2021 - 22 Gordon’s year

Gordon is our second President to serve a second term and he will lead us, out of “lockdown” into “the new normal”.

23rd June 2022 Lace Market Walk - Blue Badge guide will be Felicity Whittle from Gold Star Guides


Our walking tour of the Lace Market with Felicity started at the top of Pelham Street, where Felicity explained a brief history of how "Snottngham " or Nottingham as is now known got its name from an Anglo-Saxon term,: home of the wise man's people, and how The Lace Market being the oldest area of Nottingham became the centre of the worlds lace industry during the British Empire. It started in 1808 when a man called John Heathcote developed a hand operated machine that marked the beginning of a lace industry. Later the Industrial Revolution changed things.

Felicity quoted a famous poem from Lord Byron and also mentioned the Luddites (named after Ned Ludd a mythical person believed to live in Sherwood Forest, and who led the movement). Lord Byron spoke out in defence of them in the House of Lords in early 1812 over the new work practices and new technology that they thought would threaten their jobs. They were known as Luddite "Frame breakers" and they rocked the wool and cotton industries. The peak of industry here was in the 1890's but by 1970s many of the factories became derelict and the area fell into rapid decline. By 1978 a huge clean up and grants offered meant that the buildings could be refurbished and renovated and new uses were found such as luxury apartments and offices.

 We then moved on to The Lace Market square with its impressive historic buildings and 19th century architecture. Here sculptures represent the lace industry. It was never a market in the sense of having stalls but there were salesrooms and warehouses for displaying and selling the lace. All the buildings within this quarter of a mile are typical Victorian, red brick with large windows giving a sense of going back in time. The Adams Building here, now home to New College Nottingham was designed by Thomas Chambers and was built for Thomas Adams who was a notable Quaker who did much to improve the awful working conditions in his factories.

Felicity talked about how pre dating the arrival of the Normans, the Lace Market was the Saxon area of Nottingham, hence the place names: for example 'Gate' came from the Danish word Gata meaning street. Pilcher Gate, Fisher Gate, Fletcher Gate and many more.

On to The Contemporary Art Gallery next, a tourist attraction on High Pavement (one of the earliest streets in the city) which when looking closely has a lace patterned precast facade, again depicting the Lace trade.

It was built on the sloping site of Victorian railway cutting by well-known London based architects Caruso St John.

Moving on quickly now as we were starting to feel famished, we hit on the National Justice Museum. (The County Hall and the Edwardian Police Station). This is the largest museum in the UK dedicated to crime and punishment and has quite a few famous highlights including investigations into The Great Train Robbery. Felicity pointed out the misspelling of the word GAOL on the door of the building. A mistake made by the stonemason!! He would have been punished for this. The architect of this wonderful building was James Gamden and it was built in the 10th year of the reign of His Majesty George 3rd. There was a plaque to commemorate the life of Britain's first Black Magistrate

(Eric Irons). Born in Jamaica and then settled in Nottingham. He campaigned for social justice and equality and was made an OBE.

Along High Pavement we walked passed many interesting buildings with fascinating plaques. One with Queen Victoria.

We then came across the ancient St Marys church believed to be over 500 years old. Whilst pondering and looking at the names of the soldiers killed in the Great wars, we became intrigued by a Post Box. Felicity mentioned that on the front of every post box there is the name of the reigning Monarch so we will all be looking out for these in the future.

By this time all present felt a little fatigued so we briskly made our way back through the lace market and our last sighting was of a wall of legends. Pictures of famous people and objects that had come from Nottingham. Sue Pollard, Brian Clough, Wolfy (Robert Lindsay) and many more.                  

We thanked Felicity in the normal manner for a most informative tour and were upset to hear that she was retiring with no-one to replace her. What a shame as her knowledge was amazing.                         JH/MF

16th June 2022 Club Assembly

Before making his welcome to our Club Assembly, Rob announced that Gerry Short had volunteered to become President Nominee, great news. He then continued explaining that this meeting is where we lay out our programme and plans for the coming Rotary Year 2022-23. Due to the Covid Pandemic the past two years have been anything but "normal" for many organisations and Rotary has been no exception. Many new Community organisations have emerged as a response to the difficult circumstances prevailing in Society created not only by the pandemic but, more recently, by the war in Ukraine. As a Club we have done our best to support these organisations when our help has been sought as well as developing our own initiatives within the Community. ln the coming year we hope to expand the support we give locally, particularly by facilitating the Community forum bringing many of these fledging organisations together.

The various Committee reports followed with Stella Herbert commenting from an area perspective.  She was made to feel very welcome and said the meeting was well attended (22, 3F) and all parties seemed well prepared. She was heartened to hear of the clubs involvement with the local Community Forum, and our “friends” of Rotary aims. They also have plans in place for work with schools and youth organisations – especially with their Dictionary donations and Art and Photo competitions. It was also very clear that this club are looking to be a modern and forward thinking club, one that would welcome new members from all parts of the communities they cover.      AR

26th May 2022 Nottingham Industrial Museum, outside visit

The Nottingham Industrial Museum is a volunteer-run museum situated in part of the 17th-century stables block of Wollaton Hall, located in a suburb of the city of Nottingham. The museum won the Nottinghamshire Heritage Site of the Year Award 2012, a local accolade issued by Experience Nottinghamshire. The Museum collection closed in 2009 after Nottingham City Council withdrew funding, but has since reopened at weekends and bank holidays, helped by a £91,000 government grant, and run by volunteers.  The museum contains a display of local textiles machinery, transport, telecommunications, mining and engineering technology. There is a display of cycles, motorcycles, and motor cars. There are examples of significant lace-making machinery. It also houses an operational beam engine, from the Basford, Nottingham pumping station.

Our 17 members were reminded of the history of famous names, for example, Raleigh, Brough, Players, Boots, Humber, and Reader. Also we saw the collection of working steam, diesel engines, Victorian kitchen, blacksmith’s forge and woodworking shop.  Christopher Lilliman – Director and our Guide manages the museum, and with the help of volunteers sets up events, and made our visit special.

All in all a most enjoyable evening with  another outside visit to Nottingham Lace Market to follow in a few weeks, just like buses, waiting for ever, then two come at once!!                    AR

19th May2022 Ropsley Heath Light Railway, outside visit

We had a wonderful warm sunny evening for our first for a long time outside visit.  On this occasion to RHLR at Glebe Farm Ropsley, following Robert Holland’s talk at our Club on the 28th April. We managed an all-male turnout of 15 members, who were briefed by Robert on Health and safety issues for the site, covering the fact that when being towed by the Nimrod steam engine there could be soot and embers as well as the smoke.  We were also delighted to find that the Lord Lieutenant of Lincolnshire is coming to officially open the site next Friday 27th, although still not open to the general public, just Robert’s hobby, but available to Rotary Clubs and any Charity organisations trying to raise funds. Naturally we were all very impressed by the immaculate presentation of the whole site and were able to observe from both directions with the Belvoir Castle Diesel engine pulling its carriages counter clockwise, but with safety always at the forefront with the ‘Token’ system they operate.  The all electric tram was also shown as well as the garden miniature circuit with ‘Shepherds Hut adjacent.

President Gordon formally thanked Robert for his generous invitation and we then retired to the Green Man Pub in the village for our evening meal, for which some of us were overawed by the size of the Yorkshire pudding which the Lincolnshire Sausage and mash were presented in.

All in all a most enjoyable evening with  another outside visit to Nottingham Industrial Museum to follow next week, just like buses, waiting for ever, then two come at once!!                     AR

12th May 2022 McMillan Quiz night?  David Eldridge

Unfortunately our local speaker was not available and the alternative speaker would have had to travel from Cambridge, so the decision was made to postpone and David E would prepare a quiz.

Another low turnout of 15 Rotarians, for various reasons, David was also in charge of the meeting as President Gordon was on holiday in Norfolk.  He informed those present that with the current price increases in everything our meal cost would be going to £15, understandably. Adrian reminded everyone that a response to the Charity Relay Walk along the Grantham canal on July 15th would be appreciated.  Alan F asked the meeting for approval of a £500 grant to ‘Maggie’s Cancer Support Group’ from the Community fund and also asked for approval for the distribution of the remaining £1500 in Community budget to be spent amongst the local self-help groups

The banter had already started by this time with Maggie starting to feel she was being ‘got at’, but in general just suffering another bout of ‘brain fog’. So began the Quiz with David E distributing the 3 sheets to the 3 tables pronouncing that all events occurred in living memory, which Jane objected to, having only just past her 30th Birthday! Sheet 1 was somewhat complicated with 4 parts to the first date, typified by the date that Germaine Greer was born. This was followed by 10 questions such as “of which European Country did General Jaruzelski become leader in 1981.  Having given out the sheets David E caused further confusion by reading out the questions, to which some knowledgeable members starting shouting out the answers. More good hearted uproar then followed as sheet 2 posed a further 13 questions and finally sheet 3 with 15 questions.
Fortunately laughter is supposed to be good for you, although most of us were suffering stomach aches by the “St. Trinnian’s atmosphere” that ensued

Eventually Top table was declared the winners with 32 out of 41, only to be expected with their ‘Brains of Britain’ team consisting of Alan F, Adrian, Stan the Scribe & Ian Torr ensuring it was all done within the law. The Ladies squad, ably assisted by ‘yours truly’ managed affine 2nd position with 29 points often astounding ourselves with the memorable knowledge we demonstrated.

All in all a most enjoyable evening with everyone acting like mischievous school children, but “all in the best possible taste”!!          AR

5th May 2022 Our 32nd Charter

It was nice to be back in the ‘face to face’ situation following our Zoom experiences throughout the Covid pandemic, even with a limited audience.

Maggie had dressed the tables to set the scene and everyone settled down to enjoy themselves in this celebration Anniversary.

Rob and Gordon made their speeches with excellent content delivered with enthusiasm.

This was followed by our Guest speaker Andrew Smart, a former Evening Post journalist entertaining us with many amusing anecdotes from his years of experience starting on the sporting front at Mansfield Town (The Stags) and progressing to the dizzy heights of Theatre critic. Dropping a few names on the way, John Neville, Judi Dench, Michael Crawford, Ken Dodd, , as well as the locals like Robert Lindsey, Sue Pollard, Richard Beckinsale, very interesting and delivered with some punch and pace.

Overall a very successful event.                         AR

28th April 2022 “Miniature Railway” – Robert Holland

Robert confessed that by Trade he was an undertaker, but in 2017 they moved to Glebe Farm, giving him the opportunity to ‘realise his dream’ of creating his very own miniature railway: Ropsley Heath Light Railway. So with the help of about 30 in his team and suppliers in Anglesey, the development began on the 10 ¼ inch gauge track, but as with any railway project health and safety is an important issue, so training had to be done (1st aid training), plus various regulations on speed limit and use of a token system to ensure safety at points.  A ½ Ton Nimrod steam loco was originally from a Welsh Slate quarry, but purchased from Station Road Steam at Metheringham and Robert, with the aid of various bits of kit he had brought with him talked about ‘scale’. Obviously light railway implies smaller and in their case ½ size, so using his ½ size lamps he demonstrated that  the engine is in fact 8 times the difference by volume. However, it can pull 7 coaches with 35 to 40 people, depending on size! They also have a 2 seater electric train (Stuart).  They also have a 107foot long tunnel, a turntable and an engine shed, a second railway in the garden this time fuelled by butane gas.

Robert confirmed that is “just a hobby”, no intention of making it a business, but our club will be visiting the set up on the 19th May.

David E. thanked Robert for his very informative, well illustrated and interesting presentation confirming the point that it is a very special thing to be able to “realise a dream” and asked the audience to show their appreciation in the normal manner.           AR

21st April 2022 “Nottingham’s Industrial History” – John Whitfield

John began his talk with the Framework Knitting industry from 1700 to 1840 but almost ten years on from the 1812 ‘Declaration of the Framework knitters’, conditions for the framework knitters of the counties of Nottingham, Derby and Leicester had not seen any sign of improving. The pay for these workers, of whom there were estimated to be about 15,000 in these three counties, was insufficient to keep them in daily bread.

The Lace Market is believed to be the oldest part of the city of Nottingham, dating back to the fifth century. It got its name from the invention of the knitting frame by William Lee of Calverton, Nottinghamshire.

Pre-dating the arrival of the Normans, the Lace Market was the Saxon area of Nottingham. This is apparent from existing place names as the word ‘Gate’ arose from the Danish ‘gata’ meaning street. A Norman area of the town - centred around the castle - emerged following the Norman Conquest, and it was then that the city became merged. The invention of the knitting frame by William Lee radically changed the area and eventually gave the Lace Market its name. Richard Arkwright established a small cotton mill in Hockley in 1768 and this led to the development of back to back housing for mill workers. Lace was manufactured on a frame adapted from that of William Lee and was further improved by John Heathcote and John Levers in the early 19 century. By the 1840s lace making was changing from a domestic industry into an international export.

It was during the 19th century that Nottingham’s reputation as a textile town was formed. Lace-making was already popular in the area but the introduction of a lace making machine in 1809 ensured that lace would make not only a reputation for the town, but also make it a fortune.

Nottingham's population doubled between 1750 and 1800, and the major reason was the migration of workers and their families into the city looking for work in the textiles industry, which was dominated by hosiery. From the early 19th century, hosiery manufacture began to decline, in part because men's stockings fell out of fashion in favour of trousers. 

Coal gas was introduced in Nottinghamshire by the Nottingham Gas Light and Coke Company in 1821. Nottingham was the first place in Britain to install high pressure constant supply mains water in 1831. This system was deployed by engineer Thomas Hawksley and the Trent Waterworks Company.

Coal has been mined in Nottinghamshire for many centuries, but for a long time this was simply surface mining. Coal was probably mined around Cossall and Selston in the 1270s.  Certainly mining was taking place on a significant scale at Selston in the reign of Edward I. Mining at Cossall is again documented in the mid-14th Century. By the 17th century coal mining was one of the most important industries in Nottinghamshire with new mines opened in the Hucknall area. Most coal was sold locally to domestic consumers, but efforts were made from the 1700’s to use coal to drive industry.

The idea of mining deeper, sinking shafts, making drains, and using timber for props, gradually gained acceptance, including the use of the sough – a method of gravity draining.  In part, this was encouraged in the Selston area by a ready demand for coal from Nottingham by the 15th century.

Other major industries include Boots who opened their first shop on Goosegate in 1840, with a manufacturing base developing alongside with employment of 14500.

Raleigh was founded in 1888 when Sir Frank Bowden bought an interest in a small bicycle shop on Raleigh Street and by 1892 Raleigh led the World Bicycle racing field.

Then, of course there was John Players tobacco and cigarette manufacturers based in Nottingham that merged with others to form The Imperial Tobacco Company

Clive thanked John for his very informative and interesting presentation and asked the audience to show their appreciation in the normal manner.           AR


24th March 2022 “Talking Rubbish” – Lesley Taylor

Lesley began by explaining that she is so pleased to get paid to “Talk Rubbish”. She informed us that she works for Veolia, the environmental company which operates in: waste; energy; transport and water, starting in France in the late 1800s. Veolia handles all the waste for Nottinghamshire County Council (Nottingham City Council look after themselves). They process all the household recycling at Forest Town with their Materials Recovery Facility (MRF), handling 85000 tons per annum, using a mixed recycling system. They started their contract with NCC in 2009 and one of the greatest challenges is contamination (the wrong items or materials being put in household recycling bins). The current contamination level is between 10 and 20% of the input. The waste arrives and is placed in big piles, which no recycler would be interested in but they have some high tech machines as well as amazing staff that sort it all out. The separated materials are then sent on to recyclers all over the country to be turned into new goods. She gave a few examples of ‘contamination’, like a rolled up carpet, but getting the right materials to your recycle bin (note no mention of colour as every District Council has its own) is not easy and in general they come under the headings of: metal, plastic, paper and cardboard. So as an exercise in audience participation Lesley had prepared a quiz for us with 40 items listed that individually we had to decide Recycle or General waste. This really was an interesting exercise, as most of our members (like Lesley’s husband)believed they were doing a sterling recycling job…but the answers proved differently. Plastic is the most confusing material, so objects like fruit punnets which can be made from good or low grade plastic together with carrier bags, bin liners, crisp packets, bubble wrap and similar items which are all made of low grade plastic are not accepted for recycling. The government is currently working for consistency of recycling across the whole country which hopefully will be implemented within the next few years. She suggested a simple 3 part guide to recyclable plastic in Nottinghamshire: 1. All household plastic bottles (shampoo to Domestos) 2. Butter or margarine tubs 3. Yoghurt pots. However, some Supermarkets offer specific ‘collection points’ for various items: bottles, tetra packs, clothes and Lesley encouraged us all to use such centres. Lesley then showed a short video of their MRF operation, showing the staff at work, the trommel ( like a giant sieve) weighing 70 ton at the beginning of the operation, and on to magnetic separators, eddy current separators for aluminium cans, all very impressive. The quiz and the video prompted many questions, which Lesley comprehensively managed and Jane thanked her for her very informative and enlightening presentation, she had delivered in a fascinating but factual manner that enthralled our members and asked the audience to show their appreciation in the normal manner. AR

17th March 2022 Managing the Covid Pandemic – Sarah Webb

Sarah began her talk with a little of her own working background, since she has now retired. Public Health England, NHS and local Government were mentioned, latterly as a Health Emergency Planning Manager. Setting the scene she suggested that two years ago the term ‘pandemic’ was not something that sprang to mind in common use, but then used in the media many times per day. It means: outbreak of infectious disease spread over a number of countries, often where there was little or no immunity known.

Viral diseases are important in the history of pandemics as viruses have the ability to mutate and change and this occasionally results in a disease crossing the species barrier and a new infection for mankind.  Examples from the recent past include SARS, MERS, HIV and Ebola. Other changes or variants can result in greater transmissibility. The original Wuhan Covid virus having an ‘R’ of 2.4, compared with Omicron variant at 8.4

Pandemics have been around for as long as humans and have probably played a role in wiping out ancient civilisations, small pox or typhoid likely to have been responsible. More recent pandemics. Include Spanish Flu in 1918 thought to originate in chickens; Russian Flu in 1890 from cattle & more recently in 2009, Swine Flu, derived from pigs in Central America.

She then moved on to the planning regimes for public health emergencies, which bring together the usual organisations of police, fire, ambulances, environment agency and local government who come together as local resilience partnerships meeting regularly to identify risks & plan how to mitigate against such risks. There exists an overarching National Risk Agency, produced by the Cabinet Office.

Public Health England had prepared for a flu pandemic and their first response came on the 8th of January 2020, followed by media frenzy and PM’s daily briefings. The response was supported by various teams: epidemiology, communications, and guidance both clinical & non clinical advising hospitals and prisons. Public H England had 8 of their own labs that quickly became overwhelmed with the demands for testing.  The whole operation being led by 4 Incident Directors on rota and a logistics management team.

 It was never anticipated that it would last this long, but in the beginning very little was known about this virus, which was quite scary and China were slow in providing much information. No one had ever developed a vaccine against this type of virus and death rates and levels of serious disease presented a major challenge.

Today we are in a very different position, with a great deal of learning achieved and moving into the ‘endemic’ stage, where it is an accepted part of normal, like flu. In the UK work is continuing to try and develop a vaccine against ALL coronaviruses.

Many questions followed, which Sarah comprehensively managed and Adrian thanked Sarah for her very informative and absorbing presentation, she had come highly recommended and had delivered in a fascinating but factual manner that enthralled our members and guests and asked the audience to show their appreciation in the normal manner.                                               AR


10th March 2022 The District Governor – Martyn Bye

DG Martyn began his talk with his own background, putting the concept that any ‘normal’ person could become a DG, however, when you heard his story, it put a different picture.

He was born in Cambridge and had to move about quite a lot as his father progressed in his Insurance career, so Ipswich next, then Norwich, eventually becoming an apprentice electrician following his schooling. He worked for Mercury Signs who made neon signs for various organisations.  Eventually meeting his now wife and they decided to live in Nottingham, from where she originated.  There he joined LV Pannells (Pannell Signs) in a similar business, showing the ‘Home of the best Ales ‘that he was responsible for in Daybrook. The company wanted to expand their operation & the cost of a laser machine proved prohibitive.  So with the help of Nottingham Trent University, they made their own machine (Pacer).  It was so successful that they formed a company to manufacture these machines, which eventually was taken over by a Canadian company AXYZ, but that required him to go to Burlington every 6 weeks to their Head Office.  Not good for family life, so Martyn, with his software knowledge formed a company doing ‘people counting' , which gained an International reputation such that one project was at Sydney University, but controlled from Kimberley! He also had a spell as Chairman of Mansfield RB Housing Association….so one can see, not an ordinary man, but quite the entrepreneur.

He then moved on to the normal “message from the ‘top man’”. Shekar Mehta, The RI President, who’s theme is “Serve to change Lives” and despite the issues associated with Covid he suggested the DG’s would be “Change maker Governors”!    Most of Martyn’s activity being confined to Zoom meetings, including a 12 day training course outlining the encouragement of “Diversity; Equity and Inclusion” and the strategy that we need to grow more to do more. Although our worldwide numbers are now down to 1.1 million. We still have 67 Clubs in District 1220, although with 5 fewer members, currently.

He went on to elaborate on various programmes: Walk on Water, World Earth Day 22nd April, Empowering Girls (Sewing machine Courses in India), Youth is the future (RYLA was mentioned, how impressed he was when attending, but not surprised at the youth’s impressions of Rotarians: “Old; grey and eating”).  He has devised a competition to raise money for “End Polio now”, with a £5 entry fee to guess his carbon footprint (miles driven, hours on Zoom..) Some discussion took place on Ukraine and what Rotary can do to help which is under review, having had conversations with Taylors Transport at Huthwaite who are sending 7 truckloads of clothing and other essential to Poland at a cost of £35k fuel costs.

He mentioned that the future involves regional clusters, of which we are in the Midlands Cluster with Districts 1050, 1070 & 1210.  President Gordon thanked Martyn for his informative and absorbing presentation, which he was particularly interested in Martyn’s background and asked members to show their appreciation in the normal manner.                                               AR

3rd March 2022 The Friary – Ben Talbot

Ben started his presentation with a short video from Phil, one of the many people had benefited from the service that the Friary offer.  Phil was a school caretaker who got promoted to become the area caretaker, unfortunately he became ill and the rapid downhill spiral began.  He lost his job, the debts mounted, he was evicted and found himself living on the streets!  Fortunately he was told about the Friary, met Ann and the road to recovery began. They managed to get him a Hostel place, but it was the emotional support that started to “build him back up”.  He progressed to a warden aided property, got to know some people, new friends who supported him to feel secure, able to relax in comfort and regain his self-esteem.

Founded in 1988, the Friary was created to meet the needs of the homeless in Nottingham. Originally a drop-in café here in leafy West Bridgford to help the hidden homeless and vulnerable in our own neighbourhood. Open in those days just once a week and run by volunteers with our founder Ann Bremner MBE, the Friary is now a UK registered charity maintaining its distinctly Christian ethos to serve the poor and opens its doors on the Musters Road 6 days a week. They get about 1000 people a year through the door and their policy is to turn no one away. Obviously the pandemic has had an impact, but they hope to re-open their doors in April and get back to as normal as possible.  They have 12 members of staff with 150 volunteers, who drive, label food or work in their coffee bar. They provide breakfasts, access to showers, clothing and laundry.

They try to be non-judgemental, show and develop mutual respect to the various attendees, whether caused by job loss, family breakdown, addiction or mental health issues.  They provide: 1. Practical support (basic needs of food, showers and clothing) 2. Advice (general debt and budgeting) 3. Health support with Dr’s and nurses.  They have many links with other agencies, often making appointments at the Friary, where the clients are more comfortable. From Ben’s perspective it’s providing a platform to progress to their futures, whether that be moving into work or a property.

Funding is a major issue, but they have tremendous support from the local people in West Bridgford, but also churches, corporates and Local Authorities. He spoke about a meeting he had earlier this week with Michael Gove and Andy Burnham, looking for solutions that they will pilot in various locations to try and fix the homeless care system, which is currently broken. Ben fielded various questions from the members and received a warm round of applause following Mike T’s sincere vote of thanks highlighting their devotion to their work and the ‘kindness’ generously donated.                      AR

24th February 2022 Tropical Rain Forest – Dave Chapman

The grace given by Alan F. made reference to the Russian invasion of Ukraine and what devastating news it was in this day and age.  Our support and sympathies with the Ukrainian people.

Dave’s introduction outlined the fact that his presentation had been set up to deliver to 7 to 9 year old children, so most likely to be suitable to our members and partners!

The talk was in two parts: Amazonia, Brazil and Borneo/Malaysia and he confessed that the opportunities to explore these rain forests were derived              from his role as ‘student recruiter’ for the three universities he “worked” for (Bangor, Nottingham and Loughborough)

In Brazil he was based in Manaus, which allowed some stunning pictures of the confluence of the Amazon and Rio Negro rivers, with their contrasting colours. His excursion into the rain forest was with a local guide who was a caboclo (a person of mixed indigenous Brazilian and Portuguese). They first journeyed along the river bank by a small boat for which Jose had supplied him with an empty tin…yes, to bail the boat out! They made their trip in the evening and Dave spotted a number of pairs of pink dots, which turned out to be the eyes of Cayman (small South American crocodiles).  Jose and Dave slept overnight in hammocks, covered by mosquito nets, with a fascinating array of noises overnight and to be awakened at dawn by the roaring cries of howler monkeys. The following day Jose spotted a tree with an opening at its base and managed to pull out a Vampire bat. Dave was impressed by the many colourful plants and wide range of animals: monkeys, anteaters, sloth, toucans, parrots and ocelots.

On to Borneo where Dave and his companions were warned to ‘beware of Tigers’, but Dave felt they should have added ‘beware of leeches’! Again there was a great variety of plant life, including ‘pitcher plants’,  ‘army ants’ , vipers and of course Orangutans, which he got close to in a sanctuary in Sarawak. He had made a couple of drawings for the children showing the animals and plants for each country and including pictures of the locals in their traditional dress and headgear. He also shared with us the searching questions that the children had raised with him.

Rob thanked Dave for his informative and well illustrated, with ‘props’ presentation and asked members to join him in the normal manner                                          AR

17th February 2022 Maggie’s Centre Support – Annie Walton

We were very privileged to hear a talk from a passionate professional carer, who clearly loves her job. Annie has a background of nursing for over 33 years in the oncology environment.  However, as she progressed to a senior level, she felt that she was losing touch with patients. This created a scary situation for herself in leaving          the secure NHS environment, a life changing move. Suddenly she found herself in the situation of having to find a way to introduce people to the Maggie’s Centre.  A task she managed very well, increasing new members by 40% in 6 months…but then the pandemic arrived, causing the operation to close for 5 weeks, and with GP’s doing ‘telephone consultations’ with the loss of potential new members.

She remembered clearly how she and two colleagues made 65 telephone calls to people who had been bereaved through cancer. They then turned to Zoom, which was a big learning process, regarding ‘muted’, camera control and they recognised they need to get back to face to face support.  This impacted noticeably with children’s involvement and they started two support groups, one from baby to 17 years old and 17 and above.

She invited us to drop in to have a look at the centre at any time, they don’t operate an appointment system, there’s plenty of space, rooms and their ethos is: “just come in”.  They are able to give clarification on treatment plans as they are all qualified cancer nurses and additionally have a clinical psychologist to help with difficult cases. In traumatic situations it is doubtful that more than 12% of diagnosis and chemotherapy plans are understood and retained, we are all unique individuals with different experiences. They have “lone parent” support groups, “vibrant men’s group”, and an “expressive art group”.

There are 24 similar centres around the country, with 5 more planned and 3 or 4 international centres in Hong Kong, Japan and Barcelona.  All the centres are designed by famous architects with “architecture of Hope” as their underlying theme, to provide a light, large, open environment away from the clinical hospital type.

They are all funded by their local community, but need serious major donors for the initial set up and Maggie’s Centre needs around £600k per annum to maintain.

They run a number of workshops: living with stress; sleeplessness; chronic fatigue; anxiety, bereavement.  It’s all about talking and sharing experiences

Adrian gave the vote of thanks having experienced Maggie’s centre when his Mum was suffering about 5 years ago.  He said it one of those places you don’t know about, until you need it.  Despite Annie confessing that she knew Doug, Adrian asked the members to congratulate her in the normal manner with resounding applause. Matters concluded with President Gordon making a cheque presentation to Annie for the Maggie’s Centre and the magnificent work they do.                                                           AR

10th February 2022 The Dogs Trust – Ella Tonge and Jess Pengelly

Ella began her presentation by confessing that she was from Yorkshire and tended to talk too much, but she gave a clear informative, well illustrated talk.

She explained that the Dogs Trust is a very old charity, founded in 1891, originally as the National Canine Defence League developing a strong strap line of: “We will never put a healthy dog down”.  In 1978 a well-known phrase of “A dog is for life not just for Christmas” was quoted by Clarissa Balder.  They now have 21 rehoming centres throughout the UK & Ireland, averaging 14000 dogs per year, of all breeds, depending on dog fashions, which change from time to time.

56% of the dogs are handed over by their owners; 41% are strays, mostly provided by Local Authorities.

All dogs are vet checked, vaccinated, neutered and micro chipped. They get 4 weeks free insurance, guarantee to take a dog back should problems arise; pre-adoption talk.

Their site at Loughborough was originally a pig farm, but has been dramatically improved to be opened in 2012, where they can care for up to 100 dogs per day.  It has a light and airy reception area backed with glass fronted kennels (more hygienic and with ‘sniff’ holes to allow for ‘communication’), a vet suite, a grooming room           

Outside areas include sand areas, grassed runs, Astroturf runs, woodland walks and field walks, but off site visits to parks and woods are possible.

Behaviour assessment and training is completed in the training barn and the whole site has been given a “Carbon paw-print” with a recycled water system, green roofs, solar panels. underfloor heating, best use of natural light and a biomass boiler.

There are 2 dedicated training centres for more challenging dogs and a special sanctuary for ‘long term’ residents. There are hydrotherapy and physiotherapy suites.

The Trust has an ‘Old Dogs Home at Shrewsbury.

Ella then showed us a case history of a Labrador that came to the Trust very overweight (9.5 stone!), but after 2 years of hydrotherapy and careful diet control a picture was shown of a lively 5 year old weighing 35 Kg

Home from home foster care was also covered and the Canine Care Card scheme (free)

They also cover education and community work, with about 30 education officers who do talks in schools and they do a wide range of campaigns: dog fouling. Breeding & puppy smuggling (particularly from Eastern European Countries)

Covid 19 has obviously had some impact on them with 40 000 dogs needing help, what with behavioural issues and financial hardship.

Their income generally comes from legacies (1/3rd), ‘sponsor a dog’ and volunteers and Ella supplemented her talk with a couple of short videos.

David E gave a vote of thanks, thanking her for her comprehensive presentation, emphasising that he and Judy supported the Dogs Trust, having brought two rescue dogs back into the UK from Spain.                                              AR

27th January 2022 Renewable Energy – Phil Nicholson

Phil’s second talk to the Club and was as fascinating, informative and interesting as the last one! He works for the Department of International Trade as an Electrical Networks and renewable energy specialist so he thought he would give us some insights into their activity split over the following headings.

* Net Zero Carbon   * UK Government Policy   * Innovation and Investment  *UK Generation Mix  *Renewable Energy generation (Offshore)  *Energy Storage

3500 people work at the DIT & they are housed in the magnificent Old Admiralty Building, they work alongside BEIS (business energy and Industrial Strategy) and FCDO (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office) to secure UK and Global prosperity by promoting and financing international trade and investment, and championing free trade.

Within in DIT is DGET (Director General for Exports & UK Trade, with 12 sectors, one being Energy, where Phil works and involving him in much travel all over the World dealing with Embassies, NGO’s and High Commissions.

Net Zero Carbon by 2050 – no small undertaking that the UK Government being the first major Nation to back this pledge.  Carbon emissions are created by burning fossil fuels to heat homes, businesses and offices, transport as well as such energy intensive industries as Steel, Glass and Cement. It is unlikely we will ever get rid of carbon emissions totally, but there are methods such as solar and wind power generation, electric vehicles to limit them and systems to offset them.

He then posed the question as to how many of us use gas boilers to heat our homes. Hands up all round and in the UK, 85% or 23 million of residential buildings are currently connected to the gas grid, using a boiler and a wet-based central heating system.   Quite a Challenge & the Government has a 10 point plan for a green industrial revolution (see picture 3), this requires changes in Regulation: the 3 D’s: Decentralisation, Decarbonisation and Digitalisation are the ‘drivers’, which have impact on the Energy System & in turn impact on Regulation. The UK has an Independent Regulator - Ofgem (Office of Gas & Electricity Markets), but it is important to share any learning we achieve.

He then moved on to talk about Innovation and Catapults, we used to call it R & D, working with academia to develop innovative concepts through to commercial solutions. Catapults are not-for-profit, independent technology & innovation centres that connect businesses with the UK’s research and academic communities.  There is an Industrial Strategy Document available that gives more information on this. We need to remove coal from our energy mix by 2025, it’s currently down to 3%, but we still need it bin our cold winter spells.

Our Government do not support ‘on-shore’ Wind generation, but according to Market intelligence we have the World’s largest Offshore Wind (OSW) market, soon to be surpassed by China! In the last decade the UK has deployed 10GW of OSW, but need to get to 40GW by 2030.  To put things in context the Total max winter electricity demand for the UK is of the order of 55GW, so what do we do when the wind doesn’t blow and the sun doesn’t shine? … Because of the massive investments required for OSW a system of ‘curtailment’ is operated by the National Grid with payments made to the wind farm owners when they cannot generate.  £200m of these payments were made in 2021. An alternative solution is to co-locate Energy Storage (ESS) facilities close to renewable generation sources. Typical ESS categories are: * Batteries * Thermal * Mechanical * Hydrogen & * Pumped Hydro.  To fully embrace these technologies, they need to be incorporated into flexible electricity systems. The UK Electricity System is part of a much larger, integrated network across not only Europe, but Scandinavia, Russia, Turkey and N. Africa. To do some of this Interconnectors are required (cables) that enable electricity to flow between countries, with High Voltage Direct Current (HVDC) being the most efficient way. However, Phil outlined some of the challenges that need to be overcome to improve multiple cable entries or a shared transmission system for multiple generators.

Many questions flowed regarding Tidal generation, Nuclear, the impact of electric vehicles on the local electricity networks charging points, all well fielded, but time was called by the president.  This was followed by a very complimentary Vote of Thanks from Trevor that started with the question to Phil ”As you are very involved with the Government in your work, do you ever get invited to their ‘Cheese and Wine Parties’”?

Members joined Trevor with an enthusiastic round of applause.                                               AR

20th January 2022 Quiz – David Eldridge

Although we were reduced to 17 people in attendance due to an outbreak of Omicron, the ones who did attend were treated to the induction of 3 new members: Gail Parkinson (introduced by Mary), Mike Wiseman (introduced by Stan, who was unable to attend) and Gerry Short (a free transfer from Melton Mowbray R C…no fee involved and introduced for this event by Rob)

Gail is a Counsellor, Mike: Compliance and Gerry: Further Education.

Unfortunately we then had to suffer a wait for the food, which was fine, but the service was slow.

This created a situation to rush the David E quiz: Where in the World? But he coped admirably, splitting it into two parts, the first being 21 International Vehicle identity Codes, which challenged us with a few ‘wobblers’ like Croatia, Jordan, Alderney, North Korea and Taiwan.  However, the second part was to identify places that drive on the Left Hand side, which David identified from his research as 34% of countries in the World, a staggering 76! It was a tight contest with Alan F, Doug, Mary & Jane coming out the winners with a total of 49. Second place was awarded to Gerry T., Gail, Rob and Allen R with 44; Peter, Duncan, Mike W. & Gerry S accumulating 40, which left Gordon, Derek & Steve C. bringing up the rear!

As the time fast approached 9pm, President Gordon congratulated David on his “quickly run Quiz”, for which we all showed our appreciation, in the usual manner, after the chocolate prize had been shared amongst all competitors.                                AR

6th January 2022 Bletchley Park –ULTRA (the ultimate secret) – Bruce Frame

Despite the fact that he confessed to playing golf with a few of our members, Bruce was obviously an experienced presenter and very knowledgeable on this subject. He said that he expected most of us present know the story of Alan Turing and Gordon Welshman and their tremendous work, with many others in breaking the Enigma code, either through the film or book. So he thought it better to talk about the machine itself.

The Enigma machine was developed in the 1920’s as a financial device…but it was a failure; however, the German military took it on to develop it to encode all their messages.

The original machine had 3 rotors, a keyboard and a lamp board, providing 26x26x26 settings or 17576, not a large number in the scheme of things. So they made the rotors interchangeable and then added two more, increasing the number of settings to over 1 million, but by adding a ‘plug board’ it was increased to 158 million million million! Enigma was reciprocal; no letter could appear as itself; the keyboard had no numbers (they had to be spelt out), but of course ‘operator error is always a possibility! However, the Germans believed that Enigma was unbreakable, despite the fact that some Polish engineers had worked it out before the war and sent their results to the English & French intelligence.

Alan Turing’s logic suggested that a machine could be developed to de-code Enigma & he built one, naming it the ‘Bombe’.  The 1st one he built cost £100k, but a further 150 were built.  These machines could break the daily code within 30 minutes and Bruce talked about how the users identified themselves: fiancée’s name; swear word; numbers; common phrases. He mentioned the sinking of The Bismarck & how names were given to the different military organisations e.g. U-boat codes were “Shark”.  Although the Germans had worked out our British Naval codes for “convoys”, he outlined that the life expectancy on U Boats was about 2 weeks!

He then moved on to the Lorenz Tele printers, a binary system with 12 rotors giving them 16 billion billion settings!  The Heath Robinson machine, which used valves, was unreliable, and they needed the expertise of a Post Office chap called Tommy Flowers, who helped them develop ‘The Colossus’ machine, which could operate at 5000 characters/second due to its optical operation.  About 50 ‘Bombes’ and 2 ‘Colossus’ machines went to GCHQ after the war.

The 10 000 staff that were involved at Bletchley Park contributed to reducing the war by about 2 years!

An interesting suggestion he threw in at his conclusion that an apple with a bite out of it was on a bedside cabinet when Turing committed suicide, which has a remarkable possible link to the Apple Corporation’s logo?

Adrian gave Bruce a glowing Vote of thanks at which he acknowledged that all our members had been captivated by Bruce’s fascinating presentation, to which we all showed our appreciation                           AR

16th December 2021 Christmas Dinner at Ashmores

A good response considering the current circumstances with 6 tables of 6. As normal Mark and Jo, with all the ‘front of house’ staff, served up some excellent food.

President Gordon then updated us on our Christmas fund raising performances, with £5036.28 collected on Santa’s Sleigh’s rounds in Bingham, Cotgrave and Radcliffe( up £292 on 2019 figures with Newton still to come). The Blue Diamond Garden Centre weekend collections are £1365.97 with this weekend to come.  Marvellous results with thanks to all the collectors and the Tow team of Barry and Keith, together with Santa’s Rob, Chris N. and David E. (but don’t tell the children!)

Next our very own special entertainment with Gerry T. “setting the scene” with her expertly delivered script, including pauses for audience laughter & her “knowing look” at them. “The Panto”, already practiced at the memory café and hours of rehearsals?! Doug opened the proceedings with his staid delivery of what scene and where the scene is staged. The rest of the team: Prince Charming (David V. [professional actor]), Cinders (Adrian…selected for his demure appearance and emotional delivery), Ugly sister (Mike T., obviously “type cast”) and finally The Good Fairy Godmother (Denis, magic delivery). Much laughter followed including Ashmores staff, highlighted with Adrian’s presence (6 foot 3 and a 48 DD bra, short skirt and large black pit boots!!), but they all contributed with their crisp delivery, clearly showing their hours of practice!!

Followed by the usual entertaining ‘Sergeant at Arms’ duo of Rob and Alan F. Gordon thanked Rob for his organisation of the whole event and finished with the final toast “Rotary and Peace the World over”

Great celebration, lots of fun and camaraderie enjoyed by all.                    AR

25th November 2021 SGM and Business Meeting

Obviously the minutes of these meetings will be found in the Members section of our website, but I thought I would give my brief comments on what occurred.

We still need a President Nominee and a Treasurer confirmed.

Steve C is proposing to use some ‘technology’ called “sleigh tracker” to enable our ‘customers’ to establish the whereabouts of Santa’s Sleigh on any particular night, which should help as our number of collectors are less this year and this hopefully should encourage people to be ready for us.

Recognition was recorded of Barry and Keith’s contribution in providing towing for the sleigh and a thank you gesture to be made to Keith, as a non-Rotarian, to have his Christmas dinner on the Club.

Mike M. in his Community report expressed his thanks to Maggie and Jane for their sterling work on “the Giving stall”, which has led to a number of other benefits for The Friary, Tara’s Angels and Rosie May. A repeat exercise has been booked for 15th September 2022. The Memory Café had resumed its very successful activities today in Cotgrave with the performance of a “Mini Cinderella Panto”, with some very dubious characters in drag/ wigs/Tou Tous, who I think enjoyed the experience as much, if not more than the audience!

Chris N. outlined his Youth report as per his written paper with the exception that it appeared that Tara’s Angels had sufficient toys to gift all the children in Refuges in Nottingham and Newark, so the Kids Out boxes seemed unnecessary. Consequently he proposed that the £375 was diverted to supporting ‘Young Carers’, the identity of which were being pursued by Mike M. with the County Council, Young Carer’s Hub and Rushcliffe BC.

It was also suggested that a recommendation that Members took a LFT before any meeting and particularly the Christmas Dinner (for which Members should ensure that they had sufficient funds in our Rotary Meal account.             AR

18th November 2021 The Trevor Quiz! – Trevor Richmond

Trevor started proceedings by introducing his assistant, Peter Jordan….not beautiful or young! We were then split into 4 tables as part of the quiz was a 90 second time slot for each individual table rather than the standard approach of Trevor reading a question and the first to shout the answer getting the point.

There were two teams in the rear stalls: Adrian’s team (AF, IT & GS) alongside Clive’s team (BN, MT & DB) & fairly soon in the process Clive’s ‘Deaf Team’ were complaining that by the time they heard Trevor’s question, Gordon’s Team (RG, DE & AR) had already answered…not sure whether it was the lack of brain speed of Clive’s team or simple deafness or the amazing speed of Gordon’s team?!

Moving swiftly on, Trevor explained the TV theme of part 1 of the quiz, mainly focused on ‘Line of Duty’ followed by Netflix Bridgerton, a Regency –Era Drama Romance, that put a number of our members at a disadvantage, as they didn’t have a Netflix account!  However, Gordon’s team were ‘on fire’ with David and Rob often answering the question before Trevor had finished!

Then followed the 90 second General Knowledge phase for each table, with Peter monitoring the 90 seconds on his phone, then ring the bell, but generous Trevor nearly always gave a further question, because of the slowness of his delivery (guilt complex!) The outcome of these two parts finished with Gordon’s team with 15 points, Adrian’s team with 10 points, Steve C’s team (DGa, Mike [guest]) with 8 points and Clive’s team with 3 points. So the chocolate prizes were distributed… and shared out. But it appeared from Trevor that the quiz was over, but any good performer has the “encore” already prepared, so we carried on with a Christmas quiz.

This was followed by a vote of thanks from President Gordon, thanking Trevor for his excellent quiz, delivered in his inimitable, and entertaining style and members joined with a show of their appreciation.                             AR

11th November 2021 Don’t take dynamite to Rhedae! – Clive Rees

Clive started with a thought on conspiracy theory: Imagine a barn door, an arrow suddenly sticks in this door, then someone paints a target around the arrow at the centre!  His slide presentation started with a beautiful picture of Carcassonne, which is very similar to what Rhedae looked like originally and it is said that when the Visigoths sacked Rome they returned to Rhedae to hide their plunder and gold. This led to the place being demolished (probably in search of the treasure?) and it was renamed as Rennes Le Chateau, a town of 30 000 originally about 20 mile south of Carcassonne, 4Km south of Couiza.

There then came the priest called Berenger Sauniere who spent millions of Francs restoring the village….but no one knew where he got the money from?!

The next slide showed a notice as you enter the village today, basically saying: no excavation in this area by Law! Then a picture os Berenger and his ‘house maid/servant’ who both worked tirelessly renovating the church of St. Mary Magdalene, installing a new floor, stained glass windows and several statues by commissioned prestigious Sculptor and painter Giscard of Toulouse. Saunière built a grand estate between the years 1898-1905 that also involved buying several plots of land. This included the Renaissance-style Villa Bethania, the Tour Magdala (a Tower that he used as his personal library) connected to an orangery by a belvedere with rooms underneath, a garden with a pool and a cage for monkeys – all in the name of his maidservant, Marie Dénarnaud.

For preaching anti-republican sermons from his pulpit during the elections of October 1885, Saunière was suspended by the French Minister of Religion, so he resumed lessons in the seminary of Narbonne. On returning to the village, further work and excavations took place and centered on parchments he is said to have found hidden in the old altar of his church, relating to the treasure of Blanche of Castile, the putative source of his income. He took the parchments to Paris for translation & continued digging down 3 metres in the graveyard (at night!) and also found some steps around the pulpit leading to a crypt, where apparently he found a casket of gold coins.  The villages objected to this continued excavations and locked him out with a steel door topped with a 22 toothed skull and crossbones (apparently a theme emerged with ‘22’ & ‘17’as repeated numbers, as in the 22 castellation’s on the Magdala Tower)

Dan Brown got his inspiration for the Da Vinci Code from all the mysteries surrounding this village and character (Blue apples that appear at the church on the 17th January each year.) The Monsignor from Carcassonne was his protector and when he passed on, his replacement starting asking questions and when Berenger finally passed on he was refused a reading of the last rites. No one really knows from where he got his money, theories are: 1. Hush money from the Vatican 2. Visigoth treasure 3. Knights Templar…..the mystery remains, attracting thousands of tourists each year.

This was followed by a vote of thanks from Alan F. thanking Clive for his fascinating story, delivered in his inimitable, and entertaining style and members joined with a show of their appreciation.                   AR

4th November 2021 T.E. Lawrence – Roger Allton

Roger, who is obviously an authority on Lawrence of Arabia, posed the question: is he a Chapman, Lawrence, Ross or Shaw and he went on to elaborate on the ‘family tree’. Explaining that it was a moneyed Leicestershire family that was gifted land in Ireland by Sir Walter Raleigh, where his father and family lived.  His father moved out of the family home to live with the ‘nanny’, and with one child already, moved to Portmadoc, where  T.E., known as ’Ned’ was born. They never could marry, since his wife, a sincere Catholic, could not divorce her husband.

They moved to the New forest, France and St. Helier, but eventually ending up in Oxford, where ‘Ned’ with his four brothers were schooled. Ned was very interested in history and brass rubbings. However, he ran away from school and joined the army, but his father ‘bought him out’

After enrolling at College, in the long Vac. he travelled, first going to France and cycling around the whole country looking at Crusader Castles. Then in 1909 he set off to walk 1000 miles across the Ottoman Empire, again looking at and photographing Crusader Castles, with an interest in archaeology and Syrian ‘digs’. These castles are still extant.

The Great War saw him in the British Army, based in Cairo, drawing up maps, at which time he started to dress like an Arab. General Allenby had one huge 0/400 bomber that Lawrence showed off to the Arabs to impress them with the power of the British. He rode in a Rolls Royce staff car into Damascus after it fell. Lawrence was later offered a Knighthood, which he turned down, not wishing to profit from what he saw as the double-dealing of the British and French Governments.

Determined to be a menial, he joined the RAF as John Hume Ross, rank A/c 2. Although his camp colleagues liked him, the officers did not (probably due to all his top level connections and the press interest) and he was thrown out, so back to the army.  He bought ‘Clouds Hill’, now with the National Trust. Leaving the army again for the RAF now as A/c 2 Shaw. Lawrence became famous, mainly due to a theatre presentation of photos taken of his exploits in Arabia taken by an American Press reporter, which played to huge audiences. He asked to be posted away from the ‘limelight’ into northern India. However press rumours of his presence near to Afghanistan led to him being returned to England.

He then became secretary to Wing Commander Sidney Smith at RAF Mountbatten, involving him in Flying boats, and the Schneider Trophy Races. He saw the need for faster ‘rescue boats’ in cases of accidents on the water. These boats were developed by his direct involvement, and later became the Motor Torpedo Boats of W.W.II.

In his famous book ‘The seven Pillars of Wisdom’, he wrote of his Arabian adventures, and it was sold to his friends at a loss. This led to his translating The Odyssey by Homer, to repay his debts. He also compiled 27 key articles on how to deal with indigenous peoples, which the Americans later reprinted, and used in the Gulf War.

George Bernard Shaw gifted him several Nottingham built Brough Superior motorbikes, which he named ‘Boanerges’., for which he became famous riding especially at Cranwell, where he could travel faster up Ermine Street than the contemporary aircraft, flown by his fellow RAF servicemen. This love of speed eventually led to his death in 1935 when trying to avoid two boys on cycles when he turned a blind corner; dying later from head injuries. The accident led to the development of the ‘crash helmet’. 

His funeral saw a  full page in ‘The Times’, and many senior politicians were present, including Lord Trenchard the Marshall of the Royal Air Force, and Winston Churchill and his wife.

A very talented, if eccentric man, later brought again to the public’s attention in the 1962 epic film starring Peter O’Toole.

Roger fielded some questions about what the Arabs thought of Lawrence, his work with contemporary artists, author, archaeologist and linguist.  This was followed by an enthusiastic vote of thanks from Doug and members joined with a show of their appreciation.              AR

28 Oct 2021 Jane Costello- Life as a London Councillor


Jane said that she had been an elected Councillor of the London Borough of Waltham Forest for 16 years during the 80’s and 90’s.

Jane had been born in the East End of London within the sound of Bow Bells, making her a true Cockney. She grew up in Sir Winston Churchill's constituency and as a child she was selected to present a bouquet to Lady Churchill.  Her Junior school was closed for Election Day so she helped at the last election involving Sir Winston and received a thank you letter signed by Sir Winston which she proudly retains.


Her senior school taught the girls about elections and when she left became more involved in local politics.  She later moved to Waltham Forest and in 1981 was challenged by the chairman of the local party to stand for election to the Borough Council. Eventually she said she would stand if the chairman did as well. He agreed but moved away before the election took place.

Jane stood in the Borough Elections in 1982 and was elected for a ward in Chingford where the MP at the time was Norman Tebbit.


During her time on the Borough Council she became the first woman to lead any Party Group on the Council and served on most committees during her 16 years as a Councillor. Council Agendas, documents, reports and minutes were all printed and each councillor received a stack of paperwork about 6ft high each year! 


As member of the council was privileged to meet The Prince and Princess of Wales, Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and be invited to the opening of a Mortuary, a Garden Party at Buckingham Palace and Dinner at the House of Commons.


Jane said it was an honour to have been a councillor despite at times heart-breaking and heart-warming


After eventually moving to Bingham, she served for a while on Bingham Town Council.                ST


21st October 2021 Call My Bluff – Rob Gray

Our trial venue at Copper Bingham, which produced an excellent room, good service and good food.

The start of the ‘Call My Bluff’ event was somewhat concerning as Rob explained that David Eldridge had kindly prepared all the material….but was not present!?

However, this did not prove an issue as Rob split up our members on the tables they had eaten at, 5 in all, he distributed the paperwork and explained the rules.  Some difficult words emerged, but this only encouraged members to elaborate on the descriptions they were asked to read.  Words such as Diastema, Tragus, Megakaryocyte, Glabella, Lunula

Great fun was had by all with the winning pairing of Alan F, Adrian & Allen’s table sharing with Gordon, Derek, Duncan and Steve Carson’s table …the winning prize of chocolates were shared generously and President Gordon thank Rob and David(in his absence) for providing an entertaining and well organised event, well matched by the enthusiasm of the participants,. and members joined with a show of their appreciation.               AR

14th October 2021 County Lieutenancy – Judith Swann

Judith outlined her presentation with a little history, the local scene and the role of the High Sherriff.

It started in 1547 where the Lord Lieutenant (LL)was appointed as the representative of the soveriegn, it was a temporary military post when the military functions of the Sheriff were transferred to him and he became responsible for the county bodies of the trained bands. The trained bands had their origins in the Fyrd of Anglo-Saxon times and were the pre-cursors of the Militia of the 18th and 19th centuries. The Lieutenancy was not initially a cut and dried system and only gradually developed, indeed it was not until after the Restoration that the move towards a Lord Lieutenant in each County took place. Before that, senior noblemen, usually absentee, tended to hold multiple Lieutenancies, and later appointed Deputies to serve locally.

The early Commissions were not for life, and only lasted for the event of crisis for which they were originated. His active duties were mainly to do with the raising and training of the forces of the Crown. However, by whatever name called from time to time, the Lord-Lieutenant was also responsible for the selection and administration of the Justices of the Peace. Therefore since the early years of the 18th Century the Lord-Lieutenant has normally, but not invariably, been the leading Justice under the title of Custos Rotulorum - Keeper of the Rolls. Thus it evolved that the Lieutenancy was not only the arm for raising troops, but also a means of communication between the Government and the country, working through the Deputy Lieutenants in the former case and through the Justices in the latter.

Ladies were appointed in the ‘70’s and of the 98 in the UK, a third are now female. We are infrequently visited by Royalty in Nottinghamshire, but Judith was very lucky (her words) to meet the Princess Royal on her visit to a national Townswomen’s Guild conference at Newark.  Judith was appointed as a Deputy Lieutenant in 2004, possibly in recognition of her voluntary involvement in the community including her role as a magistrate, her work with the NSPCC and 35 years as a reservist in the Royal Naval Reserve. She did point out though that the current 53 Deputies represent a very broad band of backgrounds.

She talked about the many awards that the LL is involved in, either recommendations for Honours such as OBE, MBE, Queen’s Award for Voluntary Services ( for which Bingham Audio Magazine were recognised), Queen’s Award for Enterprise and Technology, Q A for Young People, Queen’s Scouts, Queen’s Guide, Queen’s Boys Brigade.  The BEM award is presented in person locally, plus the invitation to the Queen’s Garden Party.  Many of the ceremonies require Judith to wear her naval uniform, but others just need to wear her ‘badge of Office’, as pictured.

The High Sherriff is an Annual Law and Order appointment

Her presentation stimulated a number of questions which were expertly fielded ….Trevor provided a Vote of thanks for the wide ranging and informative talk and members joined with a show of their appreciation.              AR

30th September 2021 Rotary Shoe Box Scheme – Colin Ince

The Vale of Belvoir Rotary Club will be taking part in the Rotary Shoe Box Scheme and Colin Ince from the scheme very kindly (via Zoom) talked to the club about how the scheme works.  He also gave greetings from President Paul Winstanley and members of the Rotary Club of St Helens-Rotary District 1285

Introduction of how it all started

1994: Rotarian Malcolm McCarthy suggested that Rotary District 1280 collect shoeboxes full of gifts for Iasi (Romania)
2000: 50,000 boxes annually to Eastern Europe

Aims and objectives

To serve the underprivileged people of Central and Eastern Europe
To give comfort and raise morale
To deliver special shoeboxes filled with gifts from Great Britain and Ireland.
To assist donors by transporting their gifts

All year, shoeboxes full of gifts are sent to needy children & families in Eastern Europe

Very poor and homeless families

Children in orphanages and hospitals

Families of people in prison

Older children in prison


Schools for children with learning disabilities

There are usually around 14,000 to fill a lorry ready to take them overseas.

For many of the children the shoebox with presents in may be the first toys they have ever owned

Shoe boxes are delivered no matter what the weather carrying Shoeboxes along muddy roads and delivering boxes in the snow in Ukraine

Maggie gave a vote of thanks and thanked Colin for taking the time to join our zoom meeting with a very detailed presentation and some heartfelt photographs of the children receiving their boxes, and to give us more information on how the scheme works which will help us as a club as we will be taking part in the scheme late autumn 2021 - early spring 2022 with our local schools and hoping to spread a little more happiness to some very poor and homeless families and members joined with a virtual show of their appreciation.        MF/AR

16th September 2021 Magistrates and Courts – Pete Leatherland

 Pete  talked about the role and responsibilities of the Bench Chair, with an overview together with the impact of Covid. He outlined that Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire act as a cluster and are the first link in a chain that leads to the Lord Chief Justice.  The Courts and Tribunal System keep the Bench informed of any changes, maintain standards, deal with pastoral matters, transfer applications and links to the local community.

Both Youth and Family issues have to be considered and an important aspect is keeping each Magistrate up to pace with the number of sittings they have to achieve.  Covid impacted on this reducing the number from 3 to 2, but they are now moving back to normal.  All criminal cases actually start in the Magistrates Courts and although Pete went into a great deal of detail to give us a better understanding, this brief summary is sufficient for the Public domain, in such a sensitive arena.

He however did mention the historic back ground to the Derby Magistrates Court, which appears as the Main Picture in this report.

His presentation stimulated a number of questions which were expertly fielded ….David E. provided a Vote of thanks for the wide ranging and informative talk and members joined with a show of their appreciation.                 AR

9th September 2021 Rotary and Carers UK Partnership – Alan Bush

Alan explained that he had been a member of Sherwood Sunrisers R C for 21 years and in 2018 following a talk by Sandra Morrey about Memory Cafes he was looking for something different and so became a Carers UK Rotary Club and District Lead Ambassador. Former District Governor Dr. Cheryle Berry also spoke to their Club about Care UK, which had started in the 1960’s in an attempt to make life better, for people who found themselves in a care role, giving them support, improving awareness of various organisations through communication.  There are 6.5 million carers in the UK, which equates to 1 in 8 adults and this unpaid care saves the state £132 Billion a year.  Following the Covid 19 pandemic this figure rose to 13.6 million people.

Alan outlined the number of organisations out there, on websites and Apps to help Carers.  Following the partnership with Rotary 3 years ago it was recognised that through Rotary’s networks at Club, District and National level utilising the incredible voluntary support work that it delivers in local communities. Naturally they are looking to expand their number of Ambassadors, who are simply required to make contact with carers for 1 hour each week.

Alan’s passion became apparent regarding Young Carers, this is something he wants to look into in 2022, at present there are 800,000 young carers aged 5-17 care for adults or family members in the UK, 27% of young carers aged 11-15 miss school, this is totally unacceptable and he would like to change this. Accepting that this is a very difficult area as we now have the data protection situation and Social Care Authorities and schools are unable to give out pupil information, so we wish him the best of luck on that mission.

Allen gave a vote of thanks recognising the enormity of the challenge that this Country faces in relation to Social Care, which is currently very high profile at Government level and something that has defeated all the previous Governments!  This was followed by a number of questions that Alan fielded …. and members joined with a show of their appreciation.                           AR

2nd September 2021 50 Years in Blue – Adrian Cresswell

 Adrian retired from the RAF in June when he reached 65 and he was inspired to become a pilot by his Dad, who had been in the Berlin Airlift Association when doing his National Service in 1948.  His Dad became a coal miner living in Hucknall close to the Rolls Royce Test Division with the ‘Flying Bedstead’, but what really motivated him was the Vulcan, so he joined the Air Cadets circa 1970 getting to fly gliders at 16 years old and achieving his Duke of Edinburgh Gold Award and position of Sergeant. Subsequently he applied for a Flying Scholarship & went to Biggin Hill for various aptitude tests, which he passed becoming the youngest in the Country and in the 100 out of 2000 applicants.

This was followed by 3 years at University and the University Air Squad with formation flying in a Bulldog Trainer, 11 out of 12 parachute jumps, lightening fighter, Harrier Jump Jets, which took him on to Cranwell and the Jet Provost. He completed a course at North Luffenham on ‘the side effects of flying’, covering the effects of hypoxia and using a decompression chamber.  He was lucky enough to fly a Tiger Moth and in Anglesey fly the Hawk (which the Red Arrows fly).  Then his graduation, where he came top of the course of 12, which was covered by the Evening Post (a theme that occurs throughout his career!)

He was posted to Scotland completing 450mph low level navigation, shooting.  Then came a new aircraft the Jaguar, a single seater, low level fighter (250 ft. in UK & Germany, 100 ft.in Scotland and 50 ft. over the Sea.

He was then posted to RAF Bruggen in Germany, a War Zone, where they had to wear sweaty helmets, life jackets, and ‘g’ suits for low level night flying, sometime practiced over Motorways. They had a ‘Nuclear’ role, with 5 minute launch requirement and carrying bombs that were 10 times as powerful as that used in Hiroshima!  There were Winter Survival Courses to complete, including ‘Interrogation’ testing, Tactical training course, Gulf War training and his posting lasted 3 years before moving to RAF Coltishall, Norfolk, for another 3 years in 6 squadron (NATO deployment). Here they practiced air to air refuelling, with a spell in Gibraltar with Jaguars.  To celebrate the squadron’s 75th Birthday a Red Arrows flyover was organised and King Hussein of Jordan was invited… and turned up!

Then to Cranwell as a n Instructor with a promise of Squadron Leader, providing he signed for a further 10 years, but he declined and joined British Airways, but continued his volunteering roles flying cadets with his crew Denis.  Between them the oldest RAF crew at combined age of 63 + 77 and most flying hours (25 000 + 12 000) and what a team for which they received the Queens Award for Voluntary Service.

What a career and what a man that Rotary have been fortunate to have the services of.

President Gordon gave a glowing vote of thanks following a number of questions that Adrian fielded expertly…. and members joined with a show of their appreciation.                         AR

26th August 2021 The Falklands and Ascension Islands – Barry Newman

Barry had circulated maps to give us an appreciation of the distances involved when the company he worked for acquired a contract from the MOD to improve the infrastructures and manage the logistics of that very challenging task!

The Ascension Islands are 4400 miles from RAF Brize Norton, but in a prime strategic position between Africa and S. America, a British possession, it is one of three constituent parts of the British Overseas Territory of Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha quite important when Napoleon was around, with St. Helena a mere 800 miles away to the SE! A volcanic, tropical Island about ¼ the size of Rutland, with little water, no trees, no natural resources or manufacturing.

RAF Ascension Island, also known as Wideawake Airfield, is a military airfield and facility located on Ascension Island in the Atlantic Ocean. The airfield is jointly operated by the Royal Air Force (RAF) and the United States Space Force (USSF). Established in 1942 by the Americans, it purportedly had the longest runway in the Southern hemisphere. 
The facility is home to a U.S. Space Force ground tracking station in support of the Eastern Range and rocket launches from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida.

However, they are visited by around 3000 giant Green Turtles each year that come to lay their eggs on the beaches.

Moving onwards to the Falkland Islands, an archipelago in the South Atlantic Ocean on the Patagonian Shelf, approximately 4700 square miles in total, with a population of around 3400, although many work overseas. The main industry now is fishing with a very busy port and ship repair operation for Tall ships, but still with around 600 000 sheep another important contributor. However, the construction of the Panama Canal in 1905 saved ships an extra 8000 miles travelling around Cape Horn, impacting on the port operation.

RAF Mount Pleasant was where all the items that had to be imported arrived, from lamp bulbs to all types of material you can imagine. Barry’s most challenging task was to get hold of and deliver a part for a giant Dishwasher that had broken down and responsible for washing sufficient dishes to maintain feeding 400 people  3 times a day! The machine was of Italian origin and he managed to acquire the necessary component, get it transported to RAF Brize Norton and delivered the 19 hour trip to The Falklands, quick as you like!

We were then shown a video which put across the vast array of birds (Albatross), Rock hopper penguins and marine life imaginable. Back on the sheep issue, it showed the professional shearers who could shear up to 358 sheep in one day, how peat was dug and used for heating and the fact that Stanley, the capital, attracts Cruise liners and tourists.  On the transport front, with such difficult terrain, flying is popular, provided by FIGAS (Falkland Islands Government Air Service) and apparently the Islands have the highest number of 4 x 4 vehicles per head of population in the World!

Gerry gave the Vote of thanks indicating that the talk was most informative and although knowing Barry for 30 plus years didn’t realise he had been involved with the Falklands and despite the impression that most of us had from the war scenes of 1982, Barry had managed to ‘bring it to life’ with a different perspective, all on his Birthday…. and members joined with their appreciation.                              AR

 12th August 2021 My Aid trip to Kosovo in 2003 – Judy Eldridge

 As a member of the Reading Maiden Erleigh Inner Wheel, Judy was Chair of the International Committee

The Club was given a presentation from Tom Conlin from the Rotary Club of Slough, with regards to a charity called HOPE and AID DIRECT who took aid twice a year to Kosovo. At that time Kosovo was still suffering very badly from the effects of the Balkan War

It costs over £2,000 to rent, insure and fuel a vehicle for such a trip, and were asking for help from local Rotary and Inner Wheel Clubs

Judy responded by organising a Fashion Show that raised the necessary money.

Tom then asked for volunteer drivers for one of the trips so the other ladies suggested that as Judy had been instrumental in raising the money, that she should be the one to go!

So she was ‘volunteered’ for a two week trip, taking out shoes, clothes, blankets, sanitary and medical supplies.  Part of the deal was an ‘opportunity’ to drive a 7.5ton truck!

The Charity had a warehouse in Slough where all the collections were sorted, so off the 6 truck convoy went, with 4 ladies and 9 men. As she wished to have a practice driving a 7.5 T truck, she thought it would be a good idea to start the practice in England, but they were short of time, so her practice was the first part of the journey to Dover!

Conditions were fairly ‘basic’, staying in service stations overnight, with Judy above the cab and men in the back of the truck. The breakfasts cooked on the tailgate of the truck were much appreciated! Various borders had to be negotiated with France, Germany, Austria, Slovenia, Croatia and Serbia, with a lot of delays and paperwork issues. Spending a penny was at times difficult, although on one stop, in the dark, they ‘managed’, only next morning to find that there was a portaloo about 50m from the truck!

At the German border, they were joined by a 44T truck/lorry, provided by Ford with the Logo:

“Taking Aid – not sides”.

Once in Kosovo, they met some of the locals, and via interpreters they got the message that only the English were helping! Things were desperate over there with nothing available in the shops to buy. Aqua boxes were much appreciated. It was heart breaking to see the conditions that the children were suffering, when they visited an orphanage. A video was then shown with Charles Storer presenting his ‘Hope and Aid Direct’ charity work.

Mary gave the Vote of thanks indicating that the talk was most informative and proving that Judy was a brave, determined 64 year old, dealing with, not just driving the truck, but the cold and dangerous conditions on her trip and members joined with their appreciation.                              AR

5th August 2021 Rob Quiz at Cotgrave Miners Welfare

 It was decided that we would give Cotgrave Miners Welfare a trial as a possible future venue, as Ashmores would now be limited to twice per month, so David E. made the necessary arrangements. A reasonable turnout of 20 attended including Mary’s guest Gail, a possible new member.

Allen reported the fact that a team of 4, with David V., Stan & Rob had again entered into the Grantham Kesteven Charity Golf event at Belton Park this very morning, performing reasonably average, with the possibility that David had secured the nearest the pin on the 14thhole, the highlight of his round!

President Gordon then handed over to Quiz Master Rob for his interesting Quiz, covering sport, literature geography, history & films, which the team of Denis, Barry, Clive & Alan W. claimed victory with 32.5 points, but they were the largest team with 4, as most of the members were in 2’s.

Having enjoyed this first quiz, Rob had also prepared one of his special ‘Music‘ quizzes, covering classical, short introductions, TV themes and Films.  I don’t think team scoring was a serious matter, as there was considerable shouting out of answers and popular music specialist Jane was spotlighted for her expertise.

David E. asked for instant feedback reaction on the venue, which was generally considered OK for the warm summer months, but there were doubts about the suitability in cold weather.  No food was available, but the beer was good and the room free, with alternative rooms possible, it is quite a ‘rabbit warren’, but we would try it again.                                                                AR

29th July 2021 Rotary Walk organised by Trevor

Rotary Walk 29th July. Bingham Railway Station to Car Colston, return. Dep Railway Station at 17.30, return approx. 20.30, with refuel at the “Royal Oak” Car Colston. Subject to weather conditions, as it happened the weather was fine, but disappointingly only 9 of us braved the walk and it must have been easy as “Old Twelly” managed it, no problem. Naturally Pam & Trevor lead off, but soon over taken by Rob and Allen, quickly followed by Barry, Denis, Mary and Helen.  We were joined at the eatery, by Susan, Jill, Gordon, Clive & Rozy, with Doug meeting us part way along whilst taking his dog for a walk.

Those taking of the Royal Oak food enjoyed their meals and Helen & I enjoyed the walk back accompanied by our guide Rob, who gave us some interesting facts about the Butt field, the Lake, finishing off with a visit to see the part constructed new Bingham Leisure centre.  However, I’m told by Trevor that there was an amazing wildlife display- very tall hares, and families of young pheasants, after we left.

All in all a good evening of fellowship and a start on our ‘face to face’ real events as we progress back to as near as normality possible, currently….big thanks to Trevor, Rob & Pam.                                                    AR

15th July 2021 Zoom Job Talk, new member – Jill Clarke JP 

 Jill said she would start back in her childhood, born in Leicester with a very fit ‘cycling family’. They moved to Wollaton as her father moved to work at Sturmey Archer. 

 In ’75 he bought a shop in Beeston calling it Sid Standard and in 2004 had a Nottingham Tram named after him as a winner of the ‘Community Hero’ vote. She attended Margaret Glen Bott School, where PP Derek was her form master (small world) 

As a qualified accountant, she has worked for many companies: Brewer Science, Enimate, Recresco, a glass recycling company, Woodhead Construction and a number of interim roles. One of the most memorable roles was at the John Taylor Bell Foundry, where she and the Sales Director ran the company after the tragic death of the MD, after a year and a half of running the company it was then sold to a bell hanging company. 

In January 2020, Jill moved to Cellar Trends Ltd, which was at that time owned by Martin & Geoff Watts along with Amber Beverage Group, the Watts having sold a controlling number of shares to Amber Beverage in 2019.  Cellar Trends imports branded alcohol. She outlined their ‘Fisky Friday’ policy, at 4pm on a Friday they ‘try out’ a sample of the alcohol they sell; also describing their ‘off trade’ (supermarkets) & ‘on trade’ (pubs & restaurants) split of business between Spirits, Wine and beer. 

In 2012 she became a ‘games maker’ at the London Olympics, covering mainly the Mountain bike events, which she fondly recalls as a great experience! 

She was asked to speak to Matlock Rotary Club, to discover it was their Charter night.  However that didn’t put her off, she really enjoyed the evening and decided that she would find out more about Rotary, Joining Beeston Rotary Club in 2015 

She became President in 2019/20, the same year as Jane and Maggie. On her Charter Night (the 85th of the Beeston Club) she managed to get Frank Bruno to be her After Dinner speaker. 

She’s a member of Beeston Tuneless Choir, no explanation required and also re-joined Ceroc Dancing (a mix of Salsa and Jive), which apparently so has President Gordon! 

President Gordon did the Vote of thanks, much appreciating Jill standing in at the last minute when Stove Team International dropped out with Technical problems. He was impressed by the wide ranging companies she had worked for and her abundant energy which should make her a great contributor to our Club’s activities and asked the member to show their virtual appreciation in the usual manner.                                                                                        AR / JC


Thursday 1st July signals the beginning of the new Rotary Year 2021/’22 and as I start my year as the Club President  we look forward to a year, hopefully without coronavirus restrictions.  We look forward to a good Rotary Year with fun and good fellowship where we can again meet ‘Face to Face’ and start to be able to raise much needed funds to be able to use them for very worthwhile projects both in our local community, schools and internationally.  It will be great, as a Club, to again have family social events and get togethers.


I would like to thank all Club Officers and Committee Chairs for giving up their time for standing for the year and to their Committees for the hard work that I know that they will do.


If coronavirus regulations permit the Club will be out and about raising funds during the year such as our well liked Christmas Float and the Art & Craft Exhibition and anything else we can think of.  In the local Community we will be hoping to help organisations such as The Friary, Tara’s Angels, The Rosie May Foundation, Bingham & District Audio Magazine as well as the Club’s own Memory Café.  In the local schools the Club will be giving each year 5 pupil a ‘Dictionary 4 Life book to keep. We will again run an Art & Photographic Competition as well as helping Life Education.  As well as giving any help needed to our 2 Rota Kids Clubs we hope to begin a tree planting project in some of our local schools.  Internationally we will continue to help two students in Nepal with their education as well as providing help in natural disasters providing Aquaboxes and Shelterboxes. The Club will also support the Rosie May Foundation as well as the Eradication of Polio in the world in conjunction with Bill Gates (Microsoft).



A busy year but hopefully a good year


Gordon Marsh (President 2021/2022 )  






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2022-23 Rob’s year

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2020 - 21 Derek's year

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2019 - 20 Jane & Maggie's Year

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Our Fourth Decade, 2019 onwards

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