Rotarians were very busy over the bank holiday weekend with the Rotary Carnival.
This annual event has been a feature of the August bank holiday in Worthing since 1921 and absorbs the energies of all the members of the three Worthing Rotary Clubs.
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Organising it is an all-year-round task for the carnival committee, but on the day all the Rotary members are hands-on in supervising, marshalling, collecting and manning stalls; many working from dawn to dusk.
Over the weekend, Worthing residents and visitors contributed more than £3,000 to the collections and more was raised from concessions and stallholders fees, all going to help many local charities.
However, having retired home on Bank Holiday Monday night, they could not predict the unfolding disaster of the fire which destroyed five businesses and ten flats in Rectory Road, opposite the Thomas A Becket pub.
When the fire broke out the residents had to flee with only the clothes that they were wearing and they have lost their homes and almost everything they own.
West Worthing Rotary president Dave Cook was more than aware of this as the office of his car leasing business is just further along the block and only just escaped the fire damage.
Very aware of the plight of those made homeless, Dave contacted Tesco at Durrington who agreed to supply the victims of the fire with the emergency clothes that they required, especially the children’s school uniforms just bought for the new school year.
First thing on Tuesday morning, Dave was also on the phone ringing around all the club members, asking them to help with a bucket collection at the entrance of the Tesco supermarket in Durrington.
As a result, there were four or five West Worthing Rotarians on duty outside the store collecting all day last Tuesday.
Tesco customers were unbelievably generous in their donations, some emptying their purses and pockets into the boxes and others giving large denomination notes.
One person donated the entire proceeds of his scratch card winnings, while another brought their savings box with £37 in it and tipped it all in the collection bucket.
Altogether the Tuesday’s collection raised £1,400 which was converted into Tesco vouchers and distributed to the victims of the fire.
It will surely help with the mass of unexpected short term out-of-pocket expenses incurred as a result of the loss of their homes.
Dave Cook said: “It is worth pointing out that Rotary Clubs are here, on the ground, to help local people and local charities.
“More importantly, you are sure that when you give to Rotary charities, every last penny goes to the designated charities.
“As Rotarians we are pleased to be in the position to help, and we would like to express our sincere thanks to all who so generously donated and supported us over the Rotary Carnival weekend and with the fire appeal.”
Details of Worthing’s three Rotary clubs are:
• West Worthing Rotary Club meets Tuesday evening at Tudor Close, Ferring, 01903 501961.
• Worthing Rotary Club meets Monday, 12.55pm, at the Chatsworth Hotel, in The Steyne, Worthing, 01903 209564.
• Worthing Steyne Rotary Club meets weekly. For more information call 07788 638757..
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