Sunday, 25 July 2021

Henley Rotary Club

THE club has reserved the first Tuesday in the month for discussion of purely Rotary matters in the hope of

THE club has reserved the first Tuesday in the month for discussion of purely Rotary matters in the hope of helping speakers’ secretary Vivienne Quant to find speakers for the other three Tuesday meetings.

At last week’s twilight meeting at Henley Golf Club, Roger Sayer gave an update on the polio eradication campaign which the Rotary Foundation, Rotary International’s worldwide charity, has been running since 1985.

He said a Thames walk organised by the Reading Abbey club on May 31, in which several clubs, including Henley, took part, had raised £4,667 in sponsorship.

With a 2 for 1 contribution from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation this meant a total of £14,002 would go to the campaign.

Mr Sayer reported that Nigeria had gone a full year without a new case of wild poliovirus.

While the country would not be declared polio-free until further results showed it clear for three years, it was significant that only a decade ago, polio had affected more than 12,000 people in Africa, three-quarters of all the world’s cases.

The only other two polio-endemic countries are Pakistan and Afghanistan but the new cases globally last year only amounted to 43, a remarkable achievement compared with the 350,000 cases in 1985.

Mr Sayer said the club would continue to support the appeal by means of a repeat donation of £1,000, together with the proceeds of the December collection at the Waitrose car park and the jazz night to be held in April.

President-elect Lionel Scott thanked him for his talk as well as detailing various prospective social outings in which members and their partners might like to  participate.

Mark Harling read a letter from Ben Aldous, the club’s candidate on the recent Rotary Youth Leadership Award course in North Wales, saying that he had benefited greatly in the development of his leadership skills and  confidence.

At this week’s meeting, a previous speaker, Stephen Quant, returned to give members some more insight into historical matters, this time dealing with the establishment of the Roman army in Britain from 50 AD to 275 AD.

Mr Quant gave a fascinating insight into the make-up of the whole army during that time, illustrating his talk with pictures of soldiers with their shields, weapons etc.

There were about 30 legions in the army in 130 AD, each legion formed of 59 centuries.

A centurion commanded the century which did not consist of 100 men but of 80 (comprising 10 cohorts).

Although the ordinary soldiers served 25 years and then retired, the centurion often died in office.

Mr Quant also described the legion’s structure, led by a legate who was often a senator or became one later.

The eagle was the heart of the legion and was its symbol.

There was also a cavalry detachment with decurions, equal in rank to a centurion, who were each in charge of 32 men. Mr Quant suggested that the Roman army was an extremely effective fighting force and would have probably have defeated the British at Agincourt or Waterloo had they been the enemy.

Barry Prior thanked Mr Quant for bringing the subject alive.

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