What we did in 2018/2019

A brief summary of our Rotary year ending 30/06/2019

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Multi-lingual member, Ann Debureaux-Dias, was President in 2018/2019. Ann is not only a committed Rotarian but also very much a committed Francophile. She grew up in Swindon but lived and worked for many years in France with her French chef husband and can speak French fluently. Spanish too. Ann organised a game of (French) Pétanque for Club members and partners at the end of her Presidential year.

The 2019 Swindon Young Musicians Competition in March attracted 27 entrants. Highlights included a delightful rendition of “Moon River” by Sally Armstrong on harp, Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” sung with real emotion and feeling by Salewa Funsho. Also Phoebe Maddison’s rendition of “On My Own” from Les Miserables and Sebastian Scanlon Classical Guitar playing. The adjudicators were Sheila Harrod and Ian Bateman both of whom had high praise for all the entrants. The Mayor of Swindon presented certificates to all the winners and, once again, the Rev Geoffrey Gleed was MC.

The Club raised over £14,000 during the year, almost half coming from the Swimathon and Cash Prize Draw. Held at the Link Centre in West Swindon in April it was the most successful one to date raising £6,125 for various charities. The annual Golf Day at Ogbourne Downs Golf Club brought in £2,480. Two other regular events, the Quiz with Inner Wheel and a Horse Racing night on screen, raised £3,200. From sales of daffodils and Christmas Trees grown by his own fair hand Rotarian Terry Williams amassed £1,800 for the Club’s charity account.

Donations were made to various charities including £2,630 to Inner Flame, £1,500 to the Brighter Futures Cancer Appeal and £1,225 to Swindon Women’s Aid. Friends of Gloucester House also received a donation and the Club topped up its Wiltshire Community Foundation Fund by a further £2,500. At the Christmas Meeting £500 was presented to the Open Door Centre following which the Centre’s choir provided some lovely entertainment. Altogether some £11,500 was distributed. In addition £200 was pledged to Highworth Tennis Club for its installation of floodlighting appeal.

The Club sponsored 2 teams from St Joseph’s Catholic College in the Rotary District 1100 Youth Speaks final, and also funded 17-year old Tess Reay from Pershore for the Rotary Youth Leadership Award Scheme.

One of the many guest speakers at meetings was 78-year old Pru Hardie, a former WRAF Air Quartermaster. Prue was 9 years old when a WRAF Officer gave a talk at her school and from then on she was determined to have a flying career. Her amusing talk was entitled “My RAF before Health and Safety”. The Great Western Academy in Tadpole Village, North Swindon, was opened in September 2018 and Graham Davis and David Clarke, respectively the Principal and Assistant Principal of the Academy, were invited to talk about their aims and ambitions for the school. 

The regular 2-night weekend away for members and partners was to South Wales and included a tour of the Royal Mint in Llantrisant.  We went behind the scenes to follow the journey of a coin from a blank to a bank in a 45-minute guided tour followed by a self-guided interactive exhibition.  We experienced the sights, sounds and smells of thousands of glistening new coins, hot off the press and were given the opportunity to strike our own £2 coin.