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Notes on all meetings in 2012

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Evening Meeting held at Watts Restaurant on Wednesday 11th January 2012

Douglas Drysdale and Catherine Meikle - Click for larger image
Douglas Drysdale and Catherine Meikle - Bethany Christian Trust

Thirty-eight members and 3 guests attended the meeting held in Watts Restaurant on 11th January.
Guest speakers were Douglas Drysdale of the Bethany Christian Trust and Catherine Meikle from St James Church, Cupar. Douglas gave a brief background to the Bethany Christian Trust which was established in 1983 by the Rev. Alan Berry, then the minister of South Leith Church. Today the Trust supports 4000 homeless and vulnerable people in Scotland every year and helps them find, equip and maintain a home within their local community. Today it is estimated that 3000 people sleep rough on the streets of Scotland. The average age at death of someone sleeping on the street is 42, (37 years earlier than the national average), mainly due to their lifestyle and living arrangements. Douglas emphasised that the Bethany Trust provides a service to all regardless of faith, race or background, a true example of Christian faith in action. The Bethany Christian Trust works with other agencies including Fife Council but is facing a bleak future given the scale of cut-backs due. More and more, the Trust will have to rely upon charity giving.
Catherine and a group of volunteers from St James has had a working relationship with the Trust for the last year and has already organised a day out for local mothers and their children to the deer centre and an outing to Anstruther for men which included a visit to the lifeboat station. Both outings enabled the participants, many facing similar challenges to socialise, gain confidence and experience friendship.
The vote of thanks was given by Dereck Thomson.

Evening Meeting held at Watts Restaurant on Wednesday 18th January 2012

Jordan Williams - Click for larger image
Ambassadorial Scholar Jordan Williams

Thirty-five members and one guest attended the meeting held in Watts Restaurant on 18th January. Guest speaker was ambassadorial student Jordan Williams from Athens, Texas. (official home of the hamburger!)
Rotary's Ambassadorial Scholarship programme promotes international understanding and friendly relations among people from different parts of the world. Since 1947, 41,000 men and women have benefitted from the programme.
Jordan is studying Peace and Conflict studies in the dept. of International Relations at St. Andrews University. She has a keen interest in political science and philosophy. About to embark on a field trip to Bosnia, Jordan will work with peace groups trying to build relations with the factions involved in the bitter civil war.
The vote of thanks was given by Eric Young.

Evening Meeting held at Watts Restaurant on Wednesday 25th January 2012

Jill Cameron and David Latto - Click for larger image The Rotary Choir - Click for larger image Brian Bayne - Click for larger image Calum Torrance - Click for larger image Poosie Nancy - Click for larger image Bill Imlay - Click for larger image
Jill Cameron and David Latto - Ruff Diamonds The Rotary Choir at Kilmaron School on Burns Day Brian Bayne and the Haggis (Brian's the one wearing a tie) Piper Calum Torrance Alison McGregor as Poosie Nancy Bill Imlay proposes the toast to The Immortal Memory

Forty-three members and one guest attended the Cupar Rotary club Burns supper held in Watts Restaurant on 25th January.
The haggis was carried in by Poosie Nancy (Alison McGregor) before being attacked by Brian Bayne, who gave an enthusiastic address. So much so, that club President Dermot Stewart and Treasurer Hilda Scott had to take evasive action as Brian wielded his knife!
The Immortal Memory was given by guest speaker Bill Imlay from the North Fife Rotary club who gave a well informed and humorous presentation, frequently giving anecdotes from his time as a Headteacher.
The vote of thanks was given by Alastair Andrew.
Members were delighted to hear from the secretary, Donald Cameron, that the club's Ruff Diamonds concert held in the Corn Exchange had raised £1,172 for Macmillan Cancer Support.

Evening Meeting held at Watts Restaurant on Wednesday 1st February 2012

Forty-three members attended the Cupar Rotary club business meeting held in Watts Restaurant on 1st February. President Dermot Stewart was in the chair.
Dermot announced that Rotary International had just succeeded in meeting the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation's $200 million match in funding for polio eradication, raising more than $202.6 million as of 17th January. To date, Rotarians world-wide have raised more than $1 billion towards eradication of this vaccine-preventable disease.
After discussion, members agreed to donate £1000 towards a sand dam project in Africa being jointly funded by other clubs in the district. A sand dam, costing about £10,000 is a reinforced concrete wall built across seasonal river beds - 2 to 4 metres high and up to 90 metres across. A pipe is built into the dam, going 20 metres upstream. Over one to three seasons, the dam fills up with water, then sand, which filters water through the pipe built into the dam. Each dam provides a clean water supply for up to 1,200 people, animals and nurseries for trees and vegetables.
Members also agreed to donate around £1,100 towards moneys already raised by Castlehill School Association to purchase a white-board, a much needed computerised teaching aid.
Graham Black represented the club at a recent meeting of interested parties keen to improve upon Cupar's Christmas lights. Graham reported that the meeting had been very positive but that it would be 2013 before any substantial improvements could be made as Fife's supplier was under contract for another year.

Evening Meeting held at Watts Restaurant on Wednesday 8th February 2012

Dr Krishnaswamy - Click for larger image
Dr Krishnaswamy spoke of his involvement with a Mercy Ships project in Sierra Leone

Thirty-five members and three guests attended the Cupar Rotary club meeting held in Watts Restaurant on 8th February. President Dermott Stewart was in the chair.
Sandy Mitchell introduced the guest speaker, retired G.P. Dr Krishnaswamy who gave an illustrated talk on his experiences helping to establish the Women's Fistula Centre at the Aberdeen clinic in Freetown, Sierra Leone. The clinic was established by "Mercy Ships", a charity established in 1978. Originally using the converted ocean liner "Victoria", the charity's goal is to take modern hospital facilities to the world's poorest people.
Dr Krishnaswamy was part of a Rotary Challenge team which in 2006 spent 14 days in Freetown helping to finish off the clinic. He personally was working in the paediatric wing. When women arrived at the clinic they were taught basic housekeeping, sewing and cooking, skills they did not learn at home as they had generally been abandoned by their families due to being incontinent. This training and corrective surgery enabled the women to rejoin their families. His journey was not without incident as the last leg of the team's travel was by an old Russian helicopter, still bearing bullet holes! Neither did it have seats!
This year sees the 12th Rotary Challenge team of volunteers work in the clinic which is now managed by the Gloag foundation, set up by the Stagecoach bus company founder Ann Gloag.
The vote of thanks was given by George Bett.

Evening Meeting held at Watts Restaurant on Wednesday 15th February 2012

Thirty-two members and two guests attended the Cupar Rotary club meeting held in Watts Restaurant on 15th February. President elect Rennie Ritchie was in the chair.
The guest speaker was Alex Drinkell, a fundraiser for the charity Scottish Autism. Alex explained that about 50,000 people in Scotland have autism, which is a lifelong developmental condition affecting social interaction, communication and imagination.
Scottish Autism's mission is to "enable people with autism on the whole life journey" and perhaps their biggest asset is the New Struan School in Clackmannanshire. Here, the specially designed facility provides schooling with one teacher and two support assistants working with six pupils in each classroom.
Other facilities include a garden centre and community craftshop with cafe. The charity however requires £100,000 per pupil to support them.
The vote of thanks was given by Brian Bayne.
By coincidence, it was reported that the respite facility for children with autism in Eden Park was to close as part of Fife Council cuts. Rotarians have supported this facility in the past and club members are currently painting a mural inside the house. Regrettably, staff at the centre found out about the closure whilst hosting an open day for parents and club members.

Evening Meeting held at Watts Restaurant on Wednesday 22nd February 2012

President Dermot Stewart chaired the meeting of Cupar Rotary club which was attended by thirty-seven members and held in Watts Restaurant on 22nd February.
The speaker was club member Dr Jon Richmond, whose career in medicine commenced as a nursing assistant in Forresthall Hospital, Glasgow. Jon has a keen interest in music and was never happier than visiting a small club, frequented by now famous acts such as Billy Connolly, Barbara Dickson, Hamish Imlach and Gerry Rafferty. Not content with nursing, Jon was successful in gaining a place at Edinburgh University where he graduated with Honours in 1974.
Following three years with the Medical Research Centre, Jon moved to Bangour Hospital as a House Officer. He gained valuable experience in general medicine before being promoted to Senior House Officer and gaining his Fellowship of the Royal College of Surgeons. Jon went on to train in plastic surgery dealing with serious burns and scalding accidents. He worked in hospitals in both Australia and America. In America he worked with eminent plastic surgeons including Ian Jackson who rebuilt the face of David Lopez who had been left to die in the Amazon jungle because of a severe disfigurement. Jon also worked with the surgeon who wrote the standard manual in plastic surgery, still accepted today as a reference document. He returned to Bangour in 1986, when his career took another turn, this time to the Home Office.
Jon captivated his audience with his fascinating illustrated talk, peppered with humour and anecdotes leaving them anxious to hear the next episode!

Evening Meeting held at Watts Restaurant on Wednesday 29th February 2012

President Dermot Stewart chaired the joint meeting of Cupar Rotary club, the Inner Wheel club of Cupar and Howe of Fife Rotary club which was attended by sixty-four members and one guest.
The speaker was John Beaton MBE who was born in Dundee and left school at the age of 15 to work as an apprentice fitter and then as a draughtsman. Following national service he returned to Dundee and after working for several companies, founded his own company, Kolfor Plant Ltd. Kolfor soon became the biggest privately owned plant company operating in the North sea oil and gas sector and was eventually purchased by Atlas Copco in 2004.
John has a keen interest in space and had contacts throughout the oil industry who helped him to gain access to the Johnson Space Centre in Houston. He soon found that many of the senior managers had Scottish ancestors and a strong bond was established. John enthralled his audience with photographs taken inside the space centre and with anecdotes related to astronauts who had later visited John in Dundee.
John is an active supporter of the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) project, hosted by Abertay University. STEM's aim is to attract school children to the engineering and science fields. Once a year John assists the project by bringing scientists and astronauts to Dundee from Houston to talk to the children and hold engineering workshops.
The vote of thanks was given by Graham Pirie.

Evening Meeting held at Watts Restaurant on Wednesday 7th March 2012

Forty members and one guest were welcomed to the meeting by President Dermot Stewart, and were entertained after dinner by Past President Graham Pirie, who presented "A Tale of Love and War".
Maria, Graham's friend since he was in his teens, had known little about her father in her childhood, except that her mother had told her that he had been killed in the 2nd World War. Over the years she became more curious about him, and managed to find out that he had been an Italian soldier, captured in North Africa and shipped to Scotland as a POW. He was put to work on the land, and met and fell in love with the local girl who was to become Maria's mother. When they discovered she was pregnant, her family disowned her, but fortunately she was taken in by a distant relative, who looked after her in return for work, and when Maria was born she and her baby were taken in by an Italian family in Kirkcaldy.
Her father saw her occasionally during the rest of the war, but after he was repatriated in 1947 the exchange of letters between her parents gradually dried up - apart from the distance, there was also the problem that neither could speak the other's language, and the letters had to be translated for them.
Maria married in due course, but kept up with the Piries, sharing family holidays together. A chance remark from a gardener who thought she looked Italian when they were on holiday in Tuscany got her thinking, and she started searching local records for her family name. After several false starts, she found that her father had arrived back to his family of ten brothers and sisters in 1947, to a very poor war-damaged region of Italy, and had decided to take up a government offer of free passage to Argentina. He'd become engaged to a local girl, and she was to follow him. Maria followed this information up, and eventually was invited, with the Piries, to a family reunion in Mar del Plata - there was such a crowd to meet them at the airport that the locals thought a film star was flying in!
Although this was a joyful occasion, for Maria and her father there were mixed emotions - some guilt on her father's part, and sorrow that so many family occasions had been missed. Maria has made up for some of this since by making six trips each to the families in Italy and Argentina since then, but she decided not to tell her mother, who died recently without knowing about her past lover's new life in Argentina.
Past President Pat McInally thanked Graham for sharing such a romantic and touching story with the club.

Evening Meeting held at Watts Restaurant on Wednesday 21st March 2012

Adam Varjavandi - Click for larger image
Adam Varjavandi - Chinaberry

President Dermot Stewart was delighted to welcome 11 guests along with 37 members to the meeting on the 21st of March. The Lunchtime Jazz event with Dr Jazz on Sunday 11th March raised £380 for the Everyman campaign, which targets male cancers and is run by the Institute of Cancer Research.
After dinner, the club heard from Adam Varjavandi, whose career plans were changed dramatically by his gap year in 2003, leading him to defer and then abandon his university place in Architecture. He had gone to stay with a family contact in Macao, fell in love with China, and started to learn Chinese. Returning to Scotland at the end of the gap year, he decided to start a degree course in Chinese language and literature at Xi'an university.
Standing out from other students in looks and attitude, and often dressed up in his kilt, Adam made the most of opportunities and appeared on Chinese television and in local functions, even becoming the first Westerner to appear in Chinese classical opera. While studying he became involved with his Chinese contemporaries, who seemed to him to lack confidence in their own abilities and to to defer more to their parents than Scots would. He tried to encourage them to follow their own paths - for example, one of his fellow students told him that her attitude to homeless people had been turned around by a project he organised.
After completing his course, Adam decided to offer future gap-year students the same opportunities as he had had, but packaged in a more organised fashion, and he set up the Chinaberry programme. This offers students a cultural exchange in Xi'an, with sessions in Chinese language, culture and history along with internships in local organisations.
A lively question-and-answer session followed Adam's presentation, including a series of questions in their own language from Chinese students at Elmwood College, and formal thanks were given by the President.

Evening Meeting held at Watts Restaurant on Wednesday 28th March 2012

Jim McArthur - Click for larger image
Jim McArthur, Chairman of the R&A Championship Committee

President Dermot Stewart chaired the meeting of Cupar Rotary club which was attended by thirty-nine members and one guest and held in Watts Restaurant on 28th March.
The guest speaker was Jim McArthur, Chairman of the R&A Championship Committee. Jim gave a brief history of the background to the R&A group of companies which are quite separate from the members club, the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews. That club was founded in 1754 and was regarded as a governing authority both in the UK and abroad. Between 1897 and 2003 it developed three areas of responsibility, namely administration of the rules of golf, running the Open Championship and other key golfing events and development of the game in emerging golfing nations. A major reorganisation in 2004 saw the club devolve these responsibilities to the R&A group of companies.
Jim gave a fascinating insight to the detailed planning that goes into each Open Championship, e.g. measuring of the holes and survey of bunkers, laying of fibre optic communications cables for TV and media centre, player facilities, transport arrangements for spectators and players, helipad provision, courtesy cars, accommodation and security. Planning for an Open takes four years, so at any one time, four different Opens are in the planning stage!
Studies have been undertaken into the economic benefit of hosting the Open and it is estimated that the Fife economy benefited by the additional income of £40 million during the 2010 Open when 200,000 spectators attended!
The club's vote of thanks was given by Vince Fusaro.

Evening Meeting held at Watts Restaurant on Wednesday 4th April 2012

Debbie Wheelans - Click for larger image
Debbie Wheelans from Cupar & District Horticultural Society

President Dermot Stewart chaired the meeting of Cupar Rotary club, attended by thirty-four members and one guest and held in Watts Restaurant on 4th April.
The guest speaker was Debbie Wheelans from Cupar & District Horticultural Society who gave an excellent illustrated talk. Part of the society's remit is to organise the Annual Flower Show. In 2011 the club marked its centenary year with a huge flower and craft show held in the Corn Exchange. The show was opened by Jim McColl from the Beechgrove Garden and attracted over 800 visitors during the weekend to view the six hundred and fifty individual entries. The flower and vegetable show also included trade exhibitions, a cookery demonstration, "gardener's question time", handicrafts, floral art, photography, baking and a children's section.
Previously held in the YMCA, the size of the show now demands a larger floor space and this year's show is also scheduled for the Corn Exchange. It will be held on 25th & 26th August and be opened by Bill Torrance.
The Society is run entirely by volunteers and Debbie joins her mother and father on the committee, her father Les Wheelans has been involved in the society for 40 years!
Funding comes from coffee mornings, a "stovie dance" and bingo nights organised by the society but also by donations from organisations such as Rotary and local businesses.
The club's vote of thanks was given by Peter Haselhurst who reminded members that surprisingly this was Debbie's public speaking debut.

Evening Meeting held at Watts Restaurant on Wednesday 11th April 2012

Chris Hobster - Click for larger image
Chris Hobster - Access Officer, Scottish Rights of Way and Access Society ("Scotways")

President Dermot Stewart chaired the meeting of Cupar Rotary club, attended by thirty members and one guest and held in Watts Restaurant on 11th April.
The guest speaker was Chris Hobster, an access officer with the Scottish Rights of Way and Access Society, (Scotways for short). Scotways was founded in 1845 and has been looking after rights of ways and access in general since then. It is a registered charity and depends heavily upon donations to maintain the many rights of way in Scotland. Fife alone has some 1312 rights of way! Chris tested the local knowledge of members by showing several slides of local walks, some of which had fallen into disrepair. She reminded us that everyone with an interest in the countryside can help Scotways keep their register up to date by reporting those walks still open, defects such as broken styles, blocked paths (sometimes deliberate) and overgrown paths. It was important to make sure these walks are used to maintain their status as rights of way.
Chris showed several examples where landowners had deliberately blocked rights of way. Some paths were blocked by erecting fences and others by placing large straw bales across the access point. Scotways, working with Fife Council's Access team would then try to negotiate with the landowner to have the path restored. Most cases were resolved amicably but some required legal action.
The club's vote of thanks was given by Doreen Gray.

Evening Meeting held at Watts Restaurant on Wednesday 25th April 2012

President Dermot Stewart welcomed thirty-one members and one guest to the meeting and Rotarian Pat Mitchell spoke after dinner about the development of orchestral timpani. There is archaeological evidence of percussion instruments going back some 30,000 years, about the same time as cave-painting and other artistic activities. It's likely that these were used in battle, in ritual and to accompany dancing and other community activities.
One of Pat's tutors at the Royal Academy of Music was Professor James Blades, who wrote the standard reference work "Percussion Instruments and their History". He is also known for the V-for-Victory call-sign which introduced BBC transmissions to resistance movements in Europe during the Second World War - he recorded this in Morse Code using a small Ugandan kettle-drum - and for the gong which sounded at the start of J Arthur Rank films. The oiled and muscular man who appeared to strike the gong was actually miming with a papier-mache mockup!.
The ancestors of modern timpani are small Arab drums called nakers, which came back to Europe with the Crusaders in the 13th Century in a portable military form, and gradually evolved into the sophisticated kettle drums used in orchestras today. Earlier kettle drums were very heavy because they were made of copper, and hard to keep in tune because the calf-skin heads were affected by temperature and humidity. Their present-day counterparts are made of fibreglass with plastic heads, and are much easier to handle and play.
As the instruments evolved, so did the sophistication of the music composed using them by composers such as Bach, Berlioz, Wagner, Shostakovich, Stravinsky, Elgar and Britten.
Pat demonstrated the skills of the timpanist on three kettle drums, and was given the club's formal thanks by Rotarian Tracy Jordan.

Evening Meeting held at Watts Restaurant on Wednesday 2nd May 2012

Thirty members and three guests met on the second of May with President Dermot Stewart in the chair. AFter dinner, Rotarian Béla Simandi introduced his friend Douglas Dredge. A fifth-generation native of St Andrews he took his first degree in his home-town, and went on to postgraduate work in Edinburgh, studying Botany, Geology and Chemistry, with a subsequent teaching career in secondary schools, college and university.
As well as his professional work, Douglas has been a member of musical and theatre clubs, is a Queen's Scout, and has a special interest in Whisky - both its manufacture and its complexity.
Some thirty years ago, Douglas became friendly with a neighbour whose family overlapped in ages with his, and who was a postgraduate student from Greece. When his friend went back to Greece, Douglas was invited to visit, and after a couple of years of prevarication he got round to it and started a new course of study - "The Greeks, their behaviour, background and ethics"!
He has found Greeks to be very generous with their hospitality and their time, but not necessarily punctual. His friends live in Patras, which is the third largest city in Greece, is on the North coast of the Peloponnese on the shore of the gulf of Corinth. This area has been inhabited by Greek speakers for more than 4 millenia, and houses much of the archaeological evidence for the development of civilisation. Douglas has found that present-day Greeks are always keen to talk about politics and about their health - sometimes in unwelcome detail! They are reluctant to pay taxes, and will always be willing to be flexible in the matter of receipts for goods and services.
Knowing what he now knows about the Greek personality, he has little doubt that Greece joining the Euro was doomed to failure.
Past President Bill Nicoll thanked Douglas on behalf of the club.

Evening Meeting held at Watts Restaurant on Wednesday 9th May 2012

Thirty-five members and one guest attended the meeting held in Watts Restaurant on 9th May under the chairmanship of club president Dermot Stewart.
The speaker was club member Ron Smith who had spent his working life in the motor trade. Ron surprised most of his audience by the revelation that 50 years ago there were eleven garages in Cupar which sold petrol. Today, despite a twelve-fold increase in traffic, there is only one. Customers have to both queue and serve themselves. The more mature members listening recalled that 50 years ago, an attendant not only filled up the petrol but checked the oil and tyres too! Ron then went on to describe where each of the garages was and explained that each represented a different car manufacturer, all of which were British. Foreign cars were rare indeed.
The amalgamation of several marques reduced the necessity for so many outlets eg Morris, Austin, Triumph and Rover into British Leyland, Humber, Hillman, Sunbeam and Singer into Rootes Group. Furthermore, in the 1970s the car manufacturers put pressure on the main dealers to build larger showrooms and workshop facilities. To cover these capital outlays, main dealers had to sell more cars and stopped dealing through sub-dealers. Without car sales, these smaller garages were no longer financially viable as costs exceeded profits. One by one they closed down.
Nowadays, oil companies dictate prices and margins to the supermarkets.
Tony Martin proposed the vote of thanks.

Evening Meeting held at Watts Restaurant on Wednesday 16th May 2012

Lindsay Murray - Click for larger image
Lindsay Murray, Scotland's Garden Scheme

Forty-two members and one guest attended the meeting held in Watts Restaurant on 16th May under the chairmanship of club president Dermot Stewart.
The guest speaker was Lindsay Murray from Scotland's Gardens Scheme, a registered charity established in 1931. Its original purpose was to facilitate the opening of private gardens to the public as a means of raising money to support the training and pensions of the Queen's Nurses, generally known as District Nurses. Today other beneficiaries include Maggie's Cancer Caring Centres.
Lindsay went on to describe the special occasion of the Fife Diamond Garden Festival which was to be opened on 18th May at Cambo House, Kingsbarns. A further 11 gardens would be open over the following two days. Many of these gardens would open to the public for the first time.
Funds raised would go to the Association for International Cancer Research (AICR), a St Andrews-based charity which sponsors cancer research throughout the world to the value of £10m annually. Lindsay showed photographs and gave an interesting description of the various gardens in what promised to be a magnificent event.
The club's vote of thanks was proposed by Ian Copland.

Evening Meeting held at Watts Restaurant on Wednesday 23rd May 2012

Thirty-nine members met at Watts for Club's meeting on the 23rd of May, with President Dermot Stewart in the chair.
Past President Brian Bayne spoke after dinner on his recent visit to the Floriade exhibition in the Netherlands. This is an international horticultural exhibition first held in 1960, held again in 1972, and since then on a ten-yearly basis. It's more than just a flower show, as Brian's brilliant collection of slides showed, taking place on a 66 hectare site in South-Eastern Holland in Venlo, and featuring five themed areas entitled Environment, Greeen Engine, Relax and Heal, Education and Innovation and World Show Stage.
Harry Mellotte proposed the Vote of Thanks.

Evening Meeting held at Watts Restaurant on Wednesday 30th May 2012

Eric Young's Clock - Click for larger image
Eric Young's Handmade Clock

Thirty-three members and one guest attended the meeting held in Watts Restaurant on 30th May under the chairmanship of club president Dermot Stewart.
The speaker was club member and Cupar businessman Eric Young whose talk was aptly entitled "What I have done with my time". Eric had brought along a magnificent grasshopper escapement clock which he had lovingly restored to full working order. The grasshopper escapement is an unusual, low-friction escapement for pendulum clocks and was invented by John Harrison in 1722. An escapement is that part of a mechanical clock which causes its gears to move forward by a fixed distance and also gives the pendulum periodic pushes to keep it swinging.
Eric's clock had originally been made from scratch in the mid-eighties by a retired botanist. The clock had never worked and its maker put it away for over twenty years. Hearing of Eric's interest and enthusiasm for restoring clocks, the botanist gifted the clock to Eric. After researching and locating the original design drawings, Eric took the clock to pieces and compared each component to the design. Having found several discrepancies, Eric remade some of the components in his workshop and slowly rebuilt the clock.
This intricate work involved tremendous engineering skill. Examples passed around his audience included escapement toothed wheels cut from brass plate, slender shafts turned from steel rod and near frictionless bearings formed from Lignum Vitae hardwood. Eric finally built a magnificent brass framed glass case to show off his masterpiece. The clock not only shows the time but the date and phase of the moon.
The club's vote of thanks was given by Ron Smith.

Evening Meeting held at Watts Restaurant on Wednesday 6th 2012

Thirty-five members and four guests from the Anstruther club attended the meeting held in Watts Restaurant on 6th June under the chairmanship of club president Dermot Stewart.
The speaker was club member Rennie Ritchie whose talk was entitled "Rebecca".
The Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE) Treaty, negotiated during the final years of the Cold war and signed in 1990, eliminated the Soviet Union's overwhelming advantage in conventional weapons in Europe by setting equal limits on the amount of tanks, armoured combat vehicles, heavy artillery, combat aircraft and attack helicopters that NATO and the Warsaw Pact could deploy between the Atlantic Ocean and the Ural Mountains.
Rebecca was the code name given to the operation which allowed inspection teams from both sides to gain access to any property they chose for the purpose of ensuring the agreed numbers of Treaty Limited Equipment (TLE) was not exceeded. The official point of entry to Scotland was Leuchars, which fell under the jurisdiction of Fife Constabulary. A senior police officer was always sent out with a team of visiting inspectors to ease the way and explain, if necessary, the presence of these foreign senior military officers. Surprisingly, the inspection teams had the right to enter any property they desired which had a doorway over two metres high!
Rennie recalled one incident when, as an Inspector with Fife Constabulary, he escorted one such group of predominantly Hungarian military officers on an inspection of Lossiemouth, Kinloss and Fort George. Having left the A9 at Inverness and heading east, the group took a sudden interest in a woodchip factory. It was up to Rennie to explain to the factory management that his group wished to, and had the right to inspect the plant. Somewhat perplexed, the manager took the group into the boardroom and explained with slides the purpose of the factory. Of course, Highland hospitality was afforded to the visitors who took a particular liking to the Laphroaig single malt!
Needless to say the rest of the day's carefully planned inspections were postponed as the visitors relaxed and learned about Scottish culture!
The club's vote of thanks was given by Colin McKenzie.

Evening Meeting held at Watts Restaurant on Wednesday 13th June 2012

After welcoming twenty-eight members to the meeting, President Dermot Stewart gave a special welcome to Assistant District Governor Grace Morris.
Reports were received from various recent events: Castlehill School's team had been successful in reaching the final stages of District 1010's Primary School Quiz held at Oldmeldrum, and although they took the lead at first, they were eventually displaced by Craighill Primary School from Tain. Earlier in the day, members had assisted at another successful KidsOut Day at Cairnie Fruit Farm, and on Monday a group of members had made a trip to the Isle of May, with Ranger Tony Wilson acting as a guide to the history and wildlife of the island.
After dinner, the President handed over to incoming President Rennie Ritchie, who chaired the Club Assembly - introducing his committees' plans for the new Rotary year, which starts in July. Over and above a full programme of fund-raising and social events, the club will be celebrating its 80th birthday with a Charter Dinner on the 16th November.

Evening Meeting held at Watts Restaurant on Wednesday 20th June 2012

Alan Clitherow - Click for larger image
Amateur Astronomer, Alan Clitherow

The Club's meeting on the 20th June was chaired by President Dermot Stewart, who welcomed thirty-two members and three guests. Tony Martin introduced the speaker - neighbour and past RAF colleague, Alan Clitherow. Alan illustrated his talk on astronomy with spectacular images taken directly with his camera, or through his telescope.
Alan grew up in the Leicester area, where light pollution and smog make start-gazing nearly impossible, but Scotland has plenty of opportunities for the amateur astronomer, including his back garden in Ceres - his favourite area is the Isle of Skye.
Meteors and comets flashed by, the Northern Lights (viewed from Ceres) lit the room, and the moon, sunspots, solar flares, a total eclipse of the Sun and the transit of Venus illustrated a talk full of information presented with such ease and confidence that the technicalities didn't challenge a lay audience.
Past President Ian Copland thanked Alan on behalf of the club.

Evening Meeting held at Watts Restaurant on Wednesday 27th June 2012

Thirty-six members were present at Watts on the 27th June 2012, with President Dermot Stewart taking the chair for the last time - his place will be taken next week at the beginning of the new Rotary Year by Rennie Ritchie. Reporting on the outcome of work done by Rotarians in clearing debris from Tarvit Ponds, Bruce Rollo had heard from Ranger Tony Wilson that young fish were now visible in the ponds. Alison MacGregor, who had been the winner of the Charity Choice ballot, nominated Fife Young Carers to receive a donation from the club - the next Charity Choice goes to Tony Martin.
After dinner, Rotarian Susan Duff presented a series of photographs from her recent holiday in Denmark and Sweden. This was a break in the family tradition of holidaying in Austria, not unconnected with her involvement with the Curly Hairy Retriever Association, and a few champion dogs' photos were mixed in with the historic sites and a professional sandcastle competition.
Rotarian Euan Barbour thanked Susan on behalf of the Club.

Evening Meeting held at Watts Restaurant on Wednesday 11th July 2012

Thirty-five members attended the meeting held in Watts Restaurant on 11th July under the chairmanship of new club president Rennie Ritchie.
Following the general business session, members were invited to have an evening of fellowship, socialising with the other members present.
Members were reminded of the club coffee morning to be held in the Corn Exchange on Saturday 4th August. It was intimated that volunteers are required to assist and that donations needed for the hamper and other stalls in this major fund raising event.

Evening Meeting held at Watts Restaurant on Wednesday 18th July 2012

Thirty-one members attended the meeting held in Watts Restaurant on 18th July under the chairmanship of club president Rennie Ritchie.
Speaker was club member Alastair Andrew who gave an excellent illustrated talk on a recent holiday in British Columbia. Having flown to Calgary, the road trip took in Banff and Lake Louise before heading north to Jasper. At Morraine Lake, smoke from controlled forest burning had obliterated the sun and Alastair explained the reasons for and methods of burning vast areas of forest.
The talk was punctuated with some stunning photographs of the Rockies. Alastair described in some detail the spiral railway tunnels in Kicking Horse Pass, built to reduce the hitherto dangerous gradient that earlier trains had coped with. From Jasper, he travelled west through Whistler to Vancouver Island. Near Campbell River, in Seymour Narrows an underwater mountain had caused many deaths and ships to be lost prior to its removal in 1958. Describing how the shipping hazard was eventually removed by tunnelling below the mountain, Alastair surprised his audience with the fact that to this day, the blast at Ripple Rock remains the world's largest non-atomic explosion. The trip ended in Vancouver with a flight back to the UK.
The club's vote of thanks was given by Bill Nicoll.
Members were reminded of the club's coffee morning to be held in the Corn Exchange on Saturday 4th August. Donations are required for the hamper and usual stalls.

Evening Meeting held at Watts Restaurant on Wednesday 25th July 2012

Club president Rennie Ritchie was in the chair for the meeting on 25/07/12, attended by 26 Rotarians, 27 when the induction of new member, Peter Southcote is taken into account. As a past member of Cupar Round Table, Peter is already familiar with the Rotary principles of service to the community. He was warmly welcomed by the Rotarians present.
The speaker for the evening was Roy MacGregor of Fife Young Carers (FYC). This is a very small charitable organisation whose primary aim is to offer respite, support and positive experiences to young people, aged 8 - 18 years, who provide care at home for siblings, parents or grand-parents. It is estimated that there are 4,000 such Young Carers in Fife. FYC are funded to support 100 young people but already have 180 on their books. There are 2 members of staff working from their Kirkcaldy office and another 3 who work from home. Referrals come mainly from the NHS, social work and education but may come from any source, including self-referral. In N.E Fife FYC run regular fortnightly respite groups in Tayport, Cupar and St Andrews. Respite breaks are provided during school holidays and these include drama groups, day trips and week-ends away.
Recently some of the young people have also benefited from holidays abroad sponsored by charitable donations from Canvas Holidays, Dunfermline. Roy spoke about the problems often faced at school by his clients and the resulting under-achievement, lack of self-confidence and low self-esteem. Another function of the FYC staff is to provide advocacy services and to raise awareness of the problems Young Carers face. He was pleased to report that Fife now has a multi-disciplinary strategy for Young Carers, for which the Education Department has lead responsibility. All money raised by the Charity goes directly to paying for the experiences provided for the Young Carers. President Rennie was pleased to be able to hand Roy a cheque for £469.50p on behalf of Cupar Rotary Club.
The Club's vote of thanks was given by Canon Pat McInally.
Members were again reminded of the Club's annual coffee morning to be held at the Corn Exchange on Saturday, 4th August.

Evening Meeting held at Watts Restaurant on Wednesday 1st August 2012

Ian Grant - Click for larger image
Local Wheelwright, Ian Grant

Thirty-one members and one guest attended the meeting held in Watts Restaurant on 1st August under the chairmanship of club president Rennie Ritchie.
The guest speaker was local man Ian Grant who gave an interesting illustrated talk on his position as the only remaining wheelwright and carriage builder left in Scotland. There had been a slow decline in the number of wheelwrights since about 1913 from several thousands to only 16 or 17 in the census of 1970. This was mainly due to the introduction of the motor vehicle and its use of pneumatic tyres.
There is still a healthy demand for Ian's work which can come from any part of the world, thanks to his web-site. His work today is mainly repair and restoration of older carriages although Ian has built a carriage from scratch simply for the challenge! Ian's enthusiasm for his craft showed as he took his audience through the various stages of making a wheel from the elm hub (or knave) to the oak spokes and ash felloes (the curved pieces making up the circular wheel). He explained how the steel rim (tyre) was manufactured undersized so that when fitted at red-heat it cooled rapidly to push the spokes into the felloes and hub to form a tight fit. The steel tyre was deliberately made wider than the wooden wheel to ensure the wood was protected from stones jutting out in the road. Similarly, the corners of buildings were protected by kicker blocks to deflect errant carriages from collision with the stone buildings. Most wheels are formed in a dish shape which offers more strength than a "flat' wheel. Ian finished his talk with photographs of carriages he had restored.
A hearty vote of thanks was given by Peter McKinnon.

Evening Meeting held at Watts Restaurant on Wednesday 8th August 2012

Thirty-two members and two guests attended the meeting held in Watts Restaurant on 8th August under the chairmanship of club president Rennie Ritchie.
The speaker was Rotarian Roy Marsden. The main theme of Roy's talk was how many different languages have been used in the formation of Scottish place-names. Starting off with 2 examples of "recent" place-names Roy showed us the German of Osnaburgh (i.e. Dairsie) and the partially German of Friockheim in Angus.
Moving on to French the best known example is Beauly near Inverness from the French "beau lieu" meaning beautiful place. But we have more local examples - Guardbridge was originally Gairbrig with the gair element meaning station or waiting-place as in the modern French word gare for a railway station, and a farm just to the south of Pitscottie was a disputed piece of land and gave rise to Callenge, similar to our modern word challenge.
There are a few Norse place-names in Fife e.g. Weddersbie near Auchtermuchty, Humbie near Aberdour, with the -bie element meaning farm or village. This element can be found in many places in England such as Whitby, Selby and Rugby. Most of the Norse place names in Scotland are in Shetland, Orkney and along the islands and coast of the north-west.
Roy contrasted a distribution map of the Gaelic Bal- place names which are common across most of Scotland (apart from the south-east) with the Pictish Pit- place names which are almost exclusively in what is considered to have been the territory of the Picts, i.e. north-east Scotland from Fife up via Perthshire and the Grampians to just north of Inverness. Roy followed this with more maps showing the eastern and southern Scottish distribution of place-name elements such as Aber-, Tre- and Caer- (river-mouth, village and fort respectively) from either Pictish or, in the south of Scotland, the language that is called either Cumbric or Brittonic , this being what we would now call Welsh. Roy gave one example of a "Spanish" place-name, Sgurr nan Spainteach, which commemorates the Spanish troops who fought in one of the Jacobite battles in Glen Shiel in 1719. A few miles away in Glen Affric is Aonach Shashuinn (ridge of the English) - was this named after the redcoat soldiers? Roy showed us a few more "Sassunaich" place-names in Scotland before showing us a memorial to a young Scotsman murdered in 1838 on the hills above his home town of Bolton in Lancashire.
Roy did a quick scan through a few examples of Welsh and Irish Gaelic place-names in his native Lancashire before finishing with some speculation as to whether, if there was ever a real Arthur, did King Arthur come from Scotland - in an 8th century list of his battles, written in Welsh, one of the battles is said to have taken place in Caledon Coit i.e. the Caledonian forest.
The vote of thanks was proposed by Grant Mcleish.

Evening Meeting held at Watts Restaurant on Wednesday 15th August 2012

Club President Rennie Ritchie was in the chair to welcome forty members to the meeting held in Watts Restaurant on 15th August.
A most entertaining evening was enjoyed by all when member Jim Campbell played and gave a talk on the "penny whistle". The humble instrument was so called because buskers played it to collect pennies. Jim's passion in the subject started at a young age when he bought a book on the penny whistle that not only had music but gave historical anecdotes. Jim admitted to having been greatly inspired by the music of Scottish musician Robin Williamson. Jim showed us some of his whistle collection, ranging in price from a few pounds to about £90 and demonstrated the differing tones of each instrument by playing popular tunes by Burns. The penny whistle has become more prominent over the years, making its way into sound tracks of big hits like "Braveheart", "Titanic" and "Lord of the Rings".
Many of the tunes are very old, having been passed down through the generations; many based on gypsy folklore and sometimes added to from time to time. For example it is argued that "My Love is Like a Red, Red Rose' is not entirely Burns work but is based on an even older tune. Today, some musicians are even trying to introduce jazz and Negro spiritual techniques to playing the whistle! Jim finished his talk with a medley of Burns songs.
The club's vote of thanks was given by Bill McSeveney.

Evening Meeting held at Watts Restaurant on Wednesday 22nd August 2012

Club President Rennie Ritchie was in the chair to welcome thirty-seven members to the meeting held in Watts Restaurant on 22nd August.
A talk, entitled "Recollection of a Jubilee" was given by club member Ian Copland. The current year has been marked so far by the Queen's Diamond Jubilee, the highly successful London Olympics and a record high rainfall. Ian recalled his childhood in Alford, Aberdeenshire when Queen Elizabeth's coronation took place on 2nd June 1953. With his class-mates he lined up outside the school in pouring rain to receive a coronation mug and a chocolate.
The only other monarch to have celebrated a Diamond Jubilee was Queen Victoria in 1897 and a Cupar Town Council Committee decided that this would be marked with a holiday and suitable celebrations. Following a joint churches service, there would be a public procession through the town led by the band of the Fife Light Horse. Later there was to be a banquet of cake and wine in the County Hall followed by dancing in the Fluthers. More permanent reminders of the event were to be new robes for the Provost and removal of the old Cross from Wemysshall Hill to the Burgh of Cupar. The Provost and dignitaries met in Cupar Old where a string orchestra played. Afterwards they rode in carriages at the head of the procession. Also present, were the Trades and Freemasons. The printers from the Fife Herald handed out pictures of the Queen; the bakers handed out brandy snaps and Houston's engineers handed out commemorative medals. The newly rebuilt Cross was unveiled and as darkness fell, between 30 and 40 bonfires were lit all around the area including East and West Lomond, Tarvit Hill and Norman's Law.
Interestingly, the Cross became a newsworthy item over the years with several articles written such as in 1912 when a call was made to tidy it up for the Highland Show. In 1932 the Herald carried the story that the Cross was dangerous as it obstructed the view of "swift moving motor vehicles". In 1986 it was struck by a large lorry and was restored at a cost of £3200. Ian concluded his talk by reflecting that the Cross is again the focus of attention with proposals to change the traffic layout once more.
The vote of thanks was given by Sandy Mitchell.

Evening Meeting held at the Fairways Restaurant on Wednesday 29th August 2012

Eric Milne - Click for larger image
Eric Milne, Fisher & Donaldson

Club President Rennie Ritchie and his wife Elinor welcomed sixty-three members and guests to a reception held in Fairways restaurant where an excellent meal was enjoyed by all. Guest speaker for the evening was Eric Milne from Fisher & Donaldson who gave us a potted history of the famous bakery firm.
Eric recalled an amazing story that unfolded about four years ago. Locking up the shop on a foggy night, a car drove into the car park. The couple had been at the Dunhill golf and the driver was seeking directions for Blair Atholl where for some reason, his travel agent had booked their accommodation! Rather than try to explain how to find the Perth road, Eric said he would lead them to it. From Perth, the couple were happy they would be able to find Blair Atholl. It transpired the couple were Canadian and Eric remarked that there was a link between Canada and Fisher & Donaldson as Eric's great-grandfather had joined the gold-rush in Canada, settling in Estevan, Saskatchewan. He had later gone to the First World War where he died fighting. His widow's Canadian war pension was later used to set up the Cupar bakery. The Canadians asked Eric's name and when he said Milne, there was a gasp. The Canadian was a Milne too and his grandfather had been a baker in Estevan, Saskatchewan!
Employing nearly 110 staff, all baking is centred on the new Cupar premises converted from a former garage. The building has been designed to minimise its carbon footprint and about 10% of its electricity consumption is met from solar panels on the roof. Bakeries by their very nature use large amounts of electricity and the company's investment in the solar panels ensure the cost is kept to a minimum.
The vote of thanks was given by Willie Nicoll.

Evening Meeting held at the Fairways Restaurant on Wednesday 5th September 2012

President Elect Willie Nicoll was standing in for President Rennie Ritchie at the meeting, and he was able to welcome 34 members and guests to the meeting.
After dinner, Rotarians were addressed by Niamh Kelly and Drew Mayne from the Castle Furniture Project. The project takes its name from its original premises in Castle Street, St Andrews, where it was founded in 1992. It is a registered charity, and aims to provide furniture and household appliances at low cost to disadvantaged families and individuals.
Unwanted furniture and domestic items are collected by volunteers, and are repaired or renovated wherever possible before display in the project's warehouse in Cupar (at Tom Rodger's Mill). Part of the project is to offer a secure and supportive working environment for individuals whose lives are poorly structured for whatever reason, particularly for those with mental health problems.
The Project has extended its activities into Portable Appliance Testing (PAT) - all repaired electrical goods need to be certified safe before being sold on, and volunteers have the training and the equipment to offer this service to the public.
Another surprising extension has been into the recycling of water-based paint. Received as part-used tins from the public, this is stored until sufficient quantities of a particular colour have been collected, and then blended filtered and re-packaged before sale.
In the last twelve months there have been 130 volunteers working for the Project, but replacements are always needed, particularly those with marketing and financial skills.
There will be an Open Day on October 19th between 11am and 4pm at Tom Rodger's Mill.

Scatter Week, from Monday 10th September 2012

The regular meeting normally held in Watts on 12th September was replaced by a "Scatter Week" when members are expected to visit other clubs in the area. At least eight different clubs were visited during the week. They included Cowdenbeath to the South, Dundee in the North, Kinross in the West and Leven to the East.
Along with two other members, the writer visited Kinross club where a warm welcome was received. As their planned speaker had failed to appear, three of the Kinross members were asked to give short talks. The first, a retired farmer spoke of the failed harvest in the USA and in this country due to the poor weather which will result in increased food prices this year and a knock-on effect next year due to soil compaction and missing out on the normal crop rotations. Another speaker described his anxiety at the recently announced relaxation in Health & Safety legislation to save money and the legacy that could result. The third speaker gave an interesting insight into his hobby of visiting historic gravestones where ordinary people's lives could be traced through the descriptions inscribed on the stones.
Cupar Rotary club members are reminded of the request to assist at the Highland Games coffee morning to be held in the Corn Exchange on Saturday 22nd September.

Evening Meeting held at Watts Restaurant on Wednesday 19th September 2012

Club President Rennie Ritchie was in the chair to welcome thirty-six members and three guests to the meeting held in Watts Restaurant on 19th September.
A talk, entitled "The Dundee Cowboys" was given by club member Graham Findlay. The talk was centred on Robert Fleming. In the early 19th century, the jute factory owners of Dundee had massive sums of money to invest. They had already built their fine mansions and donated public parks to the city. Robert Fleming was born in 1845 and swiftly became a trusted financial adviser. At the age of 28 he had founded the Robert Fleming Investment company. In 1909 he moved the HQ to London and the company was eventually sold to the Chase Manhattan Bank for $7 billion in 2000.
Robert Fleming had advised his Dundee financiers to invest in the Matador Land & Cattle co of Texas and the company grew to be one of the most successful beef producers in the USA. In fact under the management of Murdo McKenzie from Tain, Theodore Roosevelt described them as "the most influential of American cattlemen". After the Second World War, increased competition from Canada and Argentina led to a decline in beef prices and the company eventually ceased trading. Remarkably, in its 69 year history it only had 5 managers and 2 accountants!
The vote of thanks was given by Harry Mellotte.

Evening Meeting held at Watts Restaurant on Wednesday 26th September 2012

Business Meeting

Evening Meeting held at Watts Restaurant on Wednesday 3rd October 2012

Thirty-four members attended the meeting held in Watts Restaurant on 3rd October under the chairmanship of club president Rennie Ritchie.
The speaker was Rotarian Canon Pat McInally. Pat told us of his recent pilgrimage along El Camino de Santiago or in English, The Way of St. James, the pilgrim's way that leads to the tomb of Saint James at Santiago de Compostela in north-western Spanish province of Galicia.
To complete the pilgrimage on foot the pilgrims must walk at least 100 km i.e. 62 miles. Pat set off accompanied by 10 of his parishioners from the town of Sarria in early September. Although the mornings were cool they were blessed throughout their journey by dry and warm weather.
Each kilometre is marked by a sign-post with some of the sign-posts having small rocks placed on top, these being placed there by pilgrims to signify a burden being lifted off their shoulders as they progress along the way.
Along the way there are many places to eat and overnight there are reasonably priced private and council-run hostels. Pat showed us the landscape of the region they passed through with areas of eucalyptus forests and other areas reminiscent of Scottish scenery.
On showing us the Cathedral square in Santiago Pat told us that the four sides of the square are faced by buildings of religion (the Cathedral itself), of the state (the city hall), of education (the university) and originally of health (now leisure, the parador having previously been a hospital). Having had their pilgrims' passports stamped at the hostels along the way the pilgrims receive their certificate, The Compostela, in Santiago.
The vote of thanks was proposed by Willie Nicoll.

Evening Meeting held at Watts Restaurant on Wednesday 10th October 2012

Club President Rennie Ritchie welcomed thirty members and two guests to the meeting held in Watts Restaurant on 10th October.
The guest speaker was Norman Macgregor, a fifth year student at Bell Baxter High School. Following a competitive interview, Norman was selected by the club to take part in the Rotary Youth Leadership Awards (RYLA). RYLA is one of the most successful Rotary programmes for young people and is run by Rotary clubs throughout the world. The primary aims of RYLA are to build self-confidence and improve leadership and communication skills.
Norman spent a week in July at the Abernethy Trust's Adventure Centre in Nethybridge and took part in numerous outdoor activities. The competitive nature of the tasks became evident in his enthusiastic descriptions and video clips shown to the club. Activities included mountain biking, kayaking, raft building, hill walking, negotiating an obstacle course and rock-climbing. Lectures were attended most mornings and these were given by industry leaders and officers from the Army and RAF. Each lecturer gave leadership tips and Norman put them to good use when he led the kayak group, ensuring everyone had the correct safety gear and equipment.
Norman thanked the club for the opportunity to improve his leadership skills and in turn was thanked by Graham Pirie for his presentation which had been confidently presented.

Evening Meeting held at Watts Restaurant on Wednesday 17th October 2012

Sarah Stark Smith - Click for larger image
Ambassadorial Scholar Sarah Stark Smith from Ouachita Baptist University, Arkadelphia, Arkansas, U.S.A.

Thirty-three members and six guests attended the meeting held in Watts Restaurant on 17th October. Guest speaker was Ambassadorial student Sarah Stark Smith from Ouachita Baptist University, Arkadelphia, Arkansas, U.S.A.
Rotary's Ambassadorial Scholarship programme promotes international understanding and friendly relations among people from different parts of the world. Since 1947, over 41,000 men and women have benefitted from the programme. Sponsored undergraduates and graduates as well as qualified professionals pursue vocational studies abroad. Whilst abroad, scholars serve as good will ambassadors to the country where they study and give presentations to Rotary about their own culture.
Sarah is studying medieval history at St Andrews University and enjoying studying in Scotland. Back home, the university students carried out service projects in the local community and Sarah also spent time working in an orphanage in Zambia.
In exploring our culture she has visited Edinburgh's whisky experience and is looking forward to tasting haggis!
The vote of thanks was given by David Nimmo who remarked upon the professionalism of Sarah's presentation.

Evening Meeting held at Watts Restaurant on Wednesday 24th October 2012

Naomi Barbour - Click for larger image
Naomi Barbour, who spoke about the Old Parish Church's street boys project in Peru.

Thirty-one members and one guest attended the meeting held in Watts Restaurant on 24th October.
New member, John Morrow was inducted into the club and was welcomed by members.
Guest speaker was Naomi Barbour who spoke enthusiastically about her experience with a group of volunteers from Cupar Old Parish Church which visited Peru to help set up a home for street kids. Naomi first went to Peru in 2008 and could not wait to go back in 2012. The first visit was to help build the home, funded by the church and which housed 40 boys, some of whom were orphans, some abandoned by their families. By 2012 that number had dropped to 26 but many of the boys still remembered Naomi and others from Cupar, their "Aunts and Uncles from Scotland". Naomi was touched by the attitude of the boys to education; they turned up to school in immaculate uniforms, keen to learn. Treats taken out to Peru by the team included a flat screen TV and DVD player. The boys laid on a concert for their visitors using modern instruments that they had won, following a music competition where they played re-cycled instruments. The team also took the boys on a shopping trip and it was a delight to see them choosing clothes of their own, as most boys only had "hand-me-downs".
The vote of thanks was given by Bill Nicoll.

Evening Meeting held at Watts Restaurant on Wednesday 31st October 2012

Neil Young - Click for larger image
Neil Young - Mont Blanc Adventurer

Thirty-seven members and one guest attended the meeting held in Watts Restaurant on 31st October.
Guest speaker Neil Young gave a fascinating, illustrated talk on his recent successful climb of Mont Blanc, the highest mountain in Europe at 4810m. Neil already had a fair amount of experience of climbing in Scotland and admitted being "hooked" on Munros. In preparation, Neil completed winter climbing courses in Scotland and spent months building up his stamina by running and cycling. Whilst over 20,000 mountaineer tourists attempt the climb each year, Mont Blanc remains a treacherous mountain claiming about 100 lives each year.
Neil used a company of specialist guides for the ascent and had to pass a week long mountaineering skills assessment course before being allowed to tackle the mountain. Of the 12 who started the course, 4 were rejected. Acclimatisation was an important part of the final preparation and involved spending a night at 1924m. On the ascent day, Neil and his group took a tram to 2100m then began the climb up to a refuge at 3800m where they spent the night. The final ascent was gruelling but judging by the photographs of the summit, well worth the effort. Neil only had 15 minutes at the summit before the guide ushered them back down. Neil admitted that the descent was more taxing on his muscles than the climb!
Neil then answered several questions from members before Jon Richmond gave the vote of thanks.

Evening Meeting held at Watts Restaurant on Wednesday 7th November 2012

John O'Brien - Click for larger image
John O'Brien, from "LOST" - the Lee O'Brien Solvent Trust

President-Elect Willie Nicoll took the chair at the meeting, and welcomed thirty-six Rotarians and two guests to the meeting.
After dinner, the speaker was John O'Brien, who founded the Lee O'Brien Solvent Trust ("LOST") after the sudden death of his sixteen-year-old son Lee in an incident involving lighter fuel. John found that although shopkeepers in Scotland were required to be sure that anyone buying solvents was over 18, the regulations weren't being enforced as well as they were South of the border. He campaigned for three years to have this changed, in a journey that took him to Number 10 Downing Street and to Buckingham Palace.
Having reduced the risks at the supply end, John moved on to informing potential victims in schools of the dangers - LOST is the only charity in Scotland which goes into schools to talk about solvent abuse.
Peter Southcott thanked John on behalf of the club.

Evening Meeting held at Watts Restaurant on Wednesday 14th November 2012

Sandy Smith - Click for larger image
Sandy Smith, Golf Professional at Ladybank Golf Club

President Rennie Ritchie chaired the meeting, welcoming thirty-five Rotarians and two guests. Past President Bill Low introduced the speaker, Golf Professional Sandy Smith, who is a local man, brought up at Myrecairnie farm just North of Cupar. As a boy, he wanted to be a professional footballer. When he realised he wasn't fast enough on his feet, he opted for a career in golf and eventually ended up in his present post as golf professional at Ladybank. Starting his talk with a job description, he felt he could do no better than Peter Alliss, who described a golf professional as a man with a thousand bosses, who can play like Nick Faldo, teach like David Leadbetter and run a shop like Harrods!
Sandy started his career as an assistant professional, but felt he wasn't getting anywhere, and moved to South Africa, where he was involved in the creation of a Golf Academy. From here he was invited to join the professional team at Gleneagles, where he eventually became the Head Golf Professional.
Gleneagles was an exciting place to work, and Sandy had many stories about the personalities he encountered there, including a near-death experience with a helicopter, which was arriving in snowy conditions. Seeing that the pilot didn't realise that the apparently level area he was landing on was actually a steep slope, he rushed out to warn him, and ended up flat on his face with the helicopter blades rotating about two feet above his head. His present post doesn't offer quite the same level of excitement, but he finds it more satisfying, with the emphasis on coaching. His current star pupil is Carly Booth, for whom he predicts great success in the future.
Past President Bruce Rollo thanked Sandy on behalf of the club.

Evening Meeting held at Watts Restaurant on Wednesday 21st November 2012

Thirty-seven members and five guests attended the meeting held in Watts Restaurant on 21st November under the Chairmanship of Past President Dermot Stewart. Having opened the meeting, Dermot informed those attending of the passing of Hon. Member George Illingworth who joined the club in 1972. Members and guests remembered George by standing for a minute's silence.
Speaker for the evening was member Alison MacGregor who gave an interesting and illustrated talk on the life and works of William McGonagall. Historians are divided on his place of birth which was probably Edinburgh. He was born in 1825, the son of an Irish handloom weaver who came to Scotland with thousands of his countrymen seeking work in the mills. William worked long hours as a labourer in the Dundee mills from the age of 10 and was housed with his family in tenements owned by the mill owners. He married in 1846 and had 5 sons and 2 daughters. He had a love of the theatre and could memorize plays which he recited back to his fellow workers in the mills. Although remembered as a rather bad poet, he was in his fifties before penning his first work. His second work, "The Silvery Tay" was perhaps his best known work. He applied to Queen Victoria for her patronage and although rejected, started calling himself "Poet to the Queen". Biographers are also divided as to his mental state, some believing it was all an act as he realised he could make money by playing the fool. He died in poverty in 1902 and is buried in Greyfriars graveyard.
The vote of thanks was given by Béla Simandi.

Evening Meeting held at Watts Restaurant on Wednesday 28th November 2012

Thirty-five members attended the meeting held in Watts Restaurant on 28th November under the Chairmanship of President-Elect Willie Nicoll.
Speaker for the evening was Grant McLeish who gave an illustrated talk on digital photography and the club's own camera club. The digital camera was invented in 1975 by researchers working for Eastman Kodak. The first camera was large and cumbersome and the image which took 20 seconds to record had to be viewed by running a recording of the data through a television screen. Today's digital cameras use hundreds if not thousands of digital imaging technologies covered by Kodak patents, although Kodak stopped producing digital cameras earlier this year.
Grant bought his first digital camera in 1999 and whilst modern cameras can record six or seven hundred images on a memory card, Grant's first camera could only hold a maximum of 30! Grant then showed a selection of photographs taken by camera club members over the year.
The vote of thanks was given by past president Dermot Stewart.

Evening Meeting held at Watts Restaurant on Wednesday 5th December 2012

Special General Meeting.

Evening Meeting held at Fairways Restaurant on Wednesday 12th December 2012

Christmas Dinner.

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