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Celebrating Geoff's 50 years - Cheers! Before the "President's Handover" on June 30th President Eileen had the great pleasure of presenting Geoff Brown with a certificate to recognise his 50 years of membership of our Club, and his "elevation" to being an Honorary Life Member. Accompanied by his wife Edna, Geoff was clearly delighted with the presentation and had provided champagne for all, to celebrate this amazing milestone. He then gave a touching talk to the Club about his memories and his reflections on the changes that have come about in the Club over the past half-century. We wish him and Edna every happiness and hope to see Geoff at Club meetings and events for many many more years....
President's Handover On June 30th the presidential "baton" was passed as incoming President Brian Joscelyne took on the role of leading the Club from Past President Eileen Davis. Eileen, in her remarks, reflected on her very busy year, as the Club's first female president, and the support and warmth she and Keith had received from all members. Her direction in moving the Club forward in its many activities, and particularly leading our support of various Foundation initiatives and with improving our Public Image, are things she can be justly proud of. Brian, in turn, thanked Eileen for the tremendous energy and thought she had demonstrated in her role. He went on to outline his key priorities for the coming year, and ended with a comparison with the handover 25 years ago where there were numerous comparisons to be made and many amazing similarities, showing that as our Club grows and develops, it still has very deep roots and a strong continuing culture of "Service before Self".
Thanks to new Club Photographer Vic Brookes for these photos
Rotary Marshalls The York Triathlon took place on July 2nd at the University of York Sports Village, and our Club were out in force at 8am to provide the Marshalling for the event. 35 members, partners and friends were all briefed and then took station at various parts of the course - swimming, cycling and running - to guide, encourage and support the athletes, both "Elite" and "fun" varieties, and to ensure everything went off safely. With sun on our backs (and a stiff breeze which did not help the bike riders on that section) it was a fun day, well organised by Mike Hay and his sub-team leaders who ensured we all had rest periods during the day, to enjoy the "snacks" given to us by the organisers. Triathlon UK are making a sizeable donation to the Club for our efforts, so a BIG thank you to Mike, and to all who helped out on the day.
Dragon Boat BBC video As our Club reaches and actually exceeds our goal of raising £1m over the past 15 years from our Dragon Boat events, this year's Challenge on July 9th attracted a lot of local publicity.
This fun video was posted on Twitter by BBC Radio York, who compiled it. They have 42,000 followers on Twitter. Unfortunately, they forgot to add "Rotary" to the title!! However, the Club's Twitter, and Facebook, feeds were very active throughout the day, (and before and after), with lots of interactive postings, photos and videos with competing teams, the BBC, Elly Fiorentini and many others, raising Rotary's profile in a modern and energetic way.
Dragon Boat Challenge 2017 "The best ever" some have said. Certainly everything seemed to worked in our favour for this year's Challenge on July 9th. The sun shone and the 36 competing teams were in great spirits. The highlight was of course the fact that as a result of having four great sponsors, excellent fundraising and donations from the teams, and the best ever programme sales results on the day, the Club did meet its "Let's make it a £1M" target and were able to announce that well over £1m has now been raised for local charities, big and small, over the past 15 years. Thanks for this magnificant result go to a very large number of people, from the Dragon Boat Committee who planned it over the past 12 months, members, friends, partners, Inner Wheel members and Rotaractors who helped on the day, organisers of the North Bank Gala including the very successful Rotary Tea Tent in aid of Foundation Polio Plus; and to many others. DBEL presented the Club with a trophy to mark the £1m. The Club should be proud of this success, the resulting extensive publicity in press, radio and particularly social media, and the positive projection of "Rotary in the Community" that resulted. Onward, to next year! More info and photos here
Visit from Action Man DG On July 14th. we were pleased to welcome our new District Governor and "action man", Robert Morphet, to our meeting. Robert is definitely a "new breed" of Rotary DG, with forward-looking ideas, and his talk to the Club was full of humour, self-deprecation and wise advice. He is leading from the front, as his recent Edinburgh Marathon run (raising £26k for Polio Plus) and his taking an active part in Dragon Boat Races both in Wakefield and then the following day with ourselves, indicate. Robert recounted his experience with us from his blog, which can be found here. His strong belief that the important things about Rotary are the local Clubs, and that being involved is more important than just attending meetings, fit well with our own Club's philosophies. He is exhorting all Clubs in the District to seek ways to find new members, and challenged each of us to speak to a friend or acquaintance to persuade them to consider membership - "if they are not asked, they may not come forward". We look forward to supporting Robert in his year of office.
Walking by the Ure Eileen reports... The Club Walk on July 20th was more of a stroll; a shorter-than-usual route was selected so that walkers would have sufficient energy left to tackle that evening's Treasure Hunt. The group met at The Ship in Aldborough and walked from the village towards Boroughbridge, along the banks of the River Ure and back via Aldborough Hall. The heavy rain before the walk thankfully abated (mostly!) and the group was relieved that the heavens only opened again after their return. Several walkers had not been to Aldborough before and were impressed with the interesting and pretty location, with an excellent pub meal. Many would like to return - for a longer walk (!) and maybe the chance to visit the Roman Museum, which was closed!
Rotarians hunting for treasure Tim's (edited) report... "Heading to the Novotel for the start of this year’s Treasure Hunt on July 20th there was a certain sense of trepidation, the last time we took part we won it with a maximum score. Would we be able to match this achievement, did we want to match it? Only time would tell.... Along the Foss, with David and Gillian, and three opportunities to get the first clue, an eyesight test for the second and a very strange street name for the third – we were doing well. .......On into George Hudson Street, “Stairway to Heaven”? Didn’t know Jim was a Led Zeppelin fan! ....into Castlegate, a load of Rotarians here, find the next answer on the pillar box, pretend not to have seen it, keep walking and looking, whisper Derby to Gillian and move on. Back to the Novotel for the buffet. A magnificent spread duly appeared and our thanks must once again go to the catering staff at the Novotel. Then on to the results, Jim Wragg on his feet giving the scores, 26, 27, 28, 29 still no mention of Trouble and Strife x 2. There was a tie for first place! Yes we had done it, maximum score again. Many thanks to Jim for his organisation of a super evening."
( Full version of Tim's report is in Rotagraph... Ed)
Our new branding was much in evidence..
Farewell to Lisa Joining us at our Club meeting on July 28th was Lisa Schalk, the Rotary Global Grant Scholar whom we have been "hosting" for the past year whilst she has been studying for a Masters degree in Public Health at the University of York. Lisa expressed her appreciation to the Club, and especially to Christine Watkinson who has been her main contact, along with IPP Eileen, whilst she has been in York with her two boys. Lisa said she had enjoyed her stay in the City very much and was sorry to leave. We wish her well as she and her family travel back to California.
Also during this meeting, President Brian presented Julie Parkin, Novotel's Business Manager, with the Club's gratuity for Novotel staff. He expressed the Club's gratitude for the superb service, help and support provided by the hotel. It is a great relationship, and long may it continue!
KYRA Women’s Project Ali Bolton spoke to us after lunch on July 28th about this fantastic charity KYRA whose focus is “Supporting Women to Make Change Since 2013”, which has no central funding and no full time paid staff. Their aim is to empower women to make informed choices, achieve their goals and become stronger and more independent. They started with 5 members and now have some 550 supported by some 50 volunteers and provide a safe space and non-judgemental support where women can simply “talk about things” without being offered solutions. On offer (free) is encouragement and support, a range of specialist courses and therapy together with strong links to many organisations and partners working in this field. A very thought provoking presentation.
Club Receives Award from DBEL At the same meeting, David Fotheringham (Dragon Boat committee chair) and President Brian accepted an award presented to the Club on July 9th by Dragon Boat Events Ltd, our partners in running the Dragon Boat Challenge, to recognise the Club's achievement of raising over £1m for local charities through the event, over the past 15 years.
Annual Barbeque The weather was kind to us (until almost the end!) for the Club Barbeque on August 6th held as usual at Sutton-Upon-Derwent. The 70 members and guests were treated to wonderful cooking from super-chefs Dave, David and Graham, accompanied by salads and cold items courtesy of the Sutton Hall staff. With drinks dispensed with aplomb by Donald and Fred, a challenging quiz organised by John, and an even more challenging golf "chip" competition from David Sweeney, the whole event went by in a flash, and just as the rain started, everyone went home with happy memories. Our huge thanks, once again, to Peter Fox for his superb organisation of this popular event on our Club calendar.
Baggage Handlers par excellance.... A team of 17 Rotarians and partners were on hand (from 7.30am!) for the York 10K race on August 6th to provide the "baggage handling" service for the 6000 or so runners who took part. The team received the runners' bags and belongings, sorted them carefully by number, and then handed them back to the exhausted competitors after their race. It was smooth as clockwork, and the organisers commented that this was the best bit of baggage handling they had ever seen. What an accolade for Rotary!! Our new branded "flags" and shirts were much in evidence, and the organisers are making a donation to Club funds for our efforts. Many thanks to all who helped out - it was a fun experience!
A Treemendous Talk! On August 11th, Alan Hunton gave a passionate and interesting talk about the work of the conservation charity Woodland Trust. The Trust, with 210,000 members, has 3 aims: to protect existing native woodland species such as oak, alder, birch, yew; to restore ancient woodland, some having been has been in place for at least 400 years; and to create new woodlands. Just 13% of UK is covered with trees, a small percentage compared to the rest of Europe. Many planting schemes exist (eg. Treemendous in York); well documented evidence of the benefit of trees to the landscape, air quality and recreation (to name but a few) supports this aim. The Woodland Trust is doing its best, but the battle is far from won. Alan explained that an ancient tree, in the last stages of its life, goes thin on top, has broken branches, may be holed, has a large girth and hollow trunk and is covered in moss, lichen and fungi - does this seem familiar?
Marie Curie On August 4th we welcomed Jennifer Carmichael as our guest speaker to talk about the work of this great charity and importantly explain the difference between Marie Curie and Macmillan Cancer Support. Marie Curie are there for people living with ANY terminal illness (33% is other than cancer), and their families. They offer expert care, guidance and support to help them get the most from the time they have left. They provide hands on care and emotional support often overnight for the patient, family member or carer – in 2015/16 over 50,000 people were helped by their services and in 2016/17 over 8000 hours of care and over 900 visits were provided in the Vale of York alone and the average cost per person is some £500 lower than in the NHS. Each hour of each day they need £10,000 to carry on their tremendous work and whilst they are a National charity they are also very local (based at the Elvington Airfield York) our Club will look for ways in which we can provide support.
Hedgehogs and Hedge pigs We were fortunate to have Pat Mather as our guest speaker after lunch on August 18th. The loves of her life are Hedgehogs and donkeys (apart from her husband!). Erinaceous Europaeus (their Latin name) are basically found everywhere except North & South America and the Arctic regions and at best live to be around just 2 years old. Hedgehogs (meaning "hedge pigs") are good swimmers and great climbers, like to live in compost heaps or bonfire stacks and often walk along set paths or corridors for up to 2 miles each night. Given the change in global warming they now often only hibernate between December and January and the most common reasons they are killed are cars and garden strimmer’s. Whilst they are lactose and wheat intolerant they love worms, slugs, insects and other forms of meat. Pat has a fantastic >50% success rate in rescuing and freeing them back to the wild and emphasised that vets must treat them for free - so important since they are due to go on the red list of endangered species this year. A very interesting talk from a very passionate and committed lady.