Club member sky dives and raises £1,500 for Macmillan Nurses
Club Member Brian Harper raised nearly £1,500 for Macmillan Nurses on the 25th March when he harnessed fear and jumped out of a plane from 10,000ft to free fall for 30 seconds at 125mph. Congratulations to octogenarian Brian for a splendid effort and in his own words “They said jump and I jumped”
Young Writer Competition Success for Vinehall, Robertsbridge and Battle Schools
The third year of the local Rotary Young Writer’s competition, was held by the Rotary Club of Battle in partnership with Battle Writer’s Group at Bexhill Academy on Friday 16th March. Young writers from the following schools; Vinehall, Claverham Community College, Bexhill Academy, Robertsbridge Community College and Battle Abbey competed in three categories, Juniors, Intermediates and Seniors.
The competitors were asked to produce a written or typed story in prose entitled, ‘A Different Perspective’ which was then read out at the evening to the judges and the audience. The imagination and skill of the authors impressed the judges and the audience who were entertained by a wide variety of perspectives. The winners were as follows; Juniors, Hugo Edgar from Vinehall School, Intermediates, Edie Gardner from Robertsbridge Community College and Seniors, Emily Carey from Battle Abbey School. They will go on the Rotary District finals and then, if successful, to the National Final.
The competition Judges were Jonny Magnanti, actor, writer and director, Lisa Harmer-Pope, actor and writer, Sue Barrell BBC competition judge, author and member of Battle Writers Group, and Roy Chapman, Chairman of Battle Writers Group and author. The Judges found it a very challenging task to select the finalists as the standards this year were very high.
Special guests at the event were, Mr Chris Gebbie OBE, the Deputy Lord Lieutenant of East Sussex and his wife and author Vanessa Gebbie, the Deputy Mayor of Bexhill Councillor Abul Azad and the Rotary District Governor Mrs Carol Vizzard who presented prizes to the ten finalists. Vanessa Gebbie spoke to all the contestants and from her own experience of writing encouraged and inspired the young writers to keep working at a hugely satisfying lifelong challenge.
Youth Speaks Success for Claverham Community College
Rotary Youth Speaks is a public speaking competition promoted by Rotary International and aims to give young people the opportunity to gain experience of presentation to the widest possible audience and in full competition with students from all schools in the local area. It is the established premier local event in public speaking in which to compete and places real demands on the contestants.
The first round of this national competition has been organised by the Rotary Clubs of Battle and Bexhill-on-Sea for many years and this year, in addition to the Claverham teams, there were teams from Bexhill Academy and Battle Abbey School at both levels.
Claverham Community College took the prize in both the intermediate and the senior sections of the annual local round of the Rotary Youth Speaks competition held at Bexhill Academy on 1 February.
Their teams will now go on to the Rotary district final in Maidstone on 3 March.
A feature of this round of the competition is the inclusion of a guest team from De Lage Waard school in the Netherlands. This year was no exception and as always the Dutch team amazed the audience with their mastery of English.
The competition requires a team of three to speak on a subject of their choice. There is a chairperson, a main speaker and a giver of the vote of thanks. The competition requires exceptional skill in presenting a persuasive argument to an attentive adult audience. Its demands would daunt many an adult. Once again the teams from the local schools demonstrated that they were well up to the challenge.
The Claverham intermediate team spoke on “The Health and Safety of Childhood” and their seniors on “Morality, Empathy and Group Mentality”.
Battle Community Singers
Battle Rotary Club has donated £500 to Battle Community Singers as a contribution towards the cost of the choir’s participation in the Festival of Choirs at Stratford in March. The cheque was presented at the Rotary Club’s regular weekly meeting when club members were treated to a short concert by the choir. The choir’s Musical Director, Ailsa Vinson, also gave a brief presentation on the choir’s origins, repertoire and ambitions for the future and Lyn Povey, choir Administrator, read a poem written by one of the choir members. This reflected the choir’s objective of offering fellowship through the joy of singing to any members of the community whatever their background and knowledge of music.
Speaking after the meeting, Club President, David Daniels, said that he was delighted that the club was able to assist the choir in this way. It was very much part of the club’s mission to support such worthy local activities which gave so much enjoyment to participants and audiences alike. It was especially a pleasure to be able to do something for a choir formed only relatively recently, yet which had already won plaudits at the 2017 Stratford Festival. Battle Rotary Club certainly wished the choir well at this year’s event.
Battle Community Singers next event is 1066 Voices Together, 3rd February, where community choirs from Battle and surrounding villages will be getting together to learn new songs and celebrate the joy that singing together can bring. If anyone would like to have a go at singing, please contact Lyn Povey 07525 131395.
A huge “Thank you” to the all the kind people of Battle who donated a record £755 to the Rotary Christmas Collection this year. Your generosity will support the Rotary Club in its work helping many deserving local and international charities. This year we donated to many charities amongst which were; St Michael’s Hospice, Chestnut Tree House Charity for terminally ill children, Children with Cancer, Battle 88 Squadron Air Cadets, Battle and Langton School, Conquest Children’s ward and Pageant Gambia Charity. We are part of Rotary International which has worked over the last decade, together with Bill and Melinda Gates, to eliminate Polio worldwide and apart from Pakistan and Afghanistan, there have been no reported cases anywhere else in the world this year. This is a major success in helping children worldwide and shows just what can be achieved by voluntary organisations.
Senior Citizens Party
The Club’s annual Christmas party for the community’s senior citizens on Saturday 9th December was a great success. There was a real festive spirit in the Abbot’s Hall of Battle Abbey School and the Seniors really seemed to be enjoying themselves. The Seniors were welcomed by David Clark Headmaster of Battle Abbey School and played in by pianist Bob Andrews. This year the Seniors were entertained by the Battle Community Singers who got everyone joining in the carol singing. After tea Rotarian Mike Bett told the Tale of the Battle and then Father Christmas delivered the presents.
Many elements came together to achieve this great result. The party was superbly organised and almost all the club members and volunteers contributed to looking after the Seniors.
Special thanks to pianist Bob Andrews, the students from Pestalozzi, to the Battle Community singers, to the Muffins Club of Battle who helped support the event, to all our volunteers, our drivers, to Battle Rotarians and their partners and particularly Margaret Leicester who master minded the organisation of the Party.
Chestnut Tree House
The Rotary Club of Battle has recently donated £500 to Chestnut Tree House. In providing these funds, Club President David Daniels commented that members had been much impressed by the work this charity does to help children with life-shortening conditions and those who care for them. Abigail Harley, Community Fundraiser for the charity responded, “We couldn’t continue to do this without support from wonderful local groups like Battle Rotary, so we would like to say a huge thank you to everyone involved in raising such a fantastic amount for Chestnut Tree House.”
Chestnut Tree House cares for children in Sussex and South East Hampshire with life-shortening conditions, at their hospice near Arundel and in families’ own homes across the region. Their goal is to provide the best quality of life for children, young people and their families, and to offer practical, social and spiritual support throughout each child’s life, however short it may be. Chestnut Tree House is able to provide short breaks in community settings (in children’s own homes) including emergency care, symptom management and end-of-life care services 24 hours a day, provided by a dedicated Community Team.
A major aspect of the Charity’s work includes care for families after the unexpected death of a child or young person. The aim of Chestnut Tree House is to make every day count. The good days, the bad days and the last days.
88 Battle Air Cadet Squadron supported by gift of three Laptops from the Club
The Rotary Club of Battle donated over £1,000 to enable the Battle Air Cadet Squadron of the RAF Air Training Corps to purchase three laptops. The achievements and growth of the Squadron, as well as the need for more training equipment, impressed the members of the Rotary Club, who agreed that the Squadron needed their support and the laptops were recently handed over on behalf of the Club by the President David Daniels CBE.
The Squadron recruits cadets from aged 12 up to 17 and offers a range of activities to cadets including first aid training, sports activities, flying, adventure training, including rock climbing, paddle sports and other topics such as radio. Cadets learn about RAF and ATC history, principles of flight, engineering based subjects and master activities such as shooting. In addition, the Squadron offers the Duke of Edinburgh’s award and leadership courses.
Cadets can take part in week long camps to RAF stations where they learn how the service works and gain a valuable insight in to what a service career could provide. The Squadron has recently completed a 2 week exchange in Australia and in 2018 cadets will take part in expeditions with NASA in the US and Peru next year.
In 2017 the Squadron achieved the sports Squadron of the year award and took part in a competition between the 23 Squadrons of Sussex Wing, scoring overall 2nd place with 1st place in our band performance and aircraft recognition as well as 2nd place in adventure training. This was a first event for a lot of our cadets and our band’s first public performance together.
The Squadron runs recruitment events throughout the year in which potential cadets and their parents or guardians are invited to the Squadron for an in depth briefing. If your son or daughter is interested in joining please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Squadron has grown tremendously over the past few years, from 15 cadets two years ago to its current strength of 45. This success has created a need for additional equipment for training which is where the Rotary Club of Battle were able to help by providing the three laptops. The main issue is that Squadron has now reached the point where it urgently needs new premises to provide the right space and environment for its committed and enthusiastic cadets. If you feel that you can help the Squadron with this challenge or know of suitable accommodation then please contact email@example.com
Battle and Langton School helped by Club Funding Project
The Rotary Club of Battle has provided Battle and Langton School with funding for outdoor tables so that the pupils can benefit from open air lessons and activities during the summer months.
David Daniels, the Club’s President, explained that this funding is all part of the club’s commitment to help youngsters reach their full potential. For many years the Club has encouraged secondary school students to participate in national Rotary youth competitions, particularly those for young speakers and writers and this has been extremely successful. However, the club wanted to help primary schools as well and decided to offer support to projects which the schools would otherwise find difficult to finance.
The Club has set aside £4,000 over a two year period for all the primary schools in the club’s catchment area which includes Battle and the surrounding villages. Each school is limited to one application during the two year period and the Club will donate up to £500 for matched funding by the school or PTA.
The outdoor tables at Battle and Langton CE Primary School are the first of these awards. Head Teacher Simon Hughes was given a cheque for £500 for the tables which are already being put to good use.
A record number of walkers raised funds for St Michael’s Hospice and the Rotary Club of Battle this year.Setting off from Pevensey were the Life Fitness Club
“It’s such a beautiful day and the countryside looks so wonderful that it’s almost a shame to have to finish the walk.” So commented one of the 200 walkers who took part in the 1066 Charity Walk organised jointly by St Michael’s Hospice and the Rotary Club of Battle on Sunday 24 September.
This annual event, which always takes place on the last Sunday in September, is designed to provide an enjoyable day out for experienced walkers and young families alike. It offers three starting points – Pevensey, Boreham Street and Steven’s Crouch. This year there were clear blue skies and lots of sunshine from start to finish adding greatly to walkers’ enjoyment of the day. The finishing point at Battle Abbey offered a place to relax and recover and enjoy tasty cakes to replenish some of the lost calories.
Sponsorship generated by the walk provides much needed funds for St Michael’s Hospice and Rotary Charities. Net proceeds are shared equally between the two organisations.
Annual Club BBQ
The Annual Club BBQ, hosted by President David and Jenny Daniels, was enjoyed by all in glorious August sunshine together with a musical quiz on rock and roll classics won by Honorary Rotarian Peter Mills after a tie break.
Rotary Club of Battle hosts the Rotary Club of Horsham
Eight members of the Rotary Club of Horsham raided the Rotary Club of Battle on Tuesday 25th July and Immediate Past President of Horsham, Jean Grainger gave an insight into the innovative ways in which Horsham and its Interact Clubs raise funds for their Charities.
Izzy Mitchell of Bexhill Academy, Winner of the Rotary Intermediate Young Writer competition receives her certificate.
Winner of the Intermediate Young Writer competition, Izzy Mitchell, was enthusiastically applauded by her peers when she was presented with her certificate by President-Elect Harold at the end of year House Assembly held in the Bexhill Academy Theatre. Head of Cambridge House, Beth Andrews-Dawson, congratulated Izzy for winning such a prestigious award and thanked Battle Rotary Club for providing this opportunity for local young writers to showcase their creativity.
Rotary Club of Battle supports Sussex Charity Pageant’s work in Gambia
After hearing a presentation by Chairman Andrew Groves and Pippa Howard of the Sussex Charity, Pageant, about its mission in The Gambia, the Rotary Club of Battle decided to help the work of the charity in one of the poorest countries in Africa. On behalf of the Club and as part of its International Programme, Rotary President, David Daniels CBE, presented Pippa and Andrew with a cheque for £500 at Pageant’s annual get-together on the 9th July.
Pageant was started by Pippa and her husband, the late Ian Howard, in 2002 to provide assistance to Gambian children and schools. It gives much needed help with sponsorship for school fees for deserving children, provides buildings, furniture and equipment for schools in many areas as well as education and self-sufficiency projects in village communities.
Pageant’s practical science workshops at Gambia College
Run entirely by UK volunteers who forgo expenses, the aim of Pageant is to support the education of Gambian school children in the most cost effective way possible and although Pageant’s main emphasis is on basic education, it has expanded its efforts to include practical workshops for teachers in science, help with local village women’s enterprises and action to defeat that scourge of tropical countries – malaria. Local Gambian support workers ensure that Pageant’s help is used efficiently and regular visits by Andrew and Pippa monitor the various projects that are underway. More information about Pageant can be found on their website http://pageant.org.uk/index.html .
President’s Handover Lunch
Outgoing President Tim Harrison handed over the Presidency of the Rotary Club of Battle to incoming President David Daniels CBE at a special club handover lunch on the 4th July.
The club has enjoyed a successful year under President Tim’s guidance and a tribute to his hard work and commitment was given by John Townsend. President David looked forward to helping the members of the Club in continuing and developing the role of the Club in the community.
Inner Wheel Club Special Lunch
Inner Wheel Club of Battle hosted a special lunch at Leeford Place on Thursday 22nd June to celebrate over 55 years of service to the community and support to the Rotary Club of Battle. The seven members of the Club; Judy Connor, Joan Stoner, Norma Pryce, Ann Kingdom, Pat Morris, Beryl Finbow and Ros Wyer were among the 65 attending the event, which comprised members of Inner Wheel District 12 and members of the Past Rotarians Ladies Club and the Rotary Clubs of Senlac and Battle. An excellent lunch was followed by a superb presentation on Ann Chance’s experience of cattle “round ups” in the North Western USA. A theatrical, amusing and informative insight into the Wild West as seen from horseback, through the dust, and among the (very) longhorn cattle entertained all those at the meeting.
Sadly this was the final meeting of the Club, which over the years had provided much appreciated support to the Rotary Club of Battle and raised considerable funds for charitable work in Kenya. This Charity, “The Yellow Men” gave special thanks to Battle Inner Wheel and District 12 for their support with funding for their work in Kenya, and bouquets were presented to the President Judy Connor President and Treasurer Joan Stoner Treasurer.
The help and support given by the Inner Wheel to the Rotary Club of Battle since 1962 was acknowledged by Battle Rotary International Chairman, Bob Finbow who paid tribute to the hard work and enthusiasm of members of Inner Wheel and supported by Battle Rotarians Michael Hodge and Rob Gee, conveyed the good wishes of the Rotary Club of Battle.
Members of the Inner Wheel Club will be most welcome at future social events organised by the Rotary Club of Battle which would very much like to continue the friendship established over many years.
Battle Rotary celebrates 60 years of service
Sixty years ago 23 men gathered at the George Hotel in Battle for the first meeting of the Rotary Club of Battle. Sixty years later the current members, now both men and women, recently met with their guests at the Cooden Beach Hotel to celebrate the work of the Club during the intervening years. In that time a great deal has been achieved by helping local good causes, entertaining the town’s senior citizens at an annual Christmas party and encouraging young people through participation in national Rotary competitions for public speaking and writing. The Club has also enjoyed International links, most recently in partnership with the Papendrecht Club in the Netherlands with whom it worked closely to help provide a perimeter wall around a refuge for young ladies in Ghana. Whenever natural disasters have occurred anywhere in the world the Club has responded by funding Shelterboxes containing vital equipment such as tents, cooking utensils and tools.
Speaking at the anniversary dinner, principal guest Peter Field, the Lord Lieutenant of East Sussex, reminded those present of the ever increasing role which voluntary groups make to their community and thanked the Club for the part which it has played. “Rotary Clubs” he said, “have set the example for well over 100 years and the contribution made by the Battle Club since it was established in 1957 has been considerable. Both at home and abroad the Club has shown how just a little help can make a significant difference to the lives of those less fortunate than ourselves. At the same time “ he continued “ this evening has underlined how much fun and pleasure can sit alongside the tremendous fund raising efforts of the Club “
As well as celebrating the anniversary, the evening was also the Club’s annual President’s night. As his Presidential year draws to an end Tim Harrison underlined the Lord Lieutenant’s message. He said “ the part which the Club plays in the community is only possible with the help of other local groups and organisations, together with the Battle public, and I would like to take this opportunity to thank them for all their support during the past 12 months. “ He also paid tribute to the work of the Club members and felt sure that he will be handing over to his successor, David Daniels, a Club in good heart.
Stroke Awareness Day
Club Members were successful in helping alert members of the public to the risks of high blood pressure and some needed to see their own GP as quickly as possible.
Senior Stoke nurses Lynn and Jayne from the Irvine Unit at Bexhill were at Day Lewis Pharmacy in the centre of Battle on Saturday 22nd April and during the day ten Rotarians encouraged members of the public in Battle to pop in and get their blood pressure taken.
Actually one gentleman was so keen, he was waiting at the door for the event to start. We are pleased to think that our efforts have helped to put someone on the right path and avoid a stroke or major heart problems.
RIBI Young Writer Competition 2017
The local round of the Rotary Young Writer Competition organised by Battle Rotary Club in close collaboration with the Battle Writers’ Group, once again wrote its own success story with nearly two hundred entrants from the schools within the District of Rother. On Friday, the 17th March, the culmination of the event, the local final, was held at the Battle Memorial Halls. Five hundred word pieces of prose and poetry, on the set theme of ‘Reflections’, entered by the ten finalists, were read to a large and appreciative audience that included local civic dignitaries and the District Governor of Rotary, Rotarian. Peter West.
The overall standard of entries was high and in a hotly contested final round, it was a huge achievement for Izzy Mitchell and Sophie Channon, representing Bexhill Academy and Robertsbridge Community College respectively, to be selected, by the judges, as the winners of their age categories. The work of these talented young authors will now be submitted to the District Round and from there, we hope, be progressed to the National Final which will be judged on the 8th May 2017.
The winners and their fellow finalists were presented with trophies and certificates from the District Governor and they also received a set of books written by prolific local author, and member of Battle Writers’ Group, Jenny Hall.
At this time of austerity with the provision of creative arts in our schools under threat, Battle Rotary Club is proud to provide this opportunity for budding writers to use their imagination and express their creativity to a wider audience.
Rotary Awards presented to Claverham Students
Following their success in the local round of the Rotary Youth Speaks competition organised by the Battle and Bexhill Clubs, the Intermediate and Senior teams from Claverham Community College have been presented with their winners shields.
Both teams went on to compete in the District round held earlier this month. In the Intermediate group Claverham came a very creditable second out of six on the subject of “Image: is it everything ?”. In the Senior section nine teams took part, Claverham’s chosen topic being “The Death of Etiquette”. Out of all the schools taking part, Louise Chan gave the best performance as the Chairman of the team and Leila Lopez-Moran was adjudged to have given the best vote of thanks. These were considerable achievements and on an individual basis they clearly impressed the adjudicators. However, the round was won by Harvey Grammar School from Folkestone who were considered to have given the best team performance.
Welcomed by Charlie Weeks, Director of Marketing and President Geofrey Mushibi and Vice President Rohit Sahu of Pestalozzi Rotaract, members of the Rotary Club of Battle with their partners and friends and Assistant District Governor Les Hoskins enjoyed an ethnic lunch at the Pestalozzi International Village Trust on 14 February.
Jointly organised by Danielle from Pestalozzi and Past President Michael Hodge from the Rotary Club of Battle members took the opportunity to talk to students from the village about their experiences since they arrived in East Sussex and their aspirations for the future. The club was treated to a vigorous display of Bhutanese dancing, a song in Shona and a brief presentation from a Zimbabwean student on what the Pestalozzi experience meant for him.
Battle Rotary Club has enjoyed a long relationship with Pestalozzi regarding it as an important part of its international interests. The help the students provide every year in caring for guests at the Club’s Christmas party for senior citizens in Battle and the surrounding villages is always greatly appreciated
Youth Speaks Competition
Jointly organised by the Rotary Clubs of Battle and Bexhill, the first round of the national Rotary Youth Speaks competition recently took place in the splendid surroundings of the theatre at Vinehall School. As well as Vinehall School itself, four schools entered teams in both the Intermediate and Senior categories – St Richard’s Catholic College, Claverham Community College, Bexhill High Academy and Battle Abbey School. As always, the topics were very varied but, on this occasion, focused on modern issues and trends including healthy eating, the increasing influence of technology and gender equality.
St Richards Catholic College — Men are from Mars, Women from Venus
Claverham Community College — Image it is everything?
Vinehall School — Food Glorious Food
Bexhill High Academy — Gaming and Rap Music, Saint or Sinner?
Battle Abbey School — Future proofing – the rise of the robot
Battle Abbey School — Smartphones — but are we?
Bexhill High Academy — The evolution of popular music
Claverham Community College — The death of etiquette
St Richards Catholic College — The perks of procrastination
De Lage Waard [Guest] — How to : Music
The adjudicators praised all the teams but, as with all competitions, there has to be a winner and, in a very close contest, decided that those from Claverham Community College should go forward to the next round in both the Intermediate and Senior categories. This will not be a new experience for the College as its teams have consistently reached this next stage and beyond.
President Tim Harrison presented the awards to the teams that go through to the next stage and complimented all the teams on the high standard of their presentations and for all the hard work they and they tutors had put into the competition. He also thanked Vinehall School for hosting the event, the adjudicators and the Rotarians of both Bexhill and Battle, particularly Thelma Farr and Vernon Findlay who had organised the event.
President Tim Harrison presenting the Senior Award to Claverham Community College
Past President Michael Hodge with the Claverham Community College Intermediate Team
Rotarian Michael Peacock remembered
Rotarian Michael Peacock of Battle was a dedicated supporter of both International and Youth Rotary Links and in particular the close relationship he developed with the De Lage Waard school in Papendrecht, Netherlands. Michael started the innovation whereby students from the school participate in an guest capacity in the Annual Rotary Youth Speaks Competition which this year was held at the Vinehall School.
Sadly, Michael passed away just over a year ago but his memory and link with the school will live on through a shield which was presented during this year’s competition. In the presence of Michael’s widow, Jennifer, the shield was handed over to the students’ teacher, Edwin Berkhout. It will be awarded annually by the De Lage Waard School to the student or students who are judged by the school to have made the best contribution to furthering international friendship.
Jennifer Peacock and Edwin Berkhout with the Rotary Shield in memory of Rotarian Michael Peacock
Each year the teams from De Lage Waard impress, not just with their command of the English language, but also the confident way in which they argue their points on challenging topics. This year was no different and, as the final presentation of the evening, it brought proceedings to an end on a very high note.
Tobias den Haan , Irene de Jong and Martijn Ruisbrook participating in the Rotary Youth Speaks Competition.
Rotary Christmas Festivities
The Rotary Club of Battle held its Christmas Festivities this year at the Highwoods Golf Club, as a change from the usual venue of Battle Abbey. Members displayed a wide variety of seasonal sartorial elegance as guests and members met for a sociable get-together. Highwoods Golf Club was suitably seasonably well decorated and everyone enjoyed a traditional Christmas Turkey Dinner. President Tim Harrison proposed the toasts and made a presentation to the staff who had looked after us so well.
Father David Hill the Rector at St John the Evangelist’s Church and John Townsend started the evening’s entertainment with a carol and then Father David amused everyone with his special brand of humour and jokes. He provided a splendid rendition in English of the “Cantique de Noel” and the evening finished with all joining in “Silent Night” .Wishing all Rotary Club members and their families a very happy Christmas and a peaceful New Year.
Rotary Club of Battle hosts Battle Seniors at Battle Abbey
The Club’s annual Christmas party for the community’s senior citizens on Saturday 3rd December was a great success. There was a real festive spirit in the Abbot’s Hall and Battle Seniors really seemed to be enjoying themselves, joining in the Carols and old favourites accompanied by Bob Andrew and Rotary Club choir . Many elements came together to achieve this great result. The party was well organised, thanks to Margaret Leicester and almost all the club members and volunteers contributed to looking after the Seniors, the Pestalozzi students were their usual helpful selves. Father Christmas delivered the presents, the Battle Rotary Club choir assembled as it always does for its annual appearance displaying its usual eclectic approach to music and of course the club once again was privileged to be able to use the magnificent Abbot’s Hall. A great start to the Festive Season.
Rotary Club of Battle donates Shelter Boxes to help Haiti
The most powerful Caribbean hurricane in nearly a decade has left thousands of people displaced in Haiti, with rescuers struggling to reach the worst-hit areas.Hurricane Matthew is said to have devastated parts of the country, where at least two people have died. At least 10,000 people were in shelters and there were reports of overcrowded hospitals suffering shortages of fresh water.
Rotary clubs across Great Britain and Ireland raise around £1.5 million each year for the ShelterBox charity and some Rotarians are ShelterBox Response Team members who go out to disaster areas and provide hands-on help during times of need. These disasters can be anything from dealing with the aftermath of tsunamis to helping refugees from war-torn countries who have fled conflict.
The Rotary Club of Battle donated funds to send two ShelterBoxes to Haiti. These are designed to help people who have lost everything. They are filled with practical tools and utensils that help to create the framework for everyday life. Each contains a family-sized tent that protects people from the elements and provides a safe space in which people can start to recover from physical and emotional trauma. The ShelterBox also contains a water purification kit, thermal blankets, tools, and other necessities such as solar lights, water storage equipment and cooking utensils to help a family survive after a disaster.
Battle of Hastings 950 year Anniversary re-enactment
The major event in Battle in October was the re-enactment of the Battle of Hastings, 950 years after the real event. The Rotary Club of Battle welcomed our friends from the Rotary Club of Papendrecht for the event and everyone enjoyed a weekend of visits to local sites such as Bodiam Castle, Battle Museum as well as shared social events.
More photographs of the re-enactment in the Gallery
A perfect day for walking – 1066 Walk
All ages enjoyed the annual 1066 Walk from Pevensey to Battle in support of St Michael’s Hospice and the Rotary Club of Battle. A tremendous turnout, just under 950 years after William’s trek through hostile country, enjoyed the peaceful and beautiful East Sussex countryside , the various Inns along the route and finishing off at historic Battle Abbey to enjoy afternoon tea. Congratulations to all the walkers, young and old as well as their four legged friends who joined in and completed the course. Many thanks to all the volunteers who gave their time and effort to organise the event and helped on the day.
President’s Annual BBQ
A most enjoyable afternoon was spent at President Tim and Kathryn’s home for the annual BBQ. Despite high winds and heavy showers, Club Members and their guests braved the typical English summer and tucked into a tasty BBQ and glasses of PIMMS. Many thanks to Tim and Kathryn, their family and dogs who looked after everyone so well.
Battle RC visit Heathfield and Waldron Rotary Club
President Tim Harrison and seven Battle RC members visited Heathfield and Waldron Rotary Club for their regular Thursday evening meeting on August 18th. A good meal and excellent company were followed by a few of their members talking for four minutes beginning “I remember”. President Tim volunteered to join in with his four minutes earning him a big round of applause.
Messing about in boats
Club Members enjoyed boating on a sunny afternoon on the River Rother, leaving Bodiam for a leisurely lunch at the Lime Wharf Cafe in Newenden and relaxing as the boat travelled through the Sussex countryside. Many thanks to Dave Ballard who organised the trip, but was unfortunately unable at the last minute to join in.
Outgoing President Michael Hodge MBE handed over the Presidency of the Rotary Club of Battle to incoming President Tim Harrison at a special club lunch on the 28th June. The club has enjoyed a successful year under President Michael’s guidance and a tribute to his hard work and commitment was given by John Townsend. President Tim Harrison looked forward to continuing and developing the Club’s role in the community.
The handover lunch was well attended by club members and their guests who were entertained by Honorary Rotarian Ted Batt who told the story of his uncle, who was one of the early pioneers of flight in England.
President Michael Hodge MBE celebrated his President’s Night at the Highwoods Golf Club on Saturday 11th June. During his Presidency, the Rotary Club of Battle had developed among other activities, initiatives for Young Writers and Youth Speaks as well as the Battle Museum Axe Project. Past President Ken Driscoll carried out his Master of Ceremonies role with his usual flair and style. Among the numerous guests were President Ray Howard of St Leonards who toasted the Rotary Club of Battle and after President Michael’s toast to his guests, President Peter Georgiadis of Hastings responded.A presentation of a Paul Harris Fellowship was made to Bob Finbow for his sterling work in support of Rotary International and the Battle Memorial Hall and the evening concluded with a short talk given by Mr Gordon Piggott.
The President’s wife Wilma was presented with a lovely bouquet and this and the table decorations had been organised by Marian Rigby. All the guests and Rotarians had a most enjoyable social evening in a pleasant setting.
Great Egg Race
Teams from the Rotary Clubs of Eastbourne AM, Eastbourne, Hailsham and Battle competed in the Rotary Great Egg Race on 6th May at East Dean Village Hall. The task was to build a tower from paper, drinking straws and sellotape to hold a 1kg bag of sugar as high as possible for at least 30 seconds and as far out from the centre of a small baseboard. The Battle Rotary team of Tim Harrison, Peter Mills, Harold Lawrence, Dave Ballard, Bill Joby and David Daniels had great fun in making a strong and sturdy construction that had no difficulty holding up the sugar completely “hands off” and were only just a fraction lower than the winners from Eastbourne. Excellent team effort and fun for all.
Visit to the Rotary Club of Papendrecht
Club members and their partners visited the Rotary Club of Papendrecht in the Netherlands at the end of April. The Rotary Club of Papendrecht has long had a friendly relationship with the Rotary Club of Battle and it was good to renew old friendships . The start of the visit coincided with King’s Day, a public holiday in the Netherlands, when the Dutch people gather to toast their King and Queen. Battle Rotarians were able to join in the day’s activities, which included singing in the town square, joining the Mayor of Papendrecht for the traditional toast and rambling around the local flea market which is always held on this day.
A primary attraction for the visitors was the tulip fields at Keukenhof and much of the second day was occupied viewing the flowers. The weather could have been kinder, but this did not prevent the Rotarians enjoying the colourful indoor and outdoor displays at this unique sight.
The visit concluded with the Battle Rotarians enjoying a dinner and fellowship at the Papendrecht club’s regular weekly meeting. British and Dutch Rotarians expect to meet again in October when Dutch friends will come to Battle for the festivities commemorating the 950th anniversary of the Battle of Hastings.
Know Your Blood Pressure Day 2016
For the 13th year running, Rotarians and representatives from the Stroke Association will be saving lives by hosting blood pressure testing events in their local communities. Members of the public can have their blood pressure checked free of charge at local venues in a bid to raise awareness of the link between high blood pressure and strokes.
Members of the Rotary Clubs of Battle organised by Rotarian Thelma Farr, were in action on Saturday 23rd April encouraging everyone in Battle High Street to take up the offer of a free check.
Last year almost three in every ten people who had their blood pressure taken at a Know Your Blood Pressure event were advised to see their GP for a follow up. It is also estimated that around 16 million people in the UK have high blood pressure and around a third are unaware of this. At least 40% of strokes could be prevented each year if people checked their blood pressure and took steps to control it.
Search and Rescue at Lydd Airport
Battle Rotary Club members visited the Search and Rescue at Lydd Airport on Friday 15th April and were warmly welcomed by Dave Gibbs, who is one of the Bristow pilots flying out of Lydd. Although the weather outside was cold, wet and windy, the helicopter hanger provided dry surroundings for a fascinating talk by Dave, who explained that in August 2015 Bristow Helicopters started to operate their search and rescue service from Lydd Airport in Kent. The company had won a contract from HM Government to take over responsibility for search and rescue from the RAF and Royal Navy. Lydd is one of the stations the company is now operating under this contract on behalf of HM Coastguard. Dave described the incidents they were called upon to handle, and how they coordinated their operations with other stations and emergency services. The twelve members of the Club were able to watch a helicopter taking off and, with the added assistance of one of the engineers, were shown over one of the aircraft and all the impressive equipment they carry. Altogether it was a most informative visit, much enjoyed by the visitors.
Pestalozzi International Village Dinner
The Rotary Club of Battle has a long standing and supportive relationship with the Pestalozzi International Village at Sedlescombe, especially its Rotaract Club, and joined some of the students there for dinner on 7 April. The club took advantage of the occasion to introduce Peter Davey, President of Rotary International in Great Britain and Ireland, to Pestalozzi’s activities and for some of the students to describe their experiences in a cultural environment so different from their home. District Governor Ray Dixon and his wife Jenny were also able to attend the dinner and he and Peter Davey both spoke of the shared values of Pestalozzi and Rotary. The students entertained and enthralled the audience with their live stories and their personal challenges to win Pestalozzi Scholarships. Sue Walton Chief Executive of Pestalozzi described the issues faced by a charitable organisation in providing support for such deserving and motivated young people.
Pestalozzi Rotaract Club Leader Bigyan
Dance Entertainment by the Pestalozzi Students
Peter Davey, President of Rotary International in Great Britain and Ireland, Sue Walton Pestalozzi Chief Executive and Michael Hodge MBE, President of the Rotary Club of Battle
Peter Davey, President of Rotary International in Great Britain and Ireland,
Ray Dixon District Governor, Rotary South East District District 1120
Battle Museum Axe Head Project
The axe head was found in Marley Lane in the 1950s and has been assessed by experts as almost certainly to have been used during the 1066 battle. Because it is so old, it needs to be displayed in an environmentally controlled cabinet and supported in a tailor-made cradle. An exact replica of the axe head mounted on a shaft has been built and is now proudly on display in Battle’s museum. The occasion was the Donor’s Reception on 23 March which the Museum held as a thank you to those that had donated to their Axe Head project and Club Treasurer Mike Bett is shown holding the axe . With the help of a district grant, Battle RC had contributed well over £1,000 and were credited with providing the educational elements to the project, including the replica axe. Apart from club members, other Rotarians attending the reception were Denis Spiller, who in due course will become President of RIBI, and our own District Governor, Ray Dixon. It was a proud evening for Battle Rotary Club showing how we had made a significant contribution to our local community.
Battle Marbles Competition
The Rotary Club of Battle joined in the popular and very well attended annual Battle Marbles competition on a warm sunny Good Friday on the Green in the centre of Battle. The Ladies Team of Margaret, Marian, Ali, Jenny and Wilma put in a sterling performance reaching the finals and collected their medals. The men; Mike, Dave, Peter, David and Paul reached the Quarter Final, but Dad’s Army ably led by Captain Mainwaring proved just a bit too strong.
RIBI Young Writer Competition
On Friday, the 18th March 2016. a large audience assembled at the Battle Memorial Hall to listen to talented young authors read their 500 words on the subject ‘Our world is Beautiful’ All the local schools were represented by the winners of the internal competitions organised earlier in the school term. Finalists, in two age groups, represented Bexhill Academy, St Richard’s Catholic College, Claverham Community College, Robertsbridge Community College, Battle Abbey School and Vinehall. The standard was exceptionally high which set the three judges, Jonny Magnanti, Brion Purdy and Roy Chapman, an extraordinarily difficult task to find the overall winners. This they managed to do and though, inevitably, some were disappointed, it was stressed that there were certainly no losers. All the participants should be proud to have reached this stage of the competition and be encouraged to continue exploiting their undoubted writing talents.
The winners were:
Intermediate (age 11-13) – Ellie Bostock-Smith ( Battle Abbey School )
Seniors (age 14-17) –Amber Rampling ( Battle Abbey School)
We wish them further successes as they progress to the regional heat and then, hopefully, the national final. The Event was attended by D. G. Ray Dixon , and the Chair of District Community and Vocational, Brian Dunne. As well as the Mayors of Battle and Bexhill, The Chairs of East Sussex County Council and Rother District Council. This is the first time that Battle Rotary Club has organised the first round of The RIBI Young Writer Competition. We were delighted to organise the event in partnership with the Battle Writers Group. Based on the positive feed- back received from the local schools, it was deemed a great success and they are looking forward, already to next year!
Congratulations are due to Thelma’s Community and Vocational Committee and the Battle Writers Group for setting the standard for the future, in the knowledge that the RIBI Young Writer Competition is now highly regarded by our local schools.
Welcome to Bill Juby our Newest Member
President Michael welcomed Bill who is an experienced Rotarian, having been a member of a Croydon club for many years. We are all delighted that he has chosen to join the Rotary Club of Battle. Bill will be a member of the Community and Vocational Committee
Claverham Community College of Battle triumphs at the Rotary District 1120 Finals of Youth Speaks 2016
Claverham Community College triumphs yet again in the Rotary District 1120 Final of Youth Speaks, held on Saturday 27th February, with both the Intermediate and Senior Teams winning their heats and going forward to the Regional Final in Marlow on the 20th March.
Both teams faced stiff opposition with opposing teams from Gillingham, Sittingbourne, Chislehurst, Benenden, Maidstone, Ashford, Canterbury, and Hythe. There were a total of five teams in the Intermediate and nine in the Seniors. The Judge’s decisions came through exceedingly quickly with Claverham taking the double accolade of Winners of the District Final in both age groups.
Thelma Farr, who witnessed their triumph, has reported that these were closely fought rounds with strong competition from schools throughout the district tackling a wide range of topics. These included “Observations of life from the top of a bus” presented by three young ladies from Canterbury and the topical “Should we apologise for the British Empire”.
The Claverham teams excelled with polished and professional presentations and were an credit to their school. The Rotary Club of Battle sends congratulations to the two teams and their hard working tutor for an outstanding performance.
First heats of Youth Speaks 2016 held at St Richards College, Bexhill on 4th February — Claverham move on the the District Finals
Claverham Seniors – Mille Bulgin, Harvey Hill and Laura Williams
Claverham Intermediate – Louise Chan, Olivia Stapley and Leila Lopez-Moran,
De Lage Waard – Ilse Barkmeijer, Bart de Feijter and Carine van der Sluijs
Teams from Battle Abbey, Bexhill High Academy, St Richard’s Catholic College and Vinehall School as well our usual guest team form De Lage Waard school in the Netherlands all took part. The Claverham senior team of Mille Bulgin, Harvey Hill and Laura Williams drew on their considerable experience in this competition with a presentation on the new English vocabulary generated principally by the computer age. Presumably by coincidence this was also a topic tackled by the Vinehall intermediate team. Gender equality featured in two of the other presentations and the Dutch delivered some interesting thoughts on luck and success. Battle Abbey seniors tackled Descartes’ tricky “I think therefore I am”. Louise Chan, Olivia Stapley and Leila Lopez-Moran, Claverham’s intermediate team, had plenty to say about junk food. Claverham once again demonstrated how accomplished their teams are in the art of public speaking and our congratulations and best wishes for future rounds go to them and to their teacher and coach, Pam Hardy. Our club presented the Dutch team with works by Jane Austen and Charles Dickens. Thanks are due to Thelma and Vernon Findlay at Bexhill for all they did to organise the event.
President Michael Hodge welcomes Neil Pope to the Club and we all wish him a long and enjoyable membership of Rotary
Significant Boost to Club Funds
Santa’s Little Helpers did exceptionally well this year rasing just under £1,000 for charitable purposes. The weather was reasonable on the 11th and 12th December; windy and overcast, but not at all like it was a few years ago, when some Rotarians found themselves standing for what seemed like ages on thick compacted ice. So there were plenty of people about and they gave generously. One Battle resident gave us a seriously large cheque. but even without that, it was a record year.
We tried a new pitch this year, outside the Tesco/Esso garage on Battle Hill. At certain times it proved really lucrative. We also noticed a change in footfall pattern following the move of the Post Office to Budgens. Parts of the Market Square proved really rewarding for our collectors.
We can reflect on a job well done and thanks are due to all our members, and their pets, who gave their time for the collection. The two days generated not far short of £1000. That will take some beating next year.
In Memoriam Rotarian Michael Peacock
Michael Peacock died on 9 December. He had been ill for several months. Michael had been a member of the Rotary Club of Battle since 2004. He was one of the club’s stalwarts and contributed much, and willingly so. He will be particularly remembered for his work with young peo-ple and for the links he developed with De Lage Waard school in Papendrecht. The links were so deep that he was a welcome visitor to the school staff room (and its coffee machine). Battle Rotary Club members are determined that Michael’s good work should not be lost. Above all they will do all they can to ensure the con-tinuation of the tradition that Michael estab-lished of having a Dutch team in the initial round of Rotary International’s Youth Speaks competition.
Michael was a familiar figure in Battle and adept at organising meals for club guests in the local hostelries and at Benji’s café where he delighted in treating young Dutch students to a full English breakfast. He was often seen on the Abbey Green sitting with his Golden Retriever, Tara, watching the world go by and up for a chat with anyone he knew. It meant too that he was really good at raising funds for the club.
Michael will unquestionably be hugely missed by his family, colleagues and many