2018 Charter Celebration

Sat 27th October 2018 at 12.30 - 16.00

Club members and guests gathered to celebrate the 59th anniversary of the club's formation, entertained by a brilliant speech by Mike Brace CBE DL past chairman of the British Paralympian Association.

thumbnail view

Be Inspired - A Bracing Challenge

Enjoying the day

There are three categories of after-dinner, post-lunch speakers:  All jokes and no substance; Substance and no humour, and just plain boring.  Then along comes one who turns all that around and delivers a talk of such intensity, interest and humour, that the audience doesn’t know whether to laugh or cry.

Mike Brace, CBE, DL embraced us (no pun intended) as our speaker at our 59th Charter Lunch at the Magic Mushroom on October 27. Magic venue, magic food and magic talk.  A special meal for a special occasion.

Those of the members, guests and partners who did not know Mike or had not heard him speak before were, as one, full of praise. He came, as always when he speaks, with his loving wife Maureen, faithful guide dog Izzy who slept on the floor as though saying:  “Give over boss – I’ve heard it all before.”

A great time had by all 

Blinded But No Blame

Mike Brace, as a young lad, ended up blind as a result of a street accident, picking up a glass bottle just as the banger inside exploded!  He told us: “My mother blamed herself for what happened. I told her: ‘Mum, it was an accident, No-one is to blame.’ “  Adding: “I always wanted to be a sportsman.” And so that is what he became as, President Les said in his introduction, a blind winter Paralympian athlete, and subsequently chief administrator of the British Paralympic Association for many years.

What followed was wonderful stories of his life, his ventures and his “magic” moments and the fun  – getting his white stick trapped in a tube train door and watched it going through the next underground tunnel.  What did they think at the next station when the door opened and a white stick fell out?  Where was its owner!!

Or, as playing in the blind cricket match when the batsman said  “I cannot see the ball”.  Mike said. “He hadn’t hit two balls in succession since he trod on a garden rake.”

All summed up in the wonderful title to his talk:  “It’s Ability That Counts”.  As he said, the keyword was challenge.  “Challenge yourself. There are goals you can meet all the time.  I found them, so can everyone.”

Grace And Congratulations

Grace was said immaculately by Bert French and address and toasts to “Our Guests” was made by President Les who included representatives from fellow Rotary and Service clubs who have assisted our Soapbox Derby. They included Mike Conway (Lions), Marcus Bennett (Round Table), Tony Sprackling (41 Club), Yvonne Kyndt (Billericay Mayflower Rotary) and Dikster (Billericay Town Rotary) and partners and wives.

Assistant Governor, Dave Eagles, in replying on behalf of the guests, praised the Club. “Despite being small in numbers, you have achieved enormous things – your soapbox derby, your award-winning newsletter and website and much more. Rotary Central recognises you as a Five Star Rotary Club.  I congratulate you.”

100 Club

As is customary, Roger Kettle held the latest 100 club draw at the Lunch, where participants monthly donations is split 50% to the draw and 50% to the club's benevolent fund.
Winners this time were:

  • Alison Deakin
  • Mike Ginn
  • Ben Clarke
  • Norman Wilson

Our thanks to Norman Bishop for organising super venue event and to Magic Mushroom staff for their kindness and efficiency.