We now meet at The Marylebone Hotel, 47 Welbeck Street, London, W1G 8DN on the second, third and fourth Mondays each month at 12.30.
Mortimer (Tim) Raath died on Monday 26th February after a long
period of poor health. He had had a very interesting career in Africa with Tiny Rowland before settling in this country. He joined St Marylebone Rotary Club in 1983. He was our President on two occasions -typically taking the position the second time at short notice to help the Club. He was also Secretary and Foundation Chairman. Foundation and End Polio Now were his main passion and he served on the Foundation committees at District 2002-12. He was Chairman from 2007 and also served at RIBI level. He was Chairman of Youth Makes Music 2004-05 .He loved to attend International Rotary Conferences with his wife Jan. She is a strong supporter of Rotary too and our thoughts and prayers are with her at this time.
SPEAKER 27 NOVEMBER
President Robert introduced Deborah Hall MBE who is the manager of Chigwell Riding Trust for Special Needs and a committed Rotarian who is going to be Club President for the third time. (Loughton, Buckhurst Hill and Chigwell. All 1 club!). Robert knows her in both capacities.
Deborah started her talk by telling us that the trust catered for all ages and a range of physical and mental disabilities. It had at least 60 riders each week but there was a waiting list of 300.. She had 14 horses in her stables.
She was proud to be able show us the world premiere of a video which had been made about the Riding Trust.
The film gave a very good picture of the training done in the school and the enjoyment and determination of the riders who obviously benefited psychologically and physically. They have competitions and prizes for encouragement. The trainer has been named Performance Coach of the Year. The success of the school depends on over a 100 volunteers to help with the riders.
The activities shown were grooming, mounting with wheelchair access, trotting, exercises in the yard and a visit to the local nature reserve( which had no wheelchair access). The physical benefits are improved muscle tone, balance, co-ordination and development of the core muscles. This had led to some of her pupils being able to walk as the pelvic tilt while riding is the same as in walking. She had also had some riders who had started to say a few words after riding. The therapeutic benefit is seen mainly in riders with cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy and brain tumours.
She chooses her horses, who are the most important members of the team, by the shape of their eyes. They must have cow eyes rather than piggy eyes.
Deborah decided to follow this career path after seeing her first session 36 years ago. She invited us to attend their Carol Concert at 3pm 3 Sunday December.
The address is Grange Farm, High Rd, Chigwell, Essex IG7 6DP (02085006051).
President Robert thanked Deborah for her talk and the chance to see the film. His visits to the stables were always enjoyable and inspiring.
SPEAKER 13 NOVEMBER
Tom Lester introduced our guest speaker Kat Pugh, the Head teacher of St Marylebone CE School. Kat said that she was very pleased to speak to us. She never had a lunch break; at school there was a myriad of activities now taking place. both intellectual physical . It was clear that the School was very active and engaged with the students..
Kat talked about the publications the school produces.: there was a weekly Bulletin prepared by the students and a very glossy St Marylebone Messenger, produced twice a year with articles by students.
Kat told us the School was founded in 1791 , originally the Marylebone "Day School of Industry", to educate the children of the poor in the parish. The St Marylebone School was a comprehensive school and was one of the first arts specialist schools. It focused on the visual and performing arts as well as doing extremely well in the Sciences and Maths. There were 1098 pupil with girls from 11-16 and the sixth form with both boys and girls. The School had an environment that supported students’ accomplishments and high achievement, and there was a ‘Praise Board’ to recognise achievement, and this was supported by all students. There was a very culturally rich educational environment. They had a very high and varied number of speakers talking about their careers and the working world.
Kat also spoke about the relationship with the Marylebone Hotels consortium, through the good offices of Margaret Pollock. The Hotel sponsored a fun raising event for the school last year which had raised £20,000 for the school.
QuestionS ranged from the use of mobile phones to the various Rotary contacts and competitions engaged in by the School.
Tom thanked Kat for an inspirational talk.
SPEAKER 15 OCTOBER
David Piyyfieldwas born in Liberia, was in the military and has worked all over the world for the UN. Currently he was leading a project to rehabilitate the River Nile to help navigation. His title was “ UN Peacekeeping: is it failing?”. He. spoke about the UN Peacekeeping operations where there were some 13 missions costing $7 to $8b. He wondered if eventually further peacekeeping would be needed in N Korea.
He showed us some slides showing how dangerous these operations can be for example the LRA in Sudan, whom he called “the bad guys”. He took as an example the operation in The Democratic Republic of Congo and the second Congo war from 1998 to 2003; this was the deadliest war in modern African history involving 9 surrounding countries and 20 armed groups. There had been 5 million deaths and 2 million displaced persons.
Peacekeeping began with a Security Council mandate, the idea being to secure Peace, Security, Stability and the Protection of Civilians.. The programmes involved the establishment of soldiers, police and civilian staff.. But David maintained economics were ignored. The new state was set up, there would be elections but then everyone leaves.
The costs were enormous, in setting up camps for staff, provision of expensive trucks, large helicopters and monster planes. However David maintained it had proved to be a “failure” as in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where the UN had been for some 50 years. Although some good work had been done, the missions “eats” $1.1b a year , but hardly anything gets to the Congo.
There were millions of unemployed young men – the police and the army were responsible for 20% of the rapes. There was no meaningful medical system. If staff were ill, they were flown to Pretoria at great expense. Things were not working and it was the same year after year. David referred to a quote attributed to Einstein “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results."
So what was the solution? David suggested it was to halve the peacekeeping force and with the money saved to introduce 20 battalions of disciplined soldiers, allow money for infrastructure, thereby creating millions of jobs. Then train a proper army and police and in 10 years the country could be up and running.
One needed clean government, and should “follow the money”. There were 500 parliamentary seats but 19,000 candidates as the rewards were immense. There was a “winner takes all” philosophy so that after an election there would be civil war. Aid should go to the service providers with an independent agency to oversee aid distribution. At the moment young educated people get fed up and leave, and then don’t come back. A programme was needed to get these people to come back..
SPEAKER 9 OCTOBER
Margaret Pollock introduced the Director and a client from the Women’s Trust who were our guests and speakers today. The Women’s Trust is one of the charities that our club is supporting through our projects this year.The Director reported that the Charity was established 21 years ago to provide support and assistance to women who have been victims of domestic violence.
The Trust provides a safe environment to women who are recovering from the emotional and physical effects of this violence. The Charity provides one to one counselling and art therapy for children as well as the parent affected by abuse which includes physical, emotional, financial abuse as well as forced marriage and genital mutilation. The Director reported that one in four women will experience domestic violence and two women are killed every week as a result of this
The Director introduced the Client who read out her story of her experience as a victim of domestic violence. These actions rob the victims of their voices and it is difficult to find effective support. The Women’s Trust offered her support when no one else understood
what she was going through. Through the Trust she received unconditional support, love and kindness as well as a safe place to work through her trauma.
There were a number of questions to our guests from members of the club including one asking about similar support services to men that suffer from the same type of violence. An organisation called GALLUP is available to men who suffer from domestic violence.
Margaret Pollock thanked the Director and Client of the Trust for their very effective andpersonal talk. It was very moving.
SPEAKER 25 SEPTEMBER
Mike Hodge said he was delighted to be with us to say a few words – although he said it was unlikely that a DG ever said just a few words. He last was at our Club some five of six years ago at the Sherlock Holmes Hotel. He gave us greetings from the Rotary Club of Barnet – the top Club in the District (is one looked at the map!).
He was in San Diego in January to meet the President of RI who had a three point plan that was important to RI and also to RIBI and then to each Club. There were three pillars (which can also be a circle). (PPP) Projects – Publicity – People which are linked. A Project might involve fundraising and handing over money – BUT Rotary is not a fundraising organisation, it must involve Service and we need Publicity. If cheques are just handed over, there is no Service, and the only people who know is the organisation receiving the cheque.
If you can identify what the organisation’s needs, find out if we can buy it for them and hand it over at a ceremony, so it can be seen what Rotary has done. This can lead to more people knowing about Rotary, some of whom may join.
The world has moved on since the start of Rotary. Social media is important in getting the message out and regular posts are needed eg on Facebook, wjere one can ‘shout’ about our projects.
Mike then spoke about Alzheimer’s disease and dementia and how ‘Memory Cafes’ can be so helpful for the sufferers and particularly their carers. Clubs can look in their areas and see how we can help by volunteering or if there is not one close, starting a new one.
Mike acknowledged that the Club had been very active in the local community.
Margaret Pollock thought that the PPP theme was very helpful. In our current Projects we had lead Rotarians involved for each. She said there several Memory Cafes in Westminster and she would find out where they were.
David Leuw asked how they were set up. Mike said we should approach Bobby Segal The District Community Chair. There was a need for a lead person and up to 4 volunteers. Music can be a key element – evidently the part of the brain that deals with music is the last part to go.
The President thanked Mike for really interesting talk. Mike presented the President with a banner “Making a Difference”.
SPEAKER 11 SEPTEMBER
President Robert introduced Peter King Senior Immigration Judge whose talk -Human Rights and Public Wrongs – looked at the plight of migrants and asylum seekers. He first defined refugees as those who were in danger of persecution if they were to return to their home country, and migrants who left their home for other reasons such as drought, famine or from countries with no infrastructure who just wanted a better life.