It was only 12 months ago that I was first introduced to the Rotary Club of Cuckfield & Lindfield.
Now in my mid seventies, Rotary was not a totally new revelation to me as my father-in-law, Douglas Bishop of the Horley Club, did in his later life devote his time to the Jaipur Limb project and received very high acclaim from the Paul Harris Fellowship for his work. (Paul Harris was the founder of the Rotary organisation in 1905).
This project continues today, enabling people with leg amputations to be given a new limb, which are relatively cheap and easy to produce and gives the recipient the immediate ability to walk again.
Soon after my induction into the club, I was somewhat daunted by the fact that a majority of the members were mostly past presidents who, over a period of time, had built up the type of friendships only achieved by shared experiences.
Nevertheless, it was decided that I would be thrown into the deep end and was appointed to the role of Community and Vocational Services Chairman. I was to be supported by Chris Kinnear, who had fulfilled the role for a number of years. I first had to understand my role and what it entailed.
Community and Vocational Services relates predominantly to our community work in the area supported by our club, requests for our assistance whether financial or physical are put to our council/club and, if agreed, our participation or support is provided. As regards requests for financial aid, we organise our own fund raising events, proceeds of which are distributed to those charities/good causes that we decided warrant our support. On the physical side, scheduled events are published to members asking for volunteers to perform a raft of different activities.
The events we undertake on paper look to all intents and purposes straight forward, but each event however has to conform to certain regulations, which include risk assessments, insurance, licences, reservations, volunteers and equipment. So, for example, having a mulled wine stall at, say, a village day is not as straight forward as it might first appear.
Here are just some of the highlights of the past nine months, our participation in the Cuckfield Mayoral Procession, our support for the Lindfield Bonfire Society where on the night we collected £960 towards their charities, our mulled wine and cider stall at Lindfield Christmas Street Festival which raised over £200, our Christmas street collections in Cuckfield and Lindfield which raised a further £1,000 for which the club was exceptionally grateful to the whole of the local community for their generous contributions.
Just before Christmas, the club also attended Plumpton Racecourse, on behalf of St. Peter & St. James Hospice, where we had a tombola stand with an array of prizes donated by Rotarians and well wishers, plus bucket collections at the gates raising £950 for this very worthy cause.
Future events include, our Coconut Shy at both the Cuckfield Cuckoo Fayre on May 2 and Lindfield Village Day on June 4 and the National Open Garden Scheme at Ansty on May 15 and on June 26 where we provide car parking duties and ticket sales, monies from which go to the Schemes for Nursing and Caring Charities.
With the influx of many new members, we are looking to expand our activities to encompass new ideas on how to enhance our community support work and fund raising activities.
For more information visit www.rotarysussex.org