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Notable Day in Our Club's History The Business meeting (and SGM) of the Club on November 21st was a special one in the Club's history. During the meeting we welcomed four new members into Rotary membership - three of them women. In addition, the Club chose its first woman President, as Eileen Davies was elected to lead the club in our 2016-17 year. The Club also elected Brian Joscelyne (Webmaster) to be Vice President in 2015-16.
The new members welcomed included Diana Naish, (wife of Past President Nigel, and thus creating the first husband and wife Rotarian team in the club's history) who is already well-known to members for her assistance in fundraising and fellowship events, and is a retired professional caterer and hotelier. Also 'inducted' were Mary Lumley, a retired head teacher and previously research scientist; Ian Tarbert, an accountant by training who was most recently Vice President responsible for sales and business development for BT until his recent retirement; and Sheila Wetherburn, who was most recently a training professional with General Accident Insurance. Members made all four very welcome and we look forward to their contribution to the club going forward.
Golf Presentations Over the summer, many Members have enjoyed their golf and the fellowship evenings which followed. Somewhat later than planned, Coordinator David Sweeney organised the presentations on November 21st of the two significant Club awards : The Shouksmith Trophy, which was first awarded in 1933. This was presented to David Impey. The Runner-up was David Sweeney who is pictured (right) at the second presentation. The Thompson Plate was awarded to Tom Jackson, winner of a knockout competition held throughout the summer. The Runner-up was Barry Campbell (who was not present for a photograph). Thanks were extended to David for his sterling work in coordinating the various golf events.
Cheque presentation to "York Mind" On November 19th President John accompanied by Graham Todd and Darrell Hind presented a cheque from the Club for £500 to Alyson Scott, Chief Executive Officer of York Mind. Alyson said that this donation was very welcome and would go to funding a young persons group and aiding their recovery from mental ill health; and noted that 1 in 4 people will be affected by Mental IIlness.
Club November Walk Eileen reports... The November walk on November 20th was somewhat different, in that in included a visit to the Ure Salmon Trust Hatchery, the subject of a recent talk given by David Bamford to the Club. A typical misty, even foggy November morning saw 13 walkers assemble at Ellington Firth near Jervaulx. The hatchery is not easy to find and there were a few detours caused by uncertainty about its’ exact location. However, we were not daunted and made it, if a little later than anticipated. David and a colleague explained their work; at this time of year, salmon have returned to spawn and several were being held in a tank prior to treatment for fungal infections and egg removal to replenish stocks. One large, healthy female had been caught that morning and her transfer to the tank was keenly observed. A slightly late lunch at The Blue Lion at East Witton was very well received.
President's Lunch There was a “full house” for the President’s Lunch held on November 28th at York Racecourse, as 120 members and their guests gathered for a splendid meal, wine and good fellowship! The after-lunch speaker was Fiona Williams, Chief Executive of “Explore York”, the new umbrella organisation for York Libraries and Archives, which was set up last May. Fiona explained that the exciting job of reburbishment, and the relocation of the York Archives into the central library building, would be completed by early January. The organisation was owned by its staff, and local community members, and the resulting enthusiasm was clear. They were receiving funds from Friends groups and donations – people seem to love their libraries! The Archives are a key historical record for York - and the UK - and were last catalogued in the early 20th century. Now they are being made available on-line, and will be constantly updated. Fiona explained that this “Gateway to History” project had been mostly funded by Heritage Lottery Grant, with help from the City Council. It will reach out to local archive groups (which will include our "Inner Wheel" Club's archive, as requested by their President Pat Anderson during questions) and communities to draw them more into the city's project.
Rotaract Club Celebrate The York Rotaract Club, which is sponsored by the three Rotary Clubs in York, have been very active in recent months, with growing membership, fundraising activities and events. On November 24th they held an informal Christmas Dinner where Rotaract President Constantin Voll and the group discussed their plans for 2015.
Archaeology Live! Our speaker on December 5th was Arran Johnson, from York Archaeological Trust, who explained the background and current work of “Archaeology Live” (click here for more details), a training programme and dig which is currently centred on the All Saints’ Church site in North Street (near the Park Inn Hotel). This is one of a number of complex urban archaeological digs which offer trainees the chance to work with professional archaeologists and to learn and practice the various techniques of archaeological excavation. All Saints’ offers a rare chance to investigate a central site South of the Ouse. The site is rich in finds that have been discovered from pre-Roman times, Roman, Vikings and later eras. Members were fascinated by the presentation, especially, as host David Jesper put it, since it concerned “things that are even older than we are”!!
Physionet to Bhutan On November 29th several Club members joined the Physionet team packing a container that then headed out to Bhutan with the latest collection of wheelchairs and other surplus NHS equipment.
Rotary Young Chef - Fulford School A festive atmosphere prevailed as fifteen young people from Years 7 to 9 took part in the Fulford School Heat of the Rotary Young Chef competition on December 5th. They prepared ingredients bought for under £10, then served up a healthy, two-course meal for two. The results were judged by Stephanie Moon, the Chef Consultant for “All Things Food”. She and RCoY representative Eileen Davis were very impressed with the menu choices, demonstrable skills, flavours and presentation. In the younger group, Emily Sneasby and Minnie Riley were proclaimed the winners. The senior group was won by Theo Lockett and Alex Bewsher, both of whom will go on to represent Fulford at the York Area Finals on January 19th at York College.
Age UK On December 12th we welcomed Sally Hutchinson as our speaker. Sally is Chief Executive Officer of Age UK , and organisation derived from a merger of Age Concern and Help the Aged with a £1m turnover and over 100 staff, of whom 6 are full-time. Sally explained the main service provisions of Age UK, which include the largest UK “Befriending” service, with over 6000 visits per year to lonely people who have problems getting out and about; check visiting, an internet shopping service, a Tradespeople referral booklet, interim carers service, and the very popular “Keep your Pet” service to support pets when their owners need to go to hospital. The Age UK services are provided with a “light touch” to be non-intrusive but extremely flexible to meet individual needs, and Sally talked about a number of very unusual, not to say strange, requests they sometimes receive. One call for help about “Cybersex” turned out to be a need to interpret “Side Effects” of a prescription!
John Wardale Members were very saddened to hear of the death this week of John Wardale, a Rotarian for over 15 years, initially with Church Stretton Club, then as a very popular member of our Club since 2008. John had been in poor health for some time, but had continued, in his inimitable way, to continue with his activities and commitments as usual. He had been an active sportsman and adventurer all his life, and his extraordinary energy, particularly evidenced in his contributions to Dragon Boats day and his indefatigable and happy participation in Clubs walks - his last being just three months ago - will be fondly remembered by all of us. A full obituary will be published in "Rotagraph"
Muddy Boots! The conditions underfoot were the challenge on December 18th as twelve members and partners (plus visiting Rotarian guest David Greenalls from Melbourne, Australia) slipped and skidded along the muddy path by the River Ure after setting off from Roecliffe, near Boroughbridge. We progressed along the beautiful riverside through fine but persistent rain, and finally onto more terra firma, passing the splendid Newby Hall and its grounds, before meeting up with Celia Impey who came like a Magi bearing wonderful gifts of Sloe Gin and mince pies! After returning to Roecliffe the atmospheric Crown Inn at Roecliffe provided a wonderful lunch – from a huge menu choice – and the day was deemed a great success by all concerned. Thanks to David Impey for the excellent walk, and to Celia for the even more excellent refreshments!
Carol Service There was a record attendance of close to 130 at the All Saints’ Church in Pavement on December 18th, as Rotarians, Inner Wheelers and guests from all three York Clubs joined in the annual Carol Service, led by David Porter. The nine lessons were read by representatives of all three clubs, including the Senior Member of our own club, Bill Stubbs, and AG Darrell Hind. The story of the Nativity from Genesis through the prophets and finally to Bethlehem was told chronologically through the lessons and accompanied by eight associated Carols. The choir of All Saints’ provided stirring leadership for the carols, and two lovely a cappella Anthems as well. Finally, a chance to sample delicious mulled wine and mince pies, rounded off by coffee, provided the opportunity for fellowship and reminiscing amongst the membership of the three Clubs, and a fitting start to the Christmas season.
Christmas Meeting It was a "full house" for the Club's Christmas Entertainment meeting on December 19th, our final meeting of 2014. We were ably led by Tom Jackson and Tim Hinton with their additional instrumentalists Ken Iles on keyboard and Alan Morrison on cornet. Members and guests were thoroughly entertained, with the music being interspersed with hilarious readings and stories from IPP Nigel, reciting the “Dindercella” story (where she “slopped her dripper”); then from Jeremy Valentine with the “Twelve Days of Turkey”, an unusual foray for Jeremy in to the world of food (!). Later Andrew Dunkinson told us the story of Ebenezer and the figurine, and David Porter illustrating a masterly West Country brogue with his tale of the Carol Singers. Whether it was tapping spoons on glasses to encourage Jingle bells, or perhaps hearing Jeremy’s jokes (Q: “What do mice do in the daytime”? A: Mousework) there was something in the air that lifted everyone’s spirits so that we all parted with happy hearts, and hearty wishes for a good Christmas.
Thanks to Churchill During the Christmas festivities lunch (reported above) President Nigel presented Rachel, from the Churchill Hotel, with their staff gratuity and the grateful thanks of the Club for the excellent service the hotel has provided throughout the year. Rachel expressed her thanks and her regret that this was the last year we will be with the Churchill. The reponse from one of the members was very simple - "Then why don't you get a job at the Novotel?!!!" Hotel management please note: he was only joking!
Yorchestra The Club made a cheque presentation to Yorchestra on December 29th at York University Music Centre. President John, accompanied by Graham Todd and Fred Anderson, presented the cheque for £1150 . President John said "We are delighted to support young people and the arts in this city". Yorchestra is a registered charity run by volunteers which gives young people the opportunity to play instruments in a symphony orchestra. The money will be held in a bursary to provide financial support and instruments to young people.
This was their finest hour!! The Club bade a fond farewell to the staff at the Churchill Hotel on January 2nd, after a 12-year period of holding our weekly meetings there. To mark the occasion, the Churchill put on a special 3-course lunch, including Duck, and manager John gave quite an emotional few words. Three days later the work will start on converting the hotel to add further bedrooms and facilities as the hotel moves on to its new future. And we move on, to the Novotel! Thank you, Churchill for 12 great years.
Bravely tackling a new environment! There was record turnout of 77 at the Club's first meeting in our new "home" at the Novotel on January 9th. It was universally agreed that our new environment, the service and particularly the food, were excellent! Then, describing their own new environment challenges were our two speaker, Poppy Rodriguez and Niamh Devlin, from The Mount School, who had recently returned from their D1040 RYLA week at Hebdon Hey. In a very polished and interesting presentation, they explained how their RYLA experience taught them leadership skills, increased confidence, communication skills and the ability to take on responsibility. It also demonstrated they really could go for a whole week without Facebook!! They had two mentors on the programme, one being our own Associate member Rebecca Mendoza, the other Rtn Linda Parker from Halifax RC, who also spoke to members about her experience. It was clearly a brilliant and impactful week - and a great example of Rotary making a real difference in the lives of young people.
Rotaract bake for charity On January 15th York Rotaractors organised a Cake and Bake sale (mostly made by their members) at the University, raising over £150 for their chosen charity this year, Young Minds. This is their first fundraiser of 2015, and the Club is planning several additional events, including their Charter Dinner in February.
It's official for Eileen! During the Club's business meeting on January 16th President John presented the Vice-President badge of office to Eileen Davis. Eileen will take over as Club President in our 2016-17 year - the first time a woman has held this office in the Club..
Sunshine and beef for Rotary Walkers! The 15 members and partners who took part in the January walk on January 15th were blessed with sunshine, in between two days of storms! Setting off from The Chequers at Bilton-in-Ainsty, the party enjoyed cool but pleasant weather across fields and tracks past Nova Scotia Wood, Healaugh and Wighill, and past some very inquisitive sheep! Then, as the wind really picked up, a record was probably attained for the Rotary one-mile sprint, as, wind-assisted, we sped back to the Chequers for lunch, including what was described by one of the group as the "Best Beef Pie in Yorkshire, bah none!".
East Yorks Young Chefs excel again On January 19th nine budding Young Chefs from Scarborough and York battled it out in the heat of the York College kitchens for the East Yorks finalist of Young Chefs, who will go forward to the next heat at Betty's Cookery School in Harrogate. Scarborough Cavaliers Rotary Club brought three contestants who were up against 'locals' from Joseph Rowntree, Fulford and Archbishop Holgates Schools. The Judges had a difficult time choosing a winner from nine very high quality two-course meals served up by the contestants prepared with a budget of £10 each. After some considerable time deliberating, the winner was announced - Rebecca Palmer from Scarborough.
Visit from DG Rod District Governor Rod Walmsley joined us on January 23rd and addressed the members on his views on Rotary's role and development world-wide, and within the UK. He stressed the focus on Youth and the fight against Polio, and he commented on the global reach of Rotary as evidenced in the San Diego conference he had recently attended. With 79 clubs in our District 1040, he places a strong emphasis on communications, and his final message was that we should enjoy Rotary "with a smile" and keep up the good work the Club is evidently doing.