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.

District Conference – Hope and Homes For Children

With over 30 years service as a soldier with the Ghurkhas Colonel Mark Cook has witnessed at first hand the effect of conflict on families and children. The conditions which he and his wife witnessed at orphanages in Sarajevo following the Balkan War of the 1990’s were so appalling that they decided that they must do something to help and so was born Hope and Homes for Children.

Initially the Charity worked to rebuild and refurbish orphanages but their work has now progressed to moving children out of institutional care and into caring family environments and to work to prevent family breakdown which leads to children being placed there in the first place.

This change in direction came as a result of their listening to children and understanding that what they really want and need is the love of a family – something which Mark is convinced cannot be provided in an institution.

Mark says ‘More children are been orphaned or abandoned today than ever before in history and many of them will have to resort to begging, crime, prostitution or violence just to survive.The world has to realise that this is a crisis on an unprecedented scale as these children will grow up disenfranchised angry people’.

The Rotary movement has been a long term supported of the Charity’s work and following Mark’s moving presentation Val Campbell, Chairman of Inner Wheel District 21, presented him with a cheque for £750 which the ladies of Inner Wheel had collected at the own District Conference with a further £250 being donated by District Governor Elect Trevor Davis.

District Conference – ShelterBox

District Conferences are meant to be motivational and there can’t be a much better motivational story than that of Rotarian Tom Henderson and the work of the ShelterBox charity which he launched.

Just 10 years ago Tom, a member of the Rotary Club of Helston-Lizard in Cornwall, noticed that the aid response to most disasters took the form of food and medicine to help people survive the immediate aftermath but that little or no assistance was given in terms of proper shelter to help them through the first few days, weeks and months as they tried to rebuild their lives. He started to think about how that gap could be filled – and from that was born the ShelterBox.


To date over 100,000 boxes have been distributed by the charity – now a Rotary Global Club Project – each containing a durable family tent designed to house a family of 10, thermal blankets and netting, a stove, water purifcation equipment and a toolkit as well as an activity pack for the children.

Along the way ShelterBox has gained a reputation for being one of the first on the scene of major disasters – something which Tom credits to the role which Rotarians with their local knowledge and connections play in ensuring that ShelterBox can get their response teams and boxes through where and when they are needed most.

District Conference

This weekend saw the Rotary District 1210 Conference at Chester Racecourse.

Each of the Districts within the Rotary movement holds an Annual Conference to give Rotarians an opportunity to network with other Rotarians, to listen to inspirational addresses, and to discuss the development of Rotary.

The conference aims to give Rotarians a vision of Rotary beyond the club level, an opportunity to recharge their Rotary batteries and the inspiration to become more involved in service.

This years 1210 Conference saw inspirational presentations from Tom Henderson OBE, the founder of ShelterBox, Colonel Mark Cook OBE, President of Hope and Homes for Children, Sue Cook, a member of the first all women expedition to walk to the North Pole, and from former Test Cricketer Henry Olonga.

Showing his own support for the ShelterBox project District Governor Barry Preen based himself for the weekend in a ShelterBox tent pitched in the racecourse. The tents have been especially designed to stand up to extreme weather conditions and it certainly proved to be wind resistant when during the early hours of Saturday morning Barry woke up to find a police helicopter hovering over the tent whilst it assisted with an incident on the racecourse. If you are wondering about the fine head of pink hair that Barry is sporting in the picture the wig was a homage to Sergeant at Arms Greg Watson of the Rotary Club of Whitchurch who had dyed his hair pink for the month of October to raise money for cancer research.

Midway through their visit to our District the Conference was attended by Rotarian Dave Bennet and his visiting GSE team from Rotary District 5550 which spans Northwestern Ontario, Manitoba and Saskatchewan in Canada. Team members Shauna McKim from Regina, Jody Jury from Neepawa, Brennan Brooks from Saskatoon and Alicia Smith from Moose Jaw gave Conference an insight into life in Canada and what they’d look to take back to them following their vocational visits on our District. We look forward to meeting them again when we host their Farewell Rally at Tettenhall later this month.