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St George’s Day and Reuben’s Retreat

To celebrate Saint George’s Day the club, on its regular Monday night, had a joint meeting with the Rotary Club of Nottingham and invited The Ven. Air Vice Marshal Robin Turner C.B.  (Vice President of the local branch of the Royal Society of St. George) to address the meeting.

Among our guests was Colin Slater MBE, an honorary member of our club who, last year, had been elected the President of the Royal Society of St. George, Nottinghamshire Branch.

Two days later on St George’s day our President, Geoff Bryan and a group of Beeston Rotary Club members supported Colin at his own celebratory dinner in the Meadow Lane Conference Centre of Notts County FC where, with a hundred guests we enjoyed an excellent traditional English meal of Roast Beef and Yorkshire pudding.  This was followed by a highly entertaining talk by Geoff Miller OBE, the Derbyshire, Essex and England Cricketer and England Cricket selector. His skill as an after dinner speaker was appreciated by all.

Colin Slater is probably better known as a commentator for BBC Radio Nottingham and staunch supporter of Notts County Football Club, sadly back in Division 2 again.  Colin’s skills as an interviewer were enjoyed by many members and guests at our 70th Charter anniversary Dinner last October when he interviewed Julie Hesmondhalgh. Julie is probably better known for her role as Hayley Cropper in Coronation Street.

Less well known is her passion for supporting charities and one of our club’s charities this year is Reuben’s Retreat, a cause dear to Julie’s heart.   Also on top table was Reuben’s mum, Nicola Graham and we were all amazed to learn how, as a result of Reuben dying at 23 months old, Nicola had founded Reuben’s Retreat to help all parents who had lost their child at an early age. Nicola’s first target was to raise £1m in 23 months and this she achieved!

The retreat is an old country house in Derbyshire where there are now facilities for a bereavement counselling support centre, a day care facility and 4 large self-catering apartments. Some of this work is ongoing but do see more at


At our Rotary Meeting on Monday 11th January we had a visiting speaker,  Mr Dan Miller. Founder and CEO of Young Professionals UK.


That in itself doesn’t sound very interesting until you find out that he is 17 years old and still at school at Trent College in the 6th Form.


Why has he done this?  It’s because he wants to draw attention to young people of his age to, what he regards is the misguided advice given to young people reaching the age when they have to decide what to do with their lives.


He believes that pushing young people into going to university is not necessarily the best option.  A much better career route in via apprenticeships.  Dan has set up this UK company in order to get his view heard and to attract mentors who agree with him.


This is unconventional and has attracted some interesting situations.  He is now the youngest member of the Institute of Directors. He is too young to hold a Business Account at all the major High Street Banks but not to create his own company. What he is doing is setting up seminars and inviting young people his own age to attend and to  explain what other opportunities are available instead of spending 3 or 4 years at university, at the end of which they will be lumbered with debt and most likely have to accept a job which is well below their expectations.


It would seem that a number of prominent business men and women agree with him and are prepared to mentor him and help him. What amazed members who listened to Dan was his confidence and maturity for a person of his age. I, for one thought back to my own 6th form days and could never imagine myself embarking on such a radical crusade.

We were all full of admiration and wished him well.


At a recent meeting, the Club was treated to a fascinating and informative talk by Peter Aldrick, the CEO of Lincs and Notts Air Ambulance Service which airlifted its first patient 21 years ago.  The service is one of the Beeston club’s major charities, so there was a lot of interest from members in the statistics and how it is managed as a charity.  Did you know that the service costs £1.4m/year and it attends over 1000 incidents each year? No matter where an accident occurs in Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire, the air ambulance can reach the site within 17 minutes from their base at RAF Waddington.  The only contribution from the NHS towards the cost of the air ambulance service is the salaries of the 5 paramedics who are specially trained by HEMS to be part of the team. The two specially trained medical doctors who are called on when necessary are both volunteers! In November 2013 our Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (HEMS) was one of the first in the country to be qualified to operate in the dark, especially useful in the winter.

Readers may remember that, last year, a blue memorial plaque was unveiled by the Mayor of Broxtowe, Stan Heptinstall MBE outside the cycle shop of Sid Standard in Chilwell, who was taken to QMC by an air ambulance after being fatally injured in a road accident, and it was Sid’s daughter, a member of the Beeston Club who arranged for Peter Aldrick to come and give us the talk.  It is also one reason why we support the charity.

To raise the money for this vital service the charity relies on legacies, has a dozen charity shops in Lincs and Notts and has many volunteer groups. If any reader would like to become involved they should visit the web site at

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