What we did in 2019/2020
A brief summary of our Rotary year ending 30/06/2020
Covid-19 made 2019-2020 a year like no other but despite the pandemic the Club was proud of what it did manage to achieve. The unenviable task of leading Swindon North Rotary through this difficult time fell to Robin Elliott. He was an experienced Rotarian having been a member of clubs in Devon and Cheshire before joining Swindon North in 2016.
After the government imposed a full national lockdown in March, weekly Club meetings were suspended and all remaining fund-raising events cancelled. Unfortunately four fund-raising events were lost, including the annual Swimathon and Cash Prize Draw.
Before the Draw was cancelled a good number of raffle tickets had already been sold. The buyers were given the option of having their money back or donating it to the Swindon Downs Syndrome Group. All generously agreed to the latter and as a result the Downs Group received a cheque for £1,225.
Club members donated to a “Lockdown Fund” based on what they would have spent had they been attending Club meetings from March onwards. A fund of £2,500 was raised which was given in equal shares to Prospect Hospice and Swindon Women’s Aid.
Prior to the lockdown the Club had held its meetings and functions in the normal way. The Charity Golf Day, postponed from June (2019) was rearranged but once again it fell victim to heavy rainfall. Despite that and due to the generosity of the rained-off golfers £3,892 was raised for the NSPCC Swindon branch.
The 24th annual Swindon Young Musicians Competition was held prior to lockdown and as always there was some great entertainment from some incredibly talented youngsters.
A dinner and cabaret evening at Wrag Barn was held in aid of Gloucester House Rehabilitation Centre in Highworth and the proceeds of the annual quiz organised jointly with the Inner Wheel Club were sent to Swindon NSPCC.
The last event before lockdown was on-screen Horse Racing. From the funds raised and in response to the devastation caused by a hurricane in the Bahamas the Club was able to donate the cost of a ShelterBox.
Once again Club member Terry Williams grew and sold his Christmas Trees in December and his daffodils in the Spring and donated all the proceeds (just over £1,800) to the Club’s charity account. In recognition of his sterling efforts, year after year, President Robin presented him with a Sapphire bar to add to the Paul Harris Award he received in 2012.
In all during this Rotary year Swindon North donated £18,300 to 15 different charities.
Social events for members and their partners included “Kiss me Kate” at the Watermill Theatre, a visit to Crich Tramway Village in Derbyshire, a post-Christmas party and the regular Fireside Suppers.
Sadly, one of the Club’s founder members, Peter Clifford, died in February. Peter was a committed Rotarian for almost 60 years. With his wife Zan he established the Blunsdon House Hotel in 1960.
The Presidential Handover in June had to be performed on Zoom. The full lockdown had ended but restrictions were still in place and Covid-19 was going to affect our next Rotary year too.