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Firstly let me wish everyone a very Happy New Year with the hope that 2015 will be successful and prosperous for us all. Certainly my Rotary year as President goes from strength to strength!

“Lights On” in the town square on the 29th November heralded the Christmas season and by all accounts a great success. A huge thank you goes to Sally and her team for a marvellous evening. Sadly, for me, the event coincides every year with an important family occasion and I was not able to be there.

The whole of December was taken up with Thomas the Tank Engine. This now traditional happening is the keystone of Rotary’s fundraising activities for the year and as always is great fun. Santa appearing on the back of Thomas the Tank is a source of endless wonder for the kiddies from Shrivenham to Southmoor and many families expect us every year. The good citizens of the area mostly open their doors with good humour and put their hands in wallets or purses. Mind you, I had one pleasant lady who demanded to know if I had a licence and “did I know that this corner of the Defence Academy quarter in Watchfield was a collection free zone”? So if I didn’t go away she would call the Police! By this time Santa was advancing with a bag of sweets and her children stretching out to meet him but we were waived away and the door slammed! This was the first time in many years of collecting with Thomas that this has happened and I was completely taken aback but happily the rest of the

evening was a great success and this year was a record year for the Thomas collections with a few pounds short of £6,000! Once again our thanks go to Roddy and the whole of the Fundraising team for their brilliant organization.

This extended to our other Christmas fundraising activity – Christmas tree recycling. Once again the good citizens of Faringdon and District have got used to Rotary providing this service and they turned up dragging their tired trees not-with-standing the fact that Christmas this year fell so that we were collecting the trees well after 12th Night.

This year our Christmas Party was in the Shrivenham Memorial Hall which with its hammer beam ceiling and atmospheric lighting provided a truly magical venue. Ian and his Membership team had organised Peter Wentworth to do some bewildering magic tricks at the tables and the marvellous Delores to entertain us with her singing. The menu by Coleshill Catering was excellent and we rounded off the evening with dancing.

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