Meeting Information
The Rotary Club of Grays Thurrock
Grays Thurrock

Largest Rotary Club in Thurrock (est 1930)

We meet In Person
Thursdays at 1:00 PM
Orsett Hall Hotel
Prince Charles Avenue
Orsett, Essex RM16 3HS
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
The subject that the entrants had to write upon was “Rebuilding”, there were a total of 24 entrants and the quality of all the entries was very good.
There were 22 entries from the Hathaway Academy, ( all intermediate age band 11 to 13  years old category ), and there were two “private entries” submitted by the parents of two pupils who attend Woodside Academy ( both junior age band 10 years old and under category ). We are pleased to announce that the winner of the Junior, ( 10 years old and under category ) was a girl from Woodside Academy called Myra Ali who, as at 31/8/2023, was 8 years old and the judge considered that her work to be well written and consistent in the power of her argument.
The winner of the Intermediate ( 11 to 13 years old category ) was a girl from Hathaway Academy called Nifemi Alawiye who, as at 31/8/23, was 13 years old and judge considered her prose entry to be excellent and that if fully met the criteria. Unfortunately, there were no entries for the senior ( 14 to 17 years old category ).
Congratulations to both the winners, who will receive their prizes at our prize presentations in due course.
Welcome to our latest new member Abdul Quddoos.
Pictured below is our President John Smith inducting Abdul into the club together with Abdul's sponsor Rotarian Adrian Alsop
Many congratulations to the winners of the Thurrock Rotary Young Musician 2023 Competition.  Details of the 2024 competition will be posted on this website in July/September 2024.
Advanced Class:  Melda Kondoz – Violin  &  Ismael DoSoo – Vocalist.  The very best of luck to Melda and Ismael when they represent Thurrock in the Rotary District 1240 Young Musician Competition in Brentwood Cathedral on Saturday 2nd March.
Intermediate Class:  Mollie Quincy – Vocalist  &  Ismael Dosoo - Cello.
Beginner Class:  Robin Turner – Saxophone  & Lura Mihaj – Vocalist.
The following fantastic Youth Events are coming up but please don't delay in sending us your entry as the closing date is the 8th February 2024! -  Go to our Youth Section to download the information packs and entry forms
The Rotary Club of Grays Thurrock on behalf of Father Christmas will be running 10 routes in our local area this December collecting for our Christmas charities. Last year despite tough times for us all, we collected a record amount of donations which was distributed to the named charities, this speaks volumes about our community and its generosity. The routes and approximate times are listed below as are the route maps and as before we have the SANTA SLEIGH TRACKER which can be loaded on your mobile using this QR code or browsing directly to!graysrotary
Our sleigh routes are as follows:-
Monday 11th December 6pm - Stifford Clays
Tuesday 12th December 6pm - Tilbury
Wednesday 13th December 6pm - Rectory Road North
Thursday 14th December 6pm - Chadwell St Mary 
Friday 15th December 6pm - Grays
Saturday 16th December 5pm - Woodside
Sunday 17th December 5pm - Blackshots
Monday 18th December 6pm - Stanford-le-Hope
Tuesday 19th December 6pm - Rectory Road South
Wednesday 20th December 6pm - Orsett
As usual we will be providing collecting tins for all donations but in addition you can use the following QR code to our Just Giving site - Grays Thurrock Rotary Club Trust Fund

A pair of young musicians from Thurrock have each scooped an award at the Rotary Young Musician of the Year 2023 event.

Melda Kondoz, 16 from Aveley, won the “Solo Instrumental of the year” while Ismael Dosoo, 12 from East Tilbury picked up the “Solo Vocal of the year” prize. 

The talented youngsters came out top in a highly competitive field of musicians aged 17 and under and will now go on to showcase their musicianship in Brentwood Cathedral at the Rotary 1240 District finals where they will compete against young musicians from across Essex.

We want to say a big congratulations to Ismael and Melda and wish them the best of luck for the next round of this national competition. 

Visit Thurrock Music Services at  if you would like to learn more about the ways you can learn or hire an instrument in Thurrock. Also, visit Grays Thurrock Rotary Club, Youth Section at to learn more about other youth events open to young people living in Thurrock.
On the 7th December, John Collier was inducted as a new member of the Rotary Club of Grays Thurrock having attended 3 meetings and a formal orientation meeting. Pictured below is John being welcomed by his sponsor, our current President, John B Smith.
Welcome John
This year the Rotary Club of Grays Thurrock will be holding their annual Mathletics Competition for Thurrock Primary Schools on Wednesday 6th March 2024. The aim of this fun event is to celebrate and encourage students to achieve their very best in mathematics. This successful and looked forward to event, is sponsored by the club and organised in partnership with The Gateway Academy Tilbury, it will be held during the morning at The Gateway Academy, Marshfoot Road, Tilbury RM16 4LU
Every primary school across the Borough of Thurrock is invited to enter a team of their most able mathematicians. Many of these schools hold their own in-house competitions prior to the event to make sure that their most able pupils are selected. Each team of four pupils have to work in an organised way to make sure that they answer all of the challenging questions in an allocated time. The winning school receives a trophy and the students in the top three teams each receive their own personal trophy.
A senior schoolteacher at the event said “Thanks to Rotary for organising this. It’s a great way to raise the profile of maths across the borough and also a great way to champion our most able pupils. It’s fun and challenging for them and its success can be seen in the pupils’ enthusiasm, application and smiles as well as by the number of schools that take part each year”.
Lastly, an invitation is sent to every primary school in Thurrock at the beginning of the Spring Term. 
[Contact if you need further information.]
This years Young Chef competition held on Thursday 30th November at "Waves" South Essex College was yet again another hugely successful event, with very talented entrants. This years winner and runner up both came from the Hassenbrook Academy:-
Winner -           Pippa Hammond
Runner Up -     Archie Harper
Our lead Rotarian, Corin Whymark is seen here guiding events and our President John B Smith congratulates the winners, together with some pictures of the children taking part, thoroughly enjoying themselves at the excellent facilities of the South Essex College under the expert oversight of Chef Steve.
The Orsett Hall (our regular weekly home from home) held its Christmas shopping extravaganza and as usual the Rotary Santa made an appearance for charity. Well done to all our collectors and other Elves who collectively raised £235 which was considerably up from last year. Thank you to all who gave so generously.
Technology Tournaments are a well-established and successful competition promoted by Rotary International in Britain and Ireland (RGBI).  This Tournament is organised by the Rotary Club of Grays Thurrock supported by the London Cruise Terminal at the Port of Tilbury and the South Essex College (SEC).
Each team of four participants is required to design, develop, build and then test a previously set technology task.
Date:           Tuesday 12th March 2024
Venue:        The London Cruise Terminal, Fort Road, Tilbury, RM18 7NG (use postcode for SatNav).
Time:         Competitors are asked to arrive and register at 12.00. The Tournament will start promptly at     12.30pm and the anticipated finish time is 4.30pm.  
This competition aims to encourage young people to:
  • put their STEM skills to the test.
  • show they can work within a team and communicate with each other to achieve a common goal.
  • be creative and constructive but showing their command of time management skills. 
Please head to our Youth Section to download the FULL DETAILS & ENTRY FORM
The video below was created by Mark Bradley for the 2018 tournament run by Rotary Clubs in Leeds but gives you a good idea of what to expect
Our President John B Smith laid a wreath at the Grays War Memorial at this years Act of Remembrance. The service led as usual by the Revd Canon Darren Barlow was well attended despite the damp weather where the pipes of the Sutherlands and the brass instruments of the Grays Town Band did much to add to the atmosphere.
On the 9th October The Rotary Club of Grays Thurrock was 93 years old and is never looking more healthy! 
On the 10th September 1930, Rotary International issued the Club Charter which was presented to the club in the Queens Hotel, Grays on the 9th October 1930 with over 100 people present at this inauguration. The Presidents Bell was presented by the Southend-on-Sea Club which is our Mother Club. The inaugural meeting of the club which had 15 members by now, included the Headmaster of Palmers College, Roland Hall Accountants, Frank West and W E Walsham (unable to attend at the time) and E V Saxton all notable professionals and business owners from the local area. Today we are over 38 members with Mr John Walsham our current Father of the Club providing continuity (and an enduring link with our origins) over the generations. 
Our first home was the Queens Hotel and regular lunchtime meetings began with a four course lunch costing 2 shillings, today we meet for lunch at the Orsett Hall (except on the 2nd Thursday of the month where we have an evening meeting, see "Why Not Join Us" section of the website for more details) and it costs £20 for a two course meal! In the early days Rotary allowed only one member per business classification and initially all members were active business men, but today everyone who wants to contribute to society and in particular, people in need, whether in the UK or abroad are welcome to apply for membership, providing they can commit to giving time, their passion and expertise.
In the 1930's the club raised funds by a "whip-round" at Christmas and a Christmas party for "Crippled Children" as there were many such children following an outbreak of Polio in the late 1920's. Today we raise substantial sums through various initiatives and give to international appeals such as relief for natural disasters and unfortunately war relief. On the 24th October it was WORLD POLIO DAY and Rotary can be justly proud with its leadership and efforts which have all but eradicated Polio from the world (except for Afghanistan and Pakistan).
In the 1960's we started a Tripartite relationship with a club in Germany and Holland with the first joint meeting held in Grays on the 14th May 1960, each year we take turns in hosting the other clubs and it was Grays's turn this year with a truly amazing event in Greenwich and Orsett (see earlier posts). 
In the 1980's the club sponsored the formation of the Rotary Club of Mardyke Valley with it boundaries the same as the Grays Thurrock Club but they tended to concentrate on the western half of our area. Our involvement in the District and National parts of Rotary remained strong and in 1988 Geoff Player became our second District Governor.
In the early 2000's our involvement with "Kids Out" started and is just as strong today (see earlier posts for our recent trip to the Southend Sea Life Centre) and in 2008 we started our annual "Mystery Trip" for members where you just turn up with a few well packed clothes, a few quid in your pocket and your passport for a great few days away.
The 2020's were a challenge, particularly the pandemic as we were affected as everybody was and life changed. We continued meetings but by Zoom, so technology came to our aid and the tenure of our President at the time, Adrian Alsop, was extended to 18 months from the normal 12 months. 
Today with our new President John B Smith we are 38 active members and actively looking to grow and are particularly keen to attract Ladies into our club.
On the 12th October 2023, Graham Pinkerton made a welcome return to club membership (he was formally a former full member) as an Associate Member so he can combine his work commitments with club activities. Associate members don't have the same commitments as full members but play an important part in the club affairs while enjoying the fellowship of club members and club activities. Graham continues the Walsham family involvement with the club as his father-in-law is the current Father of the Club and Mr W.E. Walsham was one of the founder members of the club. Below our President Mr John Smith welcomes Graham at his induction.
The Magnificent Seven - well Seven Rotarians anyway
The weather for the day was perfect and two full coach loads of children with their individual carers all from the Treetops School in Thurrock, together with seven of our club Rotarians, were collected in the morning from the school and whisked away to the Southend Sea Life Centre.  There the children took great delight in seeing in the aquariums everything from sharks to lobsters and all manner of fish plus monkeys and Meercats. Meanwhile in a forest setting life-size models of pre-historic dinosaurs were found and then finally a colony of Penguins.  
After lunch at the Sea Life Centre, everyone walked along the Esplanade beside the sea to Adventure Indoors and enjoyed the rest of the afternoon on funfair rides and amusements. We would like to thank the Sea Life Centre and Adventure Indoors for their tremendous generosity in providing the children, and carers (plus of course ourselves) with free access to both venues and a place to have our lunch, its so appreciated and the trip could not have happened without their support. Profound thanks also goes to KB Coaches who heavily discounted the cost of providing two coaches to ferry us all from Treetops School to Southend and back in such comfort and safety.
Thanks to Pam Watson Jones the Rotary area coordinator for Kids Out, Steve Payne who organised the day from our end and club members, Bob Paterson, Adrian Alsop, Chris Churchyard, Peter Hoche, Steve Quigley and Clive Page. Note the photo of Rotarians on the Esplanade enjoying a donut – enough said!
The coach trip home was quieter than the one out and all the children will no doubt have slept soundly the night after their day at the seaside. 
Next Year we hope to return to the more usual time of year for this event. 
26 teams of 4 teed off on a shotgun start at Orsett Golf Club for the Grays Thurrock Rotary Charity Golf Day on 22nd August under sun and a brilliant blue sky.
With some useful golfers entered, including last year’s winning team, there was an intensive day of competition, seconds before the off, a Spitfire flew low over the course which was a fantastic sight and then the gun was fired soon after at 2.00pm. Teams came off the course at about 6.30pm, happy but tired after 18 holes and a very competitive Putting Competition. At the end of a long hot day competitors relaxed in the club bar regaling stories of the day followed by a lovely meal in the club dining room and a well-supported raffle, auction and prize giving.  
The overall winner was Trevor Heaps who received the Griffin Residential & Rotary perpetual Trophy, a winner’s trophy, Champagne, a £50 golfing voucher and free entry to next year’s competition.   The Runner Up was Gary Bennett who also received Champagne and a golf voucher.   The winning team was Gary Bennett (Captain), J Howard, Danny Gallagher and D Bennett who received a sheave of balls and wine.   The winning Lady by one point, was Sue Lister and Dave Oakley managed to win a hotly contested Putting Competition by sinking three out of his four balls.  Nearest the pin on the 3rd, was won by Dave Lister and nearest the pin in 2 on the 6th, was won by Scott Ourton.  There was also a Beat the Pro session which everyone enjoyed, save for perhaps the pro who had to play the same hole 26 times. Having said that those organising the Putting Competition had to watch the same put over 400 times, but all good fun.   The raffle was well supported by everyone and had some great prizes, including a TV, a Hamper, a handbag, lots of spirits and vouchers for golf and restaurants from our sponsors.
It was a good club team effort but particular thanks go to event organiser Ray Smallcombe, scorer John Smith, Dave Wheatley on programme and admin, Ivan North on entry coordination, Clive Page and Adrian Alsop running the Putting Competition, Dave Hamilton on photography, Kevin Watkins on the raffle and Steve Quigley as score runner.  Our principle sponsor Griffins Residential and indeed all our other sponsors, were generous in their support of the event and in all we managed to raise over [£5,000] which will go towards or Clubs charities.  Club Past President Clive Page presented the trophies and thanked in particular all the sponsors for their continued support.
Next year’s competition will also be at Orsett Golf Club and is already in the diary for 20th August 2024, so if you are interested in entering a team have a look at the club website end of May next year for entry details. You need to be quick because nearly all the teams this year said they would want to come next year.  
The second charity golf day held at The Orsett Golf Club by the Rotary Club of Grays Thurrock on Tuesday 22nd August 2023, was a huge success, with over 100 golfers enjoying beautiful weather on one of the finest courses in the country. The club was first conceived in 1899 by local dignitaries, business men, officers from the Indian Military and landowners, changing and expanding over the century to become as John A Smith the Centenary Captain said " The development of the club over the years has resulted in a Championship golf course and one of the finest in the County", the club also played host to an airfield during WW1.
The success of the day was in no small part due to the tireless efforts and organisation of Rotarian Ray Smallcombe and his merry band of Grays Thurrock Rotary club members who organised the raffle, manned the putting competition, photographer, published the guide and produced course maps plus many more logistic activities. The Orsett Golf Club too was not only very supportive but played an active and essential part in the success of the day with the club manager Michael Bruce and deputy manager Sue Coleman particularly noted for their enthusiastic support along with members Jim Scales and David Stitson acting as Marshalls for the day.
In a series of updates this is the first brief look at the fun and sportsmanlike competitive spirit that the players contributed along with a hint of the hard work required to stage such an event.
The new Governor of our district 1240, David Willis, visited the club with the Assistant District Governor, Norman Ellenby. David mentioned the relatively short term of one year for each appointment making it a challenge to see through initiatives but nevertheless committed to putting in a huge amount of time and passion into his theme for 2023/24 being "Create hope in the World" and his chosen personal charity 'Young lives versus cancer". 
David made it clear that Rotarians change peoples lives for the better every day both at home and around the world. Our charitable giving and the individual efforts of Rotarians who are always front and centre when a crisis engulfs people are clear examples of this, with the war in Ukraine and the earthquake in Turkey and Syria being recent notable examples. In both crises Rotary had produced lorry loads of relief aid and donated millions of pounds within weeks of them unfolding.
David emphasised the importance of networking and meeting people so is likely to have a busy year visiting the clubs in the district, plus this year will see the first joint District Conference with us joining with Beds, Bucks and Herts District with JJ Chalmers being our guest speaker alongside those from charities and other organisations. Our new Governor also recognised the significant contribution that The Rotary Club of Grays Thurrock makes and with a growing membership is successfully swimming against the tide of dwindling membership in some clubs. ADG Norman Ellenby also offered his time and support to the club which was appreciated.
Pictured below is our new president John B Smith welcoming both Governor Willis and ADG Ellenby to the club where they joined us for lunch at The Orsett Hall.
24 Rotarians and partners travelled to Sancerre in central France for the President’s Weekend from Friday 23rd to Monday 26th June 2023.  The weekend started on the Friday with a drinks party and buffet meal in the garden of Clive and Fiona’s holiday home in the village, where we partied well into the night, some having a dip in the pool and a game of boule.  
The next day it was down to the Wine Museum in Sancerre to discover how wine is made and the history of the terroir – the moisture squirted into one’s face at the appropriate time during the 3D interactive film was a laugh.  It was followed by a wine tasting on the museum terrace.  After lunch and in brilliant sunshine (temp in excess of 30 degrees), Clive took everyone for a guided walk around the town, following the red line painted in the street. It started at the Esplanade Porte-Cesar with a fantastic panoramic view of the Loire and finished at the library on the other side of town with another great view of the vineyards.   After this everyone retreated to their swimming pools for a well-earned swim and a cool down.  
In the early evening there was a wine tasting at the Joseph Mellot Historic Cellar in town.  We were shown around by the owner and a follow Rotarian, Catherine Corbeau-Mellot and her son Armond, who explained how wine was stored in oak barrels and how to get the best out of the delicious Sancerre and Pouilly Fume wines we were tasting.  Later we walked to the Joseph Mellot Auberge Restaurant in the town Square for a three-course meal paired with appropriate wines.  There were informal speeches and we were able to meet the President of the Sancerre and Cosne Rotary Club Regis Jouan and his partner, Christiane, who were our guests.  Regis was glad to receive his Grays Thurrock Rotary tie which he wore with pride and Clive received a banner and a bottle of Sancerre wine engraved with the club’s name.    
On the Sunday everyone was again greeted in the morning by brilliant sunshine and blue skies for another hot day. We gathered at the Joseph Mellot Winery at 10.00am for a tour and explanation of how the wine is made, from grape crushers to giant stainless-steel vats and the bottling and packaging plants.  Joseph Mellot’s three wineries produce 1.4 – 1.6 million bottles of wine a year. We even had a chance to look at the developing grapes on the nearby vines – harvest expected mid-September.  After the tour, you guessed it, there was another wine tasting in the Winery.  
After lunch a convey of cars met at the Panoramic hotel and we drove down to the banks of the Loire at St Satur, where our party was split into two groups, one of which went for a walk along the Loire and finished with a ice cream in the Cafe, while the other group went for a boat trip along the river to the Wildlife Sanctuary and back – onboard Fiona oversaw the nibbles and wine.  When they returned an hour later it was the first groups turn to jump on the boat with Fiona for the second river boat trip of the day.   That evening, we met for the final evening meal at the Le Connétable Restaurant and eat al fresco on the terrace in the town Square.   After an informal meal of huge portions, we said our goodbyes and retired to the bars of the town or our accommodation, all having had a great time.    Many thanks to the President and particularly his partner Fiona East, for organising the event. 
We are holding a Charity Golf Day in August hoping to repeat the huge success that was last years competition, made possible this year by our kind sponsors and hard work by club members. Please click on our "Golf Day" in the menu bar at the top for the entry form.
Our Rotary year runs from 1st July to 30th June each year and the first meeting of the year is usually the occasion for the handover from the outgoing President to the incoming one. Usually very informal, including handing over the heavy chain most Presidents wear for formal occasions. Club presidents plan and lead club meetings, set goals, encourage communication between club and district committees, review expenditures, participate in decisions, and motivate club members, they also collaborate with the district governor and assistant governor.
Below we see outgoing President Clive Page hand over the chain of office to our new President John Smith, good luck to John and we all wish him a successful and enjoyable Presidential year.
Two new members inducted at our regular luncheon meeting at the Orsett Hall, bringing our thriving club membership up to 38 active members!
On 1st June, after the usual induction process, the Club President inducted two new members, Mr Ross Bungsraz, proposed by Rotarian Rajan Mohile and Mr Barry Price, proposed by Rotarian Alan Peaford MBE. Our President Clive Page officiated and presented their badges and welcomed them to the club and the fellowship of Rotary.
Both new members look forward getting involved with all the activities of the Club.
The Rotary Club of Grays Thurrock hosted the 62nd Tripartite of the Rotary Clubs of Iserlohn, Voorschoten-Leidschendam and Grays Thurrock in Greenwich and Orsett. The weekend began on Friday 26th with a golf tournament at the Orsett Golf Club for the golfers of the three clubs and then in the evening a drinks reception was held at the Orsett Hall before the groups then went on to members houses for evening dinner parties.
On Saturday the fun started with a ride on the IFS Cloud Cable Car which took them to Greenwich for lunch and a free afternoon touring the Cutty Sark, Maritime Museum, The Royal Observatory, local shops and the Royal Park. A drinks reception was held at the Old Brewery Hall with a marvellous string quartet entertaining them before dinner. On Sunday a brunch was held in the Gold Room at the Orsett Hall where following a solid breakfast speeches from our President Clive Page and the President Elect of the Iserlohn Club thanked all involved and confirmed the dates of the 63rd meeting which will be held on the 10th to the 12th May 2024 hosted by the Iserlohn Club.
Our President and the Presidents of the Dutch and German clubs thanked the Grays Thurrock Tripartite team of Kevin Watkins, Adrian Alsop, Raj Mobile and Clive Page for a truly fantastic job organising such a successful event.
Photos of the whole weekend can be seen below
Clive Attwood receives the Paul Harris Fellowship Award from our President, Clive Page and proposer Ray Smallcombe for his long and distinguished service to Rotary and the club. 
Rotary established the recognition in 1957 to encourage and show appreciation for substantial contributions to Rotary and Rotary Foundation. Many other notable figures have been named Paul Harris Fellows, including U.S. President Jimmy Carter, Russian President Boris Yeltsin, U.S. astronaut James Lovell, UN Secretary-General Javier Perez de Cuellar, and polio vaccine developer Jonas Salk.
Congratulations to their Majesties King Charles and Queen Camilla
A wonderful spectacular that only GB can do and a moment in history for our nation.
Photo credit Chris Jackson
On Wednesday 29th March, Fellow Rotarians, Corin Whymark and Nick Wilkinson organised with Steve Deal the Group Commercial Catering Manager at South Essex College, a spin-off of Rotary’s Young Chef competition called ‘Young Chef Workshop’.  
Twelve students from three Thurrock Secondary Schools attended the College and were asked to cook a three-course meal.  This was Rotary Young Chef with a twist because, Thurrock’s answer to Jamie Oliver, Chef Steve Deal, showed the teams how to cook the three dishes – Eggs Florentine; Chicken & Asparagus Risotto and Deconstructed Strawberry Cheesecake - at the college’s excellently equipped student kitchens in the Grays Campus.   Steve’s dishes were then displayed in the kitchen and off the young chefs went to their individual workstations to prepare and cook their own submissions.  The kitchen was a hive of activity with Steve floating around offering the benefit of his culinary skills.  All the students did exceptionally well and then came the judging.  The poor judges, Steve and Corin, tasted 36 dishes and wrote detailed feedback sheets for each competitor.  Steve also gave individual appraisals which everyone enjoyed.  
At the end of the competition, all competitors were given a certificate of participation and a goody bag from the College.  Steve announced the winner as Finley Chilvers from The Gateway Academy and he received the winner’s Young Chef trophy, an Amazon voucher and a cookery book from the Club’s President, Clive Page.  
The club would like to thank all the competitors and their teachers for making the day an educational and fun event.    One of the teachers who attended said, “All the students worked extremely hard and produced some great dishes and had the experience of working with Steve who was amazing, it was lovely being part of the day.” What more can you say, apart from again thanking South Essex College and its head chef Steve Deal for the use of the fantastic facilities, expertise and materials for the event and for agreeing to run the competition again next year.  As for the competitors, you can see where the celebrity chefs of tomorrow are produced
It’s nearly time for the very exciting and fun Mathematics Competition that the Rotary Club of Grays Thurrock runs in partnership with the Gateway Learning Community.
Our Maths Quiz has been running very successfully for several years and this year we have invited young mathematicians from Year 5 to participate.
The competition is open to all schools across Thurrock, and they are invited to submit a Year 5 team of four pupils.
The club welcomed two new members Mr Chris Churchyard who was proposed by Rotarian Alan Peaford MBE and Mr Tony Bold proposed by Rotarian Ray Smallcombe. Our President Clive Page officiated and presented their badges.
The Club held its annual Cheque Presentation Lunch at Orsett Hall on Thursday 2nd March, to distribute the funds collected for our chosen Christmas charities.   
The Club President said, “From mid-December until Christmas Eve we held public collections, ran 10 Sleigh Routes around the streets of Thurrock, a static display here at Orsett Hall and spent 8 days collecting inside three major Thurrock supermarkets. We managed to collect, including recovered tax and donations, a total of £10,795, which despite the World Cup, the inclement weather and a cost of living crisis, speaks volumes about the generosity of the residents of Thurrock and the efforts of our collectors.”
In attendance were the following guests, all of whom gave inspirational and moving acceptance speeches, Sue Little from the local Barnardo’s branch; Jon Brewer and Anthony Hattam (the Head Teachers from Treetops and Treetops Free Schools) and Aron Lane from Little Havens Children’s Hospice - all three charities receiving a cheque for £2,500 for their respective charities. Peter Newall the Operations Manager at the Thurrock Foodbank, received a cheque for £89, being the balance we collected for them on our card reader and having already received £1,588 that we collected at Sainsbury’s plus a substantial Club donation before Christmas.
The Club also forwarded cheques to two national charities who gave their apologies for absence from the lunch, Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital (GOSH) who received £2,500; and the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) who received £434.
Sue Little - Bernardo's
Jon Brewer and Anthony Hattam - Treetops
Ashley - Little Havens Children's Hospice
Peter Newall - Thurrock Food Bank
Here are the excellent entries in the Junior age group (up to and including 10 years old) well done to both of them
Frankie Ella English - Woodside - Highly Commended
Arisha Ahsan - Quarry Hill - Commended
Here are the excellent entries in the Intermediate age group (11 to 13 years old) well done to all of them
Maraizal Morton - William Edwards School - Highly Commended
Maja Malgorzata Sypek - Hathaway - Highly Commended
Emerald Agyeman - Orsett Heath - Commended
Jonah Brooking - William Edwards - Commended
August Giedraityte - Orsett Heath - Commended
Alysha Kushierz - Hathaway - Commended
We are pleased to recognise the winners of the Young Artist Competition which is a competition open to all young people living in Thurrock (from the very young right up to 17 years old) and is designed to encourage and develop skills in traditional and contemporary media. Organised and promoted by Rotary International GB and Ireland, this years' theme was "Sunset and Sunrise" and our winners  have been entered into the next stage which will be the District competition and may (fingers crossed) lead to the Nationals.
Here are the winning pictures by Lexi Harle from William Edwards School who won the Intermediate Category (11 to 13 years old) and Simon Statil from Quarry Hill School who won the Junior Category (up and including 10 years old). Congratulations to them both and GOOD LUCK in the District Competition.
Lexi Harle - Intermediate Category Winner
Simon Statil Junior Category Winner
Our President, Clive Page, thanked our Supermarket friends (ASDA, Sainsbury's and Tesco) for allowing us to hold our Christmas collections at their stores, which including our sleigh runs raised over £10,795. Pictured below with our President (centre) are Josh Obrien (Store Manager, Tesco Lakeside) Angela Mitchell (Community Champion, Tesco Lakeside) and Kim Morgan (Community Champion, ASDA Tilbury).
Grays Thurrock Rotary is a thriving, active part of Thurrock, whose members are drawn from local professions and businesses but is also a part of a worldwide organisation that raises and donates £ billions annually to worthy causes. One of our aims is to provide support for Charities, especially those whose work impacts the people of Thurrock, we also regularly make financial contributions to local charities as well as individuals. 

So how can we help?  We have a small amount of money that may help solve an immediate issue. Our members also have a considerable amount of knowledge and experience, drawn from all walks of life that may be able to offer support.  Any request has to be considered by our Community Services committee;  we are not able to support all requests but we do try.

If you know of any person, family or club that needs support or charity that is trying to help the local community but experiencing a challenging time please contact us or alternatively forward this communication to them and ask them to contact us.
You can contact us via this website  or by direct messaging us through of Facebook Page @Grays.Thurrock.Rotary 
The Rotary Club of Grays Thurrock sponsorship of the Youth Debate saw excellent candidates and the winning team in each category (Intermediate and Senior) of this event may be invited to represent Thurrock in the Rotary District 1240 competition at Chelmsford and from there have an opportunity to compete at the National finals.
There intermediate winners, seen here with our President Clive Page, came from the Convent School with Khusi Thakkar winning Outstanding Chairperson and Aiofe Connelly the Outstanding Debate Proposer.
SENIORS (Ages 14-17years)
Students must be seated by 4.45p.m. to commence the
Competition at 5.00p.m. prompt.
(Approximate finish at 7.30pm)
We look forward to welcoming you to the Council Chamber and know you will be rewarded with a range of subjects executed by some talented young people.

Rotary has been working to eradicate polio for more than 35 years, our goal of ridding the world of this disease is closer than ever.

As a founding partner of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, we've reduced polio cases by 99.9 percent since our first project to vaccinate children in the Philippines in 1979.

Rotary members have contributed more than $2.1 billion and countless volunteer hours to protect nearly 3 billion children in 122 countries from this paralyzing disease. Rotary’s advocacy efforts have played a role in decisions by governments to contribute more than $10 billion to the effort.

Today, polio remains endemic only in Afghanistan and Pakistan. But it’s crucial to continue working to keep other countries polio-free. If all eradication efforts stopped today, within 10 years, polio could paralyze as many as 200,000 children each year.

Here our President and Rotarians Adrian Alsop and Bob Paterson are seen planting more Crocus bulbs as part of this vital initiative.

Date: Wednesday 15th March 2023 

Venue: The London Cruise Terminal, Fort Road, Tilbury, RM18 7NG (use postcode for SatNav).

Time: Competitors are asked to arrive and register at 12.00. The Tournament will start promptly at 12.30pm and the anticipated finish time is 4.30pm. 

Technology Tournaments are a well-established and successful competition promoted by Rotary International in Britain and Ireland (RGBI). This Tournament is organised by the Rotary Club of Grays Thurrock in association with the London Cruise Terminal at the Port of Tilbury. Entrants may participate in a club or district competition that is outside of their geographical boundary but may compete in only one Rotary club or Rotary district Technology Tournament. 

The competition is open to all schools and college communities and any other young peoples’ community organisations, for example, community Interact, Scout Groups, Girl Guides etc. and the age group for participants is 11 to 16 years old. Each team of four participants is required to design, develop, build and then test a previously set technology task as well as show they can work within a team and communicate with each other to achieve a common goal; Tasks are based on engineering principals, but also be creative and constructive, showing their command of time management skills. 


Young Thurrock Rugby Club members look resplendent in their new Academy jerseys. Its such a pleasure to see how the Rotary Club of Grays Thurrock can partner with Thurrock Rugby Club, by even a small donation to their running costs, to make a positive difference to young lives.
The Young Musician Competition (an arrangement between the Rotary Club of Grays Thurrock and the Thurrock Music Service) held at the Gateway Academy saw around 30 very talented entrants this year.
The winner was Melda Kondoz who played El Choclo by Angel Villoldo on the violin which was an absolute joy to listen to, our runner up was Ismael Dosoo who sang the Coronation Mass in C Major by Mozart, both of these talented young people have been entered into the Rotary 1240 District Young Musician competition being held at Chelmsford Cathedral on Saturday 18th February 2023. Tickets for the event at the Cathedral cost £5 and can be ordered from , doors open at 6pm and the event starts at 7pm.
Our President, Rotarian Clive Page, presented the winner and runner up with their trophies.
***********I'm BACK***********
Those lovely folk at Grays Thurrock Rotary are putting on an extra night to make up for us missing Sunday. So tomorrow night my Sleigh will be riding through Chadwell from 6pm, please come out and see me and all my Elves. The route is shown in the maps below but remember you can track my sleigh using the app and please don't forget to check out our Facebook page.
I look forward to meeting as many of you as I can.
Love and a very Merry Christmas
Santa and his Grays Thurrock Rotary Elves
******Unfortunately SUNDAY 18th's Sleigh Ride through Chadwell St Mary has had to be POSTPONED******
An up to date route for our sleigh ride through Chadwell tonight Saturday 17th December from 6pm, please come and see us
A Message from Santa
Those nice folks from Grays Thurrock Rotary Club will be pulling my sleigh again on our next 8 routes all starting at 6pm
Monday 12th Rectory Road North
Wednesday 14th Blackshots 
Thursday 15th Grays
Friday 16th Woodside
Saturday 17th Chadwell
Sunday 18th Chadwell
Monday 19th Rectory Road South
Tuesday 20th Thurrock Park and Orsett
Our route maps are below and are subject to Crown Copyright
Whilst, unlike Santa, we can't be everywhere, we have tried to put together some interesting routes for our Santa, his Elves and the Sleigh. If you have the time, its fun to download the Santa Sleigh Tracker (at )so you can see where we are, but here are three routes for you to look at.
We are really looking forward to seeing you at Sainsbury's Chafford Hundred THIS FRIDAY from 9am to 5pm and then on SATURDAY 10th and SUNDAY 11th.  Our Elves and the odd Santa look-alike will be wearing name badges and Rotary Tabbards so you can identify us, this year, at Sainsbury's, we will be collecting for Thurrock Foodbank only.
Our other collections at Asda, Tilbury will be on the 15TH, 16TH AND 17TH DECEMBER and at Tesco, Lakeside  on the FRIDAY 23RD DECEMBER AND CHRISTMAS EVE 9am to 5pm and 100% of all donations will be split between the charities noted below.
Our collectors will have a card reader for donations, recognising that not all of us carry much cash these days, but also the traditional collection boxes, we are very grateful for any donation, it all helps those less well off than ourselves. Please donate what you can but we will also be happy just to say hello and wish you a Merry Christmas.
The sound of sleigh bells will fill the air as the Grays Thurrock Rotary Club teams up with Santa to raise funds for our charities, come out and see us and join in the fun. Please go to our Facebook page to see the message from Santa but if you want to track our sleigh as it makes its way through the borough please go to download our App.  This year we have been focusing on supporting local needs as much as our established initiatives.
The Rotary Club of Grays Thurrock sponsors and supports a number of Youth Competitions, here is an update from Nicholas Wilkinson
Despite a really challenging year, the team have made excellent progress. The Young Musician is being held on Saturday 26th November with a good number of entrants spread between the three categories so it promises to be a rewarding and successful event. Despite the valiant efforts of Corin, the Young Chef competition is looking doubtful, but the Technology Tournament is looking very promising with the Cruise Terminal confirming they are happy to support this. The Youth Debate will be held at The Beehive following a successful meeting that Corin and Nick had with them. Bob and Nick have meetings planned with the two SEC judges to get the Young Photographer and Young Filmmaker off the ground.
Thanks to Raj's hard work the LAMP project is now underway and a meeting with the participating school is imminent 
The first outing of 2022 for our new sleigh was at The Orsett Hall, please see our Facebook Page for a message from Santa.
President Clive Page presents the prestigious Paul Harris Fellowship Awards to two long standing Rotarians for their outstanding service. Congratulations to Bob Paterson and Dr Kevin Watkins
The President and Members of our Club attended Thurrock Rugby Club on 6th November to present a cheque for £500 to Mr Ken Laybourn, for youth team equipment and kit.
The clubhouse was packed with junior rugby players for their Monday evening training session and the President said the Club was glad to support an activity that gives so much to the young people of Grays Thurrock.
The District Governor comest for Lunch.
Twenty seven Rotarians sat down to lunch with Jed Brooks the District Governor at Orsett Hall on Thursday 3rd November. After lunch Jed gave an interesting and uplifting speech on the future of Rotary and presented to our sports captain, Bob Paterson, the Districts prestigious Hugh Markham Trophy, that the club had won earlier in the year.

Spring each year, sees a beautiful purple carpet of crocus blooming in many communities across Great Britain and Ireland thanks to the Purple Crocus Corm planting to raise awareness of the Rotary fight for a polio free world.

Planting the purple crocus corms by Rotary and many community groups is a great way of getting active, having fun and talking to lots of different people about the need to eradicate the life threatening and disabling polio virus.

Our President's Night dinner at Orsett Hall.   It' nice to get out again after COVID!  Congratulations to Adrian on his year..
On Sunday 12th June 2022, East Thurrock Community Garden, off Rockery Lane, East Thurrock, was officially opened by Leader of Thurrock Council Bob Gledhill. Also in attendance was the Head of Thurrock Planning committee, Tom Kelly.  Clive Cheeseman, the main coordinator for the project, aided by his wife Sheila and friends Keith and Glynis along with other members of the committee worked tirelessly for over two years to turn an area of over grown scrubland into the Community Garden.  Grays Thurrock Rotary club had agreed to support the project and Peter Hoche, the club’s Community Services chairman, presented a cheque for £150 to Clive.
For the first time in three years our members were able to attend the annual Tripartite meeting of the Rotary Clubs of Iserlohn (Germany), Voorschoten-Leidschendam (Holland) and Grays Thurrock. 
It was fantastic renew friendships after so long.  Click the link to read the full story.
This year saw 9 intrepid travellers from Grays venture East to Istanbul.  This was supposed to be a mystery trip in 2020 but due to Covid, it was delayed by 2 years.  It was a pity that many of the original number could not be there but the 9 that went enjoyed it thoroughly.  We won't bore everyone with all of the pictures but members can view them in the members pages.  Here are some samples.
A great night out with 26 people attending a meal at Feast in Grays High Street.

Grays Rotary Club today presented cheques totalling £10,700 to 5 chosen charities from its Christmas street & supermarket collections - Lauren Eagle-Allen representing Little Havens Childrens Hospice, Janice Gilroy representing Barnardo’s & John Brewer Head of Treetops School each received a cheque for £2,600. Each expressed their grateful thanks to the club.  Unfortunately Great Ormond Street Childrens Hospital and NSPCC were unrepresented but will respectively be receiving a cheque for £2,600 and £300 by post.

After lunch at Orsett Hall, the club thanked representatives from the local superstores Asda (Kim Morgan), Sainsburys (Will Doyle) & Tesco (Angela Mitchell) for their support and attendance together with Rotarian Steve Payne for building its new sleigh. 

Although unable to join the lunch, grateful thanks were also offered to Grayers Graphics for help with the sleigh paintwork and Smiths Orchard Garden Centre for their assistance in counting & banking the cash collected.

[Group photo left to right is Angela Mitchell, Lauren Eagle-Allen, Janice Gilroy, Adrian Alsop, Steve Payne, Kim Morgan, John Brewer, Anthony Hatton (Treetops Free School Head) and Will Doyle]


2022 has begun for the Rotary Club of Grays Thurrock with a notable accolade for one of its established members.

And the club presented its highest award, the Paul Harris Fellowship (named after the founder of the Rotary movement), to Rotarian Steve Payne for outstanding service to the club and the local community.

Steve single-handedly took up the challenge of building the club a new Christmas sleigh which performed flawlessly for Santa in December and is set to bring joy to borough children and help raise funds for great causes for many years to come.


Following a successful membership information evening in late November, the first of its new members Steve Quigley was inducted last week with more expected to follow.

Grays is proud to have a special relationship with the the Iserlohn club in Germany and with Voorschoten Leidschendam in the Netherlands.  In the past this has mostly been a social relationship but earlier this year the club in Iserlohn asked for our help following awful floods in Germany.  We were happy to help out and assist in buying a dehydrator to help the affected areas.

We have received a thank you letter from Iserlohn and below are some pictures of the work that we helped to achieve.

You can read the full letter by clicking on "Read more" below.


We would like to thank the people of Thurrock most sincerely for their support and generosity over the Christmas period. Our grateful thanks also goes to Sainsburys, Asda and Tesco for their assistance.

The club & its members have worked tirelessly to ensure this year‘s supermarket and sleigh collections (and our concert at Thameside Theatre) were successful armed with our new sleigh & following the 2020 Covid break so I am delighted to announce that we hope to donate over £10,000 in February to our 4 main childrens' charities Great Ormond Street Hospital, Little Havens Hospice, Treetops School and Barnardo’s.

Best wishes to all for a happy and healthy 2022.



Grays Rotary agreed yesterday to donate £500 to Thurrock Foodbank to help assist those in need over the Christmas period.
Although the funds were sent electronically for speed, President Adrian is shown below outside Thurrock Foodbank with a presentation cheque.
After missing last year because of the restrictions the Club Sleigh was back in action on the streets of Thurrock and Santa has a new Sleigh!
Club welcomes prospective new members. 
40 members, guests and prospective members on 25th November, enjoyed the Club and Membership Night at Orsett Hall.  This was the night to show prospective members what the Club was all about and members relished the opportunity.  The Gold Room looked beautiful for the evening, which started started with drinks and a general getting to know each other and was followed by an entertaining introduction by the President, Adrian Alsop and then with three amusing presentations on the clubs activity - Alan Peaford on the social side of the club, Kevin Watkins on International and the Tri-Partite with our associated Dutch and German Clubs and Iain Ramsay on our fundraising and Christmas concert, sleigh and collection activities.  You could feel the tension when Iain revealed a picture of the new sleigh - ahhhhhh, only to deny us with a picture of it covered by a sheet - ohhhhh.   The buffet was excellent followed by a superb demonstration from our Guest Speaker from St Johns Ambulance on how a defibrillator works.  Holly in full SJA para medic gear with a defibrillator and dummy held us all spellbound with the demonstration and was then bombarded with questions from the audience.  Speed is of the essence with any heart attack situation and we all went away with potentially lifesaving knowledge.  A Club donation to SJA was presented by Ray Smallcombe together with a vote of thanks.  The evening finished at around 10.00pm with closing remarks from the President.  After the evening the President said: "The evening was a great success and would hopefully generate new members to the club.
Some pictures from the evening:

The Club, in association with the Thurrock Music Hub and the Gateway Academy, were finally able to hold the 2020 Rotary Young Musician Awards Ceremony on 4th November 2021 at The Royal Opera House facility at The Barn, High House, Purfleet.   After brief speeches by Rotary Vice President Clive Page, former Mayor and Councillor Cathy Kent and Roy Dignum for the Thurrock Music Hub, the winners gave a short recital of their works, including one by pre-recorded video.  After the performances the Awards and Trophies were presented. 

It was an excellent evening enjoyed by all and shows the strength and capability of young musicians in the Thurrock area.

The winners were …

ZARA SAVEL  -  Beginner instrumental

LAURA SYLEMANI  -  Intermediate Vocal

NEDA BIKUS  -  Intermediate Instrument

INDRIT SYLEMANI  -  Highly Commended Inst.

ELLIE ROSE CLARKE  -  Advanced Vocal

SAMUEL LEE. -  Advanced Instrumental and Young Musician of the Year Trophy.

Sam Lee
Sam Lee with Cathy Kent and Clive Page
Grays Rotary Club was represented by Adrian Alsop and Ray Reynolds at the Remembrance Service on Sunday where a wreath was laid on behalf of the club.
A group of Grays Rotarians enjoyed an excellent lunch on 17 October at Smiths in Wapping
February 2024
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