Rotary News

Debbie’s Diary – October 2018

Debbie’s Diary – October 2018

Rotary GBI President Debbie Hodge is back with her fourth instalment of Debbie’s Diary.

The month began with a visit to the Barnet Rotary. Not necessarily the first club you might think of for a club visit – Barnet is the home club of my husband, Michael!

The club had worked hard and there were Rotarians from neighbouring clubs, folk who had shared my Rotary journey, and representatives from St John’s Church where I had served my internship during my ministerial training. Thank you President Jim for a lovely evening!

October is Conference season and we visited Rotary in Essex, who had decamped to Southampton for a Voyage of Discovery-themed weekend. Lesley Sulley led an excellent conference that mixed information on Rotary projects, for example why we must finish off polio, to wonderful entertaining and inspirational speakers like Steve Brown.

The clubs in the area had been filling backpacks for Mary’s Meals and had created a mountain of them at conference.

marys meals backpacks

The Mary’s Meals Backpack Project has sent more than 500,000 backpacks around the world filled with school equipment, clothes and toiletries.

Then it was on to Haying Island where Rotary in the South were enjoying sunshine and fellowship mixed with some interesting speakers. I was impressed by The Bridging Generations project run by Chichester Priory Rotary. The ABBA night was a great success – so many fantastic costumes!

Within a day or so we were on the Jersey to meet up with Allan Smith and the Rotary members from Wessex and the Channel Islands.

The team had worked hard and even managed get the conference venue Fort Regent lit up in purple! The conference ran a PeaceJam, maintaining the island’s commitment to be an Island of Peace.

We visited the Jersey War Tunnels – a fascinating place that tells the story of the German occupation and provided some useful information for my presentation at the Peace Seminar in Bradford.

The conference ran a PeaceJam, maintaining Jersey’s commitment to be an Island of Peace.”

We were hosted on the Island by the Constable of St Helier – a lovely evening in beautiful surroundings, We also visited the Jersey Parliament, where Bailiff presides.

It was a pleasure to spend an evening with the two Rotary clubs on Jersey and to re-present to Tony Allchurch the Regional Service Award for a Polio Free World.

While we were there we managed to get a couple of days rest and relaxation – the bays and the beaches are beautiful!

A quick turn round and we were in Bournemouth for Rotary in London Conference, led by Mike Wren – and Bournemouth put on its best sunny face for the whole weekend.

Among the highlights was an excellent presentation from Dr Bell, a former Rotary Peace Scholar, the entertaining master of comic timing Lydia Slack, and the District Rotaract Representative, Chike Eduputa.

It was good to spend time with the Rotaractors on Saturday afternoon and share some of the vision we have to grow Rotaract in theses islands; and it’s the Rotaractors who will be the inspiration to help Rotary clubs reach out to the young professionals in their community and get them involved with the family of Rotary.

24th October saw us mark World Polio Day around the world. I spent the day planting bulbs at Stoke Mandeville Stadium – and what a great afternoon was had by the 50 folk who turned out in the autumn sunshine to plat 20,000 crocus corms!

Thanks to all the Rotary members and friends, the volunteers from Horatio’s Garden and the Boys Brigade. And a big thank you to the ground staff at Stoke Mandeville and the WheelPower team.

The afternoon closed with tea and purple-topped cakes and an inspirational speech by Rotarian Colin Powell, a polio survivor who reminded us why we must keep going until polio is gone for good!

The last weekend in October is the Bradford Peace Seminar – a date that is in the diary year on year. This year’s seminar, entitled ‘Waging Peace’, was as excellent as ever as we heard of what the Peace Fellows cohort had been learning about and how their studies and Applied Field Experience will influence their future careers as promotors of peace.

The last event of the month was at the House of Commons when Cheryle Berry and her team from Bolsover launched a new First Aid online course, run in partnership with the Virtual College. It is free, and the aim is to have a ‘life saver’ in every street.

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