READING in schools, street collections, charity lunches and spreading Christmas cheer – just a snippet of the community work the Rotary Club of High Wycombe has carried out this month alone.
Throughout the year, members of the various Rotary clubs in south Buckinghamshire support projects at home and abroad.
The club has, in the past month alone, donated about £8,000 to the Shelterbox and Aquabox charities to provide shelter and drinking water to those who lost everything in the Philippines typhoon following a sporting lunch event featuring former rugby player Martin Bayfield.
Rotarians, who are mostly active or retired businessmen, went into Cressex Community School to host an interview workshop to help prepare pupils before they apply for jobs and university places.
They have teamed up with the Wycombe Lions and Round Table groups to head out on Santa’s sleigh to delight children, as well as collect money for various charities – including Christmas food parcels for the needy.
The club’s president Humphrey Creed said Rotarians volunteer to give something back to the community – particularly at Christmas.
He said: “I had worked in High Wycombe for many years and was very keen to have the opportunity to put something back into the community from which I had earned my living.
“In the last few weeks I shall not forget the number of people we met in the Eden shopping centre when we were collecting for the Philippines - after making generous donations they thanked us for taking the trouble to organise a collection for these unfortunate people.
“And on a recent Santa runs we visited one house and they rang their friends further down the road - they were waiting for us. One cannot adequately describe the look on the children's faces when they see Santa.
“It is easy to assume that High Wycombe being in the Chilterns is a wealthy town. There are however areas of considerable poverty and we are doing our bit to help these areas to have a better Christmas.”
While December is a busy month for the club, it is easy to forget the stellar work Rotarians carry out during the rest of the year.
Next month sees the district final of the Rotary’s Young Chef contest at the Royal Grammar School and its highly regarded Reading in Schools project – where volunteers support and read to children who use English as their second language – will swing back into action in the new term.
There’s also the Youth Speaks debating competition and that’s before you add on the continued charity collections and events in January alone.
Mr Creed, who selected the Kidsinsport organisation which helps disadvantaged children to participate in sport as his charity for his time as president, says while the club is always busy they have a lot of fun helping the community and those in need.
Mr Creed said: “We do a lot for the community and have fun doing it. The club consists of a great bunch of friendly people who, as the Rotary motto states, put service before self.”
For more information about the work of Rotary, which has 34,000 clubs and 1.2million members around the globe, visit www.ribi.org or visit www.highwycombe.rotaryweb.org