This week, David Chapman, from the Rotary Club of West Worthing, gives an update on the latest and future goings-on.
Much is going on in Rotary with many new developments as the movement changes to keep up with the times. But that does not prevent a backward glance over ones shoulder to appreciate the energy, enterprise and enthusiasm that members have shown in the past.
This is symbolised by the model church, based very much on St Mary’s Church in Broadwater, which has been a feature of the collections in the Goring Road shopping parade Christmas festivities and Rotary collections for many years.
It featured alongside the Christmas tree and, with the illuminated windows, it delighted generations of adults and children alike.
Club members can remember there being a Rotary Christmas tree in Goring Road as far back as 1964 when it was positioned at the west end of the shops.
Some time shortly after, Rotarian Jim Hardy opened a travel agency business in the middle of the parade and the tree was moved to a position close by his shop where electricity could easily be supplied. It was about that time that the church appeared.
Sadly, West Worthing Rotary Club has had to make the decision that, from 2019, there will be no more Christmas collections in Goring Road and they will no longer be able to provide a Christmas tree in Goring Road.
There are a number of reasons for this decision – the club is finding that focusing collections on the major supermarkets brings better returns for their charity funds, and the costs of setting up the Christmas tree were rising beyond the club’s resources.
The quandary of what to do with this unique and priceless scale model of the church was solved when the club received an email through the club website from a Mr Robert Bungard. He had a personal interest in it and had always kept an eye on the church as it had been built by his father, Arthur Bungard. He expressed an interest in taking care of the model if Rotary had no further use for it.
Robert Bungard’s father had not been a Rotarian, but at the time had been employed by Rotarian Charles Coleman, a builder then located at 92 Newlands Road, and had been set to work to build this model.
Who actually inspired the idea of the model church remains a mystery in time!
However, the church has now been passed over to Mr Robert Bungard who expressed his appreciation.
He said: “My father, Robert, spent many weeks building this in the front room of our house in Newlands Road. I remember also the trips to St Mary’s in Broadwater to measure up to get the dimensions right.
“It is a cherished memory of my father and my childhood and I am delighted to take possession of it.”
Details of Worthing’s three Rotary clubs are:
• 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.
• Worthing Steyne Rotary Club meets Monday evening at The Ardington Hotel, in Steyne Gardens, Worthing, 07788 638757.
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