I am pleased to confirm that we have continued our fortnightly breakfasts at The Whitminster Inn and have enjoyed some very interesting speakers.

This Summer this has particularly been the case with speakers from the War Detectives whose research allows the remains of military personnel to be named; Rory’s Well, a local charity which has established 127 wells in Sierra Leone and is now helping communities far more effectively and sustainably; followed by Theresa Fisher, our local Tesco ‘Community Champion’, sharing the much unknown work Tesco undertake in the community in support of those in need.

Our next speaker was from a Stonehouse based charity, Sunflowers Suicide Support, offering support to those who have lost a loved one to suicide. There is lack of such help and support elsewhere and they have received a hundred referrals locally in the first six months of this year alone.

Our latest speaker was David Stephens, providing an update on progress of Vale of Berkeley Railway. Loss of the bridge over the River Severn 1960 closely followed by the Beeching cuts saw the end of service 1964. Skill, dedication and enthusiasm by members has resulted in clearing the site, reconstructing demolished buildings and restoring steam locomotives, culminating in the winning of a lease from Network Rail securing their future. They now have a goal of steam trains running on the track in three years time.

As to hands-on activities, we arranged a day out on the canal for students from Eastington’s William Morris College on one of Willow Trust’s boats and spent time working in the orchard at Wick Court. We’ve also managed Frampton Open Gardens this year, which attracted record numbers of visitors raising £3500 for Longfield Hospice.

Very recently we organised our fourth annual rally of interesting cars. This attracted an ever increasing number of participants enjoying the day driving through the hills and vales of Gloucestershire raising money for Rotary and other local charities.

So, you can see a full summer for Rotary in Severn Vale. However, we always find time to enjoy each other’s company socially, with a visits to Stroud Brewery and the Centre for Guide Dogs for the Blind. We also had a most enjoyable afternoon as guests of friends Ted and Bridget Meredith picnicking and exploring the fun and challenges of Croquet . . . . . a far more complex and skilful game than many realised !

As Summer slips into Autumn, I’m pleased to confirm that over the year 2021/22 we have donated over £11,250 to charities and worthy causes.

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