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Philip Evans


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AXMINSTER: Rotarians host French friends for weekend

Thursday, 12 June 2014

Members of Sid Valley Rotary Club held their annual President’s Night at Sandy Park and combined it with the visit of members of the French Rotary Club of Brest. In both clubs there are a good number of keen rugby fans and the French Rotarians enjoyed the chance to visit Sandy Park, view all the Chiefs’ trophies and listen to a short talk by Chris Whitehead, who spoke about his own career and about the plans for Sandy Park with the extension of the stands to accommodate, in the future, almost double the number of supporters. Music by Tia and Paul Roberts of Classic Sounds then got the evening off to an excellent start. Sandy Park also very kindly donated an Exeter Chiefs’ European rugby shirt, signed by all members of the team, which it was decided to auction in aid of Rotary children’s charities. Bidding was brisk for this special item with the winning bid going to one of the French Rotarians for his young son, Nathan, aged 9, and watched by Nathan’s sister, Marion, aged 11, Mike Lavers did a great job as auctioneer and achieved a £100 bid for the shirt. It was especially good this year to have a large group of younger Rotarians and friends as there is often the idea that Rotary is for the retired but nothing could be further from the truth. These exchange visits give Rotary Clubs the opportunity to exchange views and ideas on how best to serve their respective communities and how to raise funds for charity both of which are the main aims of Rotary. Current President, Judith Stephens, presented Jacques Caouder, from the French Club with a barometer made in Sidmouth by Col. Dick Sidwell and was in turn presented with a china platter and cups from the famous French pottery of Quimper. On Saturday morning, Rotarian John Rees took the group on a guided walk of the historic buildings of Sidmouth which was a great success and later a group of about 30 enjoyed a ploughman’s lunch at the Blue Ball in Sidford. On Sunday afternoon, before the French left for Plymouth, everyone met at the Westcliffe Hotel for a suitably English Devon cream tea. A great finish to a really fun weekend and a real accolade to the East Devon businesses involved.

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