Tuesday, 31 December 2013

9 Highlights from the 2013 Santa Carol Float

  1. The generosity of Aylesbury residents (we'll advise the final total in a few weeks time after gift aid has been claimed);
  2. The team effort between Rotarians, Charities, members of the community, Girlguiding, Scouts and friends;
  3. The local family who gave the Float parking space each night, put the tarp over it in howling winds, cleaned it and generally spent three weeks looking after it;
  4. The Buckingham Park community who so wonderfully welcomed us and worked with us when the generator failed - came up with a plan B and we had a superb night and learnt what a fabulous community spirit they have.
  5. The children who post letters in the collection buckets - wonderful surprises for us.
  6. Broughton Avenue estate who turned out in their masses and raised a record two bucket loads on a very wet and windy night.
  7. The unknown and unnamed families who opened their doors to let collectors in for emergency uses of their toilets! True heroes!

In February 2014 we'll be holding a dinner and handing out the cheques to charities and explaining more about the money raised. We'll also be announcing more in the press about the plans for Christmas 2014.  If you'd like to help in any way, then do contact us.

Monday, 23 December 2013

Weather cancels Santa's tour of Langdon/Ambleside

Even Santa can't control the weather. His elves go out in all weather and only in very exceptional circumstances do we cancel in advance. Today, Monday 23rd December, the MetOffice has declared a really unsafe day to be on the roads in any vehicle, let alone a high sided trailer, hanging out the top of a chimney.

When we make the decision to cancel we take into account not only the actual time taken going round the houses, but also the time picking up the float and taking it back to it's secret parking place. We are on the road from around 4pm until 9pm. In very wet weather we also consider the needs of the collectors and ensure they are able to have a short cut back to their cars after one hour if they get completely wet.

So, yes, this is one instance we have declared a cancellation, as advised, for safety reasons.

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Well done Aylesbury £4,000 raised so far - 6 days to go

Through the generosity of Aylesbury residents and the commitment of a band of committed volunteers, the Santa Carol Float has so far (up to 16th December) raised £4,000. This is an excellent total.

We did Mandeville Rd area last night

The Coppice tonight (Wednesday 18th) - Medical Detection Dogs Charity helping out)

Tomorrow 19th we are around the Broughton Ave area

Friday night its a loop around Ingram Avenue patch

Then Saturday evening it's a wiggle around Elmhurst

Sunday its the turn of Weedon rd/East Quarrendon (the Scouts are helping out that night)

And finally on Monday 23rd we end up in a corner of Bedgrove/Langdon Avenue area - we start off near Jansell square in case you want to give us a send off around there.

On Saturday and Sunday during the day we will be at Hale Leys, opposite M&S

As always, our routes are a bit random as we change according to parked cars and we try to spread the joy around and go down different streets each year.  We gather at 5:30 pm, set off soon after and turn off the lights and music by 8pm latest (Council restrictions).

Give us a wave, a toot and a smile  if you pass by.

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

9 Statistics about the Aylesbury Rotary Carol Float Operation

1. 19 nights on the road
2. Approx 27 - 30 volunteers hours each night to operate the Float
3. Over 500 volunteer hours to operate all 19 nights
4. 4 static days with 180 volunteer hours
5. Over 680 volunteer hours to operate the carol float in total
6. Preparation starts in September and takes many hours/days
7. Around 7 - 9 Charities collect on their own behalf.
8. We raise £8-10,000 through the generosity of Aylesburians
9. We are licensed by the Council/Charities Commission & carry ID. Please ask to see it.

Join us. Join the Rotary Club of Aylesbury and be part of the 2014 Carol Float Team.

Thursday, 14 November 2013

Santa's Carol Float is ready for Aylesbury

Some sprucing up has been going on behind the scenes to make sure that the Carol Float is in tip top condition. Apart from a a clean and polish,a lot of greasing, some tweaking of the wiring, there's a new generator, a new generator exhaust system and a new breakaway cable. Santa has also improved his eco credentials this year with a new improved LED lighting system.

The Carol Float Schedule is available here:

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

New to Aylesbury? We need your new ideas and enthusiasm.

Finding your feet in a new town is never easy. As a member of the Rotary Club of Aylesbury you have an instant group of like minded professionals, a schedule of events (not compulsory) to get you out and about the town meeting people, and probably most importantly, giving you access to a wide range of community projects and programmes that you can get stuck into.  It's by doing things in your own community that you get the feel the place and develop friendships within your neighbourhood.

Newcomers are vital to our Club as you bring new ideas and enthusiasm which translate directly into benefits to the Aylesbury community - it's a win-win all round.

It's so much of a win-win that we are covering the joining fees for the next 10 new members who join us.

We've got a regular meeting at The Charter, Rimmington Way on 18th Nov at 6:15 - 7:45 pm (order a meal if you wish), so feel free to just turn up on the evening and join us.

Friday, 1 November 2013

Membership Joining fee waived for next 10 new members

There's never been a better time to join us. When you join Rotary you join Rotary International - a worldwide community service organisation with over a million members. We will cover your initial joining fee when you join the Aylesbury Club**. We don't want anything to get in the way of you trying out Rotary as a means of you putting something back into the Aylesbury community, networking with like minded business professionals, whilst having some fun at the same time.

Our Club has been around for nearly 90 years but it doesn't mean we're old fashioned. We're a progressive group, into modern, flexible ways that mirror today's business practices. Our meetings are informal and flexible and held in the open in a local pub. We use social media, raise money money through texting and crowd funding and are open to new ideas and ways to serve our local community.

Many of the Club members are working professionals who understand how to fit in charitable work alongside a frantic work and home schedule, and we know that small contributions are important ones.

Want to know more? Come along on Monday 4th November 2013 to The Charter, Rimmington Way, from 6 - 7pm for a coffee or a beer.

** Next 10 new members as of 1st November 2013

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Aylesbury Business Show gave Rotary a chance to reconnect with business community

Aylesbury held its first Business Show on 22nd October in the new premises of the Aylesbury Vale District Council. It was sold out with 55 Exhibitors and 400 visitors. We picked up on the Show via Twitter and were invited via Twitter! We the only non-company there and the space was provided free by the generosity of the organisers, Wild Events. The Shelterbox tent had prime position at the entrance and created a great deal of interest from businesses and Council staff. The Club is gearing up for a big campaign and the Show provided the opportunity to generate awareness and interest, as well as commitment to purchase Shelterboxes.  

Aylesbury Rotarians found candidates for RYLA 2014 amongst the businesses present, invited potential members to a forthcoming membership evening, promoted World Polio Week including collecting a few donations, promoted the use of their new donation texting service, and generally, very quietly, raised awareness about Rotary and what their Club does for their local community.  But mostly it was about taking in more than putting out. It was a day when the Rotary Club of Aylesbury got the chance to reconnect with the community of Aylesbury, to listen and watch, and to be reminded of the diversity of business in the town.

We'd like to give a BIG shout out to Wild Events - they are not in Rotary but they they embody ourmotto of Service above Self. Thank you guys for being so generous.

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

End Polio Day 24 October - Wear purple and donate

We have nearly eradicated polio. Estimates suggest the world could be clear by end 2015.

The final push needs your help.

Wear purple and donate £2  sending  ARCH40 £2 to 70070.
(To donate up to £10, change the amount.)

The Aylesbury Rotary Club has supported End Polio since the program began in 1985. We will send all donations received by text on 24th October to Rotary Foundation for the campaign.

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

What are we up to? What are you missing?

You are welcome to join in any of our activities - it's the best way to find out who we are and what we do.

During October, November and December:

  • We'll have had presentations from the Army, ARLA and the Rotary Group Study Exchange (to New Zealand in March this year) team.
  • attended / exhibited the Aylesbury Business Show
  • toured of Bletchley Park (led by two of our own members), a Halloween/All Souls safari supper, pub meals out, celebrated the President's birthday, and a posh Christmas Dinner at Hartwell house
  • laid a wreath at the Aylesbury memorial
  • operated the Carol Float around Aylesbury, raising significant funds for local charities
  • had a membership evening (you're invited - just contact us)
  • organised and prepared for a Shelterbox event at a local school
  • prepared for the Young Photographer competition (last year our winner won the National competition)
  • finalized a water project in Uganda to benefit local schools there
  • and probably more things we've forgotten about!
We need more help so please contact us if you'd like to join in. There's nothing secret about what we do or how we do it!  Just commitment to "Service above Self", using our networks and skills, and having some fun while we do it.

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

An Invitation to discover Aylesbury Rotary Club


You are invited to

Discover Aylesbury Rotary Club
4th November 2013
18:00 - 19:00

The Charter Pub
Rimmington Rd


  • how we support out local community
  • what we do for fellowship and social events
  • how we support young Aylesbury professionals
  • when you can network with like minded business professionals
  • what we do internationally
  • how Rotary can e a part of your business/community activities

Monday, 7 October 2013

Advance notice from Santa - 2013 Carol Float Schedule

This is an advance notice. Please go to the separate page on this weblog for updates and changes to the schedule.  There will always be changes!

Ours is not the only Carol Float in town so please check with others if your area is not being covered by us.

The 2013 schedule is listed after the following provisos:

The Carol Float is a tradition for many people in Aylesbury. It raises money for local charities and brings a smile to many children and parents during the Festive Season.

If you would like to support the Carol Float and local charities by helping in the collections then please contact us

We are a group of volunteers who organise this activity. We try very hard to make the experience the best we can for children and families. There are limitations, so please bear these in mind if planning to see Santa. We cannot guarantee visiting any specific street, and we are unlikely to do the exact same route each year as time is limited as we try to share out the experience. 

We take the safety of children, family, other road users, and our volunteers very seriously
The reasons things don't pan out as you may like them to are:
  • Cars parked so the road is too narrow for the driver to tow the float
  • Cars parked in a tight cul-de-sac where turning round is difficult
  • Whilst we go out in all weathers, heavy snow, heavy rain and high winds are dangerous for all involved, so we may cut short a route if it is proving unwise to continue
  • Unsupervised children who try to climb on the float mean we sometimes have to stop to ensure they are not harmed
  • We may be limited in the number of volunteers we have, and this means shortening a route (we can do 3 - 5 miles in an evening, every night, which can be exhausting)

2013 Schedule

Buckingham Park
Prebendal Ave area
Bedgrove area
Haydon Hill
Hale Leys 
Hale Leys  
Elm Farm 
Hardwick area
Mandeville Rd area
The Coppice
Broughton Ave area
Ingram Ave area
Hale Leys 
Weedon Rd Area
Hale Leys 
Langdon Ave area

Thursday, 3 October 2013

This is how we support young professionals in Aylesbury. Are you interested?

Supporting Young Professionals in Aylesbury
In the past few years we have been very successful in supporting young workers in Aylesbury to develop their leadership, teamworking and professional skills.

We are proud to have sponsored Emma Eyles, Andrew Kay and Ollie Moore on Group Study Exchanges to Australlia and New Zealand in 2011 and 2012.

Our District holds an Annual Rotary Young Leader event at RAF Halton most years. Again, we've been very successful in discovering and then sponsoring young professionals to attend, in support of their personal development. Kevin Brook, Maria Villarico, John Reddington, Gregory Falcon and George Allen have all come back from these events saying how important they have been in their personal development. 

We are looking for a further 2 - 3 young people aged 18 - 30  from Aylesbury to sponsor in 2014. Please contact us if you'd like to apply.

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Stoke Mandeville Combined School wins this year’s Rotary Club of Aylesbury Essay Competition

Coleen Allen (Rotarian), Alexander Bennett, David May (Deputy Head) 

Stoke Mandeville Combined School wins this year’s Rotary Club of Aylesbury Essay Competition

The Rotary Club of Aylesbury invite all Year 6 pupils from schools in and around Aylesbury to take part in the annual ‘Essay Writing Competition’. The Year 6 pupils are given a brief to write about “What I want to be when I grow up”, to provide the good and bad points of their choice, and showing originality and enthusiasm. 

Nearly 200 pupils took part this year and the standard was very high. The essays were marked by a panel of judges from the Rotary Club of Aylesbury. Winners were selected from each school taking part and from these, one overall winner of all the schools, was awarded the prize of a ‘Very Special Day’. 

The aim of the Aylesbury Club is to give the winner a day in a local organisation linked to their chosen vocation. 

This year Alexander Bennett from Stoke Mandeville Combined School won the prize, receiving a certificate and an engraved cup presented by the Rotary Club of Aylesbury. The Club are arranging a special day for Alex, who wants to be an ’Engineer’. He will be able to experience a memorable day later this year with his parents at a new large local engineering organisation. 

Ready to contribute to your local community? Join us.

We are always looking out for people who live and work in the Aylesbury area and who wish to put back something into their local and international community.

We are far less formal than many similar clubs
Our focus is on members finding a way to contribute to their local and international community, in a way that is fun, social and makes use of skills and networks.

We are aware than money is tight for many working professionals. As such, we have an annual subscription as low as we can go, and we have no other fees.
We do not believe you need to eat to be a Rotarian, so if and what you choose to eat at a meal is your choice - from a coffee through to a fancy steak - we don't mind. What we are interested in is your commitment to be a member active in community work.

We do scrub up for some events, getting out the posh frocks and black tie, but normally members come to meetings wearing what they feel comfortable. Again, we are interested in activity, rather than imposing dress rules.

We are less focused on regular attendance than in helping members be actively involved in community work. Some members run important community projects without attending many meetings. 

Interested? Contact us for more information.

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

We have three great dinner sessions coming up and these are available to guests and prospective members or those just intereste din Rotary and what we do. If you'd like to attend any (the cost is around £11-15 a head) then please email bill.russell3@ntldworld.com

a)     Dinner September 30th 2013 at the Holiday Inn.  A speaker from the Army who will give a presentation on “Awareness and understanding of the British Army in wider society”
Please confirm your attendance to Bill Russell by Friday evening September 20th
b)    Dinner Oct 7th 2013 at Foxhill Indoor Bowling club, Wendover Road, Aylesbury.  In association with Aylesbury 100’s Rotary Club a speaker from ARLA will give a presentation on the new milk processing plant near Aston Clinton.
Please confirm your attendance to Bill Russell by Friday September 27th
c)     Dinner October 14th at the Holiday Inn.  GSE presentation by Ollie Moore and the rest of the GSE team in New Zealand

Please confirm your attendance to Bill Russell by Friday 4th Oct 

Wednesday, 31 July 2013

6 reasons to join the Rotary Club of Aylesbury

1. Give back to your community; if you work / live in the Aylesbury area, this is your chance to show your community you care by getting involve din a a variety of activities. The motto of Rotary is "Service above Self".
2. Fellowship; get to know people like you. We hold a number of events and activities where partners and guests are invited.
3. Business networking; we don't do the traditional business networking. Instead you get the chance to develop relationships with business people within the Aylesbury community.
4. Get involved; there's good chance you've heard of the Carol Float, the Essay Competition, Young Photographer, Rotary Young Leader, Group Study Exchanges, Stroke Awareness Day and other activities we're involved in. You can be part of these as well.
5. Meetings: we are informal and meet at The Charter in Aylesbury. It's a pub and there's the chance to chat and enjoy a meal of your own choice (though eating is always optional).
6. Flexibility: we have a range of membership options so you can choose the way you'd most like to be involved.

Monday, 29 July 2013

Social / Fellowship 29th July 2013

Fellowship is one of the reasons for being a Rotarian. Through making new friends and deepening ongoing relationships we're able to work together in "Service above Self" - the Rotary Motto.

On Monday 29th January, we're heading to The Three Locks pub at Stoke Hammond for an evening of good food and fellowship.

Bletchley Park visit and demonstration 20th October 2013

We've made a provisional booking for our trip to Bletchley Park on Sunday 20th October. During this trip Rotarian Neil Freeman will conduct the Tour as our Guide and Rotarian Frank Falcon will run the demonstration of the Turing Bombe code-breaking machine.

The booking currently is for around 30 people (to ensure that we get the large room in the Mansion for lunch to ourselves as opposed to the canteen where we would be with all the other visitors on the day).

The itinerary currently is :-

Arrival Time: 10:30                                     
Tea/Coffee and biscuits at:  11:00               
Tour Time:   11:45         
Hot Lunch Time:  13:30

The cost is £23 per person for this hot lunch option. Entry fees will also be applicaable.
Numbers are limited to 30 so please email Frank (francisfalcon at btinternet.com) if you'd like to attend.

Monday, 22 July 2013

Young photographer from Bedgrove Junior School wins Rotary national competition

Evie (L), Stella and Madhu (R)

Stella from Bedgrove Junior School has taken home the national title of Young Photographer 2013, for her age group. This is a tremendous achievement. She started by gaining 2nd in the Aylesbury competition, then 1st in the District stage. Also from Bedgrove Junior School, Evie won 1st in the Aylesbury round and 2nd in the District competition. Madhu won 3rd in both the local and the District competition and is also from Bedgrove Junior School.
Bedgrove swooped the stage when it came to prizes, helped by the enthusiasm and support of the teacher, Jessica Beech.

Rotary runs a national competition for Young Photographers. To get to the national event you need to win the Club stage, then the District stage, then the Regional finals. It’s a tough call, so the win by Aylesbury’s own Stella  is truly one to celebrate. We are proud of all three of our winners and of Bedgrove Junior School.

If you’d like to participate in the 2014 competition, then please contact us now or watch this web  site for information for when entries are required.

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Rotary Young Leader Award - Apply now for your sponsored leadership weekend at RAF Henlow

Run by the Royal Air Force in partnership with Rotary, the Rotary Young Leader Award is for young people aged 18 - 30 who want to experience a challenging weekend of team building and leadership. It's a full-on adventure over the weekend of 28-30th June 2013.

We believe in supporting our young Aylesburians in developing their skills so this year we have decided to sponsor three places. There's no interview though we would like to know why and how you think you'd benefit from the experience. There is an application form and you can email us aylesburyrotary@gmail.com and we'll send one to you.  The closing date for applications is 5th May 2013.

The theme for the 2013 experience is "Be prepared for the unexpected".

Apply now!

Sunday, 24 February 2013

"A Day in the life of.." Essay competition 2012 prizewinner stories

The prize for our annual Essay Writing Competition is a day visiting an organisation that is related to the prize winning essay. In 2012 we received a great response, many well-written essays of a high standard with a range of occupations described.

We had one outright winner this year, Ben Gorman who wrote about his ambition to become a Radio/TV Reporter and our runner-up was Joseph Parkhouse who wrote about wanting to become a pilot of Search and Rescue helicopters.

Our winners each enjoyed a special day experiencing what they wanted to do when they grow up.

We were very lucky to be offered a prize-winning visit from two very generous organisations.  For our ‘Reporter’ Ben, there was a day trip to Three Counties Radio Station. The radio station is based in Luton and Ben, his mum and a representative from Aylesbury Rotary were invited to join in a typical day at the radio station.

The day started with the tour of the offices where staff collect and prepare news items, followed by sitting in on the meeting of all staff involved with planning the radio shows for the following day. Reporters shared their news stories and the producer, after general discussion, decided which items were to be included. Ben was taken to a recording studio and given the opportunity to make his own recording of news and weather items and at the end of the day, the producer provided Ben with a CD to keep as a memento.

Meanwhile Ben’s Mum and our Rotary representative was interviewed by the producer of the Nick Coffer afternoon show. She needed background information on the Aylesbury Rotary Club Essay Competition to provide the presenter with a brief and guidelines for our ‘On-air interview’. Ben was going to be asked to talk about the Essay Competition on-air and also provided with the opportunity to use the technical equipment in the Recording Studio.  At the same time Aylesbury Rotary Club were given the opportunity to talk about Rotary International – a rare opportunity to have air-time!

Our runner-up, Joseph Parkhouse, wrote about wanting to become a helicopter pilot with a Search and Rescue team. The Chief Inspector of Aylesbury Vale Local Police Area was most helpful in assisting in arranging contact with Chiltern Air Support Unit based at RAF Benson at Wallingford. The staff at the base were happy to host a day at RAF Benson for the winner. Joseph and his dad and our Aylesbury Rotary representative had a most enjoyable day. They were shown DVD’s of the type of work undertaken by the Air Support Unit and all the visitors were extremely interested in all the technical equipment, and especially how tasks, flight plans and communications are carried out.  The guests were shown around the aircraft and were able to take photographs of the day. The Air Support Unit team were most impressed by the interest shown from our winner and the intelligent questions that were asked.

Rotarian Coleen Allen organised this event, and she'll soon be contacting schools so they can participate in the 2013 competition.

Thursday, 31 January 2013

Aylesbury Rotary Shelterbox Event; how will you be involved?

How will you help out in an international disaster?  We plan to put Aylesbury on the map as a town that cares and does something to help.  Shelterbox is a Rotary Project Partner and we will be organising a number of events and activities over the coming months and years.

Contact us if you or your organisation like to be involved.

Monday, 14 January 2013

A BIG Thank you to the Aylesbury Community as Santa raises record amount

In December 2012, the Rotary Club of Aylesbury raised a record £10,691.00 from both the Hale Leys collection as well as the Float touring the suburbs. This was despite some ups and downs of things going wring with the float (and we apologise to anyone who may have missed out as a result).

Cheques will be handed out to local charities on 25th February 2013. More details to follow.

Monday, 7 January 2013

Shelterbox; how Aylesbury can help others when disaster strikes

Image from Shelterbox.org
A Shelterbox contains all the equipment necessary for 10 people to have shelter, warmth, light and food. The organisation, Shelterbox, was started by Rotarians in Cornwall and is now an official Rotary International Project Partner.

OUr club is keen for the Aylesbury community to be involved in raising funds to Shelterbox and in the coming months we will announce an initiative to do this.  In the meantime, we have donated finds for the purchase of one Shelterbox. The number of this box is UK0068500. You can track where this box is sent by going to this link.

Would you / your business like a box that you can track as your own contribution to a disaster?  If so, please contact us.