Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Visit to Bluebell Wood Hospice 27th November

Having a fairly quiet time Rotary wise this week.  Just one small but pleasant task to do today.  That was to deliver a number of cheques to Bluebell Wood Hospice.   Accompanied by Gail we arrived about 2.30pm and were met by Emma the new fund raiser for Derbyshire who showed us round the newly created areas on the first floor of the building that had been sponsored by Wilko.

Julie, Emma, myself and Gail at Bluebell Wood.
I presented Emma with a cheque for £750 raised at the District Conference and also with two smaller ones.   One from a joiunt meeting of Amber Valley, Ripley and Alfreton Clubs and a personal one from myself.

RIBI General Council 26th November

The third General Council of the year was held on Monday 26th November.  The main item on the agenda was that of Re-Districting.  There was a lengthy debate about this and at its conclusion a vote was taken as to whether to accept Version 3 of the Plan.    This was in fact almost unanimously accepted.

One other item of interest on the agenda was a presentation on the Public Awareness campaign that has been ongoing now since the start of the Rotary year,  This seems to be working quite well with a lot of interest being shown by the public and many enquiries being received about joining.

At the conclusion of the meeting the journey home from Alcester proved interesting as the A38 had been closed between Lichfield and the Toyota roundabout because of flooding.  The diversion onto the M42 and M1 was fine but very busy, meaning a three and a half hour journey to get home.

Saturday, 24 November 2012

West Bridgford Charter Night 21st November 2012

After the enjoyment of the joint meeting of Heanor and Ilkeston on Monday evening, it was back to the business side of things on the Tuesday with the District Exercutive meeting, held at The Novotel.    The usual agenda items, including of course an update on the re-districting and nothing out of the ordinary to report.

On Wednesday, 21st November I attended the Charter celebrations of the Rotary Club of West Bridgford, accompanied by Gail and Rotarians Nick Blurton (the driver for the night) and Graham Wright.

Traffic into and through Nottingham was pretty awful and so we arrived at the Country Cottage Hotel and Restaurant at Ruddington just after 7pm,but in time for pre-dinner drinks.

President George Golledge was an excellent host, with his wife, Sheila.  The main speaker for the evening was Judy Naake who was also excellent company.

Judy spoke about her experiences growing up in Nottingham and through to being the owner of the San Tropez fake tap company, enlightening us with her encounters with Tony Blair, the Beckhams and several other well known personalities.

Thanks to President George and all the members of the Club for inviting us this evening - even if you did manage to miss Gail and I off the roll call of clubs.

Gail and I

President George with the speaker, Judy Naake

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Joint Meeting - Heanor and Ilkeston 19th November

One of the quirk's of my diary this year saw me at the Charter Night of Ileston club on 17th and then doing my official visit tonight, 19th.   Tonight the venue was The Queen's Counsel on the Market Place at Ilkeston and with almost 40 members and guests present it was more or less a full house.

The Presidents of the two clubs, John Hill from Heanor and Mike Perry from Ilkeston jointly presided over the evening.   After a roast beef dinner and club notices etc I was asked to speak.   I delivered my usual talk about our theme for 2012/13, "Peace through Service" which I followed up by saying a few words to the two clubs about developing their respective membership bases for the future. 

Assistant Governor Roger Summers, also present, was asked to also say a few words which he gladly did.

The creation of two very worthy Paul Harris Fellows followed, with the honour being bestowed upon Rtn Alan Chambers and Rtn Carolyn Stone.  Alan was clearly surprised to see his three brothers joining the meeting just before the award was made and Carolyn was surprised that she was the reason for attendance by her daughter and other friends - not an award being made to anyone for services rendered at the District Conference recently.

Rtn Alan  and family with his Paul Harris Fellowship

Rtn Carolyn with her family and Lily Taylor-Ward
An excellent evening of Rotary Fellowship.  Thanks to all for making it happen.  Thanks to Rtn John Norris who was my driver for the evening.

Ilkeston Rotary Club - Charter Night 17th November

The Sacheveral Suite at Morley Hayes was the venue for the 90th anniversary Charter celebration by the Rotary Club of Ilkeston.  Gail and I had been invited to attend several months ago but unfortunately on the morning of 17th Gail was unwell, suffering from bronchitus and a chest infection.   A quick phone call however soon located someone to stand in and act as my consort for the evening, my eldest daughter Nicola.

We were picked up by Rtn David Henson and his wife, Elizabeth and arrived at Morley Hayes just in time for the celebrations.    Hilary Surga and Alan Widdowson also  from my club, Belper and Duffield were also there.

President Mike Perry proved to be a very gracious host, together with his wife Pauline.    All guests received a glass of wine on arrival and were enteratained by "Top Brass".

A n excellent choice of menus had been offered.  The food was delicious and was efficiently served.  After the meal President Elect Elaine Minighan proposed the toast to Rotary International to which I responded and then proposed the toast to the Rotary Club of Ilkeston.  President Mikle responded to this and then proposed the toast to the visitors and guests, to which the Mayeor of Erewash responed on behalf of the guests.

Following the formalities entertainment was provided by "Park Royal" who proved to be an excellent band, providing musical entertainment till midnight.

My daughter, Nicola

President Mike, wearing one of the "props" from his speech

Fellowship round the table
My thanks to President Mike and the Rotary Club of Ilkeston for the evening which was excellent.     My thanks also to David Henson for providing my transport.   

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Five new members inducted in middle of Night !!!

Well, not quite the middle of the night but it seemed like it to me.    I rose from a lovely warm bed at just after 5am (yes, that's five o'clock in the morning !!)  and got ready for the drive to The Deincourt Hotel at Newark for a meeting with a difference of the Rotary Club of Newark at 7am.

The difference was that this was a meeting of Newark's satellite members who were being inducted this morning.   President Peter Heard presided over the proceedings.

My first and most important task when I arrived was to find the coffee.  Once I had managed that everything else was plain sailing.    We had a relaxed buffet style breakfast, after which the business of the day started.

Also at the meeting were DGN Steve Lawes, AG Sandra Morrey and the President of the RC of Newark Castle, Rtn. Glen Foreman and well as a good number of members of the Newark Club.

The five new members (all much younger than average) are Rtn Clive Richards, Rtn Helen Van Ristell, Rtn Jane Overland, Rtn Sheila Roberts and Rtn Simon Glass.  (Apologies for any spelling errors in the names but it was VERY early.)

After Rtn Andy Foreman had read out the Objects of Rotary, impressively President Peter was able to launch into the induction ceremony word for word without any written notes, a safety net or a helmet.    The five new members were warmly welcomed into the Rotary Club of Newark and I was able to briefly welcome them to the wider world of Rotary, expressing the wish that they should all enjoy their Rotary involvement.      

Rtn Jane then chaired the remainder of the meeting whilst the satellite club members discussed various projects they were already organising.   These included bag packing at a local Marks and Spencer, in aid of "Sue's Place" a charity that supports children affected by family deaths or divorce, a "Pampering Evening" in the new years with a men's hairdresser
and ladies beautician giving treatments.  The third project they spoke briefly about was a possible driving day at the showground, with buses, fire engines and other large vehicles.

I wish the new satellite club every success and would congratulate President Peter and his Club for the foresight and enthusiasm to get it off the ground.        

A Day of meetings 13th November

After Belper & Duffield's Charter last night, it was back to more run of the mill fare today starting with a meeting with with Conference Director David pedlar at St. James' Place Wealth Management, Nottingham, the company that had provided sponsorship for the District Conference.      The purpose was a de-brief  to find out how it had been for both parties - the result of which was good on both sides and importantly to pick up a cheque for the remaining sponsorship, for which we were truly grateful.

Having dropped David back at his home I then went on to The Novotel for a meeting with the District Membership Officer and Assistant Governor Roger Summers, looking for ways to help clubs where membership is falling and the age profile is rising.   We had some useful discussions, but we will have to wait some time to see if the ideas bear fruit.

I spent the remainder of the afternoon earning a living before visiting my youngest daughter, Sarah and her family at Burton for the evening.

Rare Visit by DG to Belper & Duffield

Monday 12th November was the date of the 82nd Charter Anniversary Celebration of the Rotary Club of Blper and Duffield - my very own club .   It resulted in me making a rare appearance at the club, my responsibilities as the District Governor having kept me consistently away since the start of the year.

Just by way of a change I was was not driven to this charter dinner, in fact the roles were reversed and I acted as the chaffeur for Gail, the Club President Graham Wright and his wife Liz.

The Charter was held at The Derby Conference Centre, London Road, Derby and started at 7.30pm.    With just over 100 people present the room was comfortable and we all enjoyed a meal of caramelised onion and goats cheese tartlet,  braised steak and then a delicious dark chocolate and cointreau Truffle.

President Elect Hilary Surga proposed the toast to Rotary International, using her "Rotary Moment" as the basis for the thoughful toast.  I responded to this and proposed the toast the the Club, using the opportunity to publicly thank all the members for the assistance they have so readily given whilst I have been the DG.

President Graham proposed the toast to the visitors and guests, to which Rtn Marie Adams, President of the Rotary Club of Ripley responded.

Following the formalities at just before 10pm we had an hour or so enetertainment from a couple of talented musicians, Alan Morley and Hugh Stewart.

President Graham presented bouquets to my wife, Gail and to his wife, Liz, thanking them for their respective support. 

Rotary Club of Chesterfield Charter celebrations

The Ringwood Hall Hotel near Chesterfield was the venue for the 90th annual Charter Dinner of the Rotary Club of Chesterfield.     Gail and I arrived just after 7pm with John Horwood who was the designated driver for the night.  A glass of wine was provided to all guests on arrival.

We were piped into the Ringwood Suite for dinner at 7.30pm where we enjoyed an excellent five course dinner in charming surroundings.    At the end of the evening Gail and the other ladies on the top table were presented with beautiful bouquets by President Jim Haggarty, who was an excellent host and very good company thoroughout the evening.

After the usual speeches entertainment was provided by "Kick & Rush" a comedy skiffle group who played such instruments as a washboard, a frying pan, a broom stick and various others - oh and they had a guitar as well.

Congratulations to President Jim for such a good evening and my thanks to all who arranged it.   It was a great occassion to celebrate your 90th Birthday.

Thanks also to Gail and to John Horwood for accompanying me from Belper

Friday, 9 November 2012

District Foundation Seminar 8th November 2012

The annual District Foundation Seminar was held this evening at the Novotel in Long Eaton.    I'm not sure what the exact attendance was but there were very few spare seats so I would think there were over 120 there.

After a few words of welcome from me I handed Foundation Alumni badges to the GSE Team and the Team Leader David Hood from Wirksworth.  They will be going out to Nepal early next year.  The team members then each introduced themselves.

DGE Peter Moralee was not able to be at the Seminar as he is in Amsterdam for Governor Elect training, but his report was read out by Terry Leivers. In this report his recommended that annual giving to Foundation should be increased to £47 per year per Rotarian, bringing us closer to the RI recommended level of $100.

There followed short presentations about Ambassadorial Scholars and Peace Fellows before we moved on to the main business of the evening.  This was a presentation by Rt, Mick White from Church Wilne about the way that Foundation will operate under Future Vision, emphasising the actions that Clubs need to take in order to be able to access grants from Foundation.

As with any proposed change it provoked a lively exchange of views about the demise of GSE Teams, bureaucracy and the financing of Foundation.  Change is never easy - but sometimes it is essential for survival.

The meeting finished about 9.30pm

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Wollaton Park Charter

Having been off-line for a couple of days due to a line fault, I am now just catching up again.

On Tuesday, 6th November I attended the Thanksgiving Service following the sad death of Honorary Rotarian George Lowe (Rotary Club of Ripley) at Wood Street Chapel, Ripley.      George was a dearly loved member of the Rotary Club and a member of that church.  The service was led by a friend of George, Rotarian The Reverend Mike Redshaw of the Rotary Club of West Ashfield.    Rotarian Bob Smyth from the Rotary Club of Ripley gave the tribute to George.

George celebrated his 100th birthday earlier this year with a total of seven parties - all of which I am told he thoroughly enjoyed.     He will be sadly missed by all who knew him.

At 5.30pm I attended a Leadership Development Training meeting at The Novotel, chaired by John Barker from Newark Castle.  Also present were Peter Moralee, Steve Lawes and David Pedlar and Gail.  We sorted out a programme and arrangements for next year's District Officer Planning Seminars and also the Presidents' Elect Planning Seminar.  (These things don't happen on their own you know)  We made a few changes from this year, based upon feedback from delegates at this years events.

Following straight on from this (no time for tea.) was the District Team Meeting.   This was very well attended with 24 people sitting round the table.   We just managed to squeeze into the room.      President Ian Young from Hucknall gave a short presentation on the value of using Social Media for promoting District Events,

Various reports were presented to the meeting and in addition I gave a short presenatation on the present Re-Districting proposals.     More about these will be circulated to clubs over the weekend.

The meeting ended at 9.15pm when Gail and I drove back to Belper for a bite to eat before bed.

The following day saw me up quite early getting ready to attend the Volunteering Fair at Derby University where we had a stall to promnote Rotary.    I was joined by a very willing volunteer, Rtn Laura Harmer who worked really hard - bearing in mind she did not finish her night shift till 5am - that's service above self for you.

There was a steady throughflow of people in the Atrium but we were never run off our feet so to speak.

Next to us was The Rotary Club of Derby trying to drum up interest in The Rotaract Club of Derby and doing quite well itseemed.

The Fair finished at 3pm and I was able to get home and changed just in time to be picked up and taken to the Rotary Club of Wollaton Park Charter Celebration at The Village Hotel in Chilwell.  There were over 100 people in attendance and the atmoshere in the room was great.

After a very tasty meal and the usual toasts, excellent entertainment was provided by "Victory Belle" who sang and danced till about 11.30pm when the evening was closed by the Club President Mike Lucas, who had been accompanied by his wife Daphne.   The ladies on the top table were presented with flowers.   Gail was really pleased with the arrangement she was given.

Thanks to Laura for her hard work at the fair, to Peter Shepherd for acting as my driver for the Charter Night and for Gail for accompanying me again.

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Rotary Club of Bretby

The morning of 5th November found me attending A Service of Thanksgiving for the life of Rotarian Geoff Lambert of the Rotary Club of Derby Mercia.   Geoff passed away on 16th October.     The service took place at St. Alkmund's Church, Duffield to a packed church.   In his tribute to Geoff Mr Michael Pinder made reference to Geoff's service to Rotary.

Our thought are with his family at this sad time.

This evening saw me visiting the Rotary Club of Bretby for my official visit.  President Norman Carpenter was an excellent host and I and my driver Rtn Peter Shepherd were made very welcome by the whole club.    I talked to the club about the theme for this year, Peace Through Service and presented Pres. Norman with an origami crane and a letter from the RI President Sakuji Tanaka, which Secretary John Carr read out to the members.

It was great to meet and chat with Peter Easy, the club's latest recruit, who joined only about three weeks ago.

The club certainly know how to fill an evening's meeting.  As well as my talk they managed to pull in a very nice two course meal with time for fellowship, the normal business of the night, a Special AGM to elect new members etc and the to top it off had their various committee meetings as well.   Congratulations to Pres. Norman for managing the meeting so well and for the members for getting on with the job.

President Norman with his team

A committee hard at work
My thanks to all at the club and to Peter Shepherd for acting as my driver for the night.

Sunday, 4 November 2012

A Busy Weekend

Quite a few varied activities over the weekend.  The usual stack of emails to respond to on Saturday, particularly as they had built up a little.

Saturday evening was something different for Gail and I - a new experience - we drove over to Beeston to join the members of Beeston Rotary Club at their "Flat Caps and Ferrets" social evening.  Having never been to such an event before, but following the suggestion of fancy dress I donned my flat cap and other suitable attire for a night with ferrets (I think suitable attire means having your trousers legs fastened to stop an "intrusion" that you may not want !!)

Just in case any of you have never been to such an event either I won't spoil the surprise in case you too get such an invite.   What I can tell you is it was a really good laugh.    Seeing (elderly) Rotarians and others, both male an female stretched out on the floor blowing kisses down a drainpipe is not something you see every day.   (When the photos arrive I will put one or two on the blog)

Needless to say we didn't come away from this evening of betting on ferret racing any better off than we came away from the horse racing earlier this year.

A brilliant night - well recommended for a social fund raising event.  See

Thanks to President Trevor and to PP Simon Holmes for organising it.

Sunday was somewhat different as well - once again something I had never done before and I suspect you have not done either.    I attended the 110th birthday celebrations of Hon. Rotarian Reg Dean from the Rotary Club of Wirksworth.

Reg had received a card from Her Majesty The Queen (he now has a large collection of these)  a card from Ian Duncan Smith, MP., a large framed certificate of service to Wirksworth from the Town Council, a letter from our own Sakuji Tanaka, the RI President as well as many cards and presents.

During the morning Reg had been inundated with the press and media and had The Dalesmen male Voice Choir singing outside his window.  He was therefore understandably somewhat tired when I arrived with Norman Laud from the Wirksworth Club, nevertheless he was pleased to see us.  We stayed just a few minutes so as not to tire him further.

Reg is clearly a very well respected and much loved resident at his home and in the local community and I am sure you would all join with me in wishing him well for the future.

During the rest of the day I managed to pull in a meeting with the President of my own Club, Belper to talk about our forthcoming Charter Night on 12th November and I also managed to book Gail and myself into the International Convention at Lisbon in June next year - and you thought Conference was expensive!!"

It is a busy week coming up but I will do my best to update the blog daily for all my avid readers.   Do think about posting a comment on it some time readers.

"Police" themed Charter Night at Mansfield.

After spending  Friday resting (well, almost resting - spent most of the day on the computer) Gail and I felt well enough to go to the Charter Night celebrations with Mansfield Rotary Club at the invitation of President Paul Bacon.

Paul's vocation is "Criminal Lawyer" (I always have a smile at that phrase for some reason !!).  I was a Police Officer and the speaker, Alfie Moore, is a Police Officer with Humberside Police so the evening took on a bit of a policing theme.

This was added to when it was announced that one of the President's personal guests was also a police officer.  This was Diederik Coetzee a former South African Police Officer who several years ago decided to come to England and join Nottinghamshire Police.   He soon notched up the record for the most arrests by a police officer in a single year - 366 in 2005 and 406 in 2006 - when the national average was under ten.

Sadly some time ago Diederik was the victim of a serious hit and run, which left him partially sighted and with debilitating injuries from which he is still recovering.

President Paul presented Diederik with the award of a Paul Harris Fellowship and I have to say it is one of the most deserving awards I have personally come across.

The event was a great success and a sell out with 147 guests and Mansfield having to reluctantly turn people away - so not all Charters are in danger (See my October Newsletter).    

The official chauffeur for the evening was Rotarian John Scotney from the Belper and Duffield Club, so thanks to him, not just for taking us but for risking catching whatever Gail and I had been suffering with as well.

Thanks also to President Paul and all the members of Mansfield for such an enjoyable evening.

Beeston Charter Night

On Monday 29th October Rtn John Norreys picked me up and we went to the Novotel at Long Eaton for the Charter Celebrations of The Rotary Club of Beeston.   I joined  President Trevor Martin and his other guests for a drinks reception before the meal.  From the start of the evening I was feeling a little unwell but was determined to see the evening out.

The Novotel's service and the quality of the meal was very good.  I enjoyed my chicken liver parfait followed by pork, with Apple tart for afters.

Nick Doughty the Club Secretary did the roll call of clubs and Chris Elkin gave greetings on behalf of all visiting clubs.

The Club's President Elect, David Biggs proposed the toast the Rotary International, to which I responded bringing greetings from the RI President Sakuji Tanaka.     I then proposed the toast to the Rotary Club of Beeston which was now celebrating the 73rd anniversary of the grant of its charter.

There were no major speakers during the evening, instead after the break some extremely pleasant entertainment was provided by a group of four musicians called "Formosa"  two of whom played during the meal. Unfortunately as the evening went on my feeling of being unwell developed and I had to leave early.  Not even a hot toddy supplied by the hotel manager had the desired effect, which was a great shame as the format for the latter part of the evening was a very informal one with fellowship between Rotarians and guests being the order of the day.

A good night's sleep should hopefully bring me back to my normal state of health.

Thanks to all at Beeston for my invitation and the welcome  I received.  Thanks also to John Norreys for taking me and for leaving early to take me home.

International Projects Fair - Good News and Bad News

I had no particular Rotary engagements on 30th and 31st October so spent the time engaged in trying to shake off the stomach bug from which I had bbeen suffering and doing so work.    I also tried to catch up with Rotary paperwork which seems to be never ending.   I did manage to get my monthly newsletter out as well as a letter to Clubs about the re-Districting proposals.

Thursday 1st November was a big day for Gail.   She had been planning and organising the District International Project Fair and Dinner for several months and today was the day.    Unfortunatelt neither of us was feeling too well and our persistent stomach bug was not going away.   Regardless of this we carried on, did the last minute preparations and made sure we had everything ready so that the event could go off like clockwork.

Well apparently it did just that, but without either Gail or I being present.  As the day wore on the stomach problems got worse to the extent that by 6pm we were both on our last legs and realised there was no way we could stay for the dinner and fair.   So having set it all up, we drove back to Belper from Long Eaton and crawled into bed for 7pm, not getting up till almost 9am the following morning, when fortunately we we feeling much better, if not fully recovered.

The phone and email were hot with calls about the event which according to all accounts was very successful.   Gail and I were both gutted that we could not be there, but at least those individuals who stood in at the last minute did us proud.     I don't intent to name them as I am sure I would miss someone out.   BUT many thanks from myself and Gail.    Apparently there was a call for her to do it again next year.       Maybe ???