This year’s tremendously successful RIBI Conference in Harrogate was a big hit with many delegates commenting that it was one of Rotary’s best ever annual conferences. With a diverse and inspirational set of speakers, events and entertainment, it began with a thought provoking address by Anne Wafula Strike, a paralympic wheelchair racer.[IMG: 1950 border=”0″ alt=”Simon” align=”left” width=”180″ height=”120″]Other speakers included Falklands war veteran and honorary Rotarian, Simon Weston, Sir Tim Smit, founder of the Eden project, Colin Spurway of the BBC World Service in Cambodia and Albert Woods, Vice Chairman of the British Olympic Association.
A major highlight was the attendance of Rotary International President, Sakuji Tanaka, who told of his humble upbringing and his message of peace through service. To hear of his work cleaning the streets of his city was particularly inspiring.
Saturday morning saw the RIBI Young Citizen Awards broadcast live on the BBC News Channel with delegates glued to the incredible stories of the great work done by young people across Great Britain and Ireland.
Speaker at the Friday dinner, Nick Hewer talked about how he moved from being a PR Consultant to a TV host on Countdown. He brought much laughter to the evening with his tales of Alan Sugar and The Apprentice.
World leading expert on the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI), Dr Bruce Aylward updated delegates on the locations and types of virus they are targeting and announced that the GPEI would be launching the Polio Endgame Plan for 2013-18.
Former lawyer Olivia Giles told an amazing story of turning adversity into hope after being stuck down by meningitis and losing all four of her limbs. She now runs the charity 500 miles, which supports the development and delivery of prosthetic and orthotic services in Malawi, and Zambia.