Last year our club donated over £11,000 to charitable causes. That is far more than we could have hoped for and could not possibly have been achieved without a terrific team effort. This is a great club and we feel really proud of yourselves.
Being a Rotarian gives you an opportunity to set yourself personal goals and to challenge yourself to achieve more. Above all it gives you the chance to make a difference by contributing to projects or causes for which you have an affinity. For last year's president, Bob Bishop (pictured here), Prostate cancer was a part of his personal history over the last decade and he has received amazing treatment. It has been good to have the opportunity to say thank you by raising money for Prostate Cancer UK which does so much to advance research, treatment and care for those similarly afflicted.
At Easter 2018, Bob and his wife, Linda, visited South Africa and met a man who was clearly devoting himself to advancing the prospects of those in his community by providing employment, education and training.It has been a privilege for our club to be able to give him a generous grant towards achieving his goals. Last year we also raised money for Kids Out, St Jude’s School in Arusha, Children in Need, Shelter Box, Mary’s Meals, Epping Forest Food Bank and Voluntary Action Epping Forest, as well as supporting the elderly and vulnerable through carol singing, the Memory Café, and a lunch for the elderly.
The first event we took part in last year was the Donkey Derby in Theydon Bois. Several of us dressed in clown costumes becoming human fruit machines. We had lots of fun, raised some money for Jubilee Lodge and strengthened the Club’s profile in the village.
In early August Bob and Linda held a braai, as the South Africans call a barbecue, a reception for members at their home. Members entered into the spirit of the occasion and Bob wore the brightest shirt of the day. The forecast was poor, but we were lucky and only needed to scamper for cover at the end of the afternoon. The food was great, as it always is when Linda is involved. August ended with Ann’s Bagel Brunch, raising valuable funds for St Jude’s School in Arusha.
On 5 September Bob set off to walk the 160 miles of the London Loop. This was launched on 10 September at Chigwell Station with our District Governor, Tony Sharma, walking the first few miles with him. Thank you, Tony – you’re a star! Bob completed his journey in mid-October just in time for the District Conference in Bournemouth. With the club's help he managed to raise £1650 in sponsorship for Prostate Cancer UK. Thank you to all those who gave support and encouragement. At conference he was very proud when Tony Sharma called him up on stage to talk about his journey.
November brought our second big fund raiser of the year with our Halloween Party. Members excelled themselves by their costumes and we all had a thoroughly gruesome time. We were really grateful to Elizabeth and Gordon Wood for letting us use their home and to Linda Bishop for masterminding the decorations and inspiring the 'revolting' menu. November is also Children in Need month and Janice Spindlow led a brilliant effort visiting schools collecting donations from primary children, raising not far short of £2000.
On 6th December we had our Christmas lunch and enjoyed a splendid meal together at the Olive Tree in Loughton. Then on 10 December our more musical members went to the Frank Foster Care Home, performing and leading carols. It is easy to forget how much our efforts are appreciated. The support the club provides for our elderly community is really valuable and we hope it won’t be too long before we can resume it. In January too we had a most successful Quiz night. Our thanks go to Hilary and Geoff Wrightman for running it so efficiently.
In February we were able to help Christine and Trevor Johnson celebrate their Golden Wedding Anniversary. They put on a splendid party. The two of them are part of the backbone of Rotary in London and Christine has been at the forefront of our Roding Club from its foundation. Long may they flourish together.
March brought big worries for the club. Would Brograss make it across from the States and would we be able to get enough bums on seats to make the concert worthwhile. Only in the last couple of weeks did it become clear that we might have a real success on our hands. Rachel, Jim and the boys duly made it to the UK, worrying slightly that they might be spreading the virus and potentially killing off half the family. After two or three days performing at venues in the north, they came down in time to make a notable contribution to Youth Makes Music. Then came the Saturday night. The audience flooded in and filled the best part of the theatre at Forest School. Wanstead Upbeat got the show off a rousing start and then Tashi and Kaj showed us why they have become such successful ambassadors for American country music. Thank you to all of you who sold tickets, made food, ran the refreshments and raised a serious amount of money for Zulu Birding.
Our final face to face meeting took place on March 3rd when the Covid-19 virus began to affect all our lives. However, we have adaped quickly and continue to meet via Zoom. This may well be the shape of things to come, improving links between Rotary Clubs across the world and inspiring us to carry the Rotary message to a wider audience.
And finally, thanks to everyone for the great support they gave last year. The reason we do so well as a club is that we all pile in and help. You’re a great bunch.
If you're visiting our web site, you can see pictures and more information about our activities last year under Past Projects.
If you would like to get to know us, text the President, Friddy Bishai, on 07764 662001 and she will send you a link to our meeting.