Weekly Report - 13 December 2012


The surrounding areas of Hamilton are packed with wildlife, roe deer, badgers, foxes, squirrels, birds of prey, swans and many more .Part of Craig Borthwick’s work within Strathclyde Police is to apprehend the criminals carrying out the killing of these animals and birds.

The poachers who most likely will be armed with guns,crossbows,hunting dogs and other killing implements are roaming around the greener areas usually after dark .The roe deer shot or killed by the chasing dogs are normally sold on to unscrupulous dealers but some kills are merely for fun .

Badgers are the next most popular with dogs carrying out the baiting below ground in the badger sett.The badgers are sometimes sold approx value £1000 but most likely they will be kept for fighting with dogs.
The dogs are specially bred and trained for the badger fighting and killing and are extremely dangerous with fierce jaws .Photographs of dogs caught by the police show scars, broken teeth, skin missing and other scars of badger fighting. Badger baiting has been prominent in mining areas around Britain and the police are making every effort to eradicate this illegal form of “entertainment”.

Glasgow University now provides D N A testing on both the dogs and the killed animals and arrests and convictions have been made due to this modern technology.

The vote of thanks was given by John Downie



Weekly Report - 6 December 2012


Cameron Dick, past rector of various Lanarkshire schools has taken a special interest in the 79th Armoured Division of the British Army which was instrumental in the conclusion to the Second World War .It was a specialist formation set up as part of the Normandy Invasion of June 1944 and comprised armoured vehicles adapted for various purposes but mainly the landing on the French coastline and the break down the German defences by whatever means necessary.

This was the largest division in the British Army and consisted of 21,000 men and 7,000 armoured vehicles .The creation of the division and the tank adaption was top secret and was nicknamed Churchill’s Secret Army.

Its commander was Major General Sir Percy Hobart who had previously raised and trained the 11th Armoured Division and the various armouries consisted of a variety of specially adapted tanks and other vehicles which were used for operations dependant on the role needed to assist with field operations

Names of these tanks were Sherman Crab, Churchill AVRE, Ark, Crocodile, Kangaroo , Buffalo , Centaur bulldozer,etc and each had its own specialist operation uses and the nickname Hobart “Funnies” was used to describe these adapted armoured vehicles and tanks

Each adapted tank had its own use, for example the Crocodile had the tank gun removed and a flamethrower substituted which could fire 150 yards of flame supplied from a fuel container towed behind the tank The duplex drive of one tank enabled it to be used on land and “swim “ on water.The bulldozer had an enormous blade attached to the frontage of the tank for clearing of debris

This armoured division was disbanded in 1945 but not after taking part in numerous famous Second World War battles such as Battle of Normandy, Battle of the Scheldt, Rhine crossing, Elbe crossing and many others.

The vote of thanks was well presented by Ian Brown


Weekly Report - 29 November 2012

All 5 secondary schools in the Hamilton area had teams for this year’s competition. Two levels competed for are intermediate and senior with the winners going on to the West of Scotland event in Glasgow. The winners of that go on to the United Kingdom event in Hull. So here’s hoping. The audience were treated to self selected topics which were both serious and humorous. Teams consist of a chairperson, a main speaker and a proposer of the vote of thanks. The speaker had also to deal with a question from a member of the audience.

Competing in the intermediate were  Hamilton College, Holy Cross and Calderside Academy. Calderside won with “Performing” as the topic of Brooke Sommerville.

The senior event starred some great speakers. Daniel Clemente of Holy Cross was looking for more emphasis on people skills being taught while Hamilton Grammar’s Beth Kelly posed as a “Grumpy young woman”. Kieran Bell from Calderside was a brilliant present day St John with his speech on the Apocalypse. Winner was John Ogilvie’s Matthew Campbell with his riotous and thought provoking “We are all cheats, but…”

President Steve Brough wound up by thanking the judges from Hamilton’s Speaker’s Club and Stanley Cook for his organisation of a most enjoyable evening.


Calderside Academy were the Intermediate winners


John Ogilvie High School were the Senior winners




Weekly Report - 22 November 2012

The club had a visit from Alex Blair, the District Governor who is a member of the Ardrossan and Saltcoats club. He spoke passionately about his visit to San Diego in California in January for the International Assembly. This Assembly gathers the governors of the districts from around the world to discuss setting targets for the following year. Alex reminded us that Rotary has 1.2 million members in 34000 clubs throughout the world. Hamilton is part of the West of Scotland District which has 52 clubs. The Rotary International President Sakuji Tanaka set out his theme for us as “Peace through Service”. Peace not just from war but peace for individuals, families and communities.

Alex in his journey round the district is looking to instil this motto and at the same time find clubs that are achieving these ends. Passing on success stories and encouraging clubs to achieve more locally was his aim this year. He was interested to hear of our “Youth Speaks” competition for our 5 local secondary schools which takes place once again on Thursday 29th at the University of the West of Scotland in Almada Street.

Photo shows - District Governor Alex Blair and President Steve Brough

Member, Bernie Crozier, gave us a brief outline on his company’s project to create a charity fund. Donations are raised from an insurance broker, when clients choose to accept their buildings and contents insurance. He spoke about the possibility of raising funds for 5 designated charities both local and national. One of these, the Red Cross, he already spends time with, helping with the distribution of equipment. Bernie was then inundated with questions and suggestions from the members and it was likened to an episode of Dragons’ Den. He promised to keep the meeting posted as he continues to formulate his plans.



Weekly Report - 15 November 2012

The speaker at our weekly meeting was Rev. Joanne Hood, the new installed Minister of St. John’s Church in Duke St. Hamilton. She politely avoided any comment on our Grace before meal though I detected a slight narrowing of the eyes. This may have been in meditation rather than any professional assessment. Having been introduced by our President Steve Brough, Joanne, as she wants to be known, told us amusingly of her journey which has culminated in her arriving at her present post in Hamilton.

Very proud of her Glasgow upbringing she told us of her student days in Glasgow and her falling in with these strangers from outer Lanarkshire. The strangers became firm friends and as well as obtaining her degree in Philosophy she was introduced to lingo of Lanarkshire. Joanne soon learned Ginger didn’t just come in the colour ginger. Wisely she avoided being introduced to another of Lanarkshire’s favourite tipples.

She was soon socialising in the Motherwell, Hamilton area and often admired St John’s Church, thinking “there would be a nice place to work”. Having completed her degree she then spent a chilly but enjoyable Theology degree in the east at St Andrew’s University graduating in 2002. Her training was done mainly in the east of Scotland and her first charge was Broughton St Mary’s in central Edinburgh.

The attendance had been decreasing badly but was soon up and running with the average age of the increasingly vibrant congregation being lowered by about 30 years. The west was still in her blood and she had difficulty stifling her laughter on  encountering the infamous “You’ll have had your tea” on her first visit to a rather douce lady. The kindness and enthusiasm of her parish made her eight years in the post really enjoyable and she was greatly honoured to be appointed one of the Chaplains to the Moderator of the General Assembly in 2011.

Low and behold, she spotted an advert for St. John’s Church in Hamilton, the church she had admired in her early student days. Having been inducted here in May she has been delighted at the welcome she has received and on visiting homes there’s always the guarantee of “Your tea”.



Weekly report  - 1 November 2012

The Central Hotel, Gordon Street, Glasgow

Journalists and authors Jill Scott and Bill Hicks have recently published a book about the history of the Central Hotel in Glasgow from its opening in 1883 by the Caledonian Railway Co to the upgraded modern day version with its new name “The Grand Central Hotel” now owned by the Principal Hayley Hotel Group.The book is called Glasgow’s Grand Central Hotel , took 4 months to write and is available at major bookshops and on line at Amazon

Jill and Bill gave the members of the Rotary Club of Hamilton a very interesting talk through their extensive research and eventual publication of the 160 pages of history of the building, its staff old and new ,the accommodation ,the grand staircase ,the champagne bar with its marble floor and domed ceiling ,the Malmaison Restaurant and the staff quarters.

Glasgow’s most loved hotel Central Hotel in Gordon Street has had 20 million pounds spent on its  upgrading and refurbishment and is now renamed the Grand Central Hotel with 186 bedrooms but will extend when completed to 250 bedrooms incorporating all the floors within the building.

Distinguished people who had stayed in the hotel ranges from Roy Rogers and his horse Trigger, the Beatles, Gene Kelly, Cary Grant, Bob Hope, Christian Dior, John F Kennedy to Winston Churchill to name but a few. Churchill had permanent rooms during the war years and John Logie Baird made the first television transmission to the hotel .

The authors explained that access for the celebrities staying in the hotel was directly from the station which made  life a bit easier particularly for those chased by the press and photo journalists.

Led Zeppelin stayed in the hotel in 1972 and visited the Malmaison restaurant only to be told ties and jackets were necessary.The pop group didn’t have those type of clothes and although the management normally offered ties and jackets to those who came without them on this occasion they declined and the group decamped elsewhere.

The hotel has 7 floors but at present floors 5,6,7 are closed.There is a rumour that in years past, if you were acquainted with the doorman, he would, for a small fee, allow you entry to the 7th floor [staff quarters] and have use of the staff communal bath.

The famous Malmaison Restaurant’s history goes back to the late 1920s and it was named after a mansion on the outskirts of Paris which Josephine bought for her beloved Napoleon in 1799. The style of the exquisitely prepared food was French and the current head chef, James Murphy, started his training at the Central over 30 years ago.

The Royal National Institute for the Blind have published the book in audio format and also in Braille which is of huge benefit to people with this disability [tel help line 0303123999]

The book has many photographs and lots of interesting stories and facts about the hotel and the people who managed and worked  in it.

The vote of thanks was well presented by Hamish Wilson




Weekly report  -  25 October 2012

Strathclyde Community Policing was the talk subject to the members of Hamilton Rotary Club on 25 October 2012 by Sergeant Brendan McMahon,who with 14 years police  experience was well versed in the local police role and activities in Hamilton and the local surrounding areas

His  role is community policing within Hamilton both in the centre of the town and the environs and covers activities such as drugs and drug dealing,anti social behaviour , public disorder,house breaking ,domestic incidents and other similar  crimes

The “no tolerance “scheme has been adopted in the case of domestic incidents and his hopes are that it would reduce the number of incidents in the future

House break ins are low in the area but the target is now business premises rather than homes and Brendan explained the impact that  policing on bikes and walking the beat has had on the public and the law breakers
Brendan is a trained stadium officer and he explained the dramatic increase in “domestics”after a certain Glasgow derby football match

This was the first time a confident Sergeant McMahon had given a talk to a local organisation but he got the full attention of 25 members of Hamilton Rotary 

After numerous well answered questions the vote of thanks was well presented by Kenneth Miller




Weekly report  -  18 October 2012

Colin Graham, Chief Executive of Cancer Support Scotland – Tak Tent was the speaker at the club this week.  Colin has an extensive background in fundraising for charities having previously worked at Erskine and MacMillan Cancer Support

Tak Tent was formed over thirty years ago by Sir Kenneth Calman and over the years has provided one to one support for cancer sufferers through counselling, therapy and stress management. During the last year or so, the Charity’s name changed to “Cancer Support Scotland” which more reflects what it actually does. The Charity operates in a niche providing support in areas complementary to larger Charities such a MacMillan Cancer Support with more than 5000 appointments held per year.
Cancer is condition which is with us all with one in three of us will suffer from in our lifetime and we all know someone who has been affected by this disease.

Colin’s talk was about the restoration and conversion of the former Gartnavel Royal Hospital Chapel which is situated in the grounds of Gartnavel Hospital, Glasgow close by the Beatson Oncology Centre. The “B” listed building was originally constructed in 1904 being designed by the renowned architect John James Burnett but fell into disuse in the 1990’s. After a fundraising project, a £1.5m restoration programme commenced to upgrade and convert the building into a “state of the art”  cancer therapy centre  (The Calman Cancer Support Centre) which started operating in mid October 2012 with the  formal opening  on 2 November 2012.

A number of the original features of the chapel have been preserved in the building including the fully restored stained glass windows and the pulpit. The Centre provides “state of the art” support to cancer sufferers in the West of Scotland

Colin then went on to promote the different types of fundraising events which the charity holds including a Charity Premier of the latest James Bond film “Skyfall” in Kilmarnock which was a “sell out”

Rotarian Jim Provan provided the vote of thanks on behalf of the club after a number of questions from an interested audience



Weekly report  -  11 October 2012

The members were treated to an intriguing insight into the working of the House of Commons from the perspective of the Secretary to the Speaker.

Angus Sinclair  having spent thirty years with the Royal Navy both in submarine, surface and the diplomatic service. He had replied to an advert for position of the Speaker’s Private Secretary and spent 5 exciting years at the centre of parliamentary business. He had brought his uniform which cost £6700 to make and hazarded a guess that something similar could well be produced by Slater’s at a reduced price.

From a non political position he gave a feeling of the stresses the Speaker was under in having to recognise 650 members, know their constituencies and deal with public letters and press enquiries as well as know how to control behaviour and the business before the house.

His bible for procedure, privilege and usage of parliament was Erskine May and he felt that traditions of behaviour ensured that the dignity of the Westminster remained the treasure of the world’s democracies.

Of the leading politicians during his five years he spoke of his admiration for some and not of others and while not agreeing with his ideas felt that George Galloway was the best debater in the House.

A multitude of ably answered questions showed how interesting his talk had been and warm applause followed the Vote of Thanks by Brian McKenzie.




Weekly report  -  27 September 2012

Public speaking can be a bit of a nightmare for some people but not David Grant who became Scottish champion on two occasions .He is a past area governor and former club president of Glasgow Toastmasters.He is qualified N L P (Neuro Linguistic Programming) practitioner and hypnotherapist and most recently is best known for his extreme Xmas lights as featured on T V and in the media

In earlier years he admitted to being very shy and that the shyness was holding him back so he decided he needed a change He joined the Toastmasters and now he can stand and talk on any known subject with confidence and clarity of speech. Within two years of deciding to join Toastmasters ,he was speaking in front of three and a half thousand dancers.He and his wife ran a dance school where they mentored and coached 8 world dance champions.

He has worked in Information Technology and for the last 14 years ran his own consulting business with clients in healthcare,petrochemicals,drinks,food,construction,insurance and banking,his company specialised in database development.
He explained to the members and guests how to enthuse on your subject,how to communicate and project without using jargon,how not to be too nervous but try to enjoy the experience of talking clearly without hesitation.

David asked 2 members of the club to stand and talk for 2 minutes on 2 random subjects.Archie Russell and Bob Hamilton  coped well and David briefly analysed their unrehearsed performance

The vote of thanks was well presented by  Ian MacGregor



Weekly report  -  20 September 2012

This week's meeting was a technology evening hosted by Jim Provan covering subjects like the club's Facebook site, encouraging members to register at District 1230's website together with a general discussion on compuetrs and the like

It was followed by a pictorial quiz which had been prepared by Allison and Marisa who work with President Steve



Weekly report  -  13 September 2012

Rotary Club of Hamilton members were treated to an excellent presentation by Fergus Wallace, the former Glasgow flanker known as “Mr Glasgow “of rugby who has joined the Glasgow Warriors rugby club as Business Development Manager.Fergus has 12 Scottish caps and has played and coached Glasgow High, Boroughmuir and Hamilton and has extensive knowledge and experience of amateur and professional rugby.

He explained the set up at the club ,the community involvement,sponsorship,business club ,their charities ,business partners and the vision of the club and their ambitions in the local and international matches and leagues.

The club is now based at Scotstoun Sports Campus in the west end of Glasgow where they offer first class facilities for supporters and players with an all weather adjacent pitch which can be used by the club , the community and the local schools.

They have appointed the well known and experienced Gregor Townsend as head coach and have made some key signings from New Zealand and South Africa.

One of the mottos of the club is “whatever it takes” and the enthusiasm and passion from Fergus for the club and for rugby in general was impressive.

The vote of thanks was given by Past President, Jack Baillie.

David Campbell from Hamilton Grammar School presented two Teachers and 5 pupils from Donkorkrom Agricultural Senior High School. Hamilton Grammar School has developed a partnership with the Ghanaian school over the last few years and this was a reciprocal visit to Scotland. Rotary members enjoyed the company of the visitors for the evening.

The photo shows our Ghanaian visitors with President Steve Brough




STV Appeal 2012   Part Three

The “Hunks “   ( honest that’s how Michelle McManus described us!!) appeared on the live STV Appeal show on Friday evening  (7 September)  presenting a cheque for the funds  (£463.29)  raised by the Rotary Club of Hamilton at our Asda Bag pack. 


Steve, Archie and Jim had a fantastic evening part of which was spent getting some of the celebrities at the event to autograph the cheque .  Signatures include Lorraine Kelly , Michelle McManus , Phil Cunningham, Tom Hunter, Alex Salmond , Amy McDonald, Andy Cameron  and Manran.

The idea is to auction it off at a forthcoming Rotary event for the STV Appeal




Weekly report  -  6 September 2012

Energetic,ambitious and enterprising is the only way to describe Nick Cohen.

Nick started his small business age 13 delivering cream,milk etc around his neighbourhood for £10 per week but his life and ambitions have moved on rapidly since then.He explained that he was a “bossy boots” and always wanted to be in charge of his own life.

He wasn’t top of the class at school but did manage to gain access to Strathclyde Business School and after his attempts to earn at selling cream etc ,he embarked on his first business by starting a business repairing personal computers from his parent’s home in Glasgow.

His business focus is based on what the customer expects and what they get from a company whether it is a large organisation or a single user ,delivery and service is key to providing and managing a successful business.

Nick Cohen, Regional Ambassador at the Prince’s Scottish Youth Business Trust, board director of Renfrewshire Chamber of Commerce, managing director of P.C.Repair and at the age of 22 he has lots of life and ambition to come.

The vote of thanks was presented by Kenneth Miller.



STV Appeal 2012

Saturday 18 August  saw members of  the Rotary Club of Hamilton active again in fundraising for charity . Members packed bags for customers at the Asda Hamilton superstore in aid of the STV Appeal 2012 which supports underprivileged children in Scotland . Over the afternoon, the amazing sum of £463.30 was raised for the charity .

Members of the Rotary Club were very appreciative of the support from both customers and staff at Asda Hamilton .

The picture shows  President Steve Brough ( Centre)with  Rotarians Jim Provan , Hamish Wilson , Robin Wilkie and Ian MacGregor)


Some of us needed regular rests

But most just got on with it


On Friday 24 August, President Elect Archie Russell and Convenor , Jim Provan ventured to Kirkintilloch where they met STV Weather Man Sean Batty and his dog Jock at the first stop on their sponsored canal cycle from Glasgow to Edinburgh and presented a cheque to the STV Appeal 2012 for the funds raised . The picture shows Archie and Jim with Sean and Jock together with comedian Billy Kirkwood and the manager of the Stables in Kirkintilloch


Weekly Report -  21 August 2012

Andrew Smith from Bothwell presented some unusual and  very interesting pictures and  gave a very interesting talk on the Western Club from its inception in 1825 based in Buchanan Street to the present day in Royal Exchange Square

The Western Club in Glasgow was founded in 1825 at a time when Glasgow was establishing itself as the second city of the empire.Thanks mainly to the access provided by the River Clyde ,Glasgow became a centre for trade and industry importing mainly cotton ,tobacco and sugar from the West Indies and America.

As Glasgow grew in wealth, the city expanded westwards to form what we now know as the Merchant City.This was an area rich in well designed Victorian and Georgian designed buildings such as the City Chambers and the Trades Hall in Glassford Street and houses owned by the rich tobacco and barons in Virginia and Brunswick Street

In 1825 some prominent business men and several M P’s met in a hotel in Buchanan Street to establish a club similar to those which they has visited in London and Edinburgh.In January of that year the 1st general meeting took place and it was decided to purchase a building at the corner of Buchanan Street and St Vincent Street to serve as a clubhouse with a membership of 130 male members.The club grew from strength to strength and 100 years later in 1925 ladies were permitted to attend the centenary celebrations in St Andrews Hall.

The clubhouse is now in 32 Royal Exchange Square and is used for various functions with the attendance of the Princess Royal at the 175 the anniversary dinner.Several  similar clubs in Glasagow have amalgamated with the Western such as The New Club, Kelvin Ladies and RNVR Scotland who were based in the S V Carrick on the Clyde before it sank

The club has reciprocal arrangements with clubs around the world in place such as Washington, Singapore, Johanessburg, Melbourne and Barcelona where members are made very welcome

The vote of thanks was well presented by Gordon Hart





Weekly report – 14 August 2012

On 14 August, The Rotary Club of Hamilton welcomed visitors from the Rotary Club of Hamilton Ohio to the meeting at Hamilton Golf Club. Two Rotarians, Karen Underwood Kramer and Gayl Underwood together with 8 guests included a visit to Hamilton in their Scottish itinerary and a great evening was enjoyed by all present.

( The photo shows President Steve Brough and Hamilton Rotarian Hamish Wilson together with the US visitors and speaker Johan Findlay ( rear left)). Accompanying the Rotarian visitors were Gayl Underwood (Rotarian), Peggy Underwood (mother of Karen & Hagyl), Rick Stempfley, Alex Hoelle (11 year old), Dave Kramer (husband of Karen), friends Linda King, Jeanie Burnett, Judy Toman, and Charlotte Neal.

Hamilton, Ohio has maintained connections with Hamilton, Scotland with reciprocal visits held over the years. One reminder of these visits was the production of a Gavel presented during a visit to the town by the Ohio club in 1957 with a Civic reception being hosted by Provost Gavin Cockburn and James Kelly, Town Clerk.

The Gavel has the inscription

“Sincere Greetings & Warm Fellowship to
The Rotary Club of Hamilton Scotland
From The Rotary Club of Hamilton Ohio U.S.A.
May 6 – 1957”


The US visitors were treated to a talk by  Johan Findlay, Justice of the Peace, sometimes called, J.P., Magistrate or Beak who  hails from Lockerbie and had  travelled 60 or so miles to talk to the club about her role as a local J P.

She explained that the role of J P started in Scotland 1609 by King James and has developed over the years to become judges for minor crimes such as speeding, drunk and incapable, threatening behaviour, and other minor offences. They have no civil jurisdiction and are not lawyers or legal professionals; their service to the community is free and unpaid. There is a commitment to serve for 5 years but she has well extended the minimum term

Over her 25 years she has met all manner of people and that the method of crimes are now mad, bad and very sad carried out by all manner of society but has found it a fascinating experience

The vote of thanks was well presented by Bob Hamilton




Weekly Report - 7 August 2012

Our speaker this week was Matt Donnelly, founding partner of AD+ Chartered Accountants and Business Consultants which was for many years based in Cadzow Street, Hamilton. Matt’s subject was “Is avoiding tax morally repugnant?”

He discussed the historic background to tax and how ways have always been found to avoid tax legally. He spoke of the “Window Tax” first introduced in 1696 where tax was levied based on the number of windows in a property and the prevalence of property owners bricking up window spaces to avoid the tax (repealed in 1851). This was followed by ever increasingly sophisticated methods of minimising tax payments which are countered from time to time by amended Inland Revenue legislation.

In the current tax regime, Matt highlighted that 98 of the top 100 companies in the UK do not pay significant amounts of tax owing to the active use of tax avoidance measures with most of these schemes being not available to the ordinary “man in the street” owing to the set up costs involved in them

Matt encouraged people to make best use of the few tax mitigations measures available to the general public which include the use of Individual Savings Accounts (ISA’s) where interest/ dividends are paid without deduction of tax and contributions into Personal Pensions which also mitigate tax.

During a lengthy round of questions and answers, the topical subject of Rangers Football Club and it’s tax avoidance scheme through Employee  Benefit Trusts was discussed  as well as the use of these schemes by a number of football Clubs in the UK .

The vote of thanks for an interesting and topical subject was given by Jim Glass.  


Weekly Report - 31 July 2012

The varied career of Alex Lochrie had the members of Hamilton Rotary spellbound ,from graphic artist in Glasgow to the French Foreign Legion in Corsica,from Aberdeen Police Force to central Africa and Middle East Gulf War.

His life, related in a brief 45 minutes sounded more like a James Bond movie than a Scottish writer and artist .Now in his 60’s Alex’s life has been more than full,he was marketing director of Scotland’s largest retail store group,followed by 10 years as a police officer in Aberdeen specialising in Forensic Scene of Crime Examination.

After a very brief spell with Strathclyde Police ,he decided a dramatic change of career was required,and at the age of 38 he joined the French Foreign Legion which took him from Paris to Marseilles and Toulouse and  eventually to Corsica where he served in the Parachute Regiment.

Alex explained that the “Legion” have only approx 12,000 ,in bygone days they had 200,000 soldiers and that after the “5 generals “attempted coup ,no combat Legionnaires are deployed in mainland France,they are all serving around the world
Alex’s special skills in photography and other special skills developed with the police force ,enabled him to move to a special small reconnaissance unit seeing active service in the 1st Gulf war ,Bosnia and Sarajevo where he was awarded the French Military Cross

He retired from the “Legion” and was offered a post as a situation analyst with the United Nations which he still holds.He still visits certain countries throughout the world as situation analyst and gives regular talks in the U K and U S A

Due to his varied experiences Alex has written a best selling autobiography “Fighting For The French Foreign Legion “which describes the middle part of his life as a Legionnaire serving in a variety of situations and countries throughout the war torn world
Alex has also turned his hand to writing and now has 3 action packed novels on the bookshelves and also published by Amazon as e.books. His novels are based on a fictional anti terrorist unit fighting modern terrorism around the world and no doubt his wide experience over the last 30 years has provided sufficient background

Further information regarding Alex ,his life ,books,art work ,etc  can be obtained by visiting “troon promotions “on the internet

Vote of thanks was given by Past President , Mark Williams



Weekly Report - 10 July 2012

Cot death in children is not an easy subject to address to any audience but Alistair Murdoch came over extremely well to Hamilton Rotary members.Alistair has had personal experience of the problem after the tragic death of his daughter Aine approx 6 years ago.Alistair relived the catastrophic events of his daughter’s death and how it had affected him and his family physically and emotionally and stressed that the memories are always there

The Scottish Cot Death Trust is a charitable organisation funded primarily by public subscription .It was set up in 1985 to assist and improve support to parents similar to Alistair and his family .It is based in the Queen Mother’s Yorkhill Hospital Glasgow.Denise King the trust’s executive director explained that in the last 26 years since the trust began there have been 1500 cot deaths but that 2000 children are still living due to the introduction of “sleep on your back”

The aims of the trust are to fund research into the causes of cot death,support bereaved families and to educate the public and professionals about cot death

Further information can be obtained from the web site

The vote of thanks to an emotional speaker was given by David Evans



Weekly Report - 3 July 2012

Past President of Dennistoun Rotary Club Bob McDonald an ex mine worker gave us an insight into the danger and hardship of working underground in a Scottish Colliery

Bob came from a working class family ,attended university and was then employed by the National Coal Board as an Engineer
Apart from his extensive and varied mining career ,Bob was promoting a visit to the National Mining Museum of Scotland at Lady Victoria Colliery in Dalkeith Midlothian.,a conservation project funded by the Scottish Government and is the best preserved Victorian Colliery in Europe

The original colliery started coal production in 1895 and was the 1st super-pit, it closed in 1981 and in 1984 it opened as a museum

The project of converting a working pit to a museum was quite a task but was completed successfully with the assistance of local building contractors, engineers, architects and surveyors

When the original colliery opened opened the miners were given a choice of having pithead baths at the colliery or have a bathroom installed in your home,the home version of washing the black dust was the choice
Bob talked about the various pit disasters and in particular Blantyre when 200 miners were killed.possibly the worst mining disaster

The museum is open to the public and directions, access,opening times, etc can be seen on their well laid out web site
Bob answered various questions from the members, many of whom had grandfathers who worked in the local pits around Hamilton and Blantyre

The vote of thanks was well presented by John Burn

NB The Mining Museum has a very interesting website



Weekly Report – 26 June 2012

This week marks the change of Club officials with Steve Brough taking over as President for the year ahead. The photo shows outgoing President Gordon Hart congratulating Steve on is appointment  



Udston Hospital Visit

Wednesday 20 June , a party of Rotarians visited Udston Hospital to fill planters and hanging baskets and undertake a tidy up of the garden which the club looks after outside Douglas Ward .

In action

What are we going to do with all these plants ?

The team



Weekly Report  - 19 June 2012

Rather  than a speaker , this week saw the Hamilton club competing with Bothwell and Uddingston Club in a round of the District Sports Challenge competition . The chosen sport was Pool with the Pool room at Hamilton Golf Club being taken over for the competition.  The winner was to be the best out of 4 doubles games but after that point , the scores were even . The two Captains then  played a singles game  which went right down to the wire with one ball each on the table before the last shot .  Bothwell and Uddingston Club won and go on to the next round in the competition   

Yes ! Yes! Yes!

Is this a cue I see before me?

Great minds ponder?


Bothwell and Uddingston Team - George Watterston, Len Shaw , Roy D'Silva and Drew Donaldson


Weekly Report – 12 June 2012

The speaker cancelled out this week as a result of which Gordon Hart ran a “Pub Quiz” between the members present .




Weekly Report – 29 May 2012

One of the Rotary International’s  ongoing youth projects is “Euroschola”   where individual clubs sponsor sixth year secondary  pupils who have passed Higher French to attend a weekend in Strasbourg with young people  sponsored by Rotary Clubs from over 20 countries throughout Europe.    The purpose of Euroscola is to  develop  European understanding in young people and encourage the participants to perform in a multi-lingual environment. The focus of the weekend is around Strasbourg and the European parliament itself . 

This year, the club sponsored Megan Lavery of Holy Cross High School and she attended a club meeting to provide Rotarians with an overview of her weekend. She was one of 28 pupils from Scotland (only 4 boys) who took part in a varied selection of events arranged for them (and primarily conducted in French). These included a street survey, a tour of Strasbourg, a day at the European Parliament followed by a debate in French between all attendees with the subject “Is Strasbourg a European town?”

She told members that she had got a lot out of her weekend and thanked the club for sponsoring her

Photo shows President Gordon Hart with Megan




Weekly Report -   22 MAY  2012

President Gordon Hart, a very experienced sailor, gave us an insight into sailing in an area of the Greek islands  called the Cyclades in the Aegean Sea and Saronic gulf west of Athens.This is a group of around 220 islands between Greece and   Turkey.These islands mainly south of  Athens are graded in terms of sailing and this area is top grade due to the strong winds that blow from the north.

His journey started at Athens and heading in a clockwise direction passed to the various islands of Kia,Mykonos,Thermia,Hydra,Agina,Delos and eventually back to Athens.

Gordon described the good and not so good points of each of the islands in particular the interaction of the Port Police with the local harbour tavernas etc

On the 26 September 2000 ,the M V Express Samina sank at Parikia,Paros ,the ship had been put on autopilot and had been left completely unattended by the crew

The ship hit the rocks and a hole approx 6 meters square caused the ship to sink. Apart from the rocks the main cause of sinking was the 11 watertight doors had been left open,the crew did not assist the passengers and panic set in with the death of 82 passengers

The last 2  islands visited were Hydra and Delos

Hydra  was a reputed to be a fictional  terrorist island and today the only form of transport is by donkey or wheelbarrow
Delos island is a long island and it is reputed that only the” Gods” lived here,it has been declared Unesco World Heritage Site

The Vote of Thanks was addressed by Archie Russell




Report - 10 May 2012

The Rotary Club of Hamilton have become involved in a project to clean up Cadzow Glen which runs through the centre of Hamilton . If you wish to read the article which was printed in the Hamilton Advertisor on 10 May 2012, , please follow the attached link :-



Report - Early May Bank Holiday weekend

Over the weekend 5 - 7 May , some of the members took part in what is now the annual Fellowship walk . This time , it was the River Ayr walk . There follows as selection of photos from the three days :-


The Walkers ( left to right ) Jack Baillie , Mark Williams , Robin Wilkie , Harry Williams , Eddie Hawke , David Evans and Lawrence Scott ---- the photographer ( Bob Hamilton ) doesn't appear anywhere in the selection

Lawrence shares a tender moment with a friend

Pit stop !!!

Jack having a "wee sook"

Onward again !!



Weekly Report - 8 May 2012

The annual Hamilton primary school quiz was held in Hamilton Accies Football offices on 10 May 2012
Around 120 people attended the evening with,teachers,pupils,parents and rotarians all pitting their wits against the various questions

The quizmaster was Rotarian Archie Russell and 6 schools were represented-- St Elizabeth’s,St Paul’s,Townhill,Hamilton College,St Mary’s and St Mark’s each with 4 pupils in the team

Qualifying rounds had been held in the schools ,so spaces in the final team selection was at a premium
At the half way stage St Mary’s and Hamilton College were heading the contest and at the end of the evening it was the same result

Winners were St Mary’s with Hamilton College in 2nd spot . The picture shows President Gordon Hart with the St Mary's and Hamilton College teams

All those taking part were presented with a certificate by club president Gordon Hart and St Mary’s now hold the trophy --until next year




Weekly Report - 1 May 2012

Well known speaker and member of Hamilton Rotary ,Harry Doyle,enlightened the members on the life of William Cullen ,a famous physician, chemist and agriculturalist and who was born in Hamilton.

He attended Hamilton Old Grammar School and his father was a lawyer who was employed by the Duke of Hamilton,his mother was Elizabeth Roberton of Whistleberry

William studied at Glasgow University and spent time on a merchant vessel as surgeon  travelling between London and the West Indies.He returned to Lanarkshire and set up practice in Shotts as a G P.

He then studied chemistry at Edinburgh University and after a few years set up practice in Hamilton with attendance on the family and livestock of the 5th Duke of Hamilton, James Douglas

He became a Baillie in 1738 and married Anne Johnstone from Kilbarchan and they had a family of 7 sons and 4 daughters

He was awarded professor of Medicine at Glasgow University and was enticed to become Professor of Medicine at Edinburgh University

He died in 1790 after a remarkable career in physics, chemistry, agriculture, medicine , teaching and writing and is buried in the village of Kirknewton in West  Lothian



Weekly Report - 19 April 2012

The speaker was Loudon Melrose who brought along his collection of communion tokens from a variety of churches throughout Scotland from Cruden Bay to Selkirk and dating from 1616 at Leuchars to 1853 Hamilton Old Parish Church and 1867 Glasgow Barony

The dispensing of coins was first started in 1560 in The Reformed Church of France and they appeared in Amsterdam as early as 1586

He explained that  the handing out of tokens in Scotland was started by John Calvin after the reformation in 1560 and that they were given to parishioners by the Kirk Session who were of good character morally and ethically
Over his years in the Church of Scotland he had collected tokens from Glasgow  Barony,Hamilton,Gartsherrie,Motherwell South Dalziel,Gourock,Kilmacolm , Selkirk and Ulva

Tokens have spread around the world to wherever Scots had emigrated and over the years a collection has been stored and can be viewed by appointment  at St Andrews University

Although some tokens have  been advertised for sale recently,Loudon’s collection had been gifted to him by various colleagues over the years

The vote of thanks was well delivered by Alex Torrance


Weekly Report - 5 April 2012

Rotary Member Harry Doyle provided the club with the background of Blantyre Priory, an Augustinian Priory which was formed by Patrick, Earl of Dunbar in 1239 and was in use until around 1599.  The site of the priory still exists, directly across the River Clyde from Bothwell Castle, although it very overgrown and there is little to see above ground level.  

Harry gave members the history of the priors through to the Reformation and the followed by giving the story of the Lords of Blantyre from Walter Stewart ( Died 1617) , the First Lord Blantyre  through to the Charles Walter Stuart ,  the 12th and last Lord Blantyre who died in 1900

Overall, a very interesting illustrated talk with past President Mark Williams providing a vote of thanks on behalf of members   


Weekly Meeting - 22 March 2012

The speaker was Jim Buckley a passionate historian on trams and buses throughout the last 50 or so years

This was  a boyhood hobby  and he described the horse drawn trams of 1872  through to the modern electric trams from 1898 until present day

He described how the various  colours  red,green,blue and yellow of the trams had a designated route through the streets of Lanarkshire and Glasgow ,this was to assist the people who couldn’t read the destination boards

The last tram in Glasgow was 1962 and at that time there were 1208 trams used across Glasgow and Lanarkshire

Jim also described his passion for buses both old and new with names such as Titan,Chieftan,Leopard,Lowdecker and many others

He also recalled the trolleybuses nicknamed the” Silentdeath” due the very quiet running of these buses

The vote of thanks was well delivered by Hamish Wilson




Friday 9 March 2012 was the Club's Sportsman's Dinner

A Couple of photos from the evening


President Gordon Hart is seen here with members Ian Bell, Jack Baillie and Hamish " Garage" Wilson .


The Top Table

President Gordon Hart together with speakers’ John McKelvie, Frank Sweeney, Jim Leishman and Vice President Steve Brough




Weekly Meeting -1 March 2012

The club had an outside visit to the Riverside Museum , Glasgow which is now Scotland's Museum of Transport and travel

This is a selection of photos from the visit





Weekly Meeting - 23 February 2012

Judy Westwater  and her care assist dog Gypsy were the guests of Hamilton Rotary Club on 23 February 2012

Judy explained how she  was separated from her mother and forced by her cruel father to immigrate to South Africa

On arrival in South Africa she was abandoned by her father and was forced to fend for herself in an area where white faces were very much in the minority

She experienced how to live rough in the street with the other children,life was extremely difficult

She did survive and via John Peel, Harper Collins the publisher approached  her to publish her life story

She has written 3 books “Nowhere to Run “, Street Kid “ and “Street Kids Fight On” which gives an insight to life in the violent townships in South Africa

Her childhood  story was the subject of  a moving interview on Radio 4 “Home Truths” programme

She set up 2 drama schools in Surrey and in Inverness and later went on to work with street kids in Mexico

Over the last years she has set up 7 day centres for children in South Africa and she received the  Unsung Heroes Award in 2004

She runs projects such as Second Chance and The Pegasus Trust in South Africa where children township children are assisted to develop their artistic skills

Judy lectures around U K to raise funds for her projects and Hamilton Rotary assisted  with a donation of £1,000.00 in 2011

The vote of thanks was very well delivered by Ian Lawie who had met up with Judy when on holiday in South Africa



Weekly Report  -3 February 2012

On 28 January , the Rotary Club of Hamilton ran a very successful fundraising bag pack at Sainsbury’s in Hamilton ( the club would like to thank Sainsbury’s for allowing us to do this)

Over the day, the sum of £634 was raised for  variety of International charities that the club supports

AQUABOX (& AQUABOX GOLD)  (disaster relief boxes, providing water purification equipment and other essentials for disaster zones).  Now an independent charity, but started by a Rotarian and still run by Rotary members, with 85,000 supplied.  The club has been buying these for years and filling them with emergency items, and can still do so, but alternatively now can get them filled ex-factory with standard items, fit for purpose.  Two are being contributed in conjunction with 1st Bothwell Boys Brigade, whom the Club thanks, and two from Hamilton Rotary.  If members of the public or other groups would like to donate or sponsor a box, please contact us for details.  The costs are quite low, but their value in emergency is massive

End Polio Now, Rotary’s long running international campaign, in alliance with Bill Gates Foundation, which has now almost eradicated polio in practically all countries

Various water supply schemes which we will support in conjunction with other clubs in District 1230.  One we are looking at is a new product, MIDOMO WATER CARRIER,  patented in Glasgow, only available via Rotary at present.  Two 50l plastic water containers on a metal barrow frame with two bicycle wheels.  The wheels connect via bike chain to drive a pump, which pumps dirty water (from a pond, river, well, etc) from upper container via ceramic filter into lower container.  A 2km journey cleans 50l.  In Africa, women carry 20l of dirty water on walks averaging 3km, so the carrier will be a huge benefit.  District, through Stranraer Rotary, is hoping to order a container load of carriers, which will cost about £150 each delivered to project sites in Africa.

MAA AMBAY GIRLS SCHOOL, in Bhanoki, Phagwara , Punjab, India.  This is a newly-built, free school, of a high standard created and funded by Nirmal Singh (owner of The Bombay Cottage in Hamilton), a member of the Rotary Club of Hamilton, in the community he left to come to Britain over 50 years ago.  It opened in 2010, already has over 200 pupils, and will eventually take 600 girls from aged 5 to 16.   Nirmal has been awarded a Paul Harris Fellowship by Rotary International in recognition of his efforts.

The Hamilton Club has already provided some help, but intends to do more.  Some of our international charity fund will be earmarked to assist the school.   We are also trying to assist Nirmal in finding two British primary school teachers who would like to spend at least six months teaching in the school, to help set UK standards of education.   Flights, good accommodation, and reasonable salary (at Indian rates) will be provided. 

It’s a great opportunity for enthusiastic teachers to do something different.  It may appeal to those who have taken a break from the profession, or who are waiting in vain for permanent posts, or who have recently retired and want to travel.  The opportunity to teach while experiencing a different culture and country, and the satisfaction of improving the lives of many young children, may appeal to teachers of all ages, and will be positive on CV’s.


While the Club’s efforts this month are directed at international projects, it also does much for local and national charities and projects, and most of the money raised from our Sportmens’ Dinner in March will be for these

On  Monday 13 February, the club is running a concert in St John’s Church, Hamilton at 7.30 pm . Entitled  “Songs from Stage & Film” it features  Octave, a fairly recently formed, and very talented group of singers.  Tickets only £5.  In aid of various Rotary international charities, including those mentioned above,  



Weekly Report   -  26 January 2012

This week members were treated to a trip through the archives of the club . The Rotary Club of Hamilton was  originally chartered on February 18, 1926, when the membership numbered thirty five and has been associated  with the formation of Rotary clubs in Motherwell and Wishaw (1930); Ayr (1931); Strathaven, (1947); Lanark (1950); Bothwell and Uddingston (1976) and Blantyre (1990) and these clubs in turn have encouraged other Clubs to be chartered resulting in a remarkable kaleidoscope of Rotary service throughout the south and west of Scotland.  Over the period , club members  collected records of the club achievements which rarely see “ the light of day”
the period
Club Archivist, Jim Provan gave a  presentation of a selection of the Club records. The ultimate intention is to upload these to the Club website The subjects  ranged from the first membership directory on file ( 1928/1929 ) which provided an interesting insight to the professions of the members at that time together with details of the speakers attending the  weekly meetings,  a Membership record book covering the period from 1926 through to 1966 with details of all members joining and leaving and selections of photographs covering fund raising and other events run by the club from the early 1970's to date.

The presentation was accompanied by a selection of books and memorabilia gathered over the years including menus from Dinners going back to 1951 and an engraved  gavel which was presented to the Club during a visit by the Rotary Club of Hamilton , Ohio  in 1957.

Overall an interesting look back at the almost 86 year history of the Club  

Past President, John Downie provided a Vote of thanks on behalf of the members present



Weekly Report  -12 January 2012

The Rotary Club of Hamilton enjoyed its annual celebration of Robert Burns’ birth at Hamilton Golf Club on Thursday.  A company of over 70 members and guests enjoyed a thoroughly entertaining evening organised by Ian Bell.  With President Gordon Hart 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 Alex Naismith.  An excellent and heart-felt Immortal Memory was proposed by the John Sleith Past President of Hamilton Burns Club.

Stewart Carle provided an amusing Toast to the Lassies to which Margaret Fleming, President of Hamilton Inner Wheel provided a spirited response.  The recitations were provided by Alex Naismith who excelled in his presentation of Tam O’ Shanter and Willie Wassle .

The musical entertainment was provided by the club’s resident baritone, Ian MacGregor and guest tenor Walter McLaren, who chose their songs well and sang them beautifully, Vice President Stephen Brough drew the whole evening to a close with a well deserved vote of thanks

In the photograph are –

Back Row L-R -Walter Mclaren, Alex Naismith, Ann Mclaren, Alex Fleming, Ian MacGregor, Stephen Brough, Ian Bell and Stewart Carle

Front Row L-R - Bette Naismith, John Sleith, Gordon Hart, Rosa Hart and Margaret Fleming


Back To Top