Free Portland News

January 2020 by Keith Barnard-Jones

Welcome to 2020 from all the Portland Rotarians

May I start by wishing you all a (belated) Very Happy New Year and hope that this year will bring you all you wish for yourselves.

Christmas is now a distant memory, and we have just a little more than 11 months before next Christmas. I expect the shops will soon have their decorations up again.

However, before we forget Christmas, may I give a heartfelt Thankyou to all those who helped and supported us in the pre-Christmas festivities, particularly those who donated so much to the Rotary cans and coffers. This will all go to help those in need.

Judging by the noise level and the rapidity with which the food disappeared at the Children’s Party just before Christmas, a great time was had by all.  We were delighted that the Mayor and some Councillors were able to come along as well this year to help keep an eye on the proceedings, and to help with distributing food and presents.

Now we are already planning ahead and this edition of FPN will be out in time for you to put the date of the next Table Top  Sale in your diaries – the first  one of 2020. Make a note that on Saturday, 14th. March, we will be starting this year’s Sales at the Community 2000 Hall, and the one on 14th. will be in aid of the First Portland Beavers. This is a great group who rely on donations to continue, so your support is invaluable.   And, as always, you will almost certainly find some bargains to buy, be able to participate in draws etc., have a coffee or tea (plus cakes if you so wish) and make new friends as well as meeting many old ones.   A few hours of your time very well spent, and in so doing, you continue to support a very worthy cause, and a great group.  See you then?  And advance warning, the TT Sale in April will be for ReadEasy.  See you then as well?

As always in March we will have our District General Knowledge Quiz – held at Frome Market.   Our club actually won the cup a few years ago and we are hoping to emulate that feat again this year.  Our team is busy training and, in due course, I will let you know if we did return with the trophy, or not.

The other event that has now become a staple of the Community Calendar is the Burns Night Party, organised as always by Janet and her helpers, and takes place at the end of January (25th. this year).   I am sorry that this article will probably not be printed until after the Party, but, if interested, make a note in your diary for next year and you can always find details on our web pages as well

And finally, a polio update, as a number of people have asked about the recent outbreaks.  As you know, every year we hope will be the last one where we will see children paralysed by, or killed by polio.  With Pakistan and Afghanistan the only two countries left with wild polio, one would think it would be easy, but last year some leaders in Pakistan took it upon themselves to tell their communities that polio vaccination was a Western plot to produce AIDS or sterility.  Result?  Mothers stopped the vaccinations.   Result?  Polio.  We had 150 cases last year, many more times the total of previous years, and nearly all in Pakistan, but a slight increase in Afghanistan as well because there is a constant to and fro from the North West Frontier region of Pakistan to the North East part of Afghanistan and vice versa through the Khyber Pass area.  This is disappointing, and worrying but it goes to prove the adage – we ignore vaccination at our risk – less vaccination = more polio.

The only bonus is that the authorities and communities are now getting the message – in the worst possible way, but, hopefully they will all learn from this tragedy.

More next month.   Keith