Who would have thought when the first lockdown hit us in March of last year that it would go on for so long? A truly memorable year for everybody and for all the wrong reasons but the great British public have, in the main, done their best to self isolate, eat out to help out and comply with the myriad of government directives, recommendations and new laws in their efforts to keep as many as possible as safe as possible. The members of The Rotary Club of Romney Marsh, like many in our district, have done their bit to help where we can.

We were glad to be involved in the formation of the New Romney Community Hub and to be part of their team of volunteers cheerfully manning the vaccination centres at Lydd and New Romney Old School. Some of our members have been helping local charities by maintaining telephone support to the elderly and vulnerable in our area and all have been helping their neighbours with shopping, prescription collections and even just by having a chat over the garden fence. Opportunities for fundraising have been scarce and we especially missed being able to take out the Santa Sleigh in the weeks before Christmas and running the coconut shy at the New Romney Country Fair but we did manage to host the annual 10k run with the help of our friends at Nice Work and, for the first time in a long time, a very successful golf day at Littlestone Golf Club. Despite all difficulties, we have managed to donate over £8,000 to local charities and good causes and a further £600 to international relief aid as part of the global Rotary family.

On the community service front we were delighted to be able to put a video message from Father Christmas onto the website over the Christmas period explaining why he couldn’t make his rounds this year and to deliver activity sheets and pencils to local Primary and Nursery Schools and the New Romney Day Centre for distribution to local children. We were also very happy to organise an appeal to local people and businesses for spare laptops. We collected over 50 which were securely wiped and refurbished before being delivered to schools and we have received some very generous cash donations which will enable us to purchase three more. It has been difficult to support Young carers during lockdown but we have collaborated with the other three clubs in the Shepway area to fund a computer for one carer enabling her to complete essential course work, and to ensure that the Young Writers and Young Artist competitions were able take place. The standard was as high as ever and the successful competitors have now been entered into the National competition.

In recognition of our efforts we were delighted to receive the Pride of New Romney award for services to the community by a group or organisation from the New Romney Town Council.

We have also managed to maintain our fellowship and contact with members by holding regular Zoom meetings for those willing to meet virtually, making telephone calls to those who prefer more personal contact and amusing ourselves with career talks, quiz questions and presentations from guest speakers. We hope to be able to resume normal service in the coming months with our 10k run scheduled for 25th July and a hatful of ideas for fundraising and vocational events when we are eventually clear of lockdown restrictions. If you are interested in joining us please call us on 07900 736018 or 07513 403398 or contact us via the website at http://www.romneymarshrotary.co.uk/