In Memory – David Earp

Its been a sad time for Club members as we mourn the passing of former President David Earp who was taken from us in July at the age of only 67.

David served as Club President during 2008-2009. A gentle man with a great sense of humour and a very generous nature David supported many local charities in addition to his involvement with the Club.

His illness meant that he had been unable to continue as a full member of the Club and it was a mark of the high regard in which he was held by the Club members that the contribution which he had made to the development of the Club was recognised by the award of Honorary membership.

We will all miss David and our thoughts are with his wife Pat and their sons Alex and Simon at this time.

Dudley Zoo

Our visit to Dudley Zoo had a distinctly South American feel to it as we were introduced to Orry, Cleopatra and Shirley the Zoo’s patagonian Sea Lions at a special evening feeding session with Caroline Howard a member of the Zoo’s education team.  President Ian was then given the opportunity to Humboldt penguins in the new Penguin Bay enclose before the members of the Club had a feeding themselves. Faggots on a stick – an instant Black Country classic!

The Zoo suffered from a lack on investment for many years so it was wonderful to hear from Zoo Chief Executive Peter Suddock about the work which they’ve been doing over the last few years to improve both visitor and animal experience – the new Penguin Bay being a great example. With visitor numbers and profits up the Zoo can now plan for the future and Peter explained how the restoration of both the Castle and the Zoo’s listed Tecton buildings will through their apprenticeship programme help to create a pool of local craftsmen able to preserve these great buildings for future generations. 

With the chance to handle South American snakes, toads and chinchillas we had a great evening. Dudley Zoo holds a special place in the memories of most people in the Black Country and we wish Peter and his team success with their plans for the future so that the Zoo and the endangered species which it helps to protect from extinction through its breeding programmes are still around for future generations to appreciate.

School Dictionary Presentations

Early literacy training is critical to the success of a child’s later education and in 1985 Rotary recognised this by declaring basic literacy to be a pre-condition to the development of peace. Rotarians around the world now work with children, parents, and teachers on projects encouraging and building reading skills at an early age.

As part of  this programme the Tettenhall Club has been taking part in the Dictionaries 4 Life project and throughout July members have been visiting local schools to take part in Year 6 Leavers Assemblies and presenting graduating students with their own personal dictionary.

The project aims to help the children to  become good writers, active readers, creative thinkers, and resourceful learners by providing them with their own personal dictionary. By using dictionaries efficiently children can explore spellings, meanings and derivations with understanding. One of the most positive aspects of being able to use a dictionary is that it helps to develop autonomy and confidence in the learner — one of the core goals of education.

This year members of the Club have presented dictionaries to over 250 local school children. Over the years that the project has been operating the presentation has become an established part of the Leavers Assemblies with students using the Dictionaries as unofficial year books which are signed by their teachers and fellow students as a memory of their time together.

We wish each of the children success in their continuing education and hope that the Dictionary will help them in their schoolwork as awell as being a useful reference tool for all of the family.

Wolverhampton Youth Orchestras Pre Tour Concert 2012

As young athletes from around the world converge on the UK to represent their countries in the London Olympics Wolverhampton is preparing a couple of teams of its own to send out into the world to represent the City.

Each Summer the Wolverhampton Youth Wind Orchestra and the Wolverhampton Youth Orchestra take their show onto the road as they tour a different part of Europe. This evening saw their pre tour concert as they gave their supporters a gold medal performance of the music that they will be performing for audiences in Malta and Gozo over the coming weeks.

The Rotary Clubs of Wolverhampton have been supporting the Orchestras Summer Tours for 19 years now helping to ensure that all of the Orchestras members are able to take part in the tour no matter their families financial circumstances. The support which Rotary and other sponsors give to the two Orchestras is more than amply repaid by the dedication and talent of these fine young musicians and an established part of the evening is the award of the various certificates of excellence which they have earned during the course of the year. Special congratulations go to Wolverhampton Young Musician of the Year Matthew Leach and for his wonderful performance of Horovitz’s Concerto for Euphonium. That so many of the musicians are able to reach such a high standard across several instruments is a testament to their own talent and dedication and to the invaluable support which the Wolverhampton Music School and Conductors Keith Sedgebeer and Ian Brailsford give to them.

One of the most important aspects of Rotary to the members of the Tettenhall Club is the fellowship within the Club and its wonderful to see that same spirit within the Youth Orchestras as so many former members who have gone onto Universities around the country make a point of coming home for these Concerts to show their support for the current members.

We wish all of the members of the Orchestra success in the Tour – they will be great representatives of our City.

Fordhouses Air Training Corp

Tettenhall Rotary has been a long term supporter of the 1046 Air Training Corp Squadron in Fordhouses. In the past we’ve given financial assistance which has enabled the Squadron to purchase a minibus of its own and to undertake overseas trips to visit the battlefields of Normandy. Following the recent theft of field kitchen equipment from their base a donation of £750 from the Club has helped them to replace the stolen items. Club member Les Bouts works closely with the Squadron to assist with its activities.

The ATC aims to encourage a spirit of adventure and to develop qualities of leadership and good citizenship – aims which the Rotary movement shares and which are so evidently embodied in Cadet Warrant Officer Mia Webb who was our guest speaker at tonight’s meeting.

Mia initially joined the Squadron seven years ago and since that time she has risen to attain the highest rank available to a cadet and was recognised as the best cadet in the Midlands when she was appointed the Lord Lieutenant’s Cadet for the West Midlands. Membership has given her the opportunity to fly planes and gliders, to learn to shoot and to take part in expedition training camps and field trips to France – opportunities that otherwise would not have been available to her. The ATC works closely with the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme and many cadets work towards achieving these awards – Mia herself is just completing her Gold award.

Its clear that the Squadron’s activities are fostering valuable life skills in the Cadets such as team working, leadership and communication skills, self discipline and self reliance and an undoubted confidence in their ability – skills which will enable them to succeed in life whether or not they choose to join the RAF.

We look forward to continuing our support for the Squadron and our thanks go to Mia for giving us an insight into its working and to Flight Lieutenant Steve Baker and the other Staff members at the Squadron for all of their work with the Cadets.

Smestow School – Rotary Student Mentoring Project

Ask any Rotarian what it is about membership that brings them the most satisfaction and you’re likely to hear that it’s the satisfaction that comes from helping others – summed up in the Rotary motto of Service Above Self . At Tettenhall we see our Club’s service projects as the most important part of what we do.

Since September 2005 members of the Club and of Tettenhall Inner Wheel have been involved in a mentoring programme at Smestow School in Castlecroft. Currently seven Rotarians and two Inner Wheelers are providing mentoring support to the students there.

Each mentor is assigned two students from years 10 and 11by the School who they meet with every two weeks during term time. Some of the students come from backgrounds in which there are no positive role models, or in which they don’t receive the necessary support and encouragement and some may be exposed to negative outside influences. The Rotary mentors listen to the issues raised by the students, suggest solutions to their problems and generally provide support, encouragement and advice.

To date over 100 students have taken part in the programme and Headteacher Martyn Morgan is convinced that the program makes a real difference to the students who take part.

We feel that having an independent ear to listen and support, acting as an intermediary working on behalf of both the school and the student, helps keep these young people engaged.
Many of the concerns are to do with academic progress. Our mentors ask for and receive regular updates on the progress of the students and often inform us of concerns students have. However, as many concerns are social and/or personal the caring and compassionate way they listen and offer firstly support and secondly advice is well appreciated.
As a school this programme is tremendously helpful. It gives us another independent strand of support to help young people struggling to come to terms with the multiple demands and issues teenagers face.
We are grateful for their time given so willingly and so freely. In return we give them tea and cake – somehow I feel that we and the youngsters get the best part of this deal“.

Peace Through Service

This evening saw the first official visit to the Club of our new District Governor Trevor Davies a member of the Rotary Club of Ironbridge. Each District Governor is expected to visit all of the Clubs in their District during their year of office and for Trevor that means fitting in 59 club visits during the coming year.

Trevor brought with him the good wishes of the new Rotary International President Sakuji Tanaka. As part of his official visit the District Governor introduced us to the theme which President Tanaka has set for the Rotary during the coming year. In the case of President Tanaka this is Peace Through Service.

2012-13 Theme Address from Rotary International on Vimeo.

President Tanaka believes that Rotarians are uniquely placed to bring peace through our work in our local communities – the peace of mind which comes to people from having access to healthcare, to sanitation and to clean water- and he has challenged Clubs to build on their existing service projects during the coming year.

President Tanaka tells how on becoming a Rotarian broadened his understanding of the world. After joining the Rotary Club of Yashio, in 1975 he realised that his life’s purpose was not to make more money, but to be useful to other people.

“In Rotary, our business is not profit. Our business is peace,” he says. “Our reward is not financial, but the happiness and satisfaction of seeing a better, more peaceful world, one that we have achieved through our own efforts.”

Interact support Compton Hospice

Though they’ve been Chartered less than a month it certainly hasn’t taken long for the members of The Royal School Interact Club to start making their mark. 

This afternoon President Elect Sammy – a Governor at the School – had the pleasure of joining President Rebecca and the other members for the Interact Club as they handed over a cheque to Compton Hospice for £156.36 which they had raised with their human fruit machine at last weekend’s Tettenhall Village Fete. 

We have all been impressed with the commitment of the our new Interactors and we’re looking forward to working with them in the coming years as they build on such an excellent start.

District Handover

Its a banner year for the Tettenhall Inner Wheel Club as club member Sandra Finch takes over as Inner Wheel District Governor. Sandra is married to our own Club member Bert Finch and they were joined this evening by President Ian and President Elect Sammy at our District Handover meeting.

The Rotary 1210 District is made up of 59 clubs – from Ludlow to Ellesmere in the West, and from Leek south to Rugeley and across to Walsall in the East. Representatives gathered tonight at the Enginuity Centre in historic Ironbridge to show support for our new District Governor Trevor Davies – a member of the Rotary Club of Ironbridge – as Immediate Past District Governor Barry passed over the chain of office.

Our very best wishes go to both Sandra and Trevor for a successful year in office.

Enterprising Students

Today saw Wightwick Hall School host its fourth Annual Business & Enterprise Inter Schools Challenge Awards ceremony. The awards were presented by Immediate Past President, John Francis, and Roger Timbrell Chairman of the Club’s Community Services Committee.

Throughout the last month schools from throughout South Staffordshire have been taking part in competitions aimed at building students confidence and giving them the opportunity to appreciate in a practical context the challenges and opportunities of running a business.

Over 200 Primary, Middle, High and Secondary Specials school students took part in this years Challenge, which was sponsored by Tettenhall Rotary Club, taking away with them a range of transferable skills and attributes such as leadership, team building and decision making. Members of Tettenhall Rotary were on hand at each day’s event to judge the category winners.

The awards ceremony was attended by over 80 students, parents and teachers and in addition to the prize giving John was pleased to present Executive Headteacher Paul Elliott with a £500 cheque on behalf of the Club.