The end of June is the end of the Rotary year and signals the time a for officers to hand over to the team for the new Rotary Year. For the Rotary Club of Swindon Old Town it is also hand out time and this is why 70 Rotarians and guests gathered at the Masonic Hall on the 28th June.
President Chris Hext thanked the Club for the support everyone had given him especially for the Duck Race and associated events which generated the funds that makes it possible for the Old Town Rotary Club to be handing out over £11,000 to the charities that were present.
Paul Harris Fellowships, named after Rotary’s founder, is the highest award within the gift of a Rotary Club and Chris was pleased to present this award to three people who had done such good work for charity. They were Jean Clifford of Pathfinders, Alan Holmes and Richard Crowley of CALM.
While Paul Harris Awards can only be given to individuals. The equivalent for companies and institutions is a Certificate of Appreciation. The Club Council felt it was long overdue for Nationwide who had supported the Duck Race since the Club began to run it. Every year they give us £3,000 sponsorship, a seed corn which annually produces a return of over £10,000 and Chris was pleased to present Sue Wood of Nationwide with the award, a small token for the support for the Duck Race that has over the years enabled over £100,000 to be given to charity.
After an excellent buffet meal following a grace by Councillor Abdul Amin, eaten on tables beautifully decorated by Stephanie Trinci the Chair of the Club’s Membership Committee, cheques generated by the Duck Race event were handed over.
Mrs Haig, the lucky winner of the £1,000 first prize who had bought her ticket in the Old Town Coop received her cheque to warm applause before President Chris explained the reason for the next two cheques.
The parking at this year’s event had been the best he had ever seen with so many straight lines and nobody blocked in. It had been entirely handled by the Swindon Venture Scouts and he handed a cheque for £400 to their representatives as a thank you for their efforts.
Lucy Pet Care had organised a dog show which increased attendance on Duck Race day. The organisers had asked that all the entry fees from their event should be given to the Blue Cross animal charity and consequently he was giving a cheque for £450 to them.
Before inviting Nationwide’s representative to present the cheques to charities who sold ducks on the clubs behalf Chris explained that the Club had agreed to support those charities who helped as well as the the President chosen charities for his year. He was pleased to announce that for every £1 duck a charity had sold they would be receiving £1.20 for their cause.
The President’s two chosen charities; Brighter Futures and Wiltshire Tree House both received cheques for £3,000 while other big beneficiaries were CALM who won the coveted Trophy for selling the most ducks and took away £1,812 while Swindon Cares picked up £783.60.
Following the presentation of cheques bouquets were presented to the Mayor Councillor Maureen Penny for the support she had given to the event from start to finish. She had attended the launch event in May at the Lalbagh restaurant; had launched the ducks on the race day and finally coming to this evening to collect cheques for Swindon Cares. There was special thanks to Viv Hext for the support she had given her husband during his Presidential year.
The evening ended with a presentation from Melodie Beevers, telling the meeting about the work of Rotary in helping to eradicate polio from the last two countries where it still remains. She then proposed a the closing toast “to the guests of Rotary and Rotary around the World.”