Nothing prepares you for the first week in office as District Governor: Its ‘full on’ from Day 1!
1st July saw the 8th Club Charter Celebration of the Ormskirk Clocktower Rotary, held at the Aviary Venue in Ormskirk. Great to meet up with this vibrant group of Rotarians – many of the females adorned with feather Boas – in all colours to compliment their outfits. It was fun, friendship and laughter all night. Immediate past President Steve handed over the reins to Sue Wilson.
Over the past 3 years Sue has done a splendid job as the District Equality and Diversity Officer – but now leads her Club through 2017/18.
Sunday, 2nd I arrived at the Band stand by the River at Chester to join President Graham Proctor and members of Chester Rotary to enjoy the annual Raft Race – the weather was just perfect and it was fun to participate in judging the best ‘themed’ raft. I enjoyed the company of The Lord Mayor of Chester, Councillor Razia Daniels and her husband – we met last year at a conference with District 1060.
After a walk across the bridge, the medals were handed out to the competitors who by this time had showered and changed and running high on adrenalin.
This is Chester Rotary’s signature event and all the members work hard together in ensuring all matters of health and safety are addressed, in addition to raising considerable funds for local good causes.
Monday, 3rd was the celebration of the RC Bebington who chartered in 1950.
Lord Lieutenant of Merseyside Dame Lorna Muirhead was the guest speaker.
After 11 years Dame Lorna will retire from this role in September – a remarkable lady and I was so pleased to be able to hear her speak again before she retires..
Good luck to President John Hulse.
Travelling up to Southport on Wednesday, 5th I wondered if our RIBI President Denis Spiller would have a good journey to D1180 from Kent but as we parked I spotted him having a stroll along the lakeside. Inside, a warm welcome was received from P/P Di Harrison, President Michael Harrison and members of Southport Rotary.
It was good to see many visiting Rotarians joining the club to hear Denis’ presentation.
Wednesday evening was District Council for Rotarians in D1180 in a new Venue at the Catrin Finch Centre – a new layout with cabaret seating so Rotarians can mix and mingle and a new approach with Beryl’s Power Point Presentation to guide delegates through the council meeting. The new District Magazine was available for club members to collect – a huge thanks to Keith Mitchell Editor of the magazine for his continuing hard work.
RIBI President Denis gave an excellent address to delegates, direct and inspiring words on membership growth and modernization. There was plenty of humour and finally encouragement to support our Rotary Foundation and the ‘End Polio Now’ campaign.
RI Public Image Coordinator Les Wilson gave a presentation straight from RI HQ at Evanston, USA on enhancing our Public Image.
I hope that all the delegates approved of the new format for District Council – change can be fun and should not be feared.
Thursday, 6th – a delightful journey admiring the scenery on the way to the International Eisteddfod at Llangollen. A warm welcome at the gate by President Lyn Pinel, her husband and IPP Gethin Davies and on to a visit to the Rotary Stand to find some celebrating Rotarians: IPDG Molly, Big Ollie, District Public Image Chair Fiona and IPDG Les and Pat Wilson amongst others……..
We made sure we had photos with the selfie frame but the heat got the better of Ollie (Den Reeve) who had to revert to human.
After a delicious lunch with 60 other Rotarians and friends, we said our ‘goodbyes’ and headed back home.
One of the highlights was purchasing a signed book from Sir Terry Waite and afterwards he called into the Rotary lunch marquee and gave a heart warming speech on peace and reconciliation.
He read out a poem he had written and gave Rotary permission to use it, here it is:
Peace is the fragile meeting
Of two souls in harmony.
Peace is an embrace
That protects and heals.
Peace is a reconciling
Peace is rooted in love,
It lies in the heart,
Waiting to be nourished,
Until it embraces the world.
May we know the harmony of peace,
May we sing the harmony of peace,
Until in the last of days,
We rest in peace.
Changed and dressed in evening wear… Off to celebrate 60 years of Rotary with Heswall at the Thornton Hall Hotel – incoming President Ian Pentin was Club President when 50 years of Rotary in Heswall was celebrated when DG was none other than Tony Cotton and we celebrated with the Club, attended by RIBI Presdent Alan Jagger.
The following morning (Friday), Denis Spiller left D1180 but will return to visit our District Conference on 4th and 5th November at Lion Quays Resort & Spa with his wife Penny.
Friday evening 6th July, I had purchased two tickets to support Conwy Valley Rotary at their Purple 4 Polio gala ball and auction.
The Wedgewood Suite at the St. George’s Hotel was decked out to perfection for the event. I cannot begin to tell you how professional this event was organized and I take my hat off to Secretary Ian Williams, President Ceri and Foundation Chair Kevin.
There had been a very disappointing response from the other Rotary Clubs in the area but the event was well supported by young local people – indeed potential Rotarians. The items in the auction were exceedingly tempting and raised a huge sum of money!
I had a job not to bid on the purple wheelbarrow packed full with quality wines. An unbelieveable £5000 plus was raised for the Purple 4 Polio campaign and, of course, this will be tripled by the Bill and Amanda Gates Foundation so I think Conwy Valley Rotarians should be justly proud of themselves at having contributed £15,000 to the programme.
New acquaintances were made and it was a most enjoyable event.
The final appointment of the week was the Tarporley Carnival organized by Tarporley Rotary. Meeting up at the Swan Hotel for a light lunch, then doing a bit of judging of the floats, the best adult costume and the best youth costume.
Following the parade to the field and I had the pleasure of opening the carnival along with MP Antoinette Sandbach and crowning the Rose Queens.
The sun was shining and there was a feast of colour and laughter. A huge thank you to President Andy and Rtn Stuart Shaw for kindly showing me around the showground.
Well, that is 9 events in one week so it has been pretty full on. Whilst I have been racing around District 1180 there has been a team of very dedicated Rotarians manning the Rotary stand at the International Eisteddfod. It has been a very hot week but I know that from photos on facebook they have had a ball.
A huge thank-you to all the Rotarians who so enthusiastically manned the stand.
Finally, on last Monday evening IPDG Molly Youd attended the concert at the Eisteddfod and presented the second Rotary Peace Award. The judges this year were Terry Waite OBE, Richard Haslegrove from the Peace Centre in Bradford and Connie Huq, TV Presenter. Unfortunately, as I had a previous engagement I could not attend but the presentation was in very safe hands with Molly. The winners were: Médecins Sans Frontières and the British Ironworks, Shropshire.
We have a day of rest tomorrow and a long walk along the North Wales Coast to burn up some of those calories.