Brue Valley Rotary gets physical !!!

The meteorological signs on the evening of 23rd July were not auspicious. Nevertheless 13 committed members and friends gathered, socially distanced, at Castle Cary Primary School for a pleasant Simple Summer Stroll. The hair was longer, so one or two recognition problems it being the first  physical “meeting ” for over four  months. There was happy banter and chat prior to the 18:25 prompt departures of the two two socially distanced groups. Despite one or two initial problems we completed the almost three mile circular walk to the north west of Castle Cary in impressive  style, and indeed pace. As is the way of things the inauspicious clouds released in much precipitation during the last ten minutes. Morale was not affected and remained high despite the bedraggled groups deciding to give the planned refreshments in the Millennium Wood a miss. A very happy evening despite that. No pictures due to bad light !

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Presidential Handover

This year’s socially distanced Presidential handover of club regalia – Covid19 style 😆. Andrew Davies took over the mantle of Club President from the 1st July with Elizabeth Stokes as President Elect with Outgoing President Mike Kew.

Click on the image below to watch the videoClubHandover

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The Rotary Clubs of Brue Valley and Zanzibar join forces to provide Taps and Toilets for a school in Zanzibar

The Rotary Clubs of Brue Valley and Zanzibar – Stone Town have joined forces to raise funds for a project to provide ‘Taps and Toilets’ for a school and villagers in Kitogani Village in Zanzibar.

Women filling bucketswomen tanker and tap

For the people of Kitogani it takes many hours and back-breaking effort to get water where it is needed – hours of queueing at a pump only on for a short period each day and very unreliable; miles of carrying jerry cans (weighing 20 kgs each when full) on your head, or several precariously balanced on a bike or in a wheelbarrow; tipping water into buckets outside the dilapidated long-drop toilets for hand washing, or to try and keep the toilets clean. Then there’s clothes washing and keeping yourself clean and, the next day, it all starts again, and the day after that, and the day after that…

Students collecting water
​The lack of easy hygiene is difficult at the best of times – people are more likely to suffer from diseases and students drop out to take care of siblings; the women in the community bear most of the burden of water collection and girls often stop attending classes because getting water takes priority; reaching puberty often has the same result because of the lack of private, hygienic toilets that preserve their dignity. But faced with a virus against which our only weapon is scrupulous hygiene, the teachers, students and villagers of Kitogani are desperate to get running water and proper toilets. Haji, a teacher at the Teachers’ Training Centre, is ready to manage the building project but needs your help to make it happen.

For further details on this project see Taps_and_Toilets_In_Zanzibar

To make a donation  please see Taps_and_Toilets_Fund_Raising

Covid hand washing station

Covid hand washing station

 

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Andrew Davies is our new President

Like most clubs and organisations, Brue Valley Rotary Club holds an annual general meeting when officers for the forthcoming year are chosen. For us, an important role to be filled is that of president. Taking up this post, on 1st July, 2020, will be Andrew Davies.

Andrew1

Trained as a chartered accountant and having spent his early career in London, Andrew arrived in Bruton in 1989. He soon became involved with the fund-raising and charitable activities of Shepton Mallet Round Table. As a founder member of Brue Valley Rotary Club in 2010, he has used his accountancy skills to be our treasurer for three years and to act as a trustee for our Trust Fund and also of the charity organising the highly successful annual Classic and Supercar Show at Sherborne Castle.

Andrew2

Andrew has many interests including skiing, cycling, running, table tennis and singing with the Bruton Choral Society. Besides helping the club, he has participated in his own fund- raising ventures which, last year, including running the Yeovil Half Marathon and cycling the Prudential Ride London 100 to support Breast Cancer Now.

In 2013, together with four other club members, he travelled to India to act as an ambassador for Rotary and to assist the medical staff on their National Immunisation Day, a project where 172 million children are vaccinated in one day in an attempt to keep India free of polio.

As the club’s international officer for several years, Andrew organised yearly concerts in our local towns to raise funds for the Trussell Trust who were setting up the ‘House of Opportunity’, a home in Bulgaria where young people on leaving their orphanages could develop life skills and their independence. Local bands and choirs including the Wincanton Silver Band, the Bruton Choral Society, the Wincanton Choral Society, the Pilgrim Singers and many performers from our schools in Bruton, Castle Cary, and Wincanton all contributed to these performances.

There is no doubt that, under the current restrictions forced upon us by the corona virus pandemic, it will be difficult to plan future fund raising events and, without this, to support local charities as we would wish. However, Andrew Davies with his experience and energy will be the person to guide and re-invigorate us through the next year.

If you think that you would like to join our Rotary Club or you would like more information, please visit  www.bruevalleyrotary.org or give me, (Roger Lowe) a call on 01963 34965 or Sally Hoadley on 01963 33335.

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Brue Valley Rotary Club supports local food banks

Since the COVID-19 lockdown came into force in March food banks have been set up in Castle Cary and Bruton.  There was already a food bank operating in Wincanton and this has been expanded since the lockdown.  Brue Valley Rotary Club got in touch with all of the food banks to establish whether a donation would help.  The Wincanton food bank felt reluctant to accept Rotary’s offer believing that, at that moment in time, the money might be more useful elsewhere but Rotary will keep in touch to see if this changes.

In Castle Cary, “Cary Cares” has set up a food bank and Brue Valley Rotary donated £200 to fund their work.  In addition, they provide free help with medicine delivery and shopping and a “listening ear”.  It is run by volunteers and supported by Churches Together.  They can provide over 100 shopping and prescription deliveries each week and since they launched they have handled over 800 calls on their helpline.

In Bruton, the Town Council has set up a Sunday food bank and there is also a private initiative called the Friday Food Drop run by Jane Lillie.  Brue Valley Rotary has donated £162.50 to each of these food banks.

Jane Lillie, even before Covid-19, had perceived a need for such an organisation in Bruton.  Bruton has areas where there are many people in need of support and Jane was aiming to support them.  She, by word of mouth, had built up a list of ten or so addresses which she served even before Covid-9 hit us all.

For the Town Council food bank, people need to register on the Town Council website and they have a mixture of self referral, Church referrals and worried friends, family and neighbours.  They have also had referrals from Bruton’s local dementia group.  They are currently feeding in excess of sixty mouths a week and their aim is to provide a week’s worth of food and provisions, toilet rolls, sanitary products, nappies, pet food, toilet rolls etc. etc.

This costs around £20 per person per week.  As the weeks have progressed they have seen many more in need and also people managing to come off the list because state benefits have come through.  They anticipate spending another £10,000 in the coming weeks, quite possibly more, and Brue Valley Rotary stand ready to help.

In total, Brue Valley Rotary has donated £525 to these local food banks in April, which includes a £250 grant from the Rotary Foundation.  More such grants are available and Brue Valley Rotary will make sure it stands ready to help those in need in these difficult times.

Pictures from the Friday Food Drop:

Pictures from the Sunday food bank:

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Ski Rotary 2020 at Wengen, Switzerland.

F60CCE29-041B-4F50-8A3A-C3D37DD07103_1_105_cBCE5B185-3B1B-4FB4-A60B-2440B4EF36EF_1_105_c90233058-28C1-4326-A850-19B35DA8639F_1_105_c10D25040-BDC4-427A-A69D-94DEFD5C49E0_1_105_c9A939B7F-96BE-47CF-B3CB-B5C2FA4626D7_1_105_cSki Rotary 2020 proved to be a little different to previous expeditions. Why? Well, this time we had Past District Governor Stewart Cursley and his wife June with us so good behaviour was guaranteed; the transfer to and from Wengen by train (more of which later) proved to be a delightful and different experience and there was the use of the cog railway to gain access to the ski area. The weather was mixed – two so so days, two days of brilliant sunshine and two grim ones. Your correspondent will go so far to say that the final day was probably the worst  he’s experienced.  Despite this we enjoyed a week of fun and fellowship. The skiing group comprised five tenacious and stylish skiers whose adventures included an interesting descent of the Lauberhorn (a strong drink was needed afterwards). The walking group using the extensive local transport perambulated far and wide, sometimes in difficult conditions. The walkers and skiers, as is now a tradition, twice lunched together, The return rail journey to Geneva included a small hiatus due to a senior moment affecting the Roger L and W’s baggage but it’s best to leave it at that! Then we returned to the coronovirus maelstrom which delayed the publication of the trip. There will be a Ski Rotary 2021 so why not think of joining us!

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