New Mayfair Club Gets Charter

At the Imperial Hotel in Central London on Tuesday 16th May 2017, a large number of Rotarians from London Rotary Clubs assembled to celebrate the presentation of the Charter to the new Rotary Club of Mayfair, UK.

DG Helen (pictured above) congratulated all the members of the District Team that had supported the embryo club over several years, and presented the Founder President of the Club, Christoph von Luttitz with the Charter Certificate.  Each of the members of the new Club was presented with a “Founder Member” Rotary pin.

Membership Chairman PDG David Palmer played an important part in the proceedings and it was the work of his team that kept the provisional Rotarians on track.  Also thanked was the President Elect of the new Club, Andrey Kirikhin, who had done so much to build a sound structure for continuity and growth in the Club.

As is often the way these days, several members of the Club were away on business on the evening – even as far away as Australia.  But by coincidence the London Rotarians were joined by a Past District Governor John Campbell from Adelaide, South Australia who was visiting London and presented the new club with the Rotary Club of Adelaide Light’s club banner – one of the first to be presented to the new Club.

We all wish the Rotary Club of Mayfair, UK well in its Rotary career.

Rotary in London Plants Marker

Many Rotarians came to Canon’s Park, Stanmore in North West London to support District Governor Helen and Foundation Chairman Tom (see photo) at the Allium Planting Event aimed at claiming a Guinness World Record for Rotary for simultaneous planting.

The main purposes of the event were to celebrate the Centenary of the Rotary Foundation of Rotary International, and to celebrate the excellent achievement of Rotary International in working towards the eradication of Polio in the world – just 5 cases so far this year.

Behind the scenes, District Public Image Chairman Danielle was working hard, bringing in Civic Leaders and Members of Parliament (at least Members before the snap general election).  The media were there in force too.

We will have to wait and see if the Guinness World Records organisation ratifies our attempt. but it was a very well supported event by the public that brought out a large crowd for the actual planting, and to talk about the work of Rotary International.

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Champion of Change Event

Members of the District Team assembled at the House of Lords on 26 April 2017 to congratulate Peju Oluyomi (wearing orange) as a national Rotary “Community Champion of Change” award. The award was presented to Peju by Rt Hon Baron Lord Hague of Richmond in recognition of her work as a palliative care nurse.

Peju has a heart for charity and for the community – in Basildon and abroad.  It was her commitment to the elderly both in her fundraising and using her professional care skills at home and overseas that led to her nomination by Rotary in London, District 1130.

As well as working unstintingly for the elderly in Basildon, she has championed a home for under-privileged children in Uganda as well as setting up a free health screening and treatment centre for thousands in Zimbabwe.

She has also been active in improving the infrastructure and facilities for health in Sri Lanka as part of the project partnership.

Peju is ‘not yet a Rotarian’, but her work sets an example to all Rotarians.  She is a most deserving awardee.

Rotary Foundation Entertains

Debbie Hodge (RIBI President 18-19) and District Governor Helen were present at the event.

Some 152 Rotarians arrived at the Imperial Hotel in Central London on Tuesday 25 April 2017 for the once in a lifetime opportunity to celebrate 100 years of the Rotary Foundation “Doing Good in the World”.  They were entertained by Rotarian Ron Burton from the Rotary Club of Leytonstone and Woodford before they went into the dinner.

The event coincided with the annual dinner organised by the Rotary Club of Barking in memory of Past District Governor Robert Hunter, and Dennis Bloomfield of that Club was given the opportunity to speak about the appreciation that the District still holds for Robert’s memorable year as District Governor.

Incoming Rotary International in Great Britain and Ireland President Elect, Debbie Hodge of the Rotary Club of Ware in Hertfordshire, spoke movingly about the work of the Rotary Foundation.  Her talk cleverly dealt with both the Global View of the work of the Rotary Foundation, and the effect that it has had on individuals living in poverty in challenging parts of the world.  It was an informative and moving address that was much appreciated.

From the serious side, we took a wild leap to Rotarian Geoff Mackey who had us in stitches of laughter with his quirky outlook on the difference that the Rotary Foundation needs to make in the world.  At times a little ‘risqué’, when he finished our mood had been uplifted and we were ready to work again for the Rotary Foundation.

District Governor Helen presided and proposed a vote of thanks to all our speakers.  The event was run under the auspices of our District Rotary Foundation Chairman Tom Hunt, and he is to be congratulated on organising such a fun and such a successful event.

Wheelchair Relay comes to Stanmore

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.

Good News Today from Foundation

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!

DG Helen leads a toast to Purple4Polio

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.

Scholars’ Super Supper

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.

Loading Aid for Chernihiv, Ukraine

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.

Polio Planting Programme

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.