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News of the many social and charitable activities and events undertaken by Marlborough and District Rotary Club 

Reports of earlier events are in Club News Archives (found under "What We Do")

22 April 2017:  Rotarians Check the Pulse of Marlborough

Last Saturday, 22 April, we linked with the Stroke Association to hold one of the countrywide sessions of “Know Your Blood Pressure Day” . High blood pressure is one of the factors contributing to heart failure and strokes and this annual event is held to raise awareness of the fact and to measure the blood pressure of those concerned by the possibility. 

Organiser in Chief Martin Luxford dispatched teams of Rotarians to either side of the Marlborough High Street with “A Boards” and leaflets to persuade and recruit passers-by as candidates to be sent to the Jubilee centre and the attention of the inside team.  There Rotarians, led by President Sally and ably supported and monitored by Dr Pam Tulloch, took their blood pressure, filled out the necessary paperwork for the Stroke Association and advised approximately 60 people of the status of their blood pressure. 

The number of people tested were less than in previous years but possibly this was an encouraging sign as many of the people approached in the street retorted that they were either being monitored regularly by their doctors or that they had a monitoring device at home.  Like many events of this nature the objective is to make the event itself unnecessary by eliminating the need.  Know Your Blood Pressure day is nowhere near this stage but it is moving in the right direction, at least in Marlborough. But no doubt Rotarians will be out touting for business and measuring Marlborough residents and visitors blood pressures in 2018 and several years thereafter. 

10 April 2017:  Rotarians Struggle with Quiz Answers

Quizmasters and Rotarians Don Ross and Peter Lincoln laid on a typically difficult quiz to entertain Rotarians partners and visitors at last Mondays Meeting. Questions ranged from the difficult through the impossible to the sheer guess and none of the teams scored anywhere near the maximum twenty points available.  

After the marking session and despite several challenges, none of which were upheld, the winning team led by Peter Waine, at least he claimed to be the leader to the writer, took honours with 12 points which won the the magnificent prize of a miniature bottle of champagne each.  

During the evening a presentation by the Upland Educational Trust at Horizons College describing their operation of providing specialist learning for young people with a learning or physical disability. This was followed by the Rotary Clubs of Swindon explaining their aim to raise funds to purchase a minibus to transport the college students. 

8 April 2017: Spring Fayre raises £2200 for Radiotherapy Appeal 

Last Saturday, 8 April, visitors flocked to the Bouverie Hall in Pewsey to attend our Spring Fayre, enabling us to raise more than £2200 for the Great Western Hospital’s Radio Therapy Appeal.

Rotarians had laid out the hall the previous evening and arrived at crack of dawn on the Saturday to ensure that everything was ready for the arrival of the 20 stallholders and the 10am opening time. Visitors browsed the wide variety of items on sale including plants, homemade cakes, handbags, jewellery, silk flowers, socks and candles, before chancing their luck on the tombola and raffle.   A cup of tea and cake at the Rotary cafe finished off a very pleasant and hopefully rewarding visit. 

The pictures show vistors in the hall, the Rotary cake stall and our President sally Wolfenden and Sue Dailly enjoying a well earned break .

3 April 2017:  Ronnie Stronge Communicates with Rotary

Whilst playing golf one morning with the seniors group Ronnie Stronge made the mistake of playing with Rotarian Tony Green, our speaker finder.  Ronnie was obviously distracted because during the course of a conversation about what he did as a career he found that he had agreed to come along to talk to Rotary.    

As we soon learned Ronnie is no stranger to public speaking as he spent much of his career organising conferences and workshops for major companies, encouraging and coaching people to improve their communication skills and to make public presentations. His talk was entitled “Communication” and that is exactly what he did in a most entertaining manner.  Ronnie is pictured before the talk with our president Sally Wolfenden

Tony Spranger made the Vote of Thanks before the evening concluded with the Rotary toast.

1 April 2017:  Rotarians Fool No-one and Collect £1500

Saturday 1 April saw Rotarians and friends collecting for Marie Curie Daffodil Appeal. The day was fine which encouraged the citizens and visitors to come out and browse the shops and also to generously donate over £1500 to the worthy cause.  The picture shows Rotarian organiser Rex Sandbach in his collecting attire.

20 March 2017:  The Story of the SS Great Britain Fascinates Rotarians

A large gathering of Rotarians, partners and wives attended the talk at last Monday’s meeting at the Marlborough Golf Club given by Ian Caskie, a Visitor Services Volunteer of the SS Great Britain Trust.  Ian gave a most entertaining and informative talk about this famous ship, from her commissioning by the Great Western Steamship Company in the 1840’s to her return to Bristol on a pontoon from the Falklands in 1970 through her subsequent refurbishment and her current status as major tourist attraction.. 

The group learned that the ship was designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel (IKB) and at its commissioning in 1843 was the biggest and fastest ship afloat. She was the first iron ship, was fitted with a 100hp steam engine, the most powerful at the time and was the first to be driven by a screw propellor. It was astonishing to learn that all this was only 38 years after the battle of Trafalgar and the traditional square rig ships of the line such as HMS Victory, and vast age apart in design and capability.

But she had a chequered history, after only 5 voyages to the United States she ran aground on an Irish beach, where she stayed for almost a year before being refloated.  The cost bankrupted her owners and in 1852 she had sailing capacity extended and was converted to an auxiliary steamship carrying gold prospectors to the newly found Australian goldfields. On the demise of the gold rush in 1882 she was converted to coal carrier, had her engines removed and her topsides clad in pine and started carrying coal from Wales to California. In 1886 she was severely damaged in a storm of Cape Horn and returned to the Falklands where she lay, unprepared for many years until 1937 when she was sold for £2000 and scuttled.  Her current phase of life started when it was decided to salvage this important ship and return her to Bristol, her home port. The 8000 mile tow took 49 days and she arrived on 19 July 1970. 

A fantastic amount of work has been performed by volunteers and skilled workman to restore her to her current pristine state, helped nota little by National Lottery funding.

The Vote of Thanks was made by Rob Mitchenall who congratulated Ian on his stimulating talk, which encouraged Rotarians to make visits to see this famous ship

12 March 2017: Isobel Does Us Proud in Young Musician Final

Sunday the 12th of March saw the Instrumental and Vocal District finalists go head to head for the title of Rotary District 1100 Young Musician, in both Instrumentalist and Vocal disciplines, generously hosted at Dean Close School Cheltenham and MC’d by Andrew Turner of Tewkesbury Rotary Club. The standard amongst the four instrumentalists and two vocalists was very high providing an array of classical and modern music.

The Instrumental contestants were 

  • Edwin Ward, on piano, (Sponsored by South Cotswold Rotary), performed Impromptu in E flat, Op2, by Franz Schubert, Mistry by Errol Garner and Liebestraum No 3 by Franz Liszt
  • Isobel Haynes, on the Cello, (Sponsored by The Rotary Club of Marlborough), performed Andante from Concerto No1 by Julius Klengel and Allegro Appassionato by Camille Saint-Saens.
  • Kimberley Mok, on piano, (Sponsored by the Rotary clubs of Cheltenham Sunrise, Gloucester, Tewkesbury and North Cotswolds), performed 1st Movement of Sonata in A Minor K310 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Jardins sous la plume from Estampes by Claude Debussy.
  •  Amelia Gilmartin, on violin,(Sponsored by the Rotary Club of Bristol), performed violin concerto No3 in G major, K216 1st movement and cadenza by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Salut d’Amour, Op.12, by Edward Elgar

The Vocal contestants were

  • April Perrott, (Sponsored by the Rotary Clubs of Cheltenham Sunrise, Gloucester, Tewkesbury and North Cotswolds), performed Lascia Ch’io Ping by George Frideric Handel, Something Wonderful from The King and I by Oscar Hammerstien and Richard Rogers followed by If My Friends Could See Me Now from Sweet Charity by Cy Coleman and Dorothy Fields.
  • Caitlin MacClay, (Sponsored by The Rotary Club of Swindon North), performed Sweet Chance, that led my steps abroad by William H Davies and Michael Head. An die Late by Johann Friedrich Rochlitz and Franz Schubert and closing with Second hand white baby grand by Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittmann.

The competition was supported by three exceptional adjudicators, without whom the competition would not have been possible, Julia Morris, Sara Espley and Stephen McDade who together have a very extensive formal musical education, teaching experience and global performance repertoire. After deliberation judge Stephen McDade gave a detailed over-view of the criteria they were looking for other than the actual performance including contact with the audience and musicality. 

Sadly there could only be one winner in each category and these were Kimberley Mok on Piano and vocalist April Perrott.  Kimberley and April now progress to the Regional Final on 26th of March in Telford and success here could lead to a place in the National Final on Saturday 6th of May at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, Cardiff. We wish them both the best of luck.

6 March 2017: Erlestoke Prison Governor Explains Life Behind Bars

On Monday Rotarians, partners and friends listened with much interest to guest speaker Amanda Corrigan, a governor from Erlestoke Prison.  She began by describing her earlier career: following graduation  from University she joined the police force and then after two years worked for the probation service. Later, in 1998, she joined the prison service working in various prisons, including the notorious Wandsworth. 

After gaining qualifications and promotions she moved to Shepton Mallet prison in 2006, prior to taking up her present post. Erlestoke is a Category C prison for adult male sentenced offenders.  It is built on the former grounds of Erlestoke Manor House and after several expansions now has capacity of 525, currently reduced to 390 due to damage that occurred in one of the wings last year .


Amanda explained that the prison focus is firmly fixed on reducing reoffending and preventing future victims of crime by preparing offenders for their release through accredited intervention programmes, skill and vocational based training and education in a pro-social environment. At all times the staff endeavour to maintain a safe and secure prison whilst delivering a drug and alcohol free community. 


The evening concluded with a question and answer session where she explained that the annual budget was just over £2million or £20,000 per prisoner per year.  In response of being asked if she ever felt in danger whilst working on the prison she replied, ‘Never, at any time do I ever feel intimidated, or in fear of danger, during my working day. However, working in a prison today is extremely difficult for the staff but it should improve over time.’

5 March 2017:  District 1100 Young Chef Final Shows off Great Talent

Six very talented young chefs, aged 12 to 17  competed for just two places in the Regional Final on the 18th of March, being hosted at Rugby College, Rugby. CV21 1AR. All were highly skilled, having produced excellent dishes during the previous rounds of the competition, making this District Final a very close-run event. The final was held on 25 February 2017 at The Cotswold School and was lucky to have two experienced chefs, David Kelman and Wayne Sullivan as judges.  Eleanor West from Pewsey Vale School and sponsored by our Club was one of these six.

The Young Chef competition aims to encourage young cooking enthusiasts to develop food presentation skills, organisational and planning skills, and to demonstrate their ability to cope in a demanding situation. As in previous years, the standard, both of food preparation and of presentation, has been very high, and this fits with Rotary’s aim to give opportunities to young people, and to encourage the pursuit of excellence. 

Meeting Information...

Marlborough Golf Club, The Common, Marlborough, We meet on Mondays at 7.00pm for 7.30pm Marlborough Golf Club, The Common, Marlborough, SN8 1DU tel: 01672 512147

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