Nov 102020

Club President, Brian Portway, laid a wreath at the war memorial in Clarence Place on Sunday. Although there was no ceremony or parade due to the lockdown, our tradition was maintained.

Oct 312020

To mark World Polio Day on the 24th October, Gravesend’s clocktower was floodlit in purple – the signature colour of the campaign.

The rain was pouring down but the purple was bright as we remembered the millions of children who have not had polio and the millions still to be immunised.

Brian Portway

More about End Polio Now: End Polio Now

Oct 302020

Michael Saunders

On Tuesday 27th October 2020 Gravesend Rotary held the latest in its series of business networking sessions. The meeting was opened by Gravesend Rotary president Brian Portway and he introduced the speaker Michael Saunders, Member of the Bank of England Monetary Policy Committee.

Michael gave a talk entitled “An off the record look at the UK economy, drawing on the most recent Bank of England Monetary Policy Report”. He provided insights into the evolution of the UK economy through the Covid-19 pandemic period to date and future possible projections, also with due consideration of the playout of BREXIT. The previous presentation in June 2020 by Phil Eckersley, the Bank of England Agent for the South East and East Anglia, under the same title, took place during the first phase of the pandemic whereas Michael Saunders extended his review in to the unfolding phase 2 of the emergency.

Following  Michael’s talk there was a Q&A session when the many of those attending asked wide-ranging questions, some specific to the conditions in Gravesham and peripheral areas.

The session was highly appreciated as indicated by comments subsequently received from attendees including:

What a fantastic meeting. A quality speaker on an incredibly difficult subject that dealt calmly and comprehensibly with everyone’s question in a professionally managed Zoom meeting.”, and

“Michael had a fantastic way of explaining things thoroughly and at a steady pace and returning to key points to highlight them – a very good speaker indeed.”

On behalf of the participants and Gravesend Rotary Tony Muckley, Gravesend Rotary Business Networking Leader, thanked Michael for his interesting and insightful talk. Further, that it had by far exceeded being timely, relevant, and providing takeaways for the participants. Tony also recognised high interest in the event from local enterprise, organisations and government and thanked the participants. He noted and welcomed the first-time attendance of students from several local schools. His suggestion that the Bank provide an update in a few months’ time was concurred by Michael and Phil.

Cllr Brian Sangha, GBC Cabinet Member for Strategic Environment, and Keith Grimley, GBC Senior Economic Development Officer, spoke briefly about local projects and needs including skills and youth development in employment. They highlighted the role of Rotary in the community and sought its involvement in strategic activities.

The session was drawn to a close by president Brian.

TM 30.10.2020

Oct 192020

Gravesend’s famous Clock Tower will shine purple from sunset to midnight on Saturday, 24 October, 2020, joining thousands of buildings around the globe for World Polio Day.

Polio now seems a distant memory in the UK although our children are still routinely vaccinated against it. Gravesend Rotary is supporting the global campaign to see the end of the disease once and for all. This time using the tower’s unique floodlighting scheme.

Purple comes from the colour of the ink marking the little finger of every child receiving the polio vaccine drops in the End Polio Now campaign.

Thanks to Rotary, and the support of partners WHO, Unicef, CDC and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, there are now just two countries still classed as endemic: Pakistan and Afghanistan. There have been less than 80 cases so far this year.

Gravesend Rotary President Brian Portway highlighted that the countries might seem distant but Covid has shown it could arrive back.

“The End Polio laboratories and teams world-wide have been switched to reporting on and battling Covid but are now coming back to giving those vital drops to each child.

“Over two billion doses of oral polio vaccine have to be administered each and every year in over 60 countries to hold that line.”

Gravesend Rotary has also helped fund the campaign by buying 4,000 purple crocus bulbs to be planted in Woodlands Park this month.

More information:  Brian Portway   01634 891708  07711 830377

More about End Polio Now: End Polio Now

Sep 102020

The Rotary Club of Gravesend invites you to its next lunchtime special business networking event

Tuesday, 27 October 2020

Michael Saunders
Member of the Monetary Policy Committee,
Bank of England

The Speaker’s presentation will be “An off the record look at the UK economy, drawing on the most recent Bank of England Inflation Report”, the next in our series of updates for these challenging times.

Presentation followed by Q&A session
Interactive session on Zoom
Entry from 12.45 for 13.00 start

Book your expression of interest by 9 October
with Tony Muckley, Business Networking Leader
0797 6318629

Aug 262020

It’s official — history has again been made with confirmation that you and me and all have helped kick wild Polio out of Africa.

For four years there has not been a single wild Polio case in the 47 countries of the Africa region.

So thank you to everyone who has helped Rotary groups plant purple crocus bulbs, bought the crocus charity pins; admired purple lit buildings and attended fundraising events.

In the region of £25,000 has been raised each year in this Rotary district and our thanks to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation who has made that £75,000 going to vaccinating children, providing health monitoring and control.

Those resources have also now been used to combat the corona virus emergency there too.

The battle against polio can be won . . . . .

Some Facts & Figures

  • On August 25, the WHO (World Health Organisation) African region was officially certified free of wild poliovirus. This certification will come four years after Nigeria – the last polio-endemic country in Africa – recorded its final case of wild polio.
  • This milestone is an incredible public health achievement for Rotary members, the African region, millions of health workers, and our Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) partners, and a huge step forward on the road to global polio eradication.
  • Rotary members have played an invaluable role in the effort to rid the African region of wild polio. We should be proud of all the hard work that we’ve done to eliminate the wild poliovirus in nearly every country in the world.
  • By raising funds for polio eradication, advocating with world governments and national and local leaders, holding events and fundraisers for World Polio Day, and raising awareness, Rotarians in the African region and around the world have made an indelible impact in the fight to eradicate polio.
    • There are Rotary clubs in all 47 countries in the African region, and the region is home to almost 32,000 Rotary members in nearly 1400 Rotary clubs.
    • Rotary and its members have contributed nearly US$890 million to eliminate polio in the African region.
  • The success of African countries, Rotary members, and partners in eliminating the wild poliovirus throughout the region is proof that polio eradication is possible.
  • Our expected victory over wild poliovirus in the African region represents incredible progress, but as long as polio exists anywhere, it remains a threat everywhere.
  • To overcome the remaining hurdles to eradication, it is critical that Rotary members remain committed to polio eradication and continue raising $50 million a year so we can keep children protected in Africa and eliminate the wild poliovirus in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
  • With continued support from Rotary, donors, country governments and GPEI partners we are confident that we can beat polio for good.

Brian Portway (Club President)

More about End Polio Now

Jul 162020

We had been waiting for the restrictions around the coronavirus lockdown to be relaxed sufficiently that we could have the ride on the 20th September as planned.

Alas, it was not to be. We had to make a decision this week or there would not be time to organise and publicise the event. There is still too much uncertainty about the future so we had no alternative but to cancel it for this year.

We hope that the situation will improve in the next few months so we can hold On Your Bike as usual in April or May next year. We will let you know when a decision has been made.

We are disappointed not only for all those who regularly support us and help us to raise money for charities, but also for the charities themselves. At this time when they are having to cut back their services because so many of their fundraising activities have been cancelled they are more than ever in need of the money we could otherwise have raised.

We are grateful to those who had already registered for On Your Bike and have agreed not to ask for return of their entry donations so we can give their money to the charities we support.

Jun 102020

Business networking Zoom session – a look at the economy
by the Bank of England

On 9 June Gravesend Rotary held a lunchtime Zoom business networking session when Phil Eckersley, Agent of the Bank of England for East Anglia and the South East, gave an update on the UK economy.

Entitled “An off the record look at the UK economy, drawing on the most recent Bank of England Monetary Policy and Interim Financial Stability Reviews” his talk gave insights into the current situation on inflation, unemployment and GPD as well as trends into 2021 and beyond.

Participants came from enterprises and organisations in Gravesham Borough and beyond. They included Adam Holloway MP, Cllr. Brian Sangha, business and commercial portfolio holder of Gravesham Council; and Jagdev Singh Virdee, General Secretary, Guru Nanak Darbar Gurdwara, Gravesend. The session following the presentation was lively and explored behind the information with interest on the effect on our local economy.

Tony Muckley, organiser of Business Networking & Membership for Gravesend Rotary, thanked Phil Eckersley for an enlightening and excellent presentation and his comprehensive answers. Tony highlighted that the presenter had gone way beyond the criteria of being topical, relevant, and providing “takeaways”. This was confirmed by the messages received at the end of and after the video conferencing session.

Cllr. Sangha spoke about activities in the Borough and the importance of engaging with and informing the approximately 4,000 enterprises. He proposed that Gravesend Rotary’s Business Networking initiative should provide a way for doing this.

After Gravesend Rotary President Andrew Moffat,  said: ”We have remained as active as we can in our work for our local community during the present emergency, helping charities whose fundraising has been badly hit by the restrictions: for instance, Alzheimers & Dementia Support Services and Hive Hope Food Bank. We have also made a grant to Footsteps International, which rescues street children in Kenya where the Covid-19 has caused schools to close and the pupils to return home.

“We have had to postpone our On Your Bike charity ride, planned for April. We aim to hold this on 20 September.

“We are planning another business networking lunch on 27 October. More information will be available nearer the time.”        


Tony Muckley

May 302020

9th June 2020 at 13:00

Rotary’s Business Networking lunch scheduled for 9th June has been reschedule for 27th October 2020 due to the Covid-19 epidemic. The speaker from the Bank of England will present his “off the record look at the UK economy, drawing on the most recent Bank of England Inflation Report at that time”.

However, to sustain continuity of our support for the local business community we have arranged a virtual session on the 9th June 2020 using the Zoom platform when Mr. Phil Eckersley, Agent of the Bank of England for East Anglia and the South East, will provide an update on the economy and an insight into the current activities of the Bank of England. The session will last about one hour and comprise the presentation by Mr. Eckersley and a Q&A session.

The 9th June 2020 event is already well supported by a spectrum of people from the local and peripheral business communities. There is still opportunity for more to participate. You can register your interest by 6th June 2020 with Tony Muckley, Leader of Business Networking for Gravesend Rotary, by emailing him at .  We look forward to seeing you there.

May 292020

Our (former) street boys have left the Sunshine Centre to live with their families, and are therefore back in the conditions that drove them to the streets in the first place.

During May, the Sunshine Centre team distributed another round of emergency packs to all of our boys and their families.

Each pack contained 10 kg of beans, 10 kg of maize, 2 kg of rice, 24 kg of maize meal, 3 litres of cooking oil and 4 large bars of soap, supplemented with spinach and kale from the Sunshine Centre farm.

The team organised transport to ensure that the heavy emergency packs reached the families’ homes safely.

In total we reached 131 families, a total of 795 beneficiaries (we are helping the whole family, not just ‘our’ Sunshine Boy).


More about Footsteps International