Archive for Month: February 2015

The Dome Challenge

Up at the Dome Group AMonday 23rd February, and Fred Riches and Alan Wolstencroft braved the cold in Greenwich, but the sun was shining and just a few clouds in the sky as the first group gathered in the anteroom to watch the safety DVD before donning our safety gear – jacket, shoes, harness and link which we needed to attach to the chest-level wire that’s mounted beside the canvassy, bouncy walkway that leads up to the top viewing platform and down the other side.

We hadn’t realised the Dome measurements and positioning were all planned in relation to time. It’s 365 metres circumference and 52 metres in height, with twelve of those spikes sticking out – and all as close as possible to 0 degrees longitude.

We were a group of about 16 with a leader. The first bit goes up a one in three slope, so you’re digging your toes in and leaning forward while pushing the link along the wire with one hand and holding on to another safety wire/rail with the other.

Then it evens out gradually till you reach the top. There you’re allowed to unchain yourself and look around on all sides of the viewing platform. Highly recommended for the summer! Brilliant views over the Thames and across London.

However, the weather decided to do the dirty on us and just as we reached the top a large black cloud chucked a mixture of sleet and hail at us through the rising gale. I have a lovely video of two ladies who helped organise the event reading a congratulatory message from a leading international Rotarian. Picture’s great. Sound = loud crackling wind… Hey ho!

Then it was back onto the wire link for the clamber down, perhaps the most strenuous bit, because the last bit is one in three slope as well and pulls on your thighs while you try to keep your balance.

Overall a really good experience – and thank you very much for helping use reach our sponsorship targets.

Young Musician of the Year Finals

On Saturday 28th February we have over 50 young musicians competing in 9 different classes and 3 different age groups to be the Banbury Young Musician of the Year 2015.

Prizes are awarded for each class winner, and winners will be selected to go forward to the RIBI District Finals on Saturday 14th March 2015, following which the successful winners will go through to the National Finals.

The finals will be a showcase event of the many local talented young people. The Junior competition commences at 4.00pm and the Intermediate and Seniors Competition at 6.30pm at Sibford School.

Admission by programme available from Fashion Fabrics, Parsons Street Banbury or on the Door.

Dome Walk


Two of our intrepid members, (Fred Riches and Alan Wolstencroft), will be walking the O2 Dome to mark Rotary Day and raise funds for good causes.

February 23 marks the 110th anniversary of Rotary and our two colleagues will be raising funds for the “Roll Out The Barrel Trust” (, the Rotary End Polio Now campaign (, and our Sierra Leone School projects.

You can sponsor them on the Just Giving ( & Virgin Giving Money (, websites.

We wish them both every success.

Crocus Concerts


Crocus Concerts Help Eradicate Polio

Rotary-Schools Partnership enables one child per Banburian to be immunised!

Last year Banburyshire secondary schools joined together with the Rotary Club of Banbury in a successful collaborative citizenship project which gave young people aged 11-18 in all nine local secondary schools the opportunity to play a part in addressing a world problem.

Following awareness-raising assemblies about Rotary’s End Polio Campaign, publicity on school communities’ websites and the planting of 500 crocus bulbs (symbol of the End Polio Now Campaign) on each school site, music teachers from each school worked together with talented students to perform fundraising “Crocus Concerts” at St Mary’s Church.

The 2013/2014 project succeeded beyond expectations. Local MP, Sir Tony Baldry raised the success of the project in Parliament and Minister of State for Schools David Laws offered his congratulations, stressing the positive impact on pupils and the community of projects like this.

£5000 (£1 per bulb planted) was sent to Rotary International and this amount was trebled by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, enabling some 45,000 children to be immunised. By contributing £1 per crocus planted, the project had enabled one child per Banburian to be immunised!

Both the Rotary Club and Schools were keen to continue for another year. Sanctuary Housing, Banbury Charities, Cherwell District Council and Banbury Town Council have also agreed to support the second year of what may now become a five-year project. (In 2013, the World Health Organisation and its partners set a target date of 2018 for the eradication of Polio.)

A 103-year-old Sanctuary Housing Resident helps Project Co-ordinators Harry Matthews and Fred Riches plant what they think were the 6290th to the 6300th bulbs!


Pupils and Staff from Frank Wise Special School join Rotarian Harry Matthews and Club President Phil Cavill planting bulbs in St Mary’s Churchyard for this year’s project.

The two “Crocus Concerts” this year will be held in St Mary’s Church Horsefair on Thursday 5th and Tuesday 10th March, both beginning at 7.15pm. The 6500 additional crocus bulbs planted by students and Rotarians on school sites, in Princess Diana Park, Bridge Street Park, at Sanctuary Housing’s Retirement Living Schemes and in St Mary’s Churchyard will hopefully be in bloom. The fundraising target is again £1 per crocus planted.