Recent Club Meetings

Press reports of the club's weekly meetings

President Stephen Blake chaired Monday evenings meeting which opened with committee convenors reporting on progress with forthcoming events.
Convenor Ian Raven of Youth Services announced that plans were well in hand for another successful Coffee Morning which takes place in St Michael's Kirk Hall on Saturday 21 February from 10am until noon. With tickets costing 2, profits from the event will help fund the work of the club supporting young sports talents and other good causes in the town. Chris Long updated the club on the forthcoming concert "A Festival of Voices" which is being held in Linlithgow Academy on Wednesday 4 March at 7.30 pm. Tickets costing 8 have now been distributed for sale at Far From The Madding Crowd, The Line Gallery and choir members of the two performing choirs, Linlithgow Ladies Choir and Ferry Blend from South Queensferry. With an eclectic mix of songs from The Proclaimers to Eurythmics, from John Rutter to traditional folk songs and with the talented Cockleroy and songstress Gillian Strang also performing, a great night of entertainment is assured whilst raising funds for the Scottish charity "Playlist For Life" and local good causes.
Vice President John Reid introduced the speaker for the evening, Past President Dr Ken MacKenzie, whose subject was his experience working with Childrens Hearings Scotland in West Lothian, which he had been encouraged to join some three years ago by John.
Kens involvement with Childrens Hearings began shortly after retiring as a local GP when he attended an opening evening with John and expressed an interest. Following a robust interview process and an intensive training programme he began sitting on panels three years ago.
Ken outlined the origins of the Childrens Hearing system which set out to consider the treatment of children, whether offending or being offended against, on the basis of need, not deed. From 1964 juvenile courts and remand homes were abandoned in favour of a new model of support and by 1971 the Childrens Hearing system was underway with lay tribunals bringing earlier intervention and with children being given every opportunity to express their views and their welfare being paramount.
Ken explained the preparation for hearings with papers being sent out in advance allowing time for panel members to discuss and set the agenda for the hearing. The panel itself must consist of three members, of mixed sex and with a minimum experience of five years.
The work of the Childrens Hearings Scotland has proved effective by applying early and effective intervention with a whole systems approach and its success is evident by the reduction of referrals over the years.
Ken referred to the work as high-end volunteering" and being more challenging than even he had expected despite his thirty-odd years as a GP and years of experience working with Boys Brigade. He had however found the work extremely worthwhile and rewarding and was very impressed by the life-changing work being done by the Childrens Hearing system and by the many other agencies it brought him into contact with, particularly the excellent work done by foster carers and by Social Work Departments.
In summing up Ken encouraged others of whatever profession, background or experience to consider high-end volunteering with Childrens Hearings Scotland. President Stephen Blake chaired Monday evenings meeting which opened with committee convenors reporting on progress with forthcoming events.
Convenor Ian Raven of Youth Services announced that plans were well in hand for another successful Coffee Morning which takes place in St Michael's Kirk Hall on Saturday 21 February from 10am until noon. With tickets costing 2, profits from the event will help fund the work of the club supporting young sports talents and other good causes in the town. Chris Long updated the club on the forthcoming concert "A Festival of Voices" which is being held in Linlithgow Academy on Wednesday 4 March at 7.30 pm. Tickets costing 8 have now been distributed for sale at Far From The Madding Crowd, The Line Gallery and choir members of the two performing choirs, Linlithgow Ladies Choir and Ferry Blend from South Queensferry. With an eclectic mix of songs from The Proclaimers to Eurythmics, from John Rutter to traditional folk songs and with the talented Cockleroy and songstress Gillian Strang also performing, a great night of entertainment is assured whilst raising funds for the Scottish charity "Playlist For Life" and local good causes.
Vice President John Reid introduced the speaker for the evening, Past President Dr Ken MacKenzie, whose subject was his experience working with Childrens Hearings Scotland in West Lothian, which he had been encouraged to join some three years ago by John.
Kens involvement with Childrens Hearings began shortly after retiring as a local GP when he attended an opening evening with John and expressed an interest. Following a robust interview process and an intensive training programme he began sitting on panels three years ago.
Ken outlined the origins of the Childrens Hearing system which set out to consider the treatment of children, whether offending or being offended against, on the basis of need, not deed. From 1964 juvenile courts and remand homes were abandoned in favour of a new model of support and by 1971 the Childrens Hearing system was underway with lay tribunals bringing earlier intervention and with children being given every opportunity to express their views and their welfare being paramount.
Ken explained the preparation for hearings with papers being sent out in advance allowing time for panel members to discuss and set the agenda for the hearing. The panel itself must consist of three members, of mixed sex and with a minimum experience of five years.
The work of the Childrens Hearings Scotland has proved effective by applying early and effective intervention with a whole systems approach and its success is evident by the reduction of referrals over the years.
Ken referred to the work as high-end volunteering" and being more challenging than even he had expected despite his thirty-odd years as a GP and years of experience working with Boys Brigade. He had however found the work extremely worthwhile and rewarding and was very impressed by the life-changing work being done by the Childrens Hearing system and by the many other agencies it brought him into contact with, particularly the excellent work done by foster carers and by Social Work Departments.
In summing up Ken encouraged others of whatever profession, background or experience to consider high-end volunteering with Childrens Hearings Scotland. President Stephen Blake chaired Monday evenings meeting which opened with committee convenors reporting on progress with forthcoming events.
Convenor Ian Raven of Youth Services announced that plans were well in hand for another successful Coffee Morning which takes place in St Michael's Kirk Hall on Saturday 21 February from 10am until noon. With tickets costing 2, profits from the event will help fund the work of the club supporting young sports talents and other good causes in the town. Chris Long updated the club on the forthcoming concert "A Festival of Voices" which is being held in Linlithgow Academy on Wednesday 4 March at 7.30 pm. Tickets costing 8 have now been distributed for sale at Far From The Madding Crowd, The Line Gallery and choir members of the two performing choirs, Linlithgow Ladies Choir and Ferry Blend from South Queensferry. With an eclectic mix of songs from The Proclaimers to Eurythmics, from John Rutter to traditional folk songs and with the talented Cockleroy and songstress Gillian Strang also performing, a great night of entertainment is assured whilst raising funds for the Scottish charity "Playlist For Life" and local good causes.
Vice President John Reid introduced the speaker for the evening, Past President Dr Ken MacKenzie, whose subject was his experience working with Childrens Hearings Scotland in West Lothian, which he had been encouraged to join some three years ago by John.
Kens involvement with Childrens Hearings began shortly after retiring as a local GP when he attended an opening evening with John and expressed an interest. Following a robust interview process and an intensive training programme he began sitting on panels three years ago.
Ken outlined the origins of the Childrens Hearing system which set out to consider the treatment of children, whether offending or being offended against, on the basis of need, not deed. From 1964 juvenile courts and remand homes were abandoned in favour of a new model of support and by 1971 the Childrens Hearing system was underway with lay tribunals bringing earlier intervention and with children being given every opportunity to express their views and their welfare being paramount.
Ken explained the preparation for hearings with papers being sent out in advance allowing time for panel members to discuss and set the agenda for the hearing. The panel itself must consist of three members, of mixed sex and with a minimum experience of five years.
The work of the Childrens Hearings Scotland has proved effective by applying early and effective intervention with a whole systems approach and its success is evident by the reduction of referrals over the years.
Ken referred to the work as high-end volunteering" and being more challenging than even he had expected despite his thirty-odd years as a GP and years of experience working with Boys Brigade. He had however found the work extremely worthwhile and rewarding and was very impressed by the life-changing work being done by the Childrens Hearing system and by the many other agencies it brought him into contact with, particularly the excellent work done by foster carers and by Social Work Departments.
In summing up Ken encouraged others of whatever profession, background or experience to consider high-end volunteering with Childrens Hearings Scotland. President Stephen Blake chaired Monday evenings meeting which opened with committee convenors reporting on progress with forthcoming events.
Convenor Ian Raven of Youth Services announced that plans were well in hand for another successful Coffee Morning which takes place in St Michael's Kirk Hall on Saturday 21 February from 10am until noon. With tickets costing 2, profits from the event will help fund the work of the club supporting young sports talents and other good causes in the town. Chris Long updated the club on the forthcoming concert "A Festival of Voices" which is being held in Linlithgow Academy on Wednesday 4 March at 7.30 pm. Tickets costing 8 have now been distributed for sale at Far From The Madding Crowd, The Line Gallery and choir members of the two performing choirs, Linlithgow Ladies Choir and Ferry Blend from South Queensferry. With an eclectic mix of songs from The Proclaimers to Eurythmics, from John Rutter to traditional folk songs and with the talented Cockleroy and songstress Gillian Strang also performing, a great night of entertainment is assured whilst raising funds for the Scottish charity "Playlist For Life" and local good causes.
Vice President John Reid introduced the speaker for the evening, Past President Dr Ken MacKenzie, whose subject was his experience working with Childrens Hearings Scotland in West Lothian, which he had been encouraged to join some three years ago by John.
Kens involvement with Childrens Hearings began shortly after retiring as a local GP when he attended an opening evening with John and expressed an interest. Following a robust interview process and an intensive training programme he began sitting on panels three years ago.
Ken outlined the origins of the Childrens Hearing system which set out to consider the treatment of children, whether offending or being offended against, on the basis of need, not deed. From 1964 juvenile courts and remand homes were abandoned in favour of a new model of support and by 1971 the Childrens Hearing system was underway with lay tribunals bringing earlier intervention and with children being given every opportunity to express their views and their welfare being paramount.
Ken explained the preparation for hearings with papers being sent out in advance allowing time for panel members to discuss and set the agenda for the hearing. The panel itself must consist of three members, of mixed sex and with a minimum experience of five years.
The work of the Childrens Hearings Scotland has proved effective by applying early and effective intervention with a whole systems approach and its success is evident by the reduction of referrals over the years.
Ken referred to the work as high-end volunteering" and being more challenging than even he had expected despite his thirty-odd years as a GP and years of experience working with Boys Brigade. He had however found the work extremely worthwhile and rewarding and was very impressed by the life-changing work being done by the Childrens Hearing system and by the many other agencies it brought him into contact with, particularly the excellent work done by foster carers and by Social Work Departments.
In summing up Ken encouraged others of whatever profession, background or experience to consider high-end volunteering with Childrens Hearings Scotland. President Stephen Blake chaired Monday evenings meeting which opened with committee convenors reporting on progress with forthcoming events.
Convenor Ian Raven of Youth Services announced that plans were well in hand for another successful Coffee Morning which takes place in St Michael's Kirk Hall on Saturday 21 February from 10am until noon. With tickets costing 2, profits from the event will help fund the work of the club supporting young sports talents and other good causes in the town. Chris Long updated the club on the forthcoming concert "A Festival of Voices" which is being held in Linlithgow Academy on Wednesday 4 March at 7.30 pm. Tickets costing 8 have now been distributed for sale at Far From The Madding Crowd, The Line Gallery and choir members of the two performing choirs, Linlithgow Ladies Choir and Ferry Blend from South Queensferry. With an eclectic mix of songs from The Proclaimers to Eurythmics, from John Rutter to traditional folk songs and with the talented Cockleroy and songstress Gillian Strang also performing, a great night of entertainment is assured whilst raising funds for the Scottish charity "Playlist For Life" and local good causes.
Vice President John Reid introduced the speaker for the evening, Past President Dr Ken MacKenzie, whose subject was his experience working with Childrens Hearings Scotland in West Lothian, which he had been encouraged to join some three years ago by John.
Kens involvement with Childrens Hearings began shortly after retiring as a local GP when he attended an opening evening with John and expressed an interest. Following a robust interview process and an intensive training programme he began sitting on panels three years ago.
Ken outlined the origins of the Childrens Hearing system which set out to consider the treatment of children, whether offending or being offended against, on the basis of need, not deed. From 1964 juvenile courts and remand homes were abandoned in favour of a new model of support and by 1971 the Childrens Hearing system was underway with lay tribunals bringing earlier intervention and with children being given every opportunity to express their views and their welfare being paramount.
Ken explained the preparation for hearings with papers being sent out in advance allowing time for panel members to discuss and set the agenda for the hearing. The panel itself must consist of three members, of mixed sex and with a minimum experience of five years.
The work of the Childrens Hearings Scotland has proved effective by applying early and effective intervention with a whole systems approach and its success is evident by the reduction of referrals over the years.
Ken referred to the work as high-end volunteering" and being more challenging than even he had expected despite his thirty-odd years as a GP and years of experience working with Boys Brigade. He had however found the work extremely worthwhile and rewarding and was very impressed by the life-changing work being done by the Childrens Hearing system and by the many other agencies it brought him into contact with, particularly the excellent work done by foster carers and by Social Work Departments.
In summing up Ken encouraged others of whatever profession, background or experience to consider high-end volunteering with Childrens Hearings Scotland.  

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16th October

The Club meeting on 16th October began with a report from President Harry Millar on his visit to Glasgow to present the £940 sponsorship raised for his 10k run on the 8th Oct, to the Chief Executive of Epilepsy Scotland. The evening's speaker was Christine MacPherson who is the Chair of the Edinburgh Archaeological Field Society and spoke about the work of the society and its latest project which is at Cammo Estate in north west Edinburgh. She gave a colourful potted history of the House and estate and spoke about the Society’s plan to gain enough information about the long history of the estate to set up interpretation guides for visitors to this park, one of Edinburgh’s grander public spaces. Christine encouraged members, or anyone interested in practical archaeology, to get in touch with the society and come along to one of their open days or indeed to volunteer to help. Next week there will be a presentation to members and partners about the proposed social weekend at Beamish.

9th October

At the Club meeting on 9th October President Harry Millar reported to the members that although he was nursing a rather sore ankle, he had successfully completed his first Linlithgow 10k the previous day and was delighted that his total sponsorship for Epilepsy Scotland had reached £940. He thanked all those who had offered him support, in particular his ‘race buddy’ Chris Long who had encouraged him through the tough sections. He also thanked the members and their friends for making the Wine Tasting evening on the previous Friday such a success, preliminary assessments indicated that the funds raised covered the costs for the two ‘Shelter Boxes’ recently sent to the Caribbean. The speaker for the evening was Brian Connel a former police superintendent who, since 2015, had been the Manager for Neighbourhood Watch Scotland(NWS).  Brian outlined the origins of the scheme and its interactions with the Police Force over a number of years adding that the changes to social cohesion over this time had significantly affected the relationships between the groups involved. The Police and Local authorities could no longer deliver all that communities needed and so NW groups help and guide these partnerships. Current challenges included cyber crime where the groups help those most vulnerable. Next week’s meeting on 16th October will include a presentation by Christine McPherson on Life and Times on the Cammo Estate in Edinburgh.

2nd October 

President Harry opened Monday night’s business meeting by thanking Vice President Chris Long and President-elect Iain Keter for standing in for him while he was on holiday. Harry confirmed he was now back in training for the Linlithgow 10k this coming Sunday and expressed his thanks to everyone who had agreed to sponsor him for the event. Harry then performed the very pleasant duty awarding Paul Harris Fellow recognition on club member Gail Boardman. The business meeting followed with confirmation that two Rotary Shelter Boxes had been purchased in response to the recent hurricane appeal and it was agreed the cost incurred would be recouped from upcoming fund-raising events. Requests for donations or sponsorship from several local charities and good causes were considered and agreement was reached on the disbursement of funds. Ian Raven, Convenor of the club’s International Committee confirmed plans were well in hand for Friday night’s charity Wine Tasting event. Ian was encouraged by the recent increase in ticket sales but reminded members tickets were still available for this popular annual event which would now include wine and gin tasting and with discounts available for wine and gin orders taken on the night. Tickets available from any club member or at the door on the night (tickets £10 each, £6 for ‘drivers’ tickets). Ian reminded members their assistance was required for setting up the event prior to the 7.30 start, for raffle prizes and for other duties throughout the evening. Before closing the meeting President Harry confirmed that Whitburn Rotary Club had very kindly sent a cheque in support of Linlithgow Grange club's Maple Viilla project.

25th September

Vice President Chris Long welcomed members and guest speaker Kenny Turnbull on Monday night. David Wells, the club’s newest member, introduced Kenny, the Coordinator of the charity Friends of Chernobyls Children West Lothian. David had met Kenny through volunteering with the charity. Kenny’s explained in his talk that FOCC West Lothian is an independent charity which started in October 2010 with the aim of improving the health, living conditions and social outlook of deprived children from Belarus affected by the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster. The charity’s work is carried out entirely by volunteers who give their time, care and homes freely to enable children from Belarus to enjoy a month’s annual respite in West Lothian from the radiation, poverty and social conditions in their own country. In 2010 fourteen children came to Scotland for a month with host families and the programme has continued every year since, often with more than twenty children. The children’s stay in Scotland start with visits to the optician, dentist and doctor to receive any treatment they require. The programme then occupies their time from 8.15am to 5.30pm each day with indoor activities including crafts, games, bowling and swimming and fresh air pursuits in country parks and activity parks. Kenny’s slide presentation showed the children’s photos over the five years they are included in the programme which clearly showed the improvement in their health and wellbeing. The volunteers ensure the children return home with their suitcases full of clothes, vitamins etc. to help them until they return the following year. The charity’s fundraising enables them to send volunteers to Belarus twice a year on projects to improve domestic and social conditions and Kenny ended his talk by explaining he felt privileged to be returning next month on his eleventh trip. David Wells gave the vote of thanks to Kenny on behalf of the club for an excellent and inspiring talk

18th September

President-elect Iain Keter welcomed members to Monday night’s meeting and began by confirming the club had a sent a cheque for the purchase of a Rotary shelter box in response to the recent hurricane appeal. Gordon Young reported that the prize draw at last Saturday’s Charter Dinner, a voucher for the Champany Inn, was won by one of our guests at the dinner, Lex Mancini of Epilepsy Scotland. The £520 raised will go to Rotary’s End Polio Now campaign and Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation matching grant would increase this to just under £2,000. Past President Kate Keter introduced the speaker for the evening, Christine Bell, from Cycling Without Age Scotland, a movement which started in Oslo in 2012 when the founder Ole Kassow, a keen cyclist, was motivated to arrange a bike-ride for an elderly care home resident who had also been a keen cyclist. Ole used a trishaw bike which has space for two passengers in front with pedal power from behind. The experience was found to be so beneficial other care homes began asking for free bike rides for their residents and from that the movement has now expanded across 43 countries. The first Scottish chapter of the scheme was launched in Falkirk in 2016 and the Falkirk Chapter is now leading the roll-out across Scotland with funding confirmed by the Scottish Government. The scheme relies on volunteer cyclists, one very enthusiastic Falkirk volunteer being fellow Rotarian and Immediate Past District Governor Andy Ireland from Polmont Club. Christine encouraged members to find out more about the scheme or to consider supporting it by volunteering. She ended her talk by saying that witnessing  the elderly passengers returning from a trip on the trishaw with wind in their hair, rosy cheeks and full of stories made it a very rewarding experience for passengers, ‘pilots’ and the personal contacts they met on the way.

11th September

President Harry welcomed thirty members to Monday night’s meeting and suggested the number would increase to 31 before the end of the meeting. He also welcomed three non-Rotarian guests -  David Wells, Sheila Menzies from Linlithgow Heritage Trust and Neil MacLennan from the Vine Trust. Sheila Menzies received a cheque from President Harry and explained it would help with the costs involved in Linlithgow Heritage Trust’s move from Annet House Museum to the new Linlithgow Partnership Centre at Tam Dalyell House (formerly the County Buildings). Neil MacLennan also received a cheque, on behalf of the Vine Trust, a charity started in Bo’ness, which now has four ships taking volunteers providing medical, educational and home building support to remote areas in Africa, South America and other third world countries. The speaker for the evening was our own club member, Alistair Rennie, who gave a talk about a Danube river cruise and in particular his experiences when the cruise stopped in Bulgaria. Alistair recounted the guided tours to local villages and schools during which the tour guides explained the history and economy of the country and highlighted the current problem of depopulation in the country due to economic migration. Almost a quarter of the working-age population had left the country to make a living which had the effect of further reducing the country’s already dire economic state. During visits to local schools it was explained that many of the children were being brought up by grandparents as parents had moved abroad to work. It was evident that the schools were seriously underfunded with a complete lack of any electronic equipment or modern teaching aids as well as the lack of funding for pupils with special needs. The teaching staff explained their difficulties but were proud to show their pupils’ work and also displays of folk music and dancing. On returning to their cruise ship Alistair noticed a wall plaque with the name of the local Rotary club and suggested to members that there is perhaps an opportunity for Linlithgow Grange to make contact with the Bulgarian club with a view to providing assistance or support for a local school or schools. President Harry thanked Alistair and asked members to give this further consideration, possibly with the assistance of school-age children through an Interact club. President Harry ended the meeting with the very pleasant task of welcoming David Wells as the newest member of Linlithgow Grange Rotary, making good his promise of increasing the number of members present that evening to thirty one.  

4th September

President Harry welcomed members to Monday night's meeting and also a Rotarian Guest, Duncan Collinson, District 1020 Membership Chair. Gordon Young, Convenor of the club's Membership Committee, introduced Duncan as the speaker for the evening, his subject being "Ways into Rotary". Duncan opened his talk by stating the District's aim for 2017/18 which is a net increase in membership in every club by considering new ways of joining Rotary in addition to through the traditional club structure. Duncan outlined new initiatives including Satellite Clubs, Project Membership and Associate Membership which would enable men and women to be members of Rotary but in a more informal structure, with less reliance on attendance at weeky meetings and not necessarily requiring an established meeting venue. Satellite clubs can be set up in just a few weeks with only ten or twenty members and may suit a younger demographic of men and women with less spare time but still willing to participate in Rotary work. Project Membership is another opportunity, aimed at existing volunteers who already assist in the club's projects and fundraisiing activities but may be unable to commit to full Rotary club membership.  Associate Membership may suit potential members who wish to attend meetings and join in local fund-raising projects for a short time before joining, or for those whose current circumstances prevent them from joining at present but who hope to join at a later date. Lastly, Duncan outlined the opportunity for Corporate membership for local businesses and companies, with up to four named members and as many informal members, who could be involved in the club's community service projects and help with fund raising, all of which would help companies fulfil their corporate social responsibility commitment. In closing Duncan encouraged members to consider each of these new ways into Rotary for men and women willing to join Rotary to support communities locally and internationally. Gordon Young thanked Duncan on behalf of the members for an excellent talk and for introducing novel new ways of increasing club membership.

28th August

On Monday the Club held its 15th Annual Charity AM/AM Golf Competition at Linlithgow Golf Club. Despite the weather not being particularly kind the course was in immaculate condition, a fact commented on by many golfers. This year Epilepsy Scotland, and SANDS Lothians - the stillbirth and neonatal death charity will benefit from the funds raised by the generosity of the many golfers who took part. In the evening President Harry gave a warm welcome to competitors and guests, members of Linlithgow Golf Club and also Rotary club members, partners and friends and indeed all who had helped make the day an outstanding success. Harry then presented prizes to the winning teams and individuals. The winners received the first prize of the Magdalene Cup, individual gold medals and vouchers for the Golf Club Professional shop were The Sunday Club who also won the Yellow Ball Competition. Second place went to Team Carlin and in third place, SDM Toyota. Individual prizes were awarded to Danny Buchanan for being nearest to the pin at the 4th hole and Fraser Robertson for the longest drive at the 12th. Unfortunately there were no winners of the Hole-In-One competitions at the 7th, 8th and 10th holes, nor at the 17th hole for which the prize was a brand new Toyota Aygo car. President Elect Iain Keter then gave the vote of thanks from the club, firstly to Linlithgow Golf Club's ground-keeping, catering and bar staff for their hard work and in making it a very successful event and to the 130 competitors who took part in the competition this year. Iain also expressed his thanks to the many local and national businesses for their sponsorship and whose help and generosity made a significant contribution to the charity fundraising event. Ian gave particular thanks to Douglas Robertson, Convenor of the club's AM AM Golf Committee for organising the event and to club members and partners for their assistance before and during the competition. Iain closed by thanking the competitors again and encouraged them to sign-up for next year's Golf AM AM on Monday, 27th August, 2018.  

21st August

President Harry Millar welcomed members and one non-Rotarian guest, David Wells, to Monday night’s club meeting. The speaker for the evening was Douglas Robertson, Convenor of the Club’s Charity Am Am golf competition updating members on progress with this year’s competition which takes place next Monday, 28th August at Linlithgow Golf Club. Douglas confirmed thirty six teams would be taking part, an excellent turnout no doubt helped by the incentive of the prize for a hole-in-one at the 17th hole being a brand new Toyota Aygo car provided by SDM Toyota in Falkirk. Competitors have even more incentives this year with prizes of goods to the value of £750 for a hole-in-one at the 7th and 8th holes, and £1,500 for the 10th hole. Douglas reminded members that their support was requested on the day for stewarding, attending to the car park and rotas of ‘verifiers’ for the hole in one competitions. Of the two beneficiaries for this year’s competition Epilepsy Scotland and SANDS Lothians, Epilepsy Scotland had confirmed they would have a representative at the competition and it was hoped SANDS Lothians would also attend. Douglas ended by appealing for more raffle prizes and asked members to remember the companies and businesses who had supported the Club's Am Am event when placing their own business. Before closing the meeting President Harry reminded members, and guest, that team entries for the competition would still be accepted up to and including the day of the competition.    

14th August

The Club meeting on 14th August was again a busy one with a welcome visit from the Rotary Club of Falkirk who suggested that they were keen to potentially pick up some new ideas. The evening’s speaker was Rosie Black the Ranger from Historic Environment Scotland at Linlithgow, who gave an excellent presentation on some of the issues surrounding the Loch. She explained that there had been a period in the last few years where little progress had been made, however, with an increase in the size of the team based at Holyrood in Edinburgh and the recent receipt of an Ancient Monuments Consent for a number of projects, she anticipated that we should see noticeable progress in the near future. She indicated that she would like to engage with local voluntary groups who could assist and noted the work done in previous years by the Club. The north side in particular had become rather overgrown with self-seeding plants and trees and she was keen to have help to cut these back and allow in more light to enable the growth of wild species. Next week’s meeting on Monday August 21st will be a planning session for the Club’s major fund raising event, the annual AmAm Golf Championship on August 28th at Linlithgow Golf Club.

7th August

The 80% turnout of members to the Club meeting on 7th August was supported by visitors from the Rotary Clubs of Livingston and Burntisland & Kinghorn. President Harry informed members that the Club’s project at Maple Villa, a dementia facility in Livingston, would continue and that further support from Livingston and the e-Club of Southern Scotland had been offered. Assistant District Governor Ken MacKenzie thanked those members that, despite the early morning rain, assisted him at the successful final of the District Junior Golf Championship held at the Kingsfield course on August 4th. Harry also noted that the upcoming Golf AmAm competition on Monday August 28th was proving popular and that a few ‘tee-off’ times were still available. The main event of the evening was a general knowledge quiz hosted by Alan Faulds. Next week’s meeting on Monday August 14th will include a presentation from Rose Black from Historic Environment Scotland to which visitors and members are cordially invited.  

31st July

President Harry Millar welcomed a greater than usual number to Monday night's meeting as members were joined by partners and non-Rotarian guests. The guest speaker for the evening was Nicola Welsh, CEO of SANDS-Lothians, the Still Birth & neo-natal death charity. Nicola opened her talk by explaining the charity exists to support anyone affected by the death of a baby, to improve the bereavement care received by parents and families, and to promote research to reduce the number of babies dying. Through her presentation she outlined the services provided by the charity including Bereavement Support, Bereavement Care Training for professionals and students, lobbying and influencing UK governments and national strategic work with the NHS and other health professional bodies. Nicola described the wide range of fundraising events necessary to support SANDS-Lothians and closed her presentation with a very moving video showing the impact the charity had made, the level of volunteer support they had built and the many letters of thanks from parents and families who have benefited from their bereavement support. President Harry closed the meeting confirming that a share of the funds raised from the club's annual Golf AM/AM to be held on 28th August this year at Linlithgow Golf Club would be donated to SANDS-Lothians. Next week's meeting on Monday, 31st August would be the monthly Business Meeting.

17th July

The club met on 17th July to hear a most enjoyable presentation from Paula Williams Curator of Maps, Mountaineering and Polar at the National Library of Scotland describing the current exhibition of memorabilia and photographs from the 1914 Sir Ernest Shackleton expedition to Antarctica. She outlined the planning and events that took place on this ill-fated voyage and showed some of the remarkable photographs taken by Frank Hurley. She encouraged those attending to take the opportunity to see this free exhibition that runs until 12th November and includes artefacts recovered from the survivors. In his vote of thanks, Ian Raven commended members to visit the exhibition that he suggested was ideal for members who might wish to avoid ‘shopping in Edinburgh’. Next week’s meeting on Monday July 24th will include a presentation from Nicola Walsh from SANDS(Lothian) the Stillbirth and Neonatal Death Society to which partners and others are cordially invited.

10th July

President Harry Millar welcomed Rotarian visitors Gregg and Kathleen Boswell from Sedalia, Missouri, USA to Monday night's meeting. Gordon Young hosted the guests and introduced them as the speakers for the evening. This was a return visit for Gregg and Kathleen as they visited Linlithgow Grange Club two years ago and gave a talk on the history of their home city Sedalia from its growth after the Civil War and its prosperity due to it being the railhead for transporting cattle from the prairies. Sedalia's prominence continues with it hosting the annual Missouri State Fair but the subject of Kathleen and Gregg's talk on Monday night was another annual event in their home city, the Scott Joplin Ragtime Festival. Kathleen gave a brief history of the composer and pianist Scott Joplin, known in the late nineteenth century as "The King of Ragtime Writers". Joplin lived in Sedalia at the start of his career until 1901 when publication of his most well known composition, Maple Leaf Rag, brought him fame. Gregg handed round copies of posters and programmes showing how popular and influential Joplin had been at that time. Despite having one of the earliest contracts in music publishing Joplin died in poverty in 1917. Sedalia's annual Scott Joplin Ragtime Festival, running from 1983, has resulted in increasing recognition of Joplin's contribution to music and his unmarked pauper's grave is now marked by a proper headstone and the 100th anniversary of his death was recognised by a dedicated concert at Carnegie Hall in New York on 1st April 2017 when all 53 of Joplin's compositions were played. Kathleen and Gregg ended their talk appropriately by playing Joplin's best known piece, Maple Leaf Rag. Gordon Young thanked Gregg and Kathleen on behalf of club members, partners and guests for a very interesting, informative and entertaining talk. Ken MacKenzie advised members that the District Young Golfers competition would be held at Linlithgow Golf Club on Thursday, 3rd August and asked for volunteers to contact him to help support the event. President Harry presented Immediate Past President John Reid with a well-deserved Paul Harris Fellow award.  

3rd July

Monday night’s meeting was President Harry Millar’s first of the new Rotary year with the very pleasant duty of awarding a Rotary Sports Bursary to Sam Thomas from Linlithgow, a keen young golfer who has only been playing for just over two years but has won many medals and competitions at Linlithgow Golf Club. Sam intends to use his bursary for additional lessons from the professional at the club to help lower his handicap even further. President Harry introduced the speaker for the evening, Kerry Reich, Community and Event Fundraiser for Epilepsy Scotland, and explained how keen he is to raise funds for this charity in this Rotary year due to his personal knowledge of the charity’s work. Kerry’s presentation, her first but no one would have known, ranged from an explanation of Epilepsy (the most common serious neurological condition in the world) how it is diagnosed and treated, and the latest statistics on the condition. Kerry also outlined the very extensive support provided by Epilepsy Scotland and how the organisation raises awareness of the condition, lobbies for high standards of care and delivers its own support services and information. In closing Kerry outlined the very wide range of fundraising activities for the charity in Scotland and President Harry confirmed the club’s Golf Am Am this August would raise funds for Epilepsy Scotland. After the opportunity for questions secretary David Timperley thanked Kerry on behalf of the club for an excellent presentation, especially as it was her first. After the club meeting Immediate Past President John Reid presented a Rotary Sports Bursary award at Bellsburn Bowling Club to a young bowler, Katie Taylor from Linlithgow. Katie has been playing grass bowls at Bellsburn Bowling Club since 2009 and has been junior player of the year at the club every year since 2011. For the past two years she has also been part of the West Lothian junior bowling squad with great success. As well as her bowling Kate also competes very successfully in swimming and cross-country running. Both Sam and Katie are worthy recipients of the sports bursary awards and the club looks forward to them returning to update members on their progress in their chosen sports.

26th June

Some 61 members partners and visitors attended the formal club handover meeting on the 26th June. The outgoing President John Reid, described his year in office as ‘interesting’ ranging from helping to mark the drains that run into the Loch to the many fundraising activities covering both sports events and concerts, adding that he had been delighted to be able to handover funds in excess of £11,000 to both local and international charities. Following a slide show reminding everyone of the fun they had enjoyed over the past year the incoming President, Harry Millar, explained his personal reasons for selecting his key charities for 2017_18, Epilepsy Scotland and Sands (Stillbirth and Neonatal Death charity). Next week’s meeting on July 3rd will include a presentation from the first of these.

19th June

The club met on 19th June to hear the plans for the next year which begins on 1st July. The incoming President, Harry Millar, outlined his vision for a more energetic club with around half the events focused on community service activities with the remainder on fundraising events for local and international causes. Next week's meeting on Monday, 26th June, will be the formal handover to the new office bearers with partners invited to the celebration of what has been achieved in the past year.

12th June

President John welcomed 24 members to the club’s pre-Marches Fellowship meeting. He announced that next Monday would be the club's Assembly meeting where each committee’s plans for the next Rotary year would be explained. Also the Club Handover Partners dinner would be on the 26th June when President-Elect Harry would take over as President. President John was delighted to present a Paul Harris Fellowship Award to Jim Kelly for his contribution to the Rotary Foundation. 

Gerry Keating talked about his 25 years of Rotary experience highlighting to recent members the value of Rotary and his experiences of visiting many Clubs worldwide.

There was a discussion about the proposal for a new category of Associate Membership for potential new members. It was largely agreed that this could be attractive for people interested in Rotary but not able to commit fully in the short term.  The value of a "Friends of Rotary" was also highlighted.  

29th May

President John welcomed 30 members to the monthly business meeting of the club. He updated everyone on a very productive meeting with headteachers at Boness Academy last week, leading to a strong possibility of setting up a Rotaract club linking pupils at the school with our Rotary club. Peter Russell gave details of an enjoyable Rotary Foundation Dinner at Morton Hall Golf Club reminding everyone of the main platforms for the Charity's work. President John relayed information from the District of Rotary's response to last weeks tragedy in Manchester and the initiation of a special trust for the benefit of families affected. It was agreed that further consideration is necessary about Rotary's optimum response to the tragedy.

Each convener provide an update on recent and future events involving their committees. The Club has donated £100 to help sponsor the Marches marquee and Secretary Phill announced that a proposal for Associate Members will be discussed and decided on at an imminent future meeting. 

15th May

President John Reid welcomed members back to the weekly club meeting, the previous week having been 'scatter week' with no club meeting, members being encouraged to visit other clubs, preferably outwith the district. President John also welcomed a number of Rotarian visitors from Linlithgow and Bo'ness, Bathgate and Livingston. Following the meal reports were received from the sixteen members who had visited Bathgate, Burntisland, Falkirk, Larbert, North Berwick and Peebles clubs the previous week. All reported successful visits and excellent fellowship as well as gaining insight into the events and projects of other clubs. President Lizette Bingham from Livingston Club presented President John with a cheque for £500 for the club's refurbishment project at Maple Villa in Craigshill for dementia patients. President John expressed his gratitude to the members of Livingston club for their excellent contribution to this project. At the end of the meeting President John presented Past President Roy Redwood with a Paul Harris award. Following the meeting the penultimate round of the District 1020 inter-club quiz took place with the four representatives from Bathgate Club and their five supporters, John Binnie from Linlithgow and Bo'ness club acting as quizmaster. The home team won after a very interesting, enjoyable and very entertaining competition. Before the evening ended Gordon Young took the opportunity to promote the club's upcoming Marches Musical Variety Show to the many guests in attendance and also reminded all club members to promote the event - 1st June at Linlithgow Academy, tickets on sale at The Line Gallery and far From the Madding Cloud bookshop and from club members. Tickets £8, concessions £6.   

8th May

Scatter Week, no club meeting. Club members encouraged to visit clubs elsewhere in the District and beyond.

1st May

President John Reid chaired Monday’s meeting with the very pleasant duty of inducting two new members to the club, husband and wife David and Joan Hale. Dr Ken MacKenzie introduced David and Joan and outlined their backgrounds, their suitability as members, and the commitment and involvement they had both made in attending the club as guests and supporting events and projects. President John welcomed David and Joan and introduced them to each of the members present. Following the meal Derek Chambers introduced the speaker for the evening, Robin Howie whose subject would be hillwalking. Derek commented that Robin had around 70 munros still to bag to complete all 282 in Scotland. However, Derek then added that this was now Robin’s eleventh round of the munros; an extraordinary achievement. Robin opened his talk by explaining that he had once written a letter to the Scotsman correcting an error in an article in the Saturday magazine section on hillwalking. As he received no reply and the error was repeated in further editions he contacted he newspaper again and received a call from the editor who invited him to submit a hillwalking ‘diary’ article for the magazine. 15 years and 750 walls later Robin is still contributing and has published two books on the subject  – 100 Scottish Walks and Another 100 Scottish Walks. Robin’s talk was illustrated by the many photos taken on a wide range of high and low level walks throughout Scotland in all seasons and with interesting insights on the many spectacular features and locations. Robin brought his excellent talk to a close by showing five photos and asking members to identify their locations. The winner was Dr Ken MacKenzie, and the prize was a copy of Robin’s latest book – Another 100 Scotsman Walks. President John then asked all members to support the club’s next event, the Marches Musical Variety Show at Linlithgow Academy on Thursday 1st June. Tickets (£8, £6 concessions) are available from The Line Gallery, Far From the Madding Crowd bookshop or from any member of the club. In closing President John reminded members that there would be no club meeting next Monday, 8th May, as it is the club’s ‘Scatter Week’ when members are encouraged to visit other clubs in the District and beyond. Normal club meeting resumes on Monday, 15thMay.   

24th April

President John welcomed 34 members to the monthly Business Meeting which was then followed by the AGM.  During the former, Tom Brown stated that the recent membership survey would be discussed fully on the 22nd of May under 4 key themes of Fellowship, Younger Members, Business Meeting Format and Number of Club Events.  He planned to produce a Briefing Note on each of the four topics to facilitate both discussion and subsequent decisions. Douglas Robertson stated that this Wednesday was the International Committee's Bingo Night in the Rose Club with a discussion on the beneficiaries of proceeds from the event.  

President John introduced the AGM by reviewing the main highlights and the events of the Club's Twenty Fifth Anniversary Year with recurring themes of enlightening the Community and working in close partnership with Community Groups. He conveyed sincere thanks to Conveners, Council and Members for all support and hard work. Each Committee Convener then reviewed the key events of their very comprehensive programmes. The Office Bearers for year 17/18 alongside new President Harry Miller and President Elect Iain Keter were announced as Chris Long VicePresident, David Timperley Secretary, Ian Adams Treasurer and Committee Conveners Gordon Young, Rory Cameron, Steven Blake, Roy Redwood, Phill Ratcliffe and Ian Raven.     

17th April

Easter Monday - no meeting.

10th April

There were 32 members present when President John welcomed four visitors to this week’s meeting in the Golf Club. David and Joan Hale have been regular visitors recently and it is expected that very soon they will be invited to become members. Neil Rowland of Forth Region Scouts thanked the club for the donation being made towards the Scouts project in Namibia. 47 Explorer and Network scouts, including a few from Linlithgow, will be spending 3 weeks building a kindergarten schoolroom in a remote village in north-west Namibia. The nearest school is 7km away, too far for the youngest children to walk so they are currently taught under a tree.

It is also planned to put in a bore hole to provide a dedicated water supply, enabling the villagers to create a community garden to produce vegetables. Scouts have been fundraising for a long while to raise the sum of £40,000. Katherine Mason, a Linlithgow girl, is a nursing student at the University of Edinburgh who is going to Dar es Salam in Tanzania with the charity Act4Africa. Katherine will be working for 4 weeks in a district hospital in Dar es Salam in which around 80 babies a day are born. She is expecting a very different experience from working in a hospital here and is sure of being very busy. Katherine thanked the club for its support.

Tom Brown presented the results of a Membership Survey. It is exactly 5 years since the last survey and the number of responses was 33, same as last time. Unlike the last time, all are happy with the current venue, Linlithgow Golf Club. Tom showed a number of slides with details of responses to various questions leading to comment and discussion before it was agreed that members be given time to consider the results and a date would be set for a full analysis and discussion. Due to the Easter holiday, there will be no meeting next week. And the Secretary reminded everyone that April 24th is the AGM.

3rd April

President John Reid welcomed 24 members to the weekly meeting, a smaller number than usual due to the start of the Easter holiday period. The President’s first duty was to announce the death last week of Past President John Barrett. A founder member, John was the Club’s President for the year1995/96. At the time of writing no information was available regarding funeral arrangements. President John Reid asked the meeting to stand for a minute’s silence in memory of John.

The speaker for the evening was Tom Brown. As another founder member, Tom has spoken to the club on many occasions but this was to be only the second time when his talk was not on a medical subject. The Siege of Leningrad was the title of Tom’s address which was delivered with Tom’s usual thoroughness and aplomb. The siege lasted 872 days covering 3 winters from 1941 to 1944 and was described as the worst siege we know of in modern history. There were many casualties from the fighting but in fact the vast majority died of starvation. Tom illustrated his talk with slides and two or three quotations from his book of reference and ended to a warm round of applause. Ken Mackenzie was asked to give the vote of thanks and began with “Masterly, scholarly and superbly presented” which met with much approval and a further round of applause. The meeting ended with the final toast to Rotary International.

27th March

President John Reid opened Monday’s meeting, the club’s monthly business meeting, by welcoming guests John and Janet Carswell. Prior to conducting the business meeting President John presented John Carswell with a Paul Harris Fellow award in recognition for his contribution to the club’s fundraising activities over a period of fifteen years or more by acting as MC and caller for the annual ‘Scotch Hop’. John’s success in guiding and encouraging Rotarians and guests through Scottish country dance routines over the years had made the ceilidh a popular and well attended event, the proceeds from which had made a significant contribution to Rotary’s End Polio Now campaign. The club’s business meeting continued with committee convenors updating members on forthcoming events and activities. Douglas Robertson reminded members of the need for contributions for prizes and catering requirements for the charity Bingo Night on Wednesday, 26thApril at Linlithgow Rose Social Club. Jim Rae advised that the loch side litter pick which was postponed in March due to bad weather was now planned for Saturday, 29th April.  

20th March

President John welcomed 29 members plus nine guests from Edinburgh Rotary Club to our weekly meeting. He updated on last week's Area meeting, the imminent District Council meeting on the 2nd April in Lockerbie and Rotary's involvement in this year's Melrose Sevens. This evening's special guests were members of the District Group Study Exchange (GSE) team along with their Team Leader Andy Ireland. The Team will visit a variety of Rotary clubs in Ohio during May and gave our Club a run through of their planned presentation. The Team members, all sponsored by local Rotary clubs, were Les Mason, a Watch Manager with Scottish Fire and Rescue Service, Scott Anderson, a Project Manager in Financial Services and Jill McCardel, an Account Director in IT Consultancy and Managed Services. Each talked in turn about their own background and differing highlights of Scotland including our mountains and lochs, the many facets of Edinburgh and the Falkirk Wheel and Kelpies. Haggis whisky and Irn Bru also featured! Some valuable feedback was given enabling the Group to hone their presentation before their "go live" performances in USA in May. This invaluable 4 week experience will hopefully enrich and enhance their life skills.

13th March

President John welcomed a good attendance of Rotarians and Partners to our regular Partners evening. Jim Chapman gave an update on the recent Young Technologists competition at Bo'ness Academy. Douglas Robertson highlighted the next International committee event which is a Bingo Night on Wednesday 26th April at Linlithgow Rose Social Club.  He requested donations of prizes for both the Tombola and Bingo.The main event of the evening was a Photographic Competition with a theme of 'Face Time'. A high standard of entries made judging by those attending both challenging and entertaining. The winners were, first Jane Brown, second David Robertson and third Kate Keter. A good evening of fellowship was enjoyed by everyone. 

6th March

President-Elect Harry Millar welcomed 33 Rotarians and 3 Rotarian visitors from Currie Balerno Club. A one minute silence was observed in memory of Founder member and past President Bill Miller whose funeral took place today. Peter Russell reported on a recent very successful Rotakids Rally attended by 116 children.  Jim Rae reported on the cancellation of last weekend's projected Spring Clean at Linlithgow Loch due to inclement weather and said it would be rescheduled for either late March or April. Currie Balerno updated all present on the next District Conference to be held in Newcastle in October. It was announced that John Carswell had been offered and accepted a Paul Harris Fellowship from the Club in recognition of his many years support particularly with hosting our annual Scotch Hop. David Robertson hosted an entertaining quiz enjoyed by everyone.   

27th February

President John Reid opened Monday evening’s monthly Business Meeting by welcoming visitors David and Joan Hale on their second visit to the club.  After a buffet meal the various committees met for a short time and the meeting was then resumed. Ian Raven thanked everyone for their support at last Saturday’s coffee morning and asked members to convey the committee’s thanks to partners for their contributions of baking and for helping prior to and on the day, all of which contributed to a very successful coffee morning which was well attended despite the poor weather. Jim Rae reminded members of the loch-side litter-pick planned for Saturday, 4th March and said he would email joining instructions to all 15 volunteers. Gordon Young reminded members of the club’s photographic competition to be held on the social evening, with partners, on Monday 13th March. Gordon encouraged members to submit entries to the competition, the theme this year being ‘Facetime’, and asked everyone to pass their entries (no larger than 8” x 6”) to him by next Monday, 6th March. Ian Adams reported he had collected a large batch of spectacles from our on-going appeal for unwanted glasses at Linlithgow Library. The spectacles, and sunglasses, are recycled by a charity and sent to third world countries. Ian was pleased to confirm that to date the club had sent around 10,000 pairs of spectacles to this worthy cause. President John confirmed that plans for replacing curtains and bedcovers for the 30 rooms at the specialist dementia unit at Maple Villa, Craigshill, Livingston were going according to plan. Colours and patterns of materials had been carefully selected based on expert advice as to their suitability for dementia patients and quotes received so far were within the planned budget. President John closed the meeting with the reminder that as our next meeting would be Monday, 6th March, the new door team would be Mike Smith, Elma Birrell, Rory Cameron, Morris Easton and Chris Gunstone.

20th February 2017

President John Reid opened Monday evening’s meeting welcoming guest speaker Dale Gormley representing Canine Partners. Dale was introduced by Jim Gillespie who had seen his presentation at last year’s Rotary District 1020 Conference at Harrogate and described it as the highlight of the conference. Dale explained that Canine Partners is a registered charity which transforms the lives of people with physical disabilities by partnering them with assistance dogs which help bring a greater independence and quality of life to their partners, offering security, companionship and practical help with everyday household tasks. The life-changing dogs also provide psychological and social benefits including increased independence, confidence, social interaction and self-esteem. They are carefully matched to the applicants’ needs and lifestyle, no matter how challenging. They assist with everyday tasks which are difficult, painful or impossible for individuals with a disability to perform including opening and closing doors, retrieving or picking up dropped items, helping with undressing and loading and unloading the washing machine. They are also trained to press buttons and switches in the home and fetching help in an emergency. Outside the home they help with shopping by picking up items out of reach or too heavy for their partner, pressing pedestrian crossing or lift buttons and even retrieving money and cards from a cash machine! Canine partners also provide increased independence, confidence, motivation, companionship, security and social interaction which helps people to return to work, voluntary positions or further education and reduces reliance on human carers. The dogs undertake a specialist two-year training programme, which begins from selection at 7 to 8 weeks old when they are placed with carefully chosen volunteer ‘puppy parents’ who care for them full-time and teach them basic obedience and social skills before moving on to four months’ advanced training at the age of 14 to 16 months. At the advanced training course the core skills are extended to more complex tasks such as opening doors, retrieving items and pressing buttons and over a few months the trainers carefully hone the dog’s skills to match the applicant’s requirements. At the end of the advanced training the applicant is invited to a two-week residential course with their chosen canine partner to learn how to work with their dog and continue its training during which the special bond between dog and partner begins. Dale ended his talk with a short video which showed the training and placement process with heart-warming case studies showing the difference Canine Partners had made to their lives and in one memorable case the owner simply said ‘It’s given me my life back’. In the question and answer session which followed Dale confirmed the puppies are obtained through the charity’s dog breeding programme or from selected breeders and the success rate for training is 70% . The working life of dogs is from placement at the age of 3 to retirement at up 10 years by which time a ‘successor dog’ will have been trained in time for a smooth transition. The charity receives no government funding and relies solely on donations and legacies from the public to continue the life-transforming work, summed up in the charity’s strap line ‘Amazing Dogs - Transforming Lives’. Jim Gillespie gave the vote of thanks to Dale for an excellent talk and President John closed the meeting reminding members that the club’s Annual Coffee Morning is next Saturday, 25th February at Cross House and asked for everyone’s assistance.

13th February 2017

President John Reid opened Monday evening’s meeting welcoming visitors Gillian and Andy Niven, Gillian the speaker for the evening, and her husband Andy, a Rotarian from Falkirk Rotary Club. Morris Easton introduced Gillian whose subject was Morocco 2016, a fundraising challenge in aid of Strathcarron Hospice, the first overseas challenge the hospice had organised. The aim of the trek was to reach the summit of Mount Toubkal, the highest peak in Morocco’s High Atlas Mountains. The trekking group consisted of four of Gillian’s friends, four of her work colleagues and four members of the Strathcarron team. Planning started in February 2015 aiming for the trek to take place in June 2016. In the interim a range of fundraising activities took place, from supermarket bag -packing to collections at Falkirk Football Club, all of which raised a very commendable total of £38,500. In addition to fund-raising, a period of training was required in preparation for the trek, from hillwalking to several Munros. In June 2016 the group arrived in Morocco and were met by their guides and, with their mules laden, set off on the four-day trek through the Berber villages along narrow trails through the mountains and deep valleys to Mount Toubkal. The very hot conditions, sometimes in the high 30s, and the gruelling ascents and descents were more strenuous than the team had expected, including Gillian who found it much harder than a recent up Kilimanjaro. One member of the team soon began to suffer from mountain sickness and had to abandon the trek. The others continued and on the last day of the ascent set off for the summit at 2am minus another of the team who couldn’t continue with the climb due to altitude sickness. The team eventually arrived at the summit of the 4,167m peak in sunshine above the clouds at 10.45am. After the elation of completing their very tough challenge successfully, the group then faced the long day and half day descent back to Marrakech for some welcome rest and relaxation. Morris thanked Gillian for a very informative and entertaining talk on her very successful fund-raising event for Strathcarron Hospice.

6th February 2017

President John Reid opened the meeting welcoming guests Jim Brown from Carers of West Lothian, Neil Edwards from Linlithgow Day Care Centre, Dementia Carer Support Service, and Liz Harvie, Charge Nurse and Nicola Frew – Deputy Charge Nurse from Maple Villa, Craigshill, Livingston. Rotarian visitor Roger Harper from the Rotary Club of Whitburn was also warmly welcomed.

President John handed over to Gordon Young, convenor of the club’s Tree of Light committee, an initiative which allows donors to remember loved ones at Christmas. The name and symbolism of the Tree of Light are reminders that there is light and hope in the bleakest of circumstances. The funds raised would then be used for worthwhile causes and three local dementia care and support bodies were chosen as beneficiaries for the money raised, £500 to each - Carers of West Lothian, Linlithgow Day Care Centre and Maple Villa (Craigshill, Livingston). Gordon was pleased to report that the Tree of Light, at the entrance to Linlithgow Library, had a very successful launch in December and the sum of £1,500 had been raised. Many public expressions of support and warm congratulations had been received and even greater success was hoped for when the Tree of Light returns in December this year. Gordon underlined the need for fund-raising reporting that in Scotland about 90,000 people are currently living with a diagnosis of dementia in its many forms, the most common  being Alzheimer’s.

Gordon then introduced Jim Brown, Development Worker with Carers of West Lothian to outline the work done by their Dementia Carer Support Service, a carer- led voluntary organisation and charity. The dementia support service is set up to benefit the mental and physical wellbeing of the carers of people diagnosed with dementia who carry out their role in some isolation. Jim reported that there are currently 5,000 carers registered on their database for West Lothian although there are probably as many as 20,000 family members acting as carers in the county. Jim confirmed that the cheque he received would be used to fund the ‘Caring for You’ courses run by the support group, three-week courses which are free of charge to carers. These courses aim to address the issues of changing relationships, dealing with guilt and coping with stress. In addition the training includes helping carers to value their own important role and to take steps to maintain their own health and wellbeing in order to continue in their role as carer. There is also the opportunity for carers coming together providing peer support and sharing their experiences all of which helps reduce the isolation that carers experience.

Gordon then introduced Neil Edwards, staff member at Linlithgow Day Care Centre, which has been in operation for 30 years, currently located at St Michaels Hospital in Linlithgow. Not part of the NHS but part-funded by the local authority it is a registered charity providing day care support for frail, elderly people where they can enjoy a relaxed, friendly atmosphere and participate in variety of activities. The service hopes to move to the new Partnership Centre at Linlithgow’s County Buildings when refurbishment is completed later this year and Neil said the cheque for £500 will help smooth the transition to the new premises.

Gordon then introduced two members of staff from Maple Villa - Liz Harvie, Charge Nurse and Nicola Frew, Deputy Charge Nurse. Nicola received the £500 cheque from President John and Liz then explained that Maple Villa is a specialist dementia care unit with 29 single, en-suite rooms for male patients with particularly challenging aspects of the condition. Liz explained Maple Villa’s care and support strategy, their vision for the future and their links with Napier University and their skills courses for Dementia Nurses. Liz confirmed the £500 donation would be used to improve the standard of furnishing in the bedrooms with new curtains and bed linen which would be very much appreciated by patients’ families and it was hoped family members would help in the choice of fabrics. President John confirmed that from his weekly visits to Maple Villa he could personally confirm the very high level dedication, expertise and standard of care for the patients and their families by all the staff.

Gordon closed with a vote of thanks to all the guests for explaining the work of their organisations and their dedication in providing essential services to the community.

30th January 2017

President John Reid welcomed 32 members to the monthly Business Meeting, taking place a week later than usual due to the very successful Burns Supper last Monday. When he asked if there were any ‘visits to other clubs’ to be reported the only response was from Heather McInally who had been at the Rotary International Assembly in San Diego. Unfortunately for Heather the weather in San Diego was cold and wet, just like home.

After a buffet meal, the norm for Business Meetings, the committees met individually before a number of items were reported to the meeting.

Jim Rae had been in discussion with the new Ranger at the Peel and agreement has been reached for our members to assist in a clean-up on the north side of the Loch, date to be confirmed.

Ian Raven reminded everyone of the Rotary Coffee Morning on Saturday 25th February. Prior to that on Friday 17th February The Primary Schools Quiz will take place in Linlithgow Bridge Primary School when it is hoped a number of members will go along to assist and support the quizmaster, Roy Redwood.

Rory Cameron took the opportunity to encourage members to bring along guests and possible new members to the meeting on 20th February to hear what he described as an excellent speaker.

Ian Adams, as Treasurer, confirmed that the club has received the District Grant of £1,218 which is in support of our project on Maple Villa.

Harry Millar was pleased to confirm the names of all the members who had volunteered to take on leading roles in the club’s administration for next Rotary year which is a good indicator of the strength of Linlithgow Grange as a Club. The meeting closed with a reminder from President John that there will be a new door duty team next Monday, John Lawson, Heather McInally, Tom Brown, Jim Gillespie and John Leitch.

23rd January 2017

There was an excellent turnout of Rotarians and partners for the Club’s annual Burns Supper, welcomed warmly as usual by President John Reid. This year the Haggis was piped in by Piper Blair Chatburn, ex Argyll and Sutherland Highlander, who has played for the Queen. The Address to the Haggis was then recited by Bill Duncan with unbounded enthusiasm to the enjoyment of all. Grace said by Thom Riddell was appropriate but rather more sedate.

After an excellent meal Harry Millar gave us his version of the Immortal Memory in which he confessed to be an Ayrshire boy himself. Then followed 3 Burns Reflections based on 3 of Burns’ poems related in turn by Thom Riddell, Ken MacKenzie and Stephen Blake and all very well done but none can compare with Mike Smith’s Recitation of “Tam o’ Shanter”. Mike was at the top of his form, perfect with his words and entertaining with his actions, and fully deserved the sustained round of applause which followed. Tom Brown completed the entertainment by leading the company in the singing of “Ae Fond Kiss” and “Scots Wha Hae”.

Peter Russell then gave the Vote of Thanks to all the performers with an amazing array of adjectives and the evening ended with the toast to Rotary International.

16th January 2017

President John Reid began the meeting in light-hearted mood by telling the 36 members present that shortly before the start he thought his popularity was waning but, with the last minute arrival of another member, the attendance became the same as the previous week. The speaker for the evening was Ian Orr, a member for over 4 years, who chose to talk about insurance companies. As an ex Loss Adjuster, though he still does bits of work, Ian has some 40 years of dealing with insurance companies and he entertained his audience with a mixture of amusing and scary stories. He began by advising us to read the insurance proposal form very carefully. Take great care in filling out the form, answering the questions accurately because the insurance company will pick up any small discretion or omission right away and before you know it your insurance claim is rejected. On travel insurance the expression Ian used was “watch like a hawk”, there are so many simple things we might say, or not say, and the claim goes “out the window.” A prime example would be to make sure you tell about all illness or disabilities. House contents are another tricky area. Always describe items accurately, keep receipts where possible and have photographs of jewellery. A powerful piece of advice given was “don’t accept the first offer.” There was much more, expressed by Ian in sometimes hilarious fashion and he ended to a warm round of applause. Several questions followed, usually confirming the need for accuracy in filling out the proposal form in the first instance. One member, though, told of taking photographs a few days earlier of his wife’s jewellery but would now be retaking them with, as Ian recommended, a ruler  in the picture to confirm the size of the article. Roy Redwood announced the winner of last week’s Bonus Ball as Harry Miller. Apparently this was Harry’s first in 5 years as a member of the Club. The meeting closed with the usual toast to Rotary International.

9th January 2017

President John Reid welcomed the 36 members present for the first meeting of 2017 with very best wishes for the New Year and then reported on some of his activities in recent weeks presenting awards on behalf of the Club at local schools.

Rory Cameron reminded everyone that the Burns Supper is only two weeks away and passed round the menu for information. Speaker for the evening was Douglas Robertson who showed a film about Mary’s Meals entitled Generation Hope. Before doing so Douglas told how only 14 years ago Magnus Macfarlane-Barrow began Mary’s Meals after a young boy told him his only wish was to have food to eat and to be able to go to school. In 2009 Abeer Macintyre gave a talk to Linlithgow Grange on Mary’s Meals that inspired Douglas to become a supporter and to give talks to other Rotary Clubs in Scotland. “One meal every day in a place of education for the world’s poorest children” remains the mission for Mary’s Meals. As of last weekend the number of children being fed was 1,187,104 over 13 countries. Overheads are kept to a minimum to ensure that at least 93p of every £1 donated is spent directly on charitable activities and in recent times this has risen to a staggering 96.3 pence in every £1. After the film Douglas answered a few questions but our Club already gives a lot of support to Mary’s Meals and a collection was taken in further support.

There followed a brief report on Rotary’s Tree of Light which has raised in excess of £1,700 in this first year and it is hoped to repeat the venture.

12th December 2016

An excellent attendance heard President Elect Harry introduce a number of guests.  These included Bowlers John McDonald and William Caulfield, both of whom are blind and received a £250 donation from the Club for their Championship Bowling trip to South Africa next year. Also introduced were Linlithgow Golf Club professional Kenny Monaghan and four junior club golfers Alistair Marshall, Robbie Main, Eva Woodward and Mathew Wallace. Jim Chapman told the Club about this year's Sports Bursaries being awarded for the development of young promising local golfers being tutored by Kenny Monaghan.  Kenny outlined the background rational of the value of focusing specific small group coaching for identified youngsters and in total he provided twenty-two hours of coaching between May and September. He coached the youngsters in a planned manner developing their basic golf skills with the help of high spec video analysis setting clear goals for reducing their handicaps.  Each youngster then addressed the audience in turn and despite their young age (eleven to fourteen years) spoke very enthusiastically and knowledgeably about how the focused coaching had developed their golfing skills and confidence over the year. The Rotarians all thought they were really inspirational and an excellent use of this year's Sports Bursary monies. John McDonald then gave a fascinating insight into Bowling with a blind disability and thanked Rotary for its donation to help fund their trip to South Africa for next year’s Blind Bowling World Championship.
Dedications are now being received for Linlithgow’s Rotary Tree of Light, organised by Grange Rotary, in celebration of the lives of past loved ones or family. It will be illuminated outside the Linlithgow Library from 26 November. Donor envelopes can be collected at points along the High Street and handed in to Linlithgow Post Office or RGM Solicitors.  All donations will be shared by St Michael’s Day Centre, Maple Villa at Craigshill and Carers of West Lothian.

6th December 2016

President John welcomed 29 members to the Special General Meeting.  Treasurer Iain Keter gave a detailed explanation of key features of both the General and Benevolent Funds, highlighting disbursements to local good causes and charities. It was agreed to adopt the Accounts in principle subject to examination. Moving on to the election of Office Bearers for the year 17/18, Iain Keter was elected to President Elect and Ian Adams to Treasurer. Current President Elect Harry Millar had previously been elected as President for year 17/18.

Moving on to the normal weekly meeting agenda, it was announced that our Club had the distinction of identifying two local candidates, successful at interview, for the 2017 GSE Team exchange visit to USA. These were Kelly Anderson, Express Microbiology, and Gill McCardel, Account Manager in It Services Exception UK. Chris Long up-dated members on the Tree of Light project with currently 50 donors, 81 recipients and over £1000 in donations.

Dedications are now being received for Linlithgow’s Rotary Tree of Light, organised by Grange Rotary, in celebration of the lives of past loved ones or family. It will be illuminated outside the Linlithgow Library from 26 November. Donor envelopes can be collected at points along the High Street and handed in to Linlithgow Post Office or RGM Solicitors.  All donations will be shared by St Michael’s Day Centre, Maple Villa at Craigshill and Carers of West Lothian.

28th November 2016

President John Reid in welcoming members to Monday’s Business Meeting congratulated the members of the quiz team on winning both the quiz run by the Rotary eClub of Southern Scotland at their Curry & Quiz Night and the latest round of the District Quiz. In addition, he thanked the members of the club who had assisted at the Torchlight Procession, the members who had attended the inauguration of the Tree of Light and those who manned the stall at the Advent Fayre. He then undertook the pleasant duty of awarding
the Paul Harris Fellowship 2 Award to Rory Cameron. After reading a note of thanks received on behalf of the Torchlight Procession Committee, the business part of the meeting was conducted and the various convenors updated the meeting on matters discussed.
Prior to closing the meeting, the President reminded members that next week’s Special General Meeting will be held on Tuesday, 6th December at Linlithgow Golf Club.
Dedications are now being received for Linlithgow's Rotary Tree of Light, organised by the club in celebration of the lives of past loved ones and situated outside Linlithgow Library. Donor envelopes can be collected at points along the High Street and handed in to Linlithgow Post Office or RGM Solicitors. All donations will shared by St Michael's Day Centre, Maple Villa at Craigshill and Carers of West Lothian.

21st November 2016

President John Reid welcomed thirty members and our guests for the evening; our sponsored Challenge Enterprise students with members of their families and their Business Education teacher to Monday’s meeting. In his opening remarks, he thanked members for their attendance and assistance at the Rotary Scotch Hop intimating that a sum of £750 less some expenses had been raised for Rotary’s End Polio Now campaign. He also took the opportunity to remind members of the inauguration by Provost Tom Kerr accompanied by the Sunshine Singers of the Tree of Light at this coming Saturday’s Advent Fayre. Rotarians Ken MacKenzie and Thom Riddell were congratulated on their successful appointments as District Assistant Governor and District Secretary respectively.

Chris Long introduced our speakers, Stuart Currie and Dexter Jones from Linlithgow Academy who had recently attended the Challenge Enterprise weekend. After thanking the club for our sponsorship, with the aid of slides they introduced guest speakers with different business backgrounds covering law, manufacturing, business start-up, finance and human resources. From the group exercises undertaken by the boys, they learned how to develop and present a business idea and the challenge faced in negotiation between management and unions. Both felt the experience helped their understanding of business, developed their presentation skills, how to work as a team and gave them confidence, all of which would stand them in good stead in their future careers. Following questions, Satbinder Sandhu, their teacher expressed her pride in both undertaking the challenge and learning some valuable skills. The families thanked the club for being able to attend the evening. In response, Chris Long proposed the usual vote of thanks.
Dedications are now being received for Linlithgow's Rotary Tree of Light, organised by the club in celebration of the lives of past loved ones. Situated outside Linlithgow Library, it will be switched on at 4:30pm on Saturday, 26 November. Donor envelopes can be collected at points along the High Street and handed in to Linlithgow Post Office or RGM Solicitors. All donations will shared by St Michael's Day Centre, Maple Villa at Craigshill and Carers of West Lothian.

14th November 2016

President John Reid welcomed thirty-seven members and in his opening remarks read a letter of thanks from Scottish Disability Sport for our efforts on their behalf and indicating how our generous donation would be used to further their work.

Jim Rae introduced our speaker for the evening, club member Chris Gunstone as a man of many interests including his work with Burgh Beautiful. However the subject of his talk tonight was the ‘St Cuthbert’s Way – Cults Kirk Pilgrimage, August 2012’, a walk undertaken over the course of several days with wife, Margaret and a group of friends from Cults Kirk, Aberdeen. St Cuthbert’s Way is a long distance walk of 62.5 miles from Melrose in the Scottish Borders to Holy Island off the Northumberland Coast, St Cuthbert’s eventual resting place. When creating the slide show from the various slides provided by their friends, Chris had decided to investigate St Cuthbert, Prior of Melrose and Lindisfarne at different times in his monastic life to see how close their walk would have come to the route taken by him. Following a briefing in Melrose’s equivalent of Fawlty Towers, the walk took the intrepid group through the Eildon Hills with its Bronze Age fort to Newton St Boswells, via part of Dere Street, the Roman Road past Lilliard’s Stone at the site of the Battle of Ancrum Moor and on to Yetholm. Yetholm through the Cheviot Hills to Wooler took them over the border into Northumberland and then via St Cuthbert’s Cave to Holy Island over the causeway. In concluding his most historically informative and interesting talk, Chris felt they had probably followed most of St Cuthbert’s route. Following a number of questions, Jim Rae proposed the usual vote of thanks.

Dedications are now being received for Linlithgow's Rotary Tree of Light, organised by the club in celebration of the lives of past loved ones or family. It will be illuminated outside the Linlithgow Library from 26 November. Donor envelopes can be collected at points along the High Street and handed in to Linlithgow Post Office or RGM Solicitors. All donations will shared by St Michael's Day Centre, Maple Villa at Craigshill and Carers of West Lothian. 

Tickets are still available for our Rotary Scotch Hop on Saturday 19th November in the Queen Margaret Hall in aid of Rotary's Global Polio Eradication Programme. They can be obtained from The Line Gallery, any club member or Roy Redwood (01506 843960).

7th November 2016

President John Reid opened the meeting in his usual warm fashion greeting the 27 members present.

It was down to Ian Walker to provide the speaker this week and he suggested that possibly he liked to keep it in the family as previously he had brought along his grandson as well as having twice being speaker himself and now this week he introduced his son. Gavin Walker is an advocate with McGrigor Donald the very well-known legal firm in Edinburgh and he recounted some of his experiences as he worked on the
Lockerbie Trial following the tragic event that took place on 21 December 1988. Gavin spoke of his involvement from the very early days, gathering information in the south of Scotland, to travelling abroad to Malta, Libya, USA, Germany and Sweden seeking out answers. The trial took place from May 2000 to January 2001, the longest trial in Scottish history, and cost an estimated £60 million. Gavin gave a very interesting and informative account with lots of detail as well as showing the meeting a copy of the indictment
which he described as the biggest he had ever seen. One of his final remarks was that the police did an amazing job collecting items of evidence. There were many questions afterwards including 'How did he get the job?' the answer to which was he was the only member of the firm at the time with criminal court experience.
Chris Long reminded members that the Tree of Light programme is now up and running and envelopes with participating forms can be collected from a number of High Street premises. This Christmas, the Rotary Club of Linlithgow Grange is launching Linlithgow's Tree of Light which will provide a focus for remembrance and, in turn, help those whose memories have been impaired by chronic brain disease or age related illnesses.
Tickets are still available for our Rotary Scotch Hop on Saturday 19th November in the Queen Margaret Hall in aid of Rotary's Global Polio Eradication Programme. They can be obtained from The Line Gallery, any club member or Roy Redwood (01506 843960).

31st October 2016

President John Reid chaired Monday’s club meeting, the monthly business meeting, at which members met in their various committees to discuss progress and opportunities. President John asked for feedback on this new format and members confirmed it was a better use of time than committee convenors reporting individually as all members now received committee reports by email prior to the business meeting. All agreed that including committee meetings in the monthly business meeting was more effective than trying to arrange meetings at other times.

President John pointed out that the club’s special general meeting planned for 5th December coincided with another event at our venue, Linlithgow Golf Club, and the alternative date of Tuesday 6th December was proposed; date to be confirmed as soon as possible.

Roy Redwood reminded members that support was needed for the Scotch Hop on Saturday, 19th November, for raffle prizes and assistance on the night.

Gordon Young reported that the Tree of Light project was well underway, the website and Facebook page for which would go live on 1st November and an article was also being prepared for the Black Bitch magazine.

John Leitch reported that Kinross Curling Club’s newsletter covering the recent Wheelchair Curling event at Kinross had been delayed but would be circulated when available.

President John also referred to the support needed for the club’s next community event, managing the torches for the torchlight procession on Saturday, 26th November.

President Elect Harry Miller updated members on the number of roles in the club which would become vacant in the near future including Junior Vice President, Secretary and convenors of Membership, Public Image, Community & Vocational and Youth Service committees. Harry urged members to consider these vacancies consideration and to give their continued support for the on-going work of the club by ensuring these posts are filled.

President John concluded the meeting by reporting on the Rotary District 1020 conference at Harrogate last weekend attended by ten club members and their partners. John referred to the excellent speakers who addressed the conference over the weekend, ranging from a humanitarian aid organisation working on the Syrian/Lebanese border, the Wheelchair Foundation UK, Canine Partners – a registered charity transforming the lives of people with disabilities and enabling them to lead more independent lives, to an inspirational talk by Sir Chay Blyth on his outstanding seafaring achievements and also his involvement in charity work. All examples of seemingly ordinary people achieving extraordinary things.

Linlithgow's Rotary Tree of Light, organised by Grange Rotary, in celebration of the lives of past loved ones or family, will be illuminated outside the Linlithgow Library from 26 November but dedications are now being received.  Donor envelopes can be collected at points along the High Street from Tuesday, 1st November and handed in to Linlithgow Post Office or RGM Solicitors. All donations will shared by St Michael's Day Centre, Maple Villa at Craigshill and Carers of West Lothian.

24th October 2016

In chairing Monday’s meeting, which happened to coincide with World Polio Day, President John Reid welcomed twenty-eight members of the club and two Rotarian visitors; District Governor Olive Geddes from the Rotary Club of Edinburgh and her husband Ian, a Past District Governor from the Rotary Club of Tranent. DG Olive and PDG Ian were accompanied by Jonas, the Teddy Bear resplendent in his Purple4Polio tee-shirt. President John stated that Jonas is the prize in a raffle being held to raise funds for Rotary’s Global Eradication Programme and members would have the opportunity to enter the raffle during the meeting. He intimated the contingent of club members and their partners attending the District Conference in Harrogate would be joined by Gordon Young and his wife from our mother club.

Following the meal, he introduced our speaker for the evening, Olive Geddes. The District Governor was visiting the club as part of her round of visits to all the clubs in her District. She began by thanking the club for its welcome, indicating she has already visited forty of the clubs.  Her talk to the club could best be described as Reflections on Rotary, covering a wide variety of topics; ‘What is Rotary?’, memories from the2013 Lisbon Conference, the Council of Legislation, service in the community and partnering with the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme. ‘What is Rotary?’ was described as a network of community volunteers; people who want to give something back. The 2013 Lisbon Conference memory was of discovering the lady member from Indiana sitting next to her had hosted her daughter Elsa whilst she was visiting the USA. The Council of Legislation meets every three years to review and vote on proposed changes to the legislation that governs Rotary. For example giving E-clubs the same status as earth clubs and enacting a number of changes to make it easier to attend meetings. She covered the reason Paul Harris founded Rotary and the ethos of providing service in the community and fundraising, noting that a number of our members were wearing purple in support of Purple4Polio. In finishing her talk, she made reference to District 1020 teaming up with the Duke of Edinburgh Bronze Award in a project to celebrate 100 years of the Rotary Foundation. This project extends the benefits of the scheme to those who might not otherwise be able to take part. This might be for financial reasons, or because of disability or injury. She concluded by sharing the view of a previous DG, our own Kate Keter that the best part of the job was visiting clubs. In thanking her for her visit, President John asked her if during her forty visits, was there anything she did not know that she now knows? Her response was that every club is different.
In closing the meeting, he took the opportunity to remind members of Thursday’s forthcoming Council Meeting.

17th October 2016

President John Reid chaired Monday’s meeting and welcomed Rotarian visitor Alasdair Seale, District Foundation Chairman and speaker for the evening.

John thanked Peter Russell and Phill Ratcliffe for representing the club at a Rotary Awareness Day last Saturday and Sunday at Livingston Designer Outlet assisting at a display stand showing the work of Rotary.

Roy Redwood introduced Alasdair Seale as the speaker for the evening whose subject was Rotary Foundation, Rotary’s own charity set up in 1917 for humanitarian programmes at home and worldwide. Alasdair began by thanking the members of Linlithgow Grange club for their long-standing support for Foundation with one of the highest levels of contributions in the District totalling £115,000 since the club began in 1991. Alasdair also pointed out that our Rotary District 1020 is also a very significant contributor within the UK with current Global Grant Projects underway with a value of $1.8m US dollars. The projects are funded by a grant scheme operated between Rotary clubs and The Rotary Foundation which gives clubs the opportunity to apply for grants for projects which matter to them. Projects must be within Rotary Foundation’s six areas of focus which are – peace and conflict resolution, disease prevention and treatment, water and sanitation, maternal and child health, basic education and literacy and economic and community development. District 1020 currently supports forty one projects ranging from water purification schemes, eyesight programmes, supporting hospices and refurbishment of hospitals, and many others. In this way The Rotary Foundation has spent $3 billion over the past 100 years. One of the most significant Foundation projects is the programme to eradicate Polio worldwide which began in 1979 and has been responsible for the inoculation of 2.5 billion children and resulting in a 99.9% reduction in the disease. Polio is now only found in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Nigeria and the End Polio Now campaign is focused on the eradication of the disease in these countries. Roy thanked Alasdair for an excellent and informative talk.

President John made members aware of vacancies for District posts including, Assistant Governor (6 posts), Secretary and Treasurer and encouraged members to consider these roles. He then closed the meeting by reminding members of the next event which is the Charity Big Quiz at Mannerstons Café and Farm Shop on Thursday, 20th October at 7pm.

10th October 2016

In the absence of both President John and Vice President Harry, Junior Vice President Iain Keter chaired, for his very first time, the weekly meeting of the Rotary Club. John and Harry, like a number of other members, were on holiday so that the attendance was a fairly low 25 members.

Douglas Robertson reported on a very successful Wine Tasting event held last Friday at Mannerstons Cafe & Farm Shop which has raised in excess of £700 in aid of local and international charities.

Ken MacKenzie gave a report on the District Young Artist Competition which he attended at the weekend. This was the first one held in District 1020 and Ken was so impressed by the standard displayed that he intends to encourage our club to support the competition by finding suitable entrant(s) for next year.

The club received an appeal for assistance following on from the damage in Haiti caused by Hurricane Matthew and it was agreed to respond immediately, donating £600 for the purchase of a Shelter Box.

The speaker for the evening was our own Gordon Young whose subject was The Rotary Tree of Light. The concept of the Tree of Light was introduced to this country from South Africa in the 1990s by a member of Shawbury and Mid-Shropshire Rotary Club. The idea was brought to the attention of our club by Kate Keter after one of her visits to RIBI Headquarters on official District business, having seen the Tree of Light erected by the Alcester Club. It is thought that, if successful, the Tree of Light can become an annual event for the club. The Tree of Light allows donors to remember loved ones at Christmas time whilst, at the same time, raising funds for worthwhile causes which support others who are in need. The name and the symbolism of our Rotary Tree of Light are reminders that there is light and hope in the bleakest circumstances. The minimum donation invited will be £5 per name and the names will be entered immediately onto a dedicated website and to a written Roll of Dedication which will be displayed in the window of Linlithgow Library. The Tree to be used is in front of the library and is already illuminated, with white lights, the donor lights will be blue and on branches above the white. It is slightly set back and 'separate' from the other trees on the High Street. It is in an open area with a bench. The library windows are large - capable to take up to 1000 names with dedications. The area is well illuminated with street lighting so reading names on the Roll of Dedication should be easy even after dark. It is known that other clubs are having great success with this, Telford (with a population of 155k) made £41,000 in 2015 and Keswick (population 4,500) raises around £5,000 annually. There are, of course, costs involved and so that we can promise that every penny donated goes to the good causes, sponsorship is required. There are two levels of financial support proposed. Benefactors will have made a three year commitment by a single payment and will be offered and entitled to certain perquisites. Sponsors commit only to one year. All will be acknowledged on the panels at the library window. We are pleased to say that we have two benefactors offering support at this time. We have chosen to support three causes with the funds raised: the Linlithgow Day Care Centre (currently St Michael's Day Care Centre until it relocates to the refurbished County Buildings); Maple Villa, Livingston which is one of President John's special projects for this year and Carers UK, formerly known as The Princess Royal Trust for Carers which offers tremendous support for carers including young carers. Rotary's Linlithgow Tree of Light campaign will operate from Advent Fayre Saturday until January 6th.

There was a very warm round of applause for Gordon before VP Iain closed the meeting.

3rd October 2016

President John Reid welcomed 30 members to Monday evening’s meeting and also guests Anna Law from 2nd Linlithgow Guides, and Emma Allardice and William McLeary, pupils from Armadale Academy, all accompanied by parents. Anna thanked club members for a donation received earlier in the year from the club to assist her attend the International Guide Jamboree in Essex at the end of July. Anna referred to the many activities they enjoyed, ranging from clay pigeon shooting to campfire songs, said it was a very enjoyable and successful event attended by 1,000 Guides and Scouts and she thanked club members again for helping her attend.

Emma and William were selected as candidates to attend the Rotary RYLA (Rotary Youth Leadership Awards) courses they attend in July this year, one week for boys and one for girls. The courses were held at the Abernethy Trust's Outdoor and Adventure Centre at Ardeonaig, between Killin and Kenmore, overlooking Loch Tay and the surrounding hills. The aims of the course are to encourage team-working and leadership skills by participating in a range of outdoor activities including raft construction and racing, canoeing, gorge walking, Munro climbing and serious climbing frame activities. Emma and William gave excellent PowerPoint presentations highlighting their talks with photographs of the activities. They both highlighted how enjoyable the course had been, the new friends they had made and the confidence they had gained by having the opportunity to take part in team events and to take on a leadership role. They both found that they took part in activities they previously wouldn’t have tackled and found that, with the right training and encouragement, they were to tackle all the events. Emma was particularly pleased her team won the raft race and William found that by the end of the week the activities combined all the skills they had learned earlier in the week which showed the courses were well planned. Emma and William ended their talks by thanking the club members for the opportunity to participate in the scheme, the skills they had acquired and the confidence they had gained, all of which would stand them in good stead for the future.

President John then had the pleasant duty of presenting Paul Harris Awards to Rotarians David Timperley and Alistair Rennie for their outstanding service to the community and to the club.

Members were then reminded to help sell the few remaining tickets available for Friday night’s Charity Wine Tasting evening 7pm at Mannerstons Café and Farm Shop.

26th September 2016

President John welcomed 30 members to the monthly business meeting on Monday, 26th September and asked each of the club committees to consider the latest committee reports, discuss the revised business meeting format and welcomed comments or suggestions regarding the revised format.

After the business meeting President John reminded members to promote the sale of tickets for the club’s Charity Wine Tasting evening on Friday, 7th October (7.00 – 9.00pm) at Mannerstons Café & Farm Shop. Tickets available (£10 each, £5 for a driver’s alcohol-free ticket) at Mannerstons.

The club’s Big Quiz is also to be held at Mannerstons Café & Farm Shop on Thursday, 20th October (from 7.00pm), teams of up to six persons welcomed, ticket price of £5 person to include a light supper. Tickets available from Mannerstons or from Roy Redwood (01506 843960).

The club’s annual Scotch Hop has been arranged for Saturday, 19th November, details to follow. Next Monday’s meeting to be attended by the two candidates for Rotary’s RYLA (youth leadership) weekend.         

19th September 2016

President John extended many thanks to all who contributed to the success of last Friday's Charter Dinner. All agreed it was an excellent evening and he reported the gratitude of many of the guests. 

Tom Brown reported on a successful Club golf outing at Burntisland last Thursday. Very misty conditions made the high handicap play even harder and Stephen Blake emerged as a deserving winner.

Guest speaker Tom Brown provided a stimulating insight into the work of Quiet Waters, a free counselling service with Christian underpinning.  There are currently 33 volunteers acting either as Counsellors or Listeners.  He explained their training to strict standards and outlined the 4 main services provided which are Counselling Service, Bereavement Support, Pregnancy Counselling and Spiritual Care with hospital visiting. He stated that 85% of contacts were not church members and last year there were over 900 counselling sessions/referrals from GPs, Churches and self-referrals. A typical consultation involves guiding, reconciling, sustaining and healing. He concluded by suggesting possible ways to get involved with the Charity.

12th September 2016

President John welcomed 34 members to the weekly meeting and said the Club had two successful fundraising activities over the weekend in aid of Scottish Disability Sport. On Saturday £230 was raised at a half time can collection at Linlithgow Rose football match whilst on Sunday £290 was raised at a raffle during a curling match at Kinross organised by the Club. Here four teams of wheelchair curlers competed against four teams of able bodied curlers with eight Rotarians and partners assisting. Feedback from the wheelchair competitors was hugely positive and the Curling Club also thanked Rotary for organising such an event. 

President John announced that all the recent fundraising events for Scottish Disability Sport meant that a very creditable cheque for £6,500 will be presented to the Charity at this Friday's 25th Anniversary Dinner. He stated that 115 will be attending the dinner, 80 from the Club and 35 guests. He specifically intimated advance thanks to Gordon Young for producing a splendid souvenir brochure, to Hetty Redwood for all floral arrangements at the dinner and Sue Ratcliffe for baking a special anniversary cake.

After dinner Rotarian Gayle Boardman gave an informative talk about her role as Justice of the Peace. She explained that, essentially, JPs are lay magistrates dealing mainly with driving offences, minor assaults and breaches of the peace. Their sanctions are limited to fines of a maximum of £2000 or up to 60 days imprisonment. She said JPs are appointed by Scottish ministers for 5 years and there are 39 in Lothians and Borders.  She provided information about her work at Livingston Court and talked about signing duties, warrants background, community payback orders, and drink driving rehabilitation.

29th August 2016

On Monday the Club held its Annual Charity AM/AM golf day at Linlithgow Golf Club. We were fortunate with the weather which was really excellent all day and the Course was in immaculate condition, a fact commented on by many golfers taking part. All profits this year would be donated to Scottish Disability Sport, the charity chosen by President John Reid.

In the evening, after dinner, President John gave a warm welcome to Rotarians and partners, friends, participating teams and indeed all who had helped to make the day an outstanding success. 40 teams participated and there was a noticeable increase in the levels of Tee and Greens sponsorship, this support being greatly appreciated. 

The prize winning teams were as follows;

First and winners of the Magdalene Cup, individual gold medals and vouchers for the golf professional shop were the Lazy-Eyed Linesmen from the SFA with second place going to Thorntons and in third place were The Inappropriates, who also won the Yellow Ball Competition. 

Individual prizes were also awarded to Rob Lockhart for being nearest the pin at the 3rd hole from a greenside bunker, Craig Yeaman for being nearest the pin at the 7th hole, David Robertson for the longest drive on the 12th fairway and Graham Scott for being nearest the pin at the 17th hole.
Not only was Craig nearest the pin at the 7th, he put it in the hole to achieve a hole-in-one!

After a raffle draw which contributed a very praiseworthy £1200, President-Elect Harry Millar gave a vote of thanks to the Golf Club, Catering and Bar Staff, Sponsors, Golfers and all those who had contributed to the success of the day.

The event was so successful and enjoyable for the golfers that the majority of teams signed-up to play in next year's match on Monday, 28th August.

22nd August 2016

President John welcomed 30 members to the monthly business meeting. He intimated that all the invitations to the Club's imminent 25th Anniversary Charter Dinner had now been issued and that Ricky Kerr would represent L&B Club. He highlighted the next District meeting on 4th September when attendees would hear presentations by all candidates for District Governor.  He also stated that the recent new District Newsletter was being discontinued. An update was provided on our AM/AM Charity Golf Day next Monday 29th August with a request for some members' help on Sunday evening to prepare the Course with various sponsor details.

 Concurrent with this meeting, 29 Rotarian partners were enjoying a dinner Canal cruise to the Aqueduct. 

 The business part of the meeting was conducted in the new format trialled last month.

15th August 2016

There were 33 members present when President John Reid opened Monday evening's meeting with a very warm welcome. John reminded members there are only two weeks to the Golf Am/Am on 29th August and called for plenty of support for Ian Orr and his committee on the day as we now have 42 teams entered and that means there will be a lot of people around needing assistance and direction.

John Leitch was very happy to report on a meeting with the Curling Clubs of Abercorn and Linlithgow. These two clubs have agreed to support the Curling event we are holding at Kinross on 11th September in aid of Scottish Disability Sport, President John's chosen charity, by paying for the cost of the "ice". President John expressed our Club's warmest thanks for this generous gesture.

President John then invited Bill Duncan to introduce the speaker for the evening who was Paul Weddell of No Limits. No Limits is a registered charity which operates mainly in West Lothian and caters for a variety of disabilities. It is a multiple sports club for children and young people meeting at Excite every Saturday morning. No Limits was established in 1966 and currently has a membership of 59 who enjoy a wide range of sports and outdoor activities. Boccia is a main sport, very much like the French game Petanque and is designed mostly for wheelchair participants. For 16 years No Limits have been taking groups away twice a year for outdoor holidays at Badaguish and to Kielder. Paul gave a screen presentation of many of the sports and outdoor activities and it was really impressive to see what can be achieved through the work and dedication of the organisers. There were many questions asked before Bill gave his vote of thanks to Paul and the members expressed their thanks in the usual way.

President John reminded members that next week is a Business Meeting before closing the meeting.

8th August 2016

President John Reid opened Monday's meeting with his usual very warm welcome to all the members. He was also pleased to announce that our Club's share of the proceeds from the recent concert in Linlithgow Academy featuring the North American Choirs amounted to £240 and thanked once again all those who had assisted on the evening.

Following on from last week when the speaker, our member Alan Faulds, offered to hold a Quiz Night at Mannerston President John confirmed the date has been agreed as Thursday 20th October and that the proceeds would go to Maple Villa in Livingston, a home for people suffering from acute dementia issues, that our Club is supporting.

There was a swift change of plan when the speaker for the evening was unable to attend for business reasons and Jim Rae introduced Harry Millar as speaker number one, the subject being the Club Website. Harry gave a very comprehensive overview of the website, first of public access, explaining how 'Joe Public' (as Harry put it) could access the website quite simply by going on to Google and typing in the club name. The public can then see lots of information about the Club and what we do as well as future events. Harry followed this with a lengthy explanation of member only access, taking some of us to places never before visited, and showing how simply members can extract information and detail from the Club Website. The number of questions which followed illustrated the usefulness of the presentation and the level of interest.

Speaker number two introduced by Jim Rae was Roy Redwood who spoke on My Rotary and showed the members how to obtain personal information from the Club Website with particular emphasis on Foundation, Rotary's own charity. Jim Rae thanked both speakers for standing in at very short notice.

In closing the meeting President John reminded members there are just two more club meetings before our big event of the year, the Golf Am/Am on Monday 29th August.

1st August 2016

President John Reid opened Monday’s meeting by welcoming 34 members and thanking President-Elect Harry Millar for chairing last week’s meeting in his absence.

Our speaker for the evening was Rotarian Alan Faulds who has been a member of the club since 1998. His talk for the evening was Mannerstons Farmshop from the planning stages to its opening. However, he began by giving a brief synopsis of his career in the electronics industry; having started with Ferranti in Edinburgh then with Marconi before eventually starting his own business which he still manages  in 1994.

Eight years ago, he bought his Dad’s smallholding and he and wife, Sharman with a career in catering took the decision to open their own farmshop. Over the next two years they travelled the country looking at farmshops with a view to finding something that would make theirs different. He went on to outline the planning and building problems, including the time it took to get the plans prepared and passed and the plumbing and electrical problems encountered.  Mannerstons eventually opened on the 16thApril 2015.

The cafe has an extensive menu to suit all ages with seating for over 100 people both inside and out. All the bread and cakes for the café and the shop are prepared in their in-house bakery and they manufacture over 200 different flavours of ice-cream. Their gift shop sells everything from fresh vegetables to gifts for all occasions. He said it was like running four separate businesses with their youngest son running it five days a week with himself and wife Sharman looking after it the rest of the time.

They have also started doing Theme Nights, have run Whisky Tastings and Cheese & Wine Evenings and will host the club’s Cheese & Wine Charity event in October. Alan informed the members of all the awards that Mannerstons had won at both last and this year’s Highland Show for their ice-cream. At the Edinburgh and Lothian Business Awards, Mannerstons won the best Gift Shop and best Business Innovation and are now into the Scottish finals later this month and asked all members and their friends to vote for it to hopefully get through to the UK finals later this year.

After Alan responded to members’ questions, he was given a warm vote of thanks by all members.

25th July 2016

President Elect Harry welcomed 33 Rotarians to the monthly business meeting. He congratulated Roy Redwood on his appointment as District Treasurer and reminded everyone of the planned Canal Trip for partners in August, organised by President's wife Cathie. 

He announced that there were now approximately 40 teams planned to take part in our annual AM/AM golf charity day on the 29th August but requested a final push to secure more tee and green sponsorship. 

Jim Gillespie up dated the Club on the success of a previous recipient of our annual sports bursary award. Calum Johnston has won the Scottish Epee Fencing Title for the last 3 years and has now recently added the British Championship Title. 

A revised format for business meeting discussion was then trialled and members agreed the more interactive approach was worthy of repeating over the next months

18th July 2016

President John welcomed 31 Rotarians to the weekly meeting. He thanked all Rotarians attending the photo shoot at the flower bed on Saturday. He up dated all on the successful day at Linlithgow Bowling Club in support of Scottish Disability Sport. 12 teams participated and a very creditable £536 profit was realised for this Charity. He offered specific thanks to Linlithgow and Bellsburn Bowling Clubs for their co-hosting and organisation of the event and Rotarians/partners for stewarding and catering. 

Heather McInally introduced her husband and fellow Rotarian Gordon as guest speaker to talk about Hope and Homes for children, a charity they have both been involved with for many years. Gordon thanked the Club for it's full support for Hope and Homes over a number of years. He gave a very thoughtful and interesting presentation outlining the history of the Charity over the last 20 years and his involvement. He reminded us all of the after effects of the 1994 Rwanda genocide which triggered Hope and Homes seeking to address the needs of countless orphans and their abject poverty in Rwanda. Lives were both saved, changed and given hope for future freedom from poverty and conflict.  Looking to the future, Hope and Homes is now working in 8 countries in Africa and Europe seeking to get children out of care and to become valuable members of society. He emphasised a specific initiative in Romania helping teenagers adjust from a life in care homes to a future of independent living. Specific examples demonstrated how a holistic approach to individual assessment was transforming teenagers lives, helping secure the future of these young people.  

11th July 2016

President John Reid opened the meeting with a warm welcome to the 29 members and 2 guests present. He read out a letter from David Lunt, on behalf of Linlithgow Arts Guild, expressing their warm thanks for the support of the Rotary Club at last Saturday's concert of North American Choirs held in Linlithgow Academy. The support of our club in selling tickets and 'front of house duties' exceeded the expectations of the Arts Guild who hope Rotary might be able to assist in some future event. One of our members said of this concert of youth choirs that it was a pleasure to see so many young people enjoying themselves. President John reminded members of a photo-shoot 9.30 Saturday morning at the flower bed at St Ninian's Road when some SDS athletes will be in attendance before going on to the Bowling Fun Day at Linlithgow Bowling Club. The flower bed design is the Scottish Disability Sport emblem.

After our meal one of the guests, David Wilson, was introduced to the Club by John Leitch and duly inducted as a new member. He was warmly welcomed with a handshake by everyone. John Leitch's next task was to introduce the other guest, the speaker for the evening, Jenny Laahs, of Nordoff Robbins. Nordoff Robbins Scotland whose mission statement is 'Make Music Change Lives' was founded in 1996 and is the country's only music therapy charity. They help over 4000 people every week and provide over 7000 Music Therapy sessions a year, working with people of ages from 1 to 100. They use Music in unique ways to connect with a range of conditions such as autism, brain injury, cerebral palsy, challenging behaviour, dementia, learning difficulties, mental health issues. The name comes from Paul Nordoff, composer, and Clive Robbins, special needs teacher who pioneered the use of music with children with learning difficulties in the 1950s. Quoting a fellow worker 'Music therapy is an excellent means of communication with someone who has a learning disability, enabling response, participation and enjoyment'. As Jenny said, there is not a single culture throughout the world without music. Nordoff Robbins Scotland is celebrating its 20th birthday this year and has centres in Lothian, Fife, Tayside, Aberdeen and Glasgow offering one-to-one and group sessions. In a short video clip we saw a choir called 'Hearts in Harmony', about 20 people with varying disabilities being brought together by music and having a great time. Jenny spoke with great enthusiasm for the work that she and her colleagues are doing and how much can be achieved through music and the response of the club with their warm applause showed their appreciation.

The meeting closed with a reminder from the President that he expected a good turnout on Saturday morning at the Bowling Club and hoped to see many members at the flower bed for the photo shoot.

4th July 2016

President John Reid opened the first meeting of his presidential year with a very, very warm welcome to all. There were 29 members, or 76%, present and one non-Rotarian guest. In his opening remarks President John spoke of the good representation from the Club at the District Governor's Handover Dinner at the weekend. Grange Rotary had the second highest attendance behind only the incoming DG Olive Geddes' own club. President John thanked all involved in the preparation of the testimony to our late member Eddie Crawley which was printed in last week's Gazette. The Club members were reminded of the visiting choirs from North America who will perform in Linlithgow Academy on Saturday 9th July and also the Bowling Fun Day taking place on 16th July at Linlithgow Bowling Club. Members are asked to support these events and to make them as widely known as possible.

The Speaker for the evening was President John's guest Gavin Macleod. Gavin is Chief Executive Officer of Scottish Disability Sport and he proceeded to give the club a highly impressive talk on that Organisation whose mission statement is 'Leading the development of sport in Scotland for people of all ages and abilities with a physical, sensory or learning disability'. The SDS Strategic Plan for 2012-2017 is headed 'Inspiring Through Inclusion' and Gavin spoke with huge enthusiasm on how this objective is being handled. There are 13 local branches of SDS (one in Lothian) and 6 Regional Structures across Scotland with 8 Regional Managers (full/part time) with close working links with other Governing Bodies and Sport Specific Regional Managers. At present Scottish Disability Sport has 13 Priority Sports, 6 Development Sports and 13 Engagements Sports meaning that they are engaged at some level in almost every sporting activity there is. Through Education and Coaching with Sport Specific Courses and Disability Inclusion Training as well as an Active Schools Inclusion Group they are encouraging and supporting people whatever level of disability to experience sport and have the chance to enjoy and often improve.

Gavin went on to talk about International, Commonwealth and Paralympic Competition. At London 2012 Scotland supplied 9% of the Paralympic GB team, more than half of them competing at the Paralympic Games for the first time. In 2014 at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow 22 Para athletes took part for Scotland winning a total of 7 medals (3 gold) and at Sochi  for the Winter Paralympic Games Scots made up 40% of the Paralympic GB Team where the Wheelchair Curling Team, all 5 of them Scots, won the bronze medal. For the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games in September 18 Scots athletes have so far been selected over 6 sports. Some sports have still to declare so SDS is hoping this total might rise to 30. We were shown a short video of a table tennis player, born without hands and without lower left leg. He had been identified by an Active School Co-ordinator and attended an SDS Paralympic Pathway Festival. When he first tried table tennis a bat had to be taped to his right wrist with tape but now, thanks to support from the Southern General Hospital he has a fitment on his wrist which allows him to hold the bat, and a cap on the other wrist to enable him to throw the ball up.  This young man, Martin, is now an SDS Academy athlete and, having taken the examination, is a UKCC level 1 Table Tennis Coach.  He missed out on selection for Rio 2016 but is now looking towards Tokyo 2020.

There were only a few questions asked when Gavin ended his talk, proof that the audience were clearly impressed by the work of SDS and the level and range of achievement by the disabled athletes.

It seemed appropriate that Ian Orr then reported on our own am/am taking place on 29 August, as this year our stated charity if Scottish Disability Sport.  There will be a team from SDS but Ian advises there is still room for a few more team and for sponsors.

27th June 2016

President Peter Russell welcomed twenty-nine members (73%) and their partners to Monday’s Handover Meeting of the Rotary Club of Linlithgow Grange. He also welcomed guests DG Andy Ireland, his wife Jackie, Rotarian John Fisher from the Whitburn Club, his wife Anne and daughter Hannah. Following a most enjoyable meal, President Peter addressed the meeting, thanking his committee convenors and their teams for their hard work in fulfilling the club's very full programme of fund-raising events, community and social activities throughout the past year. Social activities included a very successful hosting of the GSE team from Ohio. He also gave a vote of thanks to the partners for their work in running two fund-raising events. Following some personal highlights, including references to some memorable and funny gaffs; such as the assuming a Primary School pupil called Alex was the first boy in years to win the Jim Clark Trophy in years until a girl in a tartan skirt presented herself and Sergeant-at-Arms Mike Smith realising that whilst his shoes were the same colour, they were not a pair, Peter concluded his year in office by passing the chain of office over to President-Elect John Reid.

On assuming the chair of the meeting, President John Reid commenced his year in office by presenting incoming Vice-President Iain Keter with his chain of office and Peter with his Past President’s Badge. John continued by inviting one of our guests for the evening, Hannah Fisher who has won a scholarship to join the RI Youth Orchestra in San Diego to play her viola.

In her introduction, Hannah informed the meeting that she is sixteen years old and a S6 student at Bathgate Academy. She has been playing the viola for eight years and recently sat her Grade 8 Viola and is awaiting her results. She receives her lessons from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland in Glasgow where she has been studying for three years and also receives piano lessons there. Passing her Grade 6 Piano recently, she hopes to pursue a career in music and travel the world as a violist in an orchestra. She expressed her thanks to the club for inviting her to talk to us and play tonight. She also expressed her thanks to Whitburn Rotary Club, District 1020 and Rotary International for their kind support and encouragement and especially thanked her parents, brother and family for never giving up on her and always having in faith in her. In December last year, she was accepted on a scholarship to go to San Diego for three and a half weeks in the summer to play with the San Diego Youth Symphony Orchestra. The scholarship is open to 16 – 24 year olds worldwide with only four violists spots on offer. She feels extremely lucky and privileged to be one of these violists as it is an amazing opportunity and she is very excited to represent Scotland in San Diego. This course will help her with her future career as well as enhance her orchestral and technical playing and leadership skills. It will make her more independent and self-aware, help her to acknowledge and understand different cultures and the way they express and put music into practice as she will be playing with people from all corners of the world. Thanking the club once again for asking her to play and our support, she expressed the wish to come back and tell us about her experience. She then went on to play  two pieces, the first being the German composer Anton Stamitz’s Concerto in B flat major, the piece played in her video audition for San Diego. Her final piece was ‘Adoration’ by the British/American composer Felix Borowski.

After acknowledging her talent, John continued with his address, the transcript of which follows;

Past President Peter, (how quick, things change), District Governor Andy (soon to be no more, Governor I mean) Past Governor Kate, (who knows what next), Fellow Rotarians and of course, Partners and friends of Rotary.

At the Club Assembly last week, I outlined my forward look for this Rotary Year 2016/2017, on reflection, it may have been, perhaps more appropriate, if I had shared it with Cathie, who in turn could have shared it with her Rotarian Partner friends. I am calling you friends, because we know, how we all rely on our friends, this way, I know the Club, will have guaranteed success, in delivering its aspirations and goals, why you may ask, it’s simple, Rotarians know, how indebted we are, to all who support us, in our quest to serve Rotary worldwide. With that in mind, I seek the help of Club Rotarians, Rotarian Partners and friends, in helping us succeed where no one has gone before.

Interested or switched of, (I hope not).

The Rotary theme this year is; Rotary Serving Humanity. I guess, when you heard me use this phrase, you might have thought, just like me how we do that.

Well in true tradition, I have pilloried and used everybody else’s ideas, in forming my forward look. I have looked up in Rotary Terms and researched what the incoming, RI President John Germ, has had to say on it, Eve Conway RIBI President and closer to home Olive Geddes our incoming District Governor has had to say on the subject.

In a world, often focused on our differences, as opposed to what we have in common, I thought working in partnership, at all levels seemed a good way of realising my and hopefully our aspirations for the coming year.

My chosen Charity this year is Scottish Disability Sport, whose goal is Inspiring through Inclusion, with that in mind, many of my Rotarian colleagues, have agreed to lead on a number of sporting events during the next three months, commencing on the 16th July, at the Linlithgow Bowling Club, where both able and disabled bowlers will compete in a fun day in support of the charity. Whether you bowl or not, it would be great, if we as Rotarians and partners could support the event and pop in for perhaps a light lunch and join in the fun.

Prior to that sporting event, we are in partnership with the Linlithgow Arts Guild and Linlithgow Folk Festival in hosting the visitation of talented musicians from North America to our town on Saturday the 9th for a concert at Linlithgow Academy. Now come on if sport doesn’t grab your fancy, then I’m sure the Arts could just be your tickle, there is a sheet going around and I have about 30 tickets still to sell perhaps dare I dream this evening. 50% of the concert profits coming to Rotary Charities.

I did say it was a big year our clubs 25th Anniversary and Rotary Foundation’s 100th Birthday.

I hope like me and Cath you like to party and you are all invited to our Charter Dinner on the 16th September, at the Beancross. Wouldn’t it be great if we could get close to 100% turnout, then that would truly be a celebration? This evening you have an opportunity to get involved sign up and let’s have a great Dinner, acknowledging the great successes of our past members, our continuing success, thanks to our current members and yourselves.

I in partnership with yourselves, we will come with an event that celebrates 100 years of Foundation, Rotary’s own charity. Watch this space, or better still, ideas on a postcard, to this poor wee soul, would be much appreciated.

I did say, it was my intention this year, to work in partnership, and with the agreement and support of our fellow Rotarians’ of Livingston and South of Scotland EClub, we have applied for a District Grant, in support of our project to raise £2000. This money will be used to refurbish 25 individual rooms, (bedding and curtains), within Maple Villa, a Unit that cares for 25 male patients, who have Dementia, hopefully this will not only support the patients and their families, but also demonstrate our support for those dedicated to the support and care of Dementia sufferers.

I am sure, all of you will be well aware of the fantastic success of our End Polio Now Campaign, as we get ever nearer to the finishing line it is absolutely essential for us to be aware of the need to continue with our fight to eradicate it for 5 years post eradication, much still needs to be done and as a club who has been faithful in its support of this cause will continue to do so through our proceeds raised at our Scotch Hop and hopefully other initiatives throughout the year.

Our continuing work with young people is essential, if we are to support tomorrow’s world through their lens. I hope this year through the good work of Ken Mc Kenzie that we are able to realise an aspiration of the club in the establishment of a Rotaract/Rotakids Club in our 25th Anniversary Year.

Finally, can I thank all of you for your presence here this evening? Cath and I both look forward to receiving all the help we can get in order that the Rotary Club Linlithgow Grange succeeds in its attempt to Serve Humanity.

Throughout the meal and the presentations, a slideshow of the fund-raising, community and social events of Peter’s year in office prepared by David Robertson, ran in a loop highlighting the various achievements of a successful year in office.

20th June 2016

In addition to welcoming thirty-three members (79%) to the Club Assembly of the Rotary Club of Linlithgow Grange, President Peter Russell welcomed guests Sandy Stewart the founding President of Linlithgow Grange, Archie Ralston Assistant District Governor and a potential Rotarian, David Wilson. Treasurer Iain Keter reminded members that next year’s subscription of £85 was due from 1stJuly and Vice-President Harry Millar reminded members of the Drain Marking Project on Thursday and Friday, 30th June and 1stJuly and the forthcoming concert at Linlithgow Academy by North American Musical Groups on 9th July at which members’ assistance would be sought. Following the meal, President-Elect John Reid addressed the meeting on Rotary’s Theme for 2016-17, ‘Rotary Serving Humanity’ and how in researching for his role, it had given him the opportunity to research the aspirations of incoming RI President John Germ, RIBI President Eve Conway and District Governor Olive Geddes. Working with the theme, he invited the club to see it as he saw it.

Humanitarian Service 

Working in Partnership with RI, RIBI, District & yourselves is what I would like to achieve, as we strive to create the right environment for the delivery of this noble aim, within our club and community 

This year’s chosen Charity, is Scottish Disability Sport, whose goal, has been Inspiring through Inclusion, with this thought in mind, I have invited a number of Club Rotarians to lead on our behalf a program of engagement with sporting partners in the community/ Namely Alex Robertson, Bowling, Ian Raven Cricket, John Leitch/Alan Faulds, Curling, John Lawson in partnership with his son Graham Athletics, Phil Ratcliffe, Cycling, Gerry Keating, Rugby, Ian Orr, who is organising our Golf AM/AM event and occasionally speaking to myself, with the Football community. For this program to be successful it will require a great effort from the Club as we demonstrate our commitment to serving and supporting others achieve the best they can be, within their chosen sports, despite their disability. I offer in advance, a big thank you to you all, for the success of these events the status of which are listed on our Website

I said, partnership working, is how I see us delivering within the community and alongside the Stirling Bridge International Arts Festival, Linlithgow’s Art Guild and Linlithgow Folk Festival colleagues, we are hosting the visitation of talented musicians from North America to our town on the 9th July, again an opportunity to market and promote the service of Rotary within our community with proceeds available to support local good causes.

Last year, one of our Rotarian members, through illness was unable to continue to enjoy the fellowship of his fellow Rotarians at our weekly meetings. Archie is currently an inpatient at Maple Villa a home for people suffering from acute dementia issues. On visiting Maple Villa in Livingston and speaking with nursing & support staff, I was introduced to a world, where I had little or no experience. To experience and not be affected by the work being done, in the caring of people with Dementia, would be hard to imagine. With a desire to provide help, I sought the support of Peter and last year’s council to explore, what was possible. Engaging with Rotary partners, Club Livingston and eClub of Southern Scotland and a mental health registered charity “The Brock Garden Centre (Social Enterprise)” based at Strathbrock Partnership, we have decided to work together and apply for a District Grant, towards making life a little more pleasant for patients and their families. Roy Redwood Chair of our Foundation Team is leading on this on our behalf and I commend it to you for your support

A full program of Events will be shared with you by our respective Convenors shortly, which will demonstrate our commitment to serve others through engagement.

Foundation Giving

This year, will see us celebrate, our own charities 100th birthday and the current council will explore, in partnership with yourselves, how best we could do just that.

Giving is very much, what Rotarians do, whether it be financial, time or the sharing of skills, in the benefiting of whom we serve, across a variety of activities.

I would like to request, that you consider the possibility of a one off gift to Rotary Foundation, in recognition and celebration of its notable successes, over the last 100 years.

 I would also like to commend to you, the opportunity of supporting it through your sustaining membership and as a club, wouldn’t it be great, to be able to say, that the membership of this club, Linlithgow Grange acknowledges the fine work that Foundation delivers and we, as a club support its goals through 100% membership, of the sustaining member program. Happy Birthday Well Done. If anyone feels motivated to do something wonderful speak with Roy and his Foundation Team.

The continuing support for the end polio now campaign is essential, if we are to ensure, that once eradicated it remains so and this will take a huge effort, a 5-year program to ensure, that it does not resurface. To this end the Council will explore how to support this cause.

New Generations

This year, I have a dream of the realisation of the establishment of a Rotaract/Rotakids Club and I know Ken is working hard to this end. With the establishment of this club, we could explore the possibilities of young people, being involved with us, as we work within our community, establishing, an ethos of sharing, as they grow into adulthood, of their time and talent, in the service of others.

Public Image

I would like to see the club capitalise on its 25th Anniversary by ensuring maximum usage of all communication media available, to tell the Rotary story, within the Local, District, National and International communities. The opportunity that the Rotary Foundation’s 100th birthday gives us to celebrate within the community and be able to express our thanks to them all for their continuing support.

Membership

Recruitment and retention” big issue” The council have asked Rory and his team to explore all avenues, in the promotion of Rotary, as a place to be, as we strive to ensure, that we remain a vibrant and active club in Serving Humanity. In the meantime, I would like to request, that you nominate a possible name that might be a suitable future Rotarian.

Charter Dinner Beancross 16th September 2016

To be the best we can be as a club, is to acknowledge our achievements and celebrate, look forward and dream the impossible. We are indebted to those before us, are grateful for the service of our current members and look forward to honouring this at our 25th Charter Anniversary Dinner and with this, I make my final request. Let’s all celebrate together and make this night a special evening, where all feel included within the Rotary family, a great turn out, helps to make us all feel good and when we feel good we are inspired to exception things. Let’s do it

Thanks to you all, for the effort in your preparation of your challenging and exciting program for us all to deliver

Enjoy our 2016/2017 Challenge

PS Can I take the opportunity of sharing with you, that a Hannah Fisher, who has been successful in her selection to join the RI Orchestra in San Diego in July 2016 will be entertaining us at our Handover Dinner.

Vice-President, Harry Millar then invited Committee Convenors to present their programmes for 2016-17. This was followed by Assistant DG, Archie Ralston addressing the club on his role as the interface between the clubs and District and on support for the Duke of Edinburgh Award and Purple4Polio. He also presented the club with a new banner to be used at our fund-raising events.

President Peter closed the meeting in the usual manner.

13th June 2016

After welcoming thirty-two members (80%) and a guest to Monday’s Pre-Marches Meeting of the Rotary Club of Linlithgow Grange, President Peter Russell referred to the sad news of the passing of Past President, Eddie Crawley. Eddie, one of our founder members, also served as Secretary and Treasurer of the Club and as District Auditor. President Peter asked the assembled company to stand and observe a moment’s silence in tribute.

Club business continued with Roy Redwood informing the club that St. Joseph’s Primary School finished second in Area Final of the Rotary Primary Schools Quiz in Carluke on Saturday, 11th June. Elma Birrell reported on her and Ken MacKenzie’s visit to Tynecastle High School for the RYLA Trialler Event. Ken also reported on his attendance at the Schools Athletic event. Chris Long updated the meeting on the re-scheduled visit to the Queensferry Crossing indicating spaces were still available on the mini-bus. Rory Cameron also reminded members attending the Marches of the arrangements. President-Elect John Reid reported the club’s allocation of tickets for the up-coming North American Student Concert at Linlithgow Academy on Saturday, 9th July will go on sale following the Marches. After reminding Council Members of the new Council’s first meeting at President-Elect John’s home of Thursday, 16th June, President Peter closed the meeting in the usual manner.

 

6th June 2016

President Peter Russell chaired Monday night's meeting of Linlithgow Grange Rotary. Past President Roy Redwood updated members on the outcome of the club's performance at the final of the District quiz at the weekend, resulting in the team taking second place and allowing the club to retain the runners-up trophy.

The speaker for the evening was Past President Ken MacKenzie, his subject being concussion management in contact sports. Ken pointed out that concussion in sport is not a new problem but is now better understood in terms of prevention and management. It is a brain injury which can occur after a blow to the body as well as the head and can occur with or without loss of consciousness. Recognition of a concussion injury and proper response is vital. All concussion injuries are serious and can affect a player's behaviour, thinking and physical functioning.

If a concussion injury is confirmed, modern concussion management in contact sports results in the application of the '6-Rs' - Recognise, remove, refer, rest, recover and return. Injured players are not allowed to return to play that day, baseine testing being applied, 'concussion bins' now being used and a policy of 'if no doubt, sit them out' being applied. Injured players cannot judge the situation and coaches cannot insist players return to play. Following a concussion injury there is a regular assessment for returning to play and no return is possible until free of symptoms at rest and after 'graduated return to play' activities are followed. The return to play is based on an initial 24 hours rest, no physical activity, no driving until cleared to do so, no alcohol, no computer games and any worseneing of symptoms or new symptoms must be reported. Most episodes resolve in 7 – 10 days, longer recovery for adolescents. 

Once free of symptoms at rest, daily re-assessment and testing – honest answers needed. If activity causes symptoms, players must go back a step. The 'no return to play' policy prevents the risk of 'second impact' syndrome which results from a return to sport after an initial head injury and still with symptoms resulting from that injury. It is a rare complication, more common in adolescents, which can result in significant neurological damage and can be fatal. 

Post concussion syndrome can result in poor short term memory recall, persistent headaches and visual upsets, anxiety symptoms, poor decision making and social or relationship difficulties. Another outcome of concussion injury is Chronic Traumatic Encelopathy (ECT), a progressive degenerative disease found in people who have had a severe blow or repeated bows to the head. Once associated with boxing, CTE has now been found in football, rugby, hockey, ice hockey and other contact sports. Much research has taken place and more is know about the condition as a result of post mortems. Ken ended his talk with reference to rugby, a subject he was well able to comment on having been the Scottish team doctor from 1995 to 2000. He referred to CTE and rugby, related to repeated concussive injuries, particularly in the past. CTE cases are now becoming evident, one Scottish and one Irish amateur player having been diagnosed in the past year.

Ken confirmed that concussion management was now well established in rugby, and other sports, and the old fashioned attitudes of "get back out there, don't be a wimp", or “suck it up” are no longer tolerated. Education, particularly coach education being an important part of the process. The amount of interest in Ken's talk was apparent from the number of questions he was asked. President Peter closed the meeting confirming that there would be no speaker at next Monday's meeting on the eve of the Marches.

 

30th May 2016

President Peter Russell chaired Monday evening's meeting, the club's monthly business meeting and the last of this Rotary year. The various committees reported a number of upcoming events. The local Primary School Quiz 2016, organised by Linlithgow Grange Rotary earlier this year, was won by St Joseph’s Primary School who then went on to win the Rotary District Final competition at Laurieston Primary School on Tuesday, 3rd May. The proud winners now go forward to the Rotary Area Final in Carluke on Saturday, 11th June.

The club will be supporting this year's Rotary Youth Leadership Awards (RYLA) event having put forward one male and one female candidate. This year's Young Photographer competition is well underway, the subject being ‘Our World is Beautiful’. A number of entries have been received and a closing date of Friday, 3rd June has now been set.

As part of this year's Sports Bursary Awards, Linlithgow Golf Club's Professional was presented with a cheque for £400 which will be used to fund coaching for four young players. A Young Golfer Challenge match will take place at Linlithgow Golf Club early in June, date to be confirmed.

The postponed visit to the Forth Crossing is being planned for June 2016, final arrangements to be advised shortly. As part of the planting schemes in the Linithgow Club members have volunteered to plant and maintain the flower bed outside the Four in One, planting day Monday 6th June at 9am and the display is linked the with the Disability Sports Project, a charity being supported by the club.

The Challenge Enterprise 2016 competition for local schools is to be held at Carronvale House, Larbert from the 7th to 9th October, the interview process with pupils to take place shortly. Lastly, Club members Harry Millar and Ken MacKenzie plan to take part in this year's Rotary KidsOut Big Day Out in Edinburgh on Wednesday, 8th June, along with pupils from Donaldsons School. This annual event, organised by Rotary volunteers nationally, gives disadvantaged children a fun day out every year and provides the children with an experience that brings both fun and happiness into their lives. 

23rd May 2016

President Peter Russell welcomed 22 members and our guest for the evening, Ewen Macdonell, who is the Community Liaison Engineer for the Queensferry Crossing. He has addressed us in the last few years and this was an update backed up by slides taken gradually since 2014 , many taken by drones.
The Crossing is on course to be completed on time late in 2016 and comfortably within budget due to low inflation and good governance. The new M9 and Fife road systems introduced have already shown clear improvements in Traffic Flow , Vehicle Accident  and Bus Flow statistics. At its peak the Crossing employed 1287 while 691 Training places were generated. Scottish Firms were awarded 264 sub-contracts .
It was thought that at 2653 metres the crossing was the largest Cable Stayed Bridge in the world but it appears that China has now claimed a larger bridge although this is debateable depending on what criteria are used in determining what is the Cable Stayed part of the bridges. The project is currently at Stage 7 of 11.Ewen described in detail the work still to be done in the remaining stages. After several questions  had been answered  Rotarian David Timperley thanked Ewen on behalf of  the club.

Congratulations to St. Joseph's Primary School , Linlithgow  for winning the Area Final of Rotary's Primary School Quiz. The District Final will be held at Carluke on 16 June.

During the course of the evening President Peter presented additional Paul Harris Fellowships to Past District Governor Kate Keter and to Past President Ian Adams.

16th May 2016

President Peter Russell welcomed members and guests to Monday evening's meeting. After the meal six guests representing local charities and fundraising causes were each presented with a cheque for £100 by President Peter.

The first recipient was George Hall who explained that the money would be used to help refurbish the Jo Hall Chalet at the Craig's campsite at Torphicen which was opened in 1999 and now requires modernisation to improve the facility. The next recipient was John Aitken representing a small, local charity which assists people in Linlithgow with learning difficulties by arranging regular outings and other social activities. Campbell Wolfe received his cheque which to help fund his trip to Guyana with Project Trust Guyana in August this year. Lorraine Winning received a cheque on behalf of the First Step Cafe, a local charity in Linlithgow which provides a Tuesday drop-in facility for those affected by their own or someone else's substance use. Lesley Mount represented the Signpost Charity, based in Livingston, which provides information and advice for parents who have Autistic or Down's children. Lastly, Olivia Allatt received a cheque to help support her visit to Kenya in June this year to assist for six weeks in a school for children with special needs. Olivia explained that her other fund-raising activities had managed to cover the cost of her trip and this cheque would go directly to the school. President Peter wished all the recipients well in support of their charities and activities and hoped to hear more from them in future visits to the club.

Club business then continued with reports from members of their visits to other clubs, the previous week having been 'Scatter week', during which there is no club meeting and members are encouraged to visit other clubs, preferably outwith the local district. The purpose of Scatter Week is to increase the club's contact with other clubs and to share ideas and innovations on fundraising and other activities. Members reported on visits to Auchterarder, Bishopbriggs, Braids - Edinburgh, Kinross, Musselburgh, Paisley and, more locally, Linlithgow and Bo'ness and South Queensferry. Most visits involved several club members attending and all reported worthwhile visits and experienced good fellowship at the clubs they visited.  

2nd May 2016

President Peter Russell chaired Monday night's meeting, and despite it being a bank holiday, confirmed a high attendance of 90% of members.

Club Youth Service Convenor Ian Raven introduced the speaker for the evening, David Shirres, a rail engineer whose subject was the Edinburgh – Glasgow rail improvement programme. David began his career in 1968 with a British Rail engineering scholarship through Sussex University. His early roles included Depot Engineer at Haymarket and ScotRail Safety Systems Manager. After privatisation he spent much of his time in a variety of projects which included Quality, Safety and Environmental Management. His last job was on the Airdrie to Bathgate rail project where his role included the management of utilities after which he retired from Network Rail in 2009 after a 37-year career. David has lived in Linlithgow with his wife and family since the early 1980s and since retiring has been more active than ever as a key member of the Linlithgow Union Canal Society, an engineering volunteer on the Paddle Steamer “Waverley”, Chair of the Institute of Mechanical Engineers (Railway Division) in Scotland, and a regular writer for Rail Media who publish the “Rail Engineer” and “Railstaff” Magazines.  David has written over a hundred articles, including making eight trips to Russia for pieces on the Russian Railway network. David’s main topic was the electrification and related development of the Edinburgh – Glasgow railway line, the busiest urban route outside London. Statistics from all over the UK showed a continuing annual increase in passenger numbers and passenger journeys, including the Edinburgh to Glasgow line. As a result the Scottish Government approved this 1 billion pound project to provide increased passenger capacity, improved service times, better reliability of services and the necessary environmental improvements. New rolling stock for the electrification project provides greatly increased passenger with the new eight- carriage trains having 45% more seats than the current six-carriage sets. The result is the requirement for new, longer (Hitachi) units, enlarged and modernised stations and longer platforms to accommodate the new, longer trains all resulting in major civil engineering projects. David's presentation showed the improvements recently completed at Haymarket Station and also plans for even larger scale changes at Queen Street station to accommodate the planned increase in passenger numbers. Electrification also necessitated raising bridges and tunnels to accommodate the overhead power lines and David showed some of the many large-scale civil engineering projects already completed on the Edinburgh to Glasgow line and many other lines throughout the central Scotland rail network. Having outlined how these major projects would provide the necessary increased passenger capacity on the Edinburgh to Glasgow line for the foreseeable future he ended his talk with a view much further into the future, around 2025, with proposals being considered for the Scottish rail network linking in with wider UK railway developments including the HS network throughout the UK. David's very interesting and enlightening talk prompted a number of questions from club members followed by a vote of thanks from Ian Raven.

President Peter closed the meeting by reminding members that next week is 'Scatter Week' when members are encouraged to visit Rotary Clubs outwith District 1020, and there would therefore be no club meeting on Monday, 9th May. The next club meeting would be on Monday, 16th May at the usual venue, Linlithgow Golf Club.

25th April 2016

President Peter welcomed 32 members to our monthly business meeting. He presented a Sports Bursary cheque to Kenny Monaghan, Linlithgow Golf Club professional. Kenny told members that he planned to use the money to provide a variety of different golfing experiences in the local area this summer for 4 children aged 12 to 13. This would help further develop their golfing skills.

The President thanked the Youth committee for organising a very successful Primary School choir concert last week in Linlithgow Academy. Over 200 children were involved and a very creditable £300 in donations were received. The President also highlighted a variety of disbursements from the Club to local good causes.

Each Committee convenor updated members on future plans over the coming months.  This year's AM/AM charity golf day will be on Monday 29th August with main Charity beneficiary Scottish Disability Sport.  Members were challenged to encourage possible teams to take part and seek Tee/Green sponsorship.

18th April 2016

President Peter informed members of key items from yesterday's District Council meeting in Lockerbie including a Centenary Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme for disadvantaged young people. He also indicated help required for a District Sporting Event in Grangemouth on 10/11 June. 

Secretary Phil then took members through our AGM. Each committee convener highlighted key elements from their comprehensive programmes over the last year and amounts raised for different charities. Treasurer Iain provided update on the status of various funds with a detailed breakdown of individual charity contributions over the year.

Iain Keter was elected Vice-President for the 16/17 Rotary year with Phil Ratcliffe re-nominated as Secretary and Ian Adams elected as Treasurer. The six committee conveners were also announced. President Elect John reminded all that next year was the 100th anniversary of the Rotary Foundation with a challenge to the Club to further strengthen its support.

11th April 2016

President Peter Russell welcomed members to Monday night's meeting of Linlithgow Grange Rotary Club. The speaker for the evening was club member John Lawson whose subject was the club's support for District 1020 and his main theme was making club members more aware of the number of District office bearers the club has produced, the service they have given, and are giving, and wanted to accord them recognition.
Referring to the current District 1020 Directory,John said the first name he came across was Past President Thom Riddell as District Secretary and previously the first Vocational Training Team Coordinator which involved a fact finding visit to India. As District Secretary Thom sits on the Administration Committee. Phill Ratcliffe was next on the Directory as Assistant District Secretary and District Health and Safety Coordinator. Past President Eddie Crawley was District Auditor for around 10 years from 2005 to 2015, is now Assistant Auditor and a member of the Administration Committee.

 
The Directory's next entry is the Leadership Development and Training Committee with Past President Ken MacKenzieon as Chairman of Youth Service. Past President Ian Adams is included as Rotary Foundation Committee and as Vocational Training Team Coordinator. Ian recently did a very good job as Group Study Exchange Coordinator for the incoming GSE team to District 1020 from Ohio.The Directory then lists Past President Kate Keter as New Club Formation Coordinator and member of the District Membership Committee. Kate's previous involvement at District level has included Assistant Governor, District Governor, GSE Team Leader for an exchange to Florida, as well as roles within RIBI.

The last name in the Directory is Past President Roy Redwood as a member of the District Stewardship Committee. Roy's previous District roles included District Treasurer for over five years, Assistant Governor and other roles including District Conference Treasurer and organising the District Quiz. Lastly John mentioned his own District involvement as Group Study Exchange Officer from 2001 to 2007 dealing with clubs in Canada, New Zealand, Australia, USA and Southern Africa and leading the 1020 GSE Team to Canada in September 2001. John concluded by appealing for club members to be updated on developments at District level and given more information and feedback on the activities of club members involved in
District administration, suggesting that this information could be expanded upon in the club newsletter.

In closing the meeting President Peter reminded members of the support required for the club's Bingo Night fundraiser at Linlithgow Rose Club on Wednesday night, 13th April. The club's next meeting on Monday, 18th April, is the AGM.

 

4th April 2016

President Peter welcomed 6 members of L&B Rotary club to our first meeting after Easter. Thanks were extended to all who helped in the recent Linlithgow Litter Pick. Heather McInally gave a brief update on recent RIBI Conference in Bournemouth and issued a plea for more bakery help for the International committee's charity Bingo Evening in the Rose Club on Wednesday 13th April. Information was given about a Primary School choir event in the Academy on Wednesday 20th April.  This will involve 10 choirs and potentially 200 children. There will be no tickets, simply donations on the evening.

Guest speaker was Charles Common, now head of security at the new Queensferry Crossing, after 32 years with Lothian and Borders Police. His topic was 'Grumpy Old Men'. He gave an illuminating talk about his difficult childhood attending a military school from age 10 with the many rigours and disciplines associated with it. He then outlined reminiscences of key moments in his years with the Police, achieving the rank of Chief Superintendent, including major operations, such as Bilston Glen Colliery during the miners’ strike, Lockerbie Air Disaster, G8 meeting at Gleneagles 2005 and two Papal Visits. He concluded by highlighting potential security worries at the Queensferry Crossing.  

21st March 2016

Vice-President Harry Millar welcomed members to our March Business Meeting to receive reports on the progress of our activities past, present and planned. He also welcomed guests from the other clubs in our area who were holding the Area Meeting immediately after the Business Meeting.
Many thanks to all who supported our Festival of Voices earlier this month. This event raised £1433 for local dementia charities.
Our next charity event is a Prize Bingo evening on Wednesday, 13 April at Linlithgow Rose Club.
A Primary School Choir Festival will be held at Linlithgow Academy on 20 April.
The Club Visit on Friday, 29 April will be to Forth Crossing in the afternoon. A mini-bus has been hired.
This Saturday 26 March will see us having a Litter Pick starting at 9.30 am at the new car park at the Leisure Centre.
Further work is planned including tree planting this year at The Peel and the Hidden Feu behind the Low Port Centre as well as carrying out further Drain Marking work. Several members reported seeing the emergence of Crocus resulting from previous plantings.
Other projects which are reaching completion are the Young Technologist Award and selection of candidates for RYLA.

14th March 2016

President Peter welcomed a good attendance of Rotarians and partners for our regular Partners Evening. He expressed sincere thanks to many in the club for their varied contributions to the undoubted success of the recent GSE Team visit.  He presented Tom Brown with a Paul Harris Fellowship Award in recognition of his contribution to The Rotary Foundation. 

Douglas Robertson, International Convener, reminded all of the up-coming Bingo evening, Wednesday 13th April in the Rose Club requesting help and prizes for this charity evening. 

The main part of the evening was devoted to judging a club photo competition on the theme of 'Reflections'. All agreed there was a high standard of entry with first prize going to Harry Miller.

7th March 2016

President Peter welcomed special guests District Governor Andy Ireland and wife Jackie, former RI President John Kenny and very special guests the Group Study Exchange Team (GSE) from District 6600 Ohio lead by Team leader Julie McIntosh. The Team comprising of Joy, Emily, Emily and Sarah, have been hosted by Linlithgow Grange Rotary for the past week. They have enjoyed a full programme of work related, cultural and social activities.

After dinner the GSE Team gave a most interesting presentation about their backgrounds, their own District and Charity projects they were involved in. Their diverse backgrounds included University Professor, Law, Car Parts manufacturing and Librarian. Their home District is in Northern Ohio with 63 Clubs and 3600 members.  The largest city is Toledo, a centre of glass manufacturing and servicing the Auto Industry.  A lot of previous black swamp land has now been converted into viable farming land. The District borders Lake Erie and the Group highlighted some interesting facts about the lake. We were told that the District houses many Universities and has a museum for astronaut Neil Armstrong, a native of Ohio. 

Each Team member gave information about their Rotary Clubs and charity projects. These included providing external defibrillators, sponsoring/sending medical equipment/supplies to Belize and then travelling to area and helping set the equipment up. Also highlighted were initiatives to enrich local communities, helping with wi-fi installation in local high schools and international support for Mission Honduras.

The Team were questioned by Rotarians about any perceived differences in culture, attitudes and customs they had observed during their stay. 

RIBI President Peter Davey made a belated appearance and was at pains to extol the virtue and worth of Group Study Exchange in broadening horizons and understanding between Nations. 

Separately the musical evening last Wednesday in Linlithgow Academy was voted a resounding success.

29th February 2016

The club would like to thank all who attended our Coffee Morning on Saturday 20th February despite the weather, creating an enjoyable atmosphere and raising £650 towards our work with local youth good causes in the Linlithgow area. 

This week's meeting was a Business Meeting. Next week 7 March we will be visited by the Group Study Exchange Team from Ohio USA and the President of RIBI. On 14 March there will be a social evening and Photographic Competition. Our Annual Charity Bingo Night at Linlithgow Rose is on Wednesday 13 April.
Looking further ahead  the Am/Am Golf Tournament will be held on Monday 29 August. This is later than usual to avoid a clash with any other similar competitions in the area . Cost for a team of 4 is £125. The Queen Margaret Hall has been booked for our Scotch Hop on Saturday 19 November.

During the course of the evening Secretary Phill Ratcliffe  presented President Peter Russell with a Paul Harris Fellowship.

 

22nd February 2016

We welcomed five guests to our open night together with two visitors from The Rotary eClub of Southern Scotland who meet regularly but always through internet links. Their membership has Rotarians based in Thailand and Germany as well as Linlithgow and Edinburgh have meetings and run projects just like any other club and our two visitors demonstrated this with a link up of three members.

Throughout our buffet meal a slideshow of our club's activities was shown and this was backed up by short talks by three of our Convenors detailing our varied activities.

International Committee deals with fund-raising for International charities such as a Cheese and Wine evening run for Mercy Ships and a Bingo evening in the Rose Club for International and Local Charities as well as our Golf Tournament in August each year which last year saw a cheque for £3000 presented to St Columba’s Hospice. The committee also administers the Lend With Care project which provides developing countries entrepreneurs with finance as they build their business.

Community and Vocational Committee runs Challenge Enterprise and assists Historic Scotland and Burgh Beautiful with a number of schemes and planting programmes as well as arranging visits to, for example, the Forth Crossing and the Museum Of Fire.

Youth Service Committee runs a great number of projects; Young Photographer, Young Technologist, Young Golfer and Sports Bursary as well as the annual Primary School Quiz only last week won by St Joseph's Primary Linlithgow. In total £2000 is invested in Youth Projects.

Please remember our fundraising concert “Nostalgia Rules” at Linlithgow Academy on Wednesday 2nd March at 7.30 pm. Tickets are £8 each from any member also from The Line Gallery and Far From The Madding Crowd. The concert features the Linlithgow Ladies Choir, Ferry Blend, Cockleroy and the Bo’ness Belles.

15th February 2016

Our annual coffee morning will take place this Saturday coming 20th February at Cross House 10:00am.
Rotary's latest fund-raising Concert in aid of local dementia support groups is called “Nostalgia Rules” on Wednesday 2 March at Linlithgow Academy beginning at 7:30pm. It is guaranteed to help the winter blues featuring as it does the entertaining Cockleroy, wartime favourites from the Bo’ness Belles and the polished musicality and varied repertoire of Ferry Blend and the Linlithgow Ladies Choir singing songs from South Africa to Italy, USA to Home. Tickets costing £8 are now on sale at Far From The Madding Crowd and The Line Gallery, both High Street, Linlithgow and Mannerstons.

Our speaker this week was Past President Dr Tom Brown who spoke on the link between Mental Health and Physical Illness .At present only 6.5% of Research Budget is allocated to Mental Illness. The cost to the economy is £105 Billion. In recent years there has been more Parity of Esteem and consideration of the connection between Mental and Physical Illness although much has to be done to transfer rhetoric to reality. Too often those with mental illness are treated as 'Black Sheep' or figures of fun. No government has kept its promises and still more money is donated to Animal Charities than Mental Health. Whole Person Care must be given more attention. The allocation of a further £1 Billion by the Government earlier in the day is a small step in the right direction.


Dr Ken MacKenzie thanked Tom for his talk on behalf of the club.

8th February 2016

President Peter Russell welcomed 37 of our own members, 2 visitors from the Bathgate Club; Agnes Ritchie and Fiona Low and 2 Owls!

Debbie Owl runs her charity Owlducation which does much work in the education sector also with The Scottish Owl Centre helping to raise awareness and appreciation not only of owls but anything on Wing or Hoof. She was accompanied by her Canadian Great Horn Owl which weighs approx. 8 kilos at 18 months old. These owls have the capability to hunt and kill large domestic pets and challenge eagles in the sky .They must always be held with a very thick glove due to the strength of the grip of the claws. They have fantastic sight from a distance but not clos up. One major rule in dealing with owls is not to touch the feathers or stroke as this can seriously damage feathers and cause them to fall out. Moreover owls do not like being stroked. The most recent person to ignore this request required 6 stitches in his hand. Debbie hopes eventually to open an Owl Rescue Centre near Edinburgh but not just for owls as she has experience of rescuing Penguins. There were no volunteers to take the glove and hold the owl. There were several photos taken and we look forward to seeing these in due course.

Elma Birrell thanked Debbie for a highly interesting talk.

Spring Events

If you are interested in any of the following, please obtain more information from any member.

20 February - Traditional Coffee Morning, St. Michael’s Kirk Hall

22 February - Open Night, Linlithgow Golf Club - Find out more about Rotary

2 March - A Festival of Voices “Nostalgia Rules”, Linlithgow Academy

1st February 2016

The weekly meeting of Linlithgow Grange Rotary took place on a very windy Monday at the regular venue of Linlithgow Golf Club. After members were warmly welcomed by President Peter Russell, he undertook the pleasant duty of presenting the Paul Harris Fellowship to John Lawson in appreciation of his services to Rotary. He then reminded members of both the annual Coffee Morning on Saturday February 20th and the Open Evening on Monday 22nd. Both these events are an opportunity to spread the word about Rotary commitment to the local and wider community, and the Club will welcome all those interested to come along. To participate in the Open Evening please contact any Club member.

The talk for the evening was given by Jim Grant, whose love for his 1971 Lotus Elan Sprint was clear to everyone. Having bought the car in 1974 he has competed in many hill climbs and road races both in the UK and Europe and has no intention of stopping - although he does confess to being aware ‘of how fast I used to be’! Anecdotes of his motoring exploits were followed by several knowledgeable and interested questions from the audience and the applause in acknowledgement was genuine.

The next meeting will take place on Monday February 8th

25th January 2016

In the absence of President Peter Russell who had taken unwell, Vice-President Harry Millar stepped into the breach at two hours’ notice and welcomed club members, their partners and DG Andy Ireland to the Monday evening meeting of the Rotary Club of Linlithgow Grange which was the club’s Burns Supper.

Following the piping in of the haggis by Ben Miller, Douglas Robertson addressed it in his own inimitable fashion. After the grace by Thom Riddell, the company enjoyed a lovely meal. The evening continued with President-Elect, John Reid presenting an entertaining Immortal Memory drawing upon his experience both as a former Inspector of Pensions and National Insurance and SFA Referee to link them to the “Ploughman Poet”.

This was followed by an enjoyable musical interlude by Heather McInally, in which she sang “The Gallant Weaver”, first learned as a nine-year old, “My Love is like a Red, Red, Rose” to Burns’ original but seldom heard tune for the work, finishing with “Ae Fond Kiss”.

In the absence of a “Toast to the Lassies”, several Rotarians provided their own reflections on the works of Rabbie. Aptly Gordon McInally, the eminent Corstorphine dentist entertained the company with “Ode to the Toothache”. Rory Cameron presented “Song composed in August (Westlin Winds)” during which he invited the audience to count the numbers of birds mentioned.

This was followed by another highlight of the evening as Bill Duncan enthralled the company with a wonderful recitation of “Holy Willie’s Prayer”. The final reflection of the evening was presented by the evening’s organiser, Tom Brown in which he linked the words of “To a Louse” to assessments made on human frailties in his work as a psychiatrist. Burns’ songs, “Comin’ Through the Rye” and “Scots Wha Hae” were sung by the whole company.

Rotarian, Ken MacKenzie concluded the evening with a hearty vote of thanks to all who participated in making the evening such a success. His remarks included reminders of the forthcoming Coffee Morning on Saturday, 20th February, the Social Night for the GSE Team on Friday, 4th March and the next Partners’ Evening on Monday, 14th March, which will take the form of a photographic competition, the subject of which will be “Reflections”.       

18th January 2016

President Peter Russell welcomed members and Rotary visitors to Monday evening's meeting of Linlithgow Grange Rotary Club which was the monthly business meeting. President Peter invited the first Rotary visitor, Ewart Shields from the Rotary Club of Edinburgh to address the meeting with information about the District 1020 Conference to be held in Harrogate on 28 - 30 October 2016. Ewart advertised the event well, outlining the conference programme and events, the choice of hotels and the costs, as well as extending a warm invitation to all members.

Two further visitors then addressed the meeting, Lynne Nelson and Helen Syme from the Rotary eClub of Southern Scotland. Their subject was explaining how and why their eClub was set up, how it works and how successful it has been as the first eClub in Scotland and one of only a handful in the UK. The eClub was started by the members of the Rotary Club of Edinburgh Park whose membership declined from 25 to 10 mainly due to members moving away or due to business pressures. The remaining members chose the solution of an eClub where they meet on-line to conduct Rotary business. The result has been a successful launch of a very active Rotary Club engaging in a wide range of service projects and social events with members able to participate fully in Rotary without the time commitment of a fixed location and a meal beforehand, ideal for members with work/life time pressures. The eClub Members even attend meetings while working away from home, and in some cases, while working abroad. Helen explained how the eClub worked technically, with a Skype-type programme allowing up to 50 members to attend at one time. Helen emphasised that the system was simple to set up and the only expertise required being the ability to use email. Lynn and Helen's presentation included photos of their involvement in a wide range of Rotary fund-raising and social activities for their own membership and also in support of many other clubs in the area, including Forth Bridge abseiling, fund raising for specific charities, club quizzes and other social events. In conclusion Lynne and Helen offered their help and advice for anyone considering starting an eClub or starting a satellite club where on-line meeting could be a workable alternative to a traditional meeting format.

President Peter continued with the business meeting, inviting committee convenors to update members on progress with projects and upcoming events; the next events being the club's Burns Night on 25th January, the coffee morning at Cross House on 20th February and a new members evening on 22nd February.

The last speaker of the evening was Assistant District Governor Ian MacLean from the Rotary Club of Polmont. ADG Ian brought greetings from Polmont club, an update from District and a message of encouragement to members to continue with the range of service projects referred to in the committee convenors' reports. 

11th January 2016

President Peter Russell welcomed thirty-five members (79%) to the first meeting of 2016 of the Rotary Club Linlithgow Grange by wishing them A Happy New Year. He took the opportunity to remind Council Members of this Thursday’s Council Meeting.

Secretary Phill Ratcliffe then advised members of an e-mail he had sent earlier in the evening regarding candidates for RIBI President and Director for 2017. He encouraged members to view the candidates’ videos and to advise him of their preferred choice by 28th January to allow him to cast the club’s vote by the deadline.

Treasurer Iain Keter advised the club he had sent a cheque to Mary’s Meals for £1,385. This had been donated by club members following Rotarian Douglas Robertson’s talk on the organisation at our 23rd November meeting and will be doubled by the UK Government. A letter of thanks has been received from Magnus MacFarlane-Barrow. Iain also advised that he had sent a cheque for £395 to the West Lothian Foodbank as a result of members’ donations in place of graffiti greetings.

This evening’s speaker was fellow Rotarian Norman Middleton, whose chosen subject was “Doos & Doocots”. He proceeded to give an interesting talk on the history of the Dovecot (Scots: Doocot) stating they are amongst the earliest agricultural buildings in Scotland.Doos or pigeons were kept for food and also provided fertiliser for the land. Pigeon keeping was widely practised by the Persians and the Egyptians and was introduced to Scotland by the Normans. Norman went on to illustrate his talk with examples of Doocots from as far afield as Iran and others nearer to home including Phantassie, East Lothian and Learmonth Gardens.

Following a number of questions, Rotarian Gordon Young proposed a well-deserved vote of thanks to Norman for an interesting talk.


21st December 2015

President Peter Russell welcomed sixty six club members and partners to Monday evening's meeting of Linlithgow Grange Rotary Club, the event being the annual Christmas Dinner held at the Club's usual venue, Linlithgow Golf Club. Before the meal President Peter had the pleasant duty of presenting former member Derek Henderson with a Paul Harris Fellowship award. Everyone enjoyed the social evening and an excellent Christmas meal. President Elect John Reid closed the meeting by thanking the catering staff and bar staff for the excellent meal and first class service, and to John Lawson for organising the event.

The Club will not meet on 28th December or 4th January, the next meeting being 11th January at the usual venue, Linlithgow Golf Club.    


14th December 2015

President Peter Russell welcomed members and visitors to Monday's meeting of Linlithgow Grange Rotary Club. The guests were Jennifer Newton, Managing Director of Express Microbiology, and fellow Director, Will Bates. Rotarian Ian Orr introduced Jennifer as the speaker for the evening, her subject being the formation and development of her locally-based company, Express Microbiology.

The company has a large testing laboratory at Mill Road, Linlithgow, carrying out a wide range of microbiological and chemical testing for the food industry, the hotel and leisure sector, agriculture and the pharmaceutical industry. The company is approved for food testing for major UK companies including M&S and TESCO. The laboratory has been accredited since 2003 for ensuring the quality and safety of food products, water and air quality. The company is now the largest food chemical testing company in Scotland having expanded rapidly from 4 to over 50 employees and has plans for future growth particularly in areas such as specific food testing for allergens, gluten free products and nutrients to ensure food quality and safety and the accuracy of product information and labelling. Jennifer's very interesting talk was followed by a number of questions from club members which highlighted the interest shown in the subject.

Ian Orr gave the vote of thanks and President Peter closed the meeting.

7th December 2015

There was a change of venue for this week's Rotary Club meeting, Delhi's Winter restaurant in Linlithgow where club members enjoyed an excellent buffet meal. The meeting was the club's Special General Meeting and President Peter Russell opened the meeting by asking Treasurer Iain Keter to present the club accounts for the year to 30/6/15, which were duly approved by club members.

Secretary Phill Ratcliffe announced the nominations for club officers for the Rotary year 2016/17 by confirming Harry Millar had been appointed President Elect and confirming that John Reid had already been elected President for next year at the club's AGM. Phill confirmed he had been re-elected as Secretary and Iain Keter as Treasurer again for the coming year.

President Peter concluded the SGM by confirming that as yet no nominations had been received for the role of Vice President, but to await further developments.

The club's next meeting, Monday 14th December, will be held in the usual venue, Linlithgow Golf Club.

30th November 2015

President Peter welcomed a good attendance to the monthly business meeting and reported success for our club in the latest round of the Rotary District quiz at Larbert last week. He informed the club that £3000 was given to St. Columba's Hospice, courtesy of our annual AM/AM Golf day in August. Also Mercy Ships would receive a cheque for £1000, this being the profits from the October Wine Tasting Evening.

President -Elect John Reid reported on the success of last Saturdays District PETS training day highlighting a number of key Rotary events for next year. 

Chris Long thanked volunteers who helped with last Saturday Night's torchlight procession in inclement weather as well as updating everyone on the club adopting planters in the High Street and progress with a planned Festival of Voices in March next year. 

Ian Raven stated that St Kentigerns had won first prize in the clubs Young Writers competition and was optimistic about the club holding a music festival for primarily school choirs in the Spring. 

John Leitch provided progress on the club's ability to use Facebook and its own Newsletter.

President Peter reminded all that for next week only the club would meet in Delhi's Winter.

23rd November 2015

President Peter Russell welcomed 37 members (84%) to Monday’s meeting of the Rotary Club of Linlithgow Grange then called upon Harry Millar, Vice-President to report on the Central Area Meeting he had attended on Tuesday 17th November. Harry’s report provided an update on some items of particular interest to the club, such as the Sports Day at Grangemouth and the planned new format for the District Magazine, a sample of which he passed round the membership.

A team from the club attended the Curry and Quiz Night organised by the Rotary eClub of Southern Scotland on Wednesday, 18th November. Roy Redwood reported the team won the quiz again, this time by seven points.

The speaker for the evening was our International Committee Convenor, Douglas Robertson who provided an update on the progress of the charity, Mary's Meals, for which he tours the country visiting church groups as well as Rotary for this Scottish organisation which provides free school meals to children attending school in developing nations in the Third World. His presentation included a film of his fellow ‘Paisley Buddie’, the actor, Gerard Butler visiting children in Liberia. The number of children receiving Mary’s Meals has risen from 400,000 in 2010 to 1 million this year, a fantastic achievement from a charity that spends 93p in every £1 raised on its charitable work. The charity now raises 45% of its income from outside the UK. Douglas finished his presentation by stating that every donation made to the charity until 28 December 2015, will be doubled by the UK government at no extra cost to the donor.

Rotarian Tom Brown proposed a well-deserved vote of thanks to Douglas for his very informative and thought-provoking presentation which amply demonstrated his commitment to Mary’s Meals.

16th November 2015

President Peter welcomed a good 80% attendance to the weekly meeting. He thanked the Club's Foundation Committee and all others who helped towards contributing to a very successful Scotch Hop in Linlithgow Academy on Saturday night. A good time was had by all who attended. 

This evening's speaker was fellow Rotarian David Robertson who gave a droll and illuminating job talk covering the first decades of his varied career. Highlights included water sampling for pollution from the restaurant cars at Queen Street station whilst working as a lab technician for British Rail, predicting railway diesel engine failure only to be told by his accountant bosses "it’s cheaper, you know, to let the diesels fail in service". He also highlighted humorous anecdotes about his time with British Gas before a longer career in setting up call centres for various companies.

9th November 2015

President Peter welcomed several guest Rotarians from Alloa and Musselburgh clubs. He highlighted some key issues from the recent weekend District Conference in Dundee. He thought that the issue of Dementia could be a topic for particular discussion and follow up at a later date. A fuller report on the Conference will be discussed with Club members next week.

Bill Duncan introduced Alana Sommerville and Emily McConnell from Linlithgow Academy.  The two girls were sponsored by our Club to attend a recent Challenge Enterprise weekend. The girls gave a stimulating and informative talk of how the whole experience helped develop their leadership abilities. They highlighted a variety of guest speakers from different business backgrounds, as well as discussing various group exercises they had to undertake to challenge and develop their skills in how effective teams operate. The girls said the whole weekend significantly developed their understanding of business and sincerely thanked the Rotary Club for sponsoring the experience. In turn Bill Duncan thanked the co-operation of both School and participants.

2nd November 2015

President Peter Russell welcomed 32 members to the weekly meeting. Douglas Robertson gave an update on Lend with Care Initiative. The recent catering issues were highlighted and discussed with unanimous agreement that with immediate effect the Club moves its regular Monday meeting to Linlithgow Golf Club. Another reminder was issued about the Club's next social event - Scotch Hop on Saturday 14th November at 7.30pm in Linlithgow Academy. Tickets are available from any Club member or at the door price £8. President Elect John Reid gave advanced notice of the Club's 25th Anniversary Charter Dinner next year to be held on 16th September at Beancross.

Guest speaker was fellow Rotarian Chris Gunstone talking about his role as chairman of Burgh Beautiful. He gave an interesting talk reviewing the history and background of Burgh Beautiful and most importantly updating everyone on the current challenges Burgh Beautiful now faces especially with West Lothian Council deciding to withdraw all planting. He highlighted significant local response to the recent articles in the Black Bitch and believed there was considerable backing for retaining the planting of as many baskets and tubs as feasible.    He was at pains to point out that Burgh Beautiful was not a charity and was totally reliant on attracting an increasing army of volunteers ideally with a mix of skills. Chris enthused over Rotary's ever closer links with Burgh Beautiful which would be even stronger next year.  


26th October 2015

President Peter Russell opened the monthly business meeting of the Rotary Club of Linlithgow Grange and welcomed District Governor Andy Ireland. DG Ireland took the opportunity to remind members of the key features he regards as central to good friendship and core to the service which is core to Rotary Service - integrity, reliability, trust and compassion - and encouraged members to consider these aspects in all of our activities. As an example he drew attention to the impact of Rotary’s End Polio Now campaign, where the numbers of cases worldwide have fallen dramatically over the years the campaign has been running. However there have been 51 cases this year, and the work is not yet complete. The eradication of Polio he described as being a gift to the children of the world - and Be a Gift to the World is the Rotary motto for 2015 - 16. Linlithgow Grange has been challenged to be a gift to Linlithgow and the wider world in the year to come.
This presentation was followed by Committee reports, with the range of members work clearly outlined. On Saturday October 31st the prize winners of the Secondary Schools Writing Competition will be awarded by Janice Galloway as part of Linlithgow Book Festival and the Scotch Hop (in aid of End Polio Now) will be held at Linlithgow Academy on Saturday November 14th. Tickets are available from Club members and from The Line Gallery.

19th October 2015

President Elect John Reid welcomed members to the weekly meeting of the Rotary Club of Linlithgow Grange at which a report from the Lochside Working Party was heard. Much undergrowth and many overhanging branches were cleared by an enthusiastic group working on a lovely morning on Saturday 17th, which has enabled daylight to reach the ground in an area on the north side of the Loch. Historic Environment Scotland hope to be able to extend this area in the coming months. President Elect John drew members attention to World Polio Day on October 24th as a reminder of the work still to be done to eradicate this disease ( see information below), and also to the 3rd Rotary Peace Conference which will be held in Dumfries on November 26th. Rotarian Ian Walker gave an entertaining and informative talk on his experiences working as a minister in Zambia in the 1970’s with vivid slide illustration of the people and localities within which he worked. A parish 100 miles long and 12 miles wide encompassed worshippers from different tribal groups and languages and a range of customs and ways of life very different from those at home in Scotland. Ian gave a vivid introduction to the life he and his family led there, and a clear evocation of the fondness for both country and people which he retains today.

The next major event on the Club agenda is the Scotch Hop to be held at Linlithgow Academy on Saturday November 14th. The Wayne Robertson Band will play and the dances will be called by John Carswell. All ages and abilities are welcomed, and the proceeds will go towards Rotary’s Global Polio Eradication Programme. Tickets are available from any Club member or from The Line Gallery. All are welcome!

12th October 2015

President Peter Russell welcomed 30 members to our meeting. Our speaker was Alan Brown of Transition Linlithgow which is a Charity constantly looking for solutions to problems arising as a result of the ecology and climate change challenge. We have today the problem of carbon content available being 5 times that which we can afford to burn. We must  look for opportunities. .In the last few years the charity has assisted the establishment of orchards (eg Beechwood) and Allotments (Park Farm). The setting up of a local co-operative bringing fresh, local and ethically sourced food at a fair price has achieved 400 members. There is a long way to go but already EH49 FOOD is one of the new opportunities resulting from Transition Linlithgow. Other new ideas maximising the use of heat sources from solar panels and underground pipes are being actively pursued despite the impending withdrawal of central government funding.
                During the meeting Rory Cameron received a further Paul Harris Fellowship Award and Jean Long of Burgh Beautiful was presented with £50 to provide plants for the Tub outside M&CO. 1700 crocus were planted in the town last weekend and this Saturday members are being asked to assist in a working party at Linlithgow Loch, east end from 9am to 12 noon. Or next social function is the Scotch Hop on 14 November at Linlithgow Academy.

5th October 2015

President Peter Russell welcomed members and 4 guests from the Polmont Club to this week's meeting. He reminded all that our Charity Cheese and Wine Tasting will take place on Friday 9th Oct. from 7pm to 9pm at Linlithgow Academy. He then had the pleasant duty of presenting Gordon Young and Eddie Crawley with further Paul Harris Fellowship Awards.
Our speaker was Hector Woodhouse, a founder member of our club and a former Provost of the Deacon's Court. Following his appearance on BBC TV’s documentary on the 50th Anniversary of the Forth Road Bridge, Hector gave us a unique insight into his participation as student and graduate engineer from the beginning of construction to the opening of the bridge. Hector illustrated his talk with his own photographs and his personal stories. It is clear that Safety Legislation was very different in the 1960s!

When the new Queensferry Crossing is complete there will be the totally unique sight of three magnificent bridges completed in three different centuries with three different designs ===The Forth Rail Bridge (19th century) The Forth Road Bridge (20th century) and soon The Queensferry Crossing (21st century).

On behalf of the club Roy Redwood thanked Hector for his interesting and entertaining talk.


28th September 2015

President Peter Russell welcomed members to the monthly business meeting and was pleased to note the substantial contribution which members had donated for West Lothian Foodbank. Reports from the various committees were delivered, generating an overwhelming impression of a very busy autumn ahead. Recent marshalling support for the Linlithgow 10K and assistance with the ongoing Drain Marking project were appreciated, but upcoming ventures are also of note and will call upon member’s commitment.

Work is scheduled for the garden at Low Port on October 3rd, crocus planting around town for October 10th and work on the lochside path, assisting the Historic Scotland ranger, on October 17th. These practical activities in support of towards the wellbeing of Linlithgow are balanced by fundraising events in support of charities both locally and further afield.

On Friday October 9th the popular Wine and Cheese Tasting will take place at Linlithgow Academy - Grange Rotary, in collaboration with Ellie’s Cellar, have put together a wide range of wines to tickle every palate, and cheese will be on hand to stem any hunger pangs which develop throughout the evening. Tickets are available from any club member and from The Line Gallery. Proceeds from this event will support Mercy Ships. The Rotary Scotch Hop will follow on November 14th, again at Linlithgow Academy - tickets will be available from the sources above.

President Peter congratulated committees and members on a challenging full programme before bringing the meeting to a close.


21st September 2015

The Rotary Club of Linlithgow Grange celebrated its 24th Birthday at the Annual Charter Dinner held on Monday 21 September at the Richmond Park Hotel in Bo’ness.
President Peter Russell welcomed the guests and their wives; President Brian Glanville (Grangemouth) President Nigel Harris (Polmont), President Ian Gibson (Linlithgow & Bo’ness) and District Governor Andy Ireland who proposed a toast to The Rotary Club of Linlithgow Grange reminiscing that he first attended our Charter Dinner 7 years previously when he was President of Polmont.

A very pleasant evening was enjoyed by all and we look forward to our quarter century next year

Our next function is a Charity Wine Tasting on Friday 9 October in conjunction with Ellie's Cellar. The venue is Linlithgow Academy from 7 to 9pm in aid of Mercy Ships and Local Charities. Further information (and tickets) is available from any of our members


14th September 2015

President Peter Russell opened Monday evening's meeting of the Rotary Club of Linlithgow Grange by welcoming a number of guests; both non-Rotarian and Rotarian. The non-Rotarian guests were Andrew Benson, winner of one of our Sports Bursaries (Golf) and his father; Jamie Currie, our Rotary Youth Leadership Award candidate, his mother Alison and his grandmother, Mrs Mary Currie, a former President of Livingston Rotary Club; and Ian Carrol, District 1020 RYLA Coordinator. Following the meal, Andrew thanked the club for their support and updated the members on his progress during the season and the benefit he had gained from the Bursary. He was followed by Jamie who, in addition to thanking the membership for sponsoring him through the award at the Abernethy Trust Ardeonaig Outdoor Activity Centre on the side of Loch Tay, presented a slideshow of his activities during the week.

Our final speaker of the evening was Ian Carrol who presented a history and general overview of the RYLA Programme. He also touched on the difference he observed in Jamie over the week.

Our Youth Services Convenor, Ian Raven thanked our guests for their interesting presentations.


7th September 2015

On a sunny Monday evening members of Linlithgow Grange Rotary welcomed a strong contingent from the Rotary Club of Grangemouth both to participate in, and provide support for, the evening’s District Quiz. Past President of RIBI John Kenny was welcomed, as was John Binny as Quiz Master from the Rotary Club of Linlithgow and Bo’ness. After the usual business had been conducted and the meal enjoyed, furniture and electrics were re-arranged, the opposing teams sat down for the real business of the evening. Heather McInally, Alistair Rennie and Mike Smith were kept in order by team Captain Roy Redwood for Grange, whilst the visiting team of Stuart Comrie, Roger Salveson and Andrew Wilson were ably led by Nigel Harris. After five rounds and much hilarity, Grange unexpectedly scored all three points in the Rotary round and went on to win 27 : 15 and progress to the second round.

President Elect John Red thanked all competitors for their good humoured participation, on behalf of President Peter Russell, and looked forward to the next round.


31st August 2015

President Peter Russell opened Monday evening's meeting of the Rotary Club of Linlithgow Grange. Being the last Monday in the month, the meeting was the club's monthly business meeting at which the committee convenors delivered their progress reports on planned fund-raising and service activities. Forthcoming fund-raising events are the Charity Wine Tasting Evening to be held on Friday, 9th October, a very popular event which is now a regular feature of the club's calendar, and the annual Scotch Hop on Saturday, 14th November; both events taking place in Linlithgow Academy Hall.

Upcoming community activities will include further work with the Low Port Centre on Saturday, 3rd October and assisting Historic Scotland with coppice-clearing and path making. In the club's social calendar, the club's annual Charter Dinner will be held on Monday, 21st September at the Richmond Park Hotel, Bo'ness and it was confirmed the club’s Christmas Dinner will be held at Linlithgow Golf Club on Monday, 21st December.


24th August 2015

Instead of the usual Monday meeting, the Rotary Club of Linlithgow Grange ran its Charity Golf Tournament at Linlithgow Golf Course on Monday 24th August.  This event has raised close to £80,000 for local and national charities in the past twelve years. In this, its thirteenth year, the main beneficiary is St. Columba’s Hospice with ShelterBox being the other beneficiary.  St. Columba’s Hospice has been open since 1977, providing improved quality of life for people with progressive, far-advanced disease. In addition to the palliative care of patients, the Hospice works to support carers and families throughout the Lothians. These services are free but cost the Hospice £8 million a year to run. ShelterBoxes are large family-sized tents packed into crates along with survival equipment and shipped when needed to areas of disaster around the globe. 

The winning team in a closely fought contest was G-Fore with JMK coming second and Duncan’s Disasters, third.  Ian Shiells, Colin Fowler, Willie Roan and Jim Robertson of G-Fore, who also won the Yellow Ball competition, carried off the Magdalene Cup and vouchers for the golf club professional’s shop.  Prizes were also awarded to Tony Ralph for being nearest the pin at the 7th hole, Greg Muchan who was nearest the pin at the 17th, Graeme Scott who hit the longest drive on the 12th , John Ledward who was nearest the flag chipping out of the bunker at the 3rd and the lowest aggregate score at the 16th hole was by Done Listening. 

Louise Stirton, chief fundraiser for St. Columba’s Hospice, expressed her gratitude to the club and all those who participated.  Funds raised will go towards furnishing hotel-style double rooms to allow patients and partners to be together.

President-Elect John Reid on behalf of the club gave the vote of thanks to all participants, club members, Linlithgow Golf Club, their greenkeepers and catering staff who had made the day such a success.



17th August 2015

Vice President Harry Millar chaired his first meeting of the Rotary Club of Linlithgow Grange on Monday evening in the absence of both the President and the President-Elect. Hewelcomed our speaker for the evening, Christine McPherson.

Christine as well as leading National Trust for Scotland camps on St. Kilda is the archivist for the St. Kilda Club. She delivered a very interesting and enthralling talk on the archipelago of St Kilda, the remotest part of the British Isles, which lies approximately 40 miles west of Harris.

The main islands are Hirta with its exceptional cliffs and Boreray with its sea stacs and they were inhabited until 1930. St. Kilda is a Double World Heritage Site, firstly in recognition of its exceptional natural beauty and then for its marine environment and cultural significance. It was bequeathed to the National Trust in 1957 by the 5th Marquis of Bute with a small area of land on Hirta leased to the RAF for a radar tracking station.  It is renowned for its winds and mists and last year winds of up to 119mph blew away part of the listening post and its foundations. The layout of the 19th-century village remains to this day and over 1,400 stone-built cleitean for storing food and fuel are scattered all over the islands, and even on the sea stacs.NTS has re-roofed six of the original nineteen houses on Hirta and there is a church and war graves; three aircraft including a Sunderland flying boat and a Beaufighter crashed during the Second World War. Soay sheep run wild on Hirta and it has its own dandelion, its own unique mouse and wren, both of which are bigger than those on the mainland. St. Kilda can be visited by day trips from Skye and Harris and is visited by NTS cruise ships.

Gail Boardman thanked Christine on behalf of the club for fascinating and very informative presentation.


10th August 2015

President-Elect John Reid was in the chair at Monday evening's meeting of the Rotary Club of Linlithgow Grange in the absence of the president.

The speaker for the evening was club member and Sergeant-at-Arms, Mike Smith. His chosen subject for the evening was Energy, particularly the balance between the increased use of renewables and the need to replace the power lost when coal and nuclear plants are closed as planned. He presented a series of slides demonstrating the different energy sources; renewables, gas, oil and nuclear used in Scotland with their corresponding volumes or not, of carbon dioxide generated. Most sources of power actually produced more carbon dioxide by volume than the volume of the energy source itself, except for nuclear which produces no carbon dioxide. It also showed the need to stop burning coal, gas and oil in order to prevent the generation of greenhouse gases and that the only way forward was the increased use of nuclear power. However, he then went on to describe a technology using Thorium as a fuel in place of Uranium, which could operate in reactors which are inherently safe, even if all their cooling systems failed. They also produce a short-lived fraction of the radioactive waste for which nuclear plants are notorious. He confessed he was at a loss as to why there was no political interest in this technology, first demonstrated more than fifty years ago, unless it was a lack of understanding, or commercial interest in maintaining the status quo. However, countries such as India and Norway that have Thorium reserves have started to investigate the process further.

Mike’s talk raised some interesting technical questions, which to his credit, he endeavoured to answer, demonstrating his obvious research in the subject matter. Rotarian Ken MacKenzie thanked Mike for an interesting and stimulating talk.


3rd August 2015

The speaker for the evening was club member, Alistair Rennie, who, when he retired from the Civil Service started a small consultancy business which led to him becoming Custodian of The Scottish Barony Register. He thought it might be interesting to tell us a bit more about Baronies in Scotland, what they were and what they have become. Starting with a brief reference to the Feudal System which started in England and Scotland around the twelfth century and which depended on the concept that nobody could own land absolutely apart from the Crown, it was essentially a way of organising society through relationships which were created through ownership of interests in land and on which an almost complete government system could be based covering key areas of finance, defence and a judicial system.

Alistair went on to describe the history of how the system worked in Scotland covering how a grant of land carried with it the ability to hold both Civil and Criminal Courts, to administer the land on behalf of the Crown and provide military service. The jurisdictional elements were severely limited by the Heritable Jurisdiction (Scotland) Act 1746 and the land held in a Barony ceased to exist as a result of the Abolition of Feu Duty in 2004. However due to commercial concerns, Barony Titles still exist with the Lord Lyon King of Arms, Scotland’s supreme arbiter in matters heraldic retaining his jurisdiction over the social, ceremonial and armorial aspects.

Alistair’s talk raised some interesting questions including one on the Baron Baillie. Ian Raven thanked Alistair for a stimulating talk.   

27th July 2015

President Peter Russell opened Monday evening's meeting of the Rotary Club of Linlithgow Grange with the pleasant duty of awarding Club Secretary Phill Ratcliffe and Past President Jim Rae with Paul Harris Fellowships in appreciation of their services to Rotary.

 
The meeting was the club's monthly business meeting at which the committee convenors gave their progress reports on planned fund-raising and service activities. Ian Orr, organiser of the club's thirteenth Charity Golf Tournament on Monday 24th August 2015, confirmed that plans were now well advanced for the event and members who had agreed to donate raffle prizes were asked to bring them to next week's meeting. Two further fund-raising events were highlighted; the Wine Tasting Charity Evening arranged for Friday, 9th October, a very popular event which is now a regular feature of the club's calendar, and the annual Scotch Hop on Saturday, 14th November. An event in the club's social calendar was also confirmed, the club's annual Charter Dinner to be held on Monday, 21st September at the Richmond Park Hotel, Bo'ness.  

20th July 2015

Monday evening's meeting of the Rotary Club of Linlithgow Grange at the West Port Hotel was held in the usual location, the Palace Suite, following last week's transfer to the main restaurant while repairs were carried out in the Palace Suite.

President Peter Russell welcomed visiting Rotarians Richard and Marcia Tirpak from Plain Township, Canton, Ohio in Rotary District 1150 following which club banners and greetings were exchanged.
 
There was no speaker for the evening, instead club member Bill Duncan taxed the minds of the assembled members with a short quiz. The winning team, with a score of only eleven correct results out of fifteen, was awarded a prize of a box of chocolates which was consumed before the end of the meeting despite not having been shared with the 'losers' .

Ian Orr reminded members to continue promoting the club's thirteenth Charity Golf Tournament on Monday 24th August 2015, by continuing to encourage golfers to sign up for the remaining spaces at the event and to encourage the sponsorship of tees and greens. Anyone requiring further information about the event should email charitygolf@linlithgowgrange.org.uk or phone organiser Ian Orr on 0790 841 3265.

13th July 2015

Monday evening's meeting of the Rotary Club of Linlithgow Grange was held in the main restaurant at the West Port Hotel due to the hotel's Palace Suite being temporarily out of commission for repairs. The hotel management arranged for the club to hold the meeting in the private function area at the end of the main dining room, minimising any inconvenience to other diners. Due to the circumstances the speaker for the evening was postponed until a later date. 

Preparations are well underway for the club's thirteenth Charity Golf Tournament on Monday 24th August 2015, predominantly in aid of St Columba's Hospice. Members are encouraged to continue inviting golfers to sign up for the remaining spaces at this event at a cost of £140 per team of four, and to encourage the sponsorship of tees and greens from only £50. Anyone requiring further information about the event should email charitygolf@linlithgowgrange.org.uk or phone organiser Ian Orr on 0790 841 3265.

Next week's Rotary club meeting will be held in the usual location, the Palace Suite at the West Port Hotel. 

6th July 2015

Monday evening's meeting of the Rotary Club of Linlithgow Grange was the first meeting of President Peter Russell's presidential year and he was delighted to welcome two visiting Rotarians on vacation, Greg and Kathleen Boswell from the Rotary Club of Sedalia, Missouri (District 6080).

Kathleen and Greg were the speakers for the evening, their subject being a Rotary project to commemorate their club's upcoming 100th anniversary. Their home town of Sedalia was founded in 1860, the year before the start of the American civil war, and the founders had the foresight to ensure the railroad from the east reached their town, forming a rail head. Following the Civil War, large Texas cattle drives herded longhorns north, up the eastern edge of the Indian Territories to reach the railheads in Missouri for shipment east to the packinghouses. Maverick cattle worth only two dollars in local Texas markets could be sold for twenty or even forty dollars a head up north at the railheads and enterprising Texans decided it was worth the risk to round 'em up and head 'em out across up to 1,000 miles of wild, often lawless country to the railheads up north, Sedalia's being one of the earliest railheads at the end of the drive.

The project committee's inspired decision was to create a monument to the cattle drives and commissioned a sculpture depicting the "end of the trail" featuring a one and one-quarter life-size bronze sculpture depicting a cowboy herding longhorn cattle. As interest in the project grew it was decided that the monument should be placed in a railroad setting and further funds were raised to create a location with full size replicas of an 1870s cattle car, water tower, windmill and locomotive set in a landscape of native prairie grasses and flowers. The project, which initially started with twenty thousand dollars raised by the local Rotary Club, became a one million dollar, state-funded project which has resulted in a prime tourist attraction for their town symbolising the history of the cattle drives and recognising the prosperity it brought Sedalia to the extent that the town later became known as 'Train Town USA'.

Alan Faulds thanked Kathleen and Greg on behalf of the Club for a unique and informative talk.

29th June 2015

Monday's meeting of the Rotary Club of Linlithgow Grange was the Handover Dinner marking the start of the new Rotary year. Club members and partners were joined by Past RIBI President Gordon McInally and District Governor Andy Ireland. President Stephen Blake thanked his committee convenors and their teams for their hard work in fulfilling the club's very full programme of fund-raising events and service activities throughout the past year, all the more praiseworthy as most had been new to the convenor's role.

A slideshow of all the activities and events of the past year prepared by Gordon Young highlighted the achievements of President Stephen's successful year in office which formally ended with the chain of office being passed over to incoming President Peter Russell.

In newly appointed President Peter's acceptance speech he outlined his plans for the continued development of the club and performed his first duty by presenting the chain of office to President Elect John Reid and Vice President Harry Millar.

22nd June 2015

Each year at this time, the Rotary Club of Linlithgow Grange gathers to hear the plans of the club's committees for the next presidential term. Monday evening's Assembly was co-chaired by the outgoing President, Stephen Blake and President-Elect Peter Russell who received reports from his incoming committee convenors outlining a very full programme for the coming year for Linlithgow Grange Rotary Club with a wide range of fund-raising events, service activities and social occasions. A number of public fund-raising events are already planned, the first being the club's main fund-raiser, the annual charity Golf Am/Am on 24th August at Linlithgow Golf Club. Organiser Ian Orr confirmed preparations were well underway but reminded members to promote the sponsorship of tees and greens. Ian can be contacted at charitygolf@linlithgowgrange.org.uk or on 07908 413 265. Other events planned include a wine-tasting evening on 9th October, the Scotch Hop on 14th November, a coffee morning on 20th February and a prize Bingo night on 20th April. The Festival of Voices event which proved so successful when it was introduced for the first time in March this year is being repeated next year on 2nd March.

Committee convenors confirmed that the club's support for community events would continue this year with club members marshalling at the Linlithgow 10k race in September, torch-lighting for the Advent procession in November and work parties throughout the year assisting Historic Scotland's ranger team with litter-picking and helping to manage planted areas around Linlithgow Loch. An increasingly wide range of youth events is also planned this year with the cooperation of schools in the area including the Young Writer competition for S1-2, the Jim Clark Essay competition for P7 and the annual Primary Schools Quiz. The Young Photographer, Young Technologist and Young Golfer competitions will continue and a Primary Schools music festival is also being planned.

15th June 2015

At Monday evening's meeting of the Rotary Club of Linlithgow Grange, Paul Charlton, Group Scout Leader of the 4th West Lothian Scout Group, was on hand to receive a cheque for £200 from club president   Stephen Blake.  This sum would be added to the pot for the refurbishment of the McKinnon Hall, the scout hall in Linlithgow Bridge.  For a number years, the hall suffered from lack of investment and the resulting deterioration showed in dampness, a leaky roof and, in general, a careworn appearance.  Now, thanks to the energies and fund-raising efforts of the leaders, scouts and their parents, not to forget the significant grants that have been successfully applied for, the McKinnon Hall is set to become once more the community hall set in the heart of the community of Linlithgow Bridge.  As Paul ruefully pointed out when expressing thanks to the club for their donation, "More 'Grand Designs' rather than 'Changing Rooms' ".  Set to be taken over to the builders immediately after the Linlithgow Gala Day when it is used by the participants, the newly restored hall will be available for public hire by late Autumn. 

Being the last "normal" meeting hosted by President Stephen in his presidential year before handing over to his successor, Peter Russell, in two weeks time, Stephen was delighted to present the District 1020 Inter-Club Quiz Salver to quiz team leader, Tom Brown.  Members and public were reminded that the date for the club's charity golf tournament was fast approaching as it takes place on Monday 17th August at Linlithgow Golf Club.  This year the main beneficiary is St Columba's Hospice.  Teams of four cost £140 to enter including a meal at the end of the round but can enjoy a discount of £20 if paid in full by the end of June.  Tournament Organiser Ian Orr would be pleased to supply more details and can be contacted at charitygolf@linlithgowgrange.org.uk or by phoning Ian on 0790 841 3265.

8th June 2015

At Monday evening's meeting of the Rotary Club of Linlithgow Grange, Vice President John Reid, in the absence of the president and president-elect, had the pleasure of presenting two cheques, each for £200, for the promotion of young sports talents to rugby player Ross Dunbar and to the youth section of West Lothian Cricket Club, received by Tom Williamson. 

John welcomed Johnathan Moore, president of Whitburn Rotary Club and Grace Macdonald, the speaker for the evening. Grace was seconded as Head of Communities from Falkirk Council to the partnership that was responsible for the Helix Park and the Kelpies. At a total cost of £43 million with the Lottery Fund donating their largest amount to date of £25 million, this project to turn waste ground to a fantastic open space demanded that the public be kept fully informed. 

Grace was tasked with keeping the locals engaged and onside throughout the period of construction. This she did by regular bus tours of the area, "Walk and Talk" trips with groups, and visits to clubs and local organisations to advise them of progress and works yet to be undertaken. Throughout the presentation, her engrossing insights were enhanced by a number of aerial photographs and two professionally produced videos showing the layout for the extensive 350 hectare site which is the equivalent of 95 football pitches. It was with obvious pride that Grace also told the story of the design and construction of iconic Kelpies, a showpiece feature that brings many thousands of visitors to the area. The parkland is now well used with the emphasis on improving healthy lifestyle in what was previously one of Scotland's blackspots. Early indicators are already demonstrating how the paths are busy with cyclists, walkers and families. Grace recommended a walk to a little know sculpture at Abbotshaugh in North Helix called "Love and Kisses". 

Alex Robertson thanked Grace on behalf of the club for this fascinating and very informative talk.

1st June 2015

Vice President John Reid was in the chair at Monday evening's meeting of the Rotary Club of Linlithgow Grange in the absence of the president and president-elect.  He was pleased to welcome four Rotarian visitors from Grangemouth club as well as a founder member, Neil Miller, guest of Ian Raven. 

The speaker for the evening was local historian and raconteur, Bruce Jamieson, whose topic for the after dinner speech was D-Day.  As one has come to expect, Bruce's delivery was pithy, well informed and in turns humorous and thought-provoking as he successfully managed to cram the "Longest Day" into a 20 minute presentation.  He had led a successful school trip on the 50th anniversary of D-Day in 1994 and last year,thought that on its 70th anniversary he would repeat the field trip this time leading a group of adults.  The appropriately-sized group of 44 people, was whimsically called The Friends And Happy Revellers Together, whose acronym for the eagle-eyed spells the German word for "excursion".  The writer will leave it at that.  The bus trip he organised visited all the main sites along the Normandy beaches as well as the national war cemeteries of Britain and the Commonwealth, the US and the Germans.  It was a very fruitful trip filled with adventure and not a little misadventure as his speaker's host and fellow traveller, Ian Raven, could attest.  Ian gave the well-deserved vote of thanks for an excellent talk. 

Slots for the forthcoming Charity Golf Tournament are filling up satisfactorily with teams of four paying £120 to benefit from the offer of a £20 discount which runs out on June 30th.  More details and booking form are available from the organiser, Ian Orr, on 0790 841 3265 or by emailing charitygolf@linlithgowgrange.org.uk.  The major beneficiary of the golfers' generosity this year will be St Columba's Hospice, Edinburgh. 

25th May 2015

Monday evening's meeting of the Rotary Club of Linlithgow Grange was the last business meeting of the current presidential year. President Stephen Blake gave a resume of the recent District Assembly which was also attended by next year's club council members, a number of which gave reports too. The structures and hierarchies of Rotary are well-established and essential for such a massive global organisation of over a million Rotarians. Although each club has a lot of autonomy, the district assembly is a vital way in which clubs are given direction. The committee convenors attending are also given insights into best practices and learn about approved national and international charities to consider supporting.  

However, much of the good that Rotary does is nearer to home and this was evidenced within the business meeting by donations of £200 to the 4th West Lothian Scout Troop towards the necessary upkeep of McKinnon Hall, £200 to West Lothian Cricket Club in support of their youth section and the announcement of two sports bursaries, each of £200, to two budding stars, Ross Dunbar (rugby) and Andrew Benson (golf). 

The Rotary year may be coming to a conclusion but the good work goes on with announcements of fund-raising events for the next twelve months already in the pipeline such as the popular Wine Tasting event on Friday 9th October, the Rotary Scotch Hop on Saturday 14th November, the hugely successful Festival of Voices "in a similar but different vein" on 2nd March 2016 (all events in Linlithgow Academy) and the Rotary Coffee Morning on Saturday 20th February 2016 in Cross House. 

More imminently is the forthcoming Charity Golf Tournament on Monday 24th August at Linlithgow Golf Club with the major beneficiary being St Columba's Hospice, Edinburgh. Preparations are now well underway and teams of four wishing to participate are encouraged to sign up to take advantage of the early payment discount on offer. The cost is £140 per team of four which includes a meal after their round although a £20 discount may be deducted if booked and paid for before 30 June 2015. For more details, or to inquire about sponsorship of tees and greens at only £50, please email charitygolf@linlithgowgrange.org.uk or phone organiser Ian Orr on 0790 841 3265. 

Finally, and very importantly, President Stephen had the great pleasure of awarding a Paul Harris Fellowship for service given to Rotary's own charity, The Rotary Foundation, by George Stewart, founder member of the Rotary Club of Linlithgow Grange, an honour that was warmly applauded by the club members.

18th May 2015

President Stephen Blake welcomed members 'back to base' at Monday evening's meeting of the Rotary Club of Linlithgow Grange following last week's "Scatter Week". The objective of said "Scatter Week" is for members to spread their wings and visit another Rotary club for fellowship and to find out what new and innovative events and projects are being delivered by their members. Entertaining and informative Scatter reports were given by groups and individuals who had risen to the challenge.

President Stephen had the enjoyable task of presenting Rotarian Thom Riddell with a Paul Harris Fellowship (+3) for his contributions to the work of the Rotary Foundation. Thereafter the club quiz team took the lime-light having won the silver salver at the Rotary inter-club quiz event.

Not to be outdone, Ian Raven, Youth Services, thanked all who had given assistance at the recent Primary Schools Quiz area final held at Linlithgow Primary School. Having won the local schools quiz, the Linlithgow Primary School team had a tough time against seven other schools who equally had won at their own local event. In the early rounds it was 'nip and tuck' with only four points of a difference between all teams, however the sure and steady performance of the Linlithgow Primary team pulled through in the latter rounds to secure top spot. Well done to all team members and we wish them well as they progress to the District finals in June.

Members were reminded that preparations are now underway for the club's thirteenth Charity Golf Tournament on Monday 24th August 2015, this time predominantly in aid of St Columba's Hospice. To date, over £75,000 has been raised for major good causes through this annual tournament and golfers are now invited to sign up for the 2015 event. The cost is £140 per team of four although a £20 discount may be deducted if booked and paid before 30th June 2015. For more details, or to inquire about sponsorship of tees and greens at only £50, please email charitygolf@lithgowgrange.org.uk or phone organiser Ian Orr on 0790 841 3265.

4th May 2015

President Stephen Blake welcomed District Governor Elect Andy Ireland to Monday evening's meeting of the Rotary Club of Linlithgow Grange. Andy's visit was purely social - one Rotarian visiting a fellow Rotary club - prior to taking on his over-filled diary when made District Governor in late June. 

President Stephen also welcomed the after-dinner speaker, Andrew Jones, who is a lead figure in the group of Linlithgow enthusiasts which is researching the effects of the Great War in the town through the medium of advertising in the Linlithgowshire Gazette. Andrew's account was facinating. In the early days of the war, panic buying and food restrictions caused a hike in prices. However in the lines of one advert the public were assured that "The War will soon be over and prices will return to normal". In the first year in particular, the choice of language used in these adverts was in turn quaint, unintentionally amusing, tasteless, and, ultimately, in the light of ensuing events, objectionable with phrases like "slaughter of prices" and "sacrifice of profit" and "battles" and "flags flying", etc being employed. By the second year, with the mounting dead and return of wounded,the tone became much more respectful; one advertiser encouraging the purchase of cigarette lighters to send in the gift parcel to the family members at the Front, "wristlet watches" as distinct from "alberts" were recommended gifts for soldiers to wear.

Andrew had many insightful anecdotes that gripped his audience throughout and David Timperley proffered the club's vote of thanks for an interesting aspect on the "War to End All Wars" and significant contribution to the social history of the period.

On another topic entirely, preparations are now underway for the club's thirteenth Charity Golf Tournament on Monday 24th August 2015, this time predominantly in aid of St Columba's Hospice. To date, over £75,000 has been raised for major good causes through this annual tournament and golfers are now invited to sign up for the 2015 event. The cost is £140 per team of four although a £20 discount may be deducted if booked and paid for before 30 June 2015. For more details or to inquire about sponsorship of tees and greens at only £50, please email charitygolf@linlithgowgrange.org.uk or phone organiser Ian Orr on 0790 641 3265.  

27th April 2015

President welcomed District Governor Alistair Marquis to Monday evenings meeting of the Rotary Club of Linlithgow Grange.  He was there to personally award a Paul Harris Fellowship to club member Eddie Crawley for his unstinting service as auditor to the District, a role he has carried out quietly and with efficiency for many years.  The club afforded Eddie warm applause for his distinction of this, his second Paul Harris Fellowship. 

President Stephen was able to regain some of the spotlight when he awarded a cheque for 100 to Elise Rohan, a sixth student at Linlithgow Academy, who is shortly about to embark on a Project Trust gap year to Chile where she will teach English to under-privileged children near Santiago.  The club wished her well in her venture and looked forward to her giving us a talk about her experiences upon her return. 

As this was a business meeting, reports were delivered by committee convenors.  Treasurer Alistair Rennie was pleased to announce that the Prize Bingo ran by the club last Wednesday in Linlithgow Rose Club had resulted in a profit of 950 which will be used for international and local good causes. 

Additionally, the treasurer was instructed to pay 600 to one of Rotarys emergency disaster initiatives such as ShelterBox (family sized tents and survival gear) or AquaBox water filtering units in respect of an appeal from headquarters following the earthquake disaster in Nepal. 

Ian Raven, convenor of Youth Service Committee was pleased to announce that District had chosen Linlithgow Primary School as the venue for the area heat of the Inter-Primary School Quiz on April 14th with the pupils from the school representing the town. 

20th April 2015

President Stephen Blake of the Rotary Club of Linlithgow Grange had the great pleasure at Monday evening's meeting of presenting cheques to two worthy recipients who represented each end of the age spectrum.  Kirsty MacRae, a sixth year student at Linlithgow Academy, who is shortly going on a gap year with Project Trust to the Dominican Republic to teach English, received a donation of 100 towards her trip.  Margaret McTavish, who represented Linlithgow Link, received a cheque for 250 towards the cost of the summer outing for those who are normally housebound or too infirm to go out on their own.  Linlithgow Link offers a valuable befriending service to the elderly and housebound in the town and the annual bus trip is one of the highlights on their calendar. 

A report was given on behalf of the Community and Vocational Committee concerning the litter-pick around the lochside that took place on Saturday 18th April.   Grateful thanks was extended to all the volunteers who turned out to make the paths around the loch and its environs litter-free. 

Thereafter, the club's Annual General meeting took place at which reports were delivered by each of the committee convenors, the accounts were presented and approved and the election of the club's governing council for 2015/16 was held.  It was agreed that Rory Cameron, Derek Chambers, John Leitch, Chris Long, Ian Raven and Douglas Robertson would form the council together with the club officers already elected, namely Peter Russell as president, John Reid and Harry Millar who are president-elect and vice president respectively, club secretary Phill Ratcliffe and treasurer Iain Keter. 

13th April 2015

President Stephen Blake welcomed club members back from the Easter break at Monday evening's meeting and received a report on the lochside cleanup that will take place this coming Saturday, April 18th, when a number of community organisations including the Rotary Club of Linlithgow Grange will gather to do a litter pick around the loch and its environs for Burgh Beautiful. 

The International committee updated club members on the good progress being made for the forthcoming Prize Bingo which is being held in Linlithgow Rose Social Club on Wednesday 22 April with "Eyes Down" at 7.30pm.  Tickets for a night of guaranteed fun are only 1.50 which covers the cost of tea or coffee, sandwiches and sweet treats.  The tickets can be bought at the door but to avoid disappointment, the public may purchase them in advance from The Line Gallery, 238 High Street, Linlithgow.  All profits are shared between community projects both in Linlithgow and abroad. 

The after dinner speaker was club member Rev Ian Walker who was thanked by his host, President-Elect Peter Russell, for graciously agreeing to stand in for the arranged speaker who had called off at the last minute due to illness.  Ian regaled the club with many humourous anecdotes from his time as an Officer Cadet in the Merchant Navy. 

Born in Aberdeen, then a hub for fishing and sea-going vessels in the pre-oil era, Ian left school in his 4th year and went to the Robert Gordon Institute to complete his education becoming a cadet officer.  After qualification, he joined the British Indian Steam Navigation Company and sailed on a relatively new ship, the Nardanna, to Mombasa.  Life was tough on this vessel for he and the other cadet had to share a servant.  However,  the Chief Officer warmed to young Ian since both he and Ian's mother hailed from the same area in Aberdeen and Ian looked back on this period of service with fond memories. 

Thereafter, he was appointed to the East of Suez service on the "nut-run" on a much older, noisier vessel which was half the speed of the Nardanna.  He served on this ship for a number of years taking cashew nuts from Mombasa to Bombay for processing and packing.  After an essential break back home due to a family bereavement, he returned to Mombasa with his new wife, Shona, and recalled their time there with mixed feelings, mostly good but with tongue firmly in cheek about the hairier moments. 

Throughout his talk, he had members roaring with laughter and his off-the-cuff delivery was well received.  He could have told us much more, he said, but broke off the story about his commission on one ship that took caustic soda one way, was hosed down thoroughly to be then filled with coal dust.  Coal dust when mixed with a little water can become highly explosive, he told members.  Just to be sure, Dynagel was stored in the front hold.  Perhaps it was this experience that turned him to religion?  Peter thanked him sincerely, not only for his entertaining talk but for agreeing to speak at such short notice and assured members, Ian would be allowed to finish his tales. 

30th March 2015

The Rotary Club of Linlithgow Grange held its monthly business meeting chaired by President Stephen Blake. Treasurer Alastair Rennie advised club members of the amount of monies raised at recent events and of the list of suggested additional disbursements .

Members approved disbursements that  include a 600 contribution towards Shelterbox Repair Kits for use in the cyclone hit island of Vanuatu. This will fund five repair kits that provide tools and other items for islanders to use in repairing their storm damaged homes. There will be three 100 donations to local individuals persuing international activities plus a 250 donation will be made to Linlithgow Link to help further the great work this group does in the town. 200 is to be given to the Lend With Care initiative in South Africa - a facility whereby entrepreneurs can access low cost loans to set up home based businesses.The club will again support Challenge Enterprise and fund two youth delegates at 160 per delegate. Marketing, PR and Communications asked the club to contribute 50 towards the procurement of a large display backdrop, the use of which will be shared amongst Rotary clubs in the central area.

The Community and Vocational committee report from Chris Long celebrated the great success of the recent Festival of Voices event held at Linlithgow Academy. Such an enjoyable evening was had that many were asking for this event to be repeated next year, and since that evening the club has been approached by other choirs who now wish to take part having heard how much fun the event was. The club thanks all the performers for making the evening a great Festival of Voices. The funds collected from this event were primarily for the Sally Magnusson Playlist for Life initiative, which aims to help dementia sufferers by the provision music and songs on iPod/MP3 players. Over 1000 will be donated to Playlist for Life whilst the remainder will be used for local causes.

The club thanks the townsfolk who supported this and the recent coffee morning event (which raised over 800) without whom these disbursements would not be possible.

Ian Orr updated the members on progress in planning the annual AM/AM golf competition to be held at Linlithgow Golf Club in August of this year. Funds raised at this event will be given to the St Columba's Hospice, Edinburgh, their purpose being the improvement in the quality of life for people with progressive, far advanced disease and the provision of support for their families.

On behalf of Youth Services, Roy Redwood advised that applications for the annual sports bursaries, due to close on 1st April, had been received from club and individuals and that these would be reviewed following the close date.

The current focus for the International Committee is the running of the annual Bingo Evening in support of local and international causes. Rotarian Douglas Robertson thanked club members for their generosity so far in providing prizes for the tombola, and bingo house and line prizes for this event being held in Linlithgow Rose Club on Wednesday 22nd April, eyes down at 7.30 pm. A great night of fun is promised for only 1.50 which covers the cost of tea/coffee and sandwiches and cake. Tickets can be obtained from any Grange Rotary member or at The Line Gallery.

President Stephen Blake closed the meeting thanking Rory Cameron from the Membership Committee for his organising of the successful partners weekend at Kentallan - enjoyed by one and all. 

23rd March 2015

The Rotary Club of Linlithgow Grange played host to a zone meeting of the district and enjoyed the company of a number of Rotarian visitors from nearby clubs as a consequence. 

Rotarian Ken MacKenzie gave a short report about the highly successful regional final of "Youth Speaks" held in the Academy the previous Saturday, 21st March.  "Youth Speaks" is a speaking competition rather than a debating contest with teams of three from as far south as Hartlepool, all winners of their local area events, fighting for first place in two age groupings.The overall standard was so good the judges had to ask for extra time in their deliberations! 

The winner of the intermediate competition was Hutchesons' Grammar School, Glasgow with their topic "We should all be feminists".  The senior winner was the High School of Glasgow and their topic was "Learning to teach; teaching to learn".  The finalists now go on to Brentwood for the RIBI National final on the 10th May. 

Ken also strongly recommended club members and public to attend Rotary's Young Musician of the Year regional final, which is on Sunday 29th March in the Royal Conservatoire, Glasgow where two local young people will be participating. 

Rotarian Douglas Robertson thanked club members for their generosity so far providing prizes for the tombola, and bingo house and line prizes for the Prize Bingo which the Rotary Club of Linlithgow Grange is holding in Linlithgow Rose Club on Wednesday 22nd April, eyes down at 7.30 pm.  A great night of fun - and, hopefully, luck - is promised for only 1.50 which covers the cost of tea/coffee and sandwiches, etc.  Tickets can be obtained from any Grange Rotary member. 

16th March 2015

Last Monday evening's meeting of the Rotary Club of Linlithgow Grange was a social affair with members and partners gathering together for a meal and a light-hearted photo-competition for added interest.  The theme was "Light" and many excellent variations were entered into competition which was won by President Stephen Blake himself, with Rory Cameron in second place and Paul Birrell and Harry Millar earning joint third in a closely fought competition. 

Retired photographer, Rotarian Gordon Young, gave a brief overview of how to improve one's results whilst the adjudication was undertaken and, in time-honoured fashion, a good time was had by all. 

For all that Monday evening was social event, a coupe of formal announcements were made about forthcoming events.  Most imminently is the Regional Final of "Youth Speaks" being held in Linlithgow Academy on Saturday 21st March at 1pm.  This high profile competition is aimed at improving young people's presentation skills and will feature teams of three pupils in two age groups, 11-13 and 14 - 17 year olds respectively, from as far afield as the Shetlands to York.  It is open to the public who are most welcome to watch.  Fiona Hyslop MSP, Sheila Fraser and Karen Jarvis have agreed to be the judges which, by all accounts on past performances, will be no easy task such is the quality of the short presentations and each speaker's ability to field a question from the floor. 

The other intimation referred to the imminent deadline for the two Sports Bursaries, each of 200, which will be awarded to young sports talents to help develop their skills and can be used for such things as training, travel expenses or equipment.  Further details are available from the co-ordinator, Roy Redwood, at royredwood@gmail.com but prospective applicants are advised to hurry as the closing date for applications is Wednesday April 1st. 

9th March 2015

President Stephen Blake of the Rotary Club of Linlithgow Grange welcomed three members of Falkirk Rotary Club to Monday evening's meeting as well as Martin Gray, Ranger Manager for Historic Scotland, who was to be the after-dinner speaker as guest of Rotarian Chris Gunstone. 

Before that, President Stephen heard various reports from members about the intensely busy period the club has at this time of the year supporting Rotary's youth activities in the area.  Ken Mackenzie spoke in eloquent praise of the Young Musician Competition final that took place in Napier University's Craiglockhart Conference Centre.  Ian Raven was delighted to announce that the recently held Young Technologist Competition was one by Linlithgow Academy in the Foundation and S5-S6 levels and Bo'ness Academy, who hosted the event, won the S3-S4 level.  Chris Long informed the club that he had sent book tokens to the worthy winners of the "Odd Item Out" competition that had enjoyed the support of 28 shops on the High Street and had stumped quite a few of the many entrants.  Stephen himself announced that he had the pleasure of presenting the Jim Clark Literacy Trophy to the winner at Linlithgow Primary School. 

Ken MacKenzie urged club members to support the forthcoming "Youth Speaks" final (seniors level) at Linlithgow Academy at which teams from the Northern Isles to York will be competing to deliver the best presentation working as a team. 

Finally, Roy Redwood reminded everyone of the deadline of April 1st for applicants for the two Sports Bursaries each of 200 which is up for grabs for young sports talents to help further their skills.  Applications can be made directly to Roy himself at royredwood@gmail.com

After all that, our speaker, Martin Gray, managed to get a word in and delivered a very informative talk about Linlithgow Loch and the challenges that constantly face himself and his team in improving the water quality as well as the environment around the loch itself.  He thanked the club for their practical support in clearing pathways, helping to thin out some trees which were arbitrarily planted at the time the motorway was constructed and begin to construct and provide a habitat for bee-friendly meadow flowers all of which will improve the bio-diversity of the lochside.  Opening out the Hatchery Burn, which the club had undertaken a couple of years ago, had already brought dividends.  He appreciated the assistance of other bodies who have formed a Catchment Management Group to understand and help counter the inflow of nutrients.  This however is a constant battle which ultimately needs a lot of money, something that Martin ruefully admits is not easy to come by. The ongoing problems such as that the loch is shrinking,  its shallowness causing problems with temperature fluctuations, and urban contamination means that Historic Scotland Rangers have much to do now and in the future.  It is just as well, therefore, that Martin obviously loves his work.  On behalf of the club, Chris Gunstone thanked Martin for his knowledge of his subject and his dedication.  

2nd March 2015

President Stephen Blake welcomed two prospective members to Monday evening's meeting of the Rotary Club of Linlithgow Grange as well as Gill Fawcett, the after-dinner speaker, guest of Jim Rae. 

Gill is Chair of Linlithgow Community Development Trust (LCDT) which was founded in 2012 to develop, or provide where none exist, facilities, activities and services in the town which would meet the needs of the community across the wide spectrum of ages and interests and generally improve the quality of life of its residents.  Gill identified a number of examples which exemplified their objectives and used them as illustrations as to what Community Development Trusts can achieve when working with other organisations.  The critical consideration however is that any enterprise undertaken must ultimately be self-sustaining. 

The most exciting and ambitious project that the LCDT is pursuing at present is the expansion of the facilities at Kettilstoun Mains sports and leisure complex into the surrounding 18 acre site.  The design concept includes a community hub building, football pitches, athletics area, skateboard park and cycling facilities and has been developed in conjunction with organisations such as West Lothian Leisure, Scottish Cycling, Scottish Athletics and Scottish Canoeing to bring about a unique canal side social enterprise development.  It is anticipated that the building will provide a home for various community groups such as playgroups and Pilates classes.  The Linlithgow Reed Band has expressed an interest in using the planned function room for band practice. 

Gill said that she was quite blatantly making a "sales pitch" to Rotarians for the LCDT is seeking to sign up as many members of the community as possible to the Trust.  Membership, which is free, is a positive indicator to funding providers that what the Trust is planning engages with the local community.  Membership need be no more than an expression of this support by enrolment - it is up to individuals how active or passive a member they wish to be - and members will be kept informed about progress on a number of issues.  Enrolment can be undertaken online at the Trust's website, www.trust-linlithgow.org.uk, or by collecting a form from the library.  It was evident from the question and answer session that Gill had fully engaged with Rotarians present and was rewarded with a hearty vote of thanks. 

23rd February 2015

President Stephen Blake of the Rotary Club of Linlithgow Grange welcomed members and guests to Monday evening's meeting which was an Open Night for potential new members interested in knowing more about Rotary and also the Clubs monthly business meeting. Before the buffet meal President Stephen gave a short presentation on the local, national and international work of Rotary, its aims and achievements and the many opportunities for members to serve the community. President Stephen emphasised the satisfaction that comes from helping worthwhile causes and also the fun and social aspects of Rotary membership.

The social side of membership was expanded upon by Rory Cameron who explained the work of the Membership Service committee, responsible for the Clubs social and sporting fixtures and partners evenings. Chris Long outlined the ongoing work of the Community and Vocational Service committee, responsible for services to the community, their next event being A Festival of Voices on 4th March. Ian Raven explained the work of the Youth Service committee which is responsible for establishing strong relationships with schools and youth organisations through competitions and challenges for school pupils and particularly the Rotary Youth Leadership Awards (RYLA). Douglas Robertson represented the International committee whose aims are to raise awareness and effectiveness of international community service and he also explained the initiatives Linlithgow Grange Club is involved in.

President Stephen thanked the many guests for attending and encouraged them to take the opportunity to talk to members, have a look at display stands showing the scope of Rotary work at home and abroad, and invited them to come along to future Monday evening meetings to get a better understanding of the work of the Club.

President Stephen closed the meeting by reminding everyone that tickets were still available for the concert "A Festival of Voices" in Linlithgow Academy on March 4th at 7.30 pm. The income from every ticket sold will go to the charity founded by Sally Magnusson, Playlist for Life, to benefit Alzheimer sufferers as well as other, more local, good causes. The evening promises a very varied mix of music from The Proclaimers to John Rutter, traditional Scottish songs and more modern compositions and promises to be a great concert thanks to the two performing choirs of the Linlithgow Ladies Choirs and Ferry Blend, and the supporting acts of Cockleroy and the melodious Gillian Strang. Tickets at 8 are on sale at Far From the Madding Crowd, The Line Gallery, members of either choir or by contacting Chris Long at rotaryevents@linlithgowgrange.org.uk 

16th February 2015

President Stephen Blake of the Rotary Club of Linlithgow Grange welcomed the president of Linlithgow's other Rotary club, Linlithgow and Bo'ness, to Monday evening's meeting, eminent surgeon Ian Wallace, now retired.  Ian was there as the guest speaker and reviewed the history of surgery in a fascinating talk.  Trained almost 50 years ago at Edinburgh, he is a Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons which was originally founded in 1505 as the Craft Guild of Barbers and Surgeons and was chartered a year later by James IV. 

Summed up by the quote from Isaac Newton, Ian said that his practice as a surgeon was "standing on the shoulders of giants" and along his historical route told the story of the contributions of Hippocrates, Galen of Pergamon, Michaelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci and others who did much to find out how the human body functioned to the more recent times of the little-known Ignaz Semmelweis as well as James Young Simpson and Joseph Lister who progressed successful outcomes in surgery by the discovery and promotion of hygiene and anaesthesia.   Finally, Ian reflected on the massive steps during his working lifetime as a surgeon with the advances in medicine and technology.  However, he pointed out that becoming a surgeon was still an apprenticeship where many, many hours of learning and practice were integrated.  Indeed, to that end, Ian was shortly to return to Jerusalem to once again pass on his skill to medical students there.  On behalf of the club, Ian was warmly thanked by Rory Cameron, his host.  

Ian Raven, convenor of Youth Services, advised the club that everything was in place for the annual Coffee Morning in St Michael's Church Hall this Saturday, 21st February, from 10 am until noon where visitors can enjoy home baking and a tea or coffee for only 2.  Chris Long, convenor of the Community Services committee was happy to tell the club, that much of the expenses of the forthcoming concert, "A Festival of Voices" in Linlithgow Academy of March 4th at 7.30 pm, had been underwritten by the generosity of sponsors and advertisers which meant that the income from every ticket sold would go to the charity founded by Sally Magnusson, Playlist For Life, to benefit Alzheimer sufferers as well as other, more local, good causes.  With a very varied mix of music from The Proclaimers to John Rutter, traditional Scottish songs and more modern compositions, it promises to be a great concert thanks to the two performing choirs of the Linlithgow Ladies Choirs and Ferry Blend, and the supporting acts of Cockleroy and the melodious Gillian Strang.  Tickets at 8 were on sale at Far From The Madding Crowd, The Line Gallery, members of either choir or by contacting Chris Long at rotaryevents@linlithgowgrange.org.uk

Finally President Stephen Blake extended an open invitation to anyone considering joining to come along to the West Port next Monday, 23rd February at 6.45 pm by contacting Club Secretary, Phill Ratcliffe on pratcliffe.rclg@virginmedia.com 

9th February 2015

President Stephen Blake chaired Monday evenings meeting which opened with committee convenors reporting on progress with forthcoming events.
Convenor Ian Raven of Youth Services announced that plans were well in hand for another successful Coffee Morning which takes place in St Michael's Kirk Hall on Saturday 21 February from 10am until noon. With tickets costing 2, profits from the event will help fund the work of the club supporting young sports talents and other good causes in the town. Chris Long updated the club on the forthcoming concert "A Festival of Voices" which is being held in Linlithgow Academy on Wednesday 4 March at 7.30 pm. Tickets costing 8 have now been distributed for sale at Far From The Madding Crowd, The Line Gallery and choir members of the two performing choirs, Linlithgow Ladies Choir and Ferry Blend from South Queensferry. With an eclectic mix of songs from The Proclaimers to Eurythmics, from John Rutter to traditional folk songs and with the talented Cockleroy and songstress Gillian Strang also performing, a great night of entertainment is assured whilst raising funds for the Scottish charity "Playlist For Life" and local good causes.
Vice President John Reid introduced the speaker for the evening, Past President Dr Ken MacKenzie, whose subject was his experience working with Childrens Hearings Scotland in West Lothian, which he had been encouraged to join some three years ago by John.
Kens involvement with Childrens Hearings began shortly after retiring as a local GP when he attended an opening evening with John and expressed an interest. Following a robust interview process and an intensive training programme he began sitting on panels three years ago.
Ken outlined the origins of the Childrens Hearing system which set out to consider the treatment of children, whether offending or being offended against, on the basis of need, not deed. From 1964 juvenile courts and remand homes were abandoned in favour of a new model of support and by 1971 the Childrens Hearing system was underway with lay tribunals bringing earlier intervention and with children being given every opportunity to express their views and their welfare being paramount.
Ken explained the preparation for hearings with papers being sent out in advance allowing time for panel members to discuss and set the agenda for the hearing. The panel itself must consist of three members, of mixed sex and with a minimum experience of five years.
The work of the Childrens Hearings Scotland has proved effective by applying early and effective intervention with a whole systems approach and its success is evident by the reduction of referrals over the years.
Ken referred to the work as high-end volunteering" and being more challenging than even he had expected despite his thirty-odd years as a GP and years of experience working with Boys Brigade. He had however found the work extremely worthwhile and rewarding and was very impressed by the life-changing work being done by the Childrens Hearing system and by the many other agencies it brought him into contact with, particularly the excellent work done by foster carers and by Social Work Departments.
In summing up Ken encouraged others of whatever profession, background or experience to consider high-end volunteering with Childrens Hearings Scotland. 

 President Stephen Blake chaired Monday evenings meeting which opened with committee convenors reporting on progress with forthcoming events.
Convenor Ian Raven of Youth Services announced that plans were well in hand for another successful Coffee Morning which takes place in St Michael's Kirk Hall on Saturday 21 February from 10am until noon. With tickets costing 2, profits from the event will help fund the work of the club supporting young sports talents and other good causes in the town. Chris Long updated the club on the forthcoming concert "A Festival of Voices" which is being held in Linlithgow Academy on Wednesday 4 March at 7.30 pm. Tickets costing 8 have now been distributed for sale at Far From The Madding Crowd, The Line Gallery and choir members of the two performing choirs, Linlithgow Ladies Choir and Ferry Blend from South Queensferry. With an eclectic mix of songs from The Proclaimers to Eurythmics, from John Rutter to traditional folk songs and with the talented Cockleroy and songstress Gillian Strang also performing, a great night of entertainment is assured whilst raising funds for the Scottish charity "Playlist For Life" and local good causes.
Vice President John Reid introduced the speaker for the evening, Past President Dr Ken MacKenzie, whose subject was his experience working with Childrens Hearings Scotland in West Lothian, which he had been encouraged to join some three years ago by John.
Kens involvement with Childrens Hearings began shortly after retiring as a local GP when he attended an opening evening with John and expressed an interest. Following a robust interview process and an intensive training programme he began sitting on panels three years ago.
Ken outlined the origins of the Childrens Hearing system which set out to consider the treatment of children, whether offending or being offended against, on the basis of need, not deed. From 1964 juvenile courts and remand homes were abandoned in favour of a new model of support and by 1971 the Childrens Hearing system was underway with lay tribunals bringing earlier intervention and with children being given every opportunity to express their views and their welfare being paramount.
Ken explained the preparation for hearings with papers being sent out in advance allowing time for panel members to discuss and set the agenda for the hearing. The panel itself must consist of three members, of mixed sex and with a minimum experience of five years.
The work of the Childrens Hearings Scotland has proved effective by applying early and effective intervention with a whole systems approach and its success is evident by the reduction of referrals over the years.
Ken referred to the work as high-end volunteering" and being more challenging than even he had expected despite his thirty-odd years as a GP and years of experience working with Boys Brigade. He had however found the work extremely worthwhile and rewarding and was very impressed by the life-changing work being done by the Childrens Hearing system and by the many other agencies it brought him into contact with, particularly the excellent work done by foster carers and by Social Work Departments.
In summing up Ken encouraged others of whatever profession, background or experience to consider high-end volunteering with Childrens Hearings Scotland.

26th January 2015

February 23rd is an auspicious day for Rotarians the world over.  It was on that day 110 years ago that the first Rotary meeting was held.  It is nominated Rotary Day and is cause for much activity in celebration, not least at the Rotary Club of Linlithgow Grange. 

On Monday 23rd, there will be an Open Night for potential new members interested in knowing more about the good works of the organisation.  After a buffet meal, a short presentation from President Stephen Blake and convenors of service committees, enquirers will have the opportunity of engaging with members in the relaxed environment of the West Port Hotel.  If anyone wishes to find out more or to reserve a place, they should contact Club Secretary, Phill Ratcliffe at pratcliffe.rclg@virginmedia.com

The Open Night follows a week of much busy-ness especially by the Youth Services Team.  The winning pupil and primary school of the Jim Clark Trophy for essay writing will be announced, the annual inter-primary school quiz at which most of the schools in the area participate, is being held in Linlithgow Primary School on Friday 20th February and the following day, Saturday 21st, the Rotary Coffee Morning takes place in St Michael's Kirk Hall between 10am and noon.  The main purpose of this fund-raiser is to fund two sports bursaries, each worth 200, for young sports talents to help them progress in their chosen specialty.  Application forms can be obtained from Roy Redwood, c/o the Club Secretary. 

A showcase in the library foyer will display from 16th February until 16th March the many ways the Rotary Club of Linlithgow Grange engage with the youth of Linlithgow such as the Young Technologist Competition being held in March at Bo'ness Academy at which Linlithgow Academy is entering three teams of different age groups. 

Finally, not to be outdone, the Community and Vocations Committee is presenting a concert with the principal beneficiary being the charity, Playlist For Life, which helps Alzheimer sufferers.  The event, being held in Linlithgow Academy on Wednesday 4th March, at 7.30 pm, will feature two choirs, the Linlithgow Ladies Choir and Ferry Blend, a mixed choir from South Queensferry and Dalmeny, as well as Linlithgow's ain, Cockleroy, and the brilliant voice of Gillian Strang.  Tickets for this not-to-be-missed concert are already on sale at 8 each from the Line Gallery and Far From The Madding Crowd. 

19th January 2015

Rotary International exists to raise funds and donate them to good causes.  Since July 2014, the Rotary Club of Linlithgow Grange has disbursed almost 6500 to local, national and international charities and individuals.  So it was with great pleasure that the club received three visitors who were each there to accept cheques. 

Dave Roberts, representing the West Lothian Group of Riding for the Disabled who are based at Hopetoun House, in gratefully accepting the cheque for his charity, told the club that it costs about 15,000 to run their group which is run by trained volunteers and helpers, sometimes as many as four to the horse and rider.  He related a number of examples of the benefits to the riders who are encouraged to focus on what they can achieve. 

Ailsa Jeffrey and Kirstin Viera, both S6 pupils at Linlithgow Academy, had volunteered with Project Trust for a gap year before starting their further education.  Ailsa was destined for Malawi to help disadvantaged children and Kirstin was going to Guyana to teach maths and science to GCE-level students.  In presenting cheques to the girls, President Stephen said that we have every reason to be proud of these young people who are giving others the benefit of their time and education. 

The rest of Monday evening's meeting was taken up with reports from the club's convenors who are focused on the events of Rotary Week which includes with the annual inter-primary school quiz on Friday 20th February, the very popular Odd Item Out competition in co-operation with High Street shops who will display an item they do not sell in their window from 21 to 28 February, and our traditional Rotary Coffee Morning in St Michael's Church Hall at Cross House from 10 am on Saturday 21st February. 

It is also planned to host a New Members Evening on Monday 23rd February and if any member of the public would like to know more about Rotary with a view to becoming a member, they would be welcome to attend by contacting, in the first instance, the Club Secretary, Phill Ratcliffe, at pratcliffe.rclg@virginmedia.com

Chris Long, convenor of the Community and Vocational Committee, said that all systems were go for the concert being held in Linlithgow Academy on Wednesday March 4th in support of the Sally Magnusson's charity "Playlist For Life" and local good causes, entitled "A Festival of Voices" which with two choirs and supporting acts will celebrate the joy of communal singing  and that tickets, priced 8, are now on sale from Linlithgow's bookshop "Far From The Madding Crowd" and The Line Gallery.  In closing the business meeting, President Stephen Blake reminded members that the next meeting would be held at Linlithgow Golf Club for what was one of the highlights of the club's social claendar, the Burns Supper. 

12th January 2015

"Life has returned to the river" was the message from the speaker, Harry Millar, President of Linlithgow Angling Club (LAC) and member of Linlithgow Grange Rotary Club at Monday evening's meeting.  Harry had chosen as his subject the development of the River Avon from the lifeless river that once was in the 1970's where no fish or invertebrates survived in the polluted waters below the now closed paper mill at Westfield to the vibrant watercourse it has become with salmon and sea-trout reaching as far as Slamannan and kingfishers, dippers, heron and otters much in evidence. 

This could not have been achieved without the hard work and dedication of the anglers of the LAC as well as members of neighbouring clubs at Slamannan and the Avon Valley Angling Club which, together with individual riparian (fishing rights) owners, founded the River Avon Federation in 1998.  Linlithgow Angling Club was reformed in 1974 and now boasts about 100 members thanks due to the improved water quality and long-term migratory fishing leases negotiated with the Crown Estates.  Harry outlined the numerous challenges the LAC had encountered along the way as well as the tasks that were ongoing. 

The club carries out, in conjunction with the River Forth Fisheries Trust and SEPA, riverbank maintenance, control of invasive plant species, and invertebrate and fish population surveys, .  Harry's love and intimate knowledge of the river, which rises east of Cumbernauld and travels its meandering 76 km journey to its river mouth flowing into the Forth at Grangemouth, was much in evidence throughout his presentation.   

At the close of his speech and before he called on Rory Cameron to give the vote of thanks, President Stephen Blake recalled how he and his wife had been taken on an escorted walk by Harry down-river from Linlithgow Bridge towards the mouth and had been surprised and delighted in the rich landscape, flora and fauna as well as industrial heritage that lay along its river banks.  New members are welcome and anyone wishing to learn more about the LAC can visit their website at http://www.l-a-c.co.uk or by contacting Harry directly on 01506 842262 

5th January 2015

After all the festivities of Christmas and New Year, President Stephen Blake welcomed members of the Rotary Club of Linlithgow Grange with his best wishes for a happy, healthy and peaceful 2015. 

The speaker for the evening was club member Ian Orr who, having read Sally Magnusson's book "Where Memories Go" - a Christmas gift - which records how she and her family coped with her mother Mamie's progressive decline with Alzheimer's using the beneficial effects of music significant to Mamie, took this as his inspiration for a fun music quiz. 

With headings such as Classic Rock, Famous Intros and Female Singers, he had quite a few members scratching their heads as they attempted to recall this song or that artist.  Having 40 or so Rotarians singing along to some of the well-known pop songs of yesteryear is not a memory the writer would wish to retain!  However, the quiz was not without its serious aspect.  He made the point that only a halfpenny in every donated to health charities is given for dementia research (as against 17 pence for cancer research and care) yet one in three of the population will either personally suffer or know a close family member who suffers from Alzheimer's. 

Sally Magnusson has founded a charity "Playlist For Life" (www.playlistforlife.org.uk) based on her family's experience which will be the major beneficiary at a forthcoming concert run by Linlithgow Grange.  Music that is meaningful to an Alzheimer's sufferer can help break down communication barriers.  The music is placed on an iPod or other type of MP3 player, sometimes with two pairs of headphones so that it can be shared with a carer who can help to draw a memory out their loved one. 

Rotarian Derek Chambers made an appeal for any working but redundant MP3 players either to be handed over to himself or dropped into The Line Gallery, 238 High Street, Linlithgow.  Tickets, priced at 8, for the concert which takes place on Wednesday 4th March in Linlithgow Academy will go on sale shortly through the Line Gallery or Linlithgow bookshop, "Far From The Madding Crowd".  President-Elect Peter Russell gave the vote of thanks. 

8th December 2014

Monday evening's meeting of the Rotary Club of Linlithgow Grange was the Special General Meeting chaired by President Stephen Blake at which the club's officers for the 2014/15 presidential year are elected.  These will be Peter Russell (Club President), John Reid (President-Elect 2015/16), Harry Millar (Vice President), Phill Ratcliffe (Secretary), and Iain Keter (Treasurer). 

The speaker for the evening was Finlay Walker, grandson of club member Ian Walker.  Finlay spoke with eloquence and enthusiasm about his year with Project Trust teaching in the Junior High School of the village of Liati Wote in the Volta Region near the Togo border.  The club had contributed towards his expenses and Finlay took the opportunity to thank the members for doing so as this had proved to be a life-changing experience for him. 

Finlay taught French, English and Social Studies to 60 pupils between 12 and 18 who were split into three forms by ability.  He wryly admitted that teaching French was an arbitary decision by the school's principal based on the fact that he had an A level but he was aided and abetted by some Togolese students who were naturally Francophone.  The whole experience of teaching such a diverse range of ages and abilities in a culture that was strange to him was challenging but hugely rewarding and, as a result, had set his mind to becoming a teacher now that he was at university. 

He and his colleague, also from Project Trust, immersed themselves into the community, learning the language, history and culture - even serving occasionally in the local shop.  It was particularly gratifying when the whole village headed by the chief and elders assembled on their last day to thank them for their contribution and to wish them well.  Finlay's excellent talk had obviously engaged his audience as evidenced by the numerous questions he had to answer and it was hearty applause that acknowledged grandfather Ian Walker's proud vote of thanks.  

1st December 2014

The Rotary Clubs of Linlithgow Grange and of South Queensferry share the same parentage in that they were both off-shoots of the Rotary Club of Linlithgow and Bo'ness.  Therefore, as was to be expected with the meeting of any siblings who don't meet up as often as they would like, there was much high hilarity and camaraderie when a delegation of seven members from "the Ferry" descended on Linlithgow Grange to battle it out in the latest heat of the District Quiz.  The Rotarians were very warmly welcomed by President Stephen Blake.  John Binnie from "mother club", i.e. the Rotary Club of Linlithgow and Bo'ness, did his utmost in his capacity of quiz-master to keep order presiding over the teams with a mixture of firmness, fairness and good humour.  Despite their best efforts, South Queensferry proved to be the older but not the wiser as the "younger" club of Linlithgow Grange beat them 16 points to 11.  Much fun was had by all. 

24th November 2014

President Stephen Blake chaired Monday evening's very full business meeting of the Rotary Club of Linlithgow Grange.  Proof, if it was needed, that one man's rubbish is another man's treasure was amply provided when 19 pairs of glasses and two bin bags full of plastic milk bottle tops were handed over to be put to good use.  Over the years, more than 2500 pairs of glasses have been sent to Vision Aid Overseas, a charity specialising in eyecare in the developing world.  The spectacles frames are recycled in various ways to raise cash for this worthwhile cause.  Clean, washed milk bottle tops are sent on to Currie Balerno Rotary Club which exchanges tons of these for money to be donated to a hospital in Malawi.  So far additional wards, shower blocks and toilets have been built using the proceeds of these innocuous items. 

Being the last business meeting of 2014, treasurer Alistair Rennie announced that following recent successful fund raising events, 1200 had been to sent to purchase two ShelterBoxes, 1000 to Excellent Sand Dams, and 3700 to Bethany Christian Trust which will use the money to provide night shelters in Edinburgh over the winter.  Locally donations are to be made to West Lothian Riding for the Disabled as well as three Linlithgow Academy students who are planning a gap year teaching with the charity Project Trust.  Additionally, the most recent Rotary Scotch Hop realised around 1000 of profit which will be sent to Rotary's own charity, The Rotary Foundation, for the End Polio Now global eradication campaign.  It is gratifying to acknowledge that this sum will be tripled by a top-up from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. 

Convenor Ian Raven of the Youth Service Committee informed the club that the 140 entries for the primary school writing competition were currently undergoing judging and the similar secondary school essay competition was about to get underway with the chosen theme "My Community".  Convenor Chris Long of the Community and Vocation Committee read out an email from Linlithgow Academy complimenting and thanking the club for the recently run Challenge Enterprise residential entrepreneurship weekend that two of their students had attended.  He also announced that The Great Rabbit Fence around the half-rig owned by the Low Port Centre would be completed on Friday 5th December.  This little-known area off the High Street is used extensively by the town's primary school children for nature studies.  If anyone would like to be part of this dynamic Rotary club please contact in the first instance the Club Secretary, Phill Ratcliffe, on pratcliffe.rclg@virginmedia.com. 

17th November 2014

The meeting of the Rotary Club of Linlithgow Grange returned to our normal venue of The West Port Hotel following last week's social evening at Delhi's Winter Restaurant. President Stephen welcomed members and thanked the organising committee and volunteers who made the Scotch Hop in the Academy on Saturday night such a resounding success. Attendees had a most enjoyable evening raising approximately 800 profit to go to Rotary's global campaign of ridding the world of the scourge of polio, a goal almost complete. The Gates Foundation has promised to triple any funds raised for this campaign and so the monies raised become an even more significant sum.

Members were advised of the intent to return to the Low Port 'Secret Garden' to complete the environmental works started in October. This will take place on Friday December 5th, 9.30am to 12.30pm. The Secretary read a letter from the Gardening Friends of St Michaels hospital expressing their thanks for the Club's contribution to garden materials and wishing the Club continued success in its community endeavours.

The speaker for the evening was Club member Thom Riddell who took the opportunity to appraise the Club of the work being done by Crossreach, the Social Care Council of the Church of Scotland. As a Crossreach member Thom enlightened fellow Rotarians to the 'Heart for Art' initiative which is an art based project being used to help dementia sufferers and their carers, a project that had been mentioned on BBC Radio Scotland that morning. Providing support for all people of all ages, of all religions and none, the project aims to break the barriers of discrimination and stigma associated with dementia whilst giving equal support, help and re-assurance to carers of dementia sufferers. Thom emphasised Crossreach's care 'for' and 'about' the persons involved, helping to break down the barriers of preconceived ideas, limited self belief and lack of information and knowledge. In the six projects accross Scotland currently, the results have been significant with participants expressing their thoughts and feelings through the medium of art. Thom showed many examples of the high quality of art produced and talked of the uplift in confidence and capability attained. A hearty thanks was given to Thom for his passion for the subject. Members were reminded that next week there is a general business meeting.  

 

10th November 2014

The meeting of the Rotary Club of Linlithgow Grange was convened at Delhi's Winter Restaurant when club members and their partners enjoyed an evening of good food and conviviality.  One of the main pillars of Rotary is social.  This strengthens the effectiveness at club level of the membership which works as a team.  Formality was at a minimum and fun was most definitely on the menu. 

Another fun night, this time for members and public alike, is the forthcoming Rotary Scotch Hop in Linlithgow Academy on Saturday 15th November starting at 7.30 p.m.  Tickets are only 8 each with students entry costing 6 and under 12's free so that it is an evening that can be enjoyed by all the family.  Many familiar Scottish Country Dances are on the cards but John Carswell will be on hand to demonstrate some new dances for those that are willing.  Even if not a dancer, anyone attending will find it hard to keep their foot from tapping to the sound of the Wayne Robertson Band.  A cash bar as well as tea, coffee and juice are available.  This is an ever-popular night of pure enjoyment as Rotary International raises cash for its initiative to end globally the scourge of polio, a task that Rotary is happy to boast is 99% complete.  Tickets available from the Line Gallery, club members or at the door this Saturday. 

3rd November 2014

President Stephen Blake was delighted on Monday evening to welcome to the Rotary Club of Linlithgow Grange five non-Rotarian visitors and five visiting Rotarians including Gerry McGregor from the Thornbury-Clarksburg Rotary Club in Ontario who was part of a team of Rotarian curlers visiting the District. 

Two of the non-Rotarian visitors were Meghan Sorrie and Jack Miller, two Linlithgow Academy students who had been sponsored by the club to attend Rotary's Challenge Enterprise, an intensive weekend business school for S5/S6 students and also Satbinder Sandhu, a teacher in the Business Education Dept at the Academy. 

Meghan and Jack gave a very polished resume of their experiences of Challenge Enterprise.  The described how they joined 35 other pupils from various schools around the area at Stirling Youth Hostel to take part in Team Building Challenges and hear addresses from successful business entrepreneurs including a particularly moving yet uplifting speech from Olivia Giles, an eminent Edinburgh lawyer who had to have both hands and feet amputated when she contracted meningococcal septicaemia.  Rather than buckle under she buckled down to build a very successful charity called 500 miles.  Both Meghan and Jack were inspired by her can-do attitude and positivity when others may have yielded to a "Why me?" frame of mind. 

The various teams were tasked with "inventing" a product or service and developing a market strategy for it to present to their fellow students on the last day.  They also took part in "The Big Negotiation" where rival teams of "employers" and "trade unions" were set an objective with the instruction to obtain the best deal.  Club members were gratified to note that Meghan and Jack found the weekend to be fun, greatly beneficial and resulted in a strengthening of their confidence. 

The two candidates expressed their sincere thanks to Linlithgow Grange for giving them the opportunity.  Mrs Sandhu indicated that Meghan and Jack would be invited to address S5 Academy students who, she felt sure, would benefit from Meghan and Jack's experience and enthusiasm.  The club accorded these two fine young speakers a hearty vote of thanks. 

In closing the meeting, President Stephen encouraged club members to keep selling tickets for the Scotch Hop in the Academy on Saturday 15th November at 7.30 pm dancing to the Wayne Robertson Band and led by Johyn Carswell in dances both familiar and new.  Tickets costing 8 (6 for students) were available from the Line Gallery as well as members.  All profits go to Rotary's global campaign of ridding the world of the scourge of polio, a goal almost complete. 

27th October 2014

Before the monthly business meeting of the Rotary Club of Linlithgow Grange on Monday evening, President Stephen Blake invited our newest recruit, Iain Keter, to address the club on his experience at the Rotary District 1020 Conference the previous weekend.  Iain was one of a sizable party of members and partners that attended this annual event which this year had been held in Aviemore. 

Although in theory his first conference as a Rotarian, Iain had attended many previously but as the husband of Rotarian Kate Keter, last year's District Governor.  It had been a successful conference he had thought with opportunities for good fellowship and a number of interesting speakers but the stand-out presentations, Iain said, were the last two on the Sunday.  Both speakers were survivors and each had moving, interesting and, yet, uplifting tales to tell.  Holocaust survivor Zigi Shipper had managed to live through Auschwitz and forced labour camps and Afghanistan war hero Corporal Andy Reid had overcome the massive challenges that resulted from losing both legs and his right arm after treading on an improvised explosive device. 

President Stephen thanked Iain for his report and proudly displayed the awards presented to our club at the conference - recognition for our significant contributions to the End Polio Now campaign, Rotary's global fight to eradicate polio and a pennant for our donations to The Rotary Foundation, Rotary's own charity.  The club also won the Fellowship Quaich for visiting most clubs in the district. 

Stephen thanked the members of the International Committee for the successful Wine Tasting Event held recently that will allow the club to help fund a sand dam in Kenya (www.excellentdevelopment.com) as well as support more local causes. 

Reports were given by other convenors which looks as if the club members are in for a very busy time over the next few months, the most immediate of which is the popular fund-raiser, the Rotary Scotch Hop being held in Linlithgow Academy on Saturday 15th November from 7.30 pm.  Dancing to the Wayne Robertson Band and being led by the inimmitable John Carswell who will demonstrate new dances as well as the established favourites, it is always a fun-filled evening with tickets at 8 available from the Line Gallery and all cub members,  More details are available from rotaryevents@linlithgowgrange.org.uk. 

20th October 2014

At the Rotary Club of Linlithgow Grange, the talks enjoyed by the members after their weekly meal together at the West Port are usually wide, varied and generally light-hearted in nature.  However, it was a sombre audience that listened to the authoritative presentation by one of our own members, consultant psychiatrist Tom Brown, on Suicide and its prevention; authoritative because Tom had chaired a Review Group for the Scottish Government in 2010 on this very subject which had resulted in a significant number of recommendations. 

He analysed for the audiences benefit the profile of the patients who were likely to self-harm or attempt or, indeed, commit suicide, the difficulties facing health professionals in dealing with this type of mental illness and highlighted potential routes for treatment and care of the patient.  In the thought-provoking questions and answer session that followed, he said that the Scottish Governments target was the reduction of suicides by 20% over a three-year period but although a reduction of 19% had been shown, he advised caution saying that an study of figures over a decade would be more meaningful.  Then, an analysis of which of the 20 or so recommendations had proved to be the most effective could be better assessed.  In the vote of thanks, Ken MacKenzie praised the dedication of psychiatrists like Tom but admitted that all health professionals need to be aware of the art of communication with patients who suffer from this distressing illness. 

On a brighter note, Jim Gillespie updated the club on the details of the forthcoming Rotary Scotch Hop in Linlithgow Academy on Saturday 15 November starting at 7.30 pm dancing to the Wayne Robertson Band.  As ever, a great night was guaranteed regardless of the dancers skills with dances being led by the popular John Carswell.  Tickets costing 8 each with students tickets at 6 (under 12s free) were available from all club members or the Line Gallery or by contacting rotaryevents@linlithgowgrange.org.uk 

13th October 2014

President Stephen Blake was delighted to thank all those who had participated in the organisation of the Wine Tasting charity evening in conjunction with Ellie's Cellar which looks to have raised over 1300 some of which would be used to help build a Sand Dam in Kenya (www.excellentdevelopment.com) with the balance being disbursed to local good causes. 

Rotarian Chris Long announced that almost half the club would be turning out to further help the Historic Scotland Rangers clear pathways on the north side of the loch plus a further contingent being employed putting in place a rabbit-proof fence at the Low Port Centre's "Secret Garden", a half-rig behind the High Street.  To know where this is, readers would have to join Rotary - or be a pupil or teacher at the town's primary schools! 

The speaker for the evening was Graeme Lawson who gave an excellent and highly entertaining speech about what it takes to organise the Linlithgow 10K Run, its many pitfalls and, importantly, its rewards to participants, community and town.  This popular annual event which is arranged by Linlithgow Athletics Club, sees up to 800 participants run the High Street to the West Port, then round the back of the loch in what must be the finest view in road races in Central Scotland, and finally arriving at the Peel at the finishing tape in the shadow of the Palace.  Graeme came to the club to thank those members who had volunteered to help steward the race which is traditionally run on the last Sunday in September.  Altogether, over 100 members of the public had come forward to assist and the contestants were most full of praise for the warm reception they received from the volunteers and spectators alike.  Member John Lawson, who just happens to be Graeme's proud father, gave the much deserved vote of thanks. 

Rotarian David Timperley distributed tickets for members to sell at 8 each for the club's ever-popular Rotary Scotch Hop which this year is on Saturday 15th November at Linlithgow Academy. 

6th October 2014

President Stephen Blake welcomed District 1020 Governor, Alistair Marquis, who brought greetings from the District Executive and from his own club, Whitburn. Alistair  addressed the club on the Rotary International annual theme for this year, Light up Rotary, and outlined the four messages behind the theme.

Firstly, to Lighten-up Rotary by avoiding being serious or hidebound in old ways, and ensuring there was a sense of fun. Also to Light up your club by ensuring its activities and service projects make it a beacon in the community. Thirdly, to Enlighten yourself by learning more about Rotary, its history and thinking of its future and ways to make it a more vibrant and fun organisation. Lastly, to encourage members to Delight in Rotary, be proud to be a Rotarian and to encourage others to join.

In closing Alistair thanked the club for the good representation attending this year's District Conference in Aviemore at the end of October.

Club member Douglas Robertson updated the club on the progress of the Wine Tasting Festival being held in Linlithgow Academy this Friday, 10 October from 7 pm until 9 pm.  Ellie's Cellar, which is organising the event for the club, have indicated that there will be the opportunity to sample over 40 wines and four types of gin and that expertise is on hand from seven wine representatives as well as staff from the wine merchant.  There will be an opportunity to order these wines, at special Rotary prices.  Further, he was delighted to announce that Ellie's Cellar have generously offered the club's Benevolent Fund a donation of 5% of all sales from the evening.  Tickets costing 10 - with driver's (tee-total) tickets at 6 - are available from Ellie's Cellar or the Line Gallery both on Linlithgow High Street, or from any club member with the additional possibility of tickets at the door on the night.  Douglas looked forward to a great social occasion with the main beneficiary being Excellent Sand Dams, a charity working in Africa which helps communities build dams across dried river beds that harvest water from the annual rainfall in a way that provides year-round clean filtered water for drinking and irrigation. 

29th September 2014

President Stephen Blake welcomed to Monday evening's meeting two young people who had recently attended the Rotary Young Leaders Awards outward bound camp at Loch Tay.  Gordon Snedden and Rachel Brutin, both of Linlithgow Academy, had spent their respective weeks during the summer learning the benefits and commitments of teamwork as well as leading and participating in turn by kayaking, abseiling, gorge-walking, rope-climbing, raft building and other tasks culminating in the Great Chocolate Challenge (you'll have to participate to find out what that entails!).

As a result of what they both agreed was a hugely enjoyable week sponsored by Rotary, they felt that it was clearly demonstrated that much can be achieved working alongside others rather than on one's own.  Gordon and Rachel said that the week spent at Ardeonaig, which is run by the Abernethy Trust, had delivered great memories, good friendships, more confidence, a better ability to motivate and a "can do" attitude.  They roundly thanked Linlithgow Grange Rotary for giving them this opportunity and this was warmly returned by member John Leitch on behalf of the club which was delighted by their excellent presentation.  President Stephen was pleased to award Gordon and Rachel certificates and a photograph of each of their groups as a memento of their participation. 

Thereafter, President Stephen received reports at the monthly business meeting from the club's various committee convenors about progress on a number of projects being undertaken.  The next public event is the forthcoming Wine Tasting in conjunction with Ellie's Cellar being held in Linlithgow Academy on Friday 10th October from 7 pm until 9 pm.  Some 30+ wines will be able to be sampled along with a number of specialist gins and vintner representatives and staff from Ellie's Cellar will be on hand to discuss the finer points of the wine being tasted.  There is an opportunity to place orders in time for Christmas at special discounts.  This is the third event of its type being held by the Rotary and is now a popular evening of conviviality on Linlithgow's social calendar.  Tickets costing 10 (with tee-total driver's tickets also available at 6) are on sale from Ellie's Cellar or the Line Gallery or any club member.  More details are available from rotaryevents@linlithgowgrange.org.uk. 

22nd September 2014

President Stephen Blake welcomed our speaker, Rev JunSoo Park, to the meeting of the Rotary Club of Linlithgow Grange on Monday evening.  JunSoo, who hails from Seoul, Korea, was a guest of Rotarian Elma Birrell and is currently studying for a PhD at New College, Edinburgh researching the relationship between the teachings of St Augustine and classic Confucian scholars such as Confucius, Mencius and Xunzi.  He is also serving in St Michael's Parish Church as Minister in Affiliation. 

JunSoo's fascinating talk outlined the politics, economics, education and religion in Korea.  He began by describing a number of ways that Scotland has figured in the religious development of the country and noted in particular the Korean Memorial Park in the Bathgate Hills near Linlithgow which commemorates in excess of 1000 British servicemen that were killed in the conflict as well as 45,000 UK service personnel that took part.  His presentation covered the rapid progress Korea has made since the end of the Korean War and how the passion for education has fueled this development and he examined in brief the changes that have taken place in society in more recent times.  His talk roused a number of pertinent questions from the floor which Rev Park was able to answer in depth and Elma Birrell, thanked him sincerely on behalf of the club for his illuminating talk. 

Douglas Robertson gave encouragement to members to sell tickets for the forthcoming Wine Tasting taking place in Linlithgow Academy on Friday 10th October in conjunction with Ellie's Cellar and appealed for prizes for the Tombola being held on the evening.  More details can be obtained from rotaryevents@linlithgowgrange.org.uk. 

15th September 2014

At Monday evening's meeting of the Rotary Club of Linlithgow Grange, member Jim Rae gave details of the work party arrangements to assist Historic Scotland at the Fiddler's Croft area at the east end of Linlithgow Loch on the morning of Saturday 20th September.  Harry Millar thanked those members who would be helping to steward the 10km Road Race on Sunday 28th September and encouraged more to come forward if they were available. 

President Stephen Blake welcomed member Gail Boardman as the speaker for the evening who explained the ancient yet modern method of harvesting water in Africa by building sand dams before she showed an interesting DVD about the subject called "Walking on Water".   The video clearly demonstrated how the dam works and how one is constructed.  Sand dams, a technique known to ancient Egyptians, can be built in geological suitable areas where rocks are near the surface in river courses.  Using people from local communities who are overseen by a technical expert from the charity Excellent (www.excellent.org.uk), a small reinforced concrete dam is built to retain water as it flows downstream. 

The small reservoir that is formed gradually fills with sand over a 2-3 year period which in turn serves to protect the trapped water from parasites, prevent evaporation and filter the water that is drained off.  In time, plant life increases around the area and a micro climate is formed.  In this way communities significantly benefit from clean drinking water right on their doorstep which is also used for irrigation. 

In Kenya alone 450 sand dams have been built and the one that Gail was committed to helping, on behalf of the club, was at Mbtini, a small rural community some 60 miles from Nairobi.  Two sand dams have already been built and are now used for a seed farm and for a vegetable garden.  Gail described how funds for a third sand dam will come from the forthcoming Wine Tasting being run by Linlithgow Grange Rotary in conjunction with local firm Ellie's Cellar which is being held in Linlithgow Academy on Friday 10th October strating at 7p.m.  Tickets costing 10 are now on sale from The Line Gallery, 238 High Street, Linlithgow and Gail also distributed tickets to club members to sell. Mindful of Rotary's acknowledgment of responsible drinking, driver's tickets were also available at 6.  Ian Adams warmly thanked Gail for her interesting and informative presentation.  

8th September 2014

President Stephen Blake welcomed club members to Monday evening's meeting and received a report from club secretary Phill Ratcliffe about the recent district meeting that he and others attended.  Jim Rae announced that a Community Service Team would be working in conjunction with the Historic Scotland Ranger at the eastern end of the loch known as Fiddler's Croft on the morning of Saturday 20th September and invited as many members as possible to assist in order to make light work of clearing scrub, tidying paths, etc. 

The speaker for the evening was club member, past president and immediate past district governor, Kate Keter, who managed to break free from her usual obligation to talk about a Rotary subject to tell members about another love, that of genealogy, a subject in which she is pursuing a professional qualification.  Kate had been invited by Hutcheson's Grammar School in Glasgow to research the stories behind the 135 names of the fallen in World War One.  The original memorial, unveiled in 1921 by former pupil John Buchan of "Thirty Nine Steps" fame, was enlarged following WW2 with a further 97 war dead. 

She picked out a number of the stories behind the names covering pupils and staff ranging from Halbert Aitken who died at Gallipoli of rabies following a dog bite, to J D Milligan who was already a Lgion d'honneur before he fell in battle, to George Grant who, at 16, was the youngest victim drowning at sea when his ship, on which he was a trainee chef, went down.  Kate said that one person that caused her some consternation was Thomas K Anderson who was also listed a second time as Thomas K Henderson probably due to some clerical error but causing a bit of head scratching until she worked out what had happened.  Kate's fascinating talk also covered a few war heroes who survived the Great War such as Robert Gordon who was an air ace at 19, became a doctor after the war and then signed up as an ambulance driver during WW2.  It came as no surprise to learn that Dr Gordon was decorated in both wars.  John Reid gave the vote of thanks and applauded Kate's diligence.  Her historical research, he said, had helped to bring the stories of these unfortunate people back to life. 

1st September 2014

President Stephen Blake welcomed members of Linlithgow Grange Rotary Club to Monday evening's meeting. Member Kate Keter, past District Governor, reported on her visit to a very different style of club which reflects the new and exciting options being explored by Rotary - an e-club.  This type of club will meet face-to-face only occasionally to carry out projects, social activities, fund-raising, etc. but otherwise will conduct its normal business using the internet. 

The speaker for the evening was the club's newly-appointed International Services convenor, member Douglas Robertson, who chose as his topic to update the club on the progress of the charity, Mary's Meals, in which he plays a significant role.  Not his main job, Douglas manages to find the time to tour the country visiting church groups as well as Rotary and other service clubs speaking for this Scottish organisation which provides free school meals to children attending school in developing nations in the Third World. 

He spoke specifically about the  progress that Mary's Meals has made in Liberia since the end of the civil war there in 2003.  Sadly the schools and other public bodies in the country are in lock down at present because of the Ebola outbreak but attendance at schools has improved by over 40% where they participate in the free campaign which now feeds over 200,000 in Liberia alone. 

Douglas also shared some of the impressive statistics of Mary's Meals.  The organisation, which still operates out of a tin shed in Dalmally, Argyllshire, now caters for almost one million children worldwide through its network of 65,000 volunteers.  Because of this, it is extremely efficient with only 1% used in governance and 93% of its 12.9 million income being deployed in the field.  Douglas expertly handled all the questions clearly displaying his passion in the subject and Jim Chapman gave the deserving vote-of-thanks praising Douglas' dedication. 

25th August 2014

Monday evening's meeting of the Rotary Club of Linlithgow Grange was the monthly business meeting when all the club's committees appraise the membership of the progress of their respective projects.  President Stephen Blake took the chair.  He was pleased to learn from the treasurer that the recent charity golf tournament is likely to bring in around 5000 after expenses which will be used to purchase two Rotary ShelterBoxes totalling 1200 with the lion's share going to the president's nominated charity, Bethany Christian Trust, and will be allocated to help homeless and vulnerable people in Edinburgh over the winter months in their Care Shelter. President Stephen thanked the organiser, Ian Orr, for the very successful event. 

Alex Robertson appraised the club about the club's involvement with the charity Lend With Care into which we have invested a sum of money loaned at minimal interest to small entrepreneurs in developing countries around the world.  Our chosen eight businesses are continuing to do well and the money is being repaid slowly and surely.  Once the original capital is back with Lend With Care, we will choose more fledgling businesses in which to invest. 

The next fund-raising event for the club is the annual Wine Tasting Charity Evening run in conjunction with local firm Ellie's Cellar in Linlithgow Academy on Friday 10th October starting at 7.00 pm.   The evening promises to be fun-filled with a tombola, "Guess The Malt" competition and gin-tasting table as well as a number of wines to sample.  Tickets costing 10 per person (6 for drivers) will soon be on sale at The Line Gallery, Ellie's Cellar and club members.  The proceeds from the evening will be split between Excellent Sand Dams which harnesses and safeguards water in sand in Africa's dry-land areas (www.excellentdevelopment.com) and the club's Benevolent Fund which disburses to local good causes.  Convenor of Youth Services, Ian Raven, updated the club on an exciting year of competitions and involvement with the area's primary and secondary schools. 

18th August 2014

The Rotary Club of Linlithgow Grange ran their twelfth charity golf tournament at Linlithgow Golf Club on Monday 18th August.  The proceeds of the competition over this period have raised over 75,000 for good causes with, this year, Bethany Christian Trust and Rotary ShelterBox being the two nominated beneficiaries. 

Each year Bethany Christian Trust help about 5000 homeless and vulnerable people throughout Scotland; ShelterBoxes are large family-sized tents packed into crates along with survival equipment and shipped when needed to areas of disaster around the globe. 

The winning team in a closely fought match was Fore Gone Conclusions with the team called DADS coming in second and The Greenkeepers, third.  Graeme Scott, Fraser Robertson, Robert Fyfe and Gordon Lockhart, who make up the winning team Fore Gone Conclusions, carried off the Magdalene Cup, medals and vouchers for the golf club professionals shop.  President Stephen Blake's wife, Maureen, presented the prizes.  Individual prizes were awarded to Grant Sneddon who won the prize for being nearest the pin at the 7th hole, J Davies who was nearest the pin at the 17th, the longest drive was made by Fraser Robertson and the lowest aggregate score at the 16th hole was by Fujitsu.  Ann McLaughlan, corporate fundraiser of the Bethany Christian Trust, expressed her gratitude to the club and all those who participated. 

The money donated will go towards the running of care shelters in Edinburgh over the winter months.  Peter Russell gave a vote of fulsome thanks on behalf of Rotary to all involved but in particular to Ian Orr who organised the 2014 event and to Linlithgow Golf Club, their greenkeepers and catering staff who had pulled out the stops to make the day a success. 

11th August 2014

President Elect Peter Russell was in the chair at Monday evening's meeting of the Rotary Club of Linlithgow Grange due to President Stephen Blake being incapacitated.  Peter was pleased to welcome two guests who were interested in Rotary. 

The speaker for the evening was our own club member, and minister of St Michael's Parish Church, Stewart Gillan who demonstrated his unusual interest in rocks - "Pet Rocks" according to the import manifest when he and his wife Sarah arrived in Linlithgow.  With anecdotes and stories told with humour and pathos in equal measure, he kept his audience enthralled as he showed items as diverse as lumps from the Berlin Wall and a piece of stone from a ruined cottage on an island off North Uist from where his family had originated, small stones from near the railway in Auschwitz and the ash pit at the camp as well as a piece of marble from Iona. 

In his vote of thanks, Peter commented to groans that although members knew that folk was Stewart's passion, little did we know that "rock" was as well! 

Charity Golf Competition organiser Ian Orr brought the club up to date with the final details of next Monday's fundraising tournament at Linlithgow Golf Club.  We are, he said, on target to raising a significant sum for Bethany Christian Trust to help the homeless as well as purchase two ShelterBoxes which are family sized tents and survival equipment sent to areas around the world when disaster strikes. 

4th August 2014

President Stephen Blake opened Monday evenings meeting by inviting members to observe a moments silence in memory of those who lost their lives in the First World War.

The evening continued with Immediate Past District Governor and Past President Kate Keter introducing the speaker for the evening, her husband, Iain Keter. Iain is the newest member of the club, having joined in July, and was invited to give his job talk.

Iain received a degree in Accounting from Strathclyde University in 1975 and then undertook a CA apprenticeship with Thomson McLintock and Arthur Young. He qualified as CA in 1979 and began working in the hotel and financial services industries for 16 years, including 5 years with TSB and 10 years with Scottish Equitable. Iain then went on to run his own business, Keter Thomson Ltd, for a further 10 years in a range of financial services activities including implementing IT systems for a number of clients including Capability Scotland. Iain is currently Bursar at Hutchesons Grammar Scool in Glasgow, his correct title being Bursar and Clerk to the Governors at the Charity Hutchesons Educational Trust which is the legal entity of the school. The main focus of the Bursars role is Finance, Property and Human Resources with additional responsibility for computer services, catering, cleaning and capital projects. It also involves legal, financial and property strategic planning, health and safety, data protection and fund raising. As Clerk to the Governors Iain sits on the Board and main Committees Development & Marketing, Education, Finance, HR, Property and also Nominations, Remuneration, Health & Safety and Joint Consultative Committees. Iain outlined the very wide ranging and challenging nature of the role but one which he clearly derives a great deal of satisfaction from. He was warmly thanked for his excellent talk by President Stephen. 

28th July 2014

President Stephen Blake had the great pleasure of awarding club member David Robertson with a Paul Harris Fellowship at Monday evening's meeting of the Rotary Club of Linlithgow Grange in appreciation of his services to Rotary. 

Monday's meeting was a business meeting at which the club's committee convenors gave their progress reports regarding fund-raising opportunities in the immediate future.  The major event for the club is the forthcoming Charity Golf Tournament being held on Monday 18th August at Linlithgow Golf Club which is raising funds for the Bethany Trust, a homeless charity based in Edinburgh, and Shelterbox which provides globally emergency accomodation and survival equipment to areas struck by disaster,  Organiser Ian Orr updated the members and intimated that he could still offer a couple of tee-off times should anyone know of a team willing to play.  He thanked the club members for their generosity with donations of raffle prizes and auction lots and encouraged those present to promote sponsorship of tees and greens amongst their business and personal contacts.  He can be contacted at charitygolf@linlithgowgrange.org.uk or by phone on 07908 413265. 

The event following the golf competition should prove to be equally fun.  This will be a wine-tasting evening in Linlithgow Academy on Friday 10 October in conjunction with Ellie's Cellar.  Member Gail Boardman of the Line Gallery has the details and can be contacted on 01506 670268 or at rotaryevents@linlithgowgrange.org.uk. 

21st July 2014

Summer was obviously underway at Monday evening's meeting of the Rotary Club of Linlithgow Grange with about a quarter of the club on holiday or off following other seasonal pursuits.  President Stephen Blake welcomed the speaker for the evening, club member Gordon Young whose topic was his involvement with the Newhaven Heritage Centre Trust. 

This newly formed Scottish incorporated charity is a continuation of the Newhaven Action Group set up in 2009 to re-establish the popular community museum that was once a feature in the old Fishmarket building.  Following local research, it was obvious that the most appropriate solution for the ever-increasing population of the area was to create a centre with community facilities such as a public space, caf, meeting rooms, family history research facilities and educational links with the primary and secondary schools in the area.  Newhaven has a rich history going back at least to James IV, Gordon explained, as well as a unique culture dominated by the bulwark of the Society of Free Fishermen Immemorial as well as the famous Newhaven fishwives who would hawk their fish on the streets and around the houses of Edinburgh. 

This sense of community has sustained a distinct village identity over six hundred years.  Fishing was the mainstay occupation for most of Newhaven's existence and has always been dangerous and hard work.  Social solidarity was intrinsic to the community.  Maintaining and building on this was worthwhile, he said, because it is grounded in values which make a place somewhere that people like to to live in. 

Gordon paid tribute to the work of Linlithgow citizen (and former Gazette editor), the late Tom McGowran, whose book, "Newhaven, Port of Grace" was an essential record of the history of the village.  He also favourably commented on the talk given by a previous speaker, Barbara Braithwaite of the Linlithgow Union Canal Society who had provided valuable insight into the formation of the voluntary organisation and their early dealings with the monolithic structure of British Waterways.  This paralleled Newhaven Heritage's contacts with the Forth Ports Authority which owns all the reclaimed foreshore upon which much of "new" Newhaven is built giving him cause for optimism that the Centre will, with persistence, become a reality.  More information can be found at www.newhavenonforth.org.uk.  Following some interesting questions from the floor, Rotarian Jim Rae gave the vote of thanks. 

14th July 2014

Monday evening's meeting of Linlithgow Grange Rotary Club was President Stephen Blake's first meeting of his presidential year. 

Ian Orr, Tournament Organiser for the club's Charity Golf Tournament on 18th August, confirmed that the main beneficiary from this event would be the Bethany Trust which helps homeless and vulnerable people throughout Scotland rebuild their lives. Teams cost 130 for 4 which includes a 2-course meal at the end of play. Even if not a golfer, individuals and companies can contribute by sponsoring a tee or green, or by donating an auction lot or raffle prize. Ian Orr can provide more details by phoning him on 07970 841 3265 or at charitygolf@linlithgowgrange.org.uk.     
 
The speaker for the evening was Past President Norman Middleton and his subject was Cutty Sark - Its building and its designer, Hercules Linton. Norman referred to the ship having featured in the first episode of the recent BBC2 series Clydebuilt: The Ships That Made the Commonwealth and, having carried out his own extensive research, outlined the history of the vessel from its construction in 1869 to the present day. The Cutty Sark is from a bygone era - the exciting days of merchant shipping when the great ships raced to see who would bring the new season's tea home to Britain first. Built in 1869 it was one of the last tea clippers to be built, and one of the fastest, coming at the end of a long period of design development which halted as sailing ships gave way to steam. The opening of the Suez Canal, also  in 1869, meant that steam ships then enjoyed a much shorter route to China so the Cutty Sark  enjoyed only a few years in the tea trade before turning to trade in wool from Australia, and holding the record time for that voyage for 10 years. There is even a record of an amazed steamship's officer reporting - "sailing ship overhauled and passed us".
 
The Cutty Sark had a chequered career. After the early exciting years in the wool trade, she was sold in 1895 to the Portugese firm, Ferreira & Co. and named Ferreira. In 1922 she was in a pretty poor state and was then bought by a Wilfred Dowman, restored, renamed Cutty Sark and became the first historic ship since the Golden Hind to be open to the public.
 
The vessel was later used as a sail training ship operating from Falmouth, then from 1938 to 1953 as part of the Thames Nautical Training College. In 1953 she was transferred to the Cutty Sark Preservation Society for a major restoration followed by an official opening by the queen in 1954. Even after that she had her ups and downs but was finally fully restored again and now stands on display in Greenwich for future generations to enjoy.
 
Norman's interest in the Cutty Sark went a bit deeper than just general knowledge of the ship and was more focussed on its early history. It was originally commissioned by a Jock Willis in February 1868 at Scott and Linton's yard at Dumbarton on the River Leven and was meant to be completed within six months. It was built to Lloyd's Class 1 specification and in addition to regular visits from Lloyd's surveyors Willis had one of his most experienced skippers, Captain George Moodie, superintend the construction prior to taking command on completion. Various demands by Lloyd's surveyors caused delays which resulted in construction being suspended for a time and was finally launched on 22nd November 1869, five months later then planned. Despite the problems during the building period the ship went on to become one of the best loved ships of her time, owed in no small way to the skill of her designer, Hercules Linton. Linton was born on 1st January 1837 in Inverbervie. At nineteen he was apprenticed to Alexander Hall and Sons, leading shipbuilders in Aberdeen, later rising to a senior position in the firm before becoming a Lloyd's Register Surveyor based in Liverpool. In 1868 Hercules entered into a shipbuilding partnership with William Dundas Scott to form the company of Scott and Linton, shipbuilders of Dumbarton, on the River Leven near its junction with the River Clyde. Hercules Linton managed the design and shipbuilding aspects of the firm while his partner William Scott was in charge of the counting house and engineering. Sadly, the lack of business experience of the two partners showed early on which set the scene for the problems which would arise with the contract for the Cutty Sark. Despite these early difficulties Linton's career continued to flourish as a Scottish surveyor, ship builder, antiquarian and local councillor. As the books about him say, he is best remembered as the designer of the Cutty Sark and a partner in the shipyard which built her and there is a memorial to him in his birthplace Inverbervie. Norman ended his talk by revealing a family connection with Hercules Linton. Norman's father was called Lynton Middleton named after his grandmother Mary-Anne Linton, who was an aunt of Hercules Linton.
 

 

1st July 2014

Each year, the Rotary Club of Linlithgow Grange gathers to hear the plans of the club's  committees for the following presidential term.  Monday evening's Assembly was co-chaired by the outgoing president, Ian Adams and President-Elect Stephen Blake. 

Before President Ian handed the meeting over to Stephen, he had certain pleasant duties to perform.  He presented a cheque for 400 to Mary's Meal's representative and club member, Douglas Robertson.  This amount had been donated to the club by Rotarian Archie McCall and his wife Ann on behalf of their family and friends received at their Golden Wedding celebrations. 

President Ian then had the pleasure of inducting Iain Keter as a new member.  Iain may be the club's most recent recruit but he is no stranger to Rotary being the husband of member and District Governor, Kate Keter, and he was received into the club enthusiastically. 

Finally, in honour of Kate's successful year as District Governor, President Ian was delighted to present a crystal rose bowl to her as a token of the members' esteem. 

Thereafter, President-Elect hosted the rest of the meeting and received reports from his incoming convenors.  An exciting year lies ahead of Linlithgow Grange Rotary Club with a number of public fund-raising events planned such as a wine tasting evening which would include specialist gins, a prize bingo night, an innovative community choir contest as well as the club's usual fixtures of a coffee morning and our annual charity golf tournament on August 18th at Linlithgow Golf Club which is raising funds for Bethany Christian Trust and ShelterBox.  Organiser Ian Orr has more details and can be contacted on 0790 841 3265 for anyone wishing to enter a team of four for 130 or sponsoring a tee or green at only 50. 

23rd June 2014

President Ian was delighted to welcome six visiting Rotarians to Monday evening's meeting, three of which came from Braids Rotary Club in Edinburgh plus Brenda and Bob King from Saskatchewan in Canada and our speaker for the evening,

Tom "Tosh" McIntosh, currently president of the Whitburn Club.  Tosh's chosen subject was his lifelong love for motorcycles and competitive racing.  To this day he owns four motorcycles including two vintage BSA bikes which he still takes out on the road.  His talk, much peppered with hilarious stories, began with his first memories of sitting astride his uncle's motorcycle petrol tank when he was four and gently ridden around the block.  As a young teenager, he and a few of his friends would ride an old motorcycle up and down the bings around his home town of Blackburn.  Even the day he passed his motorcycle proficiency test and gained his driving licence was not without its humorous incident. 

Eventually, he gained his racing licence too and for the next number of years enjoyed competing on the many motorcycle race tracks around Scotland.  He showed off his old style motorcycle helmet made of cork and compared it to a sophisticated modern helmet.  He proudly boasted that he can still fit into his one-piece leather suit (although he finds breathing a bit challenging, he said).  At that time in the early 60's, not only were races staged on single motorcycles but there were events for bikes with sidecars attached too.  If you were the passenger in one of these you were in for an exhilarating experience.  Tosh recalled the time when another competitor ran into his brother who was driving and him when he was in the sidecar.  He was thrown out of it at speed and commented that the feeling of flying through the air was amazing with absolutely no pain.  But when he hit the ground! . . .  

With anecdotes delivered like this, he kept his audience fully entertained and received much deserved applause when Alex Robertson gave the vote of thanks. 

Ian Orr updated the club on the forthcoming Charity Golf Tournament on Monday 18th August at Linlithgow Golf Club.  He stated that we were well on the way to another successful event but could still accommodate a few more teams at a cost of 130 for a team of 4 including a 2-course meal after play.  Ian can be contacted on 0790 841 3265 for more details. 

16th June 2014

Normally, the Monday evening meeting before the Linlithgow Marches is a quiet evening reserved for a meal and fellowship.  Not, however, this year!  President Ian welcomed three representatives from charities there to receive cheques as a result of our recent successful Prize Bingo evening. 

The first was given to Morag McGown, who is a corporate and event fundraiser from Aberlour Child Care Trust, the largest, solely Scottish, children's charity providing help to over 6000 of Scotland's most vulnerable children, young people and families.  Morag showed us a short presentation outlining the valuable work the organisation does.  In her thank-you speech, she indicated that the money given would be used towards the charity's latest initiative, Summer Food Fun, which will help promote over the summer school holidays a healthy eating programme and picnics for disadvantaged children. 

The second recipient of a cheque was Lorna McIntosh, youth worker from Linlithgow's St John's Church who are once again funding a team of eighteen young people to go to Alpha Community Academy in Rwanda during August to provide help and assistance teaching, running a holiday club, and providing muscle power to build the school.  Lorna raised a laugh during her talk when she said that in this time of the World Cup, Scotland is usually the winning team in the traditional game of football that's played by the visiting youngsters!  The money received will be used specifically towards a visit that "Team Rwanda" will make to the Holocaust Centre in Kilgali.  This is an important event within what is otherwise an uplifting experience, Lorna said, because the Centre is built on a site where over 250,000 people are buried. In this 20th anniversary year of the genocide, these graves are a reminder of the cost of ignorance and clearly demonstrate to the young people true values. 

The final cheque was presented to the Meningitis Research Foundation, which has as its vision a world free from meningitis and septicaemia, and was gratefully received by Mary Millar, their Scotland manager.  Apart from funding research into this disease, feared by parents as it mostly affects, babies, children and young people, the charity  promotes awareness, new tests, treatment and  aftercare.  It is currently monitoring the roll-out of the new Men B vaccine which, although it will not protect against all strains of meningitis, will greatly enhance the armoury in the battle to combat this dreaded scourge. 

Finally, President Ian was delighted to induct a new member, Rev Ian Walker, who had been a Rotarian previously in Inverkeithing.  Since his retirement, Ian has been a locum in a number of churches around West Lothian including Linlithgow St Michael's and has now settled in the town.  

9th June 2014

President Ian Adams presented the second of two 200 Sports Bursary cheques, the first last week to the No Limits Sports Club, and this week to Amy Redmond of Linlithgow Kayak Racing which the club hopes will help further her sports ambitions.  Derek Marshall, chairman of the racing club, was also in attendance.  2014 has been a good year for Amy so far winning Gold in the  recent Linlithgow Loch Regatta, being promoted to the GB Girls A Team following a successful event at the National Watersports Centre in Nottingham in April, and being chosen along with brother Sean to represent Great Britain at the 2014 Piestany Regatta in Slovakia at the end of May. 

President Ian hosted a fun quiz for club members which created fun, consternation and banter in equal measure. 

The forthcoming charity golf tournament on 18 August has designated as its main beneficiary the Bethany Trust, which helps homeless and vulnerable people throughout Scotland rebuild their lives.  Even if not a golfer, individuals and companies can contribute by donating a raffle prize or auction lot or by sponsoring a tee or a green for 50.  Tournament Organiser Ian Orr can provide more details by phoning him on 0790 841 3265 or at charitygolf@linlithgowgrange.org.uk 

2nd June 2014

President Ian Adams welcomed three visitors to the Rotary Club of Linlithgow Grange at Monday evening's meeting.  One guest was there to assess the club with a view to joining.  Another, Elaine McAdam, visited the club to receive a cheque for a Sports Bursary on behalf of the No Limits Sports Club which offers a safe sports environment for the disabled youth in West Lothian and beyond (www.nolimitssportsclub.org.uk).  Normally, individual sports-minded young people are given a Sports Bursary but this award-winning proactive club, based in Linlithgow's Kettilstoun Mains Sports Centre, impressed the selection committee who were happy to nominate No Limits as a beneficiary for 2014.  The final visitor was the speaker for the evening, Ann McLaughlan, corporate fundraiser for the Bethany Trust which will be the main good cause to benefit from the forthcoming Charity Golf Tournament being held at Linlithgow Sports Club on Monday 18th August.  Bethany Christian Trust supports 5,000 homeless and vulnerable people every year in Scotland to find, equip and maintain a home within their local community.  As well as meeting housing needs where they can, they provide support to individuals and families in a wide range of ways to help them tackle long-term homelessness problems including addictions, debt, lack of furniture, unemployment and social isolation.  Ann was at pains to stress that hard times can befall anyone.  In 2011/12 alone, 1800 families throughout Scotland were evicted.  One person that required the Trust's support had been a commercial pilot previously but had found himself without a job, a house and family.  Another was a young man who had been sleeping rough for some time having been ejected by his mother's new partner and then found himself then rejected by his biological father.  Given temporary accommodation and full support by staff and volunteers at Bethany, this young man learned to be a mechanic and now owns his own firm as well as his own home.  The annual golf tournament is well on its way to raising a significant sum for this worthwhile cause and golfers can help by entering a team of four for 130 which includes a two-course meal at the end of their round.  Individuals and companies can also contribute by donating a raffle prize or auction lot or by sponsoring a tee or a green for 50.  Tournament Organiser Ian Orr can provide more details by phoning him on 0790 841 3265.  Rotarian Jim Rae thanked Ann for her thought-provoking yet inspiring talk.

26th May 2014

President Ian Adams welcomed Assistant District Governor Ken Robertson to the last business meeting of Ian's year.  President Ian was delighted to inform Linlithgow Grange of the club's success in the final of the district quiz which saw team members Mike Smith, Ian Orr, Alistair Rennie, as well as himself carry off the silver salver at Haddington Rotary Club.  Committees gave their reports to the business meeting.  The next major fund-raising event is the annual charity golf tournament being held in Linlithgow Golf Club on Monday 18th August which is raising money for the Bethany Trust, an Edinburgh-based charity which helps the homeless and vulnerable people throughout Scotland to find, equip and maintain a home within their local community.  Additionally, it is hoped that the money raised would purchase two ShelterBoxes which are large family sized tents packed in a crate along with essential survival equipment sent to where they are needed at times of international disaster relief.  Organising committee convenor, Ian Orr, informed the club that he was pleased with progress so far but we could still accommodate more teams who wished to play at a cost of 130 for a team of four.  He encouraged the club members to promote the opportunity among their business contacts and friends of sponsorship of a tee or a green at a cost of 50 or provide a raffle prize or auction lot.  He can be contacted on 0790 841 3265 or at charitygolf@linlithgowgrange.org.uk.  More details are available on the club's website, www.linlithgowgrange.org.uk.

19th May 2014

President Ian Adams welcomed one Rotarian and three Rotaractors to the club on Monday evening.  Rotaract is Rotary for 18-30 year olds and the young members from the Rotaract Club of Edinburgh visited Linlithgow Grange to publicise their events and their forthcoming new members night.  More information is available on their website www.edinburghrotaract.org.uk

The speaker for the evening was Barbara Braithwaite, ably assisted by Jim Lowie, both from Linlithgow Union Canal Society (LUCS).  Barbara was a founding member of LUCS which began in 1975 when the late Mel Gray appealed for assistance to help clear and widen the tow path from the canal basin to Friars Brae.  Barbara outlined a list of landmarks along the way in the history of this charity from the purchase of their first canal boat, the St Magdalene, through to official attendance at the recent opening of The Kelpies. 

Throughout, Barbara recalled in her light-hearted manner the opening of the museum in what used to be the stables, the acquisition of the coach house, the tea-room and the building of the Mel Gray Education Centre in memory of its founder.  Of course, the most important factor in the restoration of the canal network was the Millenium Link in 2000 culminating in the world famous Falkirk Wheel.  It was with pride that Barbara could claim that the commitment demonstrated by the members of LUCS to this idea aided the case made by British Waterways for funding such a major engineering project. 

LUCS has certainly come a long way in its 39 year history but without the sterling support of its 100 active volunteers and 400 members, it would not have been possible for this popular community facility in the town to have obtained its well-deserved reputation nationally.  Rotarian Ian Raven, a volunteer member of the Canal Society gave the vote of thanks which was heartily endorsed by the club's applause. 

12th May 2014

The Rotary Club of Linlithgow Grange did not convene the previous week as it was designated the club's scatter week when the opportunity is given to members to visit other clubs in order to extend fellowship - a very important part of Rotary - and to learn about them.  Before President Ian Adams received the reports, he had the pleasure of presenting a cheque for 575 for Mary's Meals to club member Douglas Robertson in his capacity as one of the charity's fundraisers.  Douglas in his thanks informed the club that Mary's Meals were now distributing 894,000 meals per day to children in developing nations across the globe, not bad for a charity that started a mere 12 years ago. 

John Reid announced to the club that the winners of the District Semi-final Primary School Quiz which the club organised on behalf of district in Springfield School was Bantaskin Primary from Falkirk.  In a very closely fought competition, Springfield were in the lead from time to time but in the final three rounds Bantaskin pulled away to become the worthy winners.  He also thanked President Ian Adams for presenting the Young Photographers Awards at Torphichen Primary to the three winners, a clean sweep! 

Thereafter, President Ian heard reports from the different groups of Rotarians that visited Alloa, Auchterarder, East Kilbride, Glenrothes, Larbert, Livingston and Musselburgh.  The structure of the meetings, the quality of the meal (naturally) and fund raising activities amongst other items were commented upon.  One club "boasted" 25% lady members, something that Rotary is keen to build on.  (Come on, ladies, where are you?)  All in all, it was found that the clubs visited shared the same enthusiasm and vibrancy that typifies Rotary clubs worldwide, including Linlithgow Grange.  To find out more about Rotary, visit www.linlithgowgrange.org.uk. 

28th April 2014

President Ian Adams was pleased to welcome three visitors to the meeting on Monday evening, two Hannah Brutin and Bob Govans -  who were there to receive donations from the club and Scott Millar, the evenings speaker. 

Hannah, who received a cheque for 100, is a Girl Guide who, with others from her district of West Lothian, will be visiting Peru this summer to teach young people the principles of leading a group of Girl Guides.  It is anticipated that they in turn will pass on their knowledge to other potential leaders and in this way will stimulate the growth of the Guiding Association in Peru. 

Bob Gowans, of much more senior years than Hannah, admitted to being a member of the SAS, the Scout Adult Support group.  He received a cheque for 200 for the West Lothian Scout Council from club funds to help towards the refurbishment of The Craigs, the Scout Camping and Training Centre at Torphichen.  This has been badly affected with the severe winters of the past three years, in particular the last due to its gales and heavy rainfall. 

The speaker for the evening was Scott Millar who is the Development Manager for Livingston Youth Foundation, a charitable organisation set up by Livingston Football Club in partnership with West Lothian Council, West Lothian College, West Lothian Leisure and the Scottish Football Association to work with young people encouraging them into playing football.  It aims to help West Lothian youngsters rediscover the fun in active play and help develop stronger boys and girls teams across the County.  Not only the younger generations benefit from their input.  Various initiatives such as Dads and Daughters and a reminiscence programme for Alzheimer sufferers allow Livingston Youth Foundation to address a number of opportunities across a wide spectrum of ages.   More information about the Foundation can be obtained from www.lyf4football.org.uk.  Rotarian Harry Millar, who just happens to be Scotts dad, gave the well-deserved vote of thanks. 

There will be no meeting on Monday next as club members undertake Scatter Week whereby various clubs are visited by small groups to promote fellowship as well as learn from them to help improve best practice of Linlithgow Grange Rotary Club. 

7th April 2014

President Ian Adams welcomed members to Monday evening's meeting of the Rotary Club of Linlithgow Grange which returned to its usual venue of the West Port Hotel.  Youth Services Convenor, John Reid, informed the club that the judging for the Rotary Young Photographer Competition had taken place and congratulated Torphicen Primary School on the fact that they had managed a clean sweep. 

The club had been honoured by Rotary District 1020 for they had been invited to organise the semi-finals of the Primary School Quiz which will be held in Springfield Primary School at a date yet to be fixed in May this year. 

The speaker for the evening was Adam Davies from Alechemy, an artisan brewery in Livingston that started production two short years ago and already has earned plaudits and awards to boast about.  Very much a family concern, with Adam's son as the owner and his wife, daughter and son-in-law all participating albeit with the added expertise of three experienced employees, the accent was on quality ingredients  with the added essence of time, Alechemy ales and beers taking up to eleven weeks to produce contrasted with the average nine days production time of modern large scale brewing conglomerates. 

They now have a distribution network of the beers across the UK from Aberdeen to London and their first exported shipment to Sweden only last week.  The proven success of this young company is also benefiting two charities that they have chosen to partner, the Edinburgh Limb Loss Association and the West Lothian Schools Pipe Band.  The club didn't just have to take Adam's word for the quality of the beer for the members were able to sample the variety of brews that Alechemy are now producing.  It was therefore a very happy club that echoed Rotarian Ian Orr's vote of thanks for Adam's informative and, often, light-hearted speech. 

31st March 2014

The Rotary Club of Linlithgow Grange gathered on Monday evening at Linlithgow Golf Club for their final meeting before returning to the West Port from Monday 7 April.  Warm appreciation was expressed to the chef and staff of the golf club who have looked after the Rotary club so well over the past three months.  President Ian Adams chaired the monthly business meeting and received reports from the various convenors.  It was agreed that disbursements would be made to West Lothian Scouts to help with refurbishment of their Torphichen camp and to a student of Linlithgow Academy who has volunteered to work with young people in Peru this summer.  Alex Robertson updated members on the progress of the forthcoming Prize Bingo Evening at the Rose Club on Wednesday 9th April with eyes down at 7.30 p.m.  Profits from the evening will be disbursed amongst local good causes such as above and the Scottish international charity, Mary's Meals.  Tickets, costing 1.50, are available from any club member or at the door on the evening.  More details can be found at www.linlithgowgrange.org.uk/events. 

24th March 2014

Monday evening's meeting of Linlithgow Grange Rotary was a social evening at which members and their partners gathered to enjoy a meal together followed by an interesting presentation.  President Ian Adams welcomed visiting Rotarians from as far as Carmarthen in Wales and as near as Whitburn as well as two invited guests.  President Ian began the evening by presenting member Dr Ken MacKenzie with a well-deserved Paul Harris Fellowship for his services to Rotary and the Rotary Foundation, the charity arm of the organisation. 

After the meal, Rotarian Douglas Robertson showed a film about the Scottish-based charity Mary's Meals which in twelve short years since its founding, now feeds over 868,000 hungry children daily when at school in impoverished areas across the developing wold thereby giving them both essential nourishment and education which will, in time, lead them out of poverty.  The film, which can be viewed at www.youtube.com by searching for its title, "Child 31", was challenging, humbling but most of all uplifting and was warmly received by all. 

The next fund-raising event the club will be holding is the Prize Bingo Evening at the Rose Club on Wednesday 9th April.  Tickets at 1.50 which cover the cost of the tea and sandwiches at half-time are available from any club member and a list of these can be found at www.linlithgowgrange.org.uk. 

17th March 2014

President Ian Adams began Monday evening's meeting by welcoming an influx of visitors from Cumbernauld Rotary Club, assistant district governor Ken Robertson, and district governor nominee, Andy Ireland.  Also in attendance was our own club member, District Governor Kate Keter.  The presence of such an august company was due to the latest heat of the inter-club quiz between Linlithgow Grange and Cumbernauld in which the home team triumphed 20 points to 15. This occasional knock-out competition introduces an element of friendly rivalry to club meetings with the emphasis on "friendly". 

Member Alex Robertson announced he had tickets for sale via any club members for the forthcoming Prize Bingo on Wednesday 9th April at a cost of 1.50. Profits for the event will go to local and international good causes that are supported by Linlithgow Grange Rotary Club.  More information can be found at www.linlithgowgrange.org.uk  

10th March 2014

President Ian Adams began Monday evening's meeting by announcing that Linlithgow Grange Rotary Club would be returning to the West Port Hotel as from Monday 7th April and until then would continue to enjoy the hospitality of Linlithgow Golf Club. 

The speaker for the evening was the club's newest member, Derek Chambers, who gave his "job talk". Following education at Greenock Academy, which he rufely pointed out was now better known as the set for the TV series "Waterloo Road", and Paisley College of Technology, he entered the profession of Civil Engineering very much as a junior.  His first job involved him and his new bride, Sally, moving to Alness to begin employment with Morrison Construction for which he worked for the next 40 years.  Over the ensuing years, he became a chartered member of the Institute of Civil Engineers (ICE) and progressively rose through the ranks until achieving directorship.   His list of projects that he worked on and, ultimately, oversaw is impressive with many iconic projects on his CV such as the Falkirk Wheel, Aonach Mor ski lift, Cairngorm funicular railway, the magnificent Kylescu bridge, the Dornoch Bridge, the M74 motorway and, most recently, the new Forth Crossing until ill-health forced his early retirement. 

However, he still keeps his hand in, he assured members, by remaining a national examiner for the ICE and is the assistant curator for the Institute's Scottish Museum based in Heriot Watt University.  Currently he and Sally were looking forward to becoming "Clydesiders", the volunteer army who will be supporting the participants and audiences attending the Commonwealth Games.  He was warmly thanked for his excellent talk by Stephen Blake. 

Chris Long, who's committee oversaw the recent "Odd Item Out" in which the public were asked to discover unusual items in the windows of participating shops on Linlithgow's High Street, announced that two winners had been drawn from the impressive amount of completed entries. They were Calum Brannigan, age 6, of the High Street and Anna Wilson, age 11, of Kettil'stoun Mains who each win a 10 book token.  The full list of odd items can be found on the club's website, www.linlithgowgrange.org.uk, where details of the forthcoming Prize Bingo Night on April 9th are also noted.  

3rd March 2014

Before Monday's meeting got fully underway, President Ian Adams had the pleasure of presenting a cheque for 100 to Iona Mayhew, an S6 student from Linlithgow Academy, who will shortly be travelling to Rwanda as a volunteer.  Another pleasant duty Ian had to perform was to admit a new member, Derek Chambers, to the club. Derek brings with him much experience of Rotary since he had been a member of the Inverness club before his work commitments brought him to Linlithgow. 

The speaker for the evening was Alan Young, past president of Linlithgow and Bo'ness Rotary Club and  director of Linlithgow Heritage Trust which runs the Annet House Museum.  The museum, when it opens on April 1st, will be featuring an exhibition on David Waldie, surgeon and pharmacist, who was born in 1813 on Linlthgow High Street (above the Four Marys) and is credited with being the first to recommend, and make practicable, the use of chloroform which had been pioneered by Sir James Young Simpson.  Annet House had been presented with artefacts by Waldie's great niece which had belonged to him and included amongst other interesting items which will be on show, a detailed notebook of his 55-day journey by sea and overland to India.  Alan Young related the story of of Waldie's arduous travels from Southampton to Calcutta in 1853 using beautiful watercolours supplied by the P&O Heritage Collection.  Alan has diligently transcribed this fascinating journal into a new book which is available at 11.99 from both the bookshops in Linlithgow and Bo'ness as well as Annet House.  The vote of thanks was given by Ken MacKenzie who complimented Alan on the thorough research that was obvious in his talk and book. 

24th February 2014

President Ian Adams chaired the monthly Business Meeting of the Rotary Club of Linlithgow Grange at Monday evening's meeting and received reports from the various convenors.  John Reid, convenor of the Youth Service Committee thanked members and partners for their hard work at the Coffee Morning on the previous Saturday.  During the event three cheques had been presented to local good causes with two more yet to be handed out - a contribution towards an powered wheelchair for Mr Alistair Learmonth in Bo'ness and a financial contribution to a gap year student who will receive her cheque at a future meeting. 

Alex Robertson of the International Service Committee announced that plans were well in hand for a Prize Bingo Evening on 9th April 2014.  More details can be found on the recently relaunched club website www.linlithgowgrange.org.uk.  The Odd Item Out competition along Linlithgow's High Street is now underway and already causing a stir said Community and Vocation Service convenor, Chris Long, who also updated members on the arrangements for the Spring Clean around the town organised by Burgh Beautiful that the club would be assisting with.  The next meeting will be in Linlithgow Golf Club. 

17th February 2014

The Rotary Club of Linlithgow Grange met at Linlithgow Golf Club and President Ian Adams announced that the golf club would continue to be the venue for the next seven weeks.  The speaker for the evening was Dan Gunn who was Director of Operations at the Scottish Prison Service until his recent retirement.  He expertly delivered a very thought-provoking speech on crime and punishment in which he pleaded for a thoughtful and analytical response to the topic of prison rather than any knee-jerk reaction. 

He defined current thinking of imprisonment as encompassing deterrence, punishment, rehabilitation, and incapacitation what politicians would call making the streets safer and, in doing so, posed a number of philosophical questions for his audience to ponder.  Currently the prison population is over 8,000 of which a disproportionate amount of inmates are serving short sentences.  Three new prisons have been built recently with a new one in Peterhead about to be opened.  Dan was pleased to see these improvements for the benefit of prisoners and reminded everyone that the living conditions of prisoners were also the working conditions of the hard-working staff.  He concluded his presentation by updating the listeners on current work on rehabilitation which was essential to reduce re-offending.  Rotarian Chris Long gave the well-deserved vote of thanks. 

At the conclusion of the meeting, John Reid informed the club that everything was in place for the Coffee Morning on Saturday 22 February 2014 at 10 am in St Michaels Kirk Hall at a cost of 2 and will include a varied selection of craft stalls, a book sale as well as stress-bustin neck massage and a demonstration of low-voltage domestic lighting. 

10th February 2014

President Ian Adams welcomed club members to the meeting of the Rotary Club of Linlithgow Grange which, this week, was being held in the Linlithgow Golf Club.  The speaker for the evening was Matt Purdie, well known to many of the members as previously he had been President of the Whitburn Rotary Club.  He was addressing the company at this meeting on the West Lothian Highland Games and the British Pipe Band Championships which are being held on Saturdays May 31st and June 7th respectively. 

Matt explained that the Highland Games was one of the largest in Scotland attracting crowds of 7000 or more.  Indeed the Games were bigger than the famous event held in Ballater which is normally attended by the Queen.  He was delighted to inform the members that Susan Boyle had agreed to be this year's Chieftain.  This also meant that, with such a high-profiled person as Miss Boyle, it had been possible to secure Calor Gas as the major sponsor which was a huge boost for funding as the Pipe Band Championships alone had prize money of 60,000.  Advanced ticket sales, some from overseas, were already encouraging.  Rotarian Alex Linkston, himself a former Chieftain, gave the well deserved vote of thanks. 

Rotarian John Reid updated the club on the forthcoming Coffee Morning which is being held in Cross House on Saturday, 22 February between 10 a.m. and noon.  All the profits from the event, which will also include side stalls with crafts, competitions, neck massage and second-hand books, will be donated to local good causes, three of which will receive cheques during the Coffee Morning.  Entry is 2 per person.  Next week's meeting is once again at Linlithgow Golf Club. 

3rd February 2014

President Ian Adams welcomed club members to the meeting of the Rotary Club of Linlithgow Grange which, this week, was being held in the newly-restored and splendid Star and Garter Hotel.  In attendance was honorary member, Iain Keter, who reported on the visit that he and his wife, club member District Governor Kate Keter, had made to the finals of the Young Chef of the Year that took place in West Lothian College the previous weekend. 

The speaker for the evening was John Carswell, there to speak about Burgh Beautiful, a side shoot of Linlithgow Civic Trust.  Col Charles Ponsonby, Julia Wade, Mel Gray, all sadly no longer with us, originally began the Civic Trust along with other notable townspeople.  Not long after its founding, at a Trust meeting in the Dalyell Suite in the County Buildings, Burgh Beautiful was created in an effort to enhance the appearance of the town.  John Carswell was a founder member.  Since its inception, Burgh Beautiful has gone from strength to strength and last year won the coveted Medium-sized Town Award in the Beautiful Scotland competition.  The organisations success depends heavily on the various groups of volunteers who are each responsible for designated areas within the town.  Much remains to be done and John outlined current areas designated for the organisations attention as well as outlining continuing challenges, not the least of which was his appeal for additional volunteers.  John recommended that anyone interested in finding out more should contact the Burgh Beautiful secretary and Linlithgow Grange Rotary member, Chris Long, at chris.d.long@blueyonder.co.uk

John Reid, having thanked John Carswell for his speech as well as commending a vote of thanks to all the work undertaken by Burgh Beautifuls volunteers, updated the club on the forthcoming Coffee Morning which is being held in Cross House on Saturday, 22 February between 10 a.m. and noon.  All the profits from the event, which will also include side stalls with crafts, competitions, neck massage and second-hand books, will be donated to local good causes, three of which will receive cheques during the Coffee Morning.  Entry is 2 per person. 

20th January 2014

With the sad closure of Beecraigs Restaurant, Linlithgow Grange Rotary Club had to convene in the temporary home of Linlithgow Golf Club where President Ian Adams welcomed members and one prospective member to the monthly business meeting.  All were pleased to learn of disbursements to three deserving individuals and two local organisations.  Reports were received from the different club committees. 

The annual Coffee Morning is in hand to take place at St Michael's Church Hall at the Cross on February 22nd; the popular Wayne Robertson Band has been booked for the Scotch Hop at the Academy on November 15th; and participation in Burgh Beautiful's Town Clean-up on Saturday 12th April was announced. 

International Services convenor, Alex Robertson, gave details of the eight entrepreneurs in four developing countries that the club has chosen to support with the micro-finance organisation, Lend With Care.  Already the first tranche of repayment has been received back into the pot which will be recycled by lending to other fledgling businesses. 

Arrangements were in place for the inter-Primary School quiz which this year is being held in Winchburch Primary School and Community and Vocation Services convenor, Chris Long, brought the club up-to-date about the popular free fun window competition, Odd Item Out, which is run with the co-operation of local shopkeepers who deliberately place in their window a product alien to their business.  A busy time is ahead of the club.  Next week, the club holds a Burns Supper in the Golf Club for members and partners. 

13th January 2014

It was a busy evening for President Ian Adams who chaired Monday's meeting of the Rotary Club of Linlithgow Grange.  He welcomed five members of Larbert Rotary Club who were at the club to participate in the latest round of the Rotary Quiz along with a member from Linlithgow and Bo'ness who would be the quiz-master as well as a potential new member. 

Rotarian John Leitch gave a short report on the very successful social event when 28 members and partners travelled to Kinross to try their hand at curling. 

President Ian was able to announce to the club that India is celebrating its third anniversary in March as a polio-free country and that we are on track to eradicate polio from the world by 2018. 

He also had the pleasant duty of presenting Paul Harris Fellowship Awards to two past-presidents of our club, Jim Gillespie and founder member Roy Snedden, for services to Rotary International. 

 Following the normal business of the meeting, the teams from Linlithgow Grange and Larbert Rotary Club competed in the inter-club knockout competition which regrettably Larbert lost decisively, 31 points to 12.  

6th January 2014

President Ian Adams welcomed everyone to the first meeting of 2014 by wishing members and their families a Happy New Year.  The speaker for the evening was Stan Chuchla who has written a history of Linlithgow Golf Club which celebrates its centenary year. 

The land on which the course was built was originally owned by Sir Robert McConnachie who rented grazing pasture to the newly formed club for 47 per annum, a happy arrangement that existed for almost 40 years until his death in 1950.  A benign landlord, he allowed Sunday golf, an innovation brought back from the continent by soldiers at the end of the Great War.  Upon his death there followed a tense standoff with a local farmer who was the new landowner until Gina McKinnon stepped in, bought the land and continued to lease it to the club until, finally, it was able to be bought by the club upon her death.  This is all documented in the fascinating book written by Stan which is available for sale from Linlithgow Golf Club.  President Ian who just happens to be the Secretary of the Golf Club in his day job thanked Stan for his interesting talk as well as the work undertaken to write the book. 

John Reid gave details of the forthcoming Coffee Morning on 22 February which will be held in St Michaels Church Hall at the Cross to raise funds for local good causes.  He also was able to announce the inter-primary school quiz will take place this year in Winchburgh Primary School on Friday 21 February.  These events are staged as part of the annual Rotary Week which will also feature the popular "Odd Item Out" window competition with local shop keepers. 

9th December 2013

President Ian Adams was delighted to announce that the recent Rotary Partners Evening had raised over 600 which will be donated to Lifestraws.org.uk, a charity run by the Rotary Club of Brynmawr in Wales. LifeStraws are portable water filters about 25cm long that effectively removes all bacteria and parasites responsible for causing common diarrhoeal diseases.  Immediately following Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines last month, 5000 were despatched to the area.  The club partners fund-raising effort will help towards replenishing stocks in the UK charitys warehouse. 

At the Special General Meeting that followed, Rotarian John Reid was unanimously elected to be Vice President in the 2014/15 Rotary year.  Further, it was confirmed that Peter Russell would become next years president-elect.  Phill Ratcliffe was re-elected as Secretary and Alistair Rennie was re-elected as Treasurer. 

2nd December 2013

This week, President-elect Stephen Blake took the meeting of the Rotary Club of Linlithgow Grange and welcomed the guest speaker, Allan Johnston of Alzheimer Scotland, to the club.  Allan, who is the head of community fundraising for the charity, explained to the members the vital role the organisation has in the care of the sufferer.  Their stated aim is to help the sufferer and the carer live well, living as normal a life as possible in their own homes wherever practical by providing personalised tailored support both in the home and at day care centres which have a high ratio of staff and volunteers to patients. 

There are 84,000 Scots with dementia and, uniquely, Scotland is leading the world with adopted practices such as a 24-hour Freephone helpline (0808 808 3000) and a full year post-diagnosis input by a named care worker. Allan provided a number of examples of opportunities that the charity provides for engaging with people with dementia.  He also gave details of the ways Alzheimer Scotland advises large organisations such as supermarkets to be dementia friendly.  Recently, for example, the Bank of Scotland became a dementia-aware bank with special services and practices provided to sufferers.  More details are available for carers and sufferers from their website www.alzscot.org.  His interesting talk brought forward a number of questions from the floor and he was warmly thanked on behalf of the club by his host, Rotarian Jim Gillespie. 

25th November 2013

Prior to the scheduled monthly business meeting of the Rotary Club of Linlithgow Grange, President Ian Adams welcomed Alison Tulloch, a student at Linlithgow Academy, who attended the club along with her parents, Catherine MacDonald, her Business Studies teacher, and Mrs Agnes Clark, widow of founder member Jim Clark, whose memory is honoured each year with a literacy trophy for primary schools in the area, and is Alisons grandmother.  Alison was there to relate her experiences at the recent Rotary Challenge Enterprise residential weekend which is designed for S5 and S6 of secondary education who have the ability and desire to become the next generation of business leaders. 

She described how after hearing an address from a successful entrepreneur Tommy Dale, the group was split into working groups, tasked with coming up with a marketable idea and defining an appropriate strategy.  The club was delighted to learn that it was Alisons team who won the day with their idea of a sports app for an Apple iPhone.  Chris Gunstone of the clubs Community and Vocational Committee thanked Alison for her excellent presentation and delivery.

At the business meeting taken by President-elect Stephen Blake, the club were pleased to learn that the recent wine-tasting evening contributed almost 1000 to the benevolent fund and that the Rotary Scotch Hop earlier this month raised sufficient money to vaccinate 2300 children in developing countries against polio.  The club further agreed that seed money would be committed to the charity Lend With Care to fund fledgling businesses in developing countries that in turn will help local communities. 

18th November 2013

President Ian Adams had the pleasurable duty of presenting a cheque for 200 to Christina Duncan of "On Eagle's Wings", a small yet highly effective local charity based in Bo'ness which works among the marginalised and vulnerable in the developing world. Their main focus ranges from helping people lift themselves out of poverty to establishing sustainable self-supporting projects.  In accepting the donation, Christina gave a brief outline of the charity and promised that the sum of money was destined to go to the Mbabazi Clinic Project in Burundi which aims to build a polyclinic to provide medical, surgical and maternity services for the poor.  

The evening concluded with another round in the district-wide Rotary Quiz , this time against competitors from the Vale of Carron Rotary Club.  Their team of Ken, Don, Jill and Graham fought valiantly against the superior forces from Linlithgow Grange of Stephen, Ian, Alistair and Heather but proved no match for them going down 14 to the home team's 22 points.  Question master John Binnie, from the Rotary Club of Linlithgow and Bo'ness, somehow managed to maintain order despite the amount of levity and badinage and a good time was had by all, especially in view of the satisfactory result.  The next heat sees Linlithgow Grange meet the Larbert club in another home match. 

11th November 2013

President Ian Adams welcomed two visitors to Monday evenings meeting of the Rotary Club of Linlithgow Grange, one being a prospective member and the other, the speaker for the evening, Paul Birrell, husband of member Elma Birrell.  Pauls subject was 40 years of Hill Walking in Scotland, a topic that interested all club members but some in particular for a number of the club like to escape to the hills when the opportunity arises.  However, their experiences paled to insignificance compared to Paul who has climbed all 282 Munros and is well on his way to completing this feat for a second time.  In the course of his interesting talk, he also showed pictures of the remote locations and interiors of some mountain bothies where hill-walkers can rest for the night and then had a brief fun quiz showing his audience slides of famous mountains which many members were able to name.  Rotarian Morris Easton, who was the speakers host for the evening. thanked Paul for his most informative talk. 

At an emergency council discussion after the meeting, it was resolved that the club would purchase a Rotary ShelterBox at a cost of 600 in response to the Philippines' disaster relief. 

28th October 2013

The Rotary Club of Linlithgow Grange had cause to celebrate at this weeks meeting.  Just back from a highly successful District Conference, which the club had organised on behalf of club member and district governor, Kate Keter, members reported that an enthusiastic audience had come away uplifted and inspired.  386 filled backpacks to be used as schoolbags had been donated by clubs in the district to Marys Meals Backpack Project at the conference. 

President Ian Adams welcomed Ann Wood of the Erskine Edinburgh Home and presented her with a cheque for 5000, proceeds from the recent charity golf tournament.  In her thank you speech, she outlined the purposes and principles of Erskine that provides a compassionate environment for ex-service personnel of all ages suffering from a wide range of issues from combat stress to critical illness to dementia in old age and who needed care and therapeutic input. The money raised will allow the home to purchase two specialised Hydrotilt chairs that will allow normally bed-ridden patients to sit upright as well as four iPads so that residents can communicate with loved ones abroad using an internet video connection. 

Finally, Ian invited past-president Heather McInally to present a posthumous Paul Harris Award for services to Rotary to Rotarian Jack Archibald, who died in February 2013.  This was accepted on his behalf by his sons David, Andrew and John.  It was Jacks wish that the money raised at his funeral  be donated to the club.  This will be used as a start-up fund to form a Rotary Interact Club.  Interact is Rotary for secondary school pupils and negotiations are well underway with Linlithgow Academy on this matter. 

21st October 2013

The Rotary club meeting of Linlithgow Grange took on a frenzied air on Monday night as over 30 Rotarians busied themselves preparing information packs and delegates badges for the many Rotarians across the district who will be attending the forthcoming conference on Friday 25 to Sunday 28 October at Ayr Racecourse.  As club member Kate Keter is this years district governor, it falls to Linlithgow Grange Rotary Club to arrange and organise the district conference at which Rotarians assemble to be inspired, to be motivated and, just as importantly, be entertained. 

Rotarian David Timperley updated the club on the progress of ticket sales for the Rotary Scotch Hop on Saturday 9 November at Linlithgow Academy from 7.30 p.m. John Carswell will lead dancers through tried and tested Scottish Country Dances and introduce new ones for an added bit of fun.  The Ian Cathcart Band will be performing.  All members were supplied tickets to sell at 8 for adults and 6 for students.  Children 12 and under go free.  All profits go to End Polio Now, Rotarys global campaign to eradicate the scourge of polio from the world and which has achieved a 99% success rate so far.  Tickets are also available from the Line Gallery or Stewart Electrical, both High Street, Linlithgow or by contacting David on (01506) 845623. 

7th October 2013

President Ian Adams received reports from a number of members who had accompanied our member, District Governor Kate Keter, to various clubs in the district.  Also Elma Birrell reported on a visit she made to a club in Malmo, Norway whilst on an assignment there.

The speaker for the evening was our own member, Rory Cameron.  Rory is a consultant with Harvard Engineering, which he joined following his retirement with West Lothian Council as senior Lighting Engineer.  He showed the latest techniques in street lighting gear using state-of-the-art technology and described how significant savings in running costs can be made.  In Arran, for example, community lighting is purposely dimmed after the last ferry has departed.  With the more economic running gear now used and LED technology, it is possible to recover capital costs in a couple of years in some cases.  A number of questions from the floor revealed the interest he had stimulated in a subject that members would normally take for granted.  Tom Brown gave the well earned vote of thanks. 

Alex Robertson updated the club on the Wine Tasting charity event being held in Linlithgow Academy on Friday 11 October when for the 10 entry fee, over fifty wines from all over the world can be sampled.  Drivers tickets for 6 are also available.  A number of tickets may be available at the door, although he encouraged pre-booking the tickets by contacting rotaryevents@linlithgowgrange.org.uk or by phoning himself on 01506 791492. 

30th September 2013

Monday evening at the Rotary Club of Linlithgow Grange was a business meeting when President Ian Adams heard reports from the clubs convenors.  President Ian thanked members Harry Millar and Ian Raven for representing the club by acting as stewards at the recent town 10Km race. 

Plans are well in hand for the Rotary Scotch Hop on Saturday 9 November in Linlithgow Academy raising funds for Rotarys polio eradication initiative.  Tickets are available from The Line Gallery and Stewart Electrical, both High Street, Linlithgow. 

The International Service Committee said that ticket sales were satisfactory to date for the forthcoming Wine Tasting Evening on Friday 11th October in Linlithgow Academy beginning at 7 pm.  A portion of the funds raised is going to the "Lend With Care" programme, a micro-finance scheme aimed at improving communities by helping local entrepreneurship in the Third World.  Tickets costing 10, which permit those attending to sample up to 40 wines, are now available for sale through every club member or by contacting rotaryevents@linlithgowgrange.org.uk.  Drivers' tickets at 6 are also available, which will permit the festival visitor to enjoy cheese, nibbles and soft drinks only. 

23rd September 2013

President Ian Adams welcomed club members and visitors. Rotarian Jim Chapman introduced Joelle Yu, a sixth year pupil and Izzie Barton a fourth year pupil, both from Linlithgow Academy. They were the clubs sponsored RYLA (Rotary Youth Leadership Awards) participants. RYLA is a leadership development programme, with the sponsoring Rotary Club and the Rotary District covering all expenses for the participants. Girls from many countries including Australia, Hungary, France and the UK, attended this years event during July, at Ardeonaig, on the south side of Loch Tay.

The students were assigned into groups, each group having its own mentor who offered encouragement, inspiration and help with confidence building, effective communication, personal development and leadership skills. During their week, they participated in many tasks including raft building, low and high rope work, gorge and mountain walking, rock climbing and canoeing. There were also presentations relating to Rotarys End Polio Campaign and the work of Killin Mountain Rescue.
 
To show their appreciation for Rotary sponsorship of their RYLA experience, Joelle and Izzie have organised a sponsored walk in the Pentland Hills on 6th October in aid of the End Polio Campaign and Killin Mountain Rescue service.
 
Both girls thanked the club for arranging their trip, saying how much their communication and problem solving skills had strengthened and confidence levels had increased. Rotarian Jim Chapman congratulated Joelle and Izzie for their excellent presentation and wished them all the best for the future. Rotarians showed their appreciation in the usual manner. 

The club are organising a Charity Wine Tasting Festival in Linlithgow Academy on Friday 11th October, with a portion of the funds raised going to the "Lend With Care" scheme. Tickets costing 10 are now available for sale through every club member or by contacting rotaryevents@linlithgowgrange.org.uk.  Drivers' tickets at 6 are also available, which will permit the festival visitor to enjoy cheese, nibbles and soft drinks only. 

16th September 2013

President Ian Adams welcomed club members and visiting Rotarian and past president from the Rotary Club of Belfast, Bryan Johnston. Reports were received from visits to Rotary clubs throughout the district.  Ian Orr reported that Sports Bursary Awards, each of 200, were given to fencer Ross Manson and bowler Gordon Snedden.

The speaker this evening was club Rotarian Tom Brown, a consultant psychiatrist, whose special interest subject is The World of Cosmetic Surgery.  Tom talked about assessing patients who considered that parts of their body were deformed, whether by size, shape or symmetry. This is a psychiatric condition called Body Dysmorphic Disorder that makes the sufferer pre-occupied with imagined defects in their appearance, resulting in requests for cosmetic surgery on the NHS. A common manifestation of this disorder is anorexia nervosa. Facial and body features that are too large or too small result in surgical solutions to the perceived problem being sourced, usually by the patient bypassing the NHS and accessing private medical care. These companies can be unscrupulous and financially driven. Patients resort to excessive grooming, skin and beauty treatments and wearing hats and scarves to camouflage their imagined condition.  Patients can self-harm in order to force the surgeons hand in providing cosmetic surgery, but this is not the solution. A psychological, rather than a surgical approach, is the better option in resolving patients distress.
 
Mike Smith proposed the vote of thanks to Tom for this fascinating insight into a severely debilitating illness that is on the increase, but difficult to cure.
 
The International Service Committee of Linlithgow Grange Rotary Club are organising a Charity Wine Tasting Festival in Linlithgow Academy on Friday 11th October, with a portion of the funds raised going to the recently reported Lend With Care scheme. Tickets costing 10, which allows those attending to sample over 40 wines, are now available for sale through every club member or by contacting rotaryevents@linlithgowgrange.org.uk.  Drivers' tickets at 6 are also available, which will permit the festival visitor to enjoy cheese, nibbles and soft drinks only. 

9th September 2013

President Ian Adams began by welcoming everyone to the meeting. Club Rotarian John Lawson and his wife, Myra, recently celebrated their Golden Wedding anniversary and the club sends their congratulations. Reports were received from members who visited Jedburgh, Biggar and Lanark Rotary Clubs.

Our speaker this evening was Rotarian Eddie Crawley who described his involvement with the 1986 Commonwealth Games, held in Edinburgh. Through the Junior Chamber of Commerce, of which he was a member, team attaches were recruited to provide a link between participating teams and the games organisers. Eddie was assigned to the team from the Bahamas, which was unfortunately short lived, as this team along with many others, withdrew from competition due to the apartheid situation in South Africa. In total, 32 nations withdrew which left 27 countries to compete for medals. This withdrawal resulted in team attaches being re-tasked, with Eddie now manning the press desk, checking sports journalist accreditation and press passes in the athletes village at the Pollock Halls of Residence.

Eddie recalls how Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth and the Prime Minister of the day visited the games village, to be met with a deserted complex, the athletes remaining indoors during the visit to protest silently about apartheid. The visiting dignitaries quickly moved on to another venue. Athletes who are well known, but now no longer competing, were embarking on their sporting careers during these games. Liz Lynch, now Liz McColgan, Colin Jackson, Steve Cram, Ben Johnson, Lynford Christie and Steve Redgrave all competed and went on to great sporting achievements. Eddie enjoyed his involvement with the 1986 Commonwealth Games and wishes Glasgow success with the hosting of the 2014 event. Rotarian Ken MacKenzie thanked Eddie for his detailed  and humorous presentation and the club showed their appreciation with a hearty round of applause.

The International Service Committee of Linlithgow Grange Rotary Club are organising a Charity Wine Tasting Festival in Linlithgow Academy on Friday 11th October, with a portion of the funds raised going to the recently reported Lend With Care scheme. Tickets costing 10, which allows those attending to sample over 40 wines, are now available for sale through every club member or by contacting rotaryevents@linlithgowgrange.org.uk.  Drivers' tickets at 6 are also available, which will permit the festival visitor to enjoy cheese, nibbles and soft drinks only.   

2nd September 2013

It was a full house on Monday evening when President Ian Adams welcomed to the Rotary Club of Linlithgow Grange a total of seven visiting Rotarians from the Rotary clubs of Falkirk and  from Currie Balerno plus one non-Rotarian visitor, Alex Adams, who was to be the question-master for the quiz to be held later that evening, one that Linlithgow valiantly fought though sadly lost 16 points to 21 against Falkirk's winning team. 

The speaker for the evening was Ian Grieg from the Currie Balerno club who addressed the audience on his club's involvement with the organisation, Lend With Care (www.lendwithcare.org).  This is a micro-finance scheme that operates under the Care International umbrella and offers short-term small loans to entrepreneurs in developing countries such as Togo, Zambia or Cambodia.  The simple idea is that individuals or groups loan small amounts as little as 15 to people who want to start a business in their township or area.  This is repaid monthly and the money returned is then re-invested in another small business.  In this way, a fledgling business can be established to allow the entrepreneur so that they can feed their family and educate their children. 

The club is allowed to choose who they want to lend to using a business profile placed on the website.  No interest is received by the club, only its capital, although a modest interest is charged by the local micro-finance office to cover running costs, etc.  The speaker, Ian Grieg, said that his club's experience was a positive one with no occurrence of defaulters and that its initial 700 fund has already been recycled and reloaned to the tune of over 2500. 

The Lend With Care scheme has been adopted by the International Service Committee of Linlithgow Grange Rotary Club and some of the money raised from the forthcoming Charity Wine Tasting Festival that they are running in Linlithgow Academy on Friday 11th October has been earmarked for the club's own micro-finance fund.  Tickets costing 10, which allows those attending to sample over 40 wines, are now available for sale through every club member or by contacting rotaryevents@linlithgowgrange.org.uk.  Driver's tickets at 6 are also available which will permit the festival visitor to enjoy cheese, nibbles and soft drinks only.  In her vote of thanks, Gail Boardman applauded the efforts of the Rotary Club of Currie Balerno and thanked them for bringing the scheme to the attention of the club members. 

26th August 2013

Now that the nights are drawing in and theres an autumn nip in the evening air, it is that time of the year when Rotary events get fully under way.   At Monday evenings business meeting, President Ian Adams received reports from the various convenors about forthcoming activities. 

Chris Gunstone was able to confirm that interviews will shortly be taking place with Linlithgow Academys S5 and S6 pupils who wish to participate in the weekend young entrepreneurs residential school, Rotary Challenge Enterprise. 

John Reid updated the club on the joint venture with other local Rotary Clubs and Linlithgow Book Festival for the Young Writers Competition open to all S1 and S2 pupils living in Linlithgow, Boness, South Queensferry and their environs.  The theme this year is My Favourite Book with the winners of the literacy competition receiving a book token and the opportunity to Meet The Author during the Book Festival. 

Alex Robertson announced that tickets will be on sale from Monday 2 September for the Wine Tasting Evening at Linlithgow Academy on Friday 11 October.  This year over 40 wines will be able to be sampled for the entry price of 10 (by ticket only) and there will be an opportunity to order with confidence at discount for pre-Christmas delivery. 

Finally, David Timperley confirmed that everything was in place for another successful Rotary Scotch Hop on Saturday 8 November which will be raising funds for End Polio Now, Rotarys fight to eradicate polio in the world.  Further details of all these events can be obtained by emailing rotaryevents@linlithgowgrange.org.uk. 

19th August 2013

One of the fun prizes to be won at the annual charity golf tournament run by the Rotary Club of Linlithgow Grange is awarded to the golfer who gets their ball nearest the pin at the 17th hole.  Well, you dont get nearer than a hole-in-one accomplished by Stuart Dennett of the team, The Hippos! 

The outright winners of the Magadalene Cup were The Green Keepers with a magnificent low score of 118.  The position of second place was keenly fought by The Mashie Niblicks and the team representing Greenthumb Falkirk both on 122 with the Mashie Niblicks just scraping through with a lower score on the back nine holes. 

The event raised over 6000 and Gordon Michie, a member of the General Council for Erskine Hospital - the charity that cares for ex-service personnel - was on hand to receive an interim cheque for 4500. 

Two Rotary Shelterboxes, which are large family-sized tents along with essential survival equipment, will also be purchased for use in disaster-struck areas abroad. 

Although not on hand to personally receive the cup and medals for first prize, The Green Keepers were represented by Linlithgow Golf Clubs Secretary, Ian Adams who just happens also to be the current president of Linlithgow Grange Rotary Club.  The trophy and medals were awarded by Rotary District Governor, Kate Keter. 

President-Elect Stephen Blake gave the vote of thanks to all those who helped and participated in a very successful event, in particular the green keepers themselves for preparing the course so perfectly for all to enjoy and to Jim Rae, the hardworking convenor of the charity golf tournament committee. 

12th August 2013

The Rotary Club of Linlithgow Grange was honoured by the presence of Rotarian John Kenny, past president of Rotary International and a resident of Linlithgow, at Monday evenings meeting.  John is presently Chair-designate of the Rotary Foundation, Rotarys own charity valued in excess of $250 million, which has been instrumental in the global fight to eradicate polio a battle almost won as well as co-funding in partnership with local Rotary clubs many humanitarian projects around the world. 

President Ian Adams welcomed as the speaker for the evening the clubs own member, Ian Orr, who gave us a light-hearted retrospective of his occupation as a loss adjustor.  Loss adjustors are independent of insurers and insured and in the course of Ians career, he has been involved with many varied insurance claims from the tragic to those that have a humorous side.  Although he dwelt mainly on the examples of a lighter note, it was obvious to the audience of his commitment and professionalism.  John Reid gave the well-earned vote of thanks.   

Next week the club de-camps to Linlithgow Golf Club where the annual charity golf tournament takes place, this year raising funds mainly for the Erskine Hospital Edinburgh. 

5th August 2013

President Ian Adams began Monday evenings meeting by presenting Douglas Robertson with the Bill Henderson Quaich for winning the club golf competition.  Secretary Phill Ratcliffe read out a letter of thanks from the charity, Friends of Goboti, for the 500 cheque recently sent and was able to announce that the most recent ShelterBox donated by the club had been given to a family in Pakistan whose house had been destroyed by floods. 

Rotarian Elma Birrell introduced her guest, Marshall Green, representing the Trussell Trust that has been operating food banks, which issues 3-day supplies of canned and packet food to those in crisis, throughout the UK for the past 12 years.  The need for these, even in the 21st century, has never been greater and five distribution centres operate in West Lothian alone (www.westlothian.foodbank.org.uk).  Since opening their Whitburn HQ in November 2012, almost 1000 vouchers serving families and individuals have been redeemed so far. 

After showing the moving story of one young mother of two, whose husband was on Army basic training, Marshall went on to demolish some of the myths about those receiving aid.  He then outlined the range of services offered locally to the applicants all of whom had been referred by one of 47 agencies such as health professionals, social workers, churches, police, etc.  Over 12 tons of food parcels have been issued since the West Lothian Foodbank began operating.  Elma thanked Marshall on behalf of the club for his thought-provoking talk that had gripped the audience judging by amount of questions and input from the floor.  It was resolved that the club would hold a monthly collection of suitable foodstuffs each business meeting to be donated to the Trussell Trust. 

22nd July 2013

President Ian Adams welcomed speaker Hazel Bech from On Eagles Wings to the Rotary Club of Linlithgow Grange.  Hazel, a resident of Boness, began the inter-denominational charity which has a clear international focus and aspirations when she retired and is supported by four trustees in Linlithgow and one in Polmont.  On Eagles Wings is a Scottish charitable trust working in partnership with churches and NGOs in Andhra Pradesh (India), Rwanda and Burundi, to provide practical, physical and spiritual support to the poor and needy. 

Hazel cited a number of success stories of this co-operation with local organisations which, for a small charity, is astonishing.  Support since 2006 of over 40 children in an orphanage with the oldest now being sent to college; provision of professional expertise to help a Christian group, REAP India, run a flourishing chicken farm and two trout lakes as commercial enterprises to financially support its work with the young, the elderly, lepers and untouchables; and training in care and handicap prevention with a leprosy community in SE India.  Hazel described how, with insights provided by the University of Aberdeen and Leprosy Mission Scotland, On Eagles Wings have trained advisors working amongst this community who, since 2011, have achieved an 80% success rate in healing dreadful wounds. 

She also described how the charity was able to raise funds to provide an ambulance which operates as a mobile clinic with a doctor and nurse visiting villages in the area.  Hazel went on to describe the groups actions in Rwanda and its poorer sister country, Burundi, with support for a nursery and primary school and, now, Academy in Kigali, Rwanda and a training course in machine sewing for deaf women to give them financial independence.  In Burundi, a successful scheme to provide goats to poor villagers Kids for Kids has led to On Eagles Wings organising local volunteers to open their own goat-breeding farm.  Their next big project is to build a sustainable 50-bed clinic at a cost of around 80,000 providing medical, surgical and maternity services.  More information on all these projects can be found on the website www.oewcompassion.com.  On behalf of the club, Rotarian Ed Morton thanked Hazel sincerely for her most uplifting and thought-provoking presentation. 

15th July 2013

At Monday evenings meeting President Ian provided members with a special offer of speakers on a two-for-the-price-of-one basis.  Rotarian Ralph Allardyce, our main speaker, was there to tell members about Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP), a sufferer himself, which affects 27,000 people in the UK and 2-3 million worldwide.  RP is a hereditary disorder which affects a layer of the retina ultimately leading to blindness in most sufferers.  Children who may have the onset of RP are often seen as clumsy but it is in young adulthood before the most complete diagnosis can be made by which time it is too late.  It is progressive, incurable and, although currently untreatable, Ralph informed the audience there was now hope.  As it is a genetic illness, intensive laboratory research has provided positive outcomes and clinical trials using volunteers at specialist hospitals such as Moorfields Eye Hospital in London are underway.  It is hoped that genetic intervention will be able to arrest any further deterioration in young sufferers and provide them with a life of vision as a consequence. His club was helping by raising funds for continued research and he encouraged our commitment to do similarly. 

Further details can be obtained from the RP charity website, www.rpfightingblindness.org.uk.  Because of Ralphs poor vision, his chauffeur for the evening was former District Governor Allan Maclaughlan, our other speaker for the evening.  Both gentlemen are members of the Currie Balerno Rotary Club and Allans responsibility within his club is the oversight of collecting millions of plastic milk bottle tops.  Mundane as it may seem, these items have a value and his club is amassing them from clubs around the district to sell to raise cash that is being committed to necessary building work at a hospital on Malawi.  Allan updated the club on the progress and encouraged us to keep up the good work of collecting the (washed!) blue, green and red tops from the milk bottle tops.  Rotarian Mike Smith gave an earnest vote of thanks for Ralphs informative and thought-provoking talk. 

President Ian thanked both our Rotarian speakers for the time given up to address the club and requested our greetings were taken back to the Rotary Club of Currie Balerno. 

8th July 2013

President Ian Adams first meeting was honoured by the presence of the new District Governor.  The fact that this was our own member Kate Keter did not diminish the importance of Kate making the club her first to officially visit in what will be a very busy year.  Kate reminded the company that the theme from Rotary for this period was Engage Rotary, Change Lives as she outlined the benefits of helping others through Rotary and commended it to the membership.  For all her involvement in good causes that Kate has been involved with as a Rotarian, she gave as an example of her Rotary Moment the time not long after joining when a club in Southampton gave her reassurance that they would always be available to look after her daughter whilst studying at the university there, a personal gesture that re-affirmed the family of Rotary. 

Thereafter, Tom Brown, Membership Convenor, invited three other club members to recall their Rotary Moment.  Stephen Blake chose to speak about helping Donaldsons School at Kids Day Out for the first time, an experience well out of his comfort zone he admitted, when Rotary provide a days fun and activity for children from all over the Rotary District who have learning difficulties or physical handicap.  The involvement is fully rewarded by the happy faces and sheer enjoyment of all the children participating and is something he now looks forward to annually. 

Harry Millar reminisced on the hospitality that he and his wife received when visiting the Rotary Club of Thunder Bay (Fort William), in Thunder Bay, Canada whilst holidaying in the area.  The club reorganised their meeting to make it a social occasion when they learned of his visit and made Harry and his wife most welcome. 

Jim Rae used the opportunity to speak of the call to action received on Boxing Day 2004 when the huge tsunami in the Indian Ocean killed 230,000 people and devastated the coastline of 14 countries.  As it happens Kate was the clubs president at the time and she mobilised the club to gather at the Longcroft Hall within 24 hours of the disaster to pack water-filtering Rotary Aquaboxes with essential items from tools to needle and thread, toothpaste to toys to be shipped out to the disaster area. 

Tom Brown proposed the vote of thanks before President Ian closed what was truly an uplifting evening. 

1st July 2013

The Handover Dinner, held last Monday evening, is one of the most popular events on the social calendar of the Rotary Club of Linlithgow.  In the presence of members, spouses, fellow Rotarians from Whitburn, South Queensferry and Polmont clubs as well as the District Governor who, this year, just happens to be our own club member, Kate Keter, President Heather took the opportunity to look back on a year successful by any account. 

Listing the numerous charities, organisations and individuals who have benefited from the activities of Linlithgow Grange Rotary Club to the tune of over 20,000, she thanked every one who had helped towards this magnificent sum not least the partners. 

As a final act, she presented Rotarian Norman Middleton with a Paul Harris Fellowship in recognition of his contribution to Rotary and invited Iain Keter, husband of District Governor Kate, to become an honorary member during her term of office. 

Thereafter, the clubs president for 2013-14 and the clubs 23rd, Ian Adams, was installed.  President Ian Adams concluded his gracious acceptance speech by saying that his intention was to leave the club in the same good heart as it had been passed to him.