Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Mr Mans - venue for Trent Bridge Charter 18th June

This evening the 22nd Charter celebrations of the Rotary Club of Trent Bridge were held at Mr Mans at Wollaton, Nottingham - the same venue they have always used for their Charter night.

Rtn Stuart Limb from Belper and Duffield was my driver tonight and unusually I was without Gail who was getting everything ready for an early start tomorrow to Lisbon for the RI Convention.

With about 100 people in attendance the atmosphere was happy and vibrant.  The food was of an excellent quality and in copious amounts.    The Club President Rick Bassett was an excellent host and the informality of having round tables added to the occasion.

The main speaker of the night was a Humberside Police Sergeant who is taking an extended sabbatical from his job to explore the opportunity of becoming a stand up comedian.  He rounded the night off in excellent fashion with some tales from his home town of Scunthorpe and from his time in the police.

Thanks to all who were involved in this evening's event.

No blogs for a week now till I return from Lisbon on 26th June.

Monday, 17 June 2013

Inner Wheel and Rotary - Joint Thanksgiving Service

Sunday 16th June was the day set for the joint Inner Wheel and Rotary Thanksgiving Service, which was held at All Saints Church in Ripley.   I chose that church because of my personal connections with it over a great many years, from being a chorister and a bell-ringer there as a lad, to my daughter Sarah getting married there a few years ago.

Before we set off, my sister Jen, who as a lay-reader at the church, was involve din the service, rang me to say that when they had turned the organ on for the morning service there had been a distinct smell of burning and smoke was seen rising from it.     Not really a problem as they had a smaller electric  keyboard that would do the job.

On arrival at the church about 1pm to get everything set up, we were greeted by men in overalls from the electricity company who declared that they would have to turn off all the power to the church whilst they dug a big hole in the road outside to investigate the problem with the organ - which it subsequently transpired they had caused. 

So off went the power.   No organ, no electric keyboard, no lighting, no heating, no way of boiling a kettle for refreshments.  After a very quick get together we put Plan B into place - nip over the road for plastic cups and orange juice.    Job sorted.

Fortunately half an hour before the service started the power was restored.   Back to Plan A.

My sister Jen and Rotarian Michael Longdon took the service.   Ann Cottee and I read the two lessons.    It was a really nice and well planned service.   The Inner Wheel choir sang beautifully.   Afterwards the congregation enjoyed tea or coffee and home made cakes - courtesy of Gail and some friends inside and out of Rotary.    Many compliments were passed about the cakes and offers for Gail to move in with a couple of Rotarians were made and politely declined.

During the service there was a collection, the proceeds of which are being split equally between Bluebell Wood Hospice and Rainbows Hospice.    This raised a few pence short of £300.

I would like to express my thanks to everyone concerned with the planning and organisation of the service, preparing and printing the service sheets and for taking part in the service.     My thanks also to those Rotarians and members of Inner Wheel who attended and enjoyed the fellowship which was forthcoming.

My only disappointment is that so few Rotarians attended.  I appreciate that it was father's day and I take that into account. Unfortunately 16th June was the only Sunday when both the Church, myself and Anne Cottee the Chairman of Inner Wheel were all available.  Nevertheless the attendance for a District wide event was extremely low.   Perhaps something we need to address for next year.

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Great night at hassop Hall 11th June 2013.

Just before Rtn Peter James was due to collect Gail and myself from home to take us to the Charter celebrations of the Rotary Club of Hope Valley, I received a call from IPDG Gordon telling me that owing to a serious road traffic accident at Darley Dale, the main A6 road was closed.

A quick check of the road atlas suggested a diversionary route through Via Gellia, which we duly took.    It was a very pleasant, if somewhat cold evening and ideal for a drive through the Derbyshire countryside.  We arrived at Hassop Hall, north of Bakewell at just 7pm.

We were warmly greeted by President Allen Hutchinson and his wife Christine.   With aperitifs and canapes served on arrival, we certainly felt welcome.

With 98 persons present for the evening, the main hall was full but not crowded in this magnificent building.  The food was excellent and this was followed by musical entertainment by two students from Hope Valley College.  Hazel aged 15 years and Giacomo aged 14 years performed a total of eight songs, in a wide variety of styles.   The quality of their voices was outstanding and they received very richly deserved applause at the end of their performance.

Following the entertainment was the more formal side of  the event.   President Allen outlined some of the things that Hope Valley are involved in and talked about the pleasure of being a Club President and how busy it was.  He presented flowers to Gail and to his wife at the end of the evening, before wishing everyone a safe journey home.

Many thanks to Allen & Christine and the Hope Valley team for such a wonderful evening.  Thanks also to Peter James for acting as our chauffeur for the evening.

Monday, 10 June 2013

A Great Rotary Day 10th June 2013

The day started with a lunchtime visit to the Interact Club of Pingle School, Swadlincote.     This club was formed only a matter of four or five weeks ago.   The Club President, Seb Coe, suffers from Autism, but he is making a fantastic job of presiding over the club, which already has over 25 members.

At the club I met Colin Gel, The local Assistant Governor, Terry de la Fuente, Rtns Kim and Rob Coe and Rtn Pat Murray.     I believe I am right in saying that Kim and Rob who only joined Rotary this year were the drivers behind the creation of the Interact Club.

I was asked to give a short presentation on Rotary which of course I was delighted to do, involving Colin in the talk as well.

President Seb recognised one of the Club's members who had only the previous day been given an award at the local, Burton & District, Children of Courage Awards.   He also  made a number of announcements about the forthcoming activities of the club including a forthcoming litter pick, a meeting of their Charter and Charities Committee and several other things.  It was clear that the youngsters enjoyed what they were doing and that with experience the club will become more and more successful.

My congratulations to everyone who have been concerned in its creation.

After a bit of time off in the afternoon, when I took the opportunity to write a speech for my visit tomorrow to the Charter Night of the Rotary Club of Hope Valley, it was off to my own Club for their normal weekly meeting.   It turned out to be more than just interesting.

At the start of the meeting the Club President, Graham Wright introduced visitors to the Club.  They were Andrea Fox, a regular visitor to the Club, Rotarian Bill Monks, who although he lives in Belper is a member of a Rotary Club in the Solomon Islands where he works and Terry Harris-Ellis, the son in law of Rtn David Harris.  Terry was our speaker for the night.

After a delicious meal we came on to the business part of the meeting.   The programme had to be adjusted to accommodate the early leaving of Rtn David Henson.   The reason the programme had to be adjusted was that David was to receive a Paul Harris Fellowship.   David has been a really active Rotarian since he joined in 1996 and has served as the Club Treasurer for a number of years.  Last year David took on the role of District Conference Treasurer at my request, a job he did to perfection.

Also surprised by the award of a Paul Harris Fellowship was Andrea Fox, who had been invited on the pretext that we had a number of visitors and would she like to join them.    Andre set up the Drop Inn  for youngsters in Belper about 13 years ago and has been involved in its management ever since that time.   The Drop Inn are currently offering training facilities for youngsters who have been excluded from school on multiple occasions and are considered by the Authorities to be "uneducatable".  Andrea is proving them wrong.

One of the proudest moments of my year as the District Governor, involved not me, but my wife Gail, who has been at my side throughout the year.  She was equally surprised to receive the award of a Paul Harris Fellowship for the work she has done at the club and within the District over recent years.   Gail, for once was lost for words and was overcome by emotion by the occasion.    It was only when she had received the award that she realised why our daughter Sarah had appeared at the meeting moments beforehand.

The next item of business was my thanks to all the club for the tremendous support they have given me during the year.  I said that I had initially planned to present the club with an item of equipment, but had gone off that idea as really the club had all the equipment it needed.    As a result I had had manufactured a set of bone china mugs printed with the names of all the club members, the Rotary logo and a message from me.    I handed one to each member present.  President Graham thanked me for the work I had done as DG.

The last item on the agenda was the drawing of the raffle.  Pres. Graham asked our visitor Bill to make the draw, which he did.   Unfortunately the drawn ticket was not held by anyone present, so Andre drew a second one - with the result that Rtn Bill Monks went away with the bottle of wine.

It was a great day - one of those days that makes you realise why you are in Rotary.  Thanks to all concerned.

PHF Recipients with Bill Monks, President Graham and me.

Sunday, 9 June 2013

End of Year Party for District Team and Belper/Duffield Club.

Gail and I have just returned home after a hectic day putting on a bit of a bash for all the District Officers, members of the District Team and members of my own Club, Belper and Duffield.    The afternoon drinks and tea party was our thank you to everyone who has contributed to making the year so enjoyable and hopefully successful for both of us.

Whilst only one person each year can be the District Governor, there needs to be a large and active team behind him or her.    Every member of that team this year has been enthusiastic and more than willing to play their part to the full.   I thank each and every one of them for their contribution.  

I have consciously not singled any particular person out for praise in this respect, but there is one person who has been at my side (or occasionally behind me) all the way.  That person is Gail.  I perhaps do not always thank her enough but I hope this note in some way balances things up a little.

We held the party at the home of our daughter Sarah, simply because she has a bit more space than we do.   So thanks also to her and her family for that.   Fortunately the weather has been very kind to us and most people spent the afternoon in the sunshine, with a few preferring the conservatory.

I have to say that Gail laid on a great spread and thanks to all the ladies who helped out and washed what seemed like an endless supply of dirty crockery.

Thanks to everyone who came - Gail and I thoroughly enjoyed all your company.

Friday, 7 June 2013

Ashbourne Charter Night 6th June

After a couple of days with just the odd mundane meeting - Strategy Group on 4th and Football Tournament on 6th - this evening we went over to Ashbourne for the 65th Charter celebrations of The Rotary Club of Ashbourne.   Our driver, provided by my own Club of Belper and Duffield was PP Paul Taylor and his wife Hazel.   Nick and Ann Blurton from Belper also attended.

We were greeted in the car park of the Ashbourne Golf Club by the club President, Chris Hornblower who looked after us admirably for the evening.    This was the first visit by Gail and I to The Gold Club at Ashbourne and we found it to be a great venue in a delightful setting.   Our meals were well prepared and courteously served by the staff who were most attentive.

After the meal we went on to the traditional format for a Charter.  Following that we were entertained by an accapella singing group called "Yesteryear"   They consisted of a dozen gents who performed a wide variety of songs.   An old friend of mine from my police days, Len Matthews, held the whole thing together and kept the audience amused with an even wider variety of jokes.

My thanks to President Chris and all the members of Ashbourne and to Paul and Hazel for taking on the role of driver.

Thursday, 6 June 2013

Folk Evening at Youlgreave 1st June

Now into my last month as the District Governor and the event this evening, a Folk Evening in the Village Hall at Youlgreave was an event that had been organised as part of a Caravan Rally arranged by the International Caravanning Fellowship of Rotarians, of which I am a member.  Gail of course joined me for the evening.

In fact I have thought of attending this rally but in the end could not manage it with my other commitments.   The actual evening had been organised by Rtn Terry Fox, Rotary Club of Matlock.   The evening, which cost the princely sum of just £12 consisted of a folk concert to start with, followed by a supper of homemade pie and peas.   After the break and the drawing of the usual raffle (in which Gail won two prizes !!) there was a traditional barn dance style dance.   This was great fun and everyone took part in the dancing.

Unfortunately quite a number of those present - all the caravanners - had to leave shortly before 11pm as the site on which they were staying closed its gates at 11pm and if they had not got back they would be locked out.

Assistant Governor John Shipman and his lovely wife Sue were present for the evening and John took a shine to my dancing shoes.    Comments on a post card please.

Speaker Evening at Dronfield 28th May

With the number of my official engagements reducing quite a lot nor I took the opportunity to attend a Speaker Evening at The Rotary Club of Dronfield, at the invitation of their President Michael Whetton.  There were almost forty people present and the speaker was a gentleman called Doug Bradbury.

Doug is a Farrier by trade and lives in Clay Cross.  He is a highly skilled Farrier and has become a Fellow of the Worshipful Company of Master Farriers.  He has also been granted the Freedom of the City of London.   He started his enlightening talk with an explanation of a display of many different horse shoes and other tools of the trade so to speak.

He then went on to talk about some of his exploits over the last forty - fifty years whilst in the trade.   At the conclusion of his talk he answered many questions from the floor.  He had really caught the imagination of those present.   I found his talk extremely information and really entertaining.    This gentleman is well worth inviting to your club.   He owns a private museum in Clay Cross that I fully intend to visit in the next few months.

I am really pleased I attended and my thanks to President Michael and the Rotary Club of Dronfield for inviting me.

Thursday, 23 May 2013

District Executive Meeting 23rd May

Tonight we held the last District Executive meeting of the Rotary year at The Novotel, Long Eaton.  As well as the executive team for this year we also welcomed the 2013/14 team many of who were the same, but with just one or two changes.

Various matters were raised and discussed and they will go forward for inclusion on the agenda for the District Council Meeting on 13th June.

West Bridgford supporting Diveable 22nd May

The weekly meeting of the Rotary Club of West Bridgford tonight had been allocated by President George as a special evening.   I accepted his invitation to attend and in fact acted as chauffeur to the main speaker for the evening, Miles Hilton-Barber.    Miles is a blind adventurer who devotes his life to raising awareness of blindness.

His philosophy in life is that the only thing stopping anyone from doing anything is the boundaries they set for themselves.  Miles gave a most inspirational speech highlighting how he wasted the first thirty years of his life thinking that because he was blind he could not do the things he might like to do.   It was only when he realised that being blind should not stop you experiencing the things that you want to experience that his life opened up for him.

Since that time he has climbed mountains, he has run marathons in the heat of the desert, he has walked across the Antarctic, he has set numerous world records for flying various types of aeroplane including flying a microlight plane from England to Australia.

I have heard Miles speak on a couple of previous occasions and this event matched my expectations and exceeded them.

The evening was organised to raise awareness of  the charity Diveable, which is run by West Bridgford Rotarian Darren Brookes.  Darren was presented with cheques from the club and from the Round Table (sadly representing the monies it had left when the club closed down recently).    Diveable gives facilities to people with disabilities to experience Scuba Diving.      In accepting the donations Darren spoke about a young woman who suffers badly with rheumatism, but when she is under water and the weight of her body is taken away - the pain goes away as well.

Miles also accepted an invitation from Darren to become a Patron of the charity.

I thoroughly enjoyed the evening and wish Miles and Diveable every success for the future.

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Early morning visit to Sherwood Sunrisers 21st may 2013.

I wanted to make a further visit to Sherwood Sunrisers Club before the end of my term as the District Governor, particularly to say a public thank you to their President, Kevin Brown.    Kevin managed to walk all the four days of the Hospice to Hospice Walk, 70 miles in total, despite having an injury to his knee, from which he is still suffering.  The fact that I had a business appointment in Nottingham at 9am made this the ideal day.

I arrived at the venue just in time for the 7am start and was immediately shown where the coffee pot was.   Just what the doctor ordered.     It was great to meet up with some old friends (old in the sense that I have known them a long time!) again and see what the club was up to.   Judging by the amount of activities discussed in the next hour and a half it seems they are a very busy club.

I thoroughly enjoyed my visit and will do my best to keep in touch when my year as DG ends in 40 days time.

A visit to my own club 20th May

Monday 20th May saw me and Gail both able to attend a meeting of our own club, Belper and Duffield.   In the absence of the President and the President Elect, the Immediate Past President, martin Drake chaired the evening. 

The atmosphere in the room was its usual jovial self, with lots of friendly banter.   It was our normal meeting and Noel Harrison, the District Membership officer was the speaker for the evening.   His talk reminded us that we do need to keep regenerating ourselves as a club if Rotary is to survive and flourish.    He explained to the club the various options now available to us to enhance our membership and grow the club.

Although I was well aware of all that Noel had to say, I found his talk interesting and a useful new members to be regularly introduced to the club.   As the Membership officer for 2013/14 I hope to make best use of the information Noel put before us.

Thursday, 16 May 2013

Bakewell's Charter celebrations at Hassop Hall.

In the spendour of Hassop Hall, the Rotray Club of Bakewell held their 36th Charter celebrations.  Unfortunately the weather was quite cold so the opportunity for canapes on the lawns did not arise.    Graham Wright and his wife Elizabeth acted as our chauffeur  this evening and we arrived in plenty of time.

On arrival we were greeted by President Richard Carter who was an absolutely splendid host, looking after our every need.   His wife Sue was equally gracious and Gail and I thoroughly enjoyed the company of the top table guests throughout the evening.   As he opened the meeting President Richard explained that all the cloth napkins had been folded into the shape of an origami crane to remind everyone present of the theme for this year, "Peace through Service".

The speaker for the evening was a solicitor called Dave Daycock, who was witty and gritty, relating many funny stories, mainly about his time in charge of the legal department at Cardiff local authority.  Dave has written a book of his exploits, entitled, "Gone for a Burton."

At the end of the evening Richard presented Gail and Sue with beautiful bouquets before closing proceedings just before 11pm.

It was also great this evening to have a strong contingent from my own club in attendance.  As well as Graham and Elizabeth there was also Rtn David Henson and his wife, also Elizabeth, Rtn Paul Taylor and his wife Hazel.   (Paul has arranged all my transport to Charters and official Club visits throughout my year as DG for which I am really grateful.)

Many thanks to President Richard and to all at Bakewell for a memorable Charter.

Napkin folded into shape as an origami crane

President Richard

Assistant Governor John Shipman explaining all the mundane details to IPDG Gordon !!

Monday, 13 May 2013

Friendship Exchange Team from Canada 12th May

The District has been hosting a Friendship Exchange Team from Canada for the last week or so.  They have been staying with members of Drone Valley / Hope Valley and Retford.    This evening they were having a barbecue at the home of Jane and Keith Jones.    Unfortunately the weather was pretty English with very cold temperatures and rain.   However, that did not stop the barbecue from taking place and in true English style, wrapped up against the elements it went ahead.

Gail and I joined them for the evening and enjoyed the friendship of the whole group.   It was interesting to hear how the Canadians, who normally withstand -40 degree temperatures in their winters were really feeling the cold.

At the end of the evening banners and gifts were presented.   I presented a District 1220 banner for handing on to The District Governor, Kevin Hilgers.  I received a banner and small gift in return.

Big Breakfast with Dawnbreakers 11th May

Long Eaton Dawnbreakers had organised their Big Breakfast this morning at The Methodist Chapel, Dale Abbey and I took the family along to join in.    With Gail and I we had our two daughters Sarah and Nicola, Nicola's husband Chris and their two daughters Maddie and Francesca,   Unfortunately Sarah's husband was working so couldn't join us.

The Big Breakfast is a great idea, bringing everyone together in a very informal manner and enjoying a home cooked meal.    We had all the trimmings, with croissants, toast and jam and of course a full English.

I understand the club served meals to about 130 people - Lets do it again next year.

Chef's at work

Family enjoying breakfast

Thursday, 9 May 2013

Castle Donington Charter Celebrations 9th May

With a conflict between two commitments tonight I decided to choose the Rotary Club of Castle Donington over the District Team Meeting.    (My thanks to DGE Peter for chairing that one for me.)

With two Presidents, Sukh Atwal and Patrick Parkes, it was a busy top table at The Novotel and I was sitting next to the Speaker, Mr Graham Keale, a showbiz journalist.   We had some fascinating chats during the course of the evening.

After a tasty meal of Sea Bass, there was a traditional Roll Call of Clubs present followed by the normal toasts.   During his speech President Sukh bestowed upon Rtn Chris Elston a Paul Harris Fellowship, an honour that seemed to go down very well with the club members present.  Congratulations to Chris on this achievement.

Graham then spoke about some of the stars of show business that he has interviewed over the last 39 years.  Co-incidentally he started work as a journalist the same year that Castle Donington received its Charter, 1974.   His talk was humorous and interesting, filled with snippets about well known household names.

During his speech President Patrick presented Gail with a bouquet of flowers.

Thanks to Patrick and Sukh for making the evening so enjoyable.   Just a few charters left during this year now.

President Sukh Speaking

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Bulwell & Basford Charter 8th May

Gail and I spent a delightful evening in the company of the President of The Rotary Club of Bulwell and Basford, David Smith, his wife Ruth, the speaker Tim Reddish and his wife, Val.   This was B & B's 51st Charter anniversary and was what may be described as a traditional charter.

With about 75 Rotarians and guests present at Woodborough Hall, the evening went very well.    The meal of Roast Spring Lamb was truly delicious and well presented.

After the meal, roll call and break it was on to the business of the evening.    I responded to the toast to RI and proposed the toast to the Rotary Club of Bulwell and Basford.   Following this I was asked to present Paul Harris Fellowships to two truly deserving club members, Arthur Pask with 35 years Rotary service and Keith Bentley the present club Treasurer.

The main speaker was Tim Reddish, a local man who grew up in Nottingham.  He is the Chairman of the British Paralympic Association.  Tim became blind as a young man but decided that this would not stop him from doing whatever he wanted to do. He recalled receiving a grant from the Rotary Club of Bulwell and Basford towards the cost of his sporting activities.   He went on to excel at Swimming and has won medals, including gold at several Paralympics.  His speech was entertaining and inspiring - a pleasure to listen to.

Arthur andKeith with their PHF certificates

Back to normality 6th May

Spent the day counting sponsorship money, answering hundreds of emails and generally trying (unsuccessfully) to catch up with myself.

In the evening, having managed to put on the lightest pair of shoes I could find, I went off to Ilkeston to present the award for the winning Rotary Club in the fiercely fought battle for the Ten Pin Bowling trophy.  The two teams battling it out were John Carr, Douglas Gilks, Len Milner, Peter Ball and Vic Trigwell of Bretby Rotary Club and Ashley Maddock, Jack Gray, Stuart Whitehead, Kevin Rostance and Neil South of Hucknall Rotary Club.

After a clean, but closely fought contest Hucknall came out winners on the night.   I think their youthfulness and boundless energy may well have been the deciding factor.

Well Done to both teams for reaching the finals.

The winning Team receiving the trophy

The final leg Monday 6th May

It was an early start this morning with the alarm clock set for some unearthly hour.   Gail and I  were due at Cafge Zing at 8am, but before going there we wanted to call round at my daughter Nicola's house to see the four lads who had volunteered to ride the 100 miles plus, from Belper, to Bluebell Wood to Rainbows - all in support of the same cause.  The plan was that they should arrive at Rainbows about the same time as the walkers.

They were due to leave at 7.30am so we arrived in time for that.   They all gathered and the usual photos were taken before we wished them well and set off for Long Eaton ourselves, picking up Owen and Carey on the way.   We were a few minutes late arriving for breakfast at Cafe Zing (which the owner had opened specially for us) and it was already almost full of Rotarians and other supporters from RC of Long Eaton Dawnbreakers.  

We each ordered and ate a "full English" - apart from Owen who ordered a full English but ate the "whopper" version accidentally ordered by Andy.    Cafe Zing and Dawnbreakers both did us really proud.   Simon Davey, President of Dawnbreakers also presented us with a whopper - a cheque for £250 towards the fund.  This (and the breakfast) set us up well for the last leg of the walk down to Rainbows.

The regular walkers this morning were joined by quite a number of members of Dawnbreakers and others including Steve Lawes and Roger Summers, and we set off at a steady pace for Trent Lock, where there was of course a difficulty to overcome.   The river.   We had to cross it.   No problem.  Rtn Roger Sissons had arranged for the local sailing club to provide their safety boat to take us across four at a time.

This proved quite an adventure, especially for those who "don't like water" or "don't like sailing".   The District Sergeant at Arms, Owen (6' 5" tall and built like the proverbial brick outhouse being a case in point.   He was gripping the sides of the inflatable boat so hard I thought his fingernails were going to burst it !

On one of the crossings we did have to carry out a genuine rescue mission, as we recovered (still intact and in good health) a small teddy bear accidentally dropped into the water by a young boy on a bridge over the cut.   The two were happily re-united shortly afterwards.

Following our water borne expedition it was back on foot for a few miles alongside the River Soar.   Once we left that we headed for a small pub where we peruaded the management to let us eat our sandwiches if we bought our drinks from the establishment.

After half and hour's lunch and with some of the Dawenbreakers leaving us for other comittments the remainder of us walked on into Loughborough, unfortunately along the main A6.   The sun was baking hot - apparently the hottest day of the year - something I can personally confirm.

As we came into Loughborough we set off through the residential area to Rainbows.    For the last mile or so we were met by Rotarians Stella and Mike Herbert.  Through illness Mike is now in a wheelchair and Owen pushed him the last mile to Rainbows.  This was a great and emotional moment for me as Mike and I have quite a lot in common and began working on District about the same time.    Stella and Mike - thanks very much for joining us it meant a lot.

As we neared the hospice - less than 50 metres to go Steve Lawes in passing conversation said to me, "Wouldn';t it be great if the cyclists turned up now?"   Almost before I could reply, I glanced behind and saw the lead cyclist just joining us.

We were then able to walk/ride into Rainbows together, following Gail and Carey in the support car.  We were met by rapturous applause from staff, volunteers and residents of Rainbows, bunting and cameras everywhere.   What an absolutely great moment, one I shall not forget for an awfully long time.

Caroline Rossin had laid on a cream tea for us and during a short speech announced that the Hospice intended to place a glass brick in the wall with brief details of the walk to commemorate the event for ever.

Not sure how much we will have raised for the two hospices, but I am hopeful, confident indeed that we will make our target figure of £5,000.     Just as important however was the friendship and fellowship that was created between Rotarians, non-Rotarians and Clubs by taking part in some small or large way.     My sincere thanks go out to EVERYONE who was involved in any way shape or form - Rotarians and Non-Rotarians alike.  It was a fantastic four days.
 DG Dave's feet
 DG Dave wearing his flotation support equipment

 Nog, John, Chris and Craig preparing for the ride
 Pres. Simon presenting cheque
Happy bunch ready to leave Cafe Zing

Day Three from Belper to Long Eaton 5th May

Feeling a bit stiff this morning, but determined to get to the end, we started at Belper with my daughters Nicola and Sarah, respective husbands Chris and Craig and two grandchildren Xanthe and Sebastian there to see us off and to walk out of Belper with us. (Three year old Xanthe was determined to ask for money from everyone we saw)   In company with Owen, Kevin, Andy, Phil, John Hill and Owen Blackwell (Heanor) we all set off over the hill at Openwoodgate down to Kilburn and from there on into Ilkeston for lunch at the Queens Counsel pub on the Market Place (provided courtesy of RC of Ilkeston.)  

Some interesting photos were taken of my feet - to be found on the walk Facebook page - and a caption competition ensued.

After lunch and with a couple of changes to the walkers we launched into the second half of the day, called first at Ron Brooks Toyota, to say hello, to some good friends of Rotary.  After that it was onto the canal that led us straight into the heart of Long Eaton.     Interesting sights along the way included a pair of swans nesting with their cygnets in the garden of a house that backed onto the canal.

The weather today was warm again, too warn for long distance walking (for me anyway) but we arrived at our destination, Cafe Zing at spot on 5pm, our estimated arrival time.

Thanks once again today go to my wife Gail and Owen's partner Carey for staffing the back-up car and feeding us regularly with muffins, mars bars and water.

There was no chance of an early night tonight as we had to get straight back home, shower change and prepare to attend the District Rotary Young Musicians' Concert at the Darwin Suite at the Assembly Rooms.    As always a really well organised event, but with a somewhat less than usual turnout.   (Let's hope it was just a blip ! )   The youngsters who performed all did really well and some exceptional talent was yet again on display.

I made (at least) one mistake during the evening - that was climbing up onto the stage.  A mistake because getting down was much more difficult and did cause some merriment in the audience.   By this time my feet were even more sore and the muscles in my legs were tightening up nicely.

Back home before midnight, when I relaxed with a quick whisky (just the one mind you) before turning in for a short night's sleep.

A great day overall - thanks to all concerned.

Saturday, 4 May 2013

Day Two - a hard slog 4th May

The Hospice to Hospice walk started this morning at Chesterfield, where we finished last night.   As well as myself, Owen Briggs, Andy Ledbetter and Kevin Brown who are trying to do the whole four days we also had Rodger Heathcote and Clive Robbins walking with us from the start today.  Phil Stone from Ilkeston also joined us today, fresh from a holiday in Teneriffe where he did 27 km to make up for not being able to walk with us yesterday.   As well as the Rotarians doing the walk we were also joined by half a dozen lady volunteers from the Bluebell Wood Hospice who supported us by walking through Chesterfield with us.

Sean Murphy, husband of Eileen from my club provided the back up car for the day.

The walk from Chesterfield over to Matlock was quite hard going with lots of hills to go up and down, including of course that well known hill, Slack Hill.   The weather was kind to us again today with just a single brief shower to contend with.

We arrived at the Temple Hotel at Matlock bath a little later than scheduled, but were greeted by the Matlock President Peter Wigglesworth and a number of members. and wives of members of the club - Oh and Peter's dog, Jack.

Rodger left us at Matlock and Peter and we were then joined by a number of others for the afternoon session.  These included, Pam Harrison the wife of Noel Harrison from Sherwood Sunrisers and Eileen Murphy from Belper and Duffield.

The afternoon walk, started along the A6 to Cromford where we dropped onto the canal path alongside it all the way to Ambergate.  Along the way we picked up some new walkers, my wife Gail and Liz Wright the wife of the Belper and Duffield President.       As we reached Ambergate we were also joined by Paul Taylor from Belper club - one of our older members.  It was great to see Paul coming out to support us.   

Also joining us as we neared Belper was my daughter Nicola and her husband Chris together with their two children Maddie and Francesca with balloons and banners to let our entry into Belper be well publicised.

When we arrived at Belper members of my club had laid on a buffet for us at the Strutt Club and many of them were there to welcome us - along with some very appropriate music - courtesy of Alan Widdowson of our Club.

When we arrived back home I managed to climb into the bath for a nice soak and then at about 8.30pm went straight to bed, leaving Gail to entertain our guest, Kevin for the remainder of the evening.

Overall the day was a great success, if a bit painful.  I ended up with a couple of blister that are quite sore and  Kevin has been taking some painkillers for pain in his knees.     We will however be there to do it all again tomorrow.

My sincere thanks to everyone who has taken part in the walk either by walking, raising funds, providing back up, laying on the buffet etc etc.     Also, sincere apologies to anyone who I should have mentioned and haven't - I put it down to fatigue.

Tomorrow we are walkiung from Belper to Long Eaton, via Ilkeston.  Do feel free to join us en route and cheer us on.

 Lunch at Temple Hotel, Matlock Bath

Gail and Liz - ready for the off

"Go Grandad" poster

Friday, 3 May 2013

Hospice to Hospice Walk - Day 1. 3rd May

Well, I thought the day was going too well when Gail, Owen J Briggs, Carey Toplass, Kevin Brown and myself all arrived at the start point, Bluebell Wood Hospice, with loads of time to spare so we could relax with a cup of coffee and a cake.    It was then that I received a call on my mobile from Tim Wherly of the Derby Club, telling me that he was waiting for me - as arranged - at the Proact Stadium.   Oops - forgot him.

Andy Ledbetter from Dronfield and David Turner from Kirkby arrived and joined in with the coffee and  cakes.

Gail and Carey duly set off to collect him and bring him to Bluebell Wood (whilst the rest of us had coffee and cakes)  This week has been Hospices Week and today was Super Hero's day at Bluebell Wood so lots of the staff (apart from Julie  !!!!! ) were dressed up in super hero costumes.  Oh and one of them was dressed as a six foot tall red squirrel - very worrying.

Well shortly before we were due to set off Gail and Carey arrived back with Tim, so after apologising profusely to him the walkers set off - to tumultuous applause from staff and children - and the hospice dog, George.     We got safely to the gates without any problem.   Andy by this time was still at the hospice sorting out his facebook entry, so we all duly turned right at the gates.    Oops - wrong again - should have turned left.  Only walked about a quarter of a mile in the wrong direction - but my fault again.

Anyway after that everything went very well, we picked up a track alongside the Chesterfield canal and walked as far as Killamarsh where we stopped for lunch.     The sun had been blessing us with its presence during the morning, but after lunch we saw a fair amount of cloud, but still fairly warm.

We then walked through Staveley and into Chesterfield to the Proact Stadium where we we greeted by Rotarians from Drone Valley, and Chesterfield Scarsdale - thanks to them for that.

In order to cut the mileage down tomorrow we then walked on to the Do-not roundabout car park in Chesterfield where we will start again in the morning for the stretch to Matlock Bath and the Temple Hotel.

My sincere thanks to everyone who took part, including Gail and Carey for driving the support car.

Thanks also to Dennis Power-Neads for doing the very necessary Risk Assessment beforehand.

After a nice soak in the bath I felt much better and more or less ready to go.  One or two sore spots on the old feet, but I'm sure we will be fine for the next 20 miles

Check us out and make a donation at https://www.justgiving.com/hospice2hospice

Great Night at Vale of Belvoir 2nd May 2013

Rotarian peter Shepherd, a fellow member of the RC of Belper and Duffield, took on the role of DG Chauffeur again this evening for the trip over to the Welbeck Banqueting Hall at West Bridgford for the 23rd Charter celebrations of the RC of Vale of Belvoir.

President Alan Folwell was in the chair and carried out his responsibilities superbly.  Alan has a no nonsense down to earth approach to Rotary that I really admire.    With almost 130 in the hall the seating was comfortable but cosy.   The meal, for which there was a choice was excellent and well served by the staff.

Prior to the meal Alan awarded two Paul Harris Fellowships to members of the club.   Dennis Bacon and Derek Goodacre were the worthy recipients and both were clearly deeply moved by the presentations.    I am so pleased that we don not give out Paul Harris Fellowships on payment as happens in some countries.

After the meal we were entertained to sties of umpiring at Wimbledon and elsewhere in a very amusing and yet informative style by the main speaker.    Now here's a test to see who reads my blog.   A prize for the first person to tell me his name (as I have completely forgotten it.   Sincere apologies to speaker concerned.)

My sincere thanks to Alan and his team for the evening - which incidentally was rounded off with a collection in aid of the sponsored walk - starting 03/05/13 - which raised over £100.   Thanks to all who contributed.

Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Charter Night with Rotary Club of Drone Valley 29th April 2013

The Sitwell Arms at Renishaw was the venue for the eight annual charter celebration of the Rotary Club of Drone Valley.

Rotarians Gill Harvey was in the chiar, being the fourth President of the club during this Rotary year.

Gail and I were collected by Rtn John Norreys from the RC of Belper and Duffield for the drive up to Rennishaw on what was a beautiful, sunny evening.   We arraived well in time, to find Ian Young the President of Hucknall busy taking photographs in the hotel grounds.

We were met inside by President Gill who made us very welcome.  We had an opportunity for some social chat with many Rotarians, including some from clubs outside our District, before we were called in for dinner.    After the top table guests were introduced by President Gill we enjoyed a very tasty meal, after which there was an almost traditional roll call, read out by Rtn Jill Bethell.

The speaker for the day was a local pharmacist, David Smith, who gave a most interesting illustrated talk on the many marathon runs he has undertaken.  Some of them were serious marathons and many more he has done for charity, getting into the Guinness Book of World Records on a number of occassions for the fastest marathn dressed (for example) as a schoolboy, or as a boy scout.  On one occasion wearing flip flops.  He has run marathons on every continent.

President Gill presented him with a cheque as a contribnution to his next marathon, in aid of MS and Ashgate Hospice.

Davids wife and Gail each received a gift of a plant.

I would like to thank Rtn John Norreys for driving, President Gill and the team at Drone Valley for inviting us and for giving us such a great evening.

President Gill with DG Dave

Sunday, 28 April 2013

Thanksgiving service planning & Bolsover's Charter 24th April

Gail and I had a meeting this morning at All Saints Church in Ripley, with Sue Hall the Musical Director of the Inner Wheel Choir and officials of the church to finalise the details for our Thanksgiving Service.  This is due to be held in the church on Sunday, 16th June commencing at 2.30pm.

The meeting went very well and the planning is now more or less complete.

The evening was a much more interesting event altogether.  Gail and I attended the Charter celebratiuons of the Rotary Club of Bolsover, held at their normal meeting place, The Ringwood Hall Hotel at Brimington near Chesterfield.   The event was publiciused as not formal - "Wear something smart and bright" were the instriuctions that went out from President Leigh Holland.

The theme for the evening was Indian, with Indian food, an Indian disco and Indian dancers.

The relaxed attitude was absolutely great and formalities were kept to a minimum.

After the meal and the various toasts the Indian dancers gave a demonstration dance befor "inviting" - I think inviting was the word - members of the audience to join them.   Needless to say I was dragged up onto the stage with much encouragement from Assistant Governor John Shipman - no slouch in the Indian Dancing Stakes.  A few photos show the nature of the evening.


Examining, walking and talking 23rd April

Well, nothing much happened today - in fact I did consider not writing a blog today, but I knew you would all miss it.

So after having my teeth checked out at the dentist first thing, I went out for a 6 miles training walk - getting ready for my sponsored walk on 3rd - 6th May.

After lunch I had a meeting with the DGE Peter Moralee, the DGN Steve Lawes and the incoming DGN Roger Summers.  We meet on a regular basis, very informally to have a chin wag about what may or may not be happening within the District.    Due to meet again on 4th June.

Monday, 22 April 2013

St. George's Dinner at Bretby Club 22nd April

Gail and I accompanied by Rtn David Soul (Belper and Duffield)  and his wife Carole attended the St. George's Dinner at the Branston Golf and Country Club on Monday, 22nd April, the eve of St. George's Day.     The dinner had attracted about 200 Rotarians and their guests.

On arrival we were greeted by the sounds of  a traditional organ being played in the foyer of the building and were ushered in, along the red carpet by toastmaster, Tom Reddy.   After mingling with the other guests and getting a drink in the bar the assembled guests were called to their seats for dinner.    Grace, appropriate to the occasion was said by Rtn Robin Trotter, a past president of the Bretby club, following which we had a three course meal that was absolutely delicious, with service that matched it.

The Loyal Toast was said by Club  President Norman Carpenter , after which we had a raffle and an auction of a number of special prizes, including a signed Derby County football and  a meal at a local restaurant.  There then followed a most entertaining toast "To England and St. George", proposed by Professor Nigel T. Ratcliffe, the Chairman of the Staffordshire and Stoke on Trent Partership NHS Trust. 

But that was just the entertainment starter.  The main course came in the form of "Dramatic Entertainment & Patriotic Pronouncements - A Romp through the Regency." presented by Mr John White, Principal Interpreter of "Select Society", who managed to give a most amusing account of the Regency Period which required a lot of very willing audience participation.

To bring the evening to a fitting conclusion there was a rousing rendition of Land of Hope and Glory and  The National Anthem which were accompanied on the piano by Clare Carpenter, wife of President Norman.

Organ Grinder, Patrick Cooke

Guests enjoying the evening.

Sunday, 21 April 2013

District Assembly and a Brass band Concert 20th April

My two Rotary jobs today couldn't be further apart in terms of content.     The morning was taken up by the annual District Assembly held at the Clifton Campus of Nottingham Trent University.  This is the occasion that the incoming District Governor, on this occasion Peter Moralee, speaks to the membership about his plans and aspirations for the forthcoming year.  Each District officer and Committee Chairman then sets out in detail the potential work in each area.  

With sessions for Secretaries, treasuerers, all the various project teams, Foundation, Membership, MPRC and also a session for new Rotarians (chaired by me) there was definately something for everyone.

Also this year for the first time we had a session on the use that can be made by Clubs of Social Media - Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn etc.    This went down very well with a good attendance.

For the first time in recent years we also asked clubs to pre-register the names of attendees.  This helped the Clubs to focus on ensuring they had sufficient members there and also assisted the District Team to know how many people we would be dealing with.

The attendance this year seemed quite high and I would like to thank all those who took the morning out of their busy lives to come along and see what is happening in the next twelve months.

Thanks also to St. James' Place Walth Management of Nottingham for part sponsoring the event - helping to keep our costs down for the members.

Rotarians chatting to the staff on the St. James Place stand.

Rotarians from Bretby manning the Registration Desks

In the evening I had the pleasure of attending Bolsover Assembly Rooms, where the Rotary Club of Bolsover were holding a concert with the Shirebrook Miners Welfare Unison Band.   The concert was a complete sell out and the entertainment was absolutely first class.   I would recommend this band to anyone looking to have some good musical entertainment.

My thanks to President leigh for inviting me along to this event.   It was a great evening - even if I didn't win a prize in the raffle.


Church Wilne Charter at Littlkeover Lodge 19th April

About 75 Rotarians and guests attended the Littleover Lodge Hotel in Derby on the evening of 19th April to celebrate the  28th anniversary of the granting of the Charter of the Rotary Club of Church Wilne.    Rtn John Scotney from my club picked me up at home and accompanied me to the Charter.

We were warmly greeted by a number of Rotarians and the President, Derek Sheehy-Smith.   After a delicious and well served meal the traditional speeches followed the similarly traditional Roll Call of clubs and members present. 

The speaker for the event was comedian Bob Webb ( a Londoner from Cardiff ! ) whose style of humour had the audience in fits of laughter and not a blue joke amongst it.  

Many thanks to President Derek and to the members of Church Wilne for inviting me and for their subsequent hospitality and friendship.   Thanks also to John Scotney for taking on the role as driver.

55 year certificate at Chesterfield - 19th April

I had a pleasant drive over to The Old House at Loundsley Green, Chesterfield, at lunchtime today for the meeting of The Rotary Club of Chesterfield.     The reason for my visit was, at the request of President Jim Haggarty, to present an RIBI certificate  celebrating 55 years of Rotary membership to Rotarian Jim Boden. Jim has been a member of the Chesterfield club for all the 55 years.  During his working life he owned and ran a very well known fish and chip shop/cafe in Chesterfield.  I well remember as a young policeman calling in for chips occasionally whilst stationed at Chesterfield.

The award came as a bit of a surprise not just to Jim, but to the majority of members of the club, who thought they were due to have their regular business meeting.    I had the pleasure of presenting not just the RIBI certificate, but also a letter from the RI President Sakuji Tanaka congratulating and thanking him for his length of service.    I also presented a certificate from myself as the District 1220 Governor.

Jim responded by saying that he only wanted to say a few words - and went on to recount in some details his early life in 41 Club, Round Table and Rotary.

Rotarian Jim with his certificate alongside President Jim and DG Dave

Friday, 19 April 2013

Rotary Club of Wirksworth - Charter Night, 18th April, 2013

Rtn Paul Taylor, from my own club picked Gail and myself up early this evening to take us to Matlock Golf Club for the Charter celebrations of the Rotary Club of Wirksworth.   We were met by President John Dolan and other members of the club.   The view from the window of the function room was out across the golf course and into the far distant countryside.   It really was a beautiful setting - it almost made me want to take up golf - but I quickly shook myself and told myself not to be stupid !!

The meal of beef bourguinon, followed by Belgian Chocolate Tart was delicious and was efficiently served  by the staff of the Golf Club.  Following the meal there was the traditional Roll Call of clubs and persons present.   After traditional toasts the main speaker of the evening was Jill Clarke, a colleague of President John.  She entertained us with accounts of her childhood, being brought up in a family where cycling was the centre of attention and how this in turn led her to become a Gamesmaker at the London Olympics last year.

It was an enlightening glimpse into the Games and also into her life. Jill spoke very well and backed up her talk with a series of photographs.  No-one would have guessed that this was the first time that she had ever strayed into the field of after-dinner speaking.

President John with speaker - Jill

My thanks go to Paul Taylor for driving us, to John Dolan and the members of Wirksworth club for inviting us and looking after us so well on the night.

Assisting Derby University 1th April

I spent the working day today at Derby University, on a panel of people listening to and judging presentations by students for an extra curricular activity - "The Derby Award".  It's amazing whast the DG is asked to do.

Some of the presentations were really exciting and showed true potential in the students.    I can't say much about them as the work was confidential to the students.

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Presentation on Sand Dams at Bretby 15th April

Gail and I attended the regular weekly meeting of the Rotary Club of Bretby this evening, along with quite a number of other visitors to the club from Swadlincote, Bakewell, Vale of Belvoir and Wirksworth.    One of our Ambassadorial Scholars, Courtney Rachel, from the United States was also present with her host counsellor, IPDG Gordon McGlone.   Danielle Easton who took part in the District and then Regional finals of the Rotary Young Chef Competition was also present with members of her family, continuing her association with the Rotary Club of Bretby.

The reason for the interest by Rotarians from clubs in the District in this particular meeting was a presentation about Sand Dams by Richard Barnes of Excellent Developments.    His presentation coupled with a short film clip about Sand Dams was extremely informative and inspiring.    The benefits to local communities in sub Saharan Africa by the use of this simple process is staggering.    The installation of a dam, which once the rainy season arrives will quickly fill up with water contained in sand, allows women and children free time for work or education, cultivation of the land to allow them to become self sufficient, abundant supplies of clean water prevent disease - the list goes on and on.

Dams typically cost between £8,000  and £13,000 to build.   Once built - by local people - they will last a lifetime and more.  A single dam will be sufficient to provide safe, clean water for up to ten years, even in times of drought.

Gail has been co-ordinating  the names of clubs that wish to take part in a Sand Dams project and at present about 14 clubs have expressed an interest.    Rotarian John Spence, Rotary Club of the Vale of Belvoir has now taken over the project for the forthcoming Rotary year, which will hopefully see the building of at least one such dam erected by clubs in 1220.

Many thanks to President Norman and his team for laying on the evening which proved to be an excellent social occasion.

Rtn Ralph Grenville, Rotary Club of Bretby. 15th April.

One of the sadder duties  of the District Governor is attendance at the funerals of Rotarians within the District.   Today saw me at yet another such funeral, that of Rotarian Ralph Grenville of the Rotary Club of Bretby who passed away recently.  The service was held at the Parish Church of St. Modwen at Burton upon Trent and was attended by a large congregation, a sign of the affection in which Ralph was held.

My sincere condolences go out to Ralph's family and friends.

RIBI Conference at Harrogate 12th - 14th April

Gail and I went up to Harrogate on Thursday, before Conference started on Friday.   We had a nice relaxing time and spent some valuable time just in each other's company.   I understand that there was an audience of about 1,800 Rotarians and spouses.

Conference started on Friday afternoon but I don't intend to go through every detail of it.   Suffice it to say there was a really wide mix of speakers, with inspirational ones such as Simon Weston, switched on go-getters such as Sir Tim Smit, the Founder of the Eden Project and of course a number of Rotary speakers.

The President of RIBI chaired the weekend and I thought did a very good job.

On Saturday we were present in the hall for the filming, by the BBC of the Rotary Young Citizens of the Year Awards, which was broadcast on BBC News 24.    The afternoon was taken up with the Business Meeting - the results of which should appear on the RIBI website in due course.

There were a number of social activities available - at a cost - each evening.  My particular favourite was a group of four musicians who call themselves "String Fever".  What they could do with a violin or a double bass had to be seen to be believed.    

The House of Friendship was regularly busy throughout the weekend and with almost 100 stalls it took a fair while to get round them all.

Thursday, 11 April 2013

Visioning - Update Training 10th April

During the evening today fifteen Rotarians from across the District attended the Novotel at Long Eaton for an update training session on Visioning which is now available to any club in the District.     We had some really useful discussions, chaired by Rtn Noel Harrison our Membership Services Officer and streamlined some of the training elements.

Any club that is interested in Visioning is asked to contact Noel direct.  I would stress that it is NOT just for ailing clubs - it is appropriate for any club that wants to look any formulating a strong five year plan to ensure its success.

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Inner Wheel District 22 Rally 9th April

The District 22 Innner Wheel Rally started with a Service of Thanksgiving, held at St. Peter's Church in Ravenshead.  The service was conducted by the Reverend Chris Rattenbury, who had clearly researched the activities of Inner Wheel and as a result the service was absolutely spot on.   The District Inner Wheel Choir sang a number of pieces during the service and I must say I am looking forward to them being at our Thanksgiving Service on 16th June at Ripley.

Following the service at Ravenshead we all drove over to the Civic Centre at Mansfield for the Rally lunch.    With over 200 members and guests at the event, there was a great buzz around the room.     After the meal, which was delicious and efficiently served, there were a number of formalities, including the bringing of greetings by myself and by President Gwillym Griffith, Rotary Club of Ravenshead and Blidworth.    The Inner Wheel Association Present Sheila Halliday-Pegg then addressed the meeting on the present situation within Inner Wheel and the changes that are occurring at this time.

The hospitality, warmth of welcome and friendship displayed to Gail and myself was magnificent throughout the day. We both thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.

Many thanks to Ann Cottee and her team or inviting us and looking after us.

Inner Wheel - Pre Rally Dinner 8th April 2013

This evening Gail and I joined members of the Inner Wheel District 22 for their annual Pre-Rally Dinner held at 281 Restaurant on Nottingham Road, at Mansfield.     We we hosted by District 22 Chairman Mrs Ann Cottee.  The event was attended by members of their Executive Committee, members of Ann's own Inner Wheel Club, Ravenshead and by guests from other Districts.

It was a very pleasant social evening and for a nice change I was not required to make a speech.

Looking forward to the Inner Wheel Rally tomorrow.

Sunday, 7 April 2013

Joint Inner Wheel and Rotary Concert 6th April 2012

The Parish Church of St. Andrew's at Swanwick was the venue for a concert featuring, "Sonara" Ladies Choir, jointly organised by the Inner Wheel Club of Alfreton and the Rotary Club of Alfreton.    Gail and I were greeted on arrival by Rotary Club President, Colin Fox and by Inner Wheel President Clair Nightingale.

Neither I nor Gail had heard Sonara before and were really impressed by the range of their repertoire and the impeccable quality of their singing, under the musical direction of Liz Moulder.    With Rtn Richard Moulder acting as MC for the evening what could possibly go wrong.

Refreshments at the interval were included in the realistically priced entry fee of just £5.

Gail and I had a really good evening, which was rounded off by an invitation to join Jenny and Phil Harris and several members of the Rotary Club of Amber Valley and their wives. A very pleasant couple of hours was spent eating, drinking and talking about old times.

Our sincere thanks to Presidents Colin and Clair for the excellent concert and to Phil and Jenny for their later hospitality.

Funeral Service for Rtn Ian Charles, R.C. of Hope Valley 5th April, 2013

The funeral service for Ian was held at the Parish Church of St. Barnabas, Bradwell at 12noon on 5th April.   The assembled congregation far outstripped the seating capacity of the church leaving many people standing.   Ian was clearly a very popular person .  Rtn Jane Weightman gave a very moving tribute to Ian as a Rotarian and several other tributes were paid by family and friends.

Commital was held after the service at Hutcliffe Wood Crematorium.

The Grouse Inn, Longshaw, home of Ian's Rotary Club, played host to a reception for friends and family after the service.

Friday, 29 March 2013

"Spanker" venue for Assistant Governors' meeting 28th March

During the evening I got together with the Assistant Governors for a meeting at the Spanker public house at nether Heage.  We enjoyed a simple meal and discussed a number of issues regarding the District and Clubs within it.   It was a very relaxed atmosphere, and with no agenda we managed to get through a lot of subjects - nothing mundane - all important.

My thanks to all the Assistant Governors for attending.    All the AG's put in a lot of hours to Rotary every week as an AG, in addition to the roles they each have within their individual Clubs.

Funeral - Rtn Andrew Phillips 28th March 2013

Andrew, a member of the Rotary Club of Bretby, passed away on 15th March 2013 aged just 63 years.   He was the President of the Club during the year 2011 - 2012.   The funeral service, conducted by Revd. Ian Whitehead, was held at Bretby Crematorium, which was packed with people wishing to pay their last respects to Andrew.   The service was very much a celebration of Andrew's life and at his request many mourners wore bright colours.

A sad passing.  Andrew will be greatly missed by his family, his Rotary Club and by many other people.

Thursday, 28 March 2013

Meetings, meetings, meetings 27th March

Not the most exciting day in my Rotary calendar - somewhat mundane even.

In the morning I had a meeting with RTn Michael Longdon about the Rotary / Inner Wheel Thanksgiving Service schedluled for 2.30pm on 16th June at All Saints Church, Ripley.    Just planning the order of service and content etc.

6pm saw me at the Novotel, Long Eaton with the other members of the District Leadership Development and Training Team, making final arrangements for the District Assembly being held at The Clifton Campus of Nottingham Trent University on Saturday, 20th April.  Again somewhat mundane but necessary.

Straight after this meeting there followed the District Council meeting.  One item of note from this meeting was the election of Rtn Roger Summers, Rotary Club of Amber Valley as the ict Governor for 2015 - 2016.  Congratulations to him.  

Two very informative presentations were given after the main business part of the meeting.   One was by John Pearce of the RC of Sutton in AShfield regarding a community project they instigated in the town which is reaping substantial rewards.  The second was by Rtn. Keith Jones, RC of Hope Valley regarding Rotary Friendship Exchanges. He was trying to let the District know that these are a valuable part of Rotary and are aopen to all Rotarians to take part.

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

District Quiz Final 26th March

The final of the Annual District Quiz was held at the Horsely Lodge Golf Club, home of the Rotary Club of Heanor who incidentally turned out in force to offer support.   A light meal was available before the quiz started for any members who had come straight from work (? ?)

Fifteen teams of four took part in the final with 75 questions to answer.  There was a tactical side to the quiz as well as eachj team was allowed to play two joker round when their scores were doubled.   Choosing the correct time to play the joker without knowing what was coming up later proved to be the sret to success.

The top five teams, in reverse order, were as follows:-

Ripley                                 117 points
Sherwood Forest                 122 points
West Bridgford                   122 points
Newark                               123 points
Bretby                                 124 points

As you can see a close fought contest with Bretby coming out as winners for the third consecutive year.     The evening was very enjoyable and Horsely Lodge provided a most suitable room, with a bar allowing contestants to refresh the parts that needed refreshing during the evening.

A jubilant (!) Bretby Team with trophy
RTn Mike Storr from the RC of Carlton who had organised the event and acted as Quizmaster was fantastic and deserves a round of applause - not easy on a blog.  Many thanks Mike.
Mike Storr in full flow

Warsop, Shirebrook & District Charter 25th March

The Hostess Restaurant at Sookholme was the venue for another Rotary Club Charter celebration tonight.  This time it was the time of Warsop, Shirebrook and District who in fact hold their regular weekly meetings at this venue.   As always - it goes without saying - the quality of the food and the service provided by the Hostess was second to none.  As is the norm at The Hostess there was a choice of all four courses with the choice being made at the tables - no confusion - no problem.  Other venues - please take note.

They seem to have got the message that when over 100 people arrive within ten minutes of each other - all wanting to get a drink - they need more than one person on the bar. They also recognise the importance of everyone being served their meal efficiently and as a result I counted at least twelve waiters and waitresses serving at tables.

President Roger Wright presided over the evening in his normal relaxed style and was an excellent host.  President Elect Andrew Perry, who proposed the toast to Rotary International was pleased when it was over so that his nerves could calm dowm.   (He was so nervous he couldn't eat his main course and waited till he had finished before tackling his sweet.   Needless to say he need not have worried - he was great.)

The evening went extremely well, with the traditional order of proceedings.  As is normal I responded to the toast to Rotary International and proposed the toast to the club.  Following the speeches, entertainment was provided by way of an extremely funny man - one Christopher Gee - a comediaen and impressionist.  I personally thought he was great - no smutty jokes, just good clean fun - well worth a booking in my opinion.

My driver for this evening was Rtn Peter Shepherd and his partner Sheilagh Harnan.  My thanks to them for turning out on a quite attrocious night.    My thanks also to everyone who made the evening such a success.

Funeral of Hon Rtn Len Yates 25th March

Len Yates was a long standing meber of Long Eaton Rotary Club, becoming an Honorary Rotarian later in life.   The Funeral Mass for Len was held at 11.45am in Saint Luke's Parish Church, Derby and was attended by a goodly number of Rotarians as well as other friends and of course his family.

Although I did not know Len personally, from speaking to some of his Rotary colleagues it is clear that he had been a really active Rotarian and somey missed.

Monday, 25 March 2013

Paul Harris Fellows Lunch 24th March

Over 140 Rotarians and guests attended the annual Paul Harris Fellows lunch at The Novotel in Long Eaton on Sunday.  Despite freezing temperatures and heavy snow they managed to make their way to the Novotel for lunch - Thanks to the Highways Department the vast majority of the major roads were clear of snow and very safe.  However my thanks to each and every one who made the effort in such conditions.

The meal at the Novotel was of a very good quality and the standard of service was also very good today.   Many of the Rotarians and guests present took advantage of the 10% Rotary discount in the bar.

The speaker for the event today was Rotarian Peter King from the Rotary Club of Kew Gardens.   Peter is the RIBI Vice President Elect and will become RIBI President in 2014-15.  This was the first time that I had heard Peter make a speech and I have to say that I was quite impressed.    He talked about the challenges facing Rotary in these islands and of the changes that needed to be made.   He did this without preaching and with a sense of humour.    His talk seemed to go down very well with the audience.

District Governor Nominee, Steve Lawes, who will be DG during the same year as Peter is RIBI President gave the vote of thanks.

Peter KIng with DGDave, DGE Peter, DGN Steve and all our wives
Overall a most entertaining and enjoyable lunch - oh and I managed to sell (sorry - donate) £20 worth of pin-on crocuses to unsuspecting Rotarians who turned up not wearing one.

Sunday, 24 March 2013

Charter in Grand Surroundings 22nd March

The Town Hall at Burton upon Trent was the venue for the 77th Charter Anniversary celebration of the Rotary Club of Mansfield.  It is a most impressive building and a fine setting for such a celebration.  With snow and very cold temperatures being the prevailing weather all day, Gail and I set off for Mansfield in company with Rtn Ron Giffin from our club.    As we neared Burton the amount of lying snow diminished till in the town there was none.   However it was snowing steadily as we arrived and this continued during the evening so that when we left there was a covering of an inch or so.

We were greeted by President William Saunders, resplendent in his tartan - there seemed to be a Scottish theme running during the evening with several others similarly attired.    President William had arranged for members of the Derby Magic Circle to provide table entertainment during an excellent meal.    After the meal the toasts followed the traditional pattern.    At the conclusion of his talk, President William made a number of presentations to worthy Rotarians.   Arthur Greenhalgh and George Beacock received Sapphire Pins for the PHF awards and Janet Threlfall and Keith Howard received Paul Harris Fellowship - my congratulations to each of them.  William also gave floral gifts to a number of ladies who were top table guests of the club, including Gail.

After the formal part of the evening members of the Derby Magic Circle provided further magical entertainment till the conclusion of the celebrations at 11pm.  It was an excellent evening's celebration of Rotary and with great entertainment Gail and I had a thoroughly great time.

President William, his wife Eileen and my wife Gail

Table magician in full flow
My thanks to Ron for accompanying us and to all members of the Burton Club, particularly President William for organising such a great event.

Thursday, 21 March 2013

Celebration for Manfred Dessau - West Bridgford

I had the privilege and honour this evening of being present at a special meeting of the Rotary Club of West Bridgford.  The meeting, attended by almost all the members and many partners was to celebrate the fact that Rtn Manfred had been a member of the club for the last 49 years.   Manfred was attending his last meeting before he and his wife Mirelle move south to the London area to be closer to their family.

After a special three course meal several members spoke about Manfred's involvement and exploits in the club over the years, with a number of photographs being shown that highlighted these exploits.   I was then asked to speak about Manfred which I was delighted to do.   I then presented Manfred with a framed certificate thanking him for his 49 years of service in the District and an RIBI certificate of 45 years service. 

The evening was rounded off when President Elect Denis Jones presented Manfred with a Paul Harris Sapphire pin in recognition of the service he has given to mankind.

Manfred saying a few words

Manfred and Mirelle with their cake celebrating 49 years
Manfred was not aware that I was attending - he thought it was going to be a somewhat low-key affair and by the end of the evening was visibly emotional at what had taken place.

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Welcome Home 19th March

Well, the flight arrived more or less on time and after an hour or so of the GSE Team collecting their baggage and going through Customs they strolled into the Arrivals Lounge at Terminal 2 at Manchester.

After four weeks away and about 40 odd Rotary Club visits later the Group Study Exchange Team finally arrived home from Nepal.    Rob Gray and I were there to meet them an - hopefully from their point of view - get the last photos of the visit.

Look out for them appearing at a club near you to give their presentation of the visit.

The first one back - Tom Erskine

Team Leader - David Hood - still smiling

The last "Group Hug"