Rotary Club of Reading

FAST - Stroke Awareness


Our speaker this week (18th July 2017) was Richard Phillips (Husband of Ann Phillips of Reading Matins) who spoke to us about stroke awareness. Richard told us that he had suffered a stroke when he was around 57 and here we are over 15 years later, with the help of his family Richard is leading a full and active life despite being affected by the stroke down his left- hand side. He has been an active member of the Stroke Association for many years and delivered an informative and thought-provoking talk. Read more >

Reading Rotary Community Project

RRCP (part of the Reading Rotary Club) Recently made grants to :-
The Engine Room - 750
Faith Christian Group - 1,000
Whitley Wood Community Centre disabled toilet refurbishment - 980

Earlier in this Rotary year donations were made to:-
ABC to Read - 500 to help recruit and train five volunteers
Reading Mencap - 750 to help with their community choir and help with putting on an end of course concert
Reading Refugee Support Group - 500 to help make their office a secure and safe environment
Berkshire Vision - 500 to assist funding 5 sessions for their athletics club
Churches in Reading Women's centre - 250 to assist with project running costs


Dates for the Diary


Our Golf day this year will be on the 5th of September - so you keen golfers need to get a team together!

For an entry form and more information please follow the link.

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Jack Holt wins the Terry Simpson Cup for 2017

Jack the golfer

On July 12th RAGS - Reading Abbey Golf Society but now a combined society
with Rotary Club of Reading - held their annual competition for the Terry
Simpson Cup. Terry was a very active member and past President of Reading
Abbey and a keen golfer and following his sad demise his wife Sarah
presented this Cup to RAGS.
Last year's winner Peter Mason of Abbey presented the cup to
this year's winner, Jack Holt from the Rotary club of Reading.
 Read more >

St. Peter's Fete, Caversham Court 2017

As part of our quest for new members, for the second year in succession the Club took a site at St Peter's Church Fete held on July 8th. A large crowd taking advantage of a beautiful day at Caversham Court was able to see our banners, literature, a Santa suit and a Shelterbox -- all on display to show what Rotary is all about. Read more >

Berkshire Womens Aid

BWA log
Liz Terry with Eric

Liz Terry with new Rotary President Eric Moyse

Our speaker on July 4th was LIZ TERRY who returned to give members and guests an update on BWA, and the current situation regarding our exciting project Orchard House for Berkshire Woman's Aid.
Liz explained that the charity was formed in the 1970's and the first refuge opened for women who were victims of domestic violence, in 1975. Since then the profile of needs has changed dramatically, whether this is awareness of being able to seek help or an increase in domestic violence, Liz could not say. Last year BWA had to turn away 73 people looking for that place of safety. That means for every victim we took in to refuge we turned 3 people away. Calls to our helpline grew by 58% last year.
As the needs of victims change and recognising the positive changes in the level of understanding of Domestic Abuse in other agencies, BWA welcomes the opportunity to look at the balance of the way services are delivered in the area and believe that some changes can match local needs more effectively. Our experience shows that outreach is a very effective way of supporting many service users including the impact on children who witness the abuse.
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New President Eric Moyes takes the reins from outgoing President Sandra Tucker - and two Paul Harris awards are presented

Sandra anoints Eric

Eric bows before Sandra!

At the Hand Over meet on June 27th, 2017 we bade farewell to outgoing President Sandra and we all welcomed Eric Moyes as the incoming President. Bill Montague became SVP with Amir Kharkowa as JVP. David Drew remains as Secretary and John Brennan as Treasurer
Sandra thanked everyone for their hard work and support during her term of Office, with special thanks to David Drew and Chris Nicholls, and to both she presented the Paul Harris award in recognition of their support and dedicated efforts. Read more >

The FAITH Christian Group (FCG).


On the 20th June our speaker was Amanda Bayley from the FAITH Christian Group (FCG). Amanda gave a very informative talk explaining how FCG began in 1990 as a response to a need which its founder, Jim McConnell, saw on the streets of Reading. In the beginning, the FAITH office was based in the front room of his house. Following those beginnings, a small van was purchased, and a drop in centre opened up, running every Sunday at St Andrew's Church hall near the Royal Berkshire Hospital in Reading. FAITH then went mobile with the purchase of what was to become the Candle Tea Bar that has been out in Reading Town Centre on Sunday afternoons almost every Sunday.
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95th anniversary


The year was June 1922 when Rotary Club of Reading was first formed,only the second Daughter club of the London Rotary Club, and here we are ninety five years later and still doing an amazing job! The meeting on 6th of June 2017 celebrated the passing years with a wonderful special 95th anniversary cake baked by the chef at Pepe Sale for all to enjoy. Rotary Assistant Governor Tony Eldridge joined us for the meeting and meal along with fellow guest of Jack Holt, Simon Creffield.
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A very inspirational, enthusiastic and thoroughly enjoyable talk was given to fellow Rotarians and guests that attended the evening meeting on May 30th by Rtn. Tony Cowling.
Tony is involved in many very worthwhile projects and gives the lion's share of his time and energy to those projects. The main subject of Tony's talk this evening was around a knowledge transfer programme relating to renewable energy for Eritrea. He was very keen for them to move forward with some geothermal power plants.
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Bottle greenhouse at Oxford Road Community School

Jack & Tony

Jack & Tony at it again!

Ace chippie Tony building the frame for a plastic bottle greenhouse at 8am at Oxford Road Community School. Jack just held the other end of the timber.
This was part of the Youth Team's Gardening 4 Schools Project.
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A Jammy Idea to Raise Funds!


Jars of Purple4Polio Plum Jam were handed out to Rotarians attending the evening meeting on Tuesday 14th March by Rod Cole. Not for free though! In return a donation was requested for 2.00 per jar. Funds raised will go to the End Polio Now project. Proceeds will be further swelled when recipients of the Jam, will be asked to fill their empty jar with coins and return them to the Rod.

Preserving Reading's Past and Shaping its future.

Members who attended this week's meeting were treated to a very interesting talk from Richard Bennett, Chairman of the Reading Civic Society. Richard began his introduction with a fun quiz detailing pictures of some historic and interesting items to be found around Reading, challenging members to test their local knowledge. Read more >

Diabetes - what you need to know and more!

diabetes logo
Diabetes UK

Rtn. Frank Parkinson introduced Diabetes speaker, Pat Taylor

Our speaker on 2nd May was Diabetes volunteer Pat Taylor who gave us an interesting insight into understanding Diabetes Type 1 and 2.
Pat a sufferer herself of Type 1 diabetes, gave us her first-hand experience of how Diabetes can affect your life. Advice was also given on how you can improve your health should you be diagnosed with Diabetes Type 2.
Diabetes UK recommended that it requires a lifestyle change, healthier diet and increase activity. this can often bring about great improvements.
Follow to link to find out more:
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Readifood at Waitrose

Readifood stand

Bank Holiday Sunday saw Reading Rotarians volunteer at the ReadiFood Collection point in the Waitrose store, Caversham.

Nigel Penn-Simkins ably assisted by Sheila Hobbs, manned the Readifood collection point under the guidance of Alison Peyton, who is the local coordinator from the Readifood Charity. The Readifood charity is run by FAITH Christian Group who do an excellent job in the collection and distribution of food parcels to people in need across Greater Reading. Readifood work in conjunction with many other organisations throughout Reading. We look forward to hearing their story when Alison speaks to the club at the 20th June meeting.
Follow this link to learn more:

A Charity Bike Ride for PACT

Lady on bike

Parents And Children Together (PACT) helps hundreds of families every year through adoption services and community projects across London and the South. PACT was founded in 1911 by Bishop Paget who formed the Diocesan Council for the Prevention and Rescue Work. Lord Stanmore, the son of Lord Aberdeen, Prime Minister at the time provided the first donation of 100 to enable the Council to start its work.
Their first rescue worker was a Miss Sharpe who on her bicycle, began visiting unmarried mothers to help them build a better life for them and their children.

Emma Owen, Head of Fundraising and Marketing at PACT today, the 25th April, gave us a brief but very interesting overview into activities of this leading UK charity.
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Gardening for Schools - The Youth Team


In the Winter of 2015, we identified 13 local primary schools, with whom we had a connection through Dictionaries or Life Education. Each of these schools were written to by the team, enquiring if we could help with any gardening ideas - for example raised vegetable beds etc. Five of the primary schools we contacted responded, accepting our offer of help in 2016. However, one school then fell silent but site visits were made to the remaining four: Oxford Road Community, Moorlands, Meadow Park Academy and St Anne's, Caversham Primaries. Read more >

Sand Dam Project underway

Rotary's first dam in India - with a Rotary contribution of 15,494.
The dam is for the Kirjan Bhoja community in the Marwar region. Amazingly, it appears that an estimate of over 3,000 people will benefit from this dam and maybe as many as 9,000. Excellent Development have been engaged to build the dam and they are doing this with a Rajasthan based organisation, The Jal Bhagirathi Foundation. Read more >


Easter Bunny!

An Easter Egg treat was delivered to many disadvantaged children and older members of the community in Berkshire this week by Reading Rotary Clubs. The clubs assisted the Thames Vale Vultures Motorcycle Owners Group (TVVMOG) to distribute the hundreds of Easter eggs they had gathered at their collection point in the foyer, at Asda in Lower Earley.
To help with the distribution, members of Reading Rotary Club collected over 600 eggs from their storage in Woodley. With all the eggs well boxed up, they were distributed to the following local organisations: PHAB, Christian Community in Action, Alexander Devine Hospice, Berkshire Woman's Aid, Articulate, JAC, Reading Family Aid, Lakeside Care Home, The Mount Care Home in time for Easter.
 Read more >

A real-life story ....


A real-life story was brought to us on our 28th March meet via Nick Harbourne, from the Reading Refugee Support Group. Nick has spoken to us before, but this time he introduced us to someone who had experienced first-hand the work of the RRSG.
Faraj, was a highly successful Human Rights Lawyer in Eastern Libya before the 'Arab Spring Uprising'. Faraj spoke emotionally about his journey over the past few years from a prominent lawyer to a penniless refugee here in the UK. He took us through the loss of personal items, his kidnap, torture and finally his escape. Arriving in the UK alone, he was initially settled in Cardiff where he was supported by the Cardiff Rotary Club. Following much paperwork, Faraj had success, when his family finally arrived safely here in the UK. All are now well settled in the UK, thanks to the great help of RRSG.
Faraj is now a trustee for Reading Refugee Support Group, helping in their tireless work here in Reading .
Read more or donate at
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Lydia came to talk SENSE to us

Lydia Clark

Lydia Clark, from SENSE, was the guest speaker at our March 21st meet. Lydia gave us an enthusiastic overview of SENSE, the national charity that supports people who are deafblind, have sensory impairments or complex needs, to enjoy more independent lives.
SENSE is 62 years old this year and was started in 1955 by two mothers whose children were born deafblind. Read more at: Read more >

Santa's Run to raise an 'Olympic' amount for charity

Cheque presentation

An evening dinner held at Caversham Heath Golf Club on 14th March was to celebrate and acknowledge the amazing success of the 2016 Santa Run. The event was sponsored by many of Berkshires leading companies and raised 35,333,74 for local charities. The main sponsors were represented by David Brommel and Trevor Doran from ROC Search. Also sponsors Vail Williams were represented by James Bennet.
Following presentations by Rotarian and Santa Run commentator, David Holby-Wilinksi spoke of how he achieved a Guinness World Record, on a rowing machine. An heroic effort, as was his commentary!
David was followed by Claire Rhodes talking about Daisy's Dream activities. Speakers Alison Brickly, Haley and Jake, enlightened us on the activities of No 5. Both charities received cheques for 10,146 from President Sandra Tucker. Many other charities received a donation from the fund, see our Facebook page.
Many thanks to all Rotarians involved in the planning and implementation of this wonderful event.
More info visit:
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High Sheriff of Berkshire addresses the Joint Services Evening

High Sheriff of Berkshire

The High Sheriff of Berkshire

A Joint Services Dinner, was held at the Holiday Inn, Winnersh, on Tuesday 7th March, and was hosted by the Rotary Club of Reading Maiden Erlegh.
The guest speaker was the High Sheriff of Berkshire, Mrs V J Fishburn. Addressing over 150 people who attended the Dinner, the High Sheriff spoke enthusiastically about her very busy role as High Sheriff, and her regular involvement with the Police, the Justice System and many charities.
Our President, plus six other members of Reading Rotary Club, were joined by representatives from a wide selection of Rotary clubs in our area, including many from local Lion and Tangent organisations.
Along with the other clubs, Reading Rotary Club had the opportunity to set up a display area, highlighting some of our current projects. These including the very successful Santa Run event, which attracted plenty of interest and very positive comments.
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We are Flying for Life!


MAF-UK (Mission Aviation Fellowship)

At our March 7th meet, John Ledger from MAF-UK gave us an excellent insight in to what his organisation does. Few of us were previously aware of MAF-UK yet it has been operating since 1945. Started by two former WW2 pilots with just one Miles Gemini plane (made in Woodley!). This Organisation now operates over 130 light aircraft in over 25 countries bringing help and healing to the most remote communities of the globe. MAF-UK assist over 1500 partners worldwide including OXFAM, CHRISTIAN AID and TEARFUND.
An enlightening 15 minute talk by John, that we all enjoyed immensely.
Follow the link for more information. Read more >

'The Engine Room Project'

Paul at work

Paul at work

The 28th February 2017 saw a visit to the Club of a new organisation called 'The Engine Room.' They have been in existence for just under a year and seek to help people with mental health problems through art. Finance is obtained through Crowdfunding and Lisa Gibbs who came to talk to us is a leading light in this infant organisation. They seek to empower the people who are referred to them mainly through social services by their engaging in art, even if they have not shown any previous talent or inclination. Read more >

Visitors from overseas to our meeting of the 14th February 2017

Rtn & Mrs Firake

Our Club's fellowship meeting on 14th February was graced with the visit of husband and wife Dattatraya and Asha Firake. Rotarian Dattatraya, whose work background is in engineering, has been President of the Kankaria Club on two occasions while Asha is a former president of the local Inner Wheel club. They were the guests of Tony Cowling who is a neighbour of their daughter.  Read more >

RAHAB 7th February 2017 meeting


RAHAB is one of the projects of the local charity Mustard Tree Foundation. The project started as a means of helping victims of sexual exploitation but recently it has broadened its remit to try to help victims of all types of exploitation occurring in Reading. This has proved to be a monumental task. Naomi came on 7 February 2017 to tell the club about her work, which also includes making people aware of the problem.  Read more >

A Magical Evening


Ian Keable Entertains!
Sleight of hand, legerdemain, hocus pocus, prestidigitation and illusion were all at work when magician Ian Keable came to the Caversham Heath Golf Club to entertain members and guests of Reading Rotary Club at our evening meeting on 31 January 2017. Ian, who is a Gold Star member of the Magic Circle, holds the Magic Circle Comedy Magic Award and it is not hard to see why. Your appetite whetted?
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A Club Member's Fund Raising Activity

This is one member's latest fundraising project - running 7 Marathons in 7 days carrying a Viking ship!
To learn more follow the links by clicking on the heading or on  Read more >

Thank you letters

Thank you letters from Launchpad and Just Around the Corner
To see follow the links. Read more >

Scleroderma & Raynaud's

Henry Mc Ginty is fundraising officer for the UK charity Scleroderma & Raynaud's UK (S&RUK) and on 24th January 2017 he came to tell the Club about its work.  Read more >

Christmas Lunch

Mabel Boyd, the Manager of CIRDIC (Churches in Reading Drop-in Centre) was the speaker at the Reading Rotary Club Christmas Lunch held in the Pepe Sale restaurant on 20th December. She spoke of the desperate lives of the homeless in Reading and the help that CIRDIC gives them. She contrasted living in a tent in December with having a bath and a change of clothing at CIRDIC followed by a well- cooked tasty and nourishing meal. In addition CIRDIC hosts St Mungos' (who find accommodation for the homeless) as well as National Health Nurses, both general and mental. Read more >


On behalf of everyone from Dingley's Promise, may I thank you and your fellow Rotary Club members for the kind and generous support to us throughout 2016.
We could not continue to provide the life-changing service that we offer without the generous support of organisations such as yours - and we are so very grateful for everything that you do for us.

The staff, Trustees, parents and children of Dingley's Promise send you all warm good wishes for 2017.
Janice Powell
Fundraising & Communications Manager
Dingley's Promise
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A new project from the Youth Team. Please click on the heading to learn more.

Ladies in Aviation

Pauline Vahey

Pauline with President Sandra

Pauline Vahey has been flying since 1987, first gliders and then powered aircraft (she flies from White Waltham) and is a past Chair of the British Women Pilots Association and its current Ambassador. At our evening meeting on November 29th Pauline told us about the women who pushed back the barriers of prejudice that prevented women from undertaking all aspects of flying aircraft, both fixed wing and rotary.
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Will McInerney, a Rotary Peace Scholar

Will McInerney

Will McInerney

Will hails from North Carolina, USA but he is at present based at Bradford University (W. Yorks). Deputy District Governor Greg Wilkinson brought Will to our meeting on 6 December 2016 to let us hear of the work that he does. He emphasised the importance of the story in giving people their culture and their place in life. Sometimes the storytelling may be used for violence and his job is to use story- telling in turning people away from conflict. This is achieved by substituting empathy for suspicion and he has worked in schools in several middle-eastern countries including Israel and Egypt.
As well as being a UK Rotary Peace fellow, Will is a US State Department Program Fellow and (although his talk was all in prose) an award-winning spoken poet.

Three New members

Tuesday the 22nd November's meeting was well attended to welcome our new comers. Congratulations and a big welcome to all three.

Children in Need

Last Saturday saw our President with District officer Greg raise 3,000 for Children In Need at Reading Station. Well done to them!

Christmas Puddings

Rotary Gives Early Boost to Salvation Army Christmas Hamper Appeal

Reading Salvation Army is gearing up to provide 4,000 people with food this Christmas and the Rotary Club of Reading has given them a bumper start with a donation of 266 Christmas puddings, enough for over a thousand people to enjoy their Christmas dinners.
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AMAR Foundation - 1st November 2016

AMAR logo

This charity was founded over 24 years ago by its Chairman, Baroness Nicholson after the First Gulf War to assist the Kurds and the Marsh Arabs whom Sadam Hussein had victimised almost to the point of genocide. Its work, which consists of health education, training and humanitarian assistance, is still carried out mainly in Iraq where the plight of people trapped in Mosul is currently giving huge cause for concern. Some work is also done in Lebanon and Yemen. Read more >

Draught Busters new website

Please follow the link to see the latest
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Reading Community Energy Society (RCES)   The Sun is Shining on Reading

Reading Community Energy

Community buildings across Reading benefit from solar panel installations.

Over the past three months solar panels have been installed on 10 community buildings including places of worship, community and council buildings and charity headquarters in and around Reading. That's a total of 176kWp of solar panels!
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Yorkshire Tea Bar Codes Buy Wheelchairs!

yorkshire tea

Yorkshire Tea have been very pleased with the outcome and the scheme now covers the bar codes of all their Yorkshire Tea products including cakes and biscuits.
To give an example of the improved benefits that we now receive, each unit has a value of 10p. The box of 80 tea bags carries the value of 10p ie one unit, so the largest catering bag carries a value of 15 units, 1.50p,just 50 of those would buy and deliver the wheelchair.
750 units are required to buy and deliver a wheelchair.
The programme has no time limit so please keep up the excellent work and spread the word.
 Read more >

Street Child

Street Child

Registered charity 128536

Rebecca Smith came to the Club on 4 October to tell us about Street Child which began its work in 2008 in the poorest country in the world, Sierra Leone. It has since made rapid progress so it is now operating in neighbouring Liberia and (since the earthquake) Nepal. A charity registered in England, it lays great emphasis on working to help people to self-sufficiency by using local resources including local community workers.
 Read more >

District Governor's Visit 27th September 2016


Our District Governor Joy Arnott came to our meeting on 27 September 2016 and brought with her this year's Rotary International logo. This she feels epitomises Rotary's leading role in the 'End Polio Now' campaign, which is near to worldwide success, although the re-emergence of the disease in central Africa has been a recent setback. Of the diseases that afflict mankind only smallpox has been completely eliminated and when polio goes the same way it will be because of a campaign started, continued and probably ended by Rotary.  Read more >

GRAFT - Thames Valley



On Tuesday 20th September 2016 The CEO of GRAFT Thames Valley, Hazel Wright, came to thank us for our donation out of the proceeds of our 2015 Santa Run and to tell us about the several ways in which it had been spent.
GRAFT is a charity which seeks to find employment for disabled or disadvantaged children. Each of their clients is provided with a 'Tool Kit' consisting of an action plan, stationery and provision for feedback but the money had also been spent on staff training and the setting up of a 'Prevent Programme' aimed at encouraging potential clients to avoid the need for help form GRAFT.
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The Club's Charity Golf Day raises 3200

Toni Sale

Toni Sale with our President

Toni Sale, who owns the Pepe Sale restaurant where we hold our lunchtime meetings, featured strongly in the winners at the Club's Annual Charity Golf Day held on 6 September. Toni was nearest the pin at the 8th hole and his team were runners-up. Last year the Owletts were runners up but this time they won with a very creditable 91 points while Mercer Jelf Financial services took third spot. Straightest drive went to our Peter Webb while Oliver Nokes of Lancaster Rover was nearest the pin at the13th.
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Lord Nuffield - William Morris   Our evening talk by Tony Boffin

William Morris was born in 1877 in Worcester but his family, who were by no means well off, soon moved to Oxford where at the age of 15 he was apprenticed to a cycle shop. However, he broke his apprenticeship when he was refused a pay increase and opened his own shop, which proved to be the first of his many successful business ventures. Throughout his life he proved himself a brilliant engineer, an acute businessman and a caring employer as he progressed to motorised bicycles then cars and finally commercial vehicles. He never took his businesses away from Oxford - his factory eventually covered virtually the whole of the Cowley area - but he did take over and turn around failing vehicle businesses in Derby and Coventry. Read more >

Reading Family Aid


Reading Family Aid became a registered charity in 1993 but it had started long before -- sometime in the nineteen seventies -- and it is still going strong today. Reading Family Aid exists to help disadvantaged children in the greater Reading area. Sallie Wall, who recently stepped down after twelve years as President of the charity, came to Reading Rotary on 23rd of August to tell the Club of the work that she and her colleagues undertake. Read more >

2016 RYLA Candidates Receive Their Certificates

Emma & Damien

Emma & Damien

The Rotary Club of Reading sponsored two candidates for the 2016 Rotary Youth Leadership Award, Emma Beaurain and Damien Blackwell, both of whom live in the Reading area. Emma, who was nominated by her gap-year employers, accountants Ellis and Co, is shortly going to Guildford University to study food science while Damien is already Community Services Manager for the Reading offices of workspace-finding company Regus. Read more >

Rotary e-clubs

Visiting eRotarian Dave King told us about something of which we were ignorant until Tuesday 2nd of August. Few of our member had heard of Rotary E- Clubs so all were interested to learn what they were all about. Dave King, who is joint-President of the west-of-England based Click 4 Action eRotary Club, had the task of informing us how such Rotary clubs work and what they do.
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Thankyou from Reading Mencap

Please follow the links to see how grateful the society is.
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Rotarian Paul Thompson tells about 'Festival Spirit'

Paul, who is a member of the Rotary Club of Abingdon Vesper came to our club on Tuesday 26 July to tell us about Festival Spirit, the charity that he founded and continues to run.
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Rotary Youth Leadership Award 2016

Barmouth Slabs

View from Barmouth Slabs

Another year another RYLA course successfully completed. 27candidates were put through the usual team building exercises, skills learning sessions and then sent out for a 30 hour expedition Read more >

Men and Prostate Cancer

Steve Allen is a retired consultant anaesthetist from the Royal Berks Hospital, a friend of Matt Andrews and a former colleague of David Goodwin. He came to the Club on 19th July to speak about what to do about prostate cancer. He is a former chairman of the Reading branch of Prostate Cancer UK. Read more >