Presentation night

                Beneficiaries representatives with Club President Rtn. John Short from L-R

Jane Weston (Headway),  April Porter (RBL Swindon Poppy Appeal),  Pat Bristow (Royal Marines Charity),  Phylida Richards (Olive Tree Café),   Rtn. John Short (Club President),  Sharon Tombs (Dressability),  Gerry Evans (Chairman Highworth RBL),  Capt. Chris Hall ( Salvation Army) and Olwen Kelly (Swindon Women’s Aid).



There are many facets to a Rotary Club, but last Tuesday, at the Club’s Valentines dinner,  saw Swindon’s Holiday Inn host the Club’s annual Presentation Night at which the proceeds from the Club’s fundraising efforts were presented to the nominated beneficiaries. The Rotary year runs from 1st July to 30th June and the funds presented represented monies raised during the first half of the year up to the end of December.

Proceedings were conducted by the President of the Club, Rt. John Short, who expressed his pride that with a relatively low membership of fourteen, the Club had nevertheless raised a significant total, 100% of which would be donated to local charities. In essence, the Club acts as guardian to the charity fund, which is made up from a variety of contributions from local residents and businesses. President John cited four fundraising events that had resulted in an overall fund of £ 25,862.

In its 30th year, the sponsored Walkley Walk across the Ridgeway had brought in £8,667 which was dedicated solely to the Radiography Appeal and which is being conducted by Brighter Futures. The cost of the equipment is in the region of £3 million and it comes with an ambitious time scale in which to achieve that total. Significantly, Thamesdown Rotary Club worked in association with a further 8 Rotary Clubs in the area all of which pledged to run a dedicated event for the same cause.

The consolidated efforts of the clubs resulted in an aggregated total of £70,000, and a promise by an anonymous donor of match funding to a cap of £50,000 took the overall Rotary fund to some £120,000. This helped Brighter Futures break the £1 million barrier. Such an achievement demonstrates the power of the Rotary organisation.

Other events included the Wiltshire Open Scrabble Competition, The Wiltshire Poppy Ball and the annual collections with the sleigh at Sainsbury’s Stratton and the West Swindon Centre. These brought in a total of £17,195. The President then went on to thank a host people.

These included the Club’s principal sponsors, Nationwide and Arkell’s Brewery, all other sponsors, all members of the general public that had purchased tickets for the events, local businesses that had donated prizes for raffles and auctions at the events and finally an estimated 4,000 residents who had contributed towards the sleigh collections.

The sleigh collections alone had brought in a total of £4,799. President John reiterated the Club’s thanks and to the managements of Sainsbury’s and the West Swindon centre for their permission to collect outside their premises.

Beneficiaries on the night were:

The Royal British Legion – Highworth Poppy Appeal   – presented to RBL Chairman Gerry Evans

The Royal British Legion – Swindon Poppy Appeal – presented to Poppy Appeal chief organiser April Porter

The Royal British Legion provides lifelong support for the Armed Forces community – serving men and women,  veterans, and their families


The Royal Marines Charity – Presented to Pat Bristow

 To provide the best possible through life charitable support for Royal Marines, their families, veterans and cadets

Combat Stress – presented to Rtn. Bob Humphries on behalf of the charity

Combat Stress is the UK’s leading veterans’ mental health charity. They treat a range of mental health conditions including PTSD, depression and anxiety. Right now, more than 6,000 veterans registered with them for support. They are a vital lifeline for these veterans, and their families.

The Olive Tree Café – presented to manager Phylida Richards

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.

Dressability – presented to manager Sharon Tombs

Dressability provides a low cost clothing adaption and alteration service to people who need their clothes to fit well, feel comfortable and remain stylish. Dressability is the only independent clothing service in the UK which caters specifically for the needs of disabled people.

Headway – presented to manager Jane Weston

Headway’s aim is to enable brain injury survivors to regain and relearn skills that have become impaired as a result of a brain injury, and provide them with support and advice.

The Salvation Army  – presented to Captain Chris Hall

The United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland is part of the wider international Salvation Army, which is at work in 128 countries, demonstrating Christian principles through practical support; offering unconditional friendship, and very practical help to people of all ages, backgrounds and needs.

Swindon Women’s Aid – presented to director Olwen Kelly

Swindon Women Aid is a domestic abuse service for residents living in the Swindon area. Our service operates 24 hours a day and 365 days a year, its confidential and free of charge.