Author Archive: SloanL

Charity & Local Support

Midsomer Norton & Radstock Rotary President, Nick Candy, nominated both South West Action for Learning and Living Our Way (SWALLOW) and the British Heart Foundation as his charities for the year.

SWALLOW is a locally based registered charity which supports teenagers and adults with learning disabilities to live active and fulfilling lives. In addition they give individual support by providing a variety of services including: supported housing, independent living skills training, work skills training and work opportunities; therapeutic, educational and sports activities, outreach support in the community and opportunities to socialise and meet up with friends and have fun.

SWALLOW Fundraising & Finance Manager, Nicky Tew, passed along a huge thank you to the Rotary Club for their £2000 donation. She said: “This money will make a tremendous difference, especially during this difficult time as we work towards re-engaging with all our members. We are very grateful for all the support that the Club has given us.”

Additionally, Fellow Rotarian, Roger Winsley of Winsley White Building Contractors & Developers, not long ago helped SWALLOW in making building improvements and decorating the SWALLOW café in Radstock.

The British Heart Foundation’s Fundraising Manager, Victoria Carswell, also took time to thank the club for its £2000 donation conveying : “Your support is hugely appreciated.”

An Evening with Jacob

The Rt. Hon. Jacob Rees-Mogg agreed to be the speaker at this past Friday’s Rotary fellowship meeting. Jacob became a Rotarian and member of the Midsomer Norton & Radstock Club some 10 or more years ago.

In his current role within Parliament, Jacob is Leader of the House of Commons and he also became Lord President of the Council, attending cabinet meetings.

He has given talks to the club on a number of instances on a variety of subjects. There has always been keen interest when Jacob has spoken to members and the club was delighted to have him participate on this occasion.

Jacob covered the importance of Rotary and the coming together of volunteers particularly during the pandemic. An incredible positive aspect of the pandemic has been the overwhelming response of volunteers and the importance of utilising this positive energy. He also talked of how the vaccine has been tremendously important and has universities, the private and public sectors all working together and how the Medicines & Healthcare Regulatory Agency wasn’t a block but became a partner; altogether consistently beating expectations. Also covered were some of the fundamental changes we have experienced over the last year that have made us aware of the importance of onshore production of essential needs such as PPE.

Jacob made time for follow up remarks and questions arising during the discussions and the overall consensus from well over 40 Rotarians and friends in attendance was that it was a very interesting and informative talk; and briefly having two of Jacob’s children spontaneously join in was a lovely touch. Almost £300 was raised for the club charity account by participants donating a minimum of £5 to attend.

The Rt. Hon. Jacob Rees-Mogg MP – 26th Mar at 19.00

The Rt. Hon. Jacob Rees-Mogg became a Rotarian and member of Midsomer Norton & Radstock some 10 years ago.

In his current role within Parliament he is Leader of the House of Commons and he also became Lord President of the Council , attending cabinet meetings. He is therefore in a unique position to speak on wide ranging topics.

He has given talks to the Club on a number of occasions and on a variety of subjects. There has always been keen interest when Jacob has spoken to club members and we anticipate this evening to be equally popular.

Jacob has agreed to speak on this occasion via ZOOM due to the COVID restrictions and after a short presentation he will answer a number of submitted questions. There may also be time available for some follow up remarks and questions arising during the discussions.

Anyone wishing to submit a question for Jacob should do so please via email at

A number of the questions submitted will be drawn at random and the questioner will be invited to ask this of Jacob during the evening.

Space is limited, so please register early:
A minimum donation of £5.00 is suggested to join this Zoom Meeting. All proceeds will go to our Rotary Charity Trust  No. 1134406.

Reid Speirs

Update (21/03/2021):

We currently have availability for this Friday’s Zoom meeting with our honorary speaker, Jacob Rees-Mogg, please register at:

Hands on Harp

At the age of 13, Ellie Prout was given the opportunity to learn local folk music and she immediately knew she had found her calling. At 15 she participated in her first Halsway Manor HotHouse, an opportunity for young musicians to work with leading folk artists, to create performance pieces and perform live. She has since attended three additional Halsway Manor HotHouse courses and performed numerous times with them at the Sidmouth Folk Festival.

Ellie was quickly snapped up as a harpist trainee tutor and has three years of experience teaching other young people to play folk music, arrange pieces and perform on stage. She has accomplished her music A-Level and is a self-employed harpist, harp tutor, harp book author, and overall harp aficionado.

Her goal is to make the harp accessible to anyone drawn to the instrument. Through playing the harp Ellie has worked with many different people from varied backgrounds. Ellie has trained as a harp maker with Hands on Harps and continues to work with them creating new harps and accompanying books for harpists with special education needs.

Now at Oxford Brookes University studying music, Ellie will take us through her journey to becoming the harpist she is today; and only at 22 years of age. The talk will cover:

  • How she started playing the harp
  • Going to folk camps and how they grew her passion
  • Mental health and how the harp has helped her
  • About the harp, different types and how they’re made
  • How she uses her harp skills as a business (e.g., talks, playing gigs, teaching, etc.)
  • 3-4 played tunes
  • Question time between songs

Please join the Rotary Club of Midsomer Norton & Radstock on Thursday, 18 February at 6:30 for what will be an enthusing talk by such a young, talented artist. For Zoom log-in details, please contact the club at:

Wear A Christmas Hat Day

Members of the Midsomer Norton & Radstock Rotary Club donned their festive hats during their on-line Christmas Fellowship Meeting in recognition of Wear A Christmas Hat Day for Brain Tumour Research and donated £100 towards the cause.

At their November Rotary Club Speaker Meeting, Community Development Manager (West), Melanie Tiley, gave a very informative talk with significant and alarming stats on Brain Tumour Research. Melanie explained, “Brain tumours are indiscriminate; they can affect anyone at any age. What’s more, they kill more children and adults under the age of 40 than any other cancer… yet just 1% of the national spend on cancer research has been allocated to this devastating disease.” For more information on this disease, please visit the Brain Tumour Research website at:

The Christmas Fellowship meeting also incorporated what turned out to be a very entertaining on-screen scavenger hunt innovatively organised by Club Services Chair, Martin Carter. Club President, Nick Candy, said, “It’s been a challenging year with us not being able to meet in person so I was eager for a fun, festive, fellowship night via Zoom and it certainly was that and more. To incorporate the #WearAChristmasHatDay to bring awareness to Brain Tumour Research just added to the spirit of the occasion.”

Pictures for a Purpose

The Midsomer Norton & Radstock Rotary Club is focused on bettering our community. However, COVID-19 has made things very challenging particularly with fundraising efforts. Since the pandemic hit fundraising events have been cancelled, which included an Annual Charity Golf Day, Race Night, and Charity Concert, just to name a few.

Midsomer Norton High Street, Winter, 2009. Photograph by Chris Burch,
Somerset Photographer

Needless to say, the club frequently receive appeals for help from individuals throughout the community as well as local charities they have assisted in the past. 

The pandemic has certainly changed lives and some have been affected more than others. Somerset Photographer, Chris Burch, lost the majority of her photo shoots, many of which were wedding bookings but she’s hopeful 2021 will rebound for her. While it’s been a tough year for Chris, when the Rotary Club approached her for the use of two photos she took of Midsomer Norton High Street in the winter of 2009, she didn’t hesitate to consent, expressing “I sincerely hope the prints manage to raise funds for you.”

Rotarian, Lorraine Sloan and Somerset Photographer, Chris Burch

Club President, Nick Candy, said, “Our Rotary Club is thrilled that Chris has permitted us to use these two terrific photos and we hope that our community will support our mission and back us in implementing our programmes and initiatives. One of the photos has been enlarged, framed and accent mounted and is available through auction at or details can be found via the club’s Facebook page 
Both photos were also printed as Christmas cards and have been so popular they sold out almost immediately.

Photo images into Christmas Cards

Act Your Age

Although Midsomer Norton & Radstock Rotarian, Martin Carter had not ventured out on his bicycle in weeks and not ridden more than 30 miles for over 5 years, he decided to take on the Children in Need “Act Your Age” challenge and cycle around his village of Leigh on Mendip for 21 challenging laps while adorning his Pudsey suit and bandana.

BBC Children in Need is currently supporting over 3,900 local charities and projects in communities across the UK that are helping children and young people facing a range of disadvantages such as living in poverty, being disabled or ill, or experiencing distress, neglect or trauma.

It also launched a number of dedicated Covid-19 response programmes to support local charities and projects across the UK who are providing essential help to children and young people during the current crisis.

Martin successfully completed the 63 miles but admitted he was definitely wobbling the last couple of laps and was ready for a good soak in the tub. To date he has marvellously raised over £1000! To contribute to Martin’s Children in Need JustGiving page, please visit:

Reverent Remembrance

With the cancellation of this year’s Remembrance parade the Rotary Club of Midsomer Norton & Radstock paid tribute by laying a wreath at the Midsomer Norton Cenotaph the day before the national lockdown commenced.

The wreath was laid by Club President, Nick Candy, who was accompanied by fellow Rotarians, Roger Meadows and Martin Carter.

The club also sponsored two poppy sprays for the dressing of graves. The Royal British Legion allocated these to the following two graves in the Midsomer Norton Cemetery:

Cpl. C. F. Smith, Somerset Light Infantry and Gnr. R. A. Kingman, Royal Artillery.

Due to many fundraising events for the Royal British Legion being cancelled, including collecting for the poppy appeal, an occasion the club involves itself in every year, a donation of £500 was made for which Alison Wilson, Poppy Appeal Organiser for the Midsomer Norton Branch of The Royal British Legion expressed her gratitude.

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