Rotary Club of York

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More bias after fifteen ends  A great turnout of 28 members and partners took part in the Bowls evening organised at the RI Bowls Club on August 23rd.   In teams of three, playing two bowls each in three "ends" against another team then rotating to play a different team, with five such rotations, we ended up with fifteen "ends" (I hope you are following this!)  Learning to master- to more or less greater degrees - the art of using the "bias" on the bowl,  everyone had a fun evening without too many arguments ("So which bowl holds shot?" being a common cry from the "professionals" amongst us...).  As the sun set and the evening chill set in, we were joined by a further 10 members and partners and all sat down for a scrumptious hot pie, mushy peas and chips; followed by a selection of three hot desserts, all prepared by the wonderful volunteers at the Bowls Club.  Our thanks to them,  and especially to David Impey, assisted by Celia, who organised the evening in friendly and efficient style. Having helped his own team to come in last, it was with some relief that President Brian was able to congratulate the winning team and present their prize bottles of wine to Carolyn Sweeney, Tom Jackson and Tony Cox, the latter being a member of the RI Bowls Club.  [no disadvantage to the team, we are sure!!  Ed ]   A great evening of fellowship and fun.

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S.O.S Responders  Those watching the current BBC series “Saving Lives at Sea” have been in awe of the skills and bravery of lifeboat volunteers.  Our speaker on September 1st was Hannah Jackson, who is the Community Fundraising Manager for the Yorkshire area of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (R.N.L.I.) With over 350 lifeboats across 19,000 miles of coastline,  their fleet are both sturdy and fast and include inshore as well as “all-weather” boats.  In addition, the RNLI provide Lifeguard patrols on over 240 beaches in the UK,  and also an extensive Flood Rescue and Inland Rescue team of volunteers.  They have been called in to York in the past,  but strangely were not called upon during the most recent December 2015 floods. The RNLI needs £175million annually to keep running,  and just one lifeboat station demands £85,000 a year to maintain.  Fundraising is carried out all over the country.  Hannah’s presentation created a lot of interest, and she bravely magaed to carry on despite technical gremlins which meant she was unable to show three videos that were embedded as part of her talk. Well done, Hannah, and thank you for enlightening us about this amazing charity.

Hannah RNLI lifeboat

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Golf - Bill Mann Trophy   David Sweeney reports.. "The Bill Mann Trophy took place on September 3rd at The York Golf Club Strensall York. The Guest of Honour was Sheila Royce Bill Mann's daughter with husband Brian. The event ran smoothly and the weather was kind with the course in excellent condition.  There were some notable stories on the day but the cake went to our President Brian for playing approximately 15 bunker shots (probably more but we were starting to run out of fingers  ) however thank you Brian for taking part but we have had to donate some new rakes as some are shorter than others now. The Results and winner of the Bill Mann Trophy Were as follows:  Winner - Keith Hayton 38 pts;   2nd - Steve Cluderay 34pts;  3rd - Steve Burton 30pts.  Nearest/Pin David Sweeney. Longest/Drive Keith Hayton. The Fellowship evening meal followed with a total of 44 Guests and both the food and service were excellent a good time was had by all."  Many thanks to David for organising the day.

More photos are on the Golf Results page

St Crux Fundraising  With an early start to set up the stalls, gazebo, and the food in the cafe, Club members, partners and friends all played their part in making September 7th another very successful fundraising event at St Crux.  With good weather during the morning, sales of "higher-quality" bric-a-brac and books were good, and the ladies' accessories were flying off the handsome stall set up under the Rotary gazebo.  Inside, the cafe did good business under the eye of Diana and the crew all splendidly clad in yellow shirts and Rotary aprons.  The Rotary public image was shown at its best.  At lunchtime the rain came and the customers left,  but in the end the day raised a staggering £1300 nonetheless.  A fantastic achievement, after much hard work in preparation beforehand and on the day. Well done and thanks to Diana, Sheila and their teams and all who helped on the day.

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HMP Wealston - the inside story  Jim Wragg reports.. Our guest speaker on September 8th was Marie Ledgeway who is the Roman Catholic Lay Chaplain at HMP Wealston, a Category C Prison for adults housing some 850 persons.  Marie informed us that there are 85,000 prisoners throughout the UK and 200,000 children have someone in prison at any one time and 39% of prisoners re-offend.  Among Marie's duties include giving and explaining to new prisoners general day to day information, taking Mass every Saturday and also Sunday service, helping with any personal problems they may have i.e: making telephone calls home and dealing with vulnerable prisoners who are on constant watch.  She felt that some prisoners were like revolving doors - in out and back in again.  But she clearly found her day to day experiences humbling, emotional, happy and sad but most of all very rewarding. In Marie's own words 'Throughout my life faith had been very important to me and ultimately that is what has brought me to where I am at the moment of my life.'



Marie Ledgeway

Insight into Neighbourhood Planning On September 15th Kat Salter (daughter of our own Rotarian Don Salter ), a Chartered Town Planner, delivered a presentation on the neighbourhood planning journey. Kat passed on her experience and provided an overview of the process, lessons learned to date and a series of top tips. Those attending gained an awareness of the wider planning issues, actors and influences which may affect plan preparation." This is a power allowing local communities to shape development in their area - prepared by Parish Councils or Neighbourhood forums. To produce a statutory land use planning document against which planning applications will be assessed. Preparation must follow statutory process pass examination and receive a “yes” vote at referendum. So far over 2500 groups are preparing plans – 300+ have already been made and the average time taken to complete such a plan is 27 months. Overall it is about effective community engagement and a robust evidence base which forms the pillars on which a good Neighbourhood plan will be built.




Support for Shelterbox    With the recent hurricanes in the Caribbean and the earthquakes in Mexico,  the UK-based Shelterbox organisation is currently under enormous pressure to get relief to the affected areas.  They had 2000 Shelter Boxes stored in Panama, but now of course will need these to be replaced with fresh supplied.  Our Club has agreed a donation of approx £600, the cost of a Shelterbox.  In a recent BBC One Show production on September 19th, Shelterbox's CEO Chris Warham was interviewed and provided a very good, clear description of Shelter Boxes and the role they are currently playing in that region. And gave a credit to Rotary's role! It is available to view - until mid October - by clicking here

(then go to timeline 20.05 to see the relevant part of the programme)



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Goathland Revisited  Steve reports.. Following the ‘trial by boulders’ at our Goathland walk in July, Steve’s proposed return to the area for the September foray was greeted with some sceptism - especially from those not present on the first occasion. Nevertheless on September 21st Nigel, Frank, John and Chris joined up on a dreerish morning at the Mallyon Hotel. Not surprisingly, too much talking meant the first turn onto the moor was missed meaning an off road excursion across moorland ensued in true Steve navigation style.. However, correct path indentified and up and across we went. Cornering before a descent, the sound of The Battle of the Little Big Horn re-enactment, filled our ears as small birds were being driven into a hail of lead across our path. Whilst Frank had the urge to charge the guns we felt our 5, some what short of the original 600 charging, would have had even less odds of survival, so were glad when Chris with his local knowledge took us on a most enjoyable alternative route, across the valley, through pleasant farmland, lovely woods and very slippery descents to Beck Hole and thence back to the hotel. A good 8 miler in 3 hours, before the rain came, to enjoy a pleasant lunch, in which Sue and Dave T joined us.


Sept walk

Rotary PHF Award for Diane .. Our Club has had a supportive relationship for many years with York Blind and Partially Sighted Society, which has been led throughout that time by Diane Roworth.  On September 12th Diane retired, and in conjunction with their AGM, YBPSS held a celebration at York CVS building at which many members, friends and supporters of YBPSS (and of Diane) were present. Steve Burton and President Brian were invited to pop in, and just after lunch they made a surprise presentation to Diane, on behalf of the Club, awarding her a Paul Harris Fellowship for her outstanding contribution to the community in York and in particular to the many blind and partially sighted members of that community (and indeed further afield across the UK).  Diane was taken aback by the presentation and expressed her grateful thanks to Rotary for the honour, to warm applause from everyone present.   The PHF award will be made to Diane a second time, in front of our members, at a Club meeting in October.  Diane is a very special individual with a big heart and huge energy, and we congratulate her on this award and wish a her a very happy retirement.


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Fancy a bit of "Champing"? On September 29th, we were treated to a very interesting talk by a youthful Medieval Historian Ed van der Molden, who is the Site Co-ordinator for Churches Conservation Trust (CCT) in York and is based at Holy Trinity Church, Goodramgate. CCT is a national charity which protects historic church buildings now at risk; every year more are added to its current estate of 352 churches. Its 70 staff and 2,000 volunteers work in 3 core activities: Conservation - 40-80 projects each year use local tradespeople and traditional skills to preserve the buildings; for example St. Michael’s, Cowthorpe (near Wetherby) is soon to be rejuvenated as a multi-purpose community space.; Visitor Enterprise (Tourism) - for example Holy Trinity Church in Goodramgate is a CCT “Gateway Church” visited by 70,000 in 2016; and Regeneration and Development - bringing new life to some old and special buildings which is a key activity.  Included in this, according to Ed, is "Champing", the idea of camping in churches - promoted by CCT. People sleep in the church and CCT arrange / organise food ,locally.. maybe in a pub, other services etc. Apparently, an increasingly popular option and a new, interesting way to use these old buildings.   Please form an orderly queue.....

Ed with Chris Oct 2017 cover


Tourism in York There was a “full house”, including a large number of guests of members, for our speaker on October 6th.  Jane, Lady Gibson (who prefers just to be called “Jane”!) is the Chair of Make It York, and spoke about the growth of tourism in York. She delivered a lively and positive talk, full of interesting facts and figures, which held everyone’s attention.  7 million visitors come annually to York, up from 1 million in 1970, and representing and annual spend of £564million. Jane’s plan and ambition is to raise this figure to £1Bn by 2020. Jobs related to tourism are now the bedrock of employment in the city, described as the Visitor Economy. Whilst growing visitor numbers are not a problem, productivity is a challenge, she said. Some interesting facts: Of international visitors to York, Americans make up the most visitors, followed by Chinese (rapidly increasing) then Australians.  Tourism needs to adapt to new cultural needs – for example, Chinese visitors spend a maximum of just 45 minutes on any activity/visit, and eat their evening meal between 4pm and 6pm.  This is so they can send photos and comments of their meal on social media back to their relatives in China whilst it is still evening in China!  A fascinating talk much appreciated by all present.

Jane Lady Gibson
Diane PHF Oct 6

PHF for Diane During this week’s meeting, Diane Roworth, recently retired Chief Executive of York Blind and Partially Sighted Society was a guest of the Club.  President Brian formally presented her with a Paul Harris Fellowship award, in recognition of her amazing achievements in contributing to the York community (and beyond) in her work for people with sight problems. You can read the citation here.

Not just watching whales!  Members will be aware that President-Elect Ian Helby is still away at his house in South Africa.  Lest we feel he is just lazing around, he submitted this photograph and description of being "on Rotary Duty" with the local Clubs in Hermanus. "I spent a long, exhausting and rewarding day yesterday helping with the combined Rotary Clubs of Hermanus and Stanford Health Day. We gathered at Stanford Hall early in the morning and during the day welcomed over 300 local people who came for free testing. On offer was HIV testing, Blood Testing, TB testing, Eye testing, Teeth examination, Hearing test and General Medical Examination.  I thought I should let you know that I am not just idly sitting on the balcony watching the whales!"

Rotary Hermanus

Volunteering is good for your (mental) health  Reflecting President Brian's theme for this year (!), October 10th is World Mental Health Day,  and Rebecca Mendoza found an interesting article on social media (which she subsequently posted on our own Twitter account) about the effect of Volunteering on one's own mental health, and the positive effects it can have.  So being an active Rotarian in our community is not only fun and rewarding, it can also be good for you!  That's welcome news...    Read the article here 

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Proposals for Langwith Garden Village  Our speaker on October 13th was landscape architect and former Dragon Boat competitor, Patrick James who has been commissioned by a consortium of Halifax Land and Oakgate Developments to design a Garden Village on the southeast outskirts of the City York. The proposed site is partially on the current Elvington Airfield and the remainder is on Halifax Estate land. Langwith Farm is in the middle of the proposed Garden Village, hence the name; a similar proposal in the 2014 Draft Plan was called Whinthorpe Village, but this lapsed with the change of City political leadership in 2015. The proposal is to build a new community (eventually) of 5,000 new homes, with 3 Primary and one Secondary Schools, a Doctor’s Surgery, a bustling central high street, a care home, public transport by electric bus, access via a new junction on the A64 and from Elvington Lane, nature reserves and plenty of other green space. It is hoped that local jobs will be provided in the Elvington Business Park and at the University of York.  After his talk Patrick toook many questions from members and guests who quizzed him on the details of the plan and the political chance of success in bringing his proposals to reality.

Rotary at the Marathon  Once again, the skills of 20 Club members and partners was called upon on October 8th to run the Baggage Store at the Yorkshire Marathon.  In two shifts, starting at 7am (!!) the team ran the three tent that were set up to collect runners’ bags and belongings before the race,  then retrieve them after they returned exhausted three hours (or more) later!  With many hundreds of bags, the organisational challenge was great, but Rotarians rose to the challenge,  getting plaudits from the organisers and an invitation to be available in 2018, same time, same place.   The organisers, Run 4 All, are making a donation to the Club in appreciation of the team’s efforts.  Many thanks to all who took part – it was a fun, albeit exhausting, day, with the sunny weather adding to the enjoyment.

District Conference  A party of 12 members and partners attended the District Conference in Scarborough on October 14th , some staying the Friday and Saturday nights and attending on Sunday as well.  The “plenary sessions”, and the associated display area “Rotary Showcase” highlighted the wide range of activities and partnerships that Rotary has both locally, in the Uk and world-wide, and that range is truly astonishing.  Highlights were a presentation by Irish A-level student Mollie Cornish who started a drive to supply “Dignity Packs” to the homeless in her native town of Dublin, excellent and interesting talks by the Yorkshire Rows (“4 mums in a boat”) and about Cyber Crime Prevention,  the latter being an area we may look at bringing to York as part of a more modern Community Service initiative. There was entertainment including a dance to an excellent ABBA revival tribute band, which  for those of us who rocked through the 70’s was a real highlight. However, younger Rotary Grant Scholar Nicole Neiman, who was part of our group, seemed more bemused about ABBA! but seemed to enjoy her day regardless. On Sunday, the highlight was a talk by Chris Lubbe about “Never Give up Hope”.  This amazing 6ft 4in tall gentleman was an activist in South Africa during the Apartheid years and became Nelson Mandela’s body guard immediately after the latter’s release from Robin Island prison. He was with Mandela until his death, and accompanied him through his rise to being President of South Africa, his travels worldwide and his amazing journey. It was a remarkable presentation, and a fitting end to an inspiring Conference.

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Also at Conference, our amazing team of David, Celia, John and LInda, manning the District shop which did a roaring trade on the Saturday.

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