"Service above self"

Rotary Club of Shetland

Rotary wheel outline 100 x 100

The Rotary Month

August/ September 2011

August and September were a busy time for the Rotary Club of Shetland with lots of preparation going into the Club’s biggest fundraiser, the Ideal Homes Exhibition.

The month started on a sad note, however, as members learned of the death of former Club President Bob Manson. Bob was president of the Club in 1983/4 and the focus for his presidency was “Youth”. The year included initiatives to educate young people about the work of local organisations, develop leadership in young people and also to support disadvantaged young people abroad. Bob was a great supporter of the Red Cross and, after speaking to the manager of Red Cross House in Aberdeen, the Club has donated a television for the use of visitors to Red Cross House.

As well as the preparations for the Ideal Homes Exhibition, the Club held its usual weekly meetings and August produced the usual wide variety of subjects. Our first speaker in August was member John Boxwell who showed a DVD, which he had made, titled "The Alternative Up Helly Aa DVD". This was very interesting as it showed much more of the involvement of families in the preparations for a Jarl Squad.

Next up was a film shown by member Donald McKinnon about the work of Vision Aid Overseas. VAO operates in developing countries to help those disadvantaged by eyesight problems. Often this can be as simple as providing a sight test and a suitable pair of glasses and, since 1985, the charity has performed 600,000 eye tests and fitted 300,000 pairs of glasses. Poor eyesight leaves many people functionally blind and a pair of suitable glasses can transform their lives. Over the years the work of the charity has developed and they now also train local people to continue the work on a more permanent basis.

The film theme continued with one of the Club’s members, Peter Garrick, playing a starring role. Member Larry Sutherland showed members a film that had been made showing Shetland life in the 1970’s. One of the main subjects of the film was life on the farm and the farm in question was Peter Garrick’s at Tingwall.

The main event in September was the Ideal Homes Exhibition at the Clickimin. With over 2,500 visitors the show was a great success, aided in part by opening on the Friday evening as well as the traditional Saturday and Sunday. The raffle proved popular with the main causes supported being CLAN Shetland and Vision Aid Overseas. As part of its support for Vision Aid, the Club now collects old pairs of spectacles so if you have some lying about at the back of the drawer, please track down a Rotary member (see www.rotaryclubofshetland.org.uk) and pass them on.

Our next speaker was Club member Iain Tulloch. Through his early years at Hays and more recently with the Lerwick Port Authority, Iain has many connections with the merchant navy and chose to talk to members about the new Scottish Merchant Navy memorial at Leith. The memorial is a sandstone column with depictions of seafaring life cast in bronze on its face. It is a beautiful piece of work and well worth a visit.

The Club is always keen to hear from outside speakers so it was good to hear a talk by Fiona Robertson of Hjaltland Housing Association about a new project called The Hub. The Hub is a joint project with SIC’s Housing and Social Work departments and aims to help young people leaving care learn the skills that they need to hold down a housing tenancy and find a job. Young people leaving care are at high risk of falling into patterns of anti-social behaviour that lead to unemployment, homelessness and trouble with the law. The project will have staff who can perform an assessment of the each young person’s needs and organise a tailored set of development activities in areas such as household management, cooking and budgeting. The project is a big commitment in terms of staff and accommodation but it is hoped that the project will save money in the long run by helping more people into work and settled accommodation.

September finished on a travel theme as member Mark Robinson took us off to Italy with a report on his recent cycling holiday there. Mark is a keen cyclist and obviously enjoyed the trip. Looking at the size of the hills that the group climbed on their daily excursions, members were impressed by his fitness and stamina and glad that he did it and not them!

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