Welcome to the website of Rotary International District 1250
You will find a wealth of information in our website pages about Rotary in many parts of Surrey and Sussex, starting with latest club news in the slide show below. To read more of these stories, simply click on the Title or the Read More link.
Below that are a number of Rotary videos. Click on any of the thumbnails to select a video and then on the Play symbol to watch the video
In April RIBI President, Nan McCreadie, wrote to District Governors announcing that to celebrate the 100th year of RIBI they were inaugurating awards for 'Champions of Change' and requested nominations for those Rotarians who had made a difference either in the UK or Internationally.
Tony Priestley, President of Billingshurst and District Rotary Club, had no hesitation in recommending Stuart Pullen for this award, and 1250 District Governor, Mike Goodridge MBE, was pleased to put the nomination forward. They were looking for nominees who exemplified the Rotary Motto, ‘Service above Self’.
Stuart Pullen, from Pulborough, a member of Billingshurst and District Rotary Club for twenty-three years, was one of twelve Rotarians who was invited to receive the new award. The Government, with permission from the Secretary of State for Scotland, invited Rotary to hold its first ever Award Event in Dover House, the Scottish Office, in Whitehall on Wednesday 25th June. Nick Clegg, the Deputy Prime Minister, presented the awards with the RIBI President Nan McCreadie, Mike Webb RI Director, the nominees’ Members of Parliament, and the nominating District Governor in attendance.
Stuart works tirelessly for the Charity 'Children of Sumatra', started in 2002 when a Pulborough girl, Katie Pavett. noticed a high incidence of cleft lip and palate in Sumatra. One in three hundred children born in Sumatra suffer from cleft lip and palate!
Katie approached Billingshurst Rotary Club to see if funds could be raised for a few operations. To her surprise Stuart ran an auction and was able to inform Katie that there was some £5,000 available. Since then 800 successful operations have been performed by Volunteer European Surgeons, and this sometimes involves treating the children for TB so they are well enough for the operation, with follow-up dental work, speech therapy and education afterwards.
In 2010 Stuart and his wife, Margaret, were the first volunteers to travel out from the club at their own expense to assist in the after care of the children and support the parents. Stuart and Margaret also visit Rotary and Inner Wheel Clubs all over the country, and can be seen at the House of Friendship at Conferences. All this is done at their own expense so that every penny raised goes to the Charity.
This year the three candidates chosen by the Rotary Club of Seaford for the Rotary Youth Leadership Award course (RYLA), held at High Ashurst Outdoor Activity Centre in Dorking, were (left to right in photo) Marianne Best, Florence Hardy and Ella Edwards.
The girls were chosen for their contribution to our community. Marianne Best has been a radio presenter at Seahaven FM for 4 years and presents her Evening show from 5 – 7pm every Sunday. Florence Hardy was part of the Girl Guides and recently went on a trip to Peru, sponsored by The Seaford Rotary Club, to help disabled children there. Ella Edwards has been volunteering at Seaford Lifeguards for 4 years and helps organise events as well as regularly lifeguarding our local beaches.
Before going on the RYLA course in April we were all quite nervous but had high expectations of what our week would entail, such as developing good leadership skills that are crucial for later life, gaining exposure to challenging new sports such as Kayaking and Rock Climbing and also being able to tactfully solve problems.
We each took a self-evaluation called ‘Belbin’ that would be used when we arrived at High Ashurst to split us into appropriate teams according to our different strengths. Although the three of us were put into different teams, we shared a room and enjoyed sharing stories of the day’s activities with each other in the evening.
The week’s daytime activities consisted of a low-rope and high-rope course, raft-building and race, kayaking, canoeing, rock climbing, abseiling and the highlight at the end being a day of orienteering followed by a 10km hike. During our hike each team navigated their way up Box Hill, climbing 398 steps exactly, it was a challenge because we were left to our own devices and had to rely on each other in our teams to find our way back safely. Unfortunately on the hike Florence’s team got lost and managed to reach the same place three times, making it a 13km hike instead!
One of the hardest group challenges was the raft-building at Thames Young Mariners. We had to plan and then build a raft using ropes and barrels. The aim was to stay afloat whilst paddling a timed lap of a marked-out course. Marianne’s team didn’t quite get the hang of it as upon entering the lake, the raft capsized and there were rope and barrels floating in all directions!
The evening activities were a great way to socialise with all the RYLA candidates. There was a quiz, disco and also a trip to the London Palladium to see a show which was a well-kept secret until we got to the theatre. It turned out to be Harry Hill’s ‘I Can’t Sing’ – a funny take on ‘The X Factor’ – we all enjoyed the show and the evening dinner party that occurred beforehand at High Ashurst.
The finale of the fantastic week was the Gala Dinner; an evening with canapés, group presentations, awards, lots of photos and almost as many tears too! The whole evening was left down to us which was a real challenge as it wasn’t just within our teams we were working, it was all the RYLA candidates. Although the initial planning of the evening did get very noisy - with lots of ideas being said all at once - we delegated suitable roles to everyone and, in the short time of five hours we had to organise a whole evening, everything went according to plan and was thoroughly enjoyed by all.
There is no doubt that it was a full-on week, with stressful and challenging activities, but we all agree that it helped us grow and equipped us with vital team skills, not only for a career in later life, but for everyday life too. For me personally, I have never pushed myself quite as much as I did during this week and it was quite extraordinary in doing so how much I got back from this experience. Above all our confidence grew tremendously whilst on this trip and it really is such a worthwhile experience. We’ve made many friends and have been keeping in touch – already we have had a couple of ‘RYLA reunions’! Without the sponsorship of the Rotary Club of Seaford and the help from Peter Posgate and Ray Richardson, we couldn’t have gone on RYLA and are all incredibly grateful to them – we cannot thank you enough!
On Monday 9th June, 20 teenagers accompanied by their families and friends met in the Clarence Suite of the Hilton Brighton Metropole Hotel for the Rotary Club of Brighton's annual "Rotary Young Citizen Awards" ceremony. The certificates were presented by the Lord Lieutenant of East Sussex, Mr Peter Field, whose deft approach helped ensure that it was a relaxed and very enjoyable occasion for all. Much credit also goes to Rotarian Lorna Duggleby, who devised the awards criteria and persuaded schools to take part at a busy time for all concerned. Rotarian Alan Pocock also provided invaluable support by producing with very professional certificates and programmes.
The awards were clearly very much appreciated by the recipients, their parents, friends and teachers. Some of the recipients gave short presentations about the activities that had resulted in their nominations and impressed everyone present. The Rotary Club of Brighton, whose motto is "Service above Self", has always been very keen to encourage and recognise young people who devote some of their time to worthwhile causes in the community, and is already planning next year's awards event.
Following the very successful Safety In Action Week held in May at Newhaven Fort between 23 local Primary Schools in the area, Cradle Hill School was judged the overall winner.
The event is organised by Lewes District Council & Sussex Police and has been supported for many years by The Rotary Club of Seaford.
This year our club gave an addition cash gift to allow the competitors and helpers to wear new high Viz jackets which proved invaluable in identifying the school teams competing as over 800 children took part during the week.
The Lily Foundation, a Warlingham based charity which works both to raise awareness of mitochondrial disease and to fund research into the little understood condition has benefitted by £700 raised by students in the Warwick School’s Interact Club.
Most of the funds were raised through a very successful Quiz Night organised by the club members and held recently at the school. Several ingenious money raising activities were held throughout the evening. In addition to Warwick students their families and school staff, many local Rotarians came to support the evening.
The Interact Club at The Warwick School is a schools version of Rotary Clubs and enjoys the mentoring and support of Reigate Rotary Club. First established in 2010, the club members have raised well over £3700 to date which has gone to various charities both in the UK and internationally.
The Quiz Night raised £400 but the students elected to donate a further £300 from club funds so a cheque for a total of £700 was handed over to the charity’s founder, Liz Curtis, by Beulah Berrisford, President of the Warwick School Interact Club.
Receiving the cheque Liz Curtis said: “This fundraising effort is so much appreciated by the charity and we must congratulate and thank the Interact Club for the hard work in raising so much and for the students’ kindness in choosing to support the Lily Foundation. The students really are an inspirational group of young people.”
Photo above shows Liz Curtis from the Lily Foundation receiving the cheque from Beulah Berrisford, President of the Warwick School Interact Club plus (left) Val Bishop from Reigate Rotary Club and also Interactors from the Club.
David Spurrell, District Youth Services Chairman
Richebourg – Rotary Remembers the slaughter of Worthing’s ‘Lambs’
It was at this time of year in 1916 on the last day of June that a generation of Worthing young men died in a terrible battle in France. It was called the Battle of Boar’s Head and was designed to deceive the Germans and to draw their attention away from where the real offensive was to take place, on the Somme.
The Royal Sussex Regiment was called ‘Lowthers Lambs’ after the local MP Claude Lowther who took a leading role in recruitment. Many were from Worthing. They were to provide a diversionary attack on the German lines. 350 died on that day, and over 1000 were wounded. Although casualties were small in numbers compared to the Somme where 420,000 died, it was a much greater loss in proportion to the numbers of soldiers who took part.
Here in Worthing, little was known of the battle until people saw their neighbours receiving the feared telegrams and the curtains being drawn across the front windows.
The battle took place at Richebourg, a large village about an hours drive from Calais. Sited right on the Western Front, all the inhabitants had to flee for their lives and every building was destroyed in the battles that followed. After the war, a remarkable Worthing woman, Ellen Chapman who became Worthing’s first female Mayor, led a fundraising campaign to assist the people of Richebourg in rebuilding their town. Thus began a bond between the two communities which continues to endure to the present day.
Although the link lapsed over the following years, it was rekindled by the West Sussex Living History Group about ten years ago, led by the late John Baines.
The battle is now marked by an annual service of commemoration at the San Vaast Military Cemetery in Richebourg where so many of these young men rest. Each year the West Sussex Living History Group provides a Guard of Honour in original Royal West Sussex Uniforms for a service of remembrance led by the Mayor of Richebourg, Gerard Delahaye.
They were joined by a contingent from Worthing Steyne Rotary Club and relatives of the fallen soldiers, French veteran soldiers and the people of Richebourg. The Rotarians carried with them messages of remembrance and reaffirmations of friendship with the Richebourg community from the people of Worthing, the Worthing Ex Services Association and the Royal British Legion.
The welcome given by the people of Richebourg to the visitors from Worthing and Sussex was exceptional. An impressive programme of events marking the centenary of the start of the First World War had been planned. Every village along the Front that had been destroyed mounted a special exhibition supported by local artists who provided their interpretation of those terrible events. There was a walking tour of key locations in the battle, with villagers providing re-enactments of events and scenes of the time – particularly the poignant rapid evacuation of the town as the battle approached.
Local school children treated the visitors to a concert of song and dance – much of it evoking the 1914 – 18 period. The Richebourg community were most generous in their hospitality and the warmth of their welcome, with food and wine provided in abundance.
Worthing Steyne Rotarian David Chapman said. ‘We cannot fail to appreciate the respect that the people of Richebourg have for the British soldiers who gave their lives in the Battle of Boars Head. Neither can we fault the hospitality extended to us by the people of Richebourg. We take some comfort in this bond between our two communities, which has grown out of the terrible loss of our young men.’
The Mayor of Richebourg, Gerard Delahaye said ‘We know how meaningful this day is for our English friends who have named it ‘The day when Sussex died’ and we will continue to commemorate the courage of these Sussex Soldiers who fought to set France free.
‘This is a special year which is the centenary of the outbreak of World War One and we have organised many activities to mark the event. We are pleased to welcome so many who have come from Worthing to join with us in this act of remembrance.’
Titsey & District Club was represented at the above event on Friday 16 May 2014 by yours truly – for the fourth year in succession. Gail and I were on our boat which was one of 32 boats that took 118 special needs and learning disabled pupils from schools from all over West Sussex out for a day on the water.
We berthed at Chichester Marina on Thursday night and turned up at 0930 hrs prompt to submit our insurance details, receive a briefing and to collect packed lunches 2 very excited 11 year old boys and a carer from the coach park.
The Rotary Club of Godalming held their annual Young Musician of the Year on Wednesday 25th June at the RVW Music Centre, Charterhouse.
Participants, all winners from the Godalming Music Festival, were Callum Champion age 15 (piano) from The Royal Grammar School, William Goddard age 16(flute) from Epsom College and Emilia Pickering age 14 (cello) from Glebelands, Cranleigh. The event was generously sponsored by A.J. Bennewith & Co, Chartered Accountants.