Rotary Club of York

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October Walk  Mike S reports.. On October 18th 13 walkers met at Fountains Abbey/Studley Royal Visitors’ Centre. As we entered the park we were greeted with the spectacular views which make this area so well loved and well visited. The views were enhanced by the colours of the trees; beautiful autumn shades of gold, red, yellow, purple, black, orange, magenta, and brown. Passing St Mary’s Church, a Victorian Gothic Revival church, built in the Early English style by William Burges, the group dropped into the Seven Bridges Valley (now only five bridges). Following the valley path, the remnants of a Hydro-electric generator installed by the Marquis of Ripon in 1891, could be seen on the left. At the third bridge, we were treated to a sighting of lots of young deer, charging across the valley and up the steep side and also of a lone stag, having fun in a mud bath. Someone mentioned that a friend had been to the Deer Park, on a deer spotting tour and hadn’t seen any – we couldn’t move for them….. very lucky. A very good walk was followed by scrumptious lunch for 16 in the Black-A-Moor Inn, near Ripon Racecourse.

Friends of Rotary Networking Event On November 1st the first  "networking" event for FoYR members ("Current Challenges for Charities") was held, at the Novotel.  Close to 20 members attended,  and our guest speaker, Jane Hustwit (Chair of York CVS) got things off to a lively start with her observations about what the sector needs to consider in order to thrive in the current difficult climate. There followed a lively discussion, in small groups, about a number of topics such as volunteer recruitment, fundraising, grant application, social media and marketing.  Those present included representatives from charities both large, with multi £M budgets, to very small where running costs are a very large part of their budgets and are difficult to support.  It was an interesting exchange of ideas. It was a great social occasion for FoYR members to meet up, but also stimulated lots of ideas and thoughts. Further such events will now be planned.  More on the FoYR page here

A maze-ing but with Corny Jokes Frank had arranged a visit to York Maze for members and partners on November 2nd,  and owner/entrepreneur Tom Piercey, who had spoken to the Club last year about his project, was our host.  With the current Halloween theme (Hallowscream!) the site was buzzing as families enjoyed the rides, haunted houses and numerous activities available - all themed on Maize or Corn.  These included the House of Cornfusion, which some of us tried out.  With pumpkin carving and costumed "hosts" the ingenuity and drive emanating from Tom was evident.  He sets very high standards for his attractions, food and staff, and his success (100,000 visitors a year) is not surprising - but is well deserved.

York Central Update Our speaker at our November 2nd meeting was Tasmin Hart-Jones, from Homes England, one of the partners developing plans for "York Central".  She gave an update on progress where planning permission is currently being sought for the project which will include 2500 homes, 1000sq m of commercial space and parkland ("the biggest park in York for 100 years"), new station approach and infrastructure, all on this prime 45 Hectare site.  With luck (?) the work on the infrastructure should start next April and by 2021 this should be complete and within the next 15 years the project will take shape.  It's an ambitious plan, well thought through, and seemed popular with members. It is hoped that politicians and funders will feel the same!

Ancient and Modern Streets On November 5th a group of around 50 members and partners enjoyed a private viewing of an exhibition of paintings, prints, drawings and photographs, all depicting various streets of York, dating from the mid 18th century through to today - with current photographs taken by Chris Shepherd (well known to members for her photography at our Dragon Boat events). Chris introduced the exhibition, held at St Williams College, and she gave us a conducted tour.  Seeing old and new images side by side gace a fascinating insight into the development of the Cityscapes - not always improving over the years, many felt! Many thanks to David Minns and the Fellowship team for arranging this fascinating visit.


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Joining us at our meeting on November 2nd, we welcomes Sasa Simendic,  from the Rotary Club of Nijmegen, Holland.  He is keen to further links between his Club, which has 60 members, and our own.  More international visits, perhaps?

Rotary presents Interviewing Workshop Rotary York’s Ambassador to The Mount School, Eileen Davis, was asked by the new Head of Senior College if she could source an interview techniques presentation for Upper and Lower Sixth forms. Eileen and Sheila Weatherburn put together an interactive workshop lasting 1.5 hours on just that. They covered not only actual interview techniques but, most importantly, the work needed in securing the interview in the first place! With different backgrounds, they used their own experiences from Education and Business. With 45 students, about 35% of them being from overseas, many were in the process of completing their UCAS forms and applying for Apprenticeships; others were looking to Work Shadowing, Holiday or Part-Time jobs and Volunteering. Eileen and Sheila hit the mark with the title "Making an Impact to ‘Stand out from the Crowd’" and helped the students gain an understanding of the overall World of Work

25,000 Poppies to Remember the Fallen  A Big thank you from Linda Lacy (President of York Inner Wheel) to all Rotarians, family and friends, who have knitted, crocheted, cut out felt poppies and provided buttons over the last year supporting Linda’s Inner Wheel Community Project, to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Armistice which ended the First World War.  About 25,000 poppies have been produced, of which our group contributed over 7,000. Many Inner Wheel members, Rotarians and friends spent a day attaching some of the 25,000 poppies to lightweight but strong garden netting. This will cascade down the outside walls of All Saints Church, Pavement, York, from November 3rd to 19th. Rotary has a strong link with this church as we hold the annual Inner Wheel and Rotary carol service there. After coming down from the church the poppies will be draped over a steam loco at the National Railway Museum, later in November.

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Dragon Boat Challenge Awards Ceremony The 2018 awards ceremony was held, on October 9th, in its traditional venue, the Mansion House. The newly refurbished Mansion House suited the event very well. The event was well attended by team representatives, the nominated charities, corporate sponsors, together with the full civic party and Rotary representatives. The Lord Mayor remembered that he attended the first Dragon Boat Challenge when he was in the office of Sheriff. As well as presenting the awards, we announced that so far £68,715 has been raised this year, and we're expecting more funds still to come in, hopefully taking the total up to £80,000, potentially a record year. This year seven teams exceeded £3,000, with the highest team (Industrial Textiles and Plastics Ltd) at £5,761. Overall the total raised now reaches £1.1m. Based on the proceeds to date, initial cheques for £10,000 each were presented to Citizens Advice York and York Mind. Both charities talked about their work and how the funds will be used, they also expressed their gratitude and thanks for the support that they have received from the event.


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A cheque for £250 was presented to the Lord Mayor in support of the Lord Mayor’s fund as a token of thanks to the civic party and for the input of the City of York Council. It was interesting to hear from her that two of the Mayor’s charities being supported this year include The Island and York Blind and Partially Sighted Society, both charities previously supported by the Dragon Boat Challenge. Finally we announced that the 2019 event will be held on the 14th July and that the Rotary nominated charity will be St Leonard’s Hospice.


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The Yorkshire Regiments' VC's  On November 9th we welcomed Aline Staes, who is Collections Manager at the York Army Museum, as our speaker.  With the 100th anniversary of the WW1 Armistice in everyone's thoughts, it was appropriate that her talk was about the Victoria Cross medal and the men from the Yorkshire Regiments who were awarded the VC during World War One.  Aline explained very well the background to the origin of the Victoria Cross. Introduced by Queen Victoria in 1856, it was the first medal for to awarded to any rank for gallantry, and was sparked by events in the Crimean War.  The metal is cut from cannons captured from the Russians at Sebastopol during this War and they are made exclusively by Hancocks of London.  There is enough metal remaining today to make an additional 85 medals.  The VC was, and still is, awarded for outstanding valour in the face of the enemy, self-sacrifice and changing the course of the action;  all three requirements need to be met, and recommendations by officers are passed up the hierarchy until final approval by the monarch. The Yorkshire Army Museum houses a collection of five VC's won by men from the East and West Yorkshire Regiments, donated by their families; four of which were awarded during World War 1.  Aline told the stories of four awardees, all aged 21 or younger, and the descriptions of their actions and the amazing bravery of such young men were outstanding.  

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Visitors from Wakefield Joining us for this meeting we welcomed a party of six Rotarians and partners from the Rotary Club of Wakefield, led by their President Sheila Wainwright.  Sheila visited our Club last June when she spoke to us about Admiral Nurses programme,  and is remembered for her "talking cat"!  


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Shelterbox on Show On November 8th Nigel Naish and Brian Joscelyne visited Stillington Primary School, at the invitation of head teacher Charlotte, to do a "Show and Tell" for the children about the work of Shelterbox, Rotary's partner in the provision of immediate charity relief at disaster areas across the globe.  The children were fascinated by the collection of equipment in a shelterbox - particularly the water filtration and cooking provisions - asked lots of good questions, and were most excited to go inside the Shelterbox tent that was erected in their playground.  A sign of the times - one of the dozens of questions asked by the children was "Does Shelterbox provide them with replacements for their i-phones?"!!  The school will run a fundraising event in their village to assist Shelterbox in the provision of further boxes.  This was the first of what we hope will be many such demonstrations to spread the word of what Shelterbox (and Rotary) do around the world.  Many thanks to Suzanne Thompson for helping and for facilitating the visit.

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