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Presenting a TIG Welding Package to the Camelia Botnar Foundation

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Presenting a TIG Welding Package to the Camelia Botnar Foundation

In partnership with Lincoln Electric, Dr Robin McNeill Love, and the Worshipful Company of Blacksmiths, we were delighted to visit the Camelia Botnar Foundationon the 22nd November 2022 to present a Lincoln Aspect 200 AC/DC TIG Welder Package, to complement their existing welder training department.

The donation came about through a medical research project which lasted from 2001 to 2004 undertaken by Dr Robin McNeill Love in conjunction with the Medical Research Council (MRC), the University of Portsmouth and which utilised a charitable millennium grant from the Worshipful Company of Blacksmiths. The project was designed to look into the association between the inhalation of metal fume and community-acquired pneumonia. By coincidence, the study was carried out in Portsmouth where Rapid, at the same time, was the on-site welding supplier! As a small gesture of goodwill to the study volunteers, it was agreed a sum would be donated to a suitable welders' charity on completion of the project, and we were delighted to also make a contribution. Fast forward to present day, this resulted in us negotiating a special deal on a welding machine with Lincoln Electric.

Although it has taken some time to bring this idea to fruition, it was finally decided that the Camelia Botnar Foundation based in Cowfold, West Sussex, was a very well deserving charity who would benefit from the donation.

Established in 1979 by Octav and Marcela Botnar, the Camelia Botnar Foundation was named in memory of their daughter, Camelia, who tragically was killed in a car accident at the age of 20. The foundation transforms lives by providing residential training and work experience to young people aged between 16 and 21, who are disadvantaged or in problematic situations. The core aim is to encourage and inspire trainees to learn a skilled trade and work towards an NVQ L2 and CITY & GUILDS qualification, which can then assist them in embarking on a useful career path. Opportunities include building maintenance, carpentry, catering, estate management, painting and decorating, mechanics and metalworking. Young people are able to receive tutoring and hands on work experience, which in the metalworking department includes welding, blacksmithing, fabrication and metal art. 

Rapid's Managing Director, Roy, and Marianne, Rapid's Business Manager, attended the day to present the new welding machine alongside Lincoln's National Sales Manager, Steve Purnell and Welding Ambassador, Mikala Eade. Dr Robin McNeill Love, Past Prime Warden (2018 to 2019) of the Worshipful Company of Blacksmiths, and Mr Merv Allen, Fellow of the Worshipful Company of Blacksmiths (FWCB), were also privileged to be present on this important day.

Marianne said of the day, “It is an outstanding facility and the ethos it is presenting is remarkable.”

Set in a beautiful estate, it was clear to see the positive impact being there and learning has had on so many young people, and this was further cemented when we were told that one of the metalworking tutors was actually a previous student, who'd returned to the Foundation after several years working as a Blacksmith.

After an initial introduction to the Foundation, it’s history, purpose and ethos by Paul Yallop (Chief Executive), we were shown to the metalworking facility where we were introduced to students and tutors. After Lincoln and Roy had set up the new welding set, Mikala provided a demonstration before the students and tutors all had a go. Everyone was very engaged and several hours later we returned to one of the common areas where were treated to a buffet lunch prepared by the students in the catering department.

Rapid, along with Lincoln Electric, were delighted to have been able to make a contribution, along with training, to the metalworking department of this unique and worthwhile charity. To have witnessed and enjoyed the engagement of both the students and tutors made it a truly humbling and inspiring day for all.

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