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.
Many Rotarians from London attended the Rotary “Youth Makes Music” Concert at the Royal Festival Hall on 22 February 2018. The programme included a wide range of music from choirs, to a string quartet, to a concert band, to a jazz orchestra, to carnatic music, to a steel band, to a full symphony orchestra, to a rock band and even a solo rock guitarist.
Under the compere for the evening, the BBC’s Ellie Crisell, the audience were introduced to each of the acts. All of the artists were schoolchildren or students studying in schools or colleges within the Rotary in London District.
All agreed that the performers produced music of a very high standard, and the event was a wonderful window on the young musical talent in London.
The Rotary Foundation Scholars currently studying in London were invited to a traditional Fish and Chip Supper at our District Headquarters in York Gate on Friday 08 December 2017. This event has been taking place each year for many years now and is another opportunity for the Scholars to meet up once again with their Counsellors.
The Fish and Chips were enjoyed by all those present at the event, and it also gave Scholars Coordinator Grahame a chance to invite the scholars to the coming events over the Christmas season.
The scholars then ‘took over’ offering insights into how Christmas and the New Year are celebrated in their own countries. There are so many differences around the world, and more than a few surprises too!
Some of the scholars depart for destinations overseas in the coming week, some will be staying in London over the holiday. The Rotarians wish all the scholars a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
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.