Summer report 2020

Summer report from our immediate past president, Geoff Arthur.

Summer Report - 2020

Normally at this time of the year we would be able to report on our summer outdoor fundraising activities and have photos of people enjoying themselves in the sunshine. Unfortunately, this year things are very different, we like everyone else, have been living with lockdown, although it is now beginning to be lifted a little and life has been gaining some of its previous normality.

We have continued to meet at our usual time but on Zoom. From being an expressive word in a children’s comic it has become vital to our club. We can keep in contact and see each other although some of us are becoming difficult to recognise with our increasing heads of hair! We have had two speakers joining us. Robert Courts MP, who is an authority on Winston Churchill, he spoke about Churchill’s days leading up to VE Day in 1945 and it was incredibly interesting. Peter Purdom from the Jaguar Enthusiasts Club told us a little about the club and then about his opportunity to take part in one of the annual re-enactments of famous Mile Miglia 1000 mile road race that takes place in Italy driving a legendry C Type Jaguar. His talk was illustrated with some great photos. The new MP for Meriden, Saqib Bhatti, joined us informally and said a few words about his first experiences in parliament. He will be joining us as a speaker in the autumn. We have had two quizzes, one to replace our usual President’s Evening, and they were very good fun.

We successfully applied for a matching grant to help The Rainbow Alliance in Kingshurst.

We have used Zoom to hold our Club Assembly, which is an important planning meeting for the next Rotary year. We have also been able to join online into the Rotary Great Britain & Ireland Annual Business Meeting and the Rotary International Convention in Honolulu. Two things we were not able to do in previous years due to cost and time.

Then finally on the 30th June we held our handover meeting marking the start of another Rotary Year. It is usually a very friendly and informal event with wives and families but this year it had to be online. A few days previously six of us met, socially distanced, in Lavender Hall Park and videoed a very different handing over of the chain of office which was shown on the evening when I handed over to our new President Warren for the 2020-21 Rotary year. I wish him well for a year that is beginning in a way that a Rotary year has never started before, but I know under his leadership the club will continue to thrive with meetings taking place in the most suitable form.

Now just as this report is finishing being written we have had a sudden change to our meetings. We were contacted by the Windmill Hotel, Golf Club and Spa, who also own the Manor Hotel. They told us that the hotel was fully Covid-19 compliant and if we would like to meet there until The Manor reopens, we would be very welcome. One of our members went to view the room and the idea was discussed among all members and it was agreed that those who wished to would meet at the hotel and the meeting would be on Zoom to all of the other members who were unable to attend. So it was that our first meeting face to face for over four months took place on the 28thJuly. We had a speaker, Diane Miller, who talked about a hunger relief project that we will be supporting in 2021 and it was on Zoom enabling all other members to take part.

We have some more interesting speakers coming between now and the end of the year. Anyone that would like to join with us in person to hear them is welcome by contacting the club secretary on and those who wish to join us using Zoom can make contact through our website to request a Zoom meeting invitation. Full details of our programme including the speakers also appears on our website.

The Rotary Club of Meriden would again like to wish everybody good health during these unusual times.

Geoff Arthur

Immediate Past President