"Service above self"

Rotary Club of Shetland

Rotary wheel outline 100 x 100

The Rotary Month

September / October 2012

Last week saw the third presentation of the annual Shetland Youth Volunteering Awards. Organised jointly by the Rotary Club of Shetland and Voluntary Action Shetland, the awards saw two very worthy winners in Christopher Wright (individual award) and Shetland Youth Information Service Peer Education Project (organisation award). Congratulations to them both.
As well as organising the awards and starting work on next year's Motor Show, the club continued to hold its weekly meetings. Most people enjoy a trip out and Rotarians are no exception.

Our first meeting in September was a trip out to the Thulecraft fish box factory. John Watt showed us round and most people were surprised by the scale of the operation. The factory can produce up to 30,000 boxes a week and had a fuel bill to match.

Our next meeting was a trip back in time as former member Larry Sutherland showed members pictures of the Club's trip to Faroe in 2005. Although the trip was in May there was still snow on the mountain tops. The Faroese club that entertained us had laid on a full programme including a trip round the local brewery. Everybody seemed to have a good time.

One of the biggest focuses for the club's fund raisng efforts in the past year has been the local Clan appeal. We were delighted when Susan Crighton, fund raising manager for Clan came to talk to us when she was in Shetland for the opening of the local centre. Susan showed us some pictures of the Clan Haven centre in Aberdeen. Clan Haven has 27 rooms as well as big open spaces and a large conservatory that overlooks the park. As well as the accommodation, the centre offers counselling and therapy sessions. Susan explained how the centre in Lerwick will also be expanded to offer similar services.

October started with a talk from Una Laidlay of the Shetland Aid Trust. Una came to talk to the club about a trip that she and two of her colleagues had made recently to a children's home in Albania that the Trust has supported. The Shetland Aid Trust used to organise convoys to take goods out to Albania but now uses its money differently, supporting organisations such as The Hiding Place, a home for abandoned children. The home is a bright new building that was built using a legacy. Most of the children there have had no schooling and need to catch up, so education is a huge part of what the home does. Most of the children in the home are not orphans but were abandoned because their mothers could not afford to keep them. In some cases the mothers hope one day to take their children back. In other cases, the children hope to be adopted by foreigners and to start a new life abroad.

Member Donald McKinnon was our next speaker and with a talk called "Power to the People", members were expecting something political. Instead, Donald talked about the history of hydro-electric power in Scotland. It was a surprise to many members that one of the first schemes in Scotland was built for the monks of the Abbey at Fort Augustus. The system powered the organ at the Abbey as well as providing street lights for the village. Although there was great resistance to hydro power from the coal barons, the aluminium industry recognised the potential and the first system to power a smelting plant was built at Foyers. These days most of the aluminium plants have gone but the hydro schemes remain and still make a substantial contribution to the nation's power supply.

The motto of Rotary is "Service above self" and Shetland is blessed with lots of people who seem to live this way. The club was delighted to hear from one of them, Sharon Deyell, at the last meeting in October. Sharon is involved in all sorts of community and charitable activities and, as a result, she was nominated to be one of the Olympic torch bearers when it came to Shetland. Sharon came along to tell members about the experience. Nomination and selection seemed to have been a long winded process but the end result was fame and glory - or at least some fantastic memories and a reception at the town hall. Like most of the torchbearers, Sharon had bought her torch and brought it along so that members could try it out. You can't say that Rotary meetings don't have variety!

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