Rotary Club of York

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Club News Archive  Page 5


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PHF Awards and handovers Before handing over his badge of office on July 4th, President Nigel said he had pleasure in presenting two Paul Harris Fellowships to Club members for their service to the Club.  Robin Rich was recognised for his contributions in various roles including as editor of Rotagraph for many years, and more recently as chair of International Committee and particularly of his organisation of the inter-club meetings including the hugely successful May 2014 meeting with Elangen RC in Stratford.   Brian Joscelyne was recognised for his development and management of the Club's award-winning website, for organising the York 90 international fundraiser in 2011 and for his role with re-energising and developing the York Rotaract Club.

President Nigel also thanked the outgoing officers Ian Helby (Secretary) and Tim Hinton (Treasurer) for their unstinting work over many years, and welcomed incoming Secretary Mike Hay and Treasurer Nigel Everard.

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President John sets the theme At the Club Meeting on July 4th, at a suitably bedecked Churchill Hotel (for the Tour de France event on Sunday) incoming President John Lacy thanked IPP Nigel for the excellent leadership he had provided for the Club during the past year, and outlined some of his hopes and ambitions for the year ahead.  Incoming President-Elect Mike Fieldsend was also presented with his badge of office.  

During his remarks, President John mentioned he had been working on a "theme" for the Club's new year.  By acclamation, members seemed to agree that "The Rotary Club of York has upped its standards - now up yours"  would be a memorable theme (or perhaps John's second shoice "Rotary Club of York serves you right")  However, as an upright ex-Police Superintendant, it appears John feels that "An Active Club is an Attractive Club" would be more "PC"  !!

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Carl strips off for charity Although not apparent to his fellow Club members at lunchtime meetings,  Carl Crossfield is in fact less hairy than before!!  Carl recently underwent a full "Leg and Chest Wax", urged on by his wife Charlie ("to see me in pain" he says) to raise funds for Pancreatic Cancer UK.  You can read more about it here . These are a few photos we have obtained...  ouch, that DOES looks painful!!

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St Sampson's Celebrate York's St Sampson's Centre is 40 later this year, and President John was there last week for the celebration and thanksgiving service.  During this service, the Centre acknowledged the work of the Civic Trust and with help of £67,000 from the Haywood Foundation and a further £7000 from the cities 3 Rotary Clubs to pay for furnishings - the St Sampson Centre as we know it was born.  We do make a difference with over 600 over 60's now using the centre each day. Below is a photo of how it had fallen into disrepair in the early 70's, before the refurbishment began. The centre was formally opened by Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother in November 1974 – and proved an instant hit with the city’s retired people.  An interesting Press feature article on the Centre's 40 years can be seen here


Dragon Boat Challenge success On July 13th, an early start and some morning rain did not dampen the spirits of members, or of the 34 crews, with their supporters and spectators, as the 12th DBC got under way.  As the sun shone and the competition also heated up,  the atmosphere on both banks of the Ouse was electric,  and the Grand Final proved to be one of the most exciting and closely-fought in many years.  The victors in the Final were The Growlers, from Ged Bell and Co, Family Butchers.  Many teams exceeded their fund-raising targets,  and programme sales - which directly benefit the Club's charity account - were also at a high level.  In the end, the total raised for the various charities, including the Jack Raine Foundation, will certainly exceed £50,000.  It was an excellent, well-run day (thanks to Mike Fieldsend and his DB committee for all their hard work) which, despite the distraction of the imminent Tour de France event, was a huge success for York, the teams, and the Club.  More photos and results are on our Dragon Boat page

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"Un panache chanceux"  is how Tony Loffill described his "New Member Talk" on July 18th.  As a former lecturer, now happily retired, he says he never even bothered to listen to himself, which was always embarrassing when asked to repeat anything he had just said! Without notes, Tony spoke about his childhood in Staffordshire, railways (which suited many in the audience), education (which pleased others), life in Strasbourg and encouraging people to learn strange tongues.  He easily filled his slot with anecdotes and reflections; indeed, he had to be reminded that his time was up! Tony himself feels that the time limit was to everyone’s relief, but his audience regretted not hearing more about his interesting career.

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July Club Walk Mike Hay reports... July 17th.  An ideal outing : the weather was fine, the scenery just north of Thirsk was varied and interesting. The group was somewhat diminished in numbers due to other commitments and holidays. John Wardale took the shorter route, but caused some concern when his map was found along the path…..he had dropped it as he negotiated a rather overgrown section! Everyone enjoyed the classic British food provided by the Carpenter’s Arms in Felixkirk. Sincere thanks to IPP Nigel who led the walk.  

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Red Kites  Nigel Puckrin, our speaker on August 1st, enlighted members regarding the history, truths and myths about the Red Kite (or Milvus milvus), one of the country’s rarest birds of prey.  Historically they were nature’s scavengers and cleaners before the invention of dustbins and rubbish removal!  Weighing around 1Kg, with a huge 5ft wingspan,  the Red Kite’s biggest prey are animals half the size of a rabbit,  so news reports of them swooping down and carrying off Fido the family pet are almost certainly very wide of the mark!  Visitors to the Wharfe Valley around the Harewood Estate are most likely to see Red Kites.  There are about 100 breeding pairs in Yorkshire,  who create huge nests about a metre wide using various materials including, apparently, soft socks and underpants whose origins can only be speculated upon.  Members can read more about these amazing birds at

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District Shop    At the August 22nd business meeting,  a cheque for £1500 for the Club's charity account was presented by David Impey to club president John.  This was the net proceeds from the District Shop that has been managed over the past year by David and John - a notably succesful year which was the result of a lot of effort and dedication.  Many thanks to both!


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International Arms Dealer Visit     Members were treated to a talk with a difference on August 29th when Geoff Sherwin (son of our own Geoff) introduced himself as an “International Arms Dealer at the age of 63”!  His excellent presentation about antique UK military swords, their history and development was of great interest, as was Geoff’s explanation of how he got into and developed his specialist business (in his retirement) which now has customers from across the world, including several museums. More information is on his website Geoff related several interesting anecdotes and facts about these weapons, the difference between “thrust” and “slashing” styles – not for the faint-hearted digestions, this – the latter being very often curved blade designs and only usable from horseback.     It transpired during Geoff’s talk that four Club members owned their own swords.  It is likely that all will now be given positions of high rank and due respect in the club by those of us who remain unarmed!

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Salmon for lunch!   At our meeting on September 5th we were served an excellent smoked salmon starter.  After the main course our speaker, David Bamford, served up a fascinating salmon discourse,  relating the history and revival of the presence of Atlantic Salmon in the River Ure/Ouse.  David, the River Manager for the Ure Salmon Trust, explained that from the heady days when, in 1898, 16 tons of salmon were fished commercially, through the 1930's where they were still in abundance, the population of salmon reduced significantly, largely due to water quality problems, until relatively recently. In the last 20 years things have dramatically improved and, aided by initiatives such as altering weirs, hatcheries (20,000 at Masham Hatchery), rearing ponds, and fencing off banks to keep cattle out of the river, salmon numbers are increasing rapidly. More information is available on David's website   David showed several photographs of what he said were "happy" fish.  We never quite got to bottom of how he knew for sure they were happy,  but no-one wanted to disagree!

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Bowls and mushy peas!   On September 16th 32 members and partners arrived at the Railway Institute Bowls Club premises, off Holgate, for what had been billed as a “Fun Bowls Evening”.  The competition was fierce (albeit fun) as teams of three battled it out on the green, and hotly debated the rules of play which most did not understand and fewer cared about!  After 12 “ends” which comprised the 4 play-offs for each team, bad light stopped play and everyone retired to the Clubhouse for much-needed fluid replenishment!  The Bowls Club volunteers then laid on a superb supper of pie, chips and mushy peas which were rapidly finished off allowing the really nimble to rush to the server for plentiful second helpings.  Finally, the winners of the “competition” (rules unknown) were announced and Team D1 (comprising John Wardale,  Molly Wragg and David Rayner) were presented with their prizes – more liquid!  Many thanks to the organisers Frank Paterson and David Minns for organising such a successful event.

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Barn Owls   In the third of the excellent  "Nature Talks" arranged by Trevor Phillips, the Club was addressed on September 12th by Lizzie Dealey, a Yorkshire Wildlife Trust Officer with particular expertise around Barn Owls and their habitat.  Whilst most owls seen around our houses are Tawny Owls,  Debbie explained that Barn Owls don't "hoot", though they do "screech"; can have an 85cm wingspan, and devour their prey whole.  Their plumage is also not waterproof, surprisingly, which has rendered them prone to serious problems in wet or snowy conditions such as those in past two winters.  2104 was a good breeding season, however, and YWT are working to help replace lost habitats, provide nesting boxes, and assist farmers in providing richer landscapes for these lovely birds. Members were interested in the mechanics of how to build nesting boxes (see their website and provided Lizzie with a wide range of questions which she expertly answered.

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