C30, 50, 70 Cycle Challenge

There are now only 5 Weeks to go until the Channel Rotary Charity Cycle Challenge. Bookings are going well for this fun filled cycle ride and the more entrants we have the more money we can raise for local charities.

Choose your distance from 30, 50 or 70 miles, for beginners, families, clubs or experienced solo cyclists through the beautiful Romney Marsh. Probably the flattest cycle ride in the country.

For more information and to make online bookings: http://www.channelrotarybikeride.org.uk/

VOLUNTEERS NEEDED – Helping Folkestone’s Vaccinations

Rotary has been coordinating volunteers to marshal at the two vaccination centres in Folkestone. There has been amazing support with 550 people giving their time for the 52 marshals needed each day.

As life returns to normal in every way following the success of the vaccinations, people have less free time to support the essential work. But the pace of vaccinations must increase. It is hoped that the Folkestone sites can vaccinate up to 3000 people each day 7 days a week.

Over the next 2 months until it is finished can you give even one session a week? This would ease the pressure on the volunteers who have given so much time over the last 5 months.

All details are on the various links on the Channel Rotary website on the page below https://channelrotary.wordpress.com/vaccination-volunteers/

The link to the booking platform for sessions is at the bottom of that page also.Sessions at the Civic Centre are 3 hours. At Debenhams 4 hours and 2.5 hours.

Contact joe.sullivan@channelrotary.org.uk for any information.

Proud to be a Part…….

I am proud to say that this is the 20th year since I joined Channel Rotary in Folkestone.

Our clubs statement is so true, “We are serious about what we do but don’t take ourselves too seriously. Our foundations are strong fellowship, common purpose and a lot of enjoyment.”

Since our inception in 1980 we have raised around £1 million for local, national and international charities, including 30k in the last 12 months despite covid. We’ve achieved this by holding events including Santa runs, cycle events, golf competitions, triathlons, jazz festivals and many more.

I’ve totally enjoyed my time in Rotary and will continue to do so and would encourage others to consider joining their local rotary club to do something meaningful for the local community.

Nigel Hart



A Sweet Solution for Covid?

A recent news report told of how scientists have trained bees to sniff out Covid-19. Exactly how they got this idea is beyond me but some clever chap has managed to harness these poor little creatures and expose them to a variety of smells. When they sniff Covid-19 they are rewarded with a drop of sugar water. After a short while, in Pavlovian fashion, as soon as they smell Covid they stick out their tongue. You can see them here.

Now there is a number of ethical questions about this. Just think of where these scientists are getting the covid containing gunk from; deep in someone’s nose or around their rotting tonsils. No wonder these poor little bugs stick out their tongue in disgust.  

And should they be forcing bees to become hooked on sugar. I have never seen a bee with teeth, I guess this is because they eat so much honey, so we cannot be concerned about decay but how about diabetes and obesity not to mention a myriad of other diseases. Do we what a generation of sick bees making our honey?

According to excited scientists, this is the most rapid response test there is for covid and almost 100% reliable. There will probably be a world shortage of honey now as all the bees will be conscripted and deployed around the world. I wish I had the contract to make the harnesses. There really are some weird scientists about.

There are these other guys who are training bumblebees to play football. See this video

If the bee gets the ball into a hole it gets a reward; sugar, you guessed it.

If you are going outdoors from now on, which is all we can do at the moment, you better take some sugar with you because if a bee comes near you and sticks its tongue out, God alone knows what he will do if he/she is not rewarded with sugar. But mind you, the sting will be the least of your worries after the diagnosis.

I think there is a solution here. What if the bee could sting vaccine?

These clever scientists have got carried away with little pests. The chaps up at Oxford have become power crazed with their genetic wizardry. This time they have been interfering with mosquitoes. 750 million of the little blighters have had their DNA altered and sent off to Florida so that when they have their evil way with the local females, (no need for a video here!). The female progeny of these genetically interfered with males die young before they mature to spread disease. It is only the females which draw blood for their eggs and in doing so, spread disease.

So I see a plan forming here. Mosquitoes are clever at painlessly drawing blood so we get their anaesthetic. Honeybees can locate Covid. Bumblebees have good capacity. Given lots of sugar they can be fattened up and, most importantly, they have a whopping big injector. With a little clever genetic engineering from these three little bugs and training, we could train the bumblebee to sniff out covid and painlessly inject vaccine. Problem solved.

That is of course if these footballing bumblebees are more accurate than their counterparts in the premier league.

Joe Sullivan

Does The Vaccination Programme Need A New Message?

Just one death was recorded from Covid yesterday, one too many, but a most encouraging sign that the worst may be past. Far too many lives have been lost but the vaccination programme has now protected the most vulnerable and reduced the load on the NHS; its primary goal. Bur as half of the adult population still needs vaccination, does the vaccination programme needs a new and clearer focus to face the remaining challenges to its completion?

Vaccinating the young:

Different flu viruses have affected different age groups over the years. The flu of 1918 which claimed tens of millions of lives, disproportionally killed young people. In the US it killed more soldiers than those killed in the war which had just ended. A flu in 1968 also killed young people disproportionately. But there is research which shows an interrelationship between viruses to which we have gained immunity in early life and the effect in later life of a variant of the same virus, which may explain why a particular age group can be disproportionately affected. In other words, those not affected in one epidemic may succumb in the next because they do not have antibodies.

Today the young generation seems to have become complacent viewing Covid as a disease of the aged and are understandably anxious to resume social life believing that it may not have much impact on spread of the disease.

Exposure by vaccination to the Covid virus may give them protection to a future variant of Covid which from the experiences from 1889 and 1918 may have a serious impact on them.

The next challenge is to counter the antivax theories.

I had a conversation with an acquaintance the other day and was amazed when he told me that he had not been vaccinated and was reluctant to do so. He did not have any background scientific knowledge so although he could list many of the antivax theories he had no foundation from which to question or evaluate their authenticity.

Many of us are inclined to only seek and read material which reinforces our opinions and this seems to be particularly the case in social media where opinions which we explore continuously feed into our devices by default. The person to whom I was speaking had been hospitalised during the first lockdown because of a non-covid related respiratory crisis due to COPD. He seemed unaware of his vulnerability and the effectiveness of the vaccine in preventing serious illness in patients like him.

Changing false opinion can be very difficult. This can be more likely during the pandemic where someone blames the government for decisions which have adversely affected their families, their income or employment. They will be less likely to trust the advice from ministers of the value of vaccination.

As examples; the recent ‘disruptor’ who threatened security at local vaccination sites and the protester outside Debenhams accusing those inside of murder, will be difficult to bring on board. But every avenue should be tried.

The third reason is potentially the most important; Long Covid

In 1889-90 a pandemic called the Russian flu which is now thought to have been a coronavirus rather than influenza, was followed by many resurgences of the virus over subsequent years. What is striking is that the disease caused lasting neurological disorders and nervous conditions of depression and fatigue. These conditions persisted through the resurgences and occurred again following the next pandemic of 1918; the Spanish Flu, which is said to have affected up to 500 million people worldwide and killed up to 50 million.

In the extreme, the residual mental and emotional effects were so profound that a famine resulted in Tanzania because farmers were unable to plant their crops due to fatigue but similar conditions were reported across the world. It is hard to compare 2021 with 1918 following the slaughter of the war and the subsequent grief of 50 million deaths from flu. The ‘melancholy’ was multifaceted, impairing the economic recovery. Every plague from earliest times has provoked social change, sometimes very profoundly. Historians will record how we respond this time.

But the lessons must be to protect as many as possible from long-covid and to vaccinate the young so that they have some immunity which may help them when this or a similar virus strikes again.

Vaccinating the older early group was an emotional time for the vaccinator and patient alike and the relief felt by the patient was tangible. How can we instil this urgency in the young not only because it is they who suffer worst from the immediate dreadful effects of Long-covid, a condition which may have a lasting impact.

Joe Sullivan