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Residential "Get-Away" April 12th/13th Matfen Hall, just North of Corbridge was an excellent venue for the Club's 2-day trip to Northumberland and a good base for golf, swimming, walks, shopping, sightseeing and indeed chilling. The group came together in the evenings for fellowship, dinner and quizzes provided by John Lacy and Frank Paterson. On exploring the hotel, several observant people noticed that directional signs identified us as the York “Rotarty” Club – and the name caught our imaginations. From then on, we were the Rotarties! John Lacy led an interesting walk based around the historic village of Blanchland. Many thanks to David Sweeney and the Fellowship Committee for their organisation of a great trip.
"Sailing" At our lunch meeting on April 15th new member John Harris gave us his really interesting introductory talk entitled “Sailing”. Early life was about school, sport, university and family after which he joined the Army, attended St. Andrews where he met his wife Sheila. They shared a passion for sailing for many, many years and passed it on to their son’s Tom and David as they grew up. Favourite trips were to the Scottish shores and across the Med to France, Portugal and Spain and over the years he seems to have crossed the channel a staggering 48 times ! As a Head Teacher and former Principal of York Sixth Form College John was passionate about providing general education for his pupils and encouraging community service and it was in Newark that he first joined Rotary.
Charity Walk On April 20th International Committee's annual Charity Walk, for the second year running in support of Physionet, took place under cloudless blue skies, based around Sheriff Hutton Village Hall, with some 75 walkers and helpers/non-walkers. Nigel Naish led the majority of walkers on a 2+ hour westerly loop through pleasant farmland, and David Jesper in a select group of 8 gently did a smaller easterly loop. Everyone then enjoyed a splendid buffet lunch, superbly masterminded by Diana Naish, with help from her chosen team, all washed down with ale and wine in disciplined quantities. Just just under £900 for Physionet was raised of the day. Many thanks to Nigel, Diana and all who helped in any way.
St Crux Fundraising The weather was not kind to us for the St Crux fundraising day on April 27th, with cold temperatures and with rain threatened. As a result the number of people coming to browse the stall and partake of the food and drink was lower than normal. And at 2.30pm a huge hailstorm caused a rapid cessation of activities, and some damage to the gazebos, so we were forced to “close” early.
However, thanks to a new initiative led by Sheila Weatherburn, with a stall (under a bright red gazebo) selling ladies accessories, produce, and “unopened gifts”, the takings were up overall. The new stall took over £500 on the day – a magnificent result. The net result overall was a record £1265 on the day which has gone into the Club’s Charity Fund. Many thanks to Sheila, to Diana for the organisation of a fabulous range of goodies in the café, and to the more than 30 members and partners who helped on the day, many giving up their whole day to make this such success.
Everest (not double glazing as one member suggested ! ) On April 29th new member Mark Sessions talked to the Club about his "60th birthday trip" trekking to Everest base camp. To ensure we were all awake he started by loudly ringing a Yak Bell and began to take us on his epic journey to the Himalayas -the highest mountain range in the world. His photos illustrated their walk across some very scary looking wooden swinging bridges with their porters who each carried about 75lbs of luggage on their backs They stayed in many Buddhist villages in a mixture of “houses and lodges” some made from dried Yak dung! He explained the steps they took to avoid acute mountain sickness at high altitude - a major risk as at 18,000 feet your oxygen level drops to 50%. Thanks Mark for a very interesting tour of this region.
Also at this meeting, we welcomed Physionet Chairman David Kaye, who was presented with a £900 cheque by President Mike, the proceeds from the April 20th Club Charity Walk.
Ukraine-bound Club members again assisted the loading of another Physionet shipment on a bright and sunny early morning on April 30th - this one bound for Ukraine, loaded onto a Polish registered artic with 45’ ‘soft sided’ trailer. Our Club has a close association with Physionet, whose chairman David Kaye visited us just last week to receive a cheque for financial support. Read more about their history here
Entente Tres Cordial Eight members and partners travelled over to France on May 5-8th to participate in the International Reunion between our own Club and the Rotary Clubs of Aubusson and Erlangen. With very fine weather and great international fellowship, it was a very busy but enjoyable few days. There were many Romanesque churches (!), beuatiful countryside, a visit to Michelin and - of course - lashings of food, wine and long meals in true French style. A full report with lots more photos can be seen here. Many thanks to David Jesper (who unfortunately was unable to make it himself) and the International team for the organisation of this trip.
Triathlon Marshalling On April 24th some 30 Rotarians and partners turned out for marshalling duties at York’s Sports Village. They braved the cold and wind for most of the day in order to provide encouragement to almost 700 competitors, have some fun and importantly raise several hundred pounds for the Club's Charity Fund. Both organisers and competitors expressed their appreciation for our work and support. Thanks and well done to all concerned - and to Mike Hay for project managing this for the Club.
Potash Mining At our April 8th meeting, Jo Riseley-Prichard gave a very informative and well illustrated talk about Sirius Minerals’ proposed potash mine a few miles south west of Whitby. The mine would exploit the world’s largest and highest grade polyhalite reserve, to take advantage of the growing worldwide market for fertiliser. She described the engineering complexities of the operation which are immense. Most interesting was the extent to which the impact on the National Park would be minimised, resulting in planning permission being given by the National Park Authority
Special Olympics On May 13th our speakers were Maureen Wilson and Andrew Bayston, who introduced us to the Special Olympics City of York, organising a team of athletes, all with intellectual disabilities, who will compete in the National Summer Games in Sheffield during August 2017. In all 2,600 athletes will compete in Sheffield in 19 different sports. Andrew is training to compete, alongside 32 others and 16 coaches, as part of the Yorkshire and Humberside team. His speciality is Short-Mat bowls, having previously competed in 2014 (in Bath) and 2009 in Leicester in Boccia. Andrew also featured in a poster for the Sheffield Games, of which he was clearly very proud. He eloquently explained the importance to him of competing, and if possible winning. In his words “Everything’s possible if there’s a will”. It was a moving presentation and the Club all wish Andrew, and the Special Olympics movement, every success next year.
May walk Steve reports.... A motley collection of Rotarians, spouses, and dogs took to the murky but dry countryside on May 19th through deep woods, containing the mysterious Five Star Club, from Sancton to South and North Cliff in the East Riding for a pleasant 5.5 mile stroll of an undemanding nature. Highlight no.1 was views of the Houghton Hall [a family seat; but not of our Brian's]. Hightlight no.2 was lunch at the superb Star Inn Sancton (one of the top 50 pubs of the Good Food Guide) which lived up to its billing in great style. Amazingly Dave Thompson found it necessary to praise the side salad, with his Fish Pie, on no less than 3 occasions! and more desserts partaken of (by the other table to mine!) than ever seen before.
Welcome to Mike! During our May 20th lunch meeting we were delighted to welcome our latest new member, Mike Sullivan. He is a very experienced former Army Officer who joined what is now the Yorkshire Regiment at the age of 18, and over a 38 year career has seen active service in many areas of the world. Mike’s main interests are sporting, having played various sports and extreme sports at a fairly high level, but now mainly restricts his activities to golf, hill walking and swimming. He is a member of Yorkshire CC and Yorkshire Carnegie RUC. He is looking forward to "giving something back" by helping the club and the community in their activities as well as socialising with potential new friends. He has already participated enthusiastically in the Triathlon marshalling.
African School Update Mary Lumley and Sheila Weatherburn have provided the following update on the Ebenezer Trust School Project in Livingstone Zambia, which is being supported by the Club.
Decoration of the classrooms is now well underway! These fabulous photographs were received last week. They show the work in progress and a newly decorated classroom. What a difference a coat of paint makes! We have already transferred a total of £3000 (which includes the £1000 District Grant) for Phases 1 and 2. We expect to transfer the remaining funds (£2000 approx), which were raised at the Quiz Night last October, in June. These funds will be used to purchase much needed desks, flipchart stands and other school resources.
Golf - President's Cup The first Club golfing event of the year took place on May 23rd at Fulford, where 16 players enjoyed a perfect summers' day for their golf, and a very nice meal afterwards at the Clubhouse. Here they were joined by P-E Eileen and Keith, and Eileen presented the prizes, including to winner Steve Burton. Dennis Adamson took the runner-up prize, and Brian Joscelyne was third. More photos and a full report on the Golf Results page here.
Club Visit to Hull Frank reports... On May 25th a group of five members travelled to Hull to join Hull Kingston Rotary Club for their evening meeting. It was their Club Assembly and the 21 members have committed the club to an ambitious programme for next year. Pictured with the York visitors are Hull President Brian Rylance; President Elect Derek Kirby; and Assistant District Governor Christine Dagwell-Thompson. Thanks to Donald for organising the visit.
Watching your Waste Fourteen members ventured to the Waste Processing facility at Rufforth, owned by Yorwaste, on the morning of May 27th. It is a carefully landscaped site (hidden from view from surrounding houses and roads) with 300,000 trees planted around the periphery of the 125 acre site. Opened in 1988 the site has expanded over the years, but will change its use in 2017 from landfill to being a transfer site, pre-sorting waste and feeding the new incinerator site at Allerton Park. Composting of garden waste, and recycling of various materials are also of course major functions of the site – 2000 tons a week of garden waste steams away for 5-12 weeks before being processed enough for landfill (surprisingly to many, it’s not high enough grade for public re-sale) A fascinating visit, and many thanks to Site Manager Nick Smith, colleague Kevin Smith, and of course to Frank for making it all a memorable waste visit.
A Prison Education An enigmatic title for a very amusing and enigmatic talk by Alan Smith, and author and our speaker on May 27th. “Doing 14 years in prison” as an educator in language and literature, teaching Shakespeare to ‘lifers’ and violent robbers has given Alan some fine stories, the basis for books he has written, and a very interesting “take” on the redemptive value of education to prison inmates for whom the first impression is there was no hope of changing their lives. To illustrate his wide learning, Alan explained the “best place to stab someone” to hurt but avoid a murder conviction (the face, or the bum, apparently!) and he concluded with a tale of the inmate who wanted to borrow one of Alan’s wife’s stockings, because when taking his “A” level English, wearing it over his head would make him feel “more comfortable”.... A real education – thank you Alan.
Sunflower Centre Jonathan Singh, Manager of the Sunflower Centre at St Leonard's Hospice, was our speaker on June 10th. With the capacity for 16 patients on any single day, the Centre is a transformation of the previous "Day Hospice", through a reburbishment in 2014, into a positive, creative environment giving "rehabilitation" support, practical advanced care planning, and advice on wellbeing to patients. It also provides support for carers, bereavement support, and "drop-in" facilities during the week. Some of Jonathan's statistics were enlightening - by 2033 there will be a 135% increase in the age 85+ population - a sure sign that the direction the St Leonard's team is following is a crucial one. Members were impressed - not least with Jonathan's professional, thoughtful yet caring approach to the subject.
Also during the June 10th meeting, we welcomed Francois Bares, who will be President of the York Rotaract Club in 2016-17. He spoke to the Club of his hopes and objectives for Rotaract a the University of York next year.
MBE for Hazel Haas Our Club offers many congratulations to District Governor Hazel Haas on her award of an MBE on June 11th. The award, part of the Queen's 90th birthday honours list, was for "services to Wounded and Injured Service Personnel and the RNLI" A fitting end to her year as District 1040 DG.
Vocational Visit - Hiscox Building Hungate Frank reports... Tem members joined the vocational visit on June 17th, a conducted tour of specialist global insurer Hiscox ‘s new £19 million landmark office in York. Opened in December 2015 it involved 485 days of construction, 750 tonnes of steel and 775m2 of glass .A time lapse film shown in the public reception area condenses the complete building process into a 3 minute video. It is a striking , impressive addition to the Hungate area of the city and an architecturally beautiful yet practical building. Completely open plan working areas with small ‘hubs’ as meeting rooms. An open roof terrace has a fantastic view of York Minster. The Hypersonic Rocket located in the foyer is a unique introduction to the extensive exhibitions of contemporary art displayed throughout the building.
Learning about Prostrate Health At lunch on June 17th we were privileged to have Sue Heaton who has spent 15 years as a Urology nurse give us an informative talk about the issue of Prostate Health. She highlighted that by 60 years of age - 50% of people (men) will have enlarged prostates, more commonly found in black rather than white races and with people in Japan having the lowest incidence. Sue outlined the symptoms to look for plus the normal treatment options of – drugs/surgery / self -management. Importantly, to reduce the risk she recommends to eat healthily including such things as Mediterranean oil, tomatoes, pumpkin seeds and an Alaskan type diet. Above all, in the fight to prevent this “preventable and curable disease” Sue has 2 pieces of advice : Eat Healthily & Seek early diagnosis
A day at the seaside Steve reports.... Our annual trip to the sea side was taken on June 16th - we even got a glimpse of the sun and no rain, however, the intrepid few, due to go to sea were again thwarted by adverse sea state, which looked flat as a millpond from the cliff tops! Our route of about 8 miles took us from Flamborough village to South landing then along the cliffs to Thornwick Bay, mainly flat, but with some steep ups and downs along the way to raise the heat rate. The usual convivial lunch was rated excellent, but well priced at £8.95 for 2 courses, at The Sea Birds Pub/Restaurant.