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The Stroke Association Probably, we all know something about the causes and effects of strokes, and RCoY has been encouraging people to check their blood pressures for many years in annual "Check" days. But on May 9th, our speaker, Katy Barton from the Stroke Association, got all members' attention when she related some of the statistics about this disease, and its treatment. With one stroke happening every 3.5 minutes in the UK, there are 152,000 victims each year, with 1 in 3 strokes being fatal. It is not an "elderly person" disease either, with only 1/3 of incidents being in people over 65. Strokes are also the largest cause of complex disability in the world. Katy then outlined some of the measures we can take to avoid strokes - not smoking, taking regular exercise and good diet, in particular the avoidance of too much salt. Most telling was her encouragement to take notice of "mini-strokes", which many people simply ignore as a "funny turn" but which, in one in 12 instances, actually lead to a full stroke shortly afterwards. Katy emphasised that any symtoms of stroke, such as those described in their "FAST" test, should be taken seriously and followed up with a doctor visit to a doctor. For severe strokes, a 999 call is always advised. More details about symptoms, the "FAST" test, and the work of the Association, are on their website - click here
Single to Hong Kong On May 16th, the club speaker was Rtn Brian Joscelyne (your very own Webmaster!) who presented a series of slides, at express speed, of his recent trip by train from the UK to Hong Kong, including the famous Trans Siberian Railway. The 8,000 miles trip took 16 days, with several hotel stops en route including a chilly (-32C) Omsk, in central Siberia. Most members seemed intrigued but it did probably confirm the prevailing view that their Webmaster is crackers! Brian kept an online "blog" each day during the trip, which is still available to read here - http://singletohongkong.wordpress.com Note, the blog is written in reverse chronological order.
May Club Walk Another sunny day, another Rotary walk! On May 15th a group of 15 met up at the distinctive Monument to Sir Tatton Sykes, near Sledmere, to repeat a walk undertaken two years ago in almost “whiteout” conditions. This time the weather was perfect, and the walk across the glorious Wolds scenery to Cottam and its abandoned Victorian church was an altogether more pleasant experience! Returning after 8.5 miles, with the last mile or so uphill and challenging everyone’s energy levels, the lunch at the Triton Inn Sledmere was a well-earned reward. With amazing efficiency the pre-ordered meals arrived, and magnificent they were too!
Beetle-Mania After the Rotary lunch on May 16th, three Members joined Graham Wilford to see the beautiful Tansy beetles living happily on the Tansy plants in the Museum Gardens. Their iridescent green coloured wings with a copper coloured sheen, made them attractive to Victorian ladies for use as sequins. Originally common throughout the UK, they are now only found on a 30km stretch of the River Ouse corridor centred on York, living almost exclusively on and around the Tansy plant for the whole of their life cycle. No wonder they are a conservation priority species - not just in the UK, but across its worldwide range - because although they have wings, they don’t fly and as patches of the tansy plant disappear the beetles can only survive if they can find another Tansy plant within their maximum walking range of 200m! Another of York’s hidden gems! (more on the Tansy Beetle here)
Optare Buses About 15 members enjoyed a "vocational visit" on June 4th to the 3-year old facility of Optare Buses in Sherburn, wherein are assembled "green" buses from components of which 60% are made in the UK. The group saw several of the new York (Poppleton) Park & Ride electric vehicles which are ready for delivery! Very smart they are too. The factory produces 450-500 buses per year and, as we saw along the production line, many UK cities and companies have orders in; some have been supplied abroad, to Australia, The Netherlands and others. There is great excitement as Transport for London has recently committed to them. Optare certainly has an eye on the future and its Sherburn family of about 500 workers takes great pride in the product and its creative developments such as cameras, computer monitoring systems and other safety features. Optare now belongs to Ashok Leyland, which is 76% owned by the Hindujas and the other shares being with smaller private investors.
Life as an Equerry On June 6th Lt Cdr Richard Tarran RN spoke eloquently and amusingly to the Club about being an Equerry to HRH The Duke of Edinburgh in the late 1990s. A Marine Engineer by training, he now uses his skills and experience to teach leadership and development and to run expeditions. Equerry (note the pronunciation emphasis) is a term derived from old French – the squire, a role which involved caring for the Lord’s horses. The Equerry supports the Duke in his official and private duties and is involved in planning and organising visits and events. Richard showed us the aiglettes which are worn over the right shoulder to signify the Equerry’s role (see photograph) and he explained that their origin is probably historical and connected with horses. Richard illustrated the formal and informal aspects of the role of Equerry. One example was the Balmoral barbeque, when he found himself driven by the Duke to a bothy on the slopes of Lochnagar, where he helped to unload food and make martinis before they were joined by many members of the Royal Family, including the Queen and Princes William and Harry who had lost their Mother just 3 days before. He would later take on the role of deputy leader of an Operation Raleigh expedition in Costa Rica, which was joined by Prince William. A capable, modest Yorkshireman who has achieved highly and continues to achieve great things, Richard’s talk was very well received.
Monitoring Pollution in York Russ Rollings reports... Elizabeth Bates, Principal Environment Protection Officer (Air Quality) of York City Council talked to the club on June 13th about the measures taken by the council to monitor and safeguard us against air pollution. Having been interviewed for the job about 20 years ago by Trevor Phillips, Liz must like her job! In York, some 325 roadside monitors are checked monthly for nitrogen dioxide and particulates. You’ll see little test-tubes filled with white powder on many city lamp-posts on main roads. Not surprisingly, it is buses, lorries and taxis which contribute most traffic pollution, and roads such as George Hudson Street sometimes exceed permitted pollution levels. Initiatives such as electric buses (qv. our recent visit to Optare), getting tour-buses to switch off rather than idle, stop-start car technology and provision of electric-charging points are all helping, but cold, wet winters have an adverse effect, 2010 being particularly bad. Poor driving techniques (hard acceleration and then braking) were also cited. A very engaging talk of great interest to members as our health is directly affected by Liz’s work.
Club Visitors Two visitors joined us at the Club Assembly meeting held on June 20th. Liz Langwade, from York Young Carers, and a previous speaker at one of our meetings, was welcomed to accept a cheque for £500 presented by President Nigel towards the work of Young Carers. We were also joined by District Governor Nominee Hazel Haas, who spoke briefly to the Club to express her appreciation of the wide and progressive range of activities that the Club promoted to help the local community. She went on to explain some of the alternative RIBI proposals and thinking regarding possible boundary changes to Districts across the country; explaining that a final choice of proposals would be made soon and then put to a vote of Clubs across the UK.
June Club Walk David Thompson reports... June 19th. A lovely walk in perfect weather. A seven mile route taking in the picturesque Masham golf course and the Swinton Park estate, followed by the return leg by the river Ure, culminating in some greatly anticipated refreshment at the Black Sheep visitor centre. Of particular interest was Nutwith Cote Farm, an 18th-century manor house with a stable block linked to the history of thoroughbred horse breeding.- more details can be read below
International Clubs Weekend Despite the absence of members of the Rotary Club of Aubusson, who this year were unfortunately unable to attend, the International Inter Club meeting at Stratford upon Avon on May 29th to June 1st proved a tremendous success, with a total of 58 Rotarians and partners attending. It was a very full weekend, much enjoyed by all. Many thanks are due to Robin Rich and the other organisers of this weekend. A FULL REPORT on the weekend can be found here
Beverley Bikers On June 22nd Chairman Graham, President Nigel & Editor Eileen went along to Clifford’s Tower to welcome RC Beverley’s riders who were taking part in the “5 Sundays in June Cycle Ride” to raise money for Real Aid’s Crisis Boxes for flood relief. The riders ranged in age from 8 to 83 years and had that day come from Thirsk via Ripon & Knaresborough. Their support vehicles contained Beverley President Jonathan Le Vine, who presented a banner to us.
See also the RC Beverley Club’s website. The riders reported that they had enjoyed each Sunday, including kind weather. Their most challenging ride had been the first one from to Whitby. The final day will be Sunday 29th June when they will start in York and make their way home to Beverley via Howden and Market Weighton.
Support for Door 84 On a visit this week to Door 84, the York youth centre in Lowther Street which has close links with the Club, President Nigel met some of the youngsters at the Centre and handed over a Community Services committee cheque for £1000 to the Door 84 organisers.
Stockbridge Technology Centre Julian Davies led a super visit to this research establishment at Cawood on June 26th. Originally a Government station for horticultural research & development into field vegetables, it now a not-for-profit company with a £1.4 million turnover and receives only about 10% of public money, the rest being from commercial work. A 200 –acre site with 3 acres of greenhouses, 25 employees study plant (especially fruit) varieties, soil-borne pests, test new composts, fertilisers & pesticides, research toxicity and produce seeds - all to globally-accepted standards. Always seeking fresh work, they welcome schools, especially partner schools which send 600 youngsters on 3 annual visits to learn about crop cycles and where their food comes from.
Viking's Romans Our speaker on June 27th was Graham Harris, Immediate Past President of York Vikings RC, and also owner of York’s Roman Bath Museum. He presented a hilarious discourse on Roman York, focussed particularly on Roman dress, using his live model “Dudlicus” . With a life expectancy of only 45 Roman soldiers and gladiators clearly led life to the full. (Female life expectancy was only 35, due to childbirth mortality rates) Graham and Dudley vividly illustrated battle tactics and formations and weapons. Graham emphasised that York was in fact a Roman city, not just a Viking one as many publicity materials proclaim. Members were particularly interested to hear that of all the Roman remain in the city it’s estimated that only about 2% have so far been excavated.
Kids Out The annual outing for local children to Lightwater Valley took place on June 19th.