Governor’s Visit

Great to welcome our Rotary District Governor Steve Antill who visited our Club meeting this week – Steve has a long history in Rotary – first as a member of Rotaract and then as a member of Bloxwich Phoenix Rotary Club

The 55 Clubs in our District cover most of Staffordshire and Shropshire and part of the West Midlands and during his year as the head of the District Steve will make a formal visit to each Club Clubs to share ideas and offer support.

You can follow a year in the life of a Rotary District Governor and find out more about the activities of the Rotary Clubs in our District by following his facebook page –

Lisa Potts visits Tettenhall Rotary

It was an honour to welcome Lisa Potts as our speaker at our recent meeting.

Lisa came to national prominence when in 1986 as a young primary school teacher she bravely protected her young pupils from a machete attack despite receiving horrific injuries to her head, arms and back.  

The attack left Lisa facing years of surgery and rehabilitation as well as overcoming post traumatic stress disorder and depression but in spite of this she found the grace to forgive her attacker.

Lisa’s bravery was recognised by the award of the George Medal from the Queen in 1997 – the medal is on display in the Mayors Parlour in the Civic Centre – and earlier this year she was the first person in the City to be awarded the title of “Free Woman of the City of Wolverhampton”

In the years following the attack Lisa founded Believe to Achieve a charity that has achieved national recognition for its work helping to enhance children’s resilience, mental health, self-esteem, personal development, educational experience and future aspirations through therapy and counselling, community and school-based workshops and programmes, and holiday clubs. The Charity’s work has benefited thousands of children and young people across Wolverhampton and the surrounding area and President Mark was pleased to be able to support the continuing work of Believe to Achieve by presenting Lisa with a donation from the Club.
You can help Lisa and the work of Believe to Achieve by donating here –

Be the Inspiration in 2018-2019

District Governor Ashley Gray joins us at this evenings meeting to share Rotary International President Barry Rassin’s theme for the new 2018-19 year – Be the Inspiration.

President Barry is encouraging Rotarians to inspire change in the world and in each other and to be the inspiration to help Rotary move from reaction to action — taking a hard look at the environmental issues that affect health and welfare around the world and taking action to help solve them.

Shouting Out For Rotary

Town Criers have been shouting out the news for centuries and were the main means of communication at a time when most people could not read or write. Proclamations, local bylaws, market days, adverts, were all proclaimed by the local bellman or crier.

This evening we were joined by former Rotarian Mayor of Kidsgrove John Parsons – currently the Town Crier of Nantwich and of the Lord of the Manor of Rode – to tell us about the history of Town Crying since its introduction to England at the time of the Norman Conquests.

Whilst Mayor of Kidsgrove John was instrumental in bringing back the town’s Crier after a gap of over two hundred years – the town having been banned from having a town crier after violence flared up between the former office holders.

Since becoming a Town Crier himself John, a diabetes sufferer, in addition to his duties to his Lord and Town spends much of his spare time speaking to Clubs and Societies to talk about the history of Town Crying and raising money for Diabetes UK and other charities.

Cyril Randles – Tettenhall’s Local Neighbourhood Plan

Just a little over a year ago West Wolverhampton witnessed one of the UK’s first ever Neighbourhood Plan referendums with overwhelming support being given for the proposed Plan

The Plan was the result of hours of work by local volunteers  as part of the Our Place Our Plan consultation carried out by the Tettenhall Local Neighbourhood Partnership.

Following adoption of the Tettenhall Local Neighbourhood Plan future commercial, and residential, development of the area for the next generation now has to comply with the Plan.

Whilst the City Council has discontinued the Local Neighbourhood Partnerships in the City the work of the Tettenhall LNP continues thanks to the hard work of local volunteers – operating as  part of the Tettenhall & District Community Council (TDCC) – who have been active in ensuring that the Plan and the opinions of local people are properly taken account in relation to planning applications and that money lodged in support of section 106 planning agreements is properly spent for the benefit of the community.

Tonight we were joined by Cyril Randles, Chairman of the TDCC and one of the instigators of the Tettenhall Local Neighbourhood Plan.

In addition to its planning role the TDDC also acts as a forum for community issues providing networks, support and communications for local community groups and organisations.

It’s all work carried out by volunteers such as our own Club member Les Bouts and to ensure that the TDCC can continue in its work Cyril is looking for more volunteers to help with its work and if you think you can help he’d like to hear from you.

With the potential for the Greater Birmingham/West Midlands Combined Authority initiative to take decision making further away from local communities the TDDC is now exploring support in the area for the formation of a Parish Council to help ensure that Tettenhall can continue to hold onto what has kept it special .

Keep an eye on the Tettenhall blog for details of the launch of the TDCC’s new website which will feature details of its activities.

Doing Good with the ATC in Wolverhampton

The Club has worked with local Air Training Corps, 1046 Squadron, over several years following on from the initial involvement of Club Member Les Bouts. In addition to the support with Les provides, the Club has been able to provide financial assistance to help the cadets with the purchase of a new minibus and to meet the cost of field trips.

The squadron brings young men and women from all backgrounds together to help them to achieve their full potential. Cadets are given the opportunity to learn a wide range of skills through opportunities to take part in field-craft exercises, adventure training, flight lessons, first aid and marksmanship training. Many cadets take part in the Duke of Edinburgh Scheme with 19 awards been made in the past year.

The Squadron has consistently been one of the highest achieving Squadrons in Staffordshire it’s achievements ranging from cadets attaining the Dacre Brooch and Dacre Sword, awarded to the best male and female cadet in the entire Air Training Corps, to the Sir Alan Lees Trophy, awarded to the best Air Training Corps Squadron.

Tonight we were joined by the Commanding Officer of the Squadron, Flight Lieutenant Colin Haynes, to share with us how he had become involved in the ATC and the importance of the work of the many civilian volunteers who give freely of their time helping to run the activities that play such an important role in the lives of the Squadron’s young members. President Sammy was pleased to present Flt Lt Haynes with a further cheque for £400 to help with the squadron with its work.

Doing Good in Wolverhampton with Compton Hospice

A self-confessed weather anorak since the age of nine our guest tonight at our Compton Hospice Fundraiser was TV weatherman Simon Keeling. Simon’s interest in the weather led him to provide holiday cover for the weather men at the Express & Star newspaper and Beacon Radio before he’d even left school.

Whilst he is perhaps best known for his work as a TV weatherman – having worked at GMTV, the BBC and with The Weather Channel – Simon, who lives in Wombourne, also runs a forecasting company providing weather forecasts to the City, helping to guide investment decisions, and to major high street retailers to help them decide which stock to carry in their stores.

Though self trained Simon went on to gain an MSc (Applied Meteorology & Climatology) and a Phd from the University of Birmingham – where he now teaches a “Weather Workshop” course to MSc students.

Whilst the weather is always a subject of conversation – especially given the storms of recent weeks- Simon gave us a fascinating insight into the advances made in forecasting over recent years and the role which it plays in many commercial and investment decisions which drive our economy. We’re grateful to him for a very entertaining evening and for his generosity in donating his speaking fee to Compton Hospice.

Regenerating Wolverhampton

With Wolverhampton featuring as one of the top regions in the country for unemployment the need for regeneration is obvious. The decision by Jaguar Land Rover to chose Wolverhampton as the site for its Advanced Engine Facility brought £355 million of direct investment into the area and the promise of hundreds of skilled jobs but there is still much more to be done and this evening we were joined by Tim Johnson, the City’s Strategic Director for Education and Enterprise to hear from him what steps are being taken to regenerate the City

The combination of Education and Enterprise Departments is unique to Wolverhampton but reflects the importance which is attached to equipping the people of the City with the skills to make them more employable and as a way of creating the right conditions for enterprise to flourish

Tim explained the work which the Council was undertaking with local schools and developers and in particular the plans for the development of the City Centre to enhance the City’s retail and office offer. With the advantage of a great location, excellent communications, access to a huge market and advanced manufacturers such as JLR and an aerospace sector accounting for 12% of the country’s aerospace output Tim and his colleagues are convinced that Wolverhampton has got a lot to offer businesses and a great base to build on.

Doing Good with the Midlands Air Ambulance

The Midlands Air Ambulance is the largest and busiest of the nation’s air ambulances flying 3,000 missions each year and an amazing 40,000 missions since the first launch in 1991.

Whilst the value of the service is beyond measure to the patients helped by the air ambulance each mission carries a £2,500 cost which is very much in the minds of those responsible for providing the service. We were joined this evening by CEO Hannah Sebright and Fundraising Director Jason Levy to give us an insight into the operation of the service.

The Air Ambulance receives no Government or Lottery funding and is dependant upon the support of the community it serves in order to raise its annual running costs of £6.5 million. In order to ensure that this vital service remains available a five year plan for sustainability is being implemented which has already helped them to extend the Air Ambulances flying hours with the aim of moving towards the provision of night flights.

To date Tettenhall and other Rotary Clubs with the charity’s area have donated over £1,000,000 to help keep the Air Ambulance flying but its not only by donating money that we help. Working with Club member Simon Maddox the Air Ambulance has recently moved into a new headquarters building in Lye. As well as providing improved working conditions which have helped to raise staff morale the move has resulted in a reduction in operating costs of 50%.

Mostyn Mahoney – Building Schools for the Future

The Club has been a long time supporter of the Tettenhall Wood special school in Wolverhampton.

As part of the Building Schools for the Future project Wolverhampton secured £330 million funding to develop schools more suited to the needs of the new century.

Tettenhall Wood was one of the first schools in the area to benefit from the Scheme together with the Kings School  and since September they have been co-located on the redeveloped Kings site – now known as the Tettenhall Learning Campus.

Headmaster Mostyn Mahoney, an old friend of the Club, joined us tonight to give us an insight into the design process.

Tettenhall Wood is the designated School in Wolverhampton for students diagnosed as autistic. The School’s teaching methods mean that pupils need larger work areas and the new classrooms are large enough for each pupil to have their own individual work area, while still providing opportunities for group working and developing social interaction.

Specific break out areas within each classroom enable staff to move pupils into a calmer environment where anxieties can be overcome before pupils are re-integrated into the classroom.

Each of the classrooms has direct access to the outside providing a further level of break out as well as enabling staff to incorporate outdoor learning into the curriculum.

It’s fair to say that Mostyn and his colleagues weren’t able to secure all that they had wished in the design of the new school but the facilities are a massive improvement on their former premises and are making a real difference to the education which they are able to offer to these special pupils.

Members of the Club are looking forward to having the opportunity of seeing the school themselves this week when we visit the new site.