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

May Edition Keith Barnard Jones

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So, as we head into summer, let’s talk about challenges this month, but I start with a big challenge, and a very serious request.  PLEASE DO NOT PARK THERE.   Where? - On each of the last few Table Top Sales inconsiderate drivers have parked at the Church end of the Community 2000 Car Park blocking the road through.   This is an exit for a fireman and on each occasion the fireman has been unable to get out.  So far lives have not been lost through this, but next time it could be you or your family who needs that help.  I am aware that not all the cars that are parked outside the C2000 Hall belong to those that attend the TT Sales, but we do not want parking there to be banned – people have to carry heavy loads into the church or the hall – but lives cannot be put at risk through obstructive parking.  Please, please either park on the sides, or else outside the car park.   Anywhere other than blocking the access/exit though that car park.  Thank you.

To continue with the Table Top Sales, I get the impression that the support for them is increasing – I hope I am right.    The big challenge is to get the message out to an organisation’s supporters and friends as well as the locals.  Some of the island organisations are relatively big and have a lot of contacts, others are much smaller.  Some have very good publicity policies and spread the word widely, some rely on word of mouth among friends.  However there are, of course, impossible-to-predict situations which affect attendance inevitably - rain, snow, howling gales and other vagaries of the weather, and of course other counter-attractions that may be on the same day – like an F.A. Cup Final, or another local event.  Whatever it may be, even a small amount of money and support is invaluable in helping to keep these local organisations afloat plus, off course, a T.T. Sale gives that organisation a wonderful opportunity to present itself to the world of Portland and wider.  The next sale on 15thJune is in aid of the Badgers.  Thank you all for supporting the 2nd. Portland Scouts at the start of May and I hope you will turn out in force again to help the Badgers.  They do need your support.    See you then?

So on to Rotary challenges. Our Rotary District (Wessex) Quiz team did absolutely brilliantly in the recent competition.  Unfortunately, a number of other teams were even more brilliant!   The halcyon days when our club won this particular competition appear to have gone for the moment but, as I seem to remember saying last year, there is always next year.

The other challenge that is coming up for us is the Exmoor Challenge.  This is a walk across, of course, Exmoor.   Members from our District challenge, or are challenged by, Rotary  members from the Devon and Cornwall District immediately to our West.  The winning formula depends on the number of walkers who actually manage to walk the astronomical distance of whatever it may be as a ratio of those members actually in the District, or something like that.  As we have a smaller District, that may help us and I believe that our District has won almost every year since the inception of the challenge.  In fact this is really a fun day out with friends and though the result does not really matter because we all enjoy ourselves, it does add a certain incentive to the walkers to finish the distance.

The Wishing Well at Portland Bill has had a spring clean so potential donors can see what is at the bottom of the well and thus where their money is going.  The beauty of the well is that most of the money comes from visitors to the Bill. The Islanders are fantastic and support the Rotary Club in all our fund-raising events, which we all appreciate very much indeed, but it sometimes worries us a little that we are always going back to the same people for their support year after year.  The Wishing Well solves that problem and also provides a ready source of funding for our projects both here and overseas.  The last time I was there the car park was packed – I believe that David Beckham was filming a commercial, or maybe they heard that I was going down to take the money out and wanted to see me in action.  You choose.

Finally, now is your last chance to nominate someone for The Rotary Good Citizen’s Award- that special person who has gone that extra mile to help others for no other reason than the fact that he or she is someone special. If you have not seen the notices around, you can always send your nomination to me - - stating reasons why you have nominated that person, and I will forward it to the relevant committee.

Enjoy your summer.               Keith