Rotary’s Best Kept Secret

Perhaps one of Rotary’s best kept secrets is Rotary Club Central.

I wish my club had found this earlier. Only last month there was a repeated discussion, at yet another business meeting, about how much money we should send to The Rotary Foundation. Club members had forgotten that this had already been decided about ten months ago when our president produced a budget for this Rotary year and set goals on Foundation giving. However, nobody could remember what was said at our club assembly so the discussion went on and on and on. Some club members even forgot we give to The Rotary Foundation’s annual fund (about $100 per capita recommended) as well as the PolioPlus fund ($1000 per club recommended). This whole discussion was most frustrating to the majority of club members. If only we had a quick way of looking up our Foundation giving goals. Well now we have – it’s called Rotary Club Central.

What is it? It’s simply a new online planning tool that helps all clubs set and track their annual goals and achievements.

Why is it a secret? It must be a secret as 76 clubs within Rotary South East have yet to discover it and start to use this brilliant new planning tool.

Why are clubs using it? Clubs have found a number of benefits, namely;

  1. It’s a one-stop shop providing access to all the club and Rotary data that was previously available from several reports – it shows trends in annual membership, age and gender profiles and Foundation giving history
  2. It eliminates paper, hence it replaces paper forms for membership and Rotary Foundation goals, as well as the Planning Guide for Effective Rotary Clubs
  3. It fosters continuity of leadership and gives incoming club presidents sight of club goals and achievement history – allowing them to adjust their own goals for the year ahead
  4. It enables clubs to track their progress – allowing club presidents to see what progress is being made within clubs and amend goals if needed
  5. It creates transparency and allows all club members to see club goals
  6. It showcases the important work that Rotary clubs do worldwide and provides information about the millions of service projects undertaken by Rotarians.

So how have you used Rotary Club Central? The Rotary Club of Sittingbourne Invicta has recently;

  • reconciled all club member online data –  two former members whose data should have been terminated (as they left several months ago) have now removed from the active members list and two more new members added – it is important that current membership numbers are accurately reflected on 1st July as clubs will be invoiced on the total number for RI subscriptions
  • entered our membership and Foundation goals for 2014-15
  • recorded 12 club service goals for 2014-15 (8 have already been achieved)
  • updated Rotary Club Central to show the incoming club leaders; allowing our incoming president to input goals for 2015-16
  • already set membership and Foundation giving goals for 2015-16 as well as 14 service projects and activities for 2015-16

What if your club’s goals change? No problem, all goals, volunteer hours and club expenditure on Rotary projects can be amended at any time.

Who can use Rotary Club Central? All Rotarians can view the goals and achievements for their club. The current and incoming club president, secretary, treasurer, Foundation chair and membership chair can add and edit the clubs membership data and goals.

How do I get to Rotary Club Central? Go to You need a My Rotary account on the Rotary International website to see Rotary Club Central. If you do not have an account, it is easy to register for an account.

Rotary Club Central Workshop – a workshop was held on Saturday 11th April 2015 at Ratton School, Eastbourne. This was organised by AG Chris Brenchley for clubs in the East Sussex area. 16 people from 7 clubs (Eastbourne AM, Heathfield & Waldron, Eastbourne Sovereign, Bexhill, Eastbourne Beachy Head, Eastbourne and Hailsham) attended, and have now gone away to start inputting their club goals for 2015-16.

Now is the time to start entering your membership, service project and Foundation goals for 2015-16.

More workshops can be held if other clubs want to be let in on this secret too.

Richard Joy, Rotary Club of Sittingbourne Invicta


Rotary Civic Awards

Service to Others
Invicta Rotarians have just been collecting for two hours each over the weekend for Marie Curie Cancer Care.  Volunteering service to our community is one of the main reasons people join Rotary.

However, Rotarians are not alone in volunteering and helping others. There are many people in our local community who also give service to others; often over many years, and yet their efforts generally go unnoticed.

So each year, the Rotary Club of Sittingbourne Invicta gives recognition to three local people, and we invite them to join us on a special Rotary Civic Awards evening.

This Year’s Award Winners

This year we have again found three very dedicated people who have served our local Sittingbourne community for many years.

John Clancy
Our first nomination for a Rotary Civic Award comes jointly from The Friends of Milton Regis Court Hall and Sittingbourne Heritage Museum.

Rotary Civic Award: John Clancy

Rotary Civic Award: John Clancy with President Mike Gee & Peter Morgan PHF

The citation reads;
“John Clancy is editor of the Sittingbourne Heritage Museum newsletter and journal, and he has contributed articles to both publications for many years. He is also editor of the magazine published quarterly by the Historical Research Group of Sittingbourne. He is the main correspondent for the Sittingbourne News Extra for the town’s clubs and societies and for several villages.

With his interest in the preservation of local heritage, John was instrumental in starting The Friends of Milton Regis Court Hall group in 2011, and continues to act as a Trustee and their Press Officer.

All told, he has written 18 books on the history of Sittingbourne and some of the surrounding villages. His latest project, in conjunction with The Sittingbourne Society, was organising the erection of a ‘Blue Plaque’ in the High Street to mark the childhood home of Julia Spicer.”


Louise Winzar, President Mike Gee, Christopher and Lynn Shortall

Louise Winzar
Our second nomination for a Rotary Civic Award comes from The Salvation Army (Sittingbourne).

The citation reads;
“Louise has been actively involved with the Salvation Army since the age of ten. Throughout that time she has given of her time and skills without stint serving as Primary helper, Sunday School teacher, Record Sergeant, and Assistant Young People’s Sergeant Major. She is currently Corps Secretary and brings to this task her extensive administrative and IT talents and skills. Her work is most valuable to Corps Officers, Section Leaders and Community Sections alike with many depending on her for advice and more practical services.

Louise also serves on the Community Care Ministry team helping others in their community work endeavours. She also finds time for mentoring and to be a prayer partner. She does many of those tasks that no one sees from a public platform, and her work has been voluntary throughout. The Corps Officers at Sittingbourne are delighted to nominate her for this award – she is an ‘unsung heroine’.”

Kenneth Shortall
Our third nomination for a Rotary Civic Award comes from St John Ambulance in Sittingbourne.

The citation reads;
“Ken has been a member of St John Ambulance for 42 years, joining as a Cadet in Dublin, Ireland. He is a dedicated member of the Sittingbourne unit, and is now a Divisional Officer responsible for training and logistics within the unit.
Ken has also been a member of Casualty Union for Kent for several years, an organisation that trains and supplies patients for training exercises, and he has assisted all of the emergency organisations.

Ken is trained to Emergency Transport Attendant level in St John Ambulance, and regularly attends events and duties as part of an ambulance crew.
Ken assists the South East Coast Ambulance Service with New Year’s Eve coverage and when winter weather causes a shortage of ambulances crews.
Ken is a valuable member of the Sittingbourne St John Ambulance Division.”

Unfortunately Kenneth Shortall was not able to attend the evening event, so his son Christopher picked-up the certificate on behalf of his father.

Our Rotary Civic Awards evening was on Monday 30th March 2015, and held at Hempstead House Hotel, Bapchild.

For recipients of Rotary Civic Awards from earlier years please see:

Thank you Sevenoaks – not modish or ‘trendy’, but you are what this District is about

Alan Waters is the editor for the .  He sends me a copy as ‘pdf’.  I read it!  I have never visited that club, and from the exalted heights it is easy to have a smile at some of the attitudes expressed, but wait!  Listen to this:

1.  A talk on ‘Water Aid’ with a commitment to give them money, and with RC Sevenoaks that will be a worthwhile sum.

2. Agreement to send a cheque for £1,000 to Demelza House –  (the childrens’ hospice) oh, it says ‘another’ £1,000, that means they have sent at least £1,000 already, probably more.

3. A collecting point for ‘Mercy Ships’ – not sure how that works, but sent £600 to the charity.  More than most clubs eh?

The Ladies Group is called here – ‘Spare Wheel’ – I like that, it mixes humour with an insouciance that some ‘right on’ Inner Wheel groups lack, – they raised another £200 odd for Alzheimer’s Society, and Kent Air Ambulance. Well done!

And the Big One?  they also organise a 10 km. race, with 500 runners, estimated benevolent amount – projected at £6,000.

As we all get older, we may not be able to be out cleaning up gardens, but raising and distributing money is service too.  And in other small ways – here’s one:

sevenoaks - war graves in burma

One member has been to Myanmar, he openly admits to him (and me) and many of us of our age it is still Burma (and why not!)  During this visit they persuaded the tour guide to divert them to the British and Commonwealth War Graves Commission cemetery, so they could pay their respects to the British and commonwealth war dead.  Yes, members, that is Rotary Service too! 

Also a charming piece about a visit to a conference in Hungary – and how things were managed (to the writer’s benefit) in them thar days before the wall came down.  Thank you Alan Waters, from the more esoteric heights of worrying about Rotary’s future you, are our present.  and for that, no sniggers, no irony, I salute you?!  FH 29.3.15

Polio Eradication Update

© Rotary International/Alyce Henson

© Rotary International/Alyce Henson

Rotary and Polio Eradication – A Global Report for 2014

By January 2014, new cases of paralytic polio had fallen annually from 350,000 in the 1990’s to an all-time low, and the disease remained endemic in only three countries: Afghanistan, Pakistan and Nigeria.

However, by May/June 2014 the good news had been savagely reversed by outbreaks of paralysis across equatorial Africa from Cameroun to Somalia as virus was “exported” from Nigeria. There were outbreaks in Syria and in Somali refugee camps in Kenya plus an upsurge in remote parts of Pakistan. While the virus remains endemic in three countries, export to areas where vaccination levels cannot be maintained remains a constant threat.

The instant response to increased paralysis rates was an aggressive campaign in the so-called “outbreak” countries in Africa where over 60 million doses of vaccine were used. Successful efforts to win hearts and minds in Nigeria, and particularly Pakistan, to overcome local suspicion and even violence achieved substantially increased vaccination rates.

Now in early 2015 the good news, the very good news, is that no new cases have been reported from Nigeria for seven months and all the exported outbreaks have been wiped out.

Pakistan is now seen as the key to ultimate success. But as the high season for virus transmission begins public health experts remain optimistic that global virus transmission can be stopped in 2015 and that the world could be declared polio free after three years without any new cases by the end of 2018.

Since PolioPlus (the Rotary global contribution to polio eradication) was set up in 1985 Rotarians have raised $1.3 billion US and given millions of volunteer hours. We will carry on fundraising helped by a very generous offer from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to match every Rotary dollar two to one up to an annual total of $35 million. This means that for every £1 we raise from an ever generous British public that £3 will arrive at the sharp end. At current costs £3 will buy six doses of vaccine to protect babies and small children from a lifetime spent in leg braces and on crutches.

We can’t possibly stop now and look to your continued and very generous support.

John Fisher

Indore – ‘Calmed’s target for 2015, not a pretty city, but glad to be chosen!

indore - holi pic with flowers 4.3.15

I am never quite sure how much my readers already know, and starting at base-line zero is often a bore!  But briefly, ‘Calmed’ is a medical training programme devised and promoted by our own PDG Himansu Basu.  With two already ‘under his belt’ he has with support from this District put in for a third to take place in a town in India called Indore, this is one of the major towns in a state (all Indian provinces are states) in Madhya Pradesh.  In the last few weeks Doctor Basu and PP Terry Kinsman, a Rotarian from RC Maidstone have been out there preparing for the training period.  This is a digest from what Terry has sent me about the town, the project, and the trip!

indore - town centre 2

Indore, not a pretty city,or famous for anything other than being very large and industrial, we didn’t see a real City Centre (if there is one) and the Training Centre is not picturesque, but here are some photos.

indore - NRHM offices

This – I believe is the NRHM office, which will be the base for the training, as you can see, it is a functional government building, but none the worse for that.  It controls 250 primary health care clinics in the state, which is vast, one of India’s largest, and the Maternal Mortality in the state is critical; this is why Indore is important as the next training centre.

indore - town centre 3

India runs on motor scooters , tuc-tuc motor rickshaws and mobile phones.  If you are Indian and don’t have or use these you are most unusual!  It is thriving, bubbling place, the Indians themselves and the Rotarians in particularly are mainly young, and extremely enthusiastic.  Picture at the head of this posting is some of the members of District 3040, and RC Indore Uptown.

As this programme continues I will add to the inputs, you can also read more on the ‘calmed’ blog on our D1120 website.  Seven obstetricians will take part, even so it will represent a mere drop in the bucket in comparison to the task, however, it works, it’s ours, and all are highly enthusiastic.  Watch this space!

If you were waiting for ‘Rotary Day’….. Sorry, You’ve missed it!

Rotary day 2015

I’m sorry RI and R-GBI, yes folks, that’s ‘RIBI’s new moniker.  Rotary Day is in my mind, and it seems to most of the ‘active Rotarians’ I know;  the biggest -non event – of the year.   When I was MPRC Chair, and with the active help and co-operation of some Rotarians in the Eastbourne area, mainly Chris Brenchley, (before he became an AG) we did, two year’s running, hold an Awareness Event in Eastbourne’s Arndale Centre.  We sold crocuses, had some poster panels on what the local clubs were doing.  OK, you’ve seen it before.

Then this year into my ever-open ‘Inbox’ popped, or dropped the above, with some text from RI’s Publicity Department focusing on the positive aspects of the Polio campaign. (Of course).  Now I know that most Rotarians do give their time to help at ‘awareness events’ both for their own club and for Rotary as a whole.  But Rotary, and here I am talking mainly to those wunnerful folks in old Evanston,  is February really the best time of year to talk to people about 1.  Our successes. 2. Our future, (no, I won’t make a funny).  Membership, Foundation, oh, and by the way  – WOULD YOU LIKE TO BECOME A MEMBER?

Now I don’t know what the weather is like in Chicago – cold and snowy I expect, here it is what the Scots call ‘dreek’.  It’s cold, its wet, people are feeling hard-up after Christmas New Year, and paying their January income tax.  And they are just hoping to survive until Spring comes round, possibly in late March or early April.   Do they even want to think about joining Rotary?   Well Americans, “You do the math – I’ll make the pizza!”

And my point is, February 23rd. is arguably one of the worst dates in the calendar anyone could choose for an awareness day.  So all you Clever Marketing People in Rotary One, oh, and Alcester office would care to have a word of advice – Mmm, thought not;  however, here it is: try sometime in June instead, it’s warm, so you can go outdoors, mostly, and people are open to new suggestions, they might even put a couple of quid in the Polio can too. Got it folks? NOT FEBRUARY – yeah!

Santa plays cupid in his grotto – Maidstone Rotarian Roger Hext has seen it all!

maidstone - santa & engagement

Rotarian Roger Hext, a member of RC Maidstone was doing ‘Santa duty’ at their grotto – (they don’t say exactly which store).  One of his visitors was Graham Jones and his partner Fiona Robertson and their children.

However,  Graham sprang a surprise by going down on one knee to Fiona – and proposing to her there and then.  Pleased to report that both:

The children had had their gifts, and that also, as you can see above, there happened to be a photographer present of Graham placing the ring on his betrothed’s finger – Arrr, nice!

Well done RC Maidstone, Maidstone’s ‘senior’ club, but sometimes appears to be slightly media shy, so nice to hear from them.  Also nice to read that this ‘story’ got good coverage in the ‘Kent Messenger’ and we assume all the other little Messengers too.

The couple plan to marry this year, and have invited Santa Roger as a guest.

Surprised? He nearly ate his beard!  You never know what will happen when you are on active service as a Rotarian – even in Maidstone.

Does ‘Rotary’ always have to be about food? Senlac honour the haggis – and their stomachs!

Perhaps ‘anything’ you are becoming dyspeptic yourself!  But why, fellow Rotarians does so much of what we do have to revolve around food?  Yes, yes, I know that fellowship is an important part of the Rotary mandate, whatever that may mean, but it seems to me that for many clubs, and I am not singling RC Senlac out for criticism in this regard.  They are an excellent club and have one of the truly most forward-thinking and independent overseas actions of perhaps any club in our District.

They also happen to be one of the best correspondents to the blog site, even following the sad death of Senlac Press Officer, Rtn. Wendy Cocker recently, and the picking up of her batten by Rtn. Colin Goldsack, without a pause.

I nearly missed it, but now on my Netbook, while deleting e-mails I pause, to look at the photos.  The Burns Night supper is a regular with Senlac, and they do a night for ‘The Bard’ too.  I mean William ‘Swan of Avon’ Shakespeare, on St. George’s Day.  But I repeat – Rotary is frequently, in my opinion, too frequently, more about taking on board far too many calories – Christmas Dinner, Ladies Night,  Triennial Bashes, you name it, clubs eat it, and not enough about our ‘core’ activity.  “What’s that Guv.?”  Well, unless I have got it all terribly wrong, it is about giving service to our community and others overseas, both by personal service and by financial donations on Club, District and National levels, and through TRF -Rotary Foundation.

So although this posting may be regarded by some as ‘unfair’, other Rotarians may say – perhaps ‘Anything’ old thing, you have a point, and horrors, perhaps ‘the meal’, the centre of the Rotary meeting, has become part of ‘the problem’, not part of the solution.

If we were to give more of what we spend as meal fees to er- the Yellow Men of Kadongdong, RC Senlac’s major action, we would be looking slightly less portly, and doing more good where it is needed.

Pic. Pres. of RCS Bob Wren and Pipe Major pipe in the haggis at The Highwoods Golf Club, E. Sussex late last month.

senlac - piper plus haggis

P.S.  As well as Scottish dancing – phew – so that’s where the calories went!  Also Mike Stewart, one of the co-ordinators of ‘The  Yellow Men’ was honoured as an Honorary Rotarian.  More power to his elbow!

Will the real Devin D. Thorpe please stand up?

January has been ‘a bit slow’ for D 1120 ‘stuff’, but there is at least one newsletter that reaches my Inbox with amazing regularity and that is RI’s ‘Polio Plus’ newsletter.  So?  So I followed one of the hyperlinks about a Rotarian who had accompanied other American Rotarians to Ethiopia.  Where they were holding a National Immunisation Day.

This ‘supernum’ on the NID was one Devin Thorpe, he is American with a Financial CEO pedigree and some rather large black glasses that he clearly doesn’t like wearing when his photo is taken.  He is also a Rotarian member of RC Salt Lake City, (does that make him a Mormon?), and he is clearly a Polio eradication enthusiast.  He writes a blog for the ‘Forbes’ financial magazine in New York (Forbes is a journal similar in content to our own ‘Economist’ magazine).  He is extremely prolific, half a dozen since Christmas, ‘enough, already!’ and as a journalist trades under the title of ‘The Social Entrepreneur’.

However Anything, enough of your pipe-laying! what’s the meat?  On 21st July last year he posted a piece with this heading:  World looks anxiously to Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nigeria to end polio,  – and it is a four pager with quite a good balance.  (Go to & put Pakistan into the ‘search’ box).  In this article he details a meeting at RI HQ where the heads of the Rotary Polio Committees of theses three countries had been called for ? a crisis meeting.  The Pakistani polio toll in the previous 12 months has been 236 and a total of 60 Rotarians and their bodyguards killed in action.  (His figures guv., not mine!).

Also the photos of the three men – Pakistan is Rtn. Aziz Memom, Chairman of an industrial conglomerate in Pakistan called ‘The King’s Group’.  Also a leading Rotarian of RC Karachi, where he is a resident.  He has been Rotary’s ‘Polio Honcho’ in Pakistan for the last five years.  The Rotarians were killed on his watch, I would like to have a Q & A with Aziz.


I find the above figures fascinating.  Devin also makes the point that the Rotary percentage towards the $6.5 billion estimated to be required to end polio is indeed quite small, the majority coming from national governments and other foundations.

Devin seems to have excellent access to the Rotary press machine.  I get the impression that RI paid for him to go to Ethiopia, but I hadn’t realised there was a problem with polio in Ethiopia.  So are the senior men in the Rotary Foundation being quite frank with us?  Perhaps Devin next time he ‘hops’ east about the globe he might like to pop in and talk to us.

Devin (with glasses)

with acknowledgement to Devin Thorpe, & ‘Forbes’ magazine

Have you brought the chequie my little turtle-dove? Folkestone have!

Now you know that I (and other high-minded Rotary p.r. and presstarians (new word – I like it!)) go on about Rotary pix with the large format cheque being supported by three or four pumped-up Rotarians.  And yes, sorry folks this is a classic of the genre.

But they have a slight excuse……..  not only is the cheque rather large physically, but it also has quite a lot of noughts on it.   How much did your club raise last year?    £10, thou?,  mmm, that’s fairly average/  How about nearly £20, thou?  Well people you have really worked hard this year, and what the Polio hunger lunch – oops, I mean frugal meal raised £450, that’s really good.

I shall not keep you lot in suspense any longer,  RC Folkestone, with their Ninth Half Marathon have raised from this one event –  (pause for deep intake of breath)   over Forty thousand pounds.

folkestone - half marathon cheque - 22.12.14

And the headline?  Enthusiasts for the musical theatre will know it is a quote from the show/film of ‘The Producers’.  It is about two shyster theatre producers who, by accident have a huge hit.  It is very funny, and, if you are running out of gift ideas this Christmas, you could do worse than the DVD.

Perhaps the RC Folkestone Benevolent fund might lend you the money!

Joking apart, terrific effort, this makes over £280,000 since the inception of the project.  Oh, and by the way can I know the names of those in the picture?  I would like them to have credit too.  Thank you Ray.       FH 22.12.14