President Reflects on a Successful Year

President Roger Priest reflects on a successful year, 2017-2018 as he hands over the baton to Tome Stobie. See this Extraordinary Presidential Year come alive in our video journey.

An Extraordinary Presidential Year - hover, click and watch the year's activities....

President Roger Priest recently handed over his Presidential baton to Tome Stobie. Roger served as President from 2017-2018. He will be remembered for his perseverance and determination to implement change and ensure the Club moved forward. Under Roger’s leadership the Club ran many fund-raising events, held some fabulous social events and engaged with many interesting speakers.  

At the handover Roger reflected on his year. ‘Throughout my year in office I have tried to lead from the front, placing much emphasis on internal and external communications. Weekly Rotarygrams, monthly Jottings, very frequent messages from our Secretary, postings on Facebook and a fabulous website have kept members well informed.

Although we have not secured any new full-time members in my year, we have had Corporate members from Richard Huish College and CICCIC and I hope that we will continue to pursue this policy in the future, encouraging other organisations to join us.

Fund raising has been very successful again this year thanks to Ironman, our Golf Day, Choral Concert, 50/50 Cycle Ride and Somerset Cricket Car Parking. This income has enabled us to support many good causes and a number of very worthy youngsters. Recipients include Compass Disability, Reminiscence Learning, Somerset Sight, the Beacon Centre, Taunton Food Bank, The Brewhouse and, further afield, Children’s Hospice South West, Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance, the Busoga Trust and, with help from Rotary Foundation, provision of anti-malaria nets in Tanzania. The worthy youngsters include musicians (Taunton and District), young chefs, a RYLA student and a Himalayan schoolgirl.

We have had a great number of enjoyable social events this year, including our car treasure hunt, picnic at Shakespeare Glass, a buffet supper party at the Museum and tour of the Castle with Tom Mayberry, a tour of historic Taunton with Bob Dunning, visits to the Met Office in Exeter, to Highgrove and to Cider Brandy at Burrow Hill, a fun Race Day, and a visit to the Lisieux Rotary Club. I would like to highlight the Music Hall Evening at Oake because we provided our own wonderful entertainment, including our Rotary Choir under the baton of Nigel Moyle, who has also written and scored our own Rotary Anthem.

We have had many fascinating talks throughout the year, memorably, Andrew Norgate, Commander of HMS Echo, Eddie Farwell, Chief Executive of Children’s Hospice South West and the resilient of Michelle Suggs who leads the organisation, ’Ups and Downs’ dedicated to supporting families with children who have Downs Syndrome. Others will remember other speakers, but I bet that everyone who was present will never forget our members, who spoke about their memories of WWII or their experiences of National Service.’

In addition to Tom Stobie, other members, taking office in 2018-19, include, Tony Cox who becomes President Elect and Peter Ball who becomes Vice President.

Roger concluded his thanks to the Club with the following words. ‘Thinking more generally, I believe that Rotary must evolve, if we are to be a credible organisation in the 21st century. We do a lot of good and we have a lot of fun, but we need to refresh our Club, by increasing our membership with women and men, who will be actively involved in our work.’

Members thanked Roger for a fabulous and Extraordinary Presidential Year.