All posts by Dick Nathan

Christmas is for Children

Christmas is a time for children (of all ages!), and Rotarians across the London Rotary District made their way to St Olave’s Church in the City of London on Tuesday 11 December 2018, laden with presents to be given to Children spending their Christmas in hospital.  The lucky hospital this year was Northwick Park Hospital in the North West area of our District.  Pictured on the left is Past District Governor Helen, helping load up a trolley with goodies for the children.  For whatever reason the children are staying in hospital, we hope these small gifts will show them that there are people in our communities who care.

Foundation Appreciated

Well over 100 Rotarians from London attended our Foundation Appreciation Dinner at the Royal National Hotel on 21 November 2018.  The purpose of the evening is for the Rotary Foundation to express its appreciation of the support and the finance that it receives from the Rotarians in and around London.

There was a guest speaker, Leslie Robertson from District 1260 which covers Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire and part of Buckinghamshire, who gave a slide presentation on how his District had achieved many different grants using the resources of the Rotary Foundation.

To see the other photos, please use the link to Flickr on the right hand side of the Home Page

It was then time for the Certificates and Awards.  There were awards for District Grants, Global Grants, Per Capita Giving, Commendations, End Polio Now giving, Annual Fund giving, EREY (every Rotarian every year) and Sustaining Members.  The final award was the Surya Varsani Trophy awarded to a couple that have hosted Rotary Scholars for many years.  The event ran smoothly thanks to the Foundation Team led by Robert Morris.

District Welcomes Newest Club

At a Gala Dinner in the Elstree and Borehamwood film studios, the new Rotary Club of The Studios of Elstree and Borehamwood received their Charter and their Membership Pins on Thursday 15 November 2018.

The Club has been active for some time, originally starting as a Satellite Meeting of the Elstree and Borehamwood Club, but its growth continued steadily, especially when the projects in the community came on line.

With a host of Rotary Dignatories present, the Club announced several forthcoming events and was toasted by all those present.

Rotary in London on TV

Rotary in London featured on television twice over the Remembrance Weekend in 2018.

The first appearance was in the Lord Mayor’s Show on Saturday 10 November 2018 where some 25 Rotarians joined the parade with a traction engine, emphasising Rotary’s work in eradicating Polio from the world.  Two Rotary Polio Ambassadors – Konnie Huq and Anne Wafula Strike – we interviewed by the BBC as the parade moved through the streets of the City of London.

The second appearance was in the Remembrance Sunday Parade at the Cenotaph in Whitehall.  A significant group of Rotarians were seen in a telephoto long shot which was also broadcast by the BBC.

District Governor Mike Wren said, “I am delighted that Rotary’s contribution to our society is being recognised in this way.”

Scholars on Stage at Conference

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.

7th North London Disability Games

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:

  • Bagatelle
  • Boccia
  • Bowls
  • Darts
  • New Age Kurling
  • Quoits
  • Stickball
  • 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.

Scholars in London Meet for Tea

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.

History of Camden Town

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.

Stratford Gets Its Charter

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.

Passing on the baton

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.