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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.
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" !!
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!!
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
"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.
Treasure Hunt On a glorious summer evening on July 24th, 30 Club members, partners and friends walked through York and were encouraged to really look around them by an interesting and, at times, demanding questionnaire provided by Jim Wragg. Figureheads recycled into shop fronts, memorials, dates in Roman numerals, and plaques never read before taught participants yet more about their City. The Dringhouses Racers (aka David & Celia Impey with their friends Marie & Tony) and PAD (aka Peter Netherwood, David & Aileen Minns) took the honours for gaining the most points, then took a tie-break question about the size of York’s population at the last Census. (198,000). PAD got closest to this figure and were thus declared the winners! The Hilton Hotel hosted the start and finish and provided refreshing post-walk drinks and a two-course meal which was enjoyed by all. Many thanks are due to Jim and Molly Wragg for another super evening.
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.
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 www.yorkshireredkites.net
Summer BBQ With warm but somewhat “iffy” weather on August 2nd, Peter Fox and his team decided to set up the tables inside the Village Hall at Sutton-upon-Derwent. This was probably the best idea as there were a few short showers at first. After a brief “chicken crisis” - waiting for the portions to be cooked in the ovens before being finished on the barbeque - the Chefs, Daves Thompson & Walkden, kept the sausages, steaks & chicken pieces coming, to the great satisfaction of the 70 or so guests. Salads and other accompaniments filled plates, drinks were plentiful and delicious sweets followed. The sun came out after lunch and most people went outside, some to enjoy the putting set up by David Sweeney (and won by Darren Housley & Steve Burton); some took this more seriously than others! Grateful thanks are due to organisers Peter Fox and Donald Heath and the many others involved in the organisation.
On yer bike! At our meeting on August 8th, Club members heard from David Short, programme manager for iTravel York, about “Sustainable Transport”. iTravel (the i stands for “intelligent”) is a government-funded programme aimed at carbon reducing measures in transport, derived from the 1995 UN Protocol which set tough targets (34% reduction by 2020) for all countries of the world. York has successfully introduced several initiatives and has recently won an additional £1m funding for further development. David, a keen cyclist, mentioned the growth of off-road cycle paths (100Km) and cycle lanes (80Km) helping to make York the 3rd highest cycle-use city in the country. Park and Ride bus expansion, electric buses, and cycle lockers at P/R stations are other initiatives, together with the City Car Club rental scheme. Whilst traffic congestion is still rife in York, as evidenced in members’ questions to David (“Will we end up with a congestion charge”?) iTravel is at least being pro-active in reducing the need for car journeys, especially short journeys which make up most car useage. More information at www.itravelyork.info
Bill Mann Trophy This annual golf event was held at Pike Hills Golf Club on August 17th. The weather was challenging, with gale force winds, making standing upright difficult, let alone playing a decent golf shot!! But despite this 20 golfers, representing all three Rotary Clubs in the York area, took part in a keenly fought contest during the afternoon. In the evening, at a delicious dinner at Pike Hills attended by over 60 Rotarians, partners and friends, Bill Mann's son-in-law Brian Royce presented the prizes (as his wife Sheila was unfortunately indisposed). Overall winner was David Impey, with Brian Houghton taking second place and Steve Cluderay (Ainsty RC) third. Longest Drive of the day (albeit wind-assisted!) was won by Lukasz Druzic, a great achievement as he has been playing golf for only a few months! It was an excellent day of sport, fellowship and fun, expertly organised again by David Sweeney, to whom many thanks. Full report, and lots more photos, can be found on the Golf Results page here
Youth Development The three York Rotary Clubs organised administered and financed a 3-day 2 night personal development course for 32 disadvantaged young York people at Snowball Plantation, Stockton on Forest from August 10th to 12th The programme contained a mix of physical and mental challenges developed and managed by Awesome Adventure, a professional company which has run the very successful District 1040 Rotary Youth Leadership courses at Hebden Bridge for many years. The objectives were to emphasise the importance of competition, health, fitness, character and tolerance as inputs to their quality of life, encourage teamwork and communication and generate self esteem. Despite some “learnings” from this first venture of its kind for the Club, there were two unanimous conclusions from the team – that the project was worthwhile and the money well spent; and that problem youngsters could be prevented from becoming problem adults by such positive intervention. Many thanks to Frank and his team, and to the Rotary mentors who took part.
New Member's Talk On August 15th Darren Housley spoke to the Club in his 'new' (nearly) members talk. In a very varied career he initially studied to be a fabrication welder, and worked in the Confectionery industry, Financial Services and Recruitment. He then bought a Puncture Repair Franchise (this went flat...)… went to live in France, venturing into worm faming; and finally Darren returned to UK and settled in North Yorkshire. His present occupation is advising companies and individuals on 'Chip and Pin' technology. He also spends much of his time enthusiastically fundraising and clearly will be a great asset to the Club. Welcome, Darren
August Club Walk Ten Club members and partners turned out on an overcast but not-too-chilly morning on August 21st, meeting at Sinnington Village Green then setting off towards Appleton-Le-Moors. Lunch had been ordered at the New Inn at Cropton before resuming the walk back to Sinnington. This was a break with the usual tradition of ending Club walks at the pub! As can be imagined, this deviation from the norm caused considerable ‘debate’ amongst Rotarians present!! Worse, Steve realised that we were to arrive at the lunch location too early, so discreetly added a detour – later reckoned as at least a mile – to the route to Cropton. Duly arriving at the appointed hour, everyone enjoyed a splendid lunch – together with carefully regulated draughts of Cropton Brewery ale in order to be able to complete the journey. A stop was made at a Beckhouse Farm, Cropton, owned by Ian Smith (yes, really) where he has amassed an amazing collection of historic horse-drawn carriages, fire-engines and hearses. The party returned to Sinnington – just as rain began to fall! A very enjoyable walk – thank you Steve – which was reckoned to be 9.5 miles (by GPS) or only 7.5 miles according to Frank’s brand new pedometer! This investigation will continue in September!
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!
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 http://www.antiqueswordtrader.co.uk. 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!
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 http://www.uresalmon.org.uk/ 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!
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.
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 www.ywt.org.uk) and provided Lizzie with a wide range of questions which she expertly answered.