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Walking for Physionet The Club’s annual Charity walk was on April 19th, organised as usual by the International Team, and this year benefitting Physionet. Nigel and Diana Naish planned the day to perfection (even including glorious sunshine!) and 80 people took part, with many from the Rotary Club of Knaresborough and other supporters of Physionet, as well as an excellent turnout of our own members and partners. The walks (short and long), from Hampsthwaite and led by Nigel and Mark Sessions were much enjoyed in warm sunshine, and the buffet lunch was terrific, thanks to Diana and her team of Club members and partners who helped prepare, set out, serve and clear up afterwards. Geoff Brown supplied the enormous and delicious apple pies. The event raised over £1000 for Physionet, appreciated especially by their new chairman Mike Adams (a member of Horbury and Ossett Phoenix Rotary Club), who was there too. Mike will be visiting our Club in the next couple of months, where a cheque will be formally presented to him. Many thanks to all who helped helped make such a successful day.
Flying bombers New member David Marchant was the speaker on April 20th, and outlined his interesting and exciting career in the RAF, initially as a pilot, getting his wings in 1962 and flying various planes including the famous Vulcan bomber with its 100ft wingspan and very thirsty engines. Although his time in the RAF never had him “firing in anger”, his anecdotes about some of his RAF colleagues, and flying with nuclear weapons under the wings, were scary enough. His description of the drawbacks of sitting tightly strapped in for over 5 hours on training flights led to various questions best left to the imagination. After six years, David trained to become a flying instructor, based eventually at Linton-on-Ouse, and after retirement for the air force, he took up psychology, gaining a degree from the Open University. He now leads a much quieter life!!
A “Friendly” Viking Invasion. On April 27th we welcomed members from the Bergen Rotary Club, Norway – some 39 in total including members and partners, and led by their President Audun Øisted and his wife Martha Sofie . They arrived at Manchester airport, were bused over to York and arrived at the Novotel for lunch at 1.30. What a lovely group of people they were; and with Norwegian flags showing them where to sit for lunch amongst our own Club members it made for a great conversation and exchange of ideas. Our visitors spoke excellent English – which was just as well, as our Norwegian was rather poor !! They were visiting York, with a very interesting programme, until the 1st of May. We hope to see them again soon – perhaps on their home soil.
And from Brazil.... Also joining us for this very international lunch meeting were Jair Silvério, IPP of the Rotary Club of Contagem Cidane Industriale (Brazil, DIstrict 4760) and his partner Raquel Meigeles.
Ein freundliches Wochenende!. A weekend of fellowship! in true International style. From May 10th to 13th we were host to a party of 29 Rotarians and partners from our "twin" Clubs in Erlangen Germany, and Aubusson France. After 18 months of planning by NIgel Naish and his team (David Jesper and Robin Rich) - to whom many thanks - everything went smoothly and even the weather was perfect! The excursions included a visit to the Jorvik Centre, a boat cruise on the Ouse, and a full day trip to Whitby across the Moors, including a wonderful "Story-Teller" bringing Whitby history to life, followed by a ride on the North York Moors Railway. Everyone enjoyed the variety of meals, from the Welcome Dinner on Thursday evening and our Club lunch meeting, both at the Novotel, an Italian supper at the Olive Tree, fish lunch at The Star Inn the Harbour in Whitby and finally our Gala Dinner in the splendid surroundings of York Racecourse. With great fun, discussion and exploration, the weekend was - judged by fedback from our visitors and the many Club members who attended -a great success. We look forward to visiting Germany (probably Coburg) in 2020!
A full report of the weekend, with lots of photos is available here
Sinnington Walk I wandered lonely as a cloud Mike S reports...
We wandered, but not lonely, as there were fourteen of us.
The weather can be changeable in mid-May but we were very fortunate and caught it on the change, from very cold to very pleasant, especially when the sun broke through the clouds that floated over the hills and the vale, through which flows, the River Derwent. As we climbed along a well-trodden path, northwards towards Cropton, we entered the woods that sit at the south-eastern edge of the North York Moors. I had advertised the walk as being “floral” but the group seemed taken aback by the sea of wild flowers that grow there. There’s no lake but they were certainly beneath the trees, on the hillsides and beside the river. Despite a ten-minute stop at the half-way point (at a bench commemorating a victim of the Second World War, presumably a local lad), we failed to take a group photo. As we reached Sinnington again, we past an historic and very interesting building. Attached to the hall is a wonderful old chapel that is well worth seeing if you are walking in the area. Built in the 12th century it has been a chapel and a Tythe Barn and was owned by Catherine Parr's first husband (she lived in Sinnington).
The John Lewis Partnership On May 18th we were treated to a great double-act presentation by the managers of two local JLP stores - Emma Greendale from John Lewis (Vanguard) , and Kylie Gilson who manages Waitrose. The JLP is a visionary and successful way of doing business, boldly putting the happiness of Partners at the centre of everything it does. Founder, John Spedan Lewis’ combination of commercial acumen and corporate conscience, so ahead of its time, is what makes John Lewis what it is today. It began trading in 1864 on London’s Oxford Street (still there today) and has grown to become the largest Omni-channel retailer in the UK. The Group now consists of 50 John Lewis shops and 353 Waitrose supermarkets with some 85,500 permanent staff all of whom have a responsibility to “challenge the Chairman and get involved in the decision-making process”. Playing an active role in the local community matters with stores having £1000 available each month to donate to worthy causes and employees are also encouraged to donate time to the community. Emma & Kylie gave us a real insight into The John Lewis approach to business.
Friends of Rotary come forward! The Friends of York Rotary was "launched" at an evening event at the Novotel, York on May 29th. Around 50 attended to hear the BBC's Elly Fiorentini - who is the Patron of the new group - express her strong support for the work that Rotary does in the local community. Elly is of course an Honorary member of our Club. After an explanation of what Rotary is, and the background and aspirations of the "Friends" initiative from Club President Brian, some lively "break-out group" discussions and "brainstorming" took place, where many ideas were put forward by participants, from how they might contribute to the new venture to the benefits they are looking from from participation. Many thanks to the members of our External Relations team who worked hard to prepare and manage this event, which has definitely put Rotary more "on the map" in our community and reached out to a whole new audience - and potential Rotarians, perhaps?
More information and photos on the "friends" web page here.
Exciting times for the Railway Museum. On June 1st our speaker was Judith McNicol, newly appointed Director of the National Railway Museum in York. She outlined the ambitious plans at the NRM for updating and expanding their “offering”, alongside the broader vision of the York Central redevelopment over the next 7 years. Judith is unusual in having a background in engineering (something she wanted to do from an early age) and a business background, which has led her to ensure realistic but ambitious plans are in place, despite the disappointment recently of not receiving Lottery Funding aid. The visitor numbers, currently 750,000 per year, are projected to rise to 1.2million, with children visitors rising from 40k to over 100k following the establishment of the “Wonderlab” area of the museum under the plans Judith outlined. With the last update being back in 1991, a refresh is sorely needed, and improvements planned, such as cohesive stories being developed to accompany the current static locomotive displays, will ensure the NRM remains one of the top ranked museums outside London.
Far from the pin! The President's Cup was held at the Fulford Golf Club on the June 4th. The weather was cool but dry and everyone thoroughly enjoyed the golf - despite the course being particularly challenging after recent modifications - and the evening meal where partners and other members attended. President Brian presented the prizes, following Golf Organiser David's announcement of the winners. It was a very pleasant day of fellowship. The winner was Keith Hayton, who won the Cup, a golf shirt, and two glasses engraved with golf images, presented for the occasion by the President. A close runner-up was Graham Todd, with Dennis Adamson Taking third place. Normally a "Nearest the Pin" award goes to the person hitting closest to the pin on a par-3 hole green (or two holes on this occasion). However, it was not won - not one golfer hit the green on either of the two qualifying holes!! Many thanks to David Sweeney for the excellent organisation and fun on the day. More photos and full results on the Golf page here
The McLaren Dragon Boat connection Every year, the programmes we sell for Dragon Boat Challenge day include a "lucky number" draw number. Despite widely publicising the winning numbers, in many years we do not get a claimant for the draw prizes. But last year, both first and second prizes were claimed, and one of these - a ride in Patrick Shepherd's Maclaren 12C - was won by a member of the Samaritans Dragon Boat crew. The prize was then raffled within Samaritans, which resulted in Julie Harker, one of their volunteers, claiming the prize but immediately giving it to her husband Lee. Patrick's comment? "She must have heard about my driving!!" So a few weeks ago, Lee duly went with Patrick on a fast and exhilarating tour of the Yorkshire countryside, McLaren style.
Meet Snowball! On June 8th our speaker was Sheila Wainwright, President of Wakefield Rotary Club, who spoke to us of her involvement with Admiral Nurses. She gave a very personal account of how she lost her husband to Dementia. She knew something was wrong when he gave up his work and all of his interests but finding help from GPs and the Health Service in general was a major challenge. After 4 years of misery as her husband progressed to advance stages of the disease and not knowing where to turn she found Admiral Nurses and as Sheila put it “they saved my life”. Since then Sheila has been giving talks to everyone possible and there are now 200 Admiral Nurses in the Country working in the community for the NHS and also in care homes, hospitals and hospices. Sheila through her husband identified that a cat can be a great comfort to Dementia sufferers but looking after them is not always possible so she found “Snowball” a very realistic looking and sounding artificial cat and has secured a Rotary Grant of £3,000 to purchase some more of them.
Young Musician Launch On June 11th the Club launched the Rotary Young Musician 2018 competition in York. This national event starts with local contests organised by individual Clubs, and the York Vikings Rotary Club ran the York event for many years,until 2014. Now it has been revived in York with Russ Rollings' Youth team organising the event which will be held on November 17th at the National Centre for Early Music on Walmgate. Publicised through local schools and music teachers, entries will be administered on-line through the Club website. More details can be seen here
Dogs for Good Our speakers on June 15th were Adele Birkin-Hart and her husband Russell. They were accompanied by their Golden Retriver "Stuey", who was trained by Dogs for Good (DfG) and provides assistance to wheelchair-bound Adele with household duties during the day - for example emptying her washing machine - and of course companionship while Russell is out working. Russell explained the origins and working of Dogs for Good which was founded (as "Dogs for the Disabled") in 1988 and is based in Banbury. A puppy typically costs £1000 to buy, and DfG now have breeding bitches who can increase the numbers of suitable dogs for training for these special tasks. After assessment and traning which can take 4-6 months, a "match" is sought with people such as Adele who have registered for assistance. There is a long waiting list! After a week's training "in the home", a dog such as Stuey can be an invaluable help and comfort to those with physcial or mental challenges. The trainer folows up with each family, for at least 6 to 12 months. DfG receive no funding from local or government sources and are entirely dependant on dontations. We thank Russell and Adele for enlightening us about this charity and the wonderful work it does.
Baby Register grows! Our new initiative, the Family Tree Partnership, has been receiving more publicity as the York City Council published a blog accompanied by this photo of some of the recent mums who had registered their babies on our website and thus will get a tree planted (in November) to commemorate their newborn. Read the CoYC article here. The tree planting scheme has captured the imagination of young people across York, judged by the activity of Social Media, and already there are close to 250 registrations on our website here. Rotary is projecting a modern image and communicating with younger people!
Tea Party at Sinnington One of the highlights on the Club's Community Services calendar, the annual "outing" taking seniors to Sinnington, took place on June 19th when 20 clients were driven by a scenic route across the Howardian Hills and ending up at Sinnington Village Hall in Ryedale, where a delicious afternoon tea awaited them, provided by the ladies of Sinnington WI. For many of the clients, some from Abbeyfields House, some via the Salvation Army and others through other contacts, this is a highlight of their year, as many are no longer able to get out into the countryside very often. Many thanks to the Rotarian drivers and partners, and especially to the ladies of Sinnington WI who always do such a brilliant job.
Popping in to Tesco’s On June 22nd a group of 30 members and partners visited Tesco Superstore at Askham Bar, where Store manager David Clift, together with Lisa (Fresh Food manager) and Caroline (Community Projects manager) explained the background of Tesco’s rise from its humble beginnings in 1919 to becoming today the no.1 retailer in the UK, with 3400 stores and 310,000 employees (called “colleagues”). The Askham Bar store employs 550 and has a turnover of £76m a year. Increasingly on-line shopping an home delivery are taking over from the traditional “shopping” in store, and David has 18 vans on constant delivery rounds – 3 times a day each. Over recent years, under the leadership of CEO Dave Lewis there has been increasing emphasis on their core business, new technology (all stock control and monitoring of sales is done remotely by head office) and improved relationship with staff. David explained that the quality of customer care and staff relations are his key performance measures, and supplier relationships have improved from what were considered to be the worst in the industry. A fascinating glimpse into Tesco’s culture and operations – many thanks to Frank for his organisation of this visit.
Presentation to Physionet We welcomed Mike Adams, newly appointed Chair of Trustees of Physionet, to our business meeting on June 22nd, at which a cheque for £1100 was presented to him, this being the proceeds from the April Charity Walk organised by the Club’s International Team. Mike is also Past President of the Rotary Club of Horbury & Ossett Phoenix. After thanking the Club for their donation, Mike explained the recent highlights of Physionet’s operations, especially pointing out the delight of the recipients of Physionet’s shipments in places such as Ghana, Zimbabwe and Belarus, to name a few – who benefit from the physiotherapy equipments donated . Club members regularly support Physionet with driving to collect surplus items from UK hospitals, and in Saturday morning loadings of containers for overseas shipment.
Taking a 10k Hike Nigel reports.... The June walk on June 21st was another venture in Nidderdale, starting from Ripley, where 8 of us set off on a 10k hike. The weather was fine, and not too hot, as we went up hill and down dale, passing through Ripley Castle Estate, a hamlet called Bedlam, crossing the Pateley Bridge Road, and completing a circuit back through Ripley village. Then a 10 minute drive to lunch at the Malt Shovel at Brearton, an old favourite, where we were joined by our temporary non-walking captain, Steve Burton (another old favourite)
Tree Partnership takes root Rotary internationally are expecting to plant 1.2 million trees (one per Rotarian) worldwide this year. In York, our Club has chosen to partner with the City Register Office, the Woodland Trust, York St John University, and others in a programme to plant a tree for every baby born in York over the coming 12 months, this being managed through our Club website. Full details can be found here. The launch took place on June 1st at the Register Office, where the Lord Mayor and Mayoress, Cllr Nigel Ayre and Rachael Maskell MP were amongst those who heard Frank Paterson explain the scheme. Following this President Brian presented the first certificate to York Registrar Amanda Sykes, and a “tree planting” was staged for the press. Considerable interest has since been taken on Social Media and the press, including the President being interviewed by Radio York. Many thanks to Frank and the team that have put the scheme together.