Local kids enjoy marathon success

Children from local primary schools in Flint and Holywell showed their paces on a running machine at Tesco Stores in Holywell on Saturday and Sunday (18th & 19th November).  They were running to raise money for Dictionaries 4 life.

Every June, The Rotary Club give all the year 6 children in Flint, Holywell and surrounding villages, a fabulous fully illustrated Usborne dictionary- theirs to keep for life. “It’s a great boost as they start their secondary school careers” said organiser, Rotarian Steve Blakesley. Together they ran 46 miles and raised over £500.

Participating schools were St Winefrides Holywell, Flint Gwynedd, Ysgol y Llan Whitford, Ysgol Bryn Garth, Ysgol Maes y Felin Holywell, Cornist Park  Flint and many students from Ysgol Treffynon who came to run because they appreciated their dictionaries from years past.

President Neil Roberts, Anne & Rotarian Steve Blakesley

Books for Uganda

Today is a special day as the book collecting has come to an end. Hundreds of books which have been stored at Rotarian Gordon Cook’s factory in Mold were packed into boxes supplied by Lidl.
This morning one of Rotarian Jim Reid’s vans collected 40 boxes of books from Mold and transported them, on two pallets ready to start the long journey to Kampala.
Thanks go to the many local schools and individuals who donated educational books which will benefit children in 12 different schools in Uganda. These schools include nurseries, primaries, secondaries and a technical college.
Flint and Holywell Rotary Club put high value on advancing education both at home and abroad.
Members would wish me to express the Club’s thanks for the tremendous effort in finalising this project to Rotarian Kevin McIntyre and his wife Delyth

Technology Tournament at Coleg Cambria 19th October 2017

Spirit of Apollo 13 Lives On
Solve the problem with what you have. That was the Apollo 13 challenge. On Thursday 19th October, 70 students from 7 different schools in Wirral and North East Wales came to Coleg Cambria to do just that. The challenge was not a busted spacecraft but to create a pipeline cleaning machine. The teams, aged between 11 and 17 had nothing more than wood, rubber bands, motors batteries and straws to design and construct a vehicle that could clear leaf litter from a pipeline. And the clock was ticking.
But within 4 frantic hours, these problem-solvers from St Richard Gwyn, West Kirby Grammar School, St Brigid’s Denbigh, Ysgol Uwchradd Glan Clwyd, Pensby High School,Hawarden High School and Flint High School had vehicles attempting the task. There were whoops and yells and fists punching the air when vehicle after vehicle cleared the debris.
“These are our future engineers” said organiser Steve Blakesley from the Rotary Club of Flint and Holywell, “And our future looks very bright indeed.”
Teamwork was the order of the day. Not only did students work effectively together but 4 Rotary Clubs (Flint & Holywell, North Wirral, Mold and Deeside) combined their talents to provide judges, marshals and school recruitment. Coleg Cambria is one of the largest provider of engineering apprenticeships in North Wales and working with sponsors, Airbus, they provided over a dozen young engineers to provide mentors and judges. The judging teams combined the experience of retired engineers from Mold Rotary with the youth and enthusiasm of Airbus apprentices. “The two generations learnt a lot from each other,” agreed Rotarian Leslie Butt and Lynn Williams Competition Events Director at Coleg Cambria.
Prizes and certificates were provided by Airbus, presented by Helen Lloyd Kerfoot (Education Partnership Manager, Airbus Broughton) to Foundation winners Flint High School, Intermediate AND overall winners St Richard Gwyn and to Hawarden High School who took the Advanced category prize.

Could your school compete and WIN next year?     

Flint High School

Overall winner – St. Richard Gwyn High School, Flint

Defibrillator and Support team for Holywell Town Centre



Following on from an initiative by the Flint and Holywell Rotary Club, a new life saving support team will very soon be operating in Holywell Town Centre. 2 years ago, the Rotary Club started a project to provide lifesaving defibrillators within the community.  Rather than just put these defibrillators in locked boxes, these would be provided to teams of specially trained first responders, who would be activated to emergencies by Ambulance Control immediately on receipt of a 999 call. The first team of trained responders to benefit from this initiative were in Bagillt, where Rotary purchased their defibrillator at a cost of £780.00. and this team have now been operating very successfully for well over a year.

Russ Warburton, a well known shop owner in Holywell High Street was very attracted to the Rotary project, and he has successfully recruited a team of 9 other local traders in the High Street to be trained in basic life support.  The team now have a defibrillator, and will very soon have a mobile phone directly linked to Ambulance Control.  As such they will be able to respond at least 6 days each week, and cover the key hours of 9am to 5pm, and hopefully more.

Russ says that in the past few years there have been several collapses in the High Street, and those giving assistance have been very limited in what they have been able to do.  He was spurred into action when recently there was a cardiac arrest in the High Street, and it took quite some time for an ambulance to arrive.  Regrettably, whilst there are at least 7 defibrillators in Holywell, he stated that none are readily available.  Indeed the  only readily accessible defibrillator is outside the Fire Station, but in times of sudden collapse when time is of the essence, running up and down Whitford Street will be a pointless exercise.

Russ and his team have been trained by the Welsh Ambulance Service in applying chest compressions and using the defibrillator and will be tasked very quickly to anyone having a cardiac arrest.  It is a well-established fact that if chest compressions can be started quickly, followed by a defibrillator, then those experiencing cardiac arrest will have a very high chance of recovery with further hospital treatment.

Many of Holywell’s local traders in this scheme are very keen to progress to becoming fully trained first responders, and hopefully this will happen very soon.  They will then be able to deal with emergencies such as heart attacks, choking and serious bleeding in both adults and children. David Roberts, vice president of the Rotary Club, and the coordinator of the Bagillt First Responder team said “this commitment by the Holywell High Street traders is fantastic, and will prove to be invaluable.  The residents of Holywell are fortunate indeed to have such community minded citizens who have committed so much time and energy to ensure the success of this venture.

Rob Board who has been the Rotary Club’s main promoter and organiser of the scheme added that the participants have all been professionally trained by the Welsh Ambulance Service. It has been a pleasure for Rotary to have been able to support this initiative, Rob confirmed  and he added that the Club  will continue to consider funding as and when needed”. The residents of Holywell give most generously to the Club’s fund raising efforts throughout the year and it is this magnificent generosity that increases every year that enables the Rotary Club to support such wonderful schemes


Footnote – if anyone in Holywell, Bagillt, Caerwys and Halkyn is interested in knowing more about becoming a trained First Responder, they can leave their contact details on the Flint and Holywell Rotary Club webpage, www.flintandholywellrotary.co.uk  and they will be contacted. Bagillt Community First Responders also have a facebook page


Russ Warberton, (right) the Holywell Town Centre scheme coordinator, receiving the defibrillator pack from David Roberts, Vice President of Flint and Holywell Rotary Club, and coordinator of Bagillt First Responder team :

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Community service awards – 2nd October 2017

Members of the Club were pleased to honour the dedicated service given to the community by two of the 1st Flint Cubs – Joanna Hughes and Monica Gravill.  Over the past 3 years they have worked tirelessly in first of all keeping the group going despite setbacks with accommodation, lack of  resources and manpower and secondly in securing assistance in the refurbishment of the Windsor Drive Scout Hut (see earlier post). it is significant that they are only the 5th and 6th persons to receive this award during my Rotary membership (50 years) and they are truly deserving of this recognition – without their dedication we believe the scouting movement would no longer exist in Flint. The Rotary Club are pleased to have been of some minor assistance in their project of renovation.


Photo is of Monica Gravill, President Neil Roberts and Joanna Hughes


Rotakids – Ysgol y Llan, Whitford – 29th September 2017

Adding To The Rotary Family

Rotakids is a Rotary club for 7 to 11 year olds. On Friday 29th September,  children, parents, and Rotarians celebrated this new addition to the Rotary family at Ysgol y Llan, Whitford.

Head Teacher Bryan Griffiths said,” We are already a community minded school with a Christian ethos. Our children regularly help others at home and abroad. It made sense to ally our school with the Rotary Club of Flint and Holywell.”

Youth opportunities chairman Steve Blakesley organised the special occasion, inviting David Hanson MP and District representative Professor David Brigden  to launch the new club. The children were given T shirts, wristbands and a brass bell to call meetings to order. Already, the children have raised over £250 towards MacMillan Cancer Care with a cake sale. “We also have plans to sing for the elderly in local care homes and to send Christmas Shoe Boxes to children living in poorer counties,” said Jessica Morrell the Rotakids lead teacher.

The first Rotakids President, Isla Peake introduced her team and promised to serve the community to the best of her ability. If there are other schools who would like to become Rotakids schools, contact Steve on 01352 7803112.

Rotary President Neil  Roberts presenting Rotakids Charter to President Isla

Rotary District Rotakids chairman David Brigden presenting Isla with her membership certificate

Memorial to Sergeant Roberts – 8th September 2017

Holywell Hero of The Crimean War is not Forgotten

A gathering of distinguished local dignitaries, members of The Royal Welch Comrades Association and Holywell Citizens, including The Rector of Holywell, the Mayor and local MP met at The Memorial Gardens, Panton Place, Holywell to honour one of its forgotten heroes, Sergeant Thomas Edwin Roberts, who fell in battle storming The Great Redan, at Sevastopol, in what was one of the last battles of the Crimean War in 1856.

Sergeant Thomas’s was bought up in Holywell where his father ran The Bell Inn. He joined the Army and rose rapidly through the ranks becoming a sergeant in The Royal Welch Fusiliers (The 23rdFoot). He was unfortunately at the age of 29, killed in action trying to save the life of an injured Company Officer in a forward position during this fiercely fought battle. His bravery subsequently was recognized by his surviving colleagues who subscribed to fund a substantial stone memorial from their meager wages to their fallen comrade In those times the recently instituted Victoria Cross was only awarded to surviving soldiers and as such, no official award was ever made to Sgt Roberts.

Over the years, the forgotten memorial at St James Churchyard Holywell became more and more dilapidated, however in 2005, local resident rediscovered the memorial and decided to raise funds to restore it and relocate it to a more prominent location within the Town of Holywell to ensure that future generations would not forget the supreme sacrifice made by one of its own sons.

Local resident Tim Jones, and later, Major Robert Lake of The Royal Welch Fusiliers came to the local Flint & Holywell Rotary Club to speak about Sgt Roberts and the project to restore the memorial. Following on from this, the Club agreed to support the venture and provided funds to erect an information plaque, close to the newly restored and repositioned memorial. It was particularly poignant to have the memorial rededicated by a direct descendent of Sgt Luke O’Connor who was a friend and comrade of Sgt Roberts and who himself was injured in the battle but who survived and was later awarded the Victoria Cross.

The President of The Flint & Holywell Rotary Club, Neil Roberts attended the ceremony and stated that his Club was particularly moved by the story of Sgt Robert’s heroism and had no hesitation in providing the financial support required. At this time when we are remembering those gallant soldiers who fell 100 years ago in the Battle of Passchendaele, we should never forget those who had fallen in the service of their Country in previous times.


Further Information from:

David W Pearse

Rotary Club Officer

davidpearse@icloud.com 01352 758922