It’s been one amazing year at Maidenhead Bridge Rotary Club with hundreds rabbits, reindeer and health checks being just some of the many activities the club has been involved with.
On Saturday the club celebrated the end of the Rotary year with a lovely evening reception at the Bird in Hand. And there was a lot to celebrate as the group of young professionals and volunteers have somehow managed to fit in 145 events over the last 12 months ranging from hands-on volunteering such as supporting FoodShare, to socials including walks in the countryside and plenty of pub visits, to fundraising for local and international charities, to networking!
Outgoing Club President James Berkeley had set some pretty high goals for his year, but he also wanted all members to have fun and make new friends, which was most definitely achieved!
One of the club’s key events of the year was a Health Awareness Day in February, giving advice to local Maidonians about blood pressure, healthy hearts, diabetes etc with the support of professional organisations. On that day alone over 100 people had their blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar levels checked, 15 people were advised to visit their GP within a month and one was advised to visit their GP within a week. This just proves the value of that day, potentially saving people’s lives.
In a year where Rotarians were asked to “Be the Inspiration” – one of the highlights for James was attending Maidenhead’s Got Talent, organised by all Rotary Clubs in Maidenhead, at Taplow Court in March. He watched a young male singer in his early teens, nervously walk on stage and then blow away the audience with his incredible rendition of “My Heart Will Go On”. Earlier in the evening, James had met him & his classmate and was informed that their third performer, plus teacher hadn’t arrived yet. This young lad walked on stage, wowed the audience and when the applause raised the roof burst into tears. It was clear that he was truly overwhelmed by the reaction – which in turn resulted in a swift standing ovation! Definitely an inspiration for other young performers!
At the start of the year on July 1st 2018, the club set the goal of 1400 hands-on volunteer hours, and by the end of June the enthusiastic club had well and truly smashed this goal, reaching 2,190 hours! It’s not all been about volunteering our time, as club they have also raised over £10,000 for a variety of local, national and international charities.
The end of year party was a great celebration and the highlight was awarding a Paul Harris Fellow to one of our amazingly dedicated members, Claire Booth. Paul Harris founded Rotary in 1905 and clubs often recognise their members by giving a Paul Harris Fellow if they have performed above and beyond in their Rotary duties.
The recipient of this special award has made a long-standing contribution to Rotary. In fact, their Rotary journey started over 20 years ago in Rotaract. Claire was a very active member of Rotaract, taking on many roles within her own club and she was also very active on a District level. More recently, Claire was a founding member of Maidenhead Bridge Rotary Club in 2012 and has either been on the club council or involved in key projects every year since the club began.
In the last couple of years Claire has made a key contribution to the club by leading the project to rebuild a school in Nepal after the devastating earthquake in 2015. She went off on a self-funded trip to Nepal in 2017 on behalf of Maidenhead Bridge Rotary. No one can argue she has done an excellent job moving this project forward almost single handily. Handling the fundraising, sorting out grants and keeping the club informed of the progress. The school was completed a few months ago, however there is still work to be done, and Claire is still taking the lead on the project for our club.
When presenting the Paul Harris Fellow, Rotary Assistant Governor Malcolm Granger said “Claire is quiet and humble. She has a heart of gold, is a good friend to many people and has very strong values and ethics for which she is well respected. She has dedicated at least half of her life so far to Rotary in one way or another and tonight I am delighted to give this Paul Harris Fellow to Claire Booth.”
In addition we welcomed our first honorary member, Martin Cabble-Reid, in recognition of his work with the Kevin Cruise Foundation, his continued support of Rotary and our community in the Royal Borough.
As out-going Club President, James Berkeley, handed the Presidency of the Club over to Costa Franceskides he commented “The end of the Rotary year is always a time for reflection and celebration. I have been immensely proud and honoured to lead the incredible group of young, innovative, social people who call themselves The Rotary Club of Maidenhead Bridge. In my 10 years as a Rotarian, I can honestly say it’s been a pleasure this year to be the president. We have achieved an incredible amount and this is testament to the hard work and dedication of the members.”
If you’d like more information about Maidenhead Bridge Rotary or want to get involved in volunteering please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call Lisa on 07876 341334.
A team of 13 took on a DIY SOS challenge on Sunday in support of The Britwell Youth Project. Donning protective eyewear, some wearing the ever fashionable boiler suit or lab coat, club members set off for Slough after their club meeting to pick up a paint brush and bring about change to this fantastic community project.
The Britwell Youth Project is based at the heart of the Britwell Estate in Slough, an area of significant deprivation. It is a youth project providing services for up to 400 young people per week. The centre offers services and projects to young people and these have included in recent years (dependent on funding availability):
The centre gets little to no funding at all and are just about covering costs to deliver the above aims and objectives. Our challenge was to make the building look nicer for all the users and to carry out some general maintenance tasks that sadly they can’t afford to do themselves. This included:
The team had lots of fun, helped by the yummy homemade chocolate cake brought along by club member Sarah! It was a big job to do, but in the 6 hours the team were there it was completed successfully and what a difference it made…instantly making the whole place seem brighter and much more welcoming.
But it doesn’t stop there, Rotarians are returning in two weeks to tackle the outside container, where the centre hosts cycle workshops, giving it a brand new coat of paint to protect if from the elements (very much needed given the wonderful British summer we’re experiencing of late!).
Club member and event organiser, Lisa Hunter, commented “We really enjoyed this DIY SOS challenge, it was so much fun and what’s great is we know it will be a massive help to the centre and is a practical way for us to contribute to the community an give up our time for good causes.”
Maidenhead Bridge Rotary would like to say a massive thank you to AkzoNobel Decorative Paints who very generously donated all the paint for the project, making it all possible!
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