News Archives 2023-3rd Quarter

Borderland Rotary News and Reports in 3rd Quarter 2023

Crowds gather for Borderland event

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New Rotakids Club sponsored by Borderland Rotary

Woodside Primary School Rotakids Club were presented with their Charter by Rob Hughes of Borderland Rotary.  Sherie Soper is the Borderland Lead for the seven Rotakids Clubs in the area.

Borderland Rotary welcome Paul Bentley from Oswestry School

Paul Bentley, head of community action at Oswestry School gave an inspiring talk at Borderland Rotary Club last week explaining how he has been developing community awareness and empathy among his students, since he joined the school some four years ago.

Paul said, “We have tried to instil the old mantra, ‘to learn is for life, not just for school’ into students so that they understand how society works and realise that community is what we should value above all. Of course, to be honest, some of our early volunteers joined us because they saw it as an easy option but as we have got involved with more and more projects, we have seen new recruits making a positive choice to be part of the group. We’ve been working with nursing homes, Oswestry in Bloom, Star Housing, the flowers on the Broad Walk, by St Oswald’s Church in Oswestry and, last but by no means least, Borderland Rotary and I have been really inspired by the passion and enthusiasm of Justin and Sherie Soper at Borderland and I’m pleased to say we now work together on a regular basis”.

Paul listed some of the joint projects he is doing with Borderland - Operation Christmas Child; one hundred shoe boxes are filled with goodies for young people who may otherwise have no presents at Christmas - Purple for Polio; purple crocuses planted in the parks and Star Housing areas to help the worldwide fight against Polio and Rotoract, a young person’s version of the Rotary Club, a great community enterprise.

Justin, while thanking Paul for his warm words, said how wonderful it was to work with likeminded people and how very proud the Club is that the new venture is called the Oswestry School Borderland Interact Club.

Paul Bentley (left) with Borderland education specialists

Borderland Rotary lead litter-pick at Trefonen Primary School

On Friday the 8th September Justin and Sherie Soper from Borderland Rotary joined twenty one pupils from Trefonen Primary School Rotakids Club for a community litter-pick of their local park.

After a health and safety briefing and putting on their hi vis jackets and disposable gloves, the pupils working in teams and managed to collect and dispose of 13.8kg of litter from their park.

Sherie, who organised the event with the school said, “It was just great seeing the enthusiasm in the children as they got stuck into clearing up the litter and it all got quite competitive. Great work from the Trefenon Rotakids and nice to see a really clean park. Well Done Trefonen Rotakids!”

Borderland Rotary are currently working with just about all the schools in the area doing various projects which include, environment groups, writing competitions, Operation Pollination, and more litter picks. Look out for Oswestry School in the centre of Oswestry soon.

Planning Oswestry Christmas Parade

Borderland Rotary would like to apologise for mentioning Christmas in September, but it must be done!

The Oswestry Christmas Parade, which will be held on Saturday 2nd December, is already in the planning stage and if you want to be a part of this festive, fiesta of fun, you must start thinking about your entry now.

Jonathan Jones, who has organised the parade on behalf of Borderland Rotary, and with the help of Oswestry Town Council for over a decade said, “Yes, it’s nice to get surprises at Christmas but when you are part of a team organising one of the biggest yuletide community events in Shropshire, surprises are the last thing you want. That’s why I’d like to hear from any groups, schools, clubs, or businesses that want to be involved as soon as possible so we can get the ball rolling – and I promise I won’t use the word Christmas again until much nearer the time!” 

So, get your thinking caps on and get in touch with Jonathan Jones to book your place in what we hope will be, another fun filled day of joy at a very special time of year.

You can email Jonathan with

Borderland Rotary learn the scope of TNS Foundation from Gill Jones

Gill Jones from The New Saints Foundation joined Borderland Rotary the other evening to explain that the aims, activities of the organisation, and the scope of the Foundation, was far more varied than the Rotarians had previously assumed. 

Gill Jones

Gill, who has been with the Foundation since its inception about 10 years ago, explained, “Football and sport in general are, of course,  a very important part of our activities but they are by no means all we do as we work with outside organisations such as Oswestry Town Council, Shropshire Council and eight local schools to deliver a wide range of services and, as the name implies, we aspire to build the community from the foundations up. To quote some figures, we provided 4,280 holiday activities across Oswestry and the surrounding area, worked with 1,500 children, helping them to have fun and feel inspired, and provided 4,000 meals to those who need them most. Of course, there’s more but suffice it to say we provide a safe place to go and opportunities for people who would otherwise struggle to get support elsewhere.

Peter Sloane, a Rotarian, Professor of Economics and retired Vice-Chancellor of Swansea University with a special interest in sport funding was surprised  to hear the answer to his question about turnover.  For this apparently small organisation it was in excess of a quarter of a million pounds last year, and he commented “This must make it the largest and most wide ranging service in the Welsh League and we’re just very lucky that it’s based in Oswestry.”

Borderland Bonfire giveaway Bonanza 

Borderland Rotary have been giving donations to good causes - money that was raised from the Bonfire and Fireworks display last autumn which was finally held at the Venue at Park Hall.

The event, which was originally scheduled to be held at Brogyntyn Park, by the Fire Station, was cancelled due to safety concerns and Jonathan Jones, who has run the event on behalf Borderland Rotary and the Town Council for most of this century, had to quickly find an alternative site. Jonathan said, “It was all a bit of a scramble last year, but with the help of Matt Lee from Manic events, Borderland Rotary members, and Venue staff, we made it happen and I’m just so pleased that we can now help local good causes with much needed donations. We asked Rotary members to go out and present the cheques to the recipients during the spring and early summer. And this year? Well, we’re not sure what’s happening yet, but I’ll do my best to hold a display somewhere so keep Saturday 4th November free – and just watch this space!

Jonathan Jones has been organising the firework displays on behalf of Borderland Rotary Club for around twenty years and has no intention of giving up on this great community endeavour any time soon. 

Pictured are Borderland members presenting cheques to the various organisations.

1. Steve Jerman at West Felton Bumps, Babies & Tots

2. Cathy Osselton at Oswestry & Border Flower Club

3. Chris Bryan-Smith with Jay Moore’s Young Persons Mental Health project

4. Jonathan Jones at Oswestry Rugby Club

5. Jen Urquhart at Music MOB

6. Chris Bryan-Smith at Mule Community Cycle project

7. Peter Sloane at U&I Counselling

Borderland Shredding Event - a great success at Morrisons Supermarket

Borderland Rotary teamed up with EvaStore Document Management again last week to shred unwanted documents for the public in exchange for a small donation. EvaStore brought their shredding truck to Morrisons Supermarket car park and were on hand to help load document and issue receipts while Borderland took donations from the generous customers.  

Sherie Soper explained, “We did a similar event last year and it was a great success, so we now plan to hold the event on an annual basis, and we’d like to thank Morrisons for kindly letting us use their car park and being so supportive and of course, Bryn at EvaStore who has helped so much with the organisation and supply the shredding truck. This time the money raised will go to helping Woodside Primary School to establish a Well-Being Centre at the school”.

Borderland Rotary have been helping all the local schools in one way and another, holding book sales, donating money for school Breakfast Clubs and setting up Rotakids Clubs so that pupils learn about community action and get involved with local projects.

Sherie continued, “I feel that this kind of community work sows the seeds for the future and may help to develop good, caring citizens”.

Borderland Rotary president’s last charitable gift

Borderland outgoing president made one last charitable donation to Osnosh the other day and was helped by the incoming president, Andy Boroughs.

The Rotary year runs from June to June and every Rotary president is granted an honorarium at the end of their term which they can disperse where they see fit and Chris Bryan-Smith decided to continue the club’s support for Osnosh.

Donna Murdock, administrator at Osnosh said, “We’re very grateful for this donation of £400 and the help that Borderland have given us throughout the year, helping to buy an industrial, rapid freezer and organising a fund-raising lunch for all the club’s members last autumn”.

Andy Boroughs hopes the club will continue the relationship with Osnosh and said, “I would like to build on this firm foundation, and I wonder if there’s more we can do, now that the Project building is in the hands of Oswestry Town Council”.

Familiar face visits Borderland Rotary

David Preston, former Oswestry Council Secretary, visited Borderland Rotary the other night to discuss his adventures since leaving his post, which he held for thirty-three years, some four years ago.

David, a familiar face in the Oswestry area, is now chief executive of the National Association of British Market Authorities (NABMA) which promotes, supports, and advises markets throughout the country that include famous ones such as Borough and Billingsgate in London and many others in just about every town in the land.

David then posed a question, “By tradition, why must markets be at least six and two thirds’ miles apart, as the crow flies?” 

Well, after much discussion and many suggestions, David answered the question, “In medieval times, it was assumed that a person could walk 20 miles in a day so if you spent a third of the day walking to market, a third of the day at the market and a third walking home, thus twenty, divided by three, equals six and two thirds. This also goes to show how town markets are so much part of the fabric of our society and history as they have been ever present over the millennia. Take Oswestry market, for instance, although it is assumed that the market already existed, the very first formal charter, which gave common law protection, was granted in the reign of King Henry 2nd in 1262 with further charters in the reigns of James 1st and Charles 2nd so it’s clear that there’s been a market somewhere in the town for more than 750 years! Of course, in those early day, you couldn’t buy potatoes as they weren’t introduced to Britain until 1586, but you can’t have everything”.

The government have set up an all-party Markets Group that is actively working with NABMA to encourage events that will help sustain markets and market traders and it also understands the social impact that markets have on the communities they serve as they are great places to socialise, especially for older people.

Borderland Rotary Club welcomes a new President

Borderland Rotary celebrated the handover of the presidency at a BBQ at the Sweeney Hall Hotel the other night as Andy Boroughs took over from Chris Bryan-Smith.

Andy, who has been a Rotarian for more than 20 years said, “I have never coveted this roll but I’m very proud to take on the mantle, don the chain, and continue to with the work of this great club as the members, past and present, have been very supportive to me over the years and hopefully I can add something to the club’s impressive cannon of good works. You can expect fireworks in the autumn, parades at Christmas and the Borderland Mountain Bike Challenge next May but it is just possible that another major event will be added to the calendar – watch this space. In the meantime, it just remains to ask the club members to be gentle with me as I find my feet.”

The Rotary year ends in June each year when a new President and President Elect, who this year is, Rob Hughes, are appointed and the calendar starts.

The outgoing president, Chris Bryan-Smith expressed his gratitude for all the help and support he had enjoyed from the members during his year at the top table and made special mention of Jen Urquhart, the club secretary, who he said had, kept him on the straight and narrow.

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Crowds gather for Borderland event

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