INDUCTION. Bryan Anderson, outgoing president of the Paarl Rotary Club, recently inducted Hester Visagie as the new president of the club. The ceremony was viewed by members on Zoom.
 
A year of  Zoom
 
To say that this past year has been a challenge is stating the obvious. This time last year we were all anticipating, or hoping, for a quick end to the pandemic and return to normal business, said outgoing president Bryan Anderson in his farewell speech.
 
He continued: Despite coming to terms with Zoom meetings and reduced social interaction, not to mention the added stress due to the continual threat of infection, we strived to maintain the goals that we had set for ourselves.
 
On the revenue-generating projects side, both the Wine Auction and Cycling committees have been fully engaged in reviewing their projects with respect to the new normal…
 
On the cycling side – our Winelands Cycle Race which was planned for January had to be cancelled due to lockdown conditions. The race committee however did not just sit back and wait for things to develop, but took a pro-active stance and immediately looked for opportunities. As soon as the conditions and regulations allowed, they developed a formula that was accepted for an “additional” smaller race, scheduled for 5 September. This event will of necessity accommodate fewer riders and have a minimum of “contact points” so that it is COVID compliant. Unfortunately, if the lock-down conditions implemented for the next 14 days continues, this event may be affected.
 
The Wine Auction committee also spent many hours investigating other options for this annual event. Virtual and online options were seriously considered, but at the end of the day it was decided that much of the success of our auction is the excitement and bigger bids generated on the day through an actual auction. Again, the Covid protocols of the changing times have had this committee jumping around a bit. A final format, with a smaller number of guests in a suitable venue has been found which, as of last Sunday until 8:30 pm, was Covid compliant. The next few weeks will let us know whether this event will be able to proceed on 10 October as planned.
 
Beneficiaries
 
Through careful and considered planning of our finances at the beginning 2020 when Covid first appeared on the horizon, we have been able to continue with financial support to a number of our worthy projects to the value of nearly R180 000.  These include: the Rotary Foundation, Polio Plus, Drakenstein Hospice/Butterfly House, Heart NPO, Valcare, NORSA, Fountain of Hope, Sunfield Home Wellington, Paarl Valley Eisteddfod, MCM Miqlat, Kickboxing Academy (anti-bullying programme), The Royalty Project, Boland School of Autism, Jan Kriel Institute, Wamakersvallei Training Centre, Pebbles Project, Amado equine therapy, RX Radio (Red Cross Children’s Hospital) and Kerith Retreat for mental patients. Each and every one of them in their own way is making a great contribution in our communities. Through the professional approach by the project committee, we can be assured that these funds allocated are well spent.
 
As I look back on the last 12 months, it is definitely not a case of “I did it my way”, but rather, “Thank you to the board”. You all made my time as president a pleasurable experience. I guess it is true that you don’t have to be good, if you have selected the right team. To all of you, thank you for your service to our club. I would also like to extend my thanks to the District and in particular our AG Tony Butcher. He was a regular and welcome visitor to our meetings.
 
Then, to the members: Thank you too for your support and understanding. There were some challenges. Two come to mind – shorts at meetings and zoom meetings – so to make everyone happy I propose that you may wear shorts at Zoom meetings… Jokes aside, it has been a most enjoyable year and I thank you all. Congratulations to incoming president Hester on your appointment. I wish you the very best, pledge my support and remind you to make use of your board. Good luck for 2021-2022.