Blog Posts

Talk – Is that an Escort Mate? – Feb 2021


The above line was the title of Marius Hopley’s talk to the club on Friday 12th February. He’s not only a classic car enthusiast, but also our District Governor, so members were all on their best behaviour. And it soon became clear that it wasn’t a Ford Escort, because his car of choice is the Vauxhall Viva.

The enthusiasm started as a teenager, when his father bought a brand new yellow Viva back in the 1970’s and he was hooked. Like so many “petrol heads”, I completely understand where he’s coming from. My father bought a new VW Beetle when they first came into the country in the 1950’s and although I don’t own one now, they always bring back great memories whenever I see one.

However, Marius is more than just an enthusiastic driver. He’s also a very hands on restorer, having completely renovated 4 different models of the Viva, including cutting and welding in new panels to eliminate the rust, rebuilding the engines and suspension, replacing the wiring – and he still owns all four cars, which he regularly uses and takes to classic car shows. More than that, one of the cars is his father’s original Viva, which he is currently rebuilding for the second time and intends to replace the petrol engine with an electric motor powered by batteries. Nigel Deakin will be impressed!!

Marius enthusiasm and knowledge of his subject was obvious and members clearly enjoyed the talk, it being followed by an interesting questions and answers session.

Rotary Help for Vaccination Teams

Giving Covid a good kicking pricking.

I know that lockdown and the cancelation of so many of our projects (except the Christmas Street Organ collection) has made the last 10 months very frustrating for our club members, as it has for Rotarians everywhere. So a late phone call on Wednesday lunch time from Banbury Cross Health Centre asking if we could help to marshal 600 patients for their Saturday morning Covid  vaccination programme, gave us a chance to get back to some “Service Above Self”

I had suggested they contact us if they were short of volunteers and of course it was a bit of a late call due to availability of vaccine supplies. However, seven of us were able to respond to the request, so armed with tabards and masks and adopting the mantra “Keep Calm and Carry On” we reported for duty.

The program ran from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and we arrived at 8.30 to be given our duties. Alan, Charles and Jonathan were on car park duty (and it was cold!) while Surinder, Alison, Malcolm Douglas and I had locations in the building, guiding patients to achieve a swift throughput. Inoculations took place over two floors.

The whole operation had been really well organised, the Centre staff friendly and efficient and I lost count of how many patients commented on how well the programme was run. Congratulations to all involved at Banbury Cross Health Centre.

And I can truthfully say that quite a few visitors thanked Rotary members for supporting the Health Centre – but as one lady said “that’s what Rotarians do”. For all of us it was great to do something worthwhile again and as Jonathan said, it was a pleasure to actually talk to people face to face (all be it social distancing) after months of only communicating with checkouts at supermarkets. Thanks all, a job well done.




Young Photographer – Extended Deadline

We’re aware of the challenges being faced by schools and youth organisations at the moment and that the Young Photographer of the Year competition may well not be at the top of your agenda!

We do not want to abandon the competition at this stage, recognising that many children may well have already done a lot of work on their entries, or even completed them already.

Here are a few changes which we hope will help everyone.

Extended deadline and entries by individuals

We’re doing three things to try and ease the burden:

  1. Extending the entry deadline to Thursday 28th  March 2021
  2. Reminding schools and clubs that parents can submit their photos and entry forms individually to the address below mentioning the club or school.
  3. If the above deadline still presents difficulties if you let us know we can probably stretch it by a week or so into the Easter Holidays.

Reminder of what’s needed from each entrant

  1. Properly completed application form including a parent or guardian signature and contact details.
  2. Three different prints of photos on the theme of ‘wild nature.’
  3. A brief statement about each photo making clear how it relates to the theme.
  4. Entries ( as above: photographic prints, statements and an application form) should be sent to: Tim Bryce, 49 Spencer Court, Britannia Road, Banbury. OX16 5EZ.



Website Link

Talk: Rambling Recollections! – Jan 2021

Ye Olde Reindeer Inn. - - 116584

On Friday 29th January, we were treated to an illuminating talk by one of our oldest serving members (come on newbies) Maurice Humphris BEM

In his inimitable way he rambled on about the changing face of Banbury town over part of his lifetime covering the period of just after the war to just before covid.

Perhaps he might give us a similar talk for the 50 years after covid.

We were told which shops had disappeared and what had replaced them, some good and some not so and even an insight into the Judiciary system changes.

Truly a walk down memory lane.

Well done Maurice and thanks from members


Strengthening Membership Talk – 21 Jan 2021

Without members we cannot help our communities and we are all aware our club is ageing!

We need to introduce Rotary to a whole new generation to sustain, evolve and adapt to strengthen membership.  Ensuring long term survival is critical.

Come to Brad Howard’s talk onThursday, 21 January at 6pm.   He is excellent at encouraging clubs to think how they can make themselves more attractive.

Brad Howard has had a distinguished career in Rotary and is passionate to see it grow for future generations,

This is a changing world; we must be prepared to change with it.
The story of Rotary will have to be written again and again.

Go to the members’ section for the zoom registration.

It’s also worth reading the Wolverhampton document that we posted here some months back which you can also access in the members’ section.

Social Media Workshop – 30 Jan 2021

The Rotary Public Image Team is offering a Social Media Workshop on Sat 30th Jan at 9:30 am.

To sign up for this please visit the members section for the registrattion link (or see the email sent from Peter W)

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.

When might we get back towards normal activity? Jan 2020


The roll-out of the Oxford vaccine is obviously good news for when we get back to normal activities will depend significantly upon the speed of this roll-out.

A link to a calculator referenced in the Independent Newspaper – based upon government priorities and likely vaccination rates – is given below.

It’s worth a look at but do treat it with proper skepticism given the wide confidence limits around vaccination rates (  you can change various parameters to explore other scenarios within the calculator.)

Some people express surprise at how long this seems to take. You have to remember that if you’re giving the second ‘booster’ injection but keep the numbers injected per week the same the no-one new would be vaccinated for the next 12 weeks etc. Doubtless we can have faith that our leaders have thought this all of this through as part of their strategic planning.

Thank you Banbury – Christmas Collection Final Day

Thank you Banbury for the £2307.26  donated over the three days of the Rotary Christmas Collection..

All charities have been struggling this year and so the generosity is even more welcome than usual.

Collections will as usual be donated 75% to Katharine House Hospice and 25% to other Rotary Charities supporting local causes.

The Club would like to express its sincere thanks to Castle Quay Management and Cherwell District Council for permission to proceed with this year’s collections.

What I should know about the vaccine roll-out – Dec 2020

Rotary – like every organisattion – has been hard hit by the Covid-19 situation.
The return to normal looks a long way off – probably the other side of summer 2021 but the vaccine roll-out may bring limited improvement earlier than this.
There is an NHS leaflet that tells you pretty much all you might want to know about the vaccine roll-out short of precise dates.
You can download a copy by clicking here.