Click on an image above to go to each Rotarian's personal story.

Norman Springett
Past President
Joined Rotary: 2002

What do I get from Rotary?  Satisfaction out of contributing towards something worthwhile, particularly when it’s practical, hands on. We give support to young carers by providing well earned down time from their responsibilities as carers, play time you might say. This is done through Crossroads, the organisation for young carers and in all honesty I think their volunteers and we Rotarians get nearly as much pleasure as they do.

canoes

On this occasion there was one lad who wasn’t sure about this but by the end of the morning he was ready to jump in along with fellow carers.

jump

We recently organised a male voice choir concert in All Saints Church Maidstone in aid of Demelza Children’s Hospice, Heart of Kent Hospice and other local good causes. It was a great evening with good club participation on the night, checking tickets, selling programmes and refreshments and generally meeting the public who had kindly supported us by buying tickets. The Mayor, Councillor Clive English came along as did the Chief Constable, Ian Learmonth, and our own Rotary District 1120 Governor Chris Barnett and their wives. It was a great evening enjoyed by all, perhaps especially our President Mike who appears here being serenaded by one of the soloists, Michelle Harris.

diva

For the past ten years or so we have assisted the Kent County Agricultural Society with Kent Show at Detling Showground; we organise the entry exit duties, assisted over the weekend by some eighteen other Rotary Clubs, Interact (Young Rotarians) and Inner Wheel (Ladies Rotary). Apart from covering our duties, we get a chance to enjoy the show as well as meeting Rotarians from other clubs and members of the public out to enjoy themselves. It’s a major event in our year and one that’s supported by virtually the whole club.
But it’s not all work and we certainly enjoy ourselves whether working or not.....

norman

This is me at one of those times!
 Rotarian Norman Springett President-elect 2013-14.
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Clive Bradburn
Past President
Joined Rotary: 1990

What Rotary Means to Me.

Why did I join a Rotary Club?  Probably because I am inclined to be a little selfish. Strange answer? Let me explain.

I love doing things that are out of the ordinary, provide me with excitement and are rewarding. Belonging to a Rotary club, especially ours, The Rotary Club of Maidstone Riverside, does just that.

When I was in the fire service many years ago, one of the things I enjoyed the most was taking part in adventures when off duty. I enjoyed the company of my friends and colleagues and together we organised and took part in all sorts of wonderful events. Over the years I swam the Channel, ran from John O’Groats to Lands End and even played a volley ball match on the summit of Ben Nevis in a snow storm. I even organised a world record attempt on sliding down a pole during a Telethon. So I gained a lot of personal enjoyment, wide publicity and therefore, I suppose, it might seem very selfish on my part, but I wouldn’t have changed it for anything. However, the spin off was that with each event we raised tens of thousands of pounds for a wide range of charities both locally and abroad, that was also very satisfying.

When early retirement from that rewarding career arrived, I found myself at a bit of a loss wondering where the next adventure would come from. By chance I found myself arranging a lorry load of clothes to take to Romania for the street kids. However, it was a struggle on my own to get help with funding, customs clearance etc. A friend of mine belonged to the Maidstone Round Table Club and they kindly funded the project, which allowed me and my wife Sue and the Round Table President, to go and work for a short time in Romania with the youngsters on the streets.

At about that time I had been invited to become a founder member of the newly formed Rotary Club, to which I still belong some 24 years later. All of a sudden I realised that this great worldwide family of Rotary was a platform for all the fun and excitement that I could ever wish for. This has taken me to adventures abroad and seen places I would probably never have gone to on holiday. For example, our club had funded the building of a school high in the Nepalese Himalaya. Sue and I went to open the school as the club’s ambassadors and had the time of our lives meeting and living with these wonderful people. I even had the chance to go back to Romania to work with the disabled. This led to me becoming active with a Maidstone based charity which our Rotary club supports giving help to the very poor and disabled in Romania. Through these connections I now run a local swimming club for the disabled here in Maidstone, again supported by our club.

Most recently some of us from our club joined hundreds of other Rotarians from around the world in India. There we administered vaccine to children as part of the final drive to eliminate polio in that vast country. This is a major Rotary International project and we were proud to play a very small part in such a massive programme. Such international visits are of course, personally funded but with the assistance of Rotarians in those countries, holiday itineraries are often provided. Would I have ever gone white water rafting in the Himalayas, tiger spotting on an elephant trek or visited the Taj Mahal, if it wasn’t for Rotary? Probably not.

2 drops of vaccine

There are 32,000 Rotary Clubs in the world in almost every country. Our members’ holidays and visits abroad are often punctuated with visits to clubs in other countries and in return Rotarians from abroad visit us. Our club has for many years twinned with a club in Holland. Every year we meet up and many of us have formed long lasting friendships with these Rotarians and their families.

I have focussed on the international aspect of Rotary but of course, much of our work is based on our doorstep here in Maidstone. We are proud to be associated and able to help local charities and have a great time every year in charge of ticket sales and manning the gates at the County Show. The club is paid for our efforts but we all do the work voluntarily and the proceeds go to our charities chosen for the year.

So what has Rotary meant for me? It has enabled a lifestyle of fun, excitement and reward. I am a pensioner now, but with Rotary I will never be bored or at a loss for anything to do.

(If you are interested to know more visit our website www.riversiderotary.co.uk or contact me on 01622 747819 or email clive@clivebradburn.com

Nothing ventured, nothing gained.)

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Graham Scott
Ex Member
Joined Rotary: 2011

What Rotary Means to Me.

I first joined Maidstone Riverside Rotary Club at the end of 2011. Having volunteered in a number of other areas and with more spare time on my hands I knew that Rotary was the ideal service club to allow me to give something back to my local community. However, what I had not appreciated was the fascinating group of people from a myriad of backgrounds that I would become friends with and the exciting fundraising projects that I would get involved in. Yes, rattling tins outside a supermarket in December isn’t exciting, but it is fun! However, being part of the organising team that arranged a highly successful Choir Concert, attracting an audience of 500+ people and raising in excess of £10,000 was exciting, challenging and extremely rewarding. To do something that is both rewarding for me and helps disadvantaged people and communities is what Rotary is all about. And Maidstone Riverside is certainly very good at it!

After retiring, Graham moved to Dorset where he immediately joined his local Rotary club.

Rotarian
Graham Scott

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Colin Norgate

President 2012-13
Joined Maidstone Riverside 1995

What Rotary Means to Me.

I’ve been tremendously fortunate throughout my working life in being able to travel widely around the world whilst someone else has been paying for my travel expenses! It has taken me to places far and wide and to experience and understand different cultures. I’ve also had the opportunity to live and work in both Zambia and Nigeria for some 6 years. It was that experience, seeing cases of real poverty unimaginable in developed countries like the UK, coupled with meeting some of the happiest, hard working and honest people you could ever wish to meet that made me realise a) how lucky I am and b) that I would do as much as I could to help those less fortunate than myself to improve their own situation.

colin

My life in service organisations dates back to my time in Africa when I joined Round Table and then – when I became too old to continue in that organisation, I joined Rotary International in Maidstone – and I can honestly say I’ve enjoyed every minute of it!

What does Rotary mean to me?

What membership of any other organisation would enable you to walk into a coffee shop in Williams, Arizona, see the Rotary banner on the wall, and within 5 minutes having a chat with the President of the local Rotary club just like old friends!

What other organisation would enable you to fly 5000 miles to visit a school for orphan children whose parents had died of AIDS/HIV in Zambia to present a plaque – and  to be greeted by the same children singing and dancing in delight at the gift we had brought them – I defy anyone not to moved by that sight!

Where else could you participate in fundraising projects as part of a worldwide group of like-minded men and women all committed to eradicating the curse of Polio and feel the sense of togetherness in striving to achieve that goal!

Rotary to me is simply a case of giving others less fortunate than myself a chance not only to improve their own personal circumstances but to enable them to reach their own personal goals and perhaps experience just one or two of the amazing sights I have had the opportunity to see and experience in my lifetime. Not only that but to have fun doing it at the same time!

colin and bike

I wouldn’t have missed that opportunity for anything – thank you Rotary International!

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