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Presidential Handover Lunch

25th June 2024
Venue: Kent and Canterbury Club
The Presidential Handover lunch is being held at the Kent and Canterbury Club on Tuesday, 25th June. Retiring President Rosemary Doyle will handover to incoming President Maxine Blades. The bar
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Final of the Innovation Competition,

26th June 2024
Venue: Old Sessions House, Canterbury Christ Church University
The Rotary Club of Canterbury welcomes you to the final of our 2024 Innovation Competition being held at Canterbury Christ Church University. Eleven young people have reached the final and will be
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The year ahead: Maxine Blades, Club Assembly 2024

At Club Assembly at the Kent & Canterbury Club the other day our members got a chance to hear about some of the exciting plans for the year ahead from our President Elect, Maxine Blades.

“A busy and enjoyable year for us all,” said Maxine as she summarised the upcoming year (July 2024-2025). Maxine will be taking over from current President Rosemary Doyle in a handover meeting at the end of June. Just a few days later we’ll be holding the Final of our 11th Innovation Competition at Christ Church University, so Maxine’s year will be off to a flying start!

Maxine thanked Rosemary for an excellent Presidential year (“just three meetings to go”) and also thanked Rosemary and Past Presidents Peter Hermitage, Martin Ward and Stephen Thompson for their assistance as she prepares for her Presidency.

The theme for Maxine’s year will be Celebrating East Kent – Past, Present and Future. “This will be achieved by offering a programme with a wide range of activities and events,” said Maxine.

The biggest event for the year ahead, as usual, is our main fundraiser: our Annual Duck Race, held on Canterbury’s River Stour. This will be held a little later than usual this year, on 22nd September, as it will be part of Canterbury’s Riverfest week.

Two other exciting fundraisers are lined up to help support the Prince of Wales Youth Club – these are much needed, as funds for youth services have been cut back. The first will be an evening with Andy McConnell (the glassware specialist we’ve all seen on the BBC’s Antiques Roadshow) in July, and the second, next year, will mark St Patrick’s Day. This November, we’ll also be welcoming guests to hear about the Amy Johnson Project.

In general, Maxine told us, our meetings this summer and next spring will consist of visits with light meals/buffets and picnics and, as the days get shorter and darker, our winter months will be meals with speakers. Business meetings will be held at the K&C Club and other meetings will be held at different venues. This year our Christmas Dinner will be held at the Cricket Ground.

There will be some restructuring at the Club, with our Club Council now including representatives for the three ‘spending’ committees (our Community Service and Vocational Service Committees will return to being separate). PP Robert Yonge will head our Membership Group*, while several more focused groups will work on specific projects.  

We will be strengthening our links with the Rotary Clubs of Canterbury Sunrise and Forest of Blean, plus Canterbury Inner Wheel, to promote “Rotary in Canterbury” at events such as the upcoming Canterbury City Fair and the “Santa’s Sleigh” end-of-year fundraiser.

Maxine hopes that we will continue to develop strategic partnerships with key players in Canterbury: the Prince of Wales Youth Club, Rising Sun, Thanington & Hersden Community Centres & the Salvation Army, and that we will continue with our ongoing support of community groups in Canterbury through funding and volunteer hours.

Our work with youngsters will continue through our links with local schools and universities – e.g. through our popular competitions programme. As usual, we will also be offering funding to young people via our Millennium Scholarship Trust Fund (MSTF). Next year our Club will be hosting the 2025 Mini Group Study Exchange (MGSE) and plans have already started to be made on that front.

Internationally, Maxine told us we will continue to support projects and programmes such as ShelterBox, Lendwithcare, Polio Plus and various ad hoc causes. We will also continue to work with our European Rotary partners (Pentangular) especially in relation to Joint Pentangular Projects (such as JPP3, which is helping deaf children in Moldova, one of the poorest parts of Europe).

Finally, we’ve got some interesting visits coming up – such as trips to the Battle of Britain Museum and to Strode Park, and a couple of behind-the-scenes visits to other places.

Maxine ended by thanking her new “Programme Group” – Andrew Clague, Peter Hermitage and Brian Dobinson – who have helped put the programme together. It promises to be a good year!

We were also joined at the meeting by Assistant District Governor, Kevin Fielding. He also commended Rosemary on her Presidential Year and praised Maxine on her exciting plans. He reminded us of District’s Theme for the year: “The Magic of Rotary”. Next year will be Kevin’s 6th (and final) year as ADG. During this time, he’s had the chance to visit many clubs and hear about their activities. Kevin has enthusiastically taken part in quite a few of our own activities – even getting wet as a “duck catcher” in our Annual Duck Race. He’s recently returned from a successful trip to Ukraine which we helped support with some funding via our International Committee (and which we will write about soon). We look forward to Kevin’s support over the forthcoming year.

*Do you have ideas on how to help Rotary. For instance, can your company or organisation provide in-kind support for our work? Would you like us to talk with you about membership? Feel free to contact us here. Or why not become a Rotary Friend and be kept informed of our activities and programme? More here.

Picture: President Elect, Maxine Blades, pictured at Champagne Pommery, during last week’s Pentangular meeting in France. Picture credit: Sue Thompson/Rotary Club of Canterbury. 


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St Lawrence Cricket Ground
Old Dover Road,
Canterbury, Kent,
CT1 3NZ,
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