On Top of the World

On Top of the World

It is a tradition at the RC of Bradford West for the incoming President to host a handover party at their home in the early part of their year.

This year we had two handovers to celebrate. Allison taking over as Club President and Robert taking over as District Governor of 1040 – Yorkshire and North Lincolnshire. A new chapter in both their lives.

For Robert and his wife, Jo, it was also the end of a chapter, having all but completed work on the redevelopment of their house after almost 7 years hard labour! So they invited all the club members to a joint celebration in their beautiful home.

At almost 1000 feet above sea level, with a magnificent view across Bradford and beyond, ever changing with the weather conditions we really did feel to be          “on top of the world”.

Let’s hope that feeling continues throughout the Rotary year ahead!

Let the #stepbystep challenge begin!

everobearIn 1986, when I was only 22 years old, The Rotary Polio Campaign was launched. This was the year I joined The Rotary Club of Bradford West.

It was one of the best decisions I have ever made.

You may know that we are at the most critical stage or eradicating polio. After being so close to the finish line, some might feel we are taking a step backwards.

I don’t believe that Rotarians around the world will allow this to happen so now is the time to push on harder than ever before. We MUST move forward toward polio eradication. And it’s easy to help!

On Sunday 28th May 2017, I will be running the Edinburgh Marathon. The marathon will be a big challenge for me as a non-runner, but there is a bigger challenge that needs your help & support.

It will take approximately 50,000 steps to get me to the finish line. The Challenge is to make every single step count.

A step costs £1 to buy and I have 50,000 to sell. Each step will bring polio eradication (and me) closer to the finish line! Did you know that for a very limited period only £1 = £3?

Every £1 raised will attract a £2 contribution from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, effectively tripling the amount raised for Polio. 2017 will be the last year the Gates Foundation will provide this fundraising opportunity so it vitally important to attempt this Marathon in the particular year.

You can stay updated with progress via social media @paws4polio or visit the website for sponsorship forms and further information at http://www.paws4polio.co.uk


Rotary Peace Fellows 2016


On Saturday 29th October 2016 I accepted an invitation to visit the Great Hall at Bradford University to meet and listen to the Rotary Peace Fellows.

To be honest I don’t know where to start, I could write a 1000 words on each of the scholars and still not do justice to their presentations!  Unfortunately two of them could not be there in person, one through illness and the other, Yuko Maeno who only gave birth to a baby one month ago, could only join us from Japan via Skype with her ‘babe in arms’; a surprising and wonderful moment for her peace scholar friends in the hall.

These individuals are such remarkable people and I am in awe of their achievements.  Their optimism and commitment to the oppressed, displaced and ‘the forgotten’ is remarkable.

I was humbled as the District Governor Elect and as a human being.  As a Rotarian I was enlightened and reinvigorated.  I could not help but wonder in admiration at the foresight of our Rotary forefathers.

Rtn Brian Stoyel reminded us in his address that at the 1917 Atlanta Convention, Rtn Arch Klump, the visionary who instigated Rotary Foundation, suggested an endowment fund

“for the purpose of doing good in the world”

There can be no greater tribute to Rtn Arch Klump and his legacy :-

The Rotary Peace Fellows, Class XIV
University of Bradford.


Past District Governor Hazel Haas MBE

Handover 3.7.16

Well done Hazel

During my short tenure as District Governor Nominee I have had the pleasure of working with and learning from DG Hazel and she has been a great support to me.  Hazel has been a great credit to Rotary in general and especially District 1040 and a great support to me.

On top of the work normally expected of a District Governor with 79 clubs throughout the Yorkshire area, she has overseen District 1040 enlargement to 103 clubs to start on 1st July 2016. Then there were ‘the floods’ which so badly affected large areas of Yorkshire. I know that Hazel has been full of praise for every Rotary Club in the District and beyond, for their considerable efforts in this regard.  Perhaps now is the opportunity to thank Hazel for her tremendous organisational skills in making sure that District 1040 was as effective and efficient as possible.

There will be many more women District Governors in District 1040, but there will only be one ‘first’ lady.

Last, but not least, congratulations Hazel on being awarded an MBE in your year of office.

District 1040 Handover

Friday 1st July 2016 is the first day of the new Rotary New Year and I became ‘District Governor Elect’ for District 1040. Turning the calendar from June to July seemed like a simple enough thing to do but for some reason a twinge of apprehension swept through me!

DG Phil Poole taking over from (now) PDG Hazel

Handover 3.7.16

Caption competition –
1. What is PDG Hazel Haas thinking?
2. What is newly installed DG Phil Poole thinking?
3. Answer to question 3 – “No worries, still another 12 months to go!!”

On Sunday 3rd July the informal formalities of District Handover took place at The Bridge Hotel and Spa in Wetherby (www.thebridgewetherby.co.uk). DG Hazel handed the chain of office to incoming District Governor Phil Poole, I became DG Elect and Nigel Arthurs was installed as District Governor Nominee.

DG Elect C of ODistrict Governor Elect Chain


New Yorkshire Air Ambulance

Air Ambulance 7.6.16 -2The New Airbus H145 Yorkshire Air Ambulance


The invitation to see the brand new and latest Yorkshire Air Ambulance (YAA) to the County on Tuesday 7th June was both a delight and an honour. The Rotary District Governor Hazel Haas and I were invited to represent all the individual Rotarians and the 79 clubs across Rotary District 1040 who have donated funds to the YAA over the last few years.

The venue for the event was the Nostell Air Support Unit, which is actually part of the Nostell Priory Estate, near Wakefield. The facility was apparently donated by Lord St Oswald and the ongoing lease is described as a ‘peppercorn rent’.

Air Ambulance 7.6.16 -4

Rotary District 1040 – A Principal Supporter of the Yorkshire Air Ambulance

The Rotary emblem is prominently displayed along with 20 organisations in the YAA head quarters as a ‘Principle Supporter’ and the new Air Ambulance displays two Rotary logos, one on either side of the ‘clam shell’ doors at the back of the aircraft. Many Rotary clubs make individual donations directly to the YAA and unfortunately we don’t actually know the total benefit the Air Ambulance received during the last Rotary year. (A good example, if any were needed, for the database that is Rotary Club Central).
Air Ambulance 7.6.16 -3Rotary Logo displayed with great pride

The YAA Chairman Peter Sunderland followed Brian Chapman’s welcome and introduction.  He said that each air ambulance is called out 3 or 4 times a day, every day of every week and that it is not part of the NHS. The £12,000 per day running costs are funded entirely from donations, from small individual donations to large corporate donors. Peter believes that the people of Yorkshire are very proud of the Air Ambulance service and they feel ‘a high degree of ownership’ towards the service. He was very pleased to report that the cost of administering the charity was just 15% of the total income, less than some other comparable services.

The new Air Ambulance

The Airbus H145 helicopter so proudly displayed was built to YAA exact specifications.  The helicopter was paid for in full and a major contribution towards the cost was from the government.  This contribution was made after Chancellor George Osborne received a letter from Geoffrey Boycott suggesting that a share of the fines levied against the Banks to go towards a new Air Ambulance in the County of Yorkshire. Peter Sunderland spoke of his amazement seeing the sum of £1m showing on the account via a BACS transfer from H.M. Government!

On seeing the new aircraft for the first time, one lady was heard to remark, “I wonder how many lives that will save?” The helicopter it will replace saved 4,893 lives and this number will continue to increase until the new aircraft is fitted out and brought into service later in the year (2016).

The new aircraft will have increased manoeuvrability due to an enclosed and protected tail fan, it has a top speed of 160 mph and can travel two hours thirty minutes without refuelling; over one hour longer than the current model.

The interior of the Air Ambulance

 The new aircraft is larger than the current model with the benefit of being able to transfer through to the cabin and the treatment area. As well as the stretcher there are two forward facing seats at the side and one backward facing seat at the head end of the stretcher to facilitate life saving / sustaining treatment whilst in flight. Additional medical equipment will include cardiac machines and an incubating and ventilation system, all of which can be administered by qualified Doctors who are now part of the YAA team.

Looking Forward
It is an ambition of the YAA to be able to operate 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Such a service will increase costs by some 30% and require additional equipment such as night vision helmets at a cost of £20,000 each (they require 9 helmets!). In addition, the four regional trauma centres; Middlesbrough, Hull, Sheffield and Leeds will have to be fully lit 24 hours a day, which is not currently the case.

The Yorkshire Air Ambulance covers 4 million square acres of Yorkshire and includes over 5 million people. 4.4 million of those are adults and if each adult paid just £1 each that would almost cover the annual running cost of one Air Ambulance.

The Yorkshire Air Ambulance is a remarkable service.  If you were that patient, if that person was your relative or if you were at the scene of an incident, it would give you tremendous reassurance when a helicopter appeared from out of the sky.  On board there will be a team of qualified and very professional caring people – who have just one primary objective;- to help save your life.

Air Ambulance 7.6.16 -1A proud day for Rotary District Governor Hazel Haas

The most organised Rotary Club in 1040?

NorthAllerton INVITE 2017

On Thursday 14th April 2016 I received what must be the longest notice ever for an event. From the moment I received the email to the date of the event I have exactly 19 months, 3 days, 2 hours and 48 minutes to prepare for the Rotary Club of Northallerton’s Charter evening!

Even though I knew full well that no other club made contact about dates for my year in office starting July 2017; I still went to check my diary! How ridiculous was that? No one plans that far ahead do they? (Apart from RC of Northallerton.)

So, to the all important question, “is the the Rotary Club of Northallerton the most organised club in Rotary District 1040, or even RIBI?”

I wonder if Secretary Les Crelling has written his Christmas cards yet?!


Skipton Craven Charter Dinner.

Congratulations to the Rotary Club of Skipton Craven on a great night celebrating their 28th Charter. At £20 a ticket, it must be one of the best value Charters in the District, no wonder over 80 people turned up with visitors from 12 other clubs.  A sizeable Fish Platter to start, perfectly cooked Braised Steak in shallot and red wine sauce with generous amounts of green vegetables and potatoes, followed by a choice of warm sweets with either custard, cream or ice cream. I have to confess to not having a pudding but judging by the reduction in the noise level, everybody definitely enjoyed them.

Just when I was wondering about sneaking off home to nurse a very contented tummy, President Elect George Garland stood up and gave what must be the best Toast to RI and RIBI I have ever heard, a point not missed by District Governor Hazel. If that was what the ‘warm up’ speaker could do, I had to stay and listen to the rest of them. I did not regret it; DG Hazel and President John Utley were a perfect double act and John Spencer, the Ex England Rugby Union Captain rounded off the evening perfectly with a number of thought provoking, interesting and humorous stories. One thing that John Spencer did say that will remain with me, “The greater the challenge, the greater the opportunity”. Now that must be a candidate for a Rotary International theme for the year. I have no idea how these things work, but does anybody think we should try and get it considered for a Rotary International theme in the future?

Thanks again to President John and everyone who made me and all the guests feel so welcome.

Finally, if anybody sees a man in a kilt wondering around Skipton with confused look on his face, tell Mark Stewart-Clarke he’s “got the wrong night, Skipton Craven Charter was on Tuesday 12th April!”

RobertSkipton Craven Menu card 12.4.16


blog 2

This is my second blog. I’m still finding my way around the system. Hopefully the blogs will improve as I get more proficient. In the meantime can I recommend the web site of my Club, The Rotary Club of Bradford West?

Also we have a Facebook page which you may find to be of interest

Finally can I tell you about our Charity Auction? You will find a list of all the lots and some photographs on our web site.


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