"Service above self"

Rotary Club of Shetland

Rotary wheel outline 100 x 100

The Rotary Month

June / July 2011

June and July were a busy time for the Rotary Club of Shetland. As well as our usual meetings and continuing the planning for the Ideal Homes Exhibition, July saw the start of the new Rotary year, a new president and also the club welcomed visitors from across the globe.

June, however, started with a good look backwards. The Club meets each week at the Lerwick Hotel and the recent refurbishments to the hotel uncovered all sorts of memorabilia from the club’s first four decades. Our first speaker of the month, club member David Polson, took the opportunity to take us through some old photographs of club events in years gone by. Several of the faces in the photographs are still members and they certainly appeared to have been enjoying themselves.

Our next speaker also took us to times past. Club member Ramsay Napier took us on a trip through Shetland in the 1970’s. Ramsay had captured many of the newsworthy moments of Shetland’s past and also some of the more unusual. Who remembers Shetland’s railway? (Answer – it was built when they constructed the new lighthouse at Federland.)

Club member Peter Garrick was our next speaker and he gave us another aspect of Shetland’s history. Peter grew up on a croft at Sandness and recounted tales of his youth and how he expanded the croft’s traditional activities when he took over after the war. Peter obviously had an entrepreneurial streak in him as he started egg production on the croft and bought a bull whose services he rented out. The idea for the bull came after the vet came to Sandness to talk about artificial insemination. The whole village turned out for the talk but some of the older ladies of the village were less than delighted by the subject matter.

Among the audience for Peter’s Rotary talk were a couple of visitors from Friesland in Holland who were a fantastic example of what Rotarians can achieve. Keen cyclists, they had ridden from Vladivostok back to their club in Holland and raised almost two million dollars towards the eradication of polio, one of Rotary’s main charities.

June finished with a talk from Rotary member Bruce Tulloch who entertained members with a talk on his trip to Neustift in Austria. Bruce and his wife are keen walkers and they had enjoyed the glorious alpine scenery, the mountain flowers and food that Austria offered.

July was the start of the new Rotary year and so it was time to welcome a new President, Peter Campbell. Peter has taken over the reins from Martin Nicolson and we wish Peter well for his year in office. One of Peter’s first tasks was to join Norwegian politician Kirsti Dale, the daughter of one of the Club’s founder members, Jon Dale, for the unveiling of a painting by her father at the Scalloway Museum.

Rotary is always keen to hear from people with different experiences and backgrounds and our first speaker in July certainly fitted the bill. David Edwards gave the Club a very interesting talk on the subject of his military career which spanned a lengthy period of 23 years from 1966, when he joined the Army Apprentice School at Harrogate as a young teenager, until he retired in 1969 at which time he was in charge of the Mossy Hill Station in Shetland. Between these times he enjoyed a very prolific military career, being posted to Singapore, Mossy Hill, Cyprus, Germany, England, Holland, Germany again, Loughton and Hong Kong, before returning to Mossy Hill. He is married to a Shetland lady and being a technical expert, he then took up a second career as the engineer in charge at Sumburgh Control Tower until he retired last September.

We were off to sea for our next meeting with a talk by Rotary member Alan Preshaw. As a youngster Alan spent every summer in the Kyles of Bute and it was his time there that led him to choose a career at sea. Alan went to Glasgow to study navigation and, on graduation, joined the Blue Funnel Line. After a month’s training at an outward bound school in Wales, Alan was posted to his first ship, the SS Ixion for a trip to Australia. Based out of Liverpool, Alan saw some of the local incidents, such as the capsize of the Empress of Canada at the Gladstone Dock, but also the more sweeping changes that came over the port of Liverpool in the 1960s and 1970s.

The Club’s next activity was also a nautical one as several members turned out to say Bon Voyage to the eight young people that the Club sponsored to take part in the Tall Ships race. Rotary is keen to develop self-reliance and responsibility in young people and the Club saw the Tall Ships as a great opportunity to do this. The eight trainees took part in the leg to Stavanger and we look forward to hearing about their experiences at a future meeting.
The Tall Ships certainly brought people to Shetland. Rotary members are always welcome to visit a local club, wherever they are in the world and our next meeting saw no fewer than 13 visitors, probably a record for the club. Our speaker, David Collins, was one of the guests. David is a member of the Rotary Club of Lowestoft East Point and gave an inspirational talk about the Sailability programme that their club has set up. Launched in 2005, Sailaibility is a charity that allows people to go sailing who might not otherwise get the chance. Through a combination of sponsorship and a lot of hard work fund-raising, the club now has over a dozen boats, including several that have been adapted to allow disabled people to sail. The club is currently in the process of setting up a radio system that will allow blind people to sail solo. The project has achieved a huge amount in six years and is an inspiration for Rotary clubs everywhere.

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