Talk: You and Your Hormones – Nov 2020

Prof. John Wass, Professor of Edocrinology at Oxford University and consultant physician at the Churchill Hospital gave a talk entitled “You and Your Hormones.”
He commenced with a quick summary of the the significance of hormones and the medical conditions that can be created in the event of hormone imbalance.

Next he focussed upon the effects of some particular hormones upon the body. These included growth hormone and the way that it’s extraction from human sources had given way to safer biochemically engineered hormone.

He also discussed sex hormones and their use in ameliorating  conditions including sexual dysfunction  and some transgender issues associated with unusual gene sequences.

The importance of the thyroid and its associated hormone thyroxine upon weight, energy, mood etc was described and the surprisingly high prevalence thyroxine imbalance  in women over 60.

The role of insulin in diabetes was more widely known but the fact that losing 10-15 kg often has the effect of controlling type 2 diabetes was a surprise to some.

After a lively and wide ranging Q&A session the speaker was thanked in the normal way for a talk that had commanded full attention despite the vagaries of Zoom!

Christmas Appeal – Dec 2020

Our fundraising efforts have not been immune from the difficulties experienced by most charities in this pandemic year!

Whatever we raise from the Rotary Club of Banbury Christmas Appeal this year will be shared between Katherine House Hospice and other local charities. 

You can easily donate anything from £1 upwards to this by clicking here to visit the donation website.

Rotarians will also be entertaining you with street organ Christmas Carols on Tues 15 Dec outside the old Moss Bros shop, on Sat 19 Dec at the Market Place, Tues 22 Dec in Castle Quay and on Thur 24th Dec, Christmas Eve, at the Market Place.

Rotary Supporting Children in Need Raffle – Nov 2020

Rotary GB&I is supporting BBC Children in Need through the promotion of a prize draw hosted by Raffolux to win a F-Type Jaguar.

The national raffle is now live and open to anyone over the age of 18. The raffle will close at midnight on the 30th November. The draw will be announced, 3rd December 2020

This 2016 Jaguar F-Type in Santorini Black with a supercharged V6 engine could be yours to drive home this Christmas. With just 20,069 miles on the clock, the 340BHP sportscar boasts eight speed auto transmission and adaptive dynamic suspension.

Every ticket sold helps an amazing cause, as 92% of the net proceeds will be donated to BBC Children In Need, who strive to ensure that every child in the UK grows up safe, happy, and able to reach their full potential.

BBC Children in Need’s mission is to help ensure that every child in the UK is safe, happy, secure, and has the opportunities they need to reach their potential. We fund local charities and projects who help remove the barriers that are facing children and young people, so that they can thrive.

Young Photographer: Getting started – Nov 2020

We hope students and club members are begining to get ideas about suitable subjects to photograph for the “Wild Nature” competition.

Below are the basic rules followed by some advice and tips some of which will only apply to those using more complex cameras.

Basic Rules

By what date must I submit my entry?

The closing date is  February 20th 2021.

How do I choose what to photograph?

The Theme set for this Competition is Wild Nature.

The choice of what you photograph is entirely yours, but must be based on the Theme. Your interpretation of the Theme is an important part of the Competition.

What do I need to do?

 You should submit a Portfolio of 3 different printed photos, based on the above Theme. Prints can be Colour or Black & White and should be made on photographic paper, and not larger than A4 size including any optional mount.        

With each print you must supply a brief written note describing why you think the picture fits the title of the Theme.Doing this part is this is very important.   

What do I have to submit?

You must make sure you have included:

  1. Your 3 photos
  2. Your completed entry form with a parent/guardian signature. You can download a copy of the blank form here.
  3. Your explanations of how the photos fit with the “Wild Nature Theme.”
  4. Please also make sure you have written on the back of each photo your name and the name of your school or club or if you are not entering through a school or club – your name and address. We suggest you do this with something that will not easily rub off – like a spirit based felt tipped pen.
Where do I send the entries?

Some – but not all – schools and clubs may collect the entries and send them all together.

You may also send them individually.

In either case the address to use is: Rotarian Tim Bryce, 49 Spencer Court, Britannia Road, Banbury. OX16 5EZ

If possible please use a card backed envelope to stop photos getting bent.

Tips on taking a good photograph

These are aimed largely at older competitors using cameras with a wide range of settings on them but others may find it of interest.

Composing a good photo

This is a skill that comes with experience and practise but here are a few tips perhaps of what not to do, rather than what to do!

When you see the picture in your viewfinder try and avoid :-

  1. Putting the main subject right in the middle.
  2. Splitting the picture exactly in half with a strong vertical or horizontal line. (for example, a Telegraph Pole or the Horizon, for instance between the land and the sky.)
  3.  Having a tree or pole looking like its growing out of a person’s head!
  4. Water looking as if it is going to flow out of the picture and Buildings looking as if they will fall over because the camera or phone was held properly vertical or horizontal

It’s may be possible to correct many of the above using simple computer software or even after printing by trimming the edges off the print in such a way as to square it up!

Avoid Camera shake

Camera shake can lead to fuzzyness of the image. To avoid this very common problem.

  1. If your camera or phone has an ‘antishake’ option consider using this.
  2. Always hold the camera firmly using two hands. A tripod can help in certain circumstances.
  3. Always squeeze the shutter release, rather than press it .I.e. Be gentle, avoiding harsh movements and jabs.
Getting the right exposure

This means making sure the photo isn’t too dark or too light. This will obviously depend upon the amount of natural light around. Many cameras have ‘auto’ setting that do all the hard work for you but if you want to explore making the settings yourself there are 4 ways of changing the ‘brightness of the photo:

  1. the ASA speed
  2. The camera aperture
  3. the shutter speed
  4. the use of flash

You may also be able to adjust the brightness afterwards using computer software.

The ASA speed

This is how sensitive the camera is to light. (It’s not usually something you can change on mobile phones.) It dates back to when film cameras were common. Films that needed bright light had a low ASA number (say 50) and films that only needed dim light might have an ASA number of 400 or even faster. Digital Cameras use the same ASA speed rating for setting the sensitivity of their sensors. If you’re can’t get your photo bright enough you may be able to try again with a higher ASA setting.

The aperture setting

The aperture is the round opening inside a lens which can be altered in size to control the amount of light passing into the camera. It’s usually marked in “F Numbers:”

The smaller the F number – the larger the opening and vice versa.

If your photo is too dark you may be able to make it brighter by reducing the F-number 

The shutter speed

This is a measure of how long the shutter allows light to enter the camera. In very low light the shutter speed may be as long as several seconds. In bright light it may be less than a thousandth of a second.

It’s very important when photographing moving objects. Long shutter speeds give a blurred image whereas high shutter speeds can ‘freeze’ the motion. Sometimes people deliberately choose to get a blurred image to give the impression of speed!


Most phones and cameras have a flash option that can be turned on or off. Obviously this is meant for dark situations. It can lead to photos where the lighting looks a bit harsh but fill-in flash can be useful in situations where the background is much brighter than the intended subject.

Depth of Field

It is possible to control how sharp the subject is relative to the background. I.e. To make the subject stand out.

A wide aperture results in a shallower depth of focus where your subject is sharp and anything further away will not be in focus, so becomes blurred.

In order to keep the correct amount of light if you increase the aperature you’ll have to decrease the shutter speed

 This result is easier to achieve with a Single Lens Reflex camera, where you can more easily observe the effect as you change the aperture. It’s a technique that requires practise and if you are interested then I suggest you find a good photography book or photography website.

Computer photographic software

There are many software programs designed to improve photographs. Many smartphones have this built-in or you may be able to transfer your photos to a computer and use commercial software such as Photoshop or free software like GIMP.

Such software often contains an ‘automatic smart-fix’ option to improve the brightness contrast, colours etc. You can use such software in the competition but it can be quite complicated to get the hang of and so make sure you have a safely stored copy of your image if you decide to give it a try.


There are 3 main ways you might obtain your prints.

  1. Taking your camera, smartphone or memory card to a shop such as Boots or Tesco.
  2. Uploading your chosen photo online to collect the prints from the shop or get them posted to you.
  3. Using a colour printer at home.

The two things you’ll have to decide upon are the size of the print (Maximum A4 210mm x 297mm) and the type of paper (glossy, lustre or matt.)

The type of paper surface is a personal choice. Glossy prints appear sharper and often have more saturated colour, but are slightly more prone to damage and finger prints.

Printing on non-photographic paper will not give the best results.

Enjoy yourselves and keep learning.

Good luck – We look forward to seeing your work.


A few local photos

Below are a few photos taken by some of our not so youthful members of Banbury Rotary Club. We include them not because they are great photos but because – with a few exceptions –  they were obtained at or very close to home.


For full details and to register a school or club to take part visit:

…in lieu of Christmas Cards Dec 2020

Donate to Rotary in lieu of giving cards

As is now the club tradition, members are invited to make donations to the club in lieu of exchanging Christmas Cards.

This year would be a particularly appropriate one to consider this given the current pandemic induced difficulty of raising funds..

Members should log in to the member section to find out more.



Rotary – brightening up Banbury Oct 2020

More crocus corms planted in Banbury

Crocus Planting to highlight the Purple for Polio Campaign

Ignoring the possibility that Friday 13th could be an unlucky day to venture outside, we needn’t have worried – we were lucky!!

The weather was fine and Rotarians Malcolm Dibb, Phil Cavill, Malcolm Douglas and John Bennett teamed up with some Cherwell District Council park rangers to plant this year’s consignment of crocus corms.

Our partnership with CDC and BTC has seen way over 100,000 purple crocus corms planted around the Banbury area in the last seven years, to publicise Rotary International’s on-going mission to eradicate polio worldwide.

The planting this year was on the site of the old Admiral Holland pub, in the bank opposite the shops, so don’t forget to look out for them in early spring time. They should add a welcome splash of colour!

Talk – Carbon Income and Carbon Tax – Nov 2020

Ccl climate dividend cycle english

“Carbon should not flow unpriced into the atmosphere any more than you should be allowed to toss your garbage into the street!”  This was Nigel Deakin’s headline quote as he explained that we are potentially on the cusp of a new, challenging but just and fair plan to tackle one major aspect of climate change.

“Between 1970 and 2019 the use of coal in the UK shrank from 156 million tons to 0.9 million.”  With facts such as this Nigel urged Friday’s lunchtime zoom audience to recognise past success and join the increasing public effort to address the issue in the UK.

It is widely recognised that a tax on carbon is needed for us to reduce carbon emissions to acceptable levels. However, where carbon taxes have been introduced by governments, they have not proved popular with voters, even to the extent that rioting has ensued as in the France (the Yellow Vest protests) and Ecuador, as a result.

Nigel explained that many top scientists and economists across the world are currently promoting the idea of a tax on carbon matched by a dividend that would flow back into the economic cycle of each country participating in the scheme. Carbon would be taxed at source and the money raised paid back as a monthly dividend to all citizens equally. The vast majority of people would receive more from the dividend than they would have to pay through increased fuel prices due to the tax, with the least well-off (lowest carbon users) benefitting the most.

On the introduction of the carbon tax, fuel prices would increase with the knock-on effect of a more rapid transfer to the use of sustainable energy and low carbon sources.

The world is now watching Canada and Switzerland to see how these countries fare as they introduce the scheme so that everyone becomes aware that it is transparently a more just economic system for all.

As Nigel rounded off his talk, audience members  joined in a lively Q&A session highlighting the need to avoid the scheme becoming a party-political football, looking to the strongest economies such as China to take a lead, and clarifying the need for a trade balance across the world with no tariffs between countries participating in the scheme.

This excellent talk concluded with everyone looking forward more positively to the Global Climate Change Conference to be hosted by the UK next year.  Many thanks from us all to our Speaker.

For further insights please visit Citizens Climate Lobby UK. Here’s the link:

Talk – Opera Anywhere – 6th Nov 2020

Opera Anywhere

Mike Woodward told us about the highly impressive creation of Opera Anywhere: an organisation aimed at providing relaxed access to opera and operetta bringing joyous, family-friendly, high-quality live music available to as many people as possible.

Additionally they engage in a significant number of outreach work, community events and educational projects. around the country.

Opera Anywhere’s professional singers and musicians give performances all over the UK. These may take place and are to be found in theatres, concert halls, churches, festivals, museums, galleries or the great outdoors!

Pre-pandemic they were notching-up 65 live performances per year!

After responding to various questions the speaker was thanked in the normal way.

Town Hall Lit up for Remembrance

Sadly  Remembrance Day activities will be highly constrained by the prevailing pandemic but Banbury Town Council have gone to considerable effort to make sure it is not forgotten.  You can see bigger photos of the projections here on the town council website.

…. And remember that almost all charities are going through a rough time because of diminished donations so do try and donate to the Poppy Appeal.


Talk – Women and Peace – 30th Oct 2020

Patricia Earle is the Midlands representative of the Women’s Federation for World Peace in the UK.
Patricia has been working in Birmingham for peace in the community, and around the world, since 1991. She founded a Women’s Peace Group in 1993, and regularly hosts events in her home, bringing together hundreds of women from different nationalities, religions, races and cultures around the theme of peace, building friendship and trust in the process. Some examples of the themes of the meetings are: domestic violence; trafficking; integration; fundraising for disaster-relief in Nepal and other parts of the world; peace-building in Northern Ireland, Bosnia and South Africa, and many other events. Larger events have taken place in Birmingham Council House and other prominent venues. She and her husband set up an Interfaith Orphanage in India for ‘untouchable’ children. The children have been sponsored by people from all the different faith communities in Birmingham.
Patricia has supported initiatives for peace in the Holy Land, taking interfaith groups from Birmingham to Israel and Palestine, meeting people from both sides there who work for peace. She invited members of the Bereaved Families Association from Israel/ Palestine to come to speak in Birmingham University and several Birmingham secondary schools about their work for peace and reconciliation
Another unique feature of her work is the Bridge of Peace Ceremony in which women from different religious, ethnic and cultural backgrounds meet one-to-one, with the purpose of building lasting friendships, and making a contribution towards a more peaceful, harmonious society, helping to remove fear, bigotry and prejudice.
Patricia currently serves on a small Steering Committee in the West Midlands region of the UK, chaired by 2 women Members of the European Parliament, developing initiatives to try and tackle ‘Hate Crime’, which increased in the UK following the Brexit referendum in June 2016.
The Women’s Federation (WFWP), of which Patricia is the Midlands representative, has had Consultative Status Category 1 with ECOSOC at the United Nations for around 20 years. Several United Nations days are recognised each year, and reports from local level activities can be submitted through UN offices in Geneva and New York.
Patricia is married with 4 children, all working in the National Health Service and caring profession.

Below are photos from a typical Women’s Peace Meeting, a Bridge of Peace ceremony in Birmingham, and the Interfaith Children’s Home in India.