Free Portland News entry by Keith Barnard Jones/ Free Portland News November

By Keith Barnard Jones

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As I write, I have just returned from one of the highlights of our year – Community Day.

This is the day when we take those who may be house-bound, or not get out a lot, on a car trip around the area and then meet up with the Dorchester Casterbridge club, who also have brought guests, when we all sit down to tea together. This year the Wyke Regis W.I. did the catering and did us proud.  Nobody went home hungry.  Moreover we had a superb sing-along session after tea led by Anna Everleigh who just happens to have won the Rotary Community Award last year for encouraging communication among various groups of people, through singing together. Everyone joined in and, speaking for myself, a great time was had by all.

Since the last Rotary Round-up we have also been out collecting to help the tsunami victims in the Far East.  As always, everyone was most generous and we thank all those who contributed so magnificently to help us in our fight to help those less fortunate than ourselves.

Now, at this stage I was going to tell you all a story of one of the loveliest men I have ever met, but I have just returned from our weekly Rotary meeting, this time accompanied by our partners, and we had a superb speaker talking about MV Freedom.  This is a vessel of which we are probably all aware but, perhaps, about which we know very little.  Well, my eyes were opened.  The MV Freedom takes out those with problems, large or small, whether they be mental or medical, psychiatric or psychological.  As a sailor myself, I am well aware of the benefits of escaping the shore and relaxing afloat with only the wind, the sea, the sea birds or, perhaps the motor, to which to listen. We heard many stories of how a trip, or trips, on the MV Freedom can bring benefit – even one of our members had been out and described it as an “incredible experience”  So, if you are looking for a speaker, or if you think that you might benefit from a trip there is a website to tell you far more than I can in the limited space available to me.  Freedom is unique and right on our doorstep yet the people of this island do not appear to avail themselves of its facilities.  So maybe you are thinking of making a New Year’s resolution but have not yet decided what to resolve?  How about sponsoring someone for a trip, or go yourselves?  I think you will find it one of life’s rich experiences when you see how it can affect the lives of others.   A bit like Service Above Self – the motto of Rotary International.

That story is difficult to follow with mundane Rotary matters, but Christmas approaches rapidly and we are gearing up for the arrival of Santa and his sleigh.   Because of some legal problems with seat belts for Santa!!, and the difficulties we have had getting into some roads because of parked cars, we will be static this year on, probably, just three sites.  Because we do not know what the weather will be like, I cannot prophesy at this stage which day we will be on which site but we are planning on joining Santa on 12th., 13th, and 19th. December with 20th. December as a spare in case one of the other evenings is rained off.  So please check our Club Facebook page nearer the time so that your children will not miss seeing Santa in the flesh – remember they must be asleep when he comes early on Christmas Day.

Hopefully I will get a chance to pen some more thoughts just before Christmas but, if that does not happen, or if you are away, have a Wonderful Happy and Peaceful Christmas and I wish you all a Happy and polio-free 2019.        Keith