Archive of some Meeting Reports, as sent to the Press in the first half of 2010

Report for 28 June 2010 - Handover Night and Special Award
Report for 21 June 2010 - Club Assembly
Report for 6 June 2010 - A Parliamentary Candidate
Report for 29 May 2010 - Ythan Cycle Run
Report for 27 May 2010 - Tarves RotaKids Do Their Bit For The Environment
Report for 20 May 2010 - Meldrum Rotarians Get On Their Bikes For Cycle Run
Report for 3 May 2010 - Social Work Education at RGU
Report for 19 April 2010 - Friends of Haddo
Report for 12 April 2010 - "Breath of Life"
Report for 5 April 2010 - "Landward"
Report for 4 April 2010 - Haddo Egg Hunt - Easter Sunday
Report for 15 March 2010 - Voluntary Services Overseas
Report for 8 March 2010 - Primary School Quiz
Report for 1 March 2010 - Imagination Library
Report for 23 February 2010 - Paul Harris Award for Christine Falconer
Report for 23 February 2010 - Purple Pinkie Day
Report for 16 February 2010 - Rotary Young Chef of the Year District Final
Report for 15 February 2010 - Malcolm Bruce M.P.
Report for 8 February 2010 - Alzheimer Scotland
Report for Early February 2010 - Thousands to move into "ShelterBox" tent village
Report for 27 January 2010 - Burns Night
Report for Early January 2010 - "ShelterBoxes" and "Aquaboxes" for Haiti

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 from second 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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28 June 2010

Handover Night and Special Award- Meeting 28 June 2010

The meeting on Monday, 28th June of the Rotary Club of Oldmedrum was Handover Night, when the current President Hilary Gordon handed over to the incoming President Phil Duncan and the new committees for the following Rotary year.
Visitors Alan Donaldson of Ellon Rotary Club and Margaret McCartney were there as guests.

Andrew McCartney and Pres. HilaryIt is rare for Oldmeldrum resident and Rotarian Andrew McCartney to be lost for words, but he was rendered speechless by one of the Club's best kept secrets. The reason for this was engendered by President Hilary Gordon presenting Andrew with a Paul Harris Fellowship Award with Sapphire.
A Paul Harris award, named after Paul Harris who founded Rotary over 105 years ago is given in appreciation of tangible and significant assistance for the furtherance of better understanding and friendly relations among people of the world. It is without doubt the pinnacle of Rotary's awards and is only ever awarded to very special people who make substantial contributions, and Andrew had already been a worthy recipient of a Paul Harris award from the Club in 2005.
What many people are unaware of is that an individual can receive more than one Paul Harris with the addition of sapphires. The Club wanted to award Andrew his second Paul Harris award in recognition of his tireless and ongoing work in our community, our club and our District.
Andrew is active locally in the Community Council, amenities group and the William Forsyth garden, he commits himself in supporting our Club events and as Rotary Assistant Governor for the North East counties for the past three years has helped establish a new Club- Central Buchan, has supported the eleven Clubs within his district as well as attending District meetings Conferences and Assemblies.
As Hilary remarked when she presented Andrew with the award; ‘since the Club’s inception with Andrew as inaugural President, he has exemplified what it means to be a great Rotarian”.

Handover from Pres Hilary to VP PhilAfter the presentation, Hilary commented that she was proud of the successful year that the Club had just had; undertaking numerous fundraisers and events including celebrating our Tenth Anniversary Charter, and that the club had received a Presidential Citation and Zone Literacy Certificate. She then presented Phil with his chain of office, who then in turn invested Senior Vice President Ray Walker with her chain of office.

Phil took the floor to reveal that the Rotary theme for the coming year was 'Building Communities, Bridging Continents', which aptly focused on the work the Club does both locally and internationally. He reminded members of the aims of Rotary. He commented that as a team we do far more than an individual can hope to achieve, for example our Haddo Egg hunt. He contended that the Club members are ordinary people doing extraordinary things, and thus by working together we raise things that the Club undertakes to the extraordinary, and he hoped that we would continue doing this for many years to come.
In summing up; Phil thanked Hilary for her excellent year in office and asked the Club to support her with her Nepal literacy project.

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21 June 2010

Club Assembly - Meeting 21 June 2010

V.P. Phil with Mike HalleyAt the meeting held on Monday 21st June, Senior Vice-President Phil Duncan welcomed as guests incoming Assistant Governor elect Mike Halley from the Rotary Club of Loch Ness and Forbes Hamilton from the Rotary Club of Ellon.
Simon Kilkerr thanked members for their assistance with KidsOut. Members who had volunteered to assist were reminded that it was the Meldrum Sports day on Saturday.

The meeting was the Club Assembly where the incoming President and committees indicate their themes and focus for the coming year. The main impetus was to continue to build on the events that are already undertaken, such as the Haddo Egg Hunt, Santa Sleigh run, Santa Fun Run and the Ythan Cycle Run, and ensure their continued success and at the same time concentrate on developing new projects such as the Rotakids group and the Nepal Literacy project, and aim at increasing our membership base. Additionally to emphasise the fun and fellowship fostered within Oldmeldrum Rotary Club a varied social programme was outlined.

In his speech AG-elect Mike Halley praised and congratulated the Club for their excellent and full programme and wished the club every success for the coming year.

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6 June 2010

A Parliamentary Candidate - Meeting 6 June 2010

V.P. Phil with Richard ThomsonOldmeldrum Rotary Club welcomed fellow club member Richard Thomson as a guest speaker last week. Richard, who lives in Ellon, had stood as a Parliamentary Candidate just a few weeks earlier in the General Election, and was invited by the club to share some of his thoughts on the experience.

Richard began by making the point that although most people were familiar with what went on in the last few weeks of an election campaign, for most candidates and their parties, the work had started months, if not years before. He recalled how he had accepted a job in London in June 2007, moved south in July, found himself back in Scotland in August as rumours began to circulate of an early contest, and was selected to contest the Gordon constituency by his party in late September.
With the Prime Minister deciding against an early poll, everything settled down again. However, after a few more months of working in the south, Richard was offered a job which allowed him to relocate permanently to the North East. Having a supportive employer, he reflected, was an essential component for anyone hoping to stand for election, and was probably one of the main factors in why so many candidates of all parties now seemed to share similar professional backgrounds.
Although standing for election placed a lot of demands on your time, it allowed you to meet a number of people and see at first hand the work of a range of businesses and organisations that otherwise, you might not be aware of. It was experiencing up close the rich tapestry of community life, Richard said, which he had found most fulfilling about the role of being a candidate.
He revealed that while it might surprise some, the personal relationships between candidates at election time are generally very cordial. He recalled Malcolm Bruce's remark in his victory speech at the count that the campaign had been a "comradely" affair. Richard commented that he felt this reflected well on all the participants, who despite their differences, had managed to give the various issues a good airing, without ever allowing policy disagreements to become personalised.
The campaign had also seen its share of lighter moments. In particular, he recalled the amusement from other parties when a loudhailer van spent one Saturday afternoon driving round Inverurie, trying to drum up support for a party which wasn't even putting up a candidate in the seat. He concluded by reflecting on his enjoyment, not just of the campaign, but also of Rotary which, he said, had offered "fun, friendship and some very welcome balance" over what had otherwise been a very busy and demanding period.

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29 May 2010

Ythan Cycle Run - 29th May 2010

Start of the Ythan Cycle Run 2010A North-East charity cycle ride has succeeded in raising over £1,000 to support local and international charities.

Despite some unpromising early weather, a healthy number of riders turned out to take part in this year's Ythan Cycle Run (29th May), organised for the second successive year by the Rotary Club of Oldmeldrum.
Fortunately, the morning's early rain showers passed to give almost perfect cycling weather in time for the 1pm start at Methlick's Beaton Hall.
Riders had the option of taking part in the Challenge route (26 miles), which passed by Haddo, Tarves, Udny Green and Esslemont, before returning along the Ythan to Methlick – a route which saw climbs totalling 1340 ft. For those looking for something a little less demanding, there was also a more sedate 7.5 mile family route.

Cycle Run Organiser Norman Brammer said afterwards: "This has been another successful day. Despite the early weather, I'm pleased that things cleared up for us in good time for the ride off."
"I'd like to offer my thanks, firstly to all the cyclists who took part, and also to everyone else who contributed to the success of the day, from the marshals and officials to those who had the most important job of all – thhe refreshments team!"
"Once again, cyclists have been able to help not just the chosen charity of the organisers - The Archie Foundation – but also to raise funds for their own favvoured causes. I hope that those who took part will come back again next year, and help to spread the word about this event."

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27 May 2010

Tarves RotaKids Do Their Bit For The Environment - 27 May 2010

Tarves RotakidsLocal schoolchildren did their bit for the environment last Thursday, when they turned their school walk into a litter picking expedition.
Pupils from Tarves Primary – including the school's RotaKids group – started the day with George Niblock of the Abberdeenshire Litter Initiative. RotaKids is a Rotary Project for Junior School children, which aims to create an awareness of citizenship and community service, while building self-esteem and developing leadership qualities.

The pupils who join RotaKids meet regularly, and helped by members from Oldmeldrum Rotary Club, they carry out service projects to benefit their community and their school.
George gave the RotaKids a fun and informative instruction session. His message that pupils needed to clean up after the adults who dropped the litter so the young folk would have a community worth inheriting, was one which really hit home, and which inspired the pupils to do a thorough job.
Using litter picking equipment purchased by Rotary, the pupils then helped to clean up a section of path between Tarves and Tolquhoun Castle. They collected a variety of rubbish along the way and cleaned up thoroughly after their snack at Tolquhoun.

The next litter pick up for the pupils will be in Tarves, after the new school year begins.

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20 May 2010

Meldrum Rotarians Get On Their Bikes For Cycle Run

Anne Forster preparing for Ythan Cycle RunOldmeldrum Rotarians have been busy finalising their preparations for the 2010 Ythan Cycle Run, which takes place this Saturday (29 May). The event, now in its twelfth year, will start at 1.00pm at the Beaton Hall in Methlick, and is expected to see a large number of riders taking part in both the Challenge (26 mile) and the shorter Family (7.5 mile) routes.

The routes, which have been selected carefully so as to suit all levels of fitness, age and capability, will have basic facilities provided at key points throughout, with tea and home bakes available as part of the registration fee at Methlick. Proceeds from the event will go to support The Archie Foundation - the official charity of the Royal Aberdeen Children’s Hospital, with half of all personal sponsorships going to support the charities of the individual riders’ choice.

Speaking in advance, Club President Hilary Gordon said: “The Ythan Cycle Run is always a fantastic event, whether people approach it competitively or as a family day out. “Last year’s event was a big success, which saw several thousand pounds raised for local charities. We hope that this year will be even bigger and better still, and I encourage any cyclist who thinks they might fancy a day out this weekend to come along and take part”.

The event will start at 1.00pm and finish at approx. 5.00pm at the Beaton Hall, Methlick. Registration for the event will be possible up to and including the day itself, and a certificate will be issued to all participants after the event. The entry cost is £6 for adults, £4 for those aged 7-18 and free for children under the age of 6.

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3 May 2010

Social Work Education at RGU - Meeting 3 May 2010

Ythan Cycle Run PostersPresident Hilary Gordon welcomed members and guest Bill Murdoch from the Rotary Club of Inverurie to the meeting. Members were reminded that the District Assembly would be held on the 8th May.
Senior Vice- President Phil Duncan requested that those members who wished to participate and host Fellowship meals to notify him as soon as convenient.
Norman Brammer urged members to participate and publicise the Ythan sponsored Cycle Run on 29th May. (See photo at right)
Hans Rafn reminded members that Taste of Grampian would be on the 5th June and requested donations of prizes for the tombola.
Denis Emslie followed by inviting members to the Mackies open day the day after on the 6th June, which is in aid of muscular dystrophy.
Andrew McCartney requested assistance at the Zone 3 area heat of the Rotary Primary School Quiz on the 15th May at Meldrum Academy. Andrew also informed members that there would be a meeting on the 20th May at the British Legion to discuss Public Art in Meldrum.

The speaker for the evening was member Anne Shirran who gave a job talk in respect of Social Work Education at Robert Gordon University. There are currently about 57,000 in Scotland people employed in social work services. Anne explained the changes in social work provision that had taken place and that Robert Gordon University currently runs 4 courses to cater for student needs.
The course contents are wide-ranging: law, sociology, psychology, childcare protection, criminal justice, counselling and inter-professional practice where there is joint teaching with nurses and medical staff. Students have individual learning plans, undertake placements in voluntary and statutory organisations and have to demonstrate readiness to practice and have their competency assessed before they can work in the social work field.

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19 April 2010

Friends of Haddo - Meeting 19 April 2010

Pres. Hilary with Richard LeavettOldmeldrum Rotary Club was pleased to be able to welcome Richard Leavett of ‘Friends of Haddo’ to its most recent meeting. Richard studied naval architecture in Newcastle upon Tyne, before moving to Aberdeen to work with Hall Russell. He now works with BP in Dyce, and serves as Chairman of the ‘Friends of Haddo’ Country Park.

Richard explained that Haddo House was built by the 2nd Earl of Aberdeen, and is now owned by the National Trust for Scotland. The Country Park is owned by Aberdeenshire Council, while the surrounding farmland and woodland is owned by the Haddo Estate.
The ‘Friends’ group was set up last year, with aims of promoting and facilitating public involvement in the activities of the Haddo Country Park; supporting the sustainable development and maintenance of the Haddo Country Park; providing a forum for users of Haddo Country Park; and to act as a source and focal point for volunteers engaged to carry out tasks in support of the Haddo Country Park and the surrounding areas.
Richard spoke of the work of the Friends, and of the restoration project, which it is hoped will commence in 2011. The project has already won £1 million from the Heritage Lottery Fund, and aims to see the restoration of the designed landscape, structures, statues and other features; improved educational facilities and opportunities; the upgrading and relocation of play areas and improved access and signage.

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12 April 2010

"Breath of Life" - Meeting 12 April 2010.

Vice Pres. Phil Duncan with Annette Ramsden.President Hilary Gordon welcomed members to the meeting. She reminded members that the AGM was on the 26th. Norman Brammer circulated packs regarding the cycle run on 29th May and urged members to sign up or get their friends,family and work colleagues to participate. David McClelland reported that the Club had been beaten by Dyce in the Gavel and were therefore no longer in the competition.

The speaker for the evening was Annette Ramsden who spoke about anesthesia provision in the third world. This was based on a "Breath of Life" presentation by Bideford Rotary Club at the Rotary Convention in Birmingham in 2009, which Annette and several Oldmeldrum Rotarians had attended and found it a very worthwhile cause.
In the western world anaesthetic provision and the commensurate equipment is taken for granted, but this an not the case in the developing world. Per capita spending on medical provision per se is low and the anaesthesia provision is even lower. A major factor is, that despite welcome donations of anaesthesia equipment, these machines are tend to be too sophisticated to function effectively, and frequently break down. Hospitals cannot afford to repair them and they are therefore out of commission. Equipment has to be fit for purpose and suitable to the local conditions; be capable of operating without expensive consumerables like gases, operate during power cuts and fluctuations and require minimum maintenance or costly spare parts.
Bideford Rotary in conjunction with a local company which manufactures an anaesthesia machine which will operate in basic conditions and requires very little consumerables, are trying to raise enough money in order to provide these machines to 15 hospitals throughout the third world.

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5 April 2010

"Landward" - Meeting 5 April 2010

Pres. Hilary with Simon CousinsThe Rotary Club of Oldmeldrum welcomed TV producer Simon Cousins as its guest speaker at its most recent meeting.
Although born in Yorkshire, Simon went to school in the Shetland Islands. He entered broadcasting through freelancing for the BBC, which he did both before and after studying law at university. After graduation, his career path took him back to the BBC – firstly to tthe newsroom in Glasgow, then to New York as a reporter working on radio documentaries. He now lives locally with his wife Mhari and son Liam.

Simon, who is now the producer of the BBC programme"Landward", opened by outlining the programme's history, which he said could be traced to the first early Scottish farming television programmes of the 1960's. The "Landward" title was adopted around 1962, making the programme the longest running returning programme on BBC TV.
Four years ago the programme's future was in doubt as it was considered old fashioned and out of step with modern production techniques. Simon was tasked with reinventing the programme to ensure its survival and ultimately, to justify its continued prime-time slot.
The Landward team undertook to broaden the menu offered to the audience, and in Simon's own words: "We decided to reflect the working world of the Scottish countryside in the broadest sense". While farming and food production remained at the core, greater focus was given to exploring the Scottish countryside, and more was featured on the environment, wildlife, tourism and leisure. A more contemporary approach to film-making was used, and the overall tone changed from the serious imparting of information, to a more subtle and engaging form of factual programming.
Some 26 editions of the programme are broadcast each year, with an average of 200,000 viewers tuning in each week – representing a 10% share of the viewing audieence. The target is to be 1 percentage point above the displaced network programme, but the programme presently averages 3-4% above this – something which Simon credited to the presenting team of Euan McIlwraith, Nick Nairn, Sarah Mack, Lee McKenzie and Dougie Vipond, and the professionalism of the small but "dedicated and passionate" production team of 10, most of whom are based in Aberdeen.

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4 April 2010

Haddo Egg Hunt - Easter Sunday, 4th April 2010

Start of the Egg Rolling In full flight And the adults ran too... Chasing the egg Down at the Pheasantry Grampian Community Police Safety Van

Large numbers turned out on Easter Sunday to the Rotary Club of Oldmeldrum's annual egg hunt at Haddo House. Despite slippery conditions in the field set aside for cars which made parking troublesome, the forecast heavy rain forecast stayed away, allowing over 4,000 people to enjoy the day.

Over 2000 painted wooden eggs were hidden in Haddo Country Park throughout the day by a team of dedicated ‘hiders’. Once found, wooden eggs could be exchanged for chocolate ones,. While some children opted to keep one or more of their wooden eggs, over 500 were exchanged for chocolate ones.
Other attractions on the day included an 'activity marquee' where children could decorate eggs or small felt bags. A team of face painters from Meldrum Academy were also present, ready to transform children into butterflies or tigers! In all, seven egg rolling runs took place down down Deer Hill.
The RotaKids of Tarves Primary School did a wonderful job in organising and running the Easter Bonnet competition and parade in the afternoon. They prepared well, with colourful posters advertising the event and writing successfully to local businesses to obtain prizes they could give away.

The event saw a number of community groups come together to take part.
Friends of Haddo oversaw and judged the painted egg competition which once again attracted many magnificent entries. Winners on the day included: Amira Cheyne (5) of Inverurie; Sarah More (11) of Tarves; Ryan Smith of (3) Aberdeen; Rhiannon Pirie (6) of Bridge of Don; Ellie Henderson (8) of Ardallie; Elliot Smith (2) of Methlick; Kaylah Miller (7) of Auchterless; Roisin Morton (10) of Ythsie; Ellie Gunn and Natasha Weir.
The educational element offered by the Aberdeenshire Library Services proved to be very popular with parents with younger children. Their 'Bookstart' stand was very busy throughout the day and the Book Character Quiz attracted 82 entries. The winning entry drawn was by Sofia Masson, aged 3, from Ellon.
Other community involvement on the day included Grampian Community Police who said they had enjoyed the day and looked forward to returning next year. Melanie Baldwin, Waste Promotions Officer at the Waste Aware Bus, reported that “despite the grey clouds, there was an enthusiastic welcome for the Waste Aware Bus with plenty of visitors throughout the day. Children - and adults too - enjoyed exploring the bus and the interactive exhibits, learning how to 'Reduce, Reuse and Recycle' whilst having fun. Parents took the opportunity to ask questions on everything from food waste and home composting to plastics recycling as their children played.”

All funds collected on the day will go to good causes locally, nationally and internationally.

The Rotary Club of Oldmeldrum would like to thank the following for their support in allowing the event to take place:-
Major Sponsors: Lord Aberdeen Haddo Estate, Lawrence of Kemnay, Stewart & Watson, Wood Group Integrity Management
Sponsors & Supporters: ATU Consultancy Ltd, Meadows Veterinary Centre, Jaywalker Limited, Lochter Activity Centre, R & I Neish Ltd Peterhead, Oldmeldrum Post Office, Oldmeldrum Golf Club, Desswood Stores Aberdeen, Morrisons Supermarket, Inverurie, S. French Methlick, Mackie’s Of Scotland, Meldrum Academy, Meldrum & Daviot Scouts, Methlick Scouts, Friends Of Haddo, Tarves School And Rotakids, Haddo House NTS, Methlick Motors, St Andrews’ Ambulance Service, Grampian Police.
Sponsors For Easter Bonnets - Duthies’ Of Tarves, Hoodles Playbarn, Morrisons of Aberdeen, Tolquhon Gallery.
Mackies of Scotland donated 2000 bags of their crisps to hand out, and many people were pleased to accept these free gifts as well as the chocolate eggs.

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15 March 2010

Voluntary Services Overseas - Meeting 15 March 2010

Pres. Hilary with Sheelagh FowlerThe Rotary Club of Oldmeldrum welcomed Mrs Sheelagh Fowler to a recent meeting as the club’s guest speaker. Currently, Sheelagh is employed as an Assistant Team Manager for the Blood Transfusion Unit but came to talk about her experiences working with in Voluntary Services Overseas (VSO). She spent altogether 13 years in Gambia working for the UK Foreign Office where she ran a clinic for the British High Commission, which incorporated VSO volunteers in their patient group.

The VSO, which has around 800 volunteers located worldwide, started in the UK over 50 years ago and now operates in 40 countries. The organisation works with local partners in the fight to alleviate poverty and to support disadvantages communities.
Volunteers are mostly qualified professionals with minimum 2 years experience, are aged 18-75, and who have a sense of adventure! There is also a Global Exchange scheme for short-term volunteers for people between the ages 18-25. Ideally, volunteers will have experience to assist in either health, education, disability, governance or to assist with enhancing rural livelihoods.
Sheelagh was the in-country Medical Advisor in Gambia for 10 years where she managed the health issues associated with the volunteers. Her role began by advising on medical issues in their placement, ensuring that volunteers were aware that conditions would most likely be very hard, with limited sanitation, no electricity and that the food would not be as they were used to at home. Other responsibilities included running a clinic dealing with minor injuries, medical problems and immunisation; being on-call 24 hours a day a responsibility which lasted for ten years (for 10 years); co-ordinating, assessing and advising on evacuations; assessing and advising on living accommodation; and giving psychological support.
Currently, Sheelagh is a VSO trainer at Health & Security Workshops in Birmingham, where she offers VSO volunteers pre-departure advice on how to stay healthy and safe whilst abroad. She also fulfils the role of a locum International Nurse Advisor for the organization in their medical unit in London.

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8 March 2010

Primary School Quiz - 8 March 2010

PSQ Winners - Pitmedden School PSQ Runners-up - Tarves School

Winners - Pitmedden School


Runners-up - Tarves School

A team of pupils from Pitmedden School emerged triumphant last week in the local qualifying round of the Rotary District 1010 Primary Schools Quiz.

In a contest which was very close throughout, the Pitmedden pupils won through against some tough competition from the other teams, with pupils from Tarves School coming in a very close second.

Organised by Oldmeldrum Rotary Club, the contest saw a number of local primary schools compete for the chance to progress to the next round, which sees schools from across the district - from Fife to Skye and all points north - competing for the chance to win the contest.
Meldrum Academy hosted the evening under the watchful eyes of quizmasters Mick and Hilary Gordon from Methlick. The quiz covered a wide range of subjects, which gave pupils the chance to demonstrate their prowess in areas as diverse as geography, the natural world, pop music, language and general knowledge. A team of Oldmeldrum Rotarians were also kept busy keeping score and serving refreshments afterwards to everyone who was there.

Speaking afterwards, Christian Henderson, Head Teacher at Pitmedden, said:
"We were delighted to be able to take part, and I know that everyone at the school is very proud of the pupils involved. The competition was very close between all the participants, and the standard across the schools was very high indeed.
"I know the pupils thoroughly enjoyed themselves, and it was great for all the parents present to be able to see their children competing alongside the other schools taking part.
"They are a credit to the school, and we are all looking forward very much to the next round".

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1 March 2010

Imagination Library - Meeting 1 March 2010

Pres. Hilary with Natalie HunterPresident Hilary Gordon welcomed members to the meeting on 1st March. There was a reversal of the usual programme in that the speaker preceded the business part of the evening.

As March is Rotary literacy month, President Hilary our District Literacy Officer was pleased that the speaker was Natalie Hunter regional director of the Dollywood Foundation and who spoke on the Imagination Library. In 1995 Dolly Parton very conscious of her disadvantaged upbringing, coupled with her belief that literacy goes hand in hand with fulfilment, founded the Imagination Library with the aim of giving under-5’s a free age-appropriate book per month through the post until the age of 5. The scheme currently has 11,000 communities mainly in the USA and Canada, which deliver half a million books per month.

As Natalie explained, obviously the scheme is now too large for Dolly to financially support on her own and she is partnered by 200 Rotary clubs in the USA. The scheme was launched in the UK in 2007 and currently operates in 9 communities distributing 10,000 UK published books a month. The aim is to develop and expand the scheme in the UK in partnership with community groups like Rotary.

In the business part of the meeting Anne Shirran informed everyone of the wine-tasting event organised for our next fifth Monday on the 29th March, Ray Walker asked members to volunteer for car park duties Tuesday 16th to Friday 19th March for the Meldrum Music Society production of Annie Get your Gun, and Andrew McCartney asked members to volunteer for the Rotary Primary School Quiz heat which will be in Meldrum Academy on Thursday 11th March.

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23 February 2010

Paul Harris Award for Christine Falconer

Christine Falconer being awarded a Paul Harris FellowshipOldmeldrum Rotary Club was delighted last week to be able to recognise the service of member Christine Falconer, by making her a Paul Harris Fellow.
The fellowship, which takes its name from the founder of Rotary, was established in his honour in 1957 to express appreciation and recognition for a significant contribution, and as recognition of exceptional service.

Christine, who lives in Udny Green, is noted in the Club for the generous amount of time she gives towards ensuring the success of Club projects, particularly her contribution towards the Community Garden and in her co-ordination of the Club's annual Easter Egg Hunt at Haddo.
A former club secretary, she now devotes her considerable energies and talents into the Club's PR and communications, to help publicise the work that Rotary does, both in the community and worldwide.

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23 February 2010

Purple Pinkie Day - 23 February 2010

The Purple Super-Heroes Spreading the word in Oldmeldrum Thanks for Life Posters at Meldrum Motors

Members of Oldmeldrum Rotary Club put on a series of events last week to celebrate World "Purple Pinkie Day".

The day – 23 February – has been chosen to mark in each year the continuing fight to eradicate polio around the world. It takes its name from the practice during mass vaccinations of marking children's little fingers with a temporary purple dye, so as to ensure that they only receive the dose once.

Members attended their regular Monday meeting dressed in purple clothes, with District Governor Andrew McCartney even going so far as to dye his hair purple. Meanwhile, on Tuesday, groups of local Rotarians took to the streets of Oldmeldrum to hand out leaflets raising awareness of the worldwide campaign to eradicate polio.

Speaking afterwards, President Hilary Gordon said: "Rotarians and partner organisations around the world have made massive strides in recent years in isolating endemic polio to just a few parts of India, Nigeria Pakistan and Afghanistan. Purple Pinkie Day is a chance to have a bit of fun, but also deliver a serious message. The world is now really close to being able to declare itself polio-free, providing we can keep up the momentum. That's what the events like this, which took place throughout the world, are all about. I'd like to thank everyone who expressed their support, and in particular to Meldrum Motors, who allowed us to display posters in their windows".

Polio eradication has been Rotary's top priority since 1985. Since then, polio cases have fallen from 350,000 a year to a recorded 1,600 last year. Over that time, two billion children have been protected from the disease. As a result, it is estimated that five million children have been spared from disability and 250,000 deaths have been averted. Rotary members worldwide have so far raised US $700 million to fund polio immunisation activities and every penny raised goes to the project, with clubs in Great Britain and Ireland having so far donated more than £10.5 million towards immunisation initiatives.

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16 February 2010

Rotary Young Chef of the Year District Final - 16 February 2010

Young Chef Melissa KelmanLocal teenager Melissa Kelman has narrowly missed out on reaching the next stage of a nationwide cookery competition, following a closely contested heat in Dundee.

The annual ‘Young Chef of the Year’ contest is run each year by Rotary International in Britain and Ireland, and allows youngsters nominated by local Rotary clubs to demonstrate their culinary prowess. Melissa, a pupil at Meldrum Academy, earlier emerged triumphant following a ‘cook-off’ at the school organised between teacher Anne Wyness and Oldmeldrum Rotary Club.

Given the task of preparing a healthy meal on a budget, the budding young chefs, aged 17 and under, were all competing for a place in the local Rotary District 1010 final, from where the winners would progress to the UK final. Some 4,000 school-age students in more than 200 competitions organised by local clubs have taken part in the contest UK wide.

Melissa was supported by the Oldmeldrum Club, which provided her with Chef’s whites and travel expenses, as well as by Meldrum and Bourtie Parish Church, which paid for the ingredients for everyone taking part in the Meldrum Academy stage of the contest, as well as for Melissa in the regional final.

Speaking after the Dundee heat, Club President Hilary Gordon said:
“We’re all very proud of Melissa, who performed exceptionally throughout. Even although she narrowly missed out on making it to the UK final, the judges in Dundee did make a point of praising both her method of preparation and the quality of her food".
“The standard throughout the competition was very high. I’m glad that the club has been able to work together, both with the school and a local church, in order to give this opportunity to Melissa and others to demonstrate their cooking skills to a wider audience.”

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15 February 2010

Malcolm Bruce MP. - Meeting 15 February 2010

Malcolm Bruce MP. and Pres. HilaryThe Rotary Club of Oldmeldrum welcomed Malcolm Bruce MP to it's most recent meeting as the club's guest speaker.

Mr Bruce, who chairs the House of Commons Select Committee on International Development, spoke to members on the committee's work in shadowing the Department for International Development.
The department is the body which spends the greatest share of the UK government's international aid budget. Presently, it distributes aid worth around £8bn each year, a sum which is approximately two thirds of the way to the UK government's target of allocating 0.7% of GDP to overseas aid by 2013.

Mr Bruce made the point that while 'aid' was often spoken of in the context of disaster relief operations such as the recent high-profile efforts in Haiti, the longer term aim of the government was to help recipient countries to build their own capacity to develop and provide for themselves. While the governments of some countries the department sought to help were poor, some were corrupt and others were unfortunately both, the challenge facing aid providers was to decide how best to engage so as to benefit the intended recipients directly. In some cases, the best way to achieve this was to route aid through the many specialist non-governmental organisations which exist.

The International Development Committee, he said, through its overseas visits, was able to get down to a grass roots level and speak with those directly affected by aid policies. While it might not be possible for them to be certain that every pound was spent wisely, this did at least give committee members the opportunity to assess for themselves the overall effectiveness of aid policy. Overall, he said, the UK was regarded highly by other countries when it came to its aid policy, and praised the legislation of the 2002 International Development Act for providing a sound base for the implementation of those policies.

Mr Bruce identified three key issues in international development. The first of these was access to clean water and sanitation, since besides the obvious health benefits this could bring, it was also an important factor in enabling educational attainment. The second, which applied closer to home, was of the need to demonstrate domestically that overseas aid did make a difference, since without public support, it would become hard to sustain in the future. The third was what he described as the 'real test' –“ whether or not you could ensure that aid delivered a sustainable long-term benefit for those receiving it.

Mr Bruce concluded with the observation that while fair trade was able to make a big contribution to development, free trade could make a bigger difference still. He drew his remarks to a close by praising the 'complementary' work of Rotary in the development work it helps undertake, before taking part in a question and answer session for members.

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8 February 2010

Alzheimer Scotland - Meeting 8 February 2010

Pres. Hilary with Anne Naylor of Alzheimer ScotlandOldmeldrum Rotary Club was delighted to be able to welcome Anne Naylor as guest speaker at the club's latest meeting.

Anne, a resident of Oldmeldrum, works with Alzheimer Scotland as an advisor on dementia. Anne works with people in the early stages of the condition, usually in the immediate aftermath of a diagnosis. She went on to explain that although there were many different types of dementia, it was a progressive condition, which over time affected short term memory, linguistic ability, judgement and the ability to make decisions.
She was, however, at pains to emphasise that it was possible to live positively with dementia for a long period of time following diagnosis. Citing the example of a lady in her 70's, who had been diagnosed with dementia six years previously, Anne described how the support and friendship offered by the "positive dementia" group had helped the lady to restore her confidence and come to terms with her diagnosis.
With the help of a befriender and a support worker, she had managed to re-establish an active life, whereas before she had withdrawn from similar activities. She had also travelled to Berlin to take part in a conference on dementia, and had helped to brief social workers on the needs of her fellow sufferers.
Ending her presentation, Anne concluded with the lady's uplifting maxim that she was "living with dementia, and not dying from it".

Robin Falconer offered the vote of thanks on behalf of the club. It was also agreed that the club should send a second "Shelterbox" to Haiti.

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Early February 2010

Thousands to move into "ShelterBox" tent village

Shelterbox tented village, HaitiThousands of people left homeless by the devastating Haiti earthquake are due to start moving into a camp with hundreds of Rotary ShelterBox tents this week.

A number of local rotary clubs, including Oldmeldrum, have sponsored ShelterBoxes for Haiti. In addition to a tent which can sleep 10 people, ShelterBox comes with a range of survival tools, cooking utensils and a stove, designed to support an extended family for up to six months at a time.
Situated near to the US Embassy in Port au Prince, the encampment named Congress Camp will house thousands of refugees from the centre of the city allowing them to stay close to their communities and carry on with their daily lives.

ShelterBox's Response Team (SRT) in Port au Prince has been working around the clock to help set up the camp with hundreds of disaster relief tents, each of which can house an extended family of up to 10 people. The team has worked closely with the French aid agency ACTED and IOM (International Organisation for Migration) to create the tent village which is also equipped with showers and latrines.
John Leach, ShelterBox's Head of Operations, said: "This is an urban camp which means people can carry on with their daily lives and won't be forced to locations outside of Port au Prince."
"We have a huge number of tents here which will provide shelter to thousands of people and give them a chance to start rebuilding their lives. But we also have tent encampments set up in several other locations in and around Port au Prince and thousands more ShelterBoxes on their way to the city."
In another camp in Delmas, a suburb of Port au Prince, work is continuing to provide emergency shelter to families with newborn babies and pregnant women. Additional tents have been set up with the help of the US Military's 82nd Airborne Division.
SRT member Mark Pearson (UK) said: "˜Forty additional ShelterBoxes were dropped here to replenish the camp and now more than 200 families are living in this camp. We could not operate without the full support of the US military and state department in this area."
ShelterBox has also worked with the women's charity V-Day in providing 40 ShelterBoxes to vulnerable women in Port au Prince. In addition, 50 ShelterBoxes have been given to the French association, Enfants de la Rue, to help house children caught up in the quake.

Meanwhile the aid operation from the UK continues. Another 1,800 ShelterBoxes are set to be flown from Stansted Airport to Santa Domingo, the Dominican Republic, on Friday, where they will be transported overland to Port au Prince. It will bring the total number of ShelterBoxes deployed in Haiti to more than 7,000 boxes, providing emergency shelter to more than 70,000 people.

ShelterBox Founder and CEO, Tom Henderson, added: "None of this would have been possible without the fantastic fundraising efforts from ShelterBox supporters around the world. The need is huge but the response is matching it. By the sheer grit and determination of our staff, volunteers and donors we've been able to respond in record time, preparing more ShelterBoxes in two weeks than we've ever done before. We're in this for the long haul and I know our supporters will keep on going, keep on fundraising and keep on helping us make a difference."

Donations can be made direct to Shelterbox by calling 0300 0300 500.

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27 January 2010

Burns Night - 27 January 2010

Address to the haggisHaggis departingAt their January 25th meeting Oldmeldrum Rotary Club considered that it would be apposite to hold their Burns Supper on the actual 251st anniversary of the Bards birthday. To that end Vice-President Phil organised a varied programme incorporating traditional, and not so traditional Burns entertainment. President Hilary Gordon welcomed as guests Mick Gordon and Doug Westland from Ellon Rotary and partners; Margaret McCartney, Doreen Sinclair and Gordon Shirran, plus John Robertson representing GMTV who filmed the proceedings for potential inclusion in the morning local bulletins.

The haggis carried aloft by Rob Rothnie was 'fiddled' rather than piped into the room by Richard Thomson. This was followed by Peter Chalmers undertaking a dramatic and superlative rendition of the address to the haggis. Ray Walker said grace before it was consumed by those present. Phil organised members into groups who then recited both the traditional Tam O'Shanter, and a somewhat later penned response, Kate O'Shanter. After Phil recited Burn's poem 'To a mouse', Richard rounded off the evenings entertainment with a selection of traditional music on his fiddle. Denis Emslie then gave a very deserved vote of thanks to the participants.

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early January 2010

"Shelterboxes" and "Aquaboxes" for Haiti

First Shelterboxes arriving in HaitiOldmeldrum Rotary Club has responded to the earthquake emergency in Haiti, with members agreeing at their business meeting last Monday evening to make a donation of £750 towards the relief effort from club funds.

The donation will mean that a "Shelterbox" and an "Aquabox" will be able to be sent to the stricken Caribbean state, which even before the earthquake, had very poor infrastructiure and little in the way of functioning government.
Each "Shelterbox" comes with a 10-person tent, designed to withstand extreme temperatures, high winds and heavy rainfall. It contains a range of other survival equipment including thermal blankets, insulated ground sheets, a basic tool kit and either a wood or multi-fuel stove, along with cooking utensils, which will help an extended family survive for up to six months. It also comes with a children's pack containing drawing books, crayons and pens. For children who have lost most, if not all of their possessions, these small gifts are treasured.
While the "Aquabox" also contains survival equipment, with the use of chlorine tablets, it allows users to purify up to 1,100 litres of water for drinking – vital in disaster zones where no clean water is available.

ShelterBox, a Rotary initiative, managed to deliver the first boxes to Haiti yesterday (Monday 18 January). It has pledged to ship 3,300 boxes by the end of this week, with more to follow. Rotarians in the thirteen Haitian Rotary Clubs are coordinating global Rotarian support.

Speaking afterwards, Oldmeldrum Rotary President Hilary Gordon said: "The scenes from Haiti in the aftermath of the earthquake have been very distressing. With little government or infrastructure in place, the burden for helping the survivors to rebuild their lives is going to fall mainly on charities and foreign governments. "Shelterboxes" and "Aquaboxes" can make a tremendous difference in the aftermath of a disaster, since they help keep people fed, warm, sheltered and healthy. Internationalism and concern for the welfare of others is at the heart of what Rotary is about, so I'm pleased that the club has been able to help in this small way towards the overall disaster relief effort."

Shelterbox is based in Cornwall, and was founded by Rotarian and ex-Royal Navy Diver, Tom Henderson OBE. Anyone wishing to donate directly to ShelterBox can do so by calling 0300 0300 500.

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