Rotary Club blooms in Bradley Stoke

Members of the Rotary Club of Aztec West stage at their recent "awareness day".

Bristol Aztec Rotary Club, the local branch of Rotary International, recently staged an awareness day at the Willow Brook Centre in Bradley Stoke and Journal reporter Kieran Hyland went along to find out more about their work in the local community and beyond.

Rotary International is a worldwide organisation that aims to bring together business and professional leaders in order to provide humanitarian services, encourage high ethical standards in all vocations, and help build goodwill and peace in the world.

The Bristol Aztec Rotary club is a small part of this organisation, which also aids charities in the local area of Bradley Stoke, Stoke Gifford and Patchway.

Founded in 1997, the Bristol Aztec Rotary Club is part of District 1100, which has 66 clubs from Clevedon to Hereford with members aged from 30 to 70.

Events organised by the club include the Bradley Stoke Swimathon at the Leisure Centre, which last year raised over £5,500 for many charities, including a donation to the MS Therapy Centre in Bradley Stoke itself. Furthermore, the money raised in these events does not simply go to charities; the club also helps young children engage with many different areas of life, from photography to music.

The club itself, although renowned for making money for different charities, also uses its own initiative under the lead of its President, Phil King, to change the lives of those with learning disabilities. For example, the club sponsored a Music Rules event earlier this year, where 65 children attended a day of learning and entertainment at the Little Stoke Music Centre.

Further examples of this include the life education centre, sponsored by the club, which talks to primary school children about the importance of being healthy and what effect drugs and alcohol can have on the body. However, due to the age of the children, the talks are made to be more entertaining using music and video with today’s technology to make learning more fun, which can only be continued through the donations of generous benefactors, like the club.

Although the recession has made it more difficult for donors to continue giving money, the Rotary Club is working harder with “smaller but worthwhile projects which aren’t too ambitious,” says Membership Secretary Susan Bamber-Powell, which emphasises the fact that if everyone gives a little and takes part in the event, it can make a large difference for both companies and people themselves in the surrounding areas.

Furthermore, the club doesn’t solely raise and donate money through events like the Swimathon and Golf Day, it also donates to charities and individuals that come to speak to members twice a month at the weekly Friday Breakfast meetings and a chance to socialise with other members.

Although a lot of the money raised by Bristol Aztec is distributed around the local community, Rotary International raises money worldwide to address a range of different problems, including starvation in Africa through the Mary’s Meals movement by feeding over 600,000 starving children in 16 different countries. Other projects include polio eradication, shelter boxes and water purification schemes.

Photo: (L-R) Susan Bamber-Powell (Membership Secretary), Roger Worth (Community Chair), Karen Holly (Speakers Secretary) and Paul Holly (Senior Vice-President).

Events scheduled for the coming weeks

Bristol Aztec Rotary provides the resources for the BBQ and hope to raise funds at the Bradley Stoke Fireworks Display on Sunday 4th November. Later in the month, it stages the Young Chef competition at Bradley Stoke Community School (on Wednesday 14th of November). Young Chef is organised by the Rotary Club of Britain & Ireland and the local round is sponsored by local clubs, in this case, Bristol Aztec.

Bristol Aztec Rotary Club promotes its Swimathon charity fundraising event.

The 8th Annual Bradley Stoke Swimathon
(Saturday 9th March 2013)

Help the Rotary Club AND raise funds for your own cause or club. There is no entry fee, we simply ask  that you donate 40% of everything you raise to Rotary for us to use in our charity work. There are two one-hour sessions, commencing at 7pm and 8pm. Each team splits into two groups, one at each end of the pool. For each team there will normally be one swimmer in the water at a time, normally swimming one length.

How to get involved

The Rotary Club of Bristol Aztec meets every Friday (except 5th Friday of month) at Bristol Golf Club, St Swithins Park, Almondsbury (7:15am for 7:30am breakfast). Further details of speakers on a Friday and other local events we are involved in visit our website. Please contact our secretary Peter Randall on 01454 610777 prior to your intended visit as visitors are always made very welcome.

The Editor would like to thank Kieran Hyland for writing this article for The Journal.

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