The 2020 Rotary Club of Exmoor Challenge

14 January, 2020
To the Secretary, Rotary Clubs in Districts 1175 and 1200

The 2020 Rotary Club of Exmoor Challenge

Supporting the Children’s Hospice South West
Sunday 19th April 2020

I am writing to invite your club members to take part in the 2020 Exmoor Challenge between Districts 1175 and 1200. This year the walks take place in the Quantock Hills.

Rotarians, their families, and friends from Rotary Districts 1175 and 1200 earn points for their District by completing either of two walks. The shield is currently held by District 1200 and has been for a while.

The routes will be starting from Crowcombe Village Hall TA4 4AQ from 0800 and passing through some of the most beautiful scenery in Somerset.
Walkers over 18 pay an entry fee of £7. Walker’s under18 enter free, but an adult must accompany them. Dogs are welcome, owners must keep them under control. PROPER WALKING SHOES/BOOTS ARE ADVISED.

Would you please include this letter in your club bulletin and put the event in your club diary and also please publicise the event as widely as possible to increase the amount raised for the causes.

More details will be available during February with the routes, information and sponsorship forms available from the Exmoor Rotary web site. Meanwhile please register by e mail at –

Yours in Rotary, Paul Kingdom – Rotary Club of Exmoor

DG’s Blog 13 January 2020

Photos from the Wells Reindeer Run.


Doncaster floods update.

“What has been going on in South Yorkshire shows how Rotary has come together to help those communities affected”
Secretary, Adrian Hattrell, said: “The three Doncaster clubs have engaged Stuart Smith to co-ordinate the work on a full-time basis. He was recommended to us by David Welch of Rotary District 1200 (Somerset, North Dorset & West Wiltshire), where he performed a similar role following the floods on the Somerset Levels in 2014. Stuart has proved invaluable.” Read the full article

Polio – a Wake-up Call?.

Keith Barnard-Jones has written on update on where the project is following the 140 cases of wild polio cases in 2019. See the article


Getting on for sixty people from a number of different clubs, including Axminster from District 1175, came together for Brit Valley’s post-Christmas lunch at the Ridgeway Inn on the 5 January. President Lindsey presided and led the fun and games.

Over thirty people met with DGNN Ric Canham and Axbridge District Satellite club for their celebration dinner at Banwell Castle. This included members of local clubs, DGN Michael Fernando, Jill and myself. A fun evening. Peter Castell, President of Weston-Super-Mare, is planning a sponsored cycle ride to an exotic location, look out for more details.

Best wishes


Polio – a Wake-up Call?

A Message from Keith B-J to Rotary Members in District 1200

I am sure that most of you will be aware that we now have polio epidemics in a number of countries. Fortunately the 140 wild polio cases are still confined to Afghanistan and Pakistan – partly because of the ping-pong effect of people moving backwards and forward through the Khyber Pass region between the two countries, and partly because of non-cooperation and anti-propaganda issued by the local tribal and religious leaders.

However, we also had 250 cases of vaccine-derived polio in a variety of countries because of the oral vaccine we used – nearly all type 2 virus. The oral vaccine that we have been using for years contained three live (but attenuated so that they are no longer virulent) viruses – Types 1, 2 and 3. The wild Type 2 virus has not been seen in the wild since 1999 and that is why we did the “Switch” a few years ago, changing to the bivalent vaccine – Types 1 and 3 only. However we are now reaping the results of that triple vaccine.

I met Bill Gates five years ago and his comment was “This is not about money – there is plenty available. It all depends on the political will of the leaders of the countries or communities concerned”. Wise words indeed, particularly when religious leaders tell parents that the polio vaccine causes AIDS or sterility – both guaranteed to frighten parents.

We have been saying, for over 30 years, that we are not safe until the last child has been vaccinated. When a country has roughly 85-90% coverage, the so-called herd immunity usually stops transfer of the virus. However, when immunisation level fall lower than that figure, there is an increasing risk, not only of developing polio from the wild virus, but also that the virus in the live vaccine can mutate and so cause vaccine-derived polio-. Sadly, because a number of third world countries have less than optimum immunisation levels, we now have polio epidemics in countries that have not had polio for many years. Also vaccine derived polio tends to appear in those whose general health is not as good, and who are less well nourished – again usually in the third world.

But there is perhaps a bonus because whereas we were not always believed in the past, parents and countries are now realising that, if they do fail to immunise, then they will have problems and as education improves, Mums want their children covered against polio, and other diseases. I am living in hope that it will swing back in our favour this year if people have got the message. After all, we never thought we would eradicate polio from India but the Indians were told what a disgrace it would be if they were the last country in the world with polio and they have now been clear for six years. If India can do it with its massive population and geographical challenges, then other countries can do so as well. Bill Gates was right – it is a political problem and it just needs cooperation from the top down to the grass roots level and we will rid the world of polio.

If I can help by coming to your club to talk about this, or if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to let me know.


DG’s Blog 6 January 2020

Lyme Lunge.

Another great day with lots of people taking the plunge, including Lyme President John Berry, dressed as a lobster and District Governor Nominee Michael Fernando. It is too early to tell how much this raised this year, but numbers appeared to be up. Well done everyone.

District Forum.

Please note there is no District Forum on the 11 January, this meeting was brought forward to November 30 to facilitate the District Elections and some clubs have not reflected the change in their calendars. The next District Forum is on 21 March at Stanchester Academy, Stoke sub Hamdon.

President Elect Training Seminar / Secretaries Training Seminar.

Please note that the date has been changed to 22 February at the Shrubbery Hotel, Ilminster.

District Support Team.

I am pleased to announce that Sarah Folland of Wellington District has taken on the role of Humanitarian Service Team lead. Please include her in with all your International and Community project communications.


Well done to everyone on the recruitment of new members. The DMS currently shows that we have recruited 66 new active members but disappointingly we have lost 38 giving us a current District total of 1396. This is due in part to the demise of Avalon which closed with effect from 31 December. I know that some members have transferred to other clubs.   We tend to lose members at the end of December and the end of June. If we are going to ensure that our District survives then we do need to start new clubs with younger members, this is why we have been focusing on starting new satellite clubs and District has earmarked £25,000 of reserves to help clubs with recruitment events. Please write to Ric Canham if you would like to apply for one of these grants. Let us make sure that the fantastic work that the clubs do continues.
Best wishes

DG’s Blog 1 January 2020



Please remember to make your Polio plus contributions so that we can finally eradicate this dreadful disease.


Lyme Regis recently awarded a Paul Harris Fellowship to Mark Tredwin in recognition of his continue work in raising the awareness of the Purple for Polio campaign.

Congratulations to Judith Diment, vice- chairman of the Rotary Action Group Against Slavery who was a awarded an MBE for services to charity in the New Year’s Honours List.

There will be a Polio webinar on 8 January at 6:30pm if you would like to contribute please register


The Theodora Children’s Charity – “Giggle doctors”.

Those of you that went to Conference this year will remember Ken Robertshaw who spoke to us about his adventure to cycle US Route 1. Ken has just been appointed to the board of Trustees. This wonderful charity has 26 centres in the UK including one in Bath. The organisation provides entertainers called Giggle Doctors to children’s hospitals, hospices and specialist centres.

International Project Funding Request – IT Social Enterprise in Madagascar.

In a nutshell, Madagascar’s brightest students, who can’t afford to continue studying, learn English and Software Development at the training centre. After two years, graduates will work at the outsourcing enterprise, earning a life-changing salary, while earning funds for the project that will be used to educate future classes. If you would like more information contact Sam Lucas

Sardinia Tour.

RC Cagliari are organizing an International Archeotour in English from 17 to 22 June 2020.The tour will combine a high-level cultural experience with typical Sardinian cuisine and wines, and the chance to enjoy the unique landscapes in friendship with Rotarians from different countries of the world. The cost of the tour at a very reasonable €1100.00 per person inclusive for all 5 days. For more information see

District Team.

Congratulations to Penny Underwood who has agreed to be an Assistant Governor for 2020-21.
If you would like to widen your Rotary involvement there are still vacancies this year for a Humanitarian Service Leader, Youth Exchange Officer and a Sports Officer. If you would like to know more about these roles please contact me.

Best wishes for a happy and healthy 2020.


“NEW YEAR GREETINGS” from Weston-super-Mare

Rotary New Year 2020

Rotary is not a Fairytale


Greetings from Weston-super-Mare

Seasons Greetings to all Rotarians in District 1200

Charity Quiz Axbridge 1st February 2020

Axbridge Town Hall Saturday 1st February 2020 at 7.30pm

Axbridge District Rotary invite you to join them for this charity fundraising event

Proceeds to Freewheelers – delivering blood and organs in our area & Rotary charities


DG’s Blog 16 December 2019

Christmas Extravaganza.

Last Saturday, Jill and I were the guests of the Chippenham club at their Christmas Extravaganza in St. Andrews Church. It was a concert with the Lyneham Military Wives Choir, Dodington Parish Band (including our own Stuart Gilbert on euphonium) and Amanda Parr of BBC Points West acting as compere. The programme was a mix of Christmas and modern classics and included some lively audience participation. A great time had by all involved.

District Appointments.

I am very pleased to announce that Ric Canham of Axbridge & District satellite club has agreed to take on the role of District Governor Nominee, to become Governor for the year 2022-23 and Clive Wakely of Yeovil has agreed to take on the role of Assistant Governor. This just leaves one Assistant Governor to find for next year.

If you would like to widen your Rotary involvement there are opportunities to join the District Support Team. There are currently vacancies for Humanitarian Service lead and Youth Exchange Officer. Please contact me if you would like to know more.

Volunteer Expo.

The Rotary Village at the Expo will be showcasing examples of our home-grown projects and the club teams will hopefully be there to excite and enthuse people, driving their desire to take action and join Rotary! Rotary GB&I are looking for projects/activities that people could get involved in. If you would like to showcase your signature service projects, please can you let me know.

Global Grants.

Well done Bathavon. The global grant application for funding to provide English language training for 20 government primary and 40 government secondary English teachers in Nuwara Eliya, Sri Lanka, submitted by the Rotary Clubs of Colombo West and Bathavon has been approved in an amount of US$37,931.

Festive greetings.

Jill and I would like to wish everyone a very merry Christmas and a happy and healthy 2020.

Best wishes