New President as Marlow Thames Rotary Club celebrate an extraordinary year

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The Rotary Club of Marlow Thames appointed its 24th President in a Covid compliant ceremony at the Temple Golf Club at the end of last month (25th June). Steve Berry became the new leader of the pack – taking over from Nicole Hockly who had experienced a full 52 weeks of hosting meetings by zoom.

In looking back at the last 12 months Nicole commented that the period had almost certainly been the most challenging and difficult in the club’s history. But – despite the impact of lockdown and restrictions – it had also arguably been the busiest.

Rotary Clubs are primarily about community service – and Covid has simply changed the way clubs look at this important role. Nicole commented on her year: “The first priority was to see how we could support those in most need – and we decided to concentrate much of our effort on helping the Wycombe based charity One Can Trust. To date the club has donated a staggering £17,000 – with much of the money coming from monthly donations by Club Members. Money also came from the proceeds of the 2020 Marlow Santa’s Fun Run.

“But it is about more than just money. Members and supporters of the Marlow Thames Rotary Club have also actively worked as volunteers at local Flu and Vaccination Centres, and have been heavily involved in supporting Tom Kerridge’s “Meals for Marlow” initiative. Members have given over 1,500 hours of personal time to the Vaccination effort and close to 200 hours to the food distribution effort. I am incredibly proud of the way members have responded”

The Marlow Thames Rotary Club is probably best known for organising – along with the other Rotary Clubs in Marlow – the local Marlow Santa’s Fun Run. Even in lockdown this event achieved nearly 1000 entrants – and raised over £30,000 for mainly local charities. Over 20 charities benefitted from this community event – and planning for the usual 3000 entrants later this year is well underway.

However Nicole was keen to point out that there is much more to the club calendar than just the Santa’s Fun Run. She added: “This year we also introduced the Christmas Tree of Hope – which raised £1,000 for local charities. We will repeat this innovation next Christmas. We also distributed a large number of Christmas hampers to families experiencing serious care issues, we helped clear woods at a local nature reserve and perhaps most important of all we retained our club ethos despite not being able to meet in person. A fantastic year – and I am very proud to have been a part of this tremendous club.”

New President Steve Berry vowed to carry on the good work – and amongst other things highlighted the intent to run the Cookham Regatta on Saturday 4th September, and of course a very big Marlow Santa’s Fun Run on Sunday December 5th. He commented: “The work continues – and we can now look forward to resuming live meetings. Hopefully in a few months’ time life will be much closer to normal – and we can get back to doing those things that help others in a more visible way!”

Article author: Paul Merchant

About the author: Founded in its original version back in 2000 - yes the internet DID exist back then. Brought up in Marlow, went to school here, now has children at the same schools. Quite clearly loves all things Marlow - hence spending over 2 decades doing this!

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