Thursday 1st February: District Executive – a gathering of the District support team to ensure everyone brings problems and success stories to the table. I thank all the team for their service in
2nd February -Ormskirk Charter – this will go down as a real night to remember. At Briars Hall in `Ormskirk , President and members of the club celebrated their 81st Charter evening.
Congratulations to Dudley Waine on being awarded a PHF
The musical entertainer was just perfect. Someone said to me “ Even Ormskirk Rotarians dance “ – this apparently was quite a surprise to everyone.
Saturday, 3rd February – District Final of the Young Musician – this was some day. Held at the home of Caroline and Scirard at Poulton Hall, Bebington in their music room. The morning was taken with instrumentalists and what a delight it was. In the afternoon,after a light lunch, organized by Rtn. Gill Mackeen, we were given the pleasure of hearing the vocalists.
I was proud that I picked 1st, 2nd and 3rd in the morning but it was more difficult for me in the afternoon with the vocalists.
All six finalists will go forward to the next heat. Thanks to RC Neston for their support with car parking etc. In the afternoon one or two candidates had cancelled at short notice which affected the running order and and a few other little problems so poor Rotarian Scirad had his work cut out to organize everything but, as always, coped exceedingly well . This type of event makes you feel so proud of our Youth and their achievements. Good luck to everyone in the Regional Final.
Sunday, 4th February DOTS – DGE Steve’s first big moment – setting out his stall for 2018/19 to his District team. The day ran smoothly and was very constructive – led by our District Trainer Ged. Held at the Mercure Hotel (Woodhey). The Rotary theme for next year 2018/19 is “Be the Inspiration”.
5th February – walk around Caernarfon – I got offered a job this afternoon selling properties at Beresford Adams – they said I could sell ice to the eskimos. Adrian, Tony, Bob and myself walked around all the local businesses telling them about the new Club in formation. We were warmly received. They all confirmed Caernarfon should have a Rotary club!
Evening: 5th February – Prestatyn Club Visit – The Beeches Hotel at Prestatyn really look after this club. Good to see Bob back at the club after having a bit of a rough time with his health. Devastated to hear that Robert has left Rotary – a long standing member of Prestatyn. After my presentation there were several questions on the Rotary Foundation and Public Image. The club have sent a very generous £2000 donation to the Rotary Foundation. The meeting was well attended by Prestatyn Rotarians.
6th February – Crosby satellite – the buzz of seeing a new club forming is just amazing. The coffee shop is a great place for this new club to meet and they soon got planning their first event, officers were selected and plans made.
The Crosby Rotarians led by Geriant Short give support but don’t over-power this new club. A bank account will soon be opened and
one of the members will take over the facebook page that I have opened for them.
7th February – joined the RIBI Webinar for General Council members to get through some of the matters needing attention to save time for the face to face meeting on Sunday.
7th February – B irkenhead Charter – Good to be with President Tom celebrating 89 years of Rotary in Birkenhead. Good to meet up with their latest new member and speak with some old friends. Dame Lorna Muirhead was supposed to be the speaker but she was poorly so President Tom took over and ably entertained everyone.
8th February – Liverpool Exchange – off on the train to Liverpool Lime Street on a magical mystery tour to the Athenaum. President Martin was a little bit late on arriving and had to leave early owing to having to look after his unwell dad etc but I spent an enjoyable time and good to chat with Angela and the members.
8th February – Saughall – a little bit strange doing a DG visit to your own club. I felt it was important to get the Rotary message across and the three main strategies outlined by RI President Ian and then, as we have many new members to Rotary I thought they would like to hear a little bit about the history of the club and a few details about Rotary and our District. I was, also, delighted to be able to present Rotarian Andrew Errington with a Paul Harris Fellowship for the work he has undertaken in the Club, as President and Treasurer – gaining Charity Status, organizing the Dragon Boat Race and beer festivals and for his work in visiting around 30 clubs speaking about change and Rotary Showcase events. Further for his support and hard work as Chair for the Dsitrict Conference 2017. Well deserved Andrew.
9th February – St. Asaph Charter – over to the Rhuddlan Golf Club to meet up with President Tom Yulle. City of St. Asaph Rotary celebrating 34 years of Rotary service. Guest speaker was the former Lord Lieutenant of Clwyd Trefor Jones and Tesni Ones soprano delighted everyone with four pieces. Good to see my old friends IPP Roy and Alan Duke along with lots of local Rotarians who were supporting St. Asaph.
10th February – Chester Charter – The Town Hall of Chester was the venue for this splendid event. 96 years of service – the charter granted by RI in 1922. After a champagne reception in the Lord Mayor’s parlour after which we were assembled in the correct order to enter the Charter Event . I was delighted to be sitting by the Lord Mayor of Chester Councillor Razia Daniels. along with PE John McLintock. Good to have a chat with John. I have become good friends this year with the Lord Mayor. In responding to the toast to RI and proposing the toast to RC Chester I gave the assembled throng a little story about Greggs Sausage Roll. It seemed to go down really well. The guest speaker was the Vice Lord Lieutenant of Cheshire – Mrs Joelle Warren MBE, DL who gave a very inspirational speech on “Women in the Public Eye”. The Lord Mayor invited me up to her
parlour after the event which was quite an honour and once again it was rather a late evening. It was good to get to know her consort Stephen a little bit better on this occasion. Good job I had decided not to drive to the function.
Sunday, 11th February – General Council – a very early start to ensure that I arrived at Alcester for 9.15 a.m. The bed pulled but with three alarm clocks ringing it was best to get out of bed. Good to meet up with fellow DGs and some big decisions were made to go forward at this General Council.
13th February – Caaernarfon – the second information meeting and we doubled our numbers. Grateful thanks to Bob Maskall for his support. After the meeting when a plan of action was decided upon – I treated everyone to a pancake as it was Shrove Tuesday. Thought we deserved it!
15th February – Beer Festival at Crosby – 1st night of the beer festival and I was determined to attend to support Crosby Rotarians. The festival is now held in the Church hall which seems an unusual place for a beer festival but indeed it was absolutely perfect. The members get sponsorship for all the major items – each beer, the hall. It was relatively quiet on the first evening but still plenty going on. Tony and I had gone to work but indeed there was little for us to do on the first night. Good to mix and mingle. Geraint helped Tony put up the membership kiosk and it looked good – everyone who came through the door would see it. Raffle tickets to be sold. There were 6 Gins to taste.
Sadly I only got to taste the Crosby Gin and the Rhubarb gin.
Well done to Crosby Rotarians for holding this event which is now in its 10th year. I understand the provisional figure of profit on the night was well in excess of £5,000.
16th February – Denbigh Charter – It was good to see President Robin, his daughter Olivia and wife present to support him. I had never been to the Oriel Hotel and Spa before (passed it many times) and it was an excellent meal. I enjoyed the company of Rtn Michael Roberts, President Nominee who plays a huge role in getting local businesses to sponsor the club for the Roll the Barrel.
Good to see a full table of Round Table Club members to support Denbigh in their 90th year. The band soon got several up to dance – The Wee Bag Band, a 5-piece dynamic Irish/Celtic band with Scottish and Bluegrass threads throughout Rotarians were still having fun when I had to leave at 11.30 p.m. So good to see everyone happy and having a real good time.
Sunday, 18th February – Llangefni Charter lunch – what an enjoyable drive out to the charming town of Beaumauris . The Bulkley Arms Hotel occupies a prime location on the promenade and we had a happy afternoon with President Jackie Blackwell and her members. I had the honour of presenting two long service awards to Trefor Edwards and John Jones, in addition, it was an honour to present a PHF to Bill Rogerson MBE. Good to see PDG John Bird and Sue, along with PDG Geoff Uttley and Brenda, along with Sam Reeves our District International Chair. A delicious
roast beef lunch was very enjoyable. Nice to see the Presidents fron Bangor, Holyhead, Llanfairfechan and Penmaenmawr sharing the celebration along with some of their members and two Rotarians who had travelled some distance to be with Llangefni Rotarians. Good to be able to have a long chat with President Jackie and meet up with her husband.
Last time we were together was at the National Eisteddfod when we climbed aboard an Ambulance to get some quick resucitation training. We discovered our ambulance man tutor was the son of a Rotarian and we didn’t leave without trying to encourage him to join the organization in the future.
Wednesday, 19th February – Scalextric event with Prestatyn and Flint and Holywell had to be cancelled as Chris Porteous had hurt his back. Speedy recovery Chris.
21st February – Llandiloes visit to their Fellowship Evening.
It was July when I first went out to Llanidloes and they have gained several new members this Rotary year and have more waiting to be inducted.
Well done to all concerned. A collection was planned to celebrate Rotary Day – outside the Co-op and the PE spoke about a project he would like the club to undertake in September to raise funds for the Dogs for the blind. A big project which will need some good planning but all the members were soon “on board”.
I had just mentioned that Paul Harris had a dream 113 years ago when he founded our organization in Chicago. He had a vision but I think he would be well impressed today to know that Rotary now has 1.2 million members in 33,000 different countries. One man or woman’s dream or vision and together we can make a difference.
Friday, 23rd February: travel to Coventry to the RI Presidential Peace Conference. But prior to hitting the road, met up with a Rotarian to discuss the formation of a satellite club. Arrived in Coventry late afternoon so able to chill out before the 9 a.m. start tomorrow at the Ricoh Arena. I have fond memories of the Ricoh Arena. I worked at this venue a few years ago when I was part of the organizing team for a celebratory event for 900 people. We must have done a good job because I have been invited to be on the same team in 2019 when it will be held at the Grosvenor House in London!
24th February – Peace Conference – I have written up a separate blog on the Conference which was very thought provoking.
24th February Charters: Liverpool Exchange covered by David Hartley, Wrexham Yale covered by Mike Lade. Hope they were both happy occasions.
26th February – up early for a General Council Webinar. Planning for the RIBI Annual General Business meeting at Torquay in April.
Monday, 26th February – a quick dash from work to Governors Continuity meeting at the Beaufort Park, New Brighton, Mold to work together to ensure continuity and support to our Clubs.
27th February Maghull and Aughton presentation evening. Sad that PDG Les Wilson was not able to be present at this event organized by his club but I know he would be proud of their achievements. We all send Les our very best wishes whilst he is undergoing treatment and we hope he will be feeling better before too long. This club has their Christmas collections down to a fine art. We can all learn a trick or two here. They are out with the Santa Sleigh all through December and give out the proceeds to all the groups that help them but in a away that brings everyone together at a celebratory event.
Another month draws to an end – one that I have had the pleasure of meeting a lot more District Rotarians and seeing or hearing first hand some of the amazing projects and voluntary work undertaken.
Four months left of this Rotary year and there is so much work still to be done.
Today, after some very late nights working on them, I have finalized the District Standing Orders – brought them up to date and they have been put on the District website and our District Secretary has circulated to club secretaries. It is a document that we only refer to from time to time but essential to the well being of the District and there when we need it. I hope that its contents will be ratified at District Council next month.
On my travels I try to inspire and enthuse Rotarians and thank them for the work that they undertake in the name of Rotary. I guess they don’t seek praise – we just do a job – but it is good to know that what Rotarians undertake is appreciated and acknowledged.
I have been encouraging clubs to support our Rotary Foundation – indeed every club I visit, every Rotarian receives a copy of the District Foundation leaflet which explains the workings or OUR Foundation. Some clubs are so generous not only to the Annual Fund but to the End Polio Now Programme as well.
Branding is a real problem – sometimes Clubs do not realize that they are using out of date branding and certainly don’t like anyone pointing it out to them.
I watch with great interest the Co-op who have rebranded and as I am driving around `I look at the stores with the new branding and the ones with the old lime green. Funnily, the stores with the new colours and new branding look modern and appealing and the old lime green colours now look out of date. Dare I ponder, is this the same thing the public perceive about our Rotary branding?
At Charter speeches I have got the message over that if only our volunteer hours and funds raised are entered onto Rotary Club Central then Rotary will be able to shout out about all the work that is undertaken all over the world as well as in our own islands. Again, it is hard to get Rotarians to take on board “change”. I guess we all get into our comfort zones and like everything we do. However, we must constantly ensure that we look to the future, keep modern, and continually attract new blood into our organization.
Finally, let us all be conscious of gender diversity in our clubs and ensure safeguarding procedures are in hand. Remember it is YOUR responsibility to check everything is well in order.