Thetford & District Rotary Club
RIBI District 1080
Registered Charity No 1046534
 
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Ellis Clarke's Memoirs


These notes,  by Ellis Clarke, who was Honorary Secretary of the Thetford Rotary Club for the first two years of its existence, seek to set out details of the  club formation and early activities. It is hoped these notes can be amplified by the recollections of other members with a view to the compilation of a full history of the club. The first section will relate to the formation of the club. The second will relate the activities of the club in the first year and thereafter there will be separate sections for each committee, Club service, Community service, International and Vocational and under each of those committees I will set out headings of the various activities undertaken. Each of the activities of the various committees are my own personal recollection and can no doubt be amplified by the knowledge and experience of other members of the club and of course there will be activities, particularly in the later years of the club when I have not been so closely involved , which will need to be added. In fact there will be a good many of those.

The Formation of Thetford Rotary Club.

In the summer of 1954 Rotarian Bill Warren who was the District Extension officer, for what was then known as No 8. district, came to see me at the Municipal Offices and said that an effort had been made in 1948 to form a Rotary club in Thetford but the people he had contacted then had failed to take the matter any further. He was visiting me to make a second attempt to get a Rotary club formed in the town. I got together about five friends and business associates and a series of meetings was held, quite informal , in the summer of 1954 and eventually twenty one people who filled the classifications in Rotary had agreed that they would become members of the club if it was formed.

 

The founder members were, in alphabetical order : -

 1. Ted ADDERLEY, who was a baker with a business in King Street, where Martins the Newsagents now stands. He ran a little bakers business and also had a cafe where cups of tea and coffee could be purchased.

 2.  Edward BENNETT who was the secretary of the Thetford Co‑operative Society, which in those days had a large store in Guildhall Street and two branches one in St. Nicholas Street on the site now occupied by Breckland District Council offices and also a branch in a shop at the junction of Mill Lane and Bury Road. Unfortunately Edward Bennett took little part in the club because he was taken  seriously ill soon after agreeing to be a member and died within a few months of the club being formed.

 3. Dr Owen BEWERS who had a medical practice in Earl's Street Thetford in which he was later joined by his son, Michael, who also became a Rotarian in later years.

 4. Geoffrey BOUGHTON who owned a printing business based in Station Road Thetford, which was subsequently taken over by his son Brian who is of course a member of the club. Geoffrey Boughton was the first chairman of the Club Service committee and made a very good job of it. He was responsible for the organisation of the first combined Ladies and Charter Night but tragically died suddenly very shortly after that event. Had he lived he would have been the third President of the club and his loss was a great blow to the members.

 5. Clifford BUNTING who was the Borough Engineer and he was subsequently followed by Bill Jennings who also was a keen Rotarian. Clifford Bunting left Thetford soon after the formation of the club to take up the post of deputy Borough Engineer at King's Lynn and then a few years later emigrated to Canada where he set up a very successful private engineering concern.

 

 6. H.G. BURNS, generally known as Bobby, who was the manager of Lloyds Bank which in those days had its offices in Bridge Street. Bobby Bums was the first treasurer of the Thetford Rotary club and was also treasurer of the golf club and pretty well every voluntary organisation in the town.

 7. Edward C. BROWN was the proprietor of a small tobacconist and confectionery business in Well Street Thetford next door to the St, Cuthberts church in premises that were demolished a few years later. He  left the town within twelve months of the formation of the club and played very little part in the clubs activities.

 8. Ellis CLARKE who was the Town Clerk of Thetford, the founder Honorary Secretary of the club who became the third president and also did a second term as president in the clubs Silver Jubilee year.

 9. Gordon CRISP who was the senior partner of the law firm known as T. Rudling and Co. and was the original representative of the legal profession in the club. He was subsequently followed into the practice by his son John who later became a member of the club.

 10. Benjamin Chase CULEY probably the best known resident of Thetford for many years. He came to Thetford from King's Lynn in the 1930s to take over the Palace Cinema but then like Mark Twain's proverbial horseman he jumped on his horse and galloped off in all directions. He later developed the Anglian Restaurant in King's Street Thetford where the resident band for the opening week was a rumba band direct from Churchill's club in London. He also owned a garage on the corner of Bury Road and London Road, ran a dairy farming business on the site of what is now the Redgate housing estate and indulged in many property transactions. He was the club's second president.

 11. Jack DUNNING  came to Thetford in 1954 to take over the building business of Goddard's of Thetford which had run into financial difficulties and had been taken over by a building firm in Great Yarmouth with which Jack Dunning was associated. Jack Dunning was the father of John Dunning a present member of the Rotary Club.

 12. Gordon LARGE was a partner in the firm of chemists known as Parry and Large in King Street Thetford He was a president of the club but tragically he died in middle age and his son Peter, who took over the business, was a very active and well liked member of the club who also died at a comparatively early age.

 13. George LAMBERT was the proprietor of a business known as W. G. Lambert Ltd which ran a large garage and motor sales business at Castle Street Thetford and also in premises now occupied by the Burrell Steam Engine Museum. He was an alderman of the Borough Council and had probably the third biggest business in Thetford in 1954 after Thetford Moulded Products and the Canning factory.

 14. Jack MITCHELL was a partner in the television and radio business which operated from premises in Castle Street. He was a well liked and very active member of the club but unfortunately his son was involved in a road accident which resulted in him being severely handicapped and chair bound and this seemed to have a great effect on Jack Mitchell who ceased to take pan in the many activities in which he had been prominent for a number of years.

 15. Stephen MORPHETT was the Head Postmaster at Thetford at the time of the formation of the club. He was a native of Cumberland, a leading member of the Methodist church and was the club's first assistant Hon. Secretary and also attendance officer.

 16. Stanley ROGERS was the first of many area officers of the Forestry Commission to be members of the club. He was a keen Rotarian but the club lost his services when he was transferred to the West Country.

 17. Ernest ROPER ran a small family butcher's business from premises in Guildhall Street, the business having previously been run by his father. He moved after a few years membership of the club to Bury St Edmunds.

 

 

 

 18. Joseph SAPER, was the only founder member of the club who had had previous experience of Rotary. Before the 1939‑1945 War he had lived in Poland and had been a member of the Warsaw Rotary club. He purchased a timber business known as Nickersons which traded in premises off Castle Street Thetford. He lived at Finchley in North London but came to Thetford from Monday to Friday each week in order to run his business and lodged in the town. Despite having a severe heart complaint he took an active part in the club and was very much liked by the members.

 19. Don URRY who was the Thetford representative of Eastern Counties Newspapers and the chief reporter for the Thetford and Watton Times. He subsequently moved to Dereham and was succeeded at Thetford by Jim Wilson and then John Kitson, both of whom were enthusiastic members of the club.

 20. Tom WARNER  was the local manager of Eastern Electricity Board with offices and a showroom in King Street. It can truly be said that Tom Warners life was transformed by Rotary. Prior to joining the club, as a founder member, he had taken little or no part in the social or other life of the town but immediately became an enthusiastic Rotarian , succeeded Ellis Clarke as Hon. Secretary, when Ellis became President and was the backbone of the Rotary club for many years. He seldom missed a district conference and also regularly attended the annual meetings of the RIBI.  He died suddenly of a heart attack whilst attending a business meeting in Bury St Edmunds.

 

21. Donald WATSON who was an employee of Norfolk County Council and the area Youth officer for Thetford. In those days the Youth Centre was in an old Malting at the junction of Old Market Street and Ford Street, which has now been converted into flats.

 

 

The inaugural lunch took place at the Bell Hotel on Tuesday 21st September 1954. There were present, at that inaugural luncheon, the District Governor of number eight district who was Bernard Bremner, a member of the King's Lynn club. Also Frank Winfield, the secretary of No. 8 district who was a member of the Cambridge club and representatives of the Diss club who had been nominated as the mother club for Thetford. At that meeting a resolution was passed that a Rotary club of Thetford should be formed and the club continued to meet as an interim club for lunch on Tuesdays at the Bell Hotel until the presentation of its charter.

 

 The charter was presented to the club on Thursday 3rd March 1955 at a dinner and dance which was held in the Large Court at the Guildhall Thetford. One hundred and thirty people were present, as many as the Guildhall would hold, comprising Thetford Rotarians and their wives and representatives from many other Rotary clubs in No. 8 district. They saw Rotarian Bernard Bremner, of the King's Lynn rotary club and district governor of No. 8 district, present the charter to the Thetford President, Rotarian George Lambert. Rotarian Bill Warren of the Cambridge club and district extension officer proposed a toast to the Rotary club of Thetford and in his response Rotarian Lambert said that during its probationary period since the inaugural lunch in September 1954 the attendance at meetings had been well over ninety per cent and on many occasions had been one hundred per cent. A toast to visiting Rotarians and other guests was proposed by Rotarian Ben Culey, the Vice‑President of the Thetford club and was responded to by the President of the Diss club who had acted as mother club during the formation of the Thetford club. A toast to the ladies was proposed by Rotarian Ellis Clarke and in her reply the Mayor of Thetford (Mrs Sybill Wheeler) said that the town had already felt the benefit of the Rotary club as a result of the activities of the Rotarians during the Christmas period.

 

A look at the classifications of the founder members of the Rotary Club serves to illustrate the changes that have taken place in the commercial life of the town since 1954. Amongst the classifications were a private baker, a family butcher, a small tobacconist and confectioner, a private television and radio firm and a chemist who was a partner in a private firm. Today (January 1997) none of these classifications could be filled from Thetford as the supermarkets and large multiples have taken the place of all these small businesses. Many of the executives of these large firms do not live in Thetford and do not take part in the social life of the town and although in theory there should be more classifications to be filled, in practice this does not happen. Another factor is that in 1954 public utilities such as gas and electricity had local offices and the local managers were usually keen members of the club.

 

This concludes the section on the formation of the Thetford club but 1 have prepared a folder to accompany these tapes and in this folder is a report and photographs of the Thetford charter night, taken from the Thetford and Watton Times issue dated 11th of March 1955 and numbered appendix 1.

 

Thetford Rotary Club: The First Year.

 

 

This summarises the main activities of the club for the period March 1955‑March 1956. Our club service committee were kept busy with membership matters as there was a loss of four members due to the death of Rotarian Bennett and also Rotarians Bunting, Brown and Rogers left the town. However six new members were inducted these being, Bill Jennings the Borough Engineer, Ermest Griffin the Methodist minister, Jim Nale who kept a restaurant,  Ben Evans the accountant of the Elveden estate, Martin Dupont of  I.R.S. Ltd who made road signs and Jim Sear who was manager of Thetford Moulded Products.

 

In August 1955 nine members of the Thetford club visited the Yarmouth club at a luncheon meeting and played a game of bowls with the club and in September a return visit was made by the Yarmouth members to the Thetford club. This link went on for several years.

 

In February 1956 a letter was received from the extension committee of district No. 8 Inner Wheel suggesting that an Inner Wheel club be formed at Thetford and this matter was taken up by the club service committee and a club formed shortly thereafter. A combined ladies night and charter night was held in the Guildhall in March 1956 in the form of a dinner and dance, over a hundred people attended and in addition to dining and dancing the company was entertained by a lady soprano from Cambridge and a conjuror who came from Bury St Edmunds. For several years thereafter a combined ladies night and charter night was held annually in March but it was found not entirely satisfactory as there tended to be a great deal of talk about Rotary from visiting Rotarians and this did not go down too well with a considerable number of non‑Rotarian guests. In later years the ladies night and charter night were held on different dates.

 

Community service was active during the year with the following functions going on : -

1. Arranging a holiday for a Thetford family to spend a fortnight in a caravan at Felixstowe, which had been provided by the Felixstowe Rotary club and arranging transport to and from the caravan.

2. Providing transport for a blind person from Thetford to attend meetings of a club at Diss and also arranging to transport a number of disabled people each month to the St. Raphael club which operated in the Attleborough/Watton area.

3. Organising a mid‑night matinee at the Palace cinema at Thetford in November 1955 to raise funds for community projects. This raised seventy two pounds and six shillings.

4. Arranging for the erection of a Christmas tree on the Market Place at Thetford, organising a carol service around it and also providing gift parcels to some one hundred and twenty elderly persons living in Thetford.

5. Organising a public exhibition in the town with a view to reducing the number of accidents in the home.

 

In October 1955 a community relations officer was appointed to be stationed at Lakenheath with a view to improving relations between the American service people and local residents. The first such community relations officer was a Miss Heather Kerr and she was invited by community service committee to attend several weekly luncheons of the club and all possible assistance was given to her in supplying information and co‑operating with her.

 

 

Now we come to International service committee which during the first year seemed very anxious to establish links with overseas clubs. A German girl who was staying at Garboldisham lost all her belongings in a fire and the Rotary club assisted her by providing her with clothing and making good her other losses and it's recorded in the minutes that the girl in question came from Weisbaden and she was asked on her return to Germany to contact the Weisbaden Rotary club and see if they would be prepared to get in touch with the Thetford club. Nothing more was heard of this venture. It was also decided to write to the Rotary club Thetford Mines in Canada to se if a link could be established. Another suggestion was that a toast to a foreign club should be drank once a month at a lunch meeting and a letter of greeting sent to that club, but this did not last for very long.

 

During the first year International service committee arranged for two boys from Thetford Grammar school to go to Denmark for a fortnights holiday as guests of Rotary clubs in Denmark. This was most successful and the two boys came along to a luncheon meeting of the club to give a talk on their experiences.

 

The Vocational service committee. The vocational service committee had a most enthusiastic chairman in Rotarian Tom Warner and they arranged for charter day prizes to be given to pupils in the Thetford Grammar school and the county primary school in Norwich Road who were deemed by their head teacher to have given most service to the school during the year. Much of the committee’s time was taken up in making arrangements and planning for a careers exhibition to be held in the Guildhall in June 1956. This exhibition when it was held in the following year was a great success. The committee arranged for members to make a visit to Cliff Quay power station in Suffolk and also arranged for a seminar on the subject of training in industry. The committee was also active on the subject of employment for the elderly and after attending functions organised by district the club resolved to write to the appropriate consultative committee and to the local M.P. making a plea for the earnings limit to be abolished so that elderly people could be employed and earn a reasonable amount without having a deduction made from their retirement pension.

 

From now on these notes set out how I visualise this history of Thetford Rotary Club can be commenced and added to. I propose to cover the period from the formation of the club to the mid 1970's from my own recollections and information gained from reading through some of the old documents. I have classified various topics under their service committee headings and there will be sections for Club, International, Vocational and Community. I look upon my contribution as  ground work to which other members can add their own comments and recollections. I think it would be a good idea if each topic heading  I have set out could be typed on a separate sheet of paper and put in a loose leaf binder and my comments on that particular topic copied in and then the loose leaf binder circulated to other members who could add to my comments and also fill in topic headings where I have made no comments and also of course introduce other topic headings which  I have over looked. It is somewhat difficult to know how to classify every topic because some could usefully be listed under Club service or under Community service but as they are all on separate sheets of paper they can be sorted into another committee heading if that is thought advisable.

 

CLUB SERVICE COMMITTEE

Membership

 I do not know whether it is possible to compile a complete list of members who have joined the club during its lifetime. I know that when Jim Boyce was secretary he had a red foolscap book in which he had made a complete list of members, their date of joining, classification etc. and for some years 1 took that book over and kept it up to date and 1 remember handing it to Bill  de Bass some years ago. 1 know on the clubs 25th anniversary charter night I made a list of all the members that had been in the club up to that date and it was printed on the menu card at the annual ladies night dinner or charter night. Whether Brian Boughton has a copy 1 do not know.

 

 

It is interesting to note the change in attitude of R.I.B.1. to classifications. One of the first members to be enrolled into the club after its formation was Ben Evans who was the accountant for Elveden Estates and in sending notification to RIBI of his joining we classified him as accountant. Quite a bit of correspondence took place with R.I.B.1. because they pointed out that although he was by profession an accountant, Ben Evans was working for a large estate and therefore his major classification had to be real estate and his minor classification within that was land agency and we had to amend his classification.  I doubt today whether RIBI would ever query a classification into which a new member of the club was put unless it was obviously and patently nonsense.

 

 

Charter Night.

 The first charter night in March 1956 was twelve months after the club had been awarded its charter and took the form of a dinner and dance at the Guildhall. It was also a ladies night but this format was not very successful because at charter night various district Rotarians, chairmen of committees etc. came along and tended to talk at length about Rotary in the district, nationally and internationally.

 

This was not of a great deal of interest to ladies and also other guests and there was some criticism of this format. It was therefore decided that there would be a ladies night and a charter night on a separate occasion. The charter night for a good many years now has been a club night, the only night when black tie is worn and the club are able to discuss and hear speakers on Rotary activities without boring ladies and other guests who may not be that much interested in Rotary.

 

Ladies Night.

 For many years the dinner and dance arranged by the Rotary club in the Large Court at the Guildhall Thetford was the premier social function in the town taking over from The Golf Club Annual Dance and the Police Ball. There were limitations on the number who could attend because you could only sit one hundred and twenty people for dinner comfortably in the Large Court and there was always in the early years an excess of demand for tickets over availability. With the building of The Carnegie Room it was possible to accommodate additional numbers but it was decided to vary the format and different venues were used.

 

There comes to mind Ladies Nights at The Angel Hotel at Bury, at Center Parcs, at The Riverside Hotel at Mildenhall and various others which members can comment on under this section. Ladies Night usually takes the form of a dinner and dance for members and their wives and guests, but different formats have been tried out. On one occasion Ladies Night was combined with a Family Night and after dinner the Rotarians and wives danced to a band in The Carnegie Room whilst the younger guests had a disco in the Guildhall. The combined Ladies and Family Night took place in 1975 and in my appendix folder there is a menu card for this function marked appendix two.

 

District 108 Church Service at Elveden.

 In July 1959 the Thetford club organised a combined church service at Elveden church for Rotarians and their guests from the whole of No. 108 District. Some two hundred and fifty Rotarians and guests attended the afternoon church service, following which tea was served to visitors in the Elveden Village Hall thanks to the efforts of the newly formed Thetford Inner Wheel club and Lord Iveagh opened Elveden Hall and in particular the Marble Hall for inspection by visitors. The holding of the event at Elveden and organisation by the Thetford Rotary club was suggested by Tom Cashmore who was the Bishop of Dunwich, an enthusiastic Rotarian and at one time was an officer on the RIBI council.

 

The Inner Wheel Club of Thetford.

 In October 1955 the Thetford Rotary club received a letter from the Inner Wheel No. 8 district committee suggesting that an Inner Wheel club should be formed in Thetford. Eventually in 1958 the Inner Wheel club of Thetford was formed and the Rotary club presented a president’s jewel to the Inner Wheel at their Charter Night which was held on the 3rd of April 1959.

 

Three months later the members of the Inner Wheel did sterling service in providing tea to some two hundred and fifty visitors to the district church service at Elveden and on numerous occasions since the members of the Inner Wheel have co‑operated with the members of the Rotary club in entertaining, visiting nurses and refugees and on many other occasions.

 

District Council Meetings Held at Thetford.

On a number of occasions No. 108 District Council meetings have been hosted by the Thetford club. The first occasion was in 1970 when one hundred and ninety Rotarians were present and further District Council meetings were held in 1972, 1974 and 1975. These meetings which were held during the time that Rotarian Jim Boyce was secretary of the Thetford club, were held in the Carnegie Room, the Guildhall and the Red Lion Hotel and were extremely well organised.

  

Founding of The Rotary Club of Brandon.

 In 1974 the Thetford Club was approached by the District Extension Officer to see if the club would act as mother club in the formation of a club at Brandon. The club readily agreed to this suggestion and in August 1974 the club passed a resolution that they would cede the parishes of Brandon and Santon Downham from the area of the Thetford club in order that it could be included in the area to be covered by the proposed Brandon club. Rotarian Peter Holmes did sterling work with assistance from Rotarians George Forest and Ellis Clarke in the early days of the formation of the Brandon club and there has been close co‑operation and good fellowship between the two clubs since the Brandon club came in to existence.

 

Sporting Activities.

 Over the years members of the club had taken part in a variety of sporting activities. In the early 1950s the club regularly entered a bowls team into the No. 8 district bowls competition and although they never won a competition they did reach the final on one occasion. For a number of years the club always exchanged visits in the summer time with the Gt. Yarmouth club attending the club's luncheon meeting and then taking part in a bowls match during the afternoon. Friendships and fellowship resulted from these bowls matches and after a pleasant visit and bowls match with the March club exchange visits between the March and Thetford Rotary clubs took place on a number of occasions.

 

Golf has been another game from which Rotarians have derived considerable pleasure and fellowship. The club regularly enters the district golf competition. In this respect I think Peter Holmes or Ray Coverdale could add considerably to this note on golf competitions.

 

Several years ago Ex‑President Jim Stalker presented a cup to be competed for by Rotarians and members of the Inner Wheel. The format was for a Rotarian and a member of the Inner Wheel to partner each other in a pairs competition on the golf course and this was followed by a dinner which resulted in many pleasant functions.

 

The club has also had sports evenings with the Round Table in which a number of sports have been enjoyed.

 

Sons and Daughters Lunches.

 In the early years of the club when the average age of Rotarians was much lower than at present many Rotarians had sons and daughters of school age or early teens and it was customary to arrange for a sons and daughters lunch on a Tuesday. Children of Rotarians attended the weekly lunch and afterwards were entertained either to a film show or to a speaker of particular interest. In 1962 a very successful luncheon was held when twenty children of Rotarians were present and this was followed by a film show and in 1969 Ted Ellis, the prominent  Norfolk Naturalist, gave a talk to the children.

 

 Club Bulletins.

 Over the years club bulletins have been issued in various shapes, sizes and forms. In the appendix file there is a bulletin issued in October 1974 which is marked appendix 4. A tower of strength over many years in the publication and distribution of club bulletins has been Rotarian Barry Nutt, who can no doubt add to this particular topic note.

 

Meeting Places.

On its formation the Rotary club first met at the Bell Hotel but as the club increased its membership from the original membership of twenty one the accommodation at the Bell Hotel proved to be inadequate and on a number of occasions some members had to have their lunch in an adjoining room which was quite unsatisfactory. Eventually it was decided that a move would have to be made and at the Annual General Meeting in1959 a ballot of members was taken to decide whether to transfer the meeting place to the Anchor Hotel or to the Corner House Cafe on the junction of Bridge Street and Old Bury Road.

 

The choice made was the Anchor Hotel and the club met there for over ten years with a gap of one year in 1965‑66 when the club temporarily moved to the Red Lion on the Market Place during a period when the main meeting room in the Anchor Hotel was being refurbished as part of a complete renovation of the hotel . The club was very happy with the conditions at the hotel during the time that Mr. and Mrs. Neville Bishop were the landlords, but when they sold the business to a firm of brewers the service deteriorated rapidly and the club were forced to move again and this time went to the President Restaurant in Minstergate.

 

During the time that the President Restaurant was owned and ran by Manfred Stoter and his wife the club were extremely comfortable and happy there but when it was sold by the Stoters and a new owner took over matters deteriorated and eventually the club had no option but to find other headquarters when the owners got into financial difficulties and the restaurant was closed somewhat abruptly. The only venue which could at that time offer the club adequate accommodation and catering was at the Thetford Sports Centre and the club went there for about twelve months, but then the opportunity arose to transfer to the Thomas Paine Hotel in Whitehart Street and the club have been there for some years up to the present time.

 

Now the final three topic headings under Club Service Committee are:

 

Jazz Nights

 

Walking Weekends

 

Sailing Weekends

 

 I have inserted these topic headings but have made no comments there as 1 was not actively involved in them and I leave it for people like Bill Marriott to deal with Jazz Nights and Michael Speed to cover the Sailing Weekends and there are other people in the club who can also amplify on the walking weekends.

 

VOCATIONAL SERVICE COMMITTEE

General

 A major problem which seems to confront every Vocational Service Committee over the years has been the difficulty in identifying projects which are truly vocational in character. Members of the Vocational Service Committee have always played their part in club functions such as fund raising and assisting other committees with major projects but the number of specific vocational projects undertaken have been few. This problem is reflected in the fact that in the year 1958/59 a joint committee covering community and vocational was established but this joint committee did not survive for long and for many years there has been appointed a separate vocational committee which has tended to hold considerable discussion periods to consider the aims of Rotary generally and in particular the way in which careers opportunities for young people can be promoted and assisted.

 

Careers Exhibition

One of the most important topics undertaken by a Vocational Committee was the staging of a Careers Exhibition in the Guildhall in June 1956. Under the Chairmanship of Rotarian Tom Warner, an ambitious scheme to fill all the rooms in the Guildhall with exhibitors stands was successfully achieved and attracted widespread attention. A special lunch meeting was held in the Bell attended by Thetford Rotarians, the District Chairman of Vocation, Exhibitors at the exhibition and visiting Rotarians from other clubs in the district. This was followed by the official opening of the exhibition by Lord Amherst with the Mayor of Thetford in attendance. The exhibition was kept open for two days from 10a.m. to 8‑30p.m. and organised parties of school children were shown round the various exhibition stands.

 

Suggestions were made in subsequent years that further Careers Exhibitions should be staged and co‑operation was also offered to the Youth Employment officer but nothing materialised. The Vocational Service Committee have always offered co‑operation to the head teachers of schools and also the Youth Employment officer to assist and provide information for school leavers when they were considering what type of employment to take up. A fist of members of the club who would be willing to advise school leavers on particular types of business and professions has been furnished to schools. A newspaper cutting from the local press containing a report of the opening of the 1956 Careers Exhibition is contained in the Appendices File at No. 5.

 

Assistance with Physiotherapy

From time to time the Vocational Service Committee has taken an active part in assisting with the Physiotherapists at Thetford Cottage hospital. A wire bending machine was purchased and presented to the Cottage hospital so that patients could make coat hangers and other items and this eventually went to the West Suffolk hospital in Bury St. Edmunds

  

Social Survey

A major undertaking by the Vocational Service Committee under the Chairmanship of Rotarian Percy Webster took place in the year 1963/64. By that time some six hundred families had moved to Thetford from the London area under the towns expansion scheme, which had started in 1959 and the object of this survey was to seek a representative sample of opinion to assess the effects of town expansion in Thetford and in the light of the information collected to attempt to draw conclusions as to courses of action which were desirable and necessary to facilitate the integration of newcomers in to the social and business life of the town.

 

 A random sample of one in ten of the incoming families was interviewed and asked a number of questions and a questionnaire was circulated to the new firms who had opened businesses in the town.

The report on the survey set out the main opinions expressed on: ‑

a)    recreation and culture,

b)   shops,

c)   medical and other services,

d)   financial effects on families,

e)    employment,

f)     transport,

g)   housing,

 

h)   information and publicity.

 

The report was circulated to local authorities, employers and was well received. A copy of the report is in the file of appendices and is numbered 6.

  

Register of Leisure Clubs.

By 1972 many new families had arrived in Thetford and in that year the Vocational Service Committee of the club felt it would be a good idea to compile a list of organisations which offered leisure facilities in the town. A detailed investigation was made of all known clubs and organisations and a fist of over sixty of these clubs and organisations was published and made available to the public. Each organisation was given with its place of meeting, the secretary's name as a contact, the annual subscription and a brief description of what the organisation offered to prospective members. A copy of the register is included in the file of appendices and is numbered 7.

 

Formation of Thetford Probus Club.

 In April 1974 the Vocational Service Committee considered the formation of a Probus club in Thetford and some preliminary enquiries were made. It emerged that about a dozen people who had been approached favoured the formation of the club and in due course such a club was formed and it was presented by the Rotary Club with a Chairman's Badge of Office. The Probus club has functioned most successfully since its formation with an average membership of some fifty people, meeting once a month in the Bell Hotel and arranging regular activities for its members.

  

INTERNATIONAL COMMITTEE

Ranfurly Library

 The earliest International project undertaken by the club was assistance to the library founded by Lady Ranfurly which collected books for despatch to undeveloped countries, mainly in Africa. Members of the club donated books from their collections and an appeal was made for the public to give books and when several hundred had been collected the club arranged for them to be transferred to the headquarters of Ranfurly Library in London. Individual members of the club arranged to transport the books to London and at a later stage co‑operation with other Rotary clubs in the area, mainly the Watton Rotary club, enabled van loads of books to be taken.

 

Co‑operation with American Servicemen in the Area.

 Soon after the club was formed a notification was received from R.I.B.1. to the effect that community relations officers were being appointed to foster good relations with American Servicemen based in the U.K. The first such community relations officer appointed for RAF Lakenheath was a most attractive young lady, Miss Heather Kerr, who drove around in an old Rolls Royce and the Thetford Rotarians were more than happy to give her every assistance and co‑operation.

As a result invitations were sent to RAF Lakenheath for an officer and other rank to attend the clubs weekly luncheon meeting and for several years two American Servicemen regularly attended the club. On occasions members of the club were invited to visit RAF Lakenheath where they were given tours of inspection and also took part in ten‑pin bowling matches against American personnel which invariably finished with the Thetford members receiving a good thrashing but never the less enjoying a most pleasant social occasion. In return in 1969 members of the club in conjunction with ladies of the Inner Wheel entertained American servicemen to an evening party in Elveden village hall.

One officer stationed at RAF Lakenheath took up residence in Brandon Road and after being a regular visitor to the club for some months was invited to join the club and was a good member for several years. (  I can't recall his name but Brian Boughton was very friendly with him and will be able to give you his name)

 

Assistance to International Refugees.

 When the club was formed in 1954 there was still a problem with International Refugees who had been displaced during the war and many of these were accommodated at homes set up by Sue Ryder, one of which was at Cavendish in Suffolk. A party of refugees from Cavendish was entertained by the club in July 1959 and then in September 1961 a group of Polish concentration camp victims were invited to spend the day in Thetford.

 

In the morning they were entertained in the garden of Rotarian George Lambert at "The Planes" in Old Bury Road. In the afternoon Rotarian Culey entertained them in his garden in Nether Row and they were then taken to the Guildhall to have tea with the Mayor of Thetford, the Inner Wheel ladies making arrangements to provide the tea.

 

In 1956 as a result of the occupation of Hungary by the Russians a number of refugees were received in England and the club co‑operated with the Womens Voluntary Service in housing a Hungarian family in a forestry cottage at Foulden.

 

 A much bigger challenge to the International Committee of the club arose in 1972 when the Ugandan Dictator expelled all Ugandan Asians from his country. In October 1972 ten Ugandan families arrived in Thetford and were housed by Thetford Borough Council in houses on the Abbey Farm estate. Rotarians assisted with getting the accommodation ready for the families to move in and also with providing furniture for them. A contribution of £ 100 was made by the club to enable the Ugandan families to purchase some necessities. After the families had been in Thetford a few weeks Rotarian Peter Large arranged a welcome party for them at his home in Castle Lane and the club's participation in welcoming the Ugandan families to Thetford was greatly appreciated.

 

World Refugee Year was in 1960 and the Mayor of Thetford decided that the Civic Ball should be used as a means of raising funds for refugees. The club were approached by the Mayor and in conjunction with the Inner Wheel played a leading part in making

 

arrangements for the Civic Ball in the Guildhall. A sum of £300 was realised for this charity and funds were also raised by a garden party in the grounds of `The Planes" which the club also organised.

 

Links with the Rotary club of Grindsted in Denmark.

 Very soon after the formation of the Thetford club efforts were made, but unfortunately without success, to establish links with an overseas Rotary club. In the early years a custom was adopted of selecting a club from the International Directory and drinking a toast to that club at the weekly luncheon meeting following which the Secretary would write to the Secretary of the club in question sending greetings and a wish to get to know that club. No response was received but in 1961 a tape recording was prepared to be sent to a Dutch club in the hope that a link might be formed with a club from Holland in view of the proposal, at that time for Thetford to be twinned with Spijkenesse in Holland. In 1962 a Rotarian Foundation fellow who visited the club was given a tape and some photographs of members to take back to the U.S.A. but nothing further came of this move. The Chairman of the District international Committee was at one time asked to help with a link with an Australian club but again there was no response.

 

In 1974 Rotarian Keith Eldred decided that he would get on a boat at Harwich and go to Denmark and make personal contact with a Rotary club in that country. Thanks to the initiative of Rotarian Eldred a link was established with the Grindsted club and in May 1974 a party of ten Thetford Rotarians, led by President Peter Holmes made the first visit to Grindsted, this being the first of many such visits. In 1975 a party Grindsted Rotarians came to Thetford to receive a civic welcome from the Mayor and to spend and enjoy the weekend in the town and to continue a link which has led to many friendships between Thetford and Grindsted Rotarians and their families. A report of the first visit to Grindsted in 1974 is included in the file of appendices number 8.

  

Group Study Exchanges.

 From time to time the International Committee have co‑operated with the District International Committee in welcoming Group Study Exchange visitors to East Anglia. On one occasion in 1970 a group spent the day at Thetford visiting the town expansion estates and old peoples homes in the morning and after lunch visiting Grimes Graves and the Forestry Commission Head Quarters. Other similar visits have been hosted from time to time.

 

World Understanding.

 World Understanding Year was in 1970 and the club sponsored a schools essay competition and awarded prizes for the best essays on means of sponsoring and improving world understanding. The successful pupils were invited to attend a weekly luncheon meeting and were presented with their prizes.

 

Overseas Visits.

 From time to time Rotarians and their wives have undertaken visits to other countries which have proved to be most enjoyable. One of the earliest was a visit to the Rhine Valley and there was also a trip to the Dutch Bulb fields during which contact was made with a Rotary club in that country. In 1973 twenty three Rotarians and their wives spent a most interesting weekend in Rome and there were also visits to Lisbon and to Paris in 1975.

 

One of the most successful trips was to Venice where members were accompanied by the Bishop of Thetford who at that time was an honorary member of the club and a keen Rotarian and there was also a visit to Istanbul. At one time Rotarian Brian Boughton flew his aircraft, with a Rotarian to accompany him to Le Touquet and attended the Rotary meeting at that destination.

 

Entertaining Overseas Visitors.

 In addition to entertaining refugees from overseas the International Committee have also made arrangements to entertain other foreign visitors. In 1973 a party of Malaysian nurses who were working in the West Suffolk hospital at Bury St. Edmunds were invited to Thetford for the weekend given a buffet lunch at the Red Lion and then stayed for the weekend in the homes of Rotarians.

 

In 1974 one of the members of the Rotary club was Ted Matchet who was a chaplain in the service of the Mission to Seaman and with his co‑operation the Rotary club entertained in Thetford a party of Polish seamen who were temporarily at Harwich whilst their ship was in dock undergoing repairs.

 

Eye Camps in India.

 In 1976 R.I.B.I. suggested that a project for International Committees should be raising funds to enable Eye Camps in India to be established. This appealed to the International Committee as for a very small sum of money these eye camps in India were able to restore vision to blind people. The International Committee decided to sponsor this project and as a result of a cheese and wine party and other activities a sum of £ 160 was sent to the Royal Commonwealth Society for the Blind who were organising the formation of the eye camps in India where surgery could take place.

 

COMMUNITY SERVICE COMMITTEE

 Transport Facilities for the Public.

 When the club was formed in 1954 car ownership was much less common than it is today and with the poor public transport facilities in East Anglia the club soon found itself engaged in attempts to provide transport for members of the public. As early as 1955 the minutes record a letter of thanks from the wife of a blind person living in Painter Street, for members of the club taking her husband to social functions for the blind at Diss. At this time also the club had an appeal from the Wayland St. Raphael  club for transport to be provided for handicapped people so that they could attend monthly meetings of the St. Raphael  Club which were held at Attleborough and in surrounding villages. Each month some six or seven Rotarians would collect handicapped people from their homes and transport them to evening meetings and would then congregate in the local Public House and spend an evening playing darts or shove ha'penny until the St. Raphael club meeting closed at about 10 P.M. when the journey home took place.

 

This activity went on for several years although there were problems because some of the members of the St. Raphael club were so handicapped that transport in private motor cars was not really the answer. Subsequently the St. Raphael club obtained a mini‑bus which was adapted to carry severely handicapped individuals and the amount of transport required from members of the Rotary club was reduced but went on for several more years.

 

During the 1950s and 60s the club arranged many enjoyable outings for old aged pensioners during the summer evenings. A fist of elderly people was obtained, from time to time, from the Social Services Department and each Rotarian would be asked to contact three of the elderly people and arrange to pick them up by car at an agreed time and assemble with other members of the club at a meeting point in Thetford. The convoy of twenty to thirty cars would then proceed along minor roads in the area and eventually stop at a local hostelry where sandwiches and drinks were made available to the senior citizens and music provided for community singing. A programme for one of these senior citizens outings is in the appendices file at No. 9.

 

Another transport problem which was well to the fore in the 1960s was the difficulty of relatives and friends of people in hospital in visiting the hospitals at Bury St. Edmunds and Newmarket particularly in the evenings. In December 1967 the Rotary club decided to provide a mini‑bus service to Bury St. Edmunds and then on to Newmarket so that patients could be visited by their relatives and friends. The club paid for the hire of the mini‑bus which regularly left Tanner Street car‑park in the evenings and passengers were asked to make a contribution, the size of which was left entirely to them, in a box provided in the bus. This service continued and was much appreciated and for about three years the Rotary club found the funds to pay for the hire of the bus as contributions from passengers was well below the cost involved.

 

In 1967 the Rotary club decided, in conjunction with the Thetford Round Table, that they would find the money to purchase a mini‑bus which could be used for all types of transport and which would replace the hospital service by hired mini‑bus. For several years fund‑raising activities by the Rotary club and Round Table was devoted to the purchase of the mini‑bus and eventually in January 1970 a custom built Ford Transit mini‑bus costing one thousand and forty seven pounds seven shillings and six pence was handed over by the President of the Rotary club and Chairman of Round Table to the Chairman of the Norfolk County Council Welfare Committee at a ceremony attended by the Mayor, members of Rotary and Round Table and also the Norfolk County Council Welfare Committee.

 

Rotarian Peter Holmes was the Chairman of the joint Rotary and Round Table mini‑bus committee and will be able amplify and give further information on the mini‑bus project.

 

Whit Monday Fetes.

 For many years through the 1950s and the 1960s the most time consuming community project by the club was organising the Whit Monday Fete at the recreation ground in Thetford. On some occasions the Rotary club were entirely responsible for the organisation and approaching other clubs and associations to assist and on some occasions the organisation was by a joint committee of Thetford Rotary club and the Round Table. For several years the principal attraction was a Donkey Derby when a tote was run and proved to be a good fund‑raiser. In 1960 the profit on the fete was £300 and in 1967 it was £757.

 The organisation of the fete, year after year, became somewhat onerous in due course and eventually the club decided that it would leave other organisations in the town to organise this Whit Monday function. The last record in the minutes of a Whit Monday activity was in 1974 when the Donkey Derby idea was dropped and a series of teams took part in "It's a Knockout" which was quite a popular feature on the television at the time.

 In the appendices file there are some programmes for Donkey Derby's and also a statement of the accounts for the fete in 1973. These are numbered appendix ten.

 

Thetford Swimming Pool.

 For many years there had been in Thetford an open air swimming pool in the Little Ouse River near the Nun's Bridges but with rising standards and increased pollution problems in the river this pool was closed in the late 1950s. There was an appeal in the local press for funds to be raised to construct an open air swimming pool and in 1960 the club received a letter from Mr. Tom Smith who had initiated the appeal for a fund to be set up, asking the club to assist which they readily agreed to do.

 In March 1961 a public meeting was held and a swimming pool appeal fund was set up. Rotarian Tom Warner who was the secretary of the Rotary club joined the swimming pool fund committee and took a leading part in organising its activities. A weekly draw for funds was held and over the next few years some £20,000 was raised. In addition to Rotarians Tom Warner and Ellis Clarke who worked closely with the swimming pool fund committee other Rotarians assisted. In 1961 the Rotary club as a whole organised the procession of decorated vehicles in a carnival which took place to raise funds and the club also made a donation of £100 towards the swimming pool fund.

 The original intention was to construct an open air swimming pool on land near Castle Park Thetford but this proved to be impractical as the site was not large enough and the next suggestion was that the pool should be constructed on open land to the north side of Brandon Road between the Brandon Road junction with London Road and the Golf Course. However, in a course of negotiations with the Norfolk Playing Fields Association it was decided that it would be more sensible to build an indoor swimming pool which could be used throughout the year rather than an open air one which due to the vagaries of the English summer might be used for only a few weeks in the year.

 Eventually the funds of the swimming pool fund committee, which then amounted to £20,000, were handed over to the Thetford Borough Council and the fact that a considerable amount of money had been raised by public subscription enabled the Borough Council to obtain Government permission to spend the money on the construction of the swimming pool. The swimming pool was eventually opened by the Lord Lieutenant of the county and formed the focal point for the leisure centre, of which it now forms a part.

 In recognition of the sterling work done by Rotarian Tom Warner the Rotary club purchased a shield which was presented to the Mayor of Thetford and is competed for annually by the local swimming club. There is no doubt that the Thetford swimming pool fund committee was instrumental in getting a pool constructed in Thetford several years before it would otherwise have been provided.

  

Thetford Welcome Committee.

 In February 1959 the Rotary club decided to take the initiative in setting up the Thetford Welcome Committee with the object of assisting families taking up residence in town in the course of the Town Expansion scheme. The first of the families was due to arrive in mid 1959.

 The Rotary club called a public meeting and invited representatives of sporting social and religious organisations and this led to the Thetford Welcome Committee being established.

 A letter of welcome to newcomers was sent to their new home two or three days after arrival and they were then visited by members of the Welcome committee and were given lists of organisations and how to contact them. A town guide and street plan and other information about services in the area was also supplied.

For the next few years the Welcome committee held periodic meetings in the Guildhall to which newcomers were invited, to have light refreshments and to be able to discuss their problems or receive information on local activities. A copy of the information leaflet handed to newcomers when they were visited shortly after arriving in the town is in the appendices file and is numbered eleven.

 

Christmas Activities.

For many years the club undertook various functions during the Christmas period. A Christmas tree was purchased yearly from the Forestry Commission and erected on the Market Place where it was decorated with coloured fights and formed a centre point for a public carol service organised by the club. At the switching on of the fights a member of the club took the role of Father Christmas and presented sweets and other gifts to school children. The carol service in the evening for the public was not well attended on some of the cold December evenings and eventually the club held a carol service firstly in the Guildhall or Carnegie Room and then in St. Peters church in conjunction with the local clergy. It is interesting to note that in February 1967 the minute book contained a note that the Father Christmas outfit was worn out and it was decided to replace it. This may have been rendered necessary by the deluge of small children which descended upon Father Christmas when he distributed sweets and other gifts.

 The club have regularly distributed food parcels to elderly people and records show that 146 parcels were distributed in 1961 and 200 parcels in 1969. Appeals were made to the local traders to contribute items of food for these parcels and collecting boxes were also placed in stores to receive gifts of food and cash.

 Distribution of parcels was made to elderly and lonely people in accordance with a list provided by the Social Services Department but on occasions individual Rotarians were given the names from the Social Services Department list and were asked to purchase and make up their own food parcel and to deliver it to the recipient just before Christmas. On another occasion Christmas cards were purchased and given to the schools so that school children could send Christmas greetings to elderly and lonely people in accordance with the list supplied to them.

 

 Thetford Boys Club.

 A project in the 1960s which occupied much time by the Community Services committee was the organisation and establishment of a Boys club. At that time there was no swimming pool or sports centre and the youth club facilities now available at Croxton Road, near the sports centre, had not yet been established.

 The club felt it was necessary to provide some recreational facilities for boys and in April 1965 the Community Services committee arranged for the field officer of the National Association of Boys Clubs who was based at Shoreham in Sussex to visit the club and talk about means of setting up a Boys club. The Rotary club as a whole agreed to help with finance for the Boys club as soon as the mini‑bus project, which was then underway, had been completed.

 The Boys club committee mainly composed of Rotary members started fund‑raising in 1965 and a monthly draw was held of which the first prize was a new mini car or £500 raised considerable sums. The Thetford Borough Council who owned some disused Maltings in Raymond Street, Thetford granted a lease at a nominal rent to the Boys club committee and in May 1969 work started on necessary alterations to the building.

 The Boys club ran for several years and undoubtedly proved to be beneficial by giving young lads a chance to enjoy facilities at a time before they became available at the sports centre.

 

Firework Displays.

Several years as a fund‑raising effort and also to give something to the public on the fifth on November the club organised fireworks displays. These took place firstly in the meadow near the Nun's Bridges and then on later occasions at Mr. Goucher’s farm at Croxton and also on the recreation ground in Mundford Road.

 

The minutes record in 1976 that the fireworks display had proved to be very profitable and many Rotarians will remember being on duty either regulating traffic at the car parks in whistling biting November winds or marshalling the crowds and thankfully no members of the Rotary club who ignited the fireworks came to any harm, which was quite remarkable.

 

Citizens Advice Bureau.

In July 1966 the Rotary club received a letter asking for support in establishing a Citizens Advice Bureau in Thetford. The club readily agreed and a number of members became actively involved in the formation of the club. Rotarian Ben Culey was the first chairman of the C.A.B. committee and was later followed by Rotarian Ellis Clarke and in the early years of the bureau the club was involved in a variety of ways.

 

Caravan Holidays at the Seaside.

At the time of the formation of the Thetford Rotary club some of the Rotary clubs based at seaside locations in Norfolk and Suffolk had provided caravans and through the district Community Services committee offered weeks holidays to persons nominated by other Rotary clubs in the district. The Thetford club accepted these opportunities and each year sought a deserving family who was conveyed by car by a Rotarian to the caravan on a Saturday morning and collected the following Saturday. These holidays took place at Felixstowe, Gt. Yarmouth, Southwold, Clacton and other locations and the club in addition to arranging the transport to and from the caravan also made a sum of money available to the recipient of the holiday to ensure some spare cash was available. In 1973 the Thetford Rotary club decided that they would purchase a caravan for holiday purposes and after discussions with the Norfolk County Council Welfare committee this was done. The caravan was handed over to the social services department of the Norfolk County Council who based it on a location in North Norfolk and for several years used it for holidays for residents in Thetford and the surrounding area.

 

Thetford Pride Campaign.

In the early 1970s there was set up in Thetford an environmental group whose existence was somewhat short lived but whose aim was to improve the appearance of the town. The Community Service committee who were fortunate to have in there membership Rotarian John Kitson the local Eastern Daily Press representative, decided they would take part and would initiate a Thetford Pride campaign. Various posters mainly focusing on anti‑litter steps were exhibited in the town and press publicity given to the need to improve the environment. The club also made available funds to purchase additional litter receptacles. John Kitson would be able to give further information on this campaign if required.

 

Art Exhibitions and Sales.

 Thanks to the generosity of Rotarian Leslie Broadhurst the club have on occasions raised considerable sums of money for Rotary projects by exhibitions of paintings by Rotarian Broadhurst and their subsequent sales, a proportion of the proceeds being donated by Leslie for club funds. The first of these exhibitions was held at the President Restaurant which was at that time the clubs headquarters and in succeeding years exhibitions have been held in the Officers Mess at R.A.F. Honington and also at Euston Hall.

 

These exhibitions have given much pleasure to the public and in addition to the financial benefits to the club have provided most pleasant social occasions.

 

Queens Silver Jubilee Celebrations.

 In 1977 celebrations were held to mark the Silver Jubilee of the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II and the Rotary club took a leading part in the organisation of the celebrations. A disco and barbecue took place in Tanner Street car park and a fireworks display was organised by the club. All committees were given a role to play in the organisation of the day.

 

Thetford Festival Group.

 In June 1958 the Thetford Festival Group decided to stage a drama presentation of the Chester mystery play in the Castle park and invited the club to appoint a representative to serve on the committee. Rotarian Brian Boughton took on this role and a most successful presentation was staged in the surroundings of Castle park. A programme of the function is included the file of appendices at No. 12.

 

Schools Music and Drama Festival.

 In 1970 and succeeding years the Rotary club initiated the Music and Drama Festival for schools in Thetford and the surrounding area. The club hired the Carnegie room and a week long festival took place organised by a committee which was chaired by Rotarian Michael Speed. Many school children took part in what proved to be an entertaining festival and Michael would be able to amplify any comments on this festival of which he was the undoubted fife and soul.

 

Anti‑Drugs Campaign.

 This was an activity of the Community Service committee and I can do no more than to suggest that Bill de Bass be asked to fill in the details as he was very actively involved in making videos and other publicity material.

 

Fund‑raising Efforts.

 Over the years the Community Service committee have been involved in many

fund‑raising function with the dual purpose of raising funds for their own activities for the club generally and at the same time in the hope that pleasure will be given to the community through the function. The following are some illustrations of these activities.

1.  Midnight Matinees ‑ In the early days of the club with Rotarian Ben Culey being the owner of the Palace Cinema the opportunity was taken to provide midnight matinees. In November 1957 the first midnight matinee was held when there was shown two films, The Titchfield Thunderbolt and Whiskey Galore. The Sideliners skiffle group provided music in the interval, hot dogs were available and the proceeds were earmarked for the Christmas parcels distribution and also community funds in general.

   A publicity leaflet  is included in the appendices file No.13.

 2.    Concert in the Guildhall ‑ In November 1958 with the co‑operation of a concert party from R.A.F. Honington Officers mess a concert was staged in the large court of the Guildhall to raise funds for the community fund. A programme for the concert is included in the appendices file at no. 14.

 3. Fete and Craft Auction ‑ In June 1962 by kind permission and   assistance of Rotarian Graham Witton a Fete and Gift Auction was held in the grounds of Bridge House alongside the river. Attractions included river trips and various side‑shows and a sum of £108 was raised.

 4.    Sponsored Cycle Ride ‑ From time to time sponsored cycle rides have proved to be very good from a fund‑raising point of view. For example in May 1977 such a ride realised a sum of £206 and there are many participating Rotarians who are no longer so saddle sore that they would be able to add to comments on these activities.

 5. Race Nights ‑ On occasions the committee have staged evening race nights on film and here again these have proved to be money spinners.

 

Miscellaneous.

 The Community Service committee has always been the busiest committee to serve on as a Rotarian and it is quite impossible to note all the various activities in which members of the committee have been involved. The following are just one or two of the smaller items: ‑

1.   In 1956 help with the Rotary tent at the Norfolk Show.

2.   In 1956 help with a Safety in the Home Exhibition in Thetford.

3. In 1967 gift of games to the senior citizens club at Redcastle FurzeCommunity Centre.

4. In 1960 provision of an invalid chair which could be hired out by disabled people in the town.

5. In 1962 the printing and distribution of "help" cards for old and lonely people which they were advised to place in their window if they needed help or assistance or information.

6. In 1966 a gift of £200 to the Thetford Boys Scouts as a contribution to their headquarters fund.

 

Ellis Clarke

 

Drug Awareness Video Presentation

 

In the middle and late part of the ‘eighties there was an increasing amount of drug abuse in East Anglia. Surprisingly this was not from opiates but was from amphetamines manufactured locally on farms on the edge of the fens. The West Suffolk Drug Advisory Service led by Alan Staff were keen to raise awareness of the growing problem and were looking for help. The club agreed to sponsor a video presentation to do this. This twenty minute video, “Fool’s Paradise “, was produced in 1987 by Brian Boughton and Jacelton Video and featured Alan Staff, some local actors as well as consultants from the West Suffolk Hospital. It was very successful and achieved country wide distribution amongst the drug advisory services.

Bill de Bass