Welcome to the Rotary Club of Ashford
On behalf of all Rotarians in the Rotary Club of Ashford we welcome you to our website.
Rotarian Alan Jose - 'Behind the Curtains'
Firstly, President Maggie Reuther inducted Mary Anne Hughes, President of the Ashford Soroptomists, as an Honorary member of our Club.
Rtn Alan Jose then gave his job talk and enlightened us all on the workings in a crematorium 'behind the curtains'. Alan gave the history of cremation,beginning with the first crematorium opening in Woking in 1885.
Since 1967 over 70% of all deaths result in cremation. There are stringent rules and regulations that are required before a cremation can take place and great care is taken at the actual cremation.
Alan explained that special requests from the family were catered for wherever possible with different services and a wide range of music. The crematorium staff treat each cremation as an individual service, not just one of many.
Click here for more information on the Westerleigh Group.
We also welcomed Jamil Jaward from the Rotary Club of Karen, Kenya.
Click here for the Rotary Club of Karen, Kenya Facebook page.
PP Malcolm Brook - Umtha Welanga
Our speaker, PP Malcolm Brook, who stood in at very short notice, gave a wonderful talk on Umtha Welanga. Malcolm and Kitty were in South Africa and met Elsie Menace who asked Malcolm (as he was wearing a Rotary badge) if he would be able to help with an AIDS project.
Malcolm returned and was hosted by Elsie who showed him a post-natal clinic in Khayelitsha where all the mums were HIV positive. He visited the township where the people were living in tiny shacks with problems with water and drainage.
Malcolm was so impressed by the people that he set about raising funds, in total £60,000, with the help from the Club members and other Rotary Clubs. An office was opened out there in April 2001 to give HIV counselling and to arrange foster care for the children .Quite a few of our members visited Khayelitsha and the project was supported for 10 years until the S. African government said they had to manage this themselves. As far as we know it is still carrying on.
Click here for more information on Umtha Welanga.
Rebecca Sanderson - Admiral Nursing Services
Admiral Nurse, Rebecca Sanderson opened her talk with some sobering statistics. There are currently 850,000 people diagnosed with dementia of which 40,000 are under 65; by 2025 it is predicted that there will be 1 million of which 66% will be women. Dementia causes 60,000 deaths a year at a cost of £26 billion p.a., 66% are cared for in the community with the balance in care homes. The 670,000 family carers save the country £11 billion p.a.
Dementia is a general term for a set of symptoms that may include memory loss and difficulties with thinking, problem-solving or language when the brain is affected by specific diseases and conditions. There are different types of Dementia depending on which part of the brain is affected and the cause.
Admiral Nurses are registered Mental Health Nurses with a minimum of two year’s experience. Rebecca’s Admiral Nurse post is funded by Kent and Medway NHS funds. There were 151 Admiral Nurses in the UK but only 144 currently. They have a direct phone line from 9am to 5pm 5 days a week. An Admiral Nurse is a specialist nurse offering practical and emotional support to both patient and carer. Coping strategies are offered and each patient’s care is tailored to their specific needs with widely the differing effects of the disease on the patient. Some will be placid, usually contented but occasionally presenting a complete flip, others can be verbally and physically violent. Patients benefit from remaining in their own home in familiar surroundings for as long as possible.
Rebecca described the preferred chain of care but with nearly 1000 patients in her care volunteer support plays a big part in bridging some of the shortfall to the over-stretched professionals, like Rebecca, who are providing this wonderful, compassionate but qualified and professional vocational care to some of the most vulnerable and needy members of society, most of whom had previously lived full and useful lives until struck down indiscriminately by this most cruel of diseases.
Click here for more information on Admiral Nurses.
New Education Resource at Wyvern School
The Rotary Club of Ashford has recently sponsored a new education resource at Wyvern School, Ashford. Called an 'Early Years Learning Outside System', it has been designed for schools to use out in the open or indoors. It is fully weather-proof and is made up of a sturdy wooden frame with a double-sided steel panel which allows children to attach magnetic shapes, puzzles, pictures to it. It is an excellent way of teaching children both numeracy and literacy skills, but is also good fun for them to use.
Within minutes of its presentation to the school, the children were crowding round it and making sense of the magnetic pieces, creating pictures and solving puzzles.
A source at the school said it will be a boon to the children and will give them something extra to work and play with during the day.
Four Ashford Rotarians the school attended on Monday 29th - incoming President Maggie Reuther, Malcolm and Kitty Brook and Steve Parkin, who instigated the purchase of the system by the Rotary Club. Also present, apart from Jackie Davey and her teaching staff, were the designers and manufacturers of the system, Roger Knight and Andrew Lamb, both Rotarians from Dover.
Handover Night 2015
President Ian Alexander opened the meeting by presenting, with great pleasure, a framed certificate celebrating 40 years Membership to PP Frank Brake.
Ian went on to thank all Members for a great year throughout his Presidency, especially the hard working Chairmen who he listed, all of whom had worked hard to achieve considerable success in their differing projects; over £15,000 was raised for our charities.
He thanked all the Committee Chairmen by presenting the ladies with bouquets of flowers and the gentlemen with a bottle.
He thanked PP Stuart McRae and PP/Secretary Sue Sleet for all their support. There were four new Member inductions, three honorary Member inductions and a second Member, Ron Stainton who had earlier been congratulated on his 40 years Membership. He then thanked VP Maggie Reuther for her support throughout his year in office and wished her an equally happy and successful year as President. Handover then took place.
President Maggie thanked Ian for a most enjoyable and successful year and thanked PP Peter Stutchbury and PP Steve Hiscock for persuading her to be President. She is looking forward to another successful and enjoyable year, building on the past year’s successes and the continued encouragement and support of Secretary Sue.
Rotarian Bill Sheret - Life Talk
Bill started his ‘Life Talk’ with a conventional PowerPoint presentation but that was the only conventional element of his talk.
He gave us a brief background of his family, his unremarkable academic achievements and his early time spent mostly with W H Smith in a variety digs with mostly, but not exclusively, good landladies, elaborating on the pink painted bath episode and other mishaps! The best bit revolved around a dance in Birmingham on 13/12/68 where he met the ‘love of his life’, his wife Dorothy.
Even his description of being called to a major fire at the distribution centre had us laughing. He went on to describe how the news was distributed and his steady rise in seniority and moves to larger and better distribution areas. He covered the troubled times during the 1986 revolution of the replacement of conventional print by new technology, the methods distributors used to find ways to avoid the picket lines, the fear of the ‘rent a mob’ and the moves from Fleet Street to Wapping by newspaper owners.
In 1992 he moved to Ashford working for Geerings tendering for distribution areas. Eventually the distribution became unviable for newspapers and the distribution of magazines took over. Two years ago he decided that there was a diminishing need for even magazines and decided to retire at the age of 64. His interests now mostly revolve around family, his classic car and Rotary.
We also welcomed current Ashford Rotakid President Alan (and his Mum) to the club.
John Newman - Architectural splendours of Kent
Our speaker, John Newman, talked to us about 2,000 years of Kent Architecture. He showed us examples of magnificent Ecclesiastical architecture through the ages, pointing out the changes in structural form and some particularly magnificent features.
There were then pictures of parts of Dover Castle, the keep with its Medieval bands of flint and stone and the great size and complexity of the design of the Castle itself. Canterbury Cathedral was extensively featured, particularly the exquisite stained glass windows and, following a fire, the replacement new Gothic interior that was subsequently reproduced in other Ecclesiastical buildings. Residential houses were featured such as the very grandiose 1340’s Penshurst Place house. The two 1375 Towers and gateway at Westgate, Canterbury were shown.
John then moved on to the many spectacular Kentish timber framed hall houses from the 1380’s to the 1720’s, pointing out the differing features of architectural merit. There were also buildings with spectacular brickwork such as the 17c Broom Park. We were acquainted with the Gothic Revival design of The Grange at Ramsgate, moving to the 1880’s Great Hall of Cranbrook School and the 20c Norman Shaw Arts and Crafts style of country houses and finally to today’s modern architecture such as Saga’s Headquarters in Folkestone and the Turner Contemporary at Margate. This is just a brief snapshot of a few of the many memorable buildings showing differing features and styles covered by John.
Click here to read an article on John and his books.
Ray Ashman - St John Ambulance
Ray Ashman is well known to us for the support he has given us at our events over many years with St John Ambulance. His talk was a very useful demonstration on resuscitation using dummy ‘Little Ann’ and a fully automatic AED defibrillator (The battery power supply to the device had been deactivated for demonstration purposes).
Ray went through the whole process of resuscitation, speaking to the patient, opening the airway, checking for breathing, if so putting in the recovery position. If not he demonstrated how lay the patient on his/her back on a firm, hard surface and give 30 firm but rapid compressions, then pinch the nose and breath twice into the mouth (there is a protective waterproof sheet between you and the patient provided!), known as 30 to 2. If there is still no sign of life the whole chest should be bared and the AED turned on, the electric pads applied to the chest and the AED, designed to be ‘idiot proof’ will talk you through the procedure.
Ray gave a list of tips on the safe way to check the patient such as removing metal objects from pockets, metal jewellery etc. No one was brave enough to follow Ray and revive ‘Little Ann’!
2014 - 2015 Presidential Citation
Great news; we've received our 5th consecutive Presidential Citation!
Many thanks to Rotarian Colette O'Sullivan for all her hard work.
Spencer Stone - Contemporary Paganism
Spencer opened his PowerPoint presentation on Contemporary Paganism; a group of contemporary religious movements influenced by, or claiming to be derived from the various historical pagan beliefs of pre-modern Europe.
The talk gave particular reference to Wicca, a modern pagan witchcraft, and Heathenry, a reconstructionist/contemporary revival of historical Germanic paganism using surviving source materials.
Since the 2001 census first allowed individuals to specify their religious beliefs, Paganism has built a strong following up until and including the 2011 UK Census, with 85,435 respondents claiming pagan religion.
Spencer gave us a fascinating history of the first evidence of the practice of contemporary pagan witchcraft in England in the 1930’s and gave us the historical development of Heathenry from 1220 to the present time.
He went on to the Theology and Moral & Ethical views of Wicca followed by those of Heathenry. He told us of the Seasonal Festivals, worship and altars from the very simple to the highly personalised, followed by beliefs on afterlife/reincarnation. There followed a lively Q & A session.
Amanda Cottrell – UK & Kent Tourism
Amanda Cottrell, head of Visit Kent, is responsible for promoting tourism in Kent which earns £3.5-£4.0bn a year from tourism in England; the 5th largest contributor to the economy.
Amanda described the vast range of options currently available to visitors and plans for additional attractions such as a Heritage theme park. Ebbsfleet Garden City is planned along with the new East Kent College offering training in tourism and second language skills.
Amanda’s enthusiasm and endless energy shone through in her description of the way promotion is multi-faceted throughout the tourist business involving the support of the humble right through the people chain to no less than members of the Royal family and HM the Queen.
Her monumental efforts take her all over the world; space does not allow a full report but one example of her unique skill was graphically displayed by the magnificent feathered American Indian headdress she donned, presented to her during a K.C.C.-backed visit with HM the Queen and Prince Phillip, to an Indian reservation.
Click here to visit the Visit Kent website.
Kent MS Therapy Centre Opening
Past President Frank Brake about to cut the ribbon.
Some of our members were fortunate enough to be invited to the official opening of the Kent MS Therapy Centre on Friday (24th April 2015) afternoon.
The Centre was opened by their Patron, Ashford Rotary Club member and Past President Frank Brake.
The Centre is completely finished and fully functional with the exception of the Oxygen Chamber which should be up and running in a couple of weeks’ time.
It was mentioned several times during the speeches how grateful they are for all the fund raising our club helped with over the past few years and they will be organising guided tours of the centre for all the Rotary Clubs and Masonic Lodges that have been a part of this super project. A lot of people will benefit for many years to come.
Click here to visit the Kent MS Therapy Centre website.
Rotary Entertains 2015
Members of the Rotary Club of Ashford hosted their 28th 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 Ian Alexander who introduced the first act, Elvis Tribute Act Cliff Castle from Ashford, supported by 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 about 140 mostly elderly Ashford guests, most of whom have attended for many years.
Following tea Norton Knatchbull School’s director of Music, Eryn Grady, presented one of their excellent jazz bands which was given an ovation by the guests.
"Love to Sing" Ashford Community Choir, led by Karen Hill, 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.
Ian Alexander thanked Members of Inner Wheel, St. Marys School Rotakids, St John Ambulance, Norton Knatchbull caretaker John, the team of helpers from Age UK, Ashford Rotarians, family and friends for all their help and support and Asda for their generous contribution of £500. A special vote of thanks was given to Karen Ottewill, who organized this year’s event, and to Rotarian John Hobbs who organized the transport.
Moya Ross - The Art of Homeopathy
Our speaker Moya Ross, a nurse, was introduced to homeopathy after a long period of unpleasant symptoms from the side effects of antibiotics on her immune system which became worse after the birth of her baby.
Initially she was sceptical but aware that the treatment could cause no harm decided to give it a go. When she developed yet another infection she tried homeopathic treatment and found it helped; her daughter also found it helped when she developed glandular fever. From then on Homeopathy took over and she decided to study at Regents College for the necessary qualifications to practice the art.
Homeopathy was discovered by German doctor Samuel Hahnemann, born in 1755 he was a brilliant chemist and linguist. His theory was that like cures like, whereby a substance that causes the symptoms of a disease in healthy people will cure similar symptoms in sick people when administered in a vastly diluted state. There is no one remedy for specific symptoms and the body is treated as a whole, starting with the brain and working downwards and the treatment will have no unwanted side effects. Sceptics talk of a placebo effect but vets found that the treatment of animals worked e.g. mastitis in cows.
Moya does not recommend homeopathy as a total replacement for any recommended traditional medicine but all treatments can be safely used in support of more conventional medicine when cessation is not recommended. Specialist pharmacists make up the diluted treatments and Moya has had three of her own treatments officially approved. Homeopathy is supported by the NHS.
Diana El Khazan - A very different holiday
Our speaker, architect Diana El Khazan explained that she took a two month holiday in Iran, travelling along the part of the Old Silk Road that crossed the Country in a basic truck with 15 other tourists of many nationalities and age range.
In Iran the lady travellers respected Iranian dress code by covering their heads and wearing modest clothing. Their Iranian guide spoke little English. Their first stop was to pick up supplies, they erected their own tents and formed groups of three to prepare and cook meals for the whole group in turn. Camping in the desert for the first three nights was hard with no facilities available.
Their next stop was Tabriz where they found the wide ethnic mix of people well integrated and friendly, something they experienced for the whole trip. Diana’s presentation was mainly of the spectacularly beautiful architecture and places of interest in the towns and villages the group visited.
Next was Azeri with its shops and famous park and kebabs or ‘burgers. In the large, bustling Capital of Tehran, they visited the main huge and attractive bazar that seemed to sell everything, then visited a Mosque and the 200 years old Khazar Palace, where the last Shah held his final official banquet and with pavilions round the garden now with a variety of displays. They spent the next three nights in the Unesco World Heritage Site of Esfahan and had dinner in an ancient building, now a hotel, saw a dried up river bed where the river had been diverted (high-jacked?), a beautiful Mosque, an historic bridge, the Armenian Quarter, the Cathedral and saw beautiful murals.
They visited Shiraz where they saw traditional teaching facilities, had wonderful food, saw spectacular friezes, the remains of a 2,500 year old tent city, more lovely gardens, another bazaar and a Mosque with spectacular blue tiles everywhere, tombs with unknown history carved into rocks and the Towers of Silence. Then it was Yazd, a mud/brick desert city with great historic interest open to visitors. They found beer at last in Turkmenistan, totally destroyed and rebuilt as a modern white marble city.
Then on to Muynak, once a Shipyard but now 180km from the sea and the ancient walled city of Kiva, another most enjoyable city where they had a meal and saw the summer palace of the last Khan, Samarkand with its shops, museums, observatory, avenue of mausoleums and exquisite tombs, the modern city of Tashkent, Kazakhastan with its national park where they camped, Kurdistan with its beaches and finally Caracol Spa Town in the mountains where yurts are still used.
PP Colin Sykes – My special holiday
Past President Colin and Felicitie opened their talk about a few of the 65 Islands that range from just 3ft high to mountains, that they visited during their 35-day Pacific cruise on the 'Caledonian Sky'; Felicitie’s dream since childhood.
The cruise followed Cook’s exploration journey in 1776/7. We were given a brief history of the discoveries by explorers over the centuries.
They visited 27 islands, landing on 25 by Zodiac; hundreds of miles apart covering 5,000 nautical miles. We were shown some fascinating pictures of large carved rock statues on Easter Island where there is no vegetation, and interesting and widely differing details about many of the other islands they visited, such as Bounty, Henderson, Pitcairn Islands and more, too many to be covered here.
Zena Belton - Visioning
Zena Belton, who hails from District and the Rotary Club of Westerham, told us that visioning is planning for the future and what we can achieve long term to help the club move forward.
This is not compulsory but suggested that if the club were to adopt this then start with the end in mind and work backwards.
Zena offered to facilitate a meeting of 3 to 4 hours at which at least 75% of Members are required to be present including the Presdent, President-Elect and Vice President.
Zena has a team of four trained facilitators who will oversee the club members individually writing their thoughts, followed by those thoughts being shared and voted on, then pruned and repeated until a prioritised action plan that is agreed for a three year plan, then a long-term five year plan.
Hazel Southwell - MSF and Ebola
President Ian Alexander had pleasure in inducting Alan Jose, a Member of the Rotary Club of Durham for many years.
President Ian then had the pleasure of awarding Member Cliff Grieve with the Paul Harris Fellowship for his tireless contribution to the prevention of modern day slavery.
President Ian then introduced our speaker, Hazel Southwell, presenting her with a cheque to make our total donation £2,000.
Hazel only became a member of Medecins sans Frontieres, London, in December and was standing in at very short notice for Stephen Legg who was unwell. The charity was started in 1971 in France and now has offices all over the world. Each office operates independently but work together. They do not work with other organisations, are non-political, non-sectarian and accept funding from individuals but not governments. They carry out all their own humanitarian work, are on wire for urgent emergencies and use their own mostly local staff and work in areas where other organisations cannot gain access.
They employ 30,000 people of whom 25% are doctors, mostly local. They work in areas of war and conflict treating war wounds and other medical emergencies, refugee camps, areas of extreme poverty, natural and man-made disasters, epidemics, provide urgent primary health care, vaccinations and anywhere needing urgent medical care. Their principles include neutrality, impartiality and independence. They have an operation centre in Amsterdam where they stockpile drugs and vaccines. It was there that they ‘mocked up’ an Ebola Centre.
Hazel then gave us details of the brutal Ebola symptoms, how they responded to the recent epidemic, training all their own medical staff, providing protective clothing and temporary secure facilities in hospital tents. She gave us some staggering statistics including the real spend of £1.296bn worldwide to Ebola. Currently they have gone 42 days without a case but not all contacts have been traced and the outcome remains unpredictable. They now have a vaccine for at least one strain and are running down their operation.
Click here for more information on Médecins Sans Frontières.
2015 Rotary Ramble Flyer
Prof. Nick Russell - Shackleton's Antarctic Adventure
Ernest Shackleton was born in 1874 in County Kildare, the son of a doctor. He joined the merchant navy at 16 and was a Master Mariner at 24. He had a passion for world travel and especially wanted to explore the poles, focussing on the Antarctic.
He joined Scott’s Discovery Expedition where he learnt how severe the conditions were, but became so ill half way that he had to be invalided home. This made Shackleton even more determined to repeat the attempt but this time on his own terms. His Nimrod expedition in 1908 with three companions almost succeeded but he turned back just short of the South Pole as he feared for the lives of his companions.
Shackleton started preparing for a third attempt, the Endurance Expedition and they left Valsel Bay on 5th December 1914 fully aware of the exceptionally harsh conditions they would face.
Nick gave us a fascinating insight into the journey. Sailing through massive icebergs and finally being locked in the ice for 281 days before sinking in November 1915; the explorers made camp on the ice. In April 1916 they took 21 men two in lifeboats. They rowed 800 miles in the most atrocious conditions managing only one sextant reading to confirm their location. They walked the last part of the journey finally arriving at a whaling station. The last of the men were rescued on August 1916, not one man was lost despite the hardships suffered. Nick told us that Shackleton, whilst a disciplinarian always put the wellbeing of his men before everything else.
Click here to visit the James Caird Society website, an institution that exists to preserve the memory, honour the remarkable feats of discovery in the Antarctic and commend the outstanding qualities of leadership associated with the name of Sir Ernest Shackleton, KCVO (l874-l922), especially during the ill-fated but glorious Endurance expedition.
Joint Silent Auction with The Elwick Club, Ashford
John Goodman - My Story
John gave us a short history of his early life in Devon, and true to form a very amusing account of Lake Titikaka, the Titikaka Scrotum Frog and a number of other unusual scientific facts.
He attended Kelly College, a naval boarding school on Dartmoor (not the prison!), left school to become articled to a solicitors but found it was not to be his chosen career.
He spent time in London and Ashford with Sainsburys, Rank Xerox and finally with PPL/PPF/Quest/Givaudan where he met Dydianne his wife of 40 years. John gave us the impressive statistics of this now huge fragrance company who have a 25% share of the market.
Louis xv in 1710 used fragrances and gradually the use of them grew with Napoleon Bonaparte and Josephine using vast amounts and later the Italian influence by Rene Le Florentin. The formulas of perfumes were guarded secret. We were entertained and educated by information on many well-known perfumes starting with the Au de Cologne 4711, the famous Chanel no.5 through to today’s celebrity perfumes.
We were treated to a ‘sniff’ of two perfumes. In addition to the wonderful perfumes sold in beautiful containers fragrances are also designed for use in a vast range commercial products.
Irene Green, Jo Olagboyega & John Seaton - Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome
Jo, who was the first to speak, is a midwife who met Irene, also a midwife, in 1977 while they were training. The syndrome was formally diagnosed by Drs. Ehlers and Danlos in the 20th Century. Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (EDS) is a genetic disorder in which the structure of the connective tissue is abnormally fragile due to a hereditary gene mutation. This can lead to a range of widespread, multi-systemic symptoms not limited to one body system. The initial diagnosis identified 10 types but this has now been reduced to 6, with some sufferers leading full and active lives, some suffering physical disability or even becoming life-limiting. The syndrome is very rare with some of the types extremely rare and is often not diagnosed.
Jo introduced Irene, who has the syndrome. She was well until her early thirties and was eventually diagnosed by Consultant John Seaton from The William Harvey Hospital, although the syndrome is not his speciality; he has looked after her ever since. Irene admitted that she lives from day to day with a range of painful and disabling symptoms but still works as a midwife.
John described how he is first ‘port of call’ if Irene needs treatment and he co-ordinates her treatment with a range of specialists. He explained that this is a chronic condition with chronic symptoms needing clear plans of management. EDS UK was set up in 1987 to support, advise and inform those with the syndrome. Irene made little of her day to day problems but it was clear she faces each day with stoic determination.
Click here to find further details on Ehlers-Danlos Support UK
Sandra Noel - The 1924 ascent of Everest
Sandra Noel giving her presentation.
Sandra Noel's father was the freelance photographer who recorded the first mountaineering expedition with George Mallory in 1922 with the express aim of making the first ascent of Mount Everest. It was also the first expedition that attempted to climb Everest using bottled oxygen.They climbed from the northern side out of Tibet as the south side out of Nepal was closed to Western foreigners.
Sandra gave us the fascinating background of her father from extensive childhood travels with his army officer father to joining the English Army himself where he researched from a base in Northern India, took amazing photographs and in 1921 wrote papers for the Royal Geographical Society.We were privileged to see the beautiful glass film plates, taken in black and white and frequently coloured by hand painting.
Sandra also covered her father’s recollections of the 1924 attempt by a team of eight who were sadly lost in bad weather and never found. Her father fortunately was photographing the attempt from below using a camera with a telescopic lens. Her father spent the rest of his working life lecturing both nationally and internationally, wrote a book but never returned to Mount Everest. He retired to the listed Cloth Hall house in Smarden, which he renovated. He died in 1989 aged 99.
Christmas Dinner Photos!
Rotarians Steve Hiscock, Steve Parkin and John Tatterfield in full voice.
Everyone looking content after dinner.
Rotarians John Hardie and Peter Gammon doing something...?
Jo James - Chief Executive of K.I.C.C.
President Ian Alexander once again inducted Jo James, Chief Executive of Kent Invicita Chamber of Commerce, as an Honorary Member of Ashford Rotary Club.
Click here to find further details on the Kent Invicita Chamber of Commerce.
Jamie Clifford - K.C.C.C.: past, present and future
Jamie Clifford's career with Kent Cricket has spanned a number of years culminating with him becoming C.E.O. five years ago.
Kent has a rich cricketing tradition and claims to have invented the game despite a similar claim from Sussex.
He gave us some interesting background of the rise of the game from the first match in 1709. From 1968 to 1979 the County won 13 trophies and he gave us a list of past famous Kent Cricketers.
The Club now has to be run as a well-oiled profitable business having lost £600,000 in his first year in charge. The Club had to attract sponsors, with Shepherd Neame heading the list and hospitality and the facilities offered were vastly improved by money raised by releasing some land for housing development.
The aim is to secure the best possible cricketing talent by a large community engagement, developing local talent from 68,000 recreational cricketers and coaching 16,000 school children. In the past there had been as many as ½ the players being South African, now the vast majority are ‘home grown’.
They now have a good fixture programme and in addition to Canterbury have grounds in Beckenham and other Kent towns.
There has been diversity with four day cricket fading and 20/20 becoming the core part. Team performance has been raised with the players now true athletes, community at the heart of the volunteers and Membership open to the public.
Frugal supper at Stonegate with Ravi Holy
Local Legend Ravi Holy.
Rev. Ravi Holy. Ravi started his talk by explaining about his name and confessing to a distinctly un-holy past life as a drug taking, alcoholic, anarchistic and Satanist leader of a punk group.
He was born into a strict Pentecostal family of Indian/British parents and was an ex-Etonian who wanted to be an entertainer and also spent a little time as a private investigator.
His story was self-deprecating, humorous, honest and devoid of any self-promotion. His jokes had us all laughing and his message is that religion can be better spread with humour, understanding and lack of pomposity.
It seems that his unconventional approach has swelled attendance at Wye’s beautiful Church.
Thanks were given to PP Kitty Brook for once again providing a choice of two delicious soups, crusty bread, fruit jelly and custard and to husband Malcolm and her other ‘helpers’.
Eileen Steinbock - Governmental influence on health & nutrition
Eileen has worked as a nutritionist for over 30 years and was speaking from a personal point of view.
Government legislation covers food safety, food composition and labelling; voluntary issues cover food consumption and nutritional intake.
Current problems include food poisoning with 500,000 cases and 500 deaths a year, heart disease and stroke with 173,000 deaths a year, and cancer with 162,000 deaths a year. Allergies are responsible for 5% of deaths. Obesity and lack of physical activity are rising but smoking has seen a huge reduction.
She gave us a fascinating history and account of the many efforts of government, through a variety of different departments, to control the health of the nation by food legislation from food standards started in the Boer war, school meals to celebrity chef intervention and schemes.
Despite all this legislation six out of ten men and five out of ten women are obese and there are virtually no ‘thin’ children; what is now considered ‘normal’ by the public? Despite all this the risks of obesity remain and the message of eat well, move more to live longer remains the best philosophy.
Rotary Club of Ashford help for Rio for car seat
Rotarian John Hardie and Rio with a cheque for £250.
Rotary Club of Ashford Member John Hardie was approached by mother Claire Chalk, whose son Rio has the rare non-genetic condition Macrocephaly-capillary malformation (M-CM).
This syndrome causes multiple disabilities and Claire is desperate for a specialised car seat so Rio can travel safely in her car.
This is not available on the NHS and she has been fund raising in an attempt to raise the £2,100 to buy the seat.
John was touched by the plight of Claire and her delightful but severely handicapped son and Ashford Rotary Club immediately agreed to contribute £250 towards the purchase.
Click here to find further details (or if you wish to contribute) on Claire's facebook page.
Tim Allen - Metal Matters; a cast of thousands
Tim gave us a brief history of the M J Allen Group from its humble beginnings in a stable in 1968 started by his father, a pattern maker by trade, to the present time.
The Group has freehold manufacturing sites in Ashford, Hothfield, Swanley and Alfreston and sales offices and warehousing in Chicago and Rotterdam.
Tim is Managing Director of the group with his brother Michael Manufacturing Director and his brother Jon responsible for the buying. His son and two nephews also work in the business.
The engineering site in Ashford runs a true “one-stop” shop manufacturing large parts in aluminium, bronze and cast iron, from the drawing board to the finished product and all stages in between. The company also manufactures sheet metal working machinery, their own all-wheel drive transmission assemblies used by Ford Motor Company and ornamental aluminium, bronze and ironwork for the construction industry at the Ashford and Hothfield sites.
Punch press and die tooling is manufactured at Swanley and the automotive after-market clutch and disc business is run from Alfreston in Derbyshire.
The group employs about 260 permanent staff and had a turnover of £30 million in 2013.
Tim is chairman of the Invicta Chamber of Commerce from 2014 to 2016.
Click here to visit the MJ Allen website.
Dr. John Reuther - The plight of British and Alien civilians in the Great War
President Ian Alexander opened the meeting, having the pleasure of inducting Renate Beerling into our Club.
President Ian then introduced Dr. John Reuther, already well known to us as a very well informed, popular and politically incorrect speaker.
Dr. John Reuther.
John gave us the historic background leading up to the ‘Great War’ at a time when our Monarchy was of German extraction and spoke German and large numbers of our population were German or of German extraction and we had a close and warm relationship with Germany.
He told us of the 56,000 academic German men who brought musical entertainment to our shores and the many bakers, butchers, hairdressers and jewellers who had thriving businesses here as well setting up schools, hospitals and gymnasiums.
The Russian/Prussian conflict had sown the seeds for war and when unsubstantiated rumours about a German spy ring was circulated, spy fever resulted in the German population being persecuted and rounded up.
John gave us a detailed and graphic history of the escalation of the war across the world, mass internment camps and terrible loss of life.
Special General Meeting
A packed dining room for the evening.
The cheque for money raised so far, for Children In Need.
25/11/2014 Update: Final total raised for Children In Need by Ashford Rotary Club and the Rotakids from St. Mary's C of E School, Ashford stands at £1784!
Prof. Alan Colchester - BSE & Variant CJD
Professor Alan Colchester, has worked at East Kent Hospitals and Guys’ and St. Thomas’.
Alan told us about TSEs (Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathy’s) that include BSE (Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy) and CJD (Creutzfeldt-Jacob Disease). These are incurable, transmittable or inherited diseases caused by an abnormal protein that accumulates and clogs up the cells and systems and cannot be broken down, killing cells in every element of the body.
It can progress over weeks, months or years causing dementia and is always fatal. It can be inherited, transmitted or, rarely, appear from no apparent cause.
The first known transmitted cause, found by Alan, came from a surgical electrode used on a patient with the disease and used again on a patient for a different operation. It was discovered that the instrument had been correctly sterilised but it was impossible to remove the abnormal prion. Much research was carried out to identify the source of the contamination in the entire nervous system (brain, spinal cord, nerve roots etc), spleen, lymphoid tissue, bone marrow and to a much lesser degree, blood.
Bodies with the disease were almost impossible to disinfect and there was little or no decay over time. What was the original source of the transmitted form of the disease? Were infected cattle responsible for infecting humans or was it the other way round? Scrapie in sheep was suspected but ruled out.
Alan has his own views on this and he gave us a fascinating and extraordinary history on animal food chains at this time. The rest of the story and the most unbelievable part has to remain under wraps and with those of us who were at the talk….. sorry!
Children In Need 2014
Rotarians Peter Gammon, Ian Alexander and Liz Stuart-Smith.
Children In Need Pudsey Bear standup provided by Medash Signs.
Once again a rota of Members of the Rotary Club of Ashford collected money for Children in Need at Ashford International Station on Friday.
The generosity and good spirit of commuters resulted in the fantastic sum of over £1,500 being raised to date.
The collectors, who included 11 St Mary's School Rotakids, commented that they all had fun and it was great to see the children's reaction and smiles.
Ashford Rotary thank commuters and the people of Ashford who once again donated so generously, the Station for their continued support and co-operation and Rotarian John Hobbs, of Medash signs, who donated the two giant Pudseys.
Amanda Cottrell - Canterbury Cathedral Windows
Amanda gave us an information-packed history of the 84 magnificent stained glass windows from Canterbury Cathedral made 645 years ago.
Amanda took on the task of accompanying six of these priceless windows to the Getty Museum in California for display and some very successful fund raising. She was accompanied by the Dean and Archbishop of Canterbury.
Of even more significance was the meeting with leaders of other faiths creating new opportunities to understand each other in friendship and understanding.
Amanda urged us to visit Canterbury to see these magnificent windows in light boxes in the Crypt between April and September 2015.
P.E. Maggie Reuther presenting a further cheque for £1,000, making a total raised £6,000, to Geoff Howarth, the charity Pancreatic Cancer UK representative.
Gabriella Leveridge & Ben Thompson - The Transcontinental Bike Race
Ben Thompson and Gabriella Leveridge.
The Transcontinental Bike Race is an unsupported race from London to Istanbul to be completed in 14 days.
The 86 competitors were each fitted with a live tracker device that emit pulses every three minutes so they cannot ‘cheat’ by using transport.
There is no compulsory route but they must check in to all the check points.
We were told what they carried with them, about food from only commercial outlets and sleeping arrangements must not be with friends.
Temperatures ranged from minus 7 to plus 40 degrees. The hardship was extreme, sleep minimal, enough food not always available and the roads dangerous.
Socialising was not on the agenda but they still encountered great kindness, but not from the wild dogs in the mountains!
They covered 3600 kilometres in 12 days 10 hours 39 minutes, an average of 22.5 mm/hour.
Ben arrived a very creditable 18th and Gabriella was the second lady, only beaten by a famous professional lady cyclist.
Only 57 competitors completed the race within the 14 days.
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.