Rotarians go Dutch to help raise school cash

The strong links between Rotary Clubs in Horncastle and the Dutch town of Den Helder have certainly paid off for a local school.

Residents of Den Helder have always been very generous to Horncastle, donating thousands of tulip bulbs that produce such a fine show in Banovallum Gardens every year.

In 2013, members of the Rotary Club of Horncastle went on an exchange trip to Den Helder. During the trip, the Rotary Club of Den Helder presented Horncastle members with a donation to be used for a project.

At the same time, the children of St Lawrence School in Horncastle had nowhere to play outside in bad weather.

Horncastle Rotarians decided to raise funds to equal the Den Helder donation.

They successfully applied to the Rotary Foundation for match-funding, effectively quadrupling the original amount.

As a result, the Rotary Clubs of Horncastle and Den Helder have been able to supply the school with suitable outdoor safety flooring.

The school happily played a part in the project by supplying an overhead canopy - ensuring pupils have a suitable outdoor play area, whatever the weather.

A cheque for £2,850 to pay for the flooring was handed over to Lea Mason, Executive Head at St Lawrence School.

The Den Helder club will visit Horncastle next year when they will be able to see the play area.

The Rotary Clubs of Horncastle and Den Helder have been twinned for the last 15 years with each club visiting the other every 18 months.

The visits always prove to be one of the highlights of the Rotarian year and have created great memories of friendship and working together.

There are also some amazing stories.

A group from Den Helder were visiting Horncastle and listened to a talk from the navigator of a Lancaster bomber who had taken part in the ‘Operation Manna’ food drop to starving Dutch people, still under German occupation at the end of the Second World War.

Horncastle Rotarians were astounded to hear one of the Dutch visitors announce he witnessed the food drop - as an eight year old!