Preparations are well underway now for the Rotary Year 2018-2019 which starts on 01 July 2018.
Above we see half of the incoming Rotary Club Presidents for London attending the important training session held at the Rotary in London Headquarters in York Gate on 19 April 2018. This was an intensive mid-week evening event concentrating on the major issues that Rotary Clubs are dealing with.
Thanks to a little wizardry we were able to hear the World President for Rotary next year talk about the process of inspiring Rotarians to change the world, we heard from a millennial about the value millennials seek from Rotary, we learned about the new Rotary Vision, and were given a lesson on the meaning and value of the Rotary brand. We also heard from Bill Gates Jnr on the work his foundation is doing with Rotary in Pakistan and Afghanistan.
With discussions and breakout sessions, it was a worthwhile evening enjoyed by all who attended.
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.
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.
Rotarians from all over London were invited by the Worshipful the Mayor of the London Borough of Harrow, Councillor Krishna Suresh, to assist in crowd marshalling duties at two Beacon Lighting Ceremonies on Thursday 21 April 2016, celebrating the 90th Birthday of Her Majesty the Queen.
The first lighting ceremony took place at Old Redding, Harrow Weald, close to the former home of W S Gilbert, of Gilbert and Sullivan fame. The second lighting took place outside the Civic Centre Building in the centre of Harrow.
There was a strong turnout from the Rotary Clubs of – in alphabetical order – Edgware & Stanmore, Hendon. Harrow, Northwick Park and Southgate. There was also support from Rotaract, the organisation for 18-30 year olds that works on Rotary Club lines. Once their marshalling duties were complete, the Rotarians and Rotaractors were invited in the Mayor’s Parlour for refreshments.
The District Assembly Dinner held on 7 April 2016 was the first major event of the new Rotary Year starting on 01 July 2016. Very nearly 200 Rotarians made their way to the Royal National Hotel in Central London. The event was a great success and much appreciated by those that were there. Our principal guest was Dr Jamie Moran from London’s Air Ambulance who held everyone enthralled with his description of the work he has been doing with London’s Air Ambulance.
Our current District Governor, Toni ably supported by husband Michael, presented a number of awards and prizes to Clubs and individuals in recognition of their work during 2015-2016, as shown above. Then it was the turn of the Incoming Rotary International in Great Britain and Ireland President, London Rotarian Eve Conway to address the Rotarians. Eve has decided to call her Class of District Governors “The Eve-olutionaries”.
Our Incoming District Governor, Helen Antoniou, has proposed a London-wide project that will provide a support vehicle for London’s Air Ambulance service. The vehicle will provide operational support to the two helicopters, moving equipment that either is too heavy or to bulky for the helicopters. It will also act as a mobile operating theatre, and will be used for educational and promotional activities at schools and festivals. It will carry the Rotary Logo alongside the London’s Air Ambulance logo. This project has gained warm support from the London Rotarians. “A Serving Suggestion” is pictured below.
It was then Incoming District Governor’s turn to speak. Helen introduced the new Rotary Theme – “Rotary Serving Humanity”. She gave an excellent speech based on the 6 spokes of the Rotary Wheel, introducing 1) the new President of Rotary International – John F Germ – and the new RIBI President, Eve. The second spoke was for Foundation, and Helen told us about John Germ’s experience with his father’s polio. The third spoke dealt with the Public Relations activities we will see this coming year in connection with the Rotary Foundation’s Centenary. The fourth spoke was our Humanitarian Service, and the emphasis on it for the coming year. Helen talked about the connection between Service and Public Relations, and between both of those and membership. Membership is a key goal for the coming year, and featured as the fifth spoke. The last spoke was reserved for Support, supporting Rotarians, Rotaract, Interact, Rotakids and Inner Wheel – the members of the Rotary family. She concluded with a quote from John Donne’s “No man is an island”. It was a powerful and moving speech delivered in a most professional fashion.
We now look forward to an exciting and rewarding year as we work to show “Rotary Serving Humanity”.
Following an arduous climb with other Rotarians from the London District, our District Governor Toni Finkel finally conquered the summit of the O2 Dome near North Greenwich in London. You can support Toni through http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/ToniFinkel
On reaching “terra firma” once again, a slightly breathless Toni declared that the journey down was less tiring!
The event was a fundraiser for Rotary’s campaign to “End Polio Now”. Whereas, when we launched the campaign in 1985, we were expecting one thousand cases per day, the total number of cases in 2015 was just 74, and so far this year there have been just two cases in Pakistan. The project is not coming to an end however, as there is still much to do. The funds raised for the climb will be matched twice over by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
At a dinner held in Central London on 3 February 2016, both Rotary Founder Paul Harris and Past District Governor Robert Hunter – who served for 60 years in the Salvation Army – were remembered.
The succession chain of District Governors were present at the dinner, and District Governor Toni Finkel gave an excellent address, pulling together Paul Harris’s life and travels, Robert Hunter’s life and travels, and also Robert Burns – Robert Hunter was born in the same street.
Numbers at the dinner were affected by the sudden move of date, caused by the threatened Tube strike, but the quality of the friendship was not.
Those present were entertained by Robert Ellison and his accompanist David who rendered many familiar songs from musicals and a selection of ballads.
The Rotary Club of The City and Shoreditch hosted a most successful conference on 02 February 2016 at 6 York Gate, Rotary in London’s HQ with the title, “Eradicating Polio – The Next Steps”. Four Distinguished Speakers, and our own District Governor (the 5th Star!) were introduced by Club President Vincenzo Maini – pictured above – and they illuminated the understanding of the present difficulties eradicating polio, and the many problems that will come once the disease has been eradicated.
Professor John Edmunds, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine linked the sessions, Professor Paul Fine, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, spoke about the History of the Programme, Professor Nicholas Grassly, Imperial College, dealt with the problems with vaccines over the decades, and what that meant for the Programme, and Professor David Salisbury, Associate Fellow from Chatham House, spoke about the problems yet to come.
The event was most successful, with many people staying on for informal discussion long after the Question and Answer session had finished. There is still much to do, although there was celebration that so far, there have been no recorded cases of wild polio virus anywhere in the world since 01 January 2016. Well done, the Rotary Club of The City and Shoreditch.
Students from a local school came to the District Headquarters at York Gate in central London to experience a debate in much the same way as one would take place in the House of Commons in our Parliament.
Organised by the Rotary Club of Wembley, and with a ‘Division Bell’ and cries of ‘Clear the Lobbies’, the students had a great time as well as having some difficult decisions to make on the motions before the house. Towards the end, ‘Order Papers’ were being waved and there were calls of “Here! Here!” and “Shame!”
The first motion, loosely based on Early Day Motion 66 (02 June 2015) stated “This house would ban Supermarkets from throwing away food approaching its Best Before Date”. A difficult motion that was argued well, but failed to get a majority vote.
The second motion, loosely based on a combination of Early Day Motions stated “This house would ban lotteries paying out extraordinary large prizes over £10m and instead would pay more money to good causes”. A complex motion that got the support of the house.
All the entrants received a copy of the Andrew Marr book, “Who’s in Charge?” Given that 12-13 year old students are arguing these points, raising points of information and providing clever and witty rebuttals, Rotary in London faces a wonderful opportunity in the field of student debating.
See the video of DGE Helen and PDG Dick as they drive from London to the Revival Centre in Ukraine. On arriving at Kyiv in Ukraine, the partner Club on the project had organised a Media Pit-Stop, and the Revival Centre in Chernihiv had organised that a journalist and television crew were present for the donation.
This video only tells the story of the journey. Clubs in District 1130 requesting Dick and Helen to speak to them get the full story, and some background about life in the Ukraine today.