TIME flies and another Rotary year has past, so can I please thank the people of Okehampton for their support for our causes.

The Rotary Club started the year with very little money in the coffers as our fund-raising had been hit by the foot and mouth crisis the previous year. Okehampton Agricultural Show had been cancelled and this is where most of our money is earned through gate duty.

Also the May fair and duck race was postponed for the same reason. Even so, looking back, a surprising amount of money was raised and distributed.

It is always difficult to maintain a balance between international projects, local projects, help for the elderly and encouragement for the young.

Locally, the big issue was the new hospital appeal fund that we helped by £1,750 with two cheques (even if the presentation cheque was re-used and a bit of a mess!)

We took our senior citizens on several outings and a cream tea at the Naafi Okehampton camp, as well as a fine Christmas lunch at Ashbury golf hotel. The council were granted £100 for the children's jubilee party and further money for tree planting.

For older children we gave prizes for the youth speaks competition and the young technologist competition at the college, two vital skills for today's world.

At primary level we provided cameras and prizes for a photographic competition. Grants were given to the local scout group to equip their new scout hut and to Lewtrenchard Primary School for computers, also the Leaze for a hoist to assist in their work.

Rotary donated money to the charity Childline South-West, a children's counselling service that receives over 4,000 calls a week.

Children were taken on a Santa special train trip to see Father Christmas at Meldon.

All of this was only possible through the people of the area supporting coffee mornings and buying tickets for duck races and raffles, so many many thanks, it is appreciated, long may it continue.

Russ Thomas

Rotary past president

l PS The Rotary Club are at present looking for new members, so if anyone is interested to find out more and attend a meeting ring myself 01837 52419 or contact any Rotarian.