Notes on all meetings in 2015Go... Back (2014)... Last Six Meetings (most recent first)... Forward (2016)
Evening Meeting held at Watts Restaurant on Wednesday 7th January 2015
|Honorary Member Jackie Taylor|
President Peter McKinnon welcomed members to the first meeting of 2015, with a special welcome for Honorary Member Jackie Taylor, who reported on progress with the club's sponsored water projects in Nepal.
The community of Kolang has been collecting 10 rupees a month from each of 32 households for 27 years to replace old pipework and repair their reservoir tank. In March 2014 Kolang's water was supplied by a stand-pipe, which operated for 2 hours a day. Funds raised by Cupar Rotary supplied 3km of polythene piping, which has been slung across valleys and buried in the steep hillside to bring water to a large new reservoir tank, and there is now plenty of water 24 hours a day, along with a further smaller supply from the existing system which has been refurbished.
The community has now decided to try growing marketable vegetables in addition to the staple crops of maize, mustard and buckwheat, and is planning to put 5 rupees a month per household aside to provide a fund for repairs and emergencies. Fresh tomatoes, chillies, cabbages and cauliflower could bring in a useful cash income to the village.
Jackie gave details of two other potential projects in the villages of Rahbas and Maulathar, which both have water supplies already. However the downhill walk to the reservoirs takes 15 minutes and 30 minutes respectively, and the uphill walk carrying the water takes longer! At Rahbas the source of the water supply is good, but a pump would be required to bring it up to a new reservoir above the houses. Maulathar is on the top of a hill and therefore more of a challenge, and although local mobile phone company NCell promised to fund the water supply when they erected a communications tower beside the village three or four years ago, this hasn't happened yet. To be fair, the three-phase electricity supply which was installed to supply the tower has been a help to the village, but an estimated £7,200 will be needed to provide a pump, pipework and a reservoir for the new water supply.
Jackie emphasised that these communities don't just hold their hands out for money to support these projects - they raise cash themselves and provide the labourers for the construction work, even to the extent of crushing rocks to obtain sand!
After a lively question-and-answer session, Past President Graham Pirie thanked Jackie on behalf of the club.
Evening Meeting held at Watts Restaurant on Wednesday 14th January 2015
|Cupar Foodbank Manager, Fiona Findlay|
Thirty-eight members were joined for dinner by six Rotary guests - presidents of nearby clubs who held their own meeting with President Peter McKinnon later - and by guest speaker Fiona Findlay.
Introduced by Past President Pat McInally, Fiona is the manager of the Foodbank in Cupar which was opened in March 2014. At this time there was some debate as to whether a foodbank was needed in the town, but since it opened the statistics say otherwise - on average 80 people have been supported at any one time, with 90 parcels per week being distributed in the weeks before Christmas. The foodbank is part of a national network linked to the Trussell Trust, a Christian charity which works to alleviate the effects of poverty in the UK and in Bulgaria. The trust provides advice and support in the setting-up and running of food banks, which are run by volunteers from the community.
Fiona has been very impressed with the support for the project in the Cupar area, with over 100kg of food weekly being received from the collection at Tesco.
It is estimated that 13 million people are living below the poverty line in the UK, and surprisingly about 6 million of them are in paid employment. The foodbank takes no part in the assessment of need, but takes referrals from various health and social work professionals and from charitable bodies such as Citizens Advice and Rights Fife.
There are many situations in which a family or an individual can come to need the support of a foodbank - two common scenarios are of a mother of young children who has fled an abusive relationship and of a benefit recipient who has failed to turn up on time for a Job Centre interview - this may result in benefits being suspended for a month, even if the delay was caused by a bus which turned up late.
Care must obviously be taken to be sure that food is fit to eat, and sometimes large donations, (such as the five pallets of Porage Oats which were delivered recently!), will be shared with neighbouring foodbanks along with short-dated items.
After she had answered a number of questions from members, Fiona was thanked on behalf of the club by Past President Dermot Stewart.
Evening Meeting held at Watts Restaurant on Wednesday 21st January 2015
President Peter McKinnon took the chair for a traditional Burns Supper, complete with Piper (Euan Baillie), Pousie Nancy (Pat Mitchell) and the Address to the Haggis - delivered by Brian Bayne with his usual panache. Peter's guest speaker for the Immortal Memory was local farmer (and member of the St Andrews Burns Club) James Orr, who entertained the club with stories about the Bard, illustrated with recitations and songs.
Past President Grant McLeish proposed the Vote of Thanks.
Evening Meeting held at Watts Restaurant on Wednesday 28th January 2015
Thirty-nine members and three guests attended the club's Business Meeting, with President Peter McKinnon in the chair.
Committee leads spoke to the reports they had presented to Council on the 19th of January, and the club approved the donation of £1500 to the Water Project at Rahbas in Nepal which had been recommended by Honorary Member Jackie Taylor earlier in the month. Past President Vince Fusaro reported a forthcoming donation of £600 from the Quaich Society in St Andrews. This University Society is dedicated to the appreciation of whisky, and regularly donates money raised to the club. The next major event in the club's calendar is the Three Band Night, featuring the Coaltown Daisies, Dr Jazz and Whiteside at the Corn Exchange on Friday 27th February, starting at 7:30 pm.
It was reported that the Club's team for the Games Night at Rosturk House on Monday had suffered at a 35-30 defeat at the hands of the residents.
Evening Meeting held at Watts Restaurant on Wednesday 4th February 2015
Thirty-five members were welcomed to the meeting by President Peter McKinnon.
Dinner was followed by Grant McLeish's account of his trip down the Mormon Trail, the 1300 mile route from Illinois to Salt Lake City followed by Mormons who had been driven out of their communities following conflicts with other settlers. Some of them had ox-drawn covered wagons, but many used handcarts which were made to a standard design almost entirely of wood. Ten separate groups, known as "companies" made the journey, which took about twenty weeks at an average of seven or eight miles a day.
The first companies to undertake the journey in 1846 were from existing Mormon settlements, but over the years European converts came across by this route until the completion of the Transcontinental Railway in 1869. The majority of the companies completed the journey without many losses, but companies 4 and 5 ignored advice, left Iowa City in July 1856 and encountered severe winter weather. Despite a rescue effort organised from Salt Lake City by Brigham Young, 210 out of the 980 emigrants died.
Grant owned up - he had completed the Trail in two days by car - and was thanked on behalf of the club by Peter Haselhurst.
Evening Meeting held at Watts Restaurant on Wednesday 11th February 2015
Twenty-nine members were present, with President Peter McKinnon in the chair.
Rotarian Bill McSeveney presented a "Cover Version Quiz" after dinner, weaving the questions around cover versions of familiar songs from the 1930s onwards. Although the offer of bottles of wine offered as prizes wasn't sufficient to raise the scores above 11/22!, Bill awarded them nonetheless, and Junior Vice-President Michael Hendry thanked him on behalf of the club.
The meeting on the 25th February will be a joint meeting with the Inner Wheel and Howe of Fife Clubs. The Speaker will be Ian Crombie, whose topic will be the eradication of rats introduced by man into South Georgia, the damage they caused to native animals, and the parallels with introduced species in the Scottish Islands.
On Friday 27th February at 7:30 pm the club will present a "Three Band Night" with a licensed bar at the Corn Exchange, featuring the Coaltown Daisies, Dr Jazz and Whiteside.
Evening Meeting held at Watts Restaurant on Wednesday 18th February 2015
|Liz Waugh and Trevor Milne - Finance Director and Executive Director of Kettle Produce|
President-Elect Pat Mitchell took the chair for the meeting, welcoming twenty-seven members and two guests, who were introduced after dinner by Past President Bill Nicoll. Liz Waugh and Trevor Milne are respectively Finance Director and Executive Director of Kettle Produce Ltd, and they described the growth of their business from small beginnings in to its present £100 million turnover.
A surplus of vegetables in 1976 prompted two enterprising local growers to offer their goods to a national food retailer, and their success prompted them to link up with other growers and supply supermarkets directly. Scotland has advantages for vegetable growers, with suitable soil, plenty of water and a climate which doesn't get very cold in winter or very hot in summer. Continuity of supply is very important, so the company now has growing areas throughout the UK, providing early, mid and late season vegetables as well as protection against local difficulties such as floods. Since Kettle Produce España was set in 2003, the vegetable season has been extended, helped by further partnerships across Europe.
Contingency planning is very important in this industry, as the weather can have critical effects on production, and this was tested to the limit in 2010, when a major fire at the Orkie site near Freuchie took out the company's carrot and parsnip washing and packing facilities. Despite this major set-back, almost all orders were fulfilled, and the subsequent rebuild doubled the packing capacity on this site.
No large industry can exist without having some impact on the environment, and Kettle Produce is well aware of this. Electricity accounts for a significant part of the firm's carbon emissions - installation of solar panels at the Orkie site will reduce these - and the environmental impact of water used in cleaning vegetables is being addressed by improvements in effluent control and by reuse of borehole water recycled through the firm's own water treatment plant. Land-fill waste has been reduced by 90% over the last four years, and the current target is to reduce the remainder by 10% every year.
Recognised by numerous awards throughout the industry, Kettle Produce is the largest vegetable producer in Scotland, producing 80 million kg of carrots, 7 million kg of broccoli and 5.1 million heads of lettuce per year. Through the year, over 900 people are employed at the two washing and packing sites (this excludes the growing and harvesting teams) with a rise to 1000 during the Christmas period, when the usual output of 18 truckloads per day rises to 60.
After a lively question and answer session, Euan Barbour proposed the Vote of Thanks.
Members were encouraged to sell the remaining tickets for the Three Band Night at the Corn Exchange, 19:30 on Friday 27th February.
The speaker at the meeting on 4th March will be District Governor Keith Hopkins.
Evening Meeting held at Watts Restaurant on Wednesday 25th February 2015
|Ian Crombie, representing the South Georgia Heritage Trust|
This year it was our club's turn to host the Joint Meeting with the Inner Wheel Club of Cupar and our daughter club, Howe of Fife. President Peter McKinnon introduced guest Presidents Elinor Ritchie and Bob Henderson, along with members of their clubs.
After dinner, guest speaker Ian Crombie outlined the role of the South Georgia Heritage Trust in eradicating rats from the island, illustrated with film taken during the project. South Georgia lies nearly 900 miles east-southeast of the Falkland Islands. An inhospitable and remote place with no native population, it became important in the sealing and whaling industries in the 19th and 20th centuries at first because of its huge breeding population of fur seals, and later as a base for hunting and processing whales. Unfortunately, rats and mice were introduced to the island by the whaling ships, and over the years their population has grown to the extent that they're a serious threat to the 100 million sea-birds which breed there. Having evolved in an environment with no land predators, the birds have little defence against them, and some species leave their defenceless chicks on the nest for weeks on end while they're off searching for food.
The five-year project to eliminate the rodents started with a trial on 15% of the island. GPS plots were used to spread bait evenly over the ground, with helicopters delivering the materials from the supply ship, appropriately named the RRS Ernest Shackleton. A subsequent survey showed that eradication was complete, so a further phase covered about five times the area; the third phase is currently dealing with the remainder. Although some of the bait will have been taken by birds, the majority of them live exclusively on fish and other marine organisms, and the balance is very heavily in the birds' favour.
Following his presentation, Ian answered questions from the floor and the meeting closed following the Vote of Thanks from President-Elect Pat Mitchell.
Evening Meeting held at Watts Restaurant on Wednesday 4th March 2015
|President Peter McKinnon with District Governor Keith Hopkins and his wife Mary|
Thirty-six members were welcomed to the meeting by President Peter McKinnon, along with two special guests - District Governor Keith Hopkins and his wife Mary.
Rotarians Tracy Jordan and John Morrow gave a very enthusiastic report on their recent trip to Delhi in support of Rotary's PolioPlus project, which forms part of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative. India was declared polio-free in 2014, but all children need to be protected from this crippling and sometimes fatal childhood illness until the disease has been eradicated world-wide. Nonetheless, Rotary Clubs are now looking at funding surgical treatment and rehabilitation for past victims of polio, who are often in pain and unable to work because of deformed weak limbs.
As Chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, Michael Hendry thanked members for their support for the Three Band Night on the 27th of February at the Corn Exchange. Featuring the Coaltown Daisies, Dr Jazz and Whiteside, the event raised about £1500 for the club's charity fund.
Keith Hopkins addressed the meeting after dinner, picking up World Rotary President Gary Huang's theme of "Lighting Up Rotary", and responding to defeatists who feel the world's problems are too big for any organisation to solve with the Chinese proverb that "It is better to light a single candle than to curse the darkness". Keith's keen enjoyment of Rotary clearly remains undimmed since he originally joined the club in 1981, and he outlined various ways in which clubs might adapt so as to become more attractive to young men and women, and reverse the steady increase in the average age of members.
Past President Brian Bayne proposed the Vote of Thanks for Keith's inspirational presentation.
Evening Meeting held at Watts Restaurant on Wednesday 11th March 2015
President Peter McKinnon welcomed thirty-six members and one honorary member, along with six guests from the Rotary Club of Kirkcaldy to the meeting, which was addressed after dinner by Past President Brian Bayne.
Early on in his career on the family's dairy farm, Brian applied for a scholarship which covered a six-week visit to a Canadian farm which specialised in Holstein cattle. There were several hundred applicants for this award, and the assessors took a whole day in Brian's farm before awarding it to him. Situated just North of Toronto, the farm had relatively few cattle, but these were impeccably managed - bedded in deep straw (a rarity in the 1970s) - and had its own laboratory to support artificial insemination and the implantation of fertilised eggs in surrogate mothers.
The most popular breed for dairy farming is derived from the Friesian cow, bred in the area which is now the Netherlands. Many Friesians were exported to North America, but a problem with disease in Europe led to the development of a different breed - the Holstein - and the majority of dairy cattle now are a mixture of European Friesian and American Holstein.
Selective breeding has steadily improved the yield from dairy cattle, and mechanisation and technology have steadily reduced the costs of production of milk, which is now an internationally traded product. Supermarkets, which use milk as a loss leader, have driven the price to the producer down so far that many UK dairy farmers have been forced out of business. In Scotland there were about 2000 dairy farms in 1988; there are now fewer than 1000, and the trend is still downwards. Because industrial production is driving dairy farms towards huge mechanised dairies where up to 8000 cows are kept indoors 365 days a year, the sight of a herd of cows grazing in the countryside will soon be a thing of the past.
Although Scotland's dairy farmers have very high standards for milk and other dairy products, it's not possible to protect them from cheaper imports from the EU.
After answering questions, Brian was thanked for his talk by Colin Mackenzie, whose own farming background gave him a specialist viewpoint.
Vice President Pat Mitchell will be recruiting a few members for a "Desert Island Discs" session for the club's meeting on the 25th of March.
Evening Meeting held at Watts Restaurant on Wednesday 25th March 2015
Standing in for President Peter McKinnon, Vice President Pat Mitchell welcomed thirty-two members and one guest from the St Andrews club, Ann Baird.
The first round of the Primary Schools Quiz last week, hosted by St Columba's School in Cupar, had been a great success, with nine teams competing from seven schools. After a closely fought contest the team from Dairsie was in the lead and will go on to the next round.
After dinner, Pat Mitchell presented her version of Desert Island Discs, with excerpts from seven different tracks introduced by Rotarians. The programme was rounded off with Rossini's duet "Due Gatti" sung by herself and Ann Baird, accompanied by Ann's husband Béla Simandi on piano.
Evening Meeting held at Watts Restaurant on Wednesday 1st April 2015
|John Morrow and Tracy Jordan, on their return from India|
President-Elect Pat Mitchell was in the chair for the meeting while Club President Peter continued with his annual commitment to ensuring the lambing season went well. She welcomed 31 Rotarians and 2 guests to the meeting. Two of the Club's members, Tracy Jordan and John Morrow were speakers for the evening, giving an account of their experiences as part of a group of Rotarians who had visited India to lend their support to the Polio Eradication Programme. Supplemented by colourful images and videos, they commented on their experience as part of the international endeavour.
As the only Scots in the group, they found themselves working with 140 Rotarians from other areas of the UK, Europe and North America. The statistics concerning the level of population in Delhi where they were based were overwhelming, a conurbation with a population of 24 million. Considering that 7,500 children are born in India each week, the necessity for regular immunisation campaigns becomes self-evident. It is due to the organisational skills of local Rotarians and non-governmental organisations that led to India recently becoming Polio free.
Part of their trip saw them becoming involved in the publicity drive to alert the residents about the immunisation campaign, through school assemblies, parades, adverts on local radio and other media. They took part in the immunisation process, dealing with children aged between 3 weeks and 5 years, ensuring that after the vaccine was given to each child, a purple dye was applied to the children's pinkies to show that they had been immunised. At one point, a booth manned by the Delhi Uptown Club was handling 400 children per hour. The trip included a visit to a Polio hospital where patients were aged between 15 and 20 years and they spoke of the interventions being made to try and improve life chances. At all levels, they found the local residents hospitable and friendly and in many cases, keen to practise their English language skills. Time was allowed for brief visits to the visitor attractions such as the Moghul's Tomb and the Red Fort. Past-President Graham Pirie gave the club's vote of thanks as all members of the club were full of admiration for the initiative shown by Tracy and John who had been excellent ambassadors for Cupar.
Evening Meeting held at Watts Restaurant on Wednesday 8th April 2015
|Alison Milne, with Sustainable Cupar's map of the town|
President Peter McKinnon reported, with some satisfaction, that 75% of the lambing at Elmwood was complete and that each ewe had two lambs before welcoming thirty-four members and one guest to the meeting.
After dinner, Alison Milne spoke as a member of Sustainable Cupar about this groups plans for the restoration of the Moor Road. Sustainable Cupar is a charity founded in 2009, and it now has 100 members who aim to improve awareness of green issues and improve the environment in the Cupar area. Encouraging a healthier lifestyle by publishing walking and cycling maps, and applying pressure on improvement on air quality and the road network around Cupar, the charity’s members meet regularly in subgroups for particular interests.
The Moor Road runs from Ceres Road in Cupar, just outside the speed limit signs, to Bridgend in Ceres, and was marked as a route on Roy’s Military Map dating back to 1746. Although it is part of the Core Path Network and is a recognised Right of Way, it has fallen into disrepair in recent years, partly blocked by fallen trees, poorly drained and damaged by flooding. Sustainable Cupar mounted a feasibility study in 2012, but found that its plans were too ambitious to be affordable. It has proved hard to find out who owns the path, and it seems that adjacent properties all end at its edges, and a revised study in 2014 has scaled back the project to improvement of drainage to reduce erosion, and some work on re-surfacing.
After a lively question-and-answer session, Graham Pirie thanked Alison on behalf of the club.
Evening Meeting held at Watts Restaurant on Wednesday 15th April 2015
In the absence of the President and the President Elect, Junior Vice President Michael Hendry took the chair, and greeted 26 members and guest speaker Gina Logan.
Gina was introduced by Past President Bill Nicoll, who gave an outline of her career. Hockey was her favourite sport, first as a player and then as an umpire, but family circumstances led her to change direction towards swimming. Not one to take a back seat, she became deeply involved as a time keeper, judge, teacher and coach in the Cupar Swimming Club, and was appointed East District Manager, Youth Squad Manager, National Squad Manager, East District Secretary, Council Member of the Scottish Amateur Swimming Association (SASA) and eventually SASA President in 2013. Her deep commitment to swimming led to her becoming the Commonwealth Games Aquatics Team Manager in Melbourne in 2006, Assistant General Manager in Delhi in 2010 and Assistant General Manager in Glasgow in 2014. Despite all this, she doesn’t feel that her place as Chairman of the Duffus Community Sports Hub is an anti-climax!
Gina illustrated the story of her career with a series of slides of the events and the personalities she came across over the years, and especially at the 2014 Commonwealth Games. Despite the huge numbers of competitors, staff and volunteers, to say nothing of the 60,000 military and police officers involved, the whole event went well and was completed within budget. This is unusual for such an event, and was achieved partly because many of the sports facilities existed already - and will continue to be used after the event, unlike some white elephants left behind after previous Games. Gina’s family featured in a number of her slides, and she commented that she could have done none of this without their whole-hearted support.
Past President Graham Findlay thanked Gina on behalf of the club for her enthusiastic and entertaining talk.
Evening Meeting held at Watts Restaurant on Wednesday 22nd April 2015
President Peter McKinnon took the chair for the club’s AGM, welcoming twenty-four members to the meeting.
Committee Chairmen presented their final reports of the Rotary Year, and outlined events still to come during their tenure.
Nominations for Office-Bearers and Committees were approved by the members; Pat Mitchell will be President from the first of July, with Michael Hendry as Vice Chairman, Roy Marsden as Secretary and Willie Nicoll as Treasurer.
Evening Meeting held at Watts Restaurant on Wednesday 29th April 2015
|Hamish Brown, MBE|
Vice-President Michael Hendry took the chair, and welcomed thirty-five members, Honorary Member Ronnie Law, visiting Rotarian Jim Boyd and guest speaker Hamish Brown to the meeting.
Our club’s response to the earthquake in Nepal was discussed, and it was agreed that the club would pay for two Shelterboxes for survivors - from existing funds - and would mount a street collection in Cupar on Sunday 3rd May.
Past President Bruce Rollo introduced Hamish Brown, MBE, who is a member of the Rotary Club of Burntisland and Kinghorn, and is a professional writer, lecturer and photographer. A life-long devotee of the outdoors, he worked at Braehead School in Buckhaven in the 1960s, encouraging the pupils to get involved in walking and climbing. He is perhaps best known for his 1974 expedition, in which he climbed all 289 Munros in one trip using only leg-power (on foot or bicycle) apart from the ferries to Mull and Skye.
Hamish has travelled the world over many years, and has collected stories from exotic places. He has found that the fundamental themes of these stories are the same the world over, and finds he can successfully relocate stories from Morocco into a Scottish context - which he has done in his latest book “Fantasies, Fables, Fibs and Frolics: Stories from the Heart of Scotland”. He read a couple of these stories, one of which was specially selected for a Cupar audience, as it woven around the story of the Wee Cooper o’ Fife and included his friends Willie Wallacky and John Dougal!
Evening Meeting held at Watts Restaurant on Wednesday 13th May 2015
President Peter McKinnon took the chair, and welcomed 37 members to the meeting.
The speaker, Rotarian Jon Richmond, has a long standing interest in medical and research ethics and Chairs or is a member of several European Union ethics committees. His talk, entitled "Fifty Shades of Gray", was based on a 2014 workshop on raising awareness of ethical issues he organised for young scientists being funded by the European Union.
During the course of the talk, discussion, and question and answer session a number of seemingly straightforward ethical propositions and issues were explored, and the complexity of the underlying ethical principles, and the imperfection of some of the commonly used ethical frameworks, exposed - illustrating that ethical values and frameworks often deal with shades of gray, rather than black or white.
Consider, for example, someone who campaigns against the fur trade on ethical grounds but who wears leather shoes, or of our conflicting attitudes to a man who parks his car on a hill without securing the hand-brake properly. We wouldn’t be hard on him if his car merely rolled back against the kerb and stopped - it could happen to any of us, surely - but what about a different scenario in which it rolled back to a cross-roads and smashed into a passing car. Still worse, how would we feel about him if the car rolled down the hill and killed a young woman and her child on the pavement?
The speaker presented examples where scientists and doctors have exercised poor ethical judgement, and ended by considering research findings indicating that awareness of ethical issues does not of itself ensure ethical decision making - making the point that it is not enough to know what is right, it is necessary to choose to do what is right.
The Vote of Thanks was proposed by Tracy Jordan.
Evening Meeting held at Watts Restaurant on Wednesday 20th May 2015
President Peter McKinnon took the chair, and welcomed 35 members to the meeting.
Treasurer Willie Nicoll reported that the Golf Ball Drop raffle had raised £3805 for Age Concern Cupar, which is to be topped up with £1000 donated by Saltire Stables. In addition, the Whisky Tasting at the Age Concern Centre last Friday raised a further £800 for Age Concern.
Past President Bruce Rollo spoke after dinner about his recent trip to the Azores. Situated about 900 miles west of Portugal, these volcanic islands were colonised by the Portuguese in the 15th century, but they became a popular base for adventurers, mercenaries and privateers, and in 1583 King Philip II of Spain sent his fleet to clear them out. The islands eventually returned to Portuguese control in 1640. The present-day population of the islands is about 265,000, and their main income is from tea, sugar, beet, milk and dairy produce, mostly produced in the fertile coastal regions away from the volcanic interior. Tourism is becoming an increasing part of the economy, with walking holidays, wildlife tours and unusual geology attracting holiday-makers. Previously a centre for whaling, with lookouts on the cliffs spotting the whales and small harpoon boats tracking them, the islands are now promoting whale-watching and rough hill-walking, with hot springs, botanical gardens and black swans for the less energetic.
Harry Mellotte thanked Bruce on behalf of the club.
Evening Meeting held at Watts Restaurant on Wednesday 27th May 2015
|RIBI President Peter King, President Peter McKinnon, Diana King, Vice President Pat Mitchell and DG Keith Hopkins|
The club welcomed guests from the Rotary Clubs of Howe of Fife, Anstruther, Kinross & District, Leven and Cowdenbeath as well as Honorary Members Caroline Baird, Ronnie Law, Cliff Strong and Les McAndrew to a special meeting on the 27th to celebrate a visit from RIBI President Peter King, who came with his wife Diana and District Governor Keith Hopkins.
Rotary International in Britain and Ireland (RIBI) is unusual in having its own president who sits between the International President of the organisation and District Governors, and he makes it his business during his year in office to visit all Rotary areas in Britain and Ireland.
Club President Peter McKinnon introduced Peter King, who is a founder-member of the Kew Gardens club, and has twice served as its President. Qualifying as a barrister in 1970, Peter went on to serve as a lawyer in the army. Although he has now retired from the regular army, he remains involved in the TA and in private legal practice, and is a champion of engagement of the Rotary Club with youth.
As he is reaching the end of his year in office, Peter was able to share insights into the many ways in which different clubs work to engage with their communities, and to encourage younger members to join the organisation with more flexible arrangements for meetings and innovative forms of involvement.
After a lively question-and-answer session, Michael Hendry proposed the vote of thanks.
Evening Meeting held at Watts Restaurant on Wednesday 3rd June 2015
|Three Guests from Elmwood College hand over a cheque to President Peter McKinnon|
Thirty-three members attended the meeting, chaired by President Peter McKinnon, who welcomed three guests from Elmwood College who had raised £215 for the club to send on to Mary’s Meals - the charity that funds meals for schoolchildren in poor countries.
Past President Ron Smith spoke after dinner about his involvement in Rally Driving, and compared the tens of thousands of pounds involved in today’s sport with the shoe-string budgets when the sport was growing in the 1950s and ‘60s.
He first became involved when he was an apprentice in the motor trade, acquired a second-hand car, and joined a club. In those days the car used for rallying was the one you used for getting to work, and the first modification was usually to fit a straight-through exhaust - which always seemed to make it go faster! The next must-have modification was an array of extra lights, often drawing so much current that the dynamo couldn’t keep up, resulting in double embarrassment when the car wouldn’t start after a stall!
Public roads were used for these events, and the RAC rules insisted on an average speed of no more than 30 mph. There was no off-the-shelf equipment for rallying, and ingenious work-arounds were encouraged. Standard 1-inch Ordnance Survey maps were used, and theses were cut, folded and pasted in such a way that they could be managed by the navigator on a bumpy ride, often in the dark, and home-made battery-lit supports for magnifying glasses were a great help.
Navigational events originally used 8-digit map references, and the navigators had to watch out for junctions where the reference was just off the line of the main road on to a side road. As standards of navigation and vehicle improved, the organisers became ever more cryptic in their instructions - making the teams sit and think for a while to cut down their average speeds. Sometimes, teams were issued with a series of apparently unconnected numbers, which specified a route by referring to spot-heights in the contour lines beside the road, at others they were just given a sheet of paper with a long horizontal line and a series of ticks on one or other side - marking junctions. Even trickier was a circle with ticks on either side - the principle was the same, but the beginning of the course wasn’t marked.
Following a selection from his fund of rallying stories, Ron answered a series of questions from the floor, and was thanked by Past President Bill Low on behalf of the club.
Evening Meeting held at Watts Restaurant on Wednesday 10th June 2015
President Peter McKinnon took the chair for the first part of the meeting, and welcomed thirty-two members and Assistant Governor Malcolm Horner, of Claverhouse Rotary Club.
After dinner, incoming President Pat Mitchell opened the Club Assembly, and invited her team to present their plans for the forthcoming Rotary Year, which starts on 1st July.
Malcolm Horner was then invited to speak, and complimented the club on its forward-looking attitude, reminding members of the incoming International President’s theme - “Be a Gift to the World”.
Rotarian Colin Mackenzie proposed the Vote of Thanks.
Evening Meeting held at Watts Restaurant on Wednesday 17th June 2015
|Gordon McCorkindale, speaking on behalf of Kidney Kids Scotland|
Thirty-three members and three guest Rotarians from St Andrews were welcomed to the meeting by President Peter McKinnon.
Guest speaker Gordon McCorkindale, a member of the Rotary Club of Allander, was introduced by Béla Simandi, and spoke about Kidney Kids Scotland - a charity set up in 2000 to help children with kidney disease, and their families.
Renal failure in children is mercifully rare, but about 200 children are likely to be diagnosed every year. As with the adult disease, there is no cure for it, and the condition must be managed by dialysis or transplantation, but children pose special problems because their growth and development may be affected, and there are psychological aspects involving both the patient and the family for which support is needed.
The Kidney Kids charity funds a wide range of support for affected children and their families, including equipment, staff and materials, always in collaboration with NHS staff. The aim is not to replace NHS funding, but to fill gaps in provision - for example, the charity supported a family from Orkney to find work, accommodation and schooling when their child needed dialysis.
Bruce McHardy proposed the Vote of Thanks.
Evening Meeting held at Watts Restaurant on Wednesday 24th June 2015
|Outgoing President Peter McKinnon hands over to incoming President Pat Mitchell||New Paul Harris Fellows, Bruce Rollo and Brian Bayne|
Wednesday 24th June was the Rotary Club's changeover meeting at which Club
President Peter MacKinnon handed over the reins of office to incoming President,
Pat Mitchell, the Club's first Lady President. Thirty three members were present
with fellowship in the hands of Rotarian Canon Pat McInally. During the course
of his year in office, Peter had shared his observations about farming and the
environment that he saw in his everyday working life and his final thoughts took
in the finer points of sheep shearing. In reviewing his year, Peter thanked all
for their support, not only in keeping established events to the fore, but also
the fresh elements added to the club programme that saw funds provided to Age
Concern, a rapid response to the Nepal Earthquake appeal and finally a very
successful weekend of cycling related events to raise awareness of prostate
cancer and gather funds for research. Club Secretary Donald Cameron who was
standing down, having completed his term of office gave his Secretary's report
in humorous vein.
Once the formalities of changing officers was complete, the Club members accorded their new President a standing ovation. President Pat, as befits a former teacher of music, opened her term of office with a song, her own unique version of "My Way". She thanked Past President Peter for his encouragement and advice prior to presenting him with his Past President's badge. The incoming President-Elect Michael Hendry was also presented with his badge of office.
In her inaugural address to the club, President Pat referred to a statement made by Michelle Obama when speaking to young girls, saying that they had a unique perspective and a unique voice to add to the conversation of life. She also exhorted them to know their community and engage with the world, which Pat thought epitomised the essence of Rotary. She also referred to her father' s remarks on taking office as a Rotary Club President in 1968, emphasising that it is well known that we did not join Rotary for what we could get out of it but rather the reverse. She went on to say that, although it is absolutely necessary to raise money for projects, the giving of service to the community at large is something that Rotarians should not lose sight of as this to her was a great part of Rotary. Enjoyment from Rotary comes from being personally involved. Pat said that like her father, she was small in stature, but he would have been exceedingly proud to know she was following in his Rotary footsteps.
The meeting did not conclude there as there were surprises for two long serving members of the club. Paul Harris Fellowships were awarded to Past-Presidents Bruce Rollo and Brian Bayne, the highest honour in the gift of the club for Rotary service. The award is named after the founder of Rotary International and given to those whose exceptional service within the Rotary movement is deserving of recognition. The element of surprise left both recipients temporarily at a loss for words, but on recovering their composure, thanked the club for the honour that had been bestowed upon them and did not forget to pay tribute to the support of their respective spouses in their contribution to the club's programmes.
Evening Meeting held at Watts Restaurant on Wednesday 1st July 2015
Wednesday 1st July was the official start of the new Rotary year with new President Pat Mitchell in the chair. On fellowship duty was her immediate predecessor, Peter McKinnon.
The speaker for the evening was Rotarian Peter Haselhurst who was providing his final talk to the Club before moving to St Andrews later in the year. His first topic for the evening was to say a few words about a good cause that local Rotarians have been contributing to on a regular basis for a number of years. The Nyambani Project is an international charity that operates in Kenya and provides care and education for young sufferers of HIV Aids. The statistics he quoted reveal the impact on the country. Rotary involvement from Scotland has been championed by Alison Stedman, a Rotarian who is now a member of Arbroath Rotary Club and has led several work parties to Kenya to give practical help. Peter then turned to his other topic, economics, a subject he taught for 41 years at upper school level. He remarked that much of the subject was about relating theory to practice in the real world and he remarked that the current crisis in Greece could have been predicted by any good student of economics.
Agriculture is a good example of supply and demand in economics. It is an area of activity where output cannot be adjusted quickly and producers cannot second guess the market in an uncertain world. The introduction of guaranteed prices in the post war period dealt with the special circumstances that prevailed at that time with the necessity to encourage food production. It has to be appreciated that we depend upon farmers and landowners to manage the countryside and it is their improvements through investment in machinery and buildings that have allowed agricultural output to develop to present day levels. It has also been important in smaller units for farms to pass intact through generations, but land reform proposals may change that. Peter told his audience that as a teenager he worked during his holidays on a mixed farm in Cheshire and having also experienced living in East Anglia, he grew to appreciate the importance of food production and food security. World population growth means that food supplies may become precarious and the issue of food waste in the UK through households, retailers and unharvested crops needed to be addressed. He referred to Social Supermarkets as one potential answer to dealing with food poverty. The specific example he brought to notice was Company Shop which is a social enterprise that is a re-distributor of food that has been deemed surplus by main-steam supermarkets. It is a source of cheap edible, in date food in those locations where it has established itself.
The Club's vote of thanks to Peter was proposed by Past President Peter McKinnon.
Evening Meeting held at Watts Restaurant on Wednesday 8th July 2015
Club Past President Dereck Thomson was speaker at the weekly meeting of the Rotary Club of Cupar on Wednesday 8th July with Club President Pat Mitchell in the chair.
Dereck chose sport as his subject, a lifelong interest that had involved taking part and watching as a spectator. He posed the question, is watching sport a waste of time or is it life enhancing ? Early experiences of sport start at school, gaining self knowledge through team sports and also learning about other people. He gave some quotations from historical and literary and sporting figures who had commented on sport, including ,Socrates, Albert Camus, and Bill Shankly. Topically, with Wimbledon in our thoughts, he recollected that he grew up near tennis courts and marveled at the descriptive commentaries of Max Robertson in the era of the great Australian tennis stars, Hoad and Rosewall. He was an admirer of Rod Laver who had a will of iron, an early collector of grand slam titles whose achievements are perpetuated in having the Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne named after him.
Dereck then turned to another of his sporting heroes who had a local connection, Jim Clark, whose early life was spent at Kilmany prior to moving to the Scottish Borders. Clark was a true champion who took part in 72 Grand Prix, winning 25. He was world champion in 1963 and 1965 and also won the Indianapolis 500 in 1965. The statue at Kilmany that commemorates his early connections with this area is a fitting tribute to a modest sporting champion.
In his student days, Dereck recalled playing football at university alongside another sporting hero of a different sort, an unpredictable Nigerian Tony Alouiba. Because of his stature, the opposition found it so difficult to deal with him it allowed the rest of the team to perform well.
The final sporting hero recalled was Jock Stein, of Celtic and Scotland who proved his worth as a great manager. He was a player in the 1954 Celtic team that won the first double of league and cup for 40 years, then on becoming manager in 1965, over 11 seasons his team won 24 trophies and became the first British Manager to take the European Cup in 1967. By today's standards, he was not well paid, but his motivational skills and style of team play with a team drawn from the West of Scotland surely places his achievements among the top rank of managers. It is worthy of note that the inheritor of his mantle was Sir Alex Ferguson who was by his side when he died at a World Cup Qualifying game at Cardiff.
The vote of thanks was given by Past President Grant McLeish.
Evening Meeting held at Watts Restaurant on Wednesday 15th July 2015
|Guest Speaker Andy Boddice|
The weekly meeting of the Rotary Club of Cupar on 15th July was attended by 25 members, all welcomed by Club President Pat Mitchell.
The guest speaker, Rotarian Andy Boddice of the Howe of Fife Rotary Club, was introduced by Past President Bill Nicoll. His talk dealt with the approach being taken towards decommissioning of the oil and gas infrastructure in U.K. waters. He reminded his audience that North Sea Oil activity started around 1965-66 and its growth saw 6000 wells extracting oil and gas from under the UK Continental Shelf.
The process required 14,000Km of pipeline linked to oil wells in 383 producing fields. There have been 3000 companies involved during the growth of the industry leading to exports worth £6 billion annually. His company was involved as a contractor, planning and working with oil companies and the government.
Decommissioning had not been planned for in the early days of oil exploration, but since 2006 the Department of Energy required companies to clear the sea bed of redundant pipeline and rigs. Surveys have been needed to understand what is there and one estimate has put the cost of removing all these large industrial structures at £31.5 billion up to 2040. A further estimate given was that 481,400 tons of material needed to be brought ashore to be recycled. All these costs were difficult to forecast with certainty. He illustrated the scale of the problems to be dealt with by showing images of platforms alongside structures such as the Eiffel Tower and Nelson's Column.
The talk was followed by a lively question and answer session and the thanks of the club for an absorbing talk were proposed by Peter Haselhurst.
Evening Meeting held at Watts Restaurant on Wednesday 22nd July 2015
The Rotary Club of Cupar meeting on 22nd July opened with announcements from President Pat Mitchell about recent donations and fundraising related to good causes. The charity, Kidney Kids were the recipients of £250 following a recent talk to club members by their representative and this was followed by the news that the efforts of members during the Rotary Ride for Prostate Cancer had raised £1,800 for Prostate Scotland. Members were reminded about their roles at the Club's forthcoming Coffee Morning at the Corn Exchange. Cupar on Saturday 1st August.
The speaker for the evening was club member Euan Barbour whose interest and knowledge about military matters was used to good effect in his presentation about the Auxiliary Units that were established in the local area in the early years of the Second World War when the country was under threat of invasion. The Fife area with its extensive coastline and beaches presented a prime target for an invading force. This threat only receded when Hitler turned his attention to the invasion of Russia in the east.Because these units were set up on a secretive basis, very little documentation survives, if any, and Euan drew upon anecdotes and evidence of sites used by the units to set out what was known. These well equipped small units recruited men with a country background and knowledge of their area who were trained in sabotage, as one of the known tasks was to disrupt railways should the need arise. Local patrols would not be acquainted with neighbouring units, such was the need for secrecy.The role of Polish units in the area was described and the training centre at Melville House where training in the darker arts of war took place. Discoveries of remaining auxiliary unit bases in the countryside revealed the conditions that these men operated under. Some well known local personalities had roles in the auxiliary units and the extent of these activities only became evident long after the war was over, including the order that one prominent member would be shot in the event of invasion so that his knowledge could not be acquired by the enemy.
Past President Dermot Stewart delivered the Club's vote of thanks.
Members were reminded that the speaker for the following week was to be Honorary Member, Jackie Taylor who would update the club about the situation in Nepal.
Evening Meeting held at Watts Restaurant on Wednesday 29th July 2015
Honorary Club member Jackie Taylor was introduced as the speaker at the Rotary Club meeting on 29th July when Club President Pat Mitchell took the chair. Jackie took the opportunity to thank the Club for donations given in the wake of the earthquake in Nepal that occurred on 25th April. She stated that the whole country has been affected by this natural disaster with many losing everything. An aftershock one month later and continual significant aftershocks caused more damage with extensive destruction to world heritage sites and important buildings in Kathmandu. Pressure on hospitals and lack of shelter caused extreme trauma to those affected, including relief workers. The total dead was 8,700 and at least 500,000 houses were destroyed. More than half those killed were women and children. Gorkha, the district close to the epicentre has many missing children and there are fears of children being trafficked. Hepatitis E is a big problem, fatal to pregnant women, because the virus is water borne due to the water supply and sewers being damaged, spread of the disease is endemic.
The location of Kathmandhu provides limited space for building and its many tall buildings were damaged. Roofing materials are in short supply due to the factory that normally produces zinc corrugated roofing being unable to continue in production as a result of damage to power plants.
The worst areas of geographical damage were in the Everest region where 18 lives were lost in an avalanche that ripped through the base camp. Everest actually moved 3cm to the south west as a result of the earthquake! The future of the tourist industry and trekking is bleak and those who were economically dependent on visitors and trekkers may have to move. It has become obvious that with the passage of time that those most affected by the disaster are the poor, the marginalised and underdeveloped communities who do not have access to those in power or the right connections. The sum put on reconstruction is set at $7 billion and recovery will be a massive task that Nepal can only undertake with the help of the International Community. Jackie expressed concern that the government of Nepal is spending too much time on its constitution rather than addressing the needs of its people.
Her colleague Ravi is currently out in Palpa and encouraging neighbours and communities involved in helping each other as well as distributing Palpa Trust Funds to those in need. Jackie revealed that she would be returning to Nepal in September and would keep the club informed of progress. Rotarian Harry Mellotte wished her well in her humanitarian work when he gave the club's vote of thanks.
Evening Meeting held at Watts Restaurant on Wednesday 5th August 2015
Opening the Rotary Club of Cupar meeting on August 5, President Pat Mitchell welcomed the 32 Rotarians present, and thanked all of those who made Saturday’s Rotary Coffee Morning a success adding just over £1,000 to the funds available to the Club to support charitable causes.
The International Committee Chairman outlined plans to assist work on Balmullo School’s garden; and participate in the annual Rotary Shoebox Appeal, and the “Tools for Self Reliance” and “Bikes for Africa” initiatives.
The speaker for the evening, Rotarian Ian Copland, took his audience “To The Movies” with a carefully researched, whimsically presented, and well received talk. Having lamented the demise of live cinema in Cupar, recounted some early cinema memories, and recalled some classic film locations in Scotland and elsewhere, Ian moved on to the main subject of his talk: Billy Wilder’s 1959 movie masterpiece “Some Like It Hot”. Set in 1929, the film tells the story of two male musicians, played by Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon, forced to flee in drag and join an all-girl band after witnessing the St Valentine’s Day Massacre: the leading actress was Marilyn Monroe, and other screen credits included George Raft who delivered a believable performance as the Chicago gangster “Spats” Colombo. Outdoor scenes were filmed mainly in Coronado, California, with interior sets based on the Hotel del Coronado. Coronado, having been neglected or in decline during the depression and World War II, retained the look and feel of a 1930s resort in the Sunshine State of Florida. The production was not without its problems. The casting proved to be inspired, however Jerry Lewis had previously declined a lead part, and Frank Sinatra showed no interest in being cast. Although colour films were becoming the norm, this film was shot in black and white: the make-up used by the male leads in their female roles gave their skin a green tinge. Marilyn Monroe’s memorable on-screen performance belies chronic difficulties with her poor time-keeping and inability to memorise and deliver lines, leading Billy Wilder to comment that she had probably added $500,000 to the production costs. In an early test-screening in Pacific Palisades audience reaction was not good: later test-screenings elsewhere with one minor change went better, and the press preview brought the house down. Made with a $3 million budget, the film grossed $25 million at the box office, won 3 Golden Globes, and received 6 Oscar nominations. The Hotel del Coronado continues to host “Some Like It Hot” events, and marked the film’s 25th anniversary in 1984 (Wilder, Curtis, and Lemmon attended). Marilyn Monroe in her role as “Sugar” appeared on a U.S. postage stamp 1995. At the film’s 50th anniversary in 2009, Tony Curtis, the last-surviving cast member, was joined by some of the original “girls in the band”. A must-see film.
Rotarian Bill Lowe delivered the vote of thanks. President Pat Mitchell closed the meeting, reminding Rotarians of some forthcoming activities: including assisting with Cupar in Bloom, the forthcoming Scatter Week (w/b August 24).
Evening Meeting held at Watts Restaurant on Wednesday 12th August 2015
The Club meeting on 12th August opened with a welcome by Club President Pat Mitchell to an overseas visitor, Rotarian Kay Gottschewsky from the Achim Club near Bremen in Germany. President Pat expressed her thanks to those Rotarians who had assisted in tidying areas of the town centre in advance of the visit by the judges to inspect Cupar in Bloom's efforts to enhance the town's appearance.
The speaker for the evening was Past President Brian Bayne who had chosen to talk on the subject of land reform. As a believer in those who aspire to own land, Brian took an informed view of the proposed changes to manage and record land ownership in Scotland, He discussed the rights of communities to buy neglected or abandoned land, the implications of the Community Empowerment Bill, the Right to Roam which gives public access to land and the need to educate those who are unfamiliar with the ways of the countryside to act sensibly.
The Scottish Government's vision had a particular view of land ownership, but how is it to be made to work? There was also the question of who owns the land as there is a mixture of private owners, public bodies such as the Forestry Commission and charities such as the National Trust for Scotland and RSPB. One example of land ownership that is regularly aired are the shooting estates, half of which are owned by non-residents, yet generate an income of 200 million pounds a year. As well as families that have held estates for generations, there is also new money and investment being applied to the land. There were opportunities for community buy outs of neglected land, but who is going to define what is neglected land? There were threats to existing landowners and implications for those who live and work in the countryside. However, there was an opportunity to bring derelict land in cities back to life and public sector land to be transferred to community use. Other matters requiring clarification included taxation and if a land reform commission is appointed to determine the future of land reform, how long will it take them to report?
Rotarian John Morrow proposed the Club's vote of thanks to Brian for a thought provoking presentation.
Evening Meeting held at Watts Restaurant on Wednesday 19th August 2015
|Anne Hoggan, representing Dr Graham's Homes, Kalimpong, India|
Thirty-five Rotarians were welcomed to the Club meeting on 19th August by Club President Pat Mitchell to hear Rev Jim Campbell introduce guest speaker, Anne Hoggan. As a representative of the UK Committee of Dr Graham's Homes, Kalimpong, India, she provided those present with an account of the origins of the charity and its present day activities.
Dr Graham's Homes is a Scottish based charity that supports the education of needy and impoverished children in a setting chosen by the founder in 1900. He was shocked at the condition and neglect of Anglo-Indian children who had often been deserted and persuaded the Church of Scotland to provide a modest home in the care of a housemother and teacher. From these modest beginnings, the concept has developed into a major boarding and day school, caring for 1500 pupils, of whom 750 are boarders at the campus. This ongoing work brings children together with guaranteed funding for the full period of their education.
Sponsorship of individual children is important to the operation of the home and children are encouraged to write to their sponsors to keep them updated about their progress. A short video presentation illustrated the care that the children receive, all smartly dressed and happy to tell how appreciative they were of the opportunity that had been given to them. It was revealed that only one in forty applicants for places can be accommodated. Anne, who has visited Kalimpong several times quoted from a letter sent by Daniel, a sponsored pupil who recounted his experience of the recent earthquake in neighbouring Nepal.It was heartening to learn that many of the former pupils have gone on to lead useful and productive lives.
The vote of thanks to Anne was proposed by Past President Bill Nicoll.
President's Reception held at the Fairways Restaurant on Wednesday 9th September 2015
|Guest Speakers Dave Rollo and Daughter Pat||President Pat Mitchell presents Donald Cameron's Paul Harris Fellowship||Pat Mitchell with leaving member Peter Haselhurst and his wife Anne|
On Wednesday 9 September the Rotary Club of Cupar held its annual President’s Reception at Fairways Restaurant, Elmwood Golf Club. President Pat Mitchell welcomed the 60 attendees – Cupar Rotary Club Members and Honorary Members and their guests; including Cupar Inner Wheel President Elspeth McCririck, Howe of Fife Rotary Club President Roger Guy and his wife, and Dave Rollo and his wife and daughter.
In lieu of a guest speaker, Dave Rollo was interviewed by his daughter Pat on the changes he has seen to both farming and rugby over the years.
Having started in farming after leaving school at 15 in the mid-1940s when teams of men still worked the land, horses were giving way to tractors, and harvest-time involved a host of family and friends, Dave retired from farming 40 years later, never having wanted to have been anything other than a farmer. He noted that we now live in age when machines, including self-driving tractors, have reduced both the manpower requirements and the opportunities for the companionship and friendship of fellow farm workers.
Although he would prefer to be remembered as a farmer, it is a rugby player that he is better known by many – even though for him it was only “a Saturday afternoon off” from his farming chores and responsibilities. A Howe of Fife stalwart, he recently featured in The Herald’s top-50 all-time greatest Scottish rugby players, being described as “a model of rugged reliability”. His involvement at Howe of Fife began when the playing area at Duffus Park was being prepared, and continues to this day with his input to the development of new rugby club facilities. As a prop-forward he enjoyed a long, relatively injury-free career – winning 40 Scottish caps, and taking part in one Five Nations Championship, 2 Calcutta Cups, and the 1962 British and Irish Lions tour of South Africa. He contrasted the current professional game with his own amateur playing days – then there were no financial rewards, no large team of backroom staff to support the players, his own fitness routine involved running along farm country roads for 15 minutes a night in addition to one night-a-week training sessions, and with today’s prop-forwards being 3 stone heavier than in his playing days. He commented that two players with links to the Howe of Fife Rugby Club are members of the current Scotland squad. After his playing days at Howe of Fife ended, he played an active part in developing the youth policy and coaching young players, and at one time was involved with a Howe of Fife ladies team (which included Rotary Club of Fife President Pat Mitchell).
The Reception also provided the opportunity for the Rotary Club Council to award a Paul Harris Award to former Club President and Secretary Donald Cameron for his service the club and fund-raising efforts; to mark the last meeting of Rotarian Peter Haselhurst who is relocating to St Andrews; and to remember former Rotarian Frank Toner who died earlier this week.
In closing the meeting, Rotary Club President Pat Mitchell thanked all of those who helped organise and run the event, and all of those who attended.
Evening Meeting held at Watts Restaurant on Wednesday 16th September 2015
|President Pat Mitchell and District Governor Mike Halley|
Rotary District Governor Mike Halley was the guest speaker at the weekly meeting of the Rotary Club of Cupar on Wednesday 16th September, bringing the greetings of his own club, Loch Ness and the wider Rotary movement.
Following an introduction by Club President Pat Mitchell,former fire officer and consultant Mike addressed the members with his view on how Rotary could survive in a changing society. One of the challenges was how the movement operated at present and how to attract new members. How to stay relevant and respond to change when people are more connected and distracted by social media. He suggested three areas for consideration. There was a need to re-calibrate and be in alignment with new developments.
Rotarians have a DNA that has continuing values, commitment that should never change, but we can re-engineer what we do and how we do it. Some of the existing protocols put off potential members and the movement needs people with a fresh pair of eyes. He took the view that Rotary traditions may not serve their purpose any more and while there is nothing wrong with tradition, he called for members to be responsive to change.
One suggestion he had was that new members of Rotary should be supported and mentored and moved around club committees as part of their integration.
The club's formal vote of thanks for an address that was full of common sense and plain speaking was given by Past President Graham Pirie.
Evening Meeting held at Watts Restaurant on Wednesday 23rd September 2015
The Club President Pat Mitchell announced a fresh publicity initiative by the Rotary Club of Cupar that would become visible to the residents of the town very soon. The Club will utilise an empty shop window in the narrow section of the Bonnygate to publicise a range of the projects that the club has undertaken recently and plans for the rest of this year.
The speaker for the evening was Past President Dermot Stewart who provided an illustrated account of a visit made to Cambodia. This was towards the end of a trip to neighbouring Viet Nam where the culture in welcoming tourists was considerably more advanced than in Cambodia.The bureaucracy on arrival at Phnom Penh airport seemed to be designed to create jobs rather than smooth the path of visitors. However the reason for the visit was Lonely Planet's list of places to visit which placed the temples Angkor Wat at the top of the list. They comprise 1000 temples covering an area of 155 square miles. The scale could not be appreciated from the images being shown, but the atmosphere was conveyed through Dermot's descriptive comments, including the photo opportunities being offered by locals dressed in traditional costume. It included many statues of great antiquity and settings so outstanding that they were used by film companies including the Lara Croft film, Tomb Raider. The complex attracts two million visitors a year. While not intending to return, an early rise the next morning before embarking on the flight home gave an opportunity to view Angkor Wat by sunrise thanks to arrangements by a hotel porter and a trip by Tuk Tuk.
Rotarian Jon Richmond gave the club's vote of thanks.
Evening Meeting held at Watts Restaurant on Wednesday 30th September 2015
Wednesday 30th September's Rotary Club Meeting was a Club Business Meeting at which Club President Pat Mitchell invited committee leads to present their reports on what had been achieved so far this year and their plans for the coming months. It was noted that the Club's Charity Collection from the wishing well at the Scottish Deer Centre had netted £484.33 in small change, thanks to the generosity of visitors there.The Coffee Morning that took place in August had raised over £1,200.00 and further fund raising events were planned including a collection at the Christmas Farmer's Market on 19th December, a three band night in February, the annual golf day in May and a sponsored swim event. Beneficiaries of Rotary Club Funds in recent months have included Prostate Scotland, Kidney Kids Scotland and Mary's Meals. Club members agreed to support a new project, Play List for Life, initiated by Sally Magnusson, that encourages families and carers of dementia sufferers to create a playlist of music that is personally meaningful by using an iPod.
Kilmaron School, Cupar is also to be supported by providing assistance to purchase a portable greenhouse for the benefit of pupils there. The International Committee continue to work alongside partners in Nepal and Uganda in delivering longstanding and new projects.The Club welcomed the announcement of the appointment of Rotarian Colin McKenzie as new Club Vice President.
Evening Meeting held at Watts Restaurant on Wednesday 7th October 2015
|Anstruther Rotarian Ian McBain|
Club President Pat Mitchell welcomed two visiting Rotarians to the Club meeting on Wednesday 7th October, Past President Colin Campbell and Rotarian Ian McBain from Anstruther Rotary Club.
Past President Brian Bayne introduced the speaker for the evening, Ian McBain, whose origins were from a fishing background, but he chose to pursue his seafaring life in the merchant navy first of all. His work now is as a Master/Offshore Installation Manager, taking charge of offshore floating rigs in the oil and gas exploration and supply sector, presently working in the Gulf of Mexico.
He told one story from his merchant navy experience that had consequences many years later. The vessel he was serving on in the South China Sea in 1980, The Bendearg was involved in the rescue of 72 Vietnamese refugees and many years later he had a reunion with one of the party rescued, who became a priest courtesy of Songs of Praise.
He referred to an incident in 1965 when the Rig, Sea Gem had a major incident that led to the loss of 13 lives and the review which followed introduced standby vessels and ensuring there was always someone in charge of the rig installation.
He provided illustrations of the various mobile rigs that are currently being operated by the oil and gas exploration companies for exploration and production. These included Jack-up Platforms, Semi-Submersible and Drilling Ships.His first command was the Stenna Deep. He described the materials used for drilling and the specialist equipment to prevent blow outs. As the rigs currently need to be kept on location, the sophisticated systems allow them to be kept withing one metre accuracy. He had experience of working off Norway and illustrated the complex piping that allowed the oil to be collected from under the sea and sent onwards for processing. The cost of oil £1.20 per litre e.g. cost of bottled water.
The vessel he now commands is the Stenna Icemax, part of the Stenna drilling fleet. The Stenna Max was built in South Korea by Samsung, one of only four registered in the U.K.
The Korean Shipbuilding industry is renowned for its efficiency, e.g. building a tanker in 8 months. He referred to the power generated by thrusters to keep the rigs on station and the optional extras that could be acquired to keep the rig working in all weathers and conditions, including the Arctic Circle. Extensive use of steel plate makes the rig capable of withstanding ice floes. The rig was handed over in 2012 at Samsung's shipyard which is situated in an area of the country where shipbuilding expertise is concentrated.
On station off French Guyana, then the Gulf of Mexico and shortly to Nova Scotia.
Past President Bruce Rollo gave the formal vote of thanks on behalf of the club for putting the oil exploration industry into perspective.
Evening Meeting held at Watts Restaurant on Wednesday 14th October 2015
On Wednesday 14 October President Pat Mitchell welcomed the 33 club members and 5 Rotarians from the Perth Kinnoul Club, attending the weekly meeting of the Rotary Club of Cupar.
The speaker for the evening, Club member and Vice-President Dr Michael Hendry, delivered an entertaining and informative talk on a recent eco-tourism visit to the island Republic of Madagascar, vividly illustrated by photographs and video material.
The island, which lies in the Indian Ocean 600 miles off the east coast of Africa, has been isolated from the neighbouring continental land masses for more than 60 million years following the break-up of the supercontinent of Gowanda. During and throughout that long period of relative isolation, with its central mountain range and a variety of forested regions, the island’s flora and fauna have evolved and diversified to fill he available, varied ecological niches to give the island many unique forms of wildlife. As a result, eco-tourism is now an important economic benefit to an island which has little by way of exploitable natural resources, and agricultural and industrial bases and practices relatively poor advanced by European standards. An example was shown of a small-scale, low-technology, almost cottage-industry, set-up for reclaiming and recycling of aluminium gleaned from imported Western waste materials.
Although visited by man from early times, permanent human habitation probably extends back 2,000 years, with the earliest and most numerous settlers being from Indonesia. It was explored by the Portuguese in the 1500s, but was not colonised by any European country until the 1890s. The country was granted its independence from France in 1960, and is now an independent republic.
Dr Hendry made mention, and showed examples, of local cultural, agricultural, and industrial activities, but the presentation focused on the island’s flora and fauna – with 80% of the native species being unique to Madagascar. The island is home to more than 100 species and sub-species of pro-simian lemurs, which have evolved without competition from non-human primates or natural predators to fill a variety of the island’s ecological niches – in size they range from types the size of shrews to some the size of the non-human primate great apes. Other unique mammals include the tenrec family: with a range of atypical mammalian anatomical and physiological characteristics the various species and sub-species of tenrec provide many examples of “convergent evolution”, having produced strains reminiscent of various other mammal classes from other parts of the world including European mice, shrews and otters – with the greater hedgehog tenrec being one of the better known types.
Amphibian and reptile species have similarly diversified, and the island is home to the majority of the world’s chameleon species. Arachnids and insects have similarly evolved to produce species unique to the island, and the presentation included a video of the mating rituals and practices of the distinctive giraffe-necked weevil.
Before accepting a vote of thanks for his presentation from the Club members, Dr Hendry dealt with a wide range of questions arising from the talk.
Evening Meeting held at Watts Restaurant on Wednesday 21st October 2015
|Dundee Rotarian John Dein|
At the Rotary Club meeting on 27th October, President Pat Mitchell welcomed 27 Rotarians to hear guest speaker John Dein introduced by Past President Bill Low.
It was a welcome return to the Club for John, a Past President of the Rotary Club of Dundee who had spoken previously about the Caledon Shipyard. On this occasion his topic, Whaling and Dundee, took his audience through the history of whaling and its commercial importance in the past to the City of Dundee.
Whale hunting has a long tradition, probably the first mariners to undertake the hunt on a commercial basis were the Basques in the 13th Century, travelling to the waters of the Bay of Biscay, Ireland and Greenland.In the 17th Century Sir Thomas Hudson encountered many whalers in Greenland waters and noted that the catch had the right qualities to produce oil. This started a rush of interest involving many nations and bases were established in remote corners such as Spitsbergen. The Dutch, who were a prominent whaling nation curtailed their involvement after their defeat at the Battle of Camperdown by Admiral Duncan, a native of Dundee. The City of Dundee became a larger whaling port after the passing of the Bounty Act and in 1752, Dundee merchants formed a company to build whaling vessels to take advantage of the bonanza.
By 1790, there were 23 Scottish ships involved in whaling, albeit fairly small vessels and it is reckoned that 10 were Dundee based in 1823. However, government subsidies were withdrawn due to a drop in demand for whale oil and this led to a lull in activity. A boost for the industry and Dundee based whalers came when it was necessary to obtain oil to soften jute being produced locally. The shipbuilding industry, particularly Stephens Yard developed expertise in constructing whaling ships that could withstand the Arctic ice and the harsh conditions that had to be endured. Their skill led to them building 27 whaling ships including the Terra Nova which had a lifespan lasting from 1884 to 1948. The whaling season started in April and the crews did not return until late summer or early autumn. Losses of crew due to the weather and dangerous working conditions meant that the families left behind never knew if they would ever see their men again when they set off. The industry left its mark on the City, as many local street names reflect the areas visited by the whalers. In the late Victorian period the commodities brought back by the whalers sustained not just the Jute industry, but also fashion with seal skins and bone for ladies corsets being in demand.
Club member Hilda Scott gave the vote of thanks.
Evening Meeting held at Watts Restaurant on Wednesday 28th October 2015
|Lauren Thom and James Addison receive their Certificates from President-Elect Michael Hendry|
On Wednesday 28 October, President Elect Dr Michael Hendry, standing in for President Pat Mitchell, welcomed twenty nine Club members, two guests and our two speakers to the weekly meeting of the Rotary Club of Cupar.
The speakers this evening were Rotary Youth Leadership Award (RYLA) winners, James Addison and Lauren Thom, both students at Bell Baxter High School in Cupar. After successful selection by the Rotary Club, they attended RYLA courses at the Abernethy Nethybridge outdoor activity centre in the Spey Valley during a week in August.
These courses are part of a Rotary International programme for young people (16-17 year olds), intended to develop skills in team working, leadership, communication, problem solving and decision making. Lauren and James gave separate presentations to the Club of their experiences during their 6-day intensive courses. There were each assigned to a team of about six other RYLA students, who they met for the first time on Day 1. Up at 7am, with breakfast at 8, was the beginning of busy days which included, over the course of the week, rock climbing, mountain biking, rafting, canoeing, gorge walking and Cairngorm hill walking. All very active, and with an underlying emphasis being put on team work and leadership.
By the end of the week Lauren and James had bonded with their fellow team members and will probably maintain these contacts for some time. They were undoubtedly fitter at the end of the week than when they began but both found that the various challenges encouraged them to push themselves beyond their self-perceived limits, physical and mental, and they felt that they had gained in confidence and self-esteem. Both James and Lauren concluded their talks with very competent video/still presentations, from material obtained during the courses.
Alastair Andrew presented them with their official RYLA Course certificates and Maurice Shepherd gave a vote of thanks.
Evening Meeting held at Watts Restaurant on Wednesday 4th November 2015
|Rotary Environmental Officer, Malcolm Rooney|
Thirty members were present on 4th November to hear guest speaker Malcolm Rooney from Kirriemuir introduced by Club President Pat Mitchell. As Rotary District Environmental Officer, Malcolm had already visited 30 clubs and his message on environmental issues came from the perspective of being a grandfather to four boys and his concern about the type of world that his grandchildren would inherit. He also referred to the Polio Eradication Programme supported by Rotary International and suggested that those whose future health prospects had been enhanced by the Programme also deserved to enjoy an environment that did not threaten their lifestyle. He also set environmental awareness raising in the context of the Rotary 4-way test, Is it the truth? Is it fair to all concerned? Will it build goodwill and better friendships? Will it be beneficial to all concerned?
He went on to set out to illustrate the threats to mankind that are arising from climate change, including water shortages, food shortages,migration and conflict arising from these issues and the exploitation of finite resources. In addition there are threats to biodiversity with losses of habitat, rising sea levels causing migration of indigenous populations and man-made pollution of the oceans. Closer to home he gave the example of open cast mining and the effect on local communities. We have become more aware of climate change with the increasing frequency of extreme weather events, but the emerging middle classes in the developing world have expectations that their lifestyle will be as good as that enjoyed in the west, and this in turn puts pressure on resources. He gave the example of the huge growth in car use in China. Food waste by fast food operators was another example of everyday waste of resources. The recent flooding in Alyth was an extreme weather event that had a tremendous impact in a small area.
It is essential to get people to change their lifestyle and reconsider their personal values and make changes in how to live by being careful consumers, follow the philosophy of zero waste and make the environment a Rotary priority. At the end of the day, politicians taking decisions affecting the environment need to be made aware of the legacy they are leaving.
Rotarian Béla Simandi gave the vote of thanks on behalf of those present.
Evening Meeting held at Watts Restaurant on Wednesday 11th November 2015
Rotarian Bill McSeveny was the speaker at the Rotary Club of Cupar meeting on 11th November which was chaired by Club President Pat Mitchell. His subject was "The Glasgow Boys" an artistic movement, best described as a group comprising of those who had loose friendships among each other, or had shared training in the art clubs within Glasgow. If they had something in common it was that they were all excluded from the most prestigious art institutions, the Royal Scottish Academy, the Glasgow Institute and Glasgow Art Club. They had common aspirations to break away from the trite and shallow work of establishment artists. The loose grouping included Paterson, (clerk), Guthrie (law student), Walton, McGregor, Crawhall, Henry (clerk), Lavery, (apprentice photographer), Roche (trainee architect), Dow, Kennedy, Melville, Hornel, Mann , Stevenson, Nairn, and Gauld (apprentice lithographer). Their influences included Jules Bastien-Lepage, Whistler and Japanese art which was coming into prominence.This meshing of people who came together from different backgrounds, with different but linked artistic knowledge produced work that coalesced around the central theme of naturalism and realism. McGregor, who was financially independent had studied in London became a "father" to the group and his Glasgow studio became an autumn and winter meeting place, while during the summer they would all paint in favourite locations around Scotland. Bill's talk was lavishly illustrated by slides of the work of the Glasgow Boys, some very recognisable, others less well so.
Guthrie, in common with others began to concentrate on subject rather than great landscapes, and a group visit to Brig O' Turk in 1881 produced the masterpiece, A Funeral Service in the Highlands. In 1881, a trip to Lincolnshire resulted in the well known work, To Pastures New. In 1883 and 1884 Cockburnspath became a gathering place for members of the group, resulting in a whole series of paintings that defined their work. Other from Glasgow were regularly visiting the French village of Gres-sur-Loinge, a picturesque village near to Paris that attracted artists. Hornel, who lived in Kirkcudbright, was visited by various colleagues, where the rural surroundings and characters were an inspiration for their work.
Looking for fresh inspiration, the technique and style of Japanese art had a profound effect on Hornel and Henry, and their collaboration on The Druids-bringing in the mistletoe is a fine example of this influence. Eventually they achieved recognition, acceptance and success and were commissioned to produce work by the well-to-do residents of Glasgow, such as An Afternoon Walk by Walton, The Tennis Party by Lavery, Midsummer by Guthrie. In May 1890, the Grosvenor Gallery in London staged a group exhibition to many plaudits, but hostility at home.
Past President Ron Smith in giving his vote of thanks to Bill, welcomed the passion and enthusiasm he had for the subject.
Evening Meeting held at Watts Restaurant on Wednesday 18th November 2015
The Rotary Club meeting on 18th November, while lacking a speaker, provided Club President Pat Mitchell with the opportunity to discuss the responses from members to a recent questionnaire that had sought their views about the future direction of the Club.Members were also provided with the schedule of the Club's activities over the festive season.
Following practice, the Carol Singing Choristers and Bell Ringers will be visiting Northeden House, the Adamson Hospital, Rosturk Care Home, Kilmaron School, Pitlair Home, Bathgate Court and Lunardi Court during December.
Assistance will also be given to Santa with his sleigh on his journey around Cupar and North Fife alongside the member of Round Table. The Club will also be undertaking a street collection on Saturday 19th December between 9.00 and 13.00.
Evening Meeting held at Watts Restaurant on Wednesday 25th November 2015
The Rotary Club meeting chaired by Club President Pat Mitchell on 25th November took the form of a Special General Meeting. Past President Dereck Thomson was responsible for fellowship. The Club Members present agreed to disbursement from the Club Charity Account to a number of good causes at home and abroad. Recipients included the Rotary International Polio Eradication Programme, the sponsoring of tickets for deserving recipients from Age Concern to attend the Cupar Amateur Musical Society production of Me and My Girl in February 2016, a donation to the Howe of Fife Rugby Club Duffus Park Project and funds to the Adamson Hospital, Bathgate Court and Northeden House to put towards Christmas treats for residents.In addition the Tay FM Christmas Appeal for Childrens' Beds would be supported. Half the proceeds from the Street Collection being undertaken by Rotarians on Saturday 19th December will be given to the Charity, Mary's Meals.
The International Committee reported that that they would be proceeding with a collection for Tools for Self Reliance and Bikes for Africa in the spring. Past President Dermot Stewart chairman of the Foundation Committee updated members about a potential water project that the Club wished to promote. If the Club decided to pursue the project, they would require a partner club in Nepal and a Global Grant from Rotary International. He indicated that negotiations would continue with his international contacts, subject to the present difficulties in Nepal.
The meeting approved the appointment of the following club officers for 2016-2017. President, Michael Hendry, President-Elect Colin McKenzie, Junior Vice-President Alastair Andrew and Immediate Past-President Pat Mitchell, Secretary Roy Marsden, Assistant Secretary Maurice Shepherd, Treasurer Willie Nicoll. Club President Pat encouraged participation in the heavy commitments being undertaken by the Club during the festive season.
Evening Meeting held at Watts Restaurant on Wednesday 2nd December 2015
Club President Pat Mitchell welcomed 28 members to the weekly meeting of the Rotary Club of Cupar on Wednesday 2nd December when the speaker was Club Past President, the Very Rev. Canon Pat McInally. He chose to review his connection with Uganda over the last ten years that had resulted through chance when his brother asked him to host a Ugandan Priest, Father Gerald from the village of Kakumero.
On being asked what he wished for most by way of assistance, Father Gerald had expressed the need for science facilities for the local senior school where he worked. The lack of these vital educational resources were holding back youngsters who wanted to train in nursing and medicine. A major fund-raising effort in the parish ensued and resulted in the new education block being opened when Canon Pat travelled to Uganda in 2005. He also illustrated the very poor facilities he encountered in primary education and a further drive to improve standards between 2005 and 2008 resulted in the building of a new primary school block which later had an accommodation unit attached to take care of those pupils who had too far to travel for their education.All these initiatives in Kakumero and later in Kiriika led to significant improvements in educational standards and the pride taken in these schools was evident from the pictures shown of children in their uniforms. One aspect of local life that needed attention was local water supplies, as youngsters had to fetch water in jerry-cans pumped by hand from a bore hole, a very time consuming and physically demanding task.
A previous attempt to harvest water in tanks had failed and this was where the Rotary Club of Cupar brought additional funds from the Rotary movement to enable improvements to the water supply not just for the local school, but also vital medical facilities. On his Ugandan trips, Canon Pat was able to undertake a local safari to see the Murchison Falls and visit the source of the White Nile at the Equator, ironically an enormous body of water in an area where it has proved challenging to provide piped water to the local population.
The vote of thanks on behalf of the Club to Canon Pat was given by Rotarian Alastair Andrew.
Evening Meeting held at Watts Restaurant on Wednesday 9th December 2015
|Mercy Ships - Tony Clapham|
The guest speaker at Cupar Rotary Club's meeting on 9th December was introduced by Rotarian Harry Mellotte, with 31 members present. Tony Clapham is a specialist nurse within the NHS in Fife, but prior to his nursing career, he was an engineering officer in the Merchant Navy for 10 years and active volunteer with the Mercy Ships Organisation. He helped on the Anastasis for 6 months initially and then other stints over a 10 year period when time permitted on the Caribbean Mercy. Anne Gloag became a benefactor when she saw the impact that the Mercy Ships had in delivering care and encouraged Scottish Rotarians to support the charity.
Mercy Ships is an International Christian charity, the vision of Don Stephens, using hospital ships that partner with land-based programmes to deliver life-changing health care at no charge to the forgotten poor of Africa. The story began with the purchase of a former ocean liner in 1978, transformed to become a floating hospital and clinic that arranged calls at ports in developing nations. All the crews and medical staff are volunteers who return to the hospital ships time and time again to carry out their vital work.
Tony described the range of routine surgical procedures that were carried out on patients who are screened in advance, dealing with benign tumours, cleft lip and palate, childbirth injuries, burns, cataracts and other eye problems. In addition, a dental team is on board, with other specialists dealing with clean water and sanitation, construction, women's projects and providing training and mentoring that will lead to self reliance.
The current mercy ship, Africa Mercy, is currently working in Madagascar, where the example of an area with only two dentists for every 100,00 people brought home the need for the service provided. A new vessel is being built in China to extend the work of the organisation and although expensive, it will be more cost effective than equivalent land-based facilities around Africa. Tony emphasised that the Mercy Ships only visited the regions served at the invitation of the local government. Examples of individuals getting back their lives through medical intervention were described and the impact that could have on families and communities.
Rotarian Euan Barbour expressed the Club's thanks to Tony for his presentation which he found a humbling experience and must have left all who heard it thankful that they live in an area where medical services are available on their doorstep.
Club President Pat Mitchell then called on Harry Mellotte to present a cheque for £400 to Mercy Ships, his chosen charity, on behalf of the Rotary Club of Cupar.
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Thanks to Roger Siddle of the Carnforth Rotary Club for his revolving Rotary wheel.