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23 February 2017
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On Wednesday 20 July 2016 at Thornwell Primary School, in Bulwark, Chepstow, Rotarian Christopher WILSON of the Chepstow & District Rotary Club, presented Rotary illustrated dictionaries to those children that the school determined had tried the hardest during the year. 

Head Teacher, Mr T APPLEBY thanked the local Rotary Club for their ongoing support and their encouragement of learning. 

Following a short talk on the aims and ideals of the international Rotary organisation the students who were selected to receive the  dictionaries were,(L to R) Rhys BEARD, Lucas GRIFFITH, Ashton WELDON, Cerys WHEELER,  Fay SMITH and Keiah HUNTLEY. 

The Chepstow Rotary Club continues to support many community initiatives, including several competitions for young people for speaking, music, writing and technical ability. 

It also includes this annual event, where a total of 60 dictionaries were presented to10 local primary schools.   The Club considers that presenting the dictionaries to children in the local schools encourages a love of reading and learning in the young.

[See photographs]

New President

On 05 July 2016, our annual handover event took place at Chepstow Racecourse.

Retiring President Rtn Chris Rastall, thanked everybody for their hard work for a very successful year.

His final duty for the evening was to welcome Mrs Ann Martin as Chepstow & Districts first Rotary Associate member. [ See photographs]

Rtn. Chris Rastall then handed over the chain of Office to Rtn. Mac McCarty. Rtn. Mac McCarty is is principal architect at MacCarty Associates, in Chepstow.

The new president then handed the chains of office for senior vice to Rtn. David Burr and Junior Vice to Rtn. Richard Wickhman.

The new president then gave an outline of his programme for the next year.

Following this Rtn Mac presented the Paul Harris Fellowship to Rtn. Brian Shepherd for his outstanding contribution to Rotary ideals over the last few years.   

Following this Rtn. Mac presented the immediate past president Rtn. Chris Rastall also with the Paul Harris fellowship. [See photographs].

  Tintern Abbey Torchlight Carol Service

On Saturday 03 December the Chepstow Rotary Club held its annual Torchlight Carol Service at Tintern Abbey. 

This most popular family event is always well supported and this year over 430 adults attended with their children.  

Families started arriving from 5pm and so by 5.45pm the LIONS Club marshals reported that the car parks were beginning to fill.  After lighting their flaming flambes and illuminating their light sticks the people formed a very, very long procession on the road adjacent to the Abbey. 

At precisely 6pm the assembly, led by the Reverend  Andrew Webster of Chepstow Methodist Church, slowly marched off towards the side of the ruins. 

Once inside the Abbey grounds the column of people filed down the outside of the south wall on this misty evening as the voices of the choir rose from within the ancient ruins. 

The noise of the initial crowd had changed entirely into a hushed reverence for the sounds and the sights of beautiful Tintern Abbey. 

Then, as people entered the main Abbey building in an unfamiliar way through the East door, one could hear the gasps of the children as they saw those ancient walls illuminated from within and the view of the choir assembled on the dais at the far end. 

Carols were sung with vigour, lessons read with passion and there was a genuine feeling of goodwill towards one another throughout the service. 

Rotary President Mac McCarty wished everyone a very happy Christmas and made an appeal for donations to Rotary charities. 

The service was close by Reverend Webster after which the assembly exited the Abbey and dispersed into the darkness. The Christmas celebrations had certainly started well.

The event raised over £3,000 and after all expenses were paid, including programme printing, the flambes, light sticks and St John's Ambulance, the club was able to add over £2,100 to its charity fund.  In 2017 the Rotary Torchlight Carol Service will be held once again on the first Saturday in December, that is 02 December, beginning at 6pm.    [See photographs]  

Youth Speaks 2017

Who says youth today is rubbish!

On Saturday 05 February the District Finals were held of the Rotary Youth Speaks Competition in Maisemore Hall, Gloucester.  This four stage competition is designed to support and encourage the development of effective communication skills. It offers young people:

 Experience in speaking on a public platform as a member of a team.

 An incentive to formulate ideas on topical subjects.

 Discipline in dealing with a topic in a limited time.

 The opportunity of learning and practicing high standards of expression, enunciation, presentation and appearance.

 Impartial feedback and assessment of performance by experienced adjudicators.

The Intermediate round (11 to 13 years) was won by Monmouth School for Girls (Carys Williams, Alex Grinnell Wright and Ellen Minty) who spoke on "The dangers of stereotyping".  The winning Senior (14-17 years) team from The Red Maids School, Westbury-on-Trym, spoke on "Free Will" and was Chaired by Thea RIKARD who introduced their Speaker, Caitlin O'SULLIVAN and their Vote of Thanks was delivered by Evine KANDEMIR.   The large audience very much enjoyed the presentations that were contentious, amusing and delivered with considerable energy after much research. 

The photograph shows the Senior team from Caldicot Comprehensive School receiving their participation certificates from Rotary District Governor Richard PURDON.  Their Chairman Ethan COOK introduced Speaker Jacob NESTLING while the Vote of Thanks was given by Nyah PHILPOT.  They spoke on "All the World's a stage" arguing that there are many parallels between our conduct in everyday life and that of a theatrical player. The photo shows L to R Jacob NESTLING, Richard PURDON, Nyah PHILPOT, Ethan COOK). 

At the same event prizes were awarded for the Rotary Young Writer and also the Rotary Young Photographer competition.

Rotary Clubs are 'service' clubs whose members try to help where needed in their local or worldwide communities.  This Youth Speaks competition in just one of the events organised by Rotary for young people and are intended to develop their extra-curricular skills. They are also useful to future employers in showing above average enthusiasm and interests. [See Photograph]