Pictures from Events taken throughout 2018

December
Woodley Extravaganza

On Sunday 2nd December we ran a stall at the Woodley Extravaganza, held in the town shopping centre. One popular offering was glitter tattooing (water-soluble). Also, there was a range of inexpensive presents for children to buy for their parents and teachers as well as other offerings on the stall.

Christmas festivities

We are helping children and their parents to get into the Christmas spirit by assisting Santa at the Wyevale Garden Centres in Winnersh and Hare Hatch. At Winnersh we will be with him for breakfast and at Hare Hatch for breakfast and tea as well. Also, at Hare Hatch, Santa will be welcoming children and parents to his grotto. For breakfast and tea bookings see: www.wyevalegardencentres.co.uk/events-breakfast-or-tea-with-santa. Bookings for visiting Santa’s grotto at Hare Hatch at: wgc.digitickets.co.uk/events/16290?catID=15219&

November
Donation to JAC

We recently made a donation to Just Around the Corner (JAC - jacoutreach.org/cm/index.php/home-3/inside-out) to help them purchase automatic drinking troughs for the horses at their Rehoboth Stables near Wokingham. The horses are used in the JAC Equine Assisted Learning programme for young people who have an interest in animals but may be struggling with behavioural, emotional, social and or learning difficulties. The photo is of Rotarian Lyn Morgan with one of the horses trying out a drinking trough

Knitting for Aqua Box

The photos show David Sutherland, Aqua Box Ambassador, receiving so-called “Fish and Chip” jumpers and teddies knitted by lady members of our club. They are on their way to the Sudan with an Aqua Box delivery. Many babies in Africa are sent home wrapped in newspaper to keep them warm. Hence, the “Fish & Chip” name of the jumpers. Aqua Box responds by sending its AquaFilters and humanitarian aid to areas affected by natural disasters (www.aquabox.org).

Have Your Say Competition

Twenty young speakers from local schools impressed a large audience with their presentation skills at a Rotary “Have your Say” competition on 15th November. The competition was jointly organised by the Rotary Club of Loddon Vale and our club. Two teams emerged as winners: Nancy Gittus and Jigya Kashyap of the Abbey School with their talk entitled “The Power of Positivity” and William Dean and Samuel Norrington of the Blue Coat School who gave a talk about “Driverless Cars”.

Children In Need

On 16th November we helped with other Reading Rotary Clubs to collect donations from the public in Reading Station for the Children in Need Appeal. The photo shows our President-Elect, Pat Holloway receiving a thank you hug from Pudsey.

Visit to National Postal Museum

On Saturday 10th November a group of us visited the National Postal Museum in London. It gave a fascinating insight to the history of the UK Postal Service. In addition to wall displays there were film shows and interactive exhibits illustrating how the service worked. An added treat was a ride on the underground postal delivery train which was converted to carry passengers in 2017. Some us were also lucky to see the procession of the Lord Mayor’s Show.

Royal British Legion Poppy Appeal

On 3rd and 4th November, our club members collected donations from the public in Broad Street and the Reading Oracle amounting to £2860 for the Royal British Legion Poppy Appeal. The first photo shows Rotarian Alf Chadwick performing his shift in the Oracle and the second is the thank you certificate from the RBL.

September
Presentation of £5000 to Royal Berks Charity

On Tuesday 18th September we presented £5000 to the Royal Berks Charity to support the purchase of a new ultrasound scanner to improve the diagnosis of prostate cancer. The money was raised at a Golf day that we organised on 12th July this year. Nineteen teams of golfers from across Berks, Bucks and Hampshire competed on the day. In the photo are Ian Thomson, Director of the Royal Berks Charity, President Sarah Shears and Golf Day Organiser Rtn. Colin Moir.

Welcome to Keith Eldridge

On 11th September we formally welcomed Keith Eldridge as our second Associate Member. This is a “first step” membership option for people who would like to experience the friendship, projects and activities of Rotary before deciding if they would like to join “full time”. Keith, who is Bursar at Leighton Park School, has enthusiastically supported our events there. If you would like to know more about Associate Membership of Rotary, email info@readingmaidenerlegh.org.

Nigel Williams Talk about Leighton Park School

On Tuesday 11th September Nigel Williams, former head of Leighton Park School gave us a fascinating talk about his personal career path, the school, the history of the Quakers and how their principles are applied in the curriculum.

Longstock Park Water Gardens

On 6th September we visited the Longstock Park Water Gardens, owned and managed by Waitrose. Before the visit we lunched outside in the sunshine next to the River Test at the delightful Mayfly pub. A rain shower during the visit to the Water Gardens failed to daunt the British enthusiasm for being out in the countryside. The afternoon was rounded off with a cup of tea and cake at the Leckford Estate farm shop.

August
Chocolate Truffle Donations

On 7th August we delivered 7 kg of Lindt chocolate truffles to Me2 Club http://me2club.org.uk/. The chocolates were part of a larger quantity donated to our Rotary club by an anonymous benefactor for the benefit of local children's charities. The remaining chocolates are being shared between three other charities.

Earley Green Fair

On Saturday 4th August we joined many other local clubs and organisations at the annual Earley Green Fair. A big attraction to the public was an information display of Shelterbox, the equipment used to help those in need in disaster areas (www.shelterbox.org). Children were entertained by the popular "Splat a Malteser" game.

July
RYLA

Every year Rotary sponsors young adults (ages 18 – 25) on a week’s challenging activity course in North Wales, aimed at developing their leadership potential. The course, Rotary Young Leaders Award (RYLA), is part of Rotary’s service for youth. This year we sponsored Jed Hetherington who is soon to go to the University of Salford to study Business Management. Jed came to the Club and gave a talk about his experiences on the course and President Sarah presented him with his RYLA certificate.

The RYLA Course

The RYLA course gives the participants challenges in the classroom and practical experience of sailing, canoeing, abseiling, mountain navigation and slate mine exploration, all under the supervision of qualified instructors. The culmination of the week is a thirty-hour challenge when the participants have to find clues positioned in different locations around the area. They camp out at night and each member of the eight-person teams has to lead in a part of the challenge, using the skills learnt during the week.

Sarah's First Meeting

The photo shows President Sarah and Secretary Alan about to open the first meeting of the new Rotary Year. As it was a special occasion it was held at an alternative location, in the Oak View dining hall of Leighton Park School. It was a really enjoyable meeting with an excellent speaker (see next photo). Thanks were expressed to Headmaster, Nigel Williams, for allowing us to meet at his school and the caterers for serving a delicious dinner.

Garden Games Day

Rotary does have its lighter side and we all enjoy a good social life. On Saturday 12th August a group of us met for a picnic lunch at the house of one of our club members and then competed in the garden in a series of games. These included, skittles, boules, quoits, garden darts to name but a few. The afternoon finished with a delicious cream tea.

Golf Competition

On Thursday 12th July, 19 teams of golfers from across Berks, Bucks and Hampshire played in a competition at Sonning organised by our Rotary Club. The event raised over £7000 towards a portable ultrasound prostate scanner for the Royal Berks Hospital in addition to other causes supported by the club. The winning team, named “Hit & Hope”, was led by Patsie O’Gallaghan. Donations to the golf day appeal can still be made at uk.virginmoneygiving.com/Golf-2018.

Link Summer Tea Party

On Sunday 8th July four Rotarians, one Lion and two partners helped out at the Link Summer Tea party, held in the Loddon Hall in Twyford. They helped with transport, meeting and greeting, serving tea, coffee, Pimms and cream teas, raffle ticket sales and loads of washing up. The photo is of the group with the Link organiser, Margie Walker. Information about the link charity, which aims to reduce loneliness can be found at: linkvisiting.org.

Talk on Bee Keeping

Bee Keeper Matthew McTernan, gave us a fascinating talk on the basics and history of bee-keeping, honey production, its importance to the economy and the environment. He illustrated his talk with a number of examples of equipment, bee’s wax and a frame of active bees working on a honey comb. On entering the room, we were invited to sample two different jars of honey, one from a supermarket and one raw, unpasteurised. Matt invited us to identify the raw honey.

June
Rotary Handover

At the final meeting of the Rotary year on 26th June, the outgoing President, Geoffrey Scott-Baker, paid tribute to the successes of the club and handed over the badge of office to the new President, Sarah Sheers. Geoffrey was the so-called “recycled President” because it had been the second time that he had held that office, the first being in 1996/97. Sarah, who is our youngest ever President, introduced her new team and gave an inspiring insight for the year ahead.

End of year lunch

The Rotary and Inner Wheel year runs from 1st July to 30th June. To celebrate the achievements of both Clubs it has become customary practice to hold a lunch near the end of the current year. This year on Sunday 24th June, the Rotary President Geoffrey Scott-Baker and Inner Wheel President Christine Bennett, thanked their respective members for their support and wished the incoming teams every success in the coming year.

June Walk Round Calcot

Almost every month one of our members organises a walk in the countryside. This usually covers a distance of less than five miles and conveniently ends up at a pub for lunch. On 29th June the walk started with coffee at the organiser’s house in Calcot. The walkers then strolled through parkland and around a local lake to enjoy the sunshine and wildlife before returning to the member’s house for a sandwich lunch. Rotary is very social.

April
Paul Harris Award

On Tuesday 24-April-18 we had the honour of presenting Rotarian Mike Phillips with a Paul Harris Award. This prestigious Award - named after Rotary’s Founder - is given to Rotarians who exemplify and demonstrate the highest ideals in Rotary, consistently placing ‘Service Above Self’. Pictured left to right - President Geoffrey Scott-Baker, Paul Harris Recipient Mike Phillips, Sponsoring Rotarian Alan Howe.

Young Musician Southeast Final

The Southeast regional final of the Rotary Young Musician competition was held on Sunday 29th April at the Blue Coat School in Sonning. The winning singer was Jasmine Bingham, sponsored by the RC of Epsom and the instrumental winner was Berniya Hamie, supported by the RC of Brighton & Hove Soiree. The two winners will go to the national final at the Herriot-Watt University in Edinburgh on 19th May. Aidan Campbell, bassoonist, sponsored by our Club and Loddon Vale, was a talented runner-up.

Young Musician Competition District Final

On 22nd April, in Reading, young musicians gave brilliant performances in the Rotary District final of the Young Musician competition. Following adjudication from musical experts, David Pope, District Governor of Rotary Clubs around the Thames Valley, presented trophies to the two winners who, with runners-up of the vocal and instrumental competitions, will go to the South East regional final on 29th April at the Blue Coat School in Sonning. Instrumental winner Aidan Campbell was sponsored by our club and Loddon Vale.

President briefs HRH Princess Royal

During the weekend of 7-8th April, while attending the annual conference of Rotary in Britain and Ireland (RIBI), President Geoffrey Scott-Baker had the honour, with a group of Rotarians selected from other clubs, to brief HRH Princess Royal about our Club’s activities and achievements.

Welcome to first Associate Member

On 17th April we formally welcomed Carole Edwards as our first Associate Member. This is a new ‘try before you buy’ membership option for people who would like to experience the friendship, projects and activities of Rotary before deciding if they would like to join ‘full time’. Carole is already an active participant but opted to be an Associate until existing commitments allow her to take the next step. If you would like to know more about Associate Membership of Rotary, email info@readingmaidenerlegh.org

Curry Lunch at RMA Sandhurst

We spent a memorable day at the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst where the ABF – Soldiers’ Charity organised a fund-raising Curry Lunch, prepared and served by the Academy staff. The event is expected to have raised about £34,000 supported by the 400 attendees. There were attendees from from Rotary and Lions clubs in addition to many retired army officers who had trained at Sandhurst.

Welcome to Rotarian Lyn

At our meeting on 10th April we welcomed Rotarian Lyn Morgan who has transferred from the Rotary Club of Toowong (formerly West Brisbane, Australia).

Warfield RDA Easter Eggs

As part of our distribution of Easter eggs we gave some to the children of the Warfield Riding for the Disabled (RDA) group. The RDA horses and ponies provide therapy and fun to people all over the UK. (see www.rda.org.uk). The Easter eggs were donated by the Thames Vale Vultures Motorcycle Owners Group. The pony at the back looks keen to get a share but hay is probably better.

Me2 Club Easter Egg Party

On 11th April our Rotary Easter Bunny helped give out Easter eggs to the excited children at a tea party organised by the Me2 club. The Easter eggs were donated by the Thames Vale Vultures Motorcycle Owners Group.

Presentation on the Irish Famine

Also, on 10th April we had a really thought-provoking presentation from one of our own Rotarians about the great famine, its causes and consequences for Ireland (Gaelic title of the talk: an Gorta Mór).

March
Donation to LaunchPad Reading

The Club presented £900 to the Reading-based charity, Launchpad, which helps some of the town's most vulnerable and disadvantaged people to turn their lives around. The funds were raised from the sale of programmes and generous donations of parents at the Wokingham Area Schools Music Association concert in the Hexagon in March.

A Rotary Welcome in New Zealand

A perfect example of the world-wide friendship of Rotarians. One of our members, visiting New Zealand, was welcomed at a meeting of the Rotary Club of Richmond Nelson in South Island and presented with a small banner of the club. Rotarians can visit any of the 33,000 Rotary clubs in over 200 countries.

Breakfast with the Easter Bunny

The Rotary Easter Bunny has arrived at the Wyevale garden centre in Winnersh. With Alice from Wonderland he is helping children who, after breakfast with their parents, can search for chocolate eggs hidden around the centre. Before the children depart, they will decorate an Easter cookie as well as receiving a bag with their eggs and a cuddly toy. The bunny will be in action throughout the Easter period. Details at Wyevale Winnersh: wgc.digitickets.co.uk/events/13729?catID=12408&month=2018-03#last

Easter Bunny at Dingley's Dream

Today (22/03) our Easter bunny took Easter eggs to the children supported by Dingley’s Promise. (www.dingley.org.uk). This was part of the distribution by Rotary Clubs in Reading of Easter eggs donated by the Thames Vale Vultures Motorcycle Owners Group. The boxed eggs are for deprived and disadvantaged children and similar elderly in care homes. More distributions are scheduled for the Me2 club, Riding for Disabled (Warfield branch) and the Avenue School in Reading and other deserving causes in the area.

Woodley Food Bank

The photo shows Rotarian Kate Hodges with £150 worth of food items purchased by the Club for the Woodley Foodbank.

End Polio Now Purple Crocuses

In the autumn of 2017 our club planted 10,000 purple crocus bulbs at Woodley and Earley Schools. Some were also planted in a sensory garden at the Liberty of Earley Care Home. Despite the winter easterly blasts, they are now in full bloom. Purple is the colour of the dye put on the fingers of children in polio-affected countries to show that they have been immunised against the disease and is the worldwide campaign colour.

St. Patrick's Celebration

Rotary is not all about fund raising and hard work. Sometimes we have a fun social evening. On Tuesday 20th March, four days after St Patrick's Day and the Irish rugby Grand Slam triumph, we celebrated at the Crown in Playhatch with an Irish-themed dinner and lots of highly amusing limericks.

Rotary Young Musician

On Sunday 4th March eight talented young musicians, four instrumentalists and four singers competed in the first round of the Rotary Young Musician competition. The photos show our club president, Geoffrey Scott-Baker presenting awards to the winning instrumentalists and Rodney Huggins, President of the Loddon Vale club presenting the awards to the winning singers.

Waitrose £500 presentation

During December 2017, the Waitrose Store in Woodley kindly dedicated one their Community Matters green disc boxes to the Reading Charity Art Fair collection for the Royal Berks Charity breast scanner appeal. Through the shopping public selecting the cause, Waitrose generously donated £500 be added to the £10,000 raised by the Art Fair. This was presented to us along with donations to other local organisations in the photo.

January
Art Fair Cheque Presentation

On 16th January we presented a cheque for £10,500 to Dr Elizabeth Cave, Clinical Director of the Royal Berkshire Hospital breast screening clinic (centre left). The sum was raised at the Reading Charity Art Fair which was run at the Leighton Park School at the end of October 2017 with help from the Inner Wheel Club and the Reading Guild of Artists. The donation will go towards a new portable ultrasound scanner to improve the diagnosis of breast cancer at the hospital. June Leatheam, Royal Berkshire Charity, presented a certificate of thanks to the Club (right picture).

New Year Walk

Rotarians like to keep fit and go on a walk every January, whatever the weather. This year it was crisp and frosty and after the walk everyone enjoyed a convivial lunch at the Bull in Arborfield.