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A brief update on events in the Club.

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For the second consecutive year we were blessed with a calm and mild evening for the annual Bonfire and Fireworks Display at the Peedie Sea. Families came out in their droves to enjoy a superb display, and very generously purchase light sabres and fill our charity collection buckets.

Many thanks to OIC, the Community Council, the emergency services and all who helped in any way. Also to Kirkwall City Pipe Band for providing excellent pre- display entertainment for the crowd. 

The greatest thanks must go to the folk of Kirkwall and beyond, for enthusiastically 
supporting the event and raising over £1500 for local charitable projects.

In early October Rotary members were all presented with two shoeboxes and challenged to fill with them with a selection of Christmas gifts for children in impoverished communities of Eastern Europe. We  packed nearly sixty boxes, which Thurso Rotary Club kindly conveyed south for us. Together with thousands of boxes from all over the UK, they will be distributed to toddlers, children and teenagers, who would otherwise have very little in this festive season.

In late November we have again had the privilege of helping some of our young people in preparing for university interviews. Rotarians with relevant experience have been holding mock interviews at Stromness Academy, and giving students appropriate feedback and advice. For many of us, having this opportunity to hear and share the aspirations of some amazing young Orcadians, is one of the highlights of the Rotary year.

In a relatively quiet period between the Fireworks display and Christmas activities we have enjoyed our annual dinner at the Lynnfield Hotel. Two longstanding Rotarians, Eric Green and Peter Scott, were presented with Paul Harris Fellowships. This is one of the highest Rotary accolades, awarded to those who exemplify the Rotary motto of ‘service before self’. Eric and Peter are very worthy recipients.

The annual dinner guest speaker, Tom Hunter from OIC, was quite superb. His topic ‘The hidden wartime installations of Lyness’ captivated his audience. Few listeners would have previously appreciated the sheer scale and complexity of the Lyness site, especially during WW2. Tom left many of us eager to revisit Lyness, and yearning to venture into the 700 feet long fuel storage tanks hidden in the hillside!

Other speakers at our weekly meetings have included Rotarians Philip Cook talking about prison chaplaincy, and David McLaughlin casting light on the contentious Road Equivalent Tariff.  Guest speaker Brian Budge spoke about Scapa Flow during the First World War and whetted our appetites for the Battle of  Jutland centenary commemorations next summer.

As December approaches we are busily preparing our Santa, Elf and Reindeer costumes, and dusting down the sleigh. Watch out for Santa and his little helpers in Kirkwall on the two weekends before Christmas, who will be taking a collection for local charities. When not touring Kirkwall, Santa will be dropping in to Care Homes throughout Orkney delivering gifts to all the residents.

The Rotary Club of Orkney send seasons greetings to all readers, and a big thank you for your support and generosity over this past year.