Newsletter 53

Welcome to our weekly newsletter

Our breakfast meeting this week began with two minutes silence to remember Founder Member John Hollier, followed by a short tribute from Philip Bowry.
We welcomed our speaker Mavis Loterh, a second year optometry student from Cardiff University.

Portishead Raft Race

Roger Harper reported on the achievements of the team representing the club who had entered the Portishead Raft Race, which had taken place on Sunday 9th July. This had involved a lot of background work on the part of Barry Robertson and Bob Whittington in particular, to build the raft and on the part of Mary Whittington for decorating it.

On the day the raft was paddled by Bob Whittington and Roger Harper.

Competing as a pair against much larger craft with more paddlers proved to be their undoing. They would have won the pairs competition (if there had been a separate category) but were pleased to come half way down the field in the second semi-final.

In the meantime, Gordano Rotary Club, who had inherited a boat that had been used in previous years, came a very creditable third overall.


Portishead Soapbox Derby Volunteers

Roger also asked for help this coming Sunday 16th July when Portishead hosts its Soapbox Derby.

Gordano Rotary Club have been able to persuade the organisers to allow them to take a bucket collection throughout the day and additional volunteers are required for various slots between 12 Noon and 5pm.

Please contact Roger Harper if you are interested in helping.

Young Carers

Mary Whittington read out a letter of thanks from the Carers Association, thanking all those club members who had taken part in helping out at the recent barbeque.

Corporate Membership

The President reported on recent discussions which had taken place in Club Council meetings regarding the development of corporate membership. These discussions had been triggered by significant changes which have been made in membership categories throughout Rotary and an initiative which had encouraged clubs to think about creating two new categories of membership, i.e. Associate Membership and Corporate Membership.

At the moment, the club had not developed an Associate Membership model. Broadly speaking, this would allow someone to join the Club on an associate basis for up to two years so as to be able to take part in club activities, but without having to undertake all of the responsibilities of a full and active membership.

The Club had developed some guidelines around Corporate Membership. These were designed to encourage the clubs to build relationships with businesses and/or organisations which might want to propose more than one member.

The President noted that although there was currently a strong push to encourage new business members the Club had always had a number of members who are not “in business” but were employed within the public sector.

Corporate Membership could involve the development of a relationship with any organisation. The key part of it was to recruit one particular person who would act as the main link for that relationship. That person would then be entitled to nominate up to three additional “designees” who would also become members of the club (in that the club would be required to pay the relevant dues to Rotary) but their membership would be determined by the organisation. The individuals would still need to be approved by the Club in the normal way. Such an arrangement could give rise to leadership development opportunities for aspiring managers within those organisations.

If anyone has any suggestions, comments or concerns please contact the President. 

Malawi Volunteering Project

Our speaker, Mavis Loterh, gave a stimulating talk about the prospective volunteering project in which she hopes to become involved this summer. This is an opportunity provided through Cardiff University to travel out to Malawi this summer with eleven other students on an outreach refraction project, carrying out eye tests and screening for eye conditions. Since Mavis is an optometry student, it is an excellent way in which she and her colleagues can gain valuable practical experience, whilst also passing on to the local health practitioners some of the latest teaching that they have received through the university.  The group is hoping to take with them two thousand pairs of spectacles and an education programme.

Since there is no funding available from Malawi, the volunteer students are expected to fund this activity themselves and between them, they are having to raise a total of £9,000 to provide safe accommodation, travelling expenses, food and living costs. They are due to leave on the 15th August. It became clear from the presentation that other Rotary Clubs have funded previous visits which have been organised through the university. The Club will provide the usual speaker’s fee to Mavis once she has identified the charity to whom payment can be made.

Diana Thal-Jantzen gave a vote of thanks and commended Mavis on the excellence of her presentation.

If anyone has spare spectacles lying around please bring them into the Club and we will endeavour to make them available to Mavis for her trip.


Join the club...

Membership is currently open if you would like to join our friendly pro-active group!
If you'd like to come along to a Wednesday morning meeting please email us at


The club has just learned that the funeral of John Hollier has now been fixed to take place on Tuesday 25th July at 2pm at St Peters Church in Henleaze, then afterwards at the Eastfield Inn, Westbury on Trym.

Next Week’s Meeting

Please note that our meeting next week will be extended to 9am to allow Brigadier Bruce Jackman to talk about the Gurkhas. His son is a third generation Gurkha. This will be an interesting talk and all club members were encouraged to invite guests.

Upcoming Meetings and Events

19 July 2017 - Brigadier Bruce Jackman will talk about the Ghurkas – his family are third generation members of the regiment. PLEASE NOTE this speaker will talk for 45 minutes so the meeting will be finishing later. This is an interesting talk so encourage friends and colleagues to come along.

26 July 2017 – Ed Reed – Caring in Bristol talking about their new project.

2nd August 2017 - Dina Stanley of Tomorrows People.

Corporate membership is now available.

Please visit our Membership page for more details of how your company can join Rotary, and develop its corporate social responsibility policies.