September 2019 Update

Community Visits and Events

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September began with a very interesting visit to Ambleside YHA.  The current Hostel manager, Damian Parker, kindly provided members with a brief history of the hostel.  Damian took on the role in 2013 just after a major £1.42million refurbishment in 2012.  The hostel provides 249 beds in 65 guest rooms; 11 rooms are now en-suite. This is only nine more rooms than when it opened.  The attractive new frontage to the lake, including the Lakeside Restaurant, has also proved popular and commercially successful. Thanks to considerable extra comforts and refinements since 2016, it now achieves 25,000 more ‘annual overnights’ than in the early days. Rotary Members were also able to take a mini tour of the hostel to see some of the excellent facilities now available.

At the end of the evening, AK Rotary Club gave Damian a cheque towards the YHA’s support for adventure breaks for children in Cumbria. The charitable fund provides an opportunity for young people to travel to new places and discover new environments away from home, with their friends. Breaks for Kids’ bursary fund contributes up to 50% of the cost of accommodation and meals for young people from lower-income households. In doing so, it helps give more children the chance to see more of the country, and more of life.

At our monthly meal Paul Cookson, Manager of the Salutation Hotel, gave us an interesting update on the future plans for the Hotel. At present the hotel offers a number of Classic, Club, Balcony, or Lakeland rooms. The Lakeland selection featuring hot tubs and balconies.  Presently the hotel is also carrying out refurbishment work on the previously occupied Pavers and Edinburgh Woollen Mill shops to accommodate hotel staff. Along with hospitality staff the hotel also carries its own maintenance and decoration team.  Our Rotary Club is extremely grateful for the welcome and room accommodation the hotel offers for our weekly meetings. 

As previously reported on our web, our fourth Annual Duck Race for Alzheimer’s Research UK was a great success, with 2137 being raced at Rothay Park. Thanks to everyone, but a special THANK YOU to Colin Fell who really ‘makes it all happen’!  Our thanks also to those who stood for over an hour in the water, to Langdale & Ambleside Mountain Rescue who kindly provided very valuable assistance with 'Duck Retrievement' and the Coop Community Fund for sponsorship of prizes.

A total of £2500 was raised and we are delighted that Simon McDermott from Alzheimer’s Research UK will be attending our meeting on Tuesday 15th October to receive a cheque for the charity.

We were all delighted when Will & Meriel joined us after moving to Ambleside a couple of years ago, so it was a pleasure to share an illustrated presentation of Meriel’s life. What a fascinating life story, from Anglesey to Oxford, via work in the publishing department of the University of Western Australia, learning Japanese and working in Tokyo, and finally TEFL at the Oxford Language School. And along the way meeting and marrying Will and enjoying family life with their 3 children.  

The month concluded with a guided visit to University campus in the town. Prof Lois Mansfield gave a detailed tour of the campus and outlined their plans and hopes for the future. At present 400 students attend the campus. A number of our members had personal memories of the campus and were able to give Lois an insight into its previous life! It’s hoped that AK Rotary and the local students will be able to work together on various volunteering roles within the community