From the Archive
Whilst going through some archive material recently, the club archivist came across the original certificate of membership of The British Association of Rotary Clubs, dated 29th March 1922.
There is more informaton in the archive section of the website, which is still under construction.
Charity Cycle Ride
Charity Cycle Ride Update
The Ashford Rotary cyclists have raised over £8000.
Click here to visit Virgin Money Giving to add your donation.
Some weeks ago the Chairman of Ashford Rotary Club's International Committee Peter Stutchbury, a keen cyclist, had a great fund-raising idea - a triangular bike ride over 7 days to their twin clubs, Amiens in France and Vlissingen in Holland.
The estimated distance of 350 miles ended up as 460 miles! Rotarian Alan Paterson agreed to join Peter in raising funds to build a Sand Dam in Africa, through the UK charity Excellent Development. Click here to visit their website
Having started planning they were shocked when Peter was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. After surgery he is making good progress but must undergo six months chemotherapy, which renders him unfit for the cycle challenge - but he is keen to remain involved to the extent that he can.
Peter & Alan at the start.
They had already raised about £1,000 for the Sand Dam, but it has now been decided that they will split future funds with the UK charity researching pancreatic cancer. Click here to visit their website.
Ready for the off.
A local friend John Goodman, with huge cycling experience, had helpfully agreed to accompany Alan on the trip together with Rotarians John Hardie and Bob Perry with the support vehicle.
The whole team in front of The Five Burghers of Calais.
As an aged gentlemen in his late sixties, who couldn't think of a way to delegate this project, Alan gritted his teeth and decided that the necessary training would be good for him. He has set a target of raising £10,000.
Day 1 - The adventure started at 4.30am on Sunday May 5th heading for Eurotunnel and Calais where the occupants of a camper van generously donated £10. On arrival in Calais their first day's leg was an estimated, (but optimistic as they got lost!) 56 miles south to Bethune. Again a chance encounter with an English couple resulted in a £20 donation.
Day 2 - Bethune to Amiens, their French contact club. Again the trip was not without incident but the warm welcome from their hosts from Amiens Rotary Club put them in good stead.It was hinted that there would be a donation from their club and we now have the promise of a €1,000 contribution
Day 3 - Amiens to Cambrai along the Somme Valley with constant reminders of the sacrifices made during the First World War. The hotel was reached after a moderately hard day's ride amid some apprehension given the severe weather forecast for the following day.
Day 4 - Cambrai to Roeselare for the journey through Belgium. Around 4pm the severe weather hit them with lightning and torrential rain. The non-PC description of their exploits en route and arrival and welcome in Roeselare is another chapter!
Day 5 - Roeselare to Breskens/Vlissingen. The 55 mile ride to the Ferry terminal at Breskens was overcast but dry with a favourable wind and the ferry crossing surrounded by 90% fellow cyclists. They were met by their Vlissingen Rotary hosts where they enjoyed a delightful evening.
Day 6 - Breskens to Poperinge and the longest day with 82 miles against merciless headwinds and a ride lasting eleven hours. The sublime experience of dinner at an 'Irish' pub on arrival was very welcome.
John & Alan getting directions from Poperinge from helpful locals.
Day 7 - Poperinge to Calais and the final 54 miles, 30 miles of long hard slog the final 24 miles ended riding through the Saturday afternoon Calais traffic, a total of 460 miles. At the Town Hall, a small but distinguished reception party waited for them including Peter Stutchbury, the man for whom this project had been the brainchild and dream and whose illness had prevented him taking part on this occasion.
They were welcomed home at the Farriers Arms in Mersham and the Club remembered that the Rotary motto 'Service before Self' had once again been served.
The latest estimate of money raised is £7,000.
Donations with gift aid can be made by clicking here to visit the Virgin Giving website.
Charity Cycle Ride
Two members of Ashford Rotary Club approaching 70, together with a younger friend, are to cycle from Ashford to our two twin Clubs, Amiens in France thence to Vlissingen in Holland then home. Both twin clubs are being very supportive in offering overnight hospitality.
John Goodman, Alan Paterson and Paddy Miller are ready for the off.
The riders have set a target of £10,000 to be raised for charity. The two charities are Pancreatic Cancer UK and Excellent Developments, who fund Sand Dams in arid regions.
The cyclists are launching their project with a Fund Raising Dinner at the Farriers Arms, Lower Mersham and had agreed that the date would be the night before departure, Friday 3rd May.
Colette spoke to us about her journey from a small village in Ireland to establishing her own dental practice in Headcorn.
She spoke of the quiet life in rural Ireland, and her education, which fed her desire to seek new experiences in the UK.
Colette shocked and amused us with her graphic examples of dental problems that she faced on a daily basis, and we were all grateful that the talk followed the meal, rather than preceded it.
Vice President Ian Alexander introduced us to Ken Campbell who he has known for many years and is certain will make a really good Rotarian.
President Mary McKeown then inducted Ken who told us a little about himself.
He lives in Brook with his wife Carol and two daughters and one son. He thanked Ian, who is his mentor, for introducing him to Rotary.
David Hatcher: Shelterbox
David is a Member of the elite Shelter Box Response Team.
David Hatcher helps to erect another home for orphans at the House of Smiles Orphanage in Leogane, Haiti.
Members of the team are very carefully vetted and trained to deliver and erect Shelter Boxes in major disaster areas. All Members are volunteers who work non-stop to achieve the shelter desperately needed following the disaster which are mostly caused by nature but also can be conflict driven.
David with 17 day old Gessna - who lost his dad in the earthquake before he was born and now receives care in a ShelterBox tented clinic.
David told us of the high quality of the product and its importance in saving human lives. He also told us a little of the operational strategies, working with other organisations with a common aim and that they always remembered they were guests in any country they were helping.
David recounted several well publicised disasters in which he had been involved with Shelter Box and showed us his video taken in Haiti following the disaster in 2010. It showed the spirit of the people and the positive response to the shelter offered by the Shelter Boxes and could not have failed to move everyone.
Click here to visit the Shelterbox website
Members of the Rotary Club of Ashford hosted their 26th year of 'Rotary Entertains' for Ashford Senior Citizens and disadvantaged Ashford residents, when afternoon tea and musical entertainment was once again provided at Norton Knatchbull School.
The show was opened by President Elect and compere Rotarian Steve Hiscock who introduced the first act, singer Kim Boeje with her 'Dreamboats and Petticoats' selection of songs. The performance of popular songs soon had everyone joining in singing and clapping with enthusiasm.
Tea, organized and prepared by members of Inner Wheel supported by Rotarians, their families and friends was then enjoyed by a full house of over 150 mostly elderly Ashford guests, most of whom have attended for many years.
This was followed by entertainment by Ashford group The East Kent Chorus singing unaccompanied barber shop songs led by musical director David Holloway. They also soon had the audience participating in the music and laughing at their jokes.
"Love to Sing" Ashford Community Choir, set up by musical director Tessa Fineman, was next on the programme. The now familiar rendition of Land of Hope and Glory, with enthusiastic support from everyone singing and waving Union flags, was followed by Ashford Rotary Members joining the choir on stage to sing 'We'll meet again' with the audience, which concluded the entertainment.
Amanda Cottrell OBE, Honorary Member of Ashford Rotary Club, Chairman of Visit Kent and many other worthy organizations, collected guests from and back to their homes and commented that it had been a terrific day and a great way to start spring on the warmest day this year.
Alma Jacobs, 84, who had been a nurse at the William Harvey hospital, retiring only last year, said it had been a lovely enjoyable day with gorgeous food, where she had been made very welcome.
Ron Stainton: The Kent and East Sussex Railway
President Mary McKeown introduced our longest serving Member, PP Ron Stainton.
To get us in the mood Ron donned his railway signalman's hat and took us on the fascinating journey of the history and workings of the Kent and East Sussex Railway authorised in 1896 and started in 1898 from Tenterden to Bodiam and gradually extended.
1927 was the last year of profit and in 1932 it went bankrupt but the creditors carried it on. Volunteers persevered despite objections from the Dept. of Transport and it was officially re-opened in 1974, extended to Northiam in 1990 and to Bodiam in 2000.
Ron spent some years as a signalman following extensive training and an exam when he was awarded his 'duster'. He took us through the signalling procedures and the fascinating bell codes; he admitted that he had never heard 4 4 4, 'clear for Royal Train'!
A safety rule book developed as a result of accidents and, to this day, there is always an inquiry following an accident which is inevitably the result of human error.
Ron gave us a fascinating insight into the workings of a railway leaving us all wanting to take a trip on the Kent & East Sussex Railway.
Saturday 23rd March
Ashford Rotary held a very successful Quiz at the Elwick Club to raise money for Young Carers. The Elwick Club kindly donated the use of the hall. 70 people attended with each team hoping to win the prize of £50. The Teams consisted of Rotarians with their families and friends and members of the Elwick Club
The Quiz Master, who also set the questions, opened the Quiz and stated that if there were any disputes regarding the answers that he was always right! There were 9 rounds of various topics with a lot of banter and fun.
The Quiz raised a total of about £500 which was greatly helped by an excellent raffle which included prizes of a Tea for 2 at Boys Hall, a £50 Tesco voucher and a silver pendant from Otterwills.
It was a very good evening with the winning team being Rotary members, very closely followed by a team from the Elwick Club.
The winning team kindly donated most of the winning money back to Young Carers.
Barry Gurteen and Chris Johnston
Catering for the Olympics
Barry Gurteen, from Brakes, and Chris Johnston, from Sodexo, were our guest speakers on the 11th of March. They described the practical and logistical problems of catering for the Olympic Games in the summer.
They explained the complexities of the procedure for becoming an approved Locog supplier, and the security measures that had to be followed to ensure their procedures were secure and terrorist proof.
Barry models the latest Olympic Torch
With 90 hour working weeks for colleagues, and crucial problems with the supply of chips, the companies had a demanding and exciting Olympic experience.
Sadly, neither Barry nor Chris managed to see any of the events, despite being in the main arena helping with the catering.
Paul Harris Fellows
Paul Harris fellowships are presented to Rotarians for outstanding service to Rotary over a period of years.
Past Presidents Kitty Brook and Sue Sleet were made Paul Harris fellows by President Mary.
President Mary presents the ribbon and insignia to Kitty Brook.
Past President Sue Sleet receives her honour from President Mary.
4th March - Jenny Lovell
Historical Cities from Fake to Real
Researcher Jenny Lovell gave us a tour through history and the tourist industry in her analysis of the sites that tourists find attractive.
Focusing to a large extent on Canterbury, Jenny showed that our perception of historical sites can be clouded by restoration or the deliberate faking of history through architecture.
Jenny showed photos that participants in her research had taken of their favourite visitor sites. Whilst many were very traditional, such as the Friars and the Christ Church gate, others focussed on the odd and quirky aspects of the city.
18th February - Brigadier John Meardon
Receiver General Canterbury Cathedral
Enthroning an Archbishop
John outlined his illustrious career which included 34 years in the Royal Marines and 14 years as a senior member of Canterbury Cathedral staff where he is now the second administrator in this new important position of Receiver General.
There are 300 paid staff and 800 volunteers looking after the Cathedral and John gave us a fascinating insight into the many different responsibilities that need constant attention.
Just one of the many issues currently needing urgent attention is the restoration of the great South Window.
John also gave us an outline of the structure of the Church of England from its formation to the present day. He went on to explain the immensely complex legal process that leads up to the choosing and eventual Enthronement of the new Archbishop of Canterbury and the allocation of the 2000 seats at the Enthronement.
11th February - Honorary Member Jo James
Chief Executive of the Kent Invicta Chamber.
The Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce is the largest Chamber in the County.
Jo highlighted the continued growth of the Chamber. Initially, the Chamber represented the Ashford area, but now covered Ashford, Canterbury, Maidstone and the Thames Gateway.
The Board has sixteen directors and a Chairman, Vice-chairman, President and eighteen staff in three offices.
The priorities for 2012 to 2015 are Membership Growth, Business training and Events, Business Support Services and International Services and Representation.
Jo explained that despite the difficult economic circumstances, the Chamber had 1200 Members and an additional 2,300 customers buying their services.
Jo also spoke about Local Enterprise Partnerships. The Kent partnership covered three Counties and Jo gave us her views on the practicalities and pros and cons of working within such a large area.
4th February - Sir Edward Clay
Excellent Development - the Sand Dams Project.
Excellent Development is an innovative and practical charity that works to solve the problems of drought through the use of sand dams.
The sand dams are built by local people.
The dams provide a way of storing seasonal rainfall, reducing evaporation through the use of saturated sand.
In the rainy season, the excess water runs over the dam, so that other projects can be developed further down the river.
Sir Edward gave us a fascinating insight into the simple but highly effective sand dam projects, built by and for local communities.
He highlighted how water is the catalyst for everything and how access to clean safe water is a critical first step to poverty relief in dry rural areas. Sand dams are the world's cheapest method of capturing rainwater at £8,000 - £12,000 each. Excellent provides the cement and technical advice but the community provides the labour.
Rotarians help to fund projects and raise awareness about the incredible benefits of sand dams and can have their own project where funds are allocated to a specific sand dam in Kenya with the club's name on the sand dam.
Click here to visit Excellent Developments website.
14th January - Jim Boot, freelance Community Planner.
Jim explained that a freelance community planner covers a wide range of planning issues some of which included Parish Plans. The differences between different neighbourhoods creates a range of widely differing issues.
The recent introduction of Neighbourhood Plans are designed to give the public more say about development in their area through their Parish or Town Councils. However, the new arrangements are much more complex and challenging undertaking for anyone without a degree and experience in planning as the plans have to be scrutinised by a Government Planning Inspector.
Jim is currently advising Wye and expects that many Parishes will be seeking help if they wish to have their own Neighbourhood Plan.
7th January 2013 - Frugal Supper
After a two week break over the Christmas period, Ashford Rotary Club met at Stonegate, Wye, for a Frugal Supper.
We dined on Chicken Soup and Jelly, to remind ourselves that many people across the world exist on a much more frugal diet than we are accustomed to, especially over the Christmas period.
Club members pay the normal charge for their lunch and the profit from the simple fare is donated to charity.
After the meal, members watched a presentation by Bruce Aylwood on the progress of the campaign to eradicate Polio across the world.
Despite the worldwide success of the vaccination programme across most countries of the world, the virus is still endemic "in the wild" in three countries, each in a war torn area of international conflict. Volunteer staff working in these areas risk their lives. Some have been killed by Taliban sympathisers who see the immunisation programme as a Western plot.
Unfortunately, in these days of rapid international travel, the virus can easily spread through infected but immune adults to other parts of the world.
17th December Christmas Party
The club Christmas party was an amusing and memorable occasion.
After a delightful meal, President Mary McKeown presented Paul Harris fellowship awards to Sue Sleet and Kitty Brook as a mark of their service and commitment to the club.
Steve Hiscock and his theatrical troubadours presented a topical pantomime illustrating a number of activities from the last year of Rotary.
A great time was had by all.
10th December - KCC Senior Archaeological Officer Wendy Rogers
. Wendy and the archaeology team of ten at KCC are responsible for all things relating to the historic environment in Kent. She focussed on archaeology in South Ashford, now considered a very important archaeological heritage area.
Wendy gave a fascinating insight into the detailed investigation that started when the concept of the proposed Chilmington Green development was proposed.
The team have created a detailed historic Environment map showing the area's historical record from the prehistoric period,some 400,000 years ago to today. Much of the detailed work is carried out by private archaeological contractors supervised by the KCC team.
Wendy's obvious passion for her work, and her delight at finding historical artefacts from our buried history made for a most exciting and interesting talk.
Barrister and Judge, David Ross.
David decided he wanted to be a barrister at the age of 13 after being an avid fan of Perry Mason's court room dramas and the apparent excitement and rewards from such a profession.
David obtained a Law Degree at London University and had to decide whether to become a solicitor, a secure occupation at the time, or a barrister. He decided on the latter. He made the business of representing his clients sound very interesting and went on to relate many amusing anecdotes of his time at the bar.
David considers our legal system to be one of the finest and to be tried in a court of law before jurors is one of the safest ways to get justice although not 100% perfect.
David would support the use of qualified jurors in technical cases such as financial fraud.
Rotary Club of Ashford Christmas Trolley Competition winner.
The Rotary Club of Ashford held its second Trolley Competition on Saturday and Sunday outside Sainsburys Superstore.
Competitors were invited to guess the value of a range of Christmas goodies from the store which included Champagne, fine wine, chocolates and biscuits. We were delighted to receive so many favourable comments from their customers who gladly donated £1 for each amount guessed, making a total of just under £785 to put towards our charities.
The delighted winner with the closest total of £163.36 was Mrs Heather Allin-Jones of Malvern Road, Ashford who was shopping with daughter Jodie and nephew Stuart Allin. Jodie guessed the amount for the pounds and Stuart the pence. The delighted and surprised winners had the prize delivered to them on Sunday evening by Rotarian Tony Newport. A celebratory drink at the Club's meeting Monday was attended by Jodie, Stuart and Stuart's Mum Cath. Heather, IT Project Manager at Givaudan, was unable to attend as she was still at work.
The Rotary Club of Ashford thanked Sainsburys for supporting the event and allowing the competition.
Fund raising Festive Christmas Concert
The Rotary Club of Ashford held their annual Christmas Concert at Ashford School on Saturday 8th December when festive mince pies and a glass of wine were served. Performing to their usual professionally high standard were The Canterbury Brass Band, Ashford School Choir and
The Barber Shop Choir.
The audience of about 150 were invited to join in the singing, which they did with great enthusiasm.
The charities that will benefit from the £960 raised are Kent MS Therapy Centre Appeal, Progressive Supranuclear Palsy (PSP) and local charities.
Thanks were given to Ashford School for the use of the venue and their continued support.
Rotary Club of Ashford - St Andrews Day Ceilidh.
Members of the Rotary Club of Ashford together with the Mayor and Mayoress of Ashford, Councillor Bob and Daphne Davidson, celebrated St Andrews Day with a Ceilidh (Scottish Barn Dance) in Wye Village Hall to raise funds for their charities.
The evening saw Members tartan kilted enjoying Scottish dances such as Strip the Willow, Cumberland Square Eight, the Gay Gordon and the Eightsome Reel.
Fine music was provided by Scotch Mist and the caller was Chris Ransom. Members provided refreshments washed down by a few 'wee drams' of Scotch whisky. Everyone agreed that it was great fun, if lacking in skill, and a very enjoyable way of adding to the fund for their charities.
The Towers School Interact Club.
Interact President, Rose Mukuze, presenting the club's charity cheques to Ashford Rotary Club President, Mary McKeown.
Ashford Rotary Club Awards: Towers Youth Leader.
Ashford Rotary Club has presented Marie Boniface, a youth leader and Interact co-ordinator at Towers School, with Rotary's Service Recognition Award in acknowledgement of her special service to the community.
Marie has worked at the Towers for eight years and has been key to the success of the School's Interact Club. Interact is a youth movement for young people between the ages of 14 and 18. It is part of the Rotary organisation and its members are encouraged to apply the Rotary motto of 'Service before Self' while raising money for chosen charities.
Cliff Grieve, youth officer for Ashford Rotary Club said, 'Marie is a very worthy recipient of this award. Having worked alongside her for a number of years in Interact I know that she commits herself time and again outside of her normal working hours to helping young people reach their true potential. Marie is a truly inspirational youth leader and has won the respect and affection of her students.'
Marie was presented with her award at a celebration dinner for the 90th anniversary of the Rotary Club. Surprised and delighted, she commented 'I am very humbled to be singled out for this prestigious award. I would like to thank not only Cliff and the members of the Rotary Club, but also all the members of the Interact Club who have contributed to raising over £5000 for local and international charities over five years. It is a huge honour to be working with such selfless young people.'
Friday 16 November Children in Need
Once again a rota of Members of the Rotary Club of Ashford and a Member of the Towers School Interact Club, including Pudsey Bear, the Blues Brothers, Soldier and Banana Pyjamas, collected money for Children in Need at Ashford Station on Friday.
The generosity and good spirit of commuters resulted in the fantastic sum of over £ 1021 being raised to date, just beating last year's collection.
The collectors commented that they all had fun and it was great to see the children's reaction and smiles. Ashford Rotary thank commuters and the people of Ashford who once again donated so generously despite the current dismal financial situation, and the Station for their continued support and co-operation.
12th November - Damian Green MP
President Mary McKeown introduced our speaker, Damian Green MP. He told us he would wear our Rotary tie on Tuesday morning.
He is now Minister for Policing and Criminal Justice and the Home Office. However, he chose to speak to us on matters closer to home including the Town Centre where the town team has won a grant of £100,000 supplemented by a contribution from Sainsburys.
It will be used to improve the whole surrounding area following a business plan and a set of priority projects which he highlighted.
He was disappointed at the failure of K College and will be lobbying the government to rethink further education and gave us his ideas on the subject relating to Ashford.
5th November Ian Coulson - "Politics with a Bang"
Ian opened his fascinating talk on Guy Fawkes by bringing us back to terrorism today.
Most terrorism has a religious element, faith with a political motive.
Ian gave us a fascinating history of Guy Fawkes' background and his childhood with a Protestant Mother and Father and later, Catholic Step-father and an exploration of the historic factors that shaped his revolutionary ideals.
Ian explained how the 'gunpowder plot' developed from these ideals, and how Fawkes and the other conspirators were captured He described their gruesome fate of being hung, drawn and quartered.
Following the plot, James 1st decreed that 5th November would be an anti-Catholic day of celebration and originally it was an effigy of the Pope who was burned on bonfires.
19th October - Highworth Jazz Orchestra.
Once again, Ashford Rotary Club was delighted to host a concert for charity at Revelation St. Mary's, Ashford's wonderful new Arts Centre.
Photo courtesy of Catherine Barnes Photography
The star attraction of the evening was Highworth Jazz Orchestra who kept the audience entertained with a excellent mixture of big band sound, standards from the fifties and sixties, and a moving original piece about Ashford in the war, written by girls in the band.
Photo courtesy of Catherine Barnes Photography
The quality of playing was first class, and the vocalists were outstanding.
Photo courtesy of Catherine Barnes Photography
The evening raised in excess of £1365 for Rotary charities.
We are indebted to Catherine Barnes for the excellent photographs.
15th October - Porchlight - Rachel van Hoven.
Rachel started by showing us a DVD made by St. Edmund's School with harrowing stories of homelessness told by homeless youngsters.
The DVD is used as a tool to reach teenagers who could end up becoming intentionally homeless and therefore outside any housing provided by the Local Authority.
Rachel described the dreadful situations that drive teenagers to leave home and the hidden homelessness where a youngster moves around from temporary refuges with friends and family members, often trying to continue with schooling.
Porchlight offer Hostel accommodation and weekly meetings with a Key Worker who will find as much back up as necessary. Some stay for years but for those who eventually get housed support continues for six months.
Porchlight work with 600 people across the county.
Click here to go to the Porchlight website.
8th October - Turloo Parrett - Eastwell Manor
Honorary Member, Turloo Parrett bought Eastwell Manor in 1995 after some years of experience and success in the Property and Hotel areas of the stock market.
Owning and running a Country Hotel had been a long time ambition, and after two false starts with other potential purchases he decided that Eastwell Manor fitted his needs.
Photo courtesy of Eastwell Manor.
Turloo is very much a 'people person' and owning Eastwell Manor gives him the opportunity to mix with and enjoy the company of a wide range of interesting and high profile people as well as making the facilities of Eastwell Manor available to a wide range of charitable activities.
He makes little of the day to day skills that are necessary for the running of a premier class hotel like Eastwell Manor.
Click here to go to the Eastwell Manor website.
1st October - Richard Earland - "40 years serving my country"
Richard Earland gave a very amusing talk, full of personal anecdotes, about his very varied and distinguished career in public service.
Richard is a highly qualified Diagnostic Radiographer and worked in the Royal Naval Medical Services. He also has an MSc in psychology in Organisational Behaviour.
He was the British Computer Society's 'IT Leader of the year'.
He used his skills as executive director in the Defence, Health and Policing sectors.
Until late 2010 he was the first appointed Chief Information Officer in a National Policing Agency. He is currently non-executive director of East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust.
Ashford Rotary Club's 2012 Annual Ramble took place on Sunday 16 September starting and finishing at Wye Village Hall. Hundreds of thousands of pounds have been raised over the 23 years of the Ramble for wide ranging causes of which the Pilgrims Hospice, Paula Carr Trust, Shopmobility, Wyvern School and the Kennington Scouts are just a few.
The Mayor of Ashford, Councillor Robert (Bob) Davidson and Mayoress Daphne Davidson were welcomed and went on to enjoy the 5 mile ramble raising money for the Mayor's charities Homestart, Headway and Ashford Arthritis.
Also walking the 5 mile ramble was Deputy Mayor Cllr. David Smith and Cllr. Amanda Hodgkinson raising money for the newly formed Ashford Branch of RNIB of which MP Damian Green is Patron.
This year, as the opportunity for raising sponsorship money for any charity of choice became better known, at least 20 different charities took advantage of the event to raise money totalling a predicted £4000 and also benefitting Ashford Rotary Charities by a further estimated £1000.
The event started from 8am with participants entering the familiar 5 or 10 mile ramble or 10 mile run in ideal weather conditions.
A popular additional event for children was the treasure hunt, finding rural natural 'treasures' for which they received a small prize as well as a medal on completion of the walk.
An even larger contingent of dogs completed the entries making the whole event a healthy and enjoyable family activity.
Ashford Rotary Club President Mary McKeown saw an estimated 250 plus walkers out and back again. She welcomed Clair Brooker and Adam Cordrey, first 10 mile runners back, running for Cancer Research. Clair is also training for a sponsored Triathlon in aid of Cancer Research.
George Miller, raising money for Dementia UK was next in. The youngest participants were three month old Rory Collins (helped by parents Richard and Sarah Marie) supporting AHBS (Ashford Hospital Broadcasting Service), and Jack Hayward, just three days older (and parents), who were supporting Rotary Charities.
Once again Ashford President Mary McKeown's granddaughter Olivia Hayward-Browne, along with family members, finished in good time raising money for Rotary Charities.
The first Treasure Hunters back were 15 year old Jack Armitage and 14 year old Tom Semadeni who left with 20 pupils from Ashford School.
Bacon butties were provided by Ashford Past President John Hardie and tea, coffee and biscuits were provided by Inner Wheel
The Brett Group, for the 10th year running, gave generous financial support together with Linda's Florists, Ashford Bridal Cars and CWP Financial Advisors. Medash Signs once again donated all the signage and St John Ambulance was in attendance for first aid support.
Charities supported by walkers included: East Kent Stroke Association, Radio AHBS, RNIB, Pilgrim's Hospices, Great Ormond Street Hospital, MCCH Society, Dementia UK, Towers School Interact Charities, William Harvey Hospital Maternity Unit, Ashford Family Nursery, Kent MS Therapy Centre, PSPA (Progressive Supranuclear Palsy Association), Cancer Research, FindaVoice, Caldecott Community, Kent Air Ambulance, Homestart, Headway, Ashford Arthritis and Rotary Charities.
10th September: Kevin Rall - "Flying for Life"
Kevin Rall spoke to us about the way the Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF) developed in the aftermath of World War II as a way to use the machinery of war to do good in peace time.
Founder Stuart King and a group of fellow officers decided the best way to use their flying skills was by using small planes to fly into inhospitable and inaccessible parts of the world, bringing medical and other aid that would otherwise be impossible to deliver any other way.
Some of the landing strips that Kevin showed looked impossible to land a helicopter on, never mind a plane.
From one plane in 1946, MAF has now grown to a world wide organisation with 135 planes operating in over 30 countries.
Click here to visit the Mission Aviation Fellowship website
3rd September: Richard Collins - "AHBS Community Radio"
Richard is Editor and Director of 107.1FM.
He spoke to us with passion about his commitment to AHBS, a completely non-commercial community radio service that is run by local volunteers.
Richard spoke about the eight year process of acquiring a broadcasting licence from the government and the difficulties in maintaining high quality broadcasting in the face of competition from commercial stations.
Richard is a professional television producer, specialising in TV debates, including the inaugural British general election TV debates of 2010.
Richard is also a member of Canterbury Sunrise Rotary Club.
Click here to visit the AHBS website
13th August: Dennis Pepper - "Publishing your first book"
Dennis described the extensive and detailed research he undertook for his first book 'Botolph', a novel based on historic records from 597 BC.
His hero, Botolph, did exist and Dennis covers details of his illustrious life promoting Christianity and weaving an exciting story round his exploits.
He also described the difficulties of finding a commercial publisher for a book, and described the various routes that aspiring authors could use, from using literary agents to self publication.
6th August: Prof. Nick Russell "Working in Antarctica"
Prof. Nick Russell introduced us to Antarctica,in a wonderful talk lavishly illustrated with outstanding photographs of Antarctica.
Nick described his work as a microbiologist trying to identify the ecological way organisms adapt to temperature changes,and any ways in which this knowledge could be used for industry.
He gave us a fascinating insight into the huge challenges to travel and survival in this beautiful but hostile environment.
Nick described the stringent survival training that participants had to 'pass', and the high level of fitness required to walk long distances on unstable freezing terrain and cope with long working days in the 24 hours of summer daylight.
23rd July Bryan Strange - Ashford High Street
Bryan gave a fascinating illustrated talk about the way Ashford High Street and other town centre streets had changed over the last fifty years.
His talk was a history of the town, showing the slow decline of individual shops and the growth of shopping centres and national multiple stores.
With his encyclopaedic local knowledge, Bryan brought the pictures to life with anecdotes about the characters that had helped develop the town over the past fifty years.
16th July Charles Boxer- Woodchurch Village Museum
Charles Boxer, gave us an entertaining and interesting talk about Woodchurch Village Museum. He explained that the museum had formed a large part of his post retirement life.
Jeff Loynes, a retired cartoonist/animator who lived in the village had built up a large collection of items of local interest and was persuaded to open a museum. A Charitable Trust was formed and a task of fundraising began to find a home for the collection. Eventually a quarter acre of land was bought from a local farmer for £1. Then a farmer from Beckley said he had a 17th century cart shed and 18th century barn available. These were dismantled and re-erected on the new site for the museum.
Woodchurch Wings and Things raised a large sum of money over the years to help finance the establishment of the museum. Local experts/tradesmen came forward to help with the property.
It took 3 years to restore the cart shed. The barn was bigger and the Trust sought extra help. Ashford Borough Council provided some funding whilst a Lottery Grant of £170,000 was a great help.
The museum opened in late 2000 and was opened by Joanna Lumley who has a connection with Woodchurch. After opening, local people began to offer items to the collection. All items on display or in the collection must have a connection with Woodchurch. This means that there is often a story behind the item which helps to bring the item/museum to life.
Charles finished his talk by showing us a number of items from the collection including a Bastardy Order of 1811 - a forerunner of the Child support Agency.
Click here to visit the museum's website.
9th July The Mayor of Ashford, Cllr Bob Davidson
The Mayor gave us a very interesting talk on his life in public service.
It is the second time Cllr Davidson has been Mayor of Ashford and he considers it a great honour and privilege.
Mr Davidson was born in a mining community, left school at 15 and went down the pit. He was made redundant after two years when the mine closed and joined the Kings Own Scottish Borderers.
His first posting after training was Aden followed by stints in Folkestone, Northern Ireland and Cyprus. He retired after 21 years, having reached the rank of Regimental Sergeant Major and having served his last few years in the Intelligent Corps in Ashford.
Mr Davidson enjoys working with young people and in his time has been a Scout Master, run a pony club, been involved with the TA and boxing.
After leaving the army he became a social worker, sponsored by KCC at university. He then stood for local election in Willesborough and has been a councillor for 22 years.
His charities in his mayoral year are Ashford Arthritis Care, Homestart and Headway and he has insisted that money raised is used for specific purposes rather than simply being swallowed up in general expenses.
Mr Davidson gave us many details of the trials and tribulations of local politics particularly as a result of budget cuts. However, what shone through in his talk was the enjoyment he and his wife, Daphne, gain from serving the community. To date the Mayor has carried out 46 official engagements this mayoral year.
2nd July District Governor - Stewart Grainger
Stewart spoke about the future of Rotary, both nationally and at District level.
He explained that his priorities for the coming year would be fun, fellowship and fundraising.
25th June Handover Meeting
Speaker: Stewart Tricker from Shepherd Neame.
On arrival we had a champagne reception, courtesy of the Rotary Club of Amiens.
President Bob Perry said how much he had enjoyed his year. The highlight of the year had been the 90th Anniversary celebrations, involving not only our club, but also the Rotary Clubs of Amiens and Vlissingen.
Bob thanked his wife Louise for her support during the year.
He also thanked PE Mary McKeown for all her hard work.
He also thanked Secretary Daphne Calver, Treasurer Stuart McRae, VP Steve Hiscock, the sub committee chairmen and all the support he had from the Board and senior members.
Bob then passed the Presidency to Mary McKeown, who thanked PP Bob Perry for a great year of fellowship, his work as outgoing Board Member and his contribution on the 90th Anniversary weekend.
Mary presented President elect Steve Hiscock with his ribbon of office
Steve then presented vice president Ian Alexander with his ribbon of office.
Her charities for the year will be the MS Therapy Centre and Progressive Supranuclear Palsy (PSP). The latter is a rare autoimmune disease similar to Motor Neuron Disease. She has close associations with the charity.
Mary is very proud to have been PE for the past year and has enjoyed the friendship, fellowship and warmth.
Stewart Tricker gave a talk on brewing at Shepherd Neame with samples on the tables of three beers. A very interesting talk and question session, advising at the end, that the samples left at the back of the room should be taken to save his carrying capacity.
18th June Club Assembly
Guest Noel Tatt - Chairman of Rotary Foundation Committee.
Secretary Daphne Calver opened the Club Assembly. PE Mary McKeown thanked President Bob Perry for a great year of fellowship, his work as outgoing Board Member and his contribution on the 90th Anniversary Committee.
She is very much looking forward to being President starting next week. Her charities will be the MS Therapy Centre and Progressive Supranuclear Palsy (PSP). The latter is a rare autoimmune disease similar to Motor Neuron Disease. She is very proud to have been PE for the past year and has enjoyed the friendship, fellowship and warmth.
Mary will be working with an experienced Board and wants to put fun into fund raising, win the Annual Citation and continue to nurture and be involved with Towers School Interact Club.
She plans to hold an event with Ashford Early Birds and Interact and to keep in contact with the Mayor of Ashford and our Honorary Members.
The various Committee Chairmen then gave thanks to their predecessors and outlined their aims for what promises to be an exciting following year.
Noel Tatt said a few words and congratulated the President and Chairmen on a good programme for the year.
11th June Social Evening
The club spent an enjoyable and informal social evening of conversation and reminiscences at the Stonegate Clubroom, courtesy of Malcolm & Kitty Brook.
PP Kitty once again provided us with a delicious meal at very short notice in the clubhouse at Stonegate with PP Stuart McRae manning the bar.
Everyone enjoyed both the meal and camaraderie.
Profit from the meal will be used to help match the Rotary Cub of Vlissingen's generous gift.
21st May - The Ten Million Pound Ride
Past President Brian Davis gave a fascinating talk on the complex nature of managing public utilities when there is a major engineering development like the Channel Tunnel Rail Link.
The initial Act of Parliament made the Rail Link company responsible for paying the costs of utilities whose services were disrupted by Rail Link works. In the end, however, the customers of the utilities, you and me, paid for the work.
The bill for the changes to water supply alone came to totalled £14 million. Back to the top