Club News


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")

12 November 2018:  A Busy Night in Rotary

Marlborough Rotarian had busy night at their Monday meeting.  The evening opened with President Stewart Dailly presenting a cheque for £600 to Julia’s House. Phil Stevens, who collected the cheque gave fulsome thanks and explained the importance of continuous funding for this very worthy cause. He also talked about the impact on the siblings and parents of the children in the hospice and the importance of considering them in the care programme.

The evening continued with our District Governor, Joan Goldsmith, giving an interesting talk starting with her background in education and the probation service, through to her life in Rotary and her experiences and objectives as District Governor.  It surprised many Rotarians how much international travel was involved in the post, never mind the the very time consuming, if absorbing, tasks that seemed to leave very little time for a “non Rotary” life.  It became obvious that a DG needs a very understanding and committed spouse/partner during their tenure and in her husband, David, Joan seems to have found the ideal person. 

Don Ross gave the Vote of Thanks and DG Joan then left with her “driver for the night”  Leon. 

11 November 2018:  Rotary supports "The Battles Over" Event

In conjunction with the Marlborough Town Council Marlborough & District Rotary Club played a significant part in organising running the "Battles Over" Event and Beacon Lighting on Marlborough Common. 

The event, which took place under starlit sky was resounding success and pictures and a full account can be read at Marlborough on Line by following this link.

11 November: Marlborough Remembers - WW1 Ends

Marlborough & District Rotary Club and Marlborough Town Council are playing their part in Battle’s Over, an international commemoration marking 100 years since the guns fell silent at the end of World War I.

At 6.55pm a bugler will sound the Last Post at Marlborough's Battle's Over Ceremony on The Common and at more than 1,000 other locations, and at 7pm a beacon will be lit, in a tribute called Beacons of Light, signifying the light of peace that emerged from the darkness of four years of war. Then at 7.05pm bell ringers at St Mary’s Church will join other churches across the country ringing their bells as part of Ringing Out for Peace and Marlborough's Town Crier, Mike Tupman, with more than 100 other Town Criers up and down the country and around the world, will perform a specially-written Cry for Peace Around The World.  Finally, as the bells continue ringing in the background, the names of Marlborough people who fell will be remembered.

For more information and the full press release follow this link.  Battle's Over

For details of all Marlborough's Remembrance Events follow this link:

5 November 2018: A Dentist Entertains

After a good few weeks in the sun your webmaster has returned and reports on the activities of Marlborough & District Rotarians resumes normal service.  

Obviously in his absence standards had started to slip as was evidenced by the speaker secretary managing to book two separate speakers for the same evening. There is first for everything!   After much embarrassment for the speaker secretary and the club having to find another dinner the situation was resolved, the “proper” speaker stayed and the “spare” speaker returned to his home earlier than expected.

We were not disappointed, Steve Conteh and dentist from Savernake Dental Clinic gave an excellent talk on the advances in modern dentistry, complete with a multitude of photographs of teeth in all conditions.  

He commenced by reminding the assembled Rotarians what things had been like in their childhoods, generally in the 1940’s and 1950’s.  He showed us pictures of severe looking dentists, upright wooden chairs, slow old drills, gas rather than injections for pain relief - at least there were no needles! - to name but few. Thankfully this was after dinner otherwise we would all have been put off our excellent lasagne. 

The advent of digital photography, the use of composite white fillings, magnifying lenses for dentists to see those small cracks and cavities, modern teeth whitening and straightening techniques, the use of implants and new digital machining and printing to make replacement teeth while you wait were all covered.  It was a far cry from the 1950’s and all expertly and interestingly explained by a practitioner who obviously loved his job. 

After a Q&A session the vote of thanks was given by Gerry Hooper

17 September 2018:  Rotarians Get First Aid Training

At our meeting last Monday Rotarians were reminded how little they remembered of any first aid training and knowledge they may have accumulated in their younger years.

Introduced by Tony Green, Emma Noakes of Wiltshire First Aid gave a very interesting talk and practical demonstrations of the way to use a defibrillator and how to undertake CPR on various sizes of people, from larger sized adults down to young babies under 1 year old (as pictured). 

After a good question and answer session Peter Lincoln round off the evening with the Vote of Thanks 

7 September 2018:  Marlborough Mayor now an Honorary Rotarian

Marlborough Mayor, Councillor Lisa Farrell, was awarded an Honorary Membership of Marlborough and District Rotary Club at a small ceremony held in the Community and Youth Centre last Friday, 7 September. In presenting the Honorary Membership, Rotary Club President Stewart Dailly said “he hoped it would cement the good relationship enjoyed by the Club with the Town and that he and the other Rotarians looked forward to welcoming the Mayor at some of their regular Monday evening meetings, held at the Golf Club.”  

Whilst already involved with many local charities and events, especially providing the Father Christmas grotto at the the forthcoming Christmas lights, President Stewart confirmed the Club was looking to become increasingly involved with local charities and organisations. In response Mayor Lisa expressed her pleasure at receiving the Honorary Membership and that she too looks forward to a close relationship with the Club and its activities.

27 August 2018:  Boot Sale a Great Success

The August Bank Holiday Boot sale raised over £1300 for the charities supported by Marlborough and District Rotary Club.  This was an excellent total especially considering the number of other alternative attractions available in the locality.  Contributions from the sellers pitch fees, the sale of bacon butties and coffees, the generous donations to the buckets and the sale from Rotary’s own stall all contributed significantly.

The day started at 6am for the early bird Rotarians, setting up the parking area, the signage and the refreshment tent, not to mention their own stall. Way before they were finished at 6:30am the first of the sellers arrived to set out their stalls and then soon afterwards the early buyers arrived to snap up the bargains.  By 8am the field was full of boots and the first of the mainstream buyers arrived with a steady stream of cars disgorging their occupants to wander amongst the boots and to enjoy a bacon sandwich with their coffee.  By 10am the sale reached peak numbers and high activity was seen all round.  And then after an hour or so, as if a signal had sounded, the numbers started declining, boaters started to pack their cars and by noon all was quite, except for the Rotarians clearing up the field. 

Thank you to all who supported the event, sellers and buyers, contributing to the excellent total raised.   

Our next Car Boot Sale will be May Bank Holiday Monday 2019, Same Place, Same Time.

8 August 2018:  Marlborough Boules Team back to Winning Way

Marlborough Rotary’s exploits in the District 1100 Boules League continues to be varied.  Having won convincingly four weeks ago against Royal Wootton Basset B Team they lost their next game badly so tonight’s game against Royal Wootton Bassett Town was in the balance. Would it revive fortunes and morale or would it serve to show that the win was a flash in the pan. 

Led convincingly by Gerry Hooper and following the inspiration of maestro Jeremy Zabell the team managed to win two of the games by large margins. Although they did lose the other five games the games were tight and the margins were small so that overall Marlborough came out match winners with 21 points to 18. 

So on to the next match with renewed confidence and vigour.

6 August 2018: RYLA Candidate Entertains

Our 2019 RYLA (Rotary Youth Leadership Award) candidate Joe Petitt came to our meeting to talk about his experiences on the week long course he recently attended with 39 others at the Forest of Dean Field Centre. 

The purpose of RYLA is to encourage the development of teamwork and leadership skills in young people who have the potential to be future community leaders.  

Joe’s well presented and interesting talk gave a blow by blow account of his week starting with explaining that his personal objective had been to be more motivated and to more articulate, especially when presenting to an audience.  The classroom training, the team work and social skills necessary to complete the field tasks set the teams and the general experiences were all appreciated and gave Joe a very positive feel for the course and the way it had benefitted him.   This all for him culminated in being comfortable in giving a presentation to the students, their parents and visiting Rotarians, in all over 200 people at the closing ceremony. 

4 August 2018:  Battle Proms Victorious Again

The 4th August promised to be a hot date for Rotarians, partners, family and friends who ventured to Highclere Castle for the 100th performance of the Battle Proms.  

Once again organised by Gerry Hooper and supported by Jeremy and Alison Zabell the intrepid forward party arrived early and camped under the trees for their picnic to ensure that they entered the site early to grab the best pitch, at the front near the stage and the horses.  After two hours the gates were opened and the recvellers floods in to take ownership of their places. Once in place the task is to keep others off until the remained of the party arrived. In the early hours this proved little problem but as time progressed and the field rapidly filled pressure was brought to bear on all sides. Gerry, Jeremy and Alison brought their expertise to bear and held their ground until the reinforcements arrived to claim their positions. 

Soon drinking and eating commenced, as may be seen from some of the photos some seemed to imbibe in excess, but thety claimed it was a long hot afternoon.  The performances started with exercise in horsemanship, followed by songs from a duet,  then an exciting display by the Parachute Regiment display team, the Red Devils, before the main concert began.   Soon we were being thrilled by a flying display by the “Grace” Spitfire which stirred many a heart.  The evening progressed with some excellent music including the traditional 1812 Overture with attendant cannon fire and fireworks.  After the interval there were traditional songs, in which the audience joined with gusto plus a magnificent closing firework display.

Then it was back to the cars and try to exit the site as four thousand cars tried to do the same thing simultaneously.  It gave time to reflect on an excellent evening.

3 August 2018: Rotarians and Partners Bowled Over

Twenty Rotarians and partners were joined by members of ’41 Club’  and partners for an evening of bowls, courtesy of Pewsey Bowls Club.

Divided into three rinks with eight players each the evening competition began. There was a wide diversity of talent on show and the organiser, Jack Torrens had endeavoured to spread it around to equalise the teams.  There were some exceptional displays of luck during the evening as well as a small degree of  incompetence and this combined with alack of knowledge of the rules provided an entertaining and social evening. 

After what seemed like an eternity play was clued to halt so that the bar could be visited. The winning team i..e the one with the most points, was declared and its captain, Martin Couchman, graciously accepted the plaudits from the other teams, most of which wondered how he managed to get 14 points when they had managed only half that total.

But the competition was soon forgotten as good drink, some fine food and entertaining banter finished the evening off in fine style. 

30 July 2018: The Stroke Association Explained

31 Rotarians and partners met to hear a very interesting and informative talk by Sarah Miller, the local Service Development Manager from the Stroke Association.  (Pictured here with our new President Stewart Dailly)   

Sarah explained that she had started her career in the theatre before having an epiphany in New York, when she decide to give up the theatre and take up a career in nursing.   From nursing came the move to the Stroke Association, where she has been for the past seven years.

Sarah told the audience that every five minutes in the UK someone has a serious stroke, and three quarters of those are people over 65, very much the age group of her audience of the evening.  But that still leave s a substantial number of younger people experiencing strokes, the youngest having been a baby still in the womb. 

She explained that the FAST  acronym (Facial (weakness), Arm (weakness), Speech (problems),  Time (to call 999) is all important for anyone who sees some one they suspect of having a stroke as early treatment is essential.  

The Stroke Association main objectives and use of funds are to support research into the prevention, treatment and rehabilitation from strokes and to provide support to the carers of stroke sufferers.  Much more information can be obtained from their website.

Sarah mentioned the great support provide by Rotary throughout the country for their “Know Your Blood Pressure” day. Getting people to know their blood pressure is essential  as high blood pressure is big indicator of the potential for strokes and can easily be cured.  

Other factors we were told that increased the incidence of strokes included excessive drinking, eating and being overweight, features that had many of the audience staring resolutely at the ceiling or floor.

The evening continued with a lively question and answer session before Jeremy Zabell brought the evening to a close with a heartfelt the Vote of Thanks 

23 July 2018: Rotarians show their love of Chocolate

Rotarians Don Ross and Peter Lincoln laid on their annual event to entertain their fellow Rotarians at our meeting of 23 July 2018.  This year it was a quiz all about chocolate, or more exactly a series of cryptic clues with chocolate products, old and new, being the answers.  Teams of two were formed and battle commenced.

The time allowed of 20 minutes was tight, like some of those present. In the concentrated silence you could hear the brain cogs slowly grinding to dredge up memories of yesteryear and the products bought at the local sweetshop after school.

Soon the time was up and after strict marking the winners, Peter Waine and Rob Mitchenall, were presented with prizes of planetary dimensions, as shown in the photo. 

Second and third places were also awarded (Gerry Hooper and Chris Jensen - Cedric Hollingsworth and Paul Cowan) with each pair having to share a Mars bar. Since they were so busy tussling over the prize their photographs turned out blurred are thus not included.

9 July 2018:  Innovative and Exquisite Furniture from a local Designer/Craftsman

Rotarian Paul Cowan introduced Fred Baier to talk on his exquisite furniture. Fred is based in Pewsey but has an international reputation for the innovation and style he brings to his furniture. 

Earlier this year Fred had spoken to Rotary about his early years so tonight he talked about his three years based in New York and his gallery, the way his pieces were sent around the USA to various galleries.

He explained the influences brought to bear on his designs, the use of computer modelling in its infancy days generating geometric shapes and how the removal of solid shapes gave interesting results, i.e. “using the minus button”.  He showed many slides of his works and discussed the commissions for famous museums such as the V&A and the Carnegie. 

He followed on with discussion of his membership of the Royal College of Art, his teaching and public commissions.

All in all it was a fascinating talk  that held the attention of his audience who marvelled at his creativity and thought processes.

Rex Sandbach gave the Vote of Thanks 

4 July 2018:  Boules Team Reverse Fortunes and Achieve Historic Win

What a difference a week makes!  Driven expertly by Rex the other members of the M&DRC boules team, Gerry, Jeremy and Rob, ably supported by chief cheerleader Alison, headed confidently to Royal Wootton Basset to do battle with their B team in the Rotary Club summer league.

After some practice and purchase of the obligatory beer the match began with the singles (Jeremy) and the triples (Gerry, Rex, Rob). 30 minutes later it was all over - we had WON both matches.  Then the doubles, surely this success can’t go on?   Gerry paired with Rob and Jeremy with Rex. 40 minutes later, after being timed limited at 40 minutes, result another 2 wins. What was happening, had we improved so much in a week, was it Jeremy and Rex coming in to the team or perhaps it was the support from Alison?  Whatever it was we were now leading 4 games to 0 in a 6 match, an unheard of situation.  The word “whitewash”started to enter the conversation and this time it was by us not about us.  

To the final doubles, the shadows were lengthening and the beer glasses were emptying, just two more games to complete. Jeremy and Rex led the way with a win but unfortunately Gerry and Rob encountered a late surge by the Wootton Basset pair who (luckily) achieved two four point ends and failed to achieve the whitewash.  Still winning 5 games out of 6 with a point overall advantage wasn’t a bad result.

With a feeling of euphoria the team repaired to the bar to enjoy a well earned drink, some food and good banter and conversation with the Wootton Basset Rotarians.  All in all a successful evening.  

2 July 2018:  A New Presidential Year and an Inspiartional Talk

This, the first meeting in July, commenced with the Presidential Handover, with Stewart Dailly taking over the reigns and regalia from Cedric Hollingsworth.  Stewart then presented the President Elect chains of office to Martin Luxford.  Soon the changing of the guard was all over and the main business of the evening could commence. 

This proved to be a very interesting talk by Roy Woods, of Newbury Rotary Club on the charity in which he takes a very active part, Map Action.   He described how the charity works alongside the United Nations and other aid providers supporting humanitarian aid in all sorts of national and international disasters, both natural, such as earthquakes and cyclones, and more recently assisting with the refugee crisis in the Mediterranean and sub Saharan Africa and also the ebola outbreaks . In all they have attended 80 disasters in the 15 years since their formation. Their mode of operation is to provide immediate response arriving at the scene within 24 to 36 hours and setting up their base. 

Roy told the meeting that the best aid is determined by the needs on the ground i.e. it is pulled in rather than the remote organisations deciding what to send, and often getting it wrong. Map Action seeks to answer those questions of When? and Where? by computer mapping of what is happening on the ground. It supports the other charities at the scene by giving them these visual aids of what is happening, e.g in the Nepal earthquake disaster they at first mapped where the majority of people had been killed, so that aid could be focused to those locations.  

Roy concluded his talk by explaining that Action Aid manages all of their work with a permanent staff of 12 and 80 unpaid volunteers and a total annual budget of £800,000. The meeting noted this was exceptionally economical compared to many other charities. 

After questions Edward Ferguson gave the Vote of Thanks

27 June 2018:  M&DRC Boules Team Continue their Losing Run

Wednesday Evening and our first Boules match in the Rotary League, a home game against Cotswold A team at the Check Inn, Wroughton. 

Now we’ve played Cotswold before and nicer set of blokes you couldn’t hope to meet BUT they are good boules players and have normally left us trailing in the dust. Will tonight be any better.

So Captain Gerry, Rob, Martin, Paul and Pauls friend John Lewis, no not The JW, headed to do battle on a lovely summer’s evening. First stop the bar ofr refreshments, or was it some Dutch Courage.  So tactics first, should we play John, as according to Paul he plays all the time in Spain and could just make that difference we needed. 

Anyway, we lost the toss, a foretaste of things to come? Martin played the singles match while Rob, John and Paul played the triples. We had agreed in advance with South Cotswold captain that we would stop any game at 40 minutes to avoid a protracted evening as there were no flood lights. This was a sunny evening 6 days after the Solstice!!

Not to worry, the first set of games was all over quickly, South Cotswold taking the win. This set the pattern for the evening and the 4 doubles matches.  There was one point in one game where we were leading (see photo for evidence) but the overall score was something of whitewash (see sheet).  

There are photos of happy Martin and John (before playing) a game in progress and captain Gerry and Paul trying not to look too disappointed!

Anyway, after beer, sandwiches and pleasant conversation in the evening sun with the opposition we parted for our home base for a team huddle and startegy and tactics sessions.  

Will next week be so bad. Watch this space! 

26 June 2018:  Kidz Out Cards and the 100 Club Rewards

Thank you cards have been received from some of the children from local Marlborough and Pewsey schools who Marlborough & District Rotary Club supported on this years Kids Out trip to Longleat.  

The trip is organised by Rotary Districts and many disadvataged children from all over the west of England enjoyed the day out together with their teachers and carers.

Also at the meeting of 25 June the “Big Prize” 100 Club Draw took place, with one of the (annoyingly) regular winners once again scooping the jackpot of £75 

25 June 2018:  The Awards Continue

As reported for last week’s meeting Gerry Hooper has been awarded a Paul Harris Fellowship, the most prestigious award in Rotary.  Last night President Cedric presented Rotarian Gerry Hooper with his medal to go with the certificate he received last week.  And who is the important person that looks as if he's just had the cream?

Also at last night's meeting the Rotarian of the Year Award was made to Tony Green for outstanding services in finding excellent speakers, despite the non-appearance of the one due last night. (To be fair it was the speaker who was at fault)

18 June 2018:  Gerry Awarded Paul Harris Fellowship and Club Assembly hears from President Elect Stewart

The Club Assembly Meeting was graced with the presence of District Governor Elect (for 2018/19) Judy Powell.  Despite our honoured guest the highlight of the evening, and indeed possibly the year, was the much deserved award a Paul Harris Fellowship to Gerry Hooper.  There was general acclamation that Gerry was most deserving of the honour as he is always at the forefront of “doing stuff” for Rotary, from running boot sales, organising posters, running the social events, not to mention his year as President when he worked incredibly hard.

President Elect then proceed to explain to the assembled Rotarians his plans for 2018/19 year, his ideas for changing the club in some of its set ways, of increasing membership and enhancing publicity. He advised his main team of committee chairmen of Martin Luxford as President Elect and Community/Vocational, Gerry Hooper for Social, Jack Torrens for International and Paul Cowan for Membership. 

Judy Powell responded to Stewart, bringing greetings from the District President and continued by agreeing that reversing the trend of declining membership is incredibly important and require innovation.  Internationally the big Rotary Project is still the eradication of Polio although there has been temporary setback in that a suspected new case has occurred in Venezuela.

President Cedric concluded the meeting by thanking Judy for her presence and contribution and wishing her safe journey home.  

11 June 2018:  AGM Completed in Record Time

President Cedric Hollinsworth set the pace for future presidents by completing the AGM by 20:45, and that included having the meal.

Stewart daily was duly noted to be elevated to President for the next year following Cedric’s decision to stand down and take up the soon to be vacated Treasurers role. The incumbent, Martin Couchman, having recently been elevated to the dizzy heights of the Golf Committee and then quickly on to Senior Captain designate had reluctantly decided that, after many years of sterling service as Treasurer he should devote his full attention to the new challenge.

Our own “Very Important Person” Peter Waine decided to stand again as Secretary whilst Martin Luxford put up his hand to be President Elect (President for 2019/20), thus filing an important gap in our succession planning.

Honorary Auditors and District Council Reps were voted in on the nod and the Club voted to appoint the current Mayor of Marlborough an annual Honorary Membership of our Rotary Club.  

And then it was all over, the Rotary Toast given, glasses drained and off home early!

31 May 2018:  Boot Sale Generates a Magnificent Total for Charities

The money has now been counted and we can reveal that the Boot Sale on Bank Holiday Monday made over £1200 for our charities. 

Well done to everybody involved: Buyers, Sellers, Rotarians and their Partners all of whom contributed to this magnificent total. 

More pictures of the event can be seen via the following link:   Photos

28 May 2018 Weather Doesn't Dampen Car Boot Enthusiasm

Eighty keen boot sellers arrived at the Marlborough Common in the early morning mist to set up their stalls. Equally keen Rotarians had already been there establishing  the site and making sure the welcome hot coffee and bacon rolls were ready to warm the slightly cold and damp inner persons.


Soon the first of the buyers arrived and by 9 o'clock commerce was in full swing. Peak buying seemed to happen at about 10 o'clock when the volume of buyers cars arriving almost overwhelmed the parking assistants. 

By the close the sausages and bacon had all been sold, many cups of coffee and tea had been consumed and most of the buyers seemed happy with their sales.

The donations and profits of today's event will all go to charities supported by Marlborough & District Rotary.

Many thanks to all of you, sellers and buyers, who supported this event. We hope to see you on August Bank Holiday for our next Car Boot Sale

20 May 2018: Sun Shines on Gerrycan Lunches

Sunday 20 May saw the first of the 2018 Gerrycan Rotarian lunches with two hosts making the most of the weather. Your correspondent can only report on the lovely lunch hosted by Ruth and Rex Sandbach, but no doubt the one hosted down the road in Pewsey, by Nesta and Peter Waine, was equally excellent in all aspects of food, wine and company.

As shown in the picture Ruth and Rex's house and garden provided the setting for a most enjoyable al fresco lunch, with starters provided by Elinor, the main course by Ruth with Stella delivering the dessert. Wines courtesy of Martin.  

The format has proved most successful, it being reminiscent of a static progressive dinner  i.e. the food moves rather than the diners, thus making it much easier on the digestion.  

A second Gerrycan lunch is scheduled for later in the summer, when it is hoped the weather will be equally splendid.

30 April 2018: Insights of a Political Correspondent

Elinor Goodman entertained the assembled Rotarians with her talk entitled "Maggie, John, Tony and Me"

Elinor gave a very insightful talk around her time a political editor of Channel 4 News describing her experience of the Iron Lady and how the Falklands provided a turning point in Mrs Thatcher’s political career. John Major’s endless tussle with the 1922 committee, and the challenging relationship between Tony and Gordon.  

The former journalist described her fortunate journey from secretary to political correspondent, crumpets in Mr Blair’s fireplace and the day she forgot where she was and signed off as “Elinor Goodman, Channel Four News, somewhere beginning with B”. 

28 April 2018: Wintery Weather Dampens Rotary's Spring Fayre

The scene, Marlborough Town Hall, very early in the morning and a hive of activity as Rotarians, wives, partners, friends and helpers, assisted stallholders in setting up for our annual Spring Fayre.  Typically for a Rotary event there was alwways time for a friendly chat and a cup of tea.

Then on the dot of 10:00am the Mayor of Marlborough, Councillor Mervyn Hall declared the Fayre open and the 24 stalls plus the Rotary café were ready for the visitors to arrive.        


Goods on offer included clothes and accessories, jewellery, cheese, liquorice, candles and mint products, oils, vinegars and much more plus of course the Rotary Cake Stall.

The Town Crier, Mike Tupman, paraded along the High Street advertising the Fayre but the unseasonably cold weather had contrived to keep some of the usual Saturday crowds of residents and visitors away. 

Despite the wintery conditions our Spring Fayre raised £1700 for the Brighter Futures Radiotherapy Appeal at the Great Western Hospital. 

22 April 2018:  Letter of Thanks from School for Mock Interviews Support

During the week commencing 10 March 2018 Students from St John’s School Marlborough gain experience of being interviewed by external business people. Rotarians have assisted in this exercise for many years and this year was no exception. Martin Luxford made the arrangements and the Rotarians who took part found it a very worthwhile contribution and were impressed by the maturity of many of the students.  

Martin has just received a letter of thanks from the school and it is reprinted below.

Dear Martin,

I just wanted to thank you very much for your help last  week – the expertise and professionalism of all the volunteers was as always greatly appreciated, particularly with the wide range and variety of students at the school.  It is extremely kind of everyone to give up their valuable time and your feedback was really useful and will be passed back to both students and staff.  I also am extremely grateful for the time you spend pulling the volunteers together.


The students have been very positive about their experience – they thought it was really worthwhile being interviewed by someone they didn’t know and out of school.  The collective feedback was ‘Good practice for later in life and the experience of doing an interview. Learning your strengths and weakness. Getting feedback at the end, evaluating future ideas, developing social skills. Meeting somebody new, answering questions about yourself. Being asked questions you would not expect.’ 


However the success of the exercise was largely attributable to the skill and experience of the interviewers as well as your supportive feedback at the end of their interview.  Please could you pass on my thanks to all those involved.

Once again thank you for your support and wish you a Happy Easter. 

Best wishes



Mrs F Havill

Careers & Work Related Manager

St John’s


13 -15 April 2018:  Rotarians in Minden: The Facts

Five intrepid Rotarians set off for Heathrow  from their Hotel last Friday morning for an early flight to Hannover. Due to the exalted status of one of the group in BA’s Executive Club, check in through First Class and Fast Track security enabled time for breakfast in the Business Class Lounge, before taking the exercise of a stroll to the other end of the terminal to board a BA cattle truck for the drive to the plane.


In Hannover our transport an 8 seater long wheel base Mercedes V class people carrier was waiting. By Saturday under Paul’s expert guidance we had worked out how to access the rear row of seats without dismantling half the vehicle.


The weather was very English , pouring with rain, as we headed off down the autobahn , with Rex at the wheel,  to Petershagen, where we stayed in the Hotel owned by a relative of Ulli Mehlman .


Lunch had been arranged in Minden , and we were hosted by a charming octogenarian Rotarian, Volker Schafe , at an Indian restaurant ( something of a rarity in Germany). Renata Mehlman accompanied us, and said how she loved the Goa Balti. Ulli does not like Indian food so he went off to prepare for the evening event. After lunch we were shown around the Minden Cathedral and its treasury by Volker, which has items dating back 1200 years, before returning for some refreshments in Petershagen.


Friday evening was the night of the main attraction, a concert by the Bundeswehr Musikkorps, the premier army band of the German Army, which has in excess of 60 musicians, who are all also combat medics. This band is the only non-UK military band ever to be invited to perform Beating Retreat in front of the Queen on Horse Guards Parade, which they did to celebrate the 200 anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo. The music was superb and varied from Jubel, (includes the tune for our National anthem) Wagner (Lohengrin , which includes the wedding march “here comes the bride “) to “ The Sound of Ireland”, which included “Auld Langs Syne “ !!!, and the soundtrack from “Two Steps to Hell “, in addition to some rousing German marches.


Minden Rotary had sold c 900 tickets and the event raised c 16,000€, for a charity promoting maths and technical education.


We were treated to a post- concert reception where we met most of the other 71 members of Minden- Porta Wesphalica Rotary and partners together with local dignitaries.  It was great to meet so many young Rotarians.

On return to our hotel , all was in darkness so we were deprived of a nightcap, (clearly the staff knew about our late night drinking from previous visits and had chosen to take an early night).


Saturday dawned fine and now with the President at the wheel, complaining about the lack of power from the engine,  we set off for a museum and castle about 30 km away.  The museum featured mechanical music machines and slot machines from the late 19th century until the late 20th century, when modern electronic gadgetry took over. There were over 200 exhibits including a wide range of Juke Boxes and many were operated for us by the museum staff. The Engineers in the party were fascinated by the complexity of the various mechanisms, and nearly two hours were spent looking at the exhibits, before adjourning for coffee and cake, as our calorie intake was clearly below par by German standards. A stroll around the castle grounds, and the English Garden enabled the digestive juices to operate before returning to Petershagen . The bar was open but Paul was waylaid by another guest who eventually had to be escorted away by the burly chef. (there is obviously more to be told - ed.)


In the evening we were invited to an early supper at the Lindgart Hotel (formerly the Holiday Inn) by the owner, who is also a Rotarian, and he insisted on plying us with drinks and then making us eat a fillet steak. A short walk took us to the Minden Theatre , where together with President Helmut , Peter Meyer, Ulli and their wives, and Volker we saw a Buddy Holly Tribute Show, which involved lots of audience participation by clapping and standing, (all very Germanic). We felt at home as the average age of the audience was well north of 60.


After the performance it was back to Volker’s  penthouse apartment for drinks and a light supper. Volker has the most superb apartment, converted from a former Italian restaurant, and it is about the size of the first floor of the Marlborough Golf Club.

Fine Bordeaux, Burgundy and excellent German wines appeared, which caused the President some distress because, as the driver, he had to stick to water. Finally we made our farewells at 1.00am to return for a nightcap in Petershagen. (the bar was open this time as the hotel was hosting a 40th birthday party) so Gerry finally obtained his Jaegermeister and the rest of us had schnapps, to round off a long but incredibly varied day.


Sunday it rained as we headed back to the airport, planning how we would match the Minden Rotarian’s hospitality when they next visit us.”

21 April 2018:  Know Your Blood Pressure Day in Marlborough

Once again Rotarians gathered at Marlborough’s Jubilee Centre to offer to measure the blood pressure of the local residents passing holiday makers.  

The “Know Your Blood Pressure Day”  is organised by the Stroke Association and is aimed at making the general public aware of their blood pressure. People with high blood pressure have increased chances of suffering stroke and as a condition that is quite easily managed the sooner they know the better. High blood pressure does not manifest itself in any way that is obvious to the sufferer until it is too late.  Hence the importance of measuring it regularly, especially if the person is border line case. 

The Rotary spotters were out on the pavement encouraging people to take five minutes to have their blood pressure measured by their colleagues inside, using simple wrist worn monitor.  Being accosted by the pavement team was enough to raise the blood pressure of the faint hearted. Fortunately the calm professionalism of the inside team soon allayed any fears and blood pressures returned to normal before the tests commenced.  

Using guidelines from the Stroke Association the “patients” were either given the “all clear” or recommended to see their doctor, either within month or more urgently if their blood pressure was excessive.  Over the years many local residents have taken the opportunity to have their blood pressure measured in friendly surroundings and this year was no exception.

16 April 2016:  Gold from the time of Stonehenge

David Dawson, the Director of the Wiltshire Museum in Devizes gave a very interesting talk last Monday evening entitled “Gold from the time of Stonehenge”.  

David reviewed three different burial mounds in the area from Stonehenge to Manton and the timescales over which they were built.  He described the objects found buried with the people and it was evident that a high level of craftsmanship was used for these valuable objects.  He explained the symbolism of the various objects, such as gold encrusted dagger and a ceremonial mace. All indicated that the occupants of the mound had been important in their community and had been wealthy. 

The Vote of Thanks was given by Rotarian Rex Sandbach

7 April 2018:  Rotarians Collect for Marie Curie

Last Saturday 12 Rotarians and 7 Volunteers were again persuaded by Rex Sandbach to again don their rather silly hats and gather on Marlborough High Street and at the Co-op in Pewsey to join in the Great Daffodil Appeal, Marie Curie’s largest annual fundraising campaign. The vivid yellow hats and tabards and cheery daffodil pins provided a welcome contrast with the rather grey skies.


The Marie Curie organisation is clearly dear to many peoples’ hearts – many of those donating have a connection through shared experiences.


At time of writing the full total collected hasn’t been finalised but we hope that the amount equals or exceeds that of recent collections. If you’d like to be involved in future collections please get in touch.

News Flash:  Collection total reaches  £1174 

24 March 2018: Club Receives Thanks from Local Organisations

At the Community Awards event last Saturday.  Pewsey Parish Council awarded our Club a certificate “For Service to the Community in Pewsey.”  

In another recognition of our service to the community we also received a letter from Marlborough St Mary’s CE Primary School thanking us for our contribution to new equipment for the new school 

15 March 2018:  Morgan Factory Visit Great Success

Last Thursday morning 8 Rotarians and partners met at the golf club car park to start their journey to Great Malvern and a much anticipated list to the Morgan factory.

Arriving in good time the party, led by Tony Green, feasted on sausage rolls, pasties and coffee to get up the energy for the forthcoming two hour trip around all sections of the Morgan manufacturing process, from initial woodworking in ash to make the body shapes through the “tin bashing” shops, engine and gearbox assembly, upholstery and trim to the finished painting and detailing. It was fascinating journey through the old skills of coach building a timeless motor car. Our guide “David” an owner of a Morgan Plus 4 showed great knowledge of the marque and helped make the trip most interesting. 

The group saw all models being made from the Morgan 4/4, through the Plus 4, the 6cylinder Roadster, a special final edition of the Morgan Plus 8 as well as the Aero 8 and the new three wheeler. The visit finished with a visit to the museum which housed some of the rarer versions of the marque.

Soon it was time to load up into our more prosaic transport and head sedately back to Marlborough. Thanks to Tony for his excellent arrangements and commiserations to the Rotarians who all missed an excellent day out.

Editors Note:  If you are wondering why there have been no event and activity reports for the past two months it is because I have been away and none have been sent to me for publication. 

8 January 2018: Rotarians Hear from a Unique Designer

Stewart Dailly, President Elect, conducting the first meeting of the club for the New Year  introduced guest speaker Fred Baier from Pewsey, who presented a fabulous talk on his life long work making furniture mostly in the baroque style. He began by describing his young life in Hull where by his own admittance he was not good at the three ‘R’s and was far more inclined to art, which he would follow at college.  He subsequently spent several years with a hippy group where his ideas would challenge the imagination.  His designs of the most unusual furniture are found in museums world wide, which Fred displayed vividly with many photographs.  In the vote of thanks Paul Cowan said Fred’s imaginative creativity allowed him to design and finish unique pieces of furniture to an exceptionally high standard. 

18 December 2017: Christmas Party at the Golf Club

Rotarians, partners and guests gathered at the Golf Club for their Christmas Party. President and the evening’s Master of Ceremonies, Cedric Hollisworth opened the festivities by thanking the social committee for organising the event and arranging the entertainment, the guitar playing Gauloise Brothers from Bath.  The guests quickly entered the spirit of the evening, conversation flowed, crackers cracked, poppers popped and the golf club provided their usual excellent fare. All to soon the Gauloise Brothers had finished their set, the coffee and chocolates had been consumed, the wine bottles were empty and taxis were waiting by the front door. An excellent evening had come to an end and the Rotarians and guests went out into the cold night and headed home. 

3 December 2017: Chris Jensen Entertains

Our newest member, Chris Jensen, entertained Rotarians with an interesting talk on his life, family and career at our meeting last Monday.

He talked about growing up in Newcastle and the surrounding countryside, his initial lack of diligence at school before suddenly realising the benefits of education. His exploits at university were glossed over, probably to avoid embarrassing the Rotarians present, but evidently he did undertake sufficient academic work to enable him to receive his degree.

A marriage to his wife, Rachel, met whilst at university and two sons established Chris as family man while a career in banking and financial services provided sustenance. He led his audience through his career with several well known high street financial institutions before recently branching out on his own to be a financial adviser linked to a well known Wealth Management Company. 

The talk was most interesting and it was no surprise to learn that at one stage he had had a part time job as presenter on local radio station.

1 December 2017: Father Christmas, his Elves and the Marlborough Lights

The work to prepare for Father Christmas’ Grotto in Marlborough Town Hall commenced in earnest on Thursday 30 November, the day before Father Christmas and his elves were due to arrive. Organised by Gerry Hooper a team of Rotarians and partners started to erect the grotto under the watchful eye of Jennie Larsson, an ex-Rotarian who had kindly given up her time to lend her expertise to supervise the finer points of  grotto making.  Half way through the process Christmas trees arrived from Wootton Rivers to provide a forest entrance to the grotto. With most of the work done the team repaired to the Royal Oak for a well earned lunch and refreshment before adding the finishing touches. As well as the grotto the cafe was established and looked attractive and ready for the goodies to be served on the day.

Friday dawned cold but dry and by early afternoon Father Christmas and his elves and arrived in their grotto and the cafe was stocked and ready to welcome customers. Soon the Town Hall and its grotto was alive with excited young children anxious to see Father Christmas for a story and then go on to his naughty elves to receive their present.  Meanwhile parents and others were sampling the delights of the cafe’s cakes, teas coffees and mulled wine. 

Outside, in the cold, stalwart Rotarians, assisted by council staff and military personnel were keeping watch on the road closures and the crowds assembling for the switch on of the Marlborough illuminations, including the Rotary Christmas Tree (donated by T H White). Soon it was time for another Father Christmas (most confusing, I thought there was only one) to travel around the town in his sleigh before the lights were turned on by a presenter from BBC Radio Wiltshire.  

Choirs sang and bands played to entertain the crowds for an hour or so but by 8pm it was almost all over; all of the Father Christmases had gone home, followed by their elves, the crowds had departed, the stalls in the High Street were packing up and Rotarians were clearing the Town Hall. By 9pm everything was back to normal, awaiting Christmas 2018.  

28 November 2017:  Rotary Quiz Team Almost Win - But No Photo to Record this Feat

Three brave members, Peter Waine , Martin Couchman , and our President ventured into enemy territory at Ogbourne Downs Golf Club , supported by our scorer Gerry, to do battle with Cirencester and Thamesdown.


As usual the Quizmaster was Peter Hayman , who valiantly  tried to keep order, despite what was clearly a  massive variation  in the degree of obscurity of the questions, depending which team was answering.


Marlborough quickly fell into their stride and took up the bottom position, as a result of not knowing that Redditch housed the National Needles Museum , and that the Gilbert and Sullivan Opera played in the 2012 Proms season , was Yeoman of the Guard.


However not despairing the team picked up some bonus points and by half way were still in touch with the leaders Cirencester, having at one time been 14 points behind.


After a refreshment break, which clearly did reach all parts , Marlborough stormed into the final session , and picked up more bonus points , so that after 10 rounds were level with Cirencester on 51 points, having overtaken Thamesdown.


A request for a recount failed to change the scores , as Gerry had been very diligent , and totally unbiased


Thus the quiz ended as a draw with Marlborough and Cirencester on equal points, however despite answering more questions correctly the rules stated that Cirencester were the winners , because they had more individual questions correct, by 10 to 7.


So we maintained our record of not going beyond the first round, but it was a close run thing.


26 November 2017:  5000 Crocuses Planted for End Polio Now

The Rotary Crocus is one of the leading international fundraisers for the End Polio Now Campaign.


Since 2012 Rotary Crocuses have raised around £1,200,000 and been distributed in 15 countries.


They are an easy way for every Club to reach out to your wider community to raise funds and awareness for End Polio Now.  At the same time they help to raise the public profile of Rotary.

This year the club decided to plant 5000 bulbs throughout the district, a task ably led by Jack Torrens and closely supported by other Rotarians. Jack and an assistant are pictured planting some of the bulbs in Pewsey.

26 November 2017:  Rotary Christmas Tree Erected

Last Sunday saw hardy Rotarians assemble in Marlborough High Street for the annual task of erecting the Towns’s Christmas Tree. 

After much negotiation with the Town Council and Wiltshire Council over the use of the parking bays it was decided that the tree could be placed in its usual slot.  Once again the tree has been generously donated by T H White, who also loaned the lifting vehicle and driver, without which the task would have been almost impossible.  

In true Rotary fashion the erection was completed, the surrounding barriers and signs added and then it was off for a welcoming and warming drink.

The donations collected by Rotary this year will be for Julia's House childrens hospice and other charities supported by Rotary

21 November 2017:   Rotarians Enjoy a Magic Evening

Last Tuesday found 30 Rotarians, partners and friends on a coach heading up the M4 to London for an evening of magic.  The whole event had been masterminded and organised by Tony Green and everything went off without a hitch - well we couldn’t really blame Tony for the M4 being closed for part of our homeward journey. Tony was ably assisted by Valerie who saw to it that none of us went hungry by providing copious quantities of sandwiches to go with the wine that Tony provided for the journey.  

Despite the rush hour traffic we arrived at the headquarters of the Magic Circle, near Euston, where we were entertained by seven different magicians, all masters of their craft.  Suffice to say that the disappearing and reappearing cards, the “mind reading” and other tricks were all of the highest quality and left the audience baffled with many exclaimations of “How Did he Do that?”  

Soon it was time to get back on the coach for our journey home and before long most of us Rotarians were asleep whilst the driver Glen piloted us back to Marlborough and Pewsey where we then woke up  It seemed like magic.  

13 November 2017:  Rotary Welcomes New Member

A warm welcome was extended to Chris Jensen when he became a Rotarian at our recent meeting, on Monday 13 November 2017.


During the ceremony President Cedric, asked Chris’ proposing Rotarian, Paul Cowan, to formally introduce Chris to club members. Paul told us that Chris was born in Newcastle and after school he studied media studies and eventually came into banking, at one point in his career he worked for Nationwide.  Just recently he has set up his own financial services business.  Chris is married to Rachel and they have two sons Oliver and Harry and they live in Lockeridge.


President Cedric then presented the Rotary pin and membership pack to Chris who, in response,  thanked everyone for welcoming him into Rotary saying that he considered it was a genuine honour to be a member in such wonderful company. 

12 November 2017:  President Cedric Hollinsworth Lays Wreath

Rotary President Cedric Hollinsworth attended the Remembrance Ceremony at the Marlborough War Memorial and laid the wreath on behalf of the Rotary Club of Marlborough and District

6 November 2017:  Stellar Speakers Educate and Entertain

Rotarians were treated to a fascinating talk by two local cosmic photography experts, Gavin James and Jonathan Genton.  They have recently collaborated on producing a book showing the photographs taken by Gavin from his garden in River Park.  Gavin is a professional photographer whose speciality was photograhy of horses and Jonathan is a physics and maths teacher at Marlborough College, both using their respective knowledge to produce the book.

Rotarians were entertained with series of photographs of stars, nebulae and galaxies and Gavin explained the techniques he used to capture such distant objects with such amazing clarity, with Johnathan adding physical explanations to the pictures, using his teaching skills.  Your correspondent now realises he should have taken notes to remind him of the facts, but he was captivated by the photography and forgot all about it!  Fortunately there were no questions to answer. 

Fortunately Stewart Dailly, who gave the vote of thanks, had been paying attention and warmly congratulated the seekers on their excellent and entertaining presentation. 

30 October 2017: A Busy Night at Rotary Brings Surprises All Round

Rotarians, their wives and partners, together with guests, enjoyed an evening of surprises at the meeting during the evening of Monday 30th October.


A Paul Harris Fellowship was presented by President Cedric Hollingsworth to Paul Cowan for his service to the Club and his outstanding contribution to the local community, being a person who ‘got things done’ .  Paul expressed his thanks and surprise on being awarded the fellowship and explained that amongst many worthwhile things he enjoyed about Rotary it was events such as KidsOut and RYLA that are so worthwhile for the younger generation and meant most to him.


The Second Paul Harris Fellowship was awarded to Peter Waine who, as President Cedric explained, has been a corner stone of the club, in particular during the last few years as Hon Secretary, providing all with his extremely wise council. Thanking the club for the fellowship and too much amusement Peter informed everyone that he had been in the club so long that he remembered John Robins when he was young.  Peter gave his thoughts on his two main reasons to be in Rotary, firstly to enjoy a good laugh and the banter ,which helps relieve the stress of the day. Secondly, to be involved with public service which benefits both those in need and also ourselves for being in a position to help others who are  less fortunate.


A major surprise during the evening was assistant District Governor Howard Small, on behalf the President of Rotary International Ian Riseley,  presenting Geoff Harrison with a Fifty Year Award for his service in Rotary. The citation read, ‘Congratulations on your years of Rotary service. Your continued passion for serving your community is inspiring to all of us.  Every local and global initiative you have taken part in as a Rotarian has directly impacted current and future generations, both near and far.  That is something you should be incredibly proud of.   It is because of active and engaged members like you that we are able to serve the global community by Rotary Making A Difference.  Thank you for you dedication to community service and being part of the Rotary family.”


In response,  Geoffrey stated how surprised he was  and to much amusement informed everyone that perhaps he could retire now. He continued by saying how much he had enjoyed Rotary and also his earlier days in Round Table.


The guest speaker for the evening was Roger Day who provided an excellent talk on the roleplayed by Savernake Forest during the Second World War.  With excellent black and white photographs Roger detailed the extensive ammunition dumps in the forest and the positions of the stores, some of which surprisingly held mustard gas.   The British army originally controlled this enormous ordnance, which was one of the largest in the UK until it was taken over by the USA military forces. Of great interest was large explosion in 1946 that sadly caused the loss of life and a great deal of property damage.  Roger went on to detail where sites could be found within the forest to this very day.

29 October 2017: Father Christmas Booking Site Live

Marlborough Rotary is one again organising the list by Father Christmas during the Christmas Light Switch on ceremony, between 3pm and 8pm on Friday 1 December 2017. 

Register to visit Father Christmas from 9am on 1 November via the  booking website, which has just gone live at

Please visit the site and book for your children/grandchildren/ nephews/nieces or perhaps the next door children.  We look forward to seeing you.   

Price £5 per child

12 October 2017:  "This is Rotary" Event

24 guests attended the evening at the Golf Club and were welcomed by Club President Cedric Hollinsworth, who gave an overview of Rotary before going on to outline some of the activities undertaken by Marlborough.


Richard Purdon, the current District Extension Officer and Immediate Past District Governor, then gave an account of his personal involvement in Rotary, and told guests how Rotary has changed to reflect modern lifestyles, with no rigid attendance rules and flexibility in terms of meeting format and frequency.

Guests took the opportunity to look at displays featuring Youth activities and overseas aid including the full contents of a Water Aid Box.

The evening was rounded off by Paul Cowan, the chairman of the Membership Committee, who talked about individual activities, and urged the guests to consider if they felt able to contribute in some way to the work of Rotary.

10 October 2017: Rotary Donates Funds to St Mary's

During a visit to the newly opened St Mary’s Primary School in George Lane Rotary President Cedric Hollinsworth presented a cheque for £2000 to Head Teacher Ann Schwodler. The money was a donation towards IT equipment for the school.  Ann explained that although funding had been provided for the new school buildings none had been provided to upgrade equipment and much of it is in need of upgrade, especially in IT. 

The equipment shown in the photograph is a new Interactive C touch board, which is state of the art teaching technology and which the funding helped to provide.

9 October 2017: The Story of Whatleys of Pewsey

Whatley’s in Pewsey was the subject of fellow Rotarian Paul Cowan’s subject talk at our meeting on Monday. Founded originally in Wootton Rivers and named Whatley and Hosier they moved then moved to Pewsey.   The foundry was successful in producing casting and many engineered items so that by 1900, with two furnaces in operation, the Company employed 120 people. 

Paul gave a detailed account of the ownership held between the two families.  The Hosier side of the business made milking machinery and milking parlour equipment whereas the Whatleys specialised in making water pumps, steam ploughs. In particular, Whatley’s produced huge miller wheels for use on the canal at that time which were to be seen for many years until electricity changed the scene completely.   

Concluding his account Paul described when the foundry ceased operation and the formation the Pewsey Heritage machinery museum  within the old foundry building.

2 October 2017:  Young Guests Thank Rotarians for Sponsorship

The club was pleased to welcome two young speakers on Monday evening, Josiah Hamilton and Amy Franczac, both of whom had been sponsored by the Club. 

Josiah had attended the Rotary Youth Leadership Awards (RYLA) and he described the benefits he had enjoyed during the week long course, especially how it had had improved his confidence in public speaking. He explained that the week started with the ‘iceberg’ game designed to enable all the participants to meet and break the ice with each other. He  told the audience about the many activities in which he participated, such as the the night walk where, with only map and compass, groups had to navigate through part of the Forest of Dean and of the building of a giraffe from paper mache.   In conclusion, Josiah thanked the club for organising his participation in RYLA.


Amy described her recent visit to Romania with Charities Abroad to help the children and babies in the poor conditions of the state children’s homes. She had volunteered and was accepted on but needed £1000 to participate so to help her achieve the target the Club had donated £300. Amy described the conditions she found in the homes and how, with other of students working with the charity, she helped re-decorate several rooms. One of her prime objectives was to teach English. which she carried out with the aid of an interpreter. During her second week she participated in a summer camp for the children.  A memorable talk which was much appreciated by her captivated audience. 

25 September 2017: Marlborough Mayor Accepts Honorary Membership

Marlborough Mayor, Mervyn Hall was guest of honour at our meeting on 25 September when he was awarded an Honorary Membership. 

In making the award President Cedric Hollinsworth remarked that the Club works very closely with the town council on several important events and the honorary membership was long overdue.  Mayor Mervyn Hall responded that he was most pleased to have been asked to become a member, adding that his evening had been most enjoyable and that he intended maintaining close relationships with the Club.