Oswestry Borderland Rotary club meet once a week at the Sweeney Hall Hotel but what goes on behind this apparently cosy, comfortable façade? Locally, the aim is to raise money for charities and good causes, primarily in the vicinity of Oswestry.
The high profile events run by Borderland are: the Firework Party held in Brogyntyn Park on the 2nd November, the Christmas Parade on 7th December 2019 and the Dairi-Pak Mountain Bike Challenge on 2nd May 2020.
The fireworks and pyrotechnics experts are supplied by the Council with Borderland building the bonfire and marshalling the event on the day and distributing the money raised to many local causes soon afterwards. Last year’s party raised more the £6K!
The Christmas Parade is also supported by the council and has become a must-visit attraction in recent years with float and audience numbers on the increase. You should start planning now if you wish to enter, time’s moving on.
The Dairi-Pak Mountain Bike challenge is run in the hills west of Oswestry and Jonathan Jones, in charge of major events for Borderland said, “Just wait for 2020 as there’ll be some new features! All you’ll need is a helmet and the heart of a lion but it’ll be limited to 200 entries this year so get in quick and register!”
There are a host of other events and projects that run throughout the year, take RYLA for instance, which stands for Rotary Young Leadership Awards, is celebrating its twentieth years. It is a residential adventure course held each August at Arthog in North Wales. The young entrants are given the overall task of setting up a business and are faced with many physical and mental tasks which must be complete before they reach their goal. Paul Crosby, the man who introduced the scheme to Borderland said, “It’s a big challenge and not for the faint hearted but it appears that being suspended over rivers, lashing rafts together or trying to find novel answers to cryptic questions, really does bring the best out in people!”
Borderland have created and designed projects to engage young people through secondary schools with awards for Young Writer, Innovator, Chef and Achiever. These activities are intended to broaden the minds of young people outside of the prescribed curriculum. For junior schools there is a Rota Kids, an initiative that introduces youngsters to community responsibility via fun filled tasks.
They are very proud to support causes such as the Horatio Garden at the Orthopaedic Hospital, the new pool at Derwen College, lights at Whittington Castle as well as many smaller outfits such as the Young Carers, Stroke Club, Men’s Shed and Hector’s Greyhound Rescue to name but a few.
Internationally, the club sponsors medical staff that travel from the UK to volunteer with the Mercy Ships Charity who have converted a sea going vessel into a hospital ship which operates off the coast of Africa. Also Borderland have made ongoing loans to Lend With Care, an international charity which helps very small and small business start-ups in extremely deprived areas of the third world.
Globally, in partnership with the Bill Gates Foundation, Rotary International has been working tirelessly to eradicate polio and this goal is tantalisingly close. Come the spring we will, once again, see the purple crocuses bloom in the parks and verges around the town, sponsored by the public – planted by members as a small contribution to the Purple for Polio worldwide campaign. The ‘every little bit helps’ principle.
And the history? The Rotary movement was formed in the early part of the twentieth century as a fellowship of people who wished to put something back into their local communities, their country and indeed, the world at large. Wonderful principal – long may it continue.
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