York Rotary

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Club Golf - It was a beautiful sunny day for golf on June 2nd, when the Club's annual President's Cup was played at Strensall Golf Club.  Fifteen Club members took part, and the winner was Dennis Adamson.  Keith Hayton was runner-up, with Peter Netherwood taking third place.  The "Nearest the Pin" award was taken by Kevin Grogan, while Ray Smith drove the "Longest Drive of the day".  In the evening the group swelled to 45, including partners, who all enjoyed the fellowship and a fine dinner at Strensall.  David Jesper, last year's President, who donated the cup, presented the trophy and prizes to the winners and we all thank him for his generosity and support to this event.


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Vocational Visit - A group of members visited an old friend of the Club, the Jack Raine Foundation, on  March 22nd.  Previously York Boxing Club, it was formed in 1967 and has since developed into a significant provider of alternative education in York. It became a registered charity in 2004 and moved into the Walmgate Complex in 2012. Youngsters with very severe behaviour problems are referred to them by Danesmead, the York School designated to deal with children with special educational needs. Sam Shaw the manager admitted to having been a problem adolescent himself and several ‘former pupils’ are now volunteer mentors.  300 to 400 youngsters pass through the complex every week.  Annual running costs exceed £300,000 and less than half is funded from the Local Authority education budget.


Vocational Visit to Nestle - On April 5th, 20 members were welcomed at Nestle Insight and Learning Centre, where they were shown round the new state-of-the-art facility which is designed to understand consumers and help retailers of the global company's many products. For it is a multi-category company - even the welcome cup of coffee came from a high-tech. machine! An IMAX theatre, domestic kitchen and lounge, professional (non-domestic) space, two well-stocked mini-markets, meeting rooms and digital customer interaction space are used to educate clients and to entertain focus groups who assist with consumer behaviour and market research. The visit ended with a choice of Nestle Confectionery snack products to satisfy any hunger pangs generated by seeing and hearing about so many food products - and to tide participants over until they got to lunch at the Churchill.


RYLA and Ocean Youth Trust - The three York Clubs held interviews last week for RYLA and Ocean Youth Trust. Some very good candidates were seen and places were offered to all of them on one scheme or the other.  Selected for RYLA - Bryony Cox from All Saints School, York and a member of the York Sea Cadets. Selected for Ocean Youth Trust - Declan Markwick, recently left Joseph Rowntree school and currently on a Football Coaching course at York City.  

New Members' Talks - We have recently been pleased to welcome two new members to the Club, and both have recently gave their New Member talks in successive weeks.  First up on April 5th was Peter Netherwood.  Former Civil Engineer Peter's first job was with the railways in York, both building bridges and then planning freight movement timetables. He then joined Rowntrees and later, as Engineering Director for Nestle UK, he travelled globally, representing and advising on confectionery engineering.


On April 12th Tom Jackson gave us his talk. From his career as an architect, Tom related stories of work carried out around the region; of rescuing a shop front almost at breaking point under the strain of the accountancy practice above it; and of building a bridge that wasn't; all the time giving us an insight into this former Crossgates Rotarian, musician, golfer and family man.

At both meetings we also welcomed Rotarian visitors from afar - Dennis Smith from Sydney Cove, Australia, and Doug Adams from Washington State, USA.

RIBI National Conference 2013 - Russ Rollings reports: Our district, 1040, was host to the annual national conference this year held at the Harrogate International Conference Centre from April 12th to 14th.  Six members of York Rotary Club attended along with over 1000 other Rotarians.  Presentations during plenary sessions covered a wide variety of subjects. Memorable ones include Prostate Cancer, ably delivered by three wives (“The Prostate Girls”) of Mawddach Rotarians whose husbands had suffered, and survived the disease.  Graphic diagrams, but luckily no actual photographs, at ten o’clock in the morning certainly kept one’s attention, but the serious message was that complacency and the stiff upper lip, were not the best approach if symptoms present themselves.    Other subjects included projects in central Africa and Cambodia and a very upbeat ‘End Polio Now’ update showing only three countries still reporting cases.  The business meeting was fascinating, engaging and at times baffling (!) whilst  the evening Variety Show, held in a beautiful concert hall, entertained us with a varied selection of very good acts and a full audience, rounding off an excellent event.

Safety First - Club members have welcomed the installation of new hand-rails for the front steps of Churchill Hotel.  The hand rails greatly improve the safety of access to and from the hotel for all guests, and particularly for our own Club members attending our weekly meetings there. The new installation was designed following requests and input from the Club.  Our thanks go to the management of Churchills for carrying out this improvement.

Charity Walk - On April 18th, very windy but free of all but one April shower, Rotarians, partners and friends took part in the annual Charity Walk, organised by the Foundation / International Committee.  The walk was centred on Hovingham Village Hall. The energetic did a 6-mile round trip, going south towards Terrington, east to Airyholme Farm before going west over the road and towards Scackleton.  The shorter, 2-mile walk remained within the Hovingham Estate, taking a loop to the west of the village and also back along the Ebor Way. 61 people sat down to a lovely buffet lunch in the Village hall, which was provided by Angela Heasman and Diana Naish, ably assisted by Marlise Heaton. The walkers would also like to thank Philip Heaton, Geoff and Edna Brown, Adrian Radford and Robin Rich for their stalwart contributions towards a most successful and enjoyable event, which raised £564 in aid of PhysioNet.

Stroke Awareness & Blood Presure Testing - As in previous years, on April 20th Club members manned our "tent" in Coppergate Square to invite and encourage members of the public to get their blood pressures checked.  This was the 10th year of the Stroke Association event and RCoY has always taken part. It turned out to be a bright, sunny spring day, so the stewards were happy to be outside. Particular thanks go to Mike Wilson and his medical team who took a total of 217 Blood Pressures; out of that number 46 were referred to see a doctor within a month, and 4 were referred to see a doctor within one week.  Although we were not officially collecting on the day, the can placed on the reception table raised an amount of £63 in aid of the Stroke Association.            

St Crux Fundraising - On April 23rd another very successful day at St Crux raised over £900 for the Charity Fund.  Thanks to the efforts of the many club members and partners who helped with the preparation of food, drink, and stalls, all the catering offering were sold together with a high quantity of bric-a-brac and books.

"Youth Speaks" National Finals - 14 teams from England Scotland and Wales competed in the Rotary Youth Speaks finals held at the University of Hull on April 29th. The team from Brentwood School ”Raising Children without cutlery” were the winners of the senior section. The team from the Mount School York spoke eloquently and persuasively about the legislation which now criminalises squatting. Their chairperson, Alice Grierson, was judged the best in the senior group          

Club Speaker - On April 26th we welcomed Helen Loynes, a graduate of the University of York, who gave a detailed and graphic account of the work of the charity "Help for Heroes", our nominated beneficiary charity this year for the Dragon Boat Challenge (aiming to raise sufficient funds to endow a room in the new centre being built at Catterick).  She explained that the charity follows a personalised 'Route to Recovery' programme for each of their members, and works with other charities such as ABF and SSAFA to help returning injured services personnel to be equipped and prepared for civilian life.

St George's Day Dinner - On April 23rd evening, Club members and guests gathered at Pike Hills Golf Club to celebrate St George's Day. As special guest and speaker the Rt Rev David Smith explained, legendary heroes and the not-so-heroic who had become the stuff of legends had probably been spawned by ordinary people and incidents, but had grown with the embellishment of the story-teller's imaginations and desire for maximum effect.  There is no reliable evidence for the existence, let alone the heroic deeds, of St George!  Truth or legend, the story of St George reflects the intrinsic beliefs and standards so admired and practiced by the English - chivalry, courtesy, self sacrifice and integrity.  It was a memorable evening, enjoyed by all present.

Visit of RIBI President - At the Club Meeting of May 3rd, there was plenty of gold chain and bling to be seen!  As part of their visit to our District and to York specifically, National RIBI President John Minhinick and his wife Sheila attended our meeting, together with District Governor Keith Davison, and other guests from District and local Rotary Clubs.  President John spoke about his key priorities for Rotary in the UK.  This included more "joined-up" Rotary with greater exchange of ideas between Clubs and more joint activities;  focus on membership, both new members and especially membership retention;  club "visioning", getting the word out to local communities about what we do; and finally what he described as his "three F's" - fun, friendship and fellowship.

Tri-Club Meeting in Limoges - A party of eight members and partners travelled to Limoges from May 9th-12th. and enjoyed the company of members of Aubusson and Erlangen clubs, together with Rotarians from other local French clubs.  

May Club Walk  - Dave Thompson reports:  On May 16th we parked at Kirkham Abbey and 12 adults and 2 dogs had a lovely walk on the banks of the river Derwent to Howsham Mill in the sunshine. We were fortunate that a Trustee had just arrived, so we had a very informative mini tour of the mill, which is very close to being finished. Very impressive and it generates about £35,000 of electricity a year !

Club Speaker  - On May 17th our speaker was Major John Mayo on "Out of Uniform", a most interesting, humorous and illuminating talk. John is now a reservist but served from 1988-2006 with the Duke of Wellington's Regiment. He talked about army life as a "green bubble" which provides all needs for soldiers, but when they leave the forces there is an inevitable culture shock. The individual is responsible for his or her own resettlement but there is wide-ranging assistance via a programme called the "Career Transition Partnership". This is backed up by about 2,000 service charities. The individual needs to know what career they would like and this can be daunting for some! They can get a re-training grant of £2,000 which is taken up by some large employers who find good employees in former service personnel. Transition assistance comes in the form of help with employment, housing, education, health & welfare; these are the 5 pillars of transition.

Club Speaker  - On May 10th the Club heard from Shirley Williams (RC Driffield and former President of that Club) about the brand new Children's Air Ambulance Service (TCAA). This is not the existing, regional-based Air Ambulance Service, but a specialist nationwide provision which has taken 2 years to set up. The first patient transport is imminent. [Ed. it was the following day, May 11th!  Read about it here ]  It will transport very sick youngsters from one hospital to another, via helicopter, and with specialist staff and equipment as well as one parent. This will be a very expensive service to run (£1.7 million per year), but will save lives.

Changes at York Rotaract - On May 17th the York Rotaract Club held their presidential handover meeting at the UoY campus. Incoming 2013-14 President Alisei Apollonio takes over as the Club's fourth President, from Martins Zeps who has so ably led the Club this year.  Constantin Voll becomes Vice President (President Elect for 2014-15).  Frank Paterson represented our Club at the meeting.


Paul Harris Fellowships - During the Club's meeting on May 24th President Darrell presented two PHF awards to recognise exceptional service to Rotary and to the Club.  Gillian Porter was recognised for her steadfast support, for over 10 years, of the Club's St Crux fundraising efforts which have, during this period, resulted in over £20,000 contributions for the Club's charities.  Michael Wilson was apparently seen as a "young member" when he joined the club in 1978, and has since been a leading contributor in our golfing activities, the development and management of the Club's first website - a real innovation then - in 2002, and more recently his stalwart support of the Blood Pressure Testing days for the public.

Frank at the Palace - On May 21st Frank Paterson, accompanied by his family, was awarded his MBE by Her Majesty the Queen.  The award was for Frank's services to museums in York - but in addition of course we know the much wider contributions Frank continues to make to the community through the Club and elsewhere!  Congratulations, Frank.

Club Speaker - Our speaker on May 31st was Mandi Casteel, from Cleveland, Tennessee, who is coming to the end of her Ambassadorial Scholarship at the University of York.  A biochemist by training, she is studying for an M.Sc in International Public Health.  Clearly impressed by York and the UK (including our NHS!) Mandi explained many of the differences between her home town and York, as she presented photographs of her hometown, Rotary's many contributions in Cleveland, her interests, and her family including her husband Jarrod.  On her return to the US at the end of June, she is hoping to work in epidemiology research and aspires eventually to work for the US Centre for Disease Control in Atlanta.  We wish her well.

(Click photos to enlarge)

Club Speaker - Question:  After retirement, how will you fill your time?   Answer:  Go out to Mozambique to reform their customs and revenue service!!   That, as least, is how Rotarian Arthur Sanderson answered this dilemma.  Arthur, a member of York Ainsty Club, was our guest on June 7th, and kept members spellbound with his tale.  After retiring from the diplomatic service he was recruited by Crown Agents/HMRC who had been awarded the contract to reform Mozambique’s chaotic customs service.  Members heard his account of how they dealt, through training and improved procedures, with corruption, chaotic controls and blatent smuggling;  and how in the end the Mozambique government customs revenues increased from $10m to $25m.  It was an amazing story.

Also present at this meeting were two visitors from York Rotaract Club - Aisei Apollonio, incoming President, and Giovanni Taraboccia, this year's Treasurer.  Brian Joscelyne expressed the Club's thanks to them for the excellent year just past, and wished Alisei every success for next year.                                                                                                

Club Speaker - On June 14th, Catriona Tait from Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research, whose mother was diagnosed with leukaemia, gave a very committed and information packed talk on the work of her organisation, for which she is the North area fund-raising manager. The organisation's aims are to care for those with the disease, to cure them where possible and to prevent others getting the disease in the future. Leukaemia is the most common form of cancer in children, but gratifyingly 9 out of 10 children diagnosed survive to live normal healthy lives following treatment. The 15-35 age range is less successfully treated at present, but research continues to improve success rates. York has a designated centre of excellence for research, and a recently established "Network"  tracks the treatment and progress of 3.7 million people with the disease. Hopes for further progress are high, but as ever more funding is needed to meet the organisation's mission  to "Beat Blood Cancer".

Outing to Sinnington - The annual  "Summer Outing" to Sinnington took place on June 25th, another very succesful day which was much appreciated by our guests who attended.  A wonderful tea was laid on by Sinnington WI. Many thanks to Rtn Patrick Curran, organiser of the Summer Outing, and to the other Rotarians for driving our guests to Sinnington.

Visit to York Council "West Offices" - A large group of around 25 members visited the new Council offices on June 28th.  In a stunning £33m redevelopment of the former 1841 railway station, the Grade II listed exterior, and many interior features, have been retained whilst and ultra-modern office facility, on 4 floors, now fills the original platform and rail track areas.  1400 employees work here using a "hot desk" system where 1100 desks are shared, as required, all open plan (including the chief executive!).  The original attached 1853 hotel now houses conference rooms.  The original canopy was relocated to just outside the new "footprint" and now covers a bicycle storage area, and is viewable from the City walls.  The sympathetic and well-planned development impressed all the visitors very much - though a few suggested they might not personally wish to work in such an environment!!

Club Speaker and New Member - On June 28th, our speaker was Liam Evans, who was the producer of the recent excellent York Mystery Plays and is now in rehearsal stage for a major and highly innovative  piece of "street theatre" called Blood and Chocolate, which will be presented in October.  The audience will follow the cast and the action around various locations in York, using headsets to get clear dialogue and many sound effects as they go.  The theme is a depiction of World War I seen through the Rowntree family's involvement (despite being quaker pacifists) in supplying all troops who were from York with a chocolate box.  Liam's enthusiatic description of this event got everyone's attention and there was great anticipation of being able to get tickets (and hopefully a Club group visit) soon.

Also at this meeting, we warmly welcomed a new Club member, Lukasz Druzic, who runs his own interior design and restoration company in York.

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'Blood + Chocolate'

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in reverse chronological order

July 2012  -  June 2013