News from around our Club...


21 April 2019Pitcairngreen Village Association

Rotary Club of Perth Kinnoull has donated six hundred pounds to Pitcairngreen Village Association as a thank you for all their help and cooperation over the four Tayside Challenge events helping us to raise approximately thirty four thousand pounds. It was decided that the money would be used to buy a quality picnic table for the village green.

The Association had also said they needed a bike rack and Douglas Sinclair offered one which he had acquired on the farm. Douglas cut it down to the size they required and repainted it ready to be set in a concrete base.

We have now made the official handover to the past secretary of the association, Elspeth Farmer, seated next to Steve Blackett with the plaque now in its full, central position.

Seated next to President Gillian is an old face from the Club. Yes, it's .................... Andrew Still.

18 April 2019Katie Hughes goes to Chile

The Club have agreed to donate money to Katie Hughes from Perth High School as part of her finance for her Chilean trip. She appears in the photo with Convenor Chris Kirk and President Gillian.

Katie has organised her trip for a year to teach English to primary school children in Chile. She hopes to build on her own Spanish language skills at the same time. It is the idea of being in a new and exciting country that she understands will be challenging but extremely worthwhile.

The Club has a part to play in supporting the Rotary pledge for the advancement of education in developing countries. We are sure that Katie will take this once in a lifetime opportunity to immerse herself in Chilean culture and return to tell us the tale.

18 April 2019From Syria to Perth

Elaine Cameron gave a sound explanation for all the work that she has taken on with refugee families in Perth. She was accompanied by Iman Sari from Syria who has been settling in Perth for around three years.

Elaine, a career teacher from Ireland, is a member of St John’s Episcopal Church in Perth and is very involved with the welcome to refugees and the setting up of the International Café. It was here that she became involved with the UK Government program for vulnerable Syrians, a scheme which allows for five years of support and care before they can decide on their own futures. There are seven families on the scheme with between eight and ten volunteers on the refugee integration strategy.

Iman spoke very well about her life in Aleppo in Syria and the sudden misfortune that overtook her family. She tragically lost her husband while her brother is in Turkey and her sister in the Lebanon. Keeping in touch is so difficult. Studying cookery at Perth College has brought her to the community where she finds everyone nice and friendly.

The church groups have been taking the families on trips to visit the Scottish cultural areas. Finance from the local council has been basic to improve the English language of the families. Imran has three children who are settling at the school and becoming happier and more relaxed with time. Of course, she would like to visit with her family in Turkey at some time but, for now, she feels safe and happy and enjoys life in Scotland. She was very sincere with her thanks to the Membership which was reiterated by Greg Ross in his vote of thanks to both speakers.

10 April 2019Know Your Blood Pressure

On Saturday, the Perth Kinnoull Rotary Club took over the Salvation Army Offices on South Street to host a drop-in event called ‘Know Your Blood Pressure’ to the Perth Public. The event was organised by Rotarian Brian Raine (pictured below) who had suffered a stroke a few years ago and was aware of the importance of the occasion. If your blood pressure is too high, it puts extra strain on your blood vessels, heart and other organs, such as the brain, kidneys and eyes.

The Know Your Blood Pressure campaign helps people to understand the link between high blood pressure and stroke, other stroke risk factors and what they can do to reduce their risk of having a stroke. Almost half of those people with high blood pressure are going about their daily lives without it being detected or treated.

Some ninety-two members of the public were checked out by the nursing staff followed by tea and biscuits and a time for a chat. Three people were advised to refer to their doctors for more detailed checks.

Club Members manned the offices for the event and were able to talk to people in the street. A blood pressure check takes only a moment and is such a simple way to reduce your risk of a stroke. Such an action day will certainly raise awareness of the problem and save lives.

08 April 2019Seamab School

Julian Reeves gave a very emotional introduction to the work of the Seamab School near Kinross. Julian is one of the trustees of the foundation as well as a volunteer with Barnardo’s Scotland which he has continued since retiring in 2012.

Seamab is for the most traumatised and neglected children in general education. Typically, the children have awful early years and do not communicate well. Julian emphasised how Seamab allows such children to recover; fifteen pupils up to the age of eighteen at any one time.

It was also a surprise to learn that one in two children in care will become homeless in later life. It is the function of Seamab to provide facilities that prevent such a situation. It was an equal surprise to learn that there are at least fifteen thousand children in care in Scotland looked after by local authorities.

Julian’s expertise in regulating emotional responses came through his talk. Children without this link to others suffer severe deprivation and withdraw from communication. The Seamab surroundings provide the shelter and safety needed by these children looked after by some seventy people. Once the children feel safe, they will be able to learn.

Julian was thanked warmly by Douglas Sinclair who repeated the Members understanding that now so much more was known about the school and the situation of the children.

28 March 2019Charity Calendar Draws

Linzi Low of Marques of Scone visited the Club on the evening of the calendar draw. Her company have sponsored the calendar for the month of March and she was very pleased to be able to make the winning draws for the month. The draws included the winning number of the first of the £1000 draws.

Marques of Scone are one of a number of local businesses who have supported the Club in raising money for local charities through the charity calendar. Such an enterprise would not be possible without such willing support.

Linzi, centre, is pictured above with President Gillian Marsh and Calendar administrator Janet Simpson.

28 March 2019Mackie's Crisps

Harriet Shaw visited the Club from the Mackie’s Crisp Company based at Errol. Although hailing from north of Inverness, she has secured her place in Perth after three years in the area.

Mackie’s story goes back many years to when the Taylor family began farming in Perthshire in 1927, to them teaming up with Mackie’s of Scotland in 2009 when Mackie’s Crisps were launched! The company began with just three core flavours – Sea Salt, Sea Salt & Vinegar and Mature Cheddar & Onion. They soon added our Scottish specialty varieties to the range and became renowned for their unique Scottish flavours.

Harriet presented the crisp making process as ploughed, picked, perfected and packed with a deal of technical knowledge. Where potato growing is concerned there is any environmental concern about the effect of potato production in that area.

She added that the potatoes selected to make crisps undertake size grading, stone separation and washing using top-of-the-range machinery. The potatoes are then thickly sliced and rinsed before cooking. Mackie’s use High Oleic Sunflower Oil because it has optimum composition and proven results for crisping. Packaging some 12 million packets of a unique product in a year provides a wide range of flavours sold around the world.

Helen was particularly pleased to explain the company’s involvement with the charity Muscular Dystrophy UK as they have raised just over £11000 in a short time and intend continuing the relationship.

Ken Thompson thanked Harriet for an interesting and fun presentation which was enjoyed by the Members who equally enjoyed some of the product.

26 March 2019Worldwide Veterinary Service

Our guest speaker was Professor Brian Perry of the University of Edinburgh College of Veterinary Medicine accompanied by Philippa Herd of Vets4Pets. Brian presented his great interest and involvement in equine health and welfare which is well controlled in the UK but has very different realities globally.

His greatest problem was the lack of policies for equines on development agendas. It looks like some 112 million equines are in the hands of the poorer sectors of society. In this respect Brian has been involved with the World Veterinary Service in Ooty, India training vets in the problems of husbandry and health.

Brian’s great involvement has led to more sustainable development goals in treating animals which have spread worldwide. Policies have become more ownership based within developing communities improving the personal involvement with working equines. This has spread to other agencies like World Horse Welfare, the Donkey Sanctuary and the Brooke Foundation so that there is a better understanding of development goals across a wide area.

Brian was thanked for his talk by Rotarian Willie Monks who reiterated the comments and questions from other Members in how little everyone really knew about the problems. Such enterprise and work was to the good for the future.

08 March 2019Lindores Abbey Distillery

Drew and Helen McKenzie Smith gave a presentation on their recently completed project Lindores Abbey Distillery. The intention has been to create the whisky brand associated with the oldest recorded production of whisky then called Aqua Vita.

Drew, from the Howison family who own Lindores Farm, calls himself the custodian of the lands and so places his feelings squarely in the public eye. Lindores Abbey, founded in 1191, has an entry in the Scottish Exchequer Rolls understood to be the first ever mention of whisky.

Lindores Distillery has taken 16 months to build following extensive planning and was opened by the author Ian Rankin and the famous whisky ‘nose’ Richard Paterson. It is hoped that the first single malt will be ready by December 2021. Their current spirit available has been named Aqua Vita and uses local plants, dates and raisins to produce a distinct bouquet, much appreciated by the Club members on the evening

Drew also explained how the area is to be brought back to early cultivation methods as a homage to the Abbey. A large acreage of orchard trees has been planted and the distillery is also setting up bee keeping. Such a glance to the past has given the whole process a complete identity in the town of Newburgh and the Club wishes Drew and Helen the very best for their future success.

02 March 2019Dog Dementia Project

We welcomed Fiona Corner and Carla Mounsey from the Dementia Dog Project for the evening. Fiona, the project manager based at Castle Huntly, explained the origins of the project as a pilot project called Assistance Dog in 2011. The current project grew from this initial interest and has been running since 2016 with then training of eight dogs at Castle Huntly.

Each dog is trained to accompany a dementia patient who is not in full-time care. This is hoped to restructure the routine of the patient who can gain confidence, become a social connector in public and provide an emotional anchor at home. The dog is kept on a dual lead for walks in the community and this has been shown to boost confidence, independence reduce social isolation.

Carla was accompanied by one of the trained dogs and demonstrated the abilities of the dog to support a patient. What was a fun exercise did show the seriousness of the situation for dementia patients and was welcomed by the Club Members.

15 February 2019Strathearn Cheese Company

We had a very welcome return visit from Drew Watson and Pierre Leger of the Strathearn Cheese Company. They gave the Members an update on their three-year-old business as they have expanded the products and production methods. The members were also treated to the three cheeses; Lady Mary, The Strathearn, and the new Wee Comrie.

Pierre outlined the need for the new routines as the company begins to sell to customers directly and deliver to farm shops as part of the company expansion. The existing wholesale business and their presence at farmers’ markets are very time consuming but a necessary part of the company development. Like all businesses, price rises in the raw materials mean they have to be very aware of market forces.

Pierre and Drew were pleased with the reception of their new cheese, the Wee Comrie, which achieved a bronze medal at the Highland Show. Janet Simpson, their host for the evening, thanked them both for their enjoyable talk and their time from such a busy schedule.

07 February 2019YMCA

Franny McGrath, operations manager at Perth YMCA, joined the Members on Tuesday, as the guest of Chris Kirk, to receive a donation of £1000 from the Club. The cheque was presented by President Gillian Marsh.

Franny thanked the Club for the donation and explained that the money will be going towards a large project of YMCA members. The project will be based abroad in Africa and allows ten youngsters to experience the support network for other people in remote locations. Work will involve them in progressing further skills for themselves and others.

07 February 2019Checkin/Giraffe


Gareth Ruddock, manager of Checkin/Giraffe, pictured receiving a donation from Vice President Ian E Brown and Rotarian Bob Thomson, returned to the Club to explain the developments of the new South Street Café.

The donation has enabled the charity to purchase an Induction Hob and an electronic point-of-sale app that has been designed specifically for the hospitality industry. It’s a fully-functioning till system for the café and will prepare the trainees well for future employment – the very nature of using tablet computers and digital technology makes it easier for the trainees on the Autistic Spectrum, for example.

The charity is designed to support people with severe barriers to experience a variety of outlets for work. The South Street Café is just one such outlet and the refurbishment, costing over £30,000 will now include a more even floor, safe stairways and wheelchair access.

Gareth further explained the extension of support for their workers to help make the transition to work more meaningful. The support extends to interview techniques and encouragement in employment to allow people to achieve a more permanent place in society.   

23 January 2019A Taste of Burns

Back row (L-R) John Holme, District Assistant Governor; Iain Mackintosh, Perth Burns Club; George Delgaty, Perth Kinnoull Rotary.

Front row(L-R)Estelle Nicol, Perth Burns Club and Auchterarder Rotary Club; President Gillian,Perth Kinnoull Rotary; Joan Allen, Perth Burns Club.

Iain Mackintosh, Perth Burns Club, recites a popular Burns poem

13 January 2019Churches Action for The Homeless

Graham Taylor, Head of Services for Churches Action for The Homeless (CATH) joined us for the evening with a view of a very current problem. Homelessness, often caused through relationship problems, has become an increasing worry for many local authorities. Currently, Perth has low homelessness and less people are seen to be sleeping rough.

CATH was created in 1991 to provide a local soup kitchen and support a range of people who are in need. There has been a large reliance on volunteers but a large number of workers promote the local policy of making sustainable accommodation available to anyone in the predicament.

Graham explained that CATH outreach teams carry out regular street walks, visit hostels and the day centre. They can check on people and provide necessary support.  Cath’s eight-bed accommodation unit on Shore Road gives people a flat for a short time while the charity’s day centre, offers low-cost meals, laundry and shower facilities as well as advice for those in need. Of course, none of this would be possible without the fund-raising efforts like the sleep out organised on Shore Road last November and the new shop opened in Perth.

Bruce Cameron added his own view in his vote of thanks to Graham who was warmly thanked for his enlightening talk on such a serious problem.

09 December 2018Thistles Among The Roses

Alan Imrie was a very welcome guest this week with further news of Scots lives in London or, as he phrased it, thistles among the roses. His talk was motivated by a tea towel of Scottish inventors which prompted him to think of other famous Scots in London associated with the Crown Court Church.

Alan began with the story of James Braidwood created Master of Fire Engines in Edinburgh in 1824. Braidwood was so successful that he was brought to London in 1833 to set up the London Fire Service. Ironically, Braidwood died in a fire in 1861 as he was a man who led from the front.

Alan followed with the story of Lady Frances Balfour, the daughter of the 8th Duke of Argyll, who was a liberal speaker and lobbyist on the rights for women. She was responsible for raising the funds for rebuilding the Crown Court Church. Her husband Eustace Balfour, brother to the British Prime Minister Arthur Balfour, was Lieutenant Colonel of the London Scottish Regiment.

On mention of the London Scottish Regiment, Alan began to involve the Members with photographs of former soldiers of the Regiment with some appreciation of his gentle style. Names of long-lost actors like Ronald Coleman, Basil Rathbone and Claude Rains encouraged the mental acuity of many Members, as did writers like Kenneth Grahame and the better-known Sir Alexander Fleming.

Alan concluded a very enjoyable evening with a foray amongst other famous Scots who went to London including the Flying Scotsman.

29 November 2018The Newburgh Reed Beds

Mike Mcwilliam gave a talk and showed a film on the Newburgh Reed beds. His personal involvement soon became obvious as he appeared on the film made in about 1984.

Mike grew up in Africa and entered the Royal Agricultural College in 1970. It was from here that he came north to manage Reedways of Errol in 1977 eventually becoming a director of the company and spending ten years there. Although he then spent the next twenty-six years as general manager of Morris Leslie Ltd his heart has always been in the work he did at Newburgh.

Mike explained that the Newburgh reed beds had been planted by the Napoleonic prisoners of war some two hundred years ago in order to prevent further erosion by the River Tay. The reeds are then harvested to provide quality thatching for roofs. There are now some fifteen hundred acres in the area.

The reeds are cut in late March to encourage new growth and Mike has been instrumental in developing new machinery for refining the reeds and bulk handling. His film showed the range of equipment used on the reed beds.

The demand for reeds has declined since thatching has not created the apprenticeships required to bolster the business. Thatching, which lasts about forty years, is still used in some areas of the country but reeds also now come from China and Poland.

The cutting of the reeds continues under the RSPB who have discovered that thinning out the reed beds encourages birds to nest. Reducing the amount of old growth also reduces the extreme fire hazard.

President Gillian warmly thanked Mike for his talk and for his personal donation of one hundred pounds towards the Tayside Challenge.

23 November 2018Pitcairngreen Village Association

Rotary Club of Perth Kinnoull has donated six hundred pounds to Pitcairngreen Village Association as a thank you for all their help and cooperation over the four Tayside Challenge events helping us to raise approximately thirty four thousand pounds. It was decided that the money would be used to buy a quality picnic table for the village green.

The Association had also said they needed a bike rack and Douglas Sinclair offered one which he had acquired on the farm. Douglas cut it down to the size they required and repainted it ready to be set in a concrete base.

The photo shows both the picnic table and the bike rack.

23 November 2018A Perth-based Charity

Simon Phillips of ME Research UK was our guest speaker this week. Simon has just joined ME Research UK as the Chief Executive Officer and brings a wealth of experience in commerce with work at Simply Food and Waterstones.

Simon first introduced the Members to the fact that this charity is Perth-based but has global connections. His role, as he sees it, is to make these facts more widely known. He explained that the chronic disease ME is a post exertional malaise expressed as extreme fatigue after any activity. Originally called Yuppie Flu, ME was recognised as an illness by the UN in 2002 and is said to now affect over 240,000 people in the UK and many millions worldwide.

The Perth headquarters is responsible for fund raising across the globe to support university projects into finding a cure for the illness known fully as Myalgic Encephalomyelitis or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Currently the funding supports forty-eight projects at universities across the world.  

In thanking Simon for his illuminating talk, Rotarian Tom Laurie was clear to point out how this illness was close to many in Perth and he wished Simon every success in expanding the charity’s work.

31 October 2018Ken Thompson

Our newest member, Ken Thompson, gave his job talk at the end of the month. He took us on an enjoyable journey around the UK with his 33 years career with Littlewoods and a mere ten years more as a sub-postmaster in Somerset and Grange-over-Sands.

The journey began with some introduction to life as he was offered manager of the Londonderry Littlewoods store. His 13 months provided a list of hair-raising events through being evacuated from the store some forty three times. A more settled part of the journey took Ken to Wrexham, Chesterfield, London, Cardiff and, finally, Aberdeen. 

It was while at Aberdeen that Ken became involved with the start of the Rotary Kidsout which began in 1990. Littlewoods was the sponsor for the scheme. This brought Ken within the Rotary orbit and he made the decision to become a Rotarian

Perth Kinnoull is now his fourth Rotary Club. His first, by chance, was St Machar where he was inaugurated by our own Bruce Cameron, the then president.

Ken, seated left, was thanked by his host, Iain Brown.

29 October 2018The Wellness Effect

Josh Goodey, a member of the Chiropractic Life team in Perth, explained how his personal ambition to create a chiropractic health and wellness program had, at last, been realised. He graduated from the University of Leeds with a degree in sports and exercise science during which time he became interested in the philosophy of chiropractic medicine.

Josh recalled how he met patients who were achieving great progress with their chiropractic care but would have benefited from a more extensive care plan. This led him to the idea of wellness whereby a patient could improve their health by combining lifestyle changes with their care plan.

He interpreted health as physical, chemical and emotional wellbeing which left untended causes imbalances, develops dysfunctions and leads to well known symptoms of poor health; something which touches everyone today who feels a lack of energy, stiffness and suffers minor ailments.

It would be impossible to cover the wealth of detail Josh gave the Members about investigating how well someone actually felt and what steps were necessary to correct those imbalances. Suffice it to say, the Members are now fully conversant in the principles of nutrition, exercise and mindfulness.

Josh dealt with a barrage of questions with the authority that had marked his talk was thanked by his host for the evening, Brad Harris, who had some personal experience of the scheme.

16 October 2018The Lilias Graham Trust

Amy Hatrick (on right) accompanied by colleague Claire Thomson and host Rotarian Brian Raine.

The Lilias Graham Trust is a Scottish charity that offers independent parenting capacity assessments, within a residential facility.

Located in rural Stirlingshire, the LGT provides residential placements to parents and families in cases where there are concerns about parents not meeting the needs of their child/children and the Local Authority require more evidence-based information about whether the child can remain safe within the family.

The protection of vulnerable children is the focus. With experienced staff on call 24 hours a day, The LGT provides and assesses parenting skills and helps parents and families to explore and develop positive relationships.

Amy Hatrick and colleague Claire Thomson visited us this evening to explain the origin of the charity and the work it undertakes.

Amy has worked for the Lilias Graham Trust for the last 5 years and has held the position of Service Manager for the last 4 years.   She has completed her Certificate in Child Welfare and Protection at Stirling University as well as a Management Award at Cardonald College.

Claire Thomson, who accompanied Amy, is Finance Manager of the Lilias Graham Trust and has worked with the charity for the past 12 years.

07 October 2018Wine Tasting

On Tuesday evening we were entertained to a talk by Mark Crawford, development manager at Exel Wines in Perth, and, of course, he brought along some samples; a very nice white and an equally pleasant red to go with the meal.

Mark talked a little about past trends and public tastes and how they change. Modern perceptions are being promoted by TV personalities and their shows, especially cooking and health programs. And films too, as ‘Sideways’, a recent popular film, caused an increase in sales of Pinot Noir wines at the expense of the Merlot varieties.

Riojas, especially from North Spain, are very popular as are New Zealand wines but Chardonnay wines have fallen out of favour. Sales of sparkling wines, both Spanish and French are increasing. But he had a word of warning for the future. It is likely that wines will be subject to tariff changes following Brexit. What will actually happen is not clear but there are unacceptable scenarios which have to be dismissed as impractical.

Mark’s advice for the wine connoisseur - if you find a wine you like buy a lot for the future. Sound advice which John Cormack seconded as he gave thanks for all the work Mark had put into the evening.


26 September 2018CLIK-Sargent

Donna Bednarek, pictured above with her host Steve Fairlie, gave a very informative talk on Tuesday about the charity CLIK Sargent, the leading children’s cancer charity in the UK. The origins of the charity lie in the 2005 merger of two former charities, Cancer and Leukaemia in Children and the Sargent Cancer Care for Children founded in memory of Sir Malcolm Sargent.

Donna, the fund raising engagement manager for the charity in Scotland, explained the need to act after a child has been diagnosed with cancer. Someone should be there to meet the family and give support during treatment which can only happen in Scotland at the Glasgow or Edinburgh hospitals. She added that the charity’s principle is ‘helping young lives to thrive not just survive.' To this end, the charity provides home from home accommodation near the hospitals.

The statistic that there are eleven children a day told they have cancer in the UK is quite frightening. However, the fact that four in every five children survive the trauma is very heartening and makes the charity’s work even more important.

The charity will provide a family grant of £170 to help with initial costs towards accommodation, travel and personal effects. Then it is possible that the family can stay at one of 11 houses across the country while treatment is in progress, which on average lasts sixteen days at a cost of £33 a day.

But of course all this comes at a cost and Donna highlighted the fact that the charity receives all its income from public donations. She is also able to lead from the front and do her bit as well; she is participating in the Scottish Run at the weekend on behalf of the charity. She is very proud of the charity’s track record with nearly six hundred supported cases in Scotland.

Donna’s passion and enthusiasm for the work came through very clearly during  her talk which was well-received by the Members who can now count themselves a little wiser about this harrowing situation of cancer in children.

21 September 2018An Exceptional Young Lady

Rhiannon Nash was our guest on Tuesday evening. Rhiannon has been supported by the Club on her RYLA adventure this year. I suppose it would be fair to say that this young woman standing in front of the particular audience served up on that Tuesday showed exactly why RYLA is such a serious part of our work. Her confidence shown through her delivery was exceptional for one so young.

Rhiannon explained how her week at Abernethy with the RYLA organisers unfolded day by day. Split into seven groups, all the RYLA candidates approached a variety of events in outdoor leadership. Each day began at 7.15 am and lasted for an exhausting time up to 10 pm stretching everyone’s mental and physical ability.

She said how much fun everything was right up to the last day of hillwalking when everyone was so tired. Her particular pleasure was to be able to show her group how to navigate effectively. In the Abernethy Challenge she was commended on her personal endeavour.

Chris Kirk, the Club’s Youth convenor, asked her how much she felt she had benefited from the course to which she replied that it was the best opportunity she had come across to get the best out of everyone. She added that she felt she now understood the effect and purpose of good teamwork on activities and this would stay with her as she undertook other things.

Rhiannon returns to her place at Perth High School where she said she has very little spare time. Not surprising as she is a young leader in scouting, plays hockey for Perthshire and undertakes voluntary work with the elderly. Most evenings she can be found as a “Front of House” assistant at either Perth Concert Hall or Perth Theatre.

I feel that it is fair to say that the Club Members have been introduced to an exceptional young lady.

17 September 2018Our Racerunner at the North Inch.

Young Strathspey Harrier athletes are pictured before the recent event on the North Inch.

Matthew Doig, centre in red, has recently returned from competition in Denmark where he won 4 gold medals and achieved a world record time in his age group in the 1500 metres.

To Matthew's left, in grey top, is Niamh Sandeman who pilots the newly-purchased Rotary racerunner.  (see pic below).








Niamh (Neave) Sandeman with dad Charlie.

Niamh aged 17 lives in Longforgan and is studying Life Skills at Perth College.

She has been involved with the Racerunners for 3 years and is an enthusiastic member of the club.

12 September 2018Hitting Back At The Scammers


Every now and then, we have a speaker who brings the real world to life in an exciting way. This was certainly true of Janet Reay, Trading Standards Officer for Perth and Kinross, in her presentation on current scams.

Janet has a lot of experience of such operators having worked for many years, qualifying firstly in her home town of Sunderland and latterly in Fife. Since 1996, she has been taking care of the good residents of Perth across a wide range of problems from electrical goods to legal highs.

Janet explained that scams were defined as misleading, deceptive or fraudulent marketing offers. Scams are touching everybody and affecting lives everywhere. Janet further added how the vulnerable people in our society were being preyed on mercilessly by sophisticated operators. The effect is to cause social isolation and embarrassment.

Scams have become more evident since the wide use of the internet made people more available to contact from anywhere in the world. They fit into one of three categories – bogus letters, telephone calls and e-mails. Janet detailed the problems with each category and the best way to deal with them; never give anyone your pin number as that action breaks your contract with the bank. Her talk provided the Members with practical guidelines and useful tips with a list of phone numbers for further help and advice.

Lastly, Janet explained how she had set up a special unit to identify who is being targeted by the scammers. The problem here is that people can be drawn in and become addicted. Her work has been very successful in supporting many people in Perth, work that was very much appreciated by Bob Reid as he thanked Janet for her talk.

01 September 2018Freedom From Fistula Foundation

Sue Hope spoke to the Club members about the Foundation’s work in Sierra Leone, Kenya and Malawi to bring comfort, relief and support to women disabled through childbirth. Sue explained the dramatic consequences that affect one woman every three seconds; an appalling figure highlighting the ignorance and neglect shown towards the sufferers.

The Foundation set up in 2008 by Ann Gloag seeks to expand the early work with the help of Rotary and the United nations. Although the Foundation gives medical support to the sufferers, it has provided a means of reintegration into society for the shunned sufferers.

Just as important is the work to bring about prevention through natural care and family planning. So the Foundation has supported the training of over five hundred specialist doctors and nurses. In Kenya the Foundation supports and funds existing work, while direct intervention is needed in the other countries.

Further work includes out-patient clinics which have supported over twenty thousand children to date. Secondly, the work has been shown to be supported greatly by the further provision of literary and nursery classes which give the Foundation more meaning to the holistic approach it has sponsored.

Club Members were very encouraged by the further knowledge that every penny raised is directed towards the sufferers and very moved by a direct insight into the hidden plight of so many women. Sue Hope was thanked by her host for the evening, Colin Moreland, for her time, patience and expertise in explaining the detailed work of the Foundation.   

27 August 2018The Princes Trust - Gillian Farnington


Gillian Farnington, seated here front left, spoke to the Members about the Prince’s Trust. After 12 years in the police force, she decided to take a year with the Prince's Trust managing one of the new personal development schemes.

The Prince’s Trust began in 1976 with the intention of improving the lives of disadvantaged young people and expanded into schemes for starting young businesses. Gillian explained how the latest scheme, centred in Dundee, is intended to tackle rising youth unemployment with the involvement of the YMCA, Perth College, Perth Council and Police Scotland.

Gillian is about to start her 3rd scheme and is looking to recruit 16 to 25 year-olds not in full time education. The recruits will face a number of challenges over 8 weeks as well as receiving residential accommodation and a budget.

Each week brings new approaches to the personal development of the recruits from team building, community work and running their own charity shop. The final two weeks allow each recruit to have a work placement.

The hope is that the young people will be able to stabilise their lives and get back some control of their personal development. Such a worthy enterprise was whole-heartedly acclaimed by the Members, some of whom are shown here with Gillian and her namesake, President Gillian.

07 August 2018Job Talk - Steven Fairlie

It was "Job Talk" time for Steven Fairlie who joined the club on 20th March this year.

Educated at St. Ninians Primary (where he sang in the cathedral choir!) and Perth Academy, Steven went on to Dundee University to study accountancy. 

He joined Norwich Union in October 2003 and has become the Senior Compliance Manager at Aviva specialising in data compliance with the Motor Insurance Database and Employers Liability Tracing Office.  

He also worked for Wm.Low/Tesco for 21 years - a part time job he had from schooldays that he kept on. 

He is married to Catriona and has three boys. 

Interests include football (watching rather than participating!) and, like most dads, providing a taxi service for the boys and various activities they have!

31 July 2018Scottish Rotary Clubs Support Malawi Fruits.

Kevin Simpson who is the Executive Director of Malawi Fruits​ paid us another welcome visit this evening following our fourth successful joint organising of the popular and lucrative Tayside Challenge Cycle Sportive which has raised almost £34,000 since its inception.

Kevin is the Executive Director of Malawi Fruits; a Scottish charity helping some of the world's poorest people in Malawi through loans and education, helping them to help themselves by growing a cash crop. His organisation is very involved in the upgrading of their farming practices including modernisation, irrigation and local processing of produce.

Although he originates from Broughty Ferry Kevin now lives in Wishaw.   For a day job he is the CEO of the Sottish Jewish Charity and is the first ever non-jew to run that charity.

Kevin is pictured (centre) presenting a photograph of one of the Malawi farmers with his solar-powered water pump.  He is accompanied by Steve Blackett on the left and last year's president Colin Moreland.   The Perth Kinnoull club was the first to purchase and donate a water pump a little over a year ago and since then, thanks to Kevin's powers of persuasion, Scottish Rotary clubs have donated a further 27 pumps.


We were also joined this evening by Elspeth Farmer who until recently was the Secretary of the Pitcairngreen Village Association for 11 years.

During the last four years she and her committee have given an enormous amount of support, help and advice during the running of the Tayside Challenge, when the Perth Kinnoull club "invades" the otherwise peaceful village of Pitcairngreen   

28 July 2018Pioneering Kidney Transplantation

Dr Samira Bell is a Senior Clinical Lecturer at Dundee University and Consultant Nephrologist at Ninewells Hospital. She holds a NHS Research Scotland Fellowship funded by the Chief Scientists Office studying Acute Kidney Injury and diabetes.

NHS Tayside has become the first health board in Scotland to introduce an electronic early-warning system to identify damage to the kidneys at a much earlier stage, potentially improving survival rates and shortening hospital stays. The system works by flagging up warning signs to clinicians after blood tests. Messages are sent to computer systems holding patient results, clearly outlining to doctors the severity of the injury and information on the best course of action.

Samira outlined the hardship of a life on dialysis following severe kidney damage. Patients spend four hours three times a week on a dialysis machine with all the attendant travel, support and time needed for such arrangements. There are also restrictive dietary requirements and limitations to liquid intake at one and a half litres daily. And the side effects can be equally restrictive.

So it is no wonder, she added, that a kidney transplant is looked upon with such expectations to health especially with such high survival rates in young patients.  All transplants are carried out in Edinburgh with support and recovery transferred to Ninewells in Dundee.

She also explained that the new strategies involve several support systems which have been set up to encourage live donors to come forward. Such a move with early clinical diagnosis removes the need for dialysis at all; a much more acceptable and comfortable approach to the whole issue.

Such an interesting talk on pioneering medicine gave the members much food for thought and Samira was thanked for her presentation by her host for the evening, Frank Muirden, both pictured with Club Senior Vice-President Ian E Brown.

20 July 2018Cycling around Vietnam

Cycling around Vietnam

Rotarian Brian Johnston gave the members an insight into his momentous fund raising effort cycling in Vietnam. He was working with ‘Lend with Care’ a charity that raises money to be lent to entrepreneurs world-wide; the money is then paid back or lent to another. The charity is involved with a lot of Rotary Clubs.

Of course, Brian explained, he had to get fit enough to complete the challenge of height and distance. He thanked Lorna for her support on a 79 Km ride, the culmination of working every day for a month in the gym and on the road. He reckoned that he had been covering over a hundred miles a week.


He arrived in Hanoi on 20th April to meet another 16 cyclists who had taken the spare parts like saddles for the bikes which were fitted there by mechanics. The riders were supported by those people who drove support vehicles throughout the ride, especially useful for one of the group, an 80 year old woman, who had an accident on the first day. There were also guides who would explain the sights on the tour and the glimpses of the way people lived in the country. The group were to meet the family of one entrepreneur who was receiving a loan for setting up an animal rearing unit.



Brian said he was overwhelmed by the attention of the local people who smiled and waved wherever he went; smiles that remain with him to this day. He soon learnt that there was no traffic control, especially in the cities. Being the monsoon, the wet was an additional hazard on the usually poor roads and the low cloud and mist in the mountains meant visibility was dangerously poor at times. This was compensated for on clear days where the mountain views were spectacular.

Brian completed 505 km over the 9 days he was in Vietnam and has raised just short of £8000; The group of 17 as a whole raised a stunning £101,000.




18 July 2018Custard on Strawberries?


Hot custard on strawberries and ice cream?


Surely not!

08 July 2018An Auster to Malawi

From the left, Kevin Fearn, President Gillian and Ian Strachan, MBE.

Ian Strachan, MBE, and his wife, Judith, were the guests of the Club on Tuesday 3rd July. Ian transported us back to the days when adventure meant adventure with his talk of the flight he made from Bristol to Malawi in a two-seater Auster Observation plane.

His work in the Colonial Service in the fifties and sixties was in the former Nyasaland, now Malawi, and he was District Commissioner during independence in 1964. Eventually he had the idea that a return trip in early 1967 would be a real enterprise.

He arranged to meet Graham, an experienced Australian pilot, in Corsica so set off with his future wife Judith from Bristol on 4th January, but got lost over France. Eventually he made Corsica leaving Judith to return to Britain; she kept in touch for the rest of the journey accepting a proposal of marriage en-route.   

Ian and Graham crossed the Med to Tripoli and hopped along the coast to Egypt and down the river to Aswam, being built at the time, and on to Khartoum, Entebbe, Nairobi and eventually Dar es Salaam. Ian recounted the many incidents along the way for refuelling, sightseeing and maintenance of the plane. Some were quite fun but many gave his audience moments of anxiety.

Such a venture was not without extreme danger and Ian, himself, suggested such a trip would not be possible today. However, sharing such tales made for a memorable evening.


29 June 2018Crossroads

Gill Renton, the manager of Crossroads, Perth, gave a presentation of the charity's work on Tuesday evening.

Gill, shown with Rotarian Bob Thomson, explained the work of Crossroads which is a care support group.

Gill manages some 49 staff members providing respite care for patients in their own homes and gave many examples of the processes involved in providing such a wide range of support.

Such relief allows people to be supported on hospital visits, essential shopping trips or just support at home. The work is necessary for people who do not receive full time care.     

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