News from around the clubs
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Bexhill Club of Past Rotarians
We thank the Observer for an excellent report on the commemorative lunch held to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the club. There was much to entertain us. However, for many older members the most appreciated event was the presentation of a special candlestick that enabled the president to light the Flame of Friendship at all our future meetings. Ted Clarke, our oldest member, former president of our club and of the Past Rotarians Association, gave us this welcome symbol of fellowship. Consequently, at the first meeting after the celebration, president Derek Mills was able to begin by lighting the Flame. This revival of a valued tradition was much appreciated.
The dignity and formality of the opening procedure was in marked contrast to the disturbing true life stories told by our speaker, Ivan Biddle. He gave us two short talks based on his personal experience. The first was Humour in the Mortuary and the second A Man in a Woman's World. He could perhaps have called them Revelations of a Whistleblower in the Morgue and the Care Home. Tony Blair came to power promising a Whistleblower's Charter, but Ivan Biddle's talks showed that evidence of bad practice can easily be glossed over by management and ignored. Yes, there was humour in the incidents recounted, but it was macabre in the Morgue and a revelation of incompetence in the Care Homes. We have all seen reports of bad cases: Ivan Biddle has seen things as they happened.
On a lighter note, the Bexhill PR Oldies beat Battle Rotary in their annual bowls match, but the result was closer than last year's. Then all went to the pub for supper and an inquest: but not in the morgue!
Society of Bexhill Museums
On Thursday May 13, 46 members and friends went on an outing to Danson House and Hall Place and Gardens in Bexleyheath, Kent, on a partly sunny but cool day. Danson House is a classic Georgian Palladian Villa built in 1766 by City Merchant Sir John Boyd for his very young bride. By 1995 the House was the most famous 'at risk' building in London due to neglect and dilapidation, but was rescued by English Heritage and Bexley Heritage Trust with a 4 million and a 10- year restoration. Two groups of us had two very good and informative guides for over an hour to explain the history of the building.
From Danson House and 200 acre parkland we went on to Hall Place, only 15 minutes away, for lunch, picnic or otherwise, and then had a further guided tour in two groups with two more extremely good guides. Hall Place is a Grade I listed Tudor mansion built in 1540 for Sir John Campneys, using stone from a dissolved monastery. It also has a Stuart red-brick addition and has recently been fully restored and opened up as a partial museum. It is also set in award-winning formal gardens and parkland. We left for home at 4.45pm after a very good day's outing!
May 6 was the date of our meeting this month and was sunny and bright, a tonic after the long and cold recent months. More members felt able to attend and it was a treat to see Dot and June, our ex-band members, once again. They come from East Grinstead and find the return journey through the dark rush hour daunting in the winter.
It was also voting day for the General Election. Our expected speaker, firefighter Mark Webb, was unable to come due to brigade personnel being very busy. Instead, we were delighted to be given a talk by John Drinkwater, district commissioner for Rother Fire and Rescue Service. He was interesting, held our attention, and gave us lots of very useful advice.
We were also very happy to meet and welcome a new member, Pamela Locke ex-WRAC, and hope she will be happy with us.
May won the competition. Congratulations.
Next month (June 3), our speaker will be Clifford Jones who has come to us twice before, speaking first of his schooldays at the famous Bluecoat School near Horsham and, secondly, on his hobby of picture postcard collecting. He is an interesting man and will be very welcome.
The competition will be for the prettiest thimble, or it may just be a plain one with, perhaps, an interesting story attached to it - whatever, please bring it along to be judged.
See you on June 3.
NHS Retirement Fellowship
The April AGM was very well attended and the committee was elected for another year.
Thanks go to them for their excellent work. Also to the loyal members and helpers. Come and try your luck with the attractive raffle, having lots of imaginative prizes to be won.
If you have ever worked for the NHS in any area, why not try our friendly group. We are the local branch of the National Fellowship and meet each month. For further details phone the secretary on 01424 222246 or 210934.
Bexhill Widows, Widowers and Over 55s
DURING the last few weeks we have experienced an upsurge in interest in new members, and have welcomed several new faces.
A cockney night was enjoyed on April 27 with pie, mash and liquor being served by the committee.
Now we are enjoying warmer weather, trips to Sheffield Park and river boat trips are being arranged.
There are still twin and double rooms available on our turkey and tinsel trip to Bournenouth in November.
For any further information please phone our secretary on 01424 712803 or the chairman on 07769270276.
Little Common Probus Club
ON Thursday May 13, members of Little Common Probus Club enjoyed an excellent talk given by Gillian Van Der Meer.
Ms Van Der Meer is the current chairperson of the National Farmers' Union, president of the Women's Farming Union and past chairperson of The Rural Cultural Forum.
No surprise then that her talk was entitled Farming Today. Ms Van Der Meer, born in London married a Dutch farmer and with him now runs a 120-strong dairy herd at Ashburnham.
We were treated to a rare and interesting insight into both dairy farming, its highs, lows and pitfalls as well as Ms Van Der Meer's considerable knowledge of other area's of farming including the growing of arable crops, soft and top fruit.
The subject is a very broad one but our speaker gave us a good overview of Farming Today from a farmer's eye view. The talk ended with many questions from the floor that due to time constraints our chairman had to curtail. Mrs Van Der Meer however happily chatted to several very interested members of our club after this.
Ms Van Der Meer was a very knowledgeable and enthusiastic speaker.
Little Common Probus Club meets monthly, every second Thursday at The Little Common Royal British Legion Club. We are a club for retired professional and businessmen.
For membership details and an application form, please contact Johnny Johnson on 01424 846129.
Little Common RBL Women's Section
THE May meeting of the section was well-attended. Our chairman Mrs Hilary Turner welcomed 94 members to enjoy the evening. We have planned some interesting outings this summer. The date of the pub lunch at Sissinghurst is now on June 8. Last month the date was wrongly given. On July 21 it is to Chartwell and the trip on September 21 will be to Maidstone market.
We had a letter from the Queen Alexandra's Nurses to invite us to their fair on the July 10, which will be opened by Dame Vera Lynn.
Mr McCall, who spoke to us last month about the village in Africa where the Senlac Probus Group was supporting a clinic for the local people, joined the meeting to collect the small woollies that members had knitted for the babies and materials for the school in the village the group also supports.
Frances, who represented our section at the national conference in Blackpool, gave a full description of the details of the meeting.
Our speaker was the historian Mr Malcolm Pratt, who talked about the strange goings-on each year on Easter Sunday in Winchelsea. The ceremony is the annual installation of the new mayor. It takes place in the Upper Court Hall where it has been held since 1665. The is attended by 12 jurats and the town clerk, the present one being Mr Pratt. All the participants are dressed in historic costumes. As it is a very old town, Winchelsea has an interesting history. It was surprising to hear that people were innocuated against smallpox as long ago as 1731 when the town had an outbreak of the disease. The inoculation was mainly given to the poor to prevent those in the workhouse passing it on to the many inmates. Winchelsea was not one of the original Cinque Ports but joined the confederation early on. Its purpose was to provide ships of war should it become necessary. The Cinque Ports had certain advantages linked with them including exemption from many royal taxes and the right to wrecks and salvage.
We have learned that several of our members this month have had falls or are not too well. We send them our very best wishes and hope they will soon be on they mend. Our next meeting will be onWednesday June 9 at 7pm, when we welcome all members and friends.
Bexhill RAFA Club
WE are increasing our membership at the RAFA Club Bexhill, and will welcome all ex RAF and any ordinary members who wish to join.
Regular events include quiz nights and bingo.
For more details contact the club secretary on 212916.