The Rotary Global Grant Scholars from countries around the world were on stage at the District Conference in Bournemouth over the week end of 19-21 October 2018.
The highlights of their presentation included a song sung in Turkish, and a selection of Scottish airs and dances played on the bagpipes by a scholar from Canada!
Speakers at the event included three American speakers who had travelled to the event at their own expense, the President of Rotary International in Great Britain and Ireland, and a most memorable turn by professional musician Bertie Pearce.
On Sunday 14 October 2018, Rotary organised the Seventh North London Disability Games at the Aspire Sports Centre in Stanmore.
With 12 Clubs working together on:
- New Age Kurling
- Table Tennis
- Wheelchair Slalom
There was definitely something for everyone. Our sincere thanks go to Assistant Governor Scott Maclachlan and his helpers who organised the event, and to the many sports clubs that attended. District Governor Mike Wren was there to support to Clubs and to present the medals at the end of the event. You can see more photos here.
We plan to organise an East London Disability Games in May 2019 based on Ongar.
On Sunday 30 September 2018, our District Headquarters was the venue for a Tea Party dedicated to the many Rotary Global Grant Scholars in London studying for a postgraduate qualification in Central London. Over 30 were there on the day!
The programme included information on getting around London safely, coping with the complexities of Student Rail Cards and Oyster Cards, avoiding pick-pockets and mobile phone snatchers, and much more besides.
It was not a serious event all the time however, and we had an “Underground Station Quiz” and a “London Landmark Quiz”.
In addition to networking and getting to know the others, there was a magnificent cream tea laid on for the Scholars and their Counsellors. With the Rotary Global Grant Scholarship, there is a “Rotary Aunt or Rotary Uncle” for support in the country of study. Whilst not intruding on the student’s university life, the counsellor provides an opportunity to meet other Rotarians through local club service projects, and an opportunity to delve more deeply into our history and culture.
Our thanks go to the organisers, and the members of the Rotary Foundation committee who were there in support of this most popular event.
Members from Rotary Clubs across London gathered at Camden Town Underground Station for a walk through the history of Camden Town on 05 August 2018. Under the leadership of Peter, our guide for the afternoon, we learned about the history of the area, starting with the overflow burial ground for St Martin in the Fields Church (located by Trafalgar Square), and about the Greek influence and the history of the All Saints Greek Orthodox Church in the area.
We learned about the distinguished residents of Camden Town including Charles Dickens who had lived there for a while (as well as many other places), and we were given a brief history of the life of the poet and writer Dylan Thomas, and the life of the painter Walter Sickert – both former residents. Coming closer to today, we visited the house where Alan Bennett had lived, and which had featured in the film “Lady in the Van”. Amy Winehouse had been a resident, and the band Madness had also started there.
And with thoughts of madness, we made a quick tour of the Camden Lock Market and strolled along the Regents Canal before ending up at the tube station again. A really interesting place to visit, despite the crowds, and our thanks go to Kamal for organising the afternoon.
Joining several other “Stratford” Rotary Clubs, the Rotary Club of Stratford in London, UK received its charter at a BBQ Party on 16 July 2018 from the President of Rotary International in Great Britain and Ireland, Debbie Hodge.
The BBQ Party was held on a balcony of the Holiday Inn in Stratford East London, and nearly all of the 27 Charter Members received their special ‘Charter Member’ Rotary Pins and a certificate from the District Extension Officer and the Membership Chairman. The Club is strongly representative of its community, one of the fastest expanding business areas in London. The event was also honoured by the presence of the Greater London Authority representative Unmesh Desai. Stratford is a popular town name around the world, and there are Rotary Clubs of Stratford in Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Connecticut, Ontario, New Zealand as well as the two in the UK.
We all wish the new Club well, and look forward to their involvement in Rotary in London.
On a sweltering afternoon in Central London, all those attending were grateful that the air-conditioning system at the Imperial Hotel was more than able to cope. Before passing on the collar of office, Mike Hodge talked about the past 12 months and how busy he had been. After thanking everyone for their support, he said his one regret was that so much of what is done by Rotary in the London area is still unknown outside Rotary.
Our new District Governor Mike Wren was then inducted. He started by recognising the guests present at the event and thanked his predecessor for all he had done. He described Making a Difference as a memorable year, and knew that Mike Hodge would have another busy year as the spouse of the President of Rotary International in Great Britain and Ireland.
The new President of Rotary International has called upon Rotarians to “Be the Inspiration” that will make our world a better place, and reminded all those present that even though the 5p piece is our smallest coin, it represented the future by adding Polio and Peace to the 3Ps of the previous Rotary year (People, Projects and Publicity). He closed by thanking his wife and family for their support, the Events Team that had organised the luncheon, and his Club for turning out in such strong numbers to support him.
Rotarians from across London assembled at Blackfriars Underground Station for a walk exploring the differences across the River Thames over the ages. Our guide – Peter – took the party on a 3 hour trail explaining the differences between the North Side and the South Side. The walk was interspersed with visits to two famous London Pubs close to the South bank of the Thames.
We learned about the differences between the City of London and Southwark in the time of Edward VI, and what this meant for those providing a taxi-service across the Thames in rowing boats, and what the “Watermen” did for income when the river froze! We learned about the first “Clink” – a jail set next to the Palace of the Bishop of Winchester, the architecture of the City of London, the history of the “Golden Hind” of Sir Francis Drake, and about the burial of William Shakespeare’s brother, Edmund.
A fascinating insight into the history of our city, and an entertaining way to spend an afternoon. Our thanks go to organiser, Bishai.
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.
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.