Special Edition – Big Weekend Away: District Conference 2017

Firstly, after two years of planning, I had an amazing Conference Team consisting of: 

Chair – Andrew Errington (Saughall), Kirsty Cotton (Royden Revolve), 

 

 

 

 

Tony Cotton (Saughall), Mike Lade (Oswestry Cambrian),

Linda Lade (Oswestry Cambrian), Colin Jerrett & Debra Jerrett

 

 

 

With grateful help from: Andy Fergus (conference Brochure), Chris Hopewell (live streaming),

Paul Cotton (table plan and printing of place mats etc) and Bob Maskall and Molly Youd were Conference Photographers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The personal representative of RI President Ian Riseley was PDG Catherine Taylor Yank from Illinois.
It is customary for the DGE to host the RI representative and Steve had kindly agreed to do this and he picked Catherine and Greg up from Manchester Airport (where they left a hire car).

It was lovely to meet them both when they arrived at the Lion quays Spa and Resort and they were able to chill out for 24 hours and meet several Rotarians prior to our Conference.

Great to have visiting District Governors – DG Chris Davies from District 1070 and her husband Rotarian Jim Davies

DG Dr. Charan Bunger MBE from District 1060 and is wife Dalibir.

I had attended both of their conferences in Llandudno over the past couple of moths. We were also joined by DG Carol Reilly and AG Malcolm Hallewell from District 1120 for Saturday and Saturday evening.

 

The function room was being prepared for the Allo Allo Event and on Friday morning the conference team had a quick rehersal. Everyone had their jobs to undertake. Colin Jerrett (Willaston and South Wirral) was our Treasurer and met most of the delegates, assisted by Debra Jerrett who was our Master of Ceremonies.

 

 

 

 

Linda Lade (Oswestry Cambrian looked after and had organized our House of Friendship)

Kirsty Cotton was in charge of décor:

Mike Lade had already done the risk assessment and checked everything over and was in charge of our IT.

 

 

Tony and myself had loaded the van with all our props for the events, easels, candelabra, waxed bottles etc etc.     It was like moving house.

Delegates were arriving from 12 noon onwards and had been encouraged to visit the British Ironworks to view the Knife Angel.

 

Grateful thanks were given to all Rotarians from Oswestry (who helped with the stewarding) and Oswestry Cambrian club for help with registration and some hosting. Etc.  Lots of Rotarians from Oswestry Borderland Rotary supported the evening Allo Allo event and it was lovely to have them with us.

Before we knew it, we were all getting dressed for Allo Allo event and there were many Rene’s around.   It was a lively event.     There were three acts by the Kingsley Players in between meal courses and everyone entered into the spirit of the frivolity – especially two of our audience Andrew and Ged!   We will say no more.

I understand there was quite a bit of late night drinking taking place which led to a few heavy heads the following day.   Personally not guilty!!   Had to keep a clear ahead for what was ahead the following day…..

At 9 a.m. the District Flags were paraded by Club Presidents – led by Denise Harding from Saughall, David Davies from Oswestry, Sherie Soper from Oswestry Borderland along with Ian Slipper from Oswestry Cambrian and the President of the University of Chester Rotaract Club followed by a whole line up of Club Presidents in attendance.   I had prepared a list but there seemed to be twice as many Club Presidents in the parade, which was amazing.

 

We were full on from that point.   DG Beryl welcomed all our distinguished guests and set out the theme for the day – explaining about all the leaflets in the delegate packs

– asking that they be read and then passed onto an appropriate person – to help invite a new member or as a Foundation donor.

It was great to have Catherine Taylor Yank and her husband, along with RIBI President Denis and Rotarian Penny with us all.

 

The Mayor of Oswestry, Councillor Vince Hunt welcomed delegates to Oswestry. 

He was accompanied by the Mayoress – his daughter Amber who was invited onto the stage with him.  It was amazing that after speaking he decided he would take Amber home (so she could go horseriding) and came back to enjoy conference and have lunch.

Catherine Taylor Yank gave a thought provoking presentation- right from the heart…

Next up was Jamie Andrew – an incredibleble Scottish mountaineer, who despite having no hands and feet, has made some amazing ascents all over the world. As a quadruple amputee, Jamie has also made many other remarkable achievements, raising thousands of pounds for charity along the way.   He lost both hands and both feet following a climbing accident but within four months had learnt to walk on prosthetic legs and had sufficiently relearnt everyday tasks such as washing, dressing and feeding to be able to leave hospital.   Since the accident he has been active in many sporting activities including swimming, running, skiing, show-boarding, paragliding, caveing, orienteering and sailing.   But it was returning to mountaineering that was to provide Jamie’s greatest goal and the biggest challenge.   He is truly a remarkable and inspirational person.

Jamie received a standing ovation.

After Coffee everyone was interested to hear Sandra Morris’ presentation – Chair of Inner Wheel Distrit 18.   Sandra had told me she would be brief and indeed she kept her word but gave an exceptional presentation on “geese”.   I understand many asked for her presentation afterwards.   Well done Sandra.

Per Lindstrand – an aeronautical Engineer and Pioneer – a remarkable engineer, pilot and adventurer with world wide recognition for his achievements in breaking through the boundaries of lighter than air technology.

He has held every absolute world record for hot air balloon flight in terms of distance, duration and altitude and is particularly known for his record breaking trans-oceanic balloon flights with Sir Richard Branson.   Per has an airline transport pilot’s license for single and multi engine land and sea airplanes and helicopters and a commercial pilot’s licence for auto-gyros, airships and gliders.   Lindstrand Technologies Ltd. Based in Oswestry at its purpose designed 40,000 feet factory, designs, manufactures and repairs airships, aerostats and gas balloons, passenger carrying aerostats and a host of other products.

Next on stage was our very own RIBI President Denis Spiller from RC Strood in Kent.   Denis gave a thoroughly inspirational speech on change and the future of Rotary explaining Rotary 2 and the way forward.   A breath of fresh air.

 

Tristan Hartey – The Charlotte Hartey Foundation was established by Charlotte Hartey’s family in her memory after she died tragically at the age of 16 due to complications arising from being misdiagnosed of swine flu by a local doctor. The Foundation provides local financial resources in the form of gifts for youth clubs, schools and organizations.   It funds structured, purposeful projects and ventures in an around Shropshire and Cheshire, enabling young people the opportunity to reach their full potential. To date, over £25,000 has been donated in team funding, sports equipment and kits, school funding, sports equipment and kits, school projects, fundraising activities. Guides, Scouts and Youth Clubs.   Tristan is Charlotte’s brother, who is a Foundation Board member and the Managing Director of event sponsors Hartey Wealth Management Ltd.

The last speaker before lunch was Clive Knowles from the British Ironworks Centre Oswestry – Clive created a large metalworking company and realised it was of sufficient size and creative spirit to represent the UK decorative metalworking.  He has built up the company and developed this 90 acre sculpture park, which is fondly referred to as the Mecca of Metalworking.   The British Ironwork Centre is taking on national issues from WW1 projects to supporting military and wildlife charities.
Their latest venture is collecting 1 million tin cans to create a huge sculpture of the Queen.  

The biggest campaign to date is Save a Life, Surrender your Knife.   A major initiative designed to raise awareness of the devastation of knife crime. The knives collected have been used to create the Knife Angel, the National monument against Violence and Aggression. Clive is a Rotarian, commerce and community leader.

 

After our buffet lunch break which was speedily undertaken by the hotel staff, we all settled down to the afternoon session.

First up was Sarah Newcombe who showcased our newest club in the District and a corporate club – Bentley Cheshire.     Sarah was quite worried about giving her presentation but she excelled and everyone was delighted to hear all about Bentley Cheshire Rotary, how it was formed and their success to date.

 

Andrew, Conference Chair introduced our next speaker Kris Overend.  Andrew is an Ambassador for the Princes Trust and had been at a ceremony the evening before when Kris Overend had been presented with a special award.  Kris is a drama facilitator, actor, director,  producer and composer who founded Little Finn Productions in 2015 to share opportunities with young people in the world of the performing arts.   He now acts as a Young Ambassador for the Princes Trust. The Trust believes that every young person should have the chance to succeed, so they help 11 to 30 year olds who are unemployed or struggling at school to transform their lives.   More than three in four will achieve a positive outcome, moving into jobs, education and training.   Many of the young people who are involved are facing issues such as homelessness or mental health problems or have been in trouble with the law.   The trust has returned £1.4 billion in value to society through help for disadvantaged young people over the last ten years alone.  Another Star of the Day and keynote speaker was Sir Malcolm Walker CBE – executive Chairman of Iceland.  Andrew, Conference Chair introduced Sir Malcolm and gave us an insight into their previous escapades together.       Having founded Iceland with a single shop in Oswestry in 1970, Malcolm was Chairman and CEO of what would become an international company, showing a solid 30 years of growth.

Fired in 2001 he returned to rescue the business four years later and led a £1.5 billion management buyout in 2012. Malcolm  has many other business interests ranging from food manufacturing to restaurants and property. Outside work, his greatest enthusiasms are for his home, garden and family, good food and wine,  ski-ing, sailing and shooting. Malcolm was awarded the CBE in 1995 and his appointment as a Knight Bachelor was announced in the Queens Birthday Honours list in 2017.

Next on stage: Jean Best – Peace Officer from District 1020

Jean has been involved in Education for over 38 years as a teacher, head teacher, and schools inspector.   Now retired, her work as a Peace Officer has ena bled her to work with the Peace Centre in Bradford to encourage Rotarians to use their expertise in working with young people to develop peaceful conflict resolution strategies. In June 2014 at the Rotary International Convention in Sydney, Jean and her husband Keith a past District Governor, launched the new skills based “Rotary Peace Project”

The project creates school peace advocates who develop their leadership capacity to bring about more service in their schools, local communities and the world. Jean has received a Presidential Citation and Paul Harris Fellowship and in 2014 was recognized as a Rotary International Champion of Change.

A Week after our Conference Jean travelled to Geneva for the Rotary Day at the United Nations. Rotary International General Secretary, John Hewko introduced Rotary’s 2017 People of Action:
Champions of Peace award winners. Jean was honoured to receive one of the 6  World Peace Awards.

 

It would not be a good conference if we did not showcase our youth and Jennifer Burlingame spoke on behalf of Rotaract.   

Jenn arrived in the UK from Ohio in 2013 to study journalism at the University of Chester.     A Rotaract club was formed sponsored by Saughall Rotary and Jenn was the inaugural President.

The club has many achievements upholding Rotary ideals and is still going strong in its fifth year.   Throughout Jenn’s degree she worked in Chester Cathedral’s marketing department, helping to win the Marketing Cheshire’s Large Visitor Attraction award in 2015.   Jenn is now studying for an MSc in Digital Marketing.  After Rotary legislation passed to allow Rotaractors to simultaneously be Rotarians Jenn became a member of Saughall Rotary.   In March 2017 Jenn became the first Rotaractor in District 1180 to become a Rotarian as well.

A short tea break followed by:  Derwen on Tour

Derwen College is a further education college situated in Oswestry, Shropshire which provides further education for students with learning difficulties and disabilities.  The college works with young people to provide inspirational learning, development and care to enable the achievement of aspirtions which transforms lives.

Derwen College promotes the vocational, educational, social and personal development of a wide range of young people offering residential and day placements, a post college living and work programme, apprenticeships and supported internships.

We were joined by Derwen on Tour (DOT) a talented troupe of young people from the college who offer an exciting Makaton sing song and dance performance.
DOT received a standing ovation and gave so much pleasure to delegates watching them.

Following tea, we continued with yet  another exceptional speaker – Catrin Pugh.   Catrin is from Rossett near Wrexham.

She told her story that in April 2013 she was returning home from five months in France when her life was turned upside down.     A serious coach crash left her with burns over 96 per cent of her body – and a chance of survival of 1 in 1,000. However, after hundreds of operations and 8 months in hospital, Catrin returned home in time for Christmas.   This was just the beginning of a long and arduous rehabilitation process that is still ongoing today.   Sheer determination, constant motivation and fighting through pain, Catrin has defied the odds. She has worked tirelessly to learn to walk, use her hands again and try to regain a somewhat normal life, all with a smile on her face.
Catrin has gone from being a victim to a survivor and is now a thriver using her own experiences to help others.   A remarkable young woman who was given a standing ovation by the delegates.

Our final guest speaker of the day was Tomos Day.   Tomos Day is 21 years of age and from Newtown, Pows. He recently graduated from Aberystwth University where he studied Politics and History.     Tomos currently works in the Japanese Embassy in London as a Personal Assistant to the Minister of Plenipotentiary and hopes to work in Parliament in the near future.  

The RYLA (Rotary Youth Leadership Awards is an intensive experience organized by Rotary Clubs and Districts where young people develop leadership skills whilst having fun and making connection.     In District 1180 the RYLA event takes the form of an activity training course for ages 16-18 years at the Arthog Activity Centre near Barmouth, North Wales.

 

 

At the end of the conference PDG Catherine Taylor Yank and her husband Grey Yank, RI Director 2017/19 Zones 30/31 summarised the conference together.   It was great to have them both on stage – working together.    We thoroughly enjoyed having them both in D1180.

After our speakers had finished some of the District Trophies were awarded:

 

New Centurians Youth Trophy – City of Liverpool

 

Wallasey Cup – Mawddach

Llangollen Community Cup – Mawddach

 

 

 

International Plate – North Wirral

 

Paul Harris Trophy for the most new members – Bala and Penllyn

 

Tom Weber Trophy – attendance at Conference – Southport Meols

Steve Martin DGE assisted  with awarding the trophies.

 

We invited Ann Heath, Conference Chair 2018 to give her presentation on the next District Conference and Roger Heath invited delegates to consider visiting the RI Convention in Toronto.   The video was played for the RIBI Conference in Torquay.  I was able to thank everyone for their attendance, sum the day up and invite the Conference team up onto the stage to give thanks.

What a energizing and inspiring day we had all received.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Once the room had been cleared, – no mean feat getting 250 bodies out of the room.   Kirsty got to work on the decoration of the room for the Gatsby themed ball and when we all returned in our glad rags at 7 p.m  when the impact of the gold sequined cloths and candelabra decorated with candles and pearls looked just stunning and gave a real WOW factor.

I hope everyone saw the stunning Table Plan created by PaulCotton – all in the Gatzby theme.

More delicious food, a five course meal, enjoyed and served to perfection by the hotel staff and then dancing until midnight to the Shambolics.

Another late night but great to see delegates having a leisurely Sunday breakfast in the hotel .    Some travelled back home on Saturday evening, other stayed at other local hotels.

I cannot thank everyone enough for making it a marvellous District Conference – one to remember – with exceptional speakers, good food and great Rotary fellowship.

Lots of new Rotarians in attendance and lots of Rotarians who had never attended a Conference before.  We were delighted to welcome 6 Rotaractors from the University of Chester Rotaract Club.   They came on the 7.20  a.m. train from Chester to Gobowen and as a consequence of attending District Assembly they now want to attend the RIBI Conference in Torquay.

The hotel were exceptional in service and attention to detail and could not have done more to assist us, sort any small problems out quickly and generally be accommodating and helpful.   I would highly recommend them.

The AVS technician Charlie must also receive acknowledgement.   He worked so well with Mike Lade.   I have to say, Mike had put in hours of work into the running music and power point presentations for the conference.

His work ensured the smooth running of the conference and lighting and sound undertaken by Charlie and his company who  was great to work with.

 

 

 

 

 

At 7 p.m. on Sunday morning Tony and I were up early to wave goodbye to Catherine and Greg.   We helped them down with their luggage to Steve’s car who took them off to Manchester Airport.

So that was it – all over bar the superb thank you notes and emails that I received the following week.   Thank you to those who took time out to write and praise the Conference team and who had enjoyed the Conference experience.    I guess you can’t please all of the people, all of the time but I think we all did a pretty good job of pleasing the majority of the people most of the time!

The attention to detail and planning of the event had paid off.  Again, a massive  thank you to all the Conference Team.

A huge thank you to all the Rotarians who attended and made it a very special District Conference 2017.   We hope to see you all back next year.

We had our Conference wash up meeting a couple of weeks after Conference.

The team could not believe how shattered they had been afterwards and how much energy it had all taken out of them.      It was enjoyable to watch a film show (created by Tony) of all the photos taken.     Everyone looked so happy.

What could we have done better?  We wondered how we could have improved the Presidents Parade but felt it had been so important to include all our Club Presidents.    A little more space would have helped.

We had problems with late arrivals on Saturday getting them down the room to the spare seats.    Something to consider for the future.  All our speakers kept to time with our special 5 minute/time up  lollipop.  The length of presentations seemed good – leaving the audience perhaps even wanting more.

We kept within our budget but having sponsorship allowed us to have some exceptional speakers and add a few finishing touches.

 

 

 

October:  Autumn Leaves are falling

Monday 16th – Liverpool South’s Charter night with President Janet Keefe celebrating g 72 years of Rotary at the Childwall Golf Club.

I was delighted to meet up with some of the clubs new members and to celebrate 30 years of service with two members – Ian Maher and Roger Saunders ( and 40 years with Alfred Matthews who was not able to attend. )

Entertainment was by Troika.   Fantastic!!

It was great to meet Janet’s Dad Joe – who had a lovely evening.

 

 

Tuesday, 17th – Lunchtime meeting at Wrexham Rotary with President Pene.

Not a very large meeting as several members were away on holiday or unable to attend (I think they had heard the Governor was attending!!).

After lunch and chat, we adjourned from the restaurant into a nearby room and I was able to address the Club. They have a membership showcase event planned next week and I do hope they have some interest from this event.

They are, also, very interested in a satellite club in one of the outlying areas. They will be given every support to get this set up and running.

Wednesday 18th October evening was District Council at the Catrin Finch Centre, Wrexham which was very well attended.    Three minute   Presentations were give by AG Terry Bolton and AG David Hartley following their nominations for DG 2020/21.  Nominations were proposed for AG and District support team 2018/19.       (See Council minutes which will be published on the District Website)

David Hartley was elected as DG 2020/21 and thanks were given to both candidates for putting their names forward.  A District Centennial Global Grant was proposed by the District Foundation team and this proposal was accepted and will be taken forward.   The object of the grant is to reduce the spread of water borne diseases by enhancing services and sanitation for an estimated population of 24000-5000 in Uganda.     We will be supporting the Rotary Club of Nansana District 9211 of Uganda with their application for a global grant.

Some of the District trophies were awarded:

Maurice Harrop Trophy – best club website – awarded to Oswestry Cambrian.

 

Paul Harris Trophy – for the most new members was awarded to Bala Rotary

 

Cantaber Cup – Foundation per capita giving was awarded to Conwy.

 

Social Media Trophy – awarded to Southport Meols (highly commended were Northwich and Oswestry Cambrian)

 

 

 

 

Mike Constable received a certificate from PDG Molly Youd for his involvement in setting up a satellite Club at Bentley Cheshire (which has now Chartered, of course)

 

Hardman Shield – best club bulletin – not awarded as none of the entries had used the correct Rotary branding.

COL Representative PDG Roger Heath explained COL – Council on Legislation 2019 and RC Heswall put forward a proposal to be taken forward to the next stage..     Discussion took place, amendments and voting.

Thursday, 19th – off to College Cambria to join Steve Blakesley who is the District Technology Tournament Officer and had arranged an excellent tournament with 18 teams from 7 Schools. It was supported by Rotarians from Flint and Holywell, Mold, Deeside and North Wales Clubs.   Schools involved were Flint High School, Glan Clwyd, St. Bridgets, Pensby, West Kirby Grammar School, Hawarden and St. Richard Gwyn all competing to build a pipeline vehicle. The event being sponsored by Air Bus.  Well done to all concerned – fabulous project.

Thursday evening I was able to join Saughall Rotary at a social evening at the home of two of the members.  
Hot dogs and tasty soup was served along with a quiz arranged by Terry.     Fantastic that Jenn came along with three Rotaractors from University of Chester and they each headed up a  team.

The icing on the cake was the induction of a new member: Anthony Brooke-Rankin.

Friday 22nd October – off to llandudno to join Rotarians from District 1060 – heart of England – as guests at their District Conference with DG Dr. Charan Banger MBE and his lovely wife Dalbir.

The personal representative of RI President Ian Risely was Niko Niemi from Finland with his charming  wife Sirkku.

It was good to spend time with DG Carol Reilly from D 1210 who was the other visiting District Governor.

 

Speakers:   RIBI President – Denis Spiller Milton Frary, the Wheelchair foundation

Inner Wheel District 6 Chair – Pamela Griffiths

Fatima Shehzad – Rotaract in Action.

Ken Robertshaw – The Mississippi and The Giggle Doctor.

Karen Baley, GREAT Educational Charity.

Thought for the Day – Trevor James.

Mike Hammond – CE QE Hospital Birmingham Charity

Fisher House  Community Education Academy of Leadership – Dr. Christopher Johnson

Peter Wells, End Polio Now Ambassador.

Dr. Geoof Mckey – Life’s Like that.

Friday night entertainment was to celebrate Diwali – Festival of light – and this was most colourful, entertaining and dramatic.

Dancing on Saturday was with Tristram Shandy.

 

Monday, 21st October – a visit to Llangollen to see how President Lyn Pinel was getting along.
Good to be able to present to the club and then answer several questions given by the members.     A very happy atmosphere.

 

 

Tuesday, 24th – Polio Day – tree planting with Chester Riverside and the Lord Mayor of Chester.

 

How delighted I was to be invited along to Chester by President Peter Fryer.   The Lord Mayor of Chester, Councillor Razia Daniels helped Rotarians plant bulbs and then we all retired to the back yard of a local tea room for afternoon tea.

 

Wednesday, 25th – DG visit to Southport Links Rotary.

Good to be with President John Tarpey and the members who gave me the floor to speak about the priorities for the Rotary year and then of the members had questions which I enjoyed answering.     A well attended meeting and most enjoyable.

Friday, 26th – RC Northwich Vale Royal Charter with President Howie Rose.   This was a most unusual speaker – the tales of a Busker – a man who told us all about his many occupations.   He kept us all enthralled and in laughter.

A new member was inducted and Peter Chapman was awarded a PHF. Congratulations to Peter.

 

I had intended to visit the Bradford Peace University but I have just registered for the Peace Conference at the Ricoh Arena at Coventry in February and seem to be doing rather a lot of dashing around so I skipped this event.   I understand DGN(D) David Hartley and Rotarian Yvonne attended and were greatly inspired by the day.   I am hoping to be able to visit next year when more time is available.

 

Public Image Seminar – held on Sunday 29th October at this fabulous new venue – Neston High School – perfect for training events. District Trainer Ged led the day with presentations from Fiona Bassett, District Public Image Chair and IPDG Molly Youd as Rotary Assistant Coordinator Public Image.   Secretaries and PI Chairs were given some very useful information.   Good to see District Secretary Gordon in the afternoon session.

 

30th October – Governors Continuity meeting at Beaufort Park Hotel and the final event of the month was Hawarden Satellite club meeting at the Fox and Grapes. A huge thanks to AG Ray Allan for attending.   The next meeting will now be in 2018 after Christmas festivities.

To finish I thought I  would share with you one of the celebrated engineering achievements in our District.    Do you know where it is??

It was a very busy month but the District has achieved so much.  It has been a pleasure travelling around visiting clubs and meeting lots of Rotarians  –  the journeys  have been enjoyable admiring the Autumn colours!

Countdown to District Conference…

 

October Travels

Members of the 2017 Conference Committee 'Conferring'
Members of the 2017 Conference Committee ‘Conferring’

2nd October The conference 2017 team met on site at the Lion Quays Hotel.   The whole team were in attendance and we met up with Anastasie our hotel conference manager who answered any of our queries.

Numbers attending the conference are looking great but I cannot stress enough how important it is to register before the day.   That way we will have a badge prepared and lunch ordered.   I was a bit alarmed when visiting a club recently that they said they were just going to arrive on the Saturday.

Have you got your French themed outfit ready for Allo Allo?   If not,  casual attire is perfectly acceptable!  All speakers have confirmed and we are looking forward to enthusing you all and offering an inspirational and very happy conference.   The Saturday Gatzby themed dinner and ball should be an event to remember.   Don’t forget it is YOUR conference – come and enjoy it and make some  new friends.

3rd October was a Rotary business day – we had a Governors Continuity meeting followed by District Executive with a full house of attendees (Governor Team and all 10 AGs)

DG Beryl with President Bill Wyllie, VTT Leader & DGE Steve Martin
DG Beryl with President Bill Wyllie, VTT Leader & DGE Steve Martin
Members from Royden Revolve with VTT members
Members from Royden Revolve with VTT members

5th October – off to Wallasey Rotary to meet up with the Austrialian VT team again and hear how they were getting along.
President Bill Wyllie and his members made everyone very welcome and after their presentation everyone was encouraged to “stay on” for questions and chat with the team.  IPP Bennett Quinn thanked the DG for saying a few words but he went back to his own year and called me Molly.

This was certainly no problem to myself – I have been called all sorts of names over the years but his fellow Rotarians really wanted to pull his leg about this.  Sorry Molly but I had to borrow your name.

President & members of Liverpool City Rotary pose DG Beryl
President & members of Liverpool City Rotary pose DG Beryl

Friday 6th: Up like the lark and off to Liverpool City for their 7.30 a.m. meerting at Ziferblat, Liverpool.   I was going to go on the train but with the rail strike the day before and Lime Street Station undergoing building work I decided the car was the best bet to get to work on time later.       It’s a long time since I had visited this club – back in the day when Rachel was given her very large Rotary badge and some charters following so it was really refreshing to see them working as a Club in these fantastic premises.

It was certainly worth getting up at 5 am for !!  Lots of plans, lots of banter and a great feeling that the members really enjoy their Rotary meetings.

Fun & friendship at Liverpool City Rotary
Fun & friendship at Liverpool City Rotary

Membership recruitment will be addressed in the near future.  President Jon accepted that it had not been their no. 1 priority but intended to rectify this sooner rather than later.  What impressed me were the membership opportunities in the City – so many opportunities to be grabbed at.     At 9 a.m. after a very short presentation by myself (I think President Jon forgot I was there) everyone dashed off to work or to go about their daily business.

It was good to have a Saturday evening free but alas I just flopped in front of the goggle box instead of catching up with the paperwork.   (Had to catch up on several episodes of Casualty – my favourite and watch a few recordings of “Liar”

Sunday was spent on admin and finishing off Beryl’s Times.

President Terry Deakin with his wife
President Terry Deakin with his wife

CEO of the Welsh Mountain Zoo as his guest speaker – who gave a potted history of the development of the zoo.   I really must visit sometime!!

The true highlight of the evening was hearing Ellis Thomas who was a National Finalist in the RIBI Young Musician Competition play two pieces on the piano -absolutely magical.

It was a most enjoyable evening with the ladies being presented with a small gift.

Rhos on Sea President George Price with D1180 Secretary Gordon Marshall
Rhos on Sea President George Price with D1180 Secretary Gordon Marshall

 

Also, President George Price from Rhos on Sea gave me the flowers he won in the raffle which was a lovely gesture.

 

 

DG Beryl & PDG Tony with colleagues of the 2007-08 RIBI Governor Team (Part of the 'Northern mafia gang')
DG Beryl & PDG Tony with colleagues of the 2007-08 RIBI Governor Team (Part of the ‘Northern mafia gang’)

Tuesday – 10th on a journey to Chorley to a funeral of PDG David Bennett D1190.  He was DG when Tony was Governor 2007/08.   David had fought cancer for 2-3 years but it finally got the better of him and he leaves a lovely wife Linda.   It was good to see so many of the DG class of 2007/08 present at the funeral in support.

Down the M6 Motorway for the DG Visit to Rhyl Rotary Club .   It was good to sit in the bar and have a chat with some of the members prior to the meeting. The club meet at the Faenol Fawr Hotel and are well looked after.  President Keith allowed me plenty of time to address the members of Rhyl, going through the three major strategic priorities of the Rotary year 2017/18 and I told them a little story which holds plenty of morals that can be related to Rotary.

President Cees with DG Beryl & the Guest Speaker
President Cees with DG Beryl & the Guest Speaker

On Wednesday 11th, I find myself at the door of Prenton Golf Club to celebrate the charter night with West Wirral Rotary. I don’t think I had seen such a gathering of Club Presidents since PETs

Guest Presidents attend West Wirral Rotary Charter
Guest Presidents attend West Wirral Rotary Charter

President Elect Training Seminar).   Everyone commented on the meal – duck – made quite a change!     I had the pleasure of sitting by President Ian Pentin from Heswall and the speaker – a young woman who in an inspiration to everyone.

 

Guest Presidents attend West Wirral Rotary Charter
Guest Presidents attend West Wirral Rotary Charter

Congratulations President Cees on a well organized event.

 

 

 

 

 

Thursday 12th – Club Visit to Crosby.   Although I have visited the Pioneer for a membership meeting I had actually never been to the Club and so it was a real delight to meet up with President Alan Dean and the members. Tony was with me as he had been asked about giving information on setting up a satellite so it was a BOG – OF (buy one get one free)

DG Beryl & President David Smith admire the special 90th cake
DG Beryl & President David Smith admire the special 90th cake

Friday – a special evening celebrating 90 years of Rotary with Prestatyn Rotary at the Beeches Hotel.   President David Smith welcomed the Major of Prestatyn and his guests. Lovely to meet up with PN Gareth and Catrin from Rhyl Rotary (recently engaged);

Rhyl PN Gareth with his Fiance Catrin and DG Beryl
Rhyl PN Gareth with his Fiance Catrin and DG Beryl

Gareth is doing really well as a local Councillor.   (I can see a future prime minister here!!).

Maghull & Aughton President Kevin Scott & his wife Susanne with DG Beryl (seated) with Flint & Hollywell Secretary Barry(on right) and guest
Maghull & Aughton President Kevin Scott & his wife Susanne with DG Beryl (seated) with Flint & Hollywell Secretary Barry(on right) and guest

Presdient Kevin Scott from Maghull and Augton and his wife Sussanne had travelled over the water to join Prestatyn and help them celebrate 90 years.

 

PDG Griff Jones with President David Smith & Beryl
PDG Griff Jones with President David Smith & Beryl

 

 

 

PDG Griff Jones managed to be present, though not looking too well; everyone appreciated that his daughter and son in law had accompanied him.   It meant such a lot to him to be present to celebrate the 90 years Anniversary of the club.

 

Welcoming party at Bangor Charter
Welcoming party at Bangor Charter
DGN Bob Maskall and his wife Kate
DGN Bob Maskall and his wife Kate

Saturday – back down the A55 to Bangor – where it was lovely to see “old friends”. PDG David Wynne Jones and his wife Gill looking well  along with DGN Bob looking fab in his white dinner jacket.   Guest speaker was Mike Yates International Chair from District 1285 who gave a presentation on the polio immunization programme in India and how he had become involved.

 

 

 

 

Sunday 15th – Foundation Seminar at the Beaufort Park Hotel, New Brighton, Mold was attended by 49 clubs from our District who received the Memorandum of Understanding.   This is a very important day in the District calendar and so important that our members understand and support our Rotary Foundation.

Tony, Doreen & Martin pictured with Foundation Chair David, & District Trainer Ged
Tony, Doreen & Martin pictured with Foundation Chair David, & District Trainer Ged

This year, District Trainer Ged, assisted in the organisation of the day and facilitated.  He, also, gave an excellent presentation to assist especially new Rotarians or new Foundation chairs a greater understanding.    Presentations were given by Dave Barton, our very knowledgeable Foundation Chair, Doreen Marchant stubbs who explained about District Grants.    Registration and admin is taken care of by Treasurer/Secretary Martin Williams.      I heard a lot of excellent feedback – which is what we want from all our District events.

To mark the centennial of the Rotary Foundation Tony Marchant Stubbs put forward a proposition on a District Global Grant under the focus of Water and Sanitation, to supply water wells in Uganda.  Much research had been done and our members would need to raise £3,000 to make this happen.  A straw poll was taken and everyone was in favour of this proposal going forward to District Council.

The 'purple for Polio' VW Beatle
The ‘purple for Polio’ VW Beatle

In writing I want to tell you a little bit about the RIBI Banger rally which will take place.   I am looking for a Rotarian in our District to head up the District’s involvement.   We need a central location where a gazebo can be erected and for four days we need to man the Check – Point (by Rota) from 10 – 5 p.m.   All involved in the banger rally will be encouraged to visit as many Districts as possible, get their Rotary log book signed and end up at a final point in Yorkshire.   Anyone interested in heading this up and knows of a central location in our District?  Might be good for a group of clubs to work together on this project – anyone got an interest in “old” bangers??

Danish, German, Australian and Philippines – International Friendship

On Sunday, 17th I was invited to join President Ian and members of Heswall Rotary to have lunch at the Ship at Parkgate at their farewell function with  their Danish friends from Varde Rotary Club.

DG Beryl with a member from Varde Rotary
DG Beryl with a member from Varde Rotary

The contacts between Varde and Heswall started in 1967 – meeting up every two years in alternative countries.    The visitors had enjoyed great Rotary friendship visiting the Ellesmere Port Boat Museum, ferry across the Mersey, The Albert Dock, the Cavern Club, Liverpool museum, Saturday evening party and lunch in Parkgate before leaving for Manchester Airport

The car is getting used to the journey down to mid-Wales and  Monday night we drove to Bala to meet up with President Norman and a select few of the Bala Rotarians.

Bala President Norman with his wife Janet
Bala President Norman with his wife Janet at Mawddach Charter

Since forming the satellite club in March, Bala and Penllyn appear to have turned a corner and are now looking to the future with renewed confidence.  I was delighted to meet their new lady member Jay who really seems to be fitting in well.    What a difference 12 months can make in a Club – when they formed their satellite they joked 13 enthusiastic new Rotarians and 13 suicidal.    President Norman has a great sense of humour.

 

Tuesday evening off to Winsford and Middlewich and how fantastic to meet up with three new members and hear about all their plans for their forthcoming  annual bonfire night/firework fundraiser.

DG Beryl with Middlewich Rotary Members
DG Beryl with Middlewich Rotary Members

This means that nobody will be able to attend District Conference but I guess you just cannot win them all.

It was good to see visiting Rtn John Stopford  who was a member of this club.

DG Beryl with Foundation Secretary Martin & Foundation Chair David wait for their guests from VTT Australia
DG Beryl with Foundation Secretary Martin & Foundation Chair David waiting for their guests from VTT Australia

Wednesday 20th – off on the train from Warrington (work) to  Lime Street, Liverpool to meet up with the five members of the Vocational Training Team who were arriving from London Euston on the 3.19 train.

AG Julie with members of the VT Team
AG Julie with members of the VT Team

Their DG had telephoned me from Australia  one day recently – to thank D1180 for hosting the team and told me what  exceptional young people they were.   He had described them well.

 

 

Secretary Martin with Daphne Barton, Chair david's wife
Secretary Martin with Daphne Barton, Chair David’s wife

They were a great team and after a warm D1180 welcome and photos we arranged for them to be transported by taxi to St. Vincents School where they were staying.   Great that District Foundation Chair Dave, Secretary Martin along with PDG Les Wilson were part of the welcoming party.

 

Back to work Wednesday afternoon, then a drive to Crewe and Nantwich Weaver Rotary to be welcomed by President Terry.      A good turnout and especially great to see  President Elena, Secretary Sarah and Mark from Bentley Cheshire.

President Terry & his wife
President Terry & his wife

This club have undergone visioning and are really looking at their Rotary experience, trying to adapt to change to satisfy their own members whilst helping to attract new members to ensure their legacy continues.

After my presentation one of the members came to tell me that he wasn’t going to have bothered turning out tonight – especially as it was the DG attending but he had enjoyed my presentation and was very glad he had attended.   How nice was that?

Full on this week: Thursday was a trip to Liverpool West Derby Rotary to celebrate their Charter night at Devonshire House.

Past AG Di Harrison with DG Beryl & President Lynn
Past AG Di Harrison with DG Beryl & President Lynn

President Lynn looked lovely to welcome her guests: the High Sheriff of Merseyside and the Lord Mayor of Liverpool, Malcolm Kennedy and his partner, Lilliana.  Guest speaker was Dr. Kevin Jones who had the audience in tucks of laughter.

Rtn. Yvonne & AG David Hartley, President Lynn, Ormskirk Clocktower President Sue with DG Beryl
Rtn. Yvonne & AG David Hartley, President Lynn, Ormskirk Clocktower President Sue with DG Beryl

Lynn read out a verse she had written (see end of blog)  and gave her guest a copy in a frame.  Such a lovely gesture along with a delightful bouquet of flowers which were really appreciated.

Friday  morning there were a few hours to catch up on some paperwork and emails – the last 10 days seem to have been a constant trail of emails.  I think it is September and everyone has gone back to “Rotary” (school).    Will I ever get to the bottom of this workload I wonder??

DG & Spouse enjoying the sunshine on Llandudno promenade
DG & Spouse enjoying the sunshine on Llandudno promenade

A drive out to Llandudno to the Llandudno Bay Hotel as guests of D1070 District conference – with DG Christ Davies and her husband Dr Jim.

DG Beryl with our hosts Margaret & David Morris
DG Beryl with our hosts Margaret & David Morris

Tony and I were hosted by AG David Morris and his wife Margaret – such lovely Rotarians to be with and who looked after us so very well.

RIBI President Denis Spiller. DG D1180 Beryl, RI Director 2018-20 Piotr (Poland) & DG D1070 Chris Davies
RIBI President Denis Spiller. DG D1180 Beryl, RI Director 2018-20 Piotr (Poland) & DG D1070 Chris Davies

 

 

 

 

 

On Friday evening I was first on stage  – welcoming 640 delegates to the International District 1180 and giving everyone an insight into our District.  This was followed by great entertainment – The Foxgloves, comedian Jamie Sutherland and Judith Hubert.

DG 1180 Beryl, DG 1070 Chris, Margaret & David Morris
DG 1180 Beryl, DG 1070 Chris, Margaret & David Morris

Up and out early to the Cymru Centre and listening to some very inspirational speakers – Wild Life Trust,  Dr. Tim Mackrill – Ospreys, RIBI President Denis, Rotaractor Chris Wells and HM Queen Elizabeth’s Chef, Colin Alderson .   In the evening everyone was very quickly on the dance floor dancing to the Beachy Boys.

 

 

Mawddach President Beryl
Mawddach President Beryl

The bed pulled on Sunday morning,  but  breakfast and then packing up and off to  Portmerieon to join President Beryl Clark and members of Mawddach Rotary for their 12th Charter event.

PDG Tony with Tywyn President Nancy
PDG Tony with Tywyn President Nancy

 

 

 

 

The theme was boaters, blazers, pastels and parasols and everyone had entered into the spirit of the event (except the weather – it absolutely poured down)   Anyway it did not dampen our spirits.   The meal was exceptional and it was lovely to meet up with 6 Rotarians from Lippetal Rotary in Germany who had flown over specially to be with `Mawddach.    President Bettina gave a touching speech – Brexit or not and gave me a small present which was so thoughtful.      Entertainment was by Chris King from Wednesbury.  It was a truly fabulous and very memorable  afternoon.

A little verse written by President Beryl – Mawddach Rotary:

FOR THE CAUSE THAT NEEDS ASSISTANCE

FOR THE WRONG THAT NEEDS RESISTANCE

FOR THE FUTURE IN THE DISTANCE

AND THE GOOD THAT WE CAN DO

Another week and away on Monday to a celebration of the life of Rtn. Michael Hovey  who passed away just recently.   Such a lovely man and a true Rotarian who will be sadly missed by his wife Hannelore and members of Rhos on Sea Rotary.

DG Beryl with Colwyn Bay President Terry
DG Beryl with Colwyn Bay President Terry

 

The timings worked out well as I was able to continue my day at Colwyn Bay Rotary lunchtime meeting at the Cricket Club.

President Terry welcomed me and conducted their business meeting.

 

A few hours rest and then off to the Fox and Grapes for the Hawarden satellite meeting.

Are you looking for members?
Are you looking for new members?

 

A bit disappointing with the turnout  tonight but we always make good use of every situation.

Next meeting at the end of October.   A leaflet drop is beckoning to work alongside facebook entries.

 

 

Tuesday 26th saw a drive up the M6 motorway to join the meeting  of Maghull and Aughton Rotary at their new venue – The Scarisbrick Arms where we met up with the Vocational Training Team (VTT) from Australia.      Leisa, Karein, Lyle, Delia and Shelley (Karen had to call off through illness).

VT Team from Australia
VT Team from Australia

A warm welcome by President Kevin followed by a delicious meal and then the presentation by the VTT team.  This gave us all an insight into Queensland Australia, their culture and education and a little about our visitors.

The team had enjoyed good Liverpool hospitality since we met them at Lime street Station and were buzzing about their University visit.

AG Julie with members of the VT Team
AG Julie with members of the VT Team

To end the evening members of the U3A Ukulele  band entertained with some all time favourite tunes.        Home very late but hubby was still up following his attendance at the Disitrict Service Group Chair meeting.

 

Wednesday, 27th,  was a Membership evening meeting with a huge difference.   Chair Tony had decided to open up the meeting to anyone interested in membership. There had been a few unable to attend but all in all over 40 attendees, representing many clubs.

There were presentations by Chair Tony, Paul Cotton, Dr John Patterson, Les Wilson, Roger Heath, and committee members Tony Marchant Stubbs (statistics analysis), Doreen MS and Kirsty C on RIBI leads,  a real buzz around the room and a very successful, inspirational meeting.    There were so many ideas, so much to do and in the vote of thanks I suggested ‘ lets not just talk about membership, lets get on and do something about it’.   Go forth and multiply!

Thursday: Club visit to Tywyn – it is approximately 90 miles to Tywyn but the scenery on the journey is well worth the 2 ½ hours travelling time from work. The autumnal tints, tones and shades are just spectacular.

President Nancy with husband P/P Graham
President Nancy with husband P/P Graham

President Nancy and Graham were waiting at the entrance to greet us.

It was good to meet up again with Rotarians whom I recognized from Race the Train a few weeks ago and was able to offer my congratulations to the Club for the successful annual event and thank them for the huge donation that they made to our Rotary Foundation.

P/P Graham with Tywyn Rotarian Dr. George
P/P Graham with Tywyn Rotarian Dr. George

 

At the end of the meeting Rotarian Stephanie wanted to know a lot more about the formation of a satellite club in Tywyn as she has many young friends whom she thinks would like to put something back into society and would be ideal for Rotary 2 light.

 

 

Although I was not able to attend I would like to congratulate Flint and Holywell Rotary club on chartering a Rotakids Club at Whitford.   This was attended by Youth Service Chair David Brigden and Rtn  Steve Blakesey

DG Beryl with President George and his wife Linda, accompanied by RIBI President Elect Debbie Hodge
DG Beryl with President George and his wife Linda, accompanied by RIBI Vice President Debbie Hodge

On 29th September, Formby 50th Anniversary event,  in the presence of Rotary in Great Britain and Ireland  Vice President  Debbie Hodge,  President George and members of Formby Rotary celebrated fifty years of Rotary service

Three generations giving Service to the community: Formby Squirrels P/P Ros with her mother, Inner Wheel International Chair Sue and her daughter.
Three generations giving Service to the community: Formby Squirrels P/P Ros with her mother, Inner Wheel International Chair Sue and her daughter.

 

A special evening, spent with friends of Rotary.  Lovely to see Formby Squirrels Rotarians having plenty of fun and laughter.

Enjoyable entertainment by Swing Classics entertainer Alan Cross

President George receives his Paul harris fellowship from RIBI P/E Debbie
President George receives his Paul harris fellowship from RIBI VP Debbie

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

DG Beryl with President Paul, Members Karen & her Husband & PDG Tony
DG Beryl with President Paul, Members Karen & her Husband & PDG Tony

Saturday, 30th September: Willaston and South wirral Musical extravaganza.   This is a small club but they know how to put on a party.    We enjoyed Simon, the Village Barber, along with Reina from Flint and there was even a special visit by Elvis.

P/P Deborah & P/P Colin practise their moves
P/P Deborah & P/P Colin practise their moves

Plenty of fun – with a delicious chilli supper served by the members.       Beryl and Tony even won the best dancers!!     Strictly – here we come!!

Even 'Elvis' attended, pictured with Mezzo Soprano Reina
Even ‘Elvis’ attended, pictured with Mezzo Soprano Reina

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1st October: Meeting up with the 2nd VTT Visit – 6 Doctors from the Philippines and a guided tour of Liverpool City Centre with PDG Les Wilson

P/P John (Maghull & Aughton, DG Beryl, D3780 VTT Team Leader Rtn. Rene Cantos, team members: Dr. Estrella Jusi, Au Libardia MD, Weng Vergara MD, Bessie Borja RN, Dr. Melissa Juico. With PDG Les Wilson
Rtn. John (Maghull & Aughton), DG Beryl, D1180, VTT Team Leader Rtn. P/P Rene Cantos D3780, team members: Dr. Estrella Jusi, Au Libardia MD, Weng Vergara MD, Bessie Borja RN, Dr. Melissa Juico. With PDG D1180 Les Wilson

Sunday morning – train to Liverpool Central to meet up with PDG Les Wilson and Rtn John McIlroy to welcome the VTT from the Philippines.

Phillipines VT Team at Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral
Phillipines VT Team at Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral

It was an action packed day visiting the Metropolitan Cathedral of Christ the King, Liverpool followed by the Liverpool Anglican Cathedral.

 D3780 VTT Team Leader Rtn. Rene Cantos & Equipment Consultant Alex meet Cilla
D3780 VTT Team Leader Rtn. Rene Cantos & Equipment Consultant Alex meet Cilla

After coffee, we visited all the popular landmarks in Matthew Street,  Liverpool to include a whistle stop tour of Beatle Land – though we did not enter the Cavern but spotted plenty of “characters” on our journey

VTT Members meet 'Eleanor Rigby'
VTT Members meet ‘Eleanor Rigby’

 

 

 

 

DG Beryl & Tony with VTT members for lunch
DG Beryl & Tony with VTT members for lunch

PDG Tony joined us for a roast beef family meal at the Hanover Social Club.

 

 

 

After lunch we all walked down to the Waterfront and the ‘3 Graces’  before catching the train back home with our friends travelling back to Chester.

VTT members pose with the 'Fab Four' on the waterfront at Pier Head
VTT members pose with the ‘Fab Four’ on the waterfront at Pier Head

They plan to be very busy the next few days at the Chester University attending a seminar to enhance their technical knowledge in the operation and management of the Human Milk Bank (HMB) in their respective hospitals in the Philippines (7 in all).

 

 

Another week and another month –  sadly over in a flash.

 

A Rotary Ditty – written by President Lynn Duffy, Liverpool West Derby Rotary

Somebody said, There is a big year ahead

So we’ll climb the heights if we can

Still, I never quite knew, honest it’s true

That an abseil was prt of the plan!!

But , as I stood there in hope, clinging on the rope

I knew it would all turn out well

And my family and friends would be there at the end

To catch me, if I fell!!

IT WAS A DAY TO BE SAVOURED, AS I STOOD THERE WITH DAVID

With our nerves, a little on edge,

But I truly believed, it could all be achieved

Once we climbed over the edge!!

So high on that steeple, I thought of the people

Who’d helped us along the way

Like our High Sheriff, Stephen, who’s joined us this evening

With his lively wife Gill, his PA!

Yes, I conquered the peril, thanks to Dsitrict Governor Beryl

Who, I’m proud to say, with delight,

With Mayor Malcolm and Lillana, we have the great honour

To welcome on this special night!!

It’s a pleasure to work it, with Alan Birkett

Charlotte Reilly, and so many more

And we all love the bones of our Doc, Kevin Jones

Who’ll have us in stitches, I’m sure!!

Yes, I’m pleased to say, we’ve come a long way

With folk like yourselves around

We’ve climbed the heights, but from now on, I might

Keep my feet firmly on the ground!!

So a great big ‘Thanks’ to you all, one and all

The Rotary Club is blessed

A ‘Toast” to you, in all that you do,

You really are “Simply the Best”!!

 

Somewhere over the Rainbow

Refreshed after a few days relaxing over the Bank Holiday weekend – back to Rotary business.

Wirral Narrowboat Trust:  It was a great honour to be invited by Chair Simon Tomlinson along with DGE Steve to attend Prenton Golf Club  to share the celebration of the Wirral Narrowboat Trust in receiving the Queens Award for Community Service – conducted by the Lord Lieutenant Dame Lorna Muirhead.     Perhaps it was even more of a celebratory occasion in that it was the Penultimate Function she would be attending after being in office for 11 years.  In her address she made a joke that she was quite upset that at 75 years of age she had been sacked by a woman of 91 years (The Queen)!  Well done to all in arranging this celebration.

RI/RIBI Public Image Event:  Friday, 1st September I attended an event at the AC Marriot Hotel, Salford Quays.  This was funded by RI and organized by RIBI  on behalf of the Zone 17 & 18a RI Public Image Coordinators.  I invited Fiona Basset our District 1180 Public Image Chair and Lisa Carlin, Deputy Membership Chair to attend with myself, representing D1180.   Also attending from our District was Rotary International Z17 Public Image Coordinator Les Wilson and Assistant Co-ordinator Molly Youd.  Trevor Meech and Andrew Green from RC Northiwch  gave a presentation on Club Bulletins.  So we were really flying the flag for D1180.

‘Prosecco & Afternoon Tea’ Event at Saughall

President Denise Harding (centre) and members of Saughall Rotary showing their ‘bake-off skills’
Rick (in blue) celebrates his win in the ‘Welly Wanging’ with members of Saughall

Sunday, 3rd September’s weather was a little disappointing for the ‘Prosecco & Afternoon Tea’ Event arranged by my own Club, Saughall, but it did not spoil our enjoyment in any way. The event was held to raise funds for the supply of a defibrilalator in the village.

District Committees: Monday 4th A little bit like September – back to school – there were three District meetings held at the Gateway to Wales Hotel, Queensferry. In the morning, it was a Dsitrict Foundation meeting.  In the evening, I attended the Visioning Meeting  and called in to the AG meeting.

Neston Rotary: Tuesday 5th September

Selfie: President Ben with DG Beryl & members of Neston Rotary

A warm welcome was received at Neston Rotary.   Nice to have a chat with Prof. David Brigden on District Youth Matters before everyone arrived and , of course, this is the home of DGE Steve.  Despite their current small membership this club undertakes so many community and international projects and are a club who are a fine example of working with Youth – especially Rotakids, Interact and Youth competitions with a thread of gold running through connecting Foundation and membership.   They are indeed working very hard to increase their membership and will make good use of the tools available.     The club uses Rotary Club Central.      A few had to leave soon after the business meeting and it left just a small group at the end of the meeting – we thought we would have some fun and take a “selfie”   I am not sure we did not all look tipsy but we had a good laugh with President Ben Morris.

 

Wednesday Evening, was a Conference 2017 meeting  with a full house of attendees.  It is now around 50 days away to Conference!   Have you registered?   We really do want representation from every Club in our District and promise inspirational  speakers and great social events. 

DG Beryl with members of Bangor Rotary

 

Thursday, 7th saw us down the A55 to Victoria Hotel, Menai bridge and Bangor Rotary.  Great to be on my ‘official visit’ with the members of Bangor Rotary, which includes our DGN Bob Maskall.

 

 

Members of Saughall Rotary complete their sandwich making with DG Beryl

Disabled Fun Games:  Saturday evening after work I was able to join members of Saughall Rotary who were busy making the sandwiches for the Fun Games.      The work  was completed within 1 ½ hours and every Rotarian was given a job: buttering, bagging, labeling etc. Quite a production line.  Not having had my tea and working all day, those sandwiches looked and smelled delicious.   No wonder they sold out on Sunday.

‘Teddy in the Toilet’ Event

Whilst setting up for the fun games, several Rotarians got drenched with very heavy rainfall on Saturday.  Sunday morning dawned to grey skies.      The clouds persisted throughout the day,  just occasionally a little bit of blue sky appearing.  Over 250 attendees from groups throughout the District attended the games at the MBNA  Bank ‘Field of Dreams’, Chester Finance Park.      There must have been over 300 Rotarians volunteering and I am not sure who enjoyed themselves the most.  It is the best day in the Rotary year – a most humbling event but so much pleasure,  giving great joy and happiness to so many disadvantaged people.

Rtn. Karen Hunter assisting with Curling

PDG John Bird took over the chairmanship of this District committee late 2016 and has built up a committed team of Rotarian volunteers.
The event was very well organized.  Gary Owen,  who is employed by Lloyds Bank is a tower of strength and knowledge.  Rotary is indebted for his involvement.

Elyn Corfield and son Joe chatting to Rotarians

 

 

 

 

We were delighted that Elyn Corfield, the new Managing Director of MBNA Lloyds Bank opened the Fun Games and then I had the joy of escorting her and Joe,  her youngest son,  around the field and introducing her to several Rotarians.    What a delight that she had worked for MBNA for 17 years and risen to the top position.     Being a local lady, born in Shropshire and now residing at Broughton Heath,  she stated that Lloyds Bank were very much in support of the event .  Latest Membership Minute: Elyn stated that one day she would become a member of Rotary.

Several members of the D1180 Fun Games Committee

At 3 p.m. prompt the Lord Mayor of Chester Councillor Razia Daniels arrived with her consort and driver.    I really don’t think she knew exactly what she was attending as she seemed overcome with the atmosphere , singing and dancing.  Lord Mayor Razia Daniels and  her Consort were delighted to present the medals, assisted by Fun Games Chair John Bird  and myself.

Up to this time the rain had kept off.  Suddenly a few spots of rain were felt. I escorted the Lord Mayor to her car and within seconds of her getting inside, the heavens opened with a horrific downfall.    Two gazebos lifted but most Rotarians and visitors had left.

When the rain stopped, the vans were loaded, the field was checked for litter, inside the centre was tidied up and everyone left with a great sense of achievement and satisfaction but absolutely worn out with the fresh air and adrenalin rush of ensuring the day went without a hitch.

A rainbow – as promised!

It seemed quite appropriate that we spotted a rainbow in the sky; wished I had taken a photograph of it but how lucky we were with the weather.

There will always be lessons to be learnt and also, how the games can be improved year on year.    A huge thanks to all the Rotarians who helped out and especially to the Fun Games Committee. Chaired by John Bird.

I was so exhausted I went to bed early when I arrived home and slept for a full 12 hours.

Mold Rotary visit: Up and ready to visit Mold Rotary at lunchtime on Monday, 11th September. Good to meet up with President Pedr Roberts (we were AGs together) and to meet with some long-standing  Rotary friends from Mold.     This club has a record of 81 years of outstanding Rotary service and achievement.    They give to Our Foundation and End Polio Now is their nominated charity for the year.  One of their members, Mark Philpot, runs the District Youth Speaks competition.  Membership recruitment is their biggest problem and they are looking at various membership initiatives.      We must ensure their Rotary legacy continues for many years to come. Watch this space.

Chester Riverside Rotarians collecting for charity

Chester Riverside: Wednesday, 13th – Tesco at Broughton with President Peter, Nigel, Maggie and Bill to collect funds for Countess of Chester Hospital.

Also they collected for Help the Aged and handing out membership leaflets to promote Chester Riverside and the new satellite Club at Hawarden.

We must have handed out over 400 leaflets in two hours so we wait by the phone and look out for emails!

New Satellite, Hesketh Bank: Whilst we were at Broughton another team were up at Tarleton at the second information meeting for a satellite club.

14th September:  District 18 Inner Wheel Rally   I was welcomed by Chair Sandra Morris and met the Association National President Liz Thomas from Norfolk and offered Greetings to members of Inner Wheel from all Rotarians in District 1180.     A delicious lunch  was enjoyed by over 120 members at the Craxton Wood Hotel.

 

Saughall Rotary Special meeting: A quick dress change and off to my own club who had a very special evening.   Contact had been made by 14 Rotarians from Pocklington Rotary (D1040, close to York) who were visiting Chester and asked if they could visit Saughall.  Apparently they had contacted other Clubs but Saughall had been the only club to reply.  I dashed off to the Greyhound Inn to have a drink with them and welcome them to D1180.

Members from Pocklington Rotary meet with Saughall Rotarians

The meeting was held in the Vernon Institute where  President Steve from Pocklington told Saughall members a little about their club and P/P Andrew Errington chatted about Saughall.   President Denise thanked the visiting Rotarians for spending time out of their holiday in Chester to visit her club and presented a Saughall Club Banner.  She also expressed a wish to come over to Yorkshire and pay a return visit to their club.

15th September: ‘Lifeline’ Project Oswestry: One of the many highlights of the week was a visit to the ‘Lifeline Project’ organised by Oswestry Rotarians.

President David, High Sheriff, President Sherie & DG Beryl

Lifeline is an annual event at which year 6 pupils from Shropshire and Powys schools are presented with ten scenarios aimed at increasing awareness of everyday risks/dangers and encouraging appropriate responses to any they may face.    This is a truly amazing project which I could write more about.  President David Davies said that the club were going to log their hours spent in planning and execution for Rotary Club Central and this is certainly an event for the Rotary Show Case – something very rewarding and worthwhile.

It lasts for a full week so there will be exhausted Rotarians this weekend.    Over 25 schools  and nearly 500 pupils will attend!  Wow!!  well done Oswestry.

 

 

Year 6 children enjoy learning First Aid

Rotary helps disaster victims…    Severe storms, an earthquake and hurricanes have caused havoc across the globe from the United States and Mexico to South Asia and Africa.  The Rotary Foundation and Rotary clubs in affected areas are helping bring emergency aid to battered communities.

The Rotary Foundation is collecting emergency relief funds to help victims of hurricanes Harvey and Irma.     Severe rainfall caused historic flooding along the Texas coast, including Houston.   The power of Rotary is in our foundation’s ability to pull help from around the world whilst local clubs provide immediate relief in their own communities.

Further information regarding making club and individual donations can be found on the RI website – you can contribute directly to the Rotary Foundation or through Rotary’s Partner Relief Box Projects:  ShelterBox, Life Straws etc.

Just before I sign off from this blog a bit of information that some Rotarians might be interested in…

Catch up again soon!

Two local projects members might be interested in:

Rotarians might be interested in   RIBI Denis Spiller’s Purple for Polio Banger rally – information at     https://www.rotarygbi.org/what-we-do/purple4polio-banger-rally/

Some Rotarians in our District might be interested in the Bridge2Aid Charity Walkthe President of Knutsford Rotary, Tom Dickerson,  has challenged himself to raise as much money as he can for the dental charity above.   Briefly, Bridge2Aid is a charity that provides access to safe emergency dental care in Tanzania. Since 2004 volunteer dentists have trained local, rural health workers in the country. This sustainable training model of passing skills into local hands is providing long-term lasting change that is saving lives and freeing many from the prospect of misery and pain. The intention is to roll out this training in any other country where there is a need for it.

One challenge for raising money is by walking the Sandstone Trail.  The President of Knutsford Rotary intends to complete the Trail by using thirteen linked circular walks. This is effectively a walk per month.  Rotarians and friends are invited to accompany him, either in part or along the whole route, and consider sponsorship .  Although the challenge is to raise money for the charity, enjoying good fellowship is equally important.

The itinerary is:-

Walk 1 – Frodsham to The Ridgeway – 28th July 2017

Walk 2 – The Ridgeway to Manley Common – 25th August 2017

Walk 3 – Manley Common to Primrosehill Wood – 15th September 2017

Walk 4 – Primrosehill Wood to Fisher’s Green – 13th October 2017

Walk 5 – Fisher’s Green to Crib Lane – 17th November 2017

Walk 6 – Crib Lane to Beeston Castle – 8th December 2017

Walk 7 – Beeston Castle to Burwardsley – 19th January 2018

Walk 8 – Burwardsley to Rawhead – 16th February 2018

Walk 9 – Rawhead to Larkton Hill – 16th March 2018

Walk 10 – Larkton Hill to Hampton Post – 6th April 2018

Walk 11 – Hampton Post to Old St Chad’s Church – 11th May 2018

Walk 12 – Old St Chad’s Church to Grindley Brook – 1st June 2018

Walk 13 – Grindley Brook to Whitchurch – 20th June 2018

Walks 1, 2 and 3 have already been completed. Tom has emailed details to the Northwich Clubs and also Winsford/Middlewich to see if they would like to join him on walk 3 for some exercise and fellowship.  As he progresses Tom will contact Tarporley, Nantwich and the Clubs in Crewe.

 

 

Flowers, plants , runners and tractors

Not quite so busy the last two weeks of August  but perhaps a good job as I needed plenty of energy to undertake outdoor day-long events in support of Club projects.

Thursday, 17th I found myself on the way to Southport Flower Show.  I haven’t been for years – despite my love of flowers – always busy at work and something on at the weekend.   However this year, invited by the Rotary Clubs in Southport – determined to attend in support of the Clubs.

We decided to use the park and ride and you never know who you are going to meet when you are out and about.  Lots of Formby Squirrels,  Formby Rotarians & an Inner Wheel Member!

Having watched the build up of the Rotary Shelterbox Garden on facebook, I had followed its development but nothing prepared me for the pride I felt when I saw the garden depicting Alice in Wonderland surrounding the Shelter Box. This garden had been the inspiration of AG David Hartley and along with President Ged Whittle Southport Meols Rotary they had begged, stealed (well not quite) and borrowed to create this garden.   Its position – right at the main entrance of the showground and the story that it told was well admired by the general public and photographed – the teapot made out of tyres was world famous!

DG inspecting ‘the facilities’ with AG David & Yvonne Hartley

Tony and I were glad to be able to spend time promoting Rotary on the stand and Shelterbox. One young boy told the President of Sunrise Rotary that he was a scout and knew all about Shelterbox.

The excellent Rotary Shelterbox Garden, constructed by Rtns David Hartley & Pres.Ged Whittle

The stand was being manned each day by the four Clubs in Southport – Southport, Southport Links, Southport Meols and Southport Sunrise.     Certainly on Thursday it was blazing hot and I was very pleased to be hosted by President Michael and Di Harrison who welcomed us and showed us around the Show.

We enjoyed delicious ice cream but had to eat it rather quickly as it was melting so quickly in the heat.

Well done Southport Clubs – lets hope that Rotary in Southport and beyond was enhanced and there will be a membership awareness and dividend.     I was truly amazed to see the public very generously donating to Shelterbox.

The tradition of promoting Shetlerbox has been upheld for many years by PDG Gerry Hesislip.  Although Gerry has been unwell and is recovering from an operation, I believe he was visiting the garden later in the week and I am sure he would be very proud of what the Rotarians have created.

I was so excited to be visiting Tywyn to see the Rotary 34th year of Race the Train.   This signature project is mindblowing.

We arrived before the roads were all shut off and found Rtn. Elfed who directed us to our Marshalling Location.

They’re going well along the High Street

The start of the race is so exciting and for the 2 O’clock  race they had 1050 runners from all over the Country and indeed world-wide!     On your marks…….

Whilst the race was on, we were able to meet up with President Nancy and her husband Geroge who were serving behind the bar.   Good to chat with lots of the club members who were undertaking their different roles.

Smiling faces with President Nancy and husband George working behind the bar

At around 1 hr 25 minutes the runners started to arrive back in Tywyn.   We never actually saw the train but you can ride on it whilst the race is on.   Perhaps next time…..       The winners were arriving back pretty muddy and naturally exhausted.         It was good to be able to roll our sleeves up and give a hand behind the bar and this enabled us to speak to some of the runners.

This Rotary project is said to bring in £1 million of tourism into the Town and surrounding areas.

President Nancy was very proud to present two cheques to me as DG.
Both were for £1000: one for Our Rotary Foundation and the other for End Polio Now; so £2000 donated to our Rotary Foundation on a day of huge Community service by Tywyn Rotarians.  Well done you guys!  Your cheques have been forwarded onto Alcester.

We had a few crazy photographs taken (always mindful of RI Public Image Co-ordinator Mike Thorn saying he does not want to see loads of photos of line ups  with cheque presentations on facebook – so Nancy and myself pretended we were running after one of the runners.

Thank you Tywyn Rotary for your generous donation to our Foundation.

Just before we left for the long journey home, we spent a few minutes on the front at Tywyn to watch the waves bouncing in,  then started our long journey home but admiring the magnificent scenery of this stunning part of Mid Wales.

We stopped for a drink (well truthfully for a comfort break) at the George III Hotel – located at Penmaenpool on the River Mawddach.

Outside the George III Hotel, Penmaenpool

I felt very proud when a young lady same over: she had seen the Rotary polo shirts and wanted to thank ROTARY for putting on such a marvelous event. Of course, she got a Rotary leaflet!

 

 

Rtn. Gareth with our Honorary Rotary ‘Fairy Godmother’

Up early on Sunday morning, bright eyed and bushy tailed to attend City of St. Asaph Rotary’s 5th Country Fayre at Llannerch Park, St. Asaph.   We knew that if we arrived before the event opened we would be able to purchase a delicious bacon butty.

President Tom Yule at the Membership Stand

PP David Knight and his wife Eileen were staffing the hot food marquee.       President Tom and the hardworking members of the club were all busy undertaking their individual roles.   The event runs like a well oiled clock.

St Asaph Rotary newest member, Rtn. Tracy and her husband-both very involved with the Country fair

This is the fourth time I have visited the Country Fayre in support of St. Asaph Club.       I got promotion last year from taking the money for the burgers to Membership recruitment.   Indeed that was when  I met Tracey at this event and encouraged her to attend one of the club meetings.   Some months later she became the first lady member of St. Asaph Rotary and it was just marvelous to see her again, now married, and helping with membership recruitment.     Her partner had been helping the Rotarians set up and his involvement had been much appreciated – a scaffolder comes in very useful!!

IPP Roy and his wife June

This year we took more names from the public, interested in finding out more about Rotary/prospective members and we hope the Club will follow through on these contacts. Well done to IPP Roy Hamilton who looked after the stall holders and the membership tent – along with his wife June.

The club members work so very hard to make this community event such a success.   

Great to see a past St. Asaph Rotarian Alan Duke helping out and  taking photographs of the event – he was a star at getting publicity for the club.

DG Beryl taking army truck driving lessons

  I think they had a record turn out 2017 and the sun was shining most of the day.     It is truly a great day out for all the family with animals (fun dogs comp. working horses, birds of prey etc etc, ;   skills   (archery, hedge laying, crafts etc), Sports (tug of war, paint ball, assault course);   vehicles/machines (model airplanes, classic cars, tractors etc;   and entertainment (Batala band, Radio Galn Clwyd, Punch and Judy etc)

‘Hoseing down’ our brave firefighters

The event raises a healthy sum – which, naturally, goes back into the local community but also allows other local charities to promote themselves and raise funds.     A win win situation.

Once the public leave, the members then start to pull the marquees down, stack chairs and collect litter before a little get together to unwind.   Naturally, plenty of work to do on Monday as well – many hours put in, not just before the event but packing away.

I do hope that the Club will record the number of hours and success on Rotary Club Central.  Well done – yet again – members of St. Asaph Rotary.

Birds-eye view of the Country Fayre

Monday, 21st was a gathering of the Governor Continuity Group.  We meet once a month to discuss District  strategy.  On this occasion, we also met up with our Rotary Assistant Membership Co-ordinator Tony Cotton to discuss membership matters for D1180 – where we are, where we want to be and how we will get there.    We also, had a public image strategy presentation with RI Assistant Public Image  Coordinator Molly.   We are very fortunate to have their expertise and knowledge.

 

RYLA students successfully complete team-work exercise

Thursday, up bright eyed and bushy tailed again and off to Arthog to spend the day with the RYLA students.    This is a District project but led by Oswestry Borderland Rotarians.

Blue Team working together on the Canoe Slalom project

37 students were in attendance this year – the team leader is Rotarian Paul Crosby who welcomed us to the Outdoor Activity Centre and took us around the different parts of the day to see examples of teams red, green, blue and purple undertaking canoeing, raft building, abseiling, outdoor  problem solving.

Facilitator Ian sharing the days instructions with DG Beryl

We climbed right up to the quarry and saw where the leap of faith used to take place  (glad I did not have to do it!)

The ‘Leap of Faith’ (Left – out of bounds this year!)

All the facilitators give of their time freely and Rotary Clubs in our District sponsor students.     It is so important that the club selection processes ensure the right students are sent to RYLA – it is an awesome week and it brings out determination, trust,  and, of course,  leadership skills.     After supper they go through what they have gained in the day’s activities.      There was a presentation on volunteering.  Each evening they are given a presentation on Rotary.   On this being the last evening, I had the pleasure, as DG,  to address them all and praising them for their achievements.

Rtns Julien, Pres.Sheri, Dave, Pres.Norman, Pres. Ian, Elizabeth & John & Tony – visitors at RYLA with facilitator Ian

These students are the future of Rotary.     Wherever they go, whatever town, city or Country they decide to study and work in, they could well become future Rotarians.   I asked if they would take a slice of Rotary with them, wherever they went.     I told them a short story to demonstrate they should grasp at every opportunity – who knows where it might lead:   what they can achieve with teamwork;   some things are not important to us, but very important to others; and the value of £1 coin.  The RYLA course gives them confidence .

The RYLA ‘Class of 17’ discuss the day’s events

For me, these alumni need to be cultivated – in perhaps a year they could actually become Rotarians and join one of the newly formed clubs, or start a Rotaract Club at their University.         I also, urged them to consider the formation of an e-club to keep in touch – an Academy of the Class 2017 RYLA students.

The Toll Bridge at Penmaenpool Near Arthog

We did not arrive home until 12.30 a.m. – it was an action packed day but perhaps I could say “Rotary at its Best”.

As it is a Bank Holiday weekend, and I have no Rotary appointments, I am putting my feet up to recharge the batteries for the next Rotary adventure.

Perhaps a good long soak in the bath…….

DG preparing for next week’s round of D1180 events