A real roller coaster of a year!
I have now reached 54 Clubs visited and 16 Charters.
Meeting so many new friends; regrettably far too many to remember all your names, please forgive me when we meet again if I cannot recall yours instantly.
Past District Governors have spoken to me about the incredible breadth and depth of Service carried out by our Clubs. I now know what they were talking about! Also the enthusiasm is palpable when Clubs speak about the plans they have and Projects already in train.
My visit to Rotary Club of Church Wilne was interesting in a rather special way, the Club President Greg Maskalick, has adopted the practice of talking about various US Presidents and likening them to Rotarians. He chose to likened me to Abraham Lincoln the 16th US President, Greg who hails from the America, gave a jocular explanation of why he thought I was like him, much to the amusement of everyone in the room. I’m not sure but I believe it was an honour!
The Royal British Legion Poppy Appeal in Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire over late October and the first week of November were well supported by Rotarians from our Districts Clubs. We understand a record amount has been collected and final figure will be recorded on the District Website. Keep a look out.
The Local and Nation ‘Legion have expressed their sincere gratitude for our help.
I know you will all have seen the terrible devastation in the Philippines caused by Hurricane Haiyan in the early hours of the 8th November. Can I say a sincere “Thank You!’ to all those Rotarians who were galvanised into action, appearing on the streets and Supermarkets collecting money for the relief efforts led by Rotary’s Emergency Boxes, in particular our own AquaBox and of course ShelterBox. Please make sure we congratulate and thank our local communities for their generosity in any and everyway we can, plus telling them where the money has been spent.
Carol & I had the pleasure of attending the Rotary International “Foundation Seminar” and “Rotary Institute” held in UK this year at Horwood House Hotel, Little Horwood, Buckinghamshire, just outside Milton Keynes, although you would hardly know you were close to MK, ‘cause the hotel is situated in beautiful rolling countryside. This three-day weekend event is by way of a review of all things Rotary, new initiatives and other newsworthy items and how we are doing as an organization against our goals and the RI Strategic Plan.
The highlights of the Foundation Seminar, were the review of the implementation of the Foundation New Grants Model worldwide, the lessons and difficulties and problems this has thrown up, plus the remarkably positive publicity the resulting bigger projects are generating, and how many of the world’s significant charity benefactors and humanitarian Foundations are joining us with some of these initiatives. Progress with Polio Eradication was also covered, in particularly how we are tackling and are determined to eliminate the outbreaks in the Horn of Africa and Syria, plus the lessons learnt from the transfer of Polio from the three endemic countries into these two areas and how we must try and avoid it spreading into other vulnerable countries including, surprisingly, the UK!!
The two-day Rotary Institute covered many interesting topics, the two significant highlights were, first, the speech by Justine Greening the Governments Secretary of State for International Development, first she announced she was a Rotarian and supported and praised Rotary’s humanitarian activities. She then announced the first £100M of the £300M pledged by the UK Government to support the Polio Eradication Endgame Programme had been released in part to support the massive immunisation initiative underway in the Horn of Africa to halt the outbreak there. She also announced her Departments Officials were looking at other ways to work with Rotary in some of its major humanitarian projects and initiatives. Normally I am skeptical at politicians’ announcements but this all seemed to be positive from Rotary’s perspective and supported by facts.
The second highlight was on the Sunday morning, Remembrance Sunday. The two minutes silence at Eleven O’clock was followed by an hour of spellbinding narrative by Zigi Slipper a Holocaust survivor. He spoke of his experiences all without any bitterness or hatred, a really moving and unforgettable moment. At the conclusion of his speech was followed by a young musician playing a violin rendition of the theme from Schindlers List, there was not a dry eye in the room!
American Airlines have a competition to give away 10 million air miles, all Rotarians and anyone else can vote once a day until the 31st December for Rotary to be the winner, last viewing showed Rotary in second place. The air-miles will be used for Foundation purposes such as funding poorer scholars to get from home to their Host locations, and for medical teams going out for humanitarian projects overseas, none will be used for official travel by staff or officers! It is free so get voting via: http://10millioncharitymiles.com
Finally, one of our RIBI Districts, District 1290 has produced a song for Christmas a single called Christmas Time, (Children Sing) which has reached number 10 in the Amazon chart and Rotarians around the world are now downloading it with the proceeds going to our Rotary Foundation. Rotarians in our District help keep up the momentum by downloading the song for 79 pence by clicking below if you haven’t already done so.
As this is my final newsletter before the festive season may I wish you and your family a Great Christmas and a very Happy New Year!