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by Mike Gay

For the first time in our 51 year history we start this new Rotary Year with Joint Presidents!   Both President Judy Powell and President Ron Aspbury are also 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, as usual, be great fun.

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.

What have we been doing?

We are only just over three 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 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.

We have been visited by a representative of Canine Partners who was our speaker at our first Club meeting this year.  At a future date were are to be visited by a representative of Transplant Sport UK again as a speaker.  The resultant presentations have and will inform and inspire the Club, by hearing of each charity's missions and how our donations will assist them, by being our Presidents chosen charities.

The most exciting event though has been the joy of welcoming two new members into our Club, Jim Scott and Elaine Fowler.  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' new members and we hope to see more new members arriving to join us. 

Events "Coming-up"

So we have two events "coming up".  On August 16th we have our annual CiderFest event - this year it's "The Not Just a CiderFest" and on September 27th we have our Autumn Gig "Helena 'In Concert'".  Just click on the pictures on the carousel above to find out more about these great fun events and how you can get your tickets.

In addition to the main events listed above we have one or two other activities: on August 1st we are making a Club visit to Broadmead Ranges to see (and hear) some explosions in our "Big Bang Day" and afterwards we are repairing to a local hostelry for lunch (with our ears still ringing I expect!)  On August 3rd some of our Members will be attending the RYLA End of Course Presentation" in the Forest of Dean; our Club having sponsored an entrant.  One of our weekly meetings is going on the road next month: as we are to enjoy a meeting at the home of Member Mike Goodman and have an elaborate Chinese takeaway accompanied by wine or beers (and soft drinks for the drivers).  A couple of trips to local breweries is always a great experience and we'll be doing that soon too.  We are also finalising plans for the launch of 'Spirit of Rotary' in the Bristol City Docks: a launch party and BBQ to look forward to there!  This is the dinghy that, in last Rotary year, we raised funds to buy and fit-out for All Aboard Watersports (Bristol Sailability).

Some of the other events and activities this side Christmas include the Ted Davis Cup Golf Competition in Thornbury, a social sailing trip on the Waverley involving our fellow Zone 3 Clubs, and the continuing District Boules Competition matches. We are getting together a party of our members and partners to attend RC Yate & District Beaujolais Evening, and also to visit Canine Partners to see how they train their puppies.  We are also planning to help out our Round Table friends at the "Downend Firework Display", and helping marshal at "Run For the Future".  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.  Busy, busy - in all these 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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