Free Portland News
December 2010 By Keith
I start this month’s epistle by offering heartiest congratulations of this year’s Community Award winners – Andy McNally and Island Community Action. The highlight of the Club’s year.
Most of you will know of ICA and their outstanding work in the community as a group helping over 900 people on the island, but perhaps Andy is less well known. He is a volunteer for ICA and he shares the award for his wonderful selfless hard work collecting and delivering prescription and running errands during the pandemic, and also for driving the mini bus for residents to get to the flu clinic last month at the heliport. These awards should have been announced in June before the end of our last Rotary year, but the pandemic has thrown out our timing I am afraid. Nevertheless, though a little late, the awards are our congratulations are just as important. And what makes it more outstanding is that the nominations for the award come, not from the Rotary Club, but from members of the public so our thanks also go to everyone concerned.
The Rotary Club ran a “Best Guy” competition for Bonfire Night this year so give the children something to do other than think about Covid. The winners were Ellie, Amelie and George Savage (picture attached of them being presented with their prize by President Elizabeth Hardy) for their guy who turned up carrying two bombs!!
Following the apparent success of our members acting as marshals for the recent flu vaccination session on the Heliport, six brave souls also helped out on the Remembrance Day services. So, even in Lockdown we ave our uses. It really is nice working in the community again.
So, forward to Christmas..
Many, many years ago three men brought gifts to a baby who was born in a stable, so it is appropriate that the Rotary Clubs in these islands are planning on doing the same thing.
Regular FPN readers will know about the Rotary Kids Out Days each June where we take special children out, in Portland’s case, to Creeley Park near Exeter. They will also be aware of the Children’s Christmas Party which, last year was joined by our Mayor as well.. Sadly the trip to Creeley had to be cancelled this year because of the pandemic and also the Christmas party as well. However Rotarians do not see why children should miss out, particularly at this season of Peace on Earth and Goodwill to all men so we are starting a programme, hopefully to be repeated annually, whereby Rotary Kids Out Toy Boxes will be delivered to the children who are stuck in a refuge at this time. The Kids Out Team, now a registered charity in its own right, will be taking boxes of brand new toys, mostly donated by the major toy companies and with funding from the clubs, to all the local refuges in this country. Because of the problems of sharing confidential information the deliveries will be carried out by Kids Out, and not the Rotary Club but this will provide a little bit of Christmas Cheer to children who otherwise might have had a very bleak Christmas indeed. If the system works as well as we think it will, then this will become an annual pilgrimage and part of the Rotary calendar
I am not sure if we will be getting another entry in FPN before Christmas but, just in case we do not manage it, may we wish everyone on the island a Very Happy Covid-free Christmas, and all the best for a Covid-free 2021.
We have been in contact with Santa and his elves on numerous occasions because of worries over what we can, and cannot, do over the Festive Season. Very sadly Santa has suggested that to travel round Portland with a sleigh or to place a sleigh outside Tesco again when children are not allowed to jump up and talk to him, and whisper to him what they want for Christmas is really a non-starter this year, even if the pandemic situation should ease and, at the time of writing the number of cases is still increasing. Santa is as disappointed as we are, but health and life must come first so the children will have to write to him with their requests instead as they have done for many, many years.
But whatever happens, (and today I have just heard about the new vaccine) – watch this space - and whatever the situation may be on 25th., have a Wonderful Happy Christmas and let’s hope that 2021 brings us all better health, safety and security.