More than 100 Rotarians sat down to the Rotary Foundation Appreciation Dinner in Central London on 15 November 2017. Amongst the guests of honour at the dinner were Mike Webb – Main Board Trustee, John Dunkley – Foundation Chairman for Great Britain and Ireland, Debbie Hodge – President Elect for Rotary International in Great Britain and Ireland, Steve Munns – Endowments and Major Gifts Coordinator. In addition our District Governor and District Governor Elect, along with many Past District Governors were present.
Many awards and certificates for achievements were handed out on the evening. However, the Surya Varsani Trophy this year was presented by Mike Webb to both The City and Shoreditch Club (above left) and the Enfield Chase Club (above right) for their per capita achievement in donations. That two clubs should achieve the same highest per capita donation is a first for us!
All told the event was a great success, and tribute goes to District Foundation Chairman Tom Hunt and his team for organising this most enjoyable evening.
A group of incoming Club Presidents met at our District Headquarters in central London on Saturday 18 November 2017, to start the process of preparing for the Rotary Year 2018‑2019.
Rotary in London’s training programmes are the envy of many, both within and outside Rotary, and this event set the Agenda for the coming months for those starting a year as Club President in July 2018. There is much to know for a Club President, and there are skills to be developed. The meeting covered many aspects of Rotary that have changed in the last year. Unusually, with Rotary’s main computer system being upgraded in the USA on the day, there were problems accessing the live systems. However, carefully planned videos, specially made for the day, allowed system features to be studied despite the upgrade.
A similar event will be held on Sunday 26 November 2017 for those that were not able to attend the event shown here. With luck, they will even be able to use the new faster systems for their event. Initial feedback on this event was very positive!
On a very cold but bright and sunny 12 November 2017, a substantial group of Rotarians assembled in Whitehall for the Remembrance Sunday event that takes place in London each year. With the Elizabeth Clock Tower’s refurbishment work suspended so that Big Ben could chime the hour, this is always a sombre occasion when Rotarians remember the fallen in all actions since the Great War of 1914-1918.
After the short Service of Remembrance led by the Rt Rev Richard Chartres, Dean of the Chapel Royal, there was the long wait whilst the estimated 9,000 ex-servicemen, auxilliaries and service organsisations marched past the Cenotaph in Whitehall.
Pictured here, the group of Rotarians braved the cold and remembered those who had made the ultimate sacrifice.
The District Team, supported by the RIBI President Denis Spiller (above), were present to see the Charter for the Rotaract Club of Canary Wharf being presented to the Club President Karolina at the Holiday Inn, Stratford, London on the evening of 02 November 2017.
RIBI President Denis told how he had moved from being a Rotaract Member to being a Rotarian, and he hoped that many members of the Rotaract Club of Canary Wharf would do the same.There was strong support from our District Governor Mike as well, and then the Board of the Club was recognised as well.
We all wish the Club every success, and look forward to working with them in the near future.
Some ten Rotary Clubs in and around London got together to run the Sixth North London Rotary Disability Games on Sunday 15 October 2017 at the Aspire Leisure Centre, next to the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital in Stanmore, North London.
Each Club looked after one of the events which included Table Tennis, 21st Century Curling, Indoor Bowls, Boccia, a Wheelchair Slalom, Deck Quoits, Stick Ball, Darts, Bagatelle and more.
The event was well attended, and a great success, and Gold, Silver and Bronze Medals were available for each category in each competition.
The Mayor of Elstree and Borehamwood Town Council and the Deputy Mayor of Harrow helped with the presentation of the medals to the winners. Immediate Past District Governor Helen stood in for District Governor Mike Hodge. Our thanks go to Scott Maclachlan and his team for organising this superb event.
We are now looking forward to the Seventh Games next year.
On Sunday 8th October, Rotarians from across London met at the Barbican Underground Station for a walk through “Disastrous London”, a stroll including two famous pubs.
Our walk took us through Charterhouse Square (photo above) where we saw a model of the original enormous abbey that existed there, and learned about the lives of four famous Londoners from the Middle Ages.
We then moved on to Smithfield Market and learned about the origins of the name, and the martyrs who were put to death there. We also saw where William Wallace was put to death and we saw the effect that the plague had on the churchyard of St Bartholomew (right). Our spell in 14th Century was interrupted by a film crew who were filming close to the old Barts Hospital, where television viewers saw Sherlock Holmes jump from the roof!
Our excellent guide then took us to the Cutlers Hall via the Central Criminal Court and the former Newgate Prison which features in Charles Dickens’ works, and so we progressed from Ave Maria Lane to Creed Lane and refreshment at the Cockpit pub, once owned by William Shakespeare.
Our stroll then continued towards Blackfriars Bridge, and the Blackfriars Pub with its superb hand beaten copper panels – a delightful place at which to end our walk. Our organiser and our guide both received sustained applause for this great walk.
Each year, District 1130 – Rotary in London – hosts more scholars than any other District, because of the draw that the University of London represents. This year we are hosting 31 Scholars in our District and even that was not enough to fulfil the demand. This year we are working with the next door District – D-1260 – who will be hosting four ‘overflow’ scholars studying at the University of London.
The group met for the first time on Sunday 01 October 2017, where there was a briefing on living and travelling around London, complete with information on reduced fares for students, how to stay safe and within budget, and the benefits of regular visits to Rotary Clubs!
The students’ number one priority is their studies however, and DG Michael Hodge provided useful hints on coping with reading lists.
We wish all the scholars a most successful year, and look forward to meeting them all again at the District Conference later this month.
A group of Rotarians travelled to Whitechapel in East London on Friday 25 August 2017 to see the London Rotarian’s Helivan and to have a closer look at one of the two London’s Air Ambulance Helicopters.
The Helivan was safely locked away in a secure car park whilst it (and its driver) were having a day off. The Helicopter on the roof landing pad of the London Hospital however was not having a day off, and was called into action whilst the visit was taking place. Our group curtailed their session and stood aside; from the initial phone call to take-off was timed at 4 minutes. With a 10 minute journey time to the London Orbital Motorway, that allows an enormous area and a population of 9 million people to be covered at great speed.
The Rotary District Helivan was given a formal invitation to take part in the London New Year’s Day Parade taking place in Central London on 01 January 2018.
The Rotary Club of Kensington and Chelsea was featured on German Television on 20 August 2017.
The Club featured in the EuropaMagazin programme broadcast on the Das Erste channel reporting on the Grenfell Tower tragedy, the wealth differences in the local community and how the community was coping with the disaster.
A local resident was interviewed, and a community social worker before the reporter turned to the local Rotary Club, meeting in a nearby hotel. Rotary was shown as an organisation concerned with the problems in the community and doing work that was needed by the residents. Whilst the reporter emphasised the differences of wealth in the community, Rotary emphasised that everyone – regardless of their wealth – was willing to do their bit.
Well done Kensington and Chelsea – next time it will hopefully be a UK television channel.
The Rotary Club of London Centenary held a meeting on 10 August 2017 that may have been an opportunity to visit the future of Rotary Clubs around the world. London Centenary is an e-Club and meets regularly on the Internet using the free Zoom software. The atmosphere is comparatively informal and it is up to the individuals attending as to whether or not there is a meal!
Their speaker on that evening was the President of Rotary International in Great Britain and Ireland, Denis Spiller, who was putting his many years of experience in the IT industry to good use (outlined in green above). President Denis spoke about the many initiatives starting this Rotary Year including People of Action, The RIBI Conference in Torquay and the move from Polio Teddy Bears to Polio Old Bangers! He fielded many questions including the development of an e-Club for Rotaractors (aged 18-30), the size of Districts and the effect of size on their meetings, the need for a world directory of e-Clubs, and a major Public Image initiative planned for January 2018.
With Club Members and visitors attending from (in alphabetical order) Canada, Canary Islands, Denmark, England, France, Germany, Nepal, Sweden and Zimbabwe, this was a truly international Rotary meeting and was thoroughly enjoyed by all those attending.
As more and more new Rotarians find that time is at a premium, and that travelling time even on short journeys becomes more and more extended, this may have been a sneak preview into the future of Rotary around the world.