Rotary Club of Shetland

"Service above self"

The Rotary Month

May / June 2012

This Rotary Month starts with two recycling appeals. One of the charities that the Club supports is Vision Aid Overseas, an organisation that is dedicated to transforming access to eye care services in developing countries. One of the ways that it does this is by collecting spectacles and passing them on to people in poorer countries who would otherwise have no access to improved eyesight. If you have any spectacles that you do not need, then please track down a Rotary member (their names and pictures are on the Rotary Club website at and pass them on. The club will send them on to Vision Aid who will use them to transform someone’s life.
The second appeal is for unwanted mobile phones. These all have a value and any money that is raised goes into the Club’s charity fund. Again, if you have a ‘phone that you don’t need, please track down a Rotary member and pass it on.

Our weekly meetings continued as usual and our first speaker for May was member John Telford who talked to members about his recent trip to visit the battlefields of Normandy. In 1944, the allied forces in World War 2 needed to open a western front and chose Normandy for its sheltered beaches. As anyone who has seen Saving Private Ryan will know, the beaches were very well defended and casualties were high. John’s trip included a visit to the American cemetery immediately above Omaha beach as well as the site of some of the other famous battles such as Pegasus Bridge.
There seemed to be a French theme to the month as this was followed by a talk and slideshow by member Robin Sandison about his many trips to the Loire region of France. Judging from Robin’s pictures the area seemed to be a mix of ancient and modern architecture, set amongst lots of pretty countryside and rivers.

Our last speaker for the month was Neil Pearson of the Shetland Youth Information Service. Neil started as a youth worker at the tender age of 14 and joined the Shetland Youth Information Service after leaving university. The service is based at the Market Cross in Lerwick and performs three main functions. Its first role is as a drop-in service, helping to put young people in touch with any help that they may need. Its second function is as a peer education service. Groups of young people are trained to run workshops for their peers on topics such as drugs, alcohol and sexual health. The other main function of the service is outreach and this is Neil’s speciality. Neil is also on the Shetland Children’s Panel and has recently taken over as co-ordinator for the Youth Volunteering Awards, a joint project between Voluntary Action Shetland and the Rotary Club of Shetland.

The month ended on a real high with the Club’s participation in the Relay For Life. It was a fabulous evening and members are looking forward to the next one.

Our first talk in June was about another marathon fund raising effort. Bill Crook of Nesbister came to talk to the Club about his recent Land’s End to Unst bike ride. Bill started out from Land’s End shortly before the Olympic flame but completed his trip of 1082 miles a lot more quickly! Bill took the scenic route along mainly B-roads and, judging from all the pictures, had a journey of beautiful scenery and fabulous weather, with only two showery days in the whole trip. Bill used the opportunity of his adventure to raise money for Mary’s Meals and raised over £2,500, including a donation from the Rotary Club.

The Rotary year ends in June and so it meant the end of Peter Campbell’s year as president. Peter handed over to Steve Benn from Virkie. Steve has been a member of several Rotary clubs in the UK and members wished him well for his year as President.

The last meeting in June was a trip out to the Shetland Museum and Archives. Members and their partners were given an introduction to the archives by Brian Smith. The archives were founded in 1976 and were originally situated in St Olaf Street but the new building offers a big repository and allows documents to be preserved in ideal conditions. The main source of records for the archive has, perhaps not surprisingly, been the Shetland Islands Council and its predecessors. One of the items that Brian showed was the first volume of council minutes, with fifty years of meetings recorded in immaculate handwriting in a single volume. The archive contains many types of records, including Kirk, Crown and court documents as well as some beautiful maps.

The month finished with a celebration for the club. It is forty years since the club was founded and members celebrated with a dinner at Hay’s Dock restaurant in Lerwick after their trip to the archives. The picture blow shows Club President Steve Benn (r) presenting a 40 year service certificate to the Club's sole remaining original member, David Polson (l).

40th dinner 600 x 450
Rotary wheel outline 100 x 100

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