And a very Happy Christmas to all our readers! This is the busiest month of our year when all our members are out on the streets with Santa and his sleigh collecting for our charities. It is always popular throughout the area and we look forward to meeting again children of all ages as we wave collection buckets under the noses of the grown-ups and force lollipops into the hands of our younger supporters.

Full details of our intended routes are given in the table below and for the first time this year you will be able to track Santa’s progress on Facebook. All you need to do is click on the link we have put on to the Rotary Club Facebook page. You will need have access to Google maps and we ask you please appreciate that we may lose Internet connection at some points on our route so if the App looks like it isn’t working, give it a minute or two to refresh.

Of course it would be remiss of us not to tell you a little about what we have been up to in November, a fairly full month during which we were pleased to receive a presentation from John Clayton, the Chief Executive of HI Kent who left his cosy office in Maidstone to suffer the vagaries of the M20 motorway and join us for one of our meetings and tell us a little more about the charity which serves the deaf and hard of hearing throughout Kent and is very active in our area having Support Clinics in New Romney, Greatstone, St. Mary’s Bay, Lydd and Dymchurch.

It is estimated that 1 in 5 of the population of this country is deaf or hard of hearing and the charity, which was set up originally in 1986, offers support to the 300,000 people suffering here in Kent. They work with (but are not part of) the NHS and with their 6 full time and 9 part time staff supported by 150 or so volunteers visit a total of 258 Support Centres throughout the county. They will offer help and advice on anything concerning hearing loss from replacing batteries in National Health supplied hearing aids to giving moral support and providing special equipment to help with practical issues such as TV listeners to enable people to hear the TV without having the sound volume turned up too high, portable doorbells so callers at the door aren’t missed, telephone amplifiers, under pillow alarm clocks and vibrating smoke detectors that reinforce the audible warning so sufferers are not reliant on sound alone. They also run courses in lip reading, deafness awareness and British Sign Language (claiming a very impressive pass rate of over 90%) and operate an assessment service as well as offering yoga classes, head massages and other forms of special support to tinnitus sufferers. The charity used to receive support from the National Lottery but this has now sadly ceased and so they rely more and more on donations from individuals and organisations such as Rotary.

Our President, Nigel Whiteley, accompanied by founder member Peter Maddieson, pictured with John in the centre were delighted to present a cheque for £500 to this very worthy cause.

A small group of us also did their bit to keep the fellowship side of Rotary alive by taking part in a raid on the Weald of Kent Rotary Club in Grafty Green. They have some very good ideas on hosting sponsored events which we may well be looking to steal for our own use in years to come. Our hosts were extremely friendly and a good time was had by all who attended. Finally we can now officially report that we gave a total of nearly £9,000 to local charities, youth groups and good causes in our last financial year, a result that we are all very proud of as we are not a big club and we feel that we are punching well above our weight (and given the size of some of us, that is no mean achievement!).
What’s coming up?
Forthcoming members activities and public events include ..
⦁ Regular club meeting and dinner every Thursday at Littlestone Warren Golf Club; 7.00 pm

⦁ Santa Sleigh Runs throughout December as panel opposite
So what do I do if I want to join?
New members are always welcome, please email or check out our website – where you can also find out a little more about who we are and what we do.
Reg’d Charity No 281361

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