News from around our Club...
16 March 2021David McEvoy - Job Talk Revisited
We were delighted to welcome David McEvoy from Perth Rotary Club to be our guest speaker this evening. Having joined Rotary some 18 months ago, he had recently given his job talk which he had been asked to repeat to the Kinnoull members tonight.
David started by saying he was born in Moodiesburn, Glasgow and joined the RAF police at age 17. His first posting was to RAF Honington in Suffolk then Rheindahlen, Monchengladbach in Germany which he described as a dream posting. Apparently, there were 56 bars and over 2,500 single women in the camp - just can’t understand what he was referring to! He spent three and a half years there in the traffic police before returning to Scotland.
This posting was to Pitreavie Castle near Rosyth where he specialised in counter intelligence and became involved in the protection of the Royal family and VVIP’s on visits to Scotland. David related one or two stories involving some of the Royals including when Prince Philip didn’t wish any protection and overseeing a quickly erected toilet in case Prince Charles required to use the facilities! He advised that Princess Anne was the most personable member of the Royal family he had met and he did mention who in his opinion was the most, shall we say, awkward!
In 1989 when a passenger in a car, he was involved in a major accident leaving him with a broken back and being invalided out of the RAF. He then joined Scottish Hydro/SSE in Perth and after sorting out a stock loss problem, took over another couple of departments. Due to reorganisation, he was required to apply for his own job which he subsequently didn’t get. Having been head hunted for another department, the company changed direction and he was made redundant at age 54.
David has kept himself busy in retirement being involved in a number of activities on a voluntary basis such as assisting Praveen Kumar of Tabla Restaurant set up his frozen food business, job coaching for kids and helping disadvantaged people to complete application forms for entitlement benefits. In conclusion, he said he was really enjoying his time with Perth Rotary Club and looked forward, as we all do, to getting back to some sort of normality when we are able to physically meet up again.
02 March 2021Rotary e-Club of Innovation
It was a pleasure to welcome a number of members from the e-Club of Innovation to our meeting tonight, including our own Bob Thomson. Bob explained that when he required leave of absence due to other commitments which clashed with our Tuesday evening meeting, he still wished to retain his contact with Rotary. Knowing there were a number of e-clubs operating within the UK, he googled a few and joined the e-Club of Innovation.
Bob then introduced Martin Brocklebank, who is the Secretary of the Club, to explain how the club is run and to highlight some of their activities. Martin advised the club was chartered on 19th May, 2014 and was originally called the e-Club of East Anglia with a membership of 33. After an initial dip, the current membership now stands at 46 with members located from all round the world, as was seen tonight with one member joining us from Alicante and another from Illinois! Due to the global interest, it was agreed to change the name of the club to its current one.
On accessing the webpage, the heading reads “WORKING VIRTUALLY FOR A BETTER REALITY” and Martin said the club was involved in “real projects and real fellowship”. He further explained the club was suitable for Rotarians who couldn’t attend a normal meeting, including those who were time sensitive or cost sensitive i.e. no meal, or those who wished to engage with the wider community. Also, the club has a number of disabled members who may find it difficult to attend Rotary otherwise.
The governance of the club is different in that all members are “council members” although they have a Board to oversee the finances as well as a Secretary and Treasurer. Their age group is from 19 to 82 and they communicate with their members using various methods including zoom, facebook and intranet. There are no real set times for meetings except when they have a guest speaker. Martin alluded to their current President joining a meeting from the bar in an Airbus, 41,000 feet over Iraq - as they say, the sky’s the limit!
He advised they do their Rotary service as individuals, with other clubs, clusters or as a whole club worldwide. They have refurbished a Scout hut, collected spectacles for overseas and raised funds by running marathons, bike rides as well as holding an online jewellery sale, a virtual dog and cat show and a virtual treasure hunt.
In conclusion, Martin showed a video entitled “Dare to be different” and encouraged us to “try something different - give it a go”! In proposing the vote of thanks, Bob Reid reiterated Martin’s sentiments and said his talk gave us all food for thought going forward.
01 March 2021Assistance for Young Sportsmen.
The Rotary Club of Perth Kinnoull recently presented their “Sportsaid” grant of £500 to local young sportsperson Rory McGuire.
Rory competes in both Cyclocross and Mountain Biking and takes part in competition all over Europe. In recent times he placed 1st place in the National Championships for Cyclocross, 6th in the World Championship in Cyclocross, 1st place in Scottish cross-country mountain biking and 11th in the Junior world series. He’ll be heading off to compete in Belgium when travel bans are lifted and will now be taking place in the under-23 category since turning 18 and says that will be a significant step up in competition.
Pictured with Rory is Steven Fairlie, Youth Convenor. We wish local lad Rory all the very best in future competitions.
16 February 2021Presidents’ Talk - Shona Weir & Joe Cairns
It was with great pleasure that we welcomed two special guest speakers to our meeting this evening - the Presidents of the other two Perth Rotary Clubs, Shona Weir of Perth St Johns and Joe Cairns from Perth. In welcoming them, President Chris advised that the three clubs had been in regular contact during the lockdown to exchange ideas and he was delighted that they had agreed to speak with us at Perth Kinnoull.
As Perth was the senior club by far, having been chartered in 1917, Chris invited Joe to address the meeting first. He advised they currently had 59 members with a few in line to join once the lockdown restrictions were lifted. He explained he only took up his appointment on 1st January as the 2020/21 President Elect was unable to take up the position and due to work commitments, he was unable to step up immediately. However, an acceptable solution was agreed with last year’s President, Gordon Hay, continuing for a further six months with himself also doing an eighteen month tenure from the beginning of this year.
Joe advised they continue to engage with members via zoom and produce a weekly newsletter with many articles written by members. They meet at lunch time on Thursdays although they introduced a monthly breakfast meeting some time ago. In addition, they have recently been holding an informal monthly evening meeting inviting a “major speaker” and encouraging members to bring partners, with drinks to hand of course! This has proved to be very popular.
As with most clubs, fund raising has been extremely difficult during the pandemic but they put out an appeal to members which has proved very successful. They have a “bonus ball” competition charging £5 per ball and a weekly prize of £50. This has enabled them to support 5-6 charities over the past few months including “The Lighthouse” which all three clubs have been involved with. It is hoped their charity golf day, postponed twice, will be able to take place in August.
President Chris then invited Shona to address the meeting and to give an insight into what was happening at Perth St Johns. Shona said they had 17 members with 9 male and 8 female and met at lunch time each Wednesday. They try to keep their meetings more informal but, interestingly, they have had better attendances at the zoom meetings than physically prior to lockdown, including one member currently in Thailand! However, they all miss the fellowship and “chitchat” but it has made them more business focused.
They have reviewed the governance of the club and reduced their committees from three to two groups but all members get involved in major projects. Also, they have paired down the numbers on Council. When the lockdown started, they asked members to donate their lunch money to raise funds which they happily agreed to do enabling them to support various charities, such as “The Lighthouse”. In addition, they were able to obtain and sell designer face masks which raised £500.
Over a number of years, St Johns have run the very successful Primary Schools quiz which has had to be cancelled due to the pandemic. Shona advised they intended to try holding it by zoom this year but due to the ongoing uncertainty of when schools were returning and the extra work required by teachers, they felt it best not to pursue this. Going forward, they are looking at holding a virtual pet show and a virtual exercise challenge and have formed a social media group, which is proving very successful. A few other ideas are being considered with how to retain and increase membership high on the agenda.
Both Presidents expressed their desire to improve the public image of Rotary in Perth and hoped that all three clubs could continue to work together for the benefit of many deserving causes and charities both locally and internationally.
19 January 2021Sharon Thomas - Manager, The Lighthouse for Perth
Prior to tonight’s meeting we were advised “that some details of the talk will be upsetting” and how true that proved to be. Our guest speaker was Sharon Thomas who is the Manager of “The Lighthouse for Perth” who gave a most passionate and emotional insight into the work she and numerous volunteers carry out. When introducing her, President Chris advised that Sharon was a trained psychologist who then moved into banking before returning to psychology, taking up her current position in 2019 when the Lighthouse was set up.
Sharon said the charity was a non-profit organisation for people in crisis throughout Perth and Kinross. They offer support to anyone aged 12 or over who is struggling with their mental health or emotions. This includes people who are having thoughts of self-harm or suicide, or who are finding themselves in emotional distress or crisis.
Their aims are to:-
Provide a listening service to support people with self-harming behaviours and suicidal thoughts.
Provide a safe space for people who are at a crisis point or who have thoughts of self-harm or suicide.
Ensure that those in crisis preserve their dignity and promote contact between organisations and mental health services.
Promote awareness around mental health, in particular self-harm and suicide.
Their premises are situated in St Paul’s Square in Perth which has a number of bedrooms for clients who require overnight accommodation, as well as receiving counselling. Gleneagles Hotel recently donated good quality bedroom furniture to augment the refurbished former hostel. Last year, our Club gave a generous donation to enable the purchase of two leather chairs for one to one counselling which can be quickly sanitised during the current pandemic.
Initially, the Lighthouse volunteers manned the phones overnight each Friday and Saturday but, since last summer, this has become a daily task due to the huge increase in people seeking help. Unfortunately, many of those most affected are school children and the charity is in touch with all schools in Perth and Kinross. Having been running for just over a year, they sadly lost their first client at the beginning of January. Although not a client, the disappearance and death of a 16-year-old Kinross High School student last week generated numerous phone calls from other teenagers with severe mental health problems.
Sharon advised that this tragedy has resulted in a further 6 volunteers joining the team which now numbers over 20 and that they have given more than 500 hours of support in the past year. There are currently 8 clients needing one to one counselling as well as a number of online sessions. They also provide support for Andy’s Man Club, the Woman’s Wellbeing Club and families who have lost someone.
In conclusion, Sharon sincerely thanked Rotary for their support to date and hoped that it would continue going forward. From the reaction of the members, it appeared there was consensus that the Club would wish to offer help in the future whether that was financial, assisting in the garden or preparing the bacon rolls on a Friday morning, once restrictions were lifted!
05 January 2021Tom Laurie, BSc, MRICS, Chartered Surveyor
A very familiar face was warmly welcomed back to the Club as our guest speaker this evening - former member, Tom Laurie, who is a partner with D M Hall, Chartered Surveyors, Perth. Tom updated members on the property market since the first lockdown last year both generally but mainly in the local area.
He described the Perth situation as a bit of a rollercoaster since last March and something no one had ever experienced. It was a case for keeping a level head until the market established itself and, in the early days, it stagnated. Then, and quite frighteningly, the sale of rural properties took off where inspections and viewings were all by video! During May, physical inspections of properties could be done in the presence of the owners which triggered off many English buyers coming into the Scottish market.
After the initial lockdown, Tom advised he had never experienced such a demand for property which he described as a “tsunami”! Many people had extra money available due to canceled or postponed holidays and had used this to buy a new house. Again, many potential buyers were looking for rural locations with some properties selling for up to 50% more than their valuation. In addition, a number of properties that had been on the market for some time began to sell and at inflated prices.
It was not all good news, however, with a couple of sectors suffering, namely some of Perth’s many flats and parts of the city centre. After answering numerous questions on a variety of related property topics, a most generous vote of thanks to Tom was given by Janet Simpson ...... from her new house in Aberdeen!
19 December 2020ROTARY CLUBS BRING FESTIVE CHEER TO PKAVS CARERS
The Rotary Clubs of Perth Kinnoull and St John’s have donated £2,000 towards the cost of providing 500 christmas gift bags to carers of all ages living in Perth & Kinross. This will be around 300 to young and young adults with the remaining 200 to adult carers. Each gift bag has about £20 worth of quality goods in them as the team at PKAVS (Perth & Kinross Association of Voluntary Service) thought that this would be a nice touch. As much as they would have liked it was deemed financially impossible to deliver to all 2000 registered carers. As a result staff identified carers who have had a particularly tough time this year so as to prioritise them.
Raymond Jamieson PKVAS Carers Hub Manager and staff welcomed Rotarians to their North Muirton premises and thanked the Clubs for their generous donations which will add much needed festive pleasure to the recipients
PKVAS staff pictured are Margaret Campbell registered manager (Front right) and Donna McCaig adult carer support worker (Left rear)
Rotarians: President Shona Weir (Perth, St John’s) - ( Middle Left) & Robert MacDuff-Duncan (Perth, St John’s) – (Left front)
Rotarians: Senior Vice President Brian Johnston (Perth, Kinnoull) – (Rear Right)
Frank Muirden (Perth, Kinnoull) (Middle Right)
01 December 2020Jenny Graham - World Record Holder Cyclist
It just seemed quite appropriate that we had a record number of members and guests attending tonight’s meeting to hear the talk given by the cycling world record holder, Jenny Graham! Jenny, of course, is the fastest woman to circumnavigate the world unsupported entering the Guinness World Book of Records following her outstanding achievement. She was the Club’s Ambassador for our very successful Tayside Cycle Challenge in May last year which she kindly described as the best event she had attended and had thoroughly enjoyed the day.
Describing herself as just a normal young girl growing up in a housing estate in the Highlands, she only really got into cycling in her twenties .... and found the training very hard! She worked for 15 years in Social Care and especially enjoyed spending time with young people, getting them outdoors, which she felt brought the best out of them.
Fast forward to June 2018 and setting off from the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, Jenny cycled across four continents and 15 countries including four flights and one boat trip clocking up 18,500 miles before arriving back in Berlin on 18th October. Only the third lady to attempt this challenging endurance feat, she broke the previous world record by an astonishing 20 days in a time of 124 days, 10 hours and 50 minutes.
Jenny went on to talk about The Adventure Syndicate which is a not-for-profit organisation who use the inspiring stories of women adventuring by cycling to encourage their audience to push themselves beyond their perceived limitations. Schools are one of their most important target areas and they have a mission statement that reads “get schools excited about riding bikes”. They have developed an app, “Match the Miles”, where the pupils could cycle either locally or further afield and try to match the miles completed by Jenny and her colleagues.
Giving an example, Jenny and three other endurance cyclists set off from Bristol to the South of France aiming to cover 100 miles each day for a week. Meanwhile, the pupils from a number of schools were trying to match the miles with their cumulative total using this app. Next year, the Syndicate are planning four Match the Miles challenges where youngsters will be cycling to locate the source of four of Scotland’s main rivers whilst engaging with nature.
At the end of a most interesting talk, Jenny happily answered questions on the Syndicate and her record breaking round the world feat. In response to what were the highs and lows of the epic journey, she said the challenge of how far she could push herself for the former with horrendous weather, fatigue and sleep deprivation for the latter! In conclusion she added, it took me about a year to recover - I think we can understand why!
28 November 2020ROTARY – PERTH KINNOULL CALENDAR LOTTERY DRAW
A lucky local resident from Perth won the November £1000 calendar lottery prize which was drawn by Rotary’s District Governor Alistair Robb. This successful annual calendar project as part of the Club’s fundraising has generated funds in excess of £90,000 since inception with disbursements to numerous worthwhile charitable causes both locally and internationally.
The Rotary Club of Perth Kinnoull is extremely grateful to our competitive amateur photographers, business sponsors, printers, partners not forgetting the generous support from the general public who have purchased our Lottery Calendar. Club President Chris Kirk said “ Covid has had a huge impact on our ability to fundraise for the many important local deserving charities that we have been able to support in past years. Furthermore, the production loss of the 2021 Calendar is a real blow to us but we are determined that once things return to a degree of normality we’ll be looking to step up our efforts again. Meantime we wish everybody a merry Christmas and a happy New Year.”
Right - President Rotary Club of Perth Kinnoull, Chris Kirk. Left - Rotary District Governor, Alistair Robb
17 November 2020David Robertson - Investment Manager St James's Place.
The world of financial management, stocks & shares and global economy were the subject matter of tonight’s talk by David Robertson, Investment Manager of St James’s Place Discretionary and Stockbroking Services. David has now worked in various roles of financial services for over 33 years including Martin Currie Investment Management, the London Stock Market’s Regional Sales Manager for Scotland and Ireland, Institutional Fund Manager at Standard Life and as a Portfolio Manager covering Asia for General Accident (now Aviva) here in Perth.
He showed a number of slides to illustrate how the global economy had been affected over the past year mainly due to the Coronavirus pandemic. Virtually all markets took a huge hit in the early part of the year due to the virus spreading like wildfire but from April onwards, both the Chinese and US markets increased sharply. The UK market has lagged behind due to the uncertainty of the outcome of Brexit.
David gave examples of major companies which have benefited from the current circumstances such as Apple, now valued at $1.7 trillion, Amazon at $1.6 trillion and Zoom at a mere $113 billion! He added that Apple were so powerful that they just buy out any company that is a threat to them and that Amazon was now by far the biggest online retailer in the World.
He highlighted the major factors that are currently driving the markets such as the US Presidential election, the discovery of Covid19 vaccines and Brexit. The “Biden Effect” has pushed up most global markets especially in the oil industry as President Elect, Joe Biden is anti-fracking. On the announcement regarding the discovery of a vaccine for Covid, the markets shot up although in some areas, the Brexit situation is still having an effect.
In conclusion, David said that many companies and organisations had greatly suffered from the impact of the pandemic but it was not all doom and gloom. He felt the worst was now behind us and after Covid and Brexit, he was optimistic there would still be ways of making money!
03 November 2020Raymond Jamieson - Carers Hub Manager, PKAVS
I love my job and look forward to Monday mornings, unlike some! These were the opening remarks by our guest speaker tonight, Raymond Jamieson, who is the Carers Hub Manager of Perth & Kinross Association of Voluntary Services (PKAVS).
Having been in the banking sector for a number of years, Raymond advised he felt he wanted a complete change and enrolled at Perth College in 2006 to study for a degree in social work. He then joined PKAVS some twelve years ago working in various roles including his current one for the past five and a half years. He explained that PKAVS is a local charity set up in the 1970’s to help people living in Perth & Kinross including support for unpaid carers, people recovering from mental illness and minority communities all of whom are facing daily challenges.
He said their vision was “To improve the quality of life for people in Perth & Kinross through the provision of direct service delivery and to act as a catalyst for the positive development of the voluntary sector”. There are a number of hubs of which he manages the Carers one and these are split into age groups, 5 - 15 with 355 young carers, 16 - 24 with 116 young adult carers and age 25+ with 964 adults, a total of over 1,400 unpaid carers the youngest being 5 and the oldest 97! He added that on average, there are 60 new references across all services each month.
Raymond then gave some examples of support they gave with young carers being offered weekly respite groups during school term such as training for the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award scheme and day trips with residential breaks being held in the school holidays. Later this month there is a full day Carers Connect Virtual Conference which will highlight the support that is available to all carers. Complimentary therapies, with up to twelve vouchers, are available to appropriate carers although due to the current restrictions, a number of these have had to be virtual. There is a well used telephone befriending service where PKAVS receive an average of 200 calls each week.
As we approach Christmas, Raymond advised they normally give out kindness bags to both male and female carers containing “goodies” and provide gift vouchers to the young carers allowing them to buy items in specific shops. Unless something dramatic happens, the usual parties and ceilidh will not be held this year which is a great shame. Looking to the future, like everyone else, he didn’t know what lay ahead but it most certainly would be challenging!
20 October 2020Dr Craig Brown - Orthopaedic Surgeon
It was a great pleasure to welcome Dr Craig Brown, MBChB (Stell), Orth (SA) from South Africa as our guest speaker tonight who is, of course, the son of our very own Iain Brown. Craig covered many areas of his life, from schoolboy in Perth, to University and various hospitals bringing us right up to date with his current position as Senior Specialist at Khayelitsha Hospital in Cape Town.
He started his talk by showing us an old black and white Victorian photograph of his ancestors (and no, his father wasn’t in the line up!) indicating most of them were involved in the medical profession and that he was following in their footsteps. His next slide was of his flat in the Halls of Residence which overlooked the 18th green of the iconic Old Course when he was a student at St Andrews University. These Halls have now been converted into luxury flats and penthouses with a sale price of between £1m and £7m!
After three years in Manchester followed by two in Bristol, in 2007 Craig headed for South Africa where he trained to become an Orthopaedic Surgeon. The following year, having met Julia who was to become his wife, the pair left for Australia working in hospitals in various locations such as Melbourne and Hobart. He advised that it was his “mentor” in Melbourne who had performed the hip resurfacing surgery on Andy Murray indicating that these operations were the second most successful after cataracts.
After nine and a half years down under, they returned to South Africa and settled in Cape Town where they have now been for over three years. Like most locations, he indicated there were both good things and bad, citing excellent weather and a first class Rugby Team to a high crime rate, high unemployment and much poverty. Referring to the Covid 19 pandemic, he said the whole country went into a complete shut down for one month resulting in a very low death rate but with serious implications for the economy.
Craig then gave us an informative insight into his role at the hospital in Khayelitsha, which is a township of Cape Town with a population of 390,000. There are only two consultants, of which he is one, and a maximum team of six with no Registrar. Unlike the UK where the ratio of surgeons is 8 per 100,000 of the population, in South Africa it is 1.63 per 100,000. He showed examples of surgery he undertook and advised they give priority to children and try to get them back to school as soon as possible. They undertake four theatres per week and their normal service hours are from 7.30am to 4.00pm each day. The hospital had over 7,000 outpatients last year, an increase of 46%, along with an increase of 30% in operative cases.
In concluding, Craig said their vision for the future included embracing technology, innovation, robot surgery, virtual operations and 3D printing templating. He added that in 2025, a version of the NHS was being introduced, albeit that everyone would have to pay a premium!
19 October 2020Ben Leitch - Sporting Blues Award
It was with great delight that we learnt that Ben Leitch had been awarded a Sporting Blues Award for his outstanding talent in wheelchair basketball. Ben, of course, was the 2019 recipient of our £500 SportsAid sponsorship cheque which recognised his exceptional achievements in his chosen sport.
This prestigious award is presented by the University of the Highlands and Islands and Highlands and Islands Student Association in recognition of the contributions of athletes connected to the University to Scottish, British or World sport. As a student at the University, Ben said “I am delighted to be recognised for my achievements and have been honoured to play for not only Scotland but for Great Britain. I am currently working as a tier one academy athlete with a goal to being involved in the 2022 Commonwealth Games as well as the 2024 Paralympic Games”.
We wish him well for the future and look forward to hearing about his continued success.
Ben is seen here last year being presented with his sponsorship cheque from Gillian Marsh as President.
06 October 2020Hannah McIntosh - Project Trust in Nepal
In September 2019, Hannah McIntosh embarked on a once in a lifetime journey to live and teach in Nepal for 12 months with an educational charity called Project Trust.
Hannah said she was super lucky to have been c h o s e n f o r t h i s opportunity. However, in order to make her trip of a lifetime happen she had to raise £6200. Our club played a part in helping this happen and as they say the rest is history.
Hannah joined us for a Zoom meeting and with great confidence and pride told us all about her time in the village of Gwalichar in the provence of Baglung, Nepal. Hannah explained all about the abject poverty the local live in and how it would be hard to find a happier group of people any where in the world. We learned about teaching methods in Nepal and how Project Trust is trying to help.
Sadly Hannahs year was cut short due to Covid19 but she still stays in touch with her good friend and fellow teacher from Nepal, Lakshmi.
15 September 2020Callum Farquhar, OBE - Japanese Tsunami, 2011
Tonight’s guest speaker was Callum Farquhar who is the Regional Commissioner for East Scotland Scouts, looking after an area between the Forth and the north of Angus including Perth & Kinross. His talk was on the devastating effect the 2011 Tsunami had on the east coast of Japan, the events which then unfolded along with the involvement and strong links of the Scout group at Cairneyhill, Dunfermline.
Having taken parties of Scouts to Kamaishi on a fairly regular basis for 30 years, Callum advised they knew the area well and had built up numerous contacts and friendships over a long period of time. He described how the region had been hit by previous tsunamis, in 1896 when the town was totally demolished, in 1960 when much of the city was destroyed and then the horrendous one which struck on the 11th March, 2011. This was the largest earthquake ever to hit Japan registering 9.1 on the Richter scale with its epicentre 70 kilometres offshore.
Around 1250 people from the city were killed but, in what was called the “Miracle of Kamaishi” only 5 school children lost their lives and that was because they were not in school at the time. Initiated by a Professor of Civil Engineering, all school children were taught, and practiced, what to do if there was a tsunami and the evacuation drill proved extremely successful. These 5 young deaths represented only a 0.17% loss of life compared with a 70% loss of school children further up the coast.
When hearing of the tragedy, the Scouts raised an amazing £10,000 which they sent out to the stricken area. On a subsequent visit, one of the most harrowing experiences for the group was seeing the total destruction of houses and homes they had previously stayed in. The Cairneyhill Scouts replaced all the scout regalia for their Japanese counterparts.
Callum showed before and after slides of the rebuilding of the town where all work completed was between 15 and 20 meters higher than before. A new Community Centre was constructed and hand pumps installed at various locations ensuring fresh drinking water would be available if a further tsunami struck. On the site where two schools had previously stood, a sports stadium was built which was used during the 2019 Rugby World Cup. The seats were made from the trees uprooted during the catastrophe and the stadium now stands as a memorial to all those who lost their lives, a most poignant reminder of that day in March, 2011.
Finishing on a happier note, Callum showed slides of the Japanese and Scottish Scouts enjoying a BBQ with a difference. The hosts had provided scallops while the visitors supplied haggis and, yes, the Japanese youngsters even had smiles on their faces as they enjoyed our national dish! He concluded that their memories will be of the wonderful friendships made, not the tsunami.
01 September 2020Roddy Mackenzie, Chief Executive, SportsAid Scotland
Having supported SportsAid Scotland for nearly 20 years, it was a great pleasure to welcome its Chief Executive, Roddy Mackenzie, as our guest speaker tonight. Roddy was appointed CE in October 2015 after more than 30 years as a freelance sports journalist where he covered a wide range of sports for all the National newspapers including football, athletics, badminton, volleyball, American football and speedway.
He advised that SportsAid Scotland was an independent charity formed forty years ago by Raymond Miquel, the then Managing Director of Bell’s Scotch Whisky with its HQ here in Perth and David Stevenson, an Edinburgh businessman who had represented GB in the 1964 Olympics and Scotland at the Commonwealth Games in 1962, 1966 and 1970 as a pole vaulter.
He indicated that SportsAid provide financial support to young athletes aged 12 to 22 and para athletes of any age. Their main source of funding came from the Robertson Trust who supply 85% of their income, David Stevenson and a number of smaller donations from various sources such as ourselves at Perth Kinnoull. Scottish Sports National Governing bodies submit applications from potentially successful athletes for consideration of an award which currently can be from £300 to £1,000. Roddy was delighted to advise that this year they were able to support all applications received giving 267 grants covering 30 sports totalling £143,900. He added that unlike England where each award is matched by Sport England, this is not the case in Scotland.
Roddy was keen to point out that over 70% of Scots who took part in the 2016 Olympics in Rio had received support from SportsAid. Also, Team Scotland won a record 44 medals at the Commonwealth Games in 2018 of which current or former SportsAid supported athletes had won 29 of them. He reflected that even the great Sir Chris Hoy was grant aided as a talented teenage cyclist and the rest, as they say, is history!
In concluding, Roddy indicted that the charity faced a number of challenges going forward the main one being that the Robertson Trust were withdrawing their support over the next few years leaving a huge financial hole to fill. Proposing the vote of thanks, Ken Thompson hoped the club would continue to support SportsAid Scotland and even invite Roddy to The Royal George Hotel for some proper hospitality at a future cheque presentation.
18 August 2020Gordon Muir - Wildlife along the Tay
Tonight, we were treated to a magnificent selection of photographs by Gordon Muir featuring wildlife along the banks of the Tay reaching to Woody Island and the River Almond. Gordon is Head Chef at Perth College UHI and is part of the team who work directly with students to deliver on the job training as part of their course work.
The enforced lockdown due to the current pandemic has given him additional time to pursue one of his passionate hobbies, amateur photography, the other main one being St Johnstone FC! As this was the first time he had presented his photographs to a “live” audience, Gordon advised he was a little nervous. However, this proved to be ill founded as he showed spectacular picture after picture of birds and animals some of which many of us never realised were on our doorstep, or should that be riverbank, such as ospreys, foxes and even wild mink!
Explaining he was someone with little patience, except with his photography, he regularly gets up at 4.00am when wildlife abounds and humans don’t then adds “it’s the best time of day.” Starting at the View Point at the foot of the High Street, we see otters catching their breakfast, followed upstream by a magnificent salmon which was quickly photographed by Gordon before being released by the proud angler.
Moving further upriver, there are outstanding photographs of mallard ducks, cormorants and a seal looking for its next meal, with a heron, buzzard and kestrel all taken at the Nature Pond on the North Inch golf course. Next up is a selection of the various birds that frequent the area, such as wrens, swans, yellow hammers, sparrow hawks, oyster catchers, sand martins, robins, coal tits and goldcrests, which are the smallest birds in the UK. Two spectacular shots follow with an osprey catching a fish and a goosander midstream with 5 chicks on its back, called a “goosander taxi” by Gordon.
Woody Island is next featured where we are shown stunning pictures of otters, beavers, deer and an inquisitive fox out for its morning meal, a photograph Gordon feels is one of the best he has ever taken. Also in this area and towards the River Almond, we see an array of more birds including swans, sandpipers, dippers, skylarks, woodpeckers and kingfishers, which he states are one of his favourites. In what he describes as a “marmite” opinion on the mammals, he shows photographs of a wild mink and a grey squirrel, but finishes his outstanding pictorial presentation with a magnificent shot of, yes, a kingfisher!
In conclusion, Gordon thanked Steve Norris for setting up the presentation and said that luck played a huge part in getting good quality photographs of all the wildlife he has been fortunate to capture. Those watching were hugely impressed by his skills indicating he was being far too modest and the word “amateur” was very much a misnomer!
11 August 2020Cath Sutherland, Joint President, The Rotary Club of Perth City East, WA.
Commitment and enthusiasm in abundance - that was evidently clear when we listened to our very special guest speaker tonight, Cath Sutherland, who is the Joint President of the Rotary Club of Perth City East in Western Australia. She shares the Presidency with her husband, James, which must be a first for Rotary anywhere in the world!
Despite joining us at the unearthly hour of 2.30am local time, Cath waxed lyrically about her club which was only chartered in November 2018 and already boasts 70 members with aspirations to reach about 150. She herself has only been a Rotarian since its formation although her husband had 10 years’ previous service with another club. They are a breakfast club, meeting every two weeks and are arguably Western Australia’s most practiced Rotarians, proud that their members have countless years of involvement with other clubs.
Cath explained that Perth City East is the newest club in the state and they have adopted a new contemporary style of Rotary that is flexible and adaptable to professionals who have career and family obligations. Unlike ourselves, they only have a few retired Rotarians but have a number of corporate memberships where at least 4 people from each company are members.
Reading from the club’s vision statement, Cath said their purpose was “To enable lasting solutions that positively impact our community locally and across the world.” Also “We work in a spirit of camaraderie and share our knowledge and experience.” She advised they were not a fundraising club as such but negotiated funding for their various projects with businesses, corporations or the City Council.
With Perth Kinnoull being a more traditional club, it was a most interesting insight into how a new club is facing up to the challengesof the modern world.
30 July 2020Bellway Supports Local Rotary Club.
Motorists driving into Perth on the Glasgow Road are enjoying a beautiful summer floral display thanks to Perth Kinnoull Rotary Club and Bellway Homes Ltd (Scotland East).
The housebuilder donated £150 to help the local group place an additional Rotary International sign at the entrance to its Charlotte Gate residential development and planted Cotswold Gold heathers picking out the Rotary International Wheel.
The Rotary Club already had a floral display made up of 5,000 crocuses, which was planted on the same sit in 2017, as part of its Purple4Polio campaign. For over 30 years, Rotary has been working tirelessly to rid the world of the deadly disease. Over 2.5 billion children have received vaccinations, thanks to the help of Rotary.
George Delgaty of Perth Kinnoull Rotary Club said” Bellway very kindly let us plant a crocus wheel on their development two years ago and we are delighted that they have once again lent us their support. The heathers will have white flowers in late summer and the purple crocuses will again come through next Spring”.
“Hopefully people driving past will see the sign and it will inspire them to learn more about the work we do in the local community- from organizing big events like the Tayside Cycle Challenge Sportive to one-off donations to young sports stars and ongoing support of local and national charities”
Lynn Pringle, Director, Bellway Homes Ltd ( Scotland- East) said: “Rotary Club’s do such a wonderful job in the local community and we didn’t think twice when they asked us. The new sign and flowerbed look absolutely terrific”.
Perth Kinnoull Rotary Club wishes to thank Bellway Homes Ltd (Scotland- East) for their support with this project and our photo shows Kirsten Gavin, Sales Manager, Bellway Homes Ltd (Scotland east) and local Sales Manager, Janice officially opening the new Sign and Flowerbed on 30th July 2020.
21 July 2020Andrew Sharkey- Scouting, then and now.
We were delighted to welcome Andrew Sharkey to our meeting this evening who gave a most interesting talk on “Scouting, then and now”. He is the Chief Commissioner of Scouts Scotland and leads and manages volunteers across Scotland, supporting the provision of Scouting to thousands of young people.
Andrew advised he is passionate about Scouting especially assisting and enabling volunteers to help youngsters develop skills for life. Over the years, he has held various roles working mainly with the Venture Scout and, more recently, the Explorer Scout sections. He believes in the importance of maintaining a role in the local area and was the Group Scout Leader in his local group where his sons are both members and his wife is a Cub Leader. He continues to be the local Explorer Scout Leader and an active member of the Clyde Region Training Team.
Giving an overview, Andrew advised that the Scouts were formed in 1907 and now have over 55 million members worldwide, including 390,000 in the UK of which over 50,000 are in Scotland. He reflected on some of the main changes in the organisation, such as a more modern uniform and that there was no longer a need to take a promise to God, making the Scouts open to youngsters of any faith or none. A more substantial change was the introduction of girls into the movement, a few older ones in 1976 and all age groups in 2007 with girls now making up approximately 40% of the Scottish membership.
As someone who has a huge interest in International Scouting, he has attended four World Scout Jamborees, led the UK contingent of over 6,000 to the European Jamboree in 2005 and was part of the UK Management team for the World Scout Moot, for those aged 18 - 25, in Iceland in 2017. However, one of his favourite camps is here in Perthshire at Blair Atholl which he attends every two years, but unfortunately not this year due to the pandemic.
In summing up, Andrew stressed he believed that most youngsters were good people and added that it was estimated that during the current lockdown, Scouts had carried out over 10,000 acts of kindness throughout the UK.
Andrew was a suitably appropriate guest as, of course, President Chris is also heavily involved in the Scouts holding, or has held, various roles including Scout Leader, Deputy District Commissioner for Perth & Kinross and District Commissioner for East Central Scotland.
07 July 2020 Tracey Horner talks about Lendwithcare
Although we were disappointed when the Lendwithcare seminar was cancelled, which was to have been hosted by us in the Royal George Hotel in April, we were delighted to welcome Tracey Horner as our special guest speaker on Tuesday.
As Project Manager, Tracey has overall responsibility for Lendwithcare and she has been the driving force for the programme since its inception in 2010.
She indicated the charity provides loans by Microfinance, which is a category of financial services targeting individuals and small businesses who lack access to conventional banking and related services. It is designed to reach excluded customers, usually poorer populations who may be geographically isolated, and help them to become self-sufficient.
Each loan can be from £15 to a four figure sum and priority is given to women as they tend to support the family much more than men. These women can use the money to set up basic to small businesses or buy plots of land or small holdings to raise chickens for their eggs, grow fruit and vegetables or rear cattle or goats. Once the business is in profit, the loan is repaid to the funding partner or, most likely, is used to help another entrepreneur. It was gratifying to hear that less than 0.5% of bad debts were recorded.
Over the last few months, Coronavirus has affected the number of loans they have received as many of their funding partners have gone into lockdown and unable to provide any loans. In response, Lendwithcare temporarily stopped lending and launched a business solidarity fund appeal raising an amazing £245,000 which was used to support many of their traders during the current pandemic.
Tracey advised her small team work hard to ensure investors have the best possible experience supporting poor entrepreneurs so that their money is lent responsibly and fairly enabling these entrepreneurs and their families to have the best chance of working their way out of poverty.
We were advised that some 897,000 loans from over 60,000 lenders to around 129,000 entrepreneurs have been granted with in excess of £26 million loaned since Lendwithcare was set up in 2010. Of this amount, an incredible £1 million has been loaned by Rotary Clubs throughout the UK since it’s inception.
To date, Perth Kinnoull has given 59 loans, helped 360 entrepreneurs and created 193 jobs and we are proud to have played a very small part in this success story.
06 July 2020End Polio Now
To further enhance the Rotary display at the Bellway Development, President Chris, SVP Brian and George have now planted a substantial number of yellow heathers to augment the floral arrangement. With the crocuses, rhododendron and heathers, those arriving in Perth from the south, will be assured of a colourful welcome from Spring through to Autumn. Well done George for sourcing the heathers from his favourite garden centre.
05 July 2020Muriel Robertson's 100th birthday
Muriel, who is a resident at Kincarrathie House, one of the Care Homes we visit to give give the residents indoor sports, had a lovely day on Sunday, 5th July on the occasion of her 100th birthday.
She had her hair done in the morning and then received her Zoom ‘Happy Birthday’ from Bob Abernethy and fellow Rotarians. She was quite bemused and did enjoy it, although having trouble hearing at times as she’d misplaced her hearing aids! Before lunch she then spent some time listening to some of her favourite Frank Sinatra music.
Later Muriel enjoyed a small afternoon party with resident friends, with special balloons and decorations, including an elegant ‘100’ tiara which she proudly wore.
30 June 2020Club hand over. What a whopper
With no possibility of a physical handover, outgoing President Ian thought it might be quite interesting to try something totally different to hand over the chain of office to President Elect, Chris. Knowing how keen a fisher he was, Ian asked Chris to bring in a fishing rod for the handover “ceremony” which took place, by kind permission, in Secretary Bruce’s lovely front garden.
In handing over the Presidential chain at the end of the fishing rod, Ian congratulated Chris on his appointment and wished him every success during his term in office which, due to current circumstances, would be fairly challenging! In response, and by the same method, Chris then
handed over the Past President’s badge to Ian and thanked him for his kind words and paid tribute to him for all his hard work and commitment during his term of office.
Similarly, Chris then presented Brian with his Senior Vice President’s chain stating he was looking forward to working with him over the next Rotary year. Videos of these three presentations were shown at the Club’s Zoom Assembly and Handover Meeting on 30th June.
Above Picture left to right Brian Johnston, Ian E Brown and Chris Kirk.
30 June 2020Winner of Fellowship Quaich
One of Ian E Brown's last tasks before stepping down as President was to award the Fellowship Quaich.
This year the Winner was Frank Sloan in recognition of all the hard work he has put in.
Some tasks Frank participated in include IT operator and trainer, Photography, PR & Media, Club Typesetter, Running Young Photographer of the Year, Organized Producing the Calendar, Organizing and assisting with Indoor sports at Care Homes, Helping out at all club events with the sometimes assistance of his lovely wife Deirdre and many more tasks too numerous to mention. A well-deserved popular winner.
23 June 2020Toastmasters. A safe environment to practice public speaking
Tuesday 23rd June saw us welcome Phil Cooper to our meeting via Zoom video conference. Phil is a member of both the Perth and Dundee Toastmasters clubs and is rather passionate about it, having been a past president and secretary and he says the only negative thing he has to say about Toastmasters is that he hadn't discovered it earlier.
Phil was keen to stress that Toastmasters isn't training to be a master of ceremonies and he owns neither a red jacket, cane nor top hat! He did state that Toastmasters is a safe environment to practice public and off the cuff speaking, the latter of which he put the club to test on under the banner of "Table Topics" where several members had to do an impromptu speech for 60 seconds on a topic of Phil’s choosing!
Phil was also eager to stress that relations are being fostered between Rotary International and Toastmasters International and Steve Fairlie, who is a member of both, fully supports this idea - especially since Toastmasters has a more gender diverse membership. In the digital age of Zoom conferences it would also open us up to a wider variety of speakers from all over. The recent Perth Toastmasters meeting had a lady attend from Florida and a lady deliver a speech from Spain.
Picture shows Phil and his wife Caroline engaging in one of their other favourite hobbies.