Travelling Polio Bear

Follow the adventures of Simon (smith and his amazing Dancing Bear)



There seems to be some concern as to the whereabouts of 'Simon', the Rivermead Rotary Club bear for the 'End Polio Now' campaign. So allow me to enlighten you.

After a fun summer getting to know President Paul Beasley-Murray's family, attending a Strawberry Tea, a Champagne Dinner at the Punch Bowl in High Easter and a supper at The Old Manse with Sir Simon Burns MP, he did what any self-respecting bear would do in November – he hibernated.

After a good snooze he was given a given a nice grooming by Rivermead member Shirley-Anne Hall.

She gave him his name in memory of Simon Smith and his Amazing Dancing Bear (for those of you old enough to remember), and as Shirley-Anne does Bellydance, Bollywood and Bangra.  Anyway she then took him off island-hopping to the Cape Verde islands where the temperature was a balmy 27`C.

He went to the island of Boa Vista where he watched kite-surfers battling the mighty Atlantic waves,

and the desert-like landscape provided fun in a 4-wheel-drive doing a spot of dune-jumping.  In Santiago, the capital island, they were having their colourful carnival.  Mind you, he got very bored waiting hours for it all to start.  The mantra of the islands is 'NO STRESS' and time doesn't seem to be important there.  He cheered up when taken for a bowl of Cachupa, a kind of stew often referred to as the national dish of Cape Verde, at a really nice restaurant.  A band playing Creole music entertained and of course Simon did a little dance as you would expect.

On Sao Vicente island he was lucky enough to stay at the Porto Grande hotel in the capital Mindelo, and on the wall by reception was a Rotary Club badge.  He was able to meet Assistant Governor Mr. Manuel Monteiro, President Mr. Jose Alfredo Rodrigues and several other members who had arrived for a special meeting.  They were very happy to meet us, especially Elizabeth who took a shine to Simon.  They presented us with a club pennant to take home.  They are a small mixed club with about 20 members, actively trying to attract more, particularly younger people as they have much to offer them.  We heard later from local people that this club had provided much needed equipment for their hospital.

                                 Club members presenting a club pennant of Rotary Club do Mindelo


Our final destination was the island of Sal, named after the salt mines set up there.  Simon enjoyed an island tour followed by a lovely lobster and fresh fish meal by the sea.  His final treat was sailing in a catamaran to see flying fish, sharks and dolphins.  There was a small Creole band (crew members) who composed a song about Shirley-Anne as she played the maracas.  Simon – well, that little bear danced for joy.  The Cape Verde islands, all very different in physical make-up and character had been such fun.

He slept all the way home in his special travel bag, wondering what his next adventure would be.  After all, Rotary is a worldwide organisation, doing good, serving mankind, and having fun with the opportunity to make new friends in many countries.