Category Archives: Governor’s Blog

DG Blog 5th August 2019

Volunteer Expo

The RIBI Assembly has changed, instead of being a conference for Rotarians it is now a free outward-looking event open to everyone interested in volunteering.  It will also incorporate the finals of our young competitions. It will take place from 1 to 3 May 2020 at the NEC Birmingham. Further details are available from the website

Youth Competitions

Details of this year’s Youth Competitions have now been released. Details


Last week I reported that Weymouth had managed to recruit seven new members.  I asked Joe Swindell, the President what their secret was.  I attach part of his response as ideas that we could all use.

“Over the past 12 months or so we have also started eating out at various restaurants around town for one of our monthly meetings, rather than always at our base of Pilgrim House.  These evenings have proven to be very popular and Rotarians are encouraged to bring guests along to these social nights. Not only does it get the club seen in public a little more but it’s also a good way to get people interested and introduce the club to them in a very informal, friendly and potentially less ‘overbearing’ manner.

As the club continues to be pro-active around the town – not least with the Fayre in the square – we’ve been using the local media outlets more and more to spread the word and in fact have attracted one new member from the local paper and one from the local radio station in the process!!!

I think basically it is about keeping the club active and in the public eye.  If people see us ‘doing good stuff’ around the town – and enjoying it at the same time – they will be interested in what we are doing and hopefully join us.”

District Team

I am pleased to announce that Penny Underwood has been appointed as District Environment Lead.  She is passionate about finding ways that we can improve sustainability and start to clean up the planet.

We still have a vacancy on the District team for somebody to head up our International projects. If you are interested contact me or Rupert Cox.

Ilminster Golf Day

I was due to play in the Ilminster Charity Golf Day which was unfortunately postpone due to the threat of thunder. Is has been rescheduled for 27 August, tee times bookable with the pro shop at Cricket St. Thomas Golf Club.

Adopt a Path

Somerset County Council are looking for volunteer groups to Adopt a Path. Details from This might be a suitable project for a new satellite club.


Next January will be the last chance to do Polio Drops before India switches to Injectables. If you are interested in going to help visit the Rotary Club of TajMahal Facebook page for more details



DG Blog 29th July 2019

Youth Videos.

Our new Youth videos which had a great reception at the Youth Showcase have now been loaded onto YouTube and can be accessed as follows RYLA and Breakthrough


This week I visited Taunton Vale, currently the largest club in the District, that meets at the County Cricket Ground.  They have just started a Satellite Breakfast Business Networking club – now there is an idea.

My visit to Wrington Vale coincided with the Presentation Evening for their Young Artist Competition that attracted over eighty entrants. They now meet at Barley Wood which has a superb view from the dining room.


Yeovil Hospital Breast Care Unit

Pauline Bland is putting on a “GinDig” for the Breast Care Unit. The ticket price is £10 with £5 to the charity and the rest for a burger and salad. Tickets from Pauline on  Or from the pub.


Well done to the following clubs on their recruitment of 21 new members

Bathavon 3, Burnham-on-Sea 3, Chelwood Bridge 1, Crewkerne District 1, Dorchester Poundbury 1, Frome 1, Island & Royal Manor of Portland 1, Midsomer Norton & Radstock 1, Taunton Vale 1,Wellington 1, Weymouth 7.

Do not forget to apply for a membership development grant for your club to help with recruitment activities.

District Forum 14 September

Your feedback has been listened to and the format of the next Forum is changing to give precedence to networking and breakout groups.

District Conference 11-13 October

Only ten weeks to go, so if you want a room in the hotel book soon. I do not think it has anything to do with helicopter manufacturing, but the hotel has changed its name to the snappy “Leonardo Royal Grand Harbour Hotel”.



DG Blog 22nd July 2019


Details of other speakers are being released, these include Bernadette Cleary founder of the Rainbow Trust, Ken Robertshaw talking about his latest adventure and Steve Haseldine talking about the Monte Carlo or Bust rally.  Look out for the new Conference Newsletter. There is still time to book your place – why not bring a group from your club for a fun filled weekend? You can find the registration form at


Classics & Supercars at the Castle – what a fantastic event run by Yeo Vale, Sherborne Castles and Brue Valley.  This has raised over £170,000 for charities in the past and this year looks like being a bumper year.  It was Rotary at its best showing the potential of what can be achieved when Rotarians work together.  There was even a stand for the Yeovil Hospital Breast Care Unit Appeal.

Langport & Somerton ran a refreshment tent at Somerset Steam & Country Show over the weekend with lovely homemade cakes.

On our environmental theme I visited a “Love Food Hate Waste” stand in Crewkerne library. Simon Thompson is a volunteer and would be pleased to have the opportunity to talk to your club, contact him on I picked up a number of leaflets including the “My Pledge Against Preventable Plastic” pictured.



Public Image



The District has now acquired a Gazebo, flags and pop up banners for clubs to use at events.  Please contact Martin Holley to book them.



Youth Competitions

There are new national youth competitions and activities that Clubs may be interested to engage with. Two of note are ‘Young Film maker’ and ‘Young Environmentalist’ – this may link nicely with the Somerset Waste Partnership “Green Ideas” plan. Contact Martin Carter for more details.

Insurance changes

RIBI has negotiated a new insurance contract with a new supplier and there are changes to the cover.  A summary of the changes is currently in preparation and will be sent out to clubs shortly.


I am pleased to announce that the District has put forward Hyppolite Ntigurirwa as a Peace Scholar. Hyppolite is a survivor of the Rwandan genocide and is currently active in promoting peace in his home country.

This year funds for Foundation grants are limited by the reduced District subscriptions made in 2016/17.  Clubs are encouraged to submit applications for District and Global grants asap.


DG Blog 15th July 2019

Frome Town Rotary – a very successful evening. Report from President Karl Waldeck.

On a lovely summers evening on 2 July, Frome Town Rotary hosted it’s first, (but definitely not its last), new members event, in the Cheese and Grain cafe, in the centre of Frome. We had been planning an event for a while, but after bidding for, and being granted, a one-off sum of money (specifically for such innovations), from District we were able to go bigger and better.

Approx 30 people responded to our publicity and came along to enjoy food, drinks, music, and great entertainment in the form of an amazing magician.

We showed a film made by Eve Conway about our club. The event gave us a chance to showcase what we do, and to encourage people to think about joining our innovative, energetic and modern group. Several members of the club attended and spent time with potential new members, resulting in an amazing 16 people leaving their contact details. Of these, after a follow up email from the club secretary, 8 replied, all stating what a great evening it was, and showing further interest, with 5 of them wanting to attend the next event (an evening walk and meal).

All of the new people have had a copy of the planned meetings and events for 2019/20 and will continue to be contacted on a regular basis.

All in all, a very worthwhile and successful evening.

DG’s Note. District grants of up to £500 are available to help clubs with membership initiatives.


Last week I visited the longest establish club in the District, Bath which was chartered on 1 November 1921. I found them in good form with two prospective new members. They are still a lunch club and manage to get through the business in just over the hour.

On Wednesday I played in the Yeovil and Yeo Vale Charity Golf day in aid of the Yeovil Hospital Breast Care Unit – a Project I hope you will all support.


Thursday, Jill and I were guests at the Inner Wheel District 20 Rally when chairman Maureen Netherway welcomed the National Association President Enid Law. As expected, I was a little outnumbered with First Gentleman Mike and Toastmaster Peter the only other men allowed!


The Rotary Club of Garth Charter Night was last Friday when a I joined a contingent from Chelwood Bridge, who had inaugurated the Satellite club, to travel abroad to Wales to be with the club on their special night. Donna Wallbank the RIBI President attended and Mike Hedges presented the new club with a bell.


On Sunday Anne and Paul Arnold hosted a BBQ in their beautiful garden for Chard RC, which raised over £500 for Children’s Hospice South West – what a wonderful way to spend a summers afternoon. And England won the cricket!

Best wishes,


DG Newsletter 8th July 2019


My first visit to a club as DG was to Taunton, President Tony Cox, who meet at the Racecourse for lunch on a Tuesday. As guests they had two young ladies who are going on an exchange trip to Taunton Massachusetts, in the USA, an arrangement that happens on a regular basis.  The speaker was Keith Barnard-Jones who spoke about Rotary Eradication of Malaria in Tanzania (REMIT) and was rewarded with a cheque for the charity of £2,000 and gave an update on Polio (37 cases this year to date). He and Judy then rushed off to the Houses of Parliament to represent the District in an event to secure support for the Polio endgame. Please see separate report.


Then it was off to Yeovil Club’s Handover held at Northover Manor, Ilchester, where Luke Simon of School-in-a-Bag was awarded a Paul Harris and a cheque presentation of £6,000 was made to Fiveways School to help towards their new playground.

Thursday evening I visited Lansdown Golf Club for Bathavon’s Handover when Gerry Rees passed the baton to Stella Tonks and Anthony Birts who will share the role of President.


Humanitarian Service – Environment and Loneliness

On Thursday I had a meeting with Somerset Waste Partnership (SWT) on ways that we can work together to help the environment. They have come up with a list of 8 green ideas that clubs could adopt.   Click here to download document SWP-8 greens ideas. SWT will be coming to speak to us at the District Forum on 14 September.

Youth Showcase

The District Youth Showcase took place on Saturday at Stanchester Academy, Stoke sub Hamdon when we celebrated our Youth activities including RYLA, Breakthrough, Young Chef, Young Musician, Young Photographer, Technology Tournament, Rotakids and Big Pitch. My thanks go to Robbie Heyd-Smith for resurrecting this great event. Indulgent fudge and German biscuits were available to try and buy from the Big Pitch contestants. The event saw the world premiere of two new films commissioned by Wendy Grassby and produced by Ernie McKenna, one on Breakthrough and the other on RYLA. Martin Carter, the new District Youth Lead, told us about Rotakids and the new club that will be inaugurated in September.

Please make a note in your diary for next years Showcase that is provisionally scheduled to take place on 6 June 2020.


DG Newsletter 1st July 2019

Last week saw the official opening of the latest Life Education Wiltshire mobile classroom. It will visit local schools teaching life skills to the children.


Over £50,000 was raised by 11 Wiltshire Rotary Clubs in Districts 1100 and 1200, including Bradford on Avon, Calne, Devizes, Melksham and Westbury.  The project attracted an incoming Rotary Foundation grant.  For more information on the Life Education programme visit the website



Saturday 29 June saw the handover of our District and Inner Wheel District 20.  This was celebrated with a party at School-in-a-Bag, drinks were from the Weymouth Club’s Cider Bar and music was provided by Henry and Lucinda and Chris and Bex.

Stewart was presented with his PDG jewel and a sapphire to his Paul Harris.  Maureen Nethaway took over the chain from Pru Witter. Rona and Peter Wakefield from Luton North Inner Wheel /Rotary were visitors and presented special bowls inset with logos to Maureen and myself.

Membership. The membership numbers for the end of June have just come out and show that active members in the District are currently standing at 1,397 compared to 1,469 at the beginning of last year.

Youth Showcase. There is a Youth Showcase celebrating the talented Youth we have in the District and details of some of the Youth Programmes on 6 July at Stanchester Academy, Stoke sub Hamdon.  Doors open 9:30 with the official opening at 10:30.


Rotary Year 2019-20. I wish you all an exciting and productive year ahead.


Postcard from Hamburg Convention

Convention Headlines

* More than 26,000 registrants representing 3,605 Rotary clubs in 170 countries

* Rotary commits US$102 million this year to end polio

* Hamburg gains €24 million in tourism revenue

* First German, Holger Knaack, nominated to serve as RI president in 2020

* 35 speeches and 98 breakout sessions

* 334 exhibit booths of which 200 featured Rotary humanitarian projects


All the Convention videos can be found at

My top picks:

Chris Wells – Rotaract and DOGOODERY –
Watch this if you only have time for one

Steve Farber – Extreme leadership

Daniel Flynn – ThankYou

John Hewko, General Secretary, told the Convention that recent research found that Rotarians give 45 m volunteer hours worth $850m each year.


Did you know about the large number of Fellowships that exist within Rotary?


Midsummer Madness and Handover

I hope to see you all on the 29 June at School-in-a-bag premises for the handover party.


District Assembly May 2019

Dear all,

For those of you who were unable to attend, the following gives an extract of the District Assembly held at Bath & West Showground on the 18 May 2019 and links to some of the content.

The meeting started with Stewart asking Mike Webb, Vice Chair of the Rotary Foundation Trustees to present several awards. The first of these was one of only four Polio Free World Awards to Keith Barnard-Jones in recognition of his work in the pursuit of the eradication of Polio. Hugo Pike was presented with a Sapphire Paul Harris for his work in establishing and building Water Survival Box.  There were also awards for clubs that had contributed the most in Annual Dues and towards Polio Eradication.


Rotary Connects the World.


The Assembly started with an edited video of Mark Maloney RI President Elect explaining the objectives of his year and the theme “Rotary Connects the World” which can be see here in full




Donna Wallbank the RIBI President Elect then spoke about the how the association needs to change to ensure survival. She also spoke about some initiatives including Mental Health, the Environment and Loneliness.


The District 5 Year Strategic Plan was reviewed.


My Aspirations were then tabled:

  • Grow Rotary by starting new clubs including Rotaract
  • Educate Club Rotarians about “wider” Rotary
  • Increase the use of MyRotary
  • Drag our District into the 21st Century
  • Celebrate what the clubs are doing
  • District Projects – International and Home
  • Continue the fight to End Polio



The District Support Team was then introduced. There are several new faces for 2019-20 including Chrissie Bailey as District Secretary, Bruce Bailey and David Price as Assistant Governors, David Perkins – Foundation, Rupert Cox who will lead the Humanitarian Service Team, Martin Carter – Youth.

Assembly 3Assembly 4Assembly 5Assembly 6Assembly 7Assembly 8


Dates for your Diary

Public Image – A short video on how to improve your Club website.  For help with public image and social media contact Martin & Sarah Holley.

Membership (Satellites & Moving Rotary Forward) – Ric Canham outlined the objective of forming new clubs.

Youth (RYLA video & Rotakids) – Wendy Grassby. For more details contact Martin Carter and John Mander (RYLA)

 Shelterbox how to position with secondary schools – for more details contact Hugh Deed

Foundation (Educating members, Incoming Global Grants) – Tony Quinn.  For more details contact David Perkins

Polio + video by Carl Chinnery (not shown due to time constraints) See here

Humanitarian Service – Rupert Cox. Looking to celebrate what the clubs are doing and supporting their efforts. Special emphasis on Loneliness, Mental Health and the Environment.

Compliance – Video by Amanda Watkin (not shown due to time constraints) See here

District Conference promotion video, see at


District Theme for 2019-20


PRESENTATION – Yeovil Hospital Breast Care Unit Stewart Cursley and Caroline Osborne. A project for which we are hoping to obtain a global grant.

Stewart Cursley – summing up and thanking the 2018-19 Team for all their efforts

 I hope to see you all at Mid-Summer Madness party and Handover on 29 June at School in a Bag premises.


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