Category Archives: Governor’s Blog

DG’s Blog 15 October 2019

New Rotakids Club.

On the 7th October the newest club in the District was formed. It is the Rotakids Club at St.John’s Church of England Primary School, Midsomer Norton. It was wonderful to hear the President’s plans, which included helping the local community, playing games in the local care home and raising funds for a ShelterBox. Six of the Club travelled to Southampton to take part in the District Conference and were warmly received on stage. If you would like any more details about Rotakids please contact Martin Carter.

District Conference.

Around 200 people attended the conference at the Grand Harbour Hotel in Southampton. The theme was Inform, Inspire, Indulge. We had some great speakers who did indeed inform and inspire us. Evan Burrell told us how to have FUN in Rotary. Following Bonita Norris’s talk I will never be able to think about sleeping bags in the same way! Johnny Ball entertained us with some fascinating mathematics. On Friday night we indulged in fellowship with a charity casino evening. On Saturday we had a great band called DT8 and the dance floor was still crowed at midnight. The founder of the Rainbow Trust, Bernadette Cleary addressed us and we raised around £1,000 for this national charity that helps families with seriously ill children.

Best wishes. Dennis


DG’s Blog 7 October 2019

World polio day.

Have you registered your event yet? Follow this link to find out more and to register your event.

The Big Climate Fightback.

The Woodland Trust is calling on one million people to pledge to plant a tree to help fight the climate emergency. We need to act now!

This year, on 30 November the Woodland Trust are holding a mass participation tree planting day with events across the country and I understand that they will donate trees. Join in The Big Climate Fightback.


Stewart Cursley went to a super community event in Wells called “SOUP” which could easily and very beneficially be facilitated by clubs. In essence, SOUP is a micro granting lunch celebrating and supporting creative projects in Wells. For a £5 donation, attendees received soup, a roll and a vote and hear from four presentations ranging from art, urban agriculture, social justice, social entrepreneurs, education, technology and more.

Each presenter had four minutes to share their idea and answer four questions from the audience. At the event, attendees eat, talk, and vote on the project the voters think benefits the community the most.  At the end the votes are counted and the winner goes home with 50% of the money raised to carry out their project.  The other projects received the balance divided equally. Winners come back to a future SOUP dinner to report their project’s progress.

The ingredients for the soup were donated by Waitrose and the soup was made by a local state school. The atmosphere was great and all attendees were able to interact with many local community organisations.  The idea originated in  Detroit please see the link –

The next SOUP event in Wells in on the 11th January 2020 at 12.50 if you are interested in attending to see SOUP in action just let Stewart know.


I am looking forward to having FUN in Southampton with you at the weekend.

Best wishes





DG’s Blog 30th September 2019

Caribbean Hurricane Dorian Update.

Update From Our Team in Nassau

Thank you, Rotary Family

for your dedication to supporting our islands and residents affected by Hurricane Dorian!


During the last week, your collective work has enabled us to:

  • See an increase in donations across our multiple funding channels to approximately $940,000.
  • Receive, pack, and sort (alongside other partners) supplies for distribution to Abaco, Eleuthera, Grand Bahama, Shelters, and private accommodations.
  • Continue pumping water (daily capacity of 6,000 gallons) at the Rotary Water Plant in Grand Bahama for distribution to the hospital, clinics, feeding centers, shelters, and the community at large. More than 120,000 gallons have been pumped since the passing of the storm.
  • Continue engaging officials from the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) plus other international and local private and corporate partners to discuss ways Rotary can assist in the immediate and long-term building efforts.
  • Begin erecting tents from Disaster Aid International in partnership with the Bahamas Scouts Association at their Headquarters, a National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) approved Temporary Shelter Area.
  • Deliver over 750 meals prepared by Mercy Chefs to persons in temporary private housing.

Rotary in Great Britain & Ireland has now received donations of over $25,000. A recent report mentioned collections by Melcombe Regis and Weymouth. The advice is to continue to support ShelterBox and Water Survival Box or to qualify for Gift Aid, donate to Rotary’s Disaster Recovery Trust for Caribbean Hurricane Dorian.


In the post this morning I received banners for the top three clubs that gave the most per capita, to the Annual Fund in 2018-19.  These are Frome Selwood $128.55; Chippenham $110.13; Midsomer Norton & Radstock $97.54

I also received certificates for clubs that contributed at least $1,500 to Rotary’s polio eradication efforts in the year 2018-19. The clubs are: Chelwood Bridge, Glastonbury & Street, Lyme Regis, Minehead, Shepton Mallet, Sherborne Castles and Yeovil.  Well done everyone and keep up the great work. The banners and certificated will be presented at the District Forum on 30 November.

District Family Tree

I recently came across the Districts Family Tree which I believe was produced by Stan Jones back in 2018.

There have been quite a few changes since then.   


Best wishes, Dennis




DG’s Blog 23 September 2019

Rotary Holidays for Children Trust

Every year there is a total of about £2,000 in grants available to Rotary Clubs in District 1200. Hundreds of deserving children have enjoyed holidays supported by this Rotary Trust. This was set and run by Weston-Suoer-Mare. For more details


KIVA micro finance

Weston-Super-Mare have a joint project with Delft Koningsberg through KIVA. It’s a sort of global crowd-funding scheme for people without access to banking or finance.  The primary aim is to enable people to create or sustain micro-enterprises and thereby support their families / communities but there are all sorts of schemes.

KIVA vets the applicants and their proposal; if accepted as viable their schemes are put on the website for us to view and ‘lend’.

More than 1.7 billion people around the world are unbanked and can’t access the financial services they need. Kiva is an international nonprofit, founded in 2005 in San Francisco, with a mission to expand financial access to help derserved communities thrive. More information


Nigeria has been declared Polio free, so just two countries left.  There have been 78 cases this year to date with 62 in Pakistan and 16 in Afghanistan.


Enthralling speaker

Joe Swindell, President of Weymouth is a partner in Fieri and he gave an enthralling job talk about training Counter Terrorism police how to survive in hostile environments at last nights meeting. Very entertaining.




DG’s Blog 16 September 2019


Two very interesting speakers at Forum. Mickey Green from Somerset Waste Partnership spoke about what Rotary can do to help the environment, based around Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. Penny Underwood has taken on the role of District Environment Co-ordinator and will be in touch with some new initiatives. More details from

Justin Sargent from the Somerset Community Foundation talked about what we can do to combat loneliness and explained that they gather and administer funds to support community groups. He also challenged us to get involved with their Survive Winter campaign.  This works by people donating their winter fuel allowance which is then used to provide Christmas meals for isolated people in the community. This sounds like a great project. More details from .

We also heard:

  • RIBI Conference for next year will be replaced with an outward looking Volunteer Expo
  • Sherborne Classic & Supercars have donated £11,000 to the District Yeovil Hospital Breast Care Unit Appeal
  • Do not forget to contact John Mander to register your candidates for RYLA
  • Taunton Vale won last years skittles cup and Minehead the plate
  • Yeo Vale won the District Team Golf Trophy, Derek Cole collected it after it was incorrectly presented as the Skittles Cup!
  • A Rotakids club is starting in Midsummer Norton. More information from Martin Carter.
  • There are vacancies for 4 Assistant Governors for next year and a District Governor for 2022-23


Two clubs used anniversary celebrations as new member events. Devizes (60 years) held a “Night at the Museum” and Crewkerne District (10 years) had a party at Oscars wine bar when the birthday cake was set on fire by the candles! Taunton Vale Breakfast Satellite Club held a Hog Roast at Rumwell Hall.


DG’s Blog 9 September 2019

Hurricane Dorian

Rotary District 7020 Hurricane Recovery

Dorian is the strongest storm ever to hit the Bahamas, at least 43 people are dead, and that number is expected to rise as rescue efforts continue.  More than 70,000 people are homeless on Grand Bahama and the Abaco Islands, the parts of the Bahamas hardest hit by the hurricane.  The search and recovery efforts in the Bahamas have been slowed down by the complete destruction of infrastructure hampering the delivery of support for those affected.

The Rotary supported charities are reviewing and supporting the aid effort in the Bahamas.  The airport in Nassau is now open and Water Survival Box are planning to send 240 Water Survival Boxes and 2x 15 Aqua plus 1 x 10 Community filters. This is a significant amount of stock to be sent to one emergency which will need to be replaced as the hurricane session continues. Donations can be made to Water Survival Box as follows: and to ShelterBox UK donations to Rotary GBI Disaster Recovery Trust.   District 7020 The Bahamas was looking to twin with our District, so please do what you can to help.

Poppy pins

The Rotary Club of Chelmer Bridge plans to raise funds again for the Royal British Legion and Poppyscotland from the sale of a new lapel pin badge. The badge shows the inscription of “Rotary Remembers” to mark the 75th anniversary of D-Day and the Battles of Arnhem and the Bulge and to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice during the Second World War. The pins are £3 with £2 going to the charities. Send in your orders by 30th September 2019 to

The Yeovil Hospital Breast Care Unit Appeal

The Classics at the Castle event had a record year and has donated £11,000 to the Appeal. A group of intrepid Rotarians are planning to wing-walk to raise funds.


This last week I visited Shepton Mallet who are heavily involved with helping at the Glastonbury Festival and took part in the District Golf Team Competition run by Glastonbury & Street at Wheathill Golf Club. The Team prize went to Yeo Vale.


Devizes are celebrating 60 years of service with a  new members evening as a Night at The Museum. Crewkerne District are celebrating their 10th birthday with a party at Oscar’s Wine Bar.

District Forum from 9am Bath & West Showground this Saturday —I hope to see you there.


DG’s Blog 3 September 2019

September is Basic Education and Literacy Month

Mercy Ships new “Global Mercy” Global Grant.

At the RIBI Showcase it was announced that the new ship is being built in China. A $1 million challenge to fund medical was issued. The grants team in District 1260 (my old District) are inviting all RIBI Districts to donate with DDF money and Clubs to donate whatever they can. Pledges to

Global Grants

Great news on the grants scene, the application by Ilminster and Ankleshwar to provide medical equipment to upgrade Kumarpal Blood Bank in India has been approved.

A great deal of progress has been made with the project by Rotary Clubs of Kisumu and Chippenham to provide clean water, plus associated training in sanitation and hygiene, to thirteen schools in the area of Kisumu County, in Western Kenya. This benefits the children and the surrounding communities in this unde developed rural area who currently do not have access to clean water. The initiative is intended to significantly reduce waterborne diseases, to increase school enrolment numbers and academic performance, as well as decreasing absenteeism due to illness. six wells have been completed and the seventh well has been mobilised. More details from Rick Squires:


The 24 October is World Polio Day. Why not plan a special event to raise awareness and raise funds. Countrywide RIBI is encouraging clubs to light up buildings in their community in Purple. This year to date there have been 58 cases in Pakistan and 13 in Afghanistan. Nigeria has just been announced to be Polio free.


The rescheduled Ilminster charity golf day raised in excess of £1,500 and was an enjoyable day despite the DGs golf!


Well done everyone, we have 35 new members this year. Don’t forget to apply for a membership development grant to help cover the costs of your membership initiatives.


DG Blog 27th August 2019

Yeovil’s Last Night of the Proms 6 September

There are still some tickets available for this fantastic evening at the Octagon in Yeovil. The British Philharmonic Orchestra will be playing popular music and all the patriotic favourites in the 10th year of this event. Contact Paul Rogers on 07724 074776.

District Conference Southampton 11-13 October Grand Harbour Hotel

Don’t forget to book soon as the reserved rooms, at the special rates, in the hotel will have to be released in the near future.

Pig Racing

Ever thought about having a pig racing evening as a fund raiser but put of by the cost? Well Melcombe Regis have all the kit that they will be happy to supply—talk to Mike Parker 07791800781.


This last week I visited three great events. On Thursday, the Melplash Show where Brit Valley had our District gazebo and were dispensing tea and coffee to the needy, including the DG and consort.  Bridport also had a stand.

Saturday saw me in Wells to Meet the Sikhs, where I was introduced by Sharon Haigh.  See the picture of Sharon’s husband “Bob of Arabia”.

Sunday I was at the Dragon Boat Racing off Weymouth beach, now in its 22nd year ably run by Melcombe Regis. The British seaside at its best

Forum—14 September 2019, Bath & West Showground

We have listened to feedback and are planning a very different agenda for the next Forum.  No “death by PowerPoint” and a chance to discuss issues and ideas with one’s peers. Speakers include Justin Sargent – Somerset Community Foundation on how to combat Loneliness and an introduction to things we can do for the environment by Mickey Green – Somerset Waste Partnership. There will be breakout sessions in separate rooms for President Elects, Foundation, Humanitarian Service and Membership. I hope to see you there.





DG Blog 20th August 2019

Rotarian Action Groups (RAG)


Have you heard about Rotary Action Groups? There are currently twenty-five Rotarian Action Groups covering various areas including Environmental Sustainability and Mental Health. By joining a RAG you can engage in meaningful service projects outside your own club.  For more information see


Rotary International has designated August as Membership and New Club Development Month. Did you know you can start a satellite club with as few as eight members? If you would like to know more talk to your Assistant Governor or Ric Canham.

Douglas Nash, Past President of Chelwood Bridge Rotary Club, describes the flexibility satellite clubs has offered. See the article at

I have recently had brought to my attention an article called “Engaging the Next Generation in Rotary – 5 Strategies for Growing Your Club with Young Members” by Michael McQueen which is well worth a read.



Devizes Club have come up with a novel idea to celebrate their 60th anniversary and are running a new members event as “A Night at The Museum”.






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



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