Compton Hospice Rotary & Volunteer Suite

Back in July Jerry Hobbs, a long standing member of the Rotary Club of Wolverhampton and Vice Chair of the management board of Compton Hospice,  joined us to talk about the Hospice’s recent development and the £3.3 million investment which has now led to the introduction of 18 private suites for patients later in the year. These suites will have the facilities to ensure that patients can be treated with dignity during their time with the Hospice.

Following Jerry’s inspiration a number of Rotary Clubs in Wolverhampton came together to commit to raising an additional £60,000 over the current Rotary year to fund one of those suites which will be named the Rotary and volunteers suite. Our own Club committed to raising an additional £10,000 towards the cost of the Rotary Suite.

Thanks to the support of the people of Wolverhampton and South Staffordshire for the Club’s Auction of Promises and Big Band Night we’re pleased to have made good on our commitment and tonight President John was joined by Nick Owen to present Compton Hospice with cheque for £10,000.

Our commitment to Compton Hospice doesn’t stop here though. Thanks to the support of Wolverhampton Wanderers Football Club on the 12th February members of the Club will be collecting on behalf of the Hospice outside of the Molineux Stadium prior to the West Bromwich Albion match and a few months later on the 12th May we’ll be at South Staffs Golf Club for our Charity Golf Day again raising money for the Hospice.

Malcolm Bason Award

2010 year saw the sad passing of the Club’s founding President Malcolm Bason following a long illness at the age of 80.

In recognition of Malcolm’s pivotal role in helping to establish the Club and to honour his service to the community during his many years of membership the members of the Club established the Malcolm Bason Award in his memory.

The award is to be presented annually by the Club’s Presidential team to recognise the contribution of a member Rotarian to the ongoing development of the Club. The inaugural award was made earlier this year to Club member Jim Murphy for the work which he had undertaken to develop the Clubs internet presence during the previous year.

As part of the award the receiving Rotarian is entitled to nominate a charity or project of their choice to receive a donation of £250 in Malcolm’s memory. Jim asked that the donation this year be given to the local Scout Association towards the cost of purchasing a new cook tent for use by the many Cubs and Scouts groups within the area whilst on camp and the balance of the £500 cost was made up by an additional donation from the Club which was this evening presented to local Scout leader Sara Lambert by President John and Nick Owen.

Scouting provides young people with adventurous activities and physical, intellectual, social and spiritual opportunities to help them to achieve their full potential in life. With over 400,000 members the Scouting movement is going from strength to strength but in order to build on its success it desperately needs more people to volunteer to help local groups and it has recently launched a flexible volunteering programme to make it easier for people to volunteer.

Nick Owen – 30 years in television

1982 was a year of new beginnings. For the Tettenhall Club it was the year that we received our Rotary Charter whilst for Nick Owen it was the start of a new chapter in his television career as he joined the fledging commercial breakfast station TV-AM.

As we are both celebrating 30 years in business it was appropriate then that Nick should join us tonight as the speaker at our anniversary dinner.

With a career which has taken him from the birth of breakfast television in the UK, to presenting flagship sports programmes and with his colleague Anne Diamond to forming part of one of the most famous double acts on television Nick entertained us with a wealth of anecdotes.

Originally from Birkhamsted but schooled in Shrewsbury Nick has now made the Midlands his home and he is passionate about promoting the development of the region – though notably this does not extend to his choice of football team as he remains loyal to the team of which he is now Chairman, Luton Town.

With such a polished performance its easy to see why Nick was named Speaker of the Year by the Association of Speakers Clubs and we are grateful to him for helping to make our 30th Anniversary Dinner such a memorable event.

Derek Evans – Paul Harris Fellow

Our 30th Anniversary Dinner was the perfect occasion not only to recognise the contributions which our founding members had made to our Club but also to recognise the ongoing work which members are undertaking to continue to make a difference in our community.

Paul Harris Fellow recognition was created by the Rotary Foundation (Rotary’s charity) in memory of Paul Harris, the founder of Rotary, as a way to show appreciation for the exemplary contribution made by individuals to further the Foundation’s charitable and educational aims.

To be awarded a Paul Harris Fellowship is to be recognised as an advocate of the Foundation’s goals of world peace and international understanding and tonight President John had the pleasure of recognising the contribution made by Club member Derek Evans who heads our Youth committee.

Over several years Derek has worked as the Rotary liaison with local schools and he has been responsible for building a hugely successful mentoring scheme which the Club undertakes with Smestow School. The scheme now operates with mentors from both Tettenhall Rotary and Tettenhall Inner Wheel clubs providing advice and support to students to help them attain their full potential.

The award of the Paul Harris Fellowship to Derek, who embodies the Rotary concept of service above self, is richly deserved and our thanks go to him for his work on behalf of the Club.

30th Anniversary Dinner

Tonight saw the Club celebrate its 30th Anniversary with a special dinner at the Mount Hotel in Wolverhampton.

Originally chartered in January 1982 President John paid tribute to those founder members – 14 of whom are still actively involved in the Club today- and to those members of the Rotary Club of Wolverhampton (our mother club) whose work had been instrumental in establishing the Club.

Picking out some of the highlights of the Clubs history President John noted the contribution of Honorary members such as the comedian Lenny Henry whose concert helped us to raise £135,000 in one night, the work which the Club carried out with Wolverhampton Wanderers collecting for local good causes outside of the Molineux Stadium and which has now raised over £40,000 over the 17 years that they have been running, the contribution which the Club has made toward education in the City with the mentoring programme which it runs with Smestow School, and of the success of the Club’s annual Santa Sleigh runs which as well as bringing some Christmas magic to the children of the city has also helped to raise over £40,000 to benefit local charities such as Compton Hospice.

Internationally President John acknowledged the work of founder member David Cave who over four years as the Clubs Foundation Officer raised £19,500 to help the Foundation’s work in eradicating polio from the face of the earth – work which is now showing real progress with no new polio cases in India for over a year.

With 58 members Tettenhall is one of the county’s largest Rotary Clubs and President John expressed his confidence that the current members would continue to build on the work which had been carried out over the first 30 years and that Rotary would continue to be at the heart of our community.

Tettenhall Inner Wheel President Lynne Cave brought the congratulations of the ladies of the Inner Wheel Club and the toast to the members of the Club was proposed by District Governor Barry Preen who presented President John with a certificate of recognition of the Club’s service from Rotary International President Banarjee.

Our thanks go to all those who joined us to help celebrate our anniversary and to Club member Mike Unwin for organising the event.

Charles Green – Regeneration and the City

Wolverhampton has had its share of bad news over the last few years with the collapse of the Summer Row Retail Development in the City Centre and a seemingly never ending rise in the unemployment numbers.

Tonight we were joined by Charles Green, the Interim Strategic Director of Education and Enterprise at Wolverhampton City Council. Charles has a planning background and was involved in the successful Salford Quays Development near Manchester. He now works as a troubleshooter with local authorities and has joined Wolverhampton City Council with the object of turning the Council from an organisation which is strong on development strategy into one which is strong on development delivery – no mean feat given that his is an interim appointment- and one which delivers opportunities for all in the City.

Charles was able to share with us some of the work which had been involved in securing the recent investments from Jaguar Land Rover and of the plans which were now in place to capitalise on that investment and the infrastructure and facilities that would be available at the i54 development by attracting in JLR suppliers and aerospace engineering companies.

Whilst Charles admits that there is no quick fix for the City Centre retail core and that the current climate makes any large scale development unrealistic he made it clear that the Council were now listening to local developers to understand what smaller scale development and refocusing of the High Street was feasible.

With the stated aim of of ensuring prosperity for all in the City we wish Charles and his colleagues well in their work.

Martyn Morgan – Education a Personal Perspective

Our Club has worked closely with Smestow School in Wolverhampton over a number of years so we were pleased to welcome Martyn Morgan, the School’s new headmaster, to our meeting this evening.

Raised on a Council estate in Wolverhampton, educated in the City and the first in his family to go to University Martyn sees himself as proof that education can change lives and he looks to make the same possible for all of the students at Smestow.

Martyn praised the role of the mentors from the Club and from Tettenhall Inner Wheel for the work which they are doing with students at the school in helping them to achieve their potential. Notwithstanding the pressures that are placed on schools to achieve exam success Martyn stressed the need for them to provide a rounded education and in working with Rotary he believes that the School is sending a message that the education of whole child matters.

New Member – Stuart Herritty

Welcoming a new member to the Club is a great way to start a New Year – though in the case of our latest member Stuart Herritty it did feel as though he’d been part of the Club for some time as he had already thrown himself into the Club’s activities by helping with our sleigh collections through December – at the same time as helping his old Round Table club in Bridgnorth with their sleigh activities.

Stuart is no stranger to Rotary having been a member of a Rotaract Club in his youth. Aimed at 18-30 year olds Rotaract Club members enjoy a wide range of social activities as well as the opportunity to get actively involved in their local community and to raise money for local good causes.

Stuart works as a Manager with Treble Pumps in Wolverhampton the UK’s largest specialist pump distributor and we’re are all pleased to welcome him back into the Rotary family.

The Sleigh Masters

Following on from a record year for our Santa Sleigh the Club tonight took the opportunity to recognise the contributions of two of its members without whom it would not have been possible.

We pride ourselves on having the best sleigh for Santa of any Club in the area and that of course is due to the hard work of Ray Hill who originally built the Sleigh and who now maintains it with the invaluable assistance of his grandson Oliver to ensure that it looks better each year.

Organising and co-ordinating the Club’s sleigh activities is a massive task and during December it becomes a full time job. Since the first Sleigh run and up until last year that work was in the safe hands of Sleigh Commander Roger Timbrell and Roger’s tireless work has ensured that Tettenhall’s sleigh visits are a much anticipated part of  the Christmas season for many in Wolverhampton.

Both Roger and Ray have selflessly given of their time and energy and in addition to the magic which the sleigh brings to the children of Wolverhampton it has helped the Club to raise thousands to benefit local charities. In thanks for all of their hard work President John was delighted to award Ray and Roger certificates of recognition on behalf of the Club.

A Santa Sleigh Record

Christmas is a busy time time for members of the Tettenhall Club as in addition to our normal meetings we take on the role of Santa’s helpers and take Santa and our sleigh out and around the streets of Wolverhampton. For many members it’s one of the most rewarding things that we do as it brings a bit of Christmas magic to children in parts of the City who otherwise are unlikely to have the opportunity to see Santa Claus.

The Club’s Christmas supermarket collections also give us the opportunity to raise money for local Rotary charities. Despite the difficult economic conditions, the generosity of the people of Wolverhampton was overwhelming this year. As a result, the Club raised a record total of £7,097.75 in aid of Compton Hospice, and other Rotary Charities.

Our thanks go out to everyone who made donations which totalled £1,319.45 when we took our sleigh around the streets of Bushbury, Claregate, Blakeley Green, Low Hill, Old Fallings and Fordhouses. In addition we raised £252.22 at the switching on of the lights at Upper Green, Tettenhall whilst the day time collections outside Sainsburys at Perton raised £4,655.57 and outside the Coop at Codsall we raised £870.51. So, a big thank you to the shoppers at Tettenhall, Perton and Codsall.

The Club’s thanks also go to Terminus Contract Hire in Wolverhampton, to Sainsburys of  Perton, the Midcounties Co-operative at Codsall and to the Blakemore Trust, for their support. In particular the Club’s appreciation goes to sleigh co-ordinator Chris Bowyer who worked tirelessly in order to achieve our record success and to Robert Archer who ably assisted him.