Many of us spend our spare time quite happily in meals out, trips to the cinema and socialising with family and friends.
However, a bunch of people in Spalding do all that but also find time to get involved in projects such as Shelterbox, which ensures people overseas whose lives are devastated by natural disaster have an emergency tent and the essentials of life as soon as humanly possible.
They are members of the Rotary Club of South Holland who, 30 years after the club’s formation, can confidently say they have shaken off the widely held image of an organisation for sober-minded middle-class men in suits.
For a start they have been welcoming women for the past few years and now have four female members, one of whom is destined to become the first woman president in 2014-15.
“We are now truly a dual-gender club,” says president Peter Kite, who describes the club as “middling” in terms of formality. Members tend to attend meetings in work clothes, and if that means no shirt and tie, then that’s how they dress; but members do engage in “minor formal toasts” during the evening.
On Tuesday, February 26, Rotarians will be at their normal meeting place, the Woodlands Hotel in Spalding (from 7pm to 10pm), when they are holding a free open evening and hope that men and women who have been encouraged to find out more will come and talk to them.
They will hear about Rotary fundraising – since its formation, a total of £850,000 has been raised to help people in need. A charity auction is planned with the town’s two other Rotary clubs on Saturday, March 16 at the bulb auction (10am), selling donated items (other than mains electrical items and soft furniture without a fire certificate) to raise funds for DEBRA, a charity to help children suffering from a horrible skin disease. Contact John Syson (07952 350322) with donations.
People will also hear about the fellowship and fun: on Friday, March 7 there is a ceilidh with The Magog’s Band at The Vista, Spalding (7.45pm), raising money for Hope & Homes for Children and Macmillan Cancer Relief. Tickets (£15) are available from Flowers ‘n’ Things, Bookmark and Hills.
The club also supports the elderly and the young, with days out or longer for less able children or leadership courses to enhance the skills of the already capable.