The Wheelchair Relay that started in Manchester at the Great Britain and Ireland Rotary Conference, under the supervision of Ade Adepitan visited Stanmore on 21 April 2017 on its way to the Stoke Mandeville Games.
The wheelchair has visited all the Spinal Units in Great Britain and Ireland in partnership with WheelPower, who were present in strength at Stanmore.
District Governor Helen took to the wheelchair for the final 200 yards, and commented that being in the chair gave her a different outlook on the event and on the world. Firstly she found it difficult to control – “much harder than I was expecting” – but also, she commented on the fact that it is difficult to look at people eye-to-eye. That was not something she had expected. She added, “this experience has given me much more respect for those that are using wheelchairs everyday”.
Those attending finished the event inside the Aspire Sports Hall where there was a demonstration of wheelchair-based sports.
We heard today that The Rotary Foundation has finally closed the file on our District’s Minibus Project for the Revival Centre in Chernihiv in Northern Ukraine.
Planning for the project commenced in September 2012, and the project received verbal approval in January 2013 whilst DGE Dick was being trained in San Diego. After just over a year of fundraising within our District, we had sufficient funds to apply for our Global Grant, and did so in June 2014. It was at that time that some obstacles were put in our path, but with tenacity and hard work the obstacles were overcome.
The Grant finally arrived at the end of April 2015, and within 10 weeks we had purchased the Minibus and delivered it to Ukraine in early July 2015, with DG Helen and PDG Dick sharing the driving. A year later, we made a follow-up visit to see how the vehicle was doing (see photo above) and were impressed with how it was being maintained.
On 10 March 2017, The Rotary Foundation accepted our final report and confirmed that the project has been completed to their satisfaction!
District Governor Helen proposed a toast to the Eradication of Polio throughout the world at the Tea Party held specially to celebrate Rotary’s progress on eradicating the disease. The event was also the “Media Launch” of the Purple4Polio campaign and coincided with International Women’s Day.
Featured guests at the event included Jane Garvey, Woman’s Hour Presenter for BBC Radio 4, Konnie Huq who used to present Blue Peter, Emily Buchanan who used to be a World Affairs Correspondent for the BBC, Julia Roberts a polio survivor who became a professional dancer and TV Presenter, Bethany Hare who leads the Bethany Smiles Charity, and the principle sponsors Somnath Saha (CEO Typhoo Tea) and Liz Baker from Wilkin and Sons – makers of Tiptree Jams and Preserves.
RIBI was there in force with RIBI President Eve Conway, Janine Birtwhistle, and James Bolton doing an excellent job on the social media. Professional videographer Jonnie Allan recorded the whole event and the many interviews, ably supported by BBC Producer Helen Shreeve.
After short presentations from all the principle players, there was a tea-tasting organised by Typhoo, and then the specially baked celebration cake, made by a former Rotary Young Chef champion and which contained Tiptree preserves, was cut. Deaba was also there, serving refreshments to ‘fill out the corners’.
York Gate was packed to capacity with more than 70 people present, and the event scored an enormous number of hits whilst trending strongly on social media.
Despite forthcoming examinations, seminars, tutorials and lectures, some 20+ Rotary Global Grant Scholars were hosted at Radlett Cricket Club by President David Rose and the Rotarians in the Rotary Club of Radlett on Monday 13 February 2017.
Despite falling temperatures and a nearly-full moon, the scholars that had managed to get time off attended this annual event in Hertfordshire. With scholars from Canada, Germany, Italy, Japan, South Korea, New Zealand, the USA and several other countries besides, each of the scholars was welcomed in their own language (or a very close approximation) by the Club Host Nigel Rogers.
District Governor Helen attended the event as did District Governor Elect Mike, with RIBI President 2018-19 Debbie. Helen thanked the Rotary Club of Radlett for hosting the event, the Scholars for making the journey out of London, and the Rotary Foundation for its continued work in supporting Rotary International’s postgraduate scholarship programme for the last 60 years.
District Governor Helen, with members of her Club – the Rotary Club of Northwick Park – spent the morning of Tuesday 7 February loading a van taking aid to Chernihiv (pronounce it as ‘Cherny Give’) in Northern Ukraine. The aid will be used at the Revival Centre there.
The aid is taken to Ukraine 4 times a year in a convoy of vans organised and led by UK-AID, formerly known as Felsted Aid for Deprived Children. The aid comprised donated clothing, linens, sanitary items and children’s toys, and will head off for Ukraine early in March. Every item donated has to appear on a manifest for the Ukrainian Border Officers to accept the load, so a lot of paperwork has to be completed first by UK-AID.
Chernihiv is the nearest city to Chernobyl, the site of the nuclear disaster in April 1986. The 30th Anniversary was marked in the country last year, as was the 25th Anniversary of the founding of the Revival Centre. The proportion of local children born with neurological or genetic disorders is still increasing.
Many Rotarians from our District and further afield, described by the London Live Freeview TV Channel as an “army of volunteers”, assembled at the Benugo Cafe in Regents Park, Central London, before planting our ‘thousands’ of crocus corms on Friday 9 December 2016.
As well as members of our District, we had Ade Adepitan, Konnie Huq, Julia Roberts and Anne Wafula-Strike who are all Rotary International Polio Eradication Ambassadors. Stefan Levy of London Live was also on the scene interviewing the celebrities for the live broadcast.
With Judith Diment, the Rotary International Polio Task Force Advocacy leader lending important support to the event, as well as RIBI President Eve Conway – complete with her teddy bear – this was significant exposure of our work in the media.
And there was even more good news when we learned that there had been no new cases of polio recorded in the world that week, meaning that the total stayed at 34 for the year to date.
Rotarians were granted access to a “Rotary Performance” of Adventure to Oz at the Chickenshed Theatre, Southgate, on Thursday 8 December 2016, organised by the Rotary Club of Golders Green. The Chickenshed Theatre is a theatrical group open to all, regardless of any disability, that puts on shows at their theatre in Southgate, and occasionally further afield.
Pictured above with our District Governor Helen are Scarecrow, Dame Margolet and Patchwork Girl, some of the key characters taking the story through the next episode after the famous Hollywood film made of L Frank Baum’s story, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.
The production was enormously enjoyed by a full house of Rotarians, and would not have been one jot out of place on the West End Stage in London. Well done Chickenshed – we all wonder what delights we will have next year!
District Governor Helen made a ‘Virtual Visit’ to the Rotary Club of London Centenary, the Rotary e-Club that is based in our District. With a little help from a laptop computer, Helen was able to meet and discuss Rotary with members in England, and in alphabetical order Cyprus, France, Germany, Holland, India and Zimbabwe!
After giving her inspiring address to the Club, there were questions on a Youth Programme for youngsters in Uttar Pradesh to work jointly with Rotarians in London, the availability of District Assembly training sessions to e-Club Rotarians, developing the use of Rotary Ideas with a PayPal Account, and developing the Communications network within the District.
With the Rotarians in central London shown above was the Rotary Global Scholar, Jeremy, who is being hosted in London by the e-Club.
The meeting lasted just one hour, but a lot of Rotary was done, and new friendships were forged. With just one meeting shared by Rotarians in seven countries, e-Clubs may have a key role to fulfil in the future of Rotary. What better example can there be of “Rotary Serving Humanity”?
A large number of Rotarians gathered on Tuesday 15 November 2016 at the Imperial Hotel in Central London for a dinner to receive Appreciation Awards and Certificates from The Rotary Foundation of Rotary International.
Our principle guests were our District Governor, Helen Antoniou, and our Regional Rotary Foundation Coordinator and Director of Rotary Foundation UK, John Dunkley from the Rotary Club of South Foreland, near Dover. The event ran like clockwork under the masterly control of our District Rotary Foundation Chairman Tom Hunt and his team of helpers.
There were certificates for many Clubs, Banners for the Per Capita Awards, and cerificates for the Clubs with the most donors to the Foundation. The Surya Varsani Award was presented to Stella Russell of the Rotary Club of London Centenary in recognition of her work for over 5 years coordinating the 30+ post graduate Rotary Scholars who come to study at the many schools of London University.
John Dunkley then gave a short address describing the history of the Rotary Foundation, and outlining the difference that it is still making in the world today.
All those who attended had a superb dinner, and a most enjoyable time socialising with their friends, both old and new!
Rotarians from all over the London District joined the Rotary Club of Lewisham and Penge on 12 November 2016 to celebrate their 90th Anniversary. The Rotary Club of Lewisham and the Rotary Club of Penge merged in 2011 to form the new Club, but as both Clubs were chartered in 1926, the celebrations were justified.
The evening was very well attended, and a four-course dinner with wine was served with great professionalism and skill by the staff at Oakley House, Bromley.
There was cake! And we were entertained by the South London Jazz Orchestra. The raffle on the evening raised £1,000 for their Charitable activities.