President’s Newsletter July 2017

Welcome to my first news post as your Club President. As we enter a new century as one of the oldest clubs in the UK we can look back with pride over our first 100 years. Our Centenary year was a tremendous success due in large part to all the efforts of Past President David Brunton, who will be a very hard act to follow as President.We live in turbulent times and Rotary is not immune to those pressures. However, using the 17/18 theme of RI President, Ian Riseley, “we know that we can do more together than we could ever hope to do alone.”

The greatest challenge facing all clubs is that of falling membership. Although our membership numbers have stayed largely unchanged over the last few years, if we are to remain an active club we have to attract new members who are committed to the principles of Service before Self. As well as all members actively recruiting, we will be exploring the option od setting up a Satellite Club and also working more closely with the other two members of the Leicester family, De Montfort and Novus.

As well as raising and allocating funds to our local Charities, we will be embarking on a major fund-raising campaign to provide equipment for an Orthopaedic Operating Theatre in Gondar, North-west Ethiopia. A number of events are planned for the year, starting with your President running in the footsteps of the legendary Haile Gabrselassie in The Great Ethiopia Run at the end of November. Much training needed!
As you know Rodney Spokes is moving to a higher plane and Jonathan Kerry will be taking on membership for this year. Nick Thomson will be taking over as Club Secretary—a role he has been carrying out over the last few months in any case.
If you have any ideas on how to improve the Club or contribute to fundraising activities then please share them with me.
I look forward to working with you all over the coming year and would encourage you all to both contribute as much as possible to the Club, but also make the most of what Rotary has to offer.


Richard Power



President’s newsletter May 2017

With just over a month to go to the end of my presidential year I thought it was time I updated my President’s Message.


My last message in November summarised various events we had arranged to celebrate our Centenary.  All were successful and well appreciated by those who attended.  Thank you to everybody who helped with those celebrations.


Since November we have returned to what could be considered a more normal Rotary year.  In December we enjoyed our Christmas lunch with family and friends and were entertained by our speaker, Ian Stringer of Radio Leicester football fame.  We also saw three new members join us in December.


In February we were invited to collect at the Botanical Gardens in aid of polio eradication.  This was appropriate as the Botanical Gardens were celebrating their crocus weekend and the symbol of polio eradication is the crocus.  We raised over £500 which when added to the matched donations by the Gates Foundation will be almost £1600.


I attended the Technology Challenge which took place at Leicester Grammar School in February.  It was great to see the enthusiasm of the young people and the engineering and science skills they demonstrated in completing their task.  Hopefully many of them will go on to have a STEM career.


Other young people’s events included various local, district and national competitions.  Young Musician saw many pupils competing in various categories.  Our solo violinist went through to the national finals in Cardiff and did very well.


We had one of our most successful years in the Minor Sports competition, reaching the semi-final.  Maybe it was just coincidence but the first time I participated we were knocked out!  Let’s hope we can go one better next year.


President Elect Richard Power is looking forward to his year in office and has been researching a project to provide equipment to hospitals currently being constructed in Ethiopia.  No doubt we will hear more about this project when Richard takes over the presidency.


Though it has been a challenge, it has been an honour to be President in our Centenary year.  I am grateful to those in the Club and beyond who have supported me this year.  It would have been an impossible task without their help.


David Brunton


President’s Newsletter November 2016

It is now four months since I took over from Immediate Past President Paul Bonnett, and what an exciting four months it has been!  Being President of the Rotary Club of Leicester is always a great honour but to have been invited to be President in the Centenary year is particularly special. 


During my first four months we saw the culmination of three years of planning and fundraising to create a Visitor Centre in Bradgate Park, when on 22nd September Sir David Attenborough officially opened the new facility.  The Visitor Centre unofficially opened in July and by the official opening, 25,000 people had passed through its doors.

The Visitor Centre is a great example of Rotary Serving Humanity and Rotarians are encouraged to visit and see what has been achieved.

Shortly after the official opening of the Visitor Centre we held our Centenary Dinner at the Grand Hotel.

The event took place on the 10th October, with 230 Rotarians and guests attending.  Over 40 Clubs were represented on the night, including the Edinburgh Club, which is the mother Club of Leicester, and the Rotary Club of Guimaraes, Leicester’s twin Club in Portugal.

Guests included the RIBI President Eve Conway and her husband, and District Governor John Dehnel, both of whom spoke and proposed toasts on the night.  Responding on behalf of the guests was antiques expert Lars Tharp who was interesting and stimulating and recounted his memories of his Grandfather as a member of the Leicester Club and his Father who is still a member of the Oadby Club.  It was a splendid evening of fellowship enjoyed by everyone.

Our most recent celebration took place at Leicester Cathedral when over 50 Rotarians and guests attended a special Evensong service on 16th October to celebrate the Centenary of the Club and the achievements of Rotary worldwide.  The service was conducted by the Dean, David Monteith. The Bishop, Martyn Snow, spoke of the great achievements of Rotary locally, nationally and internationally.

Looking forward to the rest of our Centenary year we already have plans in place to deliver all the events we support.  These events include numerous young person’s competitions, RYLA, Kids Out and blood pressure awareness, Christmas lunches and many more.  I hope we can organise another theatre trip similar to last year’s visit to The Curve and another special Centenary event towards the end of my term as President.

I am grateful for all the support I have received from the Club members during my four months in office, and with continuing support I will continue to do my best in leading the Club for the remainder of my year.

David Brunton


President’s Newsletter May 2016

This is my last President’s Newsletter that I will write before handing over to Rotarian David Brunton as the incoming President on the 27th June 2016.


It is with both sadness and joy that I write this newsletter, sadness that my year has gone all too quickly and joy to reflect on what has been achieved during the year.

I set out our plan for my year which some said was too ambitious to achieve in the space of one year. I am delighted to confound those who thought that! Much has been achieved although there is always more to be done. I had to leave David something to do during his year!

I take this opportunity to recap on what has been achieved during the year and to sincerely thank all those involved in making, for me, a memorable year as President. Firstly we have raised in excess of £6,000 for my chosen charity, The Leicestershire, Derbyshire and Rutland Air Ambulance.

Rotarian Rodney Spokes and his Membership Team have done a great job to encourage new members to join the club and I am delighted to report that two new members have been recruited and three potential members have been identified. A first class membership leaflet has been produced and I am sure that this will pay dividends in the months ahead.

Rotarian Mark Sandall and his Club Service Team have been busy throughout the year arranging a number of both social and fund raising events, enjoyed by all those who attended. Of particular note was the Christmas Carol Concert, the social evening at Zephs, the evening at Sands Restaurant and the night at Curve in March. All these events have contributed to my chosen charity.

Rotarian Moira Bartlett and her Service Projects Team have been tireless in their activities, numerous youth service events, ranging from the hugely successful Technology Challenge day in February to Youth Speaks, Young Writer, Young Musician, Young Designer, Young Chef and many others. We can also not forget RYLA, Kids Out, Calvert and the Rotary Am Am golf tournament taking place in June. At this point I must pay special thanks to Simon Gravett and the golf section for their work on all golf related activities. Special thanks must also go to Immediate Past President Stuart Almond for all his efforts with the Super Hero Fun Run which now appears to be a regular annual event.

Thanks to Rotarian John Saunders and his Rotary Foundation and Benevolent Team for all their efforts. In excess of £4,000 was raised in one evening at the Auction of Promises, which has meant that we have been able to donate £3,470 to the Rotary Foundation Annual Appeal and £247.50 to Polio plus. Additionally donations have been made to a number of local charities.

Rotarian David Howard and his Communications Team have done a sterling job in producing and managing a new website which has significantly increased the level of enquiries being received by the club. Great work has also been done by Assistant Secretary Scott Gallacher on social media activity with both tweets and blogs!

Finally and by no means lastly, Rotarian David Brunton and his Centenary Project Team have been able to surpass the £150,000 target set to refurbish and equip the new Visitor Centre at Bradgate Park. The work does not stop here, however, the Midsummer Meander is taking place on the 17th to 19th June to raise additional funds with the official opening of the Visitor Centre taking place on the 22nd September. To mark the Centenary of the Club a dinner is being held on the 10th October and a Centenary Service is being held on the16th October at Leicester Cathedral.


My grateful thanks must also be given to Rotarians Roger Bowden, Adrian Keen and Scott Gallacher without whose help and support would have made my year much more difficult.


None of the above could have been achieved without the support of every member of the club, which for me, will be the lasting memory that I shall take with me to the “back benches” and for once I will be able to sit and enjoy my lunch without getting indigestion!


I take this opportunity of wishing Rotarian David Brunton all success with his year as President and know that we will all give him the support and encouragement that has been given to me to make our Centenary Year one to remember.


My sincere thanks and appreciation to you all.


Paul Bonnett


President’s Newsletter March 2016

Presidents Newsletter

March 2016


As I sit down to write this newsletter I wonder where the last nine months have gone, which leaves only three months of my Presidential year to go before handing over the chain to our incoming President, David Brunton. One member did remark to me only recently that you must be “de mob” happy as your year is coming to an end. I have to say quite the contrary! Much has happened over the last nine months and for that I am very thankful to all those members who willingly give of their time and talents in line with the Rotary motto of “Service above Self”


2016 marks our Centenary year and a number of events are planned to celebrate this milestone. Fund raising continues for our Centenary project for the redevelopment of the Visitor Centre in Bradgate Park, with two major events planned. The first of which is the Centenary AMAM Golf Tournament on 15th June 2016 at the Leicestershire Golf Club. Teams of four are encouraged to enter. All the details can be obtained from Rotarian Simon Gravett at Our other major fund raising event is the Midsummer Meander over the weekend of the 17th to 19th June, a non – stop relay walk of the Leicestershire Round. All details of this event can be obtained from Rotarian Richard Power at

The official opening of the new visitor centre will take place on Thursday 22nd September 2016 by the patron of our appeal, Sir David Attenborough. Plans are well advanced for this event.

To celebrate our Centenary, the first club in District 1070 to do so, we are holding a Centenary Dinner on Monday 10th October 2016, in the presence of our RIBI President together with a selection of past members of our club and representatives from a number of the clubs that we have sponsored over the last one hundred years.

Away from our focus on the Centenary, the Club has been active in a number of different areas. A very successful Auction of Promises evening was held which raised in excess of £4,000 to go to Rotary Foundation. A joyous evening of Carols and Music hosted by the South Leicester Salvation Army raised in excess of £1,000 for my nominated charity, The Derbyshire, Leicestershire and Rutland Air Ambulance. Donations have also been made to Little Faces, Help for Heroes, Kids for Heroes, DEBRA, Inter-Care, Prost-Aid, Life Education Centres and the E-Ranger project.

Other events planned for the remainder of the year include a visit to Curve to see Breakfast at Tiffanys with dinner and a visit from the cast after the show. On the 22nd March a Charity Night is being hosted at Sands Restaurant with all proceeds going to my chosen charity. An evening of music and fellowship is taking place on the 20th April at Zephs.

For those who are more energetic a Superhero Fun Run is taking place on Sunday 17th April at Abbey Park in Leicester. Full details can be obtained from We are very grateful to The Sturgess Motor Group, the Fitness Bank and Edward Hands & Lewis for their sponsorship of this event.

A significant amount of work has also been put into a number of different competitions for young people, ranging from Young Chef to Young Musician, Young Writer to Youth Speaks and Young Designer. I must acknowledge the tremendous success of the recently held Technology Challenge Day at Leicester Grammar School. Over 120 students gathered from 6 different schools to take part. The day was a great success due in no small part to the efforts of Rotarians Derek Sadd and Colin Derrick. My sincere thanks to both of them.

Although our Club is one of the largest in the District we are always trying to increase membership through a diverse range of business and leisure interests. Further details about membership and the club can be found on our website,

I do take this opportunity to thank all members for their support and fellowship and I wish you and all your families a very happy and peaceful Easter.


Paul Bonnett

President Rotary Club of Leicester.

Technology Tournament

TT LGS 2016(2)How do you get 130 children to abandon their mobiles for the day?

Leicester Grammar School paid hosts to the 2nd annual technology tournament organised by the Rotary Club of Leicester on the 26th February 2016.

The event was thrown open to nine Leicestershire schools to send students studying design to test their mental ability to solve a technical problem. In this year’s challenge the students needed to design and build a bridge crossing two imaginary bodies of water on a wooden base. The advance students needed to make not only a fixed bridge span but also an opening span similar to Tower Bridge on the Thames.

The working time was limited to 4 hours and during this the students needed to design, test, build and catalogue their work. Points were awarded for each step of the process including their thought processing and management. At the end of the allotted time the bridges were tested and marks added together for their achievements in meeting the technical brief.

Derek Sadd & Colin Derek of Leicester Rotary provided the inspiration for this project and coordinated the event along with supplying the materials and model bases. Another 12 Rotary members acted as judges and master of ceremonies keep the event running like clockwork.

Without a doubt the imaginations and attention of all 130 students and 11 teachers was captured by the event. The bridge building results were amazing and all that attended were looking forward to the 2017 event.

Our thanks to Colin and Derek for their considerable efforts and to Leicester Grammar for the venue.


The winning groups are featured below

Winners 2

winners 1

Winners 3

RIBI Golf Championships

The annual championship event will be held at The Leicestershire golf club on Monday 5th September 2016. Please go to the Charitable Activities page for a copy of the rules and an entry form. Last year’s event raised in excess of £12,500 for the End Polio Now Campaign, and we hope to achieve at least that sum this year by widening the entry criteria to encourage participation from smaller clubs. Entries of teams comprised of members of two different clubs within a District are permitted.