Having just passed the International Day of Peace on September 21, we celebrated our 40th birthday with a club visit to Richebourg in France on September 22 and 23. Richebourg is a live example of survival. It has a special connection for us.
More than 100 years ago, during the First World War, it was the site of a significant battle for troops from Sussex, when hundreds of our soldiers were killed defending that sector of the battlefield.
We went to join in a much jollier event; a village dinner and dance celebration at the invitation of the villagers, to celebrate autumn or just to have a good time.
There was a serious part on Saturday, when there was a video shown about those wartime events.
It was a very touching film to illustrate the great destruction caused by war and the rebuilding – ‘blueberries and poppies flourishing again’.
Club members and friends listened carefully to Martine, our local guide who led our tour of the village to see short enactments of what the villagers faced at the time and to hear how villagers took steps to get back to normal following the destruction of the Great War.
Worthing played a major part in funding, by donation, the rebuilding of the village a few years later.
The famous heavy rains of the area cut short our tour. It was abandoned as a drenched crowd of spectators quickly found their ways back to lodgings and the dry.
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Then came the celebration, a 1920s style party with fancy dress, a jazz band and lots of fun, good food and wine, dancing and a great atmosphere with everyone trying their best school-time French and English to speak to each other.
As always, the Richbourgers were welcoming and kind, making this trip, like our others, a good visit.
The storm did not stop until Sunday afternoon and by then we were on our ferry back to Dover, looking for a good reason to visit again when the weather is better.
In the meantime, next month our Rotary club will be out and about on duty at the Rotary Recreation Ground in Highbarn Lane on its project CleanUP to weed our Rotary shrubland, plant some bulbs and generally tour the site to tidy things up before autumn leaves really come down.
We will plant purple crocuses, signifying the purple of Rotary’s End Polio Now campaign now in its 17th year of door-to-door immunisation campaigns in countries where polio is still a threat.
Annually, tens of thousands of vaccinations are delivered to every child under five at their doorsteps, many of them living in some of the most dangerous and remote places on earth. This can be a heroic task.
To reach children, vaccinators travel however they can – on foot or on horseback, by bicycle or in boats. The vaccine travels with them, in plastic or Styrofoam boxes slung around their shoulders.
The results have been unparalleled. Two billion children have been immunized at their homes.
Niger and Egypt were removed from the list of polio-endemic countries in 2006 and four others have yet to stop polio – Nigeria, India, Pakistan, and Afghanistan – an all-time low. So, the campaign continues.
CleanUP and End Polio Now are examples of two projects local and international, which Rotary take up. Come and meet us to see what we get up to.
Please call us on the number below to find out where we will be next in the district to meet you. See you soon.
Details of Worthing’s three Rotary clubs are:
• Worthing Steyne Rotary Club meets Monday evening at The Ardington Hotel, in Steyne Gardens, Worthing, 07788 638757.
• Worthing Rotary Club meets Monday, 12.55pm, at the Chatsworth Hotel, in The Steyne, Worthing, 01903 209564.
• West Worthing Rotary Club meets Tuesday evening at Tudor Close, Ferring, 01903 501961.
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