Free Portland News entry by Keith Barnard Jones

January 2018

Welcome to 2018 from the Rotary Club

And so we have arrived in 2018 – the year in which we celebrate the 40th Anniversary of our club’s twinning with the Rotary Club of Vire in Calvados, the year in which the Great Britain & Ireland Conference will be held in Torquay for the first time ever, the year in which our International Convention returns to Canada – to Toronto - in June, the year in which, in July, we welcome Garry Urwin as our new President and he will take over from Ian McPheat who is doing a great job at present but still has six months to run in charge of our team, and, with just 20 cases of polio in the whole world last year, hopefully the year in which we will see the end of polio.

Interestingly, I was on an Easijet flight recently and the crew members were taking a collection to help eradicate polio.  As I have said, ad nauseam, the elimination of this terrible scourge is a multi-organisational approach.  Until there has been no case anywhere in the world for at least three years, for any country that lets its immunisation levels fall polio is only a plane-ride away

So now, back to business, but firstly, though Christmas is probably a dim, distant memory for most of us, I have to thank all those who supported us in so many ways over the festive season – we very much appreciate all your help.   We would be lost without you.

We start this year’s work with the first Table Top Sale of 2018 - in the Community 2000 Hall in Easton on Saturday morning 10th. February.  This is in support of the next Dorset Expeditionary Society Trip.  This challenge is to help the youngsters of this area develop physically and mentally through facing a wide variety of challenges and so they will be the beneficiaries of the profits from the sale this time.  Why not come along and support us/them, meet old friends and make some new ones, and have a fun morning into the bargain?   Hopefully we have arranged some good weather for that day!!

If you miss, or have just missed, our Annual Burns Night Celebration, don’t worry.  This is fast becoming so popular that it looks as if this will now be an annual event and, eventually, part of the Portland Scene.  Our thanks go to Janet Kench for all her hard work in setting this up, and for the many people who came along to support us and to have a ball.  See you there next year?

This last month saw a new Rotary Club being born in the Wessex area, this time in Frome – our first for a few years.  We are always looking for new blood and new ideas for our club here on Portland too.  Anyone interested? 

Just before the season of Peace and Goodwill someone asked me what Rotarians were doing to promote world peace.  In 2002 we addressed this challenge, as well as all the other cause that we fight.  Seven Universities that ran programmes in the promotion of Peace and Conflict Resolution were asked to help us – and they did.  Courses were run in England (Bradford), Paris, Tokyo, Buenos Aires, Australia, and two in the USA.   Each university took ten post-graduate students annually.  All the chosen students had some sort of experience of work in this field already, and each undertook a two years’ course to obtain a Master’s Degree in the subject.  We have now lost the French University and one of those in the USA, but have taken on two new universities in Uppsala and Bangkok and have, to date trained over 1000 well-qualified experts, nearly all of whom are still working in the field of Peace and Conflict Resolution.  If you want to know more, look this up on the internet – it is all there for you.   Happy viewing

Keith