Interact is part of the Rotary organisation, and is specifically designed for those between the ages of 12 and 18 who wish to serve their community. Sunbury Manor School has recently celebrated the first year of its Interact Club.

The club’s membership of 24 students was drawn from Years 8 and 9. Vivienne Leighton, the Mayor of Spelthorne, attended the event, as did Alfred Friday, last year’s Mayor. The club’s first President, Farah Dutton was present, as were Vice Presidents Joe Levy and Jamie Robert. Many Rotarians attended the ceremony to demonstrate their support for the club on this important occasion for them, as did parents and teachers of the Interact members. Sunbury Matters also attended.

The Interact club has been meeting since October last year, under the guidance of Shepperton Aurora Rotary, who sponsored them, and have undertaken a number of local projects, including helping out at the Restore Food bank in Sunbury, and also at Manor Mead School for disabled children in Shepperton. They have undertaken a litter pick at their own school and are planning visits to a Care Home in Sunbury. More recently, they visited The Greeno Centre in Shepperton, putting on a variety show for elderly people who attend the Centre. The club also organised a collection of clothes, which were sent to Syrian refugees in the Middle East. Fundraising schemes included a Talent Show at the school and an Easter Egg hunt.

After the celebration event was opened by Interact contact teacher Brikitta Batten, the audience heard firstly from Mike Gicquel, a recent President of the Rotary Club, who spoke of the pride the Rotary Club feels for the astonishing achievements of the Interact Club. He said ‘The formation of an Interact Club at Sunbury Manor school has been the absolute highlight of my year as President. Under Farrah’s leadership, these young people seem to have grasped the essence of Rotary, which is to help other people whilst having a lot of fun themselves.’ He also praised Miss Batten for her support of the Interact Club, describing her as inspirational.

All Interact club members spoke briefly at the meeting to describe some of their activities and President Farrah told the audience how much she had enjoyed undertaking service projects in the community, and how much fun the group of students have whilst doing so. The audience were also treated to a number of videos showing the achievements of the club to date.

At the end of the event, Lyn Derrington, President of Shepperton Aurora handed out awards to individual Interact members for their achievements during the year in categories such as ‘Spirit of Interact’ and ‘Services to Interact’. In closing the event Brikitta Batten said that she had already been inundated with requests from current Year 7 pupils who wanted to join the Interact Club next year. The future of Interact at Sunbury Manor looks to be very bright.
Mike Gicquel, Sunbury & Shepperton Rotary