Our Centenary plans for a gift to Canterbury

Our Club is planning to "make a splash" with a green gift to the city of Canterbury to celebrate our Centenary and 100 years of serving the local community. Read more about our plans...

Our Club, the Rotary Club of Canterbury, celebrates its centenary in 2022 and is hoping to mark the event by gifting a unique and eco-friendly water bottle refilling point to the city.

Two bottle refilling points will be housed in an elegant carved stone column that will make it an attraction for visitors. Built by local architects James Clague Architects, the column will be carved with a quote from John Bunyan’s, ‘Pilgrim’s Progress’: “Behold ye, how these crystal streams do glide, To comfort pilgrims by the highway-side”. It will also feature a circular “window” which will allow people to interact with it as a frame for pictures.

The column's location, at the junction of Longmarket with the High Street, opposite Rose Lane, lies near the historical site of a drinking water fountain in the city that was destroyed during the second world war.

Recent figures showed there were nearly eight million trips to Canterbury in one year. Currently, there are few water bottle refilling opportunities. The refilling station will allow tourists and visitors to the city – including the many schoolchildren that come during the summer months – to have easy access to fresh drinking water without having to buy single-use plastic bottles that add to the city’s waste.

“The unique new feature will make a real difference to waste pollution and help reduce plastic use in the city,” said Stephen Thompson, our President-Elect, who will take over the reins for the Centenary Year. “The aesthetically pleasing column, designed with residents and tourists in mind, will be more in keeping with the city’s rich history than a purely functional, contemporary structure. We believe the people of Canterbury will see the column as a loved local landmark, and that both tourists and locals will want to be photographed with it as well as use it,” Stephen added. Stephen will be our Club’s 100th President and follows in the footsteps of both his father, David, and grandfather, John, who were also Presidents of the Rotary Club of Canterbury (in 1971/72 and 1947/48 respectively).

Architect, Andrew Clague said “We have created a unique design that is sensitive to its special location and encourages interaction”. The column was designed in consultation with the City Council and representatives of local community groups. Although initially conceived as a drinking water fountain combined with a water bottle refilling station, the Club altered its plans following the start of the Covid-19 pandemic to solely water bottle refilling.

The costs of building the column will be met entirely by our Club, with funds that we plan to raise through grants, crowdfunding and financial backing from generous Rotarians, community members and businesses. The Council will oversee the upkeep of the column. A formal planning application was lodged with the Council earlier this month.

Building will commence only when sufficient funding is in place to complete the project, but it is hoped that a completion date in 2022 can be achieved despite current uncertainties.

Tuesday 19th January 2021

Published by: The Rotary Club of Canterbury

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