News from around our Club...


26 November 2019Reflections of a Primus

....or "Stories Round a Camping Stove".

Bruce Cameron expanded this week on the job talk he gave to us in August 2017, shortly after his arrival in the club.

He told a sometimes sad but mostly very amusing and entertaining story of his visits around the world including trips to Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Africa including  South Africa, Malawi and Mozambique.

He met many world-renowned personalities on his travels and let us see some of the gifts he had received as mementos of his visits with Yasser Arafat in Gaza and Archbishop Desmond Tutu in South Africa.







The photograph shows Bruce (centre) with President Ian E Brown and Brian Johnston who thanked Bruce for sharing his experiences with us.

07 November 2019Young Artists' Competition 2019

At the opening of the Perthshire Art Association's Annual Exhibition on Thursday our President Ian E Brown informed those present that the our club has been organising the Young Artist Competition for Perth Schools since 2007, making it the 13th occasion of our involvement.

This year we had 38 entries which as usual gave the judges from the Art Association a very difficult task in selecting the winning entries.  President Ian thanked them for their expertise and time spent in judging the art work.

The photo shows PAA President Ian Dunsire with James Lauder, Aimee Findlay and President Ian E Brown.

Fiona Haldane presented the prizes to the young winners (see below).   Fiona was born in Dundee and attended Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art between 1975-1979.   She first started to exhibit in 1996 and is now recognised as one of the leading pastel landscape artists in Scotland.

James Lauder is shown on the left with his winning picture.   Above Junior runner-up Aimee Findlay is pictured with Fiona Haldane.   The winner and runner-up in the senior age group were unable to attend the presentation.


S1 to S3 Age Group

Winner - James Lauder (Strathallan School)

Runner-up - Aimee Findlay (Perth Grammar School)

S4 to S6 Age Group

Winner - Mina Brennan (Strathallan School)

Runner-up - Natasha Beal (Kilgraston School)

05 November 2019Kevin Hayes - Job Talk

Kevin's "job talk" left us in no doubt what an extremely busy man he is.   

He is a Fellow of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors and a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbiters.

As a chartered quantity surveyor and chartered arbitrator he provides professional services as arbitrator, adjudicator and mediator.   He also claims to be an expert party adviser!

He has been involved in more than 440 disputes either as arbitrator, adjudicator, independent expert, mediator or expert witness.

Kevin is a past visiting lecturer and examiner for arbitration module on MSc Course in Construction Law at Leeds Metropolitan University; tutor on adjudication, School of Law, University of Salford and RICS DRS Online Academy.

He is married to Dominique, better known as Mimi.    He has three children and eight grandchildren.   Another great love in his life is his border collie, Skye.

Interests include fly-fishing for wild brown trout and grayling; gardening; hiking; music and photography.

He tells us that one of his more notable recent achievements is his ability to still go up the stairs two at a time.

29 October 2019The Battle of Dupplin Moor

The death of Robert the Bruce in 1329 left Scotland with a 4 year-old king, Robert’s son David II. Like his father before him however, David’s claim to the throne was far from clear.

Yet another contender, Edward Balliol, seized upon the opportunity to stake his claim to the crown. Edward’s father, King John Balliol had reigned in Scotland until 1296. Supported by Henry Beaumont, an Anglo-Scottish noble who had lost his lands when Robert the Bruce became king, Balliol left France to seek the support of the newly crowned English King Edward III. Although the king agreed in principle, he stipulated that any invasion launched by Balliol must be by sea and not land.

By the end of July, Balliol and Beaumont had assembled a small army of around 2,000, mainly Englishmen, boarded 88 ships and sailed from Yorkshire to Fife.

Deciding to engage the smaller of two Scottish armies that had been mustered against them, Balliol marched on Perth. The Scottish army waiting for them on the northern banks of the River Earn was some 10,000 strong.

Commanded by Donald, Earl of Mar, the Scots were so confident in their numerical superiority that they didn’t even bother to post sentries before settling down to enjoy the evening festivities on the night of the 10th August 1332.

Unobserved, the English army crossed the Earn and took up a strong defensive position on some high ground with their longbowmen strategically positioned on either flank. Incensed at being outmanoeuvred, the Scots charged the English position, only to be met by an arrow storm which continued to take its toll in wave after devastating wave.

It is said that the Scottish bodies were piled to the height of a spear whilst the English losses were light in comparison.

A few weeks later Edward Balliol was crowned king at Scone, a throne he would occupy only to the end of the year.

The tactics adopted by the English however would be used to great effect over the next hundred years across the battlefields of Europe.   The deathly power of the English longbow had been demonstrated for the first time

01 October 2019Visit of Lord Lieutenant

Stephen is Chairman and Chief Executive of Crieff Hydro and the fifth generation of his family to run this hotel and estate since the doors opened on Scotland’s maiden hydropathic establishment in 1868. The company is now the oldest trading registered company in Scotland. Since taking the helm in 1994, Stephen has marshalled more than £60 million of investment to transform the property into a true leisure resort which competes on the international stage.

Due to expansion the company now owns or manages 9 hotels to include a £6 million refurbishment of Peebles Hydro and a further £3 million earmarked for the portfolio. Later this month the company will be opening their own Gin Distillery and School in Peebles – it will be the biggest School in Britain.

Stephen is an active member of the UK Hospitality Association and former Chairman of the Scotland Committee. He also chairs the Tourism Leadership Group and is a recipient of numerous awards for his outstanding contribution to the industry.

After being a Deputy Lieutenant for Perth and Kinross since 2012 Stephen was appointed Lord-Lieutenant in July. He is also President of the Perthshire Chamber of Commerce.

His varied interests include classic cars and land rovers, piping, skiing, trials biking and sailing.

The Club was shown a very entertaining and interesting lap top presentation. A hearty vote of thanks was extended to Stephen by his former Strathallan History Teacher, Brian Raine who presented him with a copy of Hitler’s”Mein Kampf”.

17 September 2019Arnhem 1944

Lt Col Andy Middlemiss (Retired) a fellow Rotarian from Kinross returned to our Club as a guest speaker courtesy of Brian Raine.   By way of background Andy served in the Kings Own Scottish Borderers for 33 years including 3 Far East tours in Malaysia and Borneo.  He worked for SSAFA (the Armed Forces Charity) for 20 years 8 of which as Chairman of Perth & Kinross Branch.  Additionally Andy led 4 KOSB tours to the World War 1 battlefields and is not long back from his Arnhem one.

In the absence of slides Andy, ably supported by his brother Paul, delivered a detailed and informative lecture on the World War 2 famed Arnhem operation codenamed “Market Garden”.   Aptly the event took place 75 years ago today.   The controversial allied initiative in September 1944, which saw some of the war’s bloodiest fighting, claimed the lives of more than 1500 British soldiers and saw nearly 6,500 captured.

About 35,000 British, American and Polish troops were dropped behind enemy lines in a bid to capture 8 bridges on the Dutch and German border and open up an attack route for allied forces.   Prolonged fighting in and around the City of Arnhem was depicted in the 1977 film “A Bridge Too Far”.

10 September 2019Alzheimer Scotland

Fiona Corner and Carla Mounsey who visited us back in February to tell us about their involvement in "Dementia Dogs" returned to collect a cheque for £3,000 on behalf of Alzheimer Scotland.

They are pictured left and right with last year's President Gillian Marsh.

04 September 2019£2,300 Raised at Charity Team Golf Tournament

The team from Hardies Property & Construction Consultants won the Strathallan Trophy in the Team Golf Tournament on 4th September at the  Dunkeld & Birnam course.

Pictured with President Ian E Brown are (L - R) Gordon Butt, Alan Chappell, Marc Gardiner and Colin McNeil.






The EFT Finance team were the winners of the Team Ball competition with a score of 77.

With President Ian are Gary McArthur, David Reid, Mark McArthur and Malcolm Dunn








Willie Monks, Bob Abernethy, Janet Simpson and Catherine Monks take a well-earned break at a quiet time (for them) during the afternoon.











Willie Monks auctioned the hickory shafted clubs which were donated by John Cormack and refurbished by Brian Johnston.

The auction raised £60 and the clubs were purchased by Mike Paton (right).. with colleague George Brown.

27 August 2019Lesbos Refugee Project



A few weeks ago, Suzanne Milne spoke to us about the shocking conditions for around 8,000 migrant refugees on the Greek island of Lesbos.  (See article on 06 August 2019).

Our members were so impressed with her dedication and commitment to this worthwhile cause, they have donated £500 and are actively collecting extra clothing. Suzanne is pictured receiving the cheque from President Ian E Brown. Any group, organisation or individual who feels they can also assist in any way should contact Suzanne on 07541365067.

20 August 2019Letham Community Football Club












Jon Kidd and Wilson Kerr visited us this evening to talk about their work at Letham Community Football Club, which is part of Letham CommUNITY Sports Club based at Seven Acres Park, Newhouse Road, Letham.

Jon is the full-time secretary at the club and Wilson coaches as one of his many and varied tasks there.

The club was founded in 1960 and over the years has played a prominent role in the development of youth football within Perth, growing as a club to encompass 22 teams of varying ages, including 6 girl’s teams and a para football team known as the Letham Lions.   At the moment around 435 players are members of the club.

They play on a 3G football pitch in Letham and around 50,000 people us the facility each year.

The club is determined to make a long-term impact on the community and, apart from the football activities, helps and encourages their members to take advantage of educational opportunities and in seeking worthwhile employment.   After-school sessions are also organised on most weekdays.

Many thanks to Jon (front right) pictured with host George Evans and to Wilson (back right) with President Ian E Brown.

14 August 2019Inter-Club Bowling Match











Ian Stevenson who recently assumed the mantle of Club Sports Supremo, carried on winning ways from Willie Monks on Wednesday evening when he led our team to victory in a close-fought match.

Our club came out winners on a count-back and retained the trophy for another year.  Well done to all concerned and thank you to the Perth and Perth St. Johns club members for a very enjoyable evening.

Thanks also to Kinnoull Bowling Club for allowing to use their premises and for looking after us so well.


06 August 2019Lesbos Refugee Project

Photo:President Ian, Suzanne Milne, Deyana Mineva, Ashley Dwyer and rotarian Eddie Anderson.

Suzanne Milne, a mum of two from Scone, had the opportunity earlier this year travel to Lesbos, Europe’s front line in the refugee crisis which has been ongoing since 2015. There she volunteered with Attika Human Support; the only “welcome everyone” distribution point on the island.   She has recently returned from Moria which houses about 8,000 asylum seekers.

Suzanne was so shocked at the reality of the situation for people living in refugee camps on the island that when she returned to Scotland she wanted to do more to help.   Astonishingly, almost 40% of those arriving in the refugee camps were unaccompanied minors 

Tonight she talked of her personal experience, what life is like on Lesvos and how she has been engaging with the local community in Perth to raise awareness and encourage people to get involved with her mission.

Since April, Suzanne has been collecting clothes, shoes and hygiene products to send a 40ft container to the island for distributing to the people there.

She said that supplies were desperately needed and was grateful for all the donations of clothing she has been given which will be shipped out soon. She even had her head shaved if she raised her target and has now done so through crowdfunding. (The vehicle has now left Perth en route for Lesvos).

Suzanne was accompanied by her friends Deyana Mineva from Bulgaria and Ashley Dwyer, a retired US Army veteran with two spells of service in Iraq, who has been working alongside her in Lesvos.


05 August 2019Falls Service

Carolyn has now made her second visit to the Club and kept Members well occupied with their personal thoughts. She is an occupational therapist with NHS Tayside but works now in a service improvement and development role. This mainly includes the Perth and Kinross Falls Service.

The Falls Service has a particular direction for older people in the area and they are more likely to suffer accidental falls in their daily life. Carolyn explained to the members how increasing medication and poorer health conditions associated with old age are a major contributor to accidents that require urgent attention.

Members were reminded to be very aware of wrist and hip injuries which come from poorer vision and balance. Improved exercise is a valuable personal target but can bring an increased danger of falling.

Carolyn also praised the Go4Gold Care Homes Games Challenge which does involve several Members. The Falls Service is increasing the number of events for the future as there have been many welcome changes through the service.

Carolyn’s host, Bob Abernethy, thanked her for such a clear message for the Members and wished her well for the future.

28 July 2019The Intemperate Revolutioner

Mike Lawrence was born and bred in Bankfoot which explains his connection with his subject, James Wylie. Mike is also the current Chairman of the West Stormont Historical Society so his expertise in this area has been put to good use.

James Wylie was a tenant farmer at Pitlandie near Luncarty but the tragic death of his cousin in 1805 changed his life when he inherited Airleywight in the parish of Auchtergaven and set him on a different path. For thirty years he transformed the estate, created the modern farm structure, built a magnificent house, planned and developed the villages of Bankfoot and Waterloo, continued his fight for political change, and played a full part in public life.

As president of the Friends of the People in Perth he became a leading campaigner for parliamentary and burgh council reform. At this time in the early nineteenth century, reform and campaign became too French for the local authorities. Over time the people grew more radical which lead to riots and demonstrations in Perth. Many of Wylie’s friends and associates were arrested, tried on charges of sedition and transported to Botany Bay in Australia. Among those treated even more harshly was Robert Watt from Perth, who was executed for treason.

John Wylie was a son of the manse and a successful cloth merchant and haberdasher in Perth and he gained local notoriety as “the most intemperate revolutioner in Scotland”.

20 July 2019YMCA Africa Visit

Barry Davidson who is a Prince's Trust Team Leader at Perth & District YMCA visited us this evening accompanied by volunteers, Tay Davidson and Dora Talosi. The three of them along with a few other colleagues visited Tanzania to assist the GoMad charity. GoMad is the ‘Go Make a Difference’ charity which enables volunteers to get involved in a wide range of community projects in East Africa.

The group travelled to East Africa on what turned out to be a difficult journey involving broken-down planes and lost luggage!  Undeterred they set to and were able to help build goat sheds and water storage tanks in a leprosy colony in Tanzania, as well as getting involved in various health and sporting activities with hundreds of local children and adults.

Barry has been with the YMCA for seven years and is an outdoor instructor and a Scottish Rugby coach. The visit to East Africa has certainly made a huge difference as far as Tay and Dora are concerned.  Following their visit, Tay has decided to follow a career in teaching and Dora is determined to join the nursing profession.

06 July 2019Rotary Purple for Polio

Many thanks today for the Rotary Purple for Polio site and it’s 'Summer Makeover'. This should hopefully make the thousands of people who pass this just at the entrance to the Bellway Homes site every day more aware of our efforts in Rotary to eliminate Polio worldwide. It also enhances the public’s awareness of Rotary in Perth in a rather unique way.

Steve Fairlie and George Delgaty planted the Rotary Wheel centre piece of a purple Hydrangea surrounded by purple Impatiens to signify the ongoing Rotary Purple for Polio Campaign. The Wheel outline is made up of yellow rope, expertly put together by our resident sailor, Brian. The centre piece and the flowers have protection from rabbits.

I would commend all Perth Kinnoull Rotarians to take a look when passing this main thoroughfare into Perth City.

23 June 2019Club Assembly

The end of June sees the Club reset its management and outlook with the Club Assembly and Handover. Not that this means a completely new future but a regular look at what has worked and what needs to be looked at. This created the format for an enjoyable evening.

President Gillian was clear about the Club going from strength to strength through the active membership, friendliness and the number of new members. Young musicians, young artist and young photographers and school interviews completed a real progression of the club with the young community.

Raising money with the Tayside Challenge and the Charity Calendar showed how hard work had paid off again over the year. There was the regular Golf Challenge and the Charity Dinner which were fully attended and contributed significantly to the Club funds and enjoyment of members and their friends.

The Club Assembly and Handover cannot be complete without the traditional awards. Iain Brown successfully garnered the quaich for top member position as well as the less salubrious prize as the furthest travelled having been to South Africa.

President Gillian then handed over her office to Ian E Brown for the inauguration of his year. Ian was very honoured to take the role following such a successful year for the Club. His comment that ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ was truly meant as a thought provocation for the coming year. The aims and objectives of the Club are created by out Convenors with minor adjustments to reflect any special needs.

Ian then asked our Assistant District Governor John Holme to say a few words to celebrate out event. John began by celebrating the fact that he had always been made very welcome by our Club. He added the three F’s to show how the Club works across the board for all members even with such an emphasis nowadays on risk assessments. Equality and diversity are important now and new membership should be a point of fun for everyone.

It only remains for us to thank everyone for their contribution to a very smooth and significant evening and look forward to a great year.

13 June 2019Go4Gold

Betty Cowie from the RDM Home attacking the curling in front of her award winning team support.

Around 120 residents from 40 care homes and day centres across the region tried their hand at various games and challenges at the eighth annual Go4Gold event in Bell’s Sports Centre in Perth. Eight Perth Kinnoull Rotarians were present for the event on Tuesday 11th June in the morning having spent many months training some of the teams. A variety of indoor games in an Olympic style kept the elderly teams very busy and occupied with their carers.

The participants took part in various physical challenges, including indoor curling, golf throwing target, fishing for ducks, hoopla, and a golf putting challenge. Some of the other activities on the day included a warm-up session led by Perth College UHI, a games challenge, and a tea dance and sing-song, with the Perth High School ceilidh band providing the music and singers.

Mary Cameron taking part in the golf activity.

Appearing in the background of both pictures is Rotarian Bob Abernethy so it is only fair to give him a moment in the foreground.


22 May 2019Ron McClelland

Ron McClelland, one of our newest members, gave the Club what he referred to as his ‘hard task’. It turned out to be a flowing and enjoyable job talk.

Ron began his work in September 1962 when he joined the Fire Dept of the General Accident in Perth. This was a temporary measure on his part as he intended to train as an excise officer. Fate had other ideas as he remained at the General Accident but transferred to the Accounts Department to convert the old handwritten ledger system to a Computer Data Processing Program. This kept him busy for a couple of years visiting many General Accident branches in Scotland and England. 

His transfer in 1966 to the Shrewsbury Branch of General Accident in charge of the Accounts Department coincided with his marriage to Sandra who also worked in insurance. Ron explained how he remained with accounts but moved to Croydon in 1971 which kept him occupied for some twelve years. Further moves to Maidstone and then Putney with administration management kept him busy until General Accident closed the London branches and relocated to the New Technology Park in Dundee.

Ron and Sandra said goodbye to their house on Epsom Downs and were relocated as he was appointed Personal Lines Claims and Undertaking Manager at Guildford. His opportunity to take early retirement in 1999 allowed the family to travel and Ron to exercise his passion for golf. It was only natural that he would eventually return to Perth, his birthplace, in 2010 and settle finally in his retirement.

John Steven thanked Ron for his flowing talk, adding that it was always good to find out details about new members. John welcomed Ron fully to the Club and wished him an enjoyable and fruitful time.  

15 May 2019Tayside Challenge Cycle Sportive

The Tayside Challenge enjoyed another great day on Saturday 4th May with 334 cyclists taking part. Almost half the cyclists chose the 46 mile route and the remainder chose to cycle the tough 81 mile route. As all but 10 miles of the 46 mile route is the same as the longer route, many of those from both routes were able to enjoy chatting with our star guest Jenny Graham, either at the start line, en-route whilst cycling, or at the food stations en-route. Also many of the Rotarian volunteers enjoyed Jenny’s company and found her to be very friendly and chatty. Jenny stayed at Pitcairngreen until 5.30pm enjoying the company of cyclists and volunteers.

Jenny has thanked the club for her invitation and said that she had a wonderful day. We have also received an email from Mark Beaumont congratulating us on another successful event and offering his support again next year.

The event will have raised almost £12,000 this year with half of that figure going to Malawi Fruits, our event partners. In the five events over the past four years the event has now raised almost £45,000, bringing life changing differences to many families in Malawi, lifting them out of poverty through loans education and support. Also many individuals and charitable organisations nearer home have benefited from the money injected into our charity funds.

12 May 2019Fairview School

Leigh Verdot, Head Teacher of Fairview School, visited the Club on Tuesday evening with Stuart Farmer, a specialist in physical education at the school. Leigh took the time to thank the Club for the generous support over several years. The donations of equipment had been invaluable in expanding their resources. The specialist bikes and the Acheeva bed had been complemented by the more recent gym equipment.

Leigh assured the Members that all the resources are in constant use and added to the quality of activities for the pupils. Over the years, the pupils attending the school were suffering from more challenging disabilities. This required more complex care packages so the pieces of equipment helped the school program greatly.

Stewart continued the talk about the problems that pupils with restricted mobility had with being overweight or obese. He has created a programme to help those with weight problems to have more opportunities. A regime of exercise was both enjoyable and had a beneficial effect. Stewart demonstrated the regime with photos of the children using the gym equipment, although the "pupil" on the climbing frame had an uncanny resemblance to our former Secretary!!! "

Ian thanked Leigh and Stewart for their time with the Club and was happy to report that the members were delighted that the equipment was making such a difference.

04 May 2019Calendar Sponsorship

Rotarian Tom Laurie of DM Hall is pictured with Calendar Administrator Janet Simpson and President Gillian Marsh at the selection of the Calendar winners for the month of April.

Tom has most generously sponsored three Calendar months and made a donation towards funds. The process is extrememly valuable and clearly the cause of much fun. The Club is very happy to thank Tom for his sponsorship of January, February and April for the 2019 Charity Calendar.

It is appropriate that the hundred pound winning Calendar was one of the first purchased at the Perth Show last August.

Such sponsorship allows the funds from the Calendar sales to be used to support many local charities. Without such sponsorship the task would be so much more difficult.  


04 May 2019STAR - Siblings Reunited

Karen Morrison hales from her home county of North Fife where she setup and developed STAR-Siblings Reunited about six years ago. As a foster carer for eleven years she found that foster care for young children was very unpredictable and was really respite care in many cases. Sixteen thousand children in care have siblings, up to seventy percent, often not seen or kept in touch.  Sibling projects to overcome this issue are very popular but tend to lack funds.

Karen explained how her situation lent itself to taking groups of children in foster care with their siblings. Children referred through social workers come from Glasgow and Inverness as well a locally from Perth and Fife. A lot of the work at the centre is carried out by the 50 or so volunteers making use of local woodlands, beaches and gardens. The involvement of the siblings lasts for two hours at a time and occurs about once a month for each group. Some four hundred children have passed through the system to date with a lot of attention to birthdays and national holidays like Easter and Christmas.   

Karen took care to explain how STAR has contributed to the lives of some four hundred children. Many between the ages of six months to six years do not have contact with brothers or sisters. Much of the problem arises from what can be written in law.  

Karen is rightly proud of the group’s achievement and the genuine basis for many more years of work but understands that there s much still to be done. This was mentioned by Rotarian Bill Smith in his vote of thanks.

29 April 2019Action on Hearing Loss

Rhona Campbell is the Information Manager for the Hear to Inform and Connect Project of the Action on Hearing Loss Charity. She has worked for Action on Hearing Loss since July 2018 when it was formed from the Royal National Institute for Deaf People. Rhona worked in childcare, owning a playgroup and then working in the London Borough of Ealing managing Children’s Centres, Play Schemes and After School Clubs. She moved back to Dundee a couple of years ago and has not regretted the decision once. 

Rhona said that her move from under 10 support to over 50 work has been quite rewarding. She finds many similarities – especially in behaviour! The Information Service supports those having problems in the home. She is able to help people obtain their welfare rights which can be about £9000 per person.

She was drawn to the charity as her father had profound hearing loss and wore two hearing aids. One of her sisters has Meniere’s disease and one of her sons also has hearing loss. As such she felt that she could empathise and support people facing or living with hearing loss and give them the opportunity to improve their lives.   

The project gives her the chance to share information about how small changes in behaviour can make big changes in people’s lives. She is learning British Sign Language to help her communicate with the Deaf community. Rotarian Mike Wilkinson was able to thank Rhona for her informative presentation and wished her well for the future.

Rhona is pictured centre with President Gillian and Rotarian Greg Ross


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.

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