Young Musician Regional Final

On Sunday 15 May the Regional Final of Rotary Young Musician was held at Truro School.

As there is no National Final arranged for 2022 this event was effectively the Final for Young Musicians in the South and South West of England and the day was ably organized by Rotarian Marlene Bowden of St Austell Rotary Club.

D1200 had four entrants, who were Winners/Runners Up from the D1200 Final held in March, and all acquitted themselves well. It was a great encouragement for them to have our DG Michael Fernando in the audience, together with our DG elect Ric Canham and our D1200 youth lead, Sharon Haigh, plus D1200 RYM organisers Alan Reeve and Roger Burdock all of whom made the long journey to West Cornwall.

The standard of performance was very high, and two young musicians sponsored by the Salisbury Rotary Club were awarded joint First Prize. D1200 was just pipped at the post but Anthony Knight (Taunton Club) was awarded Second Place and Kyle Blake (Taunton Club) came in Third. Our two vocalists, Elizabeth Zmuda (Taunton Club) and Lily Caddick (Wellington Club) were both unplaced but, like Anthony and Kyle, gave first rate performances and were perhaps unlucky to come up against some really star performers on the day.

We congratulate and thank these four outstanding young musicians for flying the D1200 flag so proudly!

Safe Water needed for Ukraine survival

Rotary GB&I Ukraine Crisis Taskforce 13th May 2022

DG Michael Fernando organised a meeting with UNICEF and Rotarians,
including 4 members of this Taskforce, who will now work together to help address the
immediate and long term lack of safe water in Eastern and Central Ukraine.

Water Survival Box and Aquabox are looking to send pilot boxes to test suitability

New ICCs Rotary GB&I & Ukraine and Rotary GB&I and Bulgaria are planned
to charter in June. We would welcome more Rotarians and Rotaractors from across
Rotary GB&I for both so if you want to join or know potential members or want to
find out more about what is involved please contact

The following bulletin includes information information of activity of the task force including:

International Rotary Fellowship of Healthcare Professionals
Disaster Response Grants
Working with colleagues in Ukraine
Preparing to support Ukrainian Guests
Ukraines National Independence Day

…. and much more 

Rotary GB&I Taskforce Bulletin No.10_13.05.2022


DG Blog 11 April 2022

The Queen’s Green Canopy: ‘Plant a tree for the Jubilee’

Peter Renshaw (President, Taunton Rotary) has been speaking with Gloria Craig (Deputy Lieutenant of Somerset leading on the Green Canopy). She has asked if any individuals/clubs who are planting/have planted trees could register on the official site, so that their contribution is recognised publicly.

Ukraine Update

Clubs in our District have come together in support of Ukraine. This support has taken the form of taking in refugees, collecting medical equipment (and other items) and sending them to Ukraine and collecting funds from members of our community.

I am delighted to let you know that the District Council agreed that a further £40,000 be sent to Rotary in the area surrounding Ukraine, as well as Water Survival Box (in addition to the £30,000 sent previously):

Rotary District (Poland): £10,000

Rotary District (Republic of Moldova and Romania): £10,000

Rotary District (Hungary): £10,000

Rotary Lviv International: £5,000 (via Polish Rotary Club)

Water Survival Box: £5,000

A committee has just been set up to distribute additional funds in aid of Ukrainian Refugees arriving in our District. This has access to £10,000 from District Reserve Funds, as well as a US$ 25,000 from the Rotary Foundation, which was applied for on advice from District Grants Lead, Stan Jones (and has been approved).

We have roughly a further £30,000 in the District Ukraine Account, which we shall allocate shortly, depending on need in around the coming fortnight.

Several individual clubs have also sent money directly. Significantly more than £100,000 has been raised by our District so far. The work Rotary is doing in our District has gained media coverage. Julie O’Donnell was on BBC News, with the Ukrainian family staying with them. The project by Bridgwater Rotary with the lorry carrying medical (and other) equipment, working on a national basis with the International Rotary Fellowship of Healthcare Professionals) was on ITV News. I have received messages of thanks to our District from DGE of Poland (Piotr Jankowski), the District Governor of Hungary (Frici Nemeth), President of Rotary Lviv International (James Joeriman) and Rotaract Lviv International (Yuliya Bitner).

Many have told me how proud they are to be Rotarians. Individual Club Members and Clubs are the heart of Rotary; you are doing amazing work!

Michael Fernando, District Governor

Why Not?  – Join me at District Conference – October 15 2022

Full details of the event can be found here

A one day event at the newly refurbished Westland Entertainment Centre in Yeovil in the centre of the District costing only £40 per person including refreshments and lunch.

Why Not?  – Come to hear a great range of speakers including:

  • Professor Alice Roberts, well known anthropologist and broadcaster
  • Connor Roe – a member of the Thai schoolboys cave rescue team
  • Martin Thatcher Managing director of Thatcher’s Cider
  • Hyppolite Ntigururwa – Peace builder and survivor of Rwanda Genocide

Why Not? – Visit the House of Friendship and get ideas for project

Why Not?  – Join us for a day of inspiring speakers and friendship in a high quality venue

Why Not? – Book now by following this link

District Governor’s Blog

Rotary is actively involved in helping people affected by war in Ukraine Ukraine Update March 2022


Pride of Somerset Youth Awards 2022

2022 marks the 15th anniversary of the Pride of Somerset Youth Awards. The awards are organised by BBC Somerset, the Rotary Club of Taunton and Somerset Day and hosted by Bridgwater & Taunton College with the support of the Avon and Somerset Constabulary, YMCA Dulverton Group and Young Somerset.

This year’s ceremony will take place at the Conference Centre at Bridgwater &Taunton College in Taunton on Somerset Day, 11th May and will be hosted by BBC Somerset presenters Claire Carter and Simon Parkin.

Entries must be submitted by Friday 8th April. Nominees must live in Somerset and be under the age of 20 on 10th May 2022.

To nominate a young person please send their full name, age, school/college (where appropriate), postal address, and contact phone number(s), along with a maximum of 200 words detailing their accomplishments to explain why they deserve a Pride of Somerset Youth Award. Please include your own name and contact details. Applications can be sent to putting ‘PoSYA’ in the subject heading. Nominations may also be posted to BBC Somerset Winchester House, Deane Gate Avenue, Taunton TAI 2UH.


RYLA took place at the end of February at the Dartmoor Training Centre. 24 Young People attended, representing the following Clubs: Bath, Bathavon, Bridport, Brit Valley, Burnham-on-Sea, Chelwood Bridge, Chippenham, Frome Selwood, Ilminster, Mendip, Midsomer Norton & Radstock, Sherborne Castles, Taunton and Weston-super-Mare. The Course started one day later than planned, owing to a power outage caused by Storm Eunice. 

On behalf of the District, I would like to formally congratulate John Mander, who has run RYLA (Rotary Youth Leadership Awards) for almost the past decade. Hundreds of youngsters have benefitted (some have even got married, having met on RYLA).

Thanks too to Jack Russell, of Jack Russell Training, who has been running RYLA courses in our District for about 20 years. Jack has announced his retirement from RYLA in our District. Both John and Jack have been role models for hundreds of youngsters and I wish them the very best for the future.

Welcome to Joe Swindell, who has kindly agreed to take on the lead role for RYLA in our District.

Young Musician District Final

Alan Reeve and Roger Burdock organised a very successful Young Musician programme in our District. I was privileged to attend the District Final today at The Kings of Wessex Academy in Cheddar. 12 Young Musicians played instruments and sang to an exceptionally high standard. I have no doubt that some will find even greater musical success in the future. The repertoire included Nocturne in E Flat Major by Chopin, Life on Mars by David Bowie (who I learnt (today) had been the first person to write lyrics in English to the tune Comme d’habitude, which went on to eventually be translated into My Way, as sung by Frank Sinatra) and Scarborough Fair, as sung by Art Garfunkel.

The music was of an exceptionally high standard. I would have happily paid for a ticket to have heard the contestants in Wigmore Hall. The winners and runners up shall attend the Regional Final in Truro on 15th May.


Bridgwater Rotary: April 3rd

President Lyndon Brett of Bridgwater Rotary has been offered a large lorry, warehouse, Diesel and Drivers by Rotaro Group, RT Keedwell and Western Fuel. Working in conjunction with the International Rotary Fellowship of Healthcare Professionalsmedical equipment (requested by medical professionals in Ukraine) is being sent to Ukraine from clubs in Rotary GB&I. The lorry is due to leave Somerset on Sunday 3rd April.


Wellington Rotary: April 9th

Wellington Rotary is working across District ‘boundaries’ with Tiverton Rotary, and Uffculme School along with the Tiverton Town Band (with which President Mike Fowler of Wellington Rotary plays E flat Bass) to put on a Brass Band concert in aid of supporting people affected by the war in Ukraine. Contact: Mike Fowler.

Langport and Somerton Rotary: May 7th (19.00-midnight)

Charity Bash featuring Rod Stewart Tribute Band, Hog Roast (Veggie and Gluten Free Options available). Tickets from Joy Bailey £30.

District 1200 in the Media

Julie O’Donnell has written an article, which is mentioned on the Cover Page of  this month’s ‘Somerset Life’ about our District’s response to the Covid pandemic.

Two pages are devoted to the article.

DG Blog February 2022

We are living through some troubled times. With regard to the situation in the Ukraine, Rotary International has made the following statement:

“It is a tragic and sad time for the people of Ukraine and the world.

At Rotary, we are deeply concerned by the deteriorating situation in Ukraine and the escalating loss of life and humanitarian hardship there. Continued military action against Ukraine will not only devastate the region, but also risk spreading tragic consequences across Europe and the world.

As one of the world’s largest humanitarian organizations, we have made peace the cornerstone of our global mission. We join the international community in calling for an immediate cease fire, withdrawal of Russian forces, and a restoration of diplomatic efforts to resolve this conflict through dialogue.

In the past decade, Rotary clubs in Ukraine, Russia and nearby countries have transcended national differences and have actively engaged in peace-building projects to promote goodwill and to marshal assistance for the victims of war and violence. Today, our thoughts are with our fellow Rotary members and others in Ukraine coping with these tragic events. Rotary International will do everything in its power to bring aid, support and peace to the region.

Rotary International



I have been in contact with James Onions from the Inter-Country Committee (ICC) between Rotary GBI (Great Britain and Ireland) and the Ukraine. He has suggested that it is possibly premature to identify actual projects at this point and that things needed to stabilise regarding progressing with medium/long term projects.

At this early stage, he felt that possible areas of focus may include:

  1. ImmediateRefugee support.
  2.  Mid-term Support for those still in Ukraine
  3.  De-mining (not at this point, but may be needed in the future)

 Having taking advice on this (from, amongst others, EVAG):
-Direct District Rotary Involvement for immediate refugee support would arise if we were requested to provide support by the civil authorities. Once they call a major incident, it gives them authority under statute to call upon voluntary organisations.

The first organisation to be called upon would normally be the British Red Cross, who would be tasked with the co-ordination of voluntary organisations. Supporting refugees involves the provision of accommodation, food, medical support, safeguarding and cash. Rotarians are people of action; I understand completely that Clubs want to do something as soon as possible; however, co-ordination is required, beyond the scope of individual club initiatives.

I am also in contact with all District Governors in Great Britain and Ireland (GBI) about the situation, as well as the Rotary GBI Lead, David Ellis and Rotary International Director, Nicki Scott.

Nicki is talking to ShelterBox and the Rotary Director covering Ukraine. She shall let us know specifics on ways to help, as soon as possible. I am also in liaison with our District EVAG, Humanitarian Team and other District Committees. James Onions is in direct contact with counterparts in Ukraine, so the situation regarding needs shall become clearer.

Please do feedback to me/Assistant Governors, via your Club Presidents about your views?

Rotary Foundation Peace Fellowship Scholarships

Rotary Foundation our charity offers about 80 scholarships per year, in one of eight specified universities worldwide, offering a Masters Degree in Peace studies. There is now a large body of alumni (of past scholars), 90% of whom are actively engaged in promoting peace and conflict resolution amongst nations and communities.

The Application process opened on the 1st February for courses starting in 2023.  Please look at your Community and see if you can find suitable applicants. The closing date for applicants is 15 May 2022.  The Peace Fellowship Sub Committee Chair, PDG Brian Hellin, can be contacted to help and give for more details. Click here to find contact details. DG Blog February 2022 V3

 EVAG (Emergency Volunteer Action Group)

EVAG responded to a call to help from the District Council, assisting local people without electricity and otherwise affected by Storm Eunice. Congratulations to all those who responded. The response shall be discussed at the next EVAG meeting on 8th March. Many thanks to John Butler, David Welch and all the EVAG Team for their sterling effort during this crisis.


On behalf of the District, I would like to thank Hugh Deed for being the D1200 ShelterBox co-ordinator for around 20 years. Hugh is stepping down from this role at the end of June. Clubs should feel free to contact Lucy Carr  ( ) the Rotary Engagement Manager at ShelterBox or should they need any support, with respect to ShelterBox.

The International Fellowship of Scouting Rotarians (IFSR)

Congratulations to Bridport Rotary and The Island and Royal Manor of Portland Rotary for having been awarded IFSR Youth Service Awards. Bridport had taken part in delivering Christmas cards and one of Portland’s members (Jonathan Powney) had been recognised for dedicated work for the young people of Portland through Scouting.

Bath Centenary

Many congratulations to Bath Rotary, which recently marked its centenary. The celebrations have been postponed to 2nd April, owing to the situation with Covid-19.

Rotary International Convention:

Houston, Texas (4-8th  June 2022)

The Rotary Convention in the United States is going ahead, in person, in June. A reduced registration fee of US$495 has been extended to 04.59 hours (GMT) on Tuesday 1st March (23.59 hours, Monday 28 February, Central Daylight Time, USA).

If you are in a position to attend, do think about going; it can be a lifechanging experience. Over 20,000 people from all over the world attend and the speakers are world class.

District Governor Supported Charities

(Children’s Hospice South West and Julia’s House)

Thank you to Lyme Regis Rotary for having raised £800 in aid of Children’s Hospice South West (CHSW) through a street collection in Lyme Regis and Charmouth. Many thanks too to Bryan Tilzey from Yeovil Rotary for having had his hair shaved off as a sponsored event, in aid of CHSW.

The Lyme Lunge

Hundreds of Lungers took the plunge in Lyme Regis on New Year’s Day in aid of Weldmar Hospice Care and Macmillan Cancer Support (as well as other individually supported charities)

Multi Paul Harris Fellowship (MPHF)

For the first time in the 100 year history of Weston-super-Mare Rotary, the Club has awarded a 4 sapphire MPHF to Past District Governor (PDG) Greg Thacker, in recognition of outstanding service to Rotary International (RI) at Club, District, Rotary GBI and RI over many years. The heartiest of congratulations to Greg.

Rotary Avenues of Service Award (Community Service)

I am delighted to announce that Ceri Davies from Mendip Rotary was awarded the Rotary Avenues of Service Award (Community Service).

Ceri engaged with the local Health Authority at the start of the pandemic to ensure Mendip Rotary could play a part in the fight against COVID. As a result, when in June a major vaccination centre for the area was opening in Cheddar, the Health Authority approached Mendip Rotary for help. Ceri established a network of volunteers to marshal the cars & crowds at the site and singlehandedly managed the manpower and roster every day for six months.


I was delighted to attend a meeting at Bridgwater Rotary when 4 new members were inducted; well done! It’s also great to hear that the Taunton Breakfast Satellite Club is thriving.

Matching Project Grants

This is a reminder to clubs which are yet to claim a matching grant of up to £250 from District. The application process is simple, please could the Club President consult the club and let me know of a project where up to £250 matched funding is needed. There are no forms to fill in, just an email to me from the Club President is required.

Recent grants include one to Yeovil in aid of a local charity (The Rendevous) and one to Mendip to purchase an outdoor playhouse for Cheddar First School.

District Forum (via Zoom on Saturday 19th March 10.00-12.30)

The next District Forum shall take place again on Zoom (we had looked into holding an in-person meeting and hybrid meeting; the consensus was that this coming meeting should be online as a number of Rotarians are still reticent to attend face-to-face meetings.

Please see the following page for joining details:

Here are the joining details (this is a single use Zoom Room; there is no password to enter):

Topic: District Forum

Time: Mar 19, 2022 10:00 London

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 825 8270 3375


Michael Fernando

District Governor D1200




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