Submitted To C & B News November 2018

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On Wednesday 7 November the members of the Currie Balerno Rotary Club hosted an evening to showcase what the Club does in and for the local community.

Among those attending were Gordon McDonald MSP, Councillors Graeme Bruce and Neil Gardiner, Alistair Donald representing Heriot Watt University, and senior staff from Balerno and Currie High Schools, from Dean Park Primary School and from the Harmeny Education Trust. Also represented were the Balerno Village Trust and Harlaw Hydro and many others. C&B News were there as was the editor of Konect.

The Club presented a continuous rolling sequence of images demonstrating the Club’s wire range of activities both locally and internationally but the main focus was on the Club’s role within the local community and information sheets on its local activities were on display.

A substantial contribution locally is made through the Community Chest which was a Rotary Club initiative in 2016, designed with an initial budget of £3000 to offer financial support towards modest projects offering a benefit to the local community.

The Club was joined in the following year by the Balerno Village Trust who contributed £1000 to the fund and to this was added a grant of £2000 from CALA Homes. In those first 2 years grants were made to local organisations totalling £9000 and 2018 has seen the start of a third year with a budget of £6000 shared equally by the Rotary Club, Balerno Village Trust and CALA Homes.

Club President Rodger Thom welcomed everyone to an enjoyable informal evening, hoping that people would go away having learned more of what Rotary contributes locally. He referred to the Community Chest as one of the Club’s local priorities and also to the support the Club gives to young people locally.

He was delighted to welcome Louise Flockhart, one of the international climbers from Balerno High School to whom the Club had offered financial support; and Ava Spittle also from Balerno High School who participated this year in the Rotary Youth Leadership Award scheme; and finally there were three young musicians, Alex Braggins, Emily Wishart and Jamie Lewis who were to provide the entertainment.

Master of Ceremonies Mike Rowe then introduced pianist Alex Braggins, a pupil at Balerno High School, who was the winning instrumentalist at the Rotary Club’s 2018 Young Musicians competition. Alex played Spanish Dance by Granados as his first contribution to the evening.

This was followed after a short break by Jamie Lewis, the winning vocalist at this year’s Club competition, and Emily Wishart a former Rotary Young Musicians participant. Jamie sang If ever I would leave you from Camelot and then Edelweiss from the Sound of Music with Emily harmonising. They were accompanied by Lorna Lattimore, their former music teacher at Broxburn Academy and a Rotary Paul Harris Fellow.  

In introducing the young musicians, Mike made reference to the Club’s support for the annual Rotary Young Musicians competition, organising the Club and Edinburgh Area stages each year and in 2018, in collaboration with Heriot Watt University, hosting the Great Britain and Ireland Grand Final. He paid tribute to the help and support from Heriot Watt over the years and particularly from Dr Steve King, Director of Music at the University.

The musicians returned later in the evening when Alex played Nocturne in E flat major by Chopin, Emily sang Ye Banks and Braes and Emily and Jamie joined together with Baby it’s cold outside.

The evening was undoubtedly a success. There was a wide range of information about the Rotary Club’s activities and a lot of interest expressed, there was wonderful entertainment, there was food and drink and excellent company. What more could you ask?