Steve’s Scribbles June 2015

District Governor Stephen Lawes

District Governor Stephen Lawes

The wheels of time have revolved endlessly and here we are just a few days away from the end of this Rotary Year. I have been honoured and delighted to have served you as District Governor for D1220 this past year.

I would like to start this last newsletter by saying how delighted I have been to see an overall positive growth in membership over the year as at the beginning of the month, we are about 28 more than when we started the year, sadly with our age demographics we have said a sad goodbye to around 15 members over the months as they have moved to higher service. We are still, however loosing too many members for reasons such as disinterest, no stimulation, energies not matched by club, dissatisfaction with club, and a number who fail to give a reason. We must continue to ask ourselves are we actually doing enough to keep these people within our clubs, if not then we must ask ourselves what are we going to do to change, for if we cannot keep our membership how can we be expected to attract new younger members. I have during the past twelve month advocated that we must change, if we are to survive as an organisation. I continue to urge you all to look at how you could make your clubs a more attractive proposition. We can do all this, and still keep many of our traditions. On a more positive note I am delighted that we will end the year not only in positive growth, but also we are looking forward to being joined by four new clubs, Buxton, from the old 1050 District, and Abbeydale, Sheffield and Doncaster St Leger from 1270. I know that these clubs will bring new projects for us to share. Please welcome them into the fold of D1220 and show them they are joining a great District.

I have also been extremely impressed with all the hard work and projects that are being undertaken, throughout the District. Many of these projects have been augmented with district grants and this brings me onto Foundation. If there is any one area that has saddened me this year, it is the amount of foundation giving, I was delighted to hear that 15 clubs had given the full amount that I had suggested at the start of this year, however, many clubs have not given so much and our total giving is down considerably, both to the general fund and to polio plus. All I will say is that foundation is our own Charity and I believe in the old adage that charity begins at home. It may not be the most popular charity with membership but it is our own and it is through Foundation that we are able to accomplish many of our fine achievements. I also know that many have been disappointed to learn that we are now being charged a levy, but this is only 5% or 5p in the pound to administer the fund. This is still one of the smallest amounts for administration costs for any charity throughout the world. I will end talking about foundation by reminding you all that it is not spiting foundation or the trustees if we do not give, it is those less fortunate than ourselves who will suffer. Less money equals less grants, an inability to fund students, and an inability to fund vocational training teams. I urge you all to reconsider your giving. Rotary only asks that you contribute 100 dollars a year per Rotarian, or approximately £60 a year at current exchange rates, just over £1.15 a week, less than a pint or glass of wine.

Moving onto International I have been moved in recent week to the response by all clubs to the recent disaster in Nepal, clubs undertook the challenge rapidly and through our contacts within Nepal we have been able to send aid and assistance direct to where it is needed. A very big thank you for all your efforts in this area. I can inform you that through your donations to Shelterbox, Aquabox, street collections and club donations we have sent as a District over £40,000. Well done to you all. That aside I have also been amazed at the work you are carrying out overseas, please keep up this excellent job, you have all certainly shined a light in many communities throughout the world.

I would also like to thank the members of the District Team for all their hard work, guidance and advice they have given me over the year, it has been greatly received. To those of the team who are leaving their posts this year I extend a special thank you on behalf of myself and my predecessors, for all the hard work you have given to District over the years. I wish you well for the future. At this point I will mention one in particular and that is Pauline Johnston who is handing over the reins of District Secretary, Pauline has been District Secretary for 5 years and has come to the end of her tenure in post, she has also dedicated 18 years to District in one capacity or another and her knowledge and experience will be sadly missed. Finally,

I thank you all for being such wonderful hosts when I and Jan have visited your clubs and attended your events. The warmth of welcome that has been shown to us both has been truly outstanding. We hope we have represented you well, as we have followed the theme of Light Up Rotary. I know that through your work you have lit many a flame, and the light of Rotary now shines brighter in many communities both at home and abroad. Please keep up the excellent work and keep those flames alight as to light the path for the new year. I look forward to seeing many of you at District Handover on the 28th June when we will induct the incoming DG, my friend Dr Roger Summers.

Again I thank you for giving me the honour of being your District Governor these past 12 months.

Yours in Rotary


Steve Lawes, District Governor 2014-2015

Posted in: DGNews

Leave a Comment (0) →

Steve’s Scribbles

District Governor Stephen Lawes

District Governor Stephen Lawes

I know I have said this time and time again doesn’t time fly when you are enjoying yourself? It has now been nearly four months since I took office as District Governor, and I can honestly say that they have been four of the most enjoyable months of my life so far.

As I write these scribbles I have visited some 48 clubs at 44 venues, attended 6 charters and fronted one district conference, as well as running a number of meetings including one district council. It has been an honour to meet so many dedicated Rotarians as I have travelled around the district and also to learn of many of the projects that you are undertaking, it is truly amazing what you are all doing under the name of Rotary please keep up the good work.

I can inform you that District have agreed to allow the RC of Buxton to join us following their request earlier in the year, and I have written officially to RIBI giving our consent to the move. We now wait to hear that the proposal has been accepted in the new District they would have been joining. I will keep you informed.

As I mentioned above I was honoured to presided over the District Conference in Llandudno over the week-end of 3rd – 5th October. I wish to thank all those who attended for their support and from the feedback I have received I think we got the programme right for you all. It is difficult putting on events such as these and I wish to thank the team for all the hard work they put in. I was extremely disappointed that Andy Reed was taken ill on the Sunday morning but I can inform you all that I have received an e-mail advising that he is now fully recovered and that if possible he would like to come and visit the district sometime. I will keep you informed on any development.

Membership as we all know is key in our thoughts as we move through the year; I would urge you all to look at all avenues of potential members. We need as many older members as we do young the truth being we need a well-balanced new cadre of members which reflects the communities we serve. We also need to look at retaining as many members as possible and we should be asking ourselves why are people leaving our clubs, have we gone stale? do our programmes offer a good variety? I would like you to look at your membership honestly and say does it reflect what Rotary is all about and does it offer the opportunities to serve as our publicity tells them? Do we meet the four way test regarding membership? If you answer no then I urge you to look at where you are letting your community down and to look at addressing the balance, whether it be by age, race, ideology, colour or gender. If yes I thank you and ask you to keep looking for new members as well.

Finally keep up all the good work I am seeing as I travel around the District. Until my next scribble
YIR Steve

Posted in: DGNews

Leave a Comment (0) →

Steve’s Scribbles

District Governor Stephen Lawes

District Governor Stephen Lawes

Well another Rotary year has started and the wheel keeps on turning.  It has been two weeks since IPDG Peter handed the chain across at a District Handover, and I was honoured to take up the mantle for this coming year.

Since then I have been busy with Official and Informal Club visits, I have already met many of the hard working Rotarians of the District, and I have heard about the many projects that they intend to undertake.  I have been accompanied by members of my home club who have acted as duty driver and I hope that they too will see the wider picture of Rotary within D1220.

I believe that communications is the key to success and to this extent it is my intention to write a short newsletter each month which will be enhanced by “The Blog” so that everyone in the District can learn what is going on and to see the antics of the DG.

We face some great challenges both this year and in the future, the biggest of which is the declining membership within Rotary.  How we do this will not be easy, and I urge you all to try and look at ways of ensuring the name of Rotary will be as strong as ever in D1220 in the future. I would also like to emphasise that the District Team is not there to dictate, we are there to help and assist where ever we can.  Sometimes the message to clubs from district can seem autocratic, however on many occasions we are only relaying instructions from RI and RIBI. I personally wish to get away from the image that has built up over the years of us and them; we are, after all, Rotarians just trying to serve.

Finally, I would like to remind you about Conference which will be held on the week-end of 3rd to 5th October in Llandudno.  The team have been working hard to put together a very good programme for your entertainment.  There is an excellent web page on Conference with information on what is happening and with a link to electronic registration should you wish to do so.  Jan and I look forward to seeing you all there.

Have a good year of Fellowship and Fun as we ‘Light Up Rotary’ in D1220.



District Governor 2014-15

Posted in: DGNews, Uncategorized

Leave a Comment (0) →

DG Peter’s Musings – January 2014

The Rotary year just flies by, seven months already, all going by in a blur!

I have now had the pleasure of visiting 56 Clubs and been a Guest at 20 Charters. I would like to thank you all on behalf of Carol & myself for your friendly welcome and hospitality. It is interesting to visit places that were to me only names in our District Directory.  I was warned by other members of the District Team to be wary of venturing to some of them in the cold dark nights of winter as they were well into “Bandit Country”!!

In fact the visits were so rewarding, your enthusiasm, which is palpable when you speak about your plans for Projects, some in train or even already completed this year makes me so proud to be part of this Rotary District, especially so as your District Governor.

Knowing we were going to meet so many new people during the year was as you can imagine a bit daunting to contemplate but everywhere we have felt true Rotary Fellowship, please forgive me though when we meet again if I cannot recall your name instantly, thank goodness for name tags!

You will recall I spoke during my Club visits about changes I wanted to introduce to District Council.

At the first of the Council meetings this year, held in mid September, in spite of all the efforts of those behind (and in front) of the scenes it was a far from a polished professional performance. Reports received after the second Council in December indicated a significant improvement even if one of the ‘Star’ turns was unable to attend. I am of course talking about the presentation of the Derby Mercia Clubs Schools Project, “Raspberry Pi”.

I am delighted to say this presentation has been rescheduled for the Council Meeting on 25th March. I do hope all Clubs will send a good contingent to hear this talk plus a number of other subjects we plan to cover in interesting ways during the evening. We also have moved this meeting to a new and different venue, as near the centre of gravity of the District as we can get. The Derbyshire Hotel, located just off Junction 28 of the M1 to the east along the A38.

I hope you all had a good Christmas break, and are fully refreshed for whatever rigours the remainder of this Rotary Year throws at us.

Carol & I were hosts to our traditional family get together. We all had a really lovely time together. How Carol copes with all the planning, shopping and organising for the whole family and preparing wonderful meals at home always amazes me, all that on top of supporting me as well is quite frankly astonishing. Before anyone else says it, yes I know, payback time is coming!!

Till the next newsletter, keep warm and dry!


Posted in: DGNews

Leave a Comment (0) →

DG Peter’s Musings – November 2013

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!

Posted in: DGNews

Leave a Comment (0) →

DG Peter’s Newsletter

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!

Posted in: DGNews

Leave a Comment (0) →

Thankyou for attending conference

As District Governor 2013/2014 I would like to thank all delegates who attended this District’s 42nd Annual Conference. From the feed-back we have had from you it seems it was a great success with the quality of the speakers, the clean comedian John Evans, wonderful entertainment from the violinist Kate Chruscicka, the fantastic stage show “That’ll Be The Day”, and of course our special guest at the lunch on Saturday the Rt Hon Michael Portillo.

We did promise you it would be sunny in Scarborough for Conference and although it was not as hot as two years ago at least it was dry and considering the awful storms we have had since, we were very lucky with the weather.

We reintroduced the Saturday afternoon breakout sessions including a Chocolatier for our partners, and tried something new such as finishing on Sunday with that outstanding entertainer Richard Digance.

I mentioned a couple of items in the Conference Registration Form many months ago that I would like to share with you again. First of all, as Rotarians you work hard for others throughout the year; you deserve a relaxing break. From the feedback you benefitted from being revitalised and inspired. I am sure that this Conference’s content will continue to inspire you over the next year. Secondly, this year’s Conference theme was “Together WE WILL Achieve”. I firmly believe working together we can, nay will, achieve so much more. Continue and expand the tremendous work you already do both in your local communities and also overseas. Rotary needs us all to build the future foundations of our wonderful organisation, let’s do it together!

Thank you once again for the support you gave me at Conference, the BUZZ and energy from you, the Audience, enabled all those performers ‘on stage’ to raise their game, making a good Conference great!

Peter M.

Next year’s Conference will be held in Llandudno on 3rd – 5th October 2014


Posted in: DGNews, Events

Leave a Comment (0) →

DG Peter M’s Musings – August 2013

Peter M’s Musings

Rotary International District 1220

Monthly Newsletter of the District Governor

July 2013.

July has just flown by. It seems like yesterday when IPDG Dave placed the DGs Jewel over my head at the Novotel on 30th June, since then Rotary seems as if I have totally enveloped my life. No complaints though, “what a ride!”

Just wish there were a few more hours in each day or a couple of extra days in the week.

I have, since the first of July, had the pleasure of meeting, “on their home patch”, literally hundreds of friendly and dedicated Rotarians, as I started the schedule of the Official District Governors Visits. I have often been accompanied by a driver from my own Club and delighted to take Carol with me on many occasions.

I would like to take this opportunity to express my sincere thanks to my Club for their efforts in providing a member to accompany and chauffer me to all the Club Visits outside the ‘Derwent Group’ area. I know they have found the experience, visiting clubs, as interesting and rewarding as I have!

My predecessors have often spoken about the incredible breadth and depth of Service carried out by the Clubs that form our District. I have now seen for myself what they were talking about! I do though ask, “Why do we  keep it to ourselves?” So many of these Projects would be of interest to other Clubs in the District and they may well wish to emulate them in their patch.

Also I know you do not do Service in your community for the plaudits but, Rotary does need the publicity so as to attract those who will follow us into Rotary, those who are going to rise to the challenge and put Service Above Self in the future. Please consider telling the pubic in whatever way is appropriate of the things you do, they, the general public in our communities, are after all are frequently the source of revenue that enables us to carry out our Service Projects, surely they should know where their money is going. Lets tell “our story”!

One of the scariest things I have done this month was to bring greetings and best wishes from all of you to our sisters in Inner Wheel. The event was the Handover and Induction Rally of the Inner Wheel District 22 Chairman 2013-14, Carole O’Conner. Seeing a sea of Ladies, all their best frocks, was enough to frighten even the most hardened mere male!

I hope you are looking forward as much as I am to our District Conference, 4th to 6th October in Scarborough. The Conference Team I know, are all working very hard, under the expert leadership of Conference Director David Curtis, planning to put together a fantastic weekend but, of course, if you are not there it will be all for nothing! So please fill in those Conference Registration Forms either in paper or ‘on line’ and then prepared to be wowed by a weekend to remember!

‘Till next month, keep up your good works!

Peter M.
District Governor

Posted in: DGNews

Leave a Comment (0) →
Page 2 of 4 1234