News and views
Rotary Club of Gloucester Severn
T his may have been the final quarter of the
Rotary year but it has been as fun packed as
ever with our club’s activities. There had been no
question of slowing things down in anticipation of
the summer. We’ve had the Dragonboat Regatta
of course, which was blessed with excellent sunny
weather and a full contingent of sponsored teams.
It looks as though the future of that event is now
secured thanks to Nick and Simon - (thanks again
And then there was Kids Out again at Cattle
Country. It was clear that all the children who
were there were having a great time and so that
too was another Rotary success. Hats off as well
to Peter B and Richard A for battling their way through District bureaucracy to be
able to get in an application for a District grant - no mean feat – and, now that that
has been done, hopefully we will be able to apply for more grants to make our
charity funds go even further.
We’ve had some excellent speakers again during the past quarter as you will see
from the pages that follow. And then there was our AGM which provoked the usual
level of excitement.
Last night was our Club Handover meeting to mark the end of one Rotary year and
the beginning of another. I was delighted to see that two of our honorary members
were present, that the other Gloucester Rotary clubs were all represented and also
that our Assistant District Governor was there to say a few words. However, I was
even more pleased to see Peter Harris and I’m sure you would all join with me to
wish him well in his continued recovery.
I must say that I have thoroughly enjoyed the past year as your Club President and
I do hope that all of you have done so too. Being President is a special experience
because all of you are a great bunch of guys and I would commend it to anyone
who hasn’t done it yet. I guarantee that you wouldn’t regret it for a moment.
So - tempus fugit - the year has come and gone. No more sitting on top table for
me. No more priority attention from our waitresses. Oh how the mighty are fallen!
I console myself with the thought that perhaps in the fullness of time - if I am
patient - I might receive one of those coveted invitations to join the top table and
dwell on the nostalgia of times gone by.
Cover Photo: Adrian hands over the chain of office to Mike
Well, here we are at the end of Adrian’s
year - I can hardly believe it as the time
has just flown by.
Since my last note, we ladies have enjoyed
joining our men for the golfing break at Patshull
Park and the Magic Lantern talk at Bowden Hall
as well as continuing with the Ladies’ Lunch Club
and having our own walking treasure hunt
around Upton St Leonards.
Whilst the golfers were off golfing, we ladies had
a great time visiting the nearby David Austin
Rose Gardens and Wightwick Manor and
Gardens - a National Trust property - not
forgetting the frequent trips to the cafes for
refreshment! The weather was fabulous throughout the break and much fun and
frivolity was had by all.
Joining our men at Bowden Hall for one of their meetings is always a treat (no
shopping, cooking or clearing up!) and the Magic Lantern Show evening was no
exception. It was a very interesting talk with a slide show, and some of the slides
went back to the 1800s.
Then the final ladies’ event for the year was the treasure hunt. I cannot thank
enough those ladies who not only turned up but also did the walk on that very wet
and soggy evening - you are all real stars. After returning to the dry of Bowden
Hall, we all enjoyed a delicious dinner in the restaurant accompanied by much chat
Throughout the year the Ladies’ Lunch Club has continued in good form and so a
big ”Thank You” to Jill C for organising us all. These lunches (or evening suppers)
are always so relaxed and enjoyable and are a great way for us to get to know each
other just that little bit better. Long may they continue.
Finally, thank you so much to you all for kindly supporting the various things that
we have done throughout the year - I do hope you have enjoyed them as much as
I have. And now it’s over to Gill T; I do hope Gill has as happy a year as I have had,
and I look forward to supporting whatever events come along.
I am writing this on the afternoon of what may be the first day of proper summer
weather, and I wondering whether this is “it” for the year or whether it is the start
of some warm days to come. Who knows? So whatever the weather brings us,
may I wish you all a very happy summertime - whatever you do and wherever your
travels take you.
My Life As A Scarlet Man
3 April 2019
R ay was resplendent in the bright scarlet (not red!)
jacket of the Chelsea Pensioners - so that cleared
up one thing. It is, of course, an iconic appearance and
an image of British life to this day.
He soon explained the history of the Royal Hospital at
Chelsea, on the banks of the Thames and the home of
the Chelsea Pensioners. The building was designed by
Sir Christopher Wren and built by King Charles II in 1652.
It now houses around 300 army veterans, many of whom
may have served in Korea, the Falklands, Cyprus,
Northern Ireland or World War II. The average age is 82
and the oldest is Joe, who is 102.
The Pensioners live in a sheltered housing environment,
are self-caring and able to live independently without
nursing care. Access to onsite therapy services, as well
as a full programme of activities is available to all.
Leisure pursuits include singing, bingo, gardening,
orchestra, dancing, art, drawing, painting, and jewellery
making. The library has 8,500 books and 1,500 DVDs.
There has been an extremely costly programme of improvements, transforming the
original ‘bunk’ rooms with no windows off a very long corridor into en suite modern
As well as the main building there is the Margaret Thatcher Infirmary, which has 125
Apart from all these facts Ray explained that he thoroughly enjoys living there. There
are rules governing the wearing of the uniform and the Hospital is a focus for many
invitations. He has appeared at the Remembrance Day celebration at the Royal Albert
Hall – the stairs are treacherous – and has marched at the Remembrance Day Service
This was a fascinating talk from a great guy about a great British institution.
GOLF IN TURKEY
A pril came round and our golfing
group headed off on what has
become (apart from one year in
Cyprus) our annual “One week of
beer interspersed with a bit of golf”
Belek Turkey Tournament.
Trouble now is that Old Father Time
has caught up with us, and, with
Relaxing before battle commenced one or two exceptions (where does
John Barnes put all the beer?), the
nights of karaoke revelry have been replaced by a nightcap of Irish coffee and
“off to bed”. Not quite at the “Horlicks” stage, but getting there!!
But a good time, as
always, was had by all,
though, as usual, the
balls didn’t always obey
the instructions of the
golfer and the on course
lakes swallowed up
many a brand new
This year’s competition
“Bulldog” is crowned as Champion turned almost into a “Padraig” the Putting Ace
case of the “walking wounded” - we missed the presence of absentee Arnie
Paterson, sympathised with Lefty Wilde for only being able to chip and putt, and
witnessed Bulldog Barnes tweaking some finely tuned muscle in his thigh!
And as to the Winners - well, Bulldog Barnes, even with a gammy leg, proved
too good for the rest of us and for the third year running was crowned “Champ”;
with Padraig Odell somehow managing to win the Putting Contest!
Good times, a very
plenty to eat and drink,
and warm sunny
days - perfect ingredients
for this, our 10th
overseas golfing jaunt.
Long may it continue!
And big thanks to Gordon
for arranging it all and to
JB for keeping the
Steve “Sergio” Markham Final Night Dinner
Rod Harris and Alison Kennedy
The Nkokoto Link
10 April 2019
W e were entertained this evening
by Rod Harris who told us about
the charity “Minchinhampton Nkokoto
Link”. Rod was accompanied by Alison
Kennedy, who had recently returned
from a visit to Nkokoto and, therefore,
was able to give an up-to-date picture of
Nkokoto is a village on the north-western plains of Tanzania, about 600 km from
Dar es Salaam and in the Tabora region. The village is in a rural area and is quite
widely spread. It is about 20 km from the local market town of Urambo and some
120 km from Tabora itself. It has
approximately 4,000 inhabitants,
much the same as Minchinhampton.
The Link charity was set up some
40 years ago after someone from
Minchinhampton visited the area,
saw a need and wanted to help.
The charity works in conjunction
with the village elders to help the
villagers and the communities and
schools located in the Nkokoto
Ward. They primarily support
education, health and agriculture
projects and initiatives.
The Link has a particular interest in
initiatives that support the young, the
elderly and people with disabilities. It
provides grants, other finance, human
resources and advice to individuals as
well as to the community.
The talk was very interesting with lots
of pictures of the area, the people and
children, who all seemed to be smiling
whatever they were doing.
After Rod and Alison had finished fielding our questions, President-Elect Mike was
very happy to present them with a donation to help with their work.
A Year Under Water
17 April 2019
W hy a year? Because that is the time
Richard Levinge actually spent under
water in submarines.
Richard began by telling us that submarines
were boats and not ships and then gave us
a brief history starting with Robert
Fulton’s Nautilus, which was built and
launched in 1800. However submarines didn’t really become viable until the early
1900’s. Those early boats were unreliable and mortality
rates were high - I’m not sure whether that made their
crews brave or insane. Robert Fulton’s
Richard served on two nuclear boats, Resolution and Nautilus
Splendid. Apparently there are now thirty
decommissioned subs lurking in
storage waiting for someone to
work out how to safely dispose of
their nuclear elements.
He gave us an insight into their risky lives on HMS Splendid by telling us about the
time that she fired a wire guided torpedo at a practice target only for it to pass
underneath. They then turned it around only for it again to miss. The torpedo was
now heading straight back towards their boat so they
rapidly turned it back toward the target! Then they cut
the control wire intending that the torpedo
would head out to the open sea and sink safely
when the power eventually failed.
The Submariner’s Dolphin Badge However, despite the lack of outside
guidance, this time the fish hit the bow of
the target ship. As far as the observing dignitaries were concerned the
demonstration had been a great success - they had only seen the explosion and
were unaware of the mayhem that had preceded it. Nobody disabused them!
Richard gave us a great insight into life underwater and the companionship,
discomforts and the humour necessary to survive months of isolation. They must
be a special breed of mariner, but I’m still not sure whether they are brave, mad
or a combination of both.
Golfing at Patshull Park
28 - 30 April 2019
T his year, John Barnes had taken
us to a slightly remote part of the
West Midlands, near
Wolverhampton for our golf break.
Remote, as it was not the sort of
place that you would find just passing
through, but what magnificent surroundings! Many of us were glad we had our
SatNav to help us find it!
The golf course was quite long and some of the group found it quite a challenge.
Whilst Colin smashed it on the first day with 38 points and no-one else got close,
he could not repeat that level on the second day but did enough to keep any
challengers at bay!
The hotel accommodation was varied and could do with some upgrade, but the
staff and the food were superb, and nothing was too much trouble.
The weather was a little cool on the first day, but it improved as we went on and
became quite warm at the end of the second day’s golf.
However, despite some varied scoring, all seemed to enjoy the event and in such
glorious surroundings, who wouldn’t!
Thanks to John and Millie for organising another super golf break.
And the Winners Were
Colin was the overall men’s winner with Roger Barrett as runner-up and Jeff
Dawson in third place. Millie won the ladies’ competition and Wendy was
second. Bob took the prize for the most par scores over the two rounds.
More from Patshull Park
The Runners-up receive their prizes and (below) some more photos from the event
We Found Better Things To Do!
A day out at the David Austin Rose Gardens
While some were amusing themselves tramping around a field swinging a stick at a
little white ball, others on the golf break took themselves off to view some of the culture
and horticulture in the Wolverhampton area.
A very enjoyable day out was enjoyed at the Rose Gardens that are a part of the David
Austin nurseries in Albrighton. The photographs above show views of the Walled and
Renaissance Gardens plus, of course, everyone enjoying the inevitable tea and cakes.
The following day the non-golfers visited nearby Wightwick Manor, a Victorian house
completed in 1893 and donated to the National Trust in 1937. It is one of the few
surviving houses whose construction and furnishings was wholly influenced by the
Aesthetic and Arts and Crafts movements. By all accounts it was an interesting property
and a good time was had by all. Some photos from that outing are on the next page.
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Thirty-five Years and Counting!
Clive celebrated his 70th birthday on
11 April and President Adrian had great
pleasure in presenting him with the
customary engraved tankard to mark
Clive first became acquainted with the
Club way back at the beginning of 1984
when he came and spoke to us following
his nomination as a part of the Group
Study Exchange team that was going to North Carolina that April. He then
returned to us in June to tell us about all his experiences
There was obviously a mutual attraction because Clive was invited to become a
member later that year. He told us that he had been taken to one side by one
of the panel following his interview who said: “We thought you’d be a good chap
to join us to bring a degree of sobriety and restraint to the membership”. That
worked out well then!!
Clive said that he has now spent half of his life as a member of Gloucester
Severn and thanked everyone for their continuing fantastic friendship. Having
spent all those years with us he is, nevertheless, intending to still squeeze a
few more out of it. In fact, on reflection, he has decided to aim for the decanter!
Clive has been a member of our Club for thirty-five years and we all look forward
to enjoying many more in his company.
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Defence of the Drift
1 May 2019
W e welcomed Paul back to the Club to tell us about
the Defence of Rorke’s Drift, which began on
22 January 1879, and, particularly, about the part played
by Alfred Henry Hook. Hook had been born in Churcham
in 1850 and came from a farming background. He had
left his wife, the magnificently named Comfort Jones,
and his three children to enlist.
Most of us will have seen the film ‘Zulu’ but Paul showed
us how actual historical events differed greatly from it.
The Anglo-Zulu war had not even been sanctioned by
Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli nor by Queen Victoria!
Sir Henry Bartle Frere had been sent to South Africa as
High Commissioner and, on his own initiative, had given an impossible ultimatum to
the Zulu king, Cetshwayo. He then invaded Zululand when the King failed to comply.
Essentially, the Rorke’s Drift incident was the defence of an isolated mission, trading
station and small hospital with some boundary walling and the rest of the compound
barricaded with stacked bags of mealie. The main British force had been heavily
defeated earlier that day at the Battle of Isandalwana and word reached the Rorke’s
Drift garrison that a Zulu impi (regiment) of some 3,000 warriors under the command
of Cetshwayo’s half-brother, Prince Dabulamanzi, was now heading for them.
The majority of Dabulamanzi’s advancing troops were young men who, because of an
edict by the King, would not be permitted to marry until they had drawn blood with
their spears in battle. Their frustration made them a highly motivated force!
There were about 500 defenders at the outset, made up of about 150 British soldiers
supported by a native force of cavalry and infantry. However, as hostilities commenced
the native contingents were withdrawn by their local commanders leaving only the
British troops and a few others to defend the position.
The attack began in the late afternoon and the British soldiers stood firm for over twelve
hours. Initially, Hook helped to defend the hospital and he and his fellow defenders
saved all but two of the patients, only abandoning the building when it was engulfed
by fire. The attacks continued into the night before they finally tapered off. When
dawn broke, the garrison discovered that their attackers had packed up and gone.
Only seventeen defenders were killed, whereas the Zulus lost about 400 men with 500
more severely injured.
Eleven Victoria Crosses were awarded to the defenders, including one to Henry Hook.
Hook was actually presented with his medal at Rorke’s Drift - a unique event.
Hook bought himself out of the army the next year (Paul suspects that he had used the
annuity he received as a VC to do so), but he did not return home. He found work at
the British Museum, initially as an Inside Duster and eventually rising to become the
Senior Umbrella Caretaker. He remarried in 1897 and had two more children.
He retired with ill health to Rosebery Avenue in Gloucester and died of pulmonary
tuberculosis in 1905. Henry Hook is buried in the churchyard at St Andrew’s, Churcham.
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8 May 2019
We and our guests gathered at the Bowden
Hall Hotel to celebrate the award of our
Charter 36 years ago. In all, seventy-two people
attended comprising members, wives, friends
and a Guest of Honour who was to give an after
dinner speech. The evening followed the style
of a routine Club meeting with the exception
that we also acknowledged the contribution
that many had made in supporting our work.
President Adrian opened the meeting by
welcoming the guests and setting the scene for
the celebration. A tasty supper ensued before
our guest speaker was introduced.
Air Marshal Sir Graham Miller KBE, RAF, Adrian presents Sir Graham with a
Rtd, who was accompanied by his wife, contribution to his nominated charity
was introduced by David Bruce, who had
at one time been the Senior Medical
Officer at RAF Lossiemouth in Scotland
when "Dusty" was Station Commander,
(nearly all Millers in the Armed Services
are likely to have the soubriquet "Dusty").
After David’s thorough introduction, in
keeping with someone of the medical
profession, the Air Marshal rose to give a
fascinating account of his career and how
his responsibilities matched the
operational roles of the service.
Initially, Dusty was an engineering apprentice and it seemed that a technical career
was in store. But..... his eyes were in the air and an aptitude to fly was emerging.
Within three years he had completed flying training and been commissioned. What
followed was a unique story of challenging appointments and fast jet flying
dovetailed into operational roles leading, eventually, to his promotion to Air
Marshal and knighthood. The slide presentation brought the story alive and
showed how RAF aircraft and weaponry made for a formidable modem force.
In retirement, Dusty has made his home in Gloucestershire and, among much
charitable work, he has held the prestigious appointment of Warden of The
Honourable Company of Gloucestershire for the past two years.
Our thanks to Sir Graham for his fine contribution to a memorable evening.
- 13 -
12 May 2019
W e first became involved in the Dragonboat Regatta in 2011, initially on a
joint-venture basis, before taking it over completely in 2016 following our
partner’s decision to concentrate on alternative opportunities.
The event has become a very important part of our fundraising programme and has
been well organised over the years by Steve Markham supported by John Barnes and
Roger Barrett and, latterly, also by Derek Thomas. They have done an excellent job
every year; and this one was no exception. Thanks to you all for the hard work that
you put in.
We were lucky again this year - the weather was kind and warm, the crowds seemed
happy and the twenty-seven teams that took part enjoyed themselves whilst raising
money for our charities through the sponsorship that they received.
The Mayor of Gloucester, Cllr Joanne Brown, had kindly agreed to present the prizes
for the morning regatta and the presentation duties for the afternoon were taken on
by the Sheriff and Deputy Mayor, Cllr Howard Hyman. We are most grateful to Mrs
Brown and Mr Hyman for giving up their Sunday to support our fundraising efforts.
All in all - a grand day out!
Steve first became involved in this event twenty-two years ago and has been an integral
part of its organisation ever since. He has now, very understandably, decided that he
would like to step back. So, now is the time to put your head above the parapet if you
fancy taking over as Chief Dragonmaster! Steve has said that he will be very happy to
help his successor in every way possible.
There are some photographs below and on the following pages - my thanks to Derek
for providing them. Sadly, I have only been able to find space for a few of them.
- 14 -
More photos overleaf
- 15 -
- 16 -
15 May 2019
Following last year’s events in Salisbury,
David had been invited to tell us
something about chemical weapons. This
was an excellent presentation of a very
serious subject – lightened slightly by
being interspersed with some gallows
humour that reflected his time in the
David began by saying that all of this information was widely available on the internet
or in unclassified NATO publications - so he was not giving away any State secrets!
He then gave us a brief summary of the history of chemical warfare and we were
astonished to discover how long it has been going on. There are records from 1000 BC
of the Chinese using arsenic, described as a ‘soul hunting fog’, to suppress a peasant
revolt and the Athenians used hellebore to poison the water supply and break a siege
in 595 BC. David cited some further instances through the centuries before arriving at
World War I.
The first use of chemicals in modern warfare was in April 1915 when the Germans
released chlorine gas at Gravenstafel; it caused a 4-mile breach in the front line. Not
to be outdone, the British used chlorine a few months later at the Battle of
Loos - reportedly because they were short of ammunition for the normal pre-attack
bombardment. Unfortunately, the wind changed and some of the gas blew back into
the British lines. Nations widened their research on chemical weapons and we were
told that chemical weapons could be described as choking agents such as chlorine or
phosgene; blistering agents such as mustard gas; and blood agents such as cyanide.
David then concentrated on the nerve agents which were related to organophosphate
insecticides and were developed between the wars. He described how the normal
functioning of the nervous system was inhibited by nerve agents before going on to
describe the protective equipment worn by the British military. He also chatted about
the preventive treatments for nerve agent poisoning as well as treatment
regimes - with animations.
We learnt that it has been estimated that chemical weapons caused 45-100,000
deaths in the Iran-Iraq War in the 1980s and that approximately 3-5,000 were killed in
a mixed chemical agent attack on Halabjah alone in 1988.
Terrorists also used chemical agents in the Tokyo subway attacks in the 1990s. More
recently, VX agent was reportedly used to assassinate Kim Jong-un’s brother and
Novichok was used against Sergei Skripal and his daughter in Salisbury.
However, David concluded by pointing out that one of the first anti-cancer drugs was
derived from mustard gas so there were some positives.
This was a very interesting overview of a complicated issue and we are extremely
grateful to David for expanding our knowledge in such an accessible manner.
Editor’s Note: David kindly provided some notes afterwards to Chris Brent-Smith and me so
that we got the scientific details correct, for which we are most grateful.
- 17 -
The Magic Lantern Show
David and Sue Bayley
22 May 2019
David, assisted by his wife Sue, talked about
how, in the 19th century, magic lantern
shows started out and how they developed
over the years. David is one of a number of
enthusiasts who collect old equipment and
slides and give shows.
David took us through a range of slides, from
their early start where they were hand-painted,
somewhat crude items (in terms of technique),
to the 20th century photographs which were
mounted and used in lantern shows.
Originally the images were hand-drawn and painted onto glass plates that were
then mounted to form the slides. Early examples featured ghoulish horror images,
but over time images of flora and fauna and of animals featured. Given the size of
the slides, the artists showed incredible patience and talent, given the level of detail
David also showed examples of slides that had a
movement or slight animation. There are several
forms of these (from what I could see), some with
a lever operated by the ‘lanternist’. Others
appeared to be multiple slides held in a simple
frame, which could be gently fed through the
lantern. We saw various examples of such
animation, including one featuring a sleeping
man with a mouse apparently jumping out of his
mouth! Another was reminiscent of the
kaleidoscope tubes I can recall from my childhood. Again, these were operated by
a simple movement by the lanternist. One can only imagine the reaction of
audiences and their wonder at the future of such movements. If only they
knew … !
I would, personally, have had a little more information about the equipment that
David was using. Certainly the light source for David’s projector was powered by
electricity, rather than by candles or oil! Some explanation of the history of the
lanterns and the associated equipment might have proved interesting.
David certainly demonstrated that the operator had to be familiar not only with
the lantern equipment but also with the slides that he was to show.
- 18 -
Skittles and Golf
29 May 2019
As soon as the doors of the BMI Club in Upton
St Leonards opened at 6:30pm a dozen and a
half of us poured in for our evening’s skittling.
Scorekeeper Dave and stand-in sticker-upper
Simon quickly got the first contest underway.
Sadly, the men’s performance did not match their
enthusiasm and the ladies’ superiority was soon
apparent. It is amazing how easy it is for the ball
to pass through the gaps and hit nothing!
We had time for an extra game, and strangely
almost everyone had the same score – 5 - a
spooky coincidence. The modest but superior skills of Tony Jenks led him to victory
and the men’s prize. Gunia topped the ladies’ scores.
Eight intrepid golfers then arrived just as the
food was delivered - excellent timing - and
little was said about the cool breezy conditions
outside. After we had eaten, we all played a
round of ‘Killer’- most of us displayed our
limited abilities by failing miserably to hit a
solo skittle. John Barnes was the winning last
player, well deserved after his carefully aimed
balls had impressive results.
Thanks to Tony Priestley, Simon Owen and Dave Threlfall for organising the evening
More pictures on page 20
- 19 -
Our Glorious Coastline
12 June 2019
Amy Woolacott started her career at the
Atomic Energy Authority in 1955 before
moving to Gloucestershire in 1961 and joining the
staff at GCHQ, where she remained until her
retirement in 1994. Since then she has been able
to indulge her passions for history as a member
of the Leckhampton Local History Society and also
for the English coastline; the latter being the
subject of tonight’s talk.
We enjoyed an interesting presentation
accompanied by a selection of Amy’s slides. Amongst other things we learnt a lot
about the history of Trinity House and lighthouses – I for one was surprised to learn
that these were only fully automated as late as the 1990s.
As we toured the coastal towns and villages Amy told us anecdotes relating to our
maritime history including trade, piracy, social and religious history as well as the
geology of the areas.
We started with slides from the East Coast Wash, Kings Lynn area and gradually
worked our way along the Essex, South and Jurassic Coasts, around Land’s End,
along the North Cornish and Devon Coasts and up through Wales, Merseyside, the
Solway Firth, Garelochead and Oban. Then, just before the slide projector packed
up, we caught a glimpse of the WW II Commando monument near Spean Bridge.
Our tour of the coast of Great Britain was then lamentably cut short!
Skittles and Golf - continued from page 19
President Adrian presents the prizes to the victorious skittlers
- 20 -
We all remember the meeting at the end of March
when Peter Harris was taken ill. Our speaker had
just begun his presentation when Peter collapsed.
Fortunately, four of our doctor members were present
and their intervention, plus the speedy arrival of the
Ambulance Service, means that Peter has recovered
well and it was with great pleasure that we
welcomed him back at the Handover meeting
following a 13-week recuperation.
This incident led to our discovering that the
only defibrillator in Upton was at the other
end of the village, which is really too far
away in an emergency.
We discussed this with the hotel and we both agreed that it would
be a good idea if a machine was available on the premises for the
benefit of all of their customers, including ourselves.
Following conversations with the Ambulance Service to ensure that
we bought the right equipment, we purchased a fully automatic
defibrillator with the assistance of a very substantial contribution
from the hotel. The machine has now been installed.
We should also acknowledge that our intended speaker that evening,
Paul Barnett, and Ray Pearson, who spoke at the following meeting,
both requested that the donations we had intended to make to their
charities be allocated instead toward the purchase. We are very
grateful for their generosity.
It is very pleasing that good has come from a very worrying event. We
all hope that we shall never need to use the defibrillator – but it’s
good to know that it’s there!
ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING
We held our AGM on 5 June and those present reviewed
the Club’s activities and the current state of play.
Briefly, Adrian felt that we have achieved most of the
objectives that he had set out at the beginning of the year,
we have raised significant charity monies and our own
financial health is good, both ComVoc and International
have made some significant donations in the year and we
have enjoyed a lot of fun and fellowship.
Our two new Dragonmasters! We have yet to find a President-Elect and the search
continues. However, the really good news is that Nick
Bishop and Simon Owen have volunteered to take on the
organisation of the Dragonboat Regatta following Steve’s
decision to step down after twenty-two years of
involvement. The future of one our major fund-raisers is
now secured and I am sure that all of the Club will give
them lots of support. Thanks guys!
- 21 -
Past Presidents’ Lunch
As they say, the best laid plans...often go astray! Pre-lunch drinks out on the
sun drenched patio of the Wharf House, Gloucester, overlooking the slowly
meandering River Severn were thwarted when the heavens opened, and obliged
our party of thirty-seven guests to remain indoors!
But it takes more than a spell of inclement weather to dampen the spirits of
our host of Past Presidents and their wives, plus the welcome presence of
Myra Williams and Jill Lewis. Our afternoon, accompanied by three courses,
plenty of alcoholic refreshment, and a typically wandering, though untypically
brief, address by Tony Jenkinson, proved to be highly enjoyable, with, no
doubt, recollections galore of the past exploits of so many Past Presidents!
- 22 -
12 June 2019
K idsOut (and yes it is one word)
came about after John Moores
(later to become Sir John), the
founder of the Littlewoods Group,
wanted to develop links to expand
a charity event he had created in
1989 called “The Liverpool Annual
Motorists Outing for Disabled
Children” across the country. His
daughter, Lady Grantchester, lived
in Kingston-upon-Thames and mentioned this wish to Peter Jarvis and Graham
Child, who were members of Kingston Rotary Club.
Peter and Graham discussed the idea with their club and then met with John
Moores. The upshot of the discussion was that, for 1990, Mr Moores agreed to
support a trial day out at Thorpe Park for two
hundred disadvantaged children. It was also
agreed that, if the experiment was successful, the
Moores family would support a roll-out of the
project throughout the country.
The day was a huge success and Lady
Grantchester offered a one-off grant to any
Rotary club that would take up the event to create
a nationwide scheme. Almost overnight some
800 clubs signed up to the project and the
National Rotary KidsOut Day was born.
The link with the Moores family was lost in 1999
after they sold Littlewoods, but KidsOut then
became an independent registered charity with
Peter Jarvis as one of its original trustees.
Almost thirty years later, KidsOut Day involves thousands of Rotarians from clubs
across the country taking over 30,000 disadvantaged children for a great day out
at over one hundred venues.
The venue in our area is Cattle Country at Berkeley and on 12 June a group of
Club members took 120 children from the Milestone School and Tuffley Primary
School, plus teachers and helpers, for a fun day enjoying all of the attractions
and a picnic lunch.
Everyone seemed to have a great time and it is a rewarding experience to see
smiles on the faces of children who are facing so many challenges in their lives.
- 23 -
I’m sure when Geraldine and
Jackie originally planned their
Treasure Hunt they had imagined
us strolling around Upton on a
glorious June evening. Sadly this
was not to be the case – but we’re
British and hardy, so thirteen of
us assembled at Bowden Hall on a
rather wet evening prepared to
brave the elements! We were put
into teams of three and off we set
for a circular walk around the village, seeing bits of it we had never
ventured to in the past.
Jackie had provided an entertaining Hunt
requiring us to find the names of various houses,
locate telephone numbers and other questions -
but we also had to be aware that two of the clues
contained anagrams. We set off soon after six
knowing that the meal was booked for 7:45, so
we had a limited time to get around. Our team
was somewhat hampered by the fact that none
us knew the village very well and were confused
about where the High Street was - at least that
was our excuse!
Luckily the rain more or less stopped after about Eleven of us
an hour, but by then we were on our way back
towards Bowden Hall, hoping we were going the
right way and that we would make it back in time to eat.
stayed for the meal that Geraldine had arranged.
In the end, the winning team was
the appropriately named
Raindrops and Geraldine
presented Denise, Gaynor and
Sue with a small prize each.
Altogether an interesting and
friendly evening. Our thanks to
Geraldine and Jackie for
something different, even if the
weather was less kind than we
might have hoped for.
- 24 -
Community Awards 2019
T he Rotary in Gloucester Community Awards
Scheme is a joint project of the four
Gloucester Rotary clubs. Set up five years ago
by the Gloucester club, the scheme supports
voluntary organisations within the City for whom
a small amount of money can make a real
The clubs work together by inviting applications
through a variety of sources from any charitable
organisation that meets the criteria. We specifically excluded this year anybody with a balance
in hand of more than £1 million (although four such still applied, but were refused of course).
A member of each club attends a few meetings of
the panel to review the criteria, look at each
application, and, in a few cases, contact the
applicant to question some details or where the
purpose was not clear.
This year thirty-seven applications were received
and, after evaluation, twenty-six were approved.
There is not sufficient space to detail them all, but
here are a few examples to give a flavour:
Friends of Saintbridge Pond and Nature Reserve - £500 to develop a website to communicate
their activities about wildlife and the environment.
Gloucester Foodbank - £500 to improve promotional material and to launch a new business
Gloucester Young Carers - £500 to support the continued operation of this vital service (this
charity is, of course, already well known to our club).
Play Gloucestershire - £500 to provide vital new equipment for this service providing outdoor
play to support a healthy and happy childhood for disadvantaged children in Coney Hill,
Elmbridge, Matson, Podsmead and Tuffley.
Severn Freewheelers Emergency Service - £500 to equip a new blood bike, based in
Gloucester, with a SatNav.
The successful organisations were presented with certificates at a lunch held at the Wall’s Club
on 14 June. President Adrian attended together with a number of Club members - an unusual
chance to meet and chat to a lot of people from the charity sector.
Now a fixture in the calendar, the scheme has contributed around £45,000 in grants to date.
This year we offered £2,000, as did Quays and @Kingsholm, while Gloucester put in around
A great scheme!
- 25 -
Club Assembly and Handover
It is the end of the Rotary year and time to mark the end of
Adrian’s presidency as he hands over to his duties to our new
President, Mike Till.
Adrian opened the proceedings by welcoming our guests,
Assistant District Governor Alexandra Lloyd-Jones; Matt Cass,
President-Elect of Gloucester; Mike Cogger, President-Elect
of Kingsholm; and Lee Summers, Joint President of Gloucester
Quays. He also welcomed two of our honorary members:
Geoff Cooper and Roger Head.
Adrian then gave a brief review of his year. The Sporting
Dinner and the Dragonboat Regatta both raised significant
funds which have enabled us to make contributions to our
chosen charities and other projects, both at home and abroad.
Mike presents Jeff with his jewel We have enjoyed a varied programme of meetings ranging
from the high farce of Professor Collywobbles telling us about
life as a Punch and Judy man to Angela and Oriana Fuguet sharing the tragedy that is modern Venezuela
and the impact that has had upon the lives of them and their family. He then reminded us of those we
have lost in the year – Graham Choyce, Alan Williams and Elizabeth Brent-Smith – before moving on to
mention that we have also gained two new members, Roger Boucher and Simon Owen, who have both
thrown themselves into the club’s activities with great gusto. Adrian concluded with a summary of the
social and sporting activities we have enjoyed.
He then handed over the Presidential chain to Mike Till (our
cover photo). Mike gave Adrian his Past President’s badge
and gong and Adrian sat down with a sigh of relief – duty done
and signed off!
Mike then presented Jeff Dawson with his President-Elect’s
regalia and badges of office to the other Club officers before
moving on to give us a few words.
He started by thanking Adrian and Geraldine for all they have
done to make sure of the Club’s continuing success. He then
moved on to explain that he and Jeff had both volunteered to
serve a second term of office as that will give the members two
years to think about and plan for the Club’s future. We do need
a President Nominee to ensure that we continue and he urged
everyone to think about the issue.
Mike went on to tell us that this year’s theme is “Rotary Alexandra speaks to us
Connects the World” and that this resonates with us as our fundraising has enabled us to reach out locally
and internationally to do just that. We have always connected well within the Club and our trademark is
good humour and Mike hopes that existing members make sure that they connect with new members
as they come along. Rotary in Gloucestershire offers us another opportunity to connect within the local
Mike reflected on his first term as President when, in 1987, we presented our first cheque of £5,000 to
Polio Plus. Continued on page 27
- 26 -
19 June 2019
Roger Boucher was our quizmaster
this evening and set about taxing
our aging brains with a varied
selection of questions spread over
nine rounds ranging from history to
board games, taking in music and the
animal kingdom, amongst others, on
Roger presents the winning team with their prizes We were lulled into a false sense of
security by the opening round on Gloucestershire. Most of us did quite well and
relaxed with a sigh of relief. Big mistake! We soon discovered that we knew
much less that we thought about the other subjects and then scratched our heads
whilst trying to identify screenshots of television series and pictures of British
Roger had pitched his questions at exactly the right level to give our brains a
decent workout without being either too obscure or too easy, so we enjoyed a
very entertaining night.
David Bruce, Peter Burton and Dave Wrigley emerged as the eventual winners
with 137 points out of a possible 244 and Roger rewarded each of them with a
bottle of plonk for their efforts.
Our thanks to Roger for his hard work in putting a great evening together at fairly
short notice - we look forward to our next chance to cross swords with him!
Assembly and Handover - continued from page 26
Since then we have seen the initiative, now renamed End Polio Now, continue to make progress in
eliminating this terrible disease. With his medical background Mike felt it essential we continue our
support - it would be magnificent if we could see both smallpox and polio eliminated within our lifetime.
Mike then invited the Officers and Committee Chairmen to outline their plans for the year – which can
be summarised as: “Steady as we go.”
Alexandra then spoke to us. Apparently this was her last Assembly as she is now moving into her 3rd
year as ADG. We shall miss her. She was pleased to know that our fundraising efforts were to continue
and that Nick and Simon were taking over the Dragonboats.
She told us that Foundation was increasing its contribution to End Polio Now such that each £1 that
we contribute to the programme will be worth £6. Surely another good reason for our supporting the
initiative. We learnt that Rotary has a central record of volunteer hours committed by clubs and their
members. Not all clubs report their hours but there were 45 million reported hours last year which
equates to a value of $1 billion!
Finally she encouraged us to do whatever we can to increase our visibility in the community. Her view
is that the more that people know about us and what we do, the more likely they are to want to join us.
Altogether it was an excellent evening.
- 27 -
We received some charming thank you letters from the children that we took
to Cattle Country. Three of them are reproduced below and they have all been
passed to Richard to put onto the website for you to look at if you wish.
The Last Word
Thank you to everyone for sending me your articles and/or photographs - keep them coming
please. I hope that you have enjoyed reading the magazine this year. If you have any thoughts
or ideas of ways in which it can be improved then do please let me know.
I introduced a digital edition of News and Views this year which seems to have been well
received ; so I am intending to continue with it. The printed version is included in your annual
subscription and I do hope that you will want to continue to receive it. If, however, you do
only want the electronic copy then contact me and I will take you off the print list and arrange
for your Rotary account to be credited with £4 for the year to June 2020.
Many happy returns this coming quarter to:
Roger Boucher 10 July Mike Beard 15 August
Nick Bishop 15 July Colin Harvey 29 August
17 July Andy Wilson 11 September
Andrew Davies 27 July Paul Rosewell 20 September
John Roderick 4 August Tony Jenkinson 26 September
Derek Thomas 4 August 27 September
5 August Ron Jones 28 September
Mike Till 12 August Mike Frost 28 September
Gordon Wilde Roger Smith
We normally meet on Wednesday evenings at the Bowden Hall Hotel, Upton St Leonards; at 7:30 pm
for an 8:00 pm start, unless otherwise advised. Details of the programme can be found on our
Apologies for absence should be given to Mike Beard no later than 5:00 p.m. on the Monday
preceding the meeting, otherwise you will be charged for your meal and a share of any other
non-recoverable costs. Apologies may be given by email to [email protected], via the
apologies section of the website or by phone to 01453-882519.