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April/May 2018

Faringdon Rotarian The newsletter of Faringdon & District Rotary Club Editor: Michael Bell @RotaryFaringdon


‘The Rotary Club of Faringdon & District Trust Fund’ registered charity No: 1023771

PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE It seems to have been ‘all go’ for the last several months. Those that have gone before me as President of the Club have said that don’t worry, “once Thomas is over, it’s much easier......” We have been busy with District Conference at Cheltenham race course on 25th-27th March, where we heard some excellent speakers. Since then we have undertaken Lockinge, Senior Citizens Party, Duck Race, President’s Evening, AGM and Tim & Linda Cowling have been to Zambia to support an education project. As I write this, very soon we have District and Club Assembly. Unfortunately, the weather was not kind to us at Lockinge, so Duck Race ticket sales there were down on previous years. Thank you to everyone who has supported these efforts and for those that came to President’s Night. I hope you enjoyed my guest speaker, Simeon Courtie, sharing his stories of adventures around the world with his family as the “Beatnik Beatles” in their VW Campervan “Penny”. It was good to attend the Satellite Club meeting at Costa a few weeks ago, and to meet potential new members, and a Social evening the following week, where Tim Cowling spoke to them all about the workings and structure of Rotary Internationally, in Britain and Ireland and at District Level. Peter Walker shared how the finances of the Club work, and both talks were enlightening. Thanks to Peter and Tim for doing this. Maybe we could have a ‘reminder’ session of these topics at a Club meeting sometime. I look forward to inducting the new members to Satellite on 7th June. As a Club, we must show that we are compliant under EU Law regarding General Data Protection Regulations, and the way our personal data is kept and used for the purposes of Rotary. We cannot assume if we don’t hear from you that you agree to your data being held, and therefore need your positive approval. If you have access to the Club webpages, please log in and complete the form online. We will also distribute hard-copy forms for you to complete and sign if you do not access the webpages. Once again, thank you to all our friends and partners for your support, enabling Rotary to “Make a Difference.” If you would like to be kept up to date on what we have done, and what we may be doing email and become a friend of Rotary Tim Gerry

TOWN GETS ANOTHER LIFE-SAVER Councillor Judith Heathcoat was present on Saturday 10th March when Faringdon Rotary and ex Round Table 41 Club combined to present the town with another defibrillator. This one installed at Faringdon Fire Station. Faringdon Community Defibrillator Committee were represented by Gemma Campbell and First Responder Malcolm Gee. Also present were Cub Scout Leaders Robert Wiltshire, Jason Green with st two Cubs. The Cubs Section of 1 Faringdon Scouts, under supervision of their leaders, have taken on the role of monitoring the defibrillator unit on a weekly basis using the check list available with the unit. This will ensure that any expired items or consumables are always in date. Also, under the watchful eye of Watch Manager Dave Arlott and other members on call, firefighter Becky Rimmer received cheque donations for The Firefighters Charity from President Tim Gerry and 41 Club Vice Chairman John McKendrick. Rotarian John Moland co-ordinated the presentations having set the groundwork within required procedures for the defibrillator placement. Mike Bell

Nepal Appeal Evening What a night it was. The Gulshan Brasserie was full to capacity for our Nepal Appeal evening on Monday 12th March. The evening began with a Hindi Grace from Kitty Moore. A fantastic meal was cooked by the Gulshan team, who served a Nepalese style Spicy Gurkha Chicken Curry followed by Gulshan fare including Lamb Jaipur, Shabzi Sonali Patha etc. After the meal Rotarian Gordon Hughes recalled the visit to Nepal last October that he made with Bjorn Watson and Claire Booth of Maidenhead Bridge Rotary Club when they took part in the Opening Ceremony of the reconstructed Shree Tara School, our first project after the 2015 earthquake. He then outlined the visit to Saurpani Primary School, high up in the Gorkha Hills, to meet the staff and pupils and discuss rebuilding the school so badly damaged in the earthquake. Gordon then introduced Major Govinda Ghimire, of the Nepal Army, presently studying at the Defence Academy, who was brought up close to Saurpani Village and outlined the challenges of walking for 2 hours to and from his local school. He also spoke about how a small amount of Rotary money from Britain can make a big difference in Nepal and thanked Rotary and our guests for their generosity and commitment to helping Nepal recover from the Earthquake. Our sincere thanks go to the 101 people who attended the evening as well as to many others who gave donations to make a fantastic total raised of ÂŁ2000. Working with our partners, the Rotary Club of Kopundal in Kathmandu, we will ensure that the rebuilding of Saurpani Primary School is completed as soon as possible. Colin Holman

Impact of the earthquake on Saurpani School

Visit to Saurpani School October 2017

Hope and Aid Direct by Mike Barrett Mike asked me to write about my journeys to the former Yugoslavia. I have had the pleasure to make around 15 trips to Croatia, Bosnia, Montenegro, Serbia and Kosovo: both driving and flying. My first trip was in 1997 with Rotarians Ken Diccox and John Greatrex. Our President Tim has been on three trips with me and of course Angela and Sharon have also accompanied us. One rule we had to respect was ‘Keep off the Grass’, because of the mines: landmine clearance still goes on today. I cannot unfortunately recount here all the problems we faced, it would take the entire newsletter! I have driven into minefields, only to be told after the event, then very carefully tried to reverse in the same tracks! Our 7.5tonne trucks always followed an NGO 4x4 with driver and interpreter; occasionally we would have a local in the cab. On one occasion we lost our 4x4 guide and the local asked us to deliver aid to a family up a steep wet muddy dirt track. We climbed about 600 feet, darkness was closing in and with traction difficult stopping was not an option. An hour later after we had made the delivery we carefully headed back down. I have never been so relieved to see tarmac, and the NGO’s 4x4 who had been looking for us. UN and NGO 4x4s are white. I was once tailing a white 4x4 closely weaving in and out and making every effort to keep up. After about 6 miles he pulled over. I stopped, leapt out, ran to the 4x4, opened the door to ask why he had been driving like a lunatic, only to see that I had been mistakenly following a police 4x4. The policeman occupant was completely nonplussed and appeared quite shaken! When the convoy went through Serbia heading for Kosovo we had police escort all the way with roads being blocked off by other police cars, even around Belgrade the roads were cleared for us, very presidential! However, it was different when we tried to enter Bosnia from Hungary. We had arrived after the border shut - missed it by 10 minutes - so spent a very cold night in the back of the

truck. Next morning, we were first at the border, ready to cross on a Bailey bridge. Unfortunately, the river was low, and my truck got stuck with the rear under run bar wedged in the bank. We were blocking the entire road for about 90 minutes causing a 4mile queue, The Hungarian army told us NOT to return this way! Getting into Bosnia took a while as paperwork needed to be checked and double checked. However, when we left Bosnia the snow had come in and at the border they just waved us through, staying in their warm office! Our trucks got stuck on the hill going into Croatia and after digging them out I ended up riding the passenger foot rest hanging on to the wing mirror. This was alright until a 40-tonne truck appeared heading towards us on a road that wasn’t barely wide enough for the two of us to pass! I managed to slide round holding on to the wipers at the front of the truck for support, feeling relieved and quite pleased with myself. At this point my driver put the wipers on! Faringdon Rotary held several ‘Shop and Drop’ events in Budgen’s and Co-op Watchfield where customers would buy extra sugar, pasta, coffee, tea, etc and donate to us for transport to Kosovo. Local shoppers were always generous, and each truck would take at least 50 banana boxes full of their donations for distribution. Excerpt from a 2007 report This Easter we once again went to Kosovo with aid. We travel in convoy made up of 38 and 7.5 tonne trucks to deliver aid directly to those that need it, family units ranging from one to ten people, hospitals, schools, prisons, etc. We do not leave the aid in a warehouse for anyone else to distribute. We know what has been donated and where it has gone. All concerned donate their time free and nothing is taken in ‘administration charges’. Kosovo consists of 2 million people, the two major languages spoken Albanian and Serbian, with religion mainly Islam and Christianity. Thousands died during the conflict in 1999 and it has affected everyone in the country. There are two million stories of pain and suffering each one is almost unbearable. The infrastructure of the country is slowly coming back but power cuts are regular, and wages are low. Unemployment is running at anything from 56% to 80% depending on who is giving the information. Kosovo is only two thousand miles from us yet the poor there have nothing. There are collective centres which house anything from 10 to 50 families, a small stove in the corner of a room, five family members sleeping in room 16 feet by 12 feet, sharing a communal toilet which may or may not have running water. These can be in an old school, factory or a block of flats, some live in containers, some in houses with earth floor; windows if they are lucky. These are the people we are trying to help, and why we take aid twice a year to Kosovo, once at Easter and again just before the snow in October. Mike Barrett

RotaKids We had a very busy day on Friday 16th March! Tim and Linda came to collect our scrap book to take to the children in Zambia, Maybry’s Grandma brought lovely knitted chicks with real choc eggs for us to buy which raised £50 for ROSY, our chosen charity and we also found time to make Easter cards and plant more spring flowers to take to Ferendune next week. Oh, and did I forget to say we also made our finger print on our RotaKids Hare which is going all round our nursery and junior schools before going on display during The Cotswold Hare Trail this summer. Friday 23rd March was an early Easter Day. We took the cards we made and the flowers we planted in our decorated tins plus some chocolate eggs to Ferendune home and gave them to the residents. We’ve never had so many thankyous!

Whilst we were there one of the carers showed us how to make origami rabbits which was great fun. We all had a drink of juice and an Easter treat.

Our collection of stationery things has arrived in Zambia, RotaKids will recognise Tim and Linda in this picture handing then over and you can see how pleased the children and teachers are to get them.

Purple4Polio Crocus Corms Planting Spring each year sees a beautiful purple carpet of crocus blooming in Faringdon, Clanfield, Shrivenham, Uffington and many communities across Great Britain and Ireland thanks to the Purple Crocus Corm planting to raise awareness of the Rotary fight for a polio free world. The planting and blooming of these purple crocuses has resulted in over 1,000 pieces of media coverage and numerous opportunities to tell the Rotary Polio story. Planting the purple crocus corms by Rotary and many community groups is a great way of getting active, having fun and talking to lots of different people about the need to eradicate the life threatening and disabling polio virus. For over 30 years, Rotarians have been committed to fighting to eradicate polio across the world. When a child receives their life saving polio drops on mass polio immunisation days in many countries their little finger is painted with a purple dye, so it is clear they have received their life saving vaccine. The Purple4Polio initiative here in Great Britain and Ireland was designed to unite Rotary club activities engaging with local communities to help raise the vital funding needed to wipe polio off the face of the earth. Rotary’s pledge for a polio free world was made in 1985 when there were 125 polio endemic countries and hundreds of new cases every single day. In 2017 there were only 22 cases in the entire world but if there is one single case anywhere children everywhere are at risk. Thanks to Rotary, and the support of our partners WHO, UNICEF, CDC and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, there are now just three countries still classed as endemic: Pakistan, Nigeria and Afghanistan. To finish the job over 2 billion doses of oral polio vaccine must be administered every year in over 60 countries until the world is finally certified polio free.

Lockinge Point to Point Easter Monday 2nd April morning was spent parking cars on a wet and windy hillside at the Old Berks Hunt Point to Point at Lockinge. Thank you to the OBH for a very generous donation and to all those race goers who bought ducks for our 29th April Duck Race which helped us raise ÂŁ365 towards our fundraising for the Thames Valley Air Ambulance and Helen & Douglas House Hospice. Big Duck Clive entertained in the beer tent!

Senior Citizens’ Tea Party Arguably one of the highlights of our Rotary Calendar, this event brings so much pleasure to so many people and this year was no exception. The sun shone, the day was warm and there was no shortage of freshly made sandwiches and delicious cakes. Tea and coffee flowed freely and there was exceptional team work amongst Rotarians and friends both inside the kitchen and out. Our guests were chauffeured door to door and were thoroughly entertained by Peter and Fiona, Juke Box Legends who once again roused our audience and stirred one or two into dancing the afternoon away. For me, this was the magic moment as aching limbs and creaking joints were forgotten while shaking some moves on the dance floor! Mike Barrett expertly MC’d and most guests went home with a raffle prize, surplus sandwiches or the flowers from the tables. Thank you to the Community Committee for planning and putting the event together and to everyone who acted as chauffeur, made cakes, sandwiches, laid tables, washed up, dried up and cleared up. Together we have put smiles on faces and provided happy memories. Rotary making a difference within our own community. Sarah Benson

President’s Night The best judgement of a good evening is the noise of the chatter and banter and the late hour to which it extends. If that is so, then President Tim’s Night takes and deserves its award. The Reception bar was buzzing, the dinner delicious, the fellowship fantastic, the speaker splendid and a side-splitting story-teller. The speeches short, the toasts were random as is Tim's own way. What was there not to like? I am sure that President Tim's family and friends were proud of his year and his contribution to Rotary. He certainly had earned the night. The entertainment was quite, quite different; unique even. Simeon Courtie: "A man and a van, a wife and three kids and their round-the-world road trip as the world's worst Beatles tribute band" says the blurb on his book The Long and Whining Road. He took us around the world from Liverpool to New York in a whorl of humour and stress, sadness and disasters: but always with a lighthearted take. He told of the Kindness of Strangers with anecdotes and a fresh view of humanity. Great entertainment. He also sold a lot of his books. Well done the Courtie family. How on earth did you return to everyday life after that? Thankfully, Sue decided that the raffle should be held between courses. There were nearly as many prizes as diners: just one other feature to remind me of the senior citizens party. Thanks to all those who gave prizes and those who willingly bought tickets. Yes, it was good to see quite a few young(ish) faces amongst us, some of them from the satellite club. Contrary to the several doom-mongers in our midst, the evening was a great success for Tim G, his friends and guests and Rotarians and their guests, too. Congratulations are deserved to David Langford and his committee for the selection of a venue that rose to the occasion. The hotel is spacious, easily accessible and well appointed. It is fit for formality of a black tie do. Well Done Club Service having a successful event. Now to the 40th Charter Anniversary. We trust you. Paul Rogers

Duck Race Day

from the archive – October 2004


The Faringdon Rotarian February 2018 The Faringdon Rotarian December 2017 The Faringdon Rotarian September 2017 The Faringdon Rotarian June 2017 The Faringdon Rotarian April 2017 The Faringdon Rotarian February 2017 The Faringdon Rotarian November 2016 The Faringdon Rotarian August 2016 The Faringdon Rotarian June 2016 The Faringdon Rotarian April 2016 The Faringdon Rotarian February 2016 The Faringdon Rotarian December 2015 The Faringdon Rotarian September 2015 The Faringdon Rotarian July 2015 The Rotarian Newsletter – Conference Special March 3rd – 6th 2015 The Rotarian Newsletter December 2014 – January 2015

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