Free Portland News entry by Keith Barnard Jones/ Free Portland News Entry by Keith-Barnard-Jones

April 2018

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Funerals and friendships – Rotary update

I would like to try something different this month – no more stories of being propositioned (though I have had a lot of very positive feed-back on that one).  Glad you enjoyed it and thank you all for your interest and comments.   So, my thoughts on Rotary Friendship.

Sadly I have just returned from the second funeral in two weeks, and I suppose I was a little depressed at losing two more friends.   When our Rotary club started over 40 years ago we decided we would have Rotary ties – blue, red and green, and I suggested that some of us might be able to use a black one as well.  The Rotary logo on my black tie has almost worn out as I have worn it to so many funerals over the years – a sad reflection perhaps on the age of some of the Rotarians, like myself, who have been in Rotary for many years. Having said that, some of the deceased have been very young – even in their twenties.   But then I switched my thinking and realised that there are many people who die having very few friends indeed to mourn for them.   So I decided that I am very lucky because I have a lot.  It was sad losing Sam, the in-coming President of Rotary as mentioned a few months back, but if I had not met him in the first place I would never have known him as a friend.  And the same applies to Roger (this week), John last week, and the host of others for whom I wore that tie.   Rotary is about making friends, maintaining friendships and working together – otherwise we would not join – and so, with 1.2 million other friends around the world, many of whom I do know well, it is inevitable that a number will die each year. But wouldn’t the world be a lot worse off if we had not had those friendships in the first place?

I also thought that I would add a touch of glamour to this report and so I have included a photograph of the purple crocus flowers in Easton Gardens with our newest member, Elizabeth Hardy.   Avid FPN readers will remember that these bulbs were planted in the Autumn by the Easton Community Group to remind everyone of the purple markers used to designate which children have received their polio vaccination.  The idea was that these crocus flowers would be in bloom in the Spring – the 113thanniversary of the founding of Rotary International in 1905.  The flowers also serve as a reminder that, if we let the immunisation levels drop, then polio epidemics are only a plane-ride away.   At the time of writing there have only been SIX cases of polio in the whole world this year – all in Afghanistan, where we immunised 6 million children, yes, six million, last month to ensure that the outbreak did not spread.

In case you have not seen the poster about the Community Award for this year, I have sent a copy to FPN as well and, hopefully, it will be included in this month’s edition.   You still have time to nominate someone – maybe someone who did not win before perhaps – as the closing date is 18th. May.  There are so many people on Portland who help out in so many ways that, very often, we take what they do for granted.  Well, here is your chance to nominate such a person as this year’s hero. Over to you.

The Table Top Sale this month was in aid of The Royal Manor Theatre – Portland’s very own theatre which puts on a fantastic variety of plays/shows/pantos etc. every year.  If you have not thought of becoming a Patron – now is your opportunity.  The TT Sale on May12th. is in aid of Southwell W.I. but the date for June  (in aid of I.C.A) HAS BEEN CHANGED  TO 2nd June.  Our club is twinned with Vire in Calvados and that twinning is 40 years old this year so a number of us are travelling to France to join the celebrations which are on 9th.   Hence the swap.  Hopefully this will not cause a problem for anyone.

Four times a year we hold our District Council meetings in the centre of our District – this year at the Bath & West Show Ground.   This is when Rotarians from all the clubs in the Wessex area come along to listen to Rotary speakers and to participate in discussion about what we do, discuss any problems, and ask questions of the Rotary experts.  It is also a golden opportunity to meet old friends for a chat over coffee. Sometimes these meetings are the only contact we have with each other in a year.  The next meeting will be on 12th. May when we will be planning for the next twelve months and when next year’s team will get together to plan the Rotary year 2018-2019

Sadly our Quiz team did not win the Rotary District Quiz this year in spite of a valiant effort on their part.   Ah well.   There is always next year.

More next month.   Keith