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Bideford Water Festival 2021

Our crazy cardboard boat regatta was a model boat regatta in 2020 and streamed on social media. Hoping Lockdown restrictions will be lifted by July 2021!


Foundation and End Polio Now




£115,000 RAISED IN 20 YEARS! We support ShelterBox as this charity can really move quickly to get assistance to desperate communities around the world where and when it is needed.


About us


Do get in touch if you want to find out more about Bideford Rotary or about Rotary generally: President, Jacquie Willoughby (Tel: 07980 767279) would love to hear from you. We are still meeting weekly but all meetings will be conducted through Zoom until further notice

Bideford Rotary Club Members Zooming 2021

We traditionally meet on Thursday lunchtimes but at least one meeting a month is an evening meeting and often at an alternative venue so please do check in when Covid Lockdown is lifted if you would like to join us. OR DO GET IN TOUCH AND JOIN ANY OF OUR ZOOM MEETINGS! We have a full programme of interesting speakers and it has been busy this year despite Lockdown, Rotary's motto is SERVICE BEFORE SELF and this certainly has been the year for volunteering!


Bideford Rotary Youth Competitions


Junior: Abigail Nichols; Intermediate: Alex Hallett; Senior: Joey Agnew


Junior (no entries) Intermediate: Allex Hallett; Senior: Fiona Dunn



Rainbow Benches for North Devon District Hospital donated by Bideford Rotary

Two beautiful rainbow benches were presented to our local hospital in Barnstaple, a unique design made by an English company, TDP Ltd, for the Rotary Club of Bideford with the inscription "THANKFUL FOR OUR MANY POTS OF GOLD"

Jacquie Willoughby, President of Bideford Rotary, said "We wanted to do something special to bring a smile or two to this difficult year and rainbows have been a central theme. The benches are to remind NHS staff that they are appreciated for all they have done and continue to do every day, every week, every year - they are undoubtedly "pots of gold"!

We also hope that patients and their friends and families who sit on these benches will find them uplifting. We want them to try and smile and be thankful for the good things in their lives, to focus on their personal pots of gold rather than on disapointments and bad news.

The benches are made of recycled plastic, which is how the colours are so vibrant. "only yellow is a really difficult colour" occording to Ellen Fineran, Customer Service Manager of TDP Ltd.who helped their design team to make these special rainbow benches for Bideford Rotary. "They are particularly durable and should last for at least 20 years so will be a positive reminder of the Covid pandemic for many years to come"


Sadly during the Covid Pandemic we can't get together for our annual Water Festival and crazy cardboard boat regatta but we built MODEL cardboard boats for the regatta in 2020 which was streamed on social media. For more details see the Water Festival page of the website.

Model boat on the President's head, Bideford Quay2020             Model boat on the President's head, Bideford Quay

Our Twin Clubs: Uelzen in Germany and Biddeford-Saco in Maine, USA

On 31st May 2019, 10 of us enjoyed a fabulous long weekend in Germany, hosted and entertained in style by members of our twin club, Uelzen. Many old friends were reunited and memories of previous exchange visits regaled... lots of new friends were made with wonderful new memories to add to the archives!

It was HOT! we lost our luggage! we were wined and dined to the point of collapse! enjoyed fascinating visits to the monastory in Ebstorf and the village museum in Hosseringen; we were hosted by the town Deputy Mayor at a buffet supper to celebrate all the service clubs in Uelzen but the highlight of the trip was Bideford Rotaryt President, Morris' speech of thanks in german - we have no idea what he said!


We are wondering how long before we are popping over to Europe again. We have invited our German Rotarian friends to visit in Spring 2021 - fingers crossed that the Covid travel restrictions will be long gone by then!

The fellowship of Rotarians all round the world is extraordinary. Many Bideford Rotarians were hoping to visit our other twin club, Biddeford-Saco in Maine (USA), in May 2020 but of course the visit had to be cancelled. We  are hoping we may be able to help them celebrate their 100 year Charter Anniversary in July 2021... Fingers firmly crossed! 


Unfortunately there was no opportunity to do a bucket collection for Shelterbox during 2020. We normally collect each year at The Big Sheep Christmas Markets or after a specific disaster. A collection was made however, by encouraging people to give up something for 40 days for Lent... and donating the money saved to ShgelterBox: A Tent for Lent.

The club’s total ShelterBox contribution in the last 20 years is 

Now over £112,650.00 - WOW! 

Well done to the people of Bideford!

See the ShelterBox page for details of our Tent for Lent Campaign starting 17th February 2021

Memory Cafes

We were pleased to welcome in October, Julia Hadley, co-ordinator for Northam and Bideford Memory Cafes and organiser of a 'Singing for Health' group for people with memory issues in Torrington. She gave us a fascinating insight into dementia and some alarming statistics: In Bideford 25% of the population is over 65 but it is estimated that by 2025 this will have doubled! Those of us diagnosed with dementia has doubled in recent years and it is now the number one cause of death. 

At the end of the talk Rotarian Mike Plamer, presented Julia with a cheque for £720 to support the ongoing development of the memory cafes. Further funds have been donated by Bideford Rotary this year to enable the local Memory Cafes to prepare to reopen this Spring.

Club History

The Rotary Club of Bideford was formed in 1925, the Club Charter being granted from 27th May 1925. The Mayor of Bideford, Dr E J Toye was appointed the first president of the Club. A cable expressing congratulations and best wishes was received from the Biddeford & Saco Rotary Club in Maine, U.S.A. 
In 1955, using the spade which the Duke of Edinburgh had used to plant a tree to commemorate his visit to Bideford in 1952, President of Bideford Rotary Club (D.W.Friendship) planted the first of five trees at the rear of the Port Memorial Gardens to mark the 50th anniversary of the Rotary Movement. 
In 1975 in celebration of Bideford Rotary's 50th anniversary, a new �5,000 ambulance was presented to the St. John Ambulance Association.
2005 was the year of Rotary's Centenary, and Bideford Rotary's 80th anniversary. Visitors from Biddeford-Saco were hosted, and at the special luncheon there was a display of photos relating to the relationship between the American and Devon Clubs. President Ron Blick dedicated a bed of 100 roses in Victoria Park. Now we are under pressure to plan something special to mark the 100th anniversary in 2025!

In addition to the links with the namesake club in the U.S.A.,there are similar links with the Rotary Club of Uelzen in Germany. Despite the Brexit we really enjoy maintaining close links with our European partners! Visits are made to both clubs, and we host members of those clubs in return. In 2018/19 Bideford Rotary worked with the Uelzen Club on a major project for the Children's Hospice South West. By working together we applied for a Rotary Global Grant to boost funds raised locally and were delighted to donate to Childrens Hospice South West (Littlebridge House) nearly £40,000.in February 2019. 

Picture by Grahem Hobbs: Cheque presentation to CHSW

Happening soon...

Meetings and events happening soon

Thu, Apr 22nd 2021 1:00 pm


Tue, Apr 27th 2021 7:00 pm

Zoom Club Council Meeting

Thu, Apr 29th 2021 1:00 pm

Polio Update

Thu, May 6th 2021 1:00 pm

Business Meeting

Thu, May 13th 2021 1:00 pm

Club Assembly

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Meetings & Venue

Where and when:

We meet on Thursdays at 12.55 or 19.00
(At least one Thursday a month is an evening meeting )
Meeting at present on Zoom

EX39 4AE  (01237) 472005

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