THE ROTARY Club of Silves, based at Hotel Colina dos Mouros, is a small but rapidly growing club. Formed by the mother club of Portimão in 1992, it has undertaken many fundraising schemes to help local people and organisations within the area under the international Rotary motto ‘service before self’.
Herbert Chatters has been a Rotarian in UK clubs for over 30 years and has seen a lot of the good the organisation has done. “Pound for pound, the club out here has done tremendously well,” he says. Coming from such an established Rotarian that’s praise indeed.
Tonight (April 7) Herbert will be the first Briton to become a member of the Silves Club. However, there is one aspect of the club with which he is still struggling. “The large number of women members,” he says chuckling, “is something which I am not used to, but am enjoying having to adapt!”
With half of the 28 members being female, Herbert will have to make sure that his adaptation skills are 100 per cent. To those who have been Rotarians in Britain, such a high proportion of female members may come as a shock. Herbert told me that the induction of women into Rotary is not so common back in the UK, but out here it is very typical. There have been four women presidents of the Silves club and, in June, they will be inaugurating Maria Rosilia Martins as the fifth.
At present, the club is undertaking a massive project to raise funds for the Day Centre in São Marcos de Serra. Opened in December 2003, the centre is run by 79-year-old Italian, Mario Augusto Franco. Locals have taken the centre to their hearts, raising a large slice of the money needed to build it.
Now it has the support of local charity organisations, in particular the Rotary Club of Silves. The club is hoping to raise enough money to enable the purchase of additional transport so that elderly folk, from as far as 15kms away, can be collected and taken to the centre. Presently, around 20 people a day use the centre, however, it could cater for up to 60 if it had the funds and additional staff to support it. The visitors can watch television, listen to music or play card games, as well as being provided with lunch and dinner Monday to Saturday from 8am to 6pm.
On the night of Saturday, May 7, the club is planning to raise well over 2,000 euros with a jazz spectacular at the Fábrica do Inglês in Silves. Jazz will be provided by the New Orleans Jazz Band, led by John Ballinger, an old friend of Herbert from England. But that’s not all. There will be delicious food, fine wine, a raffle and auction on the night – all for just 19 euros a ticket. To whet the appetite, among the numerous raffle prizes is a case of Cliff Richard’s finest Vida Nova Red 2002 and, up for auction, a selection of original Portuguese oil paintings and a magnum of Sir Cliff’s Reserva Vida Nova 2003.
The Rotary club would like to thank the sponsors, including The Resident, Fred Peeters Antiguidades in Messines, Tabu Gift Shop in Ferragudo and all those who have supported in kind or donated gifts.
If you would like to contribute to the Day Centre in any way, contact Rotarian Herbert Chatters on 282 343 122. Tickets for the jazz night are available from any Silves Rotarian or by calling 919 469 323 or 919 334 550. Anyone interested in joining the Silves Rotary Club – very much family orientated – can contact Isabel Maria Flores on 919 466 419 for more information. Louise Pimm