Sunday, 30 September 2012

Lunch at The Lighthouse 30th September

After spending the morning writing my Newsletter for September (which incidentally it is very important that all Presidents read) at lunch Gail and I joined a number of Club Presidents and Presidents Elect at "The Lighthouse" Restaurant at Boyleston, near Church Broughton in Derbyshire for Sunday lunch.

The lunch was the idea of the Presidents in one of their regular meetings with their Assistant Governor Colin Gell (also present with his wife Annie).  The restaurant is owned by the President Elect of Etwall and Hilton, Robert Heed, who allowed us exclusive use of the premises.

The meal was completely social, with no Rotary input, other than the conversation around the tables.    It provided an ideal venue for people from different clubs to mix and socialise in a relaxed environment.

The meal (I had duck) was absolutely faultless, as were the premises themselves and the service we all received.    Many thanks to Robert and to the staff at the restaurant.   It made a nice interlude from Rotary.

"Last Night of the Proms" Rotary Club of Ashbourne.

Gail and I had been looking forward to attending this "Last Night of the Proms" Concert being organised by the Rotary Club of Ashbourne for some time and we were definately not disappointed.  The Mayor and Mayoress of Ashbourne were also guests for the evening.   The venue was St. John's Church on Buxton Road at Ashbourne and having managed to find somewhere to park for the evening made our way to the church, arriving in plenty of time.

With an audience in the region of 200 the church, whilst not full to capacity was more than enough to create a really good atmosphere. 

Music was provided by the Ashbourne Town Band, under their conductor, Russell Bevan, a young man who really made the evening buzz.    One of the presenters fro Ashbourne Radio, Steve Jenner was the compere for the evening.

The music took a tour around Britian with Men of Harlech, Mull of Kintyre, accompamnied by a lady called Liz on the bagpipes(sorry Liz but I can't recall your surname), Londonderry Air and British Grenadiers setting the scene.   We were marvellously entertained to several solos, from Cathy Oldfield, who I believe is a local celebrity.   

After a refreshment break the music stepped up into the realms of Pomp and Circumstance No 1, Dam Busters March and Jerusalem,  all with accompanying flag waving and hearty singing by the audience.

Conductor - Russell Bevan

President Chris amid a sea of read white and blue

 Pres. Chris, with Notty and the Mayor and Mayoress
The piper - Liz
At the (almost) conclusion to the evening, the President of Asbourne Rotary Club, presented cheques to three First Responder Units from the Ashbourne area and thanked the various people that had arranged the event and made itr happen.

Amber Valley Charter Night - 28th September

The Boundary at Broadmeadows, South Normanton was the venue this evening for the 30th Charter Anniversary celebrations by the Rotary Club of Amber Valley.    Their President David Hickton chaired the event, with Rotarian Richard Moulder doing an excellent job as compare.   There were about 115 Rotarians and guests present and we enjoyed an excellent three course meal, before moving on the toasts and speeches.

I was delighted to be asked to respond to the toast to Rotary International and to propose the toast to the Rotary Club of Amber Valley.   Once the formalities were over the assembled throng enjoyed some entertainment provided by a female singing group called "Another Dimension".   These four ladies had a varied repertoire and were absolutely great.  They were all local people and they donate all the fees that they earn from their singing to local charities.     So you know where to go if you need a vocal harmony group.

Overall a really good night and my thanks go to President David and Amber Valley for inviting Gail and I as their guests.  At the end of the evening all the floral table decorations were presented to various members and guests who were present.

"Another Dimension"

President David addressing the audience
Looking forward now to tomorrow night at a "Last Night of the Proms" at Ashbourne.

Thursday, 27 September 2012

A Busy Few Days 27th September 2012

On 25th September I went to the Rotary Club of West Ashfield at the Derbyshire Hotel at South Normanton.  It was a 7pm start and Paul Taylor from the Rotary Club of Belper and Duffield acted as driver for the evening.

It was a joint meeting with the Rotary Club of Mansfield and so there was a fairly large audience there,  The two Presidents (Peter from West Ashfield and Paul from Mansfield) were excellent hosts for the evening and were great company.

I talked to the members present about the Rotary International theme for the year and presented each President with a letter from RI President Sakuzi and an origami crane.

I also talked briefly about our upcoming Conference in Southport.

At the end of the meeting I had an interesting chat with Rtn Tony Balding about Youth Exchange Programmes (He was formerly the District Youth Exchange Officer) and about the numbers of youngsters that we used to send off on exchange visits.

Thanks to all at the two clubs and to Paul Taylor for acting as the driver.

On Wednesday 26th September I drove down to Alcester for a 9am start to the RIBI General Council meeting.   The main item on the agenda was the issues of Re-Districting.  We heard that the proposal was for the number of Districts to be reduced from the present 29, down to 24 from 1st July 2015. The proposals for the boundaries of the new Districts and the clubs that each will consist of were revealed.    Whilst this is not the place for a disclosure of this information I am in possession of the details and will be communicating it with clubs over the next few days.

I excused myself from this meeting at 3.30pm and made my way home to get changed and pick Gail up, just in time to set off for a meeting of the Rotary club of Mapperley and Arnold where the Group Study Exchange Team (GSE) were making their first formal presentation.   

It was a very lively meeting and the presentation from the team was very informative and the assembled members and guests found it most interesting.  I am now looking forward to meeting up with the team at Conference.
Presidents Peter and paul with DG Dave

The GSE TEam
Thanks to all at Mapperley and Arnold, in particular President David, for their efforts in putting this evening on.

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

District Council Meeting 24th September

This evening's meeting of the District Council, the first of this Rotary year was well attended with the large room at the Novotel fairly full.   In an attempt to give the meeting a less formal atmosphere I had done away with the long top table of District Officers.  Those individuals instaed sat with their clubs or friends in the main body of the hall.

During the usual business session of the Council, as well as reports from District Officers, the Assistant Governors reported on the activities of the clubs in their groups.  David Pedlar, the District Conference Director gave a short presentation outlining our concerens about the low numbers attending the Conference.

We then had presentations from Martin Beaumont of Drofield about the Fishtail Project, John Cavey from Derby about the experiences at the Kedleston Showcase, Noel Harrison of Sherwood Sunrisers about the Nottingham Showcase and finally from Ian Holliday about the forthcoming RI Convention in Lisbon.

The District Sergeant at Arms, Owen J Briggs, kept order and the meeting ended a few minutes late, just before 9.15pm.   All attendees were asked to complete a feedback form, the results from which we shall use to decide the format and contents etc of future meetings.

Sunday, 23 September 2012

A Welcome party for the Group Study Exchange Team from Nepal.

The long awaited Rotary Group Strudy Exchange Team from District 3292 in Nepal, arrived in England yesterday (22/09/2012) and were collected from the airport at Birmingham by Rtn Rob Gray and Rtn Steve Lawes.

Today Gaila and I joined them at Rob Gray's house for lunch with various other members of the District organising committee.

The team consists of Team Leader Rtn Nugal Vaidya and forur members -Suyesh Pradhan, Shresna Basnet, Dipika Shrestha and Roshani Manandhar.  They will be stayina number of Rotarians and their families for the next four weeks and various local government offices, police, fire, ambulance, local industry and commerce etc.  They will also  each have the opportunity to visit four separate organisations that are in the same vocation as the team members - to compare notes.

They will also be making a number of formal presentations to Rotary Clubs and to the District Conference in Southport.

It was great to meet them all - they seem to be a well balanced team and are clearly looking forward to the next four weeks.

The team with organiser Rob Gray, DG Dave and Rtn Gail Ashley

West Bridgford Club - out in the community

On Saturday, members of the Rotary Club ofd West Bridgford were out at the Farmers Market in the town, publicising Roatary and in particular their club.   They had a stall - well actually they had the trailer made by Andy Voce from the Bingham Club, which looked really professional.  They were giving little "giveaways" to the children and talking to the parents.

They had a most professional looking A5 leaflet about the club which they pressed into the hands of anyone who would accept one.  Aquabox was also on the stall attractying some attention.

I went over about 11am to find them in full swing and several people chatting with the Rotarians who were on the stall at the time.

A colourful stall attracting the attention of the public
Well done West Bridgford.  Great to see you out there selling Rotary.

Thursday, 20 September 2012

37th Charter Anniversary celebrations - Southwell

Thursday 20th September saw me heading over to The Saracen's Head at Southwell for the 37th Charter Celebrations.   Southwell was chartered in 1975, some 37 years ago.   Incredibly the club still has seven active Rotarians who had been original founder members.    Five of them were present this evening.
With some seventy persons present, a little down on average numbers I was told, the atmosphere in the room was still jovial and light hearted.
After a traditional three course meal, the toast to Rotary International was admirably given by Vice President Harold Huxtable.   I responded to this toast and proposed the toast to the Rotary Club of Southwell.
The main speaker for the evening was Mr Peter Cook,  now a headteacher and previously a first class rugby player.  He entertained the audience, recounting his progression through the various stages of rugby, to being called up for England trials and then to becoming a headmaster.
The Club President, Peter Littlewood, was an absolutely excellent host throughout the evening, despite being somewhat under the weather with an inner ear infection.
My thanks to Peter and the Rotary Club of Southwell for their hospitality and their welcome and also to Rotarian David Harris, of my own club for driving me tonight.

Better Late than Never

Well now I know that someone is reading my blog, as I have just had an email to say that I hadn't published anything about my recent visit to the joint meeting of Wirksworth and Matlock Rotary Clubs - so I will put that right straight away with sincere apologies to all concerned!!

On Thursday, 13th September I went to the Walthan House Restaurant, in Wirksworth, where the two clubs were having a joint meeting.   David Soul from the Rotary Club of Belper and Duffield had been good enough to act as my driver for the night and we arrived in good time, to find the restaurant filling up nicely.  There were about forty persons present.

The President of the Wirksworth club, John Dolan was in the chair with the Matlock President, Peter Wigglesworth, playing a supporting role on this occasion.

During the course of the evening mention was made that the oldest known Rotarian in the UK, one Reg Dean, an honorary Rotarian was not able to be with us this evening.  He was feeling a little under the weather and decided not to turn out.    He is due to celebrate his 110th birthday later this year so I suppose he can be forgiven.

I am sure we would all want to wish him well and hope that he enjoys the birthday celebrations in a month or so.

After a really tasty meal and the usual club business I addressed the two clubs on the theme of "Peace Through Service."    Everyone present seemed to enjoy the talk - well at least no-one fell asleep.

l to right - AG John Shipman, Pres. Peter Wigglesworth, Matlock, DG Dave, President John Dolan, Wirksworth
Many thanks to everyone at Matlock and Wirksworth for the welcome I received and thanks also to David Soul for driving.     I am now looking forward to receiving an invitation to attend Reg's 110th birthday bash.

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Inspiring night at Wollaton Park 19th September

This evening saw me making my official visit to the Rotary Club of Wollaton Park.  This was the 48th club I have visited since I started as District Governor on 1st July and with just nine more clubs, plus my own, to see over coming weeks.

Gail accompanied me as driver tonight and we were both very warmly received and entertained by President Mike Lucas and the other members of Wollaton Park.

Apart from ourselves several other visitors were present including Rotarians Caroline and Derek Rossin from Newark Castle.   Caroline was receiving a cheque on behalf of Rainbows Hospice. (Rainbows Hospice, together with Bluebell Wood Hospice are the two charities that I have given my support to this year)  A fundraiser, Oliver, from the National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society collected cheques for a total of over £6,000  and a potential new member was also attending her first meeting at the club.

After a pork steak meal and bread and butter pudding (very tasty indeed) there was the presentation of cheques.  Prior to asking me to address the club, President Mike, asked for a one minute silence in respect for the two fallen policewomen from Greater Manchester who gave the ultimate "Service Above Self".  

I then talked about my attendance at the RI Assembly in San Diego and the Rotary International theme for 2012-13 - "Peace Through Service".

I would like to thank Gail for driving this evening and I would also like to thank President Mike and the members of the club for receiving us with such a spirit of true friendship.

Visit to Etwall and Hilton 18th September

I managed to spend some time on my allotment this morning  - planted some garlic - before preparing to visit the Rotary Club of Etwall and Hilton in the evening.

Etwall and Hilton were successful in recruiting about a dozen new members in the last Rotary year, many of them being quite young.   During the evening President Ron Buxton told me that he intended to use this year as a time for consolidation and making sure that their recently recruited members are fully consolidated into the club - whilst still having some potential new members in the wings waiting to join.

With about 20 members at the meeting the atmosphere was convivial and joyfull.  After a very tasty meal I addressed the club about this year's theme of "Peace Through Service" and presented the president with an origami crane as a sign of hope for peace and a letter from the International President Sakuji Tanaka.

I look forward to visiting the club again later in the year.

Members of The Rotary Club of Etwall and Hilton

President Ron with DG Dave

Monday, 17 September 2012

28th Charter Celebrations at Bretby

After a weekend free of Rotary activities (except letter writing, emails, telphone calls and reading papers) this evening, Monday 17th September, Gail and I travelled to Branston Golf and Country Club at Burton for the Charter celebrations of the Rotary Club of Bretby.

David Henson and his wife Elizabeth accompanied us to the meeting with David taking on the role of driver for the evening.   President Norman Carpenter greeted us as we arrived and made sure that we were all OK before attending to his other guests.     I marvel at how well Norman goes about his day to day business, coping so admirably with the disability of being almost blind.   I think his charming wife Clare must play a big part in this.

About 100 of us sat down for a beautifully prepared three course dinner after which there was a roll call of clubs and then various Rotary toasts.   

Following on from the formal part of the evening we were entertained by two young local musicians - Sam and Ed, jointly and aptly called "Salmon Head".  With sam on the guitar and Ed as the singer and alternatively playing a brass wind instrument (Saxhorn ??) they played for about 40 minutes and were warmly applauded, leaving the audience asking for more.   I had not seen these two local young men before, but keep your eyes open for them, they were very good.

Many thanks to President Norman, Clare and to the Rotary Club of Bretby for their company and for a fabulous night altogether.
Sam and Ed - "Salmon Head"

Myself and Gail enjoying the evening

Thursday, 13 September 2012

Visit to RC of Ravenshead and Blidworth 12th September

After the visit of the National President of Rotary, it was back to the routine of Club Visits this evening, with a trip over to the lovely village of Linby to meet up with the members of the Rotary Club of Ravenshead and Blidworth and their president, Gwilym Griffith.   The club meets later that most with an 8pm start and so a late finish.
The club meet at the Horse and Groom pub, also the home of the RC of Hucknall.   
After a very tasty meal I talked to the club about the theme for 2012/13 and also gave them an update of the visit by the RIBI President.   I presented the Club President with an origami crane and a letter from RI President Sakuji Tanaka.    A lively discussion followed, mainly about membership issues and how the club can best deliver service to its local community.   Thanks to Rtn Alan Snape for his thought provoking questions.
President Gwilym receiving his origami crane
Thanks to the club for the warmth of my welcome and fgor their hospitality.

President John's last day in the District 12th September

President John, his wife Sheila and myself, set off early for a visit to Barlow Primary School this morning.    We were greeted by Rtn Jill Bethell and othermebers of Drone Valley, who have been involved for some time with Barlow Primary School and were resonsible for introducing the DARE (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) programme into the school.  We watched as Senior DARE Officer, Kathy Cross delivered a short lesson to a class of year 6 students.  

Pres. John and I were able to talk individually to the children about the work they have been doing with the scheme.  Listening to them explain why they would make there decisions about their personal safety was most inspiring.

After leaving Barlow it was a quick trip over to Dronfield to Stonelow School, where President John and I handed out work books to a class of children who were about to undertake the Rotary Junior Community Award Programme, again sponsored by the Rotary Club of Drone Valley.   The children were discussing what aspects of Community work, of Social Experiences and of personal skills that they would be undertaking during the programme which culminates in summer 2013.

After the classroom visit, four of the children were allowed to take us on a tour of the outside facilities at the school, including a pond, allotments, soft fruit growing, a woodland walk with "hedgehog hotels" and lots more.

It was a really fascinating and interesting visit. 

Leaving Dronfield we headed south to Matlock Bath, where we had  an absolutely delightful lunch at The Heights of Abraham.  We were met at the Heights by Assistant Governor John Shipman, his wife Sue and The Head of marketing for The Heights of Abraham.   Hon. Rotarian Andrew Pugh, the owner of the Heights really wanted to be present for the visit but business commitments meant he could not join us.  Also present was President Peter Wigglesworth from the Matlock Club.

This engagement signalled the end of the visit by President John and his wife Sheila and they left us mid afternoon to drive to Stamford for the next stage of their duties. 

President John on the rescue seat

John Shipman, Peter Wigglesworth, Dave Ashley, Sheila and John Minhinick - with the Olympic Torch carving in the background.

Rotary Club of Matlock's Wishing Well
My sincere thanks to everyone who took part in the visit and helped to make it the success that it was.

A Hectic couple of days with National Rotary President

What a hectic few days.  The second day of the visit to District 1220 by the President of Rotary in Great Britain and Ireland, Rtn John Minhinick.  We started the day with an early morning visit to the Rotary Club of Long Eaton Dawnbreakers at Cafe Zing in Long Eaton, leaving Sheila and Gail to have a well earned lie in.    This was an informal visit and President John and myself were made very welcome by the Club President, Simon Davey and all those Rotarians present.
This is a very friendly club, that works really hard in the community. I can thoroughly recommend a visit to Dawnbreakers, as, if for nothing else, the bacon butties are superb !!  
Once Pres. John and I had said goodbye to Dawnbreakers it was straight back to Belper for a visit to Belper School and presentations on the mentoring scheme that is run within the school. Mr Rob Simms who works in the ACCESS centre at the school explained the scheme and its background. A number of Rotarians and wives act as mentors on a one to one basis for students at the school.    The results have been very positive and John was most impressed by the scheme.
After the school presentation we went over to the Edwinstowe area where we met Assistant Governor Michael Longdon who had arranged lunch for us.   We then had a little free time in Sherwood Forest.
In the afternoon we met up with The President of the Rotary Club of Matlock Rtn Paul Bacon, who, together with several other Rotarians showed us the "Berry Hill Project".  This project was aimed at getting the local community together in a very practical way to bring Berry Hill Park back to a presentable state, as it had fallen into a state of disrepair.   Local companies supplied labour and goods worth many thousands of pounds and local people turned out in their droves to help.
Thanks to Christine Bacon for the delicious cakes and to Yvonne Neville for joining us with Mike to entertain us.
We were able to see the park now in its (almost) full glory.    There is still ongoing maintenance work and some building work to be done.
In the evening we were all guests at a meeting of The Rotary Club of Mansfield.  Kirkby in Ashfield were also present in large numbers as well as representatives of a number of other clubs from the area.    After the meal a new member was inducted.   President John than gave his presentation to the clubs present, after which we were entertained by a young soprano singer, Lucy Kay, who had been supported by Mansfield.  
Just a final note, I was wrongly advised that in the bowls tournament, Nottingham had beaten Wirksworth in the final.   In fact Nottingham beat a team from The Vale of Belvoir.   Apologies to them for getting it wrong.

Monday, 10 September 2012

A Full Day for the RIBI President 10th September

Let's just start with an update on yesterday's District Bowl's match at Burton Joyce. In the final match of the day, Nottingham were the victors in a hard fought match against Wirkswoth, so congratulations to Nottingham and comiserations to Wirksworth.

Today has been really hectic.  Gail and I have accompanied the RIBI President, John Minhinick and his wife Sheila on the first full day of their visits across the District.    We started off at 10.15am at Hayward House Hospice, situated within the grounds of Nottingham City Hospit.   The Rotary Club of Bulwell and Basford have for some time now been maintaining the garden for the benefit of residents and visitors alike.  

It is a wonderfully peaceful spot and the management are really grateful for the work done by Rotarians.    This gratitude was admirably expressed by Dr Bisharat El Khoury, the consultant for the hospice who attended the ceremony.

President David Smith was present with a number of Rotarians whilst RIBI President John planted a tree in memory of a past resident at the hospice, Bill Oliver.  Members of Bill's family were present for the ceremony.  The local press was also present.

After the tree planting ceremony was completed, we travelled over to the Westminster Hotel, where Rts. David Pedlar, Noel Harrison and Mike Lucas gave a presentation on the District Business Initiative.  A number of members of Bulwell and Basford came along to hear what the project was all about.

 President John listened with great interest to the presentation and asked a number of questions afterwards.   I am sure he will be going back to RIBI with some interesting reports about what 1220 is doing to address the membership issue.

A very tasty, informal lunch with President David and members of Bulwell and Basford followed the presentation and many thanks for their generosity

The afternoon saw us getting a tram into the city where we went to the premises of Base51, a charity aimed at homeless young people in Nottingham, but one that provides, much, much more than just basic help to the homeless.    Rtn Damian Chapman took a delight in showing us their new premises.  These provide many opportunities for Nottingham's young people with a gym, a dance studio, recording studio, cafe area, quiet rooms, safe outdoor area and many more features.

Whilst we were there the President of the Rotary Club of Sherwood Sunrisers presented BASE51 with a cheque for £500 to help with their work.   He also handed over a dozen food parcels, one of the basic ways in which Base51 make initial contact with the city's young homeless.  Damian thanked the club and stressed how important their continued support was.

In the evening President John and Sheila were guests at a joint meeting of the Rotary Clubs of Belper & Duffield and Amber Valley.  President Graham Wright (B& D) chaired the meeting, which was also attended by rotarians from Amber Valley, Ripley, Alfreton and Hucknall.  After a tasty meal of either sea bass or chicken President John Addressed the meeting, concentrating his speech on the issue of falling membership which is a top priority for Clubs and Districts throughout RIBI.  John presented Graham with a "Peace through Service" bannerette as a souvenir of his visit.

PP David Harris gave the vote of thanks.

A very long day but very enjoyable.

Sunday, 9 September 2012

Bowls at Burton Joyce & RIBI President arrives

With no Rotary activities requiring my attendance I spent the day at home  doing "normal" things.    Sunday was a little different.       Today was the day for the annual District Bowls Tournament being held at the Burton Joyce Bowls Club.   I went along, not to play, but to give my support to the dozen teams that had entered.
On a really sunny, hot day, play was already well underway when I arrived about 11am and the first round continued till lunch when I had to leave in order to meet John Minhinick, the RIBI President and his wife Sheila, who were due to arrive later in the afternoon for a three day visit to the District.  There were clearly major differences in ability on display, but the one thing that stood out was the enjoyment everyone was having and the fellowship that was being enjoyed.
Many thanks go to Mike Storr, Rotary Club of Carlton who had organised the event.     I will report the result as soon as I know it.
John and Sheila arrived at our house about 5pm after a journey from Maidstone in Kent where they had been attending another Rotary event over the weekend.    Unfortunately for them they arrived more or less at the same time as our two youngest grandchildren who we were babysitting for an hour or so whilst mum and dad were out house hunting.    Chaotic doesn't describe it!!

Thursday, 6 September 2012

Carvery, cranes and conference 6th September

No blog yesterday readers, so apologies for that.  It was a fairly quiet day, with just a District Executive meeting in the evening.

Today has been a bit busier.   At 10am I met up with David Pedlar (Wollaton Park) at Derby University where we met with two members of staff to discuss the Rotary Business Initiative that the District is working on at present.    We spoke with Asia Alder their voluntary sector organiser and Peter Walker their Community Relations Officer.     We had a very fruitful discussion and came away with very positive vibes.

We shall be following it up at a later date with some firm proposals.    One positive result already was the offer of a stand at their Volunteering Fair in November - free of charge.

By 6pm I was on the road again, this time accompanied by Nick Blurton (Belper and Duffield) to the Rotary Club of Warsop, Shirebrook and District for my official visit.   This is a fair sized club with 36 members.  21 of them were present for this meeting.

They meet at the Hostess Restaurant at Sookholme, near Warsop and enjoy a very tasty carvery meal.   (The pie was delicious)    It is a very friendly club and Nick and I received a very warm welcome.

After the meal I talked to the club about the theme for 2012/13, "Peace Through Service" and about the relevance of the origami crane to that theme.    I presented President Roger Wright with a letter from the RI President and an origami crane as a reminder of the theme.

At the conclusion of my talk and at the earlier request of the President I talked about the District Conference.   Warsop, Shirebrook & District traditionally have a high proportion of their members attending the District Conference.   However they had decided that this year, for various very sound reasons they were not attending.

I explained how the Conference committee had decided to examine in detail every aspect of the conference and where we felt there was a need for change we had changed it.  I outlined a number of these changes.

Following my presentation we had a really useful, fruitful discussion about aspects of the conference, including the content, the registration cost, the cost of hotels and the venue.  I found the exchange stimulating and thought provoking and will take back many of these issues for further consideration in respect of future conferences.

My thanks to all at the Club for the warmth of their welcome, the full and frank exchange of views - and for the meat pie.

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Rotary Club of Kirkby in Ashfield 4th September

This evening I attended the Rotary Club of Kirkby in Ashfield. They met this evening at The Coxmoor Golf Club at Kirkby.   David Harris very kindly acted as my driver this evening, so many thanks to him for that.  Their normal venue, not being available to them tonight.

We were met at the club by President Frances Stein, who was extremely courteous and hospitable to us.  With 18 members present we sat down for a choice of meals. The fish and chips that I had were absolutely excellent.

I spoke to the club about the theme for 2012/13, "Peace through Service" and presented President Frances with an origami crane and a letter from RI President, Sakuji Tanaka.

The atmosphere in this club was great, just what a Rotary Club should be.  I would like to thanks all their members for making David and myself so welcome.

President Frances with DG Dave

First Charter of the year - What a cracker

As is traditional in District 1220, The Rotary Club of Alfreton was the first to celebrate the granting of its Charter - the 74th.    Held at the Riddings Community Hall and with a traditional roast pork dinner this fomal event was attended by over 70 Rotarians and guests including seven past District Governors.

After an excellent meal, the toast to Rotary International was given by Past District Governor George Curley of the Alfreton Club.   I responded to this toast, commenting upon the need to attract and retain new members if Rotary is to survive in these islands.  After the toast to the The Rotary Club of Alfreton, given by President Neil Greatorex of the Rotary Club of Clay Cross to which President Colin Fox eloquently responded we were royally entertained - and entertained is certainly the right word - by Sheila Dibnah, widow of the late and much loved Fred Dibnah.

Sheila recounted her life with Fred, his romantic and not so romantic side, his zest for life and his overall "likeability".  One story that had everyone rolling in the aisles concerned her bouquet when she married Fred.  Not a posy of flowers or anything resembling tradition - No for Fred and Sheila the bride's bopuquet was a two foot long double ended spanner, sprayed gold and with a decorative circle of artificial flowers to set it off.   The table decorations similarly were spanners with nuts and bolts for place names. 

The honeymoon, when it eventually arrived was a trip on a steam engine, to, of all places, Wigan Pier.    Life with Fred was clearly never dull!!

My thanks to Rotarian David Soul from the Rotary Club of Belper and Duffield for transporting me to and from the event and to President Graham Wright for acting as my unofficial photographer for the night.
Sheila showing us her "wedding bouquet" still adorned with plastic flowers.

President Clin clearly thinking about what the DG was saying.

Sunday, 2 September 2012

What a fantastic concert 1st September

Aquabox held their annual Open Day today, so Gail and I took the opportunity to call at their depot at Cromford for a look round.   The depot has been expanded considerably since the last time I visited and it now consists of four adjoining units.   The sight of several hundred filled boxes on the front of the units waiting for dispatch to various parts of the world was a very impressive sight.

Inside was a hive of activity, with volunteers putting together the filters upstairs in the workshop.       Downstairs other Aquabox volunteers were showing people around the facility.  Among the visitors at the time of my visit were the Chairman of Derbyshire County Council, Councillor George Wharmby and his wife, Councillor Jean Wharmby who both told me how impressed they were with what they had seen.

I also bumped into another visitor, who I had not seen for many, many  years, an ex colleague of mine from the Derbyshire Constabulary, Mr Bill Bishton.  Bill was always a larger than life character and now that he is in his eighties, he is still a larger than life character. 

Thanks to all the volunteers at Aquabox for the work they do, week on week, to ensure a ready supply of boxes to the various parts of the world that need them.

In the evening Gail and I accepted an invitation to a Charity Variety Show, being hosted by The Rotary Club of Long Eaton Dawnbreakers.   We were accompanied to the show, at the Duchess Theatre in Long Eaton by Rtns Alan Widdowson and Hilary Surga.

The event was arranged in conjunction with The Grand Order of Water Rats and was in aid of The Chatsworth Centre (which includes the Duchess Theatre) and the Water Rats charity.

On the bill were names including Bernie Clifton, comedian and entertainer, whose performances first with a six foot ostrich called Oswald, and then with a twelve foot blow up deep sea diver had the whole audience in absolute stitches.

The other performers were Simmons & Simmons (compares of the show), Kaplan Kaye and Bill Dare (The Ukaye Ukes),  David Capri (singer), Derek Martin (aka Charlie Slater in Eastenders), Scott Dee (Englebert Humperdinck tribute), Rtn Paul Hopkins (Roy Orbison tribute), Clive and Jean Moore (magicians) and Paul Squire (comedian).    

Also performing throughout the evening were "The Young Performers" a group of about 35 young people from the Long Eaton area and The Leonettes, the house band, led by their Musical Director, Leon Wade.

Many thanks to all the performers and those involved in the organisation.   A fantastic event and a great advert for Rotary.   Particular thanks to Rtn Simon Davey, President of Dawnbreakers, for all his hard work.

President Simon with the lady Mayor and consort