Archive of some Meeting Reports, as sent to the Press in 2014

Report for 9 June 2014 - Rotarians Hear of Emily's Strasbourg Success
Report for 12 May 2014 - Rotarians Speak of Nepal Education Effort
Report for 20 April 2014 - Rotarians Hail Egg Hunt Success - Easter Sunday
Report for 8 April 2014 - Rotarians set for Haddo Egg Hunt
Report for 1 April 2014 - Tarves Triumphant At Rotary Schools Quiz
Report for 31 March 2014 - Academy Pupils Explain Curriculum To Employers
Report for 17 March 2014 - Meldrum Rotarians Welcome Soenaid As Latest Member
Report for 13 March 2014 - Nepalese Vocational Training Team Preliminary Meeting
Report for 3 March 2104 - Meldrum Rotarians To Hold Community Quiz Night
Report for 10 February 2014 - Meldrum Rotarian in Driving Seat for "Children in Need"
Report for 13 January 2014 - Meldrum Rotarians hear about Charlie House

Click on the relevant link above to go directly to the report for that date.

For the Reports Archive for 2013 click here.
For the Reports Archive for 2012 click here.
For the Reports Archive for the second half of 2011 click here.
For the Reports Archive for the first half of 2011 click here.
For the Reports Archive for the second half of 2010 click here.
For the Reports Archive for the first half of 2010 click here.
For the Reports Archive for the second half of 2009 click here.
For the Reports Archive for the first half of 2009 click here.
For the Reports Archive for the second half of 2008 click here.
For the Reports Archive for the first half of 2008 click here.
For the Reports Archive from 2007 click here.

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9 June 2014

Rotarians Hear of Emily's Strasbourg Success

Emily Low with Pres. RichardA local school pupil has spoken of her experiences taking part in debates in the European Parliament, after she gained the opportunity to participate in a prestigious gathering of students from across the European Union.
Meldrum Academy pupil Emily Low was one of a number of delegates from Scotland who took part in the Rotary-supported 'Euroscola' programme, which saw students taking part in discussions and debate in the surroundings of the European Parliament complex in Strasbourg.

In a talk to Oldmeldrum Rotarians, Emily told how she had met with the other Scottish candidates on a Monday morning at Edinburgh Airport, before flying to Basel/Mulhouse. After travelling on to Strasbourg and having a walk around the city, the students then had to deliver an 'icebreaker' presentation in French in order to demonstrate their language skills.
The group began the Tuesday by conducting a street survey, where they asked local people a series of questions about Scotland, including what they thought haggis was, before delivering a presentation on the survey's findings in the evening.

On their day in the European Parliament, the participants were split into six groups. Each elected a "President" and a "Rapporteur", before holding a debate on a question which had been posed to the group. All groups then headed back to the debating chamber in order to report on their findings to the other participants and to vote on their respective conclusions.
"Taking part really developed my overall confidence"¯, said Emily. "Euroscola has been absolutely excellent at encouraging me to take opportunities. Public speaking, which was quite daunting for me before, is now much less so having spoken in front of 500 people."¯

Speaking afterwards, Club President Richard Thomson added: "Of all the youth projects which we support, I think Euroscola is the one which has the biggest impact on those who get the chance to attend."
"Everyone involved speaks of the great confidence boost it gives, and it really shows when you see the candidates after they return."
"This year, we had a superb candidate in Emily, and I'm sure that the experience will stand her in very good stead for the future."

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12 May 2014

Rotarians Speak of Nepal Education Efforts - Meeting 12 May 2014

Pres. Richard with Jenni Rees-Jenkins and Hilary and Mick GordonA team of educationalists, who travelled to rural Nepal last month in order to train teachers working in some of the poorest and most remote areas of the country, have spoken of their experiences to the Rotary Club of Oldmeldrum.
Meldrum Academy teacher Jenni Rees-Jenkins, together with retired teachers Mick and Hilary Gordon from Methlick, were part of a seven-strong Rotary sponsored Vocational Training Team, which aimed to improve the professional skills of teachers in rural Nepal.
Around 130 teachers from 30 different schools attended one of two, three-day workshops, which focused on developing leadership abilities in headteachers, as well as developing 'active learning' techniques in languages, science, numeracy and IT.

Group Team Leader Hilary Gordon explained some of the problems which local teachers face in trying to do their job.
"Children in rural Nepal do not attend school regularly, often because they are needed to help on the family farm"¯, she said. "In addition, school buildings are often very poorly equipped, with very limited resources, especially in science and IT."
"We made a point of making and using local items in our sessions. Often, this meant that we had to improvise, for example using plastic bottles to measure rain or as funnels for science lessons. However, it meant that there were no lessons which we carried out that the teachers couldn't do again for themselves."
"The children want to learn and the teachers want very much to gain the professional training they can use to help them"¯, she continued. "The commitment which the teachers showed was incredible; many had given up their holidays to take part, while some were walking for as many as three hours each morning in order to reach us."¯

Overall, the team estimate that some two thousand pupils across ten different communities will benefit directly as a result of knowledge gained by the teachers.
"We were only there for a relatively short time"¯, said Hilary. "However, if we've learned one thing ourselves from this experience, it's that a small amount of money and time can make a huge impact in somewhere like Nepal."¯

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20 April 2014

Rotarians Hail Egg Hunt Success - Easter Sunday, 20 April 2014

Activities at the Pheasantry Oldmeldrum Rotary Club team at the Reception tent
Finish of the Under 5's Egg Roll Race Start of the Adults Egg Roll Race

Families from all over the North East took advantage of fine weekend weather to take part in the traditional Egg Hunt at Haddo Country Park last Sunday.

Nearly four thousand people turned out at the park on Easter Sunday to take part in the Easter Egg Hunt, organised by the Rotary Club of Oldmeldrum.
In addition to the Egg Hunt, which saw children on the lookout for elaborately decorated eggs, there was an egg rolling contest on Deer Hill, as well as facepainting and a children’s activity marquee.

Speaking afterwards, Oldmeldrum Rotary President Richard Thomson hailed the event as a success and offered his thanks to all who had taken part.
“Today was a great day out for all ages”, he said. “The weather was fantastic and it was wonderful to be able to see so many families coming along to take part".
“The egg hunt is the biggest event of our year and allows us to give something back to the community".
“We are grateful for the help we received from our friends in Ellon Rotary Club who assisted us throughout the day, as well as from everyone associated with Haddo, without whose cooperation the event wouldn’t be the success that it is.”
“We look forward to welcoming everybody back again next year.”

Competition in the traditional egg rolling contest was as keen as ever, with around 50-60 competitors taking part.
Under 5's - Lily Findlay
5-8's - Teigan Blackhall
8-13's - Kitty Burton
Adolescents - Farquhar McDougall
Adults - Elle McIntosh
Free Range - Imogen Begg

Oldmeldrum Rotarians would like to thank the following individuals and companies for financial sponsorship, Lord Aberdeen, Lawrence of Kemnay, Wood Group Kenny, Meadows Veterinary Centre, Presly Pest Control Ltd, and S. French, Methlick.

Grateful thanks are also extended for the help and support from Doreen and her egg hiders from Tarves, St Andrews’ Ambulance Service, Grampian Police, Aberdeenshire Council, Haddo Estate and Haddo Visitor Services Officer, Methlick Scouts, Meldrum Academy face painters, Meldrum Academy Easter Bunny (Aaron Duff), Beaton Hall, Methlick and Ellon Rotary Club.

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8 April 2014

Rotarians set for Haddo Egg Hunt - Press Release, 8 April 2014

The Rotary Club of Oldmeldrum is gearing up for its annual Easter Egg Hunt, with Rotarians hoping that this year’s event will be better than ever.
The egg hunt, which takes place on Sunday 20 April in the grounds of Haddo Country Park, has become something of a family institution across the North East.
With the event traditionally attracting hundreds of youngsters and their parents, it is also one of the biggest free public events taking place anywhere in the North East of Scotland.

Thousands of brightly painted eggs will be hidden on the footpaths and under trees for children to find. Although children are free to keep the eggs, they can also be exchanged for chocolate ones at the reception tent. The Easter Bunny will also be there to help children find eggs.
“The Haddo Egg Hunt is one of the highlights of our year”, said the event’s organiser, Oldmeldrum Rotarian Owen Ball. “We always receive tremendous support from everyone associated with Haddo to put on the event, and it’s always a pleasure to put on an event which people from all over the North East seem to enjoy so much.”
In addition to the Egg Hunt, there will also be the excitement of the annual egg rolling competition to look forward to. Here, children can roll, or more usually throw their eggs down the hill, with the first egg making it to the bottom of the hill winning its owner a chocolate egg. As in previous years, there will be a wide range of categories in which children of different ages will be able to compete.

The Haddo Egg Hunt takes place from 10am until 3pm. Although entry and parking is free, donations help to cover event costs, with any surplus supporting Rotary charities at home and overseas.

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1 April 2014

Tarves Triumphant At Rotary Schools Quiz - Tuesday 1 April 2014

Tarves A team, PSQ heat winners 2014A team of pupils from Tarves School have progressed to the next round of the Rotary Primary Schools Quiz, after topping the scoreboard in their local heat.

Some 23 teams from primary schools in and around the Oldmeldrum area took part in the quiz at Meldrum Academy, organised by the Rotary Club of Oldmeldrum.
This was a record number of entries for the local heat of the quiz and with an enthusiastic travelling support, the school’s Assembly Hall was full to capacity. The Quiz consisted of 10 rounds of 6 questions, covering a wide range of topics including geography, literature, science, history, famous people, current affairs and music.

Quizmasters for the evening were Meldrum Rotarian Hilary Gordon, together with husband Mick. A team of 14 Rotarians were also on hand to check the answers and add up the scores of all the teams taking part.
Barthol Chapel “B” & Rothienorman “B” were equal runners up with a score of 99.
However, the night belonged to Tarves “A” who triumphed with a score of 104.

President Richard Thomson presented each of the contestants with their certificates, before handing over individual trophies to the members of the winning team, along with the Rotary Club Annual team shield.
Members of the team from Old Rayne were each presented with a small gift for having the best lucky mascot.
Following the prizegiving, Oldmeldrum Rotarians hosted light refreshment for the visitors.

Tarves ”A” now go forward to the next round the Area Heat where they will be competing against the winning teams from the Rotary clubs of Banff, Fraserburgh, Peterhead, Central Buchan, Huntly, Turriff, Ellon, Inverurie, Kintore & Alford.
This event will be held at Meldrum Academy on Saturday 17th May. The winning team & runner up will then go forward to the North of Scotland District Final which will be held in Aberdeen at the Beach Ballroom on Saturday 14th June.
The winning team from the District Final will receive £500, with the 2nd and 3rd place teams winning £300 and £200 respectively.

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31 March 2014

Academy Pupils Explain Curriculum To Employers - Monday 31 March 2014

Local employers have had the chance to learn about the new Curriculum for Excellence and changes to the school exam system, thanks to a group of pupils from Meldrum Academy.
The pupils, all from S3 and S4, delivered their presentation to representatives of local businesses and employers at an evening organised in conjunction with the Rotary Club of Oldmeldrum.

Pupils explained how the new curriculum helped to develop their skills and outlined how the various subjects did this. They also spoke of how they applied these skills across different curriculum areas using 'capacity building courses'.
The S4 pupils further explained how the National 4 and 5 qualifications operated through internal and external assessment and how they were able to progress to Highers and Advanced Highers. Afterwards, the pupils and employers enjoyed a buffet supper, which gave the opportunity to network as well as to ask further questions.

"The purpose of the gathering is to update the businesses on the new curriculum and qualifications"¯, Depute Head Teacher Liz Prosser said afterwards.
She went on to outline to employers that the school would appreciate their support in coming along to talk to pupils about their line of work, as well as in having pupils come to their place of work and taking part in work experience activities.

Speaking afterwards, Oldmeldrum Rotarian Ray Walker said that the evening had been a very successful one.
"I think everyone who came along tonight will agree that this has been a good way of helping local employers to understand the recent changes to qualifications and the school curriculum"¯, she said.
"Hopefully, events like this one can become a regular way of bringing together the school, Rotary and the wider business community together".
"We are indebted to the Meldrum Academy S4 pupils, Vickey Kotts, Sophie Manson, Ellis Munton and Maddy Reid, and also the S3 pupils, Ronan Adam, Calum Bridges, Rachel Harvie, Jessica Hay and Morven Reid for their excellent contributions."¯

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17 March 2014

Meldrum Rotarians Welcome Soenaid As Latest Member - Meeting 17 March 2014

Soenaid Coutts with Pres. Richard and Andrew McCartneyThe Rotary Club of Oldmeldrum welcomed Soenaid Coutts to its ranks as the club's latest member at a ceremony last Monday.

Soenaid, who was accompanied by her husband, works in sales for Oldmeldrum based Grampian Steel Services.
She was introduced to Rotarians by Andrew McCartney, who is one of the Club's founder members.

Speaking afterwards, Club President Richard Thomson said how pleased the club was to welcome in another new member.
"We're delighted to welcome Soenaid as the latest member, not just of Oldmeldrum Rotary Club, but also as a member of one of the largest charitable and service organisations in the world today.
"Rotary is a very successful organisation, which gives the opportunity for friendship and service in communities at home and abroad, as well as allowing you to be part of something much bigger than yourself.
"We welcome enquiries from anyone who would like to get involved in Rotary or who would simply like a little bit more information about who we are and what we do.
"Soenaid will be an outstanding member of our club and we very much look forward to having her play a full part in all that we do."

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13 March 2014

Nepalese Vocational Training Team Preliminary Meeting - 13 March 2014

Jenni, John and Hilary"Three members of the Nepalese Vocational Training Team (Jenni, John and Hilary) met this week at Meldrum Academy in advance of their visit. The group, which is due to leave Scotland on 2 April, will be working with teachers and head teachers in rural Nepal to develop local leadership and management skills, as well as to share best teaching practice in science, active learning and computing."

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3 March 2014

Meldrum Rotarians To Hold Community Quiz Night - Monday 3 March 2104

Oldmeldrum Rotary Club are holding a Community Group quiz on Monday 3 March 2014 in Meldrum Academy at 7.30 pm.

The Quiz is open to teams from any of the local community groups. The cost is £10 for a team of 4, with a £150 First Prize for the winning group and £50 for the second-placed team. Experienced quiz presenters Hilary and Mick Gordon will be setting and presenting the quiz. Light refreshments will be served after the quiz.

Previous years events have been a lot of fun and have provided the opportunity for local groups to let others in the community know about their events and activities.

If you would like to take part, or want more information, get in touch with Sheena Clarke on 01651 873034, e-mail

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10 February 2014

Meldrum Rotarian in Driving Seat for "Children in Need"

Tom and Cherie being interviewed by Chris EvansA North-East couple have spoken of spending a dream weekend driving exotic sports cars and mixing with some of the most famous names in entertainment, after bidding successfully in a charity auction for 'Children in Need'.

Tom and Cherie Gunn were amongst the bidders who won the chance to drive a 'magnificent seven' fleet of cars - including a vintage 1961 Ferrari California – following the auction on BBC Radio 2's Chris Evans' Breakfast Show last year.
Tom, a member of the Rotary Club of Oldmeldrum, 'retired' just over a year ago after selling his Aberdeen-based global marine navigation services business. He told club members how he and wife Cherie – both self-confessed 'petrol heads' – had driven to the South of England from their Banffshire home in order to meet up with 12 other couples who between them, had bid in excess of £1.5m for the opportunity.

The group enjoyed breakfast at Evans' Berkshire mansion while he presented his morning radio show, before setting off to Ascot and a private airfield owned by Pink Floyd drummer Mick Mason. There, the group had the opportunity to view his private collection of rare cars, before travelling to the South Coast and enjoying an evening in the company of McLaren Formula 1 boss Ron Dennis.
The following day, the group drove to the famous Thruxton racing circuit, where they had the chance to drive some other vintage sports cars around the track. Later, the group travelled on to Clifton Hall – a former home of Lord and Lady Astor – where they enjoyed a cabaret with singer Gary Barlow.
“Most of the people taking part came from similar backgrounds in that they were entrepreneurs who had sold their businesses and were looking to give something back”, said Tom. “It was an incredible few days spent driving fantastic cars in the company of some really interesting people. We made some good friends and we've all kept in regular contact since.”

The photo shows Cherie Gunn being interviewed by Chris Evans (in the red hat with the microphone) while husband Tom looks on.

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13 January 2014

Meldrum Rotarians hear about Charlie House - Meeting 13 January 2014

Tarcy and SheenaThe Rotary Club of Oyldmeldrum has welcomed Tracy Johnstone, a founder member of a local group set up to help provide activities to support children with complex disabilities and life limiting conditions, as a guest speaker.

Tracy told club members about her own situation when her son was born with severe disabilities and she found that there was little in the way of support for her and her family in the Grampian area. The nearest care and support facility is over 100 miles away, which isn’t always easy for families to go to, and can be isolating for the child, their siblings and other family members. Tracy also explained that travelling long distances with their children and all the necessary life sustaining equipment can be quite impractical.

Tracy spoke about the level of need for families in Grampian, identifying that there were more than 40 children who had a life shortening condition, and nearly 90 children and young people who were living with profound and multiple learning difficulties. Along with a number of other families who found themselves without adequate support for them and the children they set up the local charity, Charlie House.

A year ago,Tracy & the Board of Trustees began an ambitious fundraising project to raise the £8 million necessary to build a local care facility similar to ones elsewhere in Scotland. A site has been identified at a hospital in Aberdeen, and plans and detailed costings are being prepared to complete the build and to fully equip Charlie House. This specialist care centre will provide a home-from-home environment where the children will be cared for in a stimulating setting, and where they can make friends and be helped to achieve their full potential. Charlie House will offer much needed day care, planned & emergency respite, a hydrotherapy pool and a parents suite to allow families to stay together at times of special need.
The Trustees aim to have Charlie House open by 2017 and local groups and individuals have already begun to provide financial support through donations and sponsorship.

For more information about Charlie House visit or


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For the Reports Archive for 2013 click here.
For the Reports Archive for 2012 click here.
For the Reports Archive for the second half of 2011 click here.
For the Reports Archive for the first half of 2011 click here.
For the Reports Archive for the second half of 2010 click here.
For the Reports Archive for the first half of 2010 click here.
For the Reports Archive for the second half of 2009 click here.
For the Reports Archive for the first half of 2009 click here.
For the Reports Archive for the second half of 2008 click here.
For the Reports Archive for the first half of 2008 click here.
For the Reports Archive from 2007 click here.

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