The Rotary Club of Pickering reach out into their community and invite local people to recommend someone they believe should be recognised and, above all, to say “Thank you” for the work and the effort they put in. The Rotary of Pickering do this by presenting a Rotary ‘Service before Self’ award.

Left; Pres. RC of Pickering; Hugh Morgan. Centre;  John Scoble. Right; DG

On 19th July I had the great pleasure of being present when John Scoble was presented with his ‘Service Before Self Award’ by the Rotary club President Hugh Morgan. John’s nomination was proposed by Heather Chaplin and the citation reads as follows;

“Since John’s retirement from his career in education as a head teacher and advisor in North Yorkshire, he has been very busy offering his knowledge and advice in a variety of ways, free of charge to the local community.

This includes being Chair of Governors for a number of years at Scalby School, Scarborough. Recently he has been assisting them in their transition to academy status. He also runs many clubs in local schools teaching both staff and pupils to play the ukulele.

John has been an accomplished guitar player and singer for many years. At one time he performed professionally, but in recent years has used his talents to raise money for a wide variety of charities.
In March 2013 John and David Swann (a local singer, song writer) gave a musical concert, in Thornton Dale Village Hall, which raised over £2,000 for the British Heart Foundation and Middlesborough Hospital Heart Unit.
Following the concert and having read somewhere that learning a new musical instrument may help to ward off Alzheimer’s, John invited 6 people to join him in learning to play the ukulele. The original 6 people made their first public appearance at another charity concert run by John in Thornton Dale Village Hall. This time over £2,000 was raised for Martin House Hospice. At the performance John invited the audience to join the ukulele group.

Many more concerts later the group of 6 players has grown considerably and there are now approximately 70 adults in the Ryedale area meeting regularly to learn to play the ukulele. John’s tuition is free and ukuleles are available for people to borrow when they first start to play.
John’s enthusiasm and policy of inclusion has encouraged many to join the various groups of learners, who meet in a variety of venues.
Many of the players have quite serious health issues, including Parkinson’s, MS, partial sight and diabetes. Many of us players are retired people whose retirement has been enriched by the music, companionship and friendship, which we find within the groups. Plus the fact that we are helping to raise thousands of pounds for charity.

John is providing a valuable service to our community, free of charge, which has enriched our lives. Meetings are always very jolly, happy and humorous occasions. The music stimulates our brains and the feeling we get when we play successfully is very fulfilling.

I have no hesitation in recommending John Scoble for your community award.”


Well done, John. You deserve the award. And well done too to the Rotary of Pickering for recognising the need to say “Thank you”.

If after reading this, you feel that John’s initiative with the ukulele could be extended further or you want to know more about it, please contact me and I will pass on your details.


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