Archive of some Meeting Reports, as sent to the Press in 2013

Report for 24 December 2013 - Meldrum Rotarians Cap Successful Year With Charity Donations
Report for 9 December 2013 - Meldrum Rotarians Hear From RYLA Girls
Report for 25 November 2013 - Meldrum Rotarians Respond to Philippines Crisis
Report for 21 October 2013 - Career Moves
Report for 7 October 2013 - Young Musician of the Year 2013
Report for 17 September 2013 - Meldrum lad raises over £600 for Charity
Report for 11 September 2013 - Meldrum Rotarians Hail Cycle Run Success
Report for 9 September 2013 - Meldrum Rotarian Tells of Experience on Top Of The World
Report for 27 August 2013 - Meldrum Rotarians get geared up for September Cycle Run - Press Release
Report for 5 August 2013 - Meldrum Rotarians Hear of Nepal Plans
Report for 14 July 2013 - Rotarians Seek Volunteers for Nepal Visit - Press Release
Report for 8 July 2013 - Hidden Carers Urged to Come Forward
Report for 1 July 2013 - New President Urges People To Be Part of Rotary
Report for 3 June 2013 - Oldmeldrum Rotary Club Presents Community Award
Report for 15 April 2013 - Meldrum Rotarians in 'Combat Stress' Talk
Report for 8 April 2013 - Rotarians Help Meldrum Pupil Be MEP For a Day
Report for 1 April 2013 - Meldrum Rotarians Hear of Charity's Local Aspirations
Report for 31 March 2013 - Meldrum Rotarians Hail Haddo Egg Hunt Success
Report for 25 March 2013 - Rotarians set for Haddo Egg Hunt
Report for 18 March 2013 - Local Accountant In Peak Performance for Charity
Report for 6 March 2013 - Meldrum Rotarians Invite You To Take a 'Stab In The Dark' at a Murder Mystery Evening
Report for 20 February 2013 - Forthcoming Activities from Oldmeldrum Rotary Club
Report for 11 February 2013 - Councillor tells of 'life on the fiddle'
Report for 14 January 2013 - Oldmeldrum Rotarians learn the benefits of T'ai Chi.

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

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

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24 December 2013

Meldrum Rotarians Cap Successful Year With Charity Donations - 24 December 2013

Pres.Richard with Gordon BullochThe Rotary Club of Oldmeldrum has made donations of over £4,000 to a number of local, national and international charities following a successful year of activity. Scottish Autism, Cancer Research UK, Chest Heart and Stroke Scotland, Gamscot and the Turriff Citizens Advice Bureau are amongst the charities which have benefited from the donations.

The funds were raised in large part from the club’s ‘Ythan Cycle Run’ held in September, which allowed riders to raise sponsorship, both for their own chosen charities as well as for the Oldmeldrum Rotary Club’s chosen charity, Scottish Autism. Scottish Autism has received £3150 from the Cycle Run.
In addition, Turriff Citizens Advice Bureau has received over £500, while Cancer Research UK and Chest, Heart and Stroke Scotland have each received £100. Gamscot, a charity which seeks to build links between Scotland and The Gambia has also received £150.

Oldmeldrum Rotary Club President Richard Thomson said that the club was very pleased with the amounts which had been raised.
“I think everyone involved in the cycle run, from the club members and volunteers who helped to make it happen to the cyclists who made the event such a great day can be very proud of what their efforts have achieved”, he said.
“Rotary is all about supporting communities, both at home and further afield. I think that the range of organisations that our participants have helped us to support through this event reflects all that is best about who we are and what we do as an organisation.
“We’ve just completed our annual tour of the local community with Santa and his helpers, and once again, we’ve been overwhelmed by the level of support we have received. As next year progresses, we’ll be making sure that we continue to support opportunities for young people at home and abroad as well as helping to build strong communities wherever we can in the world.”

The photo shows Club Member Gordon Bulloch (L) receiving a cheque from the Cycle Run on behalf of the Turriff Citizens Advice Bureau from Club President Richard Thomson. Gordon is a volunteer at the Bureau and raised funds for the Bureau as a participant in the Cycle Run.

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9 December 2013

Meldrum Rotarians Hear From RYLA Girls - Meeting 9 December 2013

Pres. Richard with Alyx and RowanTwo teenagers who took part in a Youth Leadership Camp have thanked a local Rotary Club for giving them the opportunity to participate.
Alyx Harrison and Rowan Cruikshank were selected by the Rotary Club of Oldmeldrum to take part in a Rotary Youth Leadership Awards (RYLA) camp, which takes place each year at Nethybridge, near Aviemore.

RYLA is a programme for teenage boys and girls, which was adopted officially by Rotary International in 1971. The Awards are designed to develop the leadership skills of young people with potential. This nurtures the skills of young people who will go on to become the future leaders of our community, and helps in particular those who may need some further encouragement to exploit their leadership skills.
A typical day at the camp would involve breakfast, before being joined by a speaker holding a prominent position in their community to talk about leadership. Afterwards, there are a range of physical activities, including hill walking, gorge walking, rock climbing, abseiling, mountain biking and raft building, all of which help to build teamwork.

All activities are designed to help participants develop the 6 C's of leadership: courage, confidence, charisma, commitment, character and communication.
Rowan told Rotarians how she had tried rock climbing for the first time. “We also walked to the top of Cairngorm”, she said. “It was difficult for me as I don’t like hillwalking, but I’m glad I did it as it made me really proud of myself.”
“We were able to go kayaking, which was ace fun”, continued Alyx. We all had to work together, supporting eachother as we went to help the group stay together on the water.”
Both Rowan and Alyx, who want to become teachers, said that they had thoroughly enjoyed the experience. “We had a fantastic bunch of girls at the camp and we all bonded straight away”, said Rowan. “It challenged us all, but in a really positive way.”

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25 November 2013

Meldrum Rotarians Respond to Philippines Crisis - 25 November 2013

Typhoon Haiyan Emergency Appeal photoThe Rotary Club of Oldmeldrum has responded to the humanitarian crisis in the Philippines by purchasing vital basic survival equipment to assist in the global aid effort through the 'ShelterBox' charity.

Typhoon Haiyan, which swept through much of South East Asia earlier this month, has left thousands dead or missing and many thousands more homeless and lacking basic facilities.
In response, the Oldmeldrum club through its fundraising activities has bought a Shelterbox, while a club member has directly purchased a further two boxes which can now be dispatched to the region.

Each Shelterbox contains a tent big enough to house a large family, together with a multi-fuel stove, water purification equipment, blankets, basic tools for self-sufficiency, and small gifts for children including colouring books, crayons and pens.

Becky Maynard, ShelterBox Director of Fundraising and Communications, said:
“We are working directly with Rotarians in the Philippines and we have Rotarian Response Team members on the ground. The partnership between ShelterBox and the global Rotary family really demonstrates how, through service and support, we can make a real difference to people in their greatest hour of need.”
Oldmeldrum Rotary Club President, Richard Thomson, added:
“No-one could fail to have been moved by the scenes of devastation from the Philipines. In the aftermath of humanitarian disasters around the world, Shelterbox is there to restore dignity and to help people rebuild their lives.
“We are very pleased, thanks to the generosity of our members and the wider community, to be able to support Shelterbox in their activities wherever they are needed.”
For further information or to make a donation, visit

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21 October 2013

Career Moves - Meeting 21 October 2013

David Strathearn with Pres. RichardThe Rotary Club of Oldmeldrum recently welcomed club member David Strathearn as a guest speaker.

David, who lives in St Katherines, is a former professional fundraiser for the Childrens' Hospice Association Scotland (CHAS). He recently embarked on a career as an independent consultant, using his experience to advise charities and third sector organisations on how to increase capacity and develop their income streams.

Speaking afterwards, Club President Richard Thomson thanked David for his talk to the club. “A key part of being a Rotarian comes from using the skills you gain in the workplace to put something back into the community”, he said. “Vocational talks from members give us a chance to learn from others about how they make a difference to others in their daily working lives.
“It was fascinating to hear how David has taken his skills and put them to use helping charities and third sector organisations to achieve more for the people they serve. We are delighted that his consultancy is going so well and wish him continued success in all he does in the future.”

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7 October 2013

Rotary Club of Oldmeldrum & Meldrum Academy Young Musician of the Year 2013

Young Musician Competitors Most Promising and Overall Winners

An appreciative audience of family and friends were entertained by young musicians from Oldmeldrum and the surrounding area at last Monday night's Young Musician of the Year Competition.
Organised jointly by Rotary Club of Oldmeldrum & the Performing Arts Department at Meldrum Academy the evening got off to a great start as Reanne Stewart from Rothienorman played a piece "Indian Dance" on the piano. As well as pianists, the audience listened to musicians playing the viola, violin, fiddle, tuned percussion, trumpet, trombone, tenor horn and oboe.
In all there were 18 young musicians who all performed very well on the night. The distinguished panel of judges, Liz Bulloch, Vivienne Tegg & Chair, Justin Brook had the difficult task of deciding who from the array of talent the winners in each category were.

After difficult deliberations the judges announced Reanne Stewart as winner in the P1 – 4 age category.
Sophie Jackson from Tarves was 1st in the P5 – P7 age category. Sophie played two pieces on the piano, Vampire Blues & Andante.
In the S1 – S3 category, where there were 9 entrants. Oboeist Christopher Smith who lives near Udny playing Sonata in E minor, Mvts 1, 2, 3 & 4 was awarded 1st place.
George Davidson playing Edgefauld House, Glengrant, and The Auld Wheel & Ossian on the fiddle was judged the winner in the S4 – S6 age group. George was also a previous winner having won the title of Young Musician of the Year 2011.

The prize for Most Promising Young Musician went to delighted Jessica Hay from Pitmedden, a pianist who played "Lets Call the Whole Thing Off".

The award for overall winner of Young Musician of the Year 2013 went to Christopher Smith who was astonished to hear he had won. Christopher, who also came 1st in his age group in the 2011 competition, will now go on to represent Oldmeldrum Rotary at the District D1010 heat in Perth next spring.

The evening was rounded off by a well-deserved show of appreciation from the audience and judges who had obviously enjoyed listening to the musical talents of some of the young people living in Oldmeldrum and surrounding areas.

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17 September 2013

Meldrum lad raises over £600 for Charity - 17 September 2013

Fraser Gault with his Ythan Cycle Run certificateAn Oldmeldrum boy has succeeded in raising over £600 for the Scottish Autism charity following a recent local charity bike ride.
Ten year old Fraser Gault – a pupil at Meldrum Primary School - completed the 28-mile long Challenge Route of the Ythan Cycle Run, which was organised by the Rotary Club of Oldmeldrum.

Fraser, who started cycling for fun at the age of three, has over the past year been joining his dad Kev on longer runs. Despite the very short time he has been cycling at a competitive level, Fraser has already taken a 4th in his age group at the Scottish Championship at Ingliston, and locally was 2nd at the recent Ellon Youth Criterium 2013 Cycle race, which gives young riders the taste of what it’s like to race round the streets like the pro riders.
As well as being a member of the Ythan Cycle Club, his other main interest is Sooyang Do, a modern martial arts training system, where he has achieved the level of a black belt.

The 2013 Ythan Cycle Run is the 5th organised by the Rotary Club of Oldmeldrum, which aims each year to raise money for a nominated charity. Those cyclists who are sponsored can choose to donate half the money they raise to the main charity and half to a charity of their choice. Citing his wish to help local children with autism, Fraser has decided to donate all of the £612 he raised to benefit the Scottish Autism charity.
Overall, this year’s Ythan Cycle Run is on course to raise nearly £4,000 for charitable causes.

The attached picture shows Fraser proudly showing the certificate he received from the Rotary Club of Oldmeldrum for successfully completing this year's 28 mile Ythan Cycle Run.

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11 September 2013

Meldrum Rotarians Hail Cycle Run Success - 11 September 2013

Challenge Run Start Whizzing through Methlick Family Run Start
Saturday 7 September saw the 5th annual Ythan Cycle Run organised by Rotary Club of Oldmeldrum take place, with more than 75 entries - an increase on previous years.

44 people took part in the 28 mile challenge route, which went from Udny Green to Methlick and return via Tarves. Of these 4 were between the ages of 7 and 17, the youngest still at Primary School.
The family route, which is much shorter at 8 miles and less challenging also started at Udny Green, and saw 17 adults and 13 children not counting the 4 who were pulled in buggies behind their parents.

Many of the riders raised sponsorship and could choose to donate half of the money they raised to the charity of their choice, or give all to Autism Scotland, which was the nominated charity for this year’s event. Two cyclists nominated Cancer Care UK, and Chest, Heart & Stroke, Scotland as the charities with which they wished to share their sponsorship.

All monies have not yet been received but to date entrance fees, donations and sponsorship have raised over £1700. It is anticipated the final total will be in the region of £4,000.

Afterwards, event organiser Oldmeldrum Rotarian Maurice Clarke thanked everyone who had taken part.
“This was another successful event for the club. Although the good weather clearly played a part in the good turnout, we're absolutely thrilled with the numbers which took part.
“Although there's no requirement to have sponsorship, a number of riders managed to raise some very significant sums, both for Autism Scotland and in some cases their own chosen charities.
“We hope that people will look out for next year’s event which will probably be in early September 2014.”

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9 September 2013

Meldrum Rotarian Tells of Experience on Top Of The World - Meeting 9 September 2013

Richard Burnett with Pres. RichardA member of Oldmeldrum Rotary Club has relived being on top of the world, as he described how he took part in a group which climbed to the very top of Africa's highest mountain.
Richard Burnett, a Director of a Property Management Company in Oldmeldrum, told fellow club members during his guest speaker slot of how he had taken part in the climb of Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania on a "Walks Worldwide" expedition.

Flying from Aberdeen to Heathrow and onwards to Nairobi, he then flew to Kilimanjaro airport, largely wearing and carrying his own kit so as to ensure that it arrived with him safely. After an evening's orientation talk on the dangers of the mountain, they set off the following morning in rough terrain vehicles to the start of the eight-day climb.

Accompanied by a team of 36 porters and guides, Richard described how some of the walkers fell into a group which quickly labeled itself as 'the gang of ten'.
"We were probably the noisiest, most badly-behaved group on the mountain", he said. "At 2,468 feet up on the first afternoon, we discovered that we all liked musicals, and we didn't let our lack of knowledge of the words get in the way of enjoying ourselves", he said.

"The lower slopes of the mountain were pretty dry and arid and without much vegetation, so there wasn't really all that much to see at that point", he continued. "It's difficult to explain just how slow the pace was at times. In order to acclimatise, our guides had us walk high, but sleep lower down." Approaching the summit, Richard told of how the challenges increased.
"No-one could have prepared us for how hard it was", he said. "It wasn't very comfortable and at minus 25°C it was phenomenally cold." However, six hours later, the group 'crossed the rim', with five group members making it to Uhura Point, some 19,635 feet above sea level.
The climb and the demands it had placed on team members to support eachother along the way had forged deep and lasting friendships, he said.
"As friends we became inseparable, and are still in contact with eachother on a near daily basis."

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27 August 2013

Meldrum Rotarians get geared up for September Cycle Run - Press Release 27 August 2013

Start of last year's Run A local Rotary Club is gearing up to give North East cyclists the chance to take to two wheels, as part of a charity cycle run to raise funds in support of Scottish Autism.

The Rotary Club of Oldmeldrum is encouraging cyclists of all ages and abilities to take part in this year's Ythan Cycle Run. Taking place on Saturday 7 September at 1pm, the run offers a choice of two routes through the Aberdeenshire countryside – an 8 mile 'family' route, or a more taxing 28-mile 'challenge' circuit rising over 1,300 feet.
Starting and finishing at the Dr Spence Memorial Hall in Udny Green, the family route offers a sedate cycle along quiet roads. Meanwhile, the Challenge route offers to test the mettle, heading off towards Esslemont and Auchedly, before turning towards Methlick, where Rotarians will be running a refreshment point. From Methlick, the route heads past Crofts of Haddo and south towards Tarves, before returning to Udny Green.

This year’s nominated charity is “Scottish Autism”, to which at least 50% of the proceeds will be donated. However, participants will have the opportunity to donate half of any personal sponsorship to a charity of their own choosing and thus share in the proceeds of their own fund raising.
Established in 1968 by a group of parents, Scottish Autism is now the largest provider of autism-specific services in Scotland and a leading authority and advocate for good autism practice. The charity exists to help those diagnosed with autism to lead full and enriched lives and become valuable members of the community they live in.

Oldmeldrum Rotary Club President Richard Thomson said he was looking forward to another successful event.
“Our past cycle runs have been well supported and have raised a lot of money for good causes”, he said. “This year, we are delighted to be supporting Scottish Autism as our chosen charity.
“The different routes will mean that cycle run is a great day out for families, as well as offering a tougher challenge for the more experienced cyclist.
He continued: “We hope all participants will ask friends, family and colleagues to sponsor them towards raising the greatest amount possible for both Scottish Autism and their own chosen charity, if they have one.”

The charges for taking part are £8 for adults; £5 for ages 7 to 18; or £20 for a family of two adults and two children. There is no charge for children aged 6 and under. A certificate of participation will be issued to all children who have pre-registered.
Further details of the event, including entry forms, are available online at

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5 August 2013

Meldrum Rotarians Hear of Nepal Plans - Meeting 5 August 2013

Hilary Gordon with Pres. RichardThe Rotary Club of Oldmeldrum welcomed club member Hilary Gordon as its guest speaker this week, who spoke to the club regarding her plans to lead a team to improve educational practices and facilities in rural Nepal.

Volunteers, both Rotary members and non-members, are currently being sought for the team, which will spend two weeks in Nepal next April. Anyone interested in being considered for the team can find out more information by contacting Hilary Gordon on or by telephone on 01651 806283.

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14 July 2013

Rotarians Seek Volunteers for Nepal Visit - Press Release 14 July 2013

Rotarians from across the North of Scotland are looking for local volunteers to accompany them on a journey to the Himalayas, to assist in a charity project which increases educational opportunities for youngsters in rural Nepal.

The Rotarians plan to spend two weeks in the mountainous state next April as part of a Training Team traveling to the remote Sangachok area. Based around three hours away from the Nepalese capital Kathmandu, the team will be supporting the work of the First Steps Himalaya charity, which strives to improve the educational opportunities and social outcomes for pre-school children in some of the most deprived and inaccessible areas of the region.

Applications have now opened for team places, which are open to non-Rotarians as well as to those who are Rotary members. Anyone living in the Rotary 1010 District area - which covers everywhere in Scotland north of the River Forth in a line from Fife and Stirling to Skye - whether they have experience in education work or not, is welcome to apply, so long as their professional experience is linked to the objectives of the team.

"This is a really exciting opportunity to take part in a project which has already helped to transform many young lives", said organiser Hilary Gordon. "The team is fully funded by Rotary, which means that all we are asking of those taking part is their experience and their time".

"We are aiming to build capacity in the Nepalese community through offering training, advice and support to local teachers, child care workers and local builders. By doing so, we hope to be able to make a big impact both on the project facilities as well as on the skills level of the local staff in the time we are there".

"We are looking for people of all ages who live in the Rotary District 1010 area, whether they are in Rotary or not or whether they are educationalists or not, to consider putting themselves forward to be part of the Vocational Training Team. Where people do have experience in education, we are also looking for more than teachers of pre-school education, as the benefits of the project are a lot wider than pre-school."

Nepal is one of the poorest counties in the world, with almost 1/4 of its population living below the poverty line. As a result of poor early childhood development, the majority of children enter school without adequate preparation.

The consequence is poor ability in class, failed exams and drop out from school, which perpetuates a cycle of poverty. Although education is compulsory, 24% of children do not complete primary school and only 29% of children attend secondary school.

Applications to be considered for the team, which will visit Nepal from 5-19 April 2014, must be made through a local Rotary club and submitted by 28th September 2013. For an informal discussion (or to find out details of your local Rotary Club) contact Hilary Gordon on or by telephone on 01651 806283.

View of First Steps Himalaya-supported Sangachok Centre Children learning nursery rhymes in one of the centre's pre-school classes
NOTE: Images above are of the First Steps Himalaya-supported Sangachok Centre, along with a picture of children learning nursery rhymes in one of the centre's pre-school classe.

The Aims and Objectives of the Rotary Vocational Training Team are:-

The team will do this by:-

Contact: Hilary Gordon 01651 806283

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8 July 2013

Hidden Carers Urged to Come Forward - Meeting 8 July 2013.

Gail McKeich with Pres. RichardAn organisation dedicated to supporting carers is encouraging local adults who provide care for others to get in touch, so that they can access any help and advice they may need. Gail McKeitch, a Senior Carers Support & Development Worker with Aberdeen based charity VSA, made the call as she visited the Rotary Club of Oldmeldrum last week as a guest speaker.

Mrs McKeitch, who told the club about her role within VSA and what the organisation does to support carers, explained that the team has a role in trying to find 'hidden' carers. An estimated one in eight adults has an unpaid care responsibility for a family member, partner, relative or friend. However, many with these responsibilities are at risk of missing out on the support and advice which is available to them.

“A lot of people who find themselves caring for others simply don't see themselves as carers”, she said. “We offer a listening ear, home visits, support groups and the opportunity through carers forums to bring people together with professionals who can give them useful advice."
“We currently have Creative Breaks Funding to allow carers to enjoy some ‘me’ time and a small grants scheme which carers can apply for in order to help buy things that can improve the quality of their own lives”, she continued. “Recently, we have helped carers to buy an iPad, a polytunnel for all-weather gardening and a sewing machine – all little things which have made a big difference to the people concerned.”

Anyone looking to find out more about VSA's services in Aberdeenshire can call VSA on 01651873953 or email

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1 July 2013

New President Urges People To Be Part of Rotary - Meeting 1 July 2013

Past Pres. Martin handing over to new Pres. Richard, with Pres. elect for 2014, Sheena.An Aberdeenshire Councillor has taken office as the latest President of the Rotary Club of Oldmeldrum.

Former journalist Richard Thomson, 37, who now represents the Ellon & District ward on Aberdeenshire Council, was presented with the chain of office last week by the club's outgoing President, Methlick-based engineer Martin Belshaw.
Mr Thomson, who has been a Rotarian since 2008, told members that it would be an honour to lead the club over the coming year, and repeated his desire to see more new people getting involved with the club. The photo also shows President Elect for 2014, Sheena Clarke.

The club, which supports a range of charities and good causes, as well as organising community events throughout the year including the hugely popular Easter Egg Hunt at Haddo House, meets at Oldmeldrum's Redgarth Hotel on Monday evenings throughout the year.

Anyone interested in coming along or learning more about Rotary should contact Richard on 07968 325634.

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3 June 2013

Oldmeldrum Rotary Club Presents Community Award - Meeting 3 June 2013

Doreen Gray with Pres. MartinThe Rotary Club of Oldmeldrum has presented a club 'Communty Award' to Doreen Gray from Tarves, for her years of assistance to the club in running the Haddo Easter Egg Hunt.

Doreen, together with her dedicated band of egg hiders, has been instrumental in the success of the event over many years, bringing happiness to many thousands of families from the North East and further afield who converge on Haddo Country Park each year to enjoy the free event.

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15 April 2013

Meldrum Rotarians in 'Combat Stress' Talk - Meeting 15 April 2013

Greg Manning with V. Pres. RichardThe problems of post-traumatic stress for armed forces veterans were brought home to members of the Rotary Club of Oldmeldrum, as the club welcomed a representative of the “Combat Stress” charity.

Major Greg Manning, himself a Rotary member from Huntly, took the opportunity of a guest speaker's slot to explain some of the problems which former service personnel could face, often years after serving on the front line.

“Care for those physically injured in battle in this country is second to none, but it's not the same for those who witness this, where the military ethos is to 'crack on' regardless” said Major Manning. “Even if the chain of command is aware of developing psychological problems, people are very busy and it's often just kept 'in house'. The real problem is when it doesn't go away.”

Explaining that the average time for referral for specialist help could be as long as 12 years, Major Manning continued: “Often, when confronted with the problems of ex-service personnel, people forget that not that long ago they were in combat. Quite frequently, referrals come from other agencies such as the police once the person's military service is noticed and two and two can be put together.”

Around 1/3 of rough sleepers are estimated to be ex-forces, as well as a disproportionately high percentage of the prison population, something which reflected, Major Manning said, the fact that many found it hard to adjust to life outside the forces.
“With conflicts over the past 30 years in Northern Ireland, the Falklands, the Gulf Wars, the Balkans, Sierra Leone and Afghanistan, a very large number of service personnel are going to need our help in the years ahead”, said Major Manning. “They are understood better by those like Combat Stress who know the armed forces – all of us have a responsibility to help those acting in our name.”

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8 April 2013

Rotarians Help Meldrum Pupil Be MEP For a Day - Meeting 8 April 2013

Jessie Mathewson with Pres. MartinA North East pupil has thanked local Rotarians for their support, after they sponsored her to take part in a multi-national visit to the European Parliament.
Jessie Matthewson, a pupil at Meldrum Academy, was selected by the Rotary Club of Oldmeldrum to be a potential candidate for the Euroscola programme, which offers students from all over the EU the opportunity to be an MEP for the day.
After a successful second-stage interview, Jessie was confirmed as one of 26 students from Scotland selected from all over Scotland to travel to Strasbourg.

Once in Strasbourg, successful candidates take the floor in plenary and committee sessions to debate and vote on resolutions on current affairs. They also have the opportunity to develop their language skills and to make friends with fellow students from across Europe.
After addressing delegates in French on the future of Europe, Jessie was chosen, along with a student from the Netherlands, to co-chair one of the 100-strong committees.
“We did a lot of preparation beforehand to deal with the language challenge”, Jessie told the Rotarians. “To immerse ourselves, once in Strasbourg we carried out a street survey in French – something which would have been daunting enough if we'd done it in English on Union Street!
“It was a fun experience, and it helped to raise our confidence as a group.”

Once the main business was concluded in the Parliament, Jessie told how the Scots had hosted a ceilidh on the final evening for the other students.
“After teaching people how to do traditional dances like the 'Gay Gordons' and 'Strip the Willow', we were taught how to do a Swedish dance which had lots of foot stamping involved”, she said.
“We all had a lot in common, as we are all interested in current affairs and in learning languages. All of us who took part have kept in touch afterwards and become good friends.
“All in all, the whole programme succeeded in bringing people together in the spirit of the EU motto of 'unity in diversity'.

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1 April 2013

Meldrum Rotarians Hear of Charity's Local Aspirations - Meeting 1 April 2013

Fiona Mathers with Pres. MartinA local charity has made an appeal to help them find a suitable location in Aberdeenshire to work from as they get established.
Fiona Mathers, a founding member and volunteer director of ‘Cornfields’ – a charity which aims to help people deal with significant trauma – made the call when she visited the Rotary Club of Oldmeldrum as a recent guest speaker.
Managed by a team of volunteer directors, Cornfields aims to operate as a social enterprise, and to provide individual and group activities and services.

Fiona told Rotarians of her vision for Cornfields, which has been established as a registered charity for two years, and which aspires to be a resource for people coping with trauma in their lives “as and when they need it”.
“Trauma can be anything that’s a sudden change in your life”, she said. “Something which leaves you in a different place perhaps physically, emotionally, psychologically or even financially.”

Outlining the facilities which the charity hopes to have in place, which include a hub to provide therapy and support, a café and a conference and media centre, Fiona emphasised the keen desire of Directors to find a suitable location in Aberdeenshire for the organisation to have as a base for its planned activities.

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31 March 2013

Meldrum Rotarians Hail Haddo Egg Hunt Success - Easter, 31 March 2013

Haddo overspill car park
The Easter weekend was early this year and on 31st March on a cold but sunny day plenty of people from near and far took advantage of the weather to attend the Rotary Club of Oldmeldrum’s annual Easter egg hunt in Haddo Country Park. Ellon Rotary Club members helped Meldrum Club members to marshal 1225 cars. These parking stewards did a sterling job in wet and muddy conditions starting at 9 am and continuing until 4.30 when a few cars required help to get out!

At the Pheasantry "Found an Egg" Easter Bunny
More than 3000 people then made their way up to the Reception tent where members of the club handed out programmes and information on the varied programme and how to look for the 1500 wooden eggs hidden round the park. There was the usual egg decorating competition and egg rolling down Deer Hill. The large marquee was also well visited as the children wanted to have their face painted. This year had a new innovation of nail painting and many of the children were keen to do that. While they waited in the queues the children were able to draw Easter pictures or complete dot to dots. The parents were also catered for with Ellon Rotary Club manning a refreshment stall with cups of hot tea and coffee being just what was needed on a cold day! There were nearly 50 Rotarians and family members helping out which is a huge commitment but a rewarding service for the community.

Up the Hill Ready to Egg Roll The ladies have a roll Heading Home
Most people were astonished that there was no charge for the event. This is due mainly to the generosity of our sponsors. Although Rotarians are eager to provide this service free of charge to the community the cost of staging this event is nearly £2000. Our donations from the public came to just over £1600 which means that our sponsorship donations are very much needed to keep the event going.

Oldmeldrum Rotarians would like to thank the following individuals and companies for financial sponsorship, Lord Aberdeen, Tom Gunn, Lawrence of Kemnay, Stewart & Watson, JP Kenny Caledonia, Meadows Veterinary Centre, PMC Property, Presly Pest Control Ltd, Oldmeldrum Post Office, Duthies Of Tarves, S French Methlick and Lochter Fishery

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

Oldmeldrum Rotary President Martin Belshaw hailed the 2013 event as a success and offered his thanks to all who had taken part.
“Today was a fantastic day out for all ages”, he said. “We are indebted to the cooperation we get from everyone associated with staging this event, without which the event wouldn’t be the success that it is. “It’s always fantastic to be able to see so many people of all ages enjoying themselves. “We look forward to welcoming everybody back again next year when it will be 20th April 2014”

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25 March 2013

Rotarians set for Haddo Egg Hunt - Press Release 25 March 2013

The Rotary Club of Oldmeldrum is gearing up for its annual Easter Egg Hunt this weekend, with Rotarians hoping that this year’s event will be better than ever.

The egg hunt, which takes place on Sunday 31 March in the grounds of Haddo Country Park, has become something of a family institution across the North East.
With the event traditionally attracting hundreds of youngsters and their parents, it is also one of the biggest free public events taking place anywhere in Aberdeenshire or the North East of Scotland.

Parking at Haddo House is free for the day, as indeed is entry to the Egg Hunt itself. Thousands of brightly painted eggs will be hidden on the footpaths and under trees for children to find.
Although children are free to keep the eggs, they can also be exchanged for chocolate ones at the reception tent. The Easter Bunny will also be there to help children find eggs.
“The Haddo Egg Hunt is always one of our favourite events of the year”, said the event’s organiser, Oldmeldrum Rotarian Morna Ingram. “We always receive tremendous support from everyone associated with Haddo to put on the event, and it’s always a delight to put on an event which people from all over the North East seem to enjoy so much.”

Start of one of last year's egg rolling racesIn addition to the Egg Hunt, there will also be the excitement of the annual egg rolling competition to look forward to. Here, children can roll, or more usually throw their eggs down the hill, with the first egg making it to the bottom of the hill winning its owner a chocolate egg. As in previous years, there will be a wide range of categories in which children of different ages will be able to compete.
A number of other attractions will also be on offer. Teas and coffees will be served by Rotarians from the Ellon club. There will also be a childrens’ activity marquee, as well as the opportunity to see a Rotary ‘Shelterbox’.
Rotarians have been taking the Shelterbox around local schools in order to show how it can help the victims of disasters around the world by providing them with the shelter and the practical tools and equipment which they need in order to rebuild their lives.

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

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18 March 2013

Local Accountant In Peak Performance for Charity - Meeting 18 March 2013

Sandy Manson and Norman YarrowA North East businessman has told local Rotarians how a group of hillwalkers managed to raise a six-figure sum for a teenage cancer charity last year by climbing the highest peaks in Scotland, England and Wales in just under 24 hours.
Sandy Manson - Chief Executive of Johnston Carmichael Chartered Accountants - was part of a group of 23 climbers who in June 2012 scaled Ben Nevis, Scafel Pike in Cumbria and Mt Snowdon in North Wales in aid of the Teenage Cancer Trust charity.

Speaking to members of the Rotary Club of Oldmeldrum , Mr Manson recalled how the group of climbers, aided by a ground support team, had managed to complete the gruelling 'Three Peaks Challenge'.
Starting at 5pm on a Saturday, the group scaled Ben Nevis before being driven the 250 miles overnight to reach Scafel Pike at 4am the following day. After completing their descent, the group then had a further 200 miles to drive before arriving at Snowdon, which they reached with just four hours and ten minutes to spare.
With time running out, the group had to sprint the final section of the 'Coal Miners Track' down the side of the Welsh mountainside, allowing them to complete the challenge in a total of 23 hours and 50 minutes.

Describing himself as being "bedraggled, wet but pretty exhilarated" by the end of the challenge, Mr Manson, who had trained on Bennachie to prepare himself for the challenge, told the Rotarians that it was a "fantastic feeling to have done it."
Explaining that the biggest challenge had been the logistics of travelling between the mountains, he said: "It was one thing to talk about it around the supper table. However, with a bit of leadership, it was quite achievable."
Mr Manson, who also ran the London Marathon in 2010, took part in the challenge following the death from cancer of Fiona Walker, the daughter of close friends.

In total, the group raised approximately £100,000 for the Teenage Cancer Trust, which seeks to improve the lives of teenagers and young adults with the disease.
For further information on the charity, visit:

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6 March 2013

Meldrum Rotarians Invite You To Take a 'Stab In The Dark'
at a Murder Mystery Evening - Press Release 6 March 2013

The Rotary Club of Oldmeldrum is inviting the public to put their detective skills to the test at a Murder Mystery evening later this month.

The Rotarians have joined forces with The Cluny Players to put on the event, which will be held in the Dr Spence Memorial Hall in Udny Green on Saturday 23 March. The evening, which will have a 'holiday camp' theme, is accompanied by a three course meal with tea and coffee afterwards. Wine, beer and soft drinks will also be available.

Event organiser, Oldmeldrum Rotarian David Strathearn, said he was certain that the successful format of the evening would prove a hit. “We're delighted to have secured the services of The Cluny Players for our 'Murder Mystery' event”, he said. “This is a great way to spend an evening, have a meal and put your detecting skills to the test, at the same time as supporting a range of good causes both overseas and on our own doorstep. We look forward to it being a very successful event.”

Tickets for the event, which will help raise funds for Rotary charities, are only £25.00 and are available from David Strathearn 07563 748677.

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20 February 2013

Forthcoming Activities from Oldmeldrum Rotary Club - 20 February 2013

The Rotary Club of Oldmeldrum is preparing to host a 'Community Group Quiz Night' on Monday, 4 March at 7.30pm. in Meldrum Academy.
The quiz, now in its third year, will see prizes on offer for successful community group teams of up to four people. A first prize of £150 is on offer, as well as a second prize of £50.
Entry costs £10. To book a place, contact Christine Falconer on 01651 842494, or by email on

The club will also be hosting its annual Easter Egg Hunt at Haddo Country Park on Sunday 31 March, between 10am - 3pm.
In addition to the chance to hunt for painted wooden eggs, there will also be an Easter Egg decoration competition, an egg-rolling contest down Deer Hill and a children's activity marquee. Aberdeenshire Library Book Start will also be present, and a tea tent will also be open to serve refreshments.
Entry to the Easter Egg Hunt is free, although donations are welcomed.

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11 February 2013

Councillor tells of 'life on the fiddle' - Meeting 11 February 2013

Richard Thomson with Pres. MartinA local Councillor is hoping to make waves on the traditional music scene, after recording a CD with one of Scotland's most popular ceilidh bands.

Ellon & District Councillor Richard Thomson took to the recording studio last week with the Canongate Cadjers Ceilidh Band. Although mostly Edinburgh-based, the band has strong Aberdeenshire links, with Richard from Ellon and second accordionist Adam Young living until recently near Inverurie.

In a talk to the Rotary Club of Oldmeldrum, Richard, who is also the club's Vice-President, gave members a potted history of the band, as well as some of the musical projects they have been involved in individually and collectively down the years.
Together with band drummer Kenneth Ross, Richard told how they had worked on P&O cruise ships as guest entertainers. The band, which specialises in traditional Scottish Ceilidh music with a modern twist, has also travelled to the Middle East to perform for the expat. community, and has also featured in the Ceilidh Tent at the 'T in the Park' festival, held annually near Kinross.
Richard, who is the grandson of well-known North-East fiddler and bothy ballad singer Gordon Easton from Tyrie, near Fraserburgh, told how his involvement in the band had diminished in recent years, but had been rekindled following the death last year of the band's original fiddle player, Iain King. Meeting up at a musical tribute evening held in Iain's honour, the band had subsequently taken bookings at accordion and fiddle clubs around the country, and decided to make a return to the studio.

“It's been really good to get back in tow with such a great bunch of musicians and friends”, Richard told the Rotarians.
“In our time playing together, we've traveled many thousands of miles and played millions upon millions of notes, mostly in the right order.
“The music we've played together and the time spent in eachother's company over the years has been such a big part of our lives. It's been great to try and capture some of that for posterity on CD with some new tunes to update the band's sound.”

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14 Jan 2013

Oldmeldrum Rotarians learn the benefits of T'ai Chi. - Meeting 14 January 2013

Scott Allan with P.Pres. Ray WalkerMembers of the Rotary Club of Oldmeldrum were interested to hear from Scott Allan, this week's guest who spoke ably about his interest and passion for T'ai Chi., which he described as moving meditation.

Scott spoke about his own reasons for taking up T'ai chi and the benefits he has since found to his health and wellbeing. Scott explained some of the background to T'ai Chi although the exact origins are unknown. He spoke briefly about four of the main styles, but all have similarities and take the form of slow, co-ordinated flowing movements. Scott emphasised the positive benefits people can gain from T'ai Chi. Some studies indicate that time and effort in practice can benefit posture and co-ordination, lower blood pressure and also reduce feelings of anxiety and stress.

T'ai Chi is a martial art. However to develop the skills and sensitivity required to use it in this way takes many years of dedicated practice. Unlike other martial arts T'ai Chi is not competitive and most people are drawn to this form as a means of improving their general well-being. In response to questions members were told that people of all ages and levels of fitness can learn T'ai Chi.

Information about classes held locally can be found on the website

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