Presscuttings 2015

Weekly Report - 10 December 2015

A Way of Life No More ( Tales of a Hill Shepherd )

Jack Meikle gave a wonderful insight in to the riches of life as a hill farmer as well as the trials and tribulations associated with living in a small farmhouse many miles from anybody, throughout hard winters in South Lanarkshireand Dumfrieshire, when he visited the Rotary Club of Hamilton.

His father and grandfather before him had been hill shepherds, grandfather’s first appointment was at Tig near Ballantrae with an annual stipend of only £52pa, a small cottage 9 miles from the nearest shop which was a very long walk, summer or winter.

When a hill shepherd was approached to move to another cottage, he had 2 questions, ‘How far is it to the nearest river for water?’‘ How far is it to the nearest school?’, many were 5 or 6 miles from the nearest road.  A shepherd would stay in the small cottage with his wife and children, he would perhaps have 2 cows that were like family pets, a flock of hens possibly Rhode Island reds and 2 piglets, but their time would be taken up with looking after 20 – 25 score black face sheep, driving them up the hill in the morning and then driving them downhill in the evening, to ensure he saw each sheep twice a day to make certain none had fallen onto their backs which would kill them if they were left unattended.  It was essential that enough peat had been cut stacked and dried before winter set in. With the shops being sofar away bread was not often on the table, instead the staple would be girdle scones. Many of the shepherds would knit their own socks and instead of darning their worn socks, could re-knit a repair.

Jack Meikle had a fascinating array of photographs showing life throughout the counties from the 1900’s to the present day Illustrating so many of the activities including the baptismal stone near Douglas.

The excellent vote of thanks was given by Rotarian Mark Williams, a chartered surveyor who travels throughout  the area Jack Meikle had spoken about during his time as a shepherd.


Weekly Report - 3 December 2015

 Beyond Balmorality

Why did the Baronial style towers come about ?, why was architecture so different in Scotland than in England ? Simon Green travelled through from Edinburgh where he works with Environmental Scotland to give a fascinating insight into the influence of Sir Walter Scott and others on the Baronial Architecture when he spoke to The Rotary Club of Hamilton at their St. Andrews dinner.

Queen Victoria and Prince Albert were very involved in the design of Balmoral Castle, whose very distinctive main tower is actually designed to hold the water tank high enough of the ground to give the required  water pressure, though this is not apparent from the design which also has ‘Abbottsford ‘ feel.There are French and German influences also in the building but it is mainly a romantic vision of the tower houses that enhance the Scottish countryside. Prior to this the highlands were viewed as cold, bleak, worthless land.

With the success of Sir Walter Scott’s ‘Waverley Novels’ the highlands were suddenly transformed in the public consciousness into places of wild rugged beauty and of great historical romance. Sir Walter had bought Abbottsford house as a very small property and with the success of each new book, he would build an additional wing, in the romantic Scottish style.

While the fortified tower houses had been in existence for a very long time, they were difficult to modify, which meant as those families became much wealthier they built another more modern residence at another location, which meant that the original tower houses still exist today for us to  enjoy. Robert Billings and also MacGibbon and Ross produced very fine books of illustrations showing the architecture of this period and many people treated these books as a pick’n mix menu. With an archway from Fyvie castle and an oriel window from another stately home and so on. This does not detract from the legitimousy of the buildings, indeed , Charles Rennie Mackintosh included many of these features in his designs.

Simon Green gave a whirlwind tour of properties such as Hospitalfield, Auchenbert, Earlshall, Ardkinglass, Balmanno, Wester Kames.he also included Robert Lorimer’s cottages in Colinton.

The vote of thanks was given by Rotarian Bob Hamilton, himself, a renowned local architect. His sparkling delivery and excellent humourrounded of a very successful evening.


Weekly Report - 26 November 2015

Walking to Santiago

Robert Nimmo gave a fascinating talk to the members of The Rotary Club of Hamilton, regaling tales of his 75 mile camino which raised charitable funds for St. Andrews Hospice. Between the 2 groups of 35 people,£125,000 was raised in sponsorship by Robert and his fellow walkers.

Santiago De Compostela was named after St. James the apostle and translates as St. James the field of stars.It is believed that when the apostle died in Spain, he was buried in the field, above which the stars were shining.

Santiago De Compostela is in the north west of Spain near the port of Vigo and people travel from many parts of the world either to visit the UNESCO world heritage site or to walk the camino. They come from 4 different directions with a minimum distance on foot of 75 miles (120 kilometres), staying at local hostelries along their chosen route and having their card stamped each night where they stay. He described his elation as toward the end of the camino he reached the summit of the Mount of Joy and could look  over the city of Santiago.

Robert Nimmo is a well known after dinner speaker and has a long association with the Speakers Club, for many years before he retired, Robert owned a joinery business in Wishaw.

Rotarian Kenneth Miller gave a fulsome and heartfelt vote of thanks.


Youth Speaks Competition - 19 November 2015

The club ran the local heat of the  National Rotary Youth Speaks Competition on Thursday 19 November

Calderside Academy  won the Senior Competition with the Team comprising Skye Anderson, Lynzie Brown and Alex McLean.

Youth Speak

The Intermediate winner was Hamilton College whose team were  Eva Neill, Kimberly Tochel and  Phoebe Shirazi

Youth Speak

Both teams go on to the District Final which will be held in the New Year


Photos show President Elect Eddie Hawke presenting trophies to the winning teams



Charity work – Saturday 7 November 2015

On Saturday 7 November ,  some members of the Rotary Club of Hamilton undertook our regular visit to Udston Hospital for the upkeep of the gardens and Douglas and Avon wards of this old people’s  hospital.

The weather was not kind to us as it rained continually, however, tubs were cleared and replanted for winter/spring, hanging baskets emptied and stored, lots of leaves swept up and a general tidy up took place.    


Rotarians Kenneth Miller , Robin Wilkie, Jim Provan and Jim Glass

( President Bernie Crozier was also present but left before the photos were taken )


Rotarian Bob Hamilton joins the photo


Part of the garden



Club Meeting Report - 29th Oct 2015

Over the last three weeks, the Hamilton Rotary Club have been holding their weekly meetings in the Bombay Cottage Restaurant in Hamilton whilst the kitchens are being modernised at their usual venue. On the 29th October, the meal as always was excellent, and the evening was concluded in the traditional form with a guest speaker, Mr Marvyn Mackay.

Mr Marvyn Mackay, a Stepps man, entertained guests and members, with a very informative talk about the history and culture of the Navajo Nation of Arizona, USA.

A keen photographer; Marvyn illustrated his talk with an array of stunningly beautiful images of the red rock formations of Arizona, formed through centuries of wind and rain erosion, to produce natural sculptures of breathtaking beauty. It was from these rock formations that the Navajo people developed their love of nature which forms the basis of their belief system.

In contrast to the natural beauty of the rock formations, Marvyn's photographs also captured the intricacies of the skilful craftwork of the Navajo people.

The vote of thanks to Marvyn was proposed by Mr Eddie Hawke.





On Saturday 17 October, some Club Members participated in a Charity Bucket collection on behalf of Barnados , the children's charity at the Argos Store on Hamilton Palace retail Park , Hamilton







Members of The Rotary Club of Hamilton enjoyed a fascinating talk on Thursday 9th October 2015, delivered by their guest speaker Mr Ian Guthrie.

Ian spoke with enthusiasm and humour as he described, a Himalayan railway holiday, designed by Festiniog Travel.
With the aid of photographs and video clips, he held his audience spellbound by his anecdotes when travelling with a group of railway enthusiasts in the Himalayan region of India. This was not a trip for the light-hearted, but rather for adventurous railway enthusiasts, who were prepared to sacrifice first class comfort in order to experience travel on a variety of trains and carriages, many built in Scotland over one hundred years ago.

For those, mainly the wives and partners of the men in the group who had worked in the building and running of rail stock in Scotland, the tour was punctuated by a variety of iconic aspects of India: visits to the Taj Mahal, Darjeeling, Delhi, Agra, Shimla, and many other interesting towns and cities.

Ian's talk focused primarily on the intricacies and challenges of building and operating a rail system in extremely mountainous and hazardous terrain, and the unique solutions developed, many by Scottish engineers, more than a hundred years ago, to overcome the many problems.

By the end of his talk, there was a consensus within his audience, that the habitual criticisms one hears of British Rail services pales into insignificance when compared with the difficulties faced by those who built, and those who operate the Himalayan Rail system.

Ian's talk was so interesting that there is a rumour that members of the Hamilton Rotary Club may undertake a similar adventure in the years to come. (but it is, only a rumour.)

A well deserved was proposed by Mr Archie Russell.




The Rotary Club of Hamilton were delighted to host South Lanarkshire Provost, Eileen Logan, on the evening of 17th September 2015

The Provost spoke of her long family connection to Lanarkshire, her family having lived in Carluke since 1849. This was an evening, not for political debate, but for family reminiscences, and warm stories of her involvement in community life since an early age. This involvement has lead to her having served as a councillor for more than thirty two years, and as Provost of South Lanarkshire since her unopposed election to this post in 2012.

The Provost spoke of South Lanarkshire as a microcosm of Scotland, encompassing both rural and urban communities, and one in which demographic and technological change is inevitable. Such changes throw up many challenges for local politicians, the provision of high quality education being a prerequisite, which can be evidences in the extensive modernisation of our schools.

It was clear to her audience, that Eileen's many years of dedicated service to our community has been sustained by her enduring interest in the lives and aspirations of the people of South Lanarkshire. In addition to being a very competent and dedicated politician, her audience was impressed by her personal qualities of warmth and empathy. It was very evident in her speech, that Eileen Logan is, above all, a “people person.”

A well deserved vote of thanks was given by Hamish Wilson





Charity Cycle to help raise funds to purchase water barrels for use in Africa


The Rotary Club of Hamilton ran an event at Hamilton Water Palace on 15 September to support the “Roll out the Barrel “ Trust through raising funds for the purchase of simple push/pull 30 litre Rotary Water Barrels with a handle and rubber tyres for use in Africa.

So apart from the obvious advantage of not having to carry water, the Rotary Barrels also make it:

More secure for women and children from abuse and assault
Quicker and easier to collect potable water
Much less strenuous and dangerous for children's health
Easier to collect more water than traditional methods
Water collected remains in a sealed container
Reduced loss through spillage or further contamination
Less trips per day/week to and from the water source
Gives the person time to do other things during their day

Many of these advantages may appear small, but the ongoing cumulative improvements they provide to the well being of these people and their livelihoods cannot be underestimated.

Further details of the ROTB Trust can be found on their website - http://


As of 15 October we had raised enough funds to purchase 30 barrels and counting







The Rotary Club of Hamilton shared moments of sadness, interspersed with pride, as they listened to their after diner speaker Mr Lindsay Freeland.

Mr Freeland recounted the work of the Lanarkshire Family History Society, who, over a period of five years, carried out research of Hamilton Advertiser archives, War Memorials throughout the county, and memorials scattered across the battle fields of the First World War.

This dedicated work culminated in the publication of a book which will be of great interest to readers of the Hamilton Advertiser. The book tells the stories of each of the 1193 men of Hamilton who gave their lives in the Great War.

When one thinks of Hamilton's contribution to our Military Forces, one naturally thinks of the Cameronians (Scottish Rifles). The researchers however inform us that men from Hamilton who gave their lives for our safety, served in many other regiments.
In total 14 Scottish Regiments, 7 Irish Regiments, 3 Welsh Regiments, 34 English Regiments, and all of the Services support units. They also served in The Royal Flying Corps, The Royal Air Force, The Royal Navy and all of the support units of the Armed Services.

Perhaps surprisingly, Hamilton men were also represented in Commonwealth Forces: Australia, Canada, India, New Zealand, South Africa. Hamilton men also served in the South Persia Rifles Brigade.

The people of Hamilton are naturally proud of the contribution our men made to the Great War, perhaps we should be grateful also to the research team who have compiled the names and stories of these men in one single volume.

The Rotary Club of Hamilton are pleased to endorse this work, and to recommend to readers the stories of individual men of Hamilton which have been recorded in a book which can be obtained from the South Park Museum, Hamilton. The book is titled. THE FALLEN OF HAMILTON, SCOTLAND IN THE GREAT WAR 1914 – 1918.


Report - 27 August 2015

Mr Brian Winter spoke to members and guests of the Rotary Club of Hamilton. He entertained his audience with a number of interesting and humorous anecdotes from his experiences as a grade I referee in the Scottish Premier League.

He then spoke of his work as the Commander North West Glasgow Fire Brigade, before drawing some interesting parallels between the attributes he considered essential in football refereeing, and those required of his job as Commander. He summarised these as: a thorough technical knowledge of the job. The management of confrontation. Consistency in decision making. Honesty in admitting mistakes.

He concluded his talk by suggesting that 'enthusiasm' was the vital ingredient, both in football refereeing and fire fighting.
A vote of thanks was proposed by Alex Torrance





Meeting - 13 August 2015


On Thursday 13th August 2015, Mr Mike Edwards, STV's Senior Reporter, treated the members and guests of the Rotary Club of Hamilton to a most erudite and entertaining after dinner speech.

He spoke of his introduction to reporting. A combination of practical experience, starting as a 17 year old reporter for the 'Inverness Currier' and his academic studies at Edinburgh Napier College. Having honed his skills as a newspaper reporter, he moved into radio reporting in the north of Scotland, and after working in Switzerland for two years, he joined STV. It was from this earlier part of his career that he drew material for his many interesting and amusing anecdotes, delivered with perfect timing.

He then spoke of his experiences as a TA officer serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, and of his work as STV's senior reporter. This latter role being familiar to readers who are used to seeing his regular appearances on STV's Six O'clock News.

At the end of his speech, Mike was bombarded with many questions, to which he responded with candour. From his answers, emerged a picture of a dedicated soldier and reporter. An individual, dealing with realities of life in a professional manner, whilst sharing an empathy for families and friends affected by tragedies.

A vote of thanks was given by Brian McKenzie


Photo shows President Bernie Crozier with Mike Edwards



Rotary Club of Hamilton Primary Quiz

The Rotary Club of Hamilton’s annual Primary Schools Quiz competition was held in Woodhead Primary School on Wednesday 29 April. This year, there were seven teams present from Primary schools in the Hamilton area. As usual the competitors and supporters were enthusiastic and the competition closely contested.

Club President Jim Provan set and asked the questions in a room filled with supporting parents, teachers, pupils and interested Rotarians, all of whom enjoyed the closely fought contest. Throughout there was a friendly and good competitive atmosphere in the room.

The quiz consisted of 10 rounds of six questions covering varying topics; some of questions the 80 odd adult spectators found difficult to answer. After a keenly fought contest, St John’s Primary School came out as winners.  The winning team was presented with gift vouchers, a winner’s certificate and the winners shield by Club President Jim Provan. The other competing schools were Chatelherault, Quarter , St Elizabeth’s, St Mark’s, St Mary’s and Woodhead Primary Schools

The Rotary Primary Schools Quiz is a national competition for Primary Seven pupils and the winning team, St John’s Primary will represent Hamilton in the District final which takes place on 1 June.

The photograph shows the winning team, Morven Thompson, Lex Park, Jack Rowan and Jamie Gemmell with Club President Jim Provan

Primary Quiz


Club Meeting - 23 April 2015



John Muir was born in 1838 at Dunbar in East Lothian and by the time he was 11 his family had emigrated to America. He grew up to be a well know mountaineer, glaciologist, adventurer, inventor and writer. Armed with a book of Robert Burns poems and a bible,  his journey took him across the width of America to California where he built a cabin and started the world’s conservation movement and from there a global family of 6555 protected National Parks have been formed covering approx 12% of the earth’s surface, what an unbelievable achievement .

With 13,000 members and 1200 John Muir Partner Providers they are dedicated to protecting the wildest places across the UK, enhancing wild places and encouraging protection to these places.

Examples within Scotland are the remote areas such as  Sandwood Bay in Sutherland , Quinag and Suilven in Assynt ,Skye and the Cuillins,  Knoydart, Ben Nevis , Scheihallion and Glenlude in the border area.

The John Muir Trust visitor centre is aptly named  “Wild Space” and is situated in the High Street, Pitlochry opened in 2013 to the public and since then has had 32,000 visitors. All are welcome.

The trust looks after 120km of public paths in some of Scotland’s wildest, remotest and beautiful locations with assistance from volunteers, supporters and members with “hands on” action.

More information on the work and volunteering can be had on the John Muir Trust web site

The vote of thanks was well delivered by Brian McKenzie

Photo shows Club President Jim Provan with Toby Clark


John Muir




Weekly Meeting - 22 January 2015

“Dunns”  the drinks business has been trading since 1875 starting the east end of Glasgow by Joseph Dunn  who in those days made lemonade and is now in Springwells in Blantyre with the revised name of Dunns Food and Drinks  which is now one of the largest distributors in Scotland involved in the food and drinks business. Gerard who started life as a school teacher in Africa returned to Scotland in 1983 was a director in Dunns until 1999 but is also an ardent fan of  Clyde Football Club [the bully wee ] where the Dunn  family were at one time the owners.

Gerard who is a member of the Toastmasters Club gave us an insight of his years as a director with “Clyde” and how he enjoyed having an interest outwith his normal life working at Dunns. He reminded us of the times when “Clyde” beat the “old firm “ , played in the Friendship Cup and beat Lens and played Manchester United ,thanks to Alex Ferguson ,in a friendly .Many famous Scottish footballers in recent years have been managers with “Clyde” ,Billy McNeill ,Colin Hendry, Graham Roberts, John Brown and Joe Miller to name but a few. A witty and interesting speaker

The vote of thanks was well presented by Arthur Barrie


Photo shows Gerard Dunn with President Jim Provan



Burns Supper - 15 January 2015

The Hamilton Rotary Club Annual Burns Supper was held on 15 January 2015 at Hamilton Golf Club and was well attended by the members and wives, past members and guests.

President Jim Provan was chairman for the evening and after the traditional soup, haggis and steak pie, the guest speakers, singers, piper and piano player were introduced.

In time honoured fashion, the toast to the haggis was delivered by John Anderson ,the immortal memory of Robert Burns was presented by Ronnie Smith ,the toast to the “ lassies “ was given by Ian Valentine and the reply from the “ lassies ” was by Norma Duncan with the epic poem of Tam O Shanter well recited by John Anderson .

The musicians were Robert Dickie on the pipes, Campbell Barr on the piano ,while Eddie Tweedlie and June Law sung several well known Burns’ songs.

The vote of thanks to the guests and visitors was well presented by Bernie Crozier



Photograph shows [back row]John Anderson, Ian Valentine , Ronnie Smith and Probus President Kenneth Martyn with [front row] Janette Provan, Jim Provan, Norma Duncan



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