August to October 2013
Three months more have just flown by.
I have, since the publication of my first newsletter of July, had the pleasure of meeting, “on their home patch”, many hundreds more of our friendly and dedicated Rotarians, as the schedule of the Official District Governors Visits continued. I have now reached 46 Clubs visited and 10 Charters.
My own Club have been magnificent in their support, providing a driver on most occasions and for Charters the drivers have often taken their partners to accompany Carol & me.
I know those members of my Club who have accompanied me have found the experience, visiting clubs, both as interesting and rewarding as I have!
August seems to have been a month of Club Visits, each one unique and enjoyable and I thank all of you who have welcomed me, for your kindness, hospitality, attention and company.
September had as well as Club Visits the added spice of Carol & I attending the four District Conferences. The first was with District 1160 (Ireland), held in a Castle just outside Dublin. A great weekend full of the legendary Irish hospitality although they did require me to speak on the Sunday. The compere for the weekend was one who had to introduce each speaker with a quip or two, some barbed. I was holding my breath as to what he would say when it was my turn. In the end he said he had tried to find out some black secrets about me and had failed and all he could say was, “I had a lovely wife!’ Now how does one respond to that!
The conference included some excellent speakers including ‘Bono’, via a video link together with a U2 band member David Howell Evans, better known as “The Edge”, his father, a Rotarian, arranged this coup. It was superb presentation linked together with movie clips and photographs showing all Bono and U2 do by way of humanitarian activities, very impressive!
The next weekend was our District Conference in Scarborough, 4th to 6th October.
By all accounts from the feedback it was a great Conference. I cannot find suitable words to thank the Conference Team enough for all they did, led ably and expertly by Conference Director David Curtis, they put together such a fantastic weekend but, of course, if you were not there it would have been all for nothing! So thank all of you who supported me so magnificently.
After 4 more Club Visits we found ourselves at District 1200s District Conference at a Hotel in the Cotswolds, a lovely venue only spoilt by the main functions being held in a large tent (marque) and when it rained, as it did very often, the noise nearly drowned out (pardon the pun!) the speakers. The theme of the Conference was “Encouraging and Celebrating the Spirit of Youth”. The speakers were excellent in their fields of expertise and very inspirational which made the Conference, whilst enjoyable and moving, somewhat serious too.
We got home late Sunday, thank goodness for washing machines! And after four more Club visits we were off to Jersey for the final District 1140 Conference, held at the Hotel de France. (Final because they are joining with an adjoining District ending up with 110 Rotary Clubs in total!) The whole Conference was accommodated in the one Hotel, a really huge building with something like 450 bedrooms.
‘A Conference with a difference’. Much fun and laughter but too many Charity Speakers seeking money from Rotary for my taste.
The following week included three Club Visits, a slot on Radio Derby talking about World Polio Day and Rotary’s “Polio Plus” Polio Eradication Programme.
Carol & I then drove to Bradford for the Annual Bill Huntley Memorial Peace Seminar preceded by an evening Banquet attended by the two classes of Peace Scholars, outgoing and incoming, and their Hosts and other guests including the new (third week in post) Pro Vice Chancellor of Bradford University. A very interesting man, not just an Academic but also successful Researcher and Businessman to boot.
We had the privilege of sitting at dinner with our Districts distance hosted Peace Scholar for 2013-14, a charming young lady from Florence (Firenze) in Italy, Caterina Becorpi. Someone who I hope we will see a great deal of whilst she is in our Country. I cannot better the hackneyed phrase, she is a superb ambassador for Rotary and her Country.
If you have not attended one of these Bill Huntley Memorial Peace Seminars, I urge you to give serious consideration to going next year, they really do explain, using the words of the Peace Scholars themselves, why this Rotary Programme is so important and worthwhile, there have been some positive and demonstrable benefits and achievements in ‘the field’ by past Scholars already and I am sure we will see many more in the future. Unfortunately by its very nature, conflict resolution cannot receive too much open high profile publicity.
To finish off the month, Sunday 27th Carol & I attended the annual get together lunch of the sages of our District, the Past District Governors. They expect a progress report from their Governor and also to take this opportunity to send off the DGE with our good wishes to his training Seminar in San Diego. My, in my case that seems such a long time ago (11 months). The lunch was a very relaxing and enjoyable way to round off a busy week.
The last few days of October maintained the pace, with three Club Charters on consecutive nights! All very enjoyable, so I thank all the attendees for your kindness and hospitality. This year has been a fantastic rollercoaster ride of experiences and its not even half over yet!
‘Till the next edition, keep up your good works!