Owing to poor weather conditions , there were no Club Meetings during December 2010

Weekly Report - 18 November 2010

Pupils from Hamilton College and John Ogilvie High School impressed judges at the recent Youth Speaks competition.
The annual tournament, which is organised by the Hamilton Rotary Club separated students into two categories.

The intermediate winners John Ogilvie High fought off competition from Calderside Academy to be presented with an impressive team trophy.

The team was led by 13-year-old chair Leeanne Kennedy, the speaker was Joseph Kellachan and the vote of thanks was presented by Martin MacPherson, both aged 13.

The group, which was coached by teacher Patricia Anderson, will be competing in the district competition in the New Year.

Photograph - Judge - Colin Jones , Rotary Covenor- Steve Brough , Teacher Mrs Patricia Anderson , Pupils - Martin MacPherson, Joseph Kellachan and Leeanne Kennedy. Rotary President - Ian Brown and Judge - John DiMambro


In the senior category, Calderside Academy, Holy Cross High School, John Ogilvie High School and Hamilton College participated, but it was Hamilton College who won on the day.

Teacher Derek Hotchkiss accompanied the 16-year-old chair Edwin Sheerin, 15-year-old speaker Alan Stevenson and 16-year-old Marianne Watters, who gave the vote of thanks, to the event.


Judges John DiMambro and Colin Jones from the Hamilton Speakers Club were impressed by the overall standard of the youngsters.




Weekly Report – 11 November 2010

At a recent meeting of the Rotary Club of Hamilton, a very interesting presentation was made by Vivien Kyles, the Chief Executive of Hamilton Park Race Course,

Vivien was born in Cambuslang but now lives in Glasgow. At the age of three she was on the stage as a ballerina and this was definitely the career she wished to pursue. However she eventually qualified as a Chartered Accountant and took up a post in a large accountancy firm. Promotion soon followed and she carried out some exciting projects, initially in Sydney Australia, then as a business advisor back home in Hillington.

For two years Vivien worked for Pearse Flynn, travelling the globe bringing in business for his firm. When he left this business to purchase Livingston Football Club, Vivien joined him as Chief Executive of the Club. This was a challenging role due to the enormous debts the Club had, and also that she was the first woman to run a football club in the U.K. She had to negotiate with the administrators and try to put the club back on a sound business footing.

Next Vivien was given the opportunity to become Chief Executive of Hamilton Park Race Course, where she is still working. When she first visited the premises she was very impressed by the immaculate appearance of the buildings and grounds with their neatly trimmed grass. She soon realised that the Race Course was already a very successful institution and her job was to expand and popularise the business. She was faced with making something that was already very good, even better.

The racing season at Hamilton lasts from May till September with 18 fixtures in this period. The intention is to attract as many people as possible during the race days by encouraging family days, providing entertainment for the kids (who are allowed in free) and by inviting celebrities to attend.

The method of selling the Race Cards has changed resulting in a doubling of sales. Also the use of the premises during non race days has been encouraging; they have been used for 32 weddings over the last 12 months. At a wedding the bride is given exclusive use of the grounds. This year the boy band J.L.S. held a concert at the Race Course attracting a crowd of 13,000.

Rotarians were impressed by the enthusiasm portrayed by Vivien, but were disappointed that she could not give any sure fire tips. A well  deserved vote of thanks was given by Rotarian Jim Glass.


Weekly report  4 November 2010

At this weeks’ meeting of the Rotary Club of Hamilton, the first duty of President Ian Brown was to accept a request by David Evans to transfer his membership from Strathaven Rotary Club into Hamilton. David has previous ties with Hamilton having been manager in Marks & Spencers before taking up the post of Town Centre Manager.  David will be a valuable addition to the Rotary Club of Hamilton.

Following this, the Rotarians were entertained by a talk and D.V.D. presentation by Rotary member, Nirmal Singh, the proprietor of the Bombay Cottage Restaurant in Hamilton.

In 2005 Nirmal purchased land in his homevillage of Bhanoki in India, on which, to build a school for girls. He explained that most schools in India were co-educational and whilst there are many schools for boys there are only a few girls only schools. Indian fathers prefer to finance the education of their sons rather than their daughters.

The name of the school is Moa Ambay Girls School, officially opened in April 2010, with a catchment area of some 22 local villages. It has 24 classrooms and now has some 115 pupils, the ages of which range from 4 ½ to 9 years old, all being taught to speak English. Nirmal has so far funded this venture assisted by the Rotary Club of Hamilton who have furnished one of the class rooms for him.

In the D.V.D. The Rotarians saw the pupils being collected in yellow school buses similar to those used in America. They all looked smart in the uniform provided by the school of lemon coloured blouses and grey skirts. In the morning, prior to commencing their lessons the pupils take part in an extensive prayer session, they then sing their National Anthem and then take part in an exercise regime before exiting to their classrooms to the beat of a drum played by one of the pupils. This regime is carried out 6 days a week, Monday to Saturday in temperatures of 40*centigrade

Two teachers from Motherwell have joined Nirmal in Bhanoki to help teach the children and he is very appreciative of this help.
After a very interesting talk, and many questions a well deserved vote of thanks was given by Past President John Downie



Weekly Report -  28 October 2010.

At the Rotary Club of Hamilton’s meeting on Thursday, Kate Robinson, the Community Engagement Officer of the Electoral Reform Society of Scotland, explained what the Alternative Vote was and how the outcome could affect the composition of the government.

The Electoral Reform Society of Scotland has been on the go for 100 years. It is an independent organisation and campaigns to make politics fairer, engaging with all political parties and politicians. Kate did not surprise many Rotarians when she claimed that politicians were probably in the least popular profession and that poor turn-outs at the elections  were unhealthy in a democracy. All voting systems have their pros and cons. The “first past the post” system of voting is fair, only if two political parties are involved. In our current multi party elections, it can be very unfair to smaller parties, i.e. it is possible for a party to obtain say, 20% of the vote, yet fail to gain a single seat.

The coalition government have agreed to hold a referendum in May 2011, to allow the people to decide if they would prefer the “Alternative Vote” as this countries voting system. This means, preference voting with an elector indicating their favourite, second favourite, etc, etc. A candidate would require to obtain 50% of the vote to win. If there was no clear winner on the first round, the candidate with the lowest number of votes would drop out and their votes would be re-allocated until there is a clear winner with 50% of the votes.

Australia and Ireland use this system of voting, and their system, Kate felt, was certainly a lot more open. She also gave an explanation of how the voting system worked, for the Scottish Parliament in Scotland. After many questions a well deserved vote of thanks was given by past president Bill Con



Weekly Report -  14 October 2010.

At a recent meeting of the Rotary Club of Hamilton, Bill Niven, an accountant and former pupil of Hamilton Academy, now living in Eaglesham, spoke about the Covenanters and the Covenanters Memorial Association of which he is a member.

The Covenanters were those people who refused to subscribe to the belief of the Stuart kings that the spiritual head of the Scottish church was the king (The Divine Right of the Monarch). Scots knew only one head of the Kirk – and that was Jesus Christ and signed the National Covenant to this effect in 1638. From then until 1688 many bloody battles, tortures, murders and executions took place to quell the “rebellion”.

The Covenanters Memorial Association was founded in 1966 by William Miller, William Stirling and Walter Storar. Their objective is to restore, repair and preserve the graves and memorials of the Covenanters in Scotland of which there are more than 330.
Bill spoke about many of the memorials and graves in this area, but two of the most prominent ones are the Obelisk at Bothwell Bridge, built in the 1830’s to commemorate the Battle of Bothwell Bridge in 1679. This battle only lasted for four hours, the Covenanters were thoroughly thrashed by the Redcoats, and after which many were banished to the Colonies. The association hope to move the Obelisk to a more suitable location in the Covenanters Field.

The second of the memorials is in the graveyard at Hamilton Old Parish Church marking the burial place of four Covenanters killed in the Pentland Uprising in the mid 1660’s .The four men, who were executed, were Gavin Hamilton of Carluke, James Hamilton of Glassford, John Parker of Busby and Christopher Strang of Lickprivick in East Kilbride. They were beheaded and their heads were sent to Hamilton for burial whereas their hands were taken and nailed to the Tolbooth in Lanark.
The descendants of Christopher Strang are still living in the area.   

After many questions from Rotarians, an amusing vote of thanks was given by Rotarian Harry Doyle.                                                 



Weekly Report  -  7 October 2010

The Rotary Club of Hamilton were fortunate to have Professor Brian D. Clark address them with a talk entitled “ Radioactive Waste: bury, store, ignore ? “

Professor Clark has been an advisor to the United Nations and the House of Lords on Environmental Issues. He is also Professor of Environmental Management and planning at Aberdeen University.

During the 1950’s there was a massive nuclear development and expansion programme in Scotland with the building of the nuclear reactor at Dounreay, for   test purposes and to supply electricity. However at that time little consideration was given at Dounreay and other nuclear sites as to how to dispose of the nuclear waste, leaving it to future generations to tackle the problem. This is now witnessed by the lengthy time and expense required to de-commission Dounreay.
Nuclear waste comes in different categories, the highest level being waste which could remain radioactive for more than 100,000 years and which requires  extremely delicate handling.

Of extreme importance, in the storage and disposal of waste is the protection of the public and the environment with many different methods having been considered. A number of countries appear to favour deep geological disposal facilities where containers of nuclear waste would be stored in tunnels, up to half  a mile or more underground in  geologically stable ground. In Scotland the Government’s preference is for ‘near site-near surface’ long term storage

Great importance nowadays is placed on the involvement and agreement of the community for whichever method of disposal is decided.

After many questions from Rotarians, a well deserved vote of thanks was given by Rotarian Sir Ken Collins who has been a friend of Professor Clark for 47 years.



Weekly Report -  30 September 2010.

On Thursday the speaker at the Rotary Club of Hamilton was Roy Scott from Cumbernauld. He spoke about his experiences in Antartica on a cruise to celebrate  his seventieth birthday.

Ever since he was 10 years of age, Roy had been fascinated by Antartica and read every book he could get his hands on to learn more about this fascinating continent.

He demonstrated his talk with many slides,taken on his cruise, of the animals and birds prevalent in Antartica. Thousands of penguins, many different varieties of seals, Orca whales and many others, but he claimed the most vicious was the Leopard seal which would attack if you went anywhere near it.

Many countries have an interest in Antartica, and fourteen nations have signed up to the Antartic Treaty, in which they state their intention to try to keep Antartica in its original state. They have removed all the rats and dogs from the islands and have very strict rules to prevent any objects, ( even,  pebbles from the beach ) being removed from it. One of their rules is to give right of way to animals and birds, i.e. humans stand out of the way to let them pass.

Roy also showed slides of the original base huts built by the explorers  Scott and Shakleton on their expeditions to the Antartic at the beginning of the 20th century. Their provisions are still there and inside the huts are tins of food which have been there for a hundred years. Even a massive sledge used to haul provisions across the ice still stands against the wall of the hut.

To finish, Roy told of the danger at sea from the many icebergs, the white outs he experienced and the frightening storm at sea that he encountered.

After many interesting questions from Rotarians, a well deserved vote of thanks was given by Past President John Burn.



Weekly Report -  23 September 2010

The Kilt Delights Rotarians! 

The Rotary Club of Hamilton welcomed Stewart Logan to its recent meeting and the members greatly enjoyed an illustrated talk on some of the advantages of wearing a kilt.  A keen mountaineer who has climbed all 'The Munros' in Scotland no fewer than ten times, Stewart has travelled to many parts of the world to climb significant mountains and rock faces. and he shared amusing anecdotes of occasions when the presence of a kilted Scotsman took a trick.  Helped by quality photography, the Club was introduced to such diverse areas as Sierra Nevada and the Grand Canyon in the west of USA, Mount Kilimanjaro and the Serengeti Grasslands in Tanzania, Mont Blanc and Troll Wall in Europe and Ayers Rock in Australia.  Across all of the continents and throughout the British Isles his wearing the kilt clearly established unlikely friendships and ensured access to special experiences, including recruitment to a brass band in Coleraine and providing impromptu entertainment in a bar in Singapore. 

Earlier in the week, over four days, the families of members of the Club had hosted a visiting exchange team of young business and professional people from an district north of Tokyo, Japan.  Visits appropriate to the occupations represented were arranged and much enjoyed, and excursions to New Lanark and to Chatelherault provided insights to the industrial and cultural heritage of South Lanarkshire.



Weekly Report - 16 September 2010

Last Thursday, the Rotary Club of Hamilton held its’ annual International Night. Among the guests were, John Waddell. Assistant District Governor of Rotary Area 1230, Mr and Mrs Itoh from Uddingston, both born in Japan but having lived in Scotland for the last 19 years, Mr Itoh was in charge of Daks factory in Larkhall. Last but not least were the team of 5 young Japanese people, who are taking part in the Rotary Group Study Exchange Group.
Various Rotary Clubs in our District will host these young people for a month sampling our culture and giving them work experience in their various vocations. They will spend a few days each with families, from the Rotary Clubs of Paisley Callants, Troon, Loudon, Hamilton, Glasgow, Clydebank and Oban, finishing their tour at the District 1230 Rotary Conference to be held at the Crieff Hydro Hotel.

The team come from the Ibaraki district of Japan and are sponsored by Japanese Rotary District 2820. The team Leader is Mankichi Kuramochi and the team members are Mami Aoki, YumikoInoue, Junichi Takita, and Riu Yokota. Each of them addressed the Rotarians, telling them  about their country, places of interest, food, and sport,( football and baseball being the favourites) and other aspects of their life in Japan.

After many questions, Rotarian Steve Brough our International Convener arranged an exchange of Rotary Banners and gave them a well deserved vote of thanks.

The Photograph shows the Japanese team exchanging banners with Rotary President Ian Brown.



Weekly Report  -  9 September 2010

Joan McLeod is the Fund Raising Manager for the Scottish Huntington’s Association, a charity which offers support and practical help to sufferers of the disease and their carers.
She visited the Rotary Club of Hamilton on Thursday to tell them about the devastating effects this disease can have on the person who has it and the tremendous strain it can have on the family, who are generally the carers.

Huntington’s disease can cause involuntary muscle movements and jerking, it can cause problems swallowing and feeding, the sufferer could find an inability to register emotions and it is possible that their character changes significantly.

Joan told the Rotarians that the strain of providing constant care can cause marriage breakdowns and is some cases leave very young children trying to provide 24 hour care to a parent. This is where the charity can step in and offer appropriate support and guidance, even supplying the services of a dedicated nurse.

There are 6000 sufferers of Huntington’s disease in Scotland and the charity has 9 areas throughout the country, but Lack of funding is causing serious problems in the Lanarkshire and Ayrshire areas.

Joan knows that Rotary Clubs raise funds which they donate to projects such as this, and she has arranged to visit 20 different clubs this year to make them aware of the disease and the work of the charity, hoping they may give support in the future.

This disease is hereditary and offspring have a 50 / 50 chance of developing it, and although the gene which causes Huntington’s has been identified a cure has yet to be found.

After many questions a well deserved vote of thanks was given by Rotarian Arthur Barrie.



Weekly Report  - 31 August 2010

On Tuesday the Rotary Club of Hamilton was addressed by David Mason, who for the last 24 years has been the Official Historian for Rangers Football Club. 

David has appeared on television and radio and has written three books on aspects of the Club’s history.
Most recently he was invited to speak and perform at a supporter’s 10th Anniversary dinner in Houston, Texas. He has also delivered talks throughout the country including the Rotary Clubs of Edinburgh, East Kilbride and Glasgow.

By profession David is a Geologist and leads his own practice, looking at the ground problems that could affect the development of land.

In his talk David stressed that the proper name of the club was ‘The Rangers’, and not ‘The Glasgow Rangers’ as is commonly used. Its motto is ‘Ready’ not ‘Aye Ready’ as used by some supporters clubs.  

The Club was formed in 1872, only two years earlier than our own ‘Hamilton Accies,’ which was formed in 1874.The young men who formed the first team were all aged 17 and under and played their games on Glasgow Green.

David showed numerous photographs of how Glasgow looked in the 1870’s and 1880’s and the streets and houses in which the young players lived.

‘The Rangers moved premises from Glasgow Green to Old Ibrox, then to New Ibrox during their 138 years of existence.
Ibrox has experienced two major disasters during this time; One in 1902 when a stand collapsed and more recently in 1970 when 66 people were killed by a crush on staircase 13.

In total the football team have won 116 trophies and a number of their players have come from Hamilton, including the late Davie Cooper.

After many questions a well deserved vote of thanks was proposed by Past President Norman Batty




Weekly Report -   17 August 2010


Seventeen members of the Rotary Club of  Hamilton visited the Glasgow Necropolis last week.  Hosted by Nigel Willis a member of the “Friends of Glasgow Necropolis” the club enjoyed an extremely interesting two hour tour of the Glasgow cemetery which lies just behind Glasgow Cathedral.

The Necropolis was established in 1831 by the Glasgow Merchants as the final resting place for Glasgow’s great and good after the Ramshorn Kirk Cemetry became full.  The approach to the cemetery over the “Bridge of Sighs” across the old Molendinar Burn  leads to some fine examples of the leading architects of the day including Charles Rennie Mcintosh and Alexander Greek Thomson.

Although the rich and famous of Scotland’s past are well represented with residents like Lord Kelvin, Charles Tennant (founder of the bleach industry) and William Miller (the author of Wee Willie Winkie) the cemetery also contains the unmarked graves of around fifty thousand lesser beings. The club were saddened to see so many Victorian graves with multiple children who “died in Infancy” .

The cemetery also holds the memorial to the Fire Brigade officers who died in the  Cheapside and Kilbirnie Street disasters.
The visit ended at the John Knox Memorial which sits atop the hill and affords splendid views across Glasgow right back down into Lanarkshire. The club enjoyed a pleasant meal in a local hostelry and a vote of thanks was given by Brian McKenzie.

For anyone interested in learning about Rotary the club meets every Thursday at Hamilton golf club.



Weekly Report  - 13 July 2010

At the Rotary Club of Hamilton on Tuesday, Joe Duffy explained the work carried out by the charity PETAL, an acronym  for People Experiencing Trauma and Loss. The main aim of the charity is to provide help and support to people who have experienced the loss of a family member or friend through murder, culpable homicide or suicide.
Referrals can come from a number of sources such as police, fiscal services, social works, community psychiatric nurses etc.

PETAL was founded in 1994 by two mothers, following the death by murder of a member of each of their families. At that time these two volunteers made home visits to other people facing bereavement of a family member through murder. The charity has grown from then and they now have premises at Barrack Street, in Hamilton, and in 2009 they provided support to some 568 individuals.

Support can come in the form of counselling to help individuals cope with and manage their emotions, also advocacy, offering practical advice on, and accompanied support through the legal system and court process The main sources of funding for the charity are from North and South Lanarkshire Councils, the Scottish Government and of course the charities own fundraising projects.

After many questions from Rotarians, a well deserved vote of thanks was proposed by ex President  Jack Baillie



Weekly Report – 6  July 2010

Ian Brown was given the Chains of Office by retiring President Eddie Hawk when he was installed as the 85th President of the Rotary Club of Hamilton on Tuesday.  Ian was born in Garrowhill, now lives in Hamilton and works for Morgan Sindall Professional Services.  He is a member of St John’s Church and is a former Assistant District Commissioner for the Scouts in Hamilton and Blantyre District.

In his opening remarks he said that he was aware of the honour that the position brings and is already impressed with the enthusiasm and the new ideas being brought forward by the Club’s new conveners Gordon Hart (Club Service) Steve Brough, (Community Service) and Rev. Arthur Barrie (International).  It looks as though it will be a busy year for the Club. He advised the members that he was looking forward to his year in office and on behalf of the Club thanked retiring President Eddie Hawke for his very successful and active year as President.

The Rotary Club of Hamilton first met in 1925 following a meeting of interested persons in the Commercial Hotel in the town.  The impressive chain of office shows the names of all 84 Club presidents. Since receiving its own Charter in February 1926, the Hamilton Club has been directly associated with the formation of Rotary Clubs in Motherwell and Wishaw, Ayr, Strathaven, Lanark, Bothwell and Uddingston and Blantyre.  These clubs in turn have encouraged other clubs to be chartered resulting in a remarkable kaleidoscope of Rotary service throughout the south west of Scotland. 



Weekly Report – 22 June 2010

As a result of the speaker for Tuesday’s meeting of the Rotary Club of Hamilton calling-off at very short notice following a cycling accident, Brian Mackenzie, the Clubs Speakers convener filled in.  Brian chose as his subject “Golf Courses I Have Played”.

Brian is a keen golfer and explained that his golfing career started when he was at school and a group of six friends, including John McTear, professional at Cathkin Braes Golf club, played some of Glasgow Corporation’s excellent public courses.  He joined Lanark, the 24th oldest course in the world, for £21forty years ago and has been a loyal member at Lanark ever since. 

He reckons he has played over 125 courses away from his home course.  He is of the philosophy that there are few bad courses; every course has something to offer, so he will play anywhere.  Brian often plays with his son who has a handicap of three. He finds it interesting how the low handicapper and high handicapper approach the challenges that “Big” courses offer. Such courses often intimidate the high handicapper; the low handicapper accepts it as just another challenge.  Brian’s son now lives and works in Cairo so Brian gets frequent games in Egypt, a country not well known for golf

Highlights of Brian’s career have been to play some exciting courses in the United States, most of the championship courses in Scotland and the unusual Dubai Creek which is located in the desert.  The Scottish courses he enjoys include Crail, the 4th oldest course in the world, Glasgow Gailes, Cruden Bay, Royal Dornoch, Dunbar and, of course, Gleneagles.  He admitted that to play some of these courses is now expensive, so Brian enters every year a number of senior competitions where golfers can play different courses for £10-15 entry fee.  These competitions are very popular.

Brian’s talk prompted many comments rather than questions, with the golfers in the company telling stories of their experiences on courses in different countries.  Also in Scotland where some of the smaller, remote and yet enjoyable courses still use the “honesty box system” to collect green fees.

Past President Euan Stirrat provided the vote of thanks for Brian’s excellent, hastily prepared talk


Weekly Report – 15 June 2010

Rotarian Gordon Hart is never short of a good sailing story.  So it was on Tuesday at the weekly meeting of the Rotary Club of Hamilton when Gordon told the members about the places he had visited in the Dodecanese Islands.

The Dodecanese chain of islands is the south-eastern-most of the groups of Greek Islands and is very close to Turkey. Gordon explained that some of the islands have a well developed tourist infrastructure with fancy resorts and packed beaches while others are perfect for those who seek an escape from the masses.  All these islands, because they are so near Turkey, overtly display strong nationalist feeling by painting their house blue and white..
Gordon liked Rhodes, not for its beaches, but for its history that goes back to prehistoric times. In 50 AD, it is said that the apostle Paul landed near Lindos and made Rhodes a significant Christian centre. The island’s ruins, especially those at Lindos, are impressive and the remains of the Colosssus that was destroyed in an earthquake in 226 BC can be seen at Mandraki harbour. In 1309 the knights of the Order of St John, purchased the island.  The Order remained for 200 years and was responsible for building the magnificent yet quaint walled town, which still stands today in its original form.
Gordon told the story of Syrmi, an island that obtained its wealth from the harvesting of sponge until the sponge became diseased.  Syrmi was also significant during the Second World War because the Germans used it as a garrison that surrendered off shore on HMS Kimberley in 1945.
He visited Nissiros, a dormant volcano.  Gordon explained that the volcano is currently inactive (not erupting) and fumaroles are found at the craters. The latest eruptive activity was a steam explosion in 1888, after small ash eruptions in 1871 and 1873. A period of seismic unrest in 1996-1997 led an international team of scientist to initiate monitoring of the volcanic .
Kos he compared with Rhodes because of the influence of the Order of St John and remarkable because of the number of umbrellas sold in the shops.  Historically it is significant because Hippocrates had his teaching hospital on Kos. 
In pre-Roman times the island of Patmos flourished, but when the Romans conquered it they used it as a place of exile for convicts.  The Apostle John came to Patmos because he was exiled by the Romans to the island.  He proceeded to convert the inhabitants to Christianity and wrote his Book of Revelation, the apocalypse.  From very historic island of Patmos Gordon took us to the contrasting island of Leros with its huge natural harbour and Italianate/Mussolini style architecture.

Gordon took us on a fabulous journey in his talk and illustrated with excellent slides.  He had to respond to many questions on both sailing and the islands he spoke about.  He well deserved the vote of thank given by past president Bernie Crozier



Weekly Report -  8 June 2010

At its meeting on Tuesday, the Rotary Club of Hamilton heard from Tom McAllister, who is employed by the Aberlour Child Trust.  The Trust is a charity whose aims are to improve the life chances of 6000 at risk children, young people and their families.

The Aberlour Child Trust is based in Stirling and was founded in 1875 by a Miss McPherson Grant, a millionaire. The charity was originally to care for four orphaned boys, but it grew until in 1928 when it was literally bursting at the seams. Today the charity has a total of 700 staff spread throughout Scotland who try to restore order to the chaotic lives of children whose parents have drug and alcohol problem.

Tom quoted some astounding statistics to the Rotarians. In Scotland there are 100,000 children affected by their parents’ drug misuse and 60,000 children are affected by their parents’ alcohol misuse. He stated that one child in nine under 16 runs away from home. Aberlour acts as a refuge for them, although they can only fund three beds for this purpose.

Referrals come to Aberlour through the police and local authorities. Like most charities they are feeling the pinch in the current economic climate rendering it difficult to fund the £20 million annual bill. Tom, an ex journalist, has worked for STV and the BBC and uses his skill to publicises the good works of the charity and raise awareness of its needs.

After many concerned questions from Rotarians, Alex Torrance proposed a well deserved vote of thanks.

The District Final of Rotary’s Primary School Quiz was held at Clydebank Town Hall on Thursday 4 June. Twenty schools competed from as far away as Oban, Stranraer and Campbeltown – the greatest number of teams in the District Finals since the competition started

After nine rounds, the competition ended in a dead heat between St Fillan’s RC Primary School, Houston and Hamilton College Junior School.  The competition was won by Hamilton in a sudden death tiebreak.

The photograph shows the team members, from left to right, Callum Taylor, Sharan Maiya, Ross Leslie and Eleanor Blackstock with Andrew Slater, the District Governor of District 1230.




Weekly Report – 1 June 2010

The speaker at the meeting of the Rotary club of Hamilton on Tuesday was Colin Stewart, Head teacher of Hamilton Grammar School.  Colin’s subject was “the Grammar’s” successful bid with its Curriculum for Excellence.

Colin claimed that the pursuit of the Curriculum of Excellence has resulted in the school being successful in its objectives to make students confident, independent, effective contributors and responsible citizens.  The various elements of the programme have taken the school on a very interesting journey, pupils and teachers alike. 

The award includes many elements that have resulted in recognition for the school from Government Inspectors and other sources. Colin referred to the fact the “The Grammar” was one of the few Eco schools in Lanarkshire. 

In this connection areas of the school grounds have been taken up by a Botany Project. This entailed a study of the wild plants that grow in the grounds of the school that commenced in the summer of 2001.  Over 80 species were identified in the first year. The number now stands at over 100 and the whole project has been of great assistance aiding pupils at all stages understanding biology.
The project has also aided the schools formal link with Donkorkrom Senior High School in Ghana. This partnership has been forged with the aid of grants.  While the project started as a charitable project, Colin wants the link to move on and develop so that the contributions from both schools are more equal.  There already have been a number of visits to Donkorkron by pupils and correspondence between pupils at all levels is encouraged.
Colin also referred to the links the school is making with businesses in the town and the steps the school is taking to form stronger links with community.  He was able to boast an excellent report following the Government inspection.  In particular, he was pleased with the numerous references in the report to the many projects that involve pupils throughout the school. 
Particularly interesting was the project where by the school’s Carbon Footprint was measured.  The results gave rise to direct action from the pupils in the form of recycling projects.
As fifty percent of the membership at the Club attended Hamilton Academy, Colin was faced with many questions; many weighted towards the academic aspects of the school.  Lawrence Scott provided the vote of thanks on behalf of the Club




Weekly Report -  25 May 2010

At the most recent meeting of The Rotary Club of Hamilton Allan Colthart spoke on the subject of genealogy.  Allan is President of the Lanarkshire Family History Society and started his talk by asking his audience how many of the members had traced their family history and how far back had they got to. Surprisingly few had undertaken the task. The members who had done the research got as far back mid 19th century

Allan explained the fun, even excitement, that can be experienced going through the various avenues where records are kept.  The main sources are birth certificates, which generally go back to 1855, and census records, which can take researchers back to 1841.  Allan’s enthusiastic presentation certainly encouraged members to become involved in tracing their family history.

The thrust of Allan’s presentation was to direct his audience on how best to get the information and, having obtained it, what to with it.  By the aid of slides Allan showed the form the information is provided and expounded on the information that can be extrapolated from it.  His references to the census records were particularly interesting.  Enthusiasts who take their investigations further enjoy examining Poor Law records; church Records, the Genealogical Index and having expeditions touring graveyards.  He explained that Poor Law records can be very moving and illustrated examples of young children being abandoned and mothers and children being rendered homeless.  Other sources that information can be obtained are from Police, schools and medical records.

He referred to the internet but suggested that sites on the internet tend to be commercial and, therefore, researchers have to pay for the information they obtain.  He still thinks reference libraries are the best resource to start researching into family history because assistance for a beginner is so readily provided.  Excellent assistance is also available from the 31 local societies n Scotland

He advised that Lanarkshire is particularly interesting because of the County’s many international links with Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Ireland.  .

After Allan had responded to many questions Club member Archie Russell gave the vote of thanks.



Weekly Report 18 May 2010

No official Press report this week—it was to be a committee evening, however, a round of the District Sports Challenge was held between the club and 6 members of Paisley Callants Club. Putting was the order of the evening and a selection of photos is detailed below – Hamilton was narrowly beaten   

Intense action on the putting green

Whilst tension mounts in the spectators ( or otherwise)

The competing teams



Weekly Report 11 May 2010

The Rotary Club of Hamilton will now meet on a Tuesday night for the rest of the summer.  While Hamilton Golf Club will continue to be the Club’s meeting place, last Tuesday the Club met at the New Douglas Park Stadium, the venue for the Club’s Primary Schools Quiz competition.  As usual the competitors and supporters were enthusiastic and the competition closely contested.

Rotarian 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 Hamilton College came out as winners closely followed by runner up Townhill Primary School, and in third position Chatelherault Primary.  The winning team was presented with a cheque for £40, a winner’s certificate and the winners shield by club President Eddie Hawke.  The other competing schools were Glenlee, St. Elizabeth’s and St. Mary’s primary schools

The Primary Schools Quiz is a national competition and Tuesday night’s winners, Hamilton College, will represent Hamilton in the final.

The photograph shows the winning team, Callum Taylor, Eleanor Blackstock, Sharan Maiya and Ross Leslie with club President Eddie Hawke.



Weekly Report – 22 April 2010

This week we were treated to a very theatrical presentation from Kitty Walker of the Britannia Panopticon Music Hall Trust . Kerry provide the club with a very interesting and engaging history of  the  music hall in the Trongate, Glasgow which was illustrated with details of the development of  the hall over the years from 1857 to it’s closure in  1938 following which the building was used as a shop/warehouse. The Various acts which performed in the Music Hall were also discussed .

All in all, the members in attendance thoroughly enjoyed the talk  with Hamish ( Hair) Wilson providing the vote of thanks on behalf of the club   

The music hall’s website is well worth a look:-



Weekly Report - 09 April 2010

The speaker at the meeting of the Rotary Club of Hamilton on Thursday was Hugh Watters who provided details of the Lanarkshire International Children’s Games (ICG), an International Olympic Committee-sanctioned event held every year.  The event gives children, aged between 12 & 15, from cities around the world an opportunity to compete in a variety of sports. Interestingly, these games will see Lanarkshire ‘kick off’ a UK hat-trick of IOC events - the London Olympics in 2012 and the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow in 2014.

The spiritual father of these Games is the Slovenian sports instructor Metod Klemenc who was born in 1934 in Ljubljana, Slovenia. His childhood suffered from the 2nd World War and he wanted to create a better world based on friendship; sport seemed to him to be one of the best means to bring together young people from different countries.

North and South Lanarkshire Councils made a joint bid for Lanarkshire to host the 2011 International Children's Games, which are the world’s biggest youth sporting event.  It is expected that 1,500 young competitors, along with coaches, administrators and delegates from more than 70 countries will head to Lanarkshire for the event in August 2011.

Hugh became involved when he was still working with South Lanarkshire Council and he joined a Lanarkshire investigating delegation to Cleveland, Ohio.  His experience with the Council gave him the experience that allows him to mastermind the 2011 Games.  Hugh’s talk evolved from providing the background to the games to the immense logistics involved.  He stated that the first problem for the Committee was funding; the hosts have to find their own funding.  The two Lanarkshire authorities, the first non-city to hold the event, are contributing £1m each.  The sports that will be represented will be swimming, track and field, football, tennis, sailing, golf, badminton, judo, and volley ball.  It is the hoped that many of the home-based youngsters who will take part in the Lanarkshire Games will move on to wear Scotland’s colours at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games in 2014.
The venues for the events are evenly split between the two authorities as is the accommodation.  Hugh’s explanation of the thoroughness with which the logistics are being dealt with impressed his audience, particularly the organisation for transport where 1500 athletes, coaches etc. will be brought from their accommodation to a central collection point, distributed to the venues and then returned.  Also, all the athletes etc and their coaches have to be fed.  Various agencies within Lanarkshire are committed to assist the Committee.  A major hope but is hope is that there will be lasting benefits as a result of involving the communities, schools, colleges and the university to assist the committee at this early stage.  The committee is still looking for volunteers.

Ian Lawie provided the vote of thanks on behalf of the members



Weekly Report - 02 April 2010

The Rotary Club of Hamilton enjoyed a Job Talk by its newest member, Harry Doyle.  Harry lives in Hamilton and is now retired but in giving his “Job Talk” he provided the club with and interesting and amusing review of his career. 

Harry claimed he was born in the “biggest house in Hamilton”, the model lodging house in Burnbank where his father was employed as manager.  Harry initially attended St. Cuthbert’s Primary School before going to Our Lady’s High School Motherwell.  He started his working career in Messrs. Honeywells and gained his further education and professional qualifications at the Royal College of Technology, Glasgow.

He was persuaded by a friend to made better use of his personal skills by going into education. He started his new career teaching pre-vocational courses at a school in Carfin then graduated to Coatbridge Technical College where he taught hydraulics pneumatics, instrumentation and statistics.  After teaching the same subjects for a time at Bell College Hamilton he decided to enter schools education where he moved up the career ladder.

He commented that 1968 was his big year; he built a house, gained an MSc and a wife and was elected to Hamilton Burgh Council.  He regarded himself lucky to have been elected to serve on the Council because he was elected as a Labour candidate at a time when the Scottish National Party was sweeping the boards. He was proud that Burnbank and Whitehill remained staunchly Labour. 

He became chairman of the Parks and Recreation Committee and referred to some of the Committee’s achievements.  He also referred to difficulties the Joint Committee had acquiring the land to extend the loch at Strathclyde Park so that it would qualify as a venue for international competitions.  His election to the Burgh Council also saw Harry appointed as an ex-officio Justice of the Peace which resulted in him dispensing justice from the bench in Hamilton Burgh Court and later the District Court for 37 years.

Harry punctuated his talk with humour, even when talking about his heart attack in Spain and his two by-pass operations.  Harry’s anecdotes and humour rendered his talk most enjoyable for his audience. Past President Ian Macgregor provided the vote of thanks



Weekly Report -  25 March 2010

Martin Sunter was the guest speaker at the Rotary Club of Hamilton on Thursday.  His subject was the operation of the Met Office who moved its operation to its new premises in Edinburgh in 2003.

Aided by Power-Point projections, Martin explained that the new premises hold the national weather archives and, while the Met Office provides weather forecasts for the BBC and other organisations, a major role is research, particularly in relation to climate change.  The Met Office employs 800 personnel at 60 sites round the world and is part of the Ministry of Defence.  It shares its role and information with commercial and governments bases in all part of the world.

The information that the Met Office feeds into its computer, one of the biggest in Europe, is obtained from radar, satellites, ships, planes and other weather recording agencies.  He added that individual human input continues to be important and that there are many individuals whose hobby it is to record and report the weather and unusual occurrences to the Met Office.  All the data the Met Office receives is fed into complicated mathematical models in the computer that enable the Met Office to provide short and long term weather predictions.

Martin advised that the Met office is a world leader in the research of climate change and, while there continues to be a debate about climate change and its effects, he was in no doubt that the summers would become warmer, the winters wetter, the sea levels and sea temperatures are increasing and will continue to increase and there will be more storm surges.  He illustrated the trends by using graphs of information from the middle of last century which showed that that there had been a trend of gradual increases but the rate of change is accelerating.

He concluded his very interesting talk by detailing the many agencies that are dependent on the information provided by the Met Office.  These included the Public Warning Service, emergency services, local authorities, transport agencies, aviation, coastal agencies, public health agencies and defence.  He then faced many questions from his engrossed audience.  Gordon Hart provided the vote of thanks on behalf of the Club.




Weekly Report - 19 March 2010

The committees of the Rotary Club of Hamilton met on Thursday.  As well as reporting on plans for future events, committee chairmen took the opportunity to report on recent projects.

The Chairman of the Club Service Committee, Ian Brown, reported on the Membership Day in the Town Centre.  It was pleasing for the Rotarians present to observe the interest taken in the shelter box and its contents.  A Shelter Box provides humanitarian aid world wide in the form of shelter, warmth and comfort for extended families of up to 10 persons displaced by natural and other disasters. Each box costs £490.00 – including all materials. Every Shelter Box is individually numbered and donors can track where the boxes have been sent.  This is an ongoing project for the Club.

Steve Brough, International Convener, reported on the successful Big Band charity concert at St John’s Church where student musicians from The Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Dramatic Art (RSAMD) entertained.  The concert raised £1360 for Rotary International’s eradication of polio fund.  The Club was also able to provide a donation to the RSAMD.

President Eddie Hawke presented Rotarian Nirmal Singh with a cheque which takes the Clubs contribution towards the construction of his girls’ school in India to £1800.  When thanking the Club for the gift Nirmal explained that he was leaving next day for India for three months to supervise the finishing work, officially open the school and receive its first official students.  Most of the money from Rotary will be used to finish and furnish a classroom.  Nirmal further advised that he is still looking for teachers, particularly in English.

The Chairman of the Vocational Committee, Gordon Hart, reported on the successful collection at Hamilton Accies for Udston Hospital.  It was also successful for Accies in that the team achieved a long awaited victory. He further reported that the gardens at Udston hospital will soon receive their spring tidy from a team of the Club’s gardening enthusiasts.  Gordon also reported on the progress of the arrangements for the Primary Schools’ Quiz.

The Club held its Charity Sportsman’s dinner on Friday in the Banqueting Hall at the Council Buildings.  The photograph shows President Eddie Hawke with, from left to right, the speakers Des McKeon, Malky McCormick and Les Peters who acted as Master of Ceremonies.



Weekly Report - 12 March 2010

Clive Fairweather addressed the Rotary Club of Hamilton last Thursday on the subject of “Stress in the Workplace”.  The workplaces he referred to were military operations where soldiers are affected in different ways by harrowing experiences during their military career.

Clive, who was a Colonel in the SAS, started his talk by giving examples of excellent and extremely brave men with whom he had been close while they were in the services.  These servicemen subsequently became successful in civilian life but were so affected by their experiences in various theatres of war that later they took their lives.  Clive’s role now is to raise awareness of what was in the World War I called “shell shock” and to act as fund raiser for the Combat Stress Appeal.

He was graphic in his descriptions of the affects of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and explained that the intrusive thoughts that are symptomatic of the problem can appear a long time after the actual experiences.  He explained that there is an increased awareness in the community of PTSD arising from the news coverage of the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. Also the services are making advances in identifying service personnel likely to be susceptible to PTSD and are also improving their methods in dealing with the problem.

He stressed that it is difficult to deal with this kind of mental health problem and to this end the military sponsor Hollybush House in Ayrshire, a home where ex-service personnel who are mentally damaged as a result of their service experience can attend and receive treatment.  The Scottish Government pays 60% of the costs and it is Clive’s role to find the other 40%.   He went to some length explaining how PTSD manifests itself and how the specialists deal with the affected personnel.  The aim of Hollybush House, supported by outreach teams, is to get people, who often become reclusive, into society and into work.  He feared that the longer the present conflicts last the greater will be the need for the specialist treatment that is funded by combat Stress Organisation.

This was an impressive presentation from a very experienced and dedicated senior soldier on a very serious subject.  He still reckoned the military was a good career.  Clive Fairweather deserved the vote of thanks provided by Jim Glass on behalf of the Club.



Weekly Report  - 5 March 2010

At their meeting last Thursday, The Rotary Club of Hamilton was addressed by Margaret Clarke, Principal of Hamilton College, telling us of the aims and achievements gained by the College.

Margaret has been with the college for three and a half years, the latter two being in the position of Principal. She enthusiastically indicated that her goal for the college was excellence and to prepare her pupils for their future roles in the community. She also thanked the Rotarians for selecting one of her pupils for their Euro Scholar project in Strasberg and stated that the girl had benefited greatly from her experience.
Pupils and staff at the college are involved in fund raising activities and donate to various charities. Over a short period of time they have raised £4.500 and charities such as CHAS., Haiti, Red Nose Day and Children in Need have benefitted along with others.

They have also helped the victims of the floods in Burkino Faso in West Africa, where the College has close ties with a local school, and participates in a pupil exchange scheme, where pupils from the college go there for a number of days. Whilst there they will take part in projects such as teaching English, painting murals and establishing internet connections.

After many questions from members, past president John Downie gave a well deserved vote of thanks.



Weekly Report - 26 February 2010

The Reverend John Carswell, who recently took over the charge of Cadzow Parish Church on the Reverend Arthur Barrie’s retiral, presented “The Musings of an American Scot” to the Rotary Club of Hamilton last Thursday.  While born in Scotland, John has spent most of his life in the US, Texas in particular.

John is married and has six children; he therefore has a busy family life over and above the pastoral duties that his calling requires him to fulfil.  He is and has always been interested in writing and uses blogs to satisfy this interest.  The blogs mainly detail vignettes of his family life but venture into politics and religion.  John’s presentation was to read some of his blogs.  Having recently moved into the manse in Carlisle Road he had plenty of material.  His droll writing on the subject of the difficulties that the family had to overcome when new floors were being laid on the ground raised a lot of smiles.  His musings on “snow” were very interesting. He likes snow and waxed lyrical of the grace of the small and large flakes that gently fall and accumulate to create the most beautiful pictures.  He also touched on the variety of effects of snow.

John’s audience could identify with his blog on “Customer Service”.  He thinks this is the element of every day life that he misses most now that he is in Scotland.  In the States, no matter what an individual is purchasing, the server makes the purchaser fee that he is the most important person in the world.  He recognises this is less so in Scotland.  He suggested that this might arise because of the natural reticence of the Scots and a desire not to be seen to be interfering too much in somebody else’s business.  He provided humorous examples of his dealing with shop assistants.

The recent inclusion of a dog into the family and John’s efforts to accommodate the new arrival into family life and teach it obedience gave rise to more entertaining musings.  He concluded his delightful presentation with his experience of his first Burns Supper when he was invited by a member of his congregation to the Hamilton Burns Club annual celebration at the Silvertrees Hotel.  Having overcome the difficulties of wearing a dinner suit that had shrunk in the wardrobe and using cuff links for the first time, he enjoyed the formality of the evening, particularly the piping in and addressing of the haggis and the songs.  He found some of the language difficult to comprehend but it was rendered more intelligible as the evening wore on.

The Reverend Arthur Barrie thanked John for a uniquely presented talk.

If you feel like reading John's Blog , please look up :-

On Wednesday the 10 March at 7.30pm in St John's Church, Hamilton, the Club hosts a prestigious event, 'Swingin into Spring', to raise funds for Rotary International's effort to 'End Polio Now'.  The 'Big Band' from the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama has agreed to give a concert of music from the Big Band era.  The talented musicians who play for the Academy's Grand Opera performances and with the Symphony Orchestra will be joined by Ryan Quigley who was the winner of the Best Brass award at the recent Scottish Jazz Awards.  Musical Director, Bryan Allen, is confident that this evening of music and song will be greatly enjoyed by those attending.


Weekly Report - 19 February 2010

The monthly meetings of the committees of the Rotary Club of Hamilton took place on Thursday.  The club is going to have a busy schedule over the next few months. Our first visit to the Town Centre this year will be on the 28th February when the Club will try to raise awareness of the charity work carried out by Rotarians.  On display will be the Aqua and Emergency boxes that, with shelter boxes, have proved to be so helpful in providing accommodation and equipment to the poor people in Haiti in the aftermath of the earthquake.  Filling the Aqua and Emergency boxes is ongoing for the Club and members are grateful for the help given by the Boys Brigade and some primary schools in filling the boxes. 

Members of the Club will also meet Hamilton Accies supporters on the 6 March when, with the permission of the football club, they will collect for Udston Hospital.

Two fund raisers are in the programme, “Swinging into Spring” and the Charity Sportsman’s Dinner.  The swing concert will introduce the Big Band of the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama to Hamilton when it will play at St. John’s Church Hamilton at 7.30pm on Wednesday 10 March.  Tickets are available from Rotarians and will be available on the night at the door. The Charity Sportsman’s Dinner will be held on the 19 March in the Banqueting Hall in the Council Buildings.  Tickets are available from Bob Hamilton at 01698 427974.

It was reported that Kay Hunter, a pupil at Hamilton College and whose name was put forward by the Club for a Rotary International Euro Scholarship, was successful in gaining the scholarship and will attend the Strasbourg Parliament with scholarship winners from other EU countries.  This will be a challenging experience for Kay as she will be required to present a paper in a language other than her own.  The Business Challenge is progressing with interviews taking place over the next couple of weeks.  The arrangements for the successful and enjoyable annual Primary Schools’ Quiz are nearing completion.

Eight members and their partners will visit Prague for the Fellowship Weekend in April.



Weekly Report - 12 February 2010

The Rotary Club of Hamilton enjoyed the visit of Autumn Keller, the Ambassadorial Scholar from Attica, Indiana USA. Ambassadorial Scholarships scheme is The Rotary Foundation's oldest and best-known programme having been founded in 1947. Since then, nearly 38,000 men and women from about 100 nations have studied abroad under the scheme’s auspices.
The purpose of the Ambassadorial Scholarships programme is to further international understanding and friendly relations among people of different countries and geographical areas. The program sponsors several types of scholarships for undergraduate and graduate students as well as for qualified professionals pursuing vocational studies. Whilst abroad, scholars serve as goodwill ambassadors to the host country and give presentations about their homelands to Rotary clubs and other groups. Upon returning home, scholars share with Rotarians and others the experiences that led to a greater understanding of their host country.

Autumn proved to be an excellent ambassador.  Married with a nine year old daughter, Autumn came to Glasgow, accompanied by her family, to study a fine arts course at The Glasgow School of Art for two years. With the help of slides, the Club was given an insight into life in the small town of Attica in the middle of the breadbasket area of the States.  An interesting feature of the slides was the pronounced seasonal features of the countryside and the neatness and cleanliness of the town and other areas of the state and its capital Indianapolis.  Interestingly Attica boasts a Carnegie Library.  Rotary is very strong in Indiana and she referred to many of the fund raising efforts of her local sponsoring club and how supportive the members had been to her and her family.  One of the Club’s ongoing projects is to refurbish old fire tenders and export them to South America.

The Kellers lives in Partick and she says that they have settled very quickly into Glasgow, they enjoy tenement life and the accommodation it provides and the variety of cultures that are immediately available to them.  She has found the people to be open and kind and feels that the experience has broadened and improved her skills as an artist.  She particularly enjoys working in the atmosphere of the Macintosh designed Art School and is appreciative of its history and the many fine artists who have trodden the floors and stairs before her.

Autumn had to answer many questions that touched on her home town, her impressions of different aspects of Glasgow and her art.  Steve Brough gave a well deserved vote of thanks


Weekly Report - 28 January 2010

In a talk entitled UK Oil and Gas, Craig Mackenzie explained to the Rotary Club of Hamilton the status of the United Kingdoms oil and gas production.  Craig has a degree in chemical engineering from Strathclyde University and has worked with major and independent producers of gas and oil.

In a question and answer session at the start of his talk Craig determined how little the members knew about gas production and went on to explain that the UK produces 1.6 million barrels of crude per day.  There are 70 companies working off-shore producing 68 billion barrels of crude oil per year.  Using photographs and diagrams Craig explained where the oil and gas comes from and how the fuels are accessed.  At present the UK lies in 15th position in terms of global production but significantly has only an estimated thirty years of production left.  At present the UK produces only 75% of its needs and, therefore, requires to import both gas and oil to overcome the demand deficit.

The fields in the North Sea present a mature area in decline albeit exploration activity is still ongoing with improvements in field recovery enabling more oil and gas to be extracted. The industry is also in pursuit of new areas, particularly to the west of Shetland.  The technology for any discoveries in the west will be different because of the depths that are encountered combined with elements that will require to be overcome.

Oil and gas production plays a very significant part in the UK’s economy, not only in terms of research and development, but the industry employs almost half a million people and is currently putting approx.  £10 billion pounds into the UK coffers.

Having provided his audience this background information he then took his audience through the steps of production detailing roughly the expected time each step can take and showing the different types of rigs that are used.  Illustrations of the well gave Craig the opportunity to explain the changes that have been made to the rigs to increase safety during oil and gas production following the Piper Alfa incident.

This was an excellent talk by a young man who patiently responded to the many questions that his talk generated.  Past President John Downie gave a well deserved vote of thanks  



Weekly Report - 21 January 2010

The Committees of the Rotary Club of Hamilton met on Thursday.  While most of the reports from the various conveners referred to work in progress the Club was called upon to make a few decisions.
The first decision related to providing a donation of £5000 to the Haiti disaster fund. The Rotary Foundation has already established the Haiti Earthquake Relief Fund for Rotarians who want to donate toward recovery efforts following the powerful earthquake that rocked Haiti on 12 January. 
Rotary International’s immediate response was to mobilise a ShelterBox response team of two U.S. Rotarians and one from the United Kingdom. At the time of writing the response team had already mobilised and delivered 1,700 containers of supplies to the affected areas. Another 1,600 will be dispatched from the U.K. to Port-au-Prince. Also, more than 100 Aquaboxes are being delivered to Haiti to provide safe drinking water. It has been interesting to witness from news coverage of the early involvement of Rotary International, particularly from West Indian and American clubs. It is also pleasing to see the shelter boxes actually being used.
The Rotary Club of Hamilton has agreed to accelerate the filling of its two Aquaboxes.  In this connection the Club would like to thank the people of Hamilton whose donations have helped the Club purchase Shelter and Aqua boxes. We also thank local Boys Brigade companies for helping the Club to purchase and fill these elements of relief in this troubled little island.
The Club also agreed to donate £1000 from its International Charity Fund towards fitting out a classroom at Nirmal Singh’s school project in his native village in Bhanoki in the province of Jallander, India.  Nirmal was pleased to report that the school is now opened and functioning but urgently needs teachers.  Club members agreed to try to find volunteers to undertake teaching duties and Nirmal has offered to fund travel and living costs for any volunteer.  This is a wonderful opportunity for young newly qualified teachers or recently retired experienced teachers to use their expertise and at the same time experience the wonders of India.  If anyone wishes to find out more please contact Nirmal Singh at 07796034889.

The Club also agreed to a recommendation from the International Committee to promote a Big Band Sound Concert in St John’s Church, Hamilton on the 10 March Players from the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama will perform a variety of “standards” and songs from the shows.  Money raised will go toward Rotary’s “End Polio Now” project.




Weekly Report -  17 January 2010

The Rotary Club of Hamilton enjoyed its annual celebration of Robert Burns’ birth at Hamilton Golf Club on Thursday.  A large company of members and guests enjoyed a thoroughly entertaining evening organised by Ian Bell.  With President Eddie Hawke having welcomed the company, the haggis was piped in by Stewart Porteous and carried aloft by a “rustic haggis fed” Mark Williams.  The haggis was enthusiastically addressed by Sheila Bell, Past President of the Inner Wheel Club of Hamilton.  An excellent and heart-felt Immortal Memory was proposed by the Club’s principle guest, Stan Evans.

President Eddie Hawke provided an amusing Toast to the Lassies to which Jean Cook past president of Hamilton Inner Wheel provided a spirited response.  The recitations were provided by Moira Condie who excelled in the manner of her presentation and a theme that used exerts from poems and songs to thread together events in the poet’s life.  Moira is also a past President of Hamilton’s Inner Wheel Club.  A double act from past Presidents Ian Bell and Bill Condie provided more humour punctuated by recitations.

The musical entertainment was provided by the club’s resident baritones, Ian MacGregor and Alister Baird, who chose their songs well and sang them beautifully, President Eddie Hawke drew the whole evening to a close in a droll vote of thanks.


The above photograph shows the top table guest and artists.


Weekly Report  - 7 January 2010

The new session of the Rotary Club of Hamilton started with a talk by one its members, Gordon Hart.  Gordon is an enthusiastic and experienced yachtsman and his talk took his audience to the Greek islands in the Ionian Sea.

Gordon explained that when he initially took up sailing he found it was difficult to afford the kind of sailing he wanted to do and particularly on the boats that he wanted to sail.  Initially he chartered the boats for a week at a time.  In discussions with the charter firms he discovered that he could deliver boats to different destinations thereby allowing him to undertake long sails in the kind of boats that he couldn’t afford to buy.  Nowadays the demands of the tourist industry require the boats to be delivered as quickly as possible and the delivery option is now not so attractive.

Gordon has a unique way of telling his story that allows him to explain the history of the places and tell anecdotes using his own brand of humour. The stories are enhanced by delightful photos and explanatory maps.

He explained that the Ionian Islands were on the spice route between Venice and Istanbul.  When he talked about Brindisi Gordon gave us a geography lesson and of Kerkyra island/Corfu a history lesson.  He amused the audience by explaining that everybody on the island was called Spiro after a Saint Spiros.  In Paxos he explained the cigarette black market and the fact that even the banks on the island sold cigarettes.  When he and his crew arrived on at Levkas there had been a police raid and thousands of packets of cigarettes were strewn over the pier.  Cephalonia, the island where “Captain Corelli’s Mandolin” was filmed, gave Gordon a chance to speak about the role Greece in the Second World War.  When he spoke about Ithaca he referred to the mythical Odysseus (Ulysses) whose exploits were described so vividly in Homer’s Odyssey.

He said that he has always liked Corfu, the second biggest Ionian Island.  He likes the people, the history and the fact that cricket matches have been played on the island since St. Georges Day in 1823. Past President Bob Hamilton congratulated Gordon for a most enjoyable amusing and informative talk.

Local restaurateur Nirmal Singh, having recently returned from his visit to India, reported that the construction of the school for girls that he is funding is complete.  It will be formally opened in March of this year.  Nirmal brought some excellent photographs that illustrated this exciting and impressive project.




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