Spring Madness

Although its officially Spring on 21 March  the weather has truly been mad this year – snow, sleet, heavy rainfall. The beast from the East has visited but it has not held me back on my visits to clubs in District 1180

Thursday, 1st March: What better way to celebrate a new month than by visiting one of our newer Rotary clubs – Royden Revolve.   The meeting was a social evening held at  Julia and David Sayle’s home.

It was an excellent turnout and fish and chips (purchased locally) were enjoyed by all, followed by the business meeting.

I was delighted to be able to personally congratulate one of the Champion of Change Awardees – Patsy Dodd and I thank the Club for undertaking all their projects .  The members  never stop and if only I could bottle the enthusiastic atmosphere around the table – it was a quality  champagne.  After discussion we all ended up playing Uno and had much fun – a new card game for me.

Friday Evening was supposed to be Wrexham’s Charter event but unfortunately owing to the bad weather it was postponed.       My plan had been to visit the Wrexham University for half an hour to call in at the District Youth Speaks Final and then go across to the Ramada Hotel.    Not having heard that the competition had been postponed as well, I dashed home from work, got changed and headed off to Wrexham.    The Uni was all locked up and no competition on this evening.  I met up with DGE Steve on the car park and we both had been on a ‘wild goose chase’.    Anyway Tony and I made the most of the evening by going to the Plas Coch for bangers and mash (my favourite)There was a bit more snow in the night and Saturday morning we had to dig ourselves out to get to Eccles to the District 1285 public image and membership seminar: ‘Thinking Differently’.    We both thoroughly enjoyed the keynote speaker Jonathan Miller, Leadership /development, Innovation and Change Specialist whom I have invited to D1180 to give a presentation at our Membership Seminar on Monday 14th May (invites to be sent out)

There were break out sessions and a final question and answer session – finishing at 2.30 p.m prompt.  Well done to the D1285 team.   It was wonderful to bump into some old friends – one in particular Carol Parry,  past Saughall member and member of District 1180 Foundation team.  Carol is now PE of Wilmslow Rotary.

Sunday 4th was the District PETS at Runcorn but it was a free day for myself so a day to catch up with life beyond Rotary.

Monday 5th March was a celebratory day with the `Inauguration of 9 new members into Rotary.    Liverpool Toxteth Rotary (the outward facing name) is the Satellite Club of Liverpool Stl Vincents Rotary – a club who itself started its days as a satellite club before chartering in the presence of the RIBI `President  of the day, Peter King and DG Les Wilson.      It was a delight that RI Public Image Coordinator PDG Les Wilson and Rotarian Pat came to the inauguration.   So lovely to see them both.  After the short induction ceremony a delicious supper was shared by all.    A night to remember  – a multi cultural, multi ethnic club in an area that was subjected to dreadful riots in the 1990’s Toxteth is now a peaceful neighbourhood with many different cultures working harmony for the good of the community.  Rotary is now a vibrant part of a bright future for the area of our great City of Liverpool.

Tuesday, 6th March – District Council at the Catrin Finch Centre, Wrexham.     After the business session we welcomed two speakers – Ruth Owen from the Alzheirmers Society, Mold and Kate Keator, Bradford Peace Fellow year XIV.This was the last District Council that I have to chair as Governor.

The Rotary Foundation 2016/17 recognition banners and ceritifcates were announced and presented by IPDG Molly Youd.  Despite us having four more months in office,   retiring officers were thanked for their work: Foundation Chair David Barton, Membership Chair and Extension Officer Tony, Community Service Chair Stephen Turner,   Mike Lade as AG and District Webmaster, PDG Roger Heath Visitioning Chair and our District Secretary Gordon Marshall.

The Council was closed at  8-30 pm  after an action packed evening.  Members   listened intently to the presentations and transacted a large amount of business.  After the meeting, several members enjoyed supper and drinks across the road at the Plas Coch.

7th March was the District Foundation meeting

Thursday 8th March – DG visit to City of St. Asaph Rotary – good to meet up with familiar faces from St Asaph.     Delighted to see that it was nearly a full house and following the business meeting  President Tom invited me to address the members.

Friday – a busy evening  with lots of Charter events around our District must be a popular date!! The first to book the DG was Nantwich Rotary celebrating 84 years.   In addition, it was Ruthin Charter (DG represented by AG Ray Allan) and, I understand,  it was Deeside Rotary Charter night.  

Nantwich Football club was the venue chosen by Nantwich Rotary and the guest speaker was  Jon Kay – well known BBC Presenter who is a local lad but now working in Bristol.  I had the pleasure of sitting with his father Sir Maurice Kay- excellent company.  Jon Kay amused the audience with his stories – remember the story that went viral when ….. prime minister David Cameron  announced he was going to hold a general election – and the lady was interviewed as to how the public felt about this.      Jon was the person who interviewed her before her story went viral.

Being a professional florist, as you can imagine, Saturday and Sunday was very busy so all heads down preparing orders for Mothering Sunday bouquets…   With orders coming in very late the stress levels were high but it is amazing what you can achieve as a team by working together.       (That sounds Rotary familiar)

Back on the road again on Tuesday, 13th and heading off to Caernarfon satellite club – information meeting.    
Tonight we had five visitors from Bangor Rotary to encourage Adrian Ford with the Beach Clean at Dinas Dinlle Beach – plastic and litter clearance on Saturday, 24th March and laying down plans for the Breathe film showing on 26th April at the Galeri in Caernarfon.

Wednesday, 14th a visit to Woodies, Kingswood, Newton to be with members of Chester Centurian satellite club at their new dementia café.   They had received a small donation from the local council to help set up the café.

Friday, 16th March was the 39th Charter Celebration of Maghull and Aughton Rotary at the West Lancs Golf Club.  Around 85 Rotarians and friends came to celebrate with President Kevin Scott.     Dame Muirhead was supposed to be the speaker but unfortunately was still not well and so Sir David Maddison stepped in and gave a thoroughly entertaining presentation on his life as a High Court Judge.

Ian Agnew was awarded a Certificate of Appreciation for the work he undertakes with the Santa Sleigh which raised £15,000 in 2017.  I was delighted to present President `Kevin with a banner from Rotary Foundation being the 3rd highest Foundation giving per capita in D1180 for 2016/17.  I was also priviledged to be able to read out the citation for a Paul Harris Fellow to Rtn. Pat Wilson

Regional Young Chef competition was won by Tomas Atkinson sponsored by RC Ruthin.      A huge thank you to Rtn. Alan Tickle who took on the District Competiton at very short notice – assisted by Howard Ferdinando.  I am sure Alan will very pleased to know that Tomas has gone through to the National Final.    A huge thank you to Bob Maskall who attended the District Competiton to represent the DG on the evening of District Council.

Saturday, 17th March – off to the Brio Leisure Centre, Memorial Court, Chesterway, Northwich to be with President Val Godfrey and members of Northwich Rotary.



The Northwich Swimathon is in its 18th year and Val introduced me to all the members of the Club and visitors.    Over 18 years the event runs like a well oiled clock but I am told it has been  changed to keep it fresh and appealing.  Last year £15,000 was raised for local chairties.    I had great fun blowing the whistle to start and finish some of the Competition Heats


Sunday was the Regional Youth Speaks Competition organized by District 1285 at the Forest Hills Hotel, Frodsham.

Here are the results:  INTERMEDIATE: 1st place – Flint High School, 2nd place – Ripley St Thomas CE Academy. 3rd place – Bolton School (Girls), Best Chairperson – Ryan Moorhouse (Ripley St Thomas CE Academy), Best Speaker – Kate John (Flint High School), Best VOT – Carol Habib (Bolton School Girls)  SENIOR: 1st place – St Michael’s CE High School, 2nd place – Oswestry School . 3rd place – Bolton School (Girls), Best Chairperson – Hafsa Syed (Bolton School (Girls), Best Speaker – Emily Crook (St Michael’s CE High School), Best VOT – Tsveta Stratieva (Oswestry School)

Monday March 19th – a visit to North Wirral Rotary who meet at the Holiday Inn  in West Kirby.   Good to see some familiar faces here. The Chairs and Officers of the club read out their comprehensive reports.      If I was looking for a Rotary  club to join on the Wirral I think I would certainly be considering North Wirral.   Their programme of work is extensive and varied and plenty to give anyone a huge insight into Rotary.   Obviously, the Wirral Walk is their signature event and they are already geared up and plans well under way.  I wish them good luck in the fabulous project.   Some new ideas and techniques have  been introduced and the programme has been revised to maintain the public interest.  Their latest project is a concert and great hopes for a large event are planned.  The Club has applied for a Rotary Foundation Global Grant; to build a new block of classrooms and offer support at Shree Sagarmatha Higher Secondary School, Nepal.  This is going ahead now, following additional funds  from their counterparts in Nepal to help with financing the project.  A great evening – if I had a disappointment it would have to be the lack of any membership recruitment and hopefully this will be addressed when the Club finds a new meeting venue.     I believe, in common with all clubs,  they must continue to attract new members, especially as they had a few losses this year.

Thursday, 22nd March:  off to Tywyn for their lunch charter – what a scenic journey to Aberdovey to the Treffadderu Hotel – a marvellous setting and a very warm welcome by President Nancy and her husband Rotarian Graham.  After a delicious lunch everyone retired to the lounge when short speeches were given, these followed by a guest speaker.  President Nancy was worried about having a lunch time event but she pulled it off with her usual flair and everyone enjoyed a lovely afternoon in splendid surroundings.   Good to see AG Richard Withers and President Stephen from Dolgellau

Not much time to enjoy the area as a swift drive back to North Wales for a splendid Evening event:  The Inauguration of Llandudno Gogarth satellite club.    Well done to Llandduno Rotary for having the foresight to start a satellite club. 

President John   inducted 10 new members at the Llandudno Bay Hotel – in an  ideal room where over 30 friends, family & Rotarians attended.    President Chris Drew and his small Team organized this joyful celebration.

New members were:  David Davies-Jones, Stephen Davies-Jones, Diane Dean, Louise Hillier, Mark Jones, Natalie Jones, Graham Jones, Karen Jones, Sarah Kennedy-Ratcliffe, Ray Kahn, Laura Thompson.
Congratulations to the prime movers of this satellite club: President John,  Roz, Michael and Chris Drew.

A weekend in Southport, so after work, headed up the Motorway to Southport on Friday evening – funny the traffic was not as heavy as it usually is.   My car is beginning to know this journey well

Friday – Southport Links Charter event at the Royal Clifton Hotel .    A very warm welcome was received by Tony and myself and this was a very enjoyable  29th celebration of Southport Links Rotary.

Comedian  Norman Prince was a lovely person to sit beside and hit just the right note for the evening.  Owing another charter celebration in Southport the following morning it was a luxury not to have to drive home to Flintshire and could not have chosen a better place to stay over but the Premier Inn right next door to tomorrow’s morning  charter event.

Saturday 24th:  Southport Sunrise Charter BrunchWe were all enthralled by the 11 Rotakids who attended and entertained us with a presentation on what they had been doing.  

They were an absolute  delight and so well behaved.  They certainly all ate a good sized breakfast and I noticed that Rotakids President Callum liked his pancakes with maple syrup!


Sunday – DOTS 2  at the Mercure (Woodhey) I have given my apologies as I felt it important to support the D1180 candidates from

Young Musician and a visit to Darwen (D1190) to represent D1180 at the Regional Young Musician Final.

What another huge treat to listen to these talented young people.  District 1180 had four candidates:   The Regional Final held at the Darwen Vale High School Darwen was for D1180, 1190 and 1285.    





In the morning we heard Nicholas Rushworth play the alto saxophone, Angharad Huw play the harp, Declan Molloy the piano, Izabel Forrest the cornet and Ellis Thomas play the piano.

The winner was Ellis Thomas aged 16 years sponsored by the Rotary Club of Colwyn Bay from Ysgol John Bright, Llandudno.    The runner up was Nicholas Rushworth playing the Saxophone sponsored by the Rotary Club of Tottington and Bury West.    Ellis was truly amazing, he played the following virtuoso pieces :  1) concert Paraphrase on Verdi’s Rigoletto by Franz Liszt and Danzad regentinas op.2 no. 3’ Danza del gaucho matrero’  by Alberto Ginastera.  Ellis will now go forward to the National Final to be held in Edinburgh on 19th May.In the afternoon we heard the vocalists, Angelina Dorlin-Barlow, Florence Bunday, Saffron Doherty, Leah Montgomery, Gwenan Mars Lloyd and Mia Graham.  I am delighted to say the winner was Angelina Dorlin-Barlow (sponsored by the Rotary Club of Southport) and will go forward to the National Final.   Angelina sang Val Laisse Couler mes Larme (Werther), The Shepherd’s song by Edward Elgar and The Nurse’s song by Benjamin Britten.    The runner up was Saffron Doherty sponsored by the Rotary Club of Tottington and Bury West.  It was great to see Rtn. Barbara Bolton supporting Ruthin’s two candidates – Angharad (playing the harp) and vocalist Gwenan Mars Lloyd. 

Also, President Michael and another member from Southport Rotary supporting Angelina & Jenny Schwarz from West Wirral Rotary.

All the students did really well and if you ever get an opportunity to attend one of these events – please go along – it is amazing.

Monday, 26th March – Conwy Rotary –  celebrating 80 years.    A very happy relaxed evening at the Old Station at Llandudno Junction.   About 39 Rotarians and partners gathered to have a happy celebration.   

Good  company and very good value food was enjoyed and a scrummy chocolate cake  was cut up and shared by PE Alan Swinson.    Everyone had been asked to bring along some information on 1938 and we had some very interesting facts presented.    

A bottle of wine was the prize for the best story – which was given by Rotarian Richard who told us that in 1938  there had been a vote of no confidence  in the House of Commons in Winston Churchill  and how our world might  have been  changed if it had gone through.


Tuesday – Abergele Rotary – I had been disappointed when Abergele’s charter event was cancelled but good to see everyone  tonight.  President Hannah chaired  an excellent business meeting.    Secretary David and Treasurer Viv are a great asset to the club.    A recent vocational/social visit had been enjoyed to Airbus and plans were underway to organize the Presidential handover on a river cruise the last week in June.      Debate ensued as to the price, whether it was a good place for the handover and the journey itself.   Decisions to be made. It was really good chance to meet up with three out of four  newly inducted Rotarians.  Well done to all concerned and keep up the good work on membership recruitment.  You are Making a Difference.

Wednesday 28th March – General Council webinar – plenty of information regarding the Annual Business meeting of RIBI. – an early start 8 – 9am. Later in the morning,  a meet up with AG Mike Lade to walk around Llangollen and look at the relaunch of Llangollen Dee Valley Club.

The membership kiosk is out to Chester Riverside tonight for their social event at the Handbridge Hotel.    President Peter has had several good events to promote memberhip  and deserves to do well.

Well the weather is still cold but I hope everyone has enjoyed  a happy Easter Weekend.

April will bring on more events and special moments.


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