Newsletter 130 - August/September 2020

President's Piece

From President John Whittaker:

The question in everyone's mind is meeting online  the ‘new normal’ for Rotary now that the Covid lockdown has eased? Certainly we have been fortunate in the south west with lower numbers of cases and deaths from this invisible killer. Since March, we have been forced to abandon our weekly face-to-face meetings in favour of meeting online via Zoom. Our many thanks must go to Willem Pietersen for managing the technology and to Geoff Mayell for arranging such an array of interesting speakers. Although this has been quite effective for those who feel comfortable with technology, we know that around the country there are several members who are completely IT illiterate and reluctant to try out any technological solution.

Now that many shops, restaurants and many places of public entertainment have reopened many clubs will look to resuming some face to face meetings. Our club has been innovative and we have had good numbers joining our weekly Wednesday morning meetings with visitors from home and abroad as well as attracting two more new members to join the club. A warm welcome to Bob Somers and Reine Mugisha. It may take some members longer to return to meetings as they’re considered high risk, but we hope to include them by Zoom as long as it is felt necessary.

However our club has not stopped planning and innovating with both the Comvoc and International Committtees continuing to service projects already in being and looking ahead to other suitable projects for the future. We have also delivered on our fundraising with many members contributing to charitable causes, here at home, during he crisis. Members have generously contributed over £6,500 to help wih North Bristol and East Bristol Foodbanks, Caring in Bristol for homelessmess, the Bridge Learning Campus helping vulnerable children  and the Green House who support children suffering child sexual abuse. They are all charities who are finding it difficult at this time but make provision for the vulnerable in our city.

On the social front, we have enjoyed a number of highly entertaining virtual get-togethers, playing Charades, Bingo and Scattergories. We recently had a truly memorable walk on Walton Common in the Gordano Valley, and another enjoyable perambulation, around the Bath skyline, is planned to take place shortly. Also, we have an eagerly anticipated Boules evening coming up at a local pub garden. And, as a joint social/fund-raising event seven of us are cycling in the gruelling Great Weston Ride (see separate piece). So we are continuing to thrive in changed circumstances and we are determined to ensure that our renowned Rotary fellowship and our important charitable activities will continue to the greatest effect possible.

Beirut Disaster

The news has been full of the emergency situation in Beirut where the explosion on 4 August 2020 has caused so much devastation with many wondering how we can help. Rotarian Ian Beattie of Bristol Rotary Club has experience of the Lebanon having worked there and still has Rotary contacts there. However, with the news of the Beirut explosion on the 4th August Ian saw an opportunity for Rotary to be involved in a practical way to help Beirut through Beirut Cedars Club contacting  GBI President Tom Griffin see if GBI would be interested in launching an emergency appeal. This suggestion was passed down to DG 1100 Chris Firth who thought this a great opportunity for UK & Beirut Rotarians to help the many thousands in Beirut affected by the explosion. A Just Giving Appeal for Rotary to fund-raise for the Beirut Cedars Rotary Club in which Ian's contact Ron Farra is President Elect.

At a recent meeting we heard first hand from Rotarian Stuart Amesbury of our twin club, Rotary Prague International. Stuart as part of Disaster Aid Europe was asked to visit Beirut between 18-23 August 2020 as he is a consultant engineer to provide a needs assesssmnet on the situation. Disaster Aid Europe is part of a global network of Disaster Aid International. (DAI). Stuart met with local Rotarians and Rotoractors to assess and report back to the DAI in order to synchronise support to Beirut. He found that over 40% of the city had been destroyed or badly damaged and that added to the Covid19 pandemic was causing homelessness, no jobs, no businesses and a huge amount of damage to buildings. He made a visit to the Rosary Sister's Hospital where a brand new wing had been totally destroyed finding the whole situation highly emotional. 

Click here to see video made by the Rotary Club of Beirut Cedars Beirut Video

The DAE mission is to assist the Lebanese Rotary Clubs Crisis Committee in keeping and supporting the rebuilding of communities affected by the explosion. What is needed urgently is clean water that can be provided through Sky Hydrants and Sawyer water filters, solar lamps, blankets, hot water bottles and importantly raising awareness iin the Rotary World to help initiate a Global Grant to re-equip the Rosary Sister's Hospital. 

Disaster Aid Europe and Disaster Aid UK and Ireland welcomes you to donate/support /volunteer see Disaster Aid UK or Facebook - Disaster Aid Europe

Disaster Aid Europe:

  1. Was founded as a project of the Rotary Club Prague International.
  2. Has members/volunteers from across Europe.
  3. Is a member of Disaster Aid International, a partnership of Rotary Based organisations dedicated to providing Humanitarian Aid.
  4. Responds to disasters with the supply of humanitarian aid with Smart Aid to the affected communities and/or individuals until the needs are reasonably addressed.
  5. Responds to the disaster of contaminated water with Safe Water for Every Child by providing SkyHydrants to schools and communities.
  6. Trains volunteers in administering humanitarian relief and aid.
  7. Provides education and training in aspects of disaster relief to individuals, community groups, businesses, schools and other organisations.
  8. Works in partnership on humanitarian projects funded by other organisations, including Rotary clubs and Rotary districts.







It will be a 7-8 mile walk(approx) along rough footpaths and with maybe 300 metres of ascent. It will give views over Bath and will pass through several sites of historical interest.

Meeting Point will probably be at the Bath Park and Ride on the A4 at Newbridge (Map Ref ST717 657) and participants will need to be ready to walk at 9 am. The walk is likely to be 3- 4 hours and with the option of joining up for refreshments afterwards

Arrangements can change depending on weather and other circumstances. If you wish to join the walk then please let me know and I will send further details nearer the time.

Peter Hilton: and tel: 0117-9688031 and 07490-487719


The Great Weston Ride - Sunday 20 September 2020


An intrepid team of seven cyclists from this Club have signed up to complete the Great Weston Ride on Sunday 20 September. The GWR is a recreational cycle ride, not a race, which runs over 57 miles from Long Ashton, through the Chew Valley, up Burrington Coombe and over the Mendips, across the Somerset Levels taking in Wedmore and Burnham on Sea, and then north to Weston seafront.

They are riding to raise funds for The Green House, a Bristol-based charity dedicated to helping people affected by child sexual abuse Members will recall that The Green House was to have been the beneficiary of this year’s Dragon Boat Festival cancelled due to the coronavirus so we are hoping to offset some of the funds foregone by The Green House by inviting Club Members and others to sponsor us. To donate please follow the link Great Weston Ride donate here


Research Edinburgh University

Researchers at the University of Edinburgh have designed a survey on the societal impacts of Covid-19. One of the principal aims of the survey is to learn about how members of service/helping organisations such as Rotary UK are helping their communities during this difficult time. Therefore, they are particularly interested in capturing responses from Rotarians. The survey is open to all adults over 18 years. The survey is all online and takes about 15 minutes. They would be grateful if you could spare a few minutes both to participate in the survey yourselves and to share the survey with your wider networks. 

 The survey can be accessed by clicking the link: Survey Questionnaire

Feel free to get in touch with the research team at if you're interested in discussing further.

 Please note that Rotary in Great Britain and Ireland has already circulated this survey to district governors, although the research team is also following up with clubs individually. 


Jelli Fest Online

Rotarian Douglas Karson will be the opening spoken word performer for Jelli Fest Online on September 6th. You are invited to tune in and enjoy this wonderful sharing of words and music. The event is free but you can donate online if you like. All proceeds will be split between performers. The link to the facebook site is Jelli Fest Online

Artist Support Pledge

Douglas has a number of unique Ink paintings from his Yoga and Trinity Series available as part of the Artist Support Pledge Movement. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many artists have found themselves without work, teaching, technical support and gallery work. Exhibitions and sales have disappeared. In an attempt to help alleviate some of this stress Douglas has instigated the ARTIST SUPPORT PLEDGE #artistsupportpledge

The concept is a simple one. Artists post images of their work, on Instagram which they are willing to sell for no more than £200 each (not including shipping). Anyone can buy the work. Every time an artist reaches £1000 of sales, they pledge to spend £200 on another artist/s work. Have a look at Douglas's website Douglas Support Pledge or Singulart