"Service above self"

Rotary Club of Shetland

Rotary wheel outline 100 x 100

The Rotary Month

February / March 2011

February and March were contrasting months for the Rotary Club of Shetland. After a quiet February, March was a busy month as we held our first big fund raiser for the year and prepared for the second. The club held its Spring Cheese and Wine event in the Town Hall on 18th March and a good turnout raised a healthy sum for the club’s charitable funds. The Cheese and Wine evenings are one of the occasions where the club presents its donations to local charities and clubs and we were delighted to be able to hand over cheques to The Shetland to Romania Orphanage Project, Vision Shetland, Special Needs Adults Parties (SNAP), the Shetland Kidney Patients Association and Sail Training Shetland.

Our first speaker in February was member Iain Tulloch who spoke to members about his experiences working for local shipping agent Hay & Co. Iain went to sea as a navigation cadet after leaving school in 1972 but after three years (including a Christmas Day when, as the youngest officer, he was elevated to captain for the day) he joined Hay & Co, the Shetland shipping agents. At the time most of the work was based around the large number of Scandinavian fishing boats that visited Shetland and the evolving oil industry but in 1977 Hay & Co became involved in the work that was going on at Sullom Voe. Conditions at Sullom were initially primitive with the team working out of a sloping, leaking Portakabin. Communications were primitive as well – it was often quicker to nip round the corner to use the nearest payphone than wait for an outside line to make a call. With the arrival of the tankers in 1978 life got even busier and Iain’s time was split between Sullom and Lerwick. One memorable visitor to Lerwick was a Russian factory ship where the master’s generous hospitality made leaving via the ship’s accommodation ladder a bit of challenge.

As time went on Iain became more involved in the marketing side of the business and a series of foreign trips ensued, including a memorable tour of the USA which involved 17 flights in four weeks meeting ship owners and operators around the USA. Perhaps the strangest was a very casually dressed tanker owner in Miami who picked them up in his van complete with surf boards. The van had no passenger seats so they were given a tour of the port kneeling in their best suits in the sand that seemed to cover the floor of the back of the van (but they got the business!). Iain’s expertise and character have led to several new opportunities. As well as joining the Lerwick Port Authority, Iain is currently the Swedish Consul.

Valentine’s Day was the topic for the next meeting with member Gordon Reid running a Valentine’s quiz. Three members of the winning team each went home with a bunch of red roses. The speaker for the final meeting of February was Mark Robinson who gave a fascinating talk about the use of kinesiology to treat post-natal depression. Kinesiology uses tests of the muscles’ resistance to determine the causes of problems and seemed to have some remarkable successes.

February also saw the completion of the knitted baby jackets project. This was a joint project with some of the local SWRIs and over 140 knitted jackets were sent from Shetland to Sierra Leone along with some generous donations of wool to allow the mothers at the Freetown Maternity Hospital to do some knitting themselves. Several Rotary clubs across northern Scotland have been involved in this project and a total of well over 3,000 jackets have been knitted and sent to Africa.

March was a busier month as preparations commenced for the Rotary Club of Shetland Motor Show that will be held at the Clickimin Centre on the 16th and 17th April. All the available exhibitor space has been sold, so it should be a fantastic show.

March’s speakers again produced the usual wide variety of topics that have become a feature of Rotary meetings. Our first speaker in March was member Steve Benn. Steve’s background is in construction and Steve spoke about the history of measurement from the first Egyptian measuring sticks and Leonardo da Vinci’s Vetruvian Man to the introduction of metrication. The greatest impact of metrication on Steve was when he worked for Wimpey construction. After announcing that they would be going metric, a van turned up on a Friday afternoon with all the new metric tools and took all the old imperial ones away. Monday was metrication day and after a certain amount of on the job education everybody got the hang of it and life was much simpler in units of ten than all those sixteenths of an inch.

Our next speaker was Robin Sandison who took us off to France to the Jardin du Petit Bordeaux. This garden in the Loire region was winner of the Best Park in France in 2007 which is a remarkable achievement given that it was only started in 1987 and was designed and planted by a husband and wife team. Although they now have some help, the gardens are a remarkable testament to what can be achieved with inspiration and a lot of hard work.

The speaker for our final March meeting was David Thaw. David is a relative newcomer to Shetland having been appointed as Shetland’s first full time Healthcare Chaplain in January this year. David spent a lot of his childhood in Africa and after a stint at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office he entered teaching. His time in teaching developed his interest in pastoral care and it was this that eventually led him into chaplaincy. Hospital can be a place where people are filled with doubts, anxieties and questions and David’s aim is to try to help people to feel that they are valued and loved in what can be a very alien environment. The role does not end when the patient leaves hospital and David hopes to make it a community-based role rather than one that is confined to the hospital ward.

March also saw the start of work on what will be probably the Club’s biggest fund raiser for the year. The Rotary Club will be running the Ideal Home Show at the Clickimin Centre on the 16th to 18th September this year. If you are interested in renting space at this exhibition and have not already spoken to anybody at the Club about it then please get in touch with Steve Benn on 01950 460048.

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