Doing Good in the Phillipines

Rotary’s Group Study Exchange Program has over the years provided thousands of young business people with the opportunity to visit other countries and to experience the host country’s culture and institutions, to observe how their vocations are practised abroad, to develop personal and professional relationships, and to exchange ideas.

The relationships formed continue long after the visits end and Bob Cliff of the Rotary Club of Burslem and the members of the group that accompanied him during the GSE visit to the Philippines in 2006/7 have continued to work with the Rotarians they met delivering projects such as the Sight Savers initiative which have made a real difference to the lives of people in the area.

Whilst in the Philippines Bob became aware of the damage caused to the Atimonan coastline and fisheries by years of overfishing and by fishing methods which had involved the use of dynamite and cyanide and tight mesh nets which had destroyed the marine environment.

In order to tackle the damage and to help to revive the fishery the members of the Rotary Club of Atimonan Sunrise have been working with Rotary clubs around the world to develop a system of artificial reefs and with Bob’s assistance Tettenhall and nine other local Clubs came together this year to help fund work on a further four reefs.

Made of concrete and steel modules these artificial reefs promote coral growth, give shelter to marine life and serve as a fish nursery and are the basis for a future sustainable fishery and tourist/scuba diving attraction. Bob joined us tonight to report on the progress which has been made and on plans to designate the whole coastline as a Marine Sanctuary to be owned by the local community and to be patrolled by the Coastguard and the local community to ensure that the previous methods of overfishing do not recur.

50 or Over? Then Help to Save a Life or Five

Polio has declined rapidly since 1985 when Rotary launched its PolioPlus project with the aim of ridding the world of Polio.  Back then polio was endemic in 125 countries with over 350,000 cases per year but now thanks to the work of Rotary volunteers and their supporters there are only 3 polio endemic countries with fewer than 230 cases reported in 2012.

We’re nearly there but the fight to end this crippling and potentially fatal infectious disease isn’t over yet. It costs just 40p to vaccinate a child against polio for life. If we don’t finish the fight right now, more than 10 million children under the age of five could be paralysed in the next 40 years.

If you are aged 50 or over then there’s a simple way that you can help Rotary to raise money to make sure that every child has access to the polio vaccine. Saga Holidays have promised to support Rotary’s PolioPlus fundraising by donating £2 for each of its questionnaires completed by Rotarians and others, aged 50 or over.

Remember it costs just 40p to vaccinate a child, so by completing Saga Holidays questionnaire you can help protect five children for life against polio without it costing you a penny.

The Rotary KidsOut Day Out

The first Rotary KidsOut Day Out took place in 1990 and since then Clubs from around the country have taken over 25,000 disadvantaged children on a fun day out every year.

The Day Out provides the children with an experience that brings both fun and happiness into their lives. This year the Club had the pleasure of treating a group of children from Penn Fields School to spend a fun filled day at the Drayton Manor Theme Park.

More than 100 venues and 1700 Rotary volunteers make the Day Out the success that it is and our thanks go out to Drayton Manor and to all of the staff there who gave such a welcome to the kids – we can only hope the armoured dinosaur has got over the shock of meeting the other dinosaurs who accompanied the children.

Wolverhampton MS Therapy Centre

It was a pleasure to welcome back Peter Williams of the Wolverhampton MS Therapy Centre to our meeting this evening.

The therapies offered by the Centre, are based on guidance from research into Multiple Sclerosis at hospitals both here and overseas.They include nutritional advice, physiotherapy, reflexology, hyperbaric oxygen treatment (H.B.O.) which consists of breathing pure oxygen in a pressurised chamber for regular hourly sessions, all designed to alleviate some of the more distressing symptoms of the disease and to help sufferers to cope a little better with everyday life.

Peter explained how the Centre’s therapies are now offered to sufferers of other diseases such as cancer where they have been found to have beneficial effects – effects which the Centre is now working with researchers from the University of Wolverhampton to more fully understand.

The work of the Centre is only possible due to the support of volunteers such as Club member Brian Barnwell and new volunteers are always welcome – if you think that you could help in the Centre’s work then contact Peter at the Centre.

Brian joined President Ian in presenting Peter with a contribution of £2,000 from the Club to allow the Centre to continue providing their much valued services.

Midlands Air Ambulance – Saving Lives by Saving Time

The Midlands Air Ambulance operates three air ambulances which help to save lives throughout the West Midlands, Staffordshire and Shropshire by making sure that patients reach hospital within 60 minutes of injury (the vital ‘Golden Hour’) which sees their chances of survival dramatically increased.

With over 38,000 missions flown its one of the busiest air ambulances in the country but receives no Government or National Lottery funding and the £6 million which is needed each year to keep its three Air Ambulances operational is donated entirely by the public and local businesses.

Tettenhall Rotary has been a regular supporter of the Air Ambulance’s work and President Ian was joined recently by Club members Chris Kraushar and Gerry Turner in a visit to their Cosford base to see their operations at first hand and to present a further donation to help the Air Ambulance to continue their vital work.

Team Tettenhall Scoop District Snooker Championship

Rotary’s District sports competitions give members a great opportunity to meet and spend time with other Rotarians from all over the Midlands.

Thanks to the intensive training regime developed by team captain Ernie Edwards this has been a particularly good year for our Club snooker team who tonight played reigning champions Kidsgrove in the Rotary District Snooker Final.

Having held the Cup for the last two years Kidsgrove were not going to be a walkover – especially on their home turf in Newcastle-under-Lyme.

The final was played over nine frames and after the first three frames Kidsgrove were 2-1 up but steady nerves saw Team Tettenhall recover to make it level at 3 each. Each team then won one each of the first two frames of the last session making the very last frame something of a cliffhanger!

With steely determination Team Tettenhall were able to put any nerves to one side to win the last frame by a convincing margin.

Whilst the match was played in a seriously competitive spirit it was also a most congenial occasion with Kidsgrove accepting their defeat in sportsmanlike fashion. Our congratulations to all of the Team Tettenhall members and our thanks to all the Kidsgove team for giving us a great game.

Liverpool Ladies Weekend

All of the good things that Rotary does are built around the Fellowship between its members – so as well as being involved in fundraising and community projects we also like to spend time together enjoying life. Each year as part of our fellowship activities we take the opportunity to say thank you to the wives of our members by holding a Ladies Weekend offering the opportunity for fun, fellowship and the odd but of shopping.

This year’s Ladies Weekend saw us based near the Albert Docks in Liverpool. Thirty years of regeneration has certainly made a difference to the Docks at Liverpool and we started our weekend with a wonderful evening meal in one of the private dinning rooms at the Racquet Club with Scouser entertainment from Club member Ernie Edwards.

Saturday morning took us back in time with a visit to the Western Approaches Wartime Museum – the original wartime bunker from which Royal Navy, Royal Air Force and Royal Marines jointly worked to monitor enemy convoys and “wolf packs” of submarines, which threatened to bring the country to it’s knees in the early part of the war.

The bunker played a big part of the winning of the Battle of the Atlantic by ensuring the successful delivery of supplies and equipment into wartime Britain from the sea and the dressing up table (not original) was a particular hit with members.

Keeping with the WWII theme the afternoon saw us take our lives into our hands with a journey on the Liverpool Yellow Duckmarine – the DUKW vehicles designed and constructed in the Second World War to move men and materials ashore where no port facilities existed but now moving tourists around the port of Liverpool and now rather more famous for sinking mid tour.

A faulty lock gate meant that we had to miss the Ferry on the Mersey tour which we had planned for Sunday morning but we were still able to take in Anthony Gormley’s wonderful Another Place installation on Crosby Beach.

Liverpool certainly has a lot to offer and we had a great weekend of Fellowship – hats off to Club member Chris Starkey for organising the trip.