Rotary News

Debbie’s Diary – January 2019

Debbie’s Diary – January 2019

Rotary GBI President Debbie Hodge is back with her latest instalment of Debbie’s Diary and the first of 2019.

Welcome to the first blog of 2019 – the second half of the Rotary Year.

Much of January has been taken up with administration meetings which provide the infrastructure that enable Rotary members to serve their local community and support others across the world.

The membership team heard about the work being done to bring more young professionals into the Rotary family, watch out for Contemporary Rotaract and the new buzz word ‘DOGOODERY’ – the art of doing good in and for your local community!

I spent a great evening with five Rotary clubs in Hertfordshire who are looking at how they can be linked into the community in more direct ways and how to share their stories of the projects they undertake to care for their community.

To take some of the ideas discussed I then visited three of the clubs.

It was a pleasure not only to share some of the big picture ideas but to hear about the work they are doing at home and around the world.

The visit to Dublin was to share in the work that Rotary members in Ireland are doing to support their local communities.”

For many years I have had a connection with Mercy Ships. It all began when one of the student nurses I was teaching went to spend a month working on the ship.

Two years ago I spent a week on the ship in Benin and saw first hand the way they work to make a significant and lasting difference to the health of the country in which they ae working.

I visited their offices in January as we have an opportunity to join in their story as they bring a new ship into operation.

Just how that will work out is not clear but the opportunity to be part of the story that changes the health of a whole continent is not to be missed!

Also not to be missed is the chance to hear from Lea Milligan, Executive Director at Mercy Ships, as part of the Rotary Conference and Showcase in Nottingham this May.

Lea will make up a host of interesting speakers throughout the weekend so check out what is on offer and book your tickets today.


Two wonderful events rounded up the month – the Marines Band Concert in St Albans and a visit to Dublin.

The band concert, organised by Rotary members in St Albans and Radlett, has been running for over 30 years and this year’s concert was as good as any, with both traditional and more contemporary pieces that showed off the talents of the band and individual members. Congratulations to all involved.

The visit to Dublin was to share in the work that Rotary members in Ireland are doing to support their local communities.

I heard about their new social media campaign to get the stories of their projects out unto the public arena. Then there was a meeting with a group who have been work on developing more peace-filled communities.

I learnt of a project which aims to save the lives of young drivers.”

They have run the Peace Project with local schools and are looking to expand this even further.

I also learnt of a project called JUST ONE LIFE, the Rotary Young Persons Driver Awareness Programme which aims to save the lives of young drivers.

It is really locally-grounded programme which has a major impact on driving attitudes of young drivers and their friends.

I also visited Crumlin Children’s hospital to see the work done to refurbish the parent accommodation.

A great project that brought clubs across Ireland together the make a safe and comfort place where parents and family members of children staying in the hospital can stay.

It was a moving visit, made more so by the signage that told the story of Rotary involvement. In each room was a ‘picture’ – a reminder that Rotary had been there, but also offering hope to those who would use the room.

The trip finished with a lunch time meeting with Dublin Fingal Rotary – thank you for your hospitality, and all you do in your communities.

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