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.