One year ago today – 14 June 2018 – there was an incident that no Rotarian in London will ever forget. It was a year ago today that the 24 storey Grenfell Tower block of flats caught fire. Rotary in London will leave the difficult issues to the Grenfell Tower Inquiry under the chairmanship of Sir Martin Moore-Bick, the Westminster’s Coroners Court, and the various local and national bodies involved.
Rotary in London extends its most sincere condolences to the families and friends of the 72 residents who are no longer with us as a result of the fire, and its best wishes to the 221 survivors who escaped from the 129 flats in the tower block. It must not be overlooked that many of the surrounding residents in the area were also traumatised by the fire.
Rotary in London is working quietly in the background for the benefit of the community. We do not have limitless funds with which to achieve progress, but we do have plenty of time and energy that we can expend. There will be many more anniversaries of this tragedy, and each one can be marked by Rotary Service as a step towards the betterment of all concerned.
We are pleased to announce that ShelterBox has been nominated for the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize in recognition of their humanitarian efforts in areas of extreme conflict.
As one of Rotary International’s longest established partnerships, this nomination is an example of supporting Rotary’s Area of Focus “Peace and Conflict Resolution”.
ShelterBox announced that it is honoured to learn of this nomination, which is a great acknowledgement that ShelterBox proves much more than material aid – they provide the foundation for recovery and the stability needed for peace – one family at a time.
The nomination reflects the incredible work done by the ShelterBox staff and volunteers around the world, and those who have supported them – especially the many Rotary Clubs and Rotarians around the world.
You can read more about the Nomination here.
Rotarians from across London were at City Hall by Tower Bridge on Sunday 15 April 2018 in support of the London Challenge organised by the National Citizen Service (NCS).
The day revolved around the London Challenge – a go and find this in London and send back a photo from your phone – and a Debating and Discussion session exposing some of the differences between the different Commonwealth Countries represented.
The turn out for the event from the members of the Commonwealth Youth Forum was not quite as strong as hoped, but Rotary in London more than fulfilled its quota. It was also a chance to meet the Chief Executive of NCS, Michael Lynas, Chief Executive of Bite the Ballot Michael Sani, and Tim Hitchens, Chief Executive of the Commonwealth Summit Unit. Judith Diment, Rotary International’s Representative to the Commonwealth was also there.
All told, it tested the Rotarians’ knowledge of where, when, and how, in Central London, but everyone found it a most enjoyable day.
Members of several Rotary Clubs in North London got together near Sandridge in Hertfordshire on 8 March 2018 to help out with a project to plant a new forest on what had been agricultural land. They were there to plant broad leaf deciduous trees – mainly oak and cherry.
Trees play an enormously important part in our environment, and the President of Rotary International, Ian H S Riseley has called on all Rotarians around the world to plant at least one tree each before 30 June 2018.
As can be seen below, many hundreds of trees were planted on the day – one of several when working parties for all sorts of voluntary organisations help out. The day was very windy, and there was both sun and rain, but all the Rotarians present had a good time. Thanks go to the volunteers of Heartwood Forest, for the hot tea and coffee served to the planters.
Pauline Craven and Alan Hilliar of Felsted Aid for Deprived Children have won a National Rotary Community Champion Award. The award recognises their work providing aid to a treatment centre in Ukraine coping with 1st, 2nd and 3rd generation consequences of the nuclear disaster in Chernobyl in 1986.
The couple met in 2000 when both were part of a convoy taking aid to the Revival Centre in Chernihiv, the nearest city to Chernobyl, and in 2003 they formed their own Registered Charity – “Felsted Aid for Deprived Children”.
Since then, the couple have been organising and participating in the three or four convoys a year taking toiletries, clothing, shoes and cleaning materials to Ukraine.
The Rotary International in Great Britain and Ireland Community Champion Award is a highly prestigious award, and all the Rotarians in London are agreed that Pauline and Alan are very worthy recipients.
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.
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.
OPEN THIS POST AND CLICK HERE FOR THE VIDEO.
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.
The Christmas Gifts and Parcels bought by the Rotary Clubs in London were collated and sorted into the two recipient charities – The West London Mission and The Marylebone Project.
Picture above is our District Governor Toni, catching her breath before loading the parcels into her car for delivery to the two organisations.
The West London Mission (WLM) is a Circuit of the Methodist Church. WLM has two city-centre churches at Hinde Street in Marylebone and King’s Cross, and three Circuit mission projects. Each of the churches engages in worship, learning and caring, service and evangelism in ways that reflect Methodist tradition and their distinctive identity, history and context. The circuit mission projects are professional Social Work, a student community at Methodist Chaplaincy House at King’s Cross and work with students and young adults based in both churches. These projects are expressions of our historic roots and the current convictions of Hinde Street and Kings Cross churches.
The Marylebone Project continues to develop and sustain its transformational work with women affected by homelessness. We have sought again to invest in the women who use our services and the themes of Hospitality, Spirituality, Empowerment and Resettlement have informed our strategy and direction. Each woman is unique and special and our ambition is to deliver outstanding services to our community, pursuing and celebrating improvement and achievements. Below you will see some of the stories of women’s transformed lives.
DG Toni said, “I am amazed at the generosity of the Rotary Clubs in London, and I know that each of these gifts will be an event in these people’s lives that will be remembered for many years to come. I thank you myself, and I thank you on behalf of all the recipients.”