Newsletter 120 - September 2019

Au revoir Brasserie Blanc - hello Bambalan!

Last month we said our goodbyes to our weekly club venue for the past 9 years. Initially we met in the historic Baker’s Hall situated above the Brasserie Blanc restaurant and more recently moved to the restaurant itself. Brasserie Blanc decided earlier in August to close this restaurant after trading in Quaker’s Friars for the past 10 years. The restaurant has provided a unique setting for our club breakfast meetings especially being based in central Bristol.

A large number of Rotarian visitors from home and abroad have visited, we have heard a variety of speakers and Raymond Blanc himself put in an appearance one morning. We found ourselves at very short notice looking for a new venue and Andy Cavanna has been busy to engage the views of members and seek a suitable abode fitting our needs. Our new club venue is Bambalan Restaurant situated right on the city centre in Colston Tower.
Bambalan boasts a bright open plan restaurant and a stunning outdoor terrace with unrivalled views across Bristol. The restaurant can be found on Podium Level, Colston Tower, Colston Avenue,Bristol, BS1 4XE Telephone 117 922 1880
We meet every Wednesday 7.00am for 7.30am. If you want to join us for breakfast please email: If you are a club member Please remeber to inform Tim Brook by midday on the Monday preceding the breakfast of your intent or otherwise to attend. If you do not apologise we have to pay for your breakfast which will be deducted from your account. 

Elmfield School for Deaf Children

A project to provide a Creative Art Psychotherapist position by Sue Pietersen

As parents of a deaf child, Willem and I are very aware of the challenges we faced. Statistics show that 90% of deaf children are born to hearing parents, with no experience of deafness. This causes a huge challenge for the parents and also deaf children, as the parents have no experience of how to deal with this the deafness, encourage communication or integrate their children into society. When hearing aids are put onto the children, they have to be taught to use them, understanding what and where sounds are coming from. This can be a huge challenge.

Statistics also show that 40% of deaf children will experience anxiety and depression during their lives. To curb this happening at Elmfield School for Deaf Children, our Rotary Club has been involved in a project, raising money for a Creative Art Psychotherapist, who will work with the children, encouraging them to have confidence and ultimately be a life changing experience for them. Elmfield School for Deaf Children is based amongst 3 Bristol mainstream schools and is a learning community where deaf children can Connect, Belong and Succeed and connect to the world through developing their languages of English and British Sign Language.

This is became a District 1100  wide project as our Rotary Club sponsored £1,000 towards it and Bristol and Bristol South Rotary Clubs have both contributed £500 each, raising £2,000 between us.

Recently, a fund raising evening was held when two highly qualified and experienced practitioners, Dr Elaine Saunders and Professor Peter Blamey from Melbourne, Australia, spoke about the history of the cochlear implant and the part they played in pioneering of the device. An additional £700 (a total of £1,100 of which £400 went to other Rotary charities) was raised towards the project. We were also privileged to have The Lord Mayor of Bristol, Jos Clark, attend the event.

Hopefully the project will become international, as we are expecting $1,500 (£800) from Melbourne Rotary Club, of which Elaine Saunders is a member.

We have also applied for a District Grant of £1,500 (as we meet the criteria with more than one Club involved) which will bring the total raised to £5,000, being our target to employ the therapist. 

At the Dragon Boat Breakfast a presentation was made to Babs Day (Head Teacher of Elmfield School for the Deaf) and Claire Spencer (Assistant Head) for £2,700 in order to get the project started.

We thank all the members who gave their time to help out during the fundraising evening.

These children are part of our future community, so caring for them can only make a difference. 

Dragon Boat Presentation Breakfast 18th September 2019

David Gammon MBE - Our Dragon Boat Festival was started in 2002 by Rotarian David Gammon. He organised the event for 12 years and established it as our main fundraising event of the year. He was an excellent Rotarian organising many different events and other fundraising for local charities. Sadly, after a period of illness David died earlier this year and we miss him. He would not have been able to do all these things without the support of his wonderful wife Pam. It was great that Pam attended the breakfast celebration.

18 years of Dragon Boat Festival - now a major Bristol annual event.

This was our 18th year of the Dragon Boat Festival which proved to be another success. We had the maximum number of teams, 36 teams. On the day we had a mixture of weather – sunshine and then two hours of very heavy rain in the afternoon and the water was just pouring off the quay. As there wasn’t any lightning the racing continued throughout. Many teams got absolutely soaked but good spirits were maintained, and the racing was very competitive to the end. 

Winners -The Avon Fire & Rescue Service Team were the winners for the third year running and they achieved the fastest times of the day. It was a very hard-fought final. The Rolls Royce Apprentice Association were a close second and the Babcock Buccaneers third.

As in previous years, teams were also competitive with their fancy dress which helps to make the day a real spectacle. We had several versions of Noah’s Ark animals, Romans, Spartans, Vikings, Crusaders, Pirates, Super Heroes, Blu’s Brothers, Sharks, Toy Story Aliens, Hawaiians, Lumberjacks, Water Boatmen, Wizards and many others. Thanks to those team for making this such a colourful and vibrant event. 

The Fancy Dress Prize was won by the Bath & North East Somerset Council team of ‘Caesar’s Geezers’ with the Waterman Group team runners up as ‘Water Boatmen’.

Prizes were presented on the day by Ben Richardson, Director of Caring in Bristol.


Fundraising - Apart from having a lot of fun the objective is of course to raise money for various charities including Rotary’s own charitable activities. The total raised this year  will be about the same as last year at £48,000. (This brings the cumulative total since 2002 to about £756,000).

 The team that had raised the most money was Imperial Brands ‘The Blu’s Brothers and Sisters’ who raised £2403. The organisation that raised the most money was The University of Bristol who entered two teams and raised £4340.

What happens to the money raised? All the money goes to charity.

The Bristol Samaritans Team raised £1892 and The Young Adult Carers Team raised £1337. Money that will make a useful contribution to their running costs.

60% of all the other fundraising will go to our headline charity, Caring in Bristol and 40% to our other charitable activities over the coming year.

Who do we help?

Bristol Breakfast Rotary Club gets involved in helping a wide range of charities with hands on involvement as well as financial donations -  both locally and internationally.

Local projects are typically; -

Kids Out – when we take around 200 school children from less affluent areas for a day out to Cattle Country Adventure Park in Gloucestershire.

Swifts Inclusive Sports Swimming Gala – when we help fund and manage swimming competitions for disadvantaged children.

Young Carers – promoting awareness of young carers’ needs and their support.

Rotary Youth Leadership programmes

Rotary Youth Competitions such as Young Musician of the year.

Environmental projects such as ‘Plant a tree’

Crocus planting in Bristol parks to mark World Polio day.

And many more.

International projects typically include: -

Post-earthquake and educational projects in Nepal

Educational and water projects in Africa

Donations to disaster areas including Shelter Box and Water Survival Box.

The Club also donates to Rotary’s own charity called Rotary Foundation and Rotary’s Polio Eradication Campaign.


Rotary Foundation funds humanitarian projects all round the world in our chosen ‘Areas of Focus’ which are:

Peace and Conflict Resolution, Water and Sanitation, Basic Education and literacy, Disease prevention and treatment, Maternal and child health & Economic and community development.

END POLIO NOW - In 1979 Rotary started its campaign to eradicate polio from the world and since then the World Health Organisation, National Governments, the Bill Gates Foundation and others have all committed to the programme. Huge progress has been made. There are just two endemic countries left – Afghanistan and Pakistan – and we are still striving to achieve our goal of complete eradication.

Cheques were presented to District Governor Rotarian Judy Powell for £1000 to Rotary Foundation, £1000 to the Rotary Disaster Recovery Fund and £1000 to Rotary’s Polio Eradication programme.

Ben Richardson CEO of Caring in Bristol received our presentation cheque for £27,000.

Our many thanks to everyone who made this year’s event such a success. And especially to the person who organised the whole event, David Wells.

Next year our headline charity will be ‘The Greenhouse’ a local charity providing free counselling for anyone who has experienced sexual abuse in their lives. The Dragon Boat Festival in 2020 will be on Sunday the 7th June and I hope that you will all be participating again.


Clifton Rotary Club Fireworks Display

The Rotary Club of Clifton is holding its annual fundraising firework display in Canford Park on Saturday 2nd November 2019  They've asked for some help.  As in previous years, we'vehelped by looking after a gate - checking tickets, collecting money etc. They require 6 to 8 volunteers on the night. In thanks for our efforts, Clifton usually send a cheque for our Charity Account -  £300 or so.

 If you can help please contact Tim Brook.(


END POLIO NOW - IRON LUNG Display at Southmead Hospital 21/22 OCTOBER 2019

We are raising awareness of the 'END POLIO NOW' campaign and World Polio Day which is on 24 October 2019. Over the last 30 years, Rotary has donated US$1.8 billion to the eradication effort and has protected over 2.5 billion children from the disease through vaccination programmes - ... Failure to eradicate polio could result in as many as 200,000 new cases worldwide every year within a decade.We will be displaying an iron lung used to aid polio victims it is a negative pressure ventilator, also known as iron lung or pulmotor, is a mechanical respirator which enables a person to breathe on his or her own in a normal manner, when muscle control is lost, or the work of breathing exceeds the person's ability.(

Crocus Planting on 23 OCTOBER 2019 at TEMPLE GARDENS

Many thanks to those who have volunteered to plant crocuses at Temple Gardens after breakfast on 23 October 2019. So far we have a team of nine. It
would be good if we could get a few more to help out. So, if any other
members wish to join us please contact  John Whittaker. (