Christmas Sleigh Collections

The Christmas Sleigh

During December, Rotarians, their partners and Friends of the Club ventured out with the now familiar sleigh to help with the annual Christmas collection and as in previous years, it proved to be a great success, raising £4,799 towards the club’s charity fund. This highlights once again the enormous generosity of the Swindon public with somewhere between 4,000 and 5,000 residents of the town being pleased to help by contributing to the appeal. On behalf of the club and moreover the club’s beneficiaries we wish to thank all of those who contributed – we owe them all a debt of gratitude

Our thanks go also to Sainsbury’s at Stratton and the management of the West Swindon Centre for granting their permission for us to collect outside their premises

Rotary being a voluntary organisation, there are no commissions, expenses, fees or salaries to be deducted from the total collected and consequently 100% of the money raised has been allocated to local causes including the following:

Dressability – Dressability is one of only two independent clothing services in the UK which caters specifically for the  needs of disabled people.

HeadwayHeadway Swindon & District provides a safe, relaxed environment for adults who have experienced a brain injury.

Olive Tree Cafe – A key objective of the cafe is to help and support people recovering from mental illness or at risk of suffering mental illness by providing them with positive, work-related opportunities in a Café open to the public in order to take them a step nearer to the world of work.

Swindon Women’s Aid  –  Swindon Women Aid is a domestic abuse service for residents living in the Swindon area.

Christmas Care – Christmas Care, provides temporary shelter for the homeless and lonely over Christmas

Swindon Youth Rugby Club – Purchase of team jerseys

Rotary Young Chef Competition at Swindon Collegerefer to the post on this website

Our heartfelt thanks go out to all who participated or donated, for without them, none of the above would have been possible.  See also below:

The sleigh at Dialog

The Club also made the sleigh available to local company Dialog for their annual Christmas Party for children of their staff.

Dialog has a long record of supporting local charities and underprivileged sections of the local community.

  • Santa arrives

Walkley Walk News

Firstly the Club wishes to thank all who have participated in the Walkley Walk over the past 30 years. During that time it is estimated that the total funds raised via the event have exceeded £300,000 and indeed last year’s walk was again successful, although with a greatly diminished number of participants.

Walkers raised money for their own designated beneficiaries, with others walking specifically in aid of the club’s designated cause – The Radiotherapy Appeal conducted by Brighter Futures.   The Walk raised a total of £8,667 for the Appeal and this, coupled with the funds raised by the other clubs in Area 5, led to the Rotary Area 5 donation exceeding £100,000.  In turn, this resulted in the Appeal fund breaking through the “£1 Million barrier.

It is with great regret therefore that the Club has decided to suspend the Walk until further notice; a decision that was not taken lightly.

There is no doubt that the Walk had become the victim of its own success, with several organisations taking up the cudgel to organise similar events of their own.

With so many walks taking place within just a few weeks of each other and consequently the number of participants diminishing year on year, the organisation, marshalling and operating costs of the event were becoming increasingly disproportionate.

And so, on behalf of the club and the beneficiaries, a big, big thank you to all of the walkers, organisers, marshals, landowners and all others who have contributed in some way to the success of the event over the past 30 years. Your efforts have been greatly appreciated.

For the time being, The Walkley Walk will remain on the back burner, but please watch this space for further announcements.


Young Chef Competition

Preparation begins

The heat was on for professional cookery students at Swindon College last week as their culinary skills were put to the test in the final heat of the annual Rotary Chef of The Year competition.

Held at the College’s own state of the art facilities – including a newly refurbished catering kitchen and on-site restaurant, students worked in teams of four to create a three course fine dining menu for under £15.

The coveted judging panel was made up of representatives from sponsors, the Rotary Club of Swindon Thamesdown, Development Chef Steve Shore from Arthur David (who kindly supplied fruit and vegetables for the competition), and Head Chef Kevin Chandler from Rick Stein in Marlborough.

Rotary Club President John Short was impressed by the quality of the student’s work.

‘’The standard of the dishes this year has been outstanding.’’ said John. ‘’Education and training is vitally important for young people entering what is a very competitive workplace; but the teaching and facilities on offer here at Swindon College are exceptional.’’

After much deliberation the judging panel awarded 1st prize to Level 2 Professional Cookery students Amie Milne, Amber Little, Neva Jones and Kieran Harry, with 2nd place going to Level 3 students Marianne Aurelio, Kyle Goodchild, Josh Headland and Matthew Whitlock.

Both teams received a set of engraved knives and a selection of vouchers.

‘’I’m immensely proud of each and every one of the students who took part in this years’ competition’’

said Swindon College Lecturer in Hospitality Sian Vockins.

‘’The opportunity to cook for an esteemed panel of judges puts them under real pressure – but they’ve performed really well and wowed the panel with what they produced.’’

For more information on Swindon College or to apply now to start this September 2017 visit or call (01793) 491 591.

  • Preparation begins


2016 Poppy Ball at Steam

Another fabulous extravaganza at Steam was held on 5th November 2016 featuring the Military Wives Choir and the Royal Marines Military Band (follow link for video)

For the third year in succession, guest at the Poppy Ball were treated to a fabulous night of fine dining, dancing and entertainment.

The evening started with a commemoration ceremony along the lines of the annual Royal British Legion Festival of Remembrance.  The ceremony began with a rendition of Sting’s Fields of Gold, by Rosie , Olivia and Isabelle Tuck, three sisters well known in the locality for their vocal excellence.

There followed the Exhortation recited by Chelsea Pensioner IP006 John Gallagher  from the Royal Hospital, Chelsea and the Poppy Cascade, during which the buglers of HM Royal Marines CTC Lympstone played the last post at the minute’s silence.  

The silence was broken by Reveille, after which John Gallagher recited the Kohima Epitaph and the national anthem by the band concluded the commemoration.  


Guests then enjoyed a sumptuous three course meal prepared by Hospitality Services accompanied by the excellent Orchestra of the Royal Marines CTC Lympstone and then it was time for the evening’s entertainment. 

This year it included both traditional and contemporary songs  performed by the Military Wives Choir from RAF Brize Norton.

Then came the moment that everybody had been waiting for as the marching band of the Royal Marines entered the Great Western Hall to perform among the guests as only they can do. Many said that it made them proud to be British. Click on the link above to watch the video.

The evening then went on to Dancing to DJ Young Roge, interspersed with music from the Dance Band of the  Royal Marines and a Grand Tombola, Auction and Silent Auction.