York Rotary

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Young Adult Carers On January 3rd our first speaker of 2020 was a return visit by Jess Tomori from York Carers Centre, who spoke to us a couple of years ago on Child Cares in York. She now looks after the needs of Young Adult Carers. WJess told us there are an estimated 1000+ carers aged between 16 & 25 looking after, in the main, parents unable to fend for themselves; and of these only 150 coming forward to them for help and advice at a time when they struggle with growing up, social development and college or work pressures. Not surprisingly 45%+ of those known suffer their own mental stress needs. Jess thanked us for our most recent donation of £1000, enabling her to take on a part-time helper in their developing 1 to 1 mentoring sessions, which give these vulnerable stressed out young people time to talk confidentially  and hopefully get a sense of perspective and order back into their daily routines. Sometimes, she says, they just need space to talk as no one else seems to listen.


Update from Age UK York Mary reports... Bev Ward from Age UK York was our speaker on January 10th.  Bev gave a very passionate talk, straight from her heart, about the wide variety of activities Age UK York offer to its older citizens. Bev works in a small office, formally the flower room, at York Hospital and co-ordinates the ‘Home from Hospital’ scheme. Patients who have no support at home are referred to Bev’s team at the point of discharge from A & E and/or Wards.  The team provides transport home and ensures the person is warm, has food and is comfortable and safe before leaving. They often liaise with Carers, family members and Social Services and will never leave the person at home if they assess he/she to be at further risk. Bev stated that they try to avoid returning the person to hospital wherever possible, but this does happen. Members were very impressed with the work undertaken by Bev’s team.  York Rotary has supported the ‘Home from Hospital’ scheme through three years of Community Service Funding, and were partners with York Rotary raising funds through last year's Ukelele concert; and all agree it is money well spent.



Dream Holidays Steve Barker reports... On January 17th it was lovely to meet Amy Trippendale-Johnson and her husband Glen, from Dream Holidays who are granting holidays and wishes for children with cystic fibrosis. Only 5 people are running these holidays for families; they are not means tested and are from all over the UK .All the families are referred to by their hospital consultant or CF nurse or their social worker.The sheer volume of referrals that Dream Holidays receives on a weekly basis shows that there is a need for the work they do. Cystic fibrosis is a common hereditary disease which must be very devastating for these families. Dream Holidays began operating in 1993 and since has managed to raise nearly 4 million pounds and have sent away 2000 families.

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York Finals of Rotary Young Chef Hazel reports... After circulating information to all York secondary schools, we received entries from thirty-eight students, representing four schools, wishing to take part in this year’s Rotary Young Chef Competition.  Unfortunately, one school had to withdraw after the first heat.  Six students went on to compete in the York finals, held at York College in late January.  Again, the standard was high, with students demonstrating good skills to produce a two-course, healthy meal inside ninety minutes, with a budget of £15.  All the students were to be commended but the winner was thirteen year old Frances Cockburn of Millthorpe School, with Henry Sorrell, representing Fulford School the runner-up. With our best wishes, Frances now goes forward to the District finals, to be held at Betty’s Cookery School, Harrogate.  Watch this space!


How many bridges? On January 23rd sixteen Rotarians and partners enjoyed our monthly walk - this time with a difference.  The challenge from Steve Burton was to follow him around the streets of York and count how many bridges we either walked under or walked over.   There was some dispute about the rules of this as they applied to footbridges, archways and so on,  but the consensus in the end was that we had traversed 21 bridges, on a 6-mile walk that went as far afield as Clifton, Water End, Bootham, York Hospital, Foss Island, various Ouse river bridges, and the Blue Bridge, before returning to the Star Inn the City where we all enjoyed a delicious lunch whilst debating what exactly constituted a bridge.   But we are all much wiser  now, and it was interesting to see sights on foot that we normally either flash past in a car, or ignore altogether.  Thanks to Steve for a very interesting diversion from our normal country walks.  And to Dave T for his interesting and fabulous panoramic shots en route (below)!

Y Chef Feb 2020

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The Immortal Memory  Frank reports... 47 members and friends met at Pikehill Golf Club on February 1st for the club’s biennial celebration of the birth of Robert Burns. Pipe Major Jim Sharpe piped the company in to feast on  a traditional Burns  supper  of cock a leekie soup, haggis chappit neeps and tatties, venison pie and cranachan. The address to the haggis was delivered in the Scots dialect by Frank Paterson but translated verse by verse into tongue in cheek ,impeccable  English, by David Jesper. Alison Paton , President elect of the St Andrew Society of York,  proposed the toast to the Immortal  Memory of Robert Burns after her delivery  in theatrical style  of Burn’s epic poem,  Tam O’Shanter.  A tale of Tam’s overindulgence,   leading to his encounter and escape from a  chase by witches  but with  the loss of his good horse Megs tail. Stephen Wilkinson gave an appropriate and amusing toast to the Lasses and Christine responded with a toast to the Laddies  - making the most of having the last word. Mike Hay, accompanied on the key board by Ros, delighted us with three contrasting Burns songs  followed by some spirited singing by the company of a dozen well known Scottish songs finishing ,of course , with Burns universally  known song  Auld Lang Syne. Thanks to David Impey for organising the evening and his undertaking  to match it with a St Georges dinner next year.


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Brunswick Nursery  David Impey reports...  On February 7th our Speaker was Lauren Webb, Director of Brunswick Organic Nursery. She was ably assisted by two of the staff, David and Jack. Lauren gave a brief outline of the history of the Nursery. It opened 28 years ago on and overgrown site on the outskirts of Bishopthorpe. It was run by 5 volunteers and was initially a small garden centre where youngsters with learning difficulties could work in a safe and rewarding environment. It has grown from that small beginning to an organisation that now has 40 paid staff and over 100 volunteers and provides opportunities for over 70 workers with learning difficulties.  It has expanded its gardening side to a large organic nursery producing a wide range of vegetables and plants; and undertakes contract gardening work on sites around York. Brunswick has ben linked with York Rotary for quite some time. In 2005 it was one of our Dragon Boat Charities. This year Eileen and Jan were successful in making a bid for Rotary District 1040 funding for Brunswick. The money will be used to produce better signage to advertise their expanding programme of work.



This photo at Brunswick Nursery was taken in December 2017 when PP Brian Joscelyne and Community Services chair Keith Hayton visited to present a cheque to their staff.


Brunswick presentation Dec 2017

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Polio eradication in Action  Mike F reports...    Rotary has been playing a leading role in the fight to eradicate the scourge of polio for over thirty years, thereby hoping to make it the second human disease - (after smallpox) - to be eliminated from the world - and with great success. India with its vast population and proximity to both Pakistan and Afghanistan poses a particular logistical challenge every year in ensuring all children receive their two drops of vaccine. Rotarian Paul Harvey and his wife Pat have made the eradication of polio a focus for their service. They have both been to India on many occasions to take part in the annual Vaccination Day - (usually being sent to one of the more difficult and less salubrious areas!) On February 14th Paul and Pat illustrated their work with fascinating and informative images they shared of their most recent work in India.What they showed and talked about gave a very clear image of the effort that this undertaking requires. In recognition of their efforts Paul and Pat have both been made Paul Harris Fellows and Paul acknowledged with a RI/WHO Service Award for Polio Free World.

Mud, Mud, Glorious mud..  Mike H reports...   Despite dire warnings of torrential rain, on February 20th sixteen intrepid rotarians assembled in the car park of the Drovers Arms in Skipwith to explore the delights of Skipwith Common with a walk of just over 5 miles led by Mike and Ros. However, with the exception of a 10 minute deluge, the rain  varied between light and moderate, and we had all taken the precaution of good wet-weather gear, so “our blood was not cooled”.  The  company was excellent and the two and a half hours seemed to pass in a very pleasant, if rather damp, flash!  The common was the base during the Second World War of RAF  Riccall  airfield (mainly used for bomber training), and a fair amount of military archeology was evident, including former bomb storage areas, runways and an old propellor. We had time to visit Skipwith Parish Church (St Helen’s), admire the pre-Norman tower. An excellent meal (Graham clearly enjoyed the mussels!) at the pub ended a damp but most enjoyable morning.

Pigs May Fly?  YES!  It was Quiz Night at the Stockton-on-Forest VIllage Hall on February 20th, as over 110 Rotarians, partners and friends gathered to enjoy a quiz and supper evening in aid of Ebenezer School in Zambia, where we are supporting their efforts to build a piggery at the Children's Farm.  As superb evening, judged by the enthusiasm and laughter, as the 19 teams battled it out with fieldish questions coming at us from quiz master Frank.  Diana and her extensive team of helpers ran the kitchen, a well-stocked bar, and served the food - a wonderful pork casserole, of course -  in between rounds of quizzing.  It was a tight contest, as teams watched Mary's "magic computer display" to see how they were faring during the 6 rounds played.   In the end the team led by webmaster Brian took the prize (how, I will never know!) and President Ian's team took top honours for the lowest score! Huge thanks are due to Mary and Sheila who put the whole evening together, supported by others on the fundraising team other helpers on the night - especially Frank. It was a lot of work, but in the end everyone left with a smile and memories of a really fun evening. Great to see lots of non-Rotarians joiing us, including 14 Friends of York Rotary. Definitely the way to raise funds while having fun,  in true Rotary style!  The evening raised a total of £2100 (tbc) for the Ebenezer piggery.


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From California to York – via the world! Keith reports.. Our own Rotarian Rebecca Mendoza could well have entitled her February 28th talk ‘From Youth Exchange to RYLA’, and she gave the club a fascinating resume of her life and activities – so far! Rebecca described how she was brought up in a large family in Salinas near Monterey in California and how, at High School, she met a Brazilian student on a Rotary Youth Exchange and this inspired her to seek the same opportunity. This she did and succeeded in a year’s sojourn in Brazil as a Youth Exchange student. This in turn necessitated the learning of Portuguese (in three months!) and she then found that she had a real facility with languages. University in Los Angeles was then followed by a stay in Peru: she then went to Taiwan (where else!) for a year during which time she applied for, and got, an Ambassadorial Scholarship to York University. Rebecca remained involved in the rotary movement throughout. Time only allowed a little time for Rebecca to talk about the great work she has done with RYLA as a mentor for the students but she was keen to emphasise how much one gets oneself from being a mentor and working with the young people on their RYLA weeks. At the end Rebecca mentioned that she may not have stopped her travelling but she has applied for UK citizenship. (We would like more like her!)

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President's Dinner  This year's formal President's Dinner  was held at the Novotel on March 6th. We were delighted to welcome the Civic Party - York's Lord Mayor Cllr Janet Looker and Consort Patricia Castle; and the Sheriff of York Jo Trythall with her husband Bill. Other guests included the President of Inner Wheel, Joan Phillips, Asst Governor Darrell Hind, and representatives from our sister York clubs - President Steve Cluderay (York Ainsty) and President-Elect Mick Fox (Vikings).  After a fabulous dinner featuring Cod FIllet and Panna Cotta, and short speeches from President Ian and the Lord Mayor (who praised the work and contributions of Rotary to the City, and the wider world) we were treated to an entertaining and forthright talk from our Guest Speaker Elly Fiorentini - well known to us of course, aside from her role with BBC York, as she is an Honorary Member of York Rotary, Patron of our "Friends of York Rotary" group, and long-time commentator and contributor to our major fundraiser, the annual Dragon Boat Challenge.  Elly outlined her perceptions of Rotary, using the six letters of "r o t a r y" to illustrate characteristics including Readiness for action, Organisation, Talent development in young people, Adaptability, Remembering the contributions of past members, and Youth initiatives.  She stressed the importance of inclusive membership, particularly utilising the talents of women amongst our membership, and expressed her thanks for the long association she has had with the Club - a feeling that was very clearly reciprocated by the warm applause from the members and partners present.  It was a relaxed and most enjoyable evening, and thanks go to the Fellowship Team who made it all possible.

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Technology Tournament  Eileen reports... On March 10th, 27 teams from 8 local schools met at Portakabin to compete in the annual Technology Tournament. A tri-club event, it was organised by a team of Rotarians, from the 3 York groups, led by Martin Simpson of York Ainsty and Trevor Woodward. The students’ task was to make a machine propelled by a weight that would run along an upward-sloping track. Each team of four had to produce the machine from materials supplied, to name and decorate it and to write a portfolio to explain their thinking. The Judges included York Rotary’s Chris Birch, Dave Marchant and Philip Wiltshire. Special Guests were Chris Ledgard, Deputy Lord Lieutenant of North Yorkshire, the Rt. Hon The Lord Mayor of York, Cllr Janet Looker, accompanied by the Sheriff of York Mrs Jo Trythall, District 1040 Governor Manoj Joshi, his wife Bhavna and the 3 York Rotary Presidents. All showed great interest and were impressed with the young peoples’ inventiveness and skill. During the break for final judging, presentations were made by Rotarian Rebecca Mendoza who explained about RYLA, by representatives from Portakabin about the company and its apprenticeships and by Trevor Woodward who introduced Interact. Competitors were issued with a certificate, produced by ADG Darrell Hind. Portakabin once again made us very welcome. We are very grateful to Patrick Shepherd for the link and support. Last, but by no means least, we thank all the Rotarians who planned, prepared and executed the many tasks on the day.

For more photos and the list of winners,  see the Technology Tournament page here

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In abeyance?  From March 16th, the weekly meetings of York Rotary were cancelled for the forseeable future, as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic.


However, meetings are to continue each week via videoconference, and some team/committee meetings and Council meetings will also take place through this medium.  Members are also keeping in touch through a new on-line Blog, through existing Buddy groups and of course via phone and email.  The spirit of Rotary continues on,  and we hope to assist the local community wherever the opportunity arises, subject the limitations of members' self-isolation.

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