On Monday evening our Club was privileged to hear from Gideon Laux, a Rotary Scholar sponsored by the Munich-International Rotary Club. He is currently studying for a masters degree in Development Economics at the University of Oxford. He grew up in Munich and completed his Batchelor's Degree in Economics in Milan.
He is now focusing his academic studies on the role of entrepreneurship in developing countries. A very topical subject given the current discussions on the effectiveness of overseas aid and whether the system needs an overhaul to make it more beneficial to the populations, especially the young, (where Aid could be focused on creating far more employment opportunities) in the countries concerned.
The vote of thanks was given by Rotarian David Putnam.
Left: President Gurdip receiving a Munich banner from Gideon.
On Saturday 24th February the Club organised a very bucolic evening at St Piran's School, involving the tasting of 8 different wines and the answering of many difficult 'wine-based' questions (made more difficult after a few bottles had been tasted!).
Friends and families joined club members to enjoy the wine and refreshments provided by Italian Continental Stores - platters of delicious Italian cold meats, cheeses, bread, olives and extremely tasty onions in balsamic vinegar.
The winners were decided with a 'Heads and Tails' question, and the winning table came away with a case of prosecco to share, but this evening is not so much about winning but more about everyone having fun.
The first Evening Meeting of 2018 on Monday 22nd January at Maidenhead Golf Club saw a presentation by Debbie Raven, Chief Executive of the Thames Hospice in Windsor. Debbie is a retired professional nurse of 30 years experience, and spoke to our club members about the work of the Hospice. She explained that the standard of support provided by her team was “second to none” and not a day goes by when she doesn't feel humbled by the humanity of hospice care. In all her years of caring for patients and their loved ones, she has never found a more inspirational place to work.
Thames Hospice, based in Windsor, is the only adult hospice servicing East Berkshire and South Buckinghamshire and is an integral part of our community. The wonderful team of staff and volunteers demonstrate on a daily basis an incredible level of commitment and passion for their work. Patients and their families are all unique - and it is so uplifting to see the dedicated, professional and compassionate care they receive.
Whether staying on the In-patient Unit, accessing day therapies or being cared for in their own homes everyone is offered the exemplary care and support we would all want for our loved ones. Our community expects the very best and she is proud to lead a team that delivers exactly that.
However, they have a significant problem. The Hospice, first opened 30 years ago, is no longer able to keep up with the volume of people who need their care and services. Pine Lodge (the current Hospice) - has been added to, altered and expanded many times and cannot be adapted further. Patient numbers are increasing dramatically and those patients are arriving with more complex and challenging medical conditions.
Put simply, the building is holding them back from doing their vital work. They need a new, purpose built hospice that will serve the needs of the community now and into the future, to both increase substantially the number of beds to meet projected demand and to improve and modernise facilities. They have acquired a site in Bray, just off the Windsor Road in the heart of the community and planning permission to proceed has been agreed. Through careful financial planning they have been able to put aside a large part of the £18 million needed to build this new home capable of meeting the challenges of the future. However, £6 million is still needed to complete the project.
To put us all in the Christmas spirit, on Monday evening 18th December the club held its Christmas Party at Maidenhead Golf Club. A large number of club members, wives, partners and families celebrated the festive season with a delicious three course meal prepared by the staff at the golf club. During the meal we had a quiz with some tricky 'Christmas related' questions.
This was followed by a rousing session of carol singing, accompanied by the Salvation Army Band. With a little persuasion and a lot of encouragement from the rest of the guests, some of the club members including our President Gurdip Bahra, and some of the ladies, volunteered to sing with the band. At the end of the evening a cheque was presented to the Salvation Army for their charity funds.
On Monday 4th December, senior citizens of Maidenhead were invited to a Christmas Lunch at the Holiday Inn, Maidenhead, organised by the club. Guests were picked up and taken to the hotel by club members and taken home afterwards. The event was attended by the Mayor and his wife and Father Christmas also put in an appearance. Carols were sung, and all the guests were given a glass of sherry, a traditional meal of roast turkey with all the trimmings, and a glass of wine.
A large group of club members went out for a curry at The Emperor of India restaurant in Braywick Road, Maidenhead, on Thursday 30th November. This has become an annual event, eagerly looked forward to, and the three-course set meal was enjoyed by everyone.
Thanks to Eddie Clarke and Tony Lodge for organising the evening.
On Friday 20th October, our club joined with members of Maidenhead Rotaract and the Rotary Club of Maidenhead Bridge for a friendly game of skittles at the Jack O' Newbury pub near Binfield. Over 30 of us squeezed into the skittle alley in the old stables to enjoy an evening of gentle activity (for most!) and intense physical exertion (for very few!).
Two mixed teams played against each other, and the result was even - Team A and Team B each won one match. A fair few pints were consumed, along with chicken and chips.
Thanks to Pat Moore for organising the evening.
On a bright, cool and windy Autumn morning last Sunday in Oaken Grove Park a party of Maidenhead Rotary Club members planted some 5000 bulbs to highlight their “Purple for Polio” international campaign to rid the world of Polio by a worldwide vaccination policy particularly for children.
The significance of the “Purple for Polio” campaign has been chosen by Rotary as this is the colour of the ink which children around the world colour the tip of their smallest finger on one hand to designate that they have been immunised against the disease in the current year.
Rotary, the World Health Organization, UNICEF and the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention launched the Global Polio Eradication Initiative in 1988 to eliminate Polio from the World. Rotary’s efforts to eradicate polio have been described as “one of the finest humanitarian projects the world has ever known” and Rotary has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.
On 24th October Rotary are joined by Bill & Melinda Gates to highlight World Polio Day. Since 2013, the Gates Foundation has matched every $1 Rotary commits to polio eradication on a two for one basis which equates to $35 (£25) million per year. Rotary, together with matching funds from the Gates Foundation, has contributed more than $1.6 billion to end polio.
Since Rotarians around the world started the fight against polio, they have reduced the number of polio cases by 99.9 percent from about 350,000 cases a year to just 37 cases in 2016 and reached more than 2.5 billion children around the world with the vaccine.
If you would like to help or contribute to this worthwhile effort to stamp out Polio from our planet please contact the Rotary Club of Maidenhead.
‘In a quiet corner of Buckinghamshire, 20 acres of lovely gardens offer respite from the hustle and bustle of daily life, an escape from the world’s pressures and a place to reflect, to be at peace and at one with nature.’
A small group from the club visited these gardens yesterday morning and had a guided tour with the head gardener. Although the autumn colour was wonderful in places, heavy rain curtailed our visit and meant that we did not see all of the gardens.
The gardens are Grade 1 listed, and have been open since 1935. They stand next to historic Stoke Park, and St Giles Church (the inspiration for Thomas Gray’s ‘Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard’ composed in 1750). Designed by Edward White, a leading landscape architect of the 1930’s, the gardens took 5 years to complete, and restoration work was carried out in 2001-2004. They comprise formal planting, woodlands, pools, fountains, rills, parterres, a rockery and a wisteria pergola.
Last weekend, from Friday 13th to Sunday 15th October, a large group of 35 club members and wives enjoyed a relaxing and convivial time at the Macdonald Elmers Court Hotel. The hotel is set in grounds of 20 acres, with lawns that slope down to the edge of the Solent, and distant views of the Isle of Wight. The club had been here before - 2 years ago - and the return visit was just as good. Although overcast for most of the time, the weather remained dry and mild.
The Isle of Wight ferry is just a few minutes walk from the hotel, so quite a few members took advantage of this and went to the island, some also taking advantage of the fresh seafood on offer in Yarmouth. There is an excellent market in Lymington on a Saturday, and President Gurdip, along with several other members, hopped on the local train for the (very!) short ride into town.
In the evenings we had dinner in one of the hotel's private dining rooms, enjoying pre-dinner drinks on the first evening courtesy of President Gurdip.