Report - 15 December 2006
Christmas cheer abounded when the Rotary Club of Hamilton provided a Christmas Party for about thirty pensioners last Thursday. With Hamilton Bowling Club festively decorated the scene was set for a very pleasant Christmas dinner and concert. Past President Ian Bell acted as master of ceremonies and amused his audience with his eloquent and humorous stories throughout the evening. In the same amusing fashion he introduced the artists for the evening. The star was Peter Condie, an octogenarian, who continues to sing in the choir of Hamilton Parish Church, and who delighted the company with a variety of toe tapping tunes on his harmonica. Ian Macgregor and President Alister Baird engaged the audience with a selection of well chosen Edwardian ballads, Scots songs and songs from the shows. At the end of an enjoyable evening the appreciative guests were chauffeured home by their Rotarian hosts.
Continuing the Christmas theme, Friday night saw the members with their wives enjoy their own Christmas Party at Hamilton Golf Club. Following an excellent meal, the party took the form of a dance; while the dancing may not have been to the standard of “Strictly Come Dancing”, some old fashioned quicksteps, foxtrots and waltzes were enjoyed by members and their guests.
Rotary of Hamilton will have a two week break for Christmas and New Year, therefore there will no meeting of the Club on 21 December. The regular meetings will recommence on Thursday 4 January 2007 at Hamilton Golf Club at the customary time of 6.45 for 7 pm.
Report - 23 November 2006
The Charity Wine Tasting event held by the Rotary Club of Hamilton at Hamilton Bowling Club last Friday evening was a great success. The prime reason for the evening’s success was the considerable contribution made by wine buff Steve Williams. Steve is one of the Club’s new members and, unknown to the Club has an encyclopaedic knowledge on the subject of wine. He is also experienced in lecturing on the subject. Always interesting and with enthusiasm and a lot of his natural humour, Steve enlightened his audience in all aspects of wine manufacture and how best to enjoy wine
During the course of his talk, Steve educated his enthusiastic audience. He embraced the history, geography, chemistry and engineering relating to wine manufacture before instructing his listeners on the enjoyable process of tasting and evaluating wines. The wines Steve used as examples for the wine tasting were wines from Spain, Germany, New Zealand, France, Chile, USA and Australia, all purchased at a local supermarket. Steve was particularly interesting when talking about the international politics of the world wide wine manufacturing industry; he made particular reference to the American massed produced wines and countries new to the world market. There is no doubt that at the end of the evening his audience left the hall enthused, a lot better informed and encouraged that they are better placed to purchase from the many excellent wines in local supermarkets at reasonable prices.
The main purpose of the evening was to raise money for international charities and concerns. The Club is grateful to Steve for enabling the Club to achieve that.
The two main beneficiaries from the Sportsman’s Dinner to be held in the Banqueting Hall, Council Buildings, on Friday 9 March will be “Touching Tiny Lives” and “Alzheimer, Scotland” – charities that care for the opposite ends of the age spectrum.
“Touching Tiny Lives” is a charitable organisation launched by Action Medical Research (discoverer of the polio vaccine) to finance research into bringing to an end premature births. One in ten babies requires special medical care when they are born and many die before they reach their first birthday. There is an urgent need to overcome this unsatisfactory situation.
The Alzheimer Scotland organisation, as most people know, is a charity that provides services to help people with dementia, their carers and their families. The organisation also campaigns to actively improve public policies. Most families have at sometime to deal with the difficulties that arise when dementia occurs. The Rotary club regards both of these organisations as worthy of our assistance.
Report - 16 November 2006
It was the sub committees that met on Thursday at the Rotary Club of Hamilton. The International Committee will start its programme to raise funds when the Club holds a wine tasting and silent auction evening at Hamilton Bowling Club on Friday 24 November. The Funds raised will go towards the purchase of two emergency boxes that will be filled with useful utensils and clothing by Rotarians. These boxes are centrally stored by Rotary ready for shipment to anywhere in the world in the event of a major disaster. The International Committee is also proposing to have an “International Night” in February to raise funds for a specific international charity.
The Club, through its Vocational Services Committee, is holding it annual Youth Speaks Competition at Bell College on Thursday 23 November. The winning teams on Thursday qualify for the District Finals and, if successful there, will compete in the National Final. Preparations are already in progress for the primary schools quiz that will take place in February.
The gardeners in the Club discovered that they will be increasing their area of operation next year when the Community Services Committee decided to recommend that the Club should undertake the maintenance of more of the gardens at Udston Hospital. It has further been agreed that, as usual, there will be a special collection for Udston Hospital at the New Douglas Park in the spring. The Community Services Committee continues to make progress with the Charity Wishing Well that will be located at the Hamilton Little Chef and, now that time is no longer standing still at the top cross, is making arrangements to have the Rotary Clock cleaned.
The Club intends to show its public face when it holds its book sale in the town centre and members stack bags at one of the town major stores.
Report - 9 November 2006
Geoff Sage reviewed some of the changes in the operation of the NHS in his talk to the Rotary Club of Hamilton. Geoff came to Scotland via Yorkshire and is the General Manager dealing with Community Health and Primary Care based at Udston Hospital. Previously Geoff had been in charge of the Mental Health Service for Lanarkshire. He continues to have considerable interest in mental health in his present position and suggested that considerable progress had been made in this regard. He averred that the large institutions that previously existed provided a poor quality of life for patients; staffing levels were poor; the patients received less than satisfactory treatment and care. Also, because the premises were located in remote areas families were unable to provide essential support. He argued that the main beneficiaries with care in the community were the patients - that must be good.
Seven years ago he moved to his present post. He regretted that the health service constantly seemed to be in a state of flux and criticised for escalating costs. The Scottish Executive is trying to change the situation by promoting a drive for healthy living in the hope that the need for the costly treatment of sickness can be reduced. Modern life styles were creating difficulties for the government and the health service because jobs and past-times are more sedentary and the general population is less fit as a result. Increasing prescription medicine bills were also a concern.
He indicated that change to a more target driven service was not always easy for practitioners whose ethos was service. He hoped that the drive to achieve targets did not in the long term effect the quality of care. The philosophy being promoted by the government whereby problems are sought out before they manifest themselves he regarded as sound but may not be best served by a target driven system of management.
When he discussed the subject of management he argued that the costs of management in the health service compared favourably with similar costs in other European countries, although it was difficult to compare this element without looking at how the services in these other countries is funded.
Naturally the subject matter presented by Geoff in his excellent wide ranging talk promoted many questions. Geoff responded to them with authority backed by considerable knowledge and experience. Lawrence Scott gave the vote of thanks.
Report - 2 November 2006
The Rotary Club of Hamilton welcomed Joseph Devine, Bishop of the Diocese of Motherwell, as its speaker last Thursday. Bishop Devine, who is no stranger to controversy, chose to speak on the subject of religion in Scotland. One cannot speak about religion in Lanarkshire without touching the issues of Sectarianism and social engineering. By referring to the reformation, the clearances, the industrial revolution and the Irish potato famine he successfully explained how, until recent times, jobs in the mining and steel industries and other heavy industries were divided along religious lines. He also explained how villages in Lanarkshire could also be divided on religious lines as a result of the inflow of the Irish. He suggested that most of the southern Irish who remained in Scotland really wanted to go to the new world of America but could ill afford the cost to cross the Atlantic.
Bishop Devine also briefly dealt with ecumenism and suggested that in spite of the 1991 Act little had been achieved. When he spoke about ecclesiology he compared the administrations of both the reformed churches, particularly the Church of Scotland, and the Roman Catholic Church and found a lot to be admired in both; he also pointed out some of the difficulties that arise at a local level. The moral agenda wasn’t avoided; he explained that the recent publicity he has received as a result of his views on homosexuality has provided him with evidence that many in the general population agree with him; it has also given him a greater understanding of the power of the internet. He regrets that he has been unable to openly discuss some of the issues with the Scottish Executive.
In his view a lot of the ills of present society are as a result of the breakdown of family life and the lack of religious education in schools. He offered some startling statistics regarding the youth of today and concern at the number suicides amongst young men. He also provided his view on faith schools and stated that the position in Scotland is quite different to the situation in England; the problems created by the present governmental outpourings will be much reduced in Scotland. He also provided statistics in relation to the influx of people from other countries and stated that 2 million people have left Poland for other countries in Europe in the past two years. This will increase and will cause many problems for the receiving countries.
He concluded his excellent and thought provoking talk, which prompted many demanding questions, by stating that Scotland is the second oldest nation state in the world; we should be proud of this and safeguard it.
Archie Russell provided an excellent vote of thanks
Report – 26 October 2006
David Elder, from East Kilbride was the speaker at the Rotary Club of Hamilton’s meeting on Thursday. David’s talk enthusiastically covered a number of subjects but concentrated on the Chamber of Commerce and his main charity involvement, the Aberlour Child Care Trust.
A past president of the Lanarkshire Chamber of Commerce, David is now a director of the Scottish Chamber of Commerce. He detailed the interests of the Lanarkshire Branch as providing networking opportunities locally and nationally, access to business support, lobbying, and practical advice in most areas of business. He then referred to the importance of the organisation nationally and the links it has with the Scottish Executive. As a result of these links with the Scottish Executive the organisation has become heavily involved in creating educational, industrial and commercial links with many counties in Europe, America and particularly China.
His reference to the Aberlour Child Care Trust included many statistics regarding children relating to abuse, sexual abuse, and the number of children who are victims of alcoholic parents - the numbers were frightening. He assured the members that organisations interested in child welfare no longer compete, but combine to provide services, very often for local authorities. He emphasised the need for fund raising and provided example of how this is now achieved by sponsorship of volunteers taking on world wide challenges.
Past President Reverend Stanley Cook provided the vote of thanks.
Report - 20 October 2006
The Members of the Rotary Club of Hamilton, young and old alike, had their pencils busy while listening to the excellent talk given by Anne Forrest of Legal Service Scotland on the subject of Inheritance Tax. Anne explained that she and her husband had first hand experience of having their parents’ hard earned savings and assets eroded to pay for long term care. It was costing Anne’s husband’s parents £500 each per week to pay for their long term care. When she discovered that something could be done to at least reduce these costs it was too late for them, but it prompted her to change career direction and become involved in a will writing service.
Her talk embraced every aspect of inheritance and was concerned at the number of people who have no wills and wills that are out of date. She detailed the reasons for making a will and illustrated the risks and costs of not doing so. She advised that an estimated 69,000 houses have to be sold each year to pay for care costs. The relevant areas of the law relating to inheritance were highlighted; particular reference was made about trusts and the need for a properly constructed will. She gave different scenarios that stressed to the interested Rotarians the importance of making a will and also consulting a solicitor and an independent financial adviser. She concluded her presentation by referring to the other important issues of Power of Attorney and the storage of documents.
Anne supplemented her talk with authoritative and informed answers to the many and varied questions fired at her. Ian Brown gave the well deserved vote of thanks.
On a busy night at the Club, Ian MacGregor reported on the excellent District Conference held at Aviemore and attended by five members and their wives. At the Conference the Club received the Fellowship Challenge Trophy and an award for having brought most new members into the organisation.
President Alister Baird performed the pleasant duty of presenting the Rotary Club of Hamilton’s Community Service Award to Derek Adams, manager of the Aveyron Centre. The Centre is a parent led organisation initiated and developed by a group of parents who had children with profound learning difficulties. The organisation is well resourced with a core staff of nine instructors, two senior instructors and a manager; it has been operating since 1993, was originally funded by the Urban Aid Programme and now offers 18 places to adults over the age of 18. The centre tries to satisfy the needs of these children, all of whom have learning difficulties sometimes exacerbated by physical disabilities, severe health problems and sensory impairment and while meeting the complex needs of their families while the children remain in the community. It seemed to the Rotary Club that the concept was innovative and successful and therefore worth of the award.
Report- 05 October 2006
Rotary Club of Hamilton had a change of venue when the Club met at Hamilton Bowling Club on Thursday. The speaker was Bill Wilkie, a member of the Strathaven Club, who brought New Zealand alive when he gave his talk to the members. Bill is an enthusiast about the country having visited it as a traveller rather than a tourist. He illustrated his lively talk with many excellent photographs that supplemented his various themes. His talk embraced the country’s history, the relationship between the Maoris and the more recent arrivals, the geology and architecture and the wonderful wines and scenery. He provided amazing statistics about earthquakes stating that some areas can experience 20 tremors a day. For anyone in his audience who hadn’t been to New Zealand Bill’s talk provided a wonderful taster. Past President Hamish Wilson provided the vote of thanks.
Mark Williams, Community Service Convenor reported that a team of Rotarians had tidied the garden and the hanging baskets at Udston Hospital in preparation for the winter.
Weekly Report 29 September 2006
An excellent, mildly provocative talk was given to the Rotary Club of Hamilton by ex Deputy Chief Constable Peter Mitchell. Entitled “Reflections”, Peter, who is now retired 12 years, contemplated his 38 years of police service and rhetorically asked questions relating to possible changes in the public’s perception of law enforcement over the past 50 years.
Peter wondered if television reflected the public’s attitude to policing. When he started his career, having completed two years National Service, Dixon of Dock Green was the first popular, prime time TV programme dealing with the role of police officers. The main character, George Dixon was seen as a husband and father, was respected by his superiors and criminals and provided a bridge between young and old in the police service. Each succeeding programme, where the police have been the central theme, has seen an increase in violence and antithesis and built in animosity between the investigating policemen/detectives towards their superiors.
He provided many examples of events recent and past where police forces were involved. He illustrated how some of these cases were dealt with by the press. He compared some of the older cases with the present day events relating to murder, traffic accidents and terrorism; he always returned to his central theme, “Are things any better now?” He made detailed reference to the Peter Manuel case and Manuel’s criminal career and speculated whether murder has gradually been devalued and whether punishments now fitted the crimes. While suggesting that Government had introduced sound legislation to enable the enforcement authorities to be tough on crime he questioned whether it had made any difference to the amount of criminal activity on the streets; and if it hadn’t he reflected on why.
While Peter’s theme was serious, he lightened his talk with humorous anecdotes going back to when he first started with the Lanarkshire police force. Throughout Peter provided a talk with a difference; he not only informed his audience but he left them thinking.
Past President Gordon Monro provided a thoughtful vote of thanks.
Weekly Report 21 September 2006
Thursday last, saw the Committees of the Rotary Club of Hamilton consider their programmes for the coming year. Already the club has agreed to its first fund Raiser when the International Committee recommended to the Club a Wine Tasting experience with a club expert taking the lead. Also included in the evening will be a silent auction. The event will be held at Hamilton Bowling Club on the evening of 24 November.
The Club agreed to contribute to the costs of Stephen Maguire (21) of Postgate, Hamilton travelling to Brazil to compete at the wheelchair sport of Boccia at the World Handicapped Games to be held there in October. Stephen suffers from muscular dystrophy and qualified for the World Championships by winning the British Championships in Nottingham last month. Boccia is played from a sitting position; the aim is for a person or a team to score points by throwing balls closer to the jack ball than their opponents(s). In making this donation towards Stephen’s costs the Club wishes him and the rest of the squad the best of luck.
The vocational Service Committee has set the date for the Youth Speaks Competition at 23 November. This has been intimated to the schools. The participants in this competition never fail to impress those people who attend the event and the Club hopes that this year more members of the public will come to Hamilton College to enjoy it. The Primary Schools Quiz is being arranged for the end of February 2007.
Six members of the Club attended the 75th Anniversary Dinner of the Rotary Club of Ayr. The relationship between the two clubs started in 1929 when Rev.T. F. Harkness Graham of the Rotary Club of Hamilton wrote to the Rev. Phin Gillison, Minister at Ayr Auld Kirk, suggesting that he start a Rotary Club in Ayr. The date of the Ayr Club’s original charter was 14 July 1931
Weekly Report 7 September 2006
The winter session of the Rotary Club of Hamilton started on Thursday with a job talk of a different kind. Addressing the Club was an enthusiastic octogenarian, Rev. Dr. James Martin talking about his 60 years as a parish minister. It was also a pleasant remindful occasion for President Alister Baird who had been part of Dr. Martin’s congregation and youth organisations at High Carntyne over fifty years ago.
In his 60 years wearing the dog collar, Dr. Martin had only two charges, Newmilns in Ayrshire, where he preached for eight years, and High Carntyne in the east end of Glasgow where he remained for thirty four years until his retiral. He is also the author of over twenty books and enjoyed the experience of appearing on television. Throughout his talk Dr Martin combined humour with the predominantly serious theme of his talk; that memories should always be used as a springboard for the future. He highlighted events in his life and illustrated his reference to visitations, births, marriages and deaths with stories both humorous and moving.
High Carntyne was a large parish comprising mainly local authority housing. He recalled with much pleasure, such events as the Communion Sundays when he dispensed the Sacrament to more than twelve hundred people and many Sunday mornings when extra chairs had to be brought from the adjoining halls to supplement the then seating capacity of eight hundred and fifty. He also enjoyed for a time the largest youth fellowship in the country. It was a young parish and, therefore, he had the joy of christening and marrying members of his congregation and thereafter their children and even grandchildren. The joy of these events was balanced by having to officiate at over 120 funerals a year.
He emphasised that blessings and joy far outnumbered the low points of his long career and he was pleased to advise Club members that he is till enjoys preaching on a regular basis.
Weekly Report 29 August 2006
The Rotary Club of Hamilton enjoyed another Job Talk from one of its new members, Keith Bryce. Keith, having been born, brought up and educated in Hamilton is a local lad and is married to a local lass.
He started his working life as an apprentice engineer with Anderson Boyce in there Motherwell Factory, they were directly involved in the design, manufacture and installation of Mining Equipment and conveyor belts for the mining and aggregate industry. On completion of his apprenticeship he moved into the world of research and development with Anderson Boyce. When Anderson Boyce was bought over by Charter Consolidate he found himself in China for 4 months on an Exchange of Technology. This entailed training for the Chinese engineers on Anderson manufactured equipment. Charter Consolidated then sold off the various parts of the Anderson Boyce business and when they closed down the Glasgow office Keith found himself returned to Motherwell Division. Anticipating the demise of the coal industry, Keith moved back to dealing with the machinery side of the business with John Fife and Co. They later changed there name to Aggregate Industries, who own Duntilland Quarry.
Keith then referred to the changes in the industry. He then moved to Ace Conveyor Equipment who, used to be primarily a belt manufacturer and vulcaniser. The major players in the mining and quarrying industries, who previously maintained their own equipment, decided that they wanted their equipment maintained by specialists with more preventative maintenance programmed by these specialist companies. Ace conveyors have, as a result, moved in to provide this service and their area of work has extended and now covers power stations, Clyde Port Authority and the main aggregate producers.
Weekly Report 15 August 2006
The committees met on Tuesday 15 August to start looking at projects for the forthcoming year. Already the quiz for primary school children and the Young Speakers competition are being programmed and the schools in the district will be contacted very soon. The Vocational Committee is also looking at getting young people from Hamilton involved in Rotary International’s “Euroscola” Scheme and other study schemes. The Community Service Committee intends to repeat some of last year’s projects like maintaining the garden at Udston Hospital and the Stroke Awareness Scheme. A couple of priorities will be to try to obtain the assistance of the local authority to get the Rotary Clock at the Top Cross refurbished and working and to find a suitable candidate for the Club’s Community Service Award. We will be looking for the assistance of the readers to recommend someone in the town who has made an outstanding contribution to the community.
International projects have always been big in the Rotary Club’s thinking. This year will be no different. We can only hope that the world has no more natural disasters. Past President Malcolm Macintyre enlightened members Club on Rotary Foundation, Rotary International’s international charity fund. The fund has been in operation since 1917 and is primarily involved in educational exchanges to enhance international understanding and programmes related to health care, clean water, food and learning support in poorer nations. This is realised by taking the facilities to the people in boats trains and caravans and using voluntary professionals – often Rotarians; Rotary’s contribution to eliminating polio across the world was particularly impressive. In 2002 Rotary Foundation established at universities across the world International Centres for Peace and Conflict Studies and funds post-graduate scholarships for those anxious to promote good will and understanding.
Hamilton continued in its winning ways when the Club defeated the Rotary Club of Strathaven in the Annual Bowling Match at the Calley Bowling Club
Weekly Report 08 August 2006
The semi-final of the District Fellowship Challenge caused an air of competition at the Rotary Club of Hamilton last Tuesday. A seven man team from the Ayr Club, a daughter club of the Hamilton’s, accepted the Rotary Club of Hamilton’s challenge to a putting match. Every stroke counted in a tense struggle in threatening weather in front of partisan and vociferous spectators. The Rotary Club of Hamilton eventually sneaked a glorious victory. The purpose of the District Fellowship Challenge is to bring Clubs in District together in a spirit of competition and fellowship. On the evidence of Tuesday’s competition this was achieved. Hamilton now awaits a challenge from the Rotary Club of Greenock to contest the final.
Weekly Report 01 August 2006
At the Club’s first night back after its holidays the Rotary Club of Hamilton enjoyed another first-rate job talk. The speaker was the Reverend Arthur Barrie, parish minister at Cadzow Parish Church, Hamilton. Due to retire next year after 32 years in the ministry, Arthur amused, provoked and informed the Club during his presentation. Of course officiating at weddings and funerals saw the serious elements of these occasions often punctuated with humorous moments. Arthur related a few of these. In his serious moments he raised his concerns about society becoming less spiritual and the increasing difficulties that the church and its ministers have influencing a more worldly and less deferential society.
During his time as a minister he was appointed convenor of the Parish Reappraisal Committee of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland. This role required him to visit most of the parishes in Scotland. The club enjoyed hearing his comparisons of church life in different parts of the country, particularly the islands. He highlighted that it seemed to him that some parishes remain unaffected by the Reformation to this day while others have been affected by many reformations, not always to their advantage.
While looking forward to retirement he concluded his talk by advising the members that he will miss the many extremes that ministering to the parish has brought to him. Past President Jim Love provided the well deserved vote of thanks
.Weekly Report 11 July 2006
The Rotary Club of Hamilton enjoyed another ‘job talk’. This week’s presentation was given by new member Stephen Williams, a Welshman with a London accent and engaged to a Scot.
Steve is a quantity surveyor by profession and started his career with a private firm in London with responsibility for the London Palaces. He enthused about being able to inspect these magnificent historic buildings, particularly being able to see areas in them that the paying public never sees; also, seeing some of the palaces the general public doesn’t have access to.
Once qualified, he moved to another firm, still in London, that had responsibilities for the London Underground. The experience was quite different and provided a massive learning curve for him. Thereafter, to gain experience, he moved around and graduated towards employment with building firms eventually specialising in the house building aspect of his profession. Employment with Barratt Homes for six years provided what he was looking for particularly, when he moved towards the commercial side of the business.
His move to the Bryant Housing, part of the Taylor Woodrow Group secured a move to Scotland where since he has enjoyed a recent promotion. Again the members of the club enjoyed a super talk by one of its own members. Bob Hamilton gave the vote of thanks and congratulated Steve for his enthusiastic, informative and humorous presentation
Weekly Report-- 4 July 2006
It is customary in the Rotary Club of Hamilton that new members give the Club a “Job Talk”. Because of the influx of new members last year – seven- there will be a spate of new members talking to the Club on their jobs and careers. The first new member on the podium was Gordon Hart.
Gordon started work as a telephone engineer with British Rail. He left BR in 1971; he said to seek fame and fortune. Since then he has worked in various capacities both as employer and employee and often within the telecommunications industry. At present he is Managing Director with Clyde Solway Ltd., whose office is at the relocated lodge in Muir Street.
Gordon provided a lively, frank and humorous talk that was very well received by the members. As well as providing anecdotes related to his varied career he enlightened the members on his present roll, looking after British Telecom’s accounts in the west and south of Scotland.
The Rotary Club of Hamilton started its year with the installation of its new president, Alister Baird. In handing over the reigns to Alister past President Euan Stirrat thanked the members of the Club for helping to provide such an excellent year for the Club and himself.
Alister was previously Chief Executive with Hamilton District Council. In his inaugural address he talked about his experiences when working overseas. He had witnessed first hand the works carried out by local Rotary Clubs – eye clinics in Ghana, special training for the amputee victims of the civil war in Sierra Leone, aids clinics in Malawi – and emphasised how important the contributions, both in money and expertise, from this country was for their success. While the international arm of the Rotary organisation provides funds for big international projects like polio plus, taking hospitals to the people in mercy ships and trains etc., smaller international projects sponsored by clubs in this country will continue to be essential. Individual Rotary Clubs can achieve a lot, as witnessed with the Hamilton Club’s recent involvement with a local church assisting the mission in Chimbote, Peru.
He reminded the Club that there is still a lot that can be done nearer home in Hamilton through our community service and vocational programmes and he looked forward to his year when he would be working with the new team of conveners.
The first social event took place when the club visited to Glasgow Concert Hall to enjoy a superb jazz concert by members of the brass and wind sections of the RSNO.