Free Portland News

January 2021

Welcome to 2021, Goodbye, with no regrets, to 2020

In wishing you all the best for 2021 from the Rotary Club of The Island & Royal Manor of Portland, I thought I would start with something completely different.

Many of you will remember Reg Vincent, photographer extraordinaire, and a loyal member of our club from its inception in 1976 until he became an Honorary Member in 2012, an honour he held until he died a few years later.  It was Reg who, many years ago, introduced the Santa deliveries to the club and to the island.  A scheme that still carries on though we were thwarted by Covid this past Christmas.  I understand that Santa is considering calling one of his reindeers Reg.    What a lovely idea.  What readers of F.P.N. will probably not know is that Reg was for many, many years, the editor of our club’s monthly bulletin, Porthole, one edition of which won the national Rotary P.R. trophy.   Each year we send cards to friends at Christmas time.  Reg had the idea of our members putting their Christmas Greetings in Porthole instead of sending cards, and making a small donation to leukaemia research through Clic Sargent, so, as well as sending greetings, we were actually helping that charity and, perhaps, our children’s futures.   After Reg died, the role of Editor was taken over by Ian McPheat who has a soft spot for Coastwatch so our donations through Porthole now go to that august body.  All this is a long winded way of saying that there is a photo attached to this article showing our President, Elizabeth Hardy, presenting a cheque from our personal donations, to Geoff Peters from Coastwatch.  So now you know all about it.


Just to update you all, I have been asked if we ever support The Hub, and the answer is yes, of course.  I try very hard to keep you up to date with all that the club is doing but, inevitably I forget something we have done in our busy periods.  My apologies for that omission.

As you are aware, we were unable to liaise with Father Christmas last month because of regulations and the risks to those concerned, but one of our members made a suggestion.  If we were unable to meet Santa at his very busy time, why should we not use modern technology and talk to him?  We could get the children to tell Santa what they wanted for Christmas.  Consequently we arranged some telephone calls to speak to two of his elves – Santa was up to his eyes in preparing for Christmas. We are hoping that we will be able to liaise with Santa a little earlier this year and set up a system whereby the children can actually talk to Santa.  Elves Val and Margaret had a great time chatting with the youngsters  – hopefully we will have a photo of Elf Val attached to this update - and, if we can manage to contact Santa himself, I will give you all the information nearer the time.   Who says that Covid only brings disaster?

As I write this, we have just entered Lockdown again as the third wave of the Coronavirus has hit us.   Hopefully the vaccine will soon arrive for all of us and be effective so that we can once again get on with doing what Rotarians do best, namely Service Above Self.   And doing that service by meeting people again.   We have no idea when that will be so we cannot plan any events at this time – we still cannot hold Table Top Sales, we still cannot get out and meet people face-to-face but rest assured that the work is still going on – we are still fighting polio, and we are still communicating with local organisations, and Rotary meetings are still carrying on all over the world through programmes like Zoom.  We are not sitting back and simply resting on our laurels.  As soon as it looks as if we are getting back to normal I will inform all readers of F.P.N.  We look forward to meeting you all again.