Page 1

The Official Magazine of Rotary International in Great Britain & Ireland

June/July 2017

Let's make the total eradication of polio the lasting legacy of Rotarians to the human race POLIO SURVIVOR, ADE ADEPITAN

Page 4 & 5






CONTENTS ROTARY IN ACTION Business Meeting update

REGULARS Rotary Inbox


General Secretary Amanda Watkin


Young Citizen Awards




The Rotary Foundation

London & Paris Marathons


Trustee Chair


World's Greatest Meal


Purple4Polio Racing


Rotary in Great Britain & Ireland President


Champions of Change Awards


Rotary International Director


Rotaract Conference


Meet & Greet


Meal Packing


Rotary Effect


Shakespeare Schools' Festival


It's Gone Viral


Defibrillator Project


And Finally‌


Rotary Ride & The Great Get Together


Talk from the Top Rotary International President

Get in touch Rotary in Great Britain & Ireland Kinwarton Road, Alcester, Warwickshire B49 6PB t: 01789 765 411 Editor: Dave King e: PR Officer e: Communications Administrator: James Bolton e: Designer: Martin Tandy e: Advertising: Media Shed (Agent for Rotary) Contact: Connor Banks t: 01354 818011 e:

Follow us

Look for us online at or follow us: Facebook: /RotaryinGBI Twitter: @RotaryGBI YouTube: Rotary International in Great Britain & Ireland


Ade Adepitan and Polio


ShelterBox in Colombia


Enjoy Rotary anywhere

The Official Magazine of Rotary International in Great Britain & Ireland



Ade Adepitan and Polio BY DAVE KING

We owe it



Lagos, Nigeria, •Born: 27 March, 1973 three, emigrated •Aged to Plaistow, East London. includes hosting the •TV2012career and 2016 Paralympics, plus

the 2014 Sochi Winter Games. Worked on the BBC’s Children In Need, the Travel Show, Beyond Boundaries, World’s Busiest City and The One Show, and for Channel 4’s Dispatches and Unreported World.

of a number of •Supporter charities including: Amnesty

International, UNICEF, NSPCC and the WheelPower charity.

ambassador for •Purple4Polio Rotary International in Great Britain and Ireland.

an MBE for services to •Awarded disability sport in 2005. For more information visit: Twitter:@AdeAdepitan Facebook:Ade.Adepitan




s wa

e onc

tre used to at polio



T was a very simple, yet prophetic statement, but one which had the audience at Rotary Conference rising to its feet for a standing ovation. Sitting in his wheelchair on stage at the Manchester Central Convention Complex, his body a legacy to the devastating impact of polio, Paralympian Ade Adepitan reflected: “I cannot believe that, with all the technological advances we have, the human race has only managed to totally eradicate one disease from the world, and that was smallpox. “Well let’s make polio the next one. And let’s make the total eradication of polio the lasting legacy of Rotarians to the human race.” All weekend in Manchester for this 92nd Rotary International in Great Britain and Ireland Conference, the P-word was everywhere. We’re this close, screamed the posters. The colour that April weekend was, of course, predominantly purple. Ade Adepitan’s polio journey began in Lagos, Nigeria, where he contracted polio aged 15 months which affected the left side of his body. Ade was unable to walk without the use of calipers, so his family moved to the UK when he was just threeyears-old. Fast forward to 2017, bypassing a bronze wheelchair basketball medal at the Athens Olympics and the start of an impressive television career as a documentary-maker and sports show host, Ade is now very much at the forefront of the campaign, serving as a Rotary ambassador for the Purple4Polio campaign in these isles. His trademark dreadlocks and cheeky grin present a recognisable face in the battle against polio, his body acting as

Iro n

to the families

a clear reminder of the physical damage which it can inflict. Besides speaking at the conference, Ade was on hand to launch the Wheels Relay from Manchester to Stoke Mandeville Hospital in Buckinghamshire. “At the Rotary conference I got to see an iron lung,” revealed Ade. “I have never seen one in my life. “It is absolutely frightening that 30 or 40 years ago, people used to spend the whole of their lives entrapped in this lung because of this disease.” These are the last few steps on the journey towards ridding the world of polio. When Rotary started the campaign to eradicate polio in 1985, there were about a thousand cases a day in 125 countries. Nigeria is the only country in the African continent still reporting cases of polio, while Afghanistan and Pakistan are yet to be designated polio-free. There were just 22 new cases last year and this year there have been just five reported cases. Ade’s passion for the cause stems

You have heard so many times that we are so close. Polio is an extremely difficult disease to eradicate, but this is a battle which we have to win.

Ade Adepitan received a standing ovation after his speech at the Manchester conference

from his own plight, but also a desire to rid the world of inequality. At the conference, he turned the spotlight on the terrible connection between poverty and disability, citing Uganda where 90 per cent of disabled children do not have proper access to education. “Children who don’t have access to schools are more than likely to grow up in poverty,” explained Ade. “They are more likely to become victims of abuse, and are more likely to die at a young age.” Ade has faced his fair share of battles, both private and sporting, and he acknowledged in his speech the work which Rotarians are committed to around the world through polio. “You have all saved the lives of millions of people because of your tireless

work in the eradication campaign and now we are so close," he told the audience. “Now the last few steps in any journey are the toughest – trust me. I have been there. You have heard so many times that we are so close and in truth we are. "But polio is an extremely difficult disease to eradicate but this is a battle which we have to win. “We owe it to the millions of families who have been affected by polio since the first cases were diagnosed. “We owe it to the vaccinators who have lost their lives working in extremely dangerous conditions. They risked their lives and paid the heaviest price to make the world a better place. “And I urge you, all of you, to never give up until we have a polio-free planet

and I believe that I will be there, working alongside you, all the way until we eradicate polio.” Ade recognised the sacrifice which his family made 40 years ago by using all of their savings, while borrowing money from friends, to uproot from his homeland to Plaistow in East London. “It was a decision which had a massive impact on the rest of my life,” he reflected. “We have all got our own metaphorical volcanoes to climb. I have lived with polio for most of my life. "I know I am one of the lucky ones and the sacrifices my parents made for me saved my life.”l


Your letters


ost of you will now know about the new fundraising/PR initiative with the UK circus community as it will have been sent down through your districts. In 2008, Blackpool Palatine Rotary Club were lucky enough to have as a member the director and producer of Blackpool Tower Circus, Laci Endresz. He suggested that as a fund-raiser for us we should do a bucket collection at the end of each performance to make money for both local and overseas projects we were involved with. We have managed to cover almost every show since then raising over £126,000. Laci is a member of the Association of Circus Proprietors of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and earlier this year he proposed to them that it would be a good way of supporting charities to allow Rotary clubs in UK to have bucket collections wherever their circuses were giving performances. This was agreed and the circus association offered us the opportunity to work with their members to raise money for worthy causes. The circuses are aware that they will be contacted by members of Rotary clubs when they are performing around the UK and are looking forward to working with us. So wherever you see any of them advertised in your area, please take advantage of this fantastic opportunity and get in contact to make it happen. Gail Williams President, Blackpool Palatine Rotary Club


embers of my club were dismayed to receive the current issue of the Rotary magazine with an advertising insert entitled "Campaign for Dignity in Dying". It is our view that this organisation is campaigning for a minority and extreme cause and not one that we think Rotary should be endorsing by association. There are many issues that sections of society espouse that Rotary does not comment on or endorse, because they

INBOX are illegal, immoral or would damage the reputation and image of our organisation and it is our view that this comes into this latter category. While we understand the need to sell advertising to fund the magazine, we urge you to make sure that causes or organisations that do not meet Rotary’s four way test are not allowed to advertise through our magazine. We are risking the reputation of the organisation. Roger Glew, Rotary Club of Eccles


was very disappointed by the coverage of Megan Sadler's scoliosis in the April/May edition of Rotary. The article failed to mention that surgery is available in the UK and that we have a centre of excellence at the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital in Stanmore. The problem with current surgery is that part of the spine is fused so advanced gymnastics which involve flexing the spine may not be possible. The surgery in the USA is still experimental (which you did not mention). While scoliosis is not usually lifethreatening it can cause serious problems if left untreated. I was diagnosed with scoliosis at the age of 15 but did not have surgery until I was 32. I have had two healthy sons and, until the last five to six years, have done whatever I want. I still do Pilates twice a week, and most of the gardening and decorating, at age 61. I am delighted for Megan and her family that they are being so well looked after by Rotary in the UK and the USA, but scoliosis can and is treated well in the UK. Sue Maguire Rotary Club of Rugby


emory Walk is Alzheimer’s Society’s biggest fund-raising event, involving a series of sponsored walks which take place in the autumn, across England, Wales and


Northern Ireland – and we would love to have Rotary involved. It supports some of Alzheimer’s Society’s vital work, including essential research, and life-changing local services for thousands of families affected by dementia. In 2016, our walkers raised over £6.5million – that’s enough to fund 76 PhD students for three years to conduct innovative research to ultimately search for a cure. In Autumn 2017, walks return to over 30 locations, reaching from South Shields all the way down to Exeter! Memory Walk is open to all ages and abilities - at each event there are two walk lengths to choose from, a shorter accessible route, or a longer route which is up to 10km. The first events start on September 2nd, and ends on October 14th with our first ever Memory Walks at Night in London, Liverpool and Cardiff. Essential to the success of the walks are our fantastic volunteers – last year we had support from several clubs, including Tarporley Rotary at the Cheshire event, and Bedford Rotary at their local walk. We would love to have even more Rotarians involved and volunteer with us for their nearest event. Plus, for clubs in more rural areas, there is also the opportunity to organise your own walk – in 2015, Bishop Auckland Rotarians raised over £1600 by hosting a walk in their local community. There are a number of ways our volunteers help on the day, including helping set up stalls, fund-raising, marshalling the route, or handing out medals to finishing walkers. To find your nearest walk, visit: For more information on any of the events, or to enquire how you could support us, please email: memorywalk@ or call 0300 330 5452. Rebecca Scott, Memory Walk Officer

We welcome your letters on any subject to do with Rotary. Submissions should not be more than 250 words long. Please include your name and address. Email: or write to: Rotary magazine, Rotary in Great Britain & Ireland, Kinwarton Road, Alcester, Warwickshire B49 6PB. 6 // ROTARY


Talk from the top...


Rotary's strength


ROWING up in Chattanooga in Tennessee, my brothers and I learned young to work hard. It was a lesson taught to us by our father, who had come to the United States, alone, as a teenager. He wanted our lives to be better and easier than his had been; he wanted to give us the education and opportunities that he had missed. We always knew, when he came home at 8 o’clock in the morning after working a night shift at the paper mill, that he was doing it for us. Looking back, through the prism of many years, I see in my father’s hard work not only an expression of his love for us, but the universal desire of each generation to care for and lift up the next. And looking back at this year of service in Rotary, I see that desire reflected in each of us who has chosen to be part of this great organisation. It is natural for parents to want to make things better for their children. Through Rotary, we can do so much more: we can make things better, not only for our own children, but for all children. We have the opportunity to care for and lift up those who need us the most – whether they are in our own community or on the other side of the world.


As Judy and I have travelled the world for Rotary over the last two years, we’ve been reminded, again and again, of what motivates us in Rotary: the simple desire to be of assistance, to give a helping hand to those who need it. Whether it means building a blood bank in Uganda, delivering an X-ray machine to a village in Guatemala, or taking care of refugees in Lebanon, Rotarians are doing what is needed most for the people who are most in need. They’re working hard for the communities they care about, helping the people of those communities lead better lives. To me, that is the essence of Rotary: that desire to be of assistance, that willingness to work for the good of others. In Rotary, when someone needs help and you can give that help, you don’t walk away. You don’t turn your back. You say, I’m here for you. I’ll do whatever I can. And I know that whatever I do, I’m not doing it alone – I’m doing it with Rotary Serving Humanity.







Leaving their mark on the world


HE Colombian town of Mocoa sits in a picturesque part of the country where the Andes crumbles into the Amazon – it’s a mixture of jungle, monkeys and waterfalls. But last March, torrential rain to the Putumayo region turned Mocoa into a town of tragedy. A third of the region’s expected monthly rain fell in just one night, bringing an onslaught of mud, trees and rocks.

A ShelterBox volunteer in Nepal

10 // ROTARY

More than 250 people died, while hundreds were left without shelter as whole neighbourhoods were crushed by the landslides. The UK-based charity ShelterBox was alerted to the crisis by Rotarian Gloria Cajavilca. A plaintive message posted on the charity’s Facebook site from the Secretary of the Rotary Club of Bogota DC read: “I'd like to know how we can bring ShelterBox to Mocoa, which yesterday suffered a major collapse in which there are many victims.” Within days, a team was in Colombia working with the Red Cross tackling one of the worst natural disasters in the country’s history. CEO Chris Warham explained how they already had ShelterBoxes waiting in the Colombian capital, Bogota, with more aid on standby at a pre-positioning hub in Panama. He said: “Together with the Red Cross, we met with the Colombian government who told us that their strategy for people displaced by the landslide is to get them into rented accommodation in the medium term. “But that is clearly going to take between three and six months to happen, so there is a distinct short-term shelter need.” Two ShelterBox team members flew out to Mocoa to help distribute ShelterBox aid to families who have lost everything. The standard contents of a ShelterBox include a family tent, water filters and mosquito nets to combat disease, solar lighting for when power is down, a

groundsheet and blankets, kitchen sets, even activity packs for children to provide some sense of normality. When buildings are partially damaged, ShelterKits are distributed. These contain crucial equipment such as tarpaulins, tools, saws, shovels and nails, helping families to repair their homes or to make basic shelters while rebuilding their lives. Dave Ray, one of the ShelterBox operations co-ordinators, was met by Rotarians in Bogota when they arrived in the capital. He said: “It really shows our organisations’ commitment to work together to bring the best assistance possible to the affected families in Mocoa. “We were met at such short notice by high members of the Rotary Club of Colombia District 4281, which really attests to the level of commitment and support from our Rotary partners.” Chris, a recently inducted Rotarian with the Rotary Club of Cober Valley Helston, admitted he had no idea how long their team will remain in Colombia. “How long we are there completely depends upon what need we see,” he explained. Liz Odell is one of many Rotarians who volunteer for ShelterBox. She has served in Colombia, so knows all too well the issues her colleagues are facing in the country. “If you are the first team to arrive on the ground after a disaster, it can be hard to find the information you need because there are so many conflicting reports,” she said. “I wouldn’t say it is chaotic, but it is getting numbers going out there and seeing things for yourself.” A Past President with the Rotary Club of Nailsworth, the former stockbroker revealed that you have to set emotions aside to get on with the job. In April 2015, 9,000 people were killed and 22,000 injured when two

ll i de


ne o

rS he lt

Liz O

erB ox

“He said that when ShelterBox came along, it was like an angel from heaven arriving giving him a tent. That was really moving.”


f er nte an y u l Rotarians who vo


earthquakes ripped through Nepal in quick succession. Liz was in Nepal for three weeks, distributing 39 metric tons of tents and ShelterKits to the villages. She added: “I got to Nepal four days after the earthquake and even then a lot of people hadn’t been able to get out into the mountains and the foothills of the Himalayas which were the worst affected because the roads had been blocked by landslides. “When we got up there, entire communities were gone. Ninety-five per cent of the buildings in these towns were totally gone. I had never seen anything like it. “But you have to set aside your emotions. You are there to get a job done. I can get on a plane after three weeks and go home, but these families have just had the worst day of their life and they are going to be facing this for months and years to come.” In Nepal, men shave their heads as a mark of mourning if they have lost a family member. When Liz and the ShelterBox team arrived, there were many shaved heads. “We met one man who had put his

ShelterBox on the move at its Cornish depot (above) preparing for disasters worldwide (below)

tent up at the top of a mountain ridge in a very poor community,” recalled Liz. “He told us how his house had gone and he had nothing apart from what we were standing in. There were just piles of rubble. “He said that when ShelterBox came along, it was like an angel from heaven arriving giving him a tent. That was really moving.” ShelterBox has 250 trained volunteers who make themselves available to head off around the world at a moment’s notice. The charity receives no government funding, and relies on private donations, around 30% from Rotarians and Rotary clubs. A small but fast-growing humanitarian agency, last year ShelterBox

helped 29,652 families across the globe. “Rotary is a hugely important partnership for us,” added Chris. “It is all about two things – giving Rotarians opportunities to serve, trying to make sure we give Rotarians opportunities to train as response team members, then in 90% of all deployments, the first call we make is to a Rotarian. “Rotarians are always well connected. Rotarians always have the ‘service above self ’ motto engrained in what they do, so you can almost be certain that if you speak to someone whose community is struggling, they will help you.” l

ROTARY // 11

What they say...



HY did you join Rotary? I am often asked. My answer: “Joining Rotary is the best decision I made in my life.” Because being part of Rotary, I have been able to help change and save lives and, in the process, my life has been transformed too. I even met my husband through Rotary. As one person it is difficult to make a difference, but being part of a global network of more than 1.25 million Rotarians we are truly making an impact with our countless humanitarian projects worldwide, and making history happen as we are on the brink of achieving our goal of a polio-free world. 2017 is a historic year for Rotary as it is the year that we are celebrating the centenary of The Rotary Foundation – 100 years of our Rotary charity “doing good in the world”, from promoting peace, funding Global Scholars and Peace Fellowships, supporting education and local economies, providing clean water, saving the lives of mothers and children, to eradicating polio. And The Rotary Foundation changed my life because my journey in Rotary started thanks to The Rotary Foundation as a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholar. I studied for a Master of Science in Broadcast Journalism at Northwestern

Eve Conway with Rotary Young Citizen Award 2015 winner Bella Field at the Manchester Conference

12 // ROTARY

An Incredible


Eve Conway, Rotary International Vice-President Jennifer Jones and Jannine Birtwistle

University in Evanston, Illinois and Evanston, is, of course, the home of Rotary International. I must admit that when I was a Rotary Scholar, I never dreamt that I would, one day, become President of Rotary International in Great Britain and Ireland. And I am honoured to have been elected by Rotarians to this role and it is great to be able to now give back to Rotary for the amazing opportunity that Rotary gave to me. There have been so many highlights as President seeing the power of Rotary at the grassroots and meeting so many inspirational Rotarians who are making a difference to their community at home and overseas. Some of them were recognised at the Champions of Change Awards at the House of Lords in London in April (see pages 26-28). Rotary youth projects and competitions are another area where we are making a difference. At the Rotary in Great Britain and

Ireland Conference in Manchester in April, we were live on the BBC News Channel as we marked the tenth anniversary of the Rotary Young Citizen Awards, acknowledging the positive contributions that so many inspirational young people are making to society. When I visited Wolverhampton, we went to a hospice where Rotarians have given tremendous support. This really brought home to me why Rotary is needed as much today as ever. When speaking to a young terminally ill patient, who had to hold his eye open with his finger because he couldn’t open his eyes properly, apologising, he said he wanted to look at us so that he could personally say “Thank you” to Rotarians for what we were doing to help and what a difference this was making to him and his family in the little time he had left. So when people ask “Why join Rotary?” my answer is “Why not?” and “Why not be part of an amazing global network of community volunteers making such a difference to our world?”.


Manchester Conference

Positive moves at 2017 Business Meeting


FUNDAMENTAL change to the way Rotary International in Great Britain and Ireland operates has been approved by the membership at this year’s Business Meeting held in Manchester. Traditionally, a year-on-year approach to operational and financial matters, including the budget, has been approved by voting delegates at the April meeting. This year approval was given to threeyear financial planning, including member subscriptions being agreed for the threeyear period, which is in line with Rotary International’s method of operation. With this significant change, we can now consider organisational development and plan for enhancing member services within a three-year strategic planning cycle. The objective when setting subscription levels is to ensure operational expenditure is met through a non-deficit budget, with the cost to individual members being no higher than if they were directly affiliated to Rotary International. For 2017/18, the subscription charge has been agreed at £60 per member, due in two half-yearly payments on July 1st and January 1st. Our democratic structure provides Rotarians with the opportunity to actively participate in discussions at the Business Meeting, which drives organisational decision-making. Democracy is a fundamental part of our value system, so to enhance the ways in which we can encourage more contributions has to be a positive development. Not all of our members are totally comfortable with the increased use of technology, but if we are to remain relevant to future generations of Rotarians, modernisation and expected current best practice is required. To that end, the ability for the Business Meeting to be held in a format as determined by the General Council was approved this year. Taking the Business Meeting into the conference programme, when it has been a three-day event, has not overtly impacted on the Rotary educational and 14 // ROTARY


In good hands

S General Secretary, Amanda Watkin at the Rotary Manchester Conference 2017

motivational content. However, with plans to review the cost effectiveness of the annual conference and to perhaps reduce the number of days it is run being considered, the Business Meeting format has to be taken into account too. The introduction of online voting, coupled with the ability to watch the Business Meeting real-time in recent years, has allowed members who are unable to attend in person to see, hear and, if eligible, vote from the comfort of their own home; the intention now is to enhance this provision further. Going forward, at the 2018 Annual Conference in Torquay we will be holding a ‘hybrid’ Business Meeting. This means we will have our usual in-room and online voting delegates but, importantly, we will be piloting a new online system which will provide for participation in debate, as well as voting for those delegates joining us from home. Finally, a change to the qualification requirements for the role of Hon. Treasurer for the Association was approved, meaning it was no longer a prerequisite for applicants to have held office as a District Governor. The talent pool for professionally qualified members to apply for the role of Hon. Treasurer is greatly widened by this change which the General Council put forward.

To see the full results of the 2017 Business Meeting, visit:

o often we hear reports in our media of problems being caused by young people, but from what I have experienced over the past few months our future is in good hands with some wonderful young people, not only at home, but around the world. In February, I attended a PeaceJam conference in Winchester. This yearly event attracts over 300 young people who are sponsored to attend the weekend. They were accompanied by their school teachers and most were sponsored by Rotary Clubs. The main speaker was the Nobel Peace Laureate Leymah Gbowee from Liberia. What an inspiring lady she is, interacting with all the young people attending. Then in New Zealand, I met up with several young people who were staying in District 9930 on a Youth Exchange programme. Returning from New Zealand, it was off to Manchester for the RIBI conference and once again our youth played their part with the Rotary Young Citizen Awards. This was started 10 years ago when Eve Conway came to see me with her idea. Over the past decade, some wonderful stories have been told about the winners, who were all nominated by Rotary clubs. If that wasn’t enough good stories about young people, I attended the European Rotaract Conference in Poland with 800 Rotaractors from 40 countries. The work these young people do is incredible, and boy do they also know how to enjoy themselves. They are all future Rotarians, and in a Q & A session I pointed out that they need to join Rotary and not wait to be asked. Let the Rotarians in their club know that they wish to join. I also met up again with Stephanie Woollard from Australia who is now a Rotarian having been a Rotary Peace Scholar. Her project in Nepal, where she set up the charity Seven Women is really inspirational. At the United Nations last year she was one of the six winners to receive the Rotary International Responsible Business Award.


Young Citizen Awards


Soyet young, so inspiring If you want to know how to make a difference, then meet the Rotary in Great Britain and Ireland Young Citizens of 2017.

Young Citizen Award winner, 11-year-old Bella Field at Rotary Manchester Conference 2017


OME have been motivated by tragedy in their own lives. Others have observed the needs of others, demonstrating an understanding and skills far beyond their young years. And at the Rotary Conference in Manchester, these heroes were honoured at a presentation ceremony hosted by BBC presenters Konnie Huq and Ellie Crisell, who have worked closely on the event over the past ten years with founder and current Rotary in Great Britain and Ireland President, Eve Conway. Among them was ten-year-old Mohamad Khalil, who witnessed friends being killed when his school in Syria was attacked. He escaped only because he played dead. Mohamad and his family fled the war-torn country and have now settled in Leeds, where he works part-time to support his family after his father was injured in an accident at work and his mother discovered she had cancer. Now he is pledging his support to help others and has won the admiration of teachers and fellow pupils at his school. When Sophia Cowburn's twin brother committed suicide in a psychiatric unit at the age of 18 the family felt let down by the 16 // ROTARY

authorities. Since then Sophia and younger sister Amber have worked tirelessly to raise funds to provide much-needed facilities to prevent another similar tragedy. Molly Cornish saw for herself the plight of many homeless people living and sleeping on the streets of her hometown of Bray and in the wider area of Dublin. Saving tips from her part-time job, Molly started a project to distribute over 120 “Dignity Packs” containing essential personal hygiene items to the homeless in the run up to Christmas and is now in the process of setting up “Dignity Packs” as a charity. Despite being diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome in 2011, 14-yearold Aidan Jackson stood in front of the television cameras and confidently told interviewer Ellie Crisell how he had raised over £16,000 in just two years for a range of different causes. So often Aidan struggles with many every day occurrences, including making friends and handling social situations. Doncaster teenager, Abbey Booker, is only 15-years-old but there are many differences between her and others her age, one being that Abbey is in care and has already had several placements. She has, however, used her own life experience to provide support and advice to other

children in care and helped to make changes within children’s services. Harry McCann from Clane in County Kildare founded his first business at the age of 15. Kid Tech ran training courses and holiday camps teaching coding and technology to young children. Through this, Harry realised the importance of STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) education. He has taught more than 800 youngsters across Ireland how to code, and observed at the presentation ceremony how many of those he had taught technology to probably still couldn’t tie up their own shoelaces! Harry is now director of the first Digital Youth Council in the world, which he founded in 2014. In 2016, he topped the Sunday Independent’s Top 30 under-30s. Fifteen-year-old Kare Adenegan, picked up three medals at the 2016 Paralympics in Rio in three separate wheelchair-racing disciplines. Kare was born with diplegic cerebral palsy, which affected her mobility and the use of her legs, which meant relying on a wheelchair. Inspired to have ago at wheelchair sports after watching the 2012 Paralympics in London, she has now become the second athlete to receive the Young Citizen Wheelchair Sports Award, sponsored by WheelPower.


Young Citizen Awards

I never cease to be amazed by the inspirational young people that we recognise, every moment meeting them is extra special.

Bella’s moving tribute to sister


ORMER Young Citizen Award winner, 11-year-old Bella Field, has proved a real star. After her sister Molly tragically passed away from a brain tumour aged eight, Bella came up with unique ways to raise £110,000 for the Haven House Children’s Hospice in Woodford Green, Essex.

Bella’s performances have taken her on to BBC’s Children in Need. This included performing in shows under the banner of Molly Field Productions and organising fund-raising events from the age of six. She is also a “buddy” at the hospice helping other children who have siblings with life limiting illnesses. Bella’s performances have taken her on to BBC’s Children in Need programme and beyond to the Rotary International Convention in Brazil, where she received a standing ovation. She had another starring role at this year’s Rotary Conference in Manchester. Bella was a bridesmaid at a family wedding on the Saturday, so instead she was given her own slot at the conference on the Friday and, as always, charmed the audience. Bella was also excited to go along to the First News stand, for sister Molly was a great fan of the children’s newspaper and used to deliver it to her school pals. When Molly died Bella took over the newspaper deliveries.

Celebrating all that is good


VERY year since 2007, Rotary in Great Britain and Ireland has been celebrating all that is good about young people. Those who have been privileged enough to attend the Young Citizen Awards at Rotary Conferences, and those watching on BBC TV, cannot fail to have been humbled by the deeds of the young people — many of whom have been motivated by their own personal tragedies. How can you not be moved by those who at early ages have been hit by the Big C - either their own or a dear relative - and gone on to raise thousands of pounds to help others? Are you not in awe of the youngsters who have lost limbs and gone on to forge careers in sports —using blades or wheelchairs? This is the stuff of which many of our young people are made - not drugs and alcohol as some in the media would have us believe. And it was this belief in the young that, 10 years ago, prompted this year’s Rotary in Great Britain and Ireland President, Eve Conway, herself a journalist, to launch the Young Citizen Awards. Her faith in the event was supported by her employers, the BBC, who have been broadcasting it live on their news channel. During that time, the use of Facebook and Twitter has grown, enabling wider promotion. This year, several Rotarians took to social media to praise the channel for also promoting it on their online news site. Sadly, because of the nature of some of the circumstances which have brought many brave and inspiring young people to the attention of Rotary, there have been some who have not made it beyond their twenties.

“I never cease to be amazed by the inspirational young people that we recognise, every moment meeting them is extra special,” reflected Eve. Two she will never forget are Nicole Dryburgh and Anna Swabey. According to Eve, Nicole Dryburgh who was one of the most inspirational people she had ever met. A winner in 2008, Nicole was left blind and unable to walk through spinal cancer. She then lost her hearing, but still managed to raise tens of thousands of pounds for The Royal Marsden and King’s College Hospitals in London, before going on to set up ‘Nicole’s Fund’ to equip a new Teenage Cancer Trust Unit at the Royal Marsden in Surrey. Nicole wrote two books, ran her own website and wrote a weekly local newspaper column, as well as abseiling down the side of King's College Hospital to raise funds and much, much more. Sadly, at the age of 21, Nicole died of a brain haemorrhage despite having been clear for three years of the cancer which had caused so much disability since being first diagnosed at the age of 11. Another Young Citizen Award winner who began fund-raising for charity on hearing she had a terminal brain tumour was Anna Swabey from Newton Aycliffe in County Durham. Anna sadly died the day before she was due to marry last September. One of last year’s award winners, Anna blogged to raise awareness of brain tumours. “Despite all the odds against her, Anna was determined not to let that stop her from going out of her way to help others and raise awareness and funds for Brain Tumour Research,” added Eve.

ROTARY // 17


Young Citizen Awards


Working to ensure the Foundation’s future Young Citizen Award winners Vicky Neary and Danielle Jordan interviewed by Konnie Huq

A decade of youth


HIS year’s event reflected back on some of the winners over the past 10 years. Among the first winners in 2007 was the Interact Club of Ramsbottom, nominated to recognise the great community projects they were involved in both locally and globally. Vicky Neary and Danielle Jordan, now 28 and 27 respectively, were among members who travelled to the Ukraine to discover what life was like for the youngsters and where they were able to deliver Rotary Christmas shoeboxes. Maciej Szukala discovered Rotary through winning a Young Citizen Award in 2010. Then aged 15, he was helping other young migrants like himself settle into a new way of life. Now he is one of the youngest Rotarians in the country as a member of the newly-formed Rotary Club of Wrexham Glyndwr. Kirsty (Kay) Ashton was a Young Citizen Award winner in 2009 and has gone on to add to her awards with an MBE. She has continued to be actively involved in her community and has begun a career as a broadcaster. She also speaks to young people to answer their questions about disability as a Scope ambassador. Bethany Hare was 12-years-old when she won the Award in recognition of the fund-raising work she’d been doing for a local children’s hospice. Since then, Bethany has continued to raise money to support young people with life-limiting illnesses, using her own singing talents and setting up her own charity Bethany’s Smile. Grace O’Malley, 19, is another who uses 18 // ROTARY

her singing talents to raise funds, raising tens of thousands of pounds for The Royal British Legion, a local hospice and cancer charities – and she’s got big ambitions for the future. Grace is training as an opera singer at the Royal College of Music in London. Ceri Cockram, 29, was honoured for fund-raising to improve the lives of women and girls in Ghana through education projects. She’s continued to support that cause. Now Ceri has another very important role serving communities —in her local fire brigade. Jenna Spiers was just 12-years-old when her twin brother Calum died from a brain tumour. With the support of her family, Jenna has helped fulfil his dying wish to help other people facing serious illness to spend quality time with their families. Harvey Parry is just 11-years-old, but he’s already a successful athlete and campaigner. He won a Young Citizens Award in 2014 after being nominated by the Rotary Club of Edmonton when he was just eight. Harvey, who had both legs amputated after contracting meningitis as a small child, raises awareness of the illness. Owen Thurston has epilepsy and won a Young Citizen Award last year. He’s been speaking out to raise awareness of epilepsy and improve the lives of people with the condition. He continues to campaign and take part in research.

See videos on all these amazing young people at:


E'VE had a wonderful time celebrating all the extraordinary achievements of The Rotary Foundation’s first 100 years. As we approach the end of this centennial year, it’s time to turn our attention to The Foundation’s future. What can we do right now to ensure that The Foundation will reach even greater heights in the next 100 years? First, we must finish our work to eradicate polio. If we fail, we risk a global return of the disease – up to 200,000 new cases every year, within 10 years. But if we succeed, the world would enjoy a savings as high as $50 billion (£39 billion) by 2035. There really is no choice: we must succeed. What can you do? Raise money, advocate for government support, and share the inspirational story of Rotary’s steadfast commitment to a polio-free world. Of course, our work to end polio isn’t the only compelling story we have to tell. Your club’s district and global grant projects are successes that you should share with your local community and media. Tell them about the scholars you are sponsoring, the vocational training team that is visiting or travelling from your district, and the causes The Foundation supports. I believe that every Rotarian should make an annual contribution to The Foundation, because it is our Foundation, and we are ultimately responsible for its success – yet that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t also encourage others to contribute. Telling others about our work providing clean water and basic education, fighting disease, and promoting peace helps drive interest in our Foundation and clubs. Even though you and I won’t be around to celebrate The Foundation’s 200th anniversary in 2117, we begin to set the stage now. Working together, we can continue The Foundation’s long tradition of good work and give future Rotarians even more reasons to.


Rotakids and Interact

Re-energising Rotary More Rotary clubs are becoming involved with RotaKids and Interact clubs. Rebecca Warner discovers how successful they are becoming in their own communities.


UT some spring in your step this year with inspiration from RotaKids and Interact clubs. Working with the younger members of Rotary is not only good for your community, but great for you too as their energy and ideas are positively contagious. Anne Forster, based in Old Meldrum, Aberdeenshire, has been involved with RotaKids, for ages seven to eleven, since 2008 when she founded the Tarves group and is frequently called on to help set up other RotaKids. The activities include shoebox gifts where members collect goodies and send them overseas to children in need. Anne explained how this, and other projects, are having a positive and humbling impact on the RotaKids. She said: “By doing these activities they have realised how well-off they are compared to people in other countries. "It’s a learning experience for the kids. Some are not seriously well-off but they suddenly realise that they are. “There are opportunities to make an impact on people. We invited residents from sheltered housing to the school and, believe it or not, they played board games. We even served tea and coffee. "The children were nervous but could not believe how much they had in common and had great fun.” Interact, aged 12-18, carries out two service projects each year: one international project; the other based in the local community. Clubs are usually found in colleges and schools but, like RotaKids, they can be set up anywhere as long as there is support from a sponsoring Rotary club. Community-based Coed Cae Interact, Wales, is bringing young people together from an area often associated with economic challenges. Not only are litter picking projects and quirky fund-raisers alleviating problems, such as a pyjama 20 // ROTARY

Interact is linked with the Duke of Edinburgh award scheme

party which raised money for LifeStraw, but members are motivational role models for others in the area. Coed Cae is linked to Brynmawr Rotary Club where Donna Wallbank is the liaison officer. She explained: “The future of our communities is in our communities. "Whether you are 25 or 85, you have something to inspire a younger person with, but be ready to be inspired and work your boots off as these young people will get you feeling that you can do anything if you are with them.” Interact is also linked with The Duke of Edinburghs Awards where an Interact volunteering activity can also count towards the bronze, silver and gold badges. Currently, there are nearly 260 RotaKids and over 350 Interact clubs across Great Britain and Ireland. There could be more, very easily, as the process of creating either is simple: contact your local Rotary and ask. If you are a Rotary member then make the decision to start a club and reach out to your local school, community group

or college to begin. You will be surprised at the welcome you will receive. RotaKids conveniently meet the citizenship element of the curriculum which relieves pressure on teachers. In some schools, it is commented upon positively by Ofsted. Interact is a great way to enhance a CV as well as enable members to increase their understanding of the world and the contributions they can make. The advice for anyone thinking of setting up either club? Donna’s recommendation is to go for it. She added: “Interact is an inspirational part of the family of Rotary, so it’s obvious if we are looking for enthusiastic youngsters to carry on from us that we need to get them inspired by Rotary in the first place. “We are about to charter a Coed Cae RotaKids as well as we have so many younger children coming along.”

For more information visit:


London and Paris marathon

It’s marathon mania in London and Paris! Rotarians were putting their best feet forward for charities in April at the London and Paris marathons where each had their own reasons for undertaking the gruelling 26-mile challenge.


WO Rotarians joined thousands of runners in April to compete in the London Marathon – both helping to promote the Heads Together campaign which is being spearheaded by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, along with Prince Harry. Alistair Bates, a member of the Shrewsbury Darwin Rotary Club, and Jennifer Rees-Jenkins from Kintore, Kemnay & District Rotary Club in Aberdeenshire, joined a record 40,000 runners on this annual 26-mile pilgrimage around the capital. Both were running on behalf of the parents’ charity, Best Beginnings, a partner of the Heads Together campaign, which seeks to raise awareness of mental health issues. For Alistair, 62, mental health is an issue close to his heart, and he met Prince Harry shortly before the race. He explained: “I had to take early retirement in 2009 following my own mental health difficulties and found the most positive support came through the help of others and through exercise.

Alistair Bates Rotary Club of Shrewsbury Darwin

“Since then I have participated in a number of events including long-distance triathlons but I had never thought that I would have the opportunity to take part in the London Marathon – as anyone who has seen me pounding the pavements will tell you I am not a runner!” “I am also particularly pleased to be supporting Best Beginnings as my work with children and young people with special needs and disabilities has made me very aware of the need to give all children the best possible start in life and this includes supporting parents as well.” Like Alistair, Jennifer was keen to use the marathon as a way to support others. She said: “I have some pretty tough times and have over the years had to learn how to look after my head. “I’m lucky as I have good people helping me and I found ways of being happy, others are not so lucky and the London Marathon for me is about helping the brains of others.” If one marathon wasn’t enough, how about 17?! Ray Johnston, a member of the Rotary Club of Folkestone, completed his

Jennifer Rees-Jenkins Rotary Club of Kintore, Kemnay & District

latest 26-miler in April in four hours and 40 minutes. “The crowds as ever were most encouraging and it was great to see so many friends along the route who spurred me on, particularly from the Folkestone Running Club,” said Ray afterwards. Ray was raising money for the Kent Association for the Blind. This year he has topped the £4,000 mark, taking the total raised over the past 17 years to more than £70,000. “I am recovering really well and I am now looking forward to my 18th London Marathon,” he added. Meanwhile, a couple of weeks earlier, Michael Frape completed his first marathon, crossing the finish line at the Paris Marathon where he was raising money for WaterAid. “I chose to run for WaterAid given its strong links with Rotary and humanitarian aims,” explained Michael, who is a member of the Cambridge South Rotary Club. “WaterAid’s vision is to provide safe water, sanitation and hygiene for everyone everywhere by 2030.”

Ray Johnston Rotary Club of Folkestone

Michael Frape Rotary Club of Cambridge South

ROTARY // 21


World's Greatest Meal

Making a meal out of polio! In three years, the World’s Greatest Meal has raised millions of pounds in the fight against polio. Co-founder Susanne Rea explains how.


USANNE REA has got a goal – and it is so close, that by the time you read this article, the target will have probably been surpassed. This likeable Australian is one half of the brainchild behind the hugely successful Rotary fund-raiser, the World’s Greatest Meal. A polio survivor herself, Susanne is hoping that by the time her countryman, Ian Riseley, becomes Rotary International President at the end of June, the dinner party project will have raised a staggering $7.5 million (£6 million). “The most important thing we are talking about is lives,” explained Suzanne. “Twelve million children have been vaccinated through funding from the World’s Greatest Meal, money which otherwise would not have been there.” Susanne was four-years-old when she woke up one morning and couldn’t get out of bed. Living in Birmingham at the time, she was one of thousands of children in the 1940s who contracted polio and, as a result, spent plenty of time in hospital. Since then the battle against polio has become personal, and after falling into Rotary at the age of 50, Susanne set about to make a difference to Rotary’s End Polio Now campaign. Working in partnership with friend Mukesh Malhotra, from the Rotary Club of Hounslow, the pair reached across the miles in 2014. They harnessed the power of social media to encourage Rotarians to hold their own culinary fund-raisers and donate the proceeds to End Polio Now. The response has been staggering over the past three years, with more than 3,600 22 // ROTARY

Susanne Rea speaking at Conference

events staged in 73 countries across five continents, with 210,000 Rotarians taking part. “Some meals are worth $10, one was worth $67,000. It doesn’t matter, all events are valued and we would love to have you on board. Even if you are having a cup of tea with a friend, you will be helping End Polio,” reflected Susanne, when she spoke at the Rotary Conference in Manchester in April. As a result of spearheading the World’s Greatest Meal project, Susanne has been travelling the globe, spreading the gospel and understanding more about Rotary and the fight against polio. “It is amazing how people from the other side of the world can join together and this is all due, of course, to that wonderful medium Facebook,” she added. “We are such a visual project through social media, we are a sort of public image machine with Rotarians sending in

photographs of their events. “I have learnt so much since being a Rotarian. I think those of you in Rotary know what I mean, because you are given so many opportunities to do things and be part of a wonderful organisation.” But even though the end is tangible in the battle against polio, Susanne, who is a member of the Rotary Club of Cairns Sunrise in Queensland, Australia, sounded a cautionary note that Rotarians should not relent in their struggle. “Little girls and boys everywhere are still in danger,” she warned. “Polio is still a threat, and where there is one case of polio in the world, then we cannot relax.”



2017, there had been: •By3,738Mayevents registered in 74 countries

than 211,000 participants •More worldwide million (£1.93 million) •$2.49 had been raised $7.45 million (£5.78 million) •Giving with matching funds from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

translates to enough funds •Which to buy more than 12,429,000 polio vaccinations

For more information visit:


Purple4Polio BY DAVE KING

It’s Ready

Treddie Go! Mark Tredwin is a confirmed petrol head with a passion for cars. He has never raced on a track in his life – until this summer. And he’s doing it all for Purple4Polio.


E describes the car as “fast on acceleration, quick around corners, incredibly nimble, but whose aerodynamics are the second cousin of a house brick!” Welcome to the wacky world of motor sport which this summer sees rookie racer and Dorset Rotarian, Mark Tredwin, pictured, hurtling round tracks in a purple-liveried Caterham 7 car. “I am a confirmed petrol head, but this season of racing is going to scratch an itch which I’ve had for many years,” explained 55-year-old Mark, a former President of the Lyme Regis Rotary Club. Rotary will very much be at the forefront of Mark’s campaign in the sevenrace Caterham Academy Series, which is aimed at enthusiasts who have never raced before, all battling it out in similar cars. It will be a true test of racing ability. Mark’s father John was an active Rotarian at the Risca Rotary Club near Newport, and his mother Joy was a former President of the Inner Wheel in the South Wales town. She died last year, and so Mark is using her legacy to fund this venture into amateur car racing. “I’ve been

encouraged by family to do this,” explained Mark. “We thought it would be a good way to race and also promote a couple of charities. “As a Rotarian, Purple4Polio is a charity very close to my heart and so I wanted to do something at these races which raised a bit of money but also created awareness of Purple4Polio and Rotary generally. “There is a perception that Rotary is full of old people who don’t do a great deal but rattle tins outside supermarkets. " What I want to show this summer is that couldn’t be further from the truth.” Competing under the brand of Team Treddie Racing, Mark will be doing some fund-raising trackside at the different venues in aid of Purple4Polio, but also the Dorset-based hospice, Julia’s House. This is a high-profile year for Caterham since 2017 celebrates the 60th anniversary of the first Caterham, originally designed and produced by Lotus Cars. There will be 28 cars on two grids for each race.

The season began with a couple of time trial events in Liverpool and Tamworth, before the track season began at Brands Hatch on June 4th. The series has drawn rookies from a wide range of age and professions, and Mark admitted he was realistic to know he would not be among the front runners. “It is going to be a challenge,” he said. “I am not going to set the world alight because there are some youngsters on the grid who have better reactions than me. But I am going to have some fun and promote Purple4Polio at the same time.” There will be television coverage of the Caterham Academy Race Series on Lotus TV and Motors TV.


•June 4th: Brands Hatch •July 8th-9th: Donington •August 5th: Snetterton 16th-17th: •September Rockingham 14th-15th: •October Silverstone International For more information visit: Caterham Academy Race Series: academy/events Search 'Team Treddie Racing' on Facebook.

24 // ROTARY

ROTARY // 25


Champions of Change

Celebrating the best of people Lord Hague headlined a list of dignitaries at the House of Lords who helped celebrate Rotary’s annual Champions of Change Awards. Herbert Chatters reports from Westminster.


OTARY International and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation have contributed more to the health of the people around the world than

any single nation. That was the message which former Secretary of State, Lord Hague of Richmond, had for Rotarians and their guests when they met for the annual Champions of Change Awards at the House of Lords. The event came exactly a week after Lord Hague had met with Bill Gates when they discussed the need for overseas aid. The former Foreign Secretary said it

Champion of Change winner Martin Kettrick receives his award from Lord Hague and Eve Conway

26 // ROTARY

was important that countries supported development aid. “I can really identify with much of the work that has been done by these awardees here tonight,” said Lord Hague. “I have been to the most vile places; spoken with war lords and seen the very worst of the people of the world, so it is good to be involved with this event and to celebrate what is the best of people in the world.” In presenting the awards to the 11 Rotary Champions of Change, he said: “To be part of the work in Rotary International you should be extremely proud.” In addition to the four domestic and seven international Champions of Change, this year for the first time, there were Community Champions — five non-Rotarians who had been selected from those nominated by Rotary clubs throughout Great Britain and Ireland. There were two other special awards presented - the first by Rotary International in Great Britain and Ireland President Eve Conway was the first ever Presidential Award which was made to Cardiff Rotarian George Mercer. George, who will once again be President of his Club in what is the centenary year of Rotary in Wales, was cited for recognising a need for a new innovative style of club to attract younger members. In spite of initial rejection of the idea, George continued to push forward and took the motion through the Rotary International Council of Legislation, opening up the opportunity for clubs worldwide to create satellite clubs. Former Secretary of State for Scotland,


District Governor Steve Jenkins, President Eve Conway, Lord Hague and Presidential Award winner George Mercer with his wife Joan

To be part of the work in Rotary International you should be extremely proud.

Michael Moore, was made a Paul Harris Fellow to recognise his part in the creation of the Champions of Change Awards themselves. Through Rotary connections he realised the potential of this Awards night and arranged for the first one to be held in the Scotland Office persuading the then Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg to make the presentations and thus giving the event recognition. Michael’s Award was received on his behalf by Lord Campbell of Pittenweem, a former Rotary Scholar, who went to Stanford University and regaled his audience with tales of Flower Power California in the Sixties. The event was hosted by Baroness Harris of Richmond, who said it had been a privilege to welcome everyone to the Palace of Westminster. There were cheers from the audience for Lord Hague and Lord Campbell when they both announced that they were Honorary Rotarians — Hague at Richmond and Campbell in Howe of Fife. l

Working with foster mothers in Malawi

Co mm


s unit Bu y Champion Katie

ll he

atie Bushell from Liverpool was one of the youngest Award winners of the night. She said she was ‘humbled’ to accept her Community Champion Award “on behalf of the Malawi foster mothers and outreach people”. Katie, 42, said: “I see myself as a facilitator of change and representative of all the hard work of people from inside Malawi.

“I was delighted and surprised to be chosen as I consider my work a drop in the ocean — not a world changing outcome for the children involved.” Katie was full of praise for Rotary, explaining that her father attended Rotary at the invitation of his friend and was invited to talk to her local club about her project. “I kept on going and the cheques kept on coming,” she quipped. “I enjoyed doing it and reported back every year. “My work, in conjunction with West Wirral Rotary Club is ongoing and is in partnership with the Rotary Club of Bwaila, Lilongwe.” As a teacher and communicator, Katie had a message about Rotary: “Rotarians surprise me. They are enterprising and more than a social group - they encourage self-development and are passionate about what they do. “They are supportive, offer guidance, experience and financial support for projects.” Katie was nominated by the West Wirral Rotary Club. l ROTARY // 27


Champions of Change

Champions of Change

International Awards Rotary is an organisation which knows no boundaries, here are some of the amazing international projects which, thanks to one Rotarian’s initiative and persistence, working in partnership with others, has changed people’s lives. ROBBIE MIDDLETON, ROTARY CLUB PORTLETHEN & DISTRICT

For over 20 years, Robbie, a founder member of the Rotary club near Aberdeen, has been raising funds to support mostly orphans in the Kabale and Bubaare area of South Uganda. His most recent project has been building classrooms together with a hygienic girls’ dormitory and toilets at the Amazing Love School, with the help of a district matching grant.


As a result of Richard’s personal leadership and hard work over several years, hundreds of people in small impoverished communities in Nepal now have ready access to clean water, improving their health and saving them hours of toil. His latest project was in Baspani, whose 312 residents had to walk to a neighbouring village to collect water. Now no house is more than 50 metres from a tap, which provides round-the-year clean water.


Irene and her husband Eric were so inspired by a Stop Hunger Now food packing session at the Rotary International Convention in Brazil in 2015, that they wanted to set up a similar event on their return home. But the cost of £25,000 for 100,000 meals looked prohibitive. Undeterred, the couple spent months talking to other clubs and businesses to raise funding and volunteers. In August last year they achieved their goal with a two-day event involving over 500 volunteers packing meals for dispatch to Nairobi, Kenya. They showcased a meal packing event at April’s Rotary International in Great Britain and Ireland Conference in Manchester.

28 // ROTARY

Robbie Middleton

Richard J. Brind


Since 2006, Literacy in a Box (LIAB) has sent nearly 900 Literacy Boxes of educational supplies to overseas children. Ian's vision of working with partners adds value to all projects, including the Manaca Project in Zambia, led by Operation Sunshine. They totally refurbished and made secure Manaca Community School, while LIAB, through Rotary clubs, districts and another partner charity, GAGA, funded Literacy Boxes and text books for the 400 pupils.

Irene Russell


On a visit to Freetown, Sierra Leone, in 2005, as part of a group working to extend a Fistula Clinic operated by Mercy Ships, David became aware of the physical and emotional problems associated with life in this poverty-stricken and war-ravaged country. Working with tribal elders, he set up what is known locally as The David School, which now has 239 primary and 126 secondary school pupils. Further work is planned to provide new toilet blocks and improved teaching skills.

Ian Parker


Our Street Our Children was set up by David when he was on a one-year assignment teaching in Nepal. The project’s aim is to reduce the number of street children who are outcasts in their own communities. Its two main thrusts are The Homework Club where 30 children study in a safe environment and the recruitment of outreach workers to provide basic food and clothing for the children. If possible, and with the help of local trustees, they try to get the children reunited with their families.

David Wallwork

David Britten


Rotaract Conference

A strong partnership Rotaractors from across the UK and Europe flocked to Manchester for their annual conference, staged alongside Rotary in Great Britain and Ireland’s three-day gathering. Herbert Chatters popped his head in to find out what was being said.


OTARACTORS are looking to Rotary to focus more on current issues such as refugees and renewable energy. So says Rotaract in Great Britain and Ireland Chair, Luke Addison. An attraction for Rotaract to engage would be if Rotary came across more as realistic change-makers, explained Luke. That said, the Winchester-based chairman would introduce the 'wow factor' to Rotarians' views on Rotaractors. Luke was speaking at the end of Rotaract’s second conference — run in parallel with the Rotary event in Manchester — which he described as “an outstanding success”. Delegates, many of whom were international, shared their enthusiasm and willingness to compare success stories during absorbing sessions. And Luke pointed out service was a focal point for these young men and women. He explained: “I appreciate that it's not always easy for Rotaractors to commit to service projects — time is an issue, their careers are demanding, family is important and really their life is just starting. "But they do want to do stuff that's inspiring.” Luke hinted that more tangible support from Rotary was needed and perhaps a change of approach on both sides if they are to strengthen their relationship. “That does not diminish what Rotary does,” he added. “It's all very relevant, but it is missing a voice on today's issues.” That said he added it was great to see a 22 year-old as President of the Rotary Club of Manchester Trailblazers attending the Rotary Conference. Luke shared the main Rotary platform on the first afternoon of the Conference. “My highlight of the weekend was speaking to the Rotary Conference and the enquiries from Rotary clubs for me to speak at their 30 // ROTARY

Rotaract chairman, Luke Addison, in conversation with Rotary Vice President, Jennifer Jones

meetings. A great opportunity was for us to learn more about each other.” Another partnership which could be on the cards for Rotaract is with the Volunteer Police Cadets. It is the initiative of two enthusiastic retired police officers, who spoke to Rotaractors about their idea to pool their resources in the upper age band from their cadets to link up with Rotaract to volunteer on special projects. Rotaract is being proposed as a pathway for those cadets aged 18-plus, enabling them through Rotaract to continue their community service after leaving police cadets. This link-up would inspire young people to participate positively in their communities. Another speaker at the Rotaract conference was the Vice President of Rotary International, Jennifer Jones, who offered

an upbeat message to the younger members of the Rotary family. She told them: “We need your hip, cool, relevant approach to the future which is not stereotyped. “Rotary needs young thinkers. There are 70-year-olds who think young and 20-year-olds who think old. We need them all.” Jennifer asked the delegates by a show of hands to indicate how many would go on to join Rotary. The straw poll was encouraging. The Q&A session with Jennifer highlighted many interesting takes as well as further suggestions on developing the bond between Rotary and Rotaract.

For more information visit:


Rise Against Hunger


rise to the challenge Joy Chatters joined in the Rise Against Hunger meal pack at the Rotary Conference in Manchester to highlight the initiative. Here’s what she discovered as the teams tried to pack 14,000 meals in just two hours.


14,000 MEALS IN


Organisers Warrington Rotary Club, led by Irene and Eric Russell, had already discovered what a satisfying event it could be having brought together Rotary and other non-profit organisations to raise £25,000 and pack over 100,000 meals last year. And so they embarked on bringing the idea to more Rotarians at Conference. The aim was to pack 14,000 meals in just two hours. Rotary International Vice President Jennifer Jones did her impression of J.R. Rank with the gong and we were off. Rotarians and their partners, members of Inner Wheel, Rotaractors, Interactors, and RotaKids did their impressions too, looking like modern day versions of Ena Sharples in protective hair nets, as they manned tables previously 32 // ROTARY

Ge t

tin gs

tu c

k in

ch to the meal packing

al l

ge en

prepared with boxes of grains, plastic bags, gloves and a funnel. Our table of five women didn’t take long to get into their stride - vitamins, lentils, soya, rice. We were soon calling for a runner to take our box of five bags for

weighing before they were sealed. Two boxes on and we all moved changed places to break the monotony and get the old grey matter into a new routine. We were so quick that our runner, Rotary President 2019/20 Donna Wallbank’s hubby Stephen soon discovered we were a full-time job. Every 1,000 bags filled and the gong was struck — try balancing lentils in a small scoop when that goes! All too soon our hour-long stint had ended and we packed ourselves up ready for the second shift to move in. We’d had fun, feeling quite fulfilled knowing that all this food would help families in Zimbabwe, as well as discovering how to truly bring together the family of Rotary. At least one of next year’s District Governors is already looking to organise a similar event — bring it on!

Children receiving the Rise Against Hunger food packs © Rise Against Hunger

ITAMINS, lentils, soya, rice… vitamins, lentils, soya, rice… It’s the mantra of all who helped at the Rise Against Hunger meal pack at Rotary Conference on the Saturday afternoon. How many were still reciting it in their sleep that night I wonder? It was a great afternoon of fun, feeling as though we had done something more positive to help on the international scene, rather than simply listening to speakers and promising to take back their messages to our clubs.

School group taking part in the Shakespeare Schools Festival

The Bard makes the whole world a stage This autumn, schools across the nation will be taking part in the Shakespeare Schools Festival with a little help from Rotary clubs.


HE Shakespeare Schools Foundation is gearing up to work with Rotary clubs later this autumn as part of its Shakespeare Schools' Festival. The SSF is a cultural education charity which uses the unique power of the Bard to transform lives. It helps young people to realise that the whole world is their stage. This autumn, a new generation will discover that by performing Shakespeare on a professional stage, they can gain the confidence to aspire and achieve in any walk of life. Rotary clubs are being invited to forge links with schools – primary, secondary and special schools - who will be given the training and resources to direct their students in a 30 minute play at their local theatre. Rotary’s partnership with SSF has helped it to reach over a quarter of a million young people through its core project, the Shakespeare Schools Festival. Months of preparation culminate in 34 // ROTARY

exhilarating performance evenings in professional theatres from Belfast to Bournemouth, Brighton to Bolton. Clubs have donated time to support the festival, from line-learning help, sharing expertise in stage management and direction, as well as providing key funding towards the registration fee. Rotarian Joan Greening, a member of the Rotary Club of Elthorne-Hillingdon, has shared her expertise as a writer and theatre director by co-ordinating the partnership, as well as directing her own school’s performances. In 2015, Joan’s cast, which consisted of Interact members, performed Twelfth Night at the 600-seat Beck Theatre in Hayes. Joan said: “All the adults working on the production were volunteers and we all got a great deal out of it. “We were so proud of our cast on the performance day not only because they were superb, but because of the way they behaved. It gives students confidence, makes them self-reliant and encourages

them to be team players.” In 2017, a number of schools have registered thanks to the incredible support of their local Rotary clubs. Torquay Grammar School received funding in April and Bourne Westfield Primary Academy is being supported by the Rotary Club of Bourne this year. If your Rotary club is interested in supporting a local school then contact the Outreach Team on 0207 601 1800.



young people •Infrom2016,1,10227,550 schools performed

over 315 nights in 131 theatres, watched by 68,000 people. For more information about Shakespeare Schools Foundation visit:

Maciej Szukala Rotary Club of Wrexham Glyndwr Director for a legal translation firm When did you join Rotary and why? I joined Rotary in May 2016 and have assisted with setting up our club. I joined because I wanted to continue the passion set at the Bournemouth Conference where I received the Young Citizen of the Year Award. I wanted to put forward younger ideas and suggestions. I wanted to concentrate on social media advertising. What were your first impressions of the Rotary club? I have been to number of club meetings of existing Rotary clubs and I would call them very prestigious and managed by strict rules. I feel that every word needed authorisation and I felt like in an assembly meeting of the local council. This was the reason why I decided to join diverse club to attract new members in the relaxing style of Rotary. Describe a typical Rotary meeting and some of the members? Our club meets regularly in a hotel where we have a drink and discuss ideas following Rotary guidelines, but in a friendly and very relaxing manner. This is very much required when you consider that our client base is very diverse and targeted at bringing attention to the young community of Rotarians, but also to other cultures and all age groups. What are some of the projects and activities you have participated in with Rotary? In our club, we concentrate at promoting events based around children. In July

2016, shortly after the club was set up, we established a duck race which was attended by more than 2,000 people. Another major event was the Christmas lights switch-on, which attracted over 6,000 people. It raised thousands of pounds and provided fantastic marketing through local press and radio. What do you most enjoy about Rotary? Rotary has provided me with a number of opportunities to build my confidence. It has allowed me to meet fantastic people and enabled me to develop ideas, and personal skills in shaping my future. I enjoy the fact that I have the opportunity to meet new people on daily basis and mainly help the local community and put back in to the community the time which has been credited to me through the Young Citizen Award. What do you dislike about Rotary? Nothing, but I would like to change the perception that Rotary is only for the rich and elderly generation, which I find truly not to be the case. How relevant is Rotary in the 21st Century? Rotary is an organisation respected worldwide. Going forward we must concentrate on allowing all members of the community who are willing to provide their spare time to contribute whatever time they have by organising events and raising money for local programmes which benefit the community. Rotary, in my opinion, must showcase to the local community how Rotary works. It must highlight how our

work can change the lives of people living around us, especially vulnerable children or disabled members of our community and those who require extra help every day. How can Rotary attract more members? The key to attract more members is to set up new clubs, alongside existing clubs, which would be willing to meet in a relaxing style and be willing to increase their presence on social media. The importance of social media is vital as our Facebook page posts three to six times a day and attracts hundreds of followers which then dramatically increases membership numbers and helps fund-raising. Word of mouth is vital for the future of Rotary, but only if Rotary is also found to be fun, relaxing and less strict on club rules. How do you see the future of Rotary? Rotary is needed now more than ever with all the tensions surrounding Brexit and conflicts all over the world. Rotary is required for local communities to bring diversity and assist those people worldwide who suffer from starvation or are part of regional wars. By setting up more clubs, increasing fund-raising and especially boosting the number of members in Rotary, we will be able to publicise more in the local media the fantastic work we do, as well as promoting ourselves on daily basis in the social media. l If you would like to be featured in Meet & Greet, email editor Dave King at: ROTARY // 37


A defibrillator

saved my life How a Rotary project using a global grant is providing instant help to those who fall victim to a heart attack.


EEPAK Chandarana runs a small grocery store in the tiny Bedfordshire village of Clophill, with his wife Daksha. Eighteen months ago, Deepak was opening up the store at 6am when he felt unwell. Within moments, he was having a heart attack. Fortunately a defibrillator had been recently installed nearby in the village by the Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service. Sensing something was wrong,

38 // ROTARY

quick-thinking Daksha got hold of the defibrillator, and rushed to her husband’s side. While on the phone to the ambulance control centre, she applied the adhesive electrode pads to Deepak’s chest before delivering a dose of electric current to his heart to allow it to return to normal. An ambulance crew was soon on the scene, and Deepak was rushed to hospital where he made a full recovery. He owes his life to his wife and the defibrillator, which he describes as a blessing to the village. “The defibrillator saved my life,”

said Deepak. “People know where the defibrillator is, and its existence gives everyone peace of mind.” Deepak’s story provided the inspiration behind a Rotary initiative across three counties, with District 1260 providing 15 defibrillators in Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire and Buckinghamshire, as part of a £27,000 project which has been supported by a Rotary Foundation Global Grant. Working closely with the Community Heartbeat Trust and the East of England and South Central Ambulance Service, the



The Mayor of Luton, Cllr Tahir Khan, recently accepted a defibrillator on behalf of the people of Luton from the President of Luton North Rotary Club, Geoff Lambert.

defibrillators are housed in stainless steel cabinets, and are only activated by the ambulance service following an emergency call. On each site there is a plaque mentioning The Rotary Foundation. The defibrillators are located in small villages, a housing estate, railways stations, a rowing club, and also a multi-cultural area of Luton where the device comes with video instructions in two languages. “This is a gift of life for the villagers of Wixams,” said Cllr Tom Pedder from the parish council after being presented with the defibrillator from District Governor, Chalmers Cursley. “Our heartfelt thanks to The Rotary Foundation who donated the defibrillator to us.” Project co-ordinator, Paul Denton from the Luton North Rotary Club, explained that Global Grants need more than just equipment to be successful. He said: “Training and sustainability is the key, so training and installation costs were built into the grant budget and training sessions to use the equipment are taking place in each of the 15 communities. “Cardiopulmonary resuscitation instruction is included too, making sure that many more people know how to undertake potentially life-saving interventions in their local community.” Rotary Foundation Global Grants require 30 per cent of the funding to come from outside the project country and this was provided by District 5950 Minnesota and the Rotary Club of Bloomington, Minneapolis, following a previous global scholar partnership. At the presentation at Bletchley

railway station, South Central Ambulance Service first responder, Dick Tracey, revealed that on average four defibrillators are used in the region every week. He was confident the defibrillator installed at Bletchley station would be used. He said: “It is fantastic what Rotary has done. Without doubt, these machines will save lives.” Paul Denton said that what started as a Rotary Foundation Global Grant project for doing good in the world, had now become a showcase for Rotary’s 'We’re for Communities' initiative. “I remember visiting Deepak Chandarana early in the project when I asked if the defibrillator had been used and he replied, ‘Yes on me. It saved my life’. "If we have a similar outcome at only one of our units I will be satisfied." l lROTARIAN Andrew Deptford is offering either a £50 discount or a £50 donation to The Rotary Foundation for defibrillators sold to Rotary clubs and Rotarians. Andrew, who is a member of the Rotary Club of Sleaford in Lincolnshire, supplies the Physio-Control LifePak CR Plus defibrillators, which are used by 70 per cent of the UK’s ambulance and First Responder crews. Invented in 1955, they have sold more than 650,000 units nationwide, and are considered the most user-friendly machines for inexperienced users. Many ambulance services recommend the Physio-Control defibrillators since they are the same make used in ambulances

when paramedics can unplug the pads from this defibrillator and plug them directly into theirs when transferring a patient to hospital. Contact Andrew on: 01529 421111 or email: Website: FACT FILE

WHAT IS A DEFIBRILLATOR? A defibrillator is a device that gives a high energy electric shock to the heart through the chest wall to someone who is in cardiac arrest. This high energy shock is called defibrillation, and it's an essential life-saving step in the chain of survival. If you come across someone who has had a cardiac arrest, it’s vital to call 999 and start CPR - cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). Then you should find out if there is a defibrillator nearby. There are many defibrillators available in public places such as train stations, shopping centres, airport and leisure centres. These defibrillators are often known as public access defibrillators as anyone can use them in an emergency. You shouldn’t be afraid of using a defibrillator if someone has had a cardiac arrest. If you’re thinking about getting a defibrillator you should always talk to your local NHS ambulance service first. They can provide advice about where exactly to place the defibrillator and which kind to buy. It’s also really important that the ambulance service knows about it, that way, 999 operators can quickly identify a nearby device in future emergencies. Source: British Heart Foundation

ROTARY // 39


The Great Get Together & Rotary Ride

A Great Get Together remembering MP Jo Cox


Brendan Cox

OTARY will be supporting the Great Get Together which is taking place from June 16th to 18th – ironically including the two days of the Rotary Ride (June 17th to 18th). Numerous organisations are creating events to unite communities in memory of MP Jo Cox who was murdered last year. The Great Get Together has the support of Rotary President, Eve Conway, and Communities’ Chair, Donna Wallbank, and offers an exciting opportunity for Rotary to demonstrate what it can do really

well, link up communities for positive change. Street parties, picnics, buffets and many other ways of uniting people to share good food and companionship will be taking place. It can be big or small, a street party, a tea party, a game of football in the park or a BBQ with neighbours, anything at all. What matters is that all have fun and communities are drawn together. Jo Cox’s family decided that her life, which was dedicated to helping others, should be celebrated by bringing communities together and so the Great Get Together was created. Jo had a connection with Rotary. After university, Jo travelled to Borneo with Operation Raleigh to work on conservation and help build a hospital. This was a coming-of-age trip for Jo which helped shape the rest of her life. Jo raised money to fund the trip and the local Rotary club was one of her key supporters topping up fundraising from

local businesses and sponsored walks, etc. When Jo became the Member of Parliament for Batley and Spen, she visited her constituency Rotary club and spoke of her role as local MP. After she died, Jo's family received several letters from Rotary clubs up and down the country expressing their deep condolences, which were greatly appreciated. Although this clashes with the Rotary Ride, it has been timed to be the weekend closest to the anniversary of Jo’s death. Clubs and districts can do one, be involved with both or defer involvement. It is entirely up to Rotarians. To take part, sign up on the webpage which has been specially created: great-get-together/ Whatever you do, wherever you do it, please ensure that if you sign up with the Great Get Together to also tell your district officers who can then tell the Rotary Support Centre where we can share your successes.

Get on your bike for Rotary


s part of The Rotary Foundation centennial celebrations and Rotary’s Purple4Polio campaign, this year’s ride takes place on June 17th and 18th. Money raised from the pedal-pushing will go towards End Polio Now to help in the final push to finally eradicate polio from the world. Rotary Ride has already proved to be a great success in previous years. It is another way for clubs and districts to engage with their communities on a local level, whilst boosting national coverage and recognition for Rotary. There are three types of ride, which you can select to suit you and your club: Fun ride - One for all ages and abilities. This is an ideal way for 40 // ROTARY

amateurs, families and youngsters to get involved through an event that is fun for all. Enthusiasts - For the more established riders, give yourself a challenge by taking part in a long distance or cross-country ride. Static ride - You don’t have to cycle the length of breadth of the country to take part, in fact you don’t even need to go anywhere. A static ride involves jumping on an exercise bike and is a great way to work as part of a team by taking turns riding to a goal distance. Organisers are hoping to make this year’s event even bigger and better.

For more information on registering your ride, fund-raising packs with top tips for hosting an event, promotional materials and other information, please email:




EET John Bowen, a Past President of the Bournemouth Rotary Club, who celebrated his 102nd birthday with a special lunch at the Mayfair Hotel in the Dorset town. According to Rotary International in Great Britain and Ireland records, John is the oldest registered member on its database, although not all members have included their dates of birth. What’s for certain is that John is Bournemouth’s oldest Rotarian and at the birthday lunch in April he was joined by fellow Rotarians while greeted with messages of congratulations from Rotary International in Great Britain and Ireland and Rotary Wessex. John, who worked as treasurer and chief executive at Bournemouth Council in the 1960s, always drives to meetings in his Volkswagen Golf. He renewed his licence for

another three years shortly after his 100th birthday. “Driving makes life possible for me in every way,” said John, who served in the Royal Signals during the Second World War. “It allows me to get to my Rotary meetings as well as Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra concerts, for which I have held a season ticket since I first moved to Bournemouth in 1960.” John, who was born in Cardiff in 1915, has worked for local government most of his life. At the age of 15 he left school to join the treasurer’s department at Glamorgan County Council, where he worked until he was called up to serve in the war. He was posted to a Guards Brigade Headquarters, then stationed in London, to defend the capital in the event of invasion. Here it was discovered that not only was he one of a handful in the HQ who could drive, but he was also the only one who could

Joh nw

in 1 ith his Austin Seven


accurately read a map, a skill much sought after in wartime when all the signposts had been removed. In July 1944 the brigade was sent to Normandy and fought on through the liberation of France. After demobilisation, John returned to local government first again in Glamorgan, then becoming deputy city treasurer in Cardiff before moving to Bournemouth. John joined the Bournemouth Club in 1961 and became President in 1972. When asked, John said the secret to his long life was his late wife Olwen’s wonderful cooking. “I was very lucky. I had a very happy professional life but I also was very happily married for 53 years. I couldn’t have asked for more,” he added.

ROTARY // 41



IX enthusiastic members of the Cheshire-based Rotary Club of Bramhall & Woodford have just returned from staying in the homes of local Rotarians in Kasese in south-west Uganda. They were there to develop the longterm project, begun in 2013, to assist the Rotary Club of Kasese improve the lives of poor families living in the rural village of Lhuhwahwa. The project aimed to empower the village women, 90% of whom are illiterate, by equipping them with sustainable selfhelp initiatives. “It was wonderful to see the progress which has been made since our last visit four years ago,” said Sue Preece, Chair of the International Committee. “It made us feel proud to be Rotarians.” The Rotarians visited a shop where the women had set up a small business making and selling school uniforms using the



MUCH-LOVED music teacher has brought hope to hundreds of children in sub-Saharan Africa by leaving an incredible legacy of over a million pounds to charity. Helen Ruddock, who passed away in 2015 at the age of 96, was so inspired by the work of charity The Rotary Foundation UK (RFUK) that she bequeathed her money to

42 // ROTARY

sewing and knitting machines that the club had bought for them. Nearly 40 women have been trained in tailoring. Both Rotary clubs also collaborated to fund and run an outreach medical camp. The village lacks easily accessible and affordable medical facilities. One of the Rotarians, a retired GP, held a surgery under a tree in the village and, with the support of Kagando Hospital nurses, treated several dozen patients. a perpetual fund which supports projects to provide clean water and sanitation to those who need it. Mike Harrington-Spier, who is a former pupil of Helen’s and a friend, described her as a very money-wise lady. He said: “Helen was thrifty and prudent with finances, but so generous as person. During her long life she helped so many to fulfil their promises and it is typical of her that she wanted her legacy to help those families who suffer the most. Although modest by nature, I am sure she would have been quietly proud of her achievement.” It was through Mike, a former President of the Rotary Club of Halstead in Essex, that Helen had learned of the valuable work carried out by Rotary, both in the UK and throughout the world. “Helen knew the value of money and how it could change the lives of so many people if used wisely,” he added. “She knew the money was in safe hands with Rotary and will make a tremendous difference.” Complying with her wishes, the spendable earnings from her gift, known as the Helen Ruddock Foundation Endowed Fund, will exclusively fund water and sanitation projects to improve the provision

The Rotarians donated 14 crossbreed piglets to the women’s association so that they could expand their productivity. And a large marquee along with 100 chairs were bought to generate rental income for the Lhuhwahwa micro-finance initiative and provide facilities for village events. Putting their construction skills to the test, the Rotarians helped with the building of an eco-san toilet which they hope will act as a prototype for other such toilets to be installed in the village in the future. Visits were made to toilet facilities which had been funded by the Rotary Club of Bramhall & Woodford in collaboration with the Rotary Club of Winchester. “We were delighted to see these much-needed facilities being well used, particularly those in the primary school where the original latrines had been destroyed by heavy floods in 2013,” added Sue Preece. “We also visited the new block at Kagando Hospital for the fistula clinic. We were reliably informed that this ablution block was the only one painted by a Rotarian Bishop!”

of clean water and hygiene practices in communities. Rotary International in Great Britain and Ireland President, Eve Conway, said: “We are so very grateful for Helen’s generosity and we will ensure the money will save lives as she wished. This legacy is life-changing and will bring a brighter future to many children. “When I heard about Helen’s bequest, I was so deeply moved. Her life story and commitment to helping young people be all that they can be is incredibly inspiring and we are very honoured that she thought of RFUK.” The Rotary Foundation this year celebrates its centennial anniversary. Over the last 100 years, The Foundation has funded over $3 billion worth of projects in communities around the world.


The Rotary Foundation of Rotary International overheads are small. In the 2015 financial year only 3.3% was used for administrative expenses. The Rotary Foundation UK:



T IS hard to believe that when Erin Bruce and five friends from Marpool Primary School wrote to the Rotary Club of Exmouth and District in late 2014 it would have such an impact on the school. Following a series of meetings, the first RotaKids club was launched in December 2014 and, as the saying goes, the rest is history. The club now has a membership of 42 children from the Marpool Primary School, an increase of 91% since the beginning of this RotaKids year, and was recently awarded a prestigious award from Rotary International Director Elect, Brian Stoyel. The first Marpool RotaKids President, Erin Bruce, joined current president, Lilly Woodward, to receive the RotaKids’ Presidential Citation. The RotaKids meet every Wednesday afternoon. Since December 2014, they have raised in the region of £3,500 for various charities, carried out communitybased projects including litter picking and have helped Rotary with crocus planting in the Exmouth area. They have also organised international projects including a Shoebox campaign and Dictionaries 4 Life for Uganda.

RotaKids President, Lilly Woodward, and Vice President, Mugabo Wellace, receiving their Presidential Citation from Rotary International Director Elect, Brian Stoyel.



OTARIANS across Great Britain and Ireland played their part with a fund-raising initiative as part of the Inter Spinal Unit Games. Paralympic star, Ade Adetipan, officially launched the relay during the Rotary Conference in Manchester. With support from WheelPower, Rotarians took part in a three-team relay which coincided with the Inter Spinal Unit Games 2017 at Stoke Mandeville Stadium in Buckinghamshire. One team set out from Manchester, visiting spinal units in Dublin, Belfast and Glasgow. A second team set out from Sheffield, calling in at Wakefield, Middlesbrough and Stockport, and a third team set off from Oswestry via Cardiff, Salisbury, Stanmore, Bedford and then reached Stoke Mandeville on April 24 in time for the Games. As part of the fund-raising initiative, Rotarians David and Mary Whitehead from WheelPower and the Rotary Club of Biggleswade Ivel presented each spinal injuries centre with WheelPower and Rotary branded sports kit bags, plus a choice of equipment. The murderball wheelchair, which was provided by WheelPower, a charity based in

ONE TEAM SET OUT FROM MANCHESTER, VISITING SPINAL UNITS IN DUBLIN, BELFAST AND GLASGOW. Aylesbury which promotes wheelchair sport, carried a Rotary teddy bear. Various ingenious methods were employed during the relays as Rotary clubs devised eccentric ways of transporting the wheelchair between units. Before arriving at Stoke Mandeville with its steam car convoy, the wheelchair had stopped off at RAF Halton Airfield near Aylesbury, where it had arrived by glider provided by the London Gliding Club. Pictured is District Governor Molly Youd, and Oswestry Cambrian Rotarians at the Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt Spinal Unit in Oswestry, at the start of its journey to Stoke Mandeville.

ROTARY // 43




MEMBERSHIP initiative has become a strong local partnership thanks to the efforts of Maidenhead Thames Rotary Club. An ambitious regeneration programme for Maidenhead is underway with major investment taking place ahead of the arrival of Crossrail in 2019. This includes the regeneration of town centre waterways to bring the Thames to the town, hundreds of new homes in the town centre, new office space, new shops, cafes and restaurants. In 2015, members of Maidenhead Thames Rotary formed a membership focus group to find ways to increase new members. The focus group comprises some of the most active, enthusiastic members with good professional complementary skills who work well as team. One initial idea was to create a ‘friends’ group of people who wanted to put something back in the community and get involved in supporting some of the club’s projects. “The regeneration of the town presents a unique opportunity to make Maidenhead special and enjoyable for the local community, so we started to talk to stakeholders involved in the developments to see how we might work together,” explained John Carr from Maidenhead Thames Rotary, and chairman of the new group. “We felt it was essential that the local community was informed about the new town centre and all the changes taking place

44 // ROTARY

over the next few years to gain their interest, support and hopefully their engagement in regeneration projects. As a result, the club has established ‘Friends of Maidenhead’, a volunteer group with more than 200 members whose aim is to build on the new development projects to help make the new town centre a beautiful place to live in, work in and visit. Social media and Facebook is being used as a medium to build on the project. “It’s about having fun, being inspired, making friends and getting the feel good factor through joint activities which result in benefit to the town” added John. Potential projects include planting more trees, creating trails with signs for walkers, runners and cyclists, and providing plaques with interesting information about the town. To launch the initiative, Maidenhead Thames Rotary co-ordinated an exhibition, using a vacant shop offered by the town’s Nicholsons shopping centre. They hope to repeat the idea again working with other civic groups. John Carr pointed out that nine new members had been recruited to the club. He added: “The shop has been an overwhelming success. “Around 3000 people have visited and local people of all ages have shown real enthusiasm to play a part in helping to make the most of this unique opportunity, with nearly 200 signing up to the Friends of Maidenhead group and around 20 interested in find out more about Rotary membership.”

ORE than 1,000 people were seen and treated by doctors as three medical camps were set up in Jaffna, Sri Lanka. The Rotary Club of Ascot has been working with the Rotary Club of Jaffna over the past 12 months to organise and finance three free medical camps in some rural areas of the Jaffna peninsula, where anyone could turn up for free medical treatment. Hundreds of locals were treated by doctors and specialists drawn from the Rotary Club of Jaffna and the local Ministry of Health. Recent severe flooding in the area had also contaminated the drinking water supply and, with help from the Rotary Club of Ascot, a total of 27 wells were treated with chlorine and water purification. Clean drinking water has been restored to the local population which relies on these wells. Further free medical camps are being planned in Sri Lanka in the near future. Hugo Winkler, President Elect of the Berkshire-based club, said: “We are grateful for the District Grants which we have obtained which, together with our local fund-raising activities, have helped to finance this very worthwhile cause.”


Got a story for us? Send it in (with a good quality picture) to

Look for us online at or follow us on Facebook: /RotaryinGBI Twitter: @RotaryGBI YouTube: Rotary International in Great Britain & Ireland


It's Gone Viral



What is being watched, posted, liked, shared and tweeted around Rotary in the world of social media.

Twitter | Facebook | YouTube | Instagram

Twitter | Facebook | YouTube | Instagram

Twitter | Facebook | YouTube | Instagram



ON YOUR BIKE If you’re getting involved in this year’s Rotary Ride for End Polio Now don’t forget to share what you’re up to on social media! On Twitter, follow the action by using #RotaryRide. Selfie sticks at the ready!

“Rotary is at the forefront of helping us help people on that worst day, when they’ve lost everything.” They were the words of ShelterBox CEO Chris Warham who gave a fascinating insight into the charity’s latest activities with response volunteer Liz Odell at #RotaryConf2017. The video interview is available on the Rotary in Great Britain and Ireland Facebook page.

Twitter | Facebook | YouTube | Instagram

Twitter | Facebook | YouTube | Instagram

Twitter | Facebook | YouTube | Instagram

To mark #DementiaAwarenessWeek, we shared TV personality Russell Grant’s story. As a Patron for Dementia UK and an Ambassador for Alzheimer’s Research UK, Russell is a passionate supporter of Dementia Awareness having cared for his own grandmother, who had the illness. Visit the Rotary in Great Britain and Ireland Facebook page to watch the moving interview.


The atmosphere was electric at the Rise Against Hunger meal pack at #RotaryConf2017 with Rotarians and Rotaractors coming together to support the cause. Head to the Rotary in Great Britain and Ireland Facebook page to check out the packing in action - good vibes all round!




Thousands of social media users have followed the journey of the Rollin’ With Rotary group who have travelled across the USA delivering acts of kindness and community projects. Check out their Instagram profile @rollinwithrotary to see what they’ve been up to.

Rotary International in Great Britain & Ireland

Wonder how the world stays on the front foot in the fight against polio? The World Health Organisation YouTube has released a series of videos answering that very question. Surveillance in over 70 countries, sophisticated technology and of course Rotary assistance! Head to to check it out.

Rotary International in Great Britain & Ireland

ROTARY // 45

ROTARY // 47

Editor's letter

and finally... with Managing Editor Dave King


’M not a great fan of conferences. In my business career I’ve had more fun popping bubble wrap than listening to a succession of bores drone on about their dull careers, while stating the bloomin’ obvious through death by PowerPoint. Not so the recent Rotary Conference in Manchester. I honestly came away from the 92nd gathering feeling like a Duracell bunny with his Rotary batteries well and truly re-charged, with my enthusiasm invigorated for what Rotary is all about. Meeting like-minded people, listening to what they are doing, hearing great speakers and understanding the amazing work being undertaken across these isles served to underline why we do Rotary. It is simply service above self, when egos get stopped at the door. Now all roads point to Torquay next year when I would seriously recommend a trip to the Devon Riviera. If you’ve never been to conference before, believe me it will make you re-think your Rotary values. l PUTTING on my critical hat, can someone please get a grip with the Community Showcase Exhibition at Rotary conferences?

It’s such a shame we’re not doing more to allow charities to showcase themselves. Their stands are often tucked away from the main conference area, with limited hours when Rotarians can visit. I write as someone who has attended a number of district and national Rotary Conferences on behalf of a charity. Take time to visit the stands and you might be inspired by a cause worth taking to your club. You will also meet some amazing charities supported by selfless people with some truly amazing stories. So please, let’s have a look at better showcasing of the charities in all of the conference programmes. We need charities as much as they need us. Let’s be smarter, because I think we are missing a trick here. l NO surprise that the 'Dignity in Dying' flier which accompanied the April issue of Rotary elicited a few complaints, one of which is published on page 6. I received a letter from one Rotarian who suggested that, in future, if Rotary in Great Britain and Ireland wished to accept advertising or fliers from political, religious, medical or campaigning groups, then a sub-committee should be formed to

decide such issues on a case by case basis. What poppycock! A world run by committees - pass me the bubble wrap, please! I don’t edit by committee. I never have done in my 35 years as a journalist. Crikey, I'd never get a newspaper or magazine published on deadline! By publishing an advertisement or a flier in Rotary does not indicate a tacit support for that business or cause. We stick firmly to the Editor’s Code of Practice and the Advertising Standards Authority Code. I am a firm advocate of free speech, yet we live in times, regrettably, where free speech, or voicing an opinion which is not mainstream, is frowned upon. Rotary is a broad and discerning organisation, and should remain as such. If you didn’t like the flier, then surely you had the freedom to bin it - just as you can make a paper plane out of this page. Back in 1956, Lord Diplock was summing up in a defamation case involving Lord Silkin and the Sunday Express, when he concluded: “The basis of our public life is that the crank and the enthusiast can say what he believes, just as much as the reasonable man or woman.” Free speech? You bet! And 60 years on, they are prophetic words. l

Editorial material and opinion expressed in Rotary do not necessarily reflect the views of Rotary International in Great Britain & Ireland or the publisher. Every effort is made to ensure that the magazine’s content is accurate. Information is published in good faith, but no liability can be accepted for loss or inconvenience arising from error or omission. The editor welcomes contributions of articles, news items, photographs and letters, but is under no obligation to publish unsolicited material. The editor reserves the right to edit for clarity or length. Contributors must ensure that all material submitted is not in breach of copyright or that they have obtained any necessary permission, in writing, for its reproduction. While every care will be taken with material submitted to Rotary magazine, no responsibility can be accepted for loss or damage. Rotary International in Great Britain & Ireland believes in the highest standards journalistic integrity. Rotary International in Great Britain & Ireland and the publisher do not accept responsibility for advertising and insert content. Advertisements are accepted at face value and no liability can be accepted for the actions of advertisers.

50 // ROTARY

ROTARY // 51

Rotary Magazine June - July 2017  

This issue we take a look at some of the highlights from the Rotary Conference in Manchester, including the Rotary Young Citizen Awards, Ade...

Rotary Magazine June - July 2017  

This issue we take a look at some of the highlights from the Rotary Conference in Manchester, including the Rotary Young Citizen Awards, Ade...