Rotary Club of York

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All you wanted to know about the Organ and were afraid to ask Sheila reports..     27 members attended the demonstration by Club Secretary Mike at St Edward The Confessor Church at Dringhouses on February 8th. We met for coffee with homemade biscuits and chocolate cake provided by Ros Hay (many thanks Ros) in the lovely new atrium and as usual when there is a group of Rotarians there was an instant buzz!  We then moved into the Church for the demonstration.  Mike Hay ably demonstrated the complex process, and personally having a lack of musical expertise, I had to listen very carefully! I guess that most of us would first notice the organ Pipes above the organ which Mike described as being like penny whistles all of different sizes. St Edwards Organ was produced in the late 70’s by Nigel Church & Co and has around 600 such pipes. Mike thankfully produced a leaflet describing all of the Pedals and Stops and Manuals and demonstrated their use. We listened to various pieces with the Stops going in and out ad infinitum with Mike scooting along the stool.  Fascinating stuff!  

The Unsung Heroes of MapAction  Diana reports...    On February 15th we welcomed Nigel Press, Chairman of MapAction, the humanitarian mapping charity.  He explained that MapAction is a non-governmental organisation that specialises in providing mapping for humanitarian emergencies. Humanitarian emergencies often strike without warning, destroying lives and livelihoods within a matter of seconds. In the immediate aftermath, the challenge for those responding is to know where to start.  Information is vital:  What has happened and which area has been worst affected? Where are the most vulnerable people?  What has happened to roads, railways and communication networks?   Where are medical supplies and where are they needed most?  Who is available to be deployed from Map Action to the disaster scene? MapAction has the capacity to deploy a fully trained and equipped humanitarian mapping and information management team anywhere across the globe within 24-48 hours.  The team gathers all the crucial data at the disaster scene, conveying it visually in the form of maps. By creating this ‘shared operational picture’ for aid agencies, governments and local partners, they can help them make informed decisions and deliver aid and emergency supplies to the right place, quickly. MapAction’s work depends on a group of over 90 skilled and dedicated volunteer first responders, backed by a small paid staff of 5. The volunteers, from all over the UK (including York), and all of whom have day jobs, spend one weekend a month on training programmes. Nigel has thrown down the MapAction Rotary 2019/20 Challenge to aim to get 100 Clubs giving £500 each for each year.  

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Tale of Two Butchers  On February 22nd we welcomed another new member to the Club.  Stephen Wilkinson is a retired butcher (second generation) who built up the business and ended up with six butcher’s shops mostly in local market towns, employing about 30 staff.  He was introduced to the Club by Steve Barker, himself a retired butcher and a close friend.  Good job the Novotel had the foresight to avoid serving a vegetarian meal for this meeting, then! Stephen will be a real asset to the Club and members were quick to welcome him into the fold.  

Ten Ukes and a Skateboard With the "Grand Old Uke of York" band we were able to put together an event which appealed to a wide range of ages on February 23rd.  The Memorial Hall at St Peters was abuzz with excitement as the group played a powerful and wide range of classic rock, folk and ballads which got everyone foot-tapping. It was hard to believe all that variety and impact came from ten ukuleles! A team of 16 Rotarians, partners and “Friends of Rotary” took control of the car parking, stewarding, raffle sales, and running the interval bar where the audience got a free wine or soft drink. The popular raffle had fantastic prizes including a Cookery Course at Bettys, worth £180 - which was won by our own Steve Barker!! The band drew all the raffle ticket winners during their second set, by what has to said were very new and unique methods, including scattering the tickets on the floor and letting “Yorkshire Flat Cap Man” roll over them on a skateboard, picking up a ticket with a sticky glove. The photo gives a rough idea – Lewis Outing, who took the shot, narrowly missed getting run over himself! A lively, fun and brilliant show, this was a “joint venture” with Age UK (York) and in the end when the money was all counted, we raised £2400, half of which will go to Age UK (York) and the remaining £1200 is now in the Club’s Charity Fund. A huge thanks to Graham, the fundraising team, all who helped on the night, St Peters School and above all to the Grand Old Uke of York who did us proud!


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(Most photos courtesy of Lewis Outing; click to enlarge)

Young Technologists  The fifteenth York Rotary Technology Tournament organised by the three York Rotary Clubs at Portakabin on February 19th challenged the creative  skills of 64 young Yorkies. The all day tournament attracted an entry of 16 teams from 7 York schools.  Teams of four students working against the clock designed, built and demonstrated a practical solution to a technical  problem. The task ,  set at foundation intermediate and advanced levels conforming  to elements in the National Curriculum,   was to build a flashing beacon from materials provided by the three York Clubs. The VIP visitors included the Lord Mayor and civic party, Deputy Lieutenant of North Yorkshire and Patrick Shepherd Deputy Chairman of the Group who all agreed the event  is a really worthwhile activity and one that will help create  benefits for the wider community in years to come.  Full report and photos can be seen here

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Round Rillington  Tony reports...  Good weather helps bring out record Rotary walkers this month! 23 of us joined the February 21st walk from the Coach & Horses pub carpark. It was glorious weather for the 5.4 mile walk which headed due south circular walk. Followed by an excellent pub lunch - the food was superb. I would certainly recommend the Coach & Horses and the walk. I am sure we will return to Rillington whether for the walk or the pub!

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President's Dinner  We welcomed York's Civic Party, Lord Mayor Cllr Orrel and consort Judith Orrel, and Sheriff Verna Campbell with consort Prof Colin Campbell, to our annual President's Dinner at the Novotel on March 1st.  After a superb 3-course dinner and speeches from President Ian and the Lord Mayor reflecting on the Club's place in the history of York over the past 98 years, we were entertained by guest speaker Brian Thomas who told the tale of Baroness Pannonica de Koenigswarter (known as "Nica") who although born a Rothschild with untold wealth, spent much of her life with the (mostly black) jazz players of Harlem, and in particular Thelonius Monk. His talk was accompanied by several excerpts of Monk's jazz recordings. A strange tale indeed.


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Young Musician District Final  On March 3rd the 1040 District Final of this Rotary competition took place at the NCEM York, in front of a packed audience including several Club members. Jo Peach (a "Friend of York Rotary") was one of the adjudicators who had the unenviable job of deciding the winners from the 14 extremely talented young people who took part, chosen by various Rotary Clubs in the District. It was a very entertaining afternoon, and congratulations are due to all the competitors. In the end the winner in the Instrumental category was violinist WIlliam Clark, a prodigious talent who is from York (Huntington School); with Xiana Harron (Halifax) a close second.  Eva Scullion (Ripon) won the vocalist category with Kyai Calver (Brigg) runner up. These four, and also a brilliant Alto Saxophonist James Taylor (Brigg) will go forward to the Regional Final at the end of March.

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Hear the amazing talent of Alto Sax player James Taylor

Lots of Gas at Rotary  On March 8th David Gill outlined the role and scale of Northern Gas Networks , one of the five UK gas distribution companies. Covering 25,000 square kilometres in the North of England to the Scottish Border the 37000 Km of gas pipes delivers gas to 2.7m customers. On a cold winter day 80% of UK heat and power is transported through the gas network.

Only 45% comes from UK sources. 38% comes through European pipelines, primarily from Russia, and 17% is shipped by  tankers mainly from the middle East. Potential security and uncertainty issues are  recognised and the industry recommended  solution - Fracking. There are 300 years reserves of gas in the Bowland Shale Outcrop between Wrexham and Blackpool in the west, and Nottingham and Scarborough in the east.  Energy used for heat and transport accounts for 80% of UK energy carbon footprint and the Climate Change Act requirement to reduce carbon omissions by 80% by 2050 is a huge challenge. The Industry preferred solution is the development of carbon free hydrogen gas distributed by converting the existing gas distribution network.

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At the March 3rd meeting we also welcomed Sally Hutchinson, CEO of Age UK (York) who was presented with a cheque for £1200, this resulting from our recent "Ukulele Show" fundraiser

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“Call My Bluff” Wine Tasting Tom reports..  On March 20th, a group of our members enjoyed a convivial evening in the Tithe Barn at Nether Poppleton where their taste buds were challenged to determine the label, style, country of origin, strength and price of various wines which were presented and described, but not always truthfully, by Tom Jackson and two of his golfing friends: Stephen and John. This was a Fellowship Fun Event where David Ison skillfully performed as M.C. and Donald Heath and David Sweeney served as Wine Waiters for the evening (Manuel from Fawlty Towers comes to mind!) There was a great deal of laughter and friendship (Rotary Fellowship at its best) – and the “lying” must have been convincing as the “real sommeliers” amongst us were the most fooled by the presentations. President Ian presented a couple of bottles of “decent reds” to the winning team: Mike and Elizabeth Fieldhouse; Eileen and Keith Davis; Ian and Jeanne Denoon, Sheila Weatherburn and Helen Ison.

Runners-up and losers were consoled with packets of wine gums!

Wine tasting; MC & Experts (Custom) Wine tasting; Some tipplers (Custom) Wine tasting; The winners (Custom)