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Notes on all meetings in 2007

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Evening Meeting on 10th January 2007

Valerie Crowe - Click for larger image
Valerie Crowe - who spoke of her time as a Forensic Chemist at New Scotland Yard

Club President Dereck Thomson welcomed 33 Members and three guests to the first weekly meeting of the Rotary Club of Cupar for 2007 on 10th January, the occasion being a frugal meal following the excesses of the festive season. The outcome of the frugal dining experience raised a further £144 for good causes.
The guest speaker, introduced by Past President Scott Blyth, was Valerie Crowe, from Ceres, who spoke of her time as a forensic chemist at New Scotland Yard. Having trained as an analytical chemist and being fascinated by crime, she obtained a position with the Metropolitan Police Laboratory, which at the time she joined, had a staff of between 25 and 30 people, scientists and assistants. The case load they dealt with amounted to between 4000 and 5000 annually, 44% being cases of driving under the influence and 12% drugs.
With the significant number of cases involving driving offences, all staff had to take their turn on this aspect of the work. She recalled early research on breathalysers in which staff undertook sherry tasting over a three hour period to obtain comparative results.
While the toxicology unit did not have many actual poisoning cases, they were often required to provide analysis in sudden death cases. She recollected that the department provided proof of self administered barbiturate poisoning in the death of Steven Ward, a high profile figure in the Profumo affair. The notorious St Alban's poisoner, Graham Young who caused the death of three workmates by introducing Thallium into their tea cups was convicted through forensic work conducted by the laboratory. Another unusual case, which hit the headlines was the assassination of Bulgarian broadcaster Markov, the evidence uncovered that he was poisoned by Ricin through a pellet introduced from an umbrella tip.
Later in her career, Valerie moved to drug analysis as a senior scientific officer, often giving evidence in court as an expert witness. Often this meant at the outset of a case being presented with a quantity of unmarked white tablets for examination and by process of elimination, determining what the drug composition was.
These days the forensic laboratory has a staff of 800, occupying a building opposite Lambeth Palace and has become very specialised. The annual case load is 20,000 and DNA and drug analysis offer a straightforward conclusion about many cases. Trained scene of crime officers collect evidence and exercise great caution with the chain of evidence.
Valerie concluded by emphasising that the laboratory established innocence as well as guilt, but the guilty should be aware that every contact leaves a trace which is capable of being analysed and placing them at a crime scene.
Rotarian David Nimmo gave the Club's formal vote of thanks for a fascinating account of a world which most of us only read about in the press and books.

Evening Meeting on 17th January 2007

Thirty two members and two overseas visitors were in attendance for the weekly meeting of the Rotary Club of Cupar on 17th January. Club President invited Rotarian Bruce McHardy to introduce the visiting speaker, Jackie Taylor from Kemback Bridge who was back from her trekking interests in Nepal. Jackie had highlighted the need for an accessible water supply to the remote Nepalese village of Aarkhala previously to the Club and with the Club's financial assistance great progress had now been made. She outlined the meetings which had taken place with local contractors in Kathmandu and arrangements for purchase and transport of materials needed for the civil engineering aspects of the project. The difficulties of transporting materials over the distances and terrain brought their own logistical problems and delays were experienced in starting the project until two skilled stonemasons were contracted to undertake the building of water tanks with the assistance of labour from the village.
Further setbacks were experienced in the project timetable when essential materials could not be sourced at the appropriate time and the major contractor found the timetable difficult to adhere to. Given that here in the UK it is often difficult to get a plumber, imagine the scenario in Nepal when it is necessary to get someone with the skills to install pipework once the water tanks were in place. In spite of these difficulties, water is now available from the reservoir tank, although stand pipes are still to be installed. Some leaks have occurred as the pipe transferring water from the pump was not adequately specified and work to rectify this problem is ongoing. Jackie supplemented her talk with slides of the village and its people who live in a beautiful, idyllic area. The slides of the work as it progressed emphasised the difficulties in getting materials to such a remote area and the sheer physical effort endured by the men and women of the village. Rotarian Bill Pagan in giving the Club's formal vote of thanks to Jackie congratulated her on her efforts to progress what must be regarded as a successful project on behalf of the Club.

Evening Meeting on 24th January 2007

The Rotary Club of Cupar held their annual Burns Supper with traditional fare at the Armaan Restaurant on Wednesday, 24th January. The programme, conceived by Club President Dereck Thomson opened with Rotarian Bruce McHardy piping in the haggis, and Rotarian Susan Duff taking the role of Poosie Nancy.
The address to the haggis was performed with gusto and relish by special guest, Tom Green, Secretary of Cupar Burns Club. The Selkirk Grace was delivered by Rotarian Eric Young. Tom Green was invited to propose the Immortal Memory after the meal when he dealt with the many facets of Burns and the influences which inspired him to verse. His earliest poem was naturally enough a result of an encounter with a young member of the opposite sex, Hansome Nell, in the shape of Nelly Kilpatrick when he was only 15 years of age. Burns loved to poke fun at institutions, but he also had a sense of justice and what was right and wrong. Tom illustrated his love, appreciation and knowledge of The Bard through many apposite quotations from the range of poems and songs contributed over his lifetime. It was clear that there was a lot of fun to be enjoyed from taking part in any organised Burns activities and Tom recounted the contributions of other Burns enthusiasts to that aspect of Burns.
Following the Toast to the Immortal Memory, Ann Baird, accompanied by Bela Simandi entertained the company with a selection of Burns Songs, The Gallant Weaver, John Anderson my Jo, Ca the Ewes tae the Knowes, concluding with There was a lad was born in Kyle.
The Club's appreciation to all who had contributed to the success of the evening's events was expressed by Past President Graham Pirie before the company joined together in Auld Lang Syne.

Evening Meeting on 31st January 2007

The weekly meeting of the Rotary Club of Cupar attracted 33 Members and six visitors, including two Rotarians from Stratford, Ontario and three Members of the Kirkcaldy Rotary Club.
Club President Dereck Thomson introduced the speaker for the evening, Club Member Stuart Campbell who gave a talk on his job as Managing Director of McLeod's Auto Repair Centre at Cupar Trading Estate. His involvement with this independent family owned business commenced shortly after leaving school in 1984. While working for another motor trade company, he had the task of delivering invoices to local workshops, and took it upon himself to enquire whether he could transfer his YTS placement to McLeod's. This was accomplished and for the next 12 years he learned his trade at McLeod's. His career development next took him to Arnold Clark as a workshop foreman, which was a huge learning curve because of the size of the company and later he was appointed bodyshop manager with the same company. Like many in the motor trade, his work also became his hobby with an involvement in motor sport and single-seater racing cars. On the death of Bob McLeod, he was brought back into the company as General Manager and later appointed a director. His approach to modernise the company and move it up a level has won approval from Land Rover and Ford as an accident repair centre. Expansion has also led to the doubling of the workshop staff, including recruitment of Polish immigrants with the necessary skills. Over the time he has spent in the accident repair industry, Stuart has witnessed many changes, the introduction of Courtesy Cars, increasing customer expectations, advances in vehicle design and the need to invest in modern equipment by all the workshops. Cars are designed with much greater safety in mind these days. Past President Graham Bowen gave the Club's formal vote of thanks.

Evening Meeting on 7th February 2007

The weekly meeting of the Rotary Club of Cupar took the form of a Club Business Meeting with Club President Dereck Thomson in the Chair and Past President Bruce Rollo on Fellowship.
President Elect Vince Fusaro advised that the Ways and Means Committee is arranging a number of fund raising events in the coming months and it was reported that the Club's Annual Golf Day at Elmwood College Golf Course would take place on Thursday, 3rd May and a second Cupar Walkathon would be scheduled for Sunday 20th May.
A fashion show at the Corn Exchange will take place on Thursday 26th April.
Canon Pat McInally, Club Vice President, brought the Club up to date with the Club's environmental project at Tarvit Pond and indicated that good progress is being made. As Chairman of the Community Service Committee, he had organised games nights at residential homes, a Kids Out Day in the summer and a stroke awareness event involving blood pressure testing. The Committee had also considered its role in Community Outreach and planned to integrate with an ongoing project. George Bett, for the Vocational and Youth Activities Committee reported on arrangements for the local heat of the Primary School Quiz which was scheduled for Thursday 15th March. Andrew Morrison, Chairman of the International Committee reported on plans to set up collection points for unwanted pairs of spectacles in March to assist Vision Aid Overseas.
Bruce McHardy, Chairman of the Foundation Committee reported on the successful outcome of the Club's water supply project in Arkhala, Nepal and reported on a possible joint project with a Nepalese Club.
The President also reminded the Club of additional matters in his programme including golf tuition for girls at Cupar Golf Club and an event to celebrate the Painter Sir David Wilkie at Pitlessie.

Evening Meeting on 14th February 2007

Riding for the Disabled was the theme of the talk to the Rotary Club of Cupar on Wednesday, 14th February. Visiting speaker James Paton was introduced by Rotarian Ken McLaren. Mr Paton explained that Riding for the Disabled was a nationwide charity with 500 Member groups in the United Kingdom with the national office located in Warwickshire. The 18,500 volunteers involved provide riding or carriage driving sessions to 24,000 disabled people every week, a staggering half a million in the course of a year. The Princess Royal is the organisation's President. He emphasised that the experience has proven benefit for the participants who in many cases take part in competitions and equestrian based holidays. The majority of the local groups of volunteers do solo horse riding and make a difference to the quality of life of those taking part through this unique therapy. Wherever sessions take place, safety is paramount and there is a quality professional instruction to provide mental and physical stimulation. The riders have to respond to the movement of the horse in the sessions lasting from 20 to 30 minutes and different muscle groups come into play. The horse is the therapist! It was explained that young riders in particular find a real difference and the achievement for some is to get on a horse and sit there. The Heart of Fife Group of Riding for the Disables is based at DABs Equestrian Centre and sessions take place twice a week on most weeks of the year. A range of ponies and horses are available with the right temperament to cope with weight, size and capability of the clients. The ages of clients range from five years to the mid fifties and the popularity of the activity is such that there is a waiting list to take part. Rotarian Susan Duff gave the Club's vote of thanks for a most enlightening presentation.

Evening Meeting on 21st February 2007

Club President Dereck Thomson welcomed 32 members and 1 guest to the meeting. Rotarian Graham Pirie was the speaker for the evening, introduced by Rotarian George Sharp. The "intriguing title" mentioned earlier by President Dereck turned out to be "Anyone got any better ideas", which Graham used to head up his talk on the last 40 years of optometry, spiced with a number of jokes of similar vintage. He described the progress of his profession from the simple provider of glasses to the member of an integrated team, examining far more than the optical properties of the eyes and making a proactive contribution to ocular health. In years gone by, a patient with cataract would have been referred through his GP to an ophthalmologist, who would then have seen the patient repeatedly in the clinic until the cataracts were ready for extraction. Following the procedure, the patient would have spent a couple of weeks in hospital and after several further review appointments he would be sent back to his optician with a prescription for the thick lenses needed to compensate for those removed. Nowadays, the monitoring is done locally by the optometrist, who refers the patient directly to the ophthalmologist when the time is right. After day case surgery, with implantation of an artificial lens, the patient is rapidly passed back to his optician, who deals directly with any necessary correction. These changes have come about partly because of technical improvements, but also because of the pressures of an increasingly elderly population with high expectations. Increasing the involvement of Scotland's 800 optometrists in early detection and monitoring makes economic sense when you consider that the average hospital out-patient appointment costs £140, and there are only 150 hospital ophthalmologists in Scotland. Graham welcomed last year's reintroduction (in Scotland only) of the free eye test, which now includes a comprehensive examination of the eyes, leading to early detection and treatment of a number of conditions. At present, any prescription required has to be issued by a doctor, but in future suitably trained optometrists will be able issue prescriptions, further smoothing the patient's journey.
Rotarian George Sharp gave the club's vote of thanks.

Evening Meeting on 28th February 2007

Ian Wheeler - Click for larger image
Ian Wheeler

Club President Dereck Thomson had the pleasant task of welcoming no fewer that 14 visitors to join 35 Members at the weekly meeting of the Rotary Club of Cupar on 28th February. The visitors included 8 Rotarians from the Rotary Club of Dundee, led by Club President Ian Duncan, Past President Sandy Green of the Howe of Fife Rotary Club, a prospective new Club Member and three visiting Chinese Academics from Elmwood College. Guest speaker Ian Wheeler was introduced by Rotarian Jim Robertson.
Ian, a retired journalist who now resides in Springfield told how he began his career as a cub reporter in his native Elgin, and how he had progressed to work in 5 major newspaper centres, had been employed by 2 firms and reported for 8 different newspapers. As a sports journalist, his duties had taken him to 40 countries around the globe, he had attended 4 World Cups and many FA and Scottish Cup Finals. His sports coverage had also taken in cricket and boxing. It had been a dream job, dealing with a fascinating group of people who because of their achievements were always in the public eye.
He referred first to the Shankly brothers, Bill and Bob who both entered football management at about the same time.
Bob had a knack of producing teams and his management career included Falkirk, Third Lanark, a championship winning Dundee, Hibs and Stirling Albion. He was a straightforward individual who let his teams do the talking on the park. Brother Bill , who is still revered on Merseyside arrived at Liverpool Football Club and pulled it up by the bootstraps to claim championships and laid the foundations from which it would go on to claim European glory under Bob Paisley. Ian enjoyed a close working relationship with the Shanklys and referring to the quotes attributed to Bill, revealed that they might not all have been off the cuff.
He had encountered the raw talent of footballing legends Jim Baxter and George Best in their prime and told how these lads with modest backgrounds and simple tastes were introduced to lifestyles which would eventually lead to their downfall.
In the world of boxing, Peter Keenan who became World Bantamweight Champion was one of the most memorable characters he encountered. A close working relationship with football managers was necessary to obtain stories, among whom Jock Stein, Don Revie and Brian Clough all featured. Even among some of these hard headed managers, superstition sometimes prevailed. A lively question and answer session suggested among other opinions that Bill Steel had been the best ever signing for Dundee.
Rotarian Béla Simandi in giving the Club's vote of thanks to Ian, paid tribute to his ability as a storyteller, adding to the fascination of the subject matter.

Evening Meeting on 7th March 2007

Bruce Rollo - Click for larger image
Bruce Rollo

There was an attendance of 35 Members at the weekly meeting of the Rotary Club of Cupar on 7th March.
Club President Dereck Thomson introduced the speaker for the evening, Club Past President Bruce Rollo. Bruce had chosen to revisit Nepal in his talk and slide show, and in particular the Annapurna Circuit, one of the most geographically and culturally diverse regions for trekking. This area has sub tropical lowlands, valleys, bamboo, oak and rhododendron forests, alpine meadows, windswept desert plateaus and the towering Annapurna Mountains. This high altitude trekking holiday is strenuous and challenging and requires about three weeks to complete. Bruce remarked that the low average income of the local people was often dependent on extra earnings though the men hiring themselves as porters to trekking groups.
The illustrated talk showed local life in the villages, a variety of terrain including cultivated terraces for crop production, the roads and paths which followed the natural patterns of the land and on occasion, spectacular suspension bridges. He emphasised that much of the heavy labour was carried out by the women of the villages. In addition to the mountain scenery, the audience were shown ancient mountain cities such as Manang. The trekking party had to negotiate one high snow covered pass at 17,700 feet, but were rewarded with views of the Fishtail Mountain, one of the most unusual peaks in the world.
The trek was to be completed at Pokhara before transferring to Kathmandu, but due to the political and civil unrest at the time of their visit, the exit from Nepal had to be achieved with care and discretion.
Past President Ron Smith gave the Club's formal vote of thanks.

Evening Meeting on 14th March 2007

Kirstin Nisbet - Click for larger image
Kirstin Nisbet

For the second week in succession, Nepal was the topic of interest for Rotarians attending the weekly meeting of the Rotary Club of Cupar on 14th March. 28 Members and Honorary Member Dave Rollo were welcomed by Club President Dereck Thomson to hear Kirstin Nisbet, who had taken a politics and social policy degree at Glasgow University. Kirstin was introduced by Rotarian Hilda Scott and spoke about her volunteer activity in Summer 2006 through Student Volunteers Abroad based at Glasgow University.
The project she was part of involved travelling to Nepal to assist in a school construction project and each of the 13 participants had to raise £500 to cover the cost of flights, food and accommodation. They were based in a central region of Nepal, the first week comprising an introduction to the climate, food, culture and environmental issues. She stayed in one of the few brick houses in the community with the added luxury of running water in what was otherwise basic accommodation.
She was surprised at the bustle in the villages, some of which had telephone and internet communication, but local transport was minimal with many local people depending on bicycles. A feature of the trip was the friendliness of the family she stayed with and being included in family celebrations.
The project her group was involved with was to build three classrooms on to the upper floor of an existing school structure. There was no lifting machinery to move materials and everything had to be created from scratch. They were fortunate to be able to call upon skilled labour to assist the in the building operations and organise teams of local labour to move building materials. There was an opportunity in the midst of all this activity to take in some of the local life and culture and to visit Kathmandu, look at temples, experience religious festivals and go on an elephant trek.
While the project was delayed due to the coming of the monsoon season, it was eventually completed and she concluded that this was six weeks of her life that would never be forgotten.
Rotarian Dermot Stewart gave the Club's formal vote of thanks.

Evening Meeting on Wednesday 21st March 2007

Ken Jeffrey - Click for larger image
Ken Jeffrey

President Dereck Thomson welcomed 29 members and two guests to the meeting held on Wednesday st March 2007. When the meeting finished there were 30 members and one guest following the induction of local man Peter Drylie as a member of the club. Peter, formerly in the RAF, is now Health and Safety Officer for BUPA based in Standees.
On International Day it was appropriate that the speaker was Rev. Dr. Ken Jeffrey, minister of the Cupar Parish Church who gave an illustrated talk about a recent visit to Peru to work on a site in the Peruvian city of Ica which has been adopted by the Vine Trust to provide a home for abandoned boys.
He had first visited Peru in 2005 under the auspices of the Vine Trust following the commitment by the Old Parish Church of the sum of £60000 towards the project .He returned with mixed feelings, humbled by the dignity of the people in the face of suffering and poverty and angered by the injustice of it all. He determined then to respond by getting involved and doing something positive.
In October of last year a group of twenty locals went to Peru to work on the building site of the new home and to visit other ongoing projects. A further twenty local medics and dentists went to Peru to work from a boat called Amazon Hope taking their skills to remote villages along the Amazon.
This type of project had first started when the Scripture Union discovered large numbers of abandoned boys on the streets of Lima and they opened centres offering a plate of soup and a game of football. The project in Ica started when an English woman called Felicity Peacock who had visited the city returned home and gave the Scripture Union money to buy a site for the home.
A similar work party is planned for 2008 when they will assist with the completion and opening of the home.
Ken showed slides of the work party on the building site and of the Amazon Hope ferry, one of two taking medicine and dentistry to the remote communities on the Amazon and its many tributaries. Teams travel to Ica throughout the year. He was surprised that despite the extreme difficulty of their circumstances these boys showed no anger. Unfortunately they cannot all be looked after and removed from the thieving and prostitution which are their only means of survival.
The whole party were greatly affected by what they saw. By 2008 36 boys from the streets will have a home and Ken felt that this trip was the most worthwhile thing that he has ever done.
He invited the members present to consider undertaking the trip in 2008.
Rotarian Eric Young gave a vote of thanks on behalf of the Club.

Evening Meeting on Wednesday 28th March 2007

Christina Renton - Click for larger image
Christina Renton

Club President Dereck Thomson introduced the guest speaker, Mrs Christina Renton to the 30 Members in attendance at the weekly meeting of the Rotary Club of Cupar on 28th March. Mrs Renton, Head Teacher at Kilmaron School, Cupar had been invited to bring the Club up to date with developments at the school, which is well known to Members through the annual participation of pupils in "Kids Out Day" and the creation of a sensory garden funded by the Club in 2005.
Following an H.M.I. Inspection of the School shortly after her appointment, Mrs Renton described how Fife Council had invested in upgrading the quality of the premises, dealt with health and safety issues and assured a higher standard of provision all round. Those attending the school have complex needs, and staff are dedicated to equipping them with life skills and the best standard of education possible for the individual pupils. The school serves the whole of North East Fife and the age range of the 18 pupils is from 3 to 18 years. Specific, tailored programmes and therapies are provided. Communication aids and communication skills are developed and an environment has been created with symbols to aid pupils around the school.
Staff work closely with the families, links have been created with local schools and within local communities which are home to the pupils, valuable contacts have been made. Riding for Disabled and swimming outings are popular fun events, but there is a learning curriculum in which senior pupils are assessed in the progress they make. No pupil leaves without some provision being made for their future.
The school has benefited from the network of parents in respect of fundraising efforts, other local groups who have contributed generously and invaluable hands on assistance from RAF Leuchars in creating a landscaped garden.
Mrs Renton described her current project at the school which is to acquire and install a wheelchair roundabout for those pupils who may not benefit from other play equipment. The ongoing fundraising has brought in £5000 from the Lottery Funds and additional contributions from the many in the community who care are all adding to the final amount required to install the equipment.
Rotarian Eric Young, Chairman of the Club's Ways and Means Committee gave the Club's formal vote of thanks.

Evening Meeting on Wednesday 4th April 2007

Club Committees

Evening Meeting on Wednesday 11th April 2007

Arthur Morris - Click for larger image
Arthur Morris

Rotarian Béla Simandi introduced the guest speaker at the weekly meeting of the Rotary Club of Cupar on 11th April, fellow Rotarian from St Andrews, Mr Arthur Morris, a consultant plastic and reconstructive surgeon formerly based at Ninewells Hospital, Dundee. In his retirement, he continues to take a keen interest in a project which developed in Ghana, the Kumasi Project which has contacts with the Claverhouse Rotary Club in Dundee.
He outlined the sketchy knowledge which the world had about the African Continent until the 1870s when the scramble for colonial power led to no fewer than 26 countries acquiring strategic interests on the Continent.
His own personal interest in Africa came from an aunt who went to teach there in 1938.
Mr Morris indicated the need for the expertise of plastic and reconstructive surgery in Africa, because many medical conditions arise through communicable tropical diseases, injuries through burns and road traffic accidents. The need in Africa has been assessed as three times greater than in the western world.
The Kumasi Project in Ghana is remarkable because it effectively established two permanent units in Ghana, trained or attracted back 6 consultant plastic surgeons and trained 8 nurses. It is treating large numbers of patients every day, with 900 in the burns unit alone over a 6 year period. Sixty percent of the patients are children under ten years of age. Much of the nurse training has been undertaken at Ninewells and by judicious use of matching grants, surgical instruments were acquired.
Mr Morris illustrated how effective the project continues to be by showing examples of the reconstructive surgery undertaken in Ghana. The effectiveness of the project has also been recognised by the Scottish Executive which has provided funding to allow further training.
Past President Bill Low gave the Club's formal vote of thanks.

Evening Meeting on Wednesday 18th April 2007

Ron Smith - Click for larger image
Ron Smith

Club President Dereck Thomson welcomed 31 Members and guest Maureen Holmes, District International Chairman to the weekly meeting of the Rotary Club of Cupar on 18th April, when Past President Ron Smith was the speaker. His topic was deer and the issues being raised in relation to the various species encountered in Scotland. One of the things many visitors to Scotland want to see is our native Red Deer.
To illustrate aspects of identification of the different species of deer to be found, Ron produced samples of deer antlers, explaining that the quality of feeding can affect growth.
The Red Deer is our largest land mammal, with highly branched antlers, with up to 16 points. Grazing of tree shoots and crops puts the red deer in conflict with farmers and foresters due to the damage they cause, but sporting estates also rely on the revenue from stalking and production of venison.
Roe deer which are widespread throughout the north and south west of the UK. These are the deer we commonly see in Fife, quite small with simple and short antlers. Again, this species causes damage to crops.
Another species to be found, mainly in the North West of Scotland and some parts of the Borders is the Sika Deer, introduced from the Far East into Britain in the 1860s. Their antlers are branched , similar to the Red Deer, with a maximum of 8 points.
The Fallow Deer was introduced to Britain by the Normans in the 10th century and were prized for Royal sport. Mainly found in England and Wales, there are also some to be found in patches in Scotland including the Dunkeld area. In size they fall between the Roe and the Red deer. On the subject of antlers, it was explained that all species shed their antlers every year, and while they are growing again they are very sensitive.
There is an ongoing debate about the need to control and cull numbers of deer, the effect they have on the rural economy and the damage caused to farm crops.
Rotarian Bruce McHardy gave the Club's formal vote of thanks for an instructive and entertaining presentation.

Evening Meeting on 25th April 2007

The weekly meeting of the Rotary Club of Cupar on 25th April took the form of the Club's Annual General Meeting with Club President Dereck Thomson in the Chair. Prior to the commencement of official business, new Rotarian Pat Mitchell was inducted as a Member of the Club, bringing the current membership to 50.
In addition to approving the Club's financial report and subscription for next Rotary year, the Club received reports from Committee Chairmen on aspects of the Club's administration and activities.
Past President Scott Blyth reported that the Club had added four new members in the current year.
The Ways and Means Committee fundraising arrangements before the end of the year would incorporate a fashion show, golf day and at the end of May, on the 20th, a repeat of the Cupar Walkathon.
Reporting on Community Service activities, Canon Pat McInally spoke of the completion of the Tarvit Pond footpath project, and arrangements for Kids Out Day on 1st June, providing an outing for the pupils at Kilmaron School. For the Vocational and Youth activities Committee, Rotarian George Bett announced that Castlehill primary School would represent Cupar area in the Fife Zone final of the Primary School Quiz on 12th May.
International Service Chairman Andrew Morrison anticipated having a further international football match between Cupar Hearts and locally based immigrant workers, and in response to recent reports of Tsunami damage in the Solomon Islands, the Club agreed to give £500 to the Shelter Box Appeal to provide temporary shelter to those affected.
The Foundation Committee Chairman Bruce McHardy updated the membership on the overseas water projects in Nepal that the Club has been involved with. The Arkhala Project is about at the final completion stage, while a water and sanitation project at Bagnas in association with the Rotary Club of Palpa is awaiting matched funding from Rotary International.
Club President Elect Vince Fusaro presented the names of the Committee Chairmen and Council who will take office on 1st July.

Evening Meeting on 2nd May 2007

Dereck Thomson, President of the Club was in the chair to welcome a large company to a special meeting of the Rotary Club of Cupar on 2nd May. Special guests were 25 young rugby players from the Howe of Fife and Bell Baxter High School along with their coaches, John Lathangie, Gary Horne, Sam Wilson and school manager, Pat Rollo. Together they had won the National Schools Sevens Cup, The Bell Lawrie Scottish Schools Cup and the SRU National Youth Cup.
After a meal with the Rotarians present, the President congratulated the players on their success, but it was because of their sporting style, the way they had achieved their success on and off the field that they were being presented with the rotary Citizenship Award.
The boys had been a credit to themselves, their rugby club, the school and the community.
In January through February they had given the community a tremendous buzz and they had brought ever increased attention and credit.
Two commemorative plaques were presented, one for display in the Howe of Fife Club House, the other in the entrance hall of Bell Baxter High School. Both had been designed by Rotarian Bill McSeveney and produced by Rotarian Eric Young.
The players were then presented with individual commemorative certificates, again designed by Bill McSeveney and produced by Rotarian Michael Hendry.
Coach John Lathangie thanked Rotary for their recognition. It had been a privilege to coach and train the boys, some since Primary Three, a period of 10 to 11 years, usually training twice a week and playing on Saturday.
Rotary Club Honorary Member Dave Rollo praised the boys for how they played as a team. He singled out Captain Chris Mason for inspiring his team at difficult times. Above all he praised the boys for the fine spirit with which they played the game.

Evening Meeting on 9th May 2007

Club President Dereck Thomson welcomed three visiting Rotarians to the weekly meeting of the Rotary Club of Cupar on 9th May, in addition to his own Club Members. Two were from Dunfermline Carnegie Rotary Club and one from Carmel, California. The speaker for the evening was Club Member, Cliff Strong, who provided a fascinating account of his early days as an Office Boy, under the title "When I was a Lad".
He was employed with a very unusual and specialised shipping agent, Thomas Twaddle and Company, a customs and consular agent. They acted on behalf of the great shipping companies which sailed to South and Central America, as these destinations required a legal consular manifest written in Spanish or Portuguese. The small team of men in the office wrote the manifests by hand in the required language and the transfer of documents was undertaken by Cliff.
He recalled the shipping company offices that he used to call upon from that era, The Pacific Steam Navigation Company, Royal Mail Lines and Booth Lines whose vessels sailed all the way up the Amazon to Manaus. He also referred to the Harrison Line whose ships called in Central America and the West Indies.
As he went around collecting the Bills of Lading, he required to do a lot of walking around the port offices and as there was often cargo being processed up to the last minute there could be a great rush, on rare occasions finalising the paperwork as late as midnight.
As a relatively small office, all male, there was no secretary and virtually no correspondence as the manager typed any letters and invoices. The boss was an elderly gentleman who did very little work and always slept in his office after lunch.
Cliff loved the business and excitement of being involved with the wonderful ships such as the liner, "The Reina del Mar" which took its passengers throughout the Panama Canal and visited a whole series of ports in Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Chile. "The Andes" of the Royal Mail Line was another beautiful vessel and "The Magdalena" a brand new vessel. Unfortunately the captain and officers were making merry with the passengers off Rio when it hit rocks and sank!
Cliff also learned to write in a big round hand and built up a large commercial vocabulary in Spanish while working there. When he was called away to do National Service, during the whole of his time in the army, his employers sent a payment once a month to his widowed mother, the difference between his army pay and what he would have earned from Thomas Twaddle and Company. It was a very happy period in his life and he was glad to return on completion of National Service.
Rotarian Graham Findlay gave the Club's vote of thanks.
Past President Graham Bowen reported on a visit he and Past President Scott Blyth had made to the Rotary Club of Horwich in Lancashire to participate in their annual Charter Night.

Evening Meeting on Wednesday 16th May 2007

Agnes Whyte - Click for larger image
Agnes Whyte

With Club President Dereck Thomson taking the chair, Rotarian Eric Young introduced the invited speaker at the Rotary Club of Cupar's weekly meeting on Wednesday,16th May.
She was Agnes Whyte, representing Breathe Easy, Kirkcaldy, part of the British Lung Foundation Support Network which exists to work for people who have a lung condition and those who look after them. Agnes provided a startling statistic, one person in seven in the UK is affected by a lung disease, whether from infancy, or a condition which has developed later in life. Breathing difficulties are the most common reason for GP visits and the most common cause of admission to Accident and Emergency Departments, either through Asthma, Pneumonia or Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease.
Breathe Easy provides a support and information network, comprising 22,000 supporters organised into 125 groups throughout the UK. Locally, they are based at Victoria Hospital, Kirkcaldy, drawing membership from across Fife. They area a campaigning force for change, working hard to get politicians to listen, and obtain common clinical standards for respiratory medicine. Investment in this branch of medicine is often overlooked and it is left to groups such as Breathe Easy to purchase small pieces of equipment and contribute funds towards research projects. One important aspect of their work is to help people understand their condition by providing clear information either in person, by telephone, publications or internet. The Kirkcaldy-based group has been active in raising funds and would ultimately like to see a group of dedicated trained nurses treating patients with respiratory problems.
Past President Donald Fisher gave the Club's formal vote of thanks.

Evening Meeting on Wednesday 23rd May 2007

Club President Dereck Thomson welcomed four overseas guests to the Wednesday evening meeting of the Rotary Club of Cupar on 23rd May. They were Chinese Academics currently attached to Elmwood College and were accompanied by Rotarian Rick Bond from the Howe of Fife Rotary Club.
Past President Grant McLeish spoke after the meal, relating his recent experiences in re-registering to practice in optometry and reflecting on the advances in treatments for those suffering from visual defects in the past thirty years. These have included the introduction of advanced laser therapy for diabetic patients, detached retinas have also become treatable and macular holes have also proved to be repairable in certain circumstances.
He told how Dundee has become a leading centre for macular repair.
Cataract treatment has seen tremendous advances, with the reduction in time for a normal procedure which would have required a two week hospital stay 25 years ago.
The biggest changes have taken place in the surgical procedures to treat the cornea of the eye, with experience borrowed from Russian techniques adding to the possibilities for vision correction.
In the elderly population, macular degeneration is a huge cause of loss of eyesight, but the good news is that there are drugs available to treat this condition, such as Macugen for age related macular degeneration.
Given the advances which have taken place, the future holds further exciting prospects with work taking place to test out implants for those who currently do not have sight.
President Elect Vince Fusaro gave the Club's formal vote of thanks.

Evening Meeting on Wednesday 30th May 2007

Club Member Bill McSeveney was the speaker at the weekly meeting of the Rotary Club of Cupar on 30th May and he took the Members on a journey through the developments in Modern Art in an illustrated talk.
He explained that during the 20th Century, artists freed themselves from the restrictions of traditional painting and sculpture and set themselves aims which had never been attempted before. They moved away from presenting the literal and merely decorative. Leading painters became absorbed with such problems as how to represent such things as the subconscious, the metaphysical, speed and violent emotions, to ask more fundamental questions about society, politics and the nature of being and art itself. Thus began the greatest revolution in the history of Western Art.
This undoubtedly reflected a similar change in man's view of the world as a whole, as social, political and economic changes with the gradual collapse of traditional authoritarian systems and values.
Bill quoted Jacob Bronowski from the Ascent of Man comparing a work of art and a scientific paper, stating that a painter is visibly taking the world to pieces and putting it together in the same canvas.
Through a selection of well known examples, those present were given interpretations of the main artistic movements, Fauvism, with Matisse's La Dance; Cubism with Picasso's Demoiselles D'Avignon, Dadaism, Surrealism, Constructivism, Abstract Expressionism which brought on some of the most revolutionary painters such as Jackson Pollock and Rothko. Later came Pop Art and Op Art and the move to Minimalism, which had the belief that the work of art should be completely conceived in the mind before its execution.
In conclusion, Bill stated stated that Modern Art is very much in the hands of Galleries, they can promote and demote artists as the international market rules. Modern Art at its best should be shocking, but the shock which comes from the genuinely new and innovative and never replaced by the deliberately shocking which has no purpose beyond that.
The Club's formal vote of thanks was given by Past President Graham Pirie.

Evening Meeting on Wednesday 6th June 2007

John Vaughan - Click for larger image
John Vaughan

Town Twinning was the topic covered at the weekly meeting of the Rotary Club of Cupar on 6th June when Club President Dereck Thomson took the chair. The visiting speaker was John Vaughan of the Cupar and Howe of Fife Town Twinning Committee who was introduced by Rotarian Harry Mellotte. John referred to the community driven initiative to form a link with Sainte Menehould in France, which lies 100 miles north east of Paris near Verdun. Among the many attractions of the area in France is that it lies close to the Champagne Region.
The move to create a link between Cupar and a European town began in 2003 with an approach to Cupar Community Council and as volunteers came forward a working group was established in 2004 to short list potential partners. A visit by a group from Sainte Menehould in 2004 developed closer links and this visit was reciprocated.
One major advance took place when Cupar Soccer Sevens hosted a visit from their counterparts in France in 2006 and this visit was reciprocated. The cultural value of these exchanges could not be over emphasised with the experiences likely to stay with the youngsters for the rest of their lives.
John gave the audience a visual introduction to the area around Sainte Menehould with a series of slides, demonstrating the attractions of the area to visitors, the local delicacies and friendly nature of the inhabitants. Future plans by the Town twinning Committee included the setting up of links between groups with similar interests in both Cupar and Sainte Menehould so that common ground could be established between both communities. In the vote of thanks given on the Club's behalf, Rotarian Ian Copland expressed the hope that Rotarians with their international outlook would give this initiative their full support.

Evening Meeting on Wednesday 13th June 2007

Jackie Taylor - Click for larger image
Jackie Taylor in Aarkhala

Thirty two Members and guests attended the weekly meeting of the Rotary Club of Cupar on 13th June when Club President Dereck Thomson had the pleasant duty of presenting gratuities to the staff of the Armaan Restaurant. Percy, who spoke for the staff in thanking the Club confessed that he hadn't been aware of the separate existence of Scotland until coming to the area three years ago, although many of the place names were familiar to him because Scottish tea planters often named their plantations in Sri Lanka after their home towns. The President then went on to the induction of Honorary Member Jackie Taylor, whose liaison work in the Arkhala Water Project in Nepal had been so crucial to its success. Jackie said she felt overwhelmed by the honour bestowed upon her by Rotary and would continue to support Rotary Projects at home and abroad. She went on to describe the completion of the Arkhala project which provides drinking water to the village using solar powered pumps and relieves the women of the village from hours of work transporting water from the depths of a river valley. The villagers themselves have made a big investment of their own time as labourers on the project and provided food and accommodation for the specialist engineers who fitted the equipment. She is confident that they will manage the resource well. The next water project in Nepal is similar, for the village of Bagnas where 108 houses with 1000 residents who live 250 metres above their water supply.This project will be in partnership with the Rotary Club of Palpa, Nepal. Rotarian George Bett gave the Club's vote of thanks. Past President Brian Bayne introduced one of his guests from Elmwood College who had recently participated in an exchange visit to Germany for students with autism. Valuable links with the Rotary Club of Dachau had been developed from a previous visit, allowing exchanges of ideas and students.

Evening Meeting on 20th June 2007

The weekly meeting of the Rotary Club of Cupar on 20th June took the form of a Club Assembly, the occasion at which the incoming President of the Club and his team present the Club programme for the year ahead. In the chair was President Elect Vince Fusaro, with special guest Bill McFarlane Smith, District Governor Nominee representing Rotary District 1010.The Rotary theme for the year 2007 -2008, "Rotary Shares" was illustrated by President Elect Vince who outlined the main emphasis as water, health and hunger, the family of Rotary and literacy. Vince outlined the Club's plans to complete additional projects delivering clean water and sanitation to overseas communities and announced that the St Andrews University Quaich Society had made a major donation to assist the Club towards its water aid projects. At home, there were plans to support Age Concern through fund raising and the Club would be marking a major milestone in its history by celebrating the 75th Anniversary of receiving its Charter in November.
Chairmen of Club Committees presented their plans for approval, with Scott Blyth emphasising the successful team work approach in obtaining additional members, Margaret Beetlestone on behalf of the Entertainment Committee set out the Club's social activities programme, Michael Hendry outlined the communications and marketing strategy, Rennie Ritchie dealt with arrangements for Speaker Supply while Brian Bayne presented an extensive sports programme. The Ways and Means Committee, charged with the major fund raising activities would hold a coffee morning on 11th August, the annual golf day in May and a further event to be announced later. The Community Service Committee Chairman Euan Barbour would be delivering more of the same, repeating projects which had had proved successful and looking at ways in which Rotary could facilitate local initiatives. Bill McSeveney, Chairman of Vocational and Youth Activities Committee announced that the Club would continue to support Candidates attending the Rotary Youth Leadership Award Camps, the local Primary School Quiz event, vocational visits were to be planned and the Committee would also seek ways to involve other community groups. The International Service Chairman, Andrew Morrison outlined plans to involve international workers in the area in a challenge football match, the continuation of the Rotary Shoe Box Scheme and organisation of a collection of spectacles for Vision Aid Overseas. The Committee recommended that a new charity, Miles4Moos be supported through Members undertaking individual sponsorship challenges.
The Foundation Committee report was presented by Bruce McHardy, giving details of how Members would contribute to the Rotary Foundation over the coming year. The Committee would be acting as the focal point for the Club Water Aid Projects and as a link for other Committees seeking to maximise funding opportunities through the Rotary movement. District Governor Nominee Bill McFarlane Smith was invited to sum up his reactions to the proposals and congratulated all concerned on a forward looking programme which deserved success.

Evening Meeting on 27th June 2007

Dereck Thomson took the chair for the final time in his official capacity as Club President at the weekly meeting of the Rotary Club of Cupar on 27th June. He used the occasion to look back on his year in office, to thank the Committee Chairmen and Club Officers for their help over the course of the year in assisting with delivering the programme that had been devised. There had been many highlights, his time as Club President had been enjoyable, and he had no hesitation in recommending the position to Rotarians who aspired to the office.
Past President Brian Bayne in giving the Club's vote of thanks paid tribute to the imaginative and thorough approach which Dereck had taken in leading the Club. Following the weekly meeting, Club Members adjourned to Cupar YMCA where a reception had been arranged by the outgoing President to mark the occasion of presentations by the Club to local good causes. The Reception was opened with entertainment by Rotarians Ann Baird and Bela Simandi who performed a selection of songs from the shows.
The recipients of the donations were Kilmaron School, represented by Head Teacher Christina Renton who accepted a cheque for £2000 towards to cost of installing a wheelchair roundabout, Breathe Easy, part of the British Lung Foundation represented by Agnes Whyte received £1,500. The Adamson Hospital League of Friends were represented by Mary Spence who accepted a cheque for £500 and the same amount was awarded to Cupar YMCA/YWCA. Cheques for £250 each were distributed to representatives of Cupar in Bloom, HAL ( Heritage Arts and Leisure) Cupar, Cupar Hearts for youth development, Cupar Junior Opera and Cupar and District Pipe Band. A further £1,500 will be donated to diabetes charities at a later date. The evening was brought to a fitting conclusion with a young piper performing for the audience.

Evening Meeting on 4th July 2007

Immediate Past President Dereck Thomson chaired the meeting, with twenty-four members present. Members approved a payment of £105 to Leven Assessment Centre before Rotarian Dermot Stewart gave a presentation on his recent visit to Cuba. He covered an amazing amount of ground as he ran through the history, geography, politics and economics of the island before advising anyone with a mind to go there to do it soon - Fidel Castro's illness has put his brother temporarily in charge, and great changes are likely once the Castro era ends. Past President Brian Bayne proposed the vote of thanks.

Evening Meeting on 11th July 2007

Twenty seven members were present at the Handover Meeting, which was opened by Retiring President Dereck Thomson. Dereck described his successor Vince Fusaro as outgoing, energetic, businesslike and friendly, with a good sense of humour tucked in - all qualities needed by a Rotary President. Vince thanked Dereck for his efforts over the last year, and reiterated his theme for the year - "Home and Away" - emphasising the dual focus on service to the local community and support for projects abroad.

Evening Meeting on 18th July 2007

Alex Crawford - Click for larger image
Alex Crawford

Rotary President Vince Fusaro welcomed 26 members and seven guests to the evening meeting on 18th July 2007. Five of the guests were members of Perth Kinnoull Rotary Club, who were walking the Fife Coastal Path in several stages and visiting local Rotary clubs as they went. A thank-you letter had been received from the Pestalozzi Appeal, to which the club had contributed a total of £2981.41 over the last 20 years. The speaker was Alex Crawford, the creator of Deep Water Recovery and Exploration Ltd, who gave a characteristically modest account of the amazing engineering feats he had been involved in over the years, starting with the salvage of the RMS Oceanic in the 1970s. This ship, sometimes known as "the other Titanic", was lost on a reef to the West of the island of Foula in 1914, while patrolling the area for the Royal Navy.
The vote of thanks was given by Rotarian Margaret Beetlestone.

Evening Meeting on 25th July 2007

Gavin Sinclair - Click for larger image
Gavin Sinclair

Gavin Sinclair was guest speaker, with 30 members and 2 guests present and President Vince Fusaro in the chair. Gavin is originally from Canada, and first came across Rotary as the child of a Rotarian, involved with visiting students. Gavin is a Chiropractor, and described the development of his profession over the 112 years since it was founded by Canadian D D Palmer. It was developed after Palmer manipulated the neck of a deaf man and restored his hearing. Although he was never able to relieve deafness again, he developed the theory that many disorders are caused by mechanical interferences within the spine, which can be relieved by manipulation. A chiropractor seeks to relieve an imbalance of the cells which generates stress within the body.
Rotarian George Bett gave the vote of thanks.

Evening Meeting on 1st August 2007

Eric Hill - Click for larger image
Eric Hill

Twenty-eight members and two guests were welcomed by President-Elect Pat McInally. The speaker for the evening was Eric Hill, who was introduced by Rotarian Rennie Ritchie. Eric's passionate interest in road safety overarches his employment as a roads engineer in Fife, his Special Constable post in Tayside, and his involvement in the Perth and District Advanced Motorists group. He regretted that despite steady improvements in the engineering of cars and roads, the accident rate remains regrettably high because one part of the formula hasn't been improved - the driver. When asked who is responsible for road safety, most members of the public will say the police, or local or central government. He then gave the correct answer - "you, the road users"! Eric stressed courtesy and looking ahead as key characteristics of safe drivers, and was thanked on behalf of the club by Rotarian Scott Blyth.
Members were reminded of their duties in the forthcoming Rotary Coffee Morning to take place at 9:45 on Saturday 11th August in the Corn Exchange, Cupar.

Evening Meeting on 8th August 2007

Donald Dallas - Click for larger image
Donald Dallas

President-Elect Pat McInally welcomed thirty members and 3 guests to the Armaan Restaurant for this evening meeting. Rotarian Hilda Scott introduced guest speaker Donald Dallas, who is a teacher in the Behaviour Support Department at Bell Baxter. He presented his topic "Sporting Guns" with such obvious enthusiasm that it was no surprise to hear that he'd written several books on the subject. The introduction of hammerless shot-guns in the 1890s made the old-fashioned hammered variety redundant and led to thousands of pairs of superb guns being discarded by their aristocratic owners and passed on to other members of the family or their staff. These guns became collectable in the 1960s, but by this time all the pairs had been split. Buying an 1877 gun made by Boss & Company in the 1980s, Donald was keen to locate its number 2, but to his knowledge no-one had ever reunited a pair of Boss guns once they'd been separated. At the end of 2005 he received an e-mail from "Matching Pairs", a firm which had located his gun's partner, and after a period of careful negotiation with its owner, he became the first person to put a pair back together again. He is now looking for a Boss guncase of the period.
The vote of thanks was given by Rotarian Graham Bowen.

Evening Meeting on 15th August 2007

Thirty one members and one guest were present, with President Vince Fusaro in the chair, to hear Rotarian Rennie Ritchie's presentation on his trip on a friend's 42ft Catalina from Ardrossan to La Coruña in Spain. Their voyage went via Ardglass and Cork and then across the Bay of Biscay and was accompanied for part of the way by a pod of dolphins. Weather conditions weren't too severe across this notoriously stormy stretch of water, but the sight of the Torre de Hercules lighthouse (already in existence in Roman times) was nonetheless welcome, as was a plate of paella with a glass of Estrella when they reached dry land.
Last Saturday's Coffee Morning raised about £1100. The Club approved a donation of £500 to the Rotary Appeal for those affected by the recent floods in Yorkshire and Gloucestershire.

Evening Meeting on 22nd August 2007

Professor John McManus - Click for larger image
Professor John McManus

Thirty three members and one guest were welcomed to the meeting at the Armaan Restaurant on the 22nd August by President Vince Fusaro.
Rotarian Jim Robertson introduced Professor John McManus, who has followed up his interest in abandoned coal-mines in Fife since his retirement from the Geology Department at St Andrews University in 2002. Members were astonished to hear that he has identified twelve defunct mines between Cupar and St Andrews, and that he believes there may be more yet to find. Coal is generally thought not to have been an important commodity until the industrial revolution, but the Roman historian Tacitus mentions coal-mining in Scotland in his writings. Early activities usually involved adit mining, where a coal seam is exposed on the sides of a valley where a river has cut through, allowing miners to dig directly into the seams on either side. Suitable seams had generally been identified and worked out in Scotland by the 15th century, and thereafter pits had to be dug to recover coal. Seventeen coal seams close to Ceres were worked in this way, usually by families who were bought and sold along with the coal-bearing land. Father would be digging the coal, children as young as 6 would be bringing it back to the bottom of the pit, and mother carrying it up the shaft which might be 200 feet deep. These workings were abandoned in the 1770s, but local placenames still reflect the industry, for example, Coaltown of Callange and Callange itself (which is a corruption of coal-inch). Rusty-coloured water draining from these workings can still be detected in the burn just North of North Callange farm. Rotarian Stuart Campbell gave the vote of thanks.

Evening Meeting on 29th August 2007

Fergus Middleton - Click for larger image
Fergus Middleton

Cupar Rotary Club met in the Armaan Restaurant on the 29th August, with President Vince Fusaro in the Chair and 29 members present. Guest Speaker Fergus Middleton gave an outline of his role as Volunteer Coordinator for Volunteer Centre Fife, a post he took up 3 months ago, from a previous job at Blair Drummond Safari Park. The importance of volunteers to the community can be gauged by the financial equivalent of the work they do for nothing - estimated at £87 million per annum within Fife, and £73.8 billion per annum for Scotland as a whole. These estimates are probably on the low side, as they are based on the average hourly rate, and many volunteers are from professional backgrounds. As well as the benefits to the community as a whole, volunteering has been shown to have health benefits for the volunteers, especially after retirement or bereavement. The vote of thanks was given by Rotarian Alistair Clark.

Evening Meeting on 5th September 2007

David Pirie - Click for larger image
David Pirie

President Vince Fusaro chaired the meeting of Cupar Rotary Club on Wednesday 5th September, with 33 members and 4 guests present. Rotarian Graham Pirie introduced his brother David, a Past President of Leven Rotary Club, whose talk was entitled "The End of Steam on British Railways".
Following the Second World War, the railway system was in a very run-down state with the railway companies virtually bankrupt. Rather than rebuild the infrastructure and shift away from steam, the decision was made to continue with the network as it was, repair existing steam engines, and develop new steam locomotives. Unfortunately, this did not rejuvenate the (now nationalised) business, and by the 1960s it had become necessary to prune the network back to get it to a viable state.
Dr Beeching was responsible for the closure of 931 railway lines, and the premature demise of many steam locomotives long before their designed life-span of 60 years. The last journey of a steam locomotive on a routine service took place on 19th July 1967. Because of the hasty retirement of otherwise serviceable engines, scrap-yards were overflowing with them, and a market developed for enthusiasts who wished to preserve and restore them, which is why Britain now has many more steam locomotives in working order than any other country.
The vote of thanks was given by Rotarian Ian Donaldson.

Evening Meeting on 12th September 2007

The President's Reception Dinner took place at Fairways Restaurant, Elmwood College with President Vince Fusaro in the Chair. The main speaker was Adam Bruce, who started his address with hilarious anecdotes dating from his unsuccessful campaign as Tory candidate for North East Fife, continued with the story of another Vince (Vincenzo Lunardi), who was fêted in Cupar after his balloon flight from Edinburgh in 1785, and later touched on his famous ancestor, Lord Elgin, of Marbles fame. President-Elect Pat McInally rounded off the evening with his vote of thanks.

Evening Meeting on 19th September 2007

President Vince Fusaro welcomed 23 members to an evening of fellowship, there being no speaker for the evening. Past President Donald Cameron displayed the "Water Tile", a decorative tile from Nepal, presented to the club with the most successful water project at the District 1010 57th Annual Conference in Aviemore (14-16 September 2007). He is keen to encourage a wider representation from Cupar to attend next year's conference.

Evening Meeting on 26th September 2007

Reports were received from Chairmen of Committees at a Business Meeting chaired by President Vince Fusaro.

Evening Meeting on 3rd October 2007

Martin Dean - Click for larger image
Marine Archaeologist Martin Dean

Cupar Rotary Club met in the Armaan Restaurant on 3rd October 2007 with President Vince Fusaro in the Chair and 31 members and 4 guests present. Guest Speaker Martin Dean, a Marine Archaeologist formerly of the University of London and now based in St Andrews demonstrated how the advances in technology and expertise had allowed 3D acoustic images of shipwrecks to be produced which has revolutionised the search and recovery of items from the sea floor where previously photographic evidence could not be obtained. This had considerably assisted in a recent international joint venture in which he was involved and which he illustrated in a power point presentation. The vote of thanks was given by Rotarian Graham Findlay.

Evening Meeting on 10th October 2007

President-Elect Pat McInally welcomed 32 members to the Armaan Restaurant. The speaker for the evening was Rotarian Cliff Strong, who continued the story of his unusual career. He had been with J & P Coats in Glasgow and Paisley in their export department for 27 years, when he decided to read Divinity at Glasgow University. At the age of 48, he found his fellow students were mostly of an age with his youngest son. In order to give them experience during their studies, students were allocated to churches by a liaison committee; Cliff was successful in his request to be assigned to Glasgow Cathedral, and told several stories of his time there. Rotarian Graham Pirie gave the vote of thanks.

Evening Meeting on 17th October 2007

President Vince Fusaro welcomed 24 members and one guest to the meeting in the Armaan The speaker was club member Ron Smith who earlier in the year had addressed the club on the subject of deer and deer stalking in Scotland. He developed this theme by comparing the situation in Scotland with that in France where he also shoots. In Scotland a permit has to be obtained from the Post Office which licences the individual to kill game. No tests or conditions apply. In France the approach is more bureaucratic and to obtain a Permis de Chasse both written and practical tests must be passed. A shotgun cannot be purchased without a Permis de Chasse. Armed and uniformed Rangers enforce the permit and are also responsible for setting the annual levels of cull. The French are very passionate about hunting and hunt rabbits, hares and deer with packs of hounds. The continental red deer population is small but the animals are larger than in Scotland. The main deer species is the roe deer which is a night feeder as is the wild boar which is prolific on the continent, having two litters of 4 to 6 young each year. Boars are difficult to control even with fencing and electric fencing and cause considerable crop damage, especially to the maize which is widely grown in France. Ron finished by pointing out that there is a school of thought that wild boar should be reintroduced to Scotland but in view of the damage which they cause the farming community would not welcome this. A vote of thanks was given by Donald Fisher

Evening Meeting on 24th October 2007

30 members were present at the meeting of the Rotary Club of Cupar on Wednesday 24th October, with President Vince Fusaro in the chair. After the induction of new member Peter Haselhurst, Rotarian Dereck Thomson introduced his topic (cricket) with some diffidence - he declared that he wasn't hoping to convert members into cricketers, but to give a few insights into the game. Along with several anecdotes from the days of W G Grace onwards, Dereck reminded members of the glorious victory of Freuchie Cricket Club in the final of the National Village Championship at Lord's in 1985. Rotarian Ken McLaren gave the vote of thanks.

Evening Meeting on 31st October 2007

40 members and 14 guests were welcomed by President Vince Fusaro to the Rotary Club of Cupar's meeting on Wednesday 31st October 2007. The concert and ceilidh last Friday was reported to have raised between £700 and £900 for the club's adopted water project in Uganda. Rotarian Eric Young gave a vocational talk on gem-stones, starting with an outline of the locations in which gems are found. What are called primary deposits of gems are found in the layers in which they were originally formed, usually in low concentrations. For example, de Beers state that they typically have to process 100 tonnes of kimberlite to produce a single 1-carat diamond of gem quality. Secondary deposits occur when erosion extracts gems from the softer rocks that surround them, and they are washed away, often being deposited in large numbers in places where their higher density causes them to be collected together. We are unlikely to come across diamonds in our gardens in Fife, but agates are often found here. Agates are formed in cavities in volcanic rock by crystallisation of silica, and produce very beautiful patterns. They can be found in gardens, in ploughed fields, and amongst shingle on the beach. Eric showed a number of local agates at various stages of preparation, including one found in his back garden by his son Adam. The vote of thanks was given by Rotarian Michael Hendry.

Evening Meeting on 7th November 2007

Past President Dereck Thomson welcomed 24 members and 3 visitors to a meeting in the Armaan Restaurant, Cupar on Wednesday 7th November. The speaker was Club Member Euan Barbour who entitled his talk "Sad Anorak". Whilst the talk had all the potential of living up to its billing given it was about his collection of more than 5000 aviation badges some of which he circulated round the tables, he explained that only a small minority were badges that he had bought and proceeded to enrich his talk by amusing tales of how come he had managed to get his hands on a number of those badges and explaining the history behind them. Whilst the majority of the badges were from RAF Units, he had amongst his collection badges from other Air Forces such as the former USSR and as well as the United Nations. Badges had been collected from many of the conflicts or emergency situations in which the RAF had been involved since its inception and he was able to demonstrate that one or two badges had lost something in their translation between the drawing board and manufacture where that had occurred in the conflict area, for example, a badge intended for the Desert Eagles having materialised as Desert Easels! The vote of thanks was given by Rotarian Grant McLeish.

Evening Meeting on 14th November 2007

President Vince Fusaro welcomed 36 members and 2 visitors to the meeting. After dinner, he briefed members on the forthcoming 75th Charter Dinner (16th November 2007).

Evening Meeting on 21st November 2007

President Vince Fusaro welcomed 29 members to the evening meeting of Cupar Rotary Club on Wednesday 21st November 2007. Speaker for the evening was Past President Brian Bayne, who went back to his previous vocation for a series of rhymes on a farming theme. "The Tup-Buyer's Prayer", "Sam MacDougal's Dugs", "The Big Hoose Spree" and "McCormick's Ting-a-Ling" were delivered at a rollicking pace which would have given Tam O'Shanter a run for his money, leaving the audience in stitches and allowing no scope for Rotarian Bruce McHardy to raise any further laughter in his vote of thanks.

Evening Meeting on 28th November 2007

Business Meeting.

Evening Meeting on 5th December 2007

President Vince Fusaro welcomed 35 members to the meeting at the Armaan Restaurant on Wednesday 5th December 2007. The speaker for the evening was Rotarian Margaret Beetlestone, who set up Gleneagles Conversions with her late husband Charles in 1994. She described the development of the business, which started off converting vans and minibuses for use with disabled passengers, and moved on into vehicles converted specifically for disabled drivers. Modifications range from simple adaptation of controls for minor disabilities up to a remotely-controlled wheelchair lift, with the driver's wheelchair then being clamped into the position which the driver's seat would normally occupy. The greatest satisfaction in her job is seeing a customer who was previously dependent on others for transport being able to travel independently again. The vote of thanks was given by Rotarian Ken McLaren.

Evening Meeting on 12th December 2007

President Vince Fusaro welcomed 32 members and two special guests to the meeting on 12th December 2007. Bell Baxter pupils Amanda Swan and Neale Gardiner came to report on their experiences of RYLA - the Rotary Youth Leadership Awards - for which they'd been selected by interview. They described their apprehension about going away for a week to Nethybridge with a group of strangers, and about how they were going to get on with the unknown challenges they were to face; both came back full of enthusiasm for the project, and their experience of it. Both were put into leadership roles they hadn't experienced before and into activities such as canoeing, mountain-biking raft-building and hill-walking which they'd never tried. Under "lessons learned" Amanda told the Club she'd rushed straight into a list of 20 tasks, starting with taking off her shoes and running to touch each wall of the room, before she read to the bottom of the sheet and found she didn't actually have to perform the tasks! Later on, having to be helped back from hill-walking, she commented ruefully that anti-blister socks don't actually stop you getting blisters. Neale had been selected as leader of the raft-building team, and he felt he must have got something right, as his team came second out of eight. He found the activities challenging, requiring strength and stamina but above all a careful assessment of the task in hand before making a start. Strong leadership with good teamwork were the keys to success in these tasks, and especially consideration given to the strengths and weaknesses of team members - they'd managed to get an asthmatic team-member up a hill despite his misgivings! Past President Grant McLeish gave the vote of thanks.

Evening Meeting held at the Fairways Restaurant, Elmwood College Golf Course on Wednesday 19th December 2007

The meeting, which was the Club's Christmas Dinner, was chaired by President Vince Fusaro; the Grace from President-Elect Pat McInally was delivered in his own inimitable style, and the Rotary Choir was led in a selection of Christmas Carols by Rotarian Sandy Mitchell.

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Thanks to Roger Siddle of the Carnforth Rotary Club for his revolving Rotary wheel.