Talk: The Sunshine Centre – Jan 2021

On Friday 8 th January 2021 John Bridgeman Chairman of Trustees of the Sunshine Centre gave a very interesting talk about the Sunshine Centre.
It was created to act as a hub for a range of family and childcare support services for the Community in Bretch Hill and surrounding areas.
Ofsted has awarded the Sunshine Centre outstanding nursery which provides childcare for children from 3months to 5 years, organise classes and courses for families in the Community, and host a range of baby and toddler groups.

It also works in partnership with other organisations such as NHS to provide weekly antenatal clinics and drop in sessions with health visitors

In January 2020 as a result of the expansion of services a new extension was opened.

The extra space has enabled the Sunshine Centre to offer additional activities and services in the Community.
There are English and maths classes for parents and children, English as a Second Language (ESOL)courses, and healthy eating classes.

The Sunshine Centre aims to support and help families in the Community by creating the foundation to reduce inequality and provide support that will prevent problems from escalating or reaching crisis point.
The Sunshine Centre was awarded The Unsung Hero in Oxfordshire Award by Victoria Prentice MP, Cherwell Business Award overall winner.

Have a Safe Christmas2020

It’s not too late to make your donation in lieu of Christmas Cards

See information in Members section or ring Phil Cavill

Street Collections are still happening

See here for times or members section for rotas

Talk – The Work of Amnesty International Dec 2020

At our Rotary Zoom meeting on December 4th Robert Richwood spoke to us about Amnesty International who’s logo is a candle surrounded by barbed wire.

Founded by a UK lawyer, Peter Benenson in 1961, it initially publicised restrictions on freedom of speech throughout the world. AI grew rapidly, initially 15000, and then 200,000 in 1979. Now its membership stands at 7,000,000.

The International Secretariat is based in London and does in depth research and co-ordinates the work of individual national sections – e.g. UK, Chile, Canada, Morocco and South Korea. Their guiding  principles are ; Effective action for the individual victim, Global coverage, Impartiality, Independence and Universality.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights became incorporated into UK law by means of the European Convention on Human Rights in 1951 and has now been incorporated into the Constitution of over 90 countries.

Banbury has an AI group, it was known as Bloxham AI group until 2016. The meetings are now held monthly in Waitrose Supermarket Conference Room (lockdown willing). There are 30 core members and more linked members.

Banbury Amnesty’s 2020 campaigns involve Yilliyasijia Reheman and the Cattle Farmers in Angola. Yilliyasijia Reheman was deported from Egypt in 2017 to the Xinjiang Region of China and has not been heard of since. It is thought that he is detained in a “transformation through education centre” or is in prison. Concerning the Cattle Farmers in Angola, some 65,000 of them in the Gambos region of Angola have had two thirds of their grazing land taken by commercial ranchers which means that their communities are on the brink of starvation as they are now forced to survive on barren and drought ridden land.

Since his presentation to us Robert has sent Peter Wilkins details of Algerian journalist Khaled Drareni who is in jail because of his coverage  of the anti government Hirak protest movement. Peter has circulated the information about Khaled Drareni to the Club and Robert is hoping that some members may write a letter of support to him.

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!

Talk: Cancer Research UK – Nov 2020

Sue Robertson, Community Legacy Manager and Rachel Shaw, Research Information Manager gave us an update on the work of Cancer Research UK.

Sue told us that, although 1 in 2 of us will be diagnosed with cancer, survival rates have increased. In the 1970s the survival rate was 1 in 4, currently it is 2 in 4 and Cancer Research UK is aiming for 3 in 4 by 2035 through working on prevention, early diagnosis, new treatment and optimisation of treatments.

There are around 200 different types of cancer. C.R.UK is the worlds largest Cancer charity funding the work of 4000 Doctors, Scientist and Researchers.

Four in ten cases of cancer can be prevented by lifestyle changes involving diet, quitting smoking and sun protection.

Early detection of cancers is important and Cancer Research UK fund healthcare facilitators to educate GPs, a cancer nurse helpline and interactive website advice. They are looking at ways to design better and kinder treatments. Sue said that 49% of cancer patients will have surgery and 40% will have radiotherapy.

Cancer Research UK fund a range of drug trials and have been responsible for pioneering 8 out of 10 new cancer drugs. Medicines can now be tailored to the individuals DNA and the charity is developing new Radiotherapy machines that target cancer cells more accurately.

Sue said over £400 million was spent on the charities programmes last year. A third of the funding comes from legacies and Cancer Research UK have a free will-writing service for anyone over 55 and without any obligation.

Sue’s message was one of positivity and hope for the future and that “together we can beat cancer”.

Many members have themselves or had close family and friends affected by cancer, so there were many interesting questions with answers provided by Sue and Rachel.

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.

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.

Talk – The History of Gin – Oct 2020

On 23rd October, Rachel Hicks gave us a fascinating and informative Zoom presentation about the history of gin and the formation of her company, Skywave Gin.

It appears that we can thank a first century AD physician for starting it all, when he steeped juniper berries in wine to combat chest ailments. Happy days! Fast forward a millennium we find Benedictine Monks in Solerno, Italy, producing a tonic wine infused with juniper berries. Even more happy days!!

In the 16th century, the Dutch produced a spirit which they called “Genever”, a combination of malt wine and, you’ve guessed it, juniper berries.  By the late 1700’s, Dutchman “William of Orange” had become William 111 of England and introduced his home country’s beverage to his new citizens – and for almost 100 years they drank it to excess. It was now known as “Gin”.

From the mid 1800, the production of gin was strictly controlled by the government, until in 2008, after several years lobbying, Sipsmith were granted the first official English distiller’s licence since 1820. This opened the market for independent artisan craft gin producers, which is where Skywave come into the story.

Rachel worked for the BBC and now runs her own successful media company.  However, when she and her husband Andy decided to enrol on a gin making course, just for fun, their interest in the subject grew. Their course instructor was very complimentary about the gin they produced and this encouraged them research and develop their recipes further.

To cut a long story short, after launching Skyways Gin and in just under 2 years, they were awarded The World’s Best Contemporary Gin at the 2020 World Gin Awards – an amazing achievement in such a short period of time. They are now developing more recipes to add to their range of products. For more information, their website is:

Following her presentation, Rachel answered a wide range of questions from our members.


Talk: Age Friendly Banbury – 16th Oct 2020

On 16th  October 2020 Bee Myson from Age Friendly Banbury gave interesting talk.

Age Friendly Banbury is a joint initiative to make Banbury a great place to grow older.

There are already some great groups and opportunities for older people in Banbury, but for some older people poor transport, unsuitable housing, fear of crime, lack of community cohesion, limited care and support and difficulty finding or getting to social activities can get in the way of enjoying their later years.

The initial  focus is on older people, but the vision is of a “ Banbury for all ages” a friendly and more accessible town for everyone.

Following the launch event in 2018, Age Friendly Banbury is strengthening its commitment to making the town become one of Britain’s first age friendly towns.

This encompasses both the built environment, such as housing, transport and outdoor spaces and the social environment, such as health and information services, civic participation and social activities.

In practice, age friendly social action could include anything from befriending and activity clubs, to  ‘men In sheds’ or community owned pubs.

By offering a joined up approach to social action specific to Banbury, it is hoped that older people will have more opportunities to flourish.