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MELKSHAM Rotary Club has had a busy year raising money for international charities and causes in the town, as well as putting on events for local children.
Former club president Sarah Hiscocks reports, “In Rotary terms our year ends in June and begins again in July with a new president. In the first half of 2016 I led the club to carry on with our support with our twinned club in Guingamp, France, which runs projects in Senegal. A number of members visited Guingamp to celebrate that we have been twinned for 50 years this year.
“The club continued to build relationships with Melksham Lions, too, acknowledging that we are both relatively small in membership and both putting the community of Melksham first in our activities.
“We continued with our youth programme which included a fun evening of bowling for young carers, taking 90 local disadvantaged children to Kids Out at Longleat, and entering the Oak and Stonar school in the Rotary Youth Speaks and Young Chef competitions. We also put on an art competition for young people with the art being displayed in the ArtHouse Cafe.
“Thanks to our wonderful volunteers, we were able to distribute over £9,000 at the summer presentation evening.
“We finished the year with members taking part in the Big Pledge: Road to Rio challenge – which Melksham did so well in – and then the ‘Music for a Summer’s Evening’ concert with Stonar School, which raised money for international charities.
“In July, I handed over to President Verly Ives. The club took part in the Food and River Festival where we had a chocolate tombola and, in November, we funded Water Survival Boxes to go to support people in Haiti.
“Crocus planting dominated the autumn. With fantastic support from Mayor Terri Welch, we funded crocus planting at St Michael and All Angels Church and, with help of children from Forest and Sandridge School, blocks on the banks of the Eastern Bypass.
“We are looking forward to seeing if our hard work pays off in February when they should all bloom. The crocuses are to promote the fight against Polio in the world, which is Rotary’s main international project.
“Plans continue for the youth projects for next year, and we have teams to enter Rotary Young Chef and Youth Speaks again.
“At the end of the year we were able to host another presentation evening for local good causes and charities, with another £8,400 donated, plus we funded a ‘trolley dash’ for Melksham Food Bank.
“Underpinning the good work we do, we must thank all our wonderful volunteers, especially Pattie Lockett and Sarah Stead for organising the monthly art exhibitions; Judy and Tessa for coordinating the volunteers in the café; and Bob, who manages the café on a day-to-day basis.
“Without all our wonderful volunteers who give up many, many hours of their time we wouldn’t be able to support the community in such a way.
“We are always looking for more members to help us do more within our community, like Janet Relfe who joined us at our Christmas party. If you are interested in finding out more please email firstname.lastname@example.org”