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February march Steve reports... OC Sullivan assembled his troops for 0930 assault in Crown & Cushion Car Park; Lance Corporal Paterson then lined everyone up against a high wall for a team shoot, all facing the sun - so no background and every-one blinking, but was his camera primed? With a warning of a 'little bit of mud' en route we were off; 21 in total soon spread out over a few hundred yards, possibly to avoid ambush or just for animated conversation. Brisk cross country followed and an unknown route found for many who thought they knew all the paths in the Castle Howard area - we never seen the estate sewage works before! A brief stop at aptly named Bog Hall, a deserted sprawl of building, for which Tom Jackson quickly drew an redevelopment scheme, only to find it was actually inhabited. At this stage our leader casually mentioned the route back took us back through the valley of mud bringing on murmurs of desertion in the ranks. A sharp shower of sleet threatened to spoil the good day but was over before it began and so back down and up the mud again, resulting in a extremely long straggle sliding back to a halt at the pub. Refreshment as ever imbibed, Mike thanked and parade dismissed.
Banging the drum for York Against Cancer The fundraiser on February 10th by Kaminari UK Taiko drummers was a great success, as reported earlier. The concert raised over £2600, and this has been shared between York Against Cancer, who worked with us on the organisation, marketing and ticket sales, and our own Club charity fund. The photo taken on February 20th shows Francine Clee (YAC marketing), Julie Russell (YAC General Manager) with President Brian, accepting a cheque from the Club. Keith Hayton, our Community Services Chair and also a Trustee of York Against Cancer, was also present - and took the photo!
Under the Mango Tree An unusual name for a small charity, and it's founder Gordon Atkinson, our speaker on February 23rd, explained it's origins and the work it does in supporting the Kamba Timboni school in Kenya, where he first visited and saw children in the village getting "education" sitting under this tree. 500,000 children in Kenya do not go to school. Whilst village elders are often not educated, they do value the importance of education, and as long as the Kenyan government can not fully support schooling financially, charities such as Gordon's make an invaluable contribution, both in building and equipping schools such as this, and providing meals for the children whilst they attend. Gordon explained that while much has been done, there is still much to do to improve sanitation, handwashing and additional classroom faciltiies at Kamba Timbone. Clearly "Under the Mango Tree" is a labout of love for Gordon and his wife Angela
Building tomorrow's engineers The Rotary Clubs of York "Technology Tournament" took place on February 27th at the Portakabin permises in Huntington, with a "full house" of 26 teams of 4 children, from nine schools in York and North Yorkshire. Teams from Ampleforth College were competing for the first time, and they, like the others, braved the snowy conditions to ensure the event started on time. The positive and excited atmosphere continued throughout the day as the teams planned, designed and then built their "cranes" - needing to be capable of lifting a magnetic container ("High explosive") and retreiving the load back under a bridge without touching its top or sides. The ingenuity and skills that were used, and the learnings throughout the day, were evident and impressed both the judges and the VIP's present - the Mayoral party and our District Governor Robert Morphet. Eventually the judges chose the winners in each of the three age categories. But in truth everyone was a winner in this amazing event. Congratulations to the organisers including our own club's co-ordinator Russ Rollings. More photos and details are on the Technology Tournament page here
Supporting The Hut The Club has been further supporting the local mental health charity "The Hut" as President Brian and Chair of Community Service, Keith Hayton, visited their premises (a "hut", previously a bowling green clubhouse, opposite York Hospital) on February 28th, to present a donation cheque for £1200 to their managers Emma and Jonny, and a gathering of some of their "members". The Hut provides ongoing help, skills and life training and social interaction for over 160 people (their "members") on a shoestring and it was a moving experience to see this wonderful charity in action. We wish them well.
President's Dinner One hundred members, partners and special guests gathered at the Novotel on March 2nd for our annual President's Dinner, the formal event during the Club's year when we celebrate the Club's relationship with our City and community. After a superb dinner prepared and served with their usual brilliance by chef VJ and Julie's great Novotel team, President Brian outlined the changing nature of our local community and how Rotary works with it increasingly in new ways; District Governor Robert Morphet responded with some lavish praise for how the Club was going from strength to strength and was successfully modernising it's image. Our main speaker David WIseman then captivated his audience with his story of Army service, injury and trauman in Helmand, Afghanistan, recovery through services "Walking Wounded" programmes that included amazing mountaineering feats, and then a meeting with Prince Harry that resulted in David being part of the team that set up the Invictus Games in 2014. He explained that he went on to captain the UK team at the 2016 Games in Orlando, and personally won several medals in the swimming events. His message of the power of sport to re-invigorate and provide wounded servicemen with new self-worth - "We are international athletes now" - was inspirational.
Celebrating International Rotary Our guests on March 9th were Yu Ogawa and Nicole Neiman, two Rotary International Grant Scholars who are connected with our Club whilst they are studying at the University of York. Yu, from Kobe, Japan, has a Law degree from Soka University and has been sponsored by Rotary Foundation in her Global and International Citizenship masters degree at York. She explained she is hoping to work with Youth Development internationally after graduating. Nicole is from California USA, where she studied at Redlands University. Her focus now is on Public Health, particuarly relating to mothers and childbirth issues, and she is completing a Masters in Public Health at York. The power of Rotary, through its Foundation, to further the development of these scholars' careers and to give back to the international community as a result, was evident. We wish them both well in their future careers - and also as future Rotarians, we hope!
International Women's Day Rotary isn't just for men! On International Womens Day on March 8th we celebrated all the women in our club and worldwide. Here's to the millions of Rotarian women and friends of Rotary across the world who are out there working hard and making a difference.
A Bay HorseTale Graham T reports... This month's walk on March 15th was going to be centred on The Goodmanham Arms, that serves excellent Beer and Food at prices not seen in York. When I carried out a 'reccy' the day before, mine host at the GA warned that we would be joined by a bus load of 50 attending the Kiplingcotes Derby. I thanked him for the info and bowed out, after an excellent pint of Ossett Blonde, warning that we would be back on another occasion, very soon. I called in at the Bay Horse, in Market Weighton, and booked us in for our after walk repast. The walk itself, although a little muddy, appeared to be enjoyed by all, [see smiles in photograph], featured the 'Hudson Way' towards Kiplingcotes, then up the hill to join the 'Wolds Way' back to Goodmanham. Fortunately, the biting cold wind, on the reccy, had relented to a stiff breeze. Unfortunately, the many interesting views were 'drizzled out' although we did witness some of the harshest clearance hedging you will ever see. Back to the Bay Horse for a wonderful Steamed Steak, Kidney and Oyster suet pudding. I weighed in a little heavier this morning!
Rotary's Foundation On March 16th our speaker, District 1040 Foundation Chairman Anita Rayner, summarised the work of Foundation at both District and international levels. One of the world's leading charities, Foundation can still seem mysterious to many Rotarians. After a 3-year investment, to earn interest, Foundation uses more than 90% of our donations for sustainable, life-changing projects which support global crises and improve lives for those who need it most. It is currently engaged in trying to eliminate Polio, working with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to provide the resources to rid the world of its last few cases and to build future resilience. Internationally, it also supports Peace Fellows - young people from around the world who learn to broker peace and understanding - and Grant Scholars (two of whom we are looking after this year) who are financed to underatke postgraduate studies in subjects which will help make the World a better place. More locally, Anita reminded us of the grants we had received in the past two years, to assist work in southern Africa at Ebenezer School in Zambia and Ella Gordon Nursery in Hermanus, South Africa.