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.
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.
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.
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 in London Helivan was handed over on 23 June 2017, as the Rotary Year was coming to a close.
After a year of hard work fundraising, with Past District Governor Trevor Johnson acting as Project Manager, the London District Governor Helen Antoniou had the privilege of handing over the ‘Helivan’ purchased for London’s Air Ambulance (LAA) with funds raised by the Rotary Clubs in London.
In the photo are (left to right) Sara Jane Woods – LAA Head of Community Fundraising and Outreach, Mark Wingett – Actor and TV Star, Mark Davies – LAA Director of Development, District Governor Helen Antoniou, and Doctor Michael Kim wearing his LAA uniform.
District Governor Helen said, “The total funds raised of £38,000 for this high profile project is a wonderful achievement, and demonstrates just how effective Rotary is in the 21st Century for our capital city. After this, we will continue to move forward to a bright future for the Rotary Clubs in London”.
The Helivan will be used to promote the work of London’s Air Ambulance, and to encourage children and students to move towards a career in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM subjects). At the same time it will promote all the Rotary Clubs in London and their work in the community.
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.
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!