Having previously been president of the Thornhill Rotary Club, I was happy and relaxed to be invited as President of my new club in Dalbeattie. I understood the basic requirements of being President, and was looking forward to taking up the role. But then there were two things I had never heard of which were going to completely change my Rotary year.
First was COVID 19 which meant that public meetings, at one point, were stopped altogether and , when allowed, could only take place within strict guidelines and social distancing rules. The net result being that I didn’t have any face to face, indoor meetings, in my entire year.
Second was ZOOM. You could say that Zoom saved Rotary. I believe many clubs would have faded away (some did anyway) if Zoom had not given us an alternative and safe way of meeting each week.
Zoom also brought an unexpected benefit in the form of very high attendance figures - sometimes at 100%! It also gave us the opportunity to invite speakers from outside our immediate location including as far away as Africa. I attended two Rotary meetings, via Zoom, on this continent.
Much thanks to Ian Lumsden for, expertly, organising this new format. One final comment on Zoom - it created its very own catch phrase of “You need to unmute!”
Despite the Pandemic, we were able to do a few outside presentations/photo opportunities which made for a pleasant change from looking at a computer screen. I particularly enjoyed presenting the Rotary COVID “Thank You” Certificates to the many volunteers who had gone above and beyond to help others during that difficult lock down period. Then the laying of the wreath (alone due to COVID) at the Dalbeattie War Memorial and the presentation of the cheque to Dalbeattie Playgroup to help with new premises.
At the beginning of year I felt that holding the line would be the best we could do but by the end I was surprised to see how much the club had achieved despite the confines of COVID19 . I list below some that come to mind in no particular order:
Additional member to the club (Margaret Boyd)
Contribution to the Beirut Disaster Fund.
Planting of 4,000 crocus bulbs.
Trip to Arran to support Douglas Kerr’s 93 Islands Initiative.
Excellent Christmas Party and Burns Supper on Zoom (much thanks to Douglas Irving)
Palnackie Village Shop LTD for refurbishment and IT provision.
Dalbeattie Bowling Club for lawn mower.
Dalbeattie Play Group for new premises.
Hard Rock Challenge.
Dalbeattie Community Initiative Shop.
Palnackie Village Hall to improve access.
Baby Massage Training.
Support for Kupata Project.
7 Amazon Fire Tablets supplied to local care homes for use with dementia sufferers.
Solway Sportive which, unfortunately, had to be delayed into 2022.
Dalbeattie Primary Schools Eco Green Flag and Easter competition.
On-line Mock Interviews.
Support for Castle Douglas’s Botswana Project.
Young Writer Competition.(much thanks to Grace Kelly)
Pupil Support for those disadvantaged by lockdown restrictions.
Refurbishment of Garden of Remembrance.
Wreath Laying at War Memorial.
Preparation of Wateraid walk.
Joint meetings with Castle Douglas Rotary Club.
Voucher for Kids In Auction.
COVID 19 Certificates.
Appointment of Press Officer (much thanks to Robert Kennedy)
The above list of actions could only happen with the support of all club members and a truly talented and hardworking group of Council Members in the form of:
The baton is now handed to Douglas Irving who is doing an excellent job of steering our club back into real Face to Face meetings.
It was my great pleasure to serve as President.