District as above or to do something separately just as a Club.

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

Club Handover

President Phil Cavill, DG Tim Cowling and Past President John Hansford
President Phil Cavill, District 1090 Governor Tim Cowling and Past President John Hansford

The Rotary year commencing July 2014 saw the Presidential Handover ceremony take place for Banbury longest established service club at the Masonic Hall, Marlborough Road,Banbury on Friday 4th.

Philip Cavill was officially installed as the President for 2014/15 taking on the role from outgoing President John Hansford. In the previous 12 months the Club donated £49978.02 to Local, International and Rotary Charities such as End Polio Now. ‘2013/14 was an exceptional year but we plan to raise substantial sums again in 2014/15 to support Communities’ said President Philip Cavill

A full calendar of fund raising and community based events is planned for the 12 months to June 2015, including the popular Children Singing for Children concerts, Banbury Young Musician of the Year, Christmas Barrel Organ Collections, Practice Interviews for year 10s at BGN and the Warriner School and Banbury Young Chef of the Year. Details of all events are set our below.

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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

Contact Club Weekend

International Fellowship in Banbury Town Hall:
Thursday 29th May saw the arrival of 58 Rotarians from France, Germany, Italy and Switzerland, all ready to enjoy (we hoped!) a weekend of fellowship and entertainment – the culmination of 10 month’s planning by the Banbury Contact Committee. 22 visitors to be hosted in Rotarian’s homes and the rest cosseted in the Banbury House Hotel.
Our guests were collected from a wide variety of locations, either by coach or volunteer drivers in their own cars, the whole operation masterminded by Phil Cavill. After registration and a reception at the hotel, it was great to see so many people enthusiastically meet up with old friends.
Arrangements had been made for hosts to entertain their guests that evening at a variety of hostelries around the Banbury area.
On Friday we congregated at the Rugby Club car park to be collected by two coaches, which transported us to our first venue, Compton Verney.
On arrival coffee was served in the Adam Room and we were given a brief history of the development of Compton Verney. We were then free to roam around the gallery to view their impressive display of artworks, as well as this season’s special exhibition of sculptures by Henry Moore and Rodan.
At 1 o’clock we returned to the Adam Room for an excellent lunch, after which we returned to the coaches and departed for Stratford upon Avon.
We had arranged tours of the recently redeveloped Royal Shakespeare Company theatre. Our guides took us round the building, explaining some of the history and indicating the structural changes which had been made. We were also able to view the new stage of the main theatre as well as the auditorium of the Swan. As the tours had to be split into two groups there was free time to enable our visitors to explore some of the sites in Stratford.
At 6 o’clock we boarded the coaches again, to be deposited at Banbury Town Hall where, after a drinks reception, we enjoyed a meal and were royally entertained by the Susan Taylor Dancing Academy, Graham Anker and his magical friends and the talented students of the Sibford School House Band.
After a leisurely breakfast on Saturday morning, we assembled at Broughton Grange around 10 o’clock for an introduction to the fantastic gardens by the head gardener Andrew.
We were then free to explore the extensive grounds and rounded the morning off with copious cups of coffee on demand.
With lunch time fast approaching, we drove the short distance to the Wroxton House Hotel for pre- meal drinks and an excellent lunch, served under the eagle eye of Rotarian John Smith.
The proposed visit to Banbury Cricket Club to educate our guests on the finer points of the national game was rained off, so the afternoon was free for site seeing around Banbury and district, or to relax.
At 6.15 p.m., the coaches were summoned to transport us to Heythrop Park, where, after yet another drinks reception, this time taken on the terrace in bright sunshine, we retired to the Enstone Suite.
There President John welcomed the guests and the President elect of the Aalen-Heidenheim Club invited us to join them for next year’s Contact gathering in Germany.
Speeches over, we sat down to dinner and then danced the night away – well, till midnight. Our “Barkers Carriages” delivered around 100 tired but seemingly happy Rotarians back to Banbury and bed.
The official programme having been completed, Sunday morning was spent socialising with our guests and bidding them farewell as they started their journey home.
We have received some really good feedback from the visiting clubs and it seemed to me that friendships and acquaintances made on previous Contacts had been strengthened and expanded. If you hosted or joined us at some of the events we organised, thank you for your support. If you couldn’t make it this time, give it some thought for the future – it’s a great event.
John Bennett

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.