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Message from the President, June 2020

As we are finally coming out of lockdown we still need to ‘be alert’ and careful when we are out and about. It’s been good to know that several of us have been out helping others, visiting at a distance and making sure that everyone is ok. I’m happy that we can keep our fellowship going in this way as well as on our coffee morning and on Thursday meetings at 6pm.

District continues to provide services online, live forums on Zoom and ‘TogetherTalks’ on the Rotary Youtube channel. Register now to submit your questions to our line-up of guests, and get event reminders so you don't miss a thing. The district Whatsapp group has also been very active with loads of good ideas and projects to ease the lockdown restrictions. There are many online pub-style quizzes where clubs can raise some funds to help out. You can still join a district-wide Zoom session at 7.30pm every Thursday, sometimes featuring a speaker. Details are usually sent out by district email. Joss has been contacting neighbourly.com. Until Faith-in-Action resumes services Joss will be picking up food on Tuesdays and delivering to the Old Rutlishians’ Association. We have been informed that they continue to provide food banks to the community.

It was good to see a few of the fellows back for our very limited club council on June 1st. I’m still struggling with Zoom however, even though I consider myself a techie. By the time we’ve figured it all out we will probably be allowed a physical meeting! We remain hopeful that there will be an ‘In/Out’ party for which Jim O’Neill has kindly offered his garden. Keep your fingers crossed! So, a strange but very interesting month of May. Not only in lockdown but also the driest month on record!

Meantime, stay alert and keep well and safe.

John

Message from the President, May 2020

Last month I said we are in strange times. It seems we’re still there and for   another two weeks into May. Thanks to everyone for keeping it all together on Zoom. I’m happy that we can keep our fellowship going in this way on both our coffee morning and on the regular Thursday meets at 6pm.

Zoom Tip from district – As we have a licence now, I think that members can attend the meeting on an ordinary, non smart phone by simply calling one of the numbers on the joining instructions, entering the meeting id followed by #, entering a # when prompted for a participant id and then typing in the password followed by #. You will obviously not see what is on the screen or be able to use chat but you will be able to hear and to speak.
District meetings are motoring ahead and have been very successful. You can join a district-wide Zoom session at 7.30pm every Thursday, sometimes featuring a speaker. Details are usually sent out by district email.
The District Whatsapp group has also been very busy. Messages come in from many clubs who are still active in the community. We are encouraged as Rotarians to keep trying to do our service to the community while keeping safe. If you see an opportunity, go for it and make sure that people know we are the Rotary Club of Morden.
I was happy that we agreed this month to donate in a small way to two local organisations, the Merton & Morden Guild, looking after the elderly in our community and Jigsaw4U who support local vulnerable children in Mitcham. Hopefully, when we come out of this we can consider further donations as and when needed. Joss has been contacting neighbourly.com but of course we can’t continue to contribute to Faith-in-Action until it resumes services. We have been informed that they have been able to house many of the homeless people left vulnerable to the pandemic.
So, a strange but very interesting month. We may not have one like this for a long time (hopefully) but I think we will come out much more prepared, if not more digitally connected than we were before. Meantime, keep well and safe.
John

Message from the President, April 2020

We are in strange times. Talking with Tony about how strange it all seems - with shops shuttered, people avoiding physical contact spending days our only for walks. And for some of us, like Stan who isn’t allowed into his favourite Morden Hall Park or like Barry who must see to Joan’s well-being while maintaining a household.

Being Rotarians at this time, helping and supporting each other as well as those who are less able or vulnerable in the community has become even more important. Meantime we must also protect ourselves. It makes for difficult choices. How can we help charities such as Faith-in-Action which have shut down, or community volunteering organisations?

A message from ADG Frank Hardiman suggests “I would also welcome your opinion on whether members would be willing if RIBI or District took a lead to donate money, say £50 from money we have saved by not attending meetings or President’s Dinner, the aim being to Channel such money into research into Covid-19 vaccine. I appreciate that some clubs may have decided to collect such money and give it to a local food bank. Please do let me know your thoughts. All good wishes”

Speaking of strange times, I continue to make progress through meetings on Zoom. For someone who fancies himself as tech savvy, even I struggle with this at times! But thanks to all of you for trying to join. I feel we MUST keep up the effort. I have enjoyed trying to set up this ‘coffee morning’ idea which I got from someone on the district WhatsApp group. If we can continue this as an informal chat on Monday Mornings at 11am, that would be good. We can all learn something new together. So far it seems to have been working. We will get it right eventually.

This month we especially thank the district for their efforts to keep us all connected. Their Whatsapp group has been very busy. WE also thank ADG, Frank Hardiman and the DG, Allan Moss for sterling work to keep everyone informed. We have the opportunity now to appreciate the wider Rotary community from the safety of our desktops.

The seed planting programme at the secondary school we have previously supported has started for another year. As I reported earlier, the WaSH project is also proving successful. Now, however, all Tanzanian schools are closed! More news of this to follow soon.

Thank you for your continued support for Barry and Joan. We wish them both well and that Joan recovers soon. Thank you also for your continued connections online, however tentative.

John

Message from the President, March 2020

First of all let me give myself a little slap on the wrist. Last month I failed to mention Philip’s talk on January 16th. Even though I was away I’m sure it was a very entertaining talk, especially with all the equipment on display. It’s a great hobby and we hope he keeps it up, especially as he is in a perfect position near the sea when he goes to Wales.

Speaking of being away, I have followed your progress through my absence. This month we especially thank Margaret and all the colleagues who helped or attended the Rotary Young Chef District semi-final at Merton College. The event was well attended and branded a success by both the ADG, Frank Hardiman and the DG, Allan Moss. The staff at the college were again very grateful for the opportunity to host. This has become a flagship event for our club. 

February also saw the continuing travels of colleague Brian Cooper as he and Margot visited many of the ports around Australia, having been barred from their south Asia destinations. This pesky virus gets everywhere!

.We had a very interesting talk on 30th January from Sherry Plant. She has a fund of information and stories from the theatre. Well worth a repeat invitation.

While I have been away in Tanzania I had the pleasure of working with Andy Butcher who came with his son Joe and friend Conor who normally helps with Morden Fun Day. School toilets are an ongoing issue in Tanzania. We were able to put finishing touches on the hand wash facility completed last year. It was a very successful visit and one Andy and the boys will remember for a long time.

I will now soon be back in the chair but first I have to join the Area 6 presidents meeting on the 6th. I hope to be able to present a report to that meeting on the toilet situation with a view to seeking donations from other clubs. I would like to shore up some funds towards another district grant for a new school toilet. The school is in desperate need of a new toilet block now that one of the existing blocks has collapsed. I know that we can step in where the Tanzanian government struggles with maintenance.

The seed planting programme at the secondary school has started for another year. Tanzania has had significant amounts of unseasonal rain lately so the programme has been delayed. It normally starts about mid-February. More news of this to follow soon.

Thank you for your continued support for Barry and Joan. We wish them both well and that Joan recovers soon. Thank you also for your continued support in my absence.


John

Message from the President, February 2020

An eventful January saw RC Morden busy with the Young Chef competitions. The first on January 9th turned out to be a great success with South Thames College, Merton Campus and especially with staff and students there. Margaret very bravely organised this event as a separate contest from the main Rotary Young Chef competition. Why? Because RIBI decided in its wisdom that we should not include students studying catering at college level or in schools. As we worked closely in the past with Merton College this put us at a significant disadvantage not to mention the disappointment from Merton College staff. As this did prove very successful I suggest we do the same next year and perhaps collaborate with other clubs that have been similarly side-lined as a result - clubs with catering college courses in their constituencies? I understand several clubs worked together recently in the district to sponsor similar events for secondary students.

January 24th saw us again with the Mayor and with loyal friends at the Rotary Young Chef semi-final at Merton College again. A very successful event The Mayor, Janice Howard, dispensed the certificates and trophies. The standard was very high and Oscar Money with his Scottish themed menu took first prize.

On January 30th we were entertained by speaker Sherry Plant of New Wimbledon Theatre. Her talk was extensive but very interesting. Her experience at the theatre is commendable. We thank her for her commitment to the club and hope to see her again, perhaps for another theatre visit in the future.

January also saw us short by a couple of our colleagues. On January 1st John whisked himself off to charity duties in Tanzania. He now hopes to be able to support a project there to replace a collapsed toilet, something that had not been in the planning in 2019! School toilets are an ongoing issue in Tanzania.

Meanwhile colleague Brian Cooper continues to grace us with descriptions of his voyages around the southern hemisphere. He has reported that they must avoid some destinations now due the spread of some Chinese contagion. We wish both he and Margot safe journeys.

I will now be in Tanzania for the January-February start of the school year. The seed planting programme at the secondary school is about to start for this year. Tanzania has had significant amounts of unseasonal rain lately so the programme has been delayed.

Thank you. I hope you will have had a good start to the new year.

John

Message from the President, January 2020

First of all let me give myself a little slap on the wrist. Last month I failed to mention Philip’s talk on January 16th. Even though I was away I’m sure it was a very entertaining talk, especially with all the equipment on display. It’s a great hobby and we hope he keeps it up, especially as he is in a perfect position near the sea when he goes to Wales.

Speaking of being away, I have followed your progress through my absence. This month we especially thank Margaret and all the colleagues who helped or attended the Rotary Young Chef district semi-final at Merton College. The event was well attended and branded a success by both the ADG, Frank Hardiman and the DG, Allan Moss. The staff at the college were again very grateful for the opportunity to host. This has become a flagship event for our club. 

February also saw the continuing travels of colleague Brian Cooper as he and Margot visited many of the ports around Australia, having been barred from their south Asia destinations. This pesky virus gets everywhere!

.We had a very interesting talk on 30th January from Sherry Plant. She has a fund of information and stories from the theatre. Well worth a repeat visit.

While I have been away in Tanzania I had the pleasure of working with Andy Butcher who came with his son Joe and friend Conor who normally helps with Morden Fun Day. School toilets are an ongoing issue in Tanzania. We were able to put finishing touches on the hand wash facility completed last year. It was a very successful visit and one Andy and the boys will remember for a long time.

I will now soon be back in the chair but first I have to join the Area 6 presidents meeting on the 6th. I hope to be able to present a report to that meeting on the toilet situation with a view to seeking donations from other clubs. I would like to shore up some funds towards another district grant for a new school toilet. The school is in desperate need of a new toilet block now that one of the existing blocks has collapsed. I know that we can step in where the Tanzanian government struggles with maintenance.

The seed planting programme at the secondary school has started for another year. Tanzania has had significant amounts of unseasonal rain lately so the programme has been delayed. It normally starts about mid-February. More news of this to follow soon.

Thank you for your continued support for Barry and Joan. We wish them both well and that Joan recovers soon. Thank you also for your continued support in my absence.

John

Young Chef, 2020

On Saturday, February 23rd the Rotary Club of Morden sponsored the Rotary Young Chef at Merton College. At this annual semi-final event we determine who shall go forward for the National Final.
The winner was Lucie Taylor.
Runner up Oscar Money.
Lucie's Menu:
Minestrone soup with Cheese & Pesto scones; Smoked salmon with garlic and lemon butter sauce with crushed potatoes and warm spring vegetables; Mixed fruit tart with raspberry coulis.
Oscar's Menu:
Pan fried Sea Bass with cauliflower puree and beurre blanc sauce; Roast loin of lamb with parmesan risotto, wild mushroom and Madeira sauce; Lemon posset served with raspberry coulis and a vanilla tuile biscuit.

we were happy to be joined by the Right Honourable Mayor of Merton, Janice Howard. The mayor was on hand to award the prizes. Also attending were our Assistant District Governor, Dr. Frank Hardiman of the Rotary Club of Purley as well as many of our own colleagues. The event was ably managed by past president Margaret Sinclair. We look forward to another successful year in 2020.

Start of the New Year - 2020

Message from the President
Christmas celebrations aside, I have had a wonderful half year in the stewardship of the Rotary Club of Morden. This year we coordinated with Christmas festivities planned for the Morden Park Baptist Church, Lower Morden Lane when the LB Merton Mayor Janice Howard and her deputy attended our ‘send off’ of Santa’s sleigh (no bottle of champers to send it off though)!

Christmas celebrations aside, I have had a wonderful half year in the stewardship of the Rotary Club of Morden. This year we coordinated with Christmas festivities planned for the Morden Park Baptist Church, Lower Morden Lane when the LB Merton Mayor Janice Howard and her deputy attended our ‘send off’ of Santa’s sleigh (no bottle of champers to send it off though)!

On Thursday 12th we celebrated Christmas dinner at Cuddington Golf Club with many of our long-time friends and colleagues.These dinners are always special and a great evening was had by all. I especially thank Stanley for his beautiful cake which earned the club an extra £40 at auction! We thank Tony again for his excellent organisation for the evening.

Thursday 19th saw us again with the Mayor and with loyal friends at the Morden Brook where we shared fellowship and another excellent Christmas dinner prepared by the staff and landlord to see us off for Christmas. It was a delight to see colleagues and partners together as well as our friends Alan Spencer and his wife Debbie from Haig Homes, Becky from our Christmas collections and Kath and Rhea, our previous hosts at the Brook.

This week also saw us on the last of our last Christmas collections. This year, despite the rain on a couple of evenings, we collected close to £4750. I had hoped that we could round it up to an even £5000 but we can only do what we do! As I went from house to house, I was happy to announce that we were supporting St. Raph’s again as well as the Mayor’s charities, Faith-in-Action and the Macmillan Trust.

I believe that the collections suffered slightly because of the early start and the weather which caused us to finish early on two occasions. We thank Philip for his organisation of the routes again this year. The fact that they ran smoothly is a sign of all the hard work that goes on in the background.

I will now be in Tanzania for the January-February start of the school year. We still have to paint and finish tiling the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WaSH) project we set up this year. Andy Butcher and his son, plus his manager for Morden Family Funday, will be coming for a visit in February to help us. While in Tanzania this time round I also hope to implement the school uniform project for the children supported previously by the club on behalf of ABCDreams (UK), as well as continuing with the seed planting programme we started in 2017 at the village secondary school.

Thank you. We hope you will have had a very merry Christmas.

John

Young Master Chef

The Rotary Club of Morden recently hosted a new competition to encourage young chefs working at college level and who were excluded from the Rotary District competition. We sponsored the event which was hosted at the Merton College campus of South Thames College in their Taste kitchens.

The event was both successful and popular. We hope to be able to repeat again next year. Apart from this event we will also be sponsoring our annual Young Chef competition for rotary district 1145, again at the Merton college campus. This has always been very popular and we wish all young chefs the best of luck!

From the president.

Christmas Collections 2019

See below for most recent messages:
It's that time of year again folks - Rotary Club of Morden Christmas Collection Routes... these routes are subject to change depending on the weather.

  • We will make every attempt to notify changes.
  • We will also set up some static places for our sleigh.

Rotary Morden Christmas Collection Routes 2019:

ROUTE Friday 6th January Start 6.30-7pm
Rendezvous in Fairway with junction of Church Walk, continue down Fairway and into Linkway. Turn left into Westway to its junction with Crossway. Turn left into Crossway, turn Left into Grand Drive then left into Greenway, finish with its junction with Westway.

ROUTE Monday 9th start 6.30pm
Rendezvous corner of Kingsbridge Road and Aragon Road, proceed along the full length of Kingsbridge Road, turn left at Dudley Drive and left into Seymour Avenue for the whole length. Turn right into Kingsbridge Road and right into Aragon Road for the whole length.

ROUTE Wednesday 11th start 6.30pm
Rendezvous at Railway Bridge at Hillcross Avenue/Links Avenue, thence along Hillcross Avenue to Maycross Avenue. Turn right into Maycross Avenue for the whole length, turn left at Mossville Gardens, turn left at Leamington Avenue, thence into Arundel Avenue, turn right at Woodland Way, turn right at Ashridge Way, thence along the whole length to Martin Way. Turn left at Martin Way, turn left at Westcroft Gardens, turn right at Leamington Avenue. Turn left into Monkleigh Road, turn left into Hillcross Avenue back to point of commencement.

ROUTE Friday 13th start 6.30pm
Rendezvous in Hillcross Avenue junction with Monkleigh Road. Turn Left into Sheldon Drive, turn Left into Churston Drive, turn right into Templecombe Way, turn left into Thurleston Avenue, turn right into Churston Drive, turn left into Cambourne Road, turn right into Glenthorpe Road, turn Left into Cannon Hill Road, turn Left into Queen Mary Avenue and finish.

ROUTE Monday 16th start 6.30pm
Rendezvous at Cannon Hill Lane/junction Monkleigh Road (near surgery) proceed along Monkleigh Road, turn right at Leamington Avenue, turn right at Cherrywood Lane and thence into Northway, left into Cannon Hill Lane proceeding then to Elm Walk, thence along Elm Walk for it's whole length, turn right into Grand Drive, then right into Heath Drive, returning along Parkway to Cannon Hill Lane.........
(If time permits, proceed across Cannon Hill Lane into Eastway, The Green and Cherrywood Lane).

ROUTE Wednesday 18th start 6.30pm
Rendezvous at Seaforth Avenue, turn left along Adela Avenue, turn right into West Barnes Lane, turn right into Phillis Avenue, turn left into Seaforth Avenue, turn left along West Barnes Lane, finish at roundabout.

PLUS

Lower Morden Lane Static Collections
Saturday 7th & Sunday 8th 16th Lower Morden Lane Two shifts 16.00-18.00 & 18.00-20.00
Saturday 14th & Sunday 15th Lower Morden Lane Two shifts 16.00-18.00 & 18.00-20.00

Message from the President, November 2019

As we move into the Christmas celebrations, Rotary Morden is gearing up for the Christmas Collections. This year we hope to coordinate with festivities planned for the Morden Park Baptist Church, Lower Morden Lane, opposite the Morden Brook. LB Merton Mayor Janice Howard and her deputy will also attend and we hope they will send our sleigh off with a Mayoral message!

On Sunday, 10th November it was my great honour as president to lay a wreath of remembrance at the Haig Homes memorial garden on behalf of our club for the fallen but not forgotten soldiers of the Great War. A number of our fellows also attended and we met with a loyal friend of the club, veteran Alan Spencer, a resident of the homes.

After presenting the work of my charity ABCDreams (UK) at Coulsdon Manor in October I was happy to organise an Area 6 dinner for our members on 18th November. I shared a wonderful evening of rotary friendship and fellowship there and hoped to extend this to colleagues. As it happened your president went down with a head cold which he preferred to keep to himself! After he had volunteered to plant bulbs in Morden Park the previous day, he most probably came back with the cold as a souvenir!

November 23rd saw a number of colleagues visiting the New Wimbledon Theatre. This was a very successful visit thanks to the excellent presentation and historical notes by Sherry Plant who has agreed to come to present a delayed speech at club on 30th January. I didn’t previously understand how big the theatre is and what a distinguished history it shares with west-end theatres. An agreeable post-visit lunch was shared by a number of colleagues, rounding off a day well-spent.

Also on 23rd November, colleague Tony Hunn attended the PEPs1 on behalf of Stan Earl for next year’s presidency. We thank Tony for his commitment and dedication.

In our recent Special General Meeting we discussed many issues including new elections/appointments of officers. We welcome volunteers, of course but we seem to have filled most of the posts. More of this at our next business meeting.

I will now be planning another sojourn in Tanzania for next January-February. We still have some cosmetic work to finish the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WaSH) project we set up this year in the local village high school - Lyasikika Sec. While in Tanzania this time around I hope to again implement the school uniform project for the children supported by ABCDreams (UK) as well as continuing with the seed planting programme we started in 2017 at the Secondary School. More on this next time.

Thank you,      John

Message from the President, October 2019

September, signalling the end of Summer, became an enjoyable and eventful month for myself as president and for Morden Rotary as a Club. With a removal from Battersea back into my Rotary Morden constituency in Mitcham, I feel closer to home at the club. I feel there is much to do in Mitcham with reference to Rotary community service and would like to pursue this further. There was a time we almost set up a satellite club there. It still shows much promise.

Following on from a visit as speaker to the Rotary Club of Addiscombe and Shirley at the end of August, I also had the pleasure on the 16th as guest speaker of the Rotary Club of Coulsdon Manor in Croydon. I presented the work of my charity ABCDreams (UK) and shared a wonderful evening of Rotary friendship and fellowship. It was a pleasure to also share with both these clubs some of our mutual concerns as Rotarians.

On the 19th we hosted our own guest speaker, Graeme Roy from the Croydon Airport Trust. This was a very rewarding evening where we learned about the distinguished history of the original airport which turned out to be a ground-breaking and eventually world famous enterprise, catering for many of the nation’s celebrated travellers. These included Winston Churchill (1919) when he expressed a desire to learn how to fly, Charles Lindbergh (1927) after his solo crossing the Atlantic, Amy Johnson (1930) when she took off for her solo flight to Australia.

On Saturday 21st Philip Watson, his wife Jeanette and I shared a warm, sunshiney day in Wimbledon Park for the annual sailing club regatta. The weather was good for sailing with a slight, shifting breeze across the lake. We were warmly welcomed by Erica and enjoyed the company of all the young sailors. We handed out trophies provided by the club to all the happy winners.

This month also saw our membership secretary Barry Bramley busy organising our second annual open day, or Morden Rotary Showcase. On the evening of the 26th we shared our experiences in community service along with our international commitments, highlighted by the work of ABCDreams (UK), one of the charities we support in Tanzania. As president I was honoured to be able to invite new friends and to showcase our achievements. The evening proved enjoyable and successful. We discussed the possibility of yet another showcase evening in the Spring.

With another temporary move for me to Tanzania in October I will be writing my next piece from there. Thanks to all for your support.

John

Message from the President, September 2019

A very busy August starting with our meeting on August 1st when we inducted a new Honorary member for the club, the Mayor of Merton, Cllr. Janice Howard. Mayor Howard attended with her husband Andrew, her consort for the year. We are proud to have had this opportunity and to support the Mayor’s two charities, Macmillan Cancer Support and Faith in Action - Merton Homelessness Project. 

In mid-August we had the pleasure of celebrating the birthday of one of our longest standing colleagues, Tony Hunn. Colleague Phil Watson’s daughter, Jo made the most beautiful cake featuring Tony’s car in the workshop! We also had the pleasure on the following Saturday evening of an invitation to help Tony celebrate at the Holiday Inn, Sutton. And a very enjoyable evening it was! 

On the 21st of August I visited our colleagues at the Rotary Club of Callington, Cornwall. Last year we worked together in a collaboration project with the help of a district grant from the Callington district 1175. The project fitted into a larger rotary initiative supporting water and sanitation projects around the world. This particular project saw the building of a hand washing facility for a high school in Tanzania. 

Following shortly on, we thoroughly enjoyed a talk by colleague Phil Watson, president of the International Fellowship of Motor-cycling Rotarians (IFMR). There are many such fellowships in rotary worldwide. As president, Phil organised a trip for his colleagues through Germany. 

Our Tate Britain visit proved a great success. A little bit of culture and discovery for colleagues as some hadn't been for a very long time and some not at all! 

Finally, we are hoping to sponsor a new bench outside the Morden Road NHS clinic. We are in discussions with Merton Council and hope to have some answers soon.  I trust September will be equally as busy. 

Thank you,       John

Message from the President, August 2019

(A belated message as I have been moving house!

A very busy August starting with our meeting on August 1st when we inducted a new Honorary member for the club, the Mayor of Merton, Cllr. Janice Howard. Mayor Howard attended with her husband Andrew, her consort for the year. We are proud to have had this opportunity and to support the Mayor’s two charities, Macmillan Cancer Support and Faith in Action - Merton Homelessness Project. 
In mid

On August 15th we had the pleasure of celebrating the birthday of one of our longest standing colleagues, Tony Hunn. Colleague Phil Watson’s daughter, Jo made the most beautiful cake featuring Tony’s car in the workshop! We also had the pleasure on the following Saturday evening of an invitation to help Tony celebrate at the Holiday Inn, Sutton. And a very enjoyable evening it was!

 
On the 21st of August I visited our colleagues at the Rotary Club of Callington, Cornwall. Last year we worked together in a collaboration project with the help of a district grant from the Callington district 1175. The project fitted into a larger rotary initiative supporting water and sanitation projects around the world. This particular project saw the building of a hand washing facility for a high school in Tanzania. 
Following shortly on, we thoroughly enjoyed a talk by colleague Phil Watson, president of the International Fellowship of Motor-cycling Rotarians (IFMR). There are many such fellowships in rotary worldwide. As president, Phil organised a trip for his colleagues through Germany. 
Our Tate Britain visit proved a great success. A little bit of culture and discovery for colleagues as some hadn't been for a very long time and some not at all! 
Finally, we are hoping to sponsor a new bench outside the Morden Road NHS clinic. We are in discussions with Merton Council and hope to have some answers soon. I trust September will be equally as busy.

Thank you, John


Message from the President, July 2019

My membership at the Rotary Club of Morden since June, 2013 is relatively brief compared to that of many of my colleagues. I therefore see it as an honour and a privilege to have been elected as the president in this Rotary year, 2019-2020.
The Rotary Club of Morden has happily served the communities of Morden and Lower Morden since 1935. We enjoy a strong bond with our communities. Meeting at the Morden Brook every Thursday evening has been a regular mainstay in an otherwise hectic life. The partnership and fellowship we share makes for an enjoyable, friendly evening mixing business and communion for a very pleasurable hour and a half (or sometimes a little more!).
During this year we face many challenges not the least of which is our membership. I hope to redouble efforts this year such that at this time in 2020 we have a strong, healthy and inspired membership.
Amongst our many connections with our communities I trust we can continue with our very successful annual Rotary Young Chef competition at South Thames College, Merton Campus. Under immediate past president Margaret’s stewardship each year this has proved a very popular event.
We also enjoy the annual Christmas Collections and will continue with these again this year. This is at once a cheerful occasion and a mainstay for us in our annual fund-raising effort. We have, on a number of occasions heard people say Christmas starts in their homes when the Morden Rotary Christmas float comes knocking!
We hope also to continue with Dictionaries 4 Life, where beautifully illustrated dictionaries are donated by RC Morden to three of our local primary school 6th graders. Each year, colleague Phil Watson does a sterling job and manages to store all the dictionaries until it is time for us to distribute them. On yet another venture, Phil has enjoyed and will, we hope, continue to extend our support for the Wimbledon Sailing Club.
Rotary Kids Out, where many Rotary clubs around Britain and Ireland sponsor a day out for disabled children remains yet another successful venture for us. Colleague Tony Hunn will hopefully continue with his successful stewardship of this event and we thank The Levers Trust for their continuing support.
In terms of fellowship and entertainment we often invite inspiring speakers who happily share their experiences with us, mostly for fund-raising for whichever charity they support. We recently hosted Alan Spencer, a disabled veteran who pedalled around the World War graves in Northern France to raise funds for Haig Homes, providing housing for veterans. Colleague John Telford always manages to invite engaging and entertaining speakers from all walks of life.
We also enjoy a number of fellowship celebrations at Cuddington Golf Club where we celebrate special occasions. We continue to thank our Fellowship secretary, Tony Hunn.
Finally, RC Morden extends its support on an international level to my own charity, ABCDreams (UK). Here we have supported just over 100 vulnerable school children in Northern Tanzania with a food planting programme and in one year with school uniforms.
While on the international theme we also support Shelter Box, a charity that sends shelter and utensils to relieve victims of natural disasters worldwide.

I look forward to a year of challenges and accomplishments,

John

Message from the President, June 2019

What a fantastic month of May for Rotary.  A small group of Rotarians visited the Tadworth Children’s Trust.  We gathered in the magnificent building and learned something of its history before our guide walked with us through amazing gardens that house the living quarters of many of the children. The children are looked after so carefully often on an individual basis. Most of the children are too incapacitated to live at home and the Trust is able to provide private quarters for parents to visit and have their child live with them for short periods. The gardens are maintained by mainly volunteers. We all felt pleased that we were able to hand over a cheque to support such a worthy charity.

It was a great surprise to be invited to attend the Mayor Making ceremony at Crown House.  Mayor Mary handed over her chain of office to our new Mayor – Janice Howard. We wish her well in her new role.   Mayor Janice is supported by Deputy Mayor Edward Foley.  Edward stepped into his new role when he represented the Mayor at Dogwatch the following weekend.  I enjoyed showing him round.

We have had some really interesting speakers during this last year and we were pleased to welcome Alan Spencer back to tell us about the Veterans cycling group adventure to Mons to mark D Day. Alan gave such an interesting talk and we have asked him to visit us again.

Well done to Joss and his team who set up the Rotary tent at Cheam Rotary Fair. Morden Family  Funday, this year will be Sunday, 14th July when we need lots of support.

Sadly, very soon, I have to relinquish the tenuous hold that I have on the Rotary Chair – just as I am beginning to get the hang of it. John will step in on 1st July.  Hope to see you all at the IN/OUT party on 30th June. Fab food from Phil and the Greenhouse Bar will be in full swing.

I thank you all for your amazing support over the year and I am sure you will extend the same support to John.  Meanwhile I am looking forward to Cuddington when our speaker is Dean Dawn.

Margaret

Message from the President, May 2019

This has been another busy month.  I attended Club Assembly with President Elect John and Rotarians Tony and Jim.  An interesting morning.  I joined the community chair group and the general consensus was that there was a greater need for care in the community.   Either running a weekly get-together for the elderly to give them a cooked meal and some entertainment or helping the homeless.  We certainly have pulled together in a big way to support Faith in Action with our donation of clothes and blankets and Joss and Brian collecting spare food from Asda to help with the Wednesday and Friday meals.

Thank you to all Rotarians for the huge amount that you do to help in our community.

My thanks also to John Telford for the really good speakers he arranges for us.  I am glad we were able to get a speaker from Cancer in Children.  I realise this is a sad subject but this is a charity I choose to support and I am glad we were able to offer a donation.  

I hope you all enjoyed a good Easter – wonderful weather.  Andy Butcher had organised an Easter Egg Hunt on behalf of the Mayor’s charity.  This was enjoyed by many children who all went away with an Easter egg after their hunt.  We are always hopeful for good weather however, this time the weather worked against us. There was one big problem – how to keep the Easter Eggs from melting.  It was such a warm day.  We ended up having to eat one or two before they melted completely. They still tasted good! 

Sadly William will be leaving us at the end of June owing to conflict of work and meeting times.  We will miss William.   He will always be welcome at our club and he has promised to come back and visit us.   

Finally, many congratulations to Philip on becoming President of the Rotary Motorcycle Fellowship.   I am sure he will be a really good President and enjoy his time in office.

Margaret

Message from the President, April 2019

I am very pleased to hear that John de Ronde has reported that building of the water tank and hand wash facilities in Tanzania are well underway. The first part of the financial support we agreed has been made. We were also pleased to report that John has managed to raise the majority of funds from a sister rotary club in Callington, Cornwall. It's good to see clubs working together. This is a project we are very proud to support and we look forwardto hearing more about progress and the next stage of the project when John returns. John will be back with us on 11th April.
We celebrated Stan’s 90th birthday in great style. What a fantastic evening. Great friendship, lots of food courtesy of Cath at the Morden Brook and a wonderful birthday cake made by Jeanne Watson. Stan provided another cake the following Thursday.
As President I have had the opportunity to accompany the Mayor of Merton, Councillor Mary Curtin to the Houses of Parliament. What a great experience. The occasion was a discussion regarding setting up a Rotary Peace Park on the border of India with Pakistan. Rotary has been involved previously in setting up a Peace Park on the border of Canada with America.
District Council is to be held this coming Saturday at Reigate. I am unable to attend as I will be presenting, together with Tony Hunn, the Rotary cup at Little League.
We move forward into April ready to attend District Assembly and gather our thoughts for the new Rotary year. John de Ronde, Tony Hunn, Jim and myself will be attending. Which makes me realise that I am now two thirds of the way through my term as President. Time is going by so quickly!
Morden Funday is to be held on July 14th and of course, we will need all hands on deck. A precursor to Funday is Cheam and Sutton Rotary’s May Fair on 27th May. We have the opportunity to take a stall at this event. Please note the day in your diary. 
We have had two very interesting speakers this month. Tina Harvey, Head teacher at Perseid School and Erica Bishop who runs the Sailing Club at Wimbledon Park - a club we have always supported and who provided very welcome collectors to help us at Christmas. A huge ‘Thank You’ to John Telford who has arranged such a great programme of speakers.
Sadly, William Rhind, our secretary has decided to leave us to join the Rotary Club of Putney. It will be more convenient to him. He has been a great help and support to us and we will be sorry to see him go. We wish him well with the proviso that he returns for the occasional visit!
Margaret

Message from the President, March 2019

February has been a busy but exciting month.  Morden Rotary hosted the District Semifinal of Young Chef closely followed by District Final.  There were ten entrants for the final, all of whom had lots of supporters.  Our Mayor and the District Governor were there to give support.  Merton College were splendid in their help with hosting this event - we are so fortunate to have such a great venue for this competition.

The event ran smoothly and efficiently thanks to all Morden Rotarians who make sure that this is so. Everyone knew their role and gave full support.  It is good to have an occasion that runs well and is special –special for the parents and supporters and most importantly, special for the competitors who all put in such a huge effort and produce such amazing food.

The Regional Final of Young Chef will be held at Orpington College - so we can now relax and let them take the reins.

Morden Funday is to go ahead this year, 14th July – please note the date firmly in your diaries and watch out for our Morden Rotary stall.  Any event that we attend gives us the chance to showcase Rotary and to do something to support the community.  

We are a small club but every member is involved in everything that we do.  This makes for a successful and healthy club - working together to achieve our goals and playing a useful part in the community.

Rotary South recently held a meeting, ‘Thinking Differently’, to look at ways to refresh and reinvigorate Rotary.  So sorry I was not able to be there but some highly interesting and provoking ideas emerged from the meeting. I feel that it is the spirit of support and friendship that come not only from our regular meetings that is worthy of note but the automatic expertise and support we are immediately able to offer when we run any event.  A valuable asset to our community.   Barry will arrange a special membership meeting to give us the chance to discuss the results of the 'Thinking Differently' meeting and how we can respond to this.

Margaret

Message from the President, February 2019

The Young Chef District Semi Final took place on 26th January at Merton Technical College.  A big ‘Thank You’ to all of you who helped with this event.  Special thanks to Brian, Tony and Joss who endured the cold wind to put up banners and organise the car parking.  Thank you also to Stan for taking some great photographs.  The competition winners were Florence Pattenden, sponsored by Rotary Club of Fleet, and Oliver Trowell sponsored by Rotary Club of Banstead.  They now go on to District Final.  This is our next challenge as we are hosting the District Final of Young Chef at Merton College on Saturday, 2nd March.  Hopefully the weather will be a little better by then. Mark this date in your diaries now!

John Telford has organised a varied speaker’s programme for us this year and hopefully we can take advantage of this to invite friends and colleagues to join us at club meetings. Our next speaker will be Gregory Alleyne from the Wimbledon Guild.
We are all aware that Faith in Action are always in need of blankets and sweaters etc. in this cold weather.  However, they are also grateful for rucksacks or backpacks to carry belongings during the day.
It has been very nice to welcome our visiting Rotarian Hari Choudhary from the Rotary Club of Salford who has visited us regularly over the last few months whilst visiting his family.
Finally, looking forward to our purple crocuses appearing soon.
Margaret

Message from the President, January 2019

The weeks before Christmas are always busy for Rotarians fitting in collections with busy lifestyles.  This year our number of collectors was increased by help from Wimbledon Park Sailing Club, Scouts and Little League which relieved some pressure on members. We also had four amazing Santas to help us. They all worked really hard and made lots of small children very happy.

I find on the rounds that so many people ask ”What is Rotary? What do you do?”  It is definitely time to address this and let people know who we are.  Barry made a start organising the Rotary Open Evening which was quite a success and I am hoping we can repeat this Open Evening in 2019.

 A big “Thank You” to the Santas and every one of you who helped with the collections – the effort we put in every year to do this is not only beneficial because of the income but it also shows Rotary at work in the community.  A special thanks must go to Brian for towing the float on all our routes, a gallant effort! Also many thanks to John De Ronde for stepping in and organising collectors and counting money when Philip was sadly called away.

Rotary was certainly evident when Joss stepped in to organise a collection of food from Aldi on Christmas Eve and take this to’ Faith in Action’ to help feed the homeless.  Well done Joss.  

As we move into the New Year, we host the Young Chef Semi Final on 26th January.  Hopefully several of you will be able to come along and give your support.  The Mayor will be in attendance. 

Thank you to John Telford for his work organising the speakers’ schedule. We have several very interesting speakers lined up to talk to us this year and this offers us the opportunity to invite guests to join us. 

Time now to move forward and enjoy the rest of our Rotary year.  As we glide smoothly into the New Year I would like to take this opportunity of wishing everyone a wonderful 2019.

Margaret


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