Visit to Pickering Rotary Club

Wed, Sep 26th 2018 at 7:00 pm - 10:30 pm

Interesting insights into the role of Women in World War ii in Scarborough
Talk by local historian and author Stewart MacDonald at a joint meeting with Pickering Rotary Club on Wednesday 26th September. An enjoyable evening along with Pickering Rotary at the Forest and Dale in Pickering – some sixty members and guests.
Fascinating presentation by Stewart.  Seemingly many of the activities of women in world war ll throughout the country and in Scarborough we channelled through the WVS (Women’s Voluntary Service). 
The WVS was established by the Dowager Marchioness of Reading in 1938 to fully engage women in the role of civil defence during World War Two, at its height 960,000 women were involved in the Service, working alongside local authority personnel and the Air Raid Precautions Service. Their work became vital to the war effort on the home front, with women from all walks of life volunteering to undertake a range of duties – from the collection of green waste in “pig bins” and the co-ordination of metal salvage to the running mobile canteens and rest centres in the blitz-torn streets of Britain.
In Scarborough there were 1,500 volunteers in 1940 and by 1942 222 ‘departments’ – specialisms.
These specialisms included support after air raids; medical help; clerical work; salvage; – and VAST amounts of sewing.  In Scarborough 4,500 badges were sown onto uniforms and innumerable pairs of socks darned in one year.
WVS provided workers to work at the Trinity Chair Works – manufacturing hundreds of utilitarian chairs for us by British forces in the UK as well as - on a sombre note -thousands of commemorative wooden crosses for supply to the US forces.
The WVS also joined up as firefighters and Stewart showed an old photo of four women handling a hose to douse a fire in the annex of the Grand Hotel – one of the 3,000 buildings damaged by air raids on Scarborough
Stewart briefly mentioned the “Y” Stations (“Wireless telegraphy” stations) intercepting German morse code signals with the WVS transcribing these messages for deciphering in Bletchley , vital and excruciatingly tedious work for the forerunner of GCHQ as we know it today.
WVS archives are being digitised so a to be available on line- to take a quick look at the information up to 1941 click this link:-

'What We Do' Main Pages:

Fun, fellowship & social happenings

Our convivial weekly meetings form a platform for our eclectic speakers. We learn of many varied interests. ‘Special events’ such as Burns night, Christmas celebrations and visits to places of refreshment add to the opportunities for fellowship and fun.

Rotary around the world

Worldwide Rotary supports dozens of projects - the most long lasting & ambitious is the project to eradicate polio – now endemic in just two countries. We also have projects in Ghana & India supporting schools & delivering clean water.

Fundraising ...

- not our core business; but we have rattled buckets in aid of disasters; run tombolas at music events, organised car parking at shows,sold plants at (our own) community fair, run raffles, organised events such as Dragon Boats – & had fun!

Composite image ex Roy B March 2021

Varied social activities, & worthwhile projects near & far. Our diverse members exchange ideas, create lifelong relationships, join in service projects that make a lasting impact in communities. We aim to have fun, but with a purpose.

.... one of our main areas of service.....the local community many ways - members are trustees of several charities; local organisation join us at our community fair to spread their message and raise cash; we join in events such as the CAMRA festival to raise money for local causes .......

Developing young people

Overcoming challenges of public speaking or technology tournaments, or a Rotary Youth Leadership Awards course helps young people develop tools for success such as self-confidence, planning & team building skills.