Archive of some Meeting Reports, as sent to the Press in the first half of 2008

Report for 23 June 2008 - Club Assembly
Report for 16 June 2008 - "Connextions"
Report for 9 June 2008 - "Putting on a Production"
Report for 2 June 2008 - Offshore Wind Farm Developments
Report for 19 and 26 May 2008 - Forres forlorn, Oldmeldrum overjoyed!
Report for 12 May 2008 - Next generation of North-East storytellers?
Report for 5 May 2008 - Intellectual and physical transformations at Aberdeen University
Report for 28 April 2008 - New Library for Aberdeen University and Oldmeldrum Rotary Club pick up a top UK Prize.
Report for 14 April 2008 - "Kaizen" and Aberdeenshire Council
Report for 7 April 2008 - Salt Mines in England, and Gavel Competition
Report for 21 March 2008 - Haddo Egg Hunt - Easter Sunday
Report for 10 March 2008 - Climate Change and its possible effect on Scottish Agriculture" and "Young Musician of the Year 2008"
Report for 3 March 2008 - Habitat for Humanity" and Creative Writing Competition
Report for 25 February 2008 - Business Meeting and Ascot Race Night.
Report for 18 February 2008 - Anne Forster's trip to South Africa plus Easter bonnets
Report for 11 February 2008 - Biotechnology in Medicine and Crop Science
Report for 4 February 2008 - Grampian Cardiac Rehabilitation Association
Report for 21 January 2008 - Discussions and Winners
Report for 14 January 2008 - Haddo Regeneration
Report for 7 January 2008 - Creative Writing at Meldrum Academy
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 from 2007 click here.

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23 June 2008

Club Assembly - Meeting 23 June 2008

The Club Assembly was held on Monday 23rd June last, and Robin Falconer the outgoing President, handed over to the incoming President Anne Forster. Robin thanked everyone for supporting him throughout the year although he did remark that he hadn't been heckled by the members as much as he had expected!

Anne's address set out the theme of her year to “make dreams real”, both the Club's and the wider community. Her aim, through ‘joined-up Rotary' is to have a balance of fund-raising events to support our charitable ventures and still have plenty of time for socialising.

The incoming Convenors – her dream team- then set out their aims for the coming year;
Club Service and Membership - Hilary Gordon revealed her proposed calendar of membership events, their aim of increasing and retaining membership through mentoring, involving family/friends in events and enhancing links with businesses.
Communications, Public Relations, Fundraising and Marketing – Anne Shirran's aim is to raise the profile of the Club through proactive publicity. Team members have been allocated liaison roles with the committees in order to support any events undertaken. One of the priorities is to assist with the 10 th Charter celebrations.
Community, Vocational and Youth - Willie Sinclair reminded members of the committee's community commitments such as Haddo, Westbank etc. and their Vocation/Youth commitments such as Young Musician, RYLA etc. and increasing their links with the Academy. It will be a busy year ahead for the team, and especial focus will be placed on the opening of the community garden in September.
Foundation and International - Norman Brammer eloquently explained that the rising cost of living and the impact of climate change affected everyone, but was disproportionately felt by the neediest on the planet. Thus his team's ambition was to respond through aiming to increase the Club's international donations by 50% and fundraising by 50%, develop a ‘disaster response strategy' and assist District 1010 in their project priorities. To that aim £400 each is to be given to Mercy Ships and Mine Clearance.

George Berstan from the Turriff club, a District 1010 nominee Governor, rounded off the assembly. He was heartened by the level of enthusiasm within the Club, commending Anne and her ‘dream team' and their aims and targets, and concluded that it was going to be a busy year for Meldrum Rotarians.

Parable of Talents
Winners of the Talents CompetitionMembers had been set a challenge over the previous year, they had been given a ‘virtual' £10 and were asked to multiply it through their own efforts. Jim Walker reported that 12 participants had raised a total of £640. He awarded prizes to Phil Duncan for the highest individual contribution with sales of his home-made marmalade, Simon Kilkerr for the first individual who raised funds from out-with Rotary, and for his bird-feeder box scheme Andrew McCartney got the bird!


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16 June 2008

"Connextions" - Meeting 16 June 2008

John, Glenda, Robin and AndyThere was a Meldrum Academy flavour at this week's meeting of the Oldmeldrum Rotary Club. Speakers, Glenda Fraser and John McCallum were joined by Mary Benton and to round off his first day as the new Rector, Andrew Travis came along as well.

Ray Walker introduced Glenda and John who had come along to speak on the development of the Connextions Department at Meldrum Academy . Glenda, as Principal Teacher of Pupils with Additional Support Needs gave Rotary members an insight into the Curriculum for Excellence as well as a description on how curriculum for pupils with support needs requires to be tailored to skills which will allow them to become successful learners, effective contributors, confident individuals and responsible citizens.

John followed this up with two excellent descriptions of their residential stays at Mar Lodge and Edinburgh. These residential stays are a requirement for the Caledonian Award's Bronze and Silver achievement and he was particularly thankful to the Rotary for their financial support to allow the pupils to fulfil the criteria to achieve the award. After a description of their forthcoming visit to the Highland Show, Denis Emslie of Mackie's generously granted them complimentary tokens to get Mackie's ice cream at the Ingleston venue which he hoped would act as an incentive to reward good behaviour “for the staff and the pupils!”.

Simon Kilkerr gave the vote of thanks for an upbeat, enthusiastic and interesting account of how our young people are supported in our community.

President Robin Falconer called upon the “new heidie” to say a few words. Andy Travis thanked the Rotarians for inviting him, and congratulated his staff on a professional presentation and outlined his vision of his commitment to his staff and pupils and his hopes of a good partnership and communication with the wider community, which is fundamental to successful achievement.

This being the penultimate meeting of the 2007-2008 session, members were reminded of next week's business meeting which would include the handover ceremony from President Robin Falconer to new President Anne Forster.

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9 June 2008

"Putting on a Production" - Meeting 9 June 2008

Jennie, Robin and AnneOldmeldrum Club President Robin Falconer arrived at the Redgarth for the weekly meeting dressed as “Will Parker” in “ Oklahoma ”. This was in respect for our Speaker for the evening, Jennie Chalmers who had been the Director of the very successful community production of Oklahoma back in March when Robin had acted as “Will Parker”.
Jennie described how a Director puts on a production from finding and choosing the “piece” to the last performance. She explained about the copyright restrictions, the auditions, the acting and voice production coaching and the highs and lows of directing the sixty members of the cast to peak at just the right time.
The Director's main role is to bring out the best in people and that means putting them at ease, and in Meldrum Musical Society one of the ways of making the whole cast happy is the wonderful “fine pieces” made by the wonderful “tea ladies” who ensured that as well as being well fed, the cast had a great way of getting to know each other.
As well as the sixty cast members, another eighty were involved and again Jennie explained about all the support given by the community backstage and front of house, and the Rotary in particular for their sterling work as car park attendants! The after show reviews were particularly complimentary especially in relation to talent, enthusiasm and confidence.
Anne Langford, wearing her Oklahoma T-shirt, gave the vote of thanks to Jennie, summing up that her own participation in the production gave her an insider's view of Jennie's inspirational talent as a Director.

Members were pleased to hear that Junior Vice President, Hilary Gordon planned to hand over the £200 cheque to Formartine United's Under 13 Boys Football Club. This will be used to buy track suits.

A plea and a job description from Meldrum Primary's Beetelos for a Rotary member to compère their Beetle Drive on 19 th June was answered by Jim Walker. Part of the job description was for the person to have a loud voice, and Jim who played the Marshall , Cord Elam , in the Oklahoma production has written this in his application for the post! He has been accepted and so Jennie's voice production coaching was obviously successful.

"KidsOut" - 11 June

The Rotary Club of Oldmeldrum is one of the many Rotary Clubs who cooperate to give young people with special needs a special day out.
Meldrum Primary children were there at Craibstone on Wednesday 11th June, and our members were delighted to receive letters from these participants saying how well they enjoyed their day.
Jamie White called it, “A place of excitement and fun, while Jordan “had fun but not just fun it was grate Fun”. Alice “liked the horse and the mushroom and the lunch was delicious”. Ian really loved “the bouncy castle”, while Aiden “really liked the train”. Finally Tyler, Dean, Aiden, James, Lewis, Kyle and Cameron along with Mrs Jarvie and Mrs Stevens “enjoyed the mushroom and the chicken and chips”, while someone whose name is not to be mentioned,” liked the face painting because I was a werewolf and I scared everyone at Kids Out”
Many Rotarians give a lot of their time and effort to ensure it is a fun day out and letters such as those written by these young people who value their experiences make all the efforts so worthwhile.

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2 June 2008

Offshore Wind Farm Developments - Meeting 2 June 2008

Eve & Brian Redden with Pres. Robin and V.Pres. AnneOldmeldrum Rotary Club members were given a very topical presentation on marine renewable energy on Monday evening.
President Robin Falconer welcomed Brian and Eve Redden. Brian whose engineering background ranged from electrical engineering through commercial diving to offshore renewable energy gave a most interesting pictorial presentation of how wind powered turbines are designed, fabricated and taken offshore where the giant blades produce electricity.
Brian explained that Talisman Energy with funding from the EC, the DTI and the Scottish Executive put together a renewable energy project in just 26months. We are all aware of the wind farms in our Aberdeenshire area, and this project takes the “windmills” out to sea and therefore out of sight and out of sound. The structures were built and tested onshore, the fabricated sub-structure was built in Burnt Island. When finished they were towed out to the Moray Firth, and the platforms were fixed in position near the Beatrice Platform. They sweep an area the size of two football pitches and provide around ten megawatts which is exported to the Beatrice Platform.
Neville Jones echoed all our thoughts when he congratulated Brian’s firm on being ahead of the game and having the vision of renewable energy for our future comfort.

"Taste of Grampian" - 7 June 2008

The Rotary Club of Oldmeldrum club members manned a stand at the Thainstone "Taste of Grampian" on Saturday 7 June.
We had the Tombola, Play Your Cards Right, and Wheel of Fortune in operation from 10am. to mid afternoon, handing out many prizes and taking in a staggering gross amount of £1403.10p (and 1 euro!).
After taking off expenses it will allow our Club to hand over £1000 to Charity. It was a fun day and a great atmosphere with much rapport among the surrounding stall holders.

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19 and 26 May 2008

Forres forlorn, Oldmeldrum overjoyed! - Meetings 19 and 26 May 2008

Playing Jenga in the Gavel CompetitionThe Inter-Rotary Club Gavel competition semi-final took place on the 19th May at the Redgarth Hotel. A strong contingent from Forres made the trek down country to do battle with Meldrum. It was a close fought competition but Meldrum ably captained by Hans Anderson prevailed in the final round and progress to the final for the second year running, which will be held in Dunfermline.

At the meeting on 29 May, we welcomed three visitors from Holland. Ton Van Vlight and Herman Holtmaat who were visiting the area as guests of Aberdeen College to explore Scottish HE/FE systems and discuss a Scottish-Netherlands student exchange programme, coincidentally met another visitor from Holland Tommy van Huuksloot, and they were invited by Stuart Singer, proprietor of the Redgarth to join our meeting.
As it was a business meeting most of the evening was taken up by Committee Reports. Denis Emslie updated us on the events planned to celebrate out 10th Charter in 2009. Douglas Cowe received approval for local charitable donations of:- a payment of £250 for the Newmachar Community hall, £250 Newmachar Christmas lights, £250 Tarves Christmas lights, £250 Tarves Community project and £200 for the Formartine United Boys Club under 13’s.

Disasters in Myanmar and China.
The Rotary Movement as an entity responded swiftly to the recent terrible and tragic disasters, and as one of the charitable organizations permitted to enter Myanmar, had organised relief provision within days of Cyclone Nargis hitting, and was equally responsive to the earthquake in China.
Meldrum Rotarians wanted to assist these devastated communities. At a previous meeting members voted to fund a Shelter box (£490) comprising a tough, green plastic box containing a 10-person tent and ancillary equipment designed to enable a family of up to 10 people survive for at least six months, and an Aqua box (£80) in response to the Myanmar appeal. Also at this meeting, in response to the earthquake in China, members proposed funding an additional Shelter box and a Water Survival box (£105) comprising a rigid, reinforced 54 litre plastic container that becomes a receptacle for water when emptied of survival items. It includes a filtration pack and iodine tablets, plus essential survival items, enough for family of 4 for some 4 months.
A personal collection raised an additional £112.35 towards the relief efforts. Thus through personal donations from club members and through various fund raising events, the Rotary Club of Oldmeldrum is providing more that £1000 towards the disaster relief efforts in Myanmar and China

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12 May 2008

Next generation of North-East storytellers? - Meeting 12 May 2008

Our Creative Writers with Pres. Robin.Oldmeldrum Rotary club welcomed as guests three Meldrum Academy pupils who were winners in the Rotary-sponsored Creative Writing competition, accompanied by teacher Kathryn Russell who was instrumental in the development of the competition.
The pupils’ excellent word and story-weaving skills unfolded to an attentive audience as they narrated their winning entries.
Jamie Rodgers, runner-up in the Junior section recreated an historical past through the mists of time with his “On the Side of Bennachie”,
Antonia Bell, winner of the Junior Competition, in her story “The Sailor” animated the well-known Meldrum statute for an adventure- filled evening.
Jenny Gray, winner of the senior section, whose literary talents can already be read in a local newspaper column, read an excerpt from her story “The Forfeit of Freedom”, concerning the reluctant return of a self-exiled native North-Easterner, and had the listeners like Scheherazade’s King, clamouring to hear more.
It is hoped that we will be able to get the winning entries posted on our website shortly for any of you readers out there who would like to read them.
Oldmeldrum Rotary Club is proud to cooperate with Meldrum Academy in sponsoring this excellent initiative.

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5 May 2008

New Member inducted, and "Intellectual and physical transformations at Aberdeen University" - Meeting 5 May 2008

Carol Nicol and family with President Robin.It was a busy week for Carol, our newest Rotarian. On Friday, she married Bob Nicol, and in lieu of wedding gifts they requested donations to Grampian Women’s Aid and raised £400. On Monday, supported by her family, she was inducted by President Robin into Oldmeldrum Rotary Club.
Carol, originally from Newfoundland works for the Scottish Blood Transfusion service and has many talents to bring to Rotary; she is a classically-trained singer, enjoys fund-raising, is a curler (Andrew McCartney was rubbing his hands in glee!), and bakes a mean cake, as we all can attest, although we hope that her black belt in karate will not be put to use!

In response to Phil’s appeal on behalf of the Myanmar (Burma) appeal the members voted to purchase 1 shelter box and 1 aqua box out of the charity fund. Additionally members undertook a personal collection towards the appeal.

Stephen Fernie with Willie Sinclair and President Robin.The speaker for the evening was Stephen Fernie from Aberdeen University’s Development Trust. Despite a considerable technical hitch which precluded a visual presentation, Stephen gave an excellent talk explaining why it was such an exciting time both intellectually and financially for the University.

Having undergone faculty and College restructuring, combined with major recruiting of high calibre academics the profile of the University was raised with its rise to 132nd in the 2006 Times Higher Education top 200 World Universities ranking, which was the fastest climbing University in the UK. The ambition is to not just to maintain this status, but to rise even higher and break into the top 100. In response to its longevity the University was both celebrating its past and embracing the future with its Sixth Century fund-raising campaign.

Steven enthusiastically outlined the £230 million capital plan comprising 3 major projects:-

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28 April 2008

New Library for Aberdeen University - Meeting 28 April 2008

Wendy Pirie, Robin and AnnetteOldmeldrum Rotary members will be able to launch forth about Aberdeen University history after a most interesting talk by Wendy Pirie, Library Services Manager for the University of Aberdeen.
Annette Ramsden, one of our members, who also works in the University Library services, brought Wendy along to bring us up to date on the plans for the new building.

Before embarking on an enthusiastic presentation on this project, Wendy reminded us of the start when in 1495 Aberdeen University was the 3rd Scottish University and indeed, when Marishal College was built in 1593, Aberdeen had 2 universities, until 1860 when they were joined.

The Library as it is at present is on 5 sites lending up to 4000 books every day during term time. It contains many ancient manuscripts and religious materials. The University is planning to spend 57 million pounds to build a “glittering building with resonances of the North” according to the architects Schmidt, Hamer and Lansen. Wendy displayed plans and artists' impressions of this futuristic building which should be ready by 2012. The spiral atrium with the vertical glass walls is a unique design and the building services will be the latest in environmentally friendly technology.

Denis Emslie gave the vote of thanks to Wendy observing that if the “Dons” are still at Pittodrie in 2012 he would like to be on the roof of this wonderful building as there would be a grand view of the pitch! President Robin Falconer closed the meeting requesting members join him in the usual manner by a toast to “Rotary the world over”.

Oldmeldrum Rotary Club pick up a top UK Prize.

Lara Anderson with the Rotary National PR TrophyThe Rotary Club of Oldmeldrum have already won the North East of Scotland District PR Trophy in September 2007 for the club’s public relations in and around the north east of Scotland. On Sunday 13th April at the Rotary National Conference in Blackpool April 2008 the Oldmeldrum Club picked up the Rotary National PR Trophy for the publicity related to their Arts Weekend last year which has been judged the best entry covering an event which raised the profile and the public image of a Rotary Club within the local community.

The club members are extremely proactive in promoting their wide and varied activities. In order to achieve this prize they had to demonstrate how they had considered all aspects of organising the event from planning and budgeting to the submission of a portfolio incorporating the many articles in the local press. The club were informed they had picked up the prestigious accolade by Karen Jones, PR Officer of Rotary International in Great Britain and Ireland who said, “The judges in the selection panel were particularly pleased to see that the Oldmeldrum club had managed to increase the profile and publicity of Rotary without going around ‘rattling buckets’.

Ray Walker, a member of the club who is also responsible for coordinating the club’s PR commented, “We are absolutely delighted at having our publicity work recognised as being the best in the whole of the UK and Ireland. The Club members do a great deal of work and raise a lot of money for local and international charities, and having the Community Arts Weekend recognised in this way is especially satisfying”. Secretary Sheena Watson led the team of Rotarians which organised the wide variety of events, running from Friday morning to Sunday afternoon, allowing opportunities for all ages in the community to attend, compete or applaud the varying musical and art tutorials, the photography competition or to learn Latin American dancing.

Past President, Lara Anderson, who was President at the time, travelled to Blackpool to pick up the prize from the President of Rotary in Britain. The Club members are delighted that its work in our own little corner of Scotland has been recognised on a national stage. Ray also commented that “the cooperation of the various local newspapers and magazines was essential in producing the coverage which not only advertises the ideals of Rotary but also raises the profile of Oldmeldrum and the North East of Scotland”.

Clive Bartram, Governor of Rotary in the North East of Scotland congratulated the Oldmeldrum Club, commenting, “It is absolutely terrific that the fantastic PR work undertaken by Oldmeldrum has been recognised at a national level. Speaking on the clubs achievement, the District Governor continued, “The work we do in Rotary needs to be promoted and I am pleased that Oldmeldrum seems to be extremely well supported by their local press and communities. The Oldmeldrum Club should be very proud of themselves. I am going to be in Blackpool and look forward to seeing them pick up their well deserved prize.”

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14 April 2008

"Kaizen" and Aberdeenshire Council - Meeting 14 April 2008.

Alan Campbell and Susanna NielsenAlan Campbell, Chief Executive of Aberdeenshire Council was welcomed by President Robin Falconer and introduced by Susanna Neilsen. Alan had come to his first Rotary meeting, invited by Susanna to talk about KAISEN, an innovative project on continuous improvement.

Alan explained that in today’s world more and more tasks have to be performed by fewer and fewer resources. With a clear intention of improving efficiency, Aberdeenshire Council paid for Consultants to support and advise existing council staff to focus on best practice. Now these staff advise and support others to eliminate waste and defects and allow employee empowerment. Hereby, the staff feel more in control, benefit from workplace improvements and work as a team.

Even presenting the complicated statistics, Alan gave a very entertaining presentation extolling the success of the project which has won National and European awards.

Denis Emslie gave the vote of thanks on behalf of the Club and hoped Alan had enjoyed his first meeting at a Rotary Club in Aberdeenshire.

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7 April 2008

Salt Mines in England, and Gavel Competition - Meeting 7 April 2008

Pres. Robin, David McClelland with a lump of rock phosphatePresident Robin welcomed members, visiting Rotarians, and a prospective member who will be joining us very soon. As well as a visitor from Ellon, ten members from Banchory Ternan Club came to join us for the meal before trying to beat us in the gavel competition.

Firstly member, David McClelland, gave us his view of visiting the salt mines in Yorkshire in connection with his job as an animal nutritionist. He explained that the potash mined in these underground tunnels is able to be processed into fertiliser. Since raw materials have increased ten fold in the past few years this potash process is very important as it sells for only £20 a ton.

David took us back thousands of years to when the North Sea was similar to the Dead Sea and nature manufactured the rock phosphate, a piece of which was handed round and all agreed looks a bit like granite. Engineers in the 1960s looking for oil, found this rock and it has now become the deepest mine in Western Europe . It would take four Bennachies to descend, and 10 kilometres to drive its spread. In fact many vehicles do just that. It was a most interesting concept which David did well to describe as his many photographs would not transfer to the large screen.

Gavel Competition
The Gavel Team have completed the quarter final stage with our unbeaten record intact. Westhill were great hosts last month, but we won convincingly! Meldrum were in great form, even coming top in the darts round, not usually our strongest.
Banchory-Ternan fielded a strong team on Monday night past, and brought some support as well. The home advantage was a boost and so Meldrum progress to the Semi Finals.
No trip to Thurso this year! We have been drawn at home against Laurencekirk to be played by the end of April.
Well done to all the regular team and the supporters. We have been so close before, but maybe this is the year for Meldrum to go all the way to Dunfermline and take the Gavel.

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21 March 2008

Haddo Egg Hunt - Easter Sunday - 21 March 2008

Egg Rolling StartThere was snow, hail, rain and a sea of mud to contend with on Sunday, but not the high winds experienced on Friday. The marquees proved invaluable for the event and the calm weather on Saturday afternoon allowed the Rotarians and Scouts to erect them.

On the Sunday some 1200 people and 500 plus cars trickled into the car park throughout the day. This number allowed the Rotary Car Park Team to direct only the 4 x 4s into the field, leaving the tarred car park for other cars. The tractor which had been arranged to extract vehicles from the mud wasn’t needed.

The ALEC vehicle, the Waste Awareness vehicle, the face painters, the Aberdeenshire Library Services ladies all arrived on cue to entertain the visitors. Four Red Cross personnel were on hand to deal with any emergency.

Egg Rolling in progressThe 2008 Egg Rolling Event passed without incident despite the sometimes atrocious weather on the day. An early course inspection revealed the going as "snowy on mud" which was kindly packed down by the sledgers earlier in the morning.
Immediately prior to commencement "whiteout" conditions threatened to jeopardise the whole affair but these abated just in time and about 30 people appeared through the blowing snow. In light of the conditions we chose to have just three runs, and had sufficient prizes to give the majority of people who took part a prize. Under the circumstances this was a roaring success.

Obviously the visitor numbers were seriously down on previously years, however, the items purchased will be stored and used for next year’s egg hunt.

The winners of the painted eggs competition were as follows:-
Joy McCrae
Shannon Banner
Betty & Finn McCrae
Arin Irvine
Ellie Halmshaw
Ronan Cowie
Karlyn Mortimer
Craig Main
Calum Westland
Jasmin Shirran
Konnor & Kaitlin Carlton

Painted Face with Wooden EggThe face painting was also successful, and the photograph is of Maren Mowatt of St Fergus.

The Easter Bonnet competition, judged by Elaine Falconer, resulted in a win for Hilary Gordon and Annette Ramsden.

Christine Falconer, the organiser, stated how satisfying it was to note that Rotary could rise to the occasion and run with the event, even though the weather was dreadful. People attending said they were enjoying themselves regardless of the weather, and appreciated the fact that it had not been cancelled.

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10 March 2008

"Climate Change and its possible effect on Scottish Agriculture" - Meeting 10 March 2008
and "Young Musician of the Year 2008"

Pres. Robin and Alan BruceRobin Falconer, fresh from his successful role as “Will Parker” in “Oklahoma” welcomed members and guest Rotarians from Aboyne, Castle Douglas, and Turriff.
Alan Bruce from Turriff, our speaker for the evening was introduced by Andrew McCartney. Alan who has an honours degree in Agriculture gave an interesting presentation on global warming and its affect on farming in North Aberdeenshire.
Although there are only a few farmers in our membership, the rest of us were fascinated about the statistics of future climate change in our area. To us who spent the summer of 2007 in or around Meldrum it is difficult to believe that 2007 will be the warmest on record. We can look forward in 2050 to getting Colorado beetles, wetter winters, drier summers, and while the rest of the world becomes drier and the west of our country becomes wetter, looking at the coloured statistics on the map, we in the North East would seem to escape much of the global warming wrath!
However for those of us on the wrong side of 50 we must think of our grandchildren and be encouraged to use renewable energy and bio fuel.

Young Musician of the Year 2008

Young Musicians 2008On Thursday 13th March, in Meldrum Academy, Oldmeldrum Rotarian Anne Shirran organised the Rotary sponsorship of the Young Musician of the Year competition. About 70 people were in the audience to support the talents of the 12 young musicians from Primary 4 to Secondary 3. Music flowed from flute, piano, violin and guitar and the audience applauded the artistes’ performances.
Norman English was Master of Ceremonies and introduced the competitors and the judges, Sheila Robertson, Principal Teacher of Performing Arts at Meldrum Academy, Russell Fraser a music teacher and Elaine Donald, a violinist with Aberdeen Strathspey and Reel Society. Norman had persuaded Bruce Miller’s of Aberdeen to sponsor a Promising Young Entertainer prize and Norman judged Luke Reeder the winner. Luke, an S1 pupil at Meldrum Academy, who played “Cloud 9” on a classical guitar, received £50 of Bruce Miller vouchers.

On behalf of Oldmeldrum Rotary Club, Anne Shirran presented certificates to all the artistes.
The winners of the Rotary competition in each of the categories were:-
Caitlin Crawford, Primary 4, from Rayne North school, who played two pieces on the piano, “Harmonic Blues” and “In the Eyes of the Tiger”;
George Davidson, Primary 7 from Tarves Primary, who played three pieces on the violin, “Graeme and Jane Davidson of Banchory”, “Harvest Home” and a rousing, “Paddy’s Leather Breeches”;
Harry Reeder, S3, from Meldrum Academy, who played “Hope” on the electric guitar and not only won the S1 to S3 category but was also judged overall Young Musician of the Year.
The Brian Melville trophy for most promising musician was awarded to Andrew King, (who also won it last year) Primary 5, from Albyn School, who played “Lazy Days”, and “Blues” on the piano.
It was certainly a quality evening and an honour to listen to the talents of these confident young people.

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3 March 2008

"Habitat for Humanity" - Meeting 3 March 2008,
and Creative Writing Competition.

Alan Walker, Andy and Shiela BurslemAnne Forster welcomed members and guests as President Robin was at Meldrum Academy playing “Will Parker” in the Community production of “Oklahoma”.
Alan Walker, together with Andy and Sheila Burslem, all members of Pitmedden Church, came to thank Rotary members for their sponsorship and to give an overview of the project in South Africa entitled "Habitat for Humanity".
Alan started with a powerful slide of people from all walks of life saying, “imagine a world where everyone has a decent place to live”. The main aim of the project, which was started in 1976, is to help in building houses, and to ensure that people get a “hand up” but not a “hand out”. The families help with the building work and they pay back the cost of materials, at no profit. Homes can cost from 950 pounds to 3,700 depending on the country and area. 250,000 houses have been built since 1976 and every 21 minutes another family move into a house.
Alan, Andy and Sheila were part of ten volunteers from Pitmedded Church who travelled to an area outside Cape Town, called Mfuleni which is part of The Desmond Tutu Community Build. They fulfilled their objective and built a house for a family with 4 children.
During 2007 over 100 volunteers from U.K. and other countries travelled out to help build homes and in September 2008 Alan and Andy plan to return to Cape Town, together with their wives, families and a total of 22 volunteers from Pitmedden to complete another new build.

Again Oldmeldrum Rotary Members were supporting the community, as 10 members were donning the Rotary tabards to be car parking stewards on the 4 nights of the Oklahoma production.

Keeping to the musical theme, the Young Musician of the Year Competition will take place in Meldrum Academy on Thursday 13th March at 7p.m. Entry is free so come along and hear the talented young people.

As well as music, the Creative Writing Competition is concluded and the 30 entries were on view during the Oklahoma evenings and will again be on view at the Young Musician of the Year evening. Oldmeldrum Rotary Club sponsors the Creative Writing Competition which is divided into junior and senior categories.
Anne Shirran, who co-ordinates this event said, “The standard of the entries was very high, particularly within the junior category. Originality, imagination and flair with appropriate use of grammar, spelling and sentence construction all played a part in the judging of the entries.”

The winners of the competition were as follows:

  Title of Composition Author
1st The Forfeit of Freedom Jenny Gray
2nd. The Girl from Bergen Lucy Pape
3rd. Setting - Haddo Theatre Laura Brailsford
1st. The Sailor Antonia Bell
2nd. On the Side of Benachie Jamie Rodgers
3rd. Maiden Horror Paul Marshall
Special Commendation A Worm’s Tale Logan Duguid.

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25 February 2008

Business Meeting - 25 February 2008, and Ascot Race Night.

Norman and Ann with winning hatAt the monthly business meeting, President Robin Falconer welcomed members. Some of the members were attending a Rotary Roadshow at Altens so it was a mostly informal meeting.
Plans for the Race night, the Car parking support for the Oklahoma production, the Young Musician of the Year, the Easter Haddo Egg Hunt, and the International night in April were all highlighted to members.

The Ascot Race held on Friday night was great fun and the ladies with the outrageous hats stole the show!
Norman English was his usual outrageous self as Master of Ceremonies, keeping all horses and riders in check. Alistair Flett, from St Katherine’s ran the tote and many bets were placed. Obviously there were winners and losers in these stakes.
Ann Stark, from Tarves won the prize for the most outrageous hat, but the real winners were all the people there who had turned up and allowed a considerable profit to be made for charitable causes.

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18 February 2008

Anne Forster's trip to South Africa plus Easter bonnets - Meeting 18 February 2008

President Robin Falconer welcomed members and after the various reminders of the Race Night in Tarves on 29th February and the updating of details on the Easter Sunday Egg Hunt at Haddo, Vice President, Anne Forster gave a colourful presentation of her recent trip to South Africa.
As well as visiting a Rotary Club there, she made the journey from Cape Town to Port Elizabeth and back. Many of her pictures showed her interesting, yet sometimes, emotional experiences. One of the former inmates guided her round Robben Island, and she witnessed desperate poverty in one of the Townships.
\Hats for Haddo at Easter On a more positive note, there were photographs of the animals on the Safari trip, and the visit to the vineyards resulted in watching the wine being made and also being tasted!

Plans for the Easter Sunday at Haddo are well underway, and this week the ladies in the Rotary Club turned their hands to making Easter Bonnets.
Audrey Gartly, the Vice Chairperson of Ellon Traders Association is being supported by Aberdeenshire Council to host an event where the whole community can participate. Audrey is organising an Easter Bonnet Showcase in Ellon between the 17th and 22nd March. She came along to an evening where 12 ladies from Oldmeldrum Rotary Club listened to her as they decorated their hats specifically for the Easter Bonnet Competition at Haddo on 23rd at the Egg Hunt.
However, since Audrey’s competition takes place on 22nd March, their beautiful bonnets could be entered for both events.
Mind you since the Ascot Race Night on 29th February has a competition for an outrageous hat, their bonnets could actually be used three times! Now that’s recycling!

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11 February 2008

Biotechnology in Medicine and Crop Science - Meeting 11 February 2008

Robin Falconer welcomed members, visitors and visiting Rotarians from the recently inaugurated Kintore Rotary Club.

One of our own members, Neville Jones, gave a talk on the controversial subject of Stem Cell Research.
Neville explained about bone marrow stem cells, embryonic stem cells, and how, in regenerative medicine, stem cells could be used in humans to treat Alzheimer’s, Diabetes and Cancer.
Face-painting practiceHe further passed on information about Genetically Modified Crops and how crops could be produced that would become resistant to viruses, and enhanced with vitamins.
There are of course environmental concerns and Neville explained about the gene flow and the effect of insect resistant crops on other insects and animals. He ended by explaining the environmental and economic benefits.

Members were reminded of the Ascot Race Night in Tarves Hall on Friday 29th February, which due to the theme should encourage ladies to wear their most outrageous hats!
Plans are well underway for the Easter Egg Hunt at Haddo on Sunday 23rd March. This is a family fun day starting at 10 a.m. and finishing at 3.30 in the afternoon. Egg painting, egg rolling, decorated egg competitions, face painting and an Easter bonnet competition are a few of the fun activities.

The ladies of the Club are practising their face painting skills to be able to make up clients into cats, tropical beaches as well as the usual tigers and lions. Look out for the posters, and banners and make your way to Haddo for a great day out.

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4 February 2008

Grampian Cardiac Rehabilitation Association - Meeting 4 February 2008

Pres. Robin with Cardiac Rehabilitation SpeakersPresident Robin Falconer welcomed members, visitors from the Ellon Club and the speaker for the evening Robert Paton.

Robert was born in 1944, is married with a son and daughter and three grandsons. Whilst playing golf in April 2000 Robert suffered a heart attack and subsequently had a triple bypass operation. He is so enthusiastic about his recovery process that in 2002 he became the Chairman of the (GRCA) Grampian Cardiac Rehabilitation Association Ltd at its inaugural meeting.

Robert with the help of Bert Hosie (the Secretary of GRCA) explained the processes of the programme which is specially designed to allow a heart patient a better understanding of his/her illness and to return to a normal life after medical intervention. Cardiac rehabilitation exercise is a life long commitment which can produce a 30 percent increase in life expectancy. The programme consists of four phases, and phases one to three are the responsibility of the NHS, and phase four is organised by the local community. Robert started his exercise programme in August 2000 two months after being discharged from hospital. Today he is still exercising with the GRCA Turriff group as well as taking his dog on a four mile daily walk and playing golf twice a week.

In the Grampian Region area more than 16000 people suffer from coronary heart disease, however, with correct medical intervention and change of lifestyle, many can, and do, live a normal life. More than 750 people in Grampian have benefited from the GRCA programme since its inauguration in August 2002.

Owen Ball gave the vote of thanks to Robin and Bert for coming along to tell us about this interesting programme.

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21 January 2008

Discussions and Winners - Meeting 21 Jan. 2008

Visit from members of Dyce Rotary Club

Gavel contestants square up.A warm welcome was given to our visitors from Dyce Rotary Club. President Robin Falconer opened the meeting and made reference to the Bard's birthday. Anne Forster and Hilary Gordon took up the Burns theme by asking Club members and the visiting Rotarians to stay at their tables, but enter into a discussion on “see yirsel as ithers see us”.
Anne & Hilary handed out the new business card which could be used by members to advertise the club as well as inviting prospective members. In the feedback on their thoughts, comments and evaluation all were positive and there were many ideas on how and when it could be used. It was suggested we could have them as handouts on the stall at Taste of Grampian, at the Young Musician of the Year competition, and one bright spark even suggested we send one to Donald Trump!

The next theme was to discuss the positives and negatives of Rotary, and of our own club in particular.
Thoughts: - The welcoming atmosphere is noted by all who visit.
The rapport among members, the diversity of the speakers and variety of social events contribute to the attractions.
Though “elitist” and “exclusive” are not in our vocabulary, the tired and dated image of Rotarians as retired old men eating out may still put off some potential new members.
It was agreed that there is still work to be done by our club to continue dispelling ill-informed perception by publicising and advertising our excellent links in the Oldmeldrum and wider community.

The Dyce members stayed on and the sports evening began. This was the second round of the Rotary Gavel competition and eight Oldmeldrum Rotarians were pitted against eight Dyce Rotarians at Pictionary, Dominoes, Jenga, and Connect4. Great hilarity came from the drawings by the Pictionary contestants, and the first 2 rounds were neck and neck. However the Oldmeldrum eight raced to the winning enclosure with 22 points to 14. Roll on the next round.

More sports news, and a win for the Young Curlers in Ayr who are due to play again in Perth in February. A further win there would see them represent Scotland in Ostersund in March

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14 January 2008

Haddo Regeneration - Meeting 14 Jan. 2008

A talk by Paul Johnston

President Robin with Paul JohnstonRobin Falconer welcomed members with an especially warm welcome to former and founder member Paul Johnston, local councillor for Mid Formartine.
Paul was to be speaking in his capacity as Director of the new company set up to take on board the regeneration of Haddo and its surroundings. The company is called Haddo Country Park Limited and its members have already been to Methlick and Tarves to seek views and ideas for the future of this remarkable project to return Haddo to its former glory.
Aberdeenshire Council, of course, only own the parklands, as the National Trust for Scotland own Haddo House, one of the great country houses of Britain, and lived in by one of our British Prime Ministers, Lord Aberdeen, the 4 th Earl of Haddo. Lord Aberdeen was one of Queen Victoria 's favourite Prime Ministers and stayed at Haddo in 1857. Paul stated that it would seem to be due to this visit that she and Prince Albert were minded to buy Balmoral. While there she planted two Wellingtonia trees which still stand today. The gardens were laid out in the manner of Capability Brown and the large expanse of grounds is a favourite of the Formartine Community as well as those from other places.
Every year two hundred and fortyone thousand visits are made to the park. Oldmeldrum Rotary took over the running of the Easter Egg Hunt from Aberdeenshire Council and Paul was gracious in his appreciation for the work done by the Club to make a success of this community event.
The problems now are the maintenance, the refurbishment and even the restoration and replacement of the trees, the sculptures and the borders and paths. The new company is applying for lottery money, but they also need people with vision and practical skills to help the company in this mammoth task. Jim Walker gave the vote of thanks complimenting him on his obvious enthusiasm for the project.

Anne Shirran reminded members of the Young Musician of the Year competition, involving the junior and senior musicians in the local area. Anne asked that members distribute posters in prominent positions in the local communities. Application forms are available in shops, schools and on our website and these forms should be returned to the Performing Arts Department in Meldrum Academy by 28 th February. The Competition itself takes place in the Academy on Thursday 13 th March at 7 p.m. So readers of this, come along, entry is free, and hear these young people as the show off their talents.

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7 January 2008

Creative Writing at Meldrum Academy - Meeting 7 Jan. 2008

A talk by Kathryn Russell

Anne Shirran, Robin Falconer and Kathryn RussellOldmeldrum Rotary Club is proud of its excellent links with Meldrum Academy and therefore all members were delighted to welcome Kathryn Russell, an English teacher, who came to talk about the teaching, learning and products of creative writing.

Kathryn explained that pupils' confidence is raised and those who write imaginative stories, plays and poetry also become better readers, thinkers and talkers.

Outwith the classroom, the school provides many activities to encourage the pupils. There is a weekly lunch time club which is well attended by young writers. Groups have been on a creative writing week at the Arvon Foundation in Invernesshire, learning from professional authors, and also to a workshop at Fyvie Castle .
Using the high technology available in the school pupils have been able to write a screenplay, produce and edit the film, all culminating in a "Premiere!"

Kathryn acknowledged the sponsorship and practical help given by our Rotary Club to the annual Creative Writing competition and to Anne Shirran in particular for organising and judging the many entries.

This year's competition is well under way with the theme, appropriately for Aberdeenshire, being a North East setting. The entries will be on view in the entrance hall of the Academy in March, and the community will have plenty time to read and admire if they visit the Academy for the Young Musician of the Year competition on Thursday 13 th March 2008.

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