May Blog: Thinking outside the Box….

One of my greatest worries being DG was always being on time for functions but I vowed to myself at the beginning of my year in office  not to get stressed out about this.

Our roads today are unpredictable and you can be held up for minutes or hours due to unforeseen circumstances.

However up until my visit to Machynlleth Club everything had been great.    Its nearly two hours to get there and winding country lanes and I knew that despite all attempts I was going to be 10 minutes late so managed to ring ahead. It was not a problem and I found the President and Secretary were waiting downstairs in the bar for me and had a little chat before we went upstairs.

I made a fine entrance and joked and it completely broke the ice.  What a smashing evening of fun and fellowship we all enjoyed.  .  It was lovely to meet up with the members and hear about the Challenge and all the other events.  Of course, Machynlleth was in the news 5 years ago and it has taken some time to come to terms with what happened in the Town.

2nd May:  it has proved very useful this year to attend all the AG meetings which are chaired by our DGE Steve.     The connection between the DG and AGs is so important and attendance at these meetings has been most important to maintain the link.

Thursday 3rd May:  it was a delight to take the journey to Bala to be with the satellite club Glannau Tegid who had a social evening held at Neuadd Mynach, Cwmtirmynachmm, Bala.    I have never seen so many delicious cakes and goodies that had been prepared by one of the members.    We had a presentation by Clare Mackintosh – local author (ex policewoman) about her life and the story of her three books.     It was a great evening and so good to be with the new satellite club members.

4th May:  The monthly gathering of the Governors Continuity team – this is a very important meeting to talk through management issues facing the District.     We are very fortunate in this district to have such a strong Governor team – all singing from the same hymn sheet.

Saturday, 5th May:  Willaston and South Wirral Charter event where I came across my friends Colin and Debra Jerrett (well, Debra had a new puppy so was actually puppy sitting) along with President Paul and all the members.   Two other very good friends were Simon the Village Barber and Rhian Carys Jones, vocalist whom I have previously met at Willaston functions and who both kindly donated their services at the Governors Christmas Party.    Lovely to see and chat with  them both again.

Tuesday, 8th May:  The first information meeting of the satellite club of City of St. Asaph Rotary held at the Castle Public House, Rhuddlan.     Thanks for the support of President Tom and Gareth (prime mover).    We had two interested parties and look forward to seeing them again in a couple of week’s time.

9th May:  up bright eyed and bushy tailed for a webinar of the Governing Council. Unfortunately the webinar was not the best with technology and a shame as the DGEs were present on this webinar meeting.   Matters are dealt with that would take up much time at the face to face meeting so it is a very effective meeting.

Friday, 11th May:  Llanfairfechan and Penmaenmawr 46th Charter night and what a happy evening we all had.    It was held at the Split Willow (their usual meeting place).

The entertainment was by Cat McKardle a local singer who had been away to search for fame and come back home.  She had such a lovely bubbly personality and I had to smile as she sang five numbers only and in her short speech she paid tribute to “the Rotary”.     She told of a heart string story with the santa sleigh and one realissed just what an important role “The Rotary” plays in the local community.  Thanks to President Ron Watson Jones and the members.

Saturday morning off to a new venue to myself – the Leverhulme Hotel, Port Sunlight to celebrate the 29th Club Charter  with Mid Wirral Rotary and President Ian MacKenzie and members.  The guest speaker was Professor John Reid at  this brunch event.


After the meeting a drive down to Alcester for the last Governing Council of the Rotary year.     It was good to meet up with my fellow District Governors for dinner and this time most of  the DGEs were present to shadow at Governing Council. It hardly seemed like 12 months since I shadowed IPDG Molly.

Monday, 14th May was  the Membership Seminar “Thinking Outside the Box” at the Catrin Finch Centre,Wrexham Glyndwr University with 70 members from the District  attending to hear the hear the key note speaker Jonathan Miller who is a Leadership Development, Innovation and Change Specialist.  Jonathan is a seasoned professional with many years of experience in major corporates, the senior civil service and more recently in the voluntary sector. He sees both opportunities and threats within our fast-changing and complex world.

Jonathan has worked at executive level, in people orientated change roles in organisations such as: Airbus, Jaguar Land Rover, Logica, Glaxo, Financial Services Authority and the Senior Civil Service.

Jonathan told it “as it was” and gave all who attended food for thought.   We did not all agree with some of his ideas but he did continually stress they were his views. Sometimes it is good to enjoy controversial conversation.

Rotary has achieved many great things over the years and now, like other organisations, needs to modernise. Jonathan believes that there can be a great future ahead for Rotary, if we can seize the moment and show that we are truly ‘People of Action’.

Tony Cotton, RI Assistant Membership Coordinator spoke about the progress of satellite clubs.  We organized an A to Z Wallpaper (the idea of Lisa Carlin)  picking up some punchy words for membership and public image.  Following this the group split into clinics on Club Health Check, Satellite Clubs, Rotary Club Central, Visioning, Public Image, Membership Retention etc

Thinking Outside the Box Membership Seminar 14th May 2018 Membership Alphabet
All are welcome Business networking Cost of Rotary: cup of coffee Direct action Energy Fellowship
All ideas are good Blackballing OUT! Collaboration with other clubs Diversity Enthusiasm Friendship
Age is not a limit Belt out message Community Champions Diverse from tradition Enterprise Family involvement
ASK: ‘Just ask’ Broadcast message Demographics Environment Fit for purpose
Attract people who Buy into the publicity Feeling for others Forward thinking Fabulous Feisty
 ‘Think outside the Box’ Focus Finance
Go get ’em Helping society whilst having fun Interact Journey Knowledge, skills we bring to the table Lead by example
Generations Help & happiness Image: colourful, artisic, vibrant Joint ventures Keep going Literature: use it!
Gregarious High hopes irrelevant? Jump in & have fun! Kick ass! Learn from others
Giving Hope for the future Instigation of new ideas & support Just join us! Knock down barriers Listen to all ideas
Insularity: Status? Let people have their head
Make them welcome No negativity Oooh! Presentation Quest for fulfillment Respect
Making a difference with Rotary Networking Objectives People Question the status quo Responding to needs
Meeting when & where we need to New thinking Of course! Profile Que up to help others Reinvent
Modern means of making contact Next idea Options galore Personal development Question the cost Rejuvinate
Opportunities Rotarians Rotaract Reactive?
S T U V XYZ XYZ (Cont.)
Structured membership over first years Time Understand club needs Visions Xtraordinary Young generations
Sharing responsibility Topical issues Undertake a project Values Xciting Zero Beureaucracy
Strength in depth Think differently Use the expertise Value added Xcruciating Zesty Rotarians
Support in numbers Think outside the box Xstatic Zen & the art of being
Supporting the community Team work W W (Cont) X Rotarian? an effective Rotarian
Strategic alliances Transparent Websites Worth You are important Zip the negativity
Safer society Transforming lives Women   Wealth You can make a difference Wanted
Willing weekends Welcoming Wired for sound Your comminity needs you
Well-grounded Wholesome,   Well planned Working together Warm Youngster power Winning

Everyone left the event with plenty to think about.  Jonathan spoke out loud and clear about the future of Rotary if we do not all address the ageing membership and it is up to each and everyone of us in District 1180 to ensure our membership continues to flourish and we introduce younger members into our organization to ensure that we do not roll off the end.  This event has been funded by a grant from RIBI and feedback will be given.

Wednesday, 16th May – a visit to Oswestry Borderland  – it was some time since I had visited the Club as their AG.       Not a bad turn out considering the DG was attending but quite a few were away on holiday.      I have spent some considerable time with President Sherie this year, at their Christmas Parade, The District Conference, the Oswestry Life Line Event and time at RYLA 2017. Sherie is going to serve as an AG 2018/19.  It was good to be able to thank the members first hand for supporting the District Conference.Thursday 17th– off to Crosby to the West Lancs Golf Club for a Cheque Presentation evening.   This was some event.   Very well organized with many local groups in attendance and President Alan Dean took an excellent meeting.





It was a perfect evening to sit on the balcony before the event and enjoy the sunset.       After a carvery and delicious puddings the cheques were presented and each recipient was able to speak about their organization.


An excellent networking event and good to see a membership dividend – membership leaflets on each table and promotion of their satellite club as well as the Crosby Club. Well done Crosby!!

Friday, 18th May – off to Cardiff to celebrate with our Champions of Change Awardees.  We were very fortunate in D1180 to have three awardees – Sarah Newcombe, Bentley Cheshire Rotary, Patsy Dodd, Royden Revolve Rotary for her International project and Andrew Errington, Saughall Rotary received the Presidential Citation for strengthening our membership.




We enjoyed chatter, fizz and canapés in the grand surroundings of the City hall Cardiff.   A special occasion.

I knew that when we had two finalists in the National RIBI Young Musician Competition I had to attend and so up at 3.30 a.m. Tony and I travelled  up to Edinburgh from Cardiff  to attend the  final.  This was held at the  Heriot Watt University, Edinburgh on Saturday, 19thMay. The two finalists from D1180 were judged the winners of both the Instrumentalist & Vocalist Classes

Ellis Thomas, 16 years old, came first in the instrumental section.   He played
Danzas Argentinas, Op2 – No 3 Danza Del Gaucho Matrero, Ginastera, Concert Paraphrase on Verdi’s Rigoletto on the piano.   Ellis was sponsored by Colwyn Bay Rotary

Angelina Dorlin-Barlow, 17 years old, came first in the Vocal Section.  She sang:  Va! Laisse couler mes Larmes (from Werther)  (Messenet), The Shepherd Song (Elgar), The Nurse’s Song (Britten).  Angelina was sponsored by Southport Rotary.  Both candidates were supported by President Michael Harrison, Dianne Harrison and Rtn Chris Wood.  President Terry Deakin, DG Beryl Cotton and PDG Tony Cotton.

What an amazing experience to enjoy every performance at the competition.   A joy to hear such enormous talent in concert – a real privilege.  We were shattered at the end of the event – not only with the very early morning rise, the long journey but the excitement of the day.  



DG Lindsay Craig from Edinburgh had organized a meal with RIBI President Denis, Penny Spiller and my fellow DG Carol Reilly and Malcolm from District 1070.    Afterwards we had a photo shoot with the magnificent Forth Railway Bridge in the background.  Sunday was a day to recharge the batteries and start a slower journey home.No lie in on Monday morning as it was the End Polio Now Grand Tour and I was determined to be at the D1180 Checkpoint to welcome and flag off our very own DGN Bob Maskall, Rtn Kate Maskall and President Syd Bowen from Bangor Rotary.    Spot on time they arrived at 10 a.m. and we were able to wave them off.   I give my grateful thanks to PDG Mike Clutton for organizing the checkpoint at the Aldcote House Hotel, Llandudno owned by Rtn Mike Dean.  RIBI President Denis had requested the check point be on the Great Orme but there had been problems and then they lost the speck on the front Promenade.   Actully it worked out quite well being at the Hotel because there was always someone to welcome any early or late cars as the checkpoint was only manned from 10 – 4 p.m.   Over the four days 19 cars passed through and received a warm welcome and ‘safe onward travels’.      The whole event raised the profile of Rotary and the End Polio Now programme.   51 cars participated and it is anticipated that as much as £50,000 will have been raised, which when tripled by the Gates Foundation will be a magnificent achievement in aid of the polio eradication programme.

Wednesday 23rd May was the journey to Welshpool to celebrate 71 years of Rotary and was held at the Royal Oak Hotel, Welshpool.   The speaker was Andrew Rowell, Shooting the Olympics who entertained us all well and showed us his “Grammy” Award .

I was presented with a gorgeous trug filled with flowers and 10 days later it is still as beautiful and fresh as on the night.



On 24thMay Wallasey Rotary held at Membership Showcase and loaned the District Membership Kiosk.  I mention this as they had 21 attendees and hopefully will turn some of those into Rotarians.

Saturday up bright and early to ensure we were in Nantwich at 8.30 a.m. to assist with their Weaver Wander Classic Car Run –
with 140 stunning vehicles taking place.     I was delighted to meet up with the Deputy Mayor who was indeed quite a local character.   After the event he stayed and had a coffee with Tony and myself – we became long lost friends.    The event was well organized and I enjoyed being part of the celebrity team who were the Starter Flag Wavers.  (This was promotion from being the whilstle blower at Northwich’s Swimathon!)  After all the cars had


gone through the starting line, we headed off to Gawsworth Hall, Congleton to meet up with them and take the Membership Kiosk to Mike Constable on the field.  In the evening we travelled to Hunters Lodge to celebrate 30 years of Tripartite Fellowship with RC Cergy (Paris) and RC Nidda (Germany) with 21 visitors.  It was a rather special event with President Terry( and Judy his wife) as it was, also the President’s Evening.      I was a little overwhelmed being presented with some gorgeous gifts from the visiting Presidents.

The final engagement of the month of May was a meeting with our Zone 17 RI Assistant Coordinator Tony , DGE, DGN and DGN(D) to go through our 3 year membership strategic plan – looking at where we are, where we wanted to be and how we are going to get there   It was a very informative and useful meeting and  lot of work and preparation had been done by Tony prior to the meeting.

So another month over and just four weeks left of the DG year.   Still plenty of events to enjoy next month.West Shore, llandudno



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