Welcome to the Rotary Club of Ashford
On behalf of all the Rotarians in the Ashford Rotary Club we welcome you to our website.
Ashford Rotary Club gains younger members
Last Monday was an exciting day for the Rotary Club of Ashford as they welcomed 12 new members. But these were not your normal middle aged business and professional people but all primary school children!
St Marys C of E Primary School in Western Avenue had approached the Ashford Club as they were interested in developing a new after school group in the name of Rotary. The new members of Rotary are known as 'Rotakids'; a new initiative of Rotary International aimed at 7 to 12 year olds.
The special assembly held in school on Monday (20th October) in the presence of Rotary Assistant District Governor Don Soppitt and Ashford Club President Ian Alexander saw the 12 children in the Rotakids club officially recognised as being part of the Rotary family. The ceremony held in front of the whole school and the Rotakids' families saw each individual awarded a certificate of membership. The school also received a certificate of recognition from Rotary International.
All the children made the Rotakids pledge which is:
'As a Rotakid I endeavour to be fair to all, to serve my community and to show respect for others'
Rotakids meetings run in a similar way to a Rotary meeting with members elected as President, Vice President, Secretary and Treasurer. They have even appointed a Press Officer, Jessica, who said " I am proud to be a Rotakid and to help other people by making their lives brighter. I am looking forward to coming up with lots of ideas of different ways to help other people." The club will meet once a week to discuss and plan projects. Their first project is a Rotary Shoebox scheme to fill shoeboxes as Christmas gifts for those less fortunate than themselves in Eastern Europe. They will also be active in fundraising for Children in Need with some of the Rotakids joining Rotary members at Ashford train station on 14 November.
Rotarian Martin Carter the Ashford clubs 'Rotakids' mentor said, " When I first met with the children I was really impressed with their enthusiasm and ideas but what really struck me was why they wanted to be Rotakids. They told me they wanted to; "Help children feel better", "To make a difference in their communities" and "To help people - and have fun"! Harry, St Mary's Rotakids President said " I feel great being President of Rotakids. I like to help poor people to be happier and to have fun. Maybe one day we will be on TV!" This is exactly what all Rotarians across the World aim to do with our motto of 'Service above Self'.
Damian Green MP - Commons Touch
Damian Green writing about Ashford Rotary Club on his website. Click on the image to go to the article:
Father Rodney Schofield - Quack Cures
Rodney opened his talk by telling us about some old fashioned ‘cures’ he had come across, putting a dead mouse, leaves or tree bark under your pillow, or worse, putting dung on your head!
He spoke of witch doctors and finders, medicine women as well as cures and treatment of true science. He also spoke of alternative medicines, spine kneading, bottles of homeopathic ‘medicine’, even charms around the neck to ward off illness. He told us a little about traditional herbal medicine where the practitioner has six years training. He had experienced the use of ‘holy water’.
He also covered the more serious problems encountered in the third world where poverty resulted in very poor hygiene standards, serious lack of medical staff because of emigration and where the black market thrived. He had also found that our own NHS was not always perfect!
Rtn. Martin Carter - Life Talk
A rare photograph of Martin without a moustache.
Martin gave us brief history of his family background and his travels after he left his home in Willesborough in 1976 to his return in 2010.
He had wanted to join the Police Force but was unable to do so for medical reasons at the time. He was fortunately recovered enough to be able to join the R.A.F. Police in 1976 at the age of 18.
There then followed a colourful and very varied series of interesting and challenging secondments, mostly relating to security, all over the world.
He left the R.A.F. in 1987 when he finally achieved his ambition to join the Police Force where he was involved in crime reduction as a schools officer but once again his duties took on a varied role in which quite a lot of publicity was involved.
From 2009 to date he has worked as a self-employed safety education advisor which covers many topics.
Damian Green MP
President Ian Alexander was delighted to induct Damian Green as an Honorary Member for another year.
Damian’s topic this year was on the Scottish Referendum for home rule and he was unsurprisingly delighted that ‘common sense prevailed’.
He discussed the pros and cons that emerged during the run up to the Referendum and the emerging issues from the result.
He told us that finding a fair system for England, Wales and N. Ireland would not be easy and that is the reason it hasn’t been answered to date.
He went through just some of the issues and changes that will have to be addressed. There followed a lively Q & A debate.
2014 Rotary Ramble
Ashford Rotary Club’s Annual Ramble took place on Sunday 14th September starting at Wye Village Hall. At least £700 was donated for Ashford Rotary Club Charities and running costs by midday.
This year the Club again facilitated the opportunity to raise sponsorship money for any charity of choice and an indeterminate amount will be raised by the other walkers for their chosen charities. This year at least 15 charities* have benefitted from the event as well as the Ashford Rotary Charities. The event started at 8am in bright sunshine with participants entering the familiar 5 or 10 mile ramble across Wye Downs. A popular event for children was the treasure hunt, finding rural natural ‘treasures’ during the walk for which they received a small prize as well as a medal on completion of the walk. Dogs were again welcome making the whole event a healthy and enjoyable family activity.
First walker back was Ashford Rotarian Bob Perry walking for Ashford Rotary Charities closely followed by fellow Rotarian Colin Sykes walking for Cystic Fibrosis.
Colin was top individual fund raiser last year raising over £500, but Bob is hoping to beat him this year!
The first dog back was once again rescue dog, Lurcher Jimmy, with owner Sue Gower, also supporting Rotary Charities and on her third walk with Jimmy.
The first Children back were veterans at 10, Olivia Hayward-Browne and Jade Chittenden walking for Demelza House.
The largest group of walkers came from Ashford School who entered 180 pupils (6 groups of 30) walking the 10 mile route for their Duke of Edinburgh Award.
Rotary District Governor Don Soppitt from Dover raised £286 for Dover Rotary Club’s Presidential Charity.
Many additional individual walkers took advantage of the opportunity to raise money for their own unspecified charities.
The club thanks sponsors the Brett Group and Medash Signs, Inner Wheel Members for refreshments and St John Ambulance for First Aid support.
* PETA (People for Ethical Treatment of Animals), Find a Voice, RNLI, Pink Ribbon Pilates, Parkinson’s UK, 1st Sellindge Guides, British Heart Foundation, Pilgrims Hospices, RSPCA (Ashford & Tenterden District branch), Demelza House Hospice, McMillan Nurses, Cystic Fibrosis Trust, RSPCA, Rotary Foundation, Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme and Ashford Rotary Club Charity Fund.
Dutch Themed Evening - Arnhem Remembered
Enjoying each other's company over dinner.
Menu board for the evening.
The Main Course.
Our speaker, PP Kitty Brook.
Replica 60th Anniversiary souvenir ticket.
The evening started with a delicious Dutch themed meal of meatballs with red cabbage followed by pears poached in red wine on ice cream.
PP Kitty Brook opened her talk on the 70th Anniversary of the Battle of Arnhem from 17th to 26th September 1944 and the 50th Anniversary of her own arrival in England.
The battle was known as Operation Market Garden. On 17th September 1944 12,000 British and Polish troops were dropped from planes and gliders on the city of Arnhem to capture and defend the bridge and carve a corridor through the German lines, over the bridge and into Germany.
The Rotary Foundation is a not-for-profit corporation that supports the efforts of Rotary International to achieve world understanding and peace through international humanitarian, educational, and cultural exchange programs, notably the End Polio Now program. It is one of the largest and most prestigious international fellowship programs in the world.
It is supported solely by voluntary contributions from Rotarians and friends of the Foundation who share its vision of a better world. A cheque for £1,060 has recently been sent off to the UK Rotary Foundation, representing this year’s contributions from Ashford Rotarians.
Click here for more information on Rotary's own charities.
Click here for the End Polio Now website.
Rtn. Don Ingram SERV (Bloodrunners)
Our speakers, Rtn. Don and his wife June Ingram.
Our speakers, Rtn. Don and his wife June Ingram are controllers for ‘Service by Emergency Response Volunteers’ (SERV). The volunteers provide an immediate response delivery of vital medical substances, mostly blood but also breast milk, dialysis samples and other urgent requirements between the hours of 7pm and 6am, all year across the country.
Don’s group deliver to seven hospitals in Kent, air ambulances, hospices and hospitals using a membership of 149 volunteers.
In 2008 they had 12 calls a month, by 2011 this had risen to 110 and the year to June 2014 they had 1,346.
The Transfusion Service do not deliver after 7pm until 6am the following morning so without SERV hospitals would have to rely on collection and delivery by taxi.
Most riders provide their own bike and fuel covering about 2,500 miles pa. All riders have to be well qualified, trained and tested and be able to give first aid if first on scene. None receive any payment for their time.
This vital service costs £4,000 to £5,000 p/a to run saving the NHS tens of thousands of pounds every year.
Click here to visit the SERV (Kent) website.
Betty Martindale - Ashford Dyslexia Centre
Our guest, Stefan Schulte exchanging banners with President Ian.
Stewards for the evening Ken and Malcolm making sure everything is in order.
Our speaker, Betty Martindale with President Ian.
Betty told us a little of her background in teaching and how she became involved and qualified in supporting children with dyslexia. Betty’s three children are all dyslexic so she had first-hand knowledge of its problems.
Dyslexia was identified first in U.S.A and took some time to be accepted as a condition in the UK.
The Ashford Dyslexia Centre (A.D.C.) opened in 1989 to offer assistance to adults and children with dyslexia, becoming a registered charity in June 2009. The Centre advises and offers support to schools, teachers, individuals, carers, companies and other voluntary organisations regarding dyslexia.
It offers sessions with qualified dyslexia teachers to enable the individual to develop strategies to manage the impact of dyslexia. Assessments are also undertaken with full written reports for private individuals, or for employees of companies. They provide an advice line for confidential advice and their free advice is provided for around 300 individuals, schools organisations a year.
The teachers work on a voluntary basis so the service is available to anyone regardless of ability to pay. They do rely on donations and have a recommended donation charge to cover their expenses.
Betty explained the difficulties dyslexic people have, it can be with sequencing, with words both written and/or spoken and numbers, the problems come in all shapes and sizes. She gave us some spoonerisms inadvertently spoken by famous dyslexic people, of whom there are many and she named a number of them.
Dyslexic people are frequently highly intelligent and have a variety exceptional individual strengths, in visual perception, auditory strengths, artistic flair and lateral thinking. They have to work hard to overcome their literary shortcomings but this often results in them developing exceptional skills in other areas to compensate.
Sadly, A.D.C. are losing the accommodation that had been freely provided by Ashford Borough Council and are now seeking new affordable space so they can continue their much needed work.
Click here to visit Ashford Dyslexia Centre website.
Cliff Parsons - A.I.M.R.E.C.
A.I.M.R.E.C.: Ashford International Model Railway Excellence Centre.
Unfortunate positioning of a sheet of paper!
Rtn. John Hardie midway through entertaining his fellow table guests with a joke.
The presentation setup.
Our speaker, Cliff Parsons.
President Ian Alexander introduced our speakers Cliff Parsons and Albert Walter.
Cliff started his talk with a spectacular presentation of a model railway in Hamburg, Germany. The displays were stunning and impossible in some instances to distinguish from real life railways, airports and harbours to name but a few.
Cliff then gave a compelling talk in support of the benefits to Ashford for the proposed Ashford Model Railway Centre and the suitability of Ashford for its location.
Part of the cost will be supported by Heritage Lottery Funding and the project is supported by a long list of celebrities and organisations who have media access in promoting the centre or have promised useful equipment. However fund raising is continuing and more money is still needed.
The centre will be a great leisure activity but also of considerable educational value.
The displays will be authentic working models, and will be of historic accuracy.
It is planned to have a set day for children to visit where they can have a ‘hands on’ experience and learn about our railway heritage.
Given a choice of sites the building at the old railway were deemed the most suitable although the old building will be replaced by modern replica.
Although a team of permanent employees will be needed volunteer help will also be required.
Click here to visit the A.I.M.R.E.C. website.
Rtn. Robin Taylor - Job Talk
Robin being entertained by the President at the meal before the main event.
Robin originates from Devon and gave us a fascinating insight into his family tree with roots from Jamaica, Hackney (London) and Dartmoor.
He was a long term member of Round Table when he organised and took part in the 3 Peaks Challenge in support of a friend with cancer of the oesophagus, aiming to raise £2,000 but finally reaching £15,000. He is also a keen cyclist.
He studied at Canterbury College of Technology where he gained BTEC qualifications in Electrical and Electronic Engineering.
Robin currently works for Sneider Electrics who started in 1836 as iron founders but moved into electrical equipment manufacture in 1975.
2013/14 Presidential Citation
Ashford Rotary Club are very proud of their award of a Presidential Citation for the Rotary year 2013/14.
Rotary clubs have to meet a number of criteria to qualify for the award.
Well done to Past President Steve Hiscock for this great achievement.
Mayor of Ashford Cllr. John Link
Past President Ron Stainton was presented, by PP Frank Brake, with an award for his 40 years in Rotary.
Graeme Calver was presented, by President Elect Maggie Reuther, with the Vice President's badge.
The Mayor of Ashford, Cllr. John Link with current Ashford Rotary Club President Ian Alexander.
John told us a little of his background and work during the 44 years he has served as a Councillor.
He gave us an interesting history of Ashford and the surrounding area and finished his talk with details of the Mayor’s duties, rank, responsibilities and the support he receives in the course of those duties.
District Governor Martin Williams
President Ian Alexander had pleasure in inducting Astra West, President of Ashford Soroptimists, as an Honorary Member.
Nice tie Ian :)
Ian then introduced Martin Carter and inducted him as a Member.
It was then Bill Sheret’s turn to be inducted.
President Ian then introduced District Governor Martin Williams from the Rotary Club of Sittingbourne Invicta. Martin thanked us for our hospitality and told us how proud he was to be District Governor and reminded us of the important Charities supported by Rotary Foundation. His Charity this year is the Lords Taverners.
Frank Brake had great pleasure in presenting a cheque to Mary Daly and Steph Senior for the Canterbury MS Centre.
President Steve was then delighted to surprise PP Frank with our Club’s highest Award for Service to the Rotary Ideal and to the local community by a Member of the club, the Ken Geering Award, in particular for his support for the MS Therapy Centre.
President Steve thanked the Committee Chairmen and their Members, the Board Members and Club Officers who had contributed so much during his year as President. He picked out many Members who had worked so hard to make all the different elements of Service so successful during his Presidential Year.
He also thanked Inner Wheel Members for their continued support.
We remembered Tom Watts, a Member since 1976, a Paul Harris Fellow and still contributing fully to the club, who sadly died on 17th May after a short illness. RIP Tom, we will never forget you.
Tom Watts, M.B.E.
There then followed the handover of Insignia, after which new President Ian Alexander congratulated PP Steve on the very successful year and said it would be a hard act for him to follow.
President of Inner Wheel Val Paterson handed over her Insignia to incoming President Dee Hiscock, to be repeated at their official Handover meeting.
Tony Clark – Motoring Art
Tony had set up an attractive and interesting display of some of his collection of motoring art.
He has been interested in motoring art since childhood and his interest over the years has been for traditional paintings, sculptures, trophies, ceramics, mascots, prints, cartoons, photographs, postcards, books and poetry although the ‘paper’ collection’ is his principle interest.
A significant painting by Guy Lipscombe that has surfaced in 2013.
Georges Boillot driving the Grand Prix Peugeot, winning the 1912 Mont Ventoux Hill Climb.
Many of his favourite pictures are by unrecognised technical artists and he has a website acknowledging about 400 artists.
Much of the art came from motoring magazines and manufacturers’ sales material going back as far as 1890’s.
Artwork from this era is only now becoming popular with collectors and much of it has sadly been lost although postcards are now proving popular.
Click here to visit Tony's website.
David Race - Mildmay Hospital
David gave us the historic background of the 150 year old Mildmay hospital in Central London. The hospital was founded as a charity hospital to treat patients from the surrounding slums during the Cholera epidemic of 1866.
The hospital is now run as a charity for those suffering from Aids and HIV.
Although there is still no cure for HIV it can now be controlled by anti retro-viral drugs that must be taken for life.
Research continues into a cure. The number of people in the UK who are HIV positive exceeds 100,000 and is still growing. In East and South Africa 35 million people are infected with the virus.
Mildmay has just finished building a new hospital in Hackney.
Mildmay is a full training hospital offering many therapies and also looks after dementia sufferers, day care and community treatment.
Click here to visit the Mildmay website.
Samaritans - Pat Morss
Pat gave us a brief history of how and why the Samaritans were started 60 years ago at a time when suicide was a criminal offence.
The telephone lines are manned 24 hours a day all year round to anyone who needs someone to talk to. The conversation is totally confidential and anonymous, no advice is given but a totally trustworthy sympathetic volunteer will listen to and give comfort to the caller for as long as needed.
A very thorough training and assessment programme is given before any volunteer is taken on and more suitable volunteers are always wanted.
Shifts are flexible and arranged to suit the volunteer’s availability with a stand- by in case of an emergency.
There are 55 volunteers at the Ashford and Tenterden Branch. There are always at least two volunteers available. support is provided for the volunteer within the branch and a de-briefing session is given at the end of the shift.
The number of distressed people seeking support has increased over the last ten years with last year being the highest ever.
Pat described how they respond to some very distressing calls without giving advice or intervening but giving support in what could be a very serious situation.
Click here to visit the Samaritans website.
Saturday 7th June 2014
We are having a test-run of a new Rotary Club of Ashford Fundraising idea at the Julie Rose Stadium on Saturday 7th June 2014 starting at 1845 hours and finishing by 2300 hours.
We've got the machines and the wooden horses. We've got the Rotarian volunteers. We've booked the venue and we've made up a race card. Now we need you.
We need horse owners - and for this trial run - £5 will buy you a horse.
We need - again for this trial run - female jockeys who are prepared to dress in jockey silks and a riding hat.
We need spectators who will dress as if for Ascot - there will be a prize for the best dressed man and woman.
We need a judge or judges to decide the best dressed.
Follow the links below for documents which you can download and print:-
(Each race will have a First place prize of £15 and second place prize of £7.50.)
Come along and join us for an inexpensive evening of fun and laughter.
ALL PROFITS TO CHARITY
Sunday April 16th 2014 – Rotary Entertains
Members of the Rotary Club of Ashford hosted their 27th year of ‘Rotary Entertains’ for Ashford Senior Citizens and disadvantaged Ashford residents, when afternoon tea and musical entertainment was once again provided at Norton Knatchbull School.
The show was opened by President and compere Rotarian Steve Hiscock who introduced the first act, Elvis Tribute Act Cliff Castle from Ashford, supported by wife Caz.
A firm favourite with the audience, the performance of well known and popular Elvis songs soon had everyone joining in singing and clapping with enthusiasm.
Tea, organized and prepared by members of Inner Wheel supported by Rotarians, their families and friends was then enjoyed by a full house of over 150 mostly elderly Ashford guests, most of whom have attended for many years.
Following tea Highworth School’s Mike Cheesman presented Highworth pupils, talented singing duo Sharnay and Tamsyn who accompanied themselves on guitars followed by equally talented Bethany who accompanied her beautiful voice on the piano.
"Love to Sing" Ashford Community Choir, set up by musical director Tessa Fineman, another favourite, was next on the programme.
The now familiar rendition of Land of Hope and Glory, with enthusiastic support from everyone singing and waving Union flags, was followed by Ashford Rotary Members joining the choir on stage to sing ‘We’ll meet again’ with the audience, which concluded the entertainment.
Steve Hiscock thanked Members of Inner Wheel, St John Ambulance, Norton Knatchbull caretaker John, Emma Harvey and her team of six helpers from Age UK, Ashford Rotarians, family and friends for all their help and support and Waitrose for their generous contribution of £220.
Dr Richard Cook - Fracking
Geologist Dr Richard Cook told us about the process of hydraulic fracturing (fracking) of shale rock to recover oil or gas.
Fracking has becme a controversial practice since he publishing of the Green Party’s Gasland movie, which has been discredited by geological experts.
Richard covered the problems of climate change by the use of hydrocarbons giving us an insight into the many uses of them and how life as we know it would grind to a halt without their use.
He explained the how oil or gas can be recovered safely from shale rock by fracking and disputed the claims about earthquakes, fresh water and air pollution, lack of well integrity and the use of dangerous chemicals.
The recovery of oil or gas by fracking will require very detailed planning applications before being permitted and the first applications are likely in the next two years, followed by self-sufficiency of oil or gas production in about 10 years.
New Member John Goodman
President Steve Hiscock had great pleasure in inducting John Goodman as a Member of our club.
We all remember with gratitude how John supported the Tri Rotary Cycle Challenge in aid of Sand Dams and subsequently also Pancreatic Cancer Research.
£10,000 was raised by his, Alan Paterson and the support team’s efforts.
Laura Nye - Kent Young Carers
John Hobbs opened the meeting by introducing Laura Nye representing Kent Young Carers.
Laura told us a little about the charity’s work in supporting carers as young as 6 who take on responsibilities for fa mily members in a practical and/or emotional way on a day to day basis that would be the same as an adult carer.
The Charity provides Chill Clubs and Fun Days.
Click here to visit the Kent Young Carers website.
John then had pleasure in presenting a cheque to Laura for £2,270 raised with Earlybird and gave the vote of thanks to her for her excellent presentation.
The prizes for the ‘worst ties’ were awarded to PP Stuart McRae for his ‘hearts’...
...and Karen Ottewill for her ‘ducks’.
Steve Auty - Chief Executive of the Pilgrims Hospices
Steve gave a very interesting account of the development of the Hospice Movement in East Kent following the inspiration and leadership of Anne Robertson, the founder.
He described the extraordinary amount of work that went into the opening of the three hospices that serve the east Kent area, and the daily challenge of funding their work.
There are three Pilgrims Hospices, in Ashford, Canterbury and Ramsgate.
Pilgrims Hospices is a charity and relies heavily on donations. To keep delivering care to those that need it the most, Pilgrims has to raise in excess of £10.5 million each year, with 75% of funding coming from the local community.
The NHS contributes around 25% annually.
Click here to visit the Pilgrims Hospice website.
Richard Goodenough - In the Meadows of Trimworth:
A Kentish Country Diary
Our speaker Richard Goodenough talked to us about his Kentish county diary in the meadows of Trimworth.
Richard moved to Trimworth in the Stour Valley in 1995 and while walking his dog began noticing the many differing facets of the countryside through the seasonal changes throughout the year.
He started making notes and taking photos from which his book ‘A Year in Kent’ was written. His presentation gave us a beautiful and informative display of nature at its best from January to December, together with a sprinkling of history relating to the different habitats.
We learnt of the ‘Books of Hours’ with their illustrations of seasonal activities and learnt that the seasons are now earlier than shown in these historic books.
His knowledge of the unspoilt flora and fauna in their natural surroundings was a fascinating lesson in ecological survival.
He also touched upon the cruelty of nature that enables the survival chain to continue.
Anyone wishing to read more about Richard’s diary can purchase his book for £25 from Waterstones.
Brian Davis - Paul Harris Fellow
President Steve Hiscock delighted us with the announcement that PP Brian Davis had been chosen for a well deserved Paul Harris award for his many years of service to the club. He has kept us on the ‘straight and narrow’ and been a dedicated Honorary Secretary for many years.
Peter Gammon - A life in the Police
Peter gave us an amusing run through of his career in the police force, stretching from his days as a Police Cadet in 1969, to a police constable in 1970 through to a Police Superintendent.
Peter was a member of the Special Patrol Group on duty for the Papal Visit to Canterbury in 1982 and gave us some amusing anecdotes of this visit, including the Pope’s hasty escape from Canterbury following a gas explosion in a drain.
Peter retired in 2001 but remained heavily involved in police and community work, serving as National President of the Police Superintendents Association and Chairman of the Kent Probation Board
He also served as a lay member of the Employment Tribunal and KCC Standards Committee.
He explained that he has appeared on TV a number of times including the Kilroy Show and being interviewed pretty much nonstop from 5am to midnight following the release of the Stephen Lawrence Report.
Peter passed round 3 truncheons, one of which he believes is one of the first ever issued for an official police force. He said he had used his truncheon on 3 occasions during his career. The first time was to break into a vending machine that had been damaged bu vandals, once to gain entry to a house and once to put a pheasant out of its misery when it had flown into his car and was fluttering helplessly on the road. In doing so, he hit the road and broke his truncheon.
Prof. Stephen Clift - Singing for Health
Prof. Stephen Clift works at Canterbury Christ Church University in the Faculty of Health and Social Care.
His passion is the use of the Arts, especially music, mostly singing and as a scientist researching his subject.
He outlined the considerable benefits to health of singing, in particular to those with lung conditions.
The WHO defined health as a state of complete mental, physical, social and holistic engagement.
To show us that everyone can beneift from taking part in snging, Stephen had the all he members of the club on their feet to learn to sing Bella Mama
Stephen axplained that communal singing had great benefits for older people with long term health problems, COPD and dementia.
He showed us a video of one of his six singing groups with COPD in East Kent who were clearly having a great time.
Tony Van Eldick - Bulding your own airplane
Our speaker, Tony Van Eldick, wanted to be a pilot from childhood but his need to wear glasses and his poor mathematics skills dictated that he would never be a commercial pilot. Nevertheless he obtained a private pilot’s licence at 16.
He has lived in the UK for 26 years and is a member of the flying community at Headcorn Airport. He thought ownership of an aircraft was out of his reach until he saw an advertisement for a DIY Europa Aeroplane kit that would fit into a single domestic garage, could be towed behind a car on its own transporter, could use leaded or unleaded ‘car’ petrol and promised a fine performance capability.
He then showed us the fascinating video of the construction of the ‘plane that was to take him 2000 hours to build. The cost was supposed to be about that of a medium sized car but ended up costing £35,000 without any labour costs.
Tony’s passion for flying and the love of his fine two seater aircraft was clear, even to his home being beside a local farmer’s grass landing strip.
Sainsbury's Trolley Collection
Ashford Rotary Club's "Estimate the value of goods in the trolley" took place at Sainsburys on Friday 13th December.
The collection raised £392-83 for Rotary Charities
The Trycycle Challenge
John Goodman and Alan Paterson described their summer expedition when they cycled from Ashford to Vlissingen in Holland and Amiens in France.
Alan set a very optimistic target figure of £10,000 to be raised which was successfully achieved.
A cheque for £5,450 was presented to Geoff Haworth on behalf of Pancreatic Cancer UK and the balance was allocated to the Sand Dams project.
Alan and John were presented with glass plaques in recognition of their achievement.
Karen Warden - Eventful Times
Karen started her career as a bank cashier and moved on to Event Management for the banking sector.
To her people are the most important part in any event, especially the speaker, and she went on to list 31 ingredients that make an event successful starting with the ability to translate an idea into reality.
She showed us her chart of high profile speakers, from the world of banking, sport, politics and entertainment.
Karen has organised events in fabulous venues such as the Guildhall, Livery Halls, the Cabinet War Room, St Paul's Cathedral and the Dorchester Hotel.
Progressive Supranuclear Palsy
Mary McKeown presented a cheque for £2,500 to Ashley and Darren Chappell on behalf of PSP.
Ashley, whose mother suffered from the disease which is part of the Parkinsons family, thanked Mary and the club for their support.
Kennington - then and now
Our speaker, Jenny Marshall gave a fascinating and very detailed description of the origins and development of Kennington from an agricultural village to its present status as a suburb of the town of Ashford.
In 1811 the population was just 363 in 61 families with the majority employed in agriculture and the balance in trade. She detailed the hierarchy of social standing and where the population lived.
The village grew substantially when, in 1842, the Railway works opened and took workers from the land in Kennington. The detail she presented of the notable properties and their owners and the community contribution to the gentle growth over the years to the present day was extraordinary.
Rotarians in Ashford have been busy this weekend raising money for the Phillipines Relief Fund.
The total collected so far comes to a staggering £3836.00, with more money pledged.
Many thanks to the generosity of the people of Ashford for their contributions to this emergency fund.
Dr Stuart McRae
"Life at Wye College - and away from it"
Stuart said he has been lucky in the choices he has made in life.
Stuart was born is Scotland to parents of modest means who always encouraged him to do the best he could. He made a good start by gaining a scholarship to Robert Gordon's School and later graduated with a degree in geology from the University of Aberdeen.
His intention to go into oil exploration in Antarctica was cut short when he met Hazel and changed to soil science, regretting neither decision.
His luck continued when Professor Tinsley who knew him from his time at Aberdeen University recommended him to Professor Wayne at Wye College. His life at Wye was so good that his ambition to move to bigger things was blunted and he turned down other offers with no regrets.
He was at Wye College in the golden years and made good use of his time there. He retired early well equipped to use his expert knowledge of soil science as a Consultant which he does to this day.
His other great interest is in genealogy where he continues to research his family tree.
"Tales from the burrow: tarantulas, toads and a dolly lizard"
Freelance zoologist, Andrew Smith talked of the interest of children in the wonder of natural history starting with snails that inhabited earth 300 million years ago and are the ultimate survivors. We cannot win against them and he showed us a giant live snail.
He is delighted that evolution is now taught in classrooms and entertained us with his fascinating talk on common ancestors and the means of survival of species through the ages, illustrating his talk with some live animals he had brought with him.
He showed us a tortoise, a not housetrained turtle, a large moderately harmless scorpion and a very small deadly one.
He also showed us a lizard and a corn snake which is a constrictor and makes a good child's pet.
The star of the evening was a very large and hairy tarantula female spider that we were permitted to stroke.
Click here to visit Andrew's website
President Steve Hiscock expressed great pleasure when he re-inducted past Member Spencer Stone.
Spencer was warmly welcomed by everyone. He told us he was looking forward to working with us again.
Prof John Mansfield
"Fungi -The good, the bad and the ugly"
Prof. Mansfield had with him a basket full of Fungi collected from Kings Wood which included examples of the good, bad and ugly.
There were ones that were good to eat, others that were not but not dangerous, those that were hallucinogenic and those that could kill.
Apart from the samples from his basket that were passed round he gave us a slide show of many others.
He gave us many examples of fungi not generally known as edible including honey fungus which is deadly to trees but harmless if eaten. The one everyone has heard about is Deadly Amanita (death cap), a small piece in a stew can kill a family.
Another to look out for is one that closely resembles an edible field mushroom but when picked a yellow stain develops at the bottom of the stem and also on the skin. It will probably not kill you but you would feel very poorly after eating it.