January Chatters

2010 News from the Rotary Club of Perth Kinnoull  

Printable Version

President's Patter

January is a long month but still I haven’t managed to put pen to paper in time! Janus the God with two faces or heads, the god of gates or doors, beginnings and endings.  I was reminded of him on one of my twice daily walks in Kinnoull woods when I became aware of being watched and there lying behind a tree were two deer looking very much like Dr. Dolittle’s Pushmi-pullyu animal as the tree covered the “join”.  Where is my camera when I need it? 

Looking back I think we have had a good 6 months and thanks to all convenors and their committees for their hard work in continuing to support the tried and tested projects and charities as well as introducing us to new ones.  My thanks to all members for their support.


However January was a sad month for the club with the loss of Gordon and looking further back we have lost 3 members in the last year all of whom were very much part of and great supporters of the club.   

I am pleased that we have been able to send two Shelterboxes to Haiti and thanks to the excellent contacts of Helen and the generosity of The Salutation Hotel, Perth College Music Department and the Bands, Shotgun 76, Face to Face, Afterthought and, of course, Lateshift all of whom have agreed to give their services free of charge, we have a sell-out Dance on Saturday to raise more funds to help these poor people.

February 27 sees us at the Tesco Store in Edinburgh Road  collecting for the Thanks for Life eradication of Polio campaign. March will be a busy month too with our Dinner on the 12th and the biennial visit of the Black Dyke Bandon on the 27th.  Raffle prizes and auction lots still needed for the former and tickets still for sale for the latter xxx A lot done and still a lot to happen before June






My overriding thought while preparing this issue has been one of loss and pride. Haiti has suffered in a way that we can only hope to appreciate, and I am sure we can all take comfort that we are working in some small way to help.  Our club has also had the honour of coming to know Gordon over the past few years and can celebrate the fact that he touched each of us in no small way. I would like to dedicate this issue to those thoughts 



Community Service

  • Our donation of B.O.G.O.F.’s for Starter Packs has been gratefully received, thank you to Mike and George for their help in taking the goods to the warehouse and to all members who contributed. Starter Packs would also like to receive blankets, pillows, towels etc., so when you spring clean, please remember to recycle, not throw out unwanted items.
  • Kids Out pack has arrived and an application form is included to help us get funds towards this venture.  Kids Out is for children from disadvantage backgrounds and The Kids Out Charity help by donating £1 per child towards any activities organised.  It is hoped that we may be able to get together with the other two Perth clubs and make this an annual event.
  • Balnacraig School have given us a list of equipment they feel would benefit the pupils and help them to develop their social skills, relationship building and confidence.  The items required are fishing tackle and scale model kits.  They estimate the cost to be approx. £300.



Youth & Vocational Committee

  • Young Artist Competition: The pictures submitted by the winners have been recovered from the Perth Art Gallery and will be returned to the artists at a future "photo opportunity".
  •  Fairview School: Our cheque for £500 has been handed over to allow the purchase to proceed and we have received a letter of thanks. A formal cheque presentation will be arranged shortly with photographs being taken.
  • RYLA 2010: The selection interviews will take place at McDiarmid Park on Sunday 7th March.
  • Young Singer Competition: Pete Honeyman at Perth College will commence his "weeding out" procedures shortly with a suggestion that the competition take place on a Rotary night at the Royal George in mid-May.
  • Mock Interviews at Strathallan School: It is hoped that up to 32 pupils will present themselves for interview over two evening sessions to be held commencing late February. Five possible dates have been proposed by Nick and a board will be circulated next week with a view to obtaining 8 volunteers to carry out the interviews on the most suitable dates







John Steven introduced Gordon to our club and he was very much part of it from the time he joined.  Gordon’s job talk to Rotary gave us a small glimpse of his work with the European Space Agency. He was unassuming and modest about the work he had done and he explained the concepts in ways which were understandable without being condescending in any way. 


Gordon walked the Fife Coastal Path with George, the only two members of the club to do it from start to finish albeit in very easy stages visiting Rotary clubs along the way.  Some of us joined them for some of the sections but all members looked forward to Gordon’s photographs and articles about the places they had visited.  He had a love of nature and this showed in his pictures and descriptions of the walks.


Gordon put a tremendous amount of work into Chatters, which he also edited for several years and many of the months he was the chief contributor because he hadn’t received copy from others.  He always gave us something interesting to read.  


He put us in touch with the Jo Homan Charity through which we now sponsor 2 Indian children and we were pleased to have Gordon and Loretta accept the club’s cheque on behalf of the charity last year for the supply of desks for one of the schools. He also took part in other extra curricular activities, beating for the shooters in the club, winemaking the old fashioned way, fishing, visits to the cattle sales and the Highland Show  to mention a few.  


He was generous with his expertise and time, giving many members advice and practical help with their computers and nothing was too much trouble for him. Gordon was a very regular attender at weekly meetings and other Rotary activities – the 3 club cricket match, the charity golf day, the gavel, meetings at the races, the presidents’ dinners, our fashion show and the 3 club ceilidhs where he showed his skill as a Scottish country dancer.  Gordon was at all these events usually with his camera and we were lucky to have excellent photographs in Chatters usually with a witty caption.


While we will all have our own memories of times we shared with Gordon, we will all remember how good it was to be in his company, his quiet sense of humour, how interesting he was to listen to and his interest in others and their interests, his contribution to our club and his support for Rotary activities.  A really kind and gentle man and a true gentleman, he will be much missed by us all



I wear this unaccustomed suit as a sign of respect for his passing.

I wear this tie as a description of the colours of my memories of this man.


We didn’t know we’d need a scientist in our Perth Kinnoullity

We thought we were complete

But you know, young Gordon filled a space, we didn’t know we had.

With irreplaceably convoluted mind, of extraordinary simplicity,

A lovely man with a magnificence of knowledge

Beyond any we could ever imagine.

We squashed so many grapes together,

Gordon’s chemistry delineating the ultimate end;

My obstinatious remembered processes bruised by a superior mind.

We fished the IslaRiver, talked and thought and cast together.

A supremely gentle man of simple explanations of incredible complexity.

The salmon listened and finned away, o’er awed too much to eat.

A privilege to know this man, a memory we’ll all retain.

A man, a very decent man,

An uncompromisably unforgettable friend.


Gordon gave special support through the Joe Homan Charity. These are the latest pictures of our sponsored children, Muthu Pandi and Infant Pamela.














 Burns Supper

A good evening was had by a large number of members and guests at the Royal George Hotel. Janet made a fine address at the beginning of proceedings and certainly cut it wi' ready slight

Fair fa' your honest, sonsie face,
Great chieftain O the puddin' race!
Aboon them a' ye tak yer place,
Painch, tripe, or thairm:
Weel are ye wordy of a grace
As lang's my arm

Colin gave a stirring account of the man and his times. Peter gave the toast to the ladies while Helen made the reply, both entertaining and summing up the good feelings of the evening.

The Shelter Box Camp at Port au Prince


The ShelterBox Response Team have set up a ShelterBox camp for up to 1,000 people on the Henfrasa sports field in Delmas, Port au Prince, Haiti, providing emergency shelter for the most in need and the most vulnerable; prioritising families with newborn babies and pregnant women.

Aid for more than 20,000 people has already arrived in Haiti and is being distributed by the Response Team with the help of the Dutch marines, Rotarians, French aid agency ACTED and the French Red Cross. ShelterBox’s team of volunteers in the UK are continuing their hard work packing boxes. Another 3,000 ShelterBoxes are due to arrive by the end of this week taking ShelterBoxes commitment of boxes above the 5,000 mark.


Erin Scott 

The speaker at our meeting on 5th January was Ms. Erin Scott, Waste Awareness Co-ordinator with Perth & Kinross Council. Erin gave a comprehensive review of waste management, with particular reference to 'Home Composting', where most of us could reduce the volume of rubbish passed onto the Council!. Questions of course included a number about the Shore Road incinerator......still unresolved [at the time] !!.


In closing, Erin made it clear that the entire subject of waste disposal was under continuing research and change and she promised to return and update us in the future.


David Anderson

David Anderson, of Golf & Thistle, gave a much appreciated account of the re-establishment of Kingarrock Golf Course in the grounds of Hill of Tarvit mansion house. The house was bought in 1904 by wealthy Dundonian Frederick Sharp so the keen golfer could be close to St Andrews. David suggested that golf was why Frederick Sharp and his family came to Hill of Tarvit in 1904 and he believed that "golf is going to save it.”


Efforts to recreate it began in 2002 and two years later planning permission was granted by Fife Council and work started to lay out the nine-hole course exactly as the original, near Forester’s Cottage which would be mini- clubhouse. It was officially opened last June. Players use original hickory clubs, leather and canvas bags and balls and tees similar to those used in the early 20th century. Reaction to the course had been fantastic, with visitors coming from all over the world.

It was clear from his talk that David's enthusiasm for the whole project had driven everyone to a truly wonderful piece of work, and his personal memories gave the club a great evening.



More News from Haiti


Rotary clubs across Great Britain and Ireland are stepping up efforts to help Haiti recover from the devastating earthquake. Additional street collections are being arranged by clubs and contributions to the RIBI Donations Trust are arriving daily. 

Rebuilding Haitian communities is expected to take years and Rotary clubs are determined to give as much support as possible. The RIBI Donations Trust focuses on long-term, sustainable reconstruction projects aimed at getting communities back on their feet after the initial relief effort has been completed. Indeed, the Trust is still helping to turn around lives affected by the Boxing Day tsunami in
South East Asia, the Australian bushfires and the Sumatran earthquake.

A special fund has been set up by the Donations Trust which is dedicated to helping
Haiti’s future. The trustees will consider how to allocate the funding to achieve the greatest benefit. This could be for projects such as new homes, a replacement hospital, community centres or schools. Continued support by Rotary helps to restore hope, the value of which cannot be underestimated.

Gift Aid is an important part of the donation as it allows the Donations Trust to reclaim tax from the Government. This currently gives an extra 25p for every £1 donated – multiply this by the thousands of contributions made and the money soon adds up and makes a much bigger impact.

Any donations should be sent to:
RIBI Donations Trust
c/o Rotary International in
Great Britain
and Ireland
Kinwarton Road

B49 6PB


Rotary clubs and districts worldwide are mobilizing resources to deliver urgently needed relief to the millions affected by Haiti's devastating earthquake.

District 7020, which includes Haiti, has flown in 70 planes filled with more than 60,000 pounds of medical equipment and supplies into the cities of Pignon and Port-de-Paix to bypass logistical problems in the hard-hit capital of Port-au-Prince. The district's Haiti Task Force, set up two years ago to administer all financial aid to the nation, is working with local clubs to deliver aid to Port-au-Prince and those who have taken refuge in the countryside.


"Rotary had an incredible infrastructure established before the quake, which has made our relief efforts very effective," says Dick McCombe, past district governor and Haiti liaison chair. "We're flying in supplies through backdoor channels and doing things a lot of agencies can't do." Rotary was in a good position to help in Haiti, with 33 projects already underway to provide water, sanitation, medical care, and education. "We changed from teaching children how to read to saving their lives," says McCombe.


Rotarian Claude Surena, head of the Haiti Task Force and president of the Haitian Medical Association, is sheltering more than 100 injured people in his damaged home in Port-au-Prince. His house has become a makeshift hospital and medical distribution center. Within the next two weeks, McCombe says, a barge will be hired to transport 20 to 30 tons of clothes, blankets, folding beds, and other items to Haiti from Nassau, Bahamas.



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