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by Mike Gay

For the first time in our 51 year history we have joint Presidents with both President Judy Powell and President Ron Aspbury having been past F&D Presidents, in 2004/5 and 2006/7 respectively.  So the Club is in good hands (all four of them!)  This unusual arrangement is due to both Judy and Ron having too many commitments to be able to spend the year as a sole President: both having stepped forward to the calling, at relatively short notice, when our original choice for President had to step down.

Our Presidents have set-up for a busy year, as we are to support two main charities Canine Partners and Transplant Sport UK, plus we will also be supporting a basket of local charities, as well as the Rotary Foundation including End Polio Now.  To facilitate this we are arranging a series of fundraising events, and community service events plus, of course, our legendary social events which will generate abundant fellowship and, as usual, be great fun.   The President's Newsletter can be seen here.

In fact as you see we try, in everything we do, to have a great deal of fun; that is a major strength of our Rotary Club.  The joy of having fun makes the task of putting something back into our community and supporting good causes locally, nationally and internationally, so much easier.

Unhappily we have to annouce that sadly Reg Tully has passed away after a relatively short illness.  Reg joined our Club in the Rotary year 1967-68, he became Club President in 1978-79 and was made a Paul Harris Fellow in 2011-12.  Reg decided in 2012 that he would retire from Rotary and became a Honorary Member.  Reg will be missed by all at our Club as he was a inspiring Rotarrian, a perfect gentleman, and a friend to all.  

What have we been doing?

We are only just over six weeks into our new year and we have already been busy.  On July 16th, at Christ Church Downend, we presented 70 copies of The Usborne Illustrated Dictionary as part of Rotary's "Dictionary 4 Life Project".  All Year 6 leavers at Christ Church Junior School, were presented the personally dedicated free book to help them in their continuing studies.  We held a World Cup Day Family Party at President Judy's home and saw the German's triumph again!  We put-up a stall at the Frenchay Horticultural Show selling second-hand books, CDs, DVDs and games but the event was badly affected by thunder storms and torrential rain.  We have had a number of Boules matches with two Club teams involved this season.  President Judy and President Elect Mike did a Foodbank collection duty at Tesco Keynsham and collected 12 crates of donated foodstuffs.  A party of Club Rotarians also attended an Opera Night to hear popular arias, operatic excerpts and other songs performed in an operatic style. 

On August 1st we made a Club visit to Broadmead Ranges to see (and definately hear and feel) some explosions in our "Big Bang Day".  The visit to Alford Technologies was great fun and very interesting; we shown demontrations of explosively punching holes into steel using shaped charges of copper, water and phosphorus.  Then we saw a car cleared of passenger comparment bombs and booby trap detonators and ultimately blown-up to remove boot-bombs. Afterwards we repaired to the Rodney Stoke Inn for calming drinks for our more nervous members (as if!) and a super lunch.  Later in the same day the team of Members organising the August Gig visited The Royal George in Purton, Nr. Swindon to see the wonderful and very telented Helena perform her musicOn August 3rd some of our Members attended the RYLA End of Course Presentation" in the Forest of Dean; our Club having sponsored an entrant.

On August 16th we held our 9th annual CiderFest event - this year it was the "Not Just a CiderFest" a great evening with a 70's revival glam-rock band called "Same Old Faces".  We danced to songs of Slade, Sweet, Mud, and T Rex augmented by covers of 60's and 70's pop from Abba, The Beatles, The Stones, Kiki Dee, Van Morrison, Joan Jet, Tina Turner, Alice Cooper, Bowie, B52s, The Supremes, Donna Summer, and Status Quo - fantastic!  All those old songs that we thought would have been long-forgotten by now!  It was huge fun to hear 'Monster Mash' by Bobby 'Boris' Picket and the Crypt-Kickers played, as the vocalist joined the dancers.  The band played brilliantly, made it fun by dressing in glam-rock gear, and wigs.  There was a full lighting rig (including disco lights) and a great PA that was not played too loud.  All that and a free BBQ for a 10'er - what more could you want?.  Well OK a licensed bar - and that was there too!  Where else could you get such a great night out for 10?  If you weren't there you missed a real treat! 

Back at our weekly meetings, we have been visited by a representative of Canine Partners who was our speaker at our second Club meeting this year.  At a future date were are to be visited by a representative of Transplant Sport UK again as a speaker.  These presentations inspire the Club, by hearing of each charity's mission and how our donations will assist them, by being our Presidents chosen charities.  On August 14th our weekly Club meeting went on the road: as we enjoyed meeting at the home of Member Mike Goodman and his lovely wife and hostess Victoria.  We enjoyed an elaborate Chinese takeaway, with delicious desserts kindly supplied by other members including Elaine Fowler (our newest recruit).  This was all accompanied by wine and beers (and soft drinks for the drivers).

The most exciting event though has been the joy of welcoming two new Members into our Club, Jim Scott and, as previously mentioned, Elaine Fowler who has fitted in very well and has shown us how much she can really enjoy herself.  Formerly the club Members had hailed only from England and Ireland (including, it should be noted, Members from the independent states of Cornwall and Yorkshire) but we now enjoy a Scottish and Welsh contingent.  We are always delighted to 'badge-up' members and we hope to see more new members arriving to join us. 

Events "Coming-up"

So we have a major event "coming up" on September 27th with our Autumn Gig "Helena 'In Concert'".  Just click on the pictures on the carousel above to find out more about this great fun event and how you can get your tickets.

In addition to the main event mentioned above we have one or two up and coming activities on our agenda.   On September 5th there is a Foodbank collection at Sainsbury's Castle Court store and later the same day we have a social sailing trip on the Waverley involving our fellow Zone 3 Clubs.  As usual we will be helping marshal at "Run For the Future" a great event on September 14th in support of Prostate Cancer research and treatment.  Also we are finalising plans for the launch of the 'Spirit of Rotary' dinghy in the Bristol City Docks: on the afternoon of September 20th, a party and BBQ to look forward to there!  This is the dinghy that, in last Rotary year, we raised 7,000 to buy and fit-out for All Aboard Watersports (Bristol Sailability).  The continuing District Boules Competition matches are to be played before the end of the month, being wonderfully consistent neither team has qualified for the next round of the competition.

Some of the other events and activities this side Christmas include the Ted Davis Cup Golf Competition in Thornbury, also to visit Canine Partners to see how they train their puppies.  A couple of trips to local breweries is always a great experience and we'll be doing that soon too.  We are also planning to help out our Round Table friends at the "Downend Firework Display", and there are rumours of more Foodbank collections.  Also we should not forget, as if we could, Rotary Young Musician, a competition where our own Derek James PHF is District Chairman, so watch out in for details of the Avon Final in October. 

So it's busy, busy - all of these activities are great fun to do: so if your life lacks a certain something, then why not join our Club and get involved.

The Rotary Club of Fishponds and Downend is a Registered Charity No. 1034555

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