Speaker Evening

Thu 21st July 2016 at 6.45 pm - 8.45 pm

Hector Woodhouse - Forth Road Bridge . Raffle - Drew Graham. Reception - Rob Brechin / Jill Templeton

On Thursday 21st July the Rotary Club of South Queensferry welcomed representatives of the many charities that had participated in this year's Rotary Forth Bridge abseil to the Hawes Inn. In welcoming the guests, President Graham Leith said he was delighted to have the opportunity to say thank you to those people whose help and co-operation had ensured that the abseil continued to be one of the most successful fundraisers in the district. Currently this year's total stood at £125,000 which was a magnificent effort from organisers, supporters and participants.

Rotarians and guests then heard a talk from Hector Woodhouse, founder member of Linlithgow Grange Rotary Club and life-long friend of Robbie Brechin entitled The Bridge- Fifty Years Across the Forth. After studying civil engineering at Heriot Watt College, hector became a surveyor on the Forth Road Bridge which was about to be erected at Queensferry to replace the ferries that had plied on the crossing for hundreds of years. Hector not only explained the principles behind building a suspension bridge, but filled his talk with amusing and hair-raising anecdotes such as when rocks from an overenthusiastic explosion crashed through his drawing office roof in North Queensferry and when he and his boss, Alan Macdonald, became the first people to walk across the Forth by crossing on a narrow mesh walkway beside the cables and, when the mesh ran out, crossing the gap using only the hand and foot ropes. In conclusion, Hector remarked that each of the three Queensferry bridges represented the peak of technology of its time. The rail bridge was a unique cantilever design. The road bridge, still built using traditional surveying methods, was the longest bridge of its type in Britain when it was built and the bridge currently under construction using all the latest laser and computerised surveying techniques, will be the longest cable stay span in the world.


Great turn out boosts funds for a range of charities.

 Rotarian Graham Clarkson, organiser of the  Forth Bridge Rotary Abseil, announced that the total raised since the inception of the annual event in 2010 had now topped half-a-million pounds. From a hurriedly-organised alternative when the long-running raft race was cancelled owing to construction work on the Hawes Pier, the event has blossomed into one of the most successful fund-raisers in District 1020. Every year two principal charities are 'adopted' and places are also made available for abseilers to participate on  behalf of many other local and national charities.

Laura Campbell, representing CHAS (Children's Hospice Association Scotland) one of this year's adopted charities, said her charity was delighted to be involved in such a professionally organised event. She had received nothing but positive feedback from supporters and participants. Rebecca Dickson from Age Scotland, the other adopted charity, echoed Laura's praise for the event. She said that some of Age Scotland's proceeds from the Abseil would go to supporting Silverline Scotland, a free phone service for older people offering advice, counselling and quite simply friendship in times of need and isolation.

The evening's speaker was introduced by Robbie Brechin. The vote of thanks was proposed by Graham Clarkson.

In other business, Social Events Convenor Enrico Prentice reported that on Sunday 17th July 18 Rotarians and family members had enjoyed an afternoon of ten-pin-bowling and a meal at Deer Park. Enrico himself had come first in the competition, Derek Clerk picking up the wooden spoon.

Pic. Graham Clarkson with l. Rebecca Dickson of Age Scotland and r. Laura Campbell of CHAS, this year's adopted charities for the Rotary Abseil.