Blood Bikes

Last Tuesday evening, 11th May, Fordingbridge Rotery was treated to an excellent highly interesting talk about “Blood Bikes” (see attached photo)

Robert Smith, from “Serv Wessex”, part of the National Association of Blood Bikes, explained what the organisation is like and what it’s like to be a blood biker. One of Fordingbridge Rotary members, is one of the 130 volunteers, that ride and drive for the organisation. It was explained that all the bikers, and drivers, have to be re-assessed every two years.

The organisation is responsible for transporting blood, blood products, human milk, some controlled drugs, and medical equipment, mainly for the NHS, and sometimes in conjunction with Air Ambulance, covering the areas of Dorset, Hampshire and Wiltshire. It is always on the lookout for fund-raising activities and opportunities. These “Blood Runners” are 100% volunteers, and run solely on charitable donations. All the dispatchers, riders and drivers donate their own time and fuel, to provide a free service. They come from all walks of life.

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Verwood Rotary hosts Fordingbridge and Ringwood

Welcome to Verwood

Last Tuesday evening, 20th April, Verwood Rotary hosted Fordingbridge and Ringwood Rotaries, to a virtual "get-together", courtesy of Zoom, naturally.

It was a presentation by Anita Rigler, on how she and her colleagues set up "VoW", "Verwoodians on Waste", their way of cleaning up Verwood and greatly increasing how much Verwood re-cycles. She organised a business plan, funding, insurance and a website, and soon discovered, she said, just what and how much can be recycled if one tries. She managed to get their MP involved, along with local schools.

She talked about future plans, which included ways of recycling so-called "disposable coffee cups",  a publicity plan, fayres, carnivals, workshops, demos, and are aiming for "plastic free Easter and Christmas": all very commendable ambitious and impressive, it has to be said.

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Jeremy Prescott’s talk on Violette Szabo

Last Tuesday evening, Fordingbridge Rotary was joined by members of Verwood Rotary, via the medium of Zoom, of course. They were treated to a very interesting talk by regular speaker, Jeremy Prescott, who delivered a  presentation on Violette Szabo and how she was awarded the George Cross posthumously, having been executed by the Germans, at Ravensbruck Concentration Camp, in early 1945.

Rotarians heard all about her life as a child and how she married before being sent off to France as an agent, being part of the SOE (Special Operations Executive). Previously to that, she had joined the Women’s Land Army and the Auxiliary Territorial Service (ATS). Once she had joined the SOE, she underwent concentrated highly focussed arduous training and several missions before capture in Nazi-occupied France and interrogation.

She became the second woman to be awarded the George Cross, bestowed posthumously in December 1946.

She was the subject of the novel and film “Carve her name with pride”, which was later turned into a film in 1958

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Hearing Dogs for Deaf People

An interesting talk was delivered to Fordingbridge Rotary members, via the medium of Zoom, last Tuesday evening 9th February. The speakers were Malcolm and Eileen Pickett of the "Hearing Dogs for Deaf People" organisation. Eileen is deaf and the beneficiary of a "hearing dog". Malcolm explained all about the training that these dogs go through, including what they are trained to do, and what they are not trained to do. Dogs are trained to alert deaf people to important and life-saving sounds that they would otherwise miss, like the doorbell, fire alarms and even alarm clocks. Additionally, the dogs are trained to give a deaf person a newfound sense of independence, confidence and companionship. The attached photograph depicts a genuine young beneficiary.

This organisation has matched thousands of dogs carefully with deaf people. The dogs are retired at the princely age of 11, and each deaf partner often elects to keep the former hearing dog as a pet. The cost of training, supporting and placing these hearing dogs is around £40,000 per dog, and the organisation relies heavily upon volunteers, support and donations.

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