Tom Warren City Fellowship Meeting

Only five Brits have had the honour of holding the top job in Rotary as the President of Rotary International. One of those was Tom Warren who was a member of the Rotary Club of Wolverhampton. Taking over the job in 1945 Tom is credited with helping to steer the Rotary movement through a very difficult time.  Each year the Rotary Clubs in the City hold a dinner to honour his achievements and this years meeting was hosted tonight by the Rotary Club of Bilston.

In his keynote speech to the Rotary Convention in 1946 Tom encouraged Rotarians to work towards solving the problem of learning how to live together as good neighbours in a rapidly shrinking world and so Bilston took as their theme for the night the issue of Fair Trade.

Wolverhampton has been a Fair Trade City since 2004 and the Churches of the City having been instrumental in bringing this about it was fitting that the Right Reverend Clive Gregory, Bishop of Wolverhampton, led us in Grace.

We were joined for the evening by Lord Bilston, Dennis Turner, who is Chair of the Fair Trade Association in Wolverhampton. Fair trade gives a better deal to farmers in developing countries to ensure that they receive a fair price for their goods which enables them to further develop their businesses, to invest in health and education projects and to better care for their community’s environment. Lord Bilston explained the development of Fair Trade in the City and the importance of trade and not aid in improving the lives of people.

Paul Birch perhaps better known for his association with Revolver Records but who now is heavily involved with fair trade products in the Co-operative organization through Revolver World then spoke about the difference which Fair Trade can make to the lives of people in the third world and of the power of individuals to effect change on a large scale simply by changing their own buying decisions.

Bilston certainly believe that Fair Trade would have had the support of Tom Warren if it had been around in his day and the Club hopes now to encourage other Rotary Clubs around the country to become Fair Trade Partners.

Listen to Your Heart to Help Others

District Governors are expected to attend meetings of each Club in their District at least once during their year in office. Fortunately we’ve managed to get hold of our new District Governor, Barry Preen, at the beginning of his year in office before the miles take too much of a toll on him.

As the representative of Rotary International one of Barry’s jobs is to communicate to Clubs the thinking behind this years Rotary theme, Reach Within to Embrace Humanity – a theme which has caused a little puzzlement amongst many Rotarians. To help members make more sense of the theme Barry told us of a meeting with a District Governor from Sweden who had translated the theme into Swedish and back into English after which it reads Listen to Your Heart to Help Others – a theme which the members of the Club can certainly relate to.

Rotary International President Banerjee is not a fan of change for its own sake and he is encouraging Clubs to continue with their long established programmes but to be conscious of the ways in which a little more can be done to help those causes which we support – as with Tettenhall’s commitment to raise an additional £10,000 to support the new Rotary Suite at Compton Hospice.

It was clear from District Governor Barry’s presentation that he does not take a one size fits all approach to matters and that his views of Rotary are very much in step with the members of the Tettenhall Club and we look forward to supporting him in the coming year.

Wolverhampton Youth Orchestras

Each year Wolverhampton Youth Wind Orchestra and Wolverhampton Youth Orchestra top off their year by taking the show onto the road. This year they will be touring Umbria and Tuscany with concerts in Soave, Torri della Benaco, Casalmoro, Mariana Mantovana and Wildpoldsried. Tonight saw the Orchestras pre tour concert at the City’s Civic Hall – an opportunity to thank the sponsors who help to make the tour possible.

Tettenhall and the other four Rotary Clubs of Wolverhampton have been supporting the Youth Orchestras summer tour for 15 years now and its a pleasure for us to be able to support such gifted and dedicated young musicians who really are a credit to their City.

The Orchestras are made up up of some wonderfully talented musicians and the evening is an opportunity to recognise the achievements of many of the individual musicians with the presentation, by the five Rotary Presidents, of key stage certificates which have been attained over the last year – many with distinction and for excellence playing several instruments.

It was a great evening with some excellent individual performances and we have to make special mention of Young Musician of the Year, Eleanor Cooper, and her enchanting flute solo in Chaminade’s Concertino for Flute.

Its clear that these young musicians really do have a great time playing together and its is wonderful to see so many alumni of the Orchestras attending the pre tour concert to catch up with friends and to give their support. We’re sure that the tour will be a great success and that these young musicians will be excellent ambassadors for the City of Wolverhampton.

Wightwick Hall School Business and Enterprise Week

Throughout the last week schools from throughout South Staffordshire have been taking part in competitions as part of Wightwick Hall School’s Business and Enterprise week.  The competitions aim to build students confidence and to give them an opportunity to appreciate in a practical context the challenges and opportunities of running a business – hopefully inspiring some to go on to become the entrepreneurs of tomorrow.

As well as the Club providing financial support for the programme a number of Rotarians brought their own business skills into play and acted as guest judges for the events. All of our judges were impressed at the enthusiasm and commitment shown by the students as well as by the high quality of their work.

The week was rounded off by a celebratory BBQ and fete run by the students of Wightwick Hall School. The BBQ was attended by Rotarians and by students and their families as well as by local MP Gavin Williamson who once again showed his support by attending the event. Despite the variable weather the evening was a great success. Our congratulations and thanks go to all of the students and staff who took part in the competitions and especially to Raphael James under whose direction this event continues to go from success to success.

Dictionaries 4 Life

Rotary is committed to helping to improve literacy rates both locally and around the world. Since 2007  Rotary Clubs across the country have distributed over 200,000 dictionaries to 11 year olds graduating from their primary schools as part of the Dictionaries 4 Life project. Throughout this week members of Tettenhall Rotary have been attending special assemblies at local primary schools to present the dictionaries to pupils.

The use of dictionaries has been shown to improve pupils reading and writing skills as well as helping to develop their autonomy and confidence – a core goal of education – and we hope that they’ll be put to good use for many years to come. We’ve also been pleased to see that many of the schools have  begun to use the dictionaries as year books in which teachers and pupils can leave good luck messages – a lasting reminder for the children of the happy times which they have spent at the school.

New Member – Chris Starkey

There is no better way to start a new Rotary year than to welcome a new member into the Club and this evening we were pleased to welcome Chris Starkey to our number.

Members of Rotary have an opportunity to give something back, to give hope to those less fortunate and to make lives worthwhile and fulfilled. The enormous sense of achievement you can experience doing something really worthwhile is matched only by the enormous amount of fun you can have – or as we say at Tettenhall ‘Fun with a Purpose’.

Socialising and networking with like-minded people who have the same interests and aims as you gives a great opportunity to make firm friends as well as worthwhile business contacts and you’re always sure of a warm welcome from other Rotarians around the world whenever you’re on your travels.

Chris, who works with international removal firm Burke Brothers, is no stranger to service organisations having previously been a member of Round Table and of one of the Walsall Rotary Clubs. We are all glad to see him as a member of our Club and look foward to getting to know him better.

Presidents Diary

Well what a roller-coaster of a start to my year as President of the Rotary Club of Tettenhall.
Monday 4th July 2011 was the Valedictory and hand-over evening and I wish to offer my sincere congratulations to Immediate Past President Jim Murphy on an excellent year as President. He has guided the Club well and left it stronger than when he started. He will be a hard act to follow. 
I thoroughly enjoyed the Induction evening when Ian Rigby became the President Elect and Sammy Chung the Vice President. The incoming Secretary is John Margetts and the Treasurer is Brian Tranter. We have a very strong Club and I am looking forward to a very strong year.
On Tuesday 5th July I visited Wolverhampton St. Georges for the induction of Chris Barry as the incoming President and enjoyed breakfast with a very active group of Rotarians.
At lunchtime I went onto the Rotary Club of Wolverhampton for the induction of Richard Green as their new President. Wolverhampton are a very strong Rotary Club and over 80 Rotarians sat down to lunch.
On Thursday 7th July I visited the Rotary Club of Sedgley and Wombourne for the induction of Rotarian Richard Garbett as President. Sedgley and Wombourne are a much smaller Club but have excellent spirit.
Sunday 10th July was the Rotary Club b.b.q. which, unfortunately, I missed due to a D.V.T. in my left leg and my admittance to New Cross Hospital. The b.b.q. raised £837.00 for a Water Project in Africa.
My stalwart Vice-President stood in for me at what should have been my first meeting but I am hoping to be fit enough to attend our meeting on 18th July.

Club Meeting – Compton Hospice

Jerry Hobbs never fails to make an impact when he visits our Club. A long standing member of the Rotary Club of Wolverhampton and Vice Chair of the management board of Compton Hospice Gerry joined us this evening to talk about the Hospice’s recent development and the £3.3 million investment which will lead to the introduction of 18 private suites for patients later in the year.

Due to Jerry’s inspiration the Rotary Clubs of Wolverhampton have come together to commit to raising an additional £60,000 over the coming year to fund one of those suites which will be named the Rotary and volunteers suite. These suites will have the facilities to ensure that patients can be treated with dignity during their time with the Hospice. Our own Club has committed to raising an additional £10,000 towards the cost of the Rotary Suite.

Jerry and other Rotary club members were instrumental in the formation of the Hospice nearly 30 years ago now. Over that time the Hospice has grown so that in addition to the in-patient services it also supports over 280 patients in the community, provides training services to those involved in social services and runs an invaluable day care centre.

Our own fund raising kicks off in November with a Big Band Concert at the Perton Community Hall on the 11th and with an auction of promises on the 20th.

Rotary Summer BBQ

Today saw the Club’s annual summer BBQ at the Wolverhampton Cricket Club. Oragnised by Doug Evans and his International team the event was held to raise funds for Village Water, a charity which had impressed the Club with the emphasis that it places on the sustainability of its projects.

In the past many schemes which aimed to deliver clean drinking water to communities in Africa have foundered as organisations have simply dumped pumps in communities without providing the infrastructure necessary for their continuing maintenance. Village Water ensures that local people are trained to maintain and repair the pumps which they install so as to ensure that their projects have a meaningful long term impact. Additionally the supply of the water pump is only part of a wider sanitation programme with all the occupiers of the village being required to sign up to and to implement basic sanitation measures in the form of latrines and handwashing facilities before the pump is brought into use. By invloving the comunity in this way Village Water ensures that their projects have a long term impact on the communities which they help reducing ill health and deaths as well as encouraging economic activity.

With Chris Bowyer and Izeham Che Dan on BBQ duty it was wonderful opportunity to enjoy a range of BBQ food generously supplied by the Club’s very own butcher John Whitten – the black pudding being especially good. Monies raised from ticket and raffle sales on the day mean that the Club has now met its Village Water fundraising target and another Zambian Village will benefit from the sanitation services and clean water supplies which the charity delivers.

Sedgley & Wombourne – Handover Meeting

President John attended the final induction of the new Rotary Year today at the Sedgley and Wombourne Rotary Club.

New President Richard Garbett takes over the reins at the Club for the third time and as his first act he was pleased to recognise four members of his Club who had served the community through their 30 years of membership. There is always a warm welcome at the Sedgley club and a strength of fellowship which we are sure will make Richard’s year a great success.