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Rotary Club reflects on its 50th year

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MELKSHAM Rotary Club president Sarah Hiscocks reflects on what the club has achieved in 2015 and looks forward to the coming year.

Sarah said, “It has been an important year for Melksham Rotary, as we celebrated our 50th birthday with our friends from Guingamp in France, and past members of the club.

“At the same time we increased our international fundraising to support projects in Senegal that the Guingamp club were physically making a difference in. With their help new schools, wells, solar power and shade projects took place.

“The Art House Café continues to be the main focus for the club. Over 35 volunteers plus Rotarians regularly give up their time to work in the café.

“We value each and every one of our cheerful and friendly volunteers,   especially Tessa Missen who coordinates the help and often stands in at the last minute if needed. With their generosity of time we have been able to give back to the local community over £20,000 this year, and we were able to celebrate that since Rotary took over the café we have raised over £50,000 for local good causes.

“Alongside the café sales are a percentage of art sales, kindly coordinated by Pattie Lockett. Local artists display their works which change every month  so there is always something new and interesting to see.

“Our big thanks also go to the Melksham News who support our events and activities.

“Rotary Youth activities are also important to us, and we supported both the Young Chef and Youth Speaks competitions with students from Stonar School and Melksham Oak.

“We visited all the local primary schools to talk about the work in Senegal and a tree of donations from the visits was actually taken to Senegal earlier in the year with good wishes messages.

“In June we paid for 90 local disadvantaged children to go to Longleat for the day as part of the annual Kids Out day.

“In 2016 we are celebrating 50 years of friendship with the Rotary Club of Guingamp, and many members will be visiting France to celebrate with them.

“We will continue to do fundraising during the Food and River Festival and lights switch on, plus our other popular activities including Big Breakfast and Concert, as well as supporting some local Young Carers, hosting the monthly Alzheimer’s cafe and some joint projects with Melksham Lions including helping them with Christmas collecting.

“If you are interested in helping with any of the things that we do, joining as a Rotarian or helping in the café, or would like to be considered for a grant when we have our next presentation evening in June, please email info@melkshamrotary.org ”