Rotary’s record £6,500 fundraising for Hospice in the Weald

14th January 2021

Now in its twentieth year, the “Tree of Light” shone at The Pantiles, arranged by the Rotary Club of Tunbridge Wells. The organisation gave the general public the opportunity to make donations to Hospice in the Weald in memory of their loved ones.

Supported by a series of bucket collections that took place over the three weekends prior to Christmas, the Club raised £6,500 for the hospice, including the benefit of Gift Aid!

The Rotary Club

The story of The Rotary Club begins thousands of miles from Royal Tunbridge Wells – over 100 years ago in the Chicago office of lawyer, Paul Harris. Whilst eating his lunch one afternoon, the American was gazing outside of his office window and was struck by others doing the same. At that moment, he noted the opportunity for mutual friendship and service to others – hence, The Rotary Club was born. 

Since then, it has become a worldwide organisation with more than 1.2 million members in 33,000 clubs. The volunteers of The Rotary Club work locally, regionally and internationally to combat hunger, improve health and sanitation, provide education and job training, promote peace, and eradicate polio under the motto ‘Service Above Self’.

Known as “Rotarians”, the organisation contains a diverse group of people from the community that they proudly serve. In Tunbridge Wells the club meet once a week at the Royal Wells Hotel, however, due to the ongoing pandemic, their meetings have been moved to Zoom until further notice. 

Hospice in the Weald

The Hospice in the Weald have worked with terminally ill people, their families and carers in West Kent and Northern East Sussex for the past 40 years. The organisation give care and vital services, including physical, emotional as well as medical support to those suffering – helping celebrate life and dignify death. 

The past year has been one of the most difficult periods in history since the Second World War. As many continue to lose loved ones before their time, we remain isolated from family and friends. These tragic events have highlighted the importance of carers within our community – we are therefore incredibly proud of the town’s efforts to support this inspirational hospice. 

The Tree of Light

Adding further festive splendour to The Pantiles, The Tree of Light was situated by the Chalybeate Spring and gave visitors the chance to commemorate passed loves ones. For a donation, these names were printed onto a laminated card and displayed on each branch. 

The holidays are synonymous with family. Unfortunately, the coronavirus pandemic forced us to spend 2020’s festive season at a distance from one another – therefore, The Tree of Light served as a cathartic experience for many. People were given the perfect opportunity to recall past Christmases made special by those held dearest.

Thank you

Despite the cancellation of the last day of collection due to the county being plunged into Tier 4 COVID-19 restrictions, The Rotary Club raised a record amount for the hospice. Organiser, Philippa Bernstein, added special thanks to Treework for donating the tree, electrician Tony Burtonshaw and Targetfollow for their support once again. She also expressed a “Huge Thank You” to everyone who supported the fundraising so generously.