Aug 142019
Ben Bassi, director, with Andrew Moffat, club president

At lunch on 12th August 2019 the members of Gravesend Rotary inducted Meopham Valley Vineyard Ltd as a Corporate Member of the Club.  Membership Leader Tony Muckley reintroduced Mr. Ben Bassi, Director of Meopham Valley Vineyard Ltd, to the assembled Club members and recalled that Ben had already attended lunch and supported the Club’s activities on several previous occasions.

Tony recognised Ben’s entrepreneurial work with the wine business and noted several members’ comments on the excellence of the range of wines produced.

President Andrew Moffat took Ben through the induction process as the Principal Representative of the Corporate Member. The President said “I now present to you the badge which all Rotarians are proud to wear and the booklet which gives an introduction to Rotary, here and world-wide. … Rotarians, I present to you Meopham Valley Vineyard Ltd represented here by its Principal Representative in the Club, Ben Bassi. We all welcome you”.

Ben thanked the President and looked forward to participating in the social, networking and “Service above Self” activities of the Club.

Meopham Valley Vineyard online shop: click here

Aug 122019

The annual match of Bat & Trap against Rochester Rotary Club on Sunday resulted in a win by Gravesend and our member Simon Lancaster winning the best batsman cup for the highest score.

We are grateful for the hospitality of the Rochester Club and of Paddy Marsh who hosted the match in her garden following a buffet lunch.

Aug 092019
Theresa May pays tribute to Rotary’s End Polio Now campaign in final PMQs

Outgoing Prime Minister, Theresa May, used her final Prime Minister’s Questions to pay tribute to the work of Rotary International in its fight against polio.Full story: #PeopleOfAction

Posted by Rotary International in Great Britain & Ireland on Thursday, 25 July 2019

Former Prime Minister, Theresa May, paid tribute to Rotary’s work in eradicating polio, in particular to Judith Diment, Chair of the Polio Eradication Advocacy Task Force. It followed a question from Alistair Burt MP, a former Middle East and International Development Minister.

He asked: “Can I thank my Right Honourable Friend for her work supporting and overseeing the health programme which the United Kingdom delivers overseas, particularly vaccination, and most notably polio eradication vaccination for which she has herself  been internationally recognised, and which has saved and safeguarded millions of children’s lives across the world.

He asked: “Does she agree with me that the need to combat misinformation about vaccination is now perhaps as important as it ever has been? And would she …. note the importance of this programme ….

The Prime Minister endorsed Alistair Burt’s comments, adding: “My Right Honourable Friend’s reference about the work on polio enables me to congratulate and commend the work done by my constituent, Judith Diment, with Rotary International in their work against polio.

“It is important that we do combat the disinformation about vaccinations, and ensure that people are willing to have those vaccinations which will change their lives and which will ensure they can lead healthy lives, rather than succumbing to diseases and conditions that can have an impact on their lives.

“I am proud of the fact …. that we have legislated for 0.7% of Gross National Income to be spent on development aid overseas. That is an important element of global Britain, it is an important element of our standing in the world.”

The Annoatated Guide to Ending Polio

Want to know more about polio? See the progress we've made and the steps we're taking to #endpolio now and forever. Polio Now | Rotary International

Posted by Rotary International in Great Britain & Ireland on Monday, 15 July 2019

See our End Polio Now project page for more information

Aug 082019
Tony Lewis welcomed by President Andrew Moffat

Tony Lewis was welcomed as a new honorary member at our lunch meeting on Monday. Tony had been an active member of the club for some years but had to leave because of other commitments. However he kept in touch and continued to help the club at its events.

In recognition of Tony’s past contribution to Rotary and the community the club readily agreed to this recognition of his service. We also look forward to closer contact with him and Mary as it will now be easier for them join in the club’s activities.

Aug 032019

Gravesend Rotary was invited to take part in a community day at KCC Library at Marling Cross. Several charities and voluntary organisations were represented such a Girl Guides, Age Concern, St John Ambulance and Embroidery Guild.

We were there to tell visitors about the work of Rotary and how we can help the local community. We will be doing the same at the Dashwood Library on the 16th August.

Jul 102019

Gravesend Rotary held its outgoing President’s lunch and handover on 1st July 2019 at Nurstead Court. All those attending enjoyed a two-course meal with wine. It marked the end of the 2018-19 Rotary year and heralded the start of the next year.

Outgoing President Tony Muckley welcomed fellow Rotarians, spouses, members of the Inner Wheel Club of Gravesend, friends and guests. He thanked them for attending the event and hoped they would enjoy the meal, the fellowship and the handover process to the President for 2019-20.

After the meal President Tony reflected on his two back to back terms of office. He had found the two year term to be very useful for continuity of purpose and crystallising actions to pursue the primary objectives for the future of the club.

He said: “Our Club is recognised for “punching above its weight” over its long tenure, and we continue to do so. However, like many other Rotary clubs, we face the challenges of sustaining and necessarily growing our Club to be able to continue our support of charities and needy causes, our Service above Self. Our approach, established by consensus, some eighteen months ago reflects the need for change to the Club’s structure and functionality to enable the necessary targets of increased membership and heightened public image to be pursued.  Essentially, the club will look and act differently to continue its role in the community and to attract new members”.

Looking back

President Tony took the opportunity to recognise the following:

  • The tireless efforts of Bob Denby in pursuit of new members, both individual and Corporate membership.
  • The 33rd annual On Your Bike ride was held successfully on 12th May 2019 with over 550 participating riders. Again, Andrew Moffat expertly led the task group that worked for over 8 months to deliver the event.
  • The establishment of a new Promotions task group that is gaining strength under the creative leadership of John Dyke.
  • The development of business networking synergy with Gravesham Council. This being a key plank for the Club to be in step with the evolution of the Gravesham business and social communities. A way of getting back to the Club’s roots.
  • President Tony had encouraged the Community Service and International Committees to visit projects they support and get more deeply involved with sleeves rolled up working at the coal faces of activity. Chris Keeble, Di Trimm and their spouses could not attend the lunch because they were busy in Kenya for two weeks supporting the charity called Footsteps. Locally, John Baker and his team have coordinated the Club’s support for Hive Hope foodbank’s new venture to provide meals in the school breaks for children who qualify for free school meals. In essence, to make sure the pupils and their siblings continued to be fed. Literally sleeves were rolled up to prepare and serve the meals as wells as doing the washing and drying up.
  • In development is Gravesend Rotary’s intention to work with the G&M and NwEGC Rotary clubs and Gravesham Council on how, together with active entities such as Sanctuary, the impact on addressing the homeless situation in our Borough can be maximised.
  • In 2017 members of Gravesend Rotary visited its twinned club in France, Cosne-Sancerre. At the end of May this year the French club reciprocated with 10 members visiting Gravesend for a weekend of camaraderie and exchanges of ideas. It was an excellent weekend of activities. We look forward to traveling to France in 2021.
  • The support for ShetlerBox for disaster relief has continued.  In addition to street collections and other social events, connections with several schools, particularly primary schools, were renewed. Learning about disasters is part of the primary curriculum so the Club is using inhouse skills to give talks to the pupils. Several schools have staged events to raise money to fund ShelterBoxes. Last week a visit was made to Cecil Road School to receive a cheque for £1,069.80, almost enough for 2 boxes. A fantastic effort by the pupils and council.
  • Other staple events such as the International Committee’s Quiz Night and annual competitions with local Rotary clubs continued.  

The above is just a taste of the range of activities the Club undertakes.

Many of the activities greatly benefit from the unrelenting support of the members’ spouses, the members of the Gravesend Inner Wheel Club and Friends of Rotary. The President conveyed the members’ thanks. He also appreciated the members’ trust and support during his term of office. Finally, he thanked his wife, Sue, not only for her unending and generous support but also for her patience and guidance.

A new President

In the handover phase of the event Tony Muckley introduced Andrew Moffat as the incoming 2019-20 Club President. Andrew has been a Member of the Club since 1980 and had been President for the Rotary year 1990-91. He has held several positions in the Club including leading the task group for our signature On Your Bike event.

Tony Muckley passed over to Andrew Moffat the club regalia comprising two ribbons that bear the names of all the Presidents since the club was founded in 1927, some 92 years ago. He also handed to Andrew the President’s lapel and tie pins. He was wished good luck for the new Rotary year and assured of the support of all the members.

President Andrew started his year by thanking Tony Muckley for his work as President in the preceding two years and presenting him with his Past President’s badge. Also Sue was given flowers.He also presented Brian Portway with his President Elect’s ribbon and Dilly Singh with his Vice President’s ribbon.

Tony Muckley

Jul 072019

On Saturday 29th June 2019 Rotarians Bob Denby, Andrew Moffat and John Dyke pitched the Gravesend Rotary gazebo at the School fete.

It was a very hot day, but it didn’t deter many pupils, families and friends of the school arriving for the fun, and games.

The Rotarians offered freshly made, free popcorn to all comers. The smell of cooking and loud popping noise of the corn attracted children and adults alike to our gazebo. All agreed that the popcorn tasted good and was a welcome part of the festivities. Indeed, some families returned for a second helping.

As usual ICE (In Case of Emergency) cards were given to the users of mobile telephones. This additional security measure was welcomed by all.

His Worshipful the new Mayor of Gravesham Cllr Gurdip Ram Bungar stopped by several times to meet the Rotarians and to discuss Gravesend Rotary’s activities and support for social needs in the Borough. Also enjoying the popcorn were Bob Lane, the Chairman of Shorne Parish Council, and his wife.

President Tony Muckley said, “we enjoyed meeting many people and giving them a taste of the popcorn as well some information what our club does. We are very grateful to the Friends of Shorne School (FOSS) for giving us this opportunity. We hope to participate again next year and to explore projects with the School”.

Tony Muckley

Jul 032019
The school’s motto

On Wednesday 26th June 2019 the Rotary Club of Gravesend received a cheque for £1069.80p from the pupils and staff of Cecil Road School, Gravesend.  This money was raised for the  ShelterBox Charity, the Rotary inspired organisation which sends boxes of  emergency supplies  to areas stricken by natural and man made disasters  such as earthquakes, floods,  fire  and conflict.

Earlier this year Rotary club members gave a demonstration  of the boxes’ contents to the pupils and told them of what could be done for people after a disaster. The school council  then decided to raise the £600 needed to  buy  a box of supplies  for  ShelterBox which would then be forwarded to the next disaster zone. The contents include a  tent  for a family of ten people  and all they will need to  live when they have lost everything.

Rotary Club President Tony Muckley handing the ShelterBox certificate to Emily

Blankets and mosquito nets, tools to rebuild their home,  pots and pans to cook the food supplied by other specialist relief organisations and essential items like water purification equipment,  the contents of the green boxes have grown and been updated since they were first developed  by a British Rotary club member  from Cornwall in 2000. Now whenever a disaster occurs a specialist volunteer team is sent out to  assess the needs of the survivors and arrange for the delivery of the Green ShelterBoxes  from world wide storage depots. These depots have been established in critical points  throughout the known danger areas and updated so that response times are as short as possible. 

Rotary Club President Tony Muckley receiving the cheque from teacher Miss Apps

Staff member  Bernadette Vincent  explained how the  school council,  made up of   boys and girls representing all  school pupils,  organised varied events to raise the money including curry lunches and sponsored swims. The final total has bought not just one box but almost enough for a second as well.

Tony Muckley the current president of the Rotary Club of Gravesend ( pictured with the school council members), was handed the cheque  and  thanked the children for all their hard work.  “Our association with Cecil Road goes back  for many years  and we have always been impressed with the  pupils  willingness to help those in need.  Once again the children have shown  the way forward and should be   proud of the results of their efforts. On behalf of ShelterBox  I thank you all sincerely and I am honoured to be able to give the school a special certificate in recognition of their achievements”

Members of the school pupils’ council with staff and members of Rotary club of Gravesend

Back row left to right: Baani, Brooke, Sophie, Isabella, Sara, Simran, Ekamjot, Devan, Yuvi
Middle row left to right: Reggie, Akash, Leo, Finley, Daniel, Umutchan
Front row left to right: Rotarian John Baker, Head Teacher Mrs Vincent, Teacher Miss Apps, Emily, Rotary President Tony Muckley and Rotarian Andrew Moffat

Click on photos to see the full size image

Bob Denby

Jun 202019
Dinner at The Woodlands

At the beginning of June 2019 members of the French Rotary Club of Cosne-Sancerre visited Gravesend for 5days of camaraderie and exchanges of experiences with Gravesend Rotary. The clubs have exchanged visits over many years. President Tony Muckley welcomed the visitors, and Martine Melier, President of the Cosne-Sancerre Club brought the very best salutations from her club members.

The visitors experienced the Dickens Festival in Rochester and a made a tour of Gravesend with the local historian Christophe Bull. The members of both clubs together with spouses and friends dined at the Woodlands Hotel and the 14th century the Three Daws Pub beside the Thames. On another evening smaller groups dined at Bartella’s Restaurant and the George Pub in Meopham as well as at the home of John and Vanessa Dyke.

The last function was a very enjoyable leisurely afternoon and late lunch at Di Timms house in St. Mary’s Hoo. It concluded with President Tony presenting each of the visitors with bottles of fine red and white wine from Meopham Valley Vineyards. He said “You come from a famous region in France where the world-famous Sancerre and Pouilly-Fumé wines are produced but we want you to know that here in Kent, in Meopham, fine wines are also produced.  We have had a wonderful weekend together and look forward to sustaining our friendship and visiting you in the future, possibly in 2021.”

After arrival back home in France Danielle Emond wrote “We all had an excellent stay in Gravesend, we were overwhelmed by your warm welcome. During our Club meeting on Thursday evening we gave a report to the other members, which made them jealous …  We all agreed that you must come to visit us again, we already made plans how to entertain you. This friendship between our 2 clubs has a great meaning for us and we wish to keep it strong.”

May 222019

USA cyclist Edwin Valarde set out on a 1,200 kilometer (740 miles) EPiC Journey from Gravesend to Hamburg on Monday.

Gravesend Rotary saw him off from Mid Kent Golf Club, Singlewell Road, for the 45 mile route to Canterbury. Then the following day it was to Dover and ferry across the Channel.

Gravesend Rotary President Tony Muckley sends Edwin Valarde on his way with escorts John Dent and Chris BarnettEdwin is cyclist on left next to President Tony Muckley

Edwin lives with type-1 diabetes, This is Edwin’s fourth EPiC Journey to raise awareness about what he calls the growing Global Diabetes Epidemic. 

“Over 425 million have diabetes around the world Sadly3.8 milion deaths are  caused by diabetes and high blood glucose each year,” said Edwin.

“That is greater than the number of people living in Brussels, Amsterdam and Hamburg combined!  If we do not do anything about the fast-spreading Global Diabetes Epidemic, the future numbers will grow exponentialy.”

“Gravesend Rotary has just held its giant charity cycle ride and so giving Edwin a send off is extra special for us,”said President Tony Muckley

“Also we have family members with diabetes and know what a huge challenge this must be for him to take on.”