Rotary Baywatch

Bay clubs combine to get rid of plastic

Hot on the heels of last year’s Great British Beach Clean-up, two of the Bay’s nine Rotary clubs are combining to launch another campaign, culminating in a special clean-up day next September.

Tormohun and Dartmouth Rotary clubs are getting together to set up the campaign, which will begin officially with a Tormohun dinner at the Livermead House Hotel, Torquay later this month (January 29). The speaker will be Dr Richard Stone (PhD), whose talk will be entitled “The trouble with Plastic”.

Torbay Times understands that both the eldest English club west of Bristol, Torquay Rotary Club, which is fast approaching its centenary year (in 2020), and the youngest club in the Bay, Torbay Sunrise, will both be joining the campaign to rid the area’s beaches and waterways of plastic litter. There have also been encouraging noises from Paignton Rotary, which has itself been involved in beach cleans in the past year through its Interact offshoot.
The aim is to have a major push and so clean up the area’s beaches and open spaces over the next few months, leading to an area-wide Day of Action on September 19. Last September, scores of Rotarians helped the Marine Conservation Society with their Great British Beach Clean Day (September 25) in, among other places, Beacon Cove, Torquay.

The alarm at the level of plastic pollution in our seas was brought to the public’s attention by the BBC Documentary Blue Planet II, which was narrated by Sir David Attenborough, in 2017-18. He showed graphic pictures of the damage to the world’s ocean life that is being caused by disposal of single-use plastics and how toxic materials could be entering the food chain, threatening the existence of all life on Earth.

Planting crocuses in Preston

Preston (Torbay) Rotary Club and pupils from Oldway and Preston Primary Schools have been out in the open-air planting 5,000 purple crocus corms in the gardens at Torquay Road in Preston.
As our picture shows, the pupils were helping raise awareness of the Purple for Polio campaign which Rotary has been running to help eradicate the disease in every nation. Rotary International set a target of wiping out the disease in 1987, and, since then, it has been successful in all but three countries of the world – Afghanistan, Pakistan and Nigeria.

The ground for planting in Torbay was prepared by gardeners from Tor2, the public-private partnership that works within the borough, and, when they appear, the plants will be purple, the same colour as the dye that is used to mark the finger of an under-five and so show that particular child has been vaccinated against the disease. If it can be eradicated, poliomyelitis will become only the second disease in history to be wiped out – the first was smallpox, which currently exists only in a scientific laboratory.
In the picture are Primary-age children who planted the corms, alongside Preston Rotarians Keith Wilby and Roger Tisdall.

…and feeding the hungry

In other news, Preston Rotary has just presented Paignton Community Larder with a cheque for £450, in part raised by a successful charity golf day at Dainton Golf Club and partly from food donations brought along to the club’s meeting once a month.
Yvonne Childs, Paignton Rotary’s President, explained that the club’s members had brought along food in tins, packets and jars – eventually totalling 800 items of food.
Anita Davies, who runs the town’s community larder with the backing of a group of dedicated helpers, thanked the Rotarians, and added: “We are extremely grateful for the huge support we receive from people who want to help those in difficult circumstances. We have seen a continuous rise in the demand for our help and have provided 1183 food parcels in our first 12 months. This equates to more than 28000 meals.”
Preston Rotary has been linking with Paignton Rotary Club to deliver food parcels to those people deemed to be in crisis but who can’t get to the food bank.

For more information on the work of the Paignton Larder, readers can contact Anita Davies on 07895 925872 or see its Facebook page.

Summer ride

Chris Sumner, President of Paignton Rotary Club, is promoting the idea of a sponsored bike ride this June, to help raise funds for Prostate Cancer charity.

He has written to all the President of the Bay clubs, saying that he himself has previously done such a ride with his wife, for another charity and, despite using static bikes, raised a good deal of money. He wrote: “We could not only rise the profile of Torbay in the public arena but also increase Rotary membership, while raising much needed funds to help fight Prostate Cancer.”

Chris also plans to organise a Paignton show this year.

Meanwhile, Brixham President Maldwyn Evans is planning to ride a bicycle over 100 miles in a day in aid of charity.
He has written to all the Presidents in the Bay, saying “Hi, all. I’m prepared to travel from Brixham to Land’s End on my (electric) bike some time in June, when the days are long. It’s just about feasible in one day. Not enough battery range, maybe, and so I’ll have to do some work!”

Support for Alzeimer’s

Torquay Rotary Club has presented a cheque for £1,000 to Clare Frost, who is a community fundraiser for Devon and Cornwall for the Alzeimer’s Society.

The cheque was presented by John Slater, who is the immediate past President of the club, and the Society was one of the charities that was supported by the club during his year.

Santa’s friends

Babbacombe and St Marychurch Rotary Club had another successful year organising and running Santa’s Grotto on Fleet Walk, Torquay, in the run-up to Christmas, thanks to support from many other Rotary clubs in the Bay, including Tormohun and Torbay Sunrise, not to mention scores of friends of Rotary who kept the grotto going all the way to Christmas Eve.

All the proceeds of the grotto will be donated to Rotary charities, among them South West Children’s Hospice.