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

August 2019 By Keith Barnard-Jones

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Rotary Roundup, August

I tend to write these articles soon after FPN comes out at the end of the month.   In this way my mind is focussed on Rotary matters, but, more importantly, I do not miss the deadline for publication.

At the time of writing I have just returned from the Teddy Bears’ Picnic, music and all, in Victoria Gardens, and it was lovely to see our new Rotary Community Champion, Debbie Lindoe down there doing what she is best at – getting out and meeting the public, along with a little advert for Tesco of course. With about 100 Teddies there enjoying the sunshine, plus, of course, their young owners, a lot of medals were awarded for the biggest Teddy, the smallest Teddy etc., etc.   A lot of fun was had by all and judging from the noise, all present had a great time.   Our Rotary involvement was simply to keep an eye out for young Teddy owners who strayed towards the gates and, could perhaps head into the traffic. However there were no major problems as such, which meant that we were able to sit back and enjoy the festivities with the youngsters. Well done to all who participated.

Other volunteers helped out with the Southwell Fair at the beginning of the month – another fun day for us and, hopefully, for those who supported this event. Luckily of course we have had a fabulous summer so most events have not been rained off though, having said that, Portlanders are great and turn out in rain and gales to support what goes on on the island.  The community spirit is superb, but that is the advantage of living on a small island.

A similar very enjoyable event was the bus trip to London, organised, as usual, by Janet.  These trips are becoming very popular and I will do my best to keep FPN readers advised of when each trip is coming along, but there are adverts around the community and, if you see one advertised, my advice is to book as soon as you can to save being disappointed.

The next trip is to Bath on November 9th. - £15 each.  Christmas shopping anyone?

The last trip of the year will be to Longleat on December 22nd for the Festival of Lights.

With a raffle as well, the club makes a small profit which, of course, goes to charity.  Every little helps/ 

From a social point of view, many of us managed to help our in-coming President for the next Rotary year, Elizabeth, celebrate her birthday with a “Film Theme” evening and a very good evening it was too.  I have to make special mention of our newest member who turned up as Braveheart, bare-chested and covered in woad.  We had been advised that he had travelled over on the bus from Portland dressed like that but apparently that was just a rumour – maybe next year?

In line with being an International organisation, this coming month we will welcome members of our twin club of Vire, in Calvados.   This twinning has now been going for over 40 years and many strong friendships have been formed over this time.  While a lot of our work is on the island, it is useful to remind ourselves that there is a wider word of Rotary out there as well.

It may seem a little odd to be talking about Christmas now but we have to start making plans.  Will there be enough Rotarians (and drivers) to take Santa to see the children on Christmas morning?  If so, which days can we do?  Who will organise licences for collecting?   Where can we take and leave the sleigh?  Portland roads are becoming so crowded it is not possible to travel the routes that we did in the past.  Does the audio equipment still work?  Then of course, what maintenance has to be done, and what repairs are needed on the sleigh?  All this takes time and planning, and we are already starting to think along these lines – the children cannot be disappointed.                                                               Keith