A great weekend in York
The 81st Annual District Conference
Thanks to DG Tony for the material on which the text is based and to Michael Gough of the Rotary Club of Houghton-le-Spring for the photos.
[And thanks to Pat Henderson of the Newton Aycliffe Club and Kelvin Rushworth of the Seahouses Club (and GSE Coordinator) for pointing out my errors of typing and transcription -- EC]
DG Tony and his wife Elizabeth enjoying the atmosphere in the marquee prior to the start of the conference.
Some of the displays in the marquee.
... IPDG Les Fay and his wife chat to the Shelter Box representative ...
... as DG Tony chats to DG Elect Celia Leach and Conference Committee Chairman Stephen Croft.
Flamin' 'eck - barbecue or cremation? But everyone seemed to enjoy the "al fresco" supper on Friday evening.
And then, for some, the evening was rounded off with the trip to the theatre to see "The Producers".
Come Saturday morning and it was down to business ...
as Sergeant-at-Arms John McLoughlin called the meeting to order.
DG Tony got things under way ...
and Rtn. Brian Franklin reminded us of the Objects of Rotary.
The Lord Mayor of York welcomed us to his fair city.
The first keynote speaker was Mike Brace who, at the age of ten, had an unfortunate accident that left him blind. His talk was regarded by everyone as one of the highights of the Conference - he was both inspirational and amusing. His real message was the correction of the perception many people have about those with a disability. Mike is involved in many sporting activities, including administration of the Paralympic Games.
Mike received a standing ovation and was thanked formally by IPDG Les Fay.
We next welcomed Sandra Knowles, Chairman of Inner Wheel District 3. She spoke about the time for change in her organisation and how her District is proud to be part of the Rotary family. She looks forward to the continuing partnership with Rotary District 1030.
The next speaker was the RI Presidential Representative Michael McGovern. He gave a very effective presentation which included images of lighthouses, examples of the shining light that the work of Rotary International has been to the tens of thousands who have benefitted from our humanitarian service.
A further keynote speaker was Sharon Barbour, well-known as a news-reader and reporter for BBC Look North in Newcastle. She showed us videos of some of her amusing and embarassing experiences as an interviewer ...
... and was thanked formally by DG Tony who noted that she had "stood-in" at very short notice.
At the mid-morning break ...
... the District Shop seemed to be doing a roaring trade.
After the break, the Honourable Simon Howard talked about the refrubishment and maintenance of his stately home - Castle Howard - and of its role in TV and cinema, notably "Brideshead Revisited".
The final speaker on Saturday was quite inspirational. Peter Fewell had had a "savage upbringing" and most of his younger life had not been easy - even spending time in prison. He told us how he had changed his own life from being illiterate to becoming a prolific writer and speaker. He was nicknamed "Diesel Fuel" while in prison, but it was there that he learnt to read and write, encouraged by a very good tutor. This inspired him to improve himself and he told of his many achievements and left the audience full of admiration.
Saturday afternoon was free time - to enjoy the fellowship in the marquee and the attractions of York. But we were all back together again to enjoy a reception, dinner and dance in the unusual, indeed unique, surroundings of the National Railway Museum.
DG Tony and Elizabeth welcome guests.
DG Tony and his principal guests at the "top table".
An excellent meal was followed by the dancing ...
With Tony and Elizabeth leading the way.
PDG Tony Fairley and his wife Cynthia enjoyed a waltz and the evening ended - inevitably - with a conga.
Then it was "goodnight" from Tony and Elizabeth.
But it was an early start on Sunday for Elizabeth (President of the Rotary Club of Seaham) to provide the "Thought For The Day".
The first session on Sunday was the presentation by the visiting Group Study Exchange Team from Brazil ...
... led by Rtn. Elias Neto who introduced his team ...
... Leniane and Denise ...
... Elvio and Daiane.
The GSE Team posed for a less formal photo.
Representing RIBI President Ray Burman, David Morgan reminded us all of the benefits of membership of Rotary International.
After a break, IPDG Les Fay presented trophies to representatives of a number of Clubs from around the District
(this must be worthy of a separate report!) ...
... and DG Tony presented the Rotary Club of Newcastle West with the Conference Attendance Trophy.
Then it was Question Time ...
... Chaired by Stehen Croft, the panel consisted of the RI and RIBI Representatives, the DG, DGE and the DGs of Districts 1270 and 1170. As in previous years, this session was well received.
The final keynote speaker was TV producer Rod Taylor. He had everyone in stitches with his patter and it was a great way to bring the Conference to an end.
There was just time for DG Tony to present Stephen Croft and Tony Everett with Service Recognition Awards on their retirement from the Conference Committee ...
... and for IPDG Les Fay (the incoming Conference Committee Chairman) to tell us all about the plans for the Conference next year.
We are going "abroad" to Peebles Hydro in Scotland!
Make sure October 12th - 14th is marked in your 2012 diaries.
DG Tony finally brought Conference to a close with thanks to all who had attended and all who had made things run so smoothly.