Category Archives: DISTRICT News

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.


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

Surprise Paul Harris Fellowship for Weston Rotary Member

Congratulations Terry Gilbert, awarded the Paul Harris Fellowship for his outstanding work raising money and giving service for Charities both within Rotary and in the wider community of Weston. The surprise presentation was made by President Peter Castell at the Club’s Christmas party.

DG’s Blog 9 December 2019


Have you ever wondered what happened to your donations to Foundation? In 2018 the Foundation made 1,306 grants totalling more than $86 million. Why not become a sustaining donor, just £100 a year will continue to support the fantastic work that Rotary does around the world.

Compliance – Ultimate Protection.

Following on from the Compliance session at the Forum, David Welch has written to tell me about Charitable Incorporated Organisations (CIOs). “A CIO is a charity with limited liability, much like a limited company. The result is that if things go really badly and factors ensure that a club has made mistakes which nullify their insurance, Club members keep their houses!” Both the EVAG Satellite and Crewkerne District are set up as CIOs.
There are a number of benefits to be had from becoming a CIO, depending on how your charity is structured. For unincorporated charities, a big motivation for making the change is limited-liability protection. Trustees at unincorporated charities are liable if the charity collapses and might have to cover any losses greater than the charity’s assets. As a CIO, trustees are protected from this outcome. If you would like to know more please contact David Welch or see the attached.

Doncaster Floods.

The local Rotary Clubs are now paying the expenses of Stuart Smith who is continuing to support the local clubs in their efforts. Our District covered the cost of Stuart’s expenses of £2,026 which included the costs of vehicle hire. This amount will be charged against the Flood Reserve.

Hurricane Dorian Recovery Report 6 December.

This Week’s Progress in The Bahamas. Work continues to :

• Continue the operation of the Rotary Water Plant in Grand Bahama including: Daily pumping for distribution across the island to residents, schools, medical facilities, and businesses. The plant is now approaching 230,000 gallons pumped

• Working to install an additional water pumping system to increase pumping capacity.

• Facilitating 24 Hour Access to site.

• Receiving a donated 4WD Truck from the Rotary Club Perine-Cutler Ridge/Palmetto Bay to deliver water and supplies across the island.


On Thursday I arrived unexpectedly at Frome Selwood Christmas Dinner. After the initial shock I was made very welcome. It was an enjoyable evening that included entertainment by Angel City 3 who sang songs from the shows.

Best wishes


Environmental Sustainability

I was great to see so many Rotarians bringing their own mugs to the District Forum last Saturday.

Those that did will have noticed that they got more coffee for their £1 and had the satisfaction of knowing that they were reducing the amount of waste from the event.    We are now looking into getting some Rotary branded travel mugs produced so that you can promote Rotary as well as enjoy your coffee.

Club Environmental Sustainability Policy

It is a year since RIBI produced a Club Environmental Sustainability Policy which  contains some guidlines for us all.  Have any clubs in District 1200 adopted this?   The policy has deliberately been kept simple so that even the smallest of Clubs will not have any difficulty in achieving it.

We hear so much about environmental sustainability but what else can we actually do?

I have searched the RIBI site and have found some leaflets which might give some ideas which help to answer this question.

Environment Leaflet

Environment Card 

Other Environmental News from RIBI – November 2019

The Rodney Huggins Environmental Awards recognise Rotary Clubs which are carrying out or supporting projects which are designed to improve the environment and demonstrate sustainability. The closing date this Rotary year is 31st January 2020. Environmental project. The entry form and criteria are on the website –

More information about all RIBI Environmental initiatives can be found on the RotaryGBI website: 

ESRAG – Environmental Sustainability Rotary Action Group

Do take a look at the ESRAG website:  you can sign up to receive the Newsletters. They are full of interesting articles concerning the Environment and Sustainability.

Penny Underwood
District 1200 Environment Officer 

DG’s Blog 2 December 2019

District Forum.

Just under a hundred turned out for the District Forum at the Bath & West Showground on Saturday.

Council Business. The following were confirmed as Assistant Governors for 2020-21 Jane Gibbs, Bruce Bailey, David Price, Cate Whitewood of Yeo Vale and Mike Hedges of Chelwood Bridge. This leaves two vacancies, so if anyone is interest please contact me or Rory.

There have been no nominations for District Governor Nominee (to be DG in 2022-23). If you think you would like to undertake the role, please contact Rory.

The District Council Representative for 2020-23 was confirmed as Stewart Cursley with Tony Quinn as his alternate.

A vote approved a £1,500 budget for expenses of Stuart Smith of EVAG to support Doncaster Floods. A further vote agreed that the District Team could at their discretion make further payments to support the Doncaster floods from the Flood Reserves.

Awards were presented to the top 3 clubs giving the highest per capita to the Foundation Annual Fund: Frome Selwood ($128.55), Chippenham ($110.13) and Midsomer Norton & Radstock ($97.54). The suggested level is $100 to enable Foundation to continue its work.
Awards were also made to seven clubs that contributed at least $1,500 to End Polio Now: Chelwood Bridge, Glastonbury & Street, Lyme Regis, Minehead, Shepton Mallet, Sherborne Castles, Yeovil

Conference. Rory then told the meeting about the next conference which will be on 3&4 July. Video and more detail from the website

Polio. We showed a very powerful video of Carl Chinnery reading a letter from his mother explaining what happened when he and his brothers contracted polio. The video can be seen here At the Governing Council in Alcester on Sunday the District received a certificate of appreciation for contributing some of our District Designated Funds to End Polio Now.

Doncaster Floods. David Welch explained what EVAG has been doing to support the local Rotary Clubs involved in the Doncaster Floods.




Are your events legal? Rotary GB&I Compliance Office by Kevin Mack gave us an update on what we need to do with respect to Health & Safety, Equality and Safeguarding. He then ran a very well attended breakout session covering Q&A.

Rotary Ride co-ordinator.

The Rotary ride is a Rotary GB&I annual event to raise funds for Prostate Cancer. I would like to hear from anyone who would like to be our District Co-ordinator for next year. Details from

Honolulu Convention.

Best wishes

DG’s Blog 25 November 2019

Technology Tournament.

Friday saw twenty-five teams of four take part in this year’s challenge to design, build and test a Flashing Beacon at Wadham School Crewkerne. This was the tenth year that the Crewkerne club has organised the event with help from Chard, Ilminster and Crewkerne District clubs. Six schools took part. Buckler’s Mead Academy, Yeovil; Holyrood Academy, Chard; Maiden Beech Academy, Crewkerne; Stanchester Academy, Stoke sub Hamdon; Swanmead Community School, Ilminster and Wadham School, Crewkerne. The competition was in three categories, Foundation, won by Bucklers Mead Academy 1, Intermediate, won by Holyrood Academy 5 and Advanced, won by Wadham 5. Everyone enjoyed themselves and there were some innovative solutions!



Stuart Smith, who was awarded a Paul Harris Fellowship following his outstanding leadership during the 2014 Somerset floods, has met up with the three Doncaster based Rotary clubs to offer advice and support. I am expecting an update from David Welch at Forum on Saturday.

Yeovil Hospital Breast Care Unit.

Over seventy people enjoyed a curry night at the Mem-Saab restaurant in Yeovil organised by Yeo Vale club. The event raised £830 for the Breast Care Unit.

District Forum this Saturday.

Bath & West Showground will again host our Forum this Saturday. The start time has been pushed back half an hour to give those living further away more time to get there. We have also arranged a new breakout area. Tea and coffee will be served from 9:30 and in line with our desire to minimise single use plastic, please bring your own cup that Inner Wheel will be pleased to fill for you.

Best wishes


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