Rotary: Making a Difference

It was great to spend this evening in the company of our District Governor Carol Reilly who was making her official visit to the Club.

During their year of office Rotary District Governors make an official visit to each of the Clubs in their area to share news of developments within Rotary and to present the theme of the Rotary International President – this year Australian Rotarian Ian H S Riseley.

This years theme is ‘Rotary:Making a Difference’ recognising the many ways in which thousands of Rotarians around the world are working together to do good and challenging Clubs to sustain that work into the future.

We’re looking forward to working with Carol and her team in the coming year to continue Making a Difference

Welcome to Rob Roalfe

We’ve worked on projects with the staff and pupils of Penn Fields School for many years so it’s with especial pleasure that we welcome the schools deputy head teacher Robert Roalfe as our newest Club member.
A keen motorcyclist Robert is certified a Long Distance Riders and his rides have raised thousands to support the work of the air ambulances.
Robert was welcomed to the Club by President John Margetts and President Elect Roger Webb.

District Governor John Sayer

As part of their duties Rotary District Governors are expected to visit every Club in their area during their year in office. Tonight we had the honour of being the first Club in the District to receive the official visit of District Governor John Sayer.

John, who has been involved in the Rotary movement for over 20 years, is looking forward to a year in office which comes at a time when our own charity The Rotary Foundation celebrates its 100th anniversary. Over those 100 years our Foundation has channelled more than one billion dollars to help transform lives around the world.

In 1985 Rotary’s Polio Plus campaign was launched with the aim of eradicating polio from the face of the earth and in this centenary year of the Rotary Foundation there is the very real possibility that this may be the year that we see the world’s last case of polio. John – and the ever present End Polio Now teddy – will be promoting the work of the Rotary Foundation throughout his year in office.

Promoting Numeracy and Literacy

A new Rotary year sees a new President of Tettenhall Rotary Club with the appointment tonight of John Margetts.

For his year in office John has set the Club theme of ‘Numeracy and Literacy’

Worldwide, 67 million children have no access to education, and more than 775 million people over the age of 15 are illiterate. Rotary supports educational projects at home and around the world that provide technology, teacher training, vocational training teams, student meal programs, and low-cost textbooks in order improve access to basic education and literacy, to reduce gender inequality and increase adult literacy.

John sees education as the most important weapon in the battle to enable people escape the poverty trap and to allow them to fulfil their potential.

Recognising that people learn most when learning is fun the Club will be working with local schools to develop and promote a number of fun new learning initiatives over the coming year.

Handover Meeting

Tonight saw the changing of the guard at Rotary as outgoing President Ernie handed over the chain of office to our new President Rob Morrison,

Rob’s looking to involve all of the members of the Club in raising the money necessary ensure that we can continue to support local good causes, such as Compton Hospice, as well as encouraging club members to become pro actively involved in serving our local community with hands on assistance in community projects such as the mentoring scheme which the Club operates at Smestow School – so if you’ve got a project which you think could benefit from a little assistance then why not let us know about it.

Doing Good with Wolverhampton’s Youth Orchestras

The work of two Tettenhall Rotarians and their support for the work of Wolverhampton’s Youth Orchestras has been recognised by the award of special Paul Harris Fellow Sapphire Awards.

The Youth Orchestras provide children and young people throughout the City with an opportunity to learn to play an instrument and to perform. Many go on to reach high standards across several instruments, which is testament to their own talent and dedication and to the invaluable support which the Wolverhampton Music School and conductors Keith Sedgebeer and Ian Brailsford provide.

Thanks to the work of Rotarians David Cave and Alan Russell, along with Ken Dolman of the Rotary Club of Bilston, in promoting and supporting the Orchestras fundraising efforts each year the Orchestras have the opportunity to take the show onto the road – performing in a series of concerts throughout Europe.

Over £150,000 has been raised to support Summer tours to Malta, Italy, Spain and many other European countries since the Rotary Clubs of Wolverhampton first started their support for these annual tours 21 years ago – providing hundreds of local youngsters with a  fantastic experience that otherwise would be out of the reach of many of them.

The Paul Harris Fellow Award is named in honour of the founder of Rotary and recognises the exemplary contribution made by individuals to further the Rotary’s aims. For both David and Alan this is the second time that they been honoured with the Award which was presented to them tonight by Rotary District Governor Barry Picken.

Presenting For One Night Only – Roger Webb

Membership of a Rotary Club is a great way to get to know people in your area and one of the little rituals we have when new members join us is to ask them to give a talk to the other members about their life.

We’ve had some great talks over the years with stories of adventures in snake infested rivers in rural India and journeys across Europe during the Second War and this evening Club member Roger Webb added to that list by taking us through his life story and in a sense through the recent life of the industrial West Midlands in the process.

Born to the son of a local pit owner Roger saw the last of the numerous small shallow pits which dotted the Black Country and on which the Industrial Revolution was made. Times were different back then so when it came time for Roger to leave school in 1963 it was simply a matter of opening the local paper and picking the job you fancied from one of the many ads. Working his way up the ladder from commercial apprentice to sales director Roger has seen great changes in the Midlands economy as the manufacturing companies that he was associated with steadily lost ground in the face of Government indifference to overseas competition and were replaced by local distributors of imported products.

Outside of his work Roger has always looked to play his part in the local community and he has been involved with numerous amateur dramatic societies. Roger certainly has a great love of the stage and whilst he was unable to follow his childhood dreams of making his living on the stage he continues to tread the boards with a local amateur group and he has had the satisfaction of seeing his own son Richie follow his artistic dreams to become an award winning comedian and composer.

Wolverhampton Wolves Speedway

August is fellowship month for the Tettenhall Club and tonight that meant a visit to Monmore Green Stadium to watch the speedway. We’re fortunate in Wolverhampton to play host to one of the country’s elite speedway teams – the Wolverhampton Wolves.

Its a spectacular sport with riders taking bikes around the track that have no brakes, just one gear, a clutch and 500cc engines which accelerate to 60 mph faster than a Formula 1 car.

The team at at the speedway club gave us a great evening with the opportunity to visit the pits and the centre of the track where we could get a real feel for the speed and the skill of the riders as they guided their bikes around the track in a series of controlled skids.

The team got the right result  on the night with their first Elite League win in six meetings with a 47-42 success over Eastbourne – hopefully a performance they can repeat against local rivals Coventry Bees next week. Our thanks to everyone at Wolverhampton Wolves Speedway for great evenings entertainment.

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.

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.