Nick's first presidential newsletter
All the news from our new president Nick Tecza
Looking at my diary this week many exciting things were due to happen. Significantly, I was to become President of the Club, attend an Inner Wheel fundraising event at Weston-under-Penyard; an important invitation for the Club which would have involved a very nice meal! And, on Saturday, Tanya and I were due to be married. This was obviously all planned prior to Coronavirus which had other ideas.
Today, we have been following COVID restrictions for 102 days. It is also the City of Hereford Rotary Club’s 90th anniversary. That is 32,850 days of unbroken community service in our city and beyond. Rotary founder, Paul Harris said, “This is a changing world; we must be prepared to change with it”, which seems appropriate for our club at this time. As well as the above being disrupted; the wedding will hopefully now go ahead in the spring! We lost our Duck Race (all of it this time!), could no longer meet in person and the annual Rotary Conference was cancelled. But change we did, and perhaps we are emerging a stronger club for it:
We have mastered Zoom and WhatsApp, which has allowed fellowship to continue despite not having the opportunity to meet. Heather, Anne, Bobbie and Ray have done a great job of keeping in touch with everyone, ringing and checking members are well. Paul and Ian have kept us amused sharing jokes on WhatsApp. Thanks to Zoom, we have had more attendees at meetings, participated in quizzes and even a wine tasting evening courtesy of Rob. We’ve had a range of interesting speakers, most recently, Terry Walton and Mark Billingham.
The Duck Race was previously our biggest fundraiser but Bobby and Heather in particular, have found alternative and innovative ways to fund raise, which has helped us to support a number of projects in Hereford, providing vital support at this difficult time.
Despite the conference in early March being cancelled, several members still took up their pre-booked rooms in Torquay. An outcome of that weekend was the start of our club responding to the current situation as it was where early discussions took place around what we could do support our community. The success of the Emergency Food Parcel Scheme and the Rotary Facebook Group, creating over 7,500 members cannot be under-estimated. As well as providing much needed support, the Emergency Food Parcel Scheme has seen us gain donations from other charities, establish links with HVOSS, the Council, Public Health, local schools and other support groups. These partnerships will hopefully continue and strengthen, as we move forward into a post-COVID world, along with the relationships we have made with the Rotary volunteers who gave their time, energy and experience to work alongside the many club members involved in picking, packing, admin and deliveries, etc. Winston Churchill said, “Never let a good crisis go to waste.” (Repeated by Nikki Scott, Rotary International Director). Our club has shown it has the capacity not only to cope but to adapt and flourish in a crisis. We have lost some things but have gained so much more.
This week we celebrated three ‘Paul Harris Fellowship Awards’ to Bobby Morris, Jane Sheehan and Tanya Everard, and a prestigious ‘Paul Harris Fellowship Award with a Sapphire’ to Luke Conod. Paul Morris was nominated the Club’s, ‘Rotarian of the Year’.
It has been a good week for other members, in particular Catherine. I think I can speak for the whole club in wishing Catherine and her family, all the very best on the birth of a new grandchild.
Finally, I am grateful for the opportunity to be President of this club. I am respectful of the long history of community service both locally and internationally, and I look forward to all the challenges and opportunities we will face in our 90th year.