About Us President's Welcome

President's welcome

Chris Wilding, the current President of Abingdon Vesper Rotary club
Chris Wilding
President 2019-20

Welcome to the website for the Rotary Club of Abingdon Vesper. I hope that after finding out more about what we do, you will want to join us.

Rotary is the world's largest service organisation, with well over 1.2 million members, all committed to Rotary’s objectives of “Service above self”.

At the heart of Rotary is a network of local clubs made up of people who not only value each other’s friendship but are passionate about serving their community and those in need, both locally and internationally.

In Abingdon Vesper we recognise that Rotary is an international organisation and we undertake projects both in this country and overseas. These include:

Canal boat trips for disabled or disadvantaged groups.

Each summer we hire a specially built canal boat for four weeks and take groups of disabled/disadvantaged people for a day on the Kennet and Avon Canal.
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Festival Spirit

We were instrumental in starting Festival Spirit, now an independent charity that, with the help of our members, takes people with life-limiting illness or major disability to music festivals. This year the charity will be taking groups to three festivals. All three of its trustees are members of Abingdon Vesper.
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Work with local groups

This includes:

  • Funding a drug box for Abingdon Bridge to help educate local young people about the risks involved in illegal drugs
  • Funding sleep systems for two very disabled local children
  • Working with the homeless in Oxford, providing clothing at Christmas
  • Supporting a Christmas lunch from old people who would otherwise be on their own
  • Working with a local charity to help Syrian refugees settle in Abingdon

Working in Africa

  • We have worked in the Mubende district of Uganda for over twenty years. From an initial project to provide hand-tools, our support has included a well for fresh water, mosquito nets for the hospital, mattresses for hospital beds, training in animal welfare by qualified UK vets, and development support for schools. We have provided business support and now have more than 50 microcredit schemes in the area which through many small loans give a huge number of people a hand up in improving their farming or starting their own small business to allow them to provide for their families. Members of our club have regularly visited these projects over the years.
  • We have funded a project to rehabilitate street kids in Kenya.
  • We have helped chicken farmers in Malawi, provided mosquito nets to families in Tanzania and much more.
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Disaster relief

We work with Rotary’s partner ShelterBox to provide a stock of emergency boxes which can be shipped to disaster areas anywhere in the world.

Eradication of Polio

Thirty years ago Rotary International vowed to rid the world of polio. Today polio is endemic in only two countries and the goal of total eradication is in reach. Abingdon Vesper members have regularly taken part in National Immunisation Days in India.
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To do all this requires funds and we raise these in a variety of ways, most notably:

Rotary Dragon Boat Day.

This is a great day out for the local community and has raised well over £500,000 for charity since 1999.
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Abingdon Food and Drink Festival

Our fifth festival took place in June this year by the River Thames. The event was bigger than ever with around 100 stalls and more activities for all the family. The day was very well supported with some 5,000 visitors and raising around £20,000 for charity.
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Rotary truly is a network of ordinary people doing extraordinary things. Membership is by invitation but Rotary is open to all regardless of gender, race, religion, or political preference. We meet on Tuesday evenings in Abingdon. Our meetings normally include a meal and a speaker. We also organise a variety of visits and social events for our members, including visits to our European twinned clubs in the Netherlands and Italy.

You are very welcome to join us at one of our meetings to find out more about us. If you would like more information, then please contact me.

Chris Wilding

President, 2019-2020