Club’s many activities explained

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The Billingshurst and District Rotary Club held a social evening at Billingshurst Conference Centre recently to meet residents and local business people.

The evening was well attended and members were delighted that one guest brought along the prospective Conservative Candidate, who hopes to replace Francis Maude in Parliament.

Jeremy Quin’s presence was not announced and he spent the evening listening to members and guests, and learning about the charitable work that the club does both locally and overseas.

There were stands showing how members get involved in The Billingshurst Show, 
Ingfield Manor Fete, Father Christmas at Newbridge Nurseries and the Barns Green Half Marathon, which enable several thousand to be donated to local charities.

Also on show was evidence of how members get involved with the local schools by donating encyclopaedias, running chess clubs and competitions for the gardening skills in the primary schools.

In the senior years competition for debating, musical prowess, photographic skills, cookery and technical ability take place, when teams from The Weald School go on to district and sometimes regional rounds run, by Rotary International of Britain and Ireland.

A youngster is sent to the Rotary Youth Leadership Award – a week-long residential course, held every year for girls and boys of 16 - 17 years of age. On the international front there were tables dedicated to The Children of Sumatra – a charity started by members of the club some ten years ago to help children with cleft palate and lips, and the David Tilley Foundation.

Through the dedication of Stuart and Margaret Pullen travelling both to Sumatra and raising funds all over the country, the charity , run in Sumatra by a local girl who married an Indonesian, arranges between 70 and 100 operations a year, followed by dental work and speech therapy. Another club member, the late David Tilley, started St Michael’s School in Tanzania, which is such a success that the Billingshurst Club now supports the education of two pupils at the school, having seen the buildings and other facilities prosper. David’s wife Helen, and son Mark, are still Trustees.

Some people present were not familiar with the work of Rotary Clubs, and indicated their willingness to get involved either by becoming a member, or helping in one or another of the projects.

The evening was the inspiration of Stuart Pullen who, with his wife Margaret, provided the array of refreshments while President Terry Russell and members were there supporting.

Report and pictures contributed by Helen Abbott.