Ian was in the country to attend the Presidential Peace Conference taking place in Coventry, which coincided with the Rotary celebrations on February 23rd.
The Australian joined Rotarians from across the Heart of England for a Purple Pinkie Day at the Arena Shopping Park in Coventry.
There, shoppers were offered a free nail varnish in purple to showcase the Rotary’s polio campaign.
Elsewhere, a number of Rotarians marked Rotary’s birthday with a sponsored climb to the top of the O2 in London, as part of an event organised by the Vectis Sunrise Rotary Club from the Isle of Wight. Proceeds from the event were divided between the Roll Out The Barrel’s water projects in Africa, and End Polio Now.
In the past three years, the annual climb has raised more than £80,000 for End Polio Now when combined with the contribution from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, plus a further £31,000 for water and malaria projects across Africa.
Following the Peacebuilding Conference in Coventry, RI President Ian Riseley planted a tree from the Japanese city of Hiroshima in the beautiful surroundings of Coventry’s War Memorial Park.
The tree is presented by the five Rotary Clubs of Coventry and was grown from seeds presented to the City of Coventry by a Japanese visitor 2008.
The seeds were given to the Lord Mayor of the City and Rotarian John Hartley took six seeds and arranged for a friend of his to grow them.
Two trees have now been grown standing about 40” high, one to be planted in the Memorial Park and the other at Coventry University. The tree can grow to 35 to 50 ft tall and has unusually large leaves each being some 12” across.
The history is that after the atomic bomb destroyed Hiroshima city on August 6th 1945, in the following spring it was noticed that a tree located near to the Head Post Office and apparently destroyed began to show signs of life with shoots showing from the root stock.
The Japanese council officials had the stump transferred to the site of what was to become the Peace Park. In the following years as the seeds from the tree appeared, they were collected and put in bags of 24 and given to visiting civic visitors from around the world.