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To date the abseil has raised over £160,000 for our charities

President Graham's June Message

This is my final President's message, as at the end of June I hand over to Neil McKinley who will be President of the club for the next year.  I've really enjoyed my year as president of this brilliant club.  

We've had an exciting year with 2 new members joining us; great social events including the barbeque and the Burns Supper; fantastic youth events like the Primary School Quiz, Young Musician and taking part in the Young Technologist competition for the first time.  (I won't say anything about our performance in the District Quiz). We had a great trip to the District conference in Harrogate which was particularly successful as Jim and Sandy brought back both the Golf trophies.  We awarded two new Paul Harris Fellowships (our club's highest recognition for Rotary and Community achievement) to Liz Mackenzie and Grainger Falconer. Our newest award, the Ron Ainsworth trophy to recognise particular achievements by a young person in the area, was awarded to Beth Mitchell for the work she does working with QCCC supporting elderly people in Queensferry. 

And of course our fundraising has been record breaking.  The Christmas collections were marvellous; it was great to go round with the sleigh and meet so many of the young (and not so young) children in Queensferry. And it was a privilege to be part of a record breaking abseil this year.  Thanks to Network Rail and Balfour Beatty allowing us to access the bridge, 340 people abseiled 165ft from the Forth Bridge down to the beach opposite the Hawes Inn.  It was a great day, and, as a change from managing the 'ground activities' on the day, as president I got to present certificates to all the abseilers.  It was great to see the (mostly) smiling faces of the people who'd achieved it.  And the amount raised by the abseil has been fantastic. The total so far this year (and we're still getting money in) is more than £160,000. That brings our cumulative total over the 8 years to over £600,000 donated to charity. That's a great example of what Rotary can achieve when we put our minds to it!

This summary is only a sample of what the Rotary Club of South Queensferry gets up to.  It's been a great year.  I know that members of every other Rotary Club will (quite rightly) disagree with this but I like to think that South Queensferry is the best Rotary Club, and it's been an honour to be its President.   

Thanks for reading my messages, and good luck to Neil for the year ahead. I'm looking forward to even more variety this year. 

Graham Leith, President, Rotary Club of South Queensferry  


Great turn out and good weather boosts funds for many charities

Sunday's Forth Bridge Rotary Abseil, organised by the Rotary Club of South Queensferry, saw 364 intrepid volunteers turn out to drop 165ft from the world-famous landmark in aid of good causes. Now in its eighth year, the event has grown into one of the most significant fundraisers in the district. This year, the principal charities to benefit were The Yard, which provides adventure playgrounds for young people with disabilities, and Age Scotland. Each main charity is adopted for two years and spaces are also made available for supporters to abseil on behalf of many other local and national charities.


Dressed as Power Rangers, Midwives Hannah Willis and Clare Patterson, from Edinburgh Royal Infirmary, abseiled on behalf of Edinburgh Children's Hospital Charity. Hannah said: 'It was a  great experience, though we didn't know quite what to expect.' Clare added: 'We wore face masks so it wasn't too scary looking down.'

Abseilers of all ages in a range of colourful outfits descended from the bridge to the beach watched by friends and supporters. Charlotte Murphy, who had just celebrated her sixteenth birthday, was the youngest entrant.

 Not satisfied with the thrill  of the General Assembly,  two former Moderators of  the Church of Scotland and  the chief executive of  CrossReach, the church's  social service organisation,  abseiled to raise funds for  CrossReach which supports  some of the most  vulnerable people in  Scotland. 

 Russell Barr, John Chalmers  and Peter Bailey were  congratulated on their  descent by current  Moderator Derek Browning.  Peter Bailey said: 'We saw 

the event advertised. It was a wonderful opportunity to raise funds and awareness for CrossReach.'

Rotary Club President Graham Leith, who presented abseilers with certificates, said: 'It has been fantastic congratulating so many people all keen to take the Forth Bridge Rotary Abseil Challenge on behalf of so many charities. The weather was perfect.  It's great that the Queensferry Club can use this amazing bridge, right on our doorstep, to benefit so many good causes. We are grateful to Network Rail for allowing us access to the Forth Bridge, to the hundreds of volunteers who signed up to abseil today and all the people who sponsored them.'

Rotarian Alan McCloskey, event organiser, said: 'I must thank our club members who put so much effort into making the abseil a success Thanks also to the numerous volunteer marshals who helped things run so smoothly. Radio Saltire really kept the day alive with music and commentary.'

Graham Clarkson, chair of the organising committee, said: 'It's wonderful how popular the abseil has become. Last year we passed the half-a-million pounds  mark in funds raised since the abseil started in 2010 - a wonderful achievement. We are immensely grateful to Network Rail for making it possible to use the bridge. There was also a charity village in the grounds of the Hawes Inn where participants and spectators could find out more about the charities they were supporting.  At the end of the day, the event had raised a magnificent £139,500 and this figure will increase as further sponsorship money comes in. Our partners, The Yard and Age Scotland, worked hard recruiting abseilers and it is gratifying that so many other charities were able to benefit too. The date of next year's  Rotary Forth Bridge Abseil will be confirmed as soon as possible.'


Photographs courtesy of Gerald Smith 

Our main photo shows Hannah Willis and Clare Patterson who abseiled in support of Edinburgh Children's Hospital Charity.

Inset  photo shows John Chalmers, Russell Barr (kneeling), Peter Bailey who abseiled on behalf of CrossReach.

                            Rotary Service Awards



On Thursday 15th June, the Rotary Club of South Queensferry recognised individuals who have made an important contribution to serving the community in the Queensferry, and Kirkliston area.  

Rotarian Liz Mackenzie, a past president of the club, was awarded a Paul Harris Fellowship for significant service to Rotary. In proposing Liz for the fellowship, Rotarian Enrico Prentice cited her long association with the Brownies, the Guides and the Boy's Brigade as well as the valuable work she has done for the club. the presentation was met with universal approval.

Cliff Plester from Kirkliston was presented with a Rotary Community Award in recognition of his charity fundraising on behalf of St Columba's Hospice and Queensferry Churches Care in the Community and also his outstanding commitment to improving the environment in Kirkliston over many years by clearing litter.

Beth Mitchell, a fifteen-year-old student at Queensferry High School, became the first recipient of the Founders Trophy awarded by founder member Ron Ainsworth to young people who have made an outstanding contribution to the community. Beth is a volunteer with Queensferry Churches Care in the Community, helping day-care dementia sufferers. Gillian Smith, general manager of QCCC, said: 'Beth shows great commitment with local dementia sufferers who visit The Haven. She has a special knack of building close and supportive relationships and thoroughly deserves to be recognised for this work.' 

In his closing remarks, President Graham Leith said: 'The Rotary Club of South Queensferry is delighted to mark the achievements of tonight's recipients who have each in their own way set out to make a difference through serving the community.'

For more photos go to our Rotary Service Awards 2017 page.

Happening soon...

Meetings and events happening soon

Thursday 27th July 18.45

Speaker Evening

John Hawryluk - 'iDevelop i-Inspire iScout'.

Raffle - Alistair Rarity.

Reception - Richard Brown / Gerald Smith.

Fellowship Evening

Thursday 3rd August 18.45

Fellowship Evening

Raffle - Colin Riddell.

Reception - David Buchanan / Allan Smith.

Friday 4th August 17.30

Pittenweem Arts Festival

Rotary Visit


Saturday 5th August 14.00


Barbeque chez Christine and Drew

Speaker Evening

Thursday 10th August 18.45

Speaker Evening

Justin Martindale - Wine Tasting.

Raffle - Stuart Ridge.

Reception - Derek Clark / Iain Fairbairn.

Business Meeting

Thursday 17th August 18.45

Business Meeting

Raffle - Allan Smith.

Reception - Graham Clarkson / Colin Riddell.

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Meetings & Venue

Where and when:

The Hawes Inn, Newhalls Road, South Queensferry, We meet on Thursdays at 1845
(The Club meets at 1845 for 1900 No meetings during Christmas and New Year weeks)
The Hawes Inn, Newhalls Road, South Queensferry, EH30 9TA  0131 331 1990

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