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Get the latest news from our regular Club Meetings.

CLUB MEETING - Monday 12th November 2018

by Bill Parkinson

Following the singing of The Grace president Michael introduced the speaker Philippa Arnold who was representing the Warwickshire Wildlife Trust.

Philippa gave some of the historical background to convservation in the UK. Charles Rothschild (1877 - 1923), a banker, was determined to find ways of changing attitudes and ways to save many endangered species and protect the countryside.

A survey identified 284 sites as worthy of being conserved and in 1941 following a government sponsored conference specific sites for conservation were identified.

It was in 1949 that National Parks legislation was introduced.

        Gradually a number of conservation areas were set up under trusts and eventually these were brought together under the Badger Logo and eventually  there were 46 Trusts supported by  800,000 members, many of them children.

        Originally founded in 1956 The Warwickshire group became the Warwickshire Wildlife Trust was established in 1992. The Trust has reserves at Alvecote Pools, Temple Balsall wetland, Clowes Wood, Draycote Meadows and Brandon Marsh. 

                A visitor centre has also been established at the Parkridge Centre in Solihull,

                The Trust manages 65 nature reserves, many of them belonging to other organizations. There are over 600 volunteers who work with the Trust in a variety of roles. The educational work of The Trust is important in involving young people in conservation.

                Michael was pleased to present Philippa with a cheque to help the work of the Trust.

                  CLUB MEETING - Monday 5th November 2018

                  by Bill Parkinson

                  Following the singing of The Grace led, by Past President Ken, President Michael welcomed Past President Robert Villette to the meeting. Everyone was pleased to see Robert back and more like his old self following his recent illness.

                  Past President Ken was pleased to report that there were already 25 Christmas trees pledged for the forthcoming festival in Holy Trinity Church but he urged members to work hard to persuade other individuals and organizations to place a tree in the event.

                  Our guest was Lynn Crosbie who was speaking about the work of Coventry Sea Cadets: an organization which has been supported and has had close links with our club for a number of years.

                  Lynn has been involved with Coventry Sea Cadets for 32 years, firstly as a member and latterly as an officer and a trustee.

                  Lynn thanked Rotary Club of Coventry for all of their support over the years which has enabled the Sea Cadets to purchase boats, kayak's and also send deserving young cadets to events both in Britain and internationally. Many of these young people would not have been able to attend and perform outstandingly without the support of Rotary.

                        Originally started in 1856 as The Naval Lads Brigade there are now 400 units across the UK with over 50,000 members. The Coventry unit was founded in 1942 and is still affiliated to HMS Coventry.

                        Youngsters aged 10 to 18 are welcome and they take part in a variety of character building and challenging activities which engender self-confidence, a pride in themselves and their cadet unit, a strong team ethic which follows in the best traditions of naval seaman ship and they also develop practical skills in sailing and steering boats.

                                The Coventry unit currently have 125 members made up of 85 cadets and 28 staff. It has held the prestigious Burgee Proficiency Award for 24 years and is consistently successful in District Area and National competitions.

                                Coventry is fortunate to have young people like Lynn who dedicate so much time and effort to making Coventry Sea Cadets such a successful organization giving so many of our young people the chance to be involved in such interesting, challenging and varied activities.

                                  CLUB MEETING - Monday 29th October 2018

                                  by Bill Parkinson

                                  President Michael opened the meeting by thanking members who had supported the turning Broadgate Purple event which was held to publicize the worldwide polio eradication programme in which Rotary worldwide has given such invaluable support.

                                  He went on to inform members that a committee was to be formed to move forward on putting together an application for The Queen's Award for Voluntary Service. The Committee is to be chaired by Tim Sawdon and chairs of committees among others will also be members.

                                  Our speaker was Tricia Scott from The Warwickshire Bat Group which covers the whole of Warwickshire including Coventry.

                                        Of the 17 species of bat found in the British Isles, 13 have been recorded in Warwickshire. On fine summer nights bats start leaving their day roosts around dusk. This is often the best time to try and spot their silhouettes against the sky before it gets too dark.

                                        Flying uses up a lot of energy so bats need to catch plenty of insects to stay healthy; a tiny Pipistrelle may eat up to 3,000 insects in one night! So, the best places to look for bats is where insects gather at night - around woodland, hedgerows, rivers, ponds, lakes, gardens, or even white street lights.

                                                As recently as the 1950's colonies of thousands of bats could be seen today even our most common bat; the Pipistrelle, appears to have suffered serious decline. It is thought to be the result of many factors:

                                                • Timber treatment with toxic chemicals used in lofts can be fatal to bats
                                                • Roost sites are lost due to vandalism, blocking of access holes, mine capping and tree felling 
                                                • General habitat destruction
                                                • Changes in agricultural practices reducing the number and variety of insects

                                                  CLUB MEETING - Monday 22nd October 2018

                                                  by Bill Parkinson

                                                  President Michael announced that the Indonesian earthquake appeal had now reached £380. He thanked all those who had contributed to this very worthy cause.

                                                  Vice President Judy Ryan reported on the recent Southport Conference. Although some speakers were less than inspiring there was a very thought provoking presentation from a young man who lectures at Aston University. He is carrying out some research into perceptions of Rotary among members of the public.

                                                  He put forward a view from his findings that generally Rotary is seen as taking members from a well off, religious and royalist background. Rotary is regarded as an organization thetas not for young people and we are seen to be keen to recruit members in 'our own image'. Many Rotarians would certainly take issue with this.

                                                  Judy invited members present to discuss these ideas and the future of Rotary and increasing membership. Among the opinions expressed were:

                                                      • We need to change or we will wither away through falling membership
                                                      • Coventry can't support 5 Rotary Clubs as members are spread too thinly
                                                      • Numbers are not really falling as the combined membership of the 5 clubs is similar to that of the founding club
                                                      • Rotary should make it clear that the club can help young people move forward in their careers
                                                      • Speakers are often surprised by the number of members who do attend in comparison with other organizations so are we being too pessimistic
                                                      • Friendship and support for each other should be a key feature of Rotary
                                                      • Should we be looking to recruit among newly retired people as they have the time to devote to Rotary activities which younger people often do not

                                                              Following the discussion it was decided that we should invite the lecturer who gave the conference talk which had stimulated so much discussion to speak to us and it was also suggested that it would be a good idea to invite the other Coventry clubs.

                                                              Ros asked members to each bring a box of mince pies for the Festival of Christmas Trees. They could be brought starting next week.

                                                                CLUB MEETING - Monday 15th October 2018

                                                                by Bill Parkinson

                                                                Following The Grace, President Michael introduced our speaker Chris Howard, Chairman of The Holy Trinity Development Trust.

                                                                Chris was for many years Music Director and choir master at Holy Trinity.He came to Coventry as a music teacher, first at Woodlands School and later at Bluecoat School where his work with the school choir was very highly regarded.

                                                                He was organist at Queen's Road Baptist Church for 8 years before taking up his position at Holy Trinity which he held for 32 years.

                                                                Chris gave an insight into some of the important events and characters who have been part of the history of Holy Trinity. Some parts of the Norman church which was largely destroyed by a fire in 1257 still remain, although at present not open to the public.

                                                                Dr Walter Farquhar Hook who was Vicar from 1829-1837 was responsible for beginning the remodeling of the church when the Georgian box pews and galleries were removed. George Gilbert Scott, later famous for designing The Houses of Parliament, designed the gOths revival restoration which included a new organ chamber in the westernmost bay.

                                                                Dr Hook was a passionate philanthropist who established a school, a dispensary and an institute which was the forerunner of what would be later be Coventry Technical College. He later worked in Leeds where he continued his charitable work founding 30 schools and 31 new churches.

                                                                    November 1940 nearly witnessed the destruction of the church during the German bombing of the city but due to the prompt action of the Reverend Graham Clitheroe who along with his volunteers kicked the deadly incendiary bombs of the roof, Holy Trinity did not suffer the same fate of its neighbor St Michael's.

                                                                    Chris has played the organ in Holy Trinity since becoming musical director but gradually the instrument was becoming difficult to play and needed replacing. The cost was prohibitive being well over £1 million and rising all the time. A digital instrument was bought as an interim but there was a real desire to find a new pipe organ.

                                                                            A visitor to Holy Trinity suggested that a redundant church in Manchester had a pipe organ which was no longer used. Following investigation it was found that the organ was a Harrison and Harrison instrument, one of the best and in good condition. After being bought, dismantled and brought along to Coventry, efforts are under way to raise the £600,000 required to restore the instrument.

                                                                            It was a pleasure to hear Chris talk with obvious love for his work and Holy Trinity Church.

                                                                            President Michael presented him with a cheque to help with the work of restoration of the new pipe organ. 

                                                                            During the evening a collection for the people affected by the Indonesian Earthquake was organized by Past President Ken Holmes and £370 was raised.

                                                                              The evening was rounded off by the presentation of The Paul Harris Fellowship to Past President David Kershaw.

                                                                              CLUB MEETING - Monday 8th October 2018

                                                                              by Bill Parkinson

                                                                              As President Michael had had to attend business in Birmingham Vice President Judy Ryan was in the chair. She told members she had recently attended a youth seminar where she had met Nigel Lee who had set up a group to examine youth work in the 1060 District. If any members have any thoughts on this aspect of Rotary they are welcome to pass them on to Judy.

                                                                              Nigel had assisted with the Rotaract Stand at Coventry University 'Freshers Event' and over 60 students had expressed an interest in Rotary activities. 

                                                                              It is hoped to have an Indonesian earthquake appeal at next week's lunch to raise funds for the people affected so terribly by this dreadful event.

                                                                                  The speaker for the day was Tim Sawdon who outlined what the prestigious Queen's Award for Voluntary Service was and how the club could apply to be considered for it. Time and President Michael had attended a seminar at the Council House where a detailed account of the award which was established in 2002 to celebrate the Queen's reign was given.

                                                                                          Tim gave a comprehensive account of the nomination and assessment process and time scale and the need to show the impact of organizations applying on the local community, individuals and groups. He emphasized that it was not only a question of giving money but how the organization was involved and worked with people.

                                                                                          It was pleasing to see Past President Robert Villette who was looking well at the lunch. He is still recovering from his recent illness and is awaiting further treatment.

                                                                                            CLUB MEETING - Monday 1st October 2018

                                                                                            by Bill Parkinson

                                                                                            Following the opening of the meeting by President Michael, he went on to congratulate Roma on the success of her coffee morning in aid of Macmillan Nurses which was very well attended.

                                                                                            Our speaker for the day was Brenda Lincoln accompanied by Sergeant David of The Royal Cops of Signals. Brenda outlined the background to the charity Quilts for Injured Servicemen which was started by Brenda at 9 years of age.

                                                                                            Brenda was moved by the plight of service personnel who were returning from Afghanistan with serious injuries and decided to try to make their stays in hospital

                                                                                            more comfortable and homely by making patchwork quilts for their beds.

                                                                                                The quilts were an immediate success and greatly appreciated by the soldiers. Very soon they were asking Brenda if she could make them personalized quilts with their names, regimental badge and other information sewn on.

                                                                                                To date, Brenda who makes the majority of the quilts herself has produced over a thousand. She also gets quilts donated by enthusiasts who know of her excellent work.

                                                                                                        a basic quilt takes about three days to complete while more complex designs take considerably longer. The cost of buying all of the materials to produce each quilt is £100. all donations to the charity go towards buying materials while all work in making the quilts is voluntary.

                                                                                                        Brenda was a very warm person who obviously enjoys making the lives of servicemen more comfortable in what can be very difficult times. Her talk and stories of some of the recipients was very well received by members and Michael had great pleasure in presenting Brenda with a donation to help in her work.

                                                                                                          CLUB MEETING - Monday 24th September 2018

                                                                                                          by Bill Parkinson

                                                                                                          President Michael opened the meeting by welcoming members and he thanked Past President Phil for the running repairs he had made to the Presidential chain of office.

                                                                                                          Michael then introduced the speaker Stuart Wickham, younger of Vice President Judy Ryan, who spoke on the challenge of leading a yacht across the Atlantic both ways. Stuart became interested in sailing after completing 25 years of service in the army.

                                                                                                          The total distance travelled during the epic voyage was around 10,000 mies when taking into account the time spent sailing around the Mediterranean and the Caribbean. Stuart had anticipated high seas and strong winds but nothing can prepare for the vastness of the open Atlantic Ocean.

                                                                                                              Initially, the yacht, Khaleesi, had a crew of 4 including Stuart with an average age of 58. When his wife was rep;aced by a young man the average age went down to 48. All crew members were qualified for the task ahead and the vessel was equipped with calor gas and enough water for 23 days at sea, although they did have the ability to make fresh water on board.

                                                                                                                      They also had a large supply of tinned and fresh food, chocolate, peanuts, fruit and vegetables. No alcohol was carried on the ship but was plentiful on arrival in port!

                                                                                                                      Khaleesi was fitted with VHF and short range radio and many safety features including life jackets, life lines and a life raft 

                                                                                                                      Among the many challenges during the two crossings was the failure of the water maker, blocked toilets, fishing line wrapped around the prop shaft and sail changes in high winds and at night. However, these issues were far outweighed by the marvelous sights and experiences offered by the journey.

                                                                                                                        CLUB MEETING - Monday 17th September 2018

                                                                                                                        by Bill Parkinson

                                                                                                                        Following the singing of The Grace, President Michael invited Rotarian Porretta to speak to members. Pru had stepped into the breach as the planned speaker had failed to appear.

                                                                                                                        Pro spoke about the recent Heritage Weekends during which she had played a significant part, taking on various roles including that of guiding a group of 30 visitors around the city; eventually the group reached 50 in number but Pru took it all in her stride as usual! 

                                                                                                                        On Friday prior to Heritage weekend there was a celebration of Dame Goodyear's Day which was originally founded over 500 years ago to commemorate the anniversary of Godiva's death. Pru lead the procession and 

                                                                                                                        celebration and was joined by the 26 Godiva Sisters from around the globe who now live in Coventry and represent international friendship from countries all around the world. At the lunch we were joined by two of the sisters.

                                                                                                                            The Goodyear's Day event was so successful that a team from London who work for the Heritage Days organization were in Coventry to photograph the proceedings. The pictures will be used nationally in publicity for the heritage events next year. 

                                                                                                                            Pru also gave a brief talk on how to apply for The Queen's Award for Voluntary Service which The Godiva Trust was awarded recently. It is planned for the Rotary Club of

                                                                                                                                    Coventry to be nominated for the award shortly and hopeful to receive recognition for its charitable voluntary work in our centenary year, 2021.

                                                                                                                                    In thanking Pru for her talk Michael said, 'Coventry would be very dull without Pru.'

                                                                                                                                    Before closing the meeting Michael reminded members that Roma would be holding a coffee morning on the 29th September in aid of Macmillan Nurses. Roma  also reported that Past President Robert was continuing to make progress and he was looking forward to joining the lunch time meetings in the near future.

                                                                                                                                      CLUB MEETING - Monday 3rd September 2018

                                                                                                                                      by Bill Parkinson

                                                                                                                                      Following the singing of The Grace, President Michael reminded members that the next evening meeting of the club will be held at Coventry Golf Club on 15th October.

                                                                                                                                      The Centenary Committee has now been established and Rotarian Peter Cook has agreed to be secretary.

                                                                                                                                      Our club had taken part in manning the Rotary Stand at the Godiva Festival. It was felt that if we are asked to be involved again there should be more thought and planning to make our presence at the event more worthwhile. Feedback to this effect will be passed on to the organizing club.

                                                                                                                                      Our speaker for the day was Janice Wade who spoke about her role in running The Coventry and North Warwickshire Sports Club which was formally known as Coventry and North Warwickshire Cricket Club. On her retirement from the police force Janice became involved with the club, eventually becoming a Trustee.

                                                                                                                                      The club is now a registered charity and the sporting activities and growing catering and hospitality aspects of the club are run as separate ventures, both benefitting the financial welfare of the club.

                                                                                                                                          First mention of a cricket match in Coventry was in 1807 with a match between teams representing Coventry Gentlemen and Barwell in Leicestershire . This fixture is still honoured today and has taken place every year in an unbroken run from that first match making it the longest running fixture in the history of cricket.

                                                                                                                                          The Coventry and North Warwickshire Club has its origins in a club which was founded in 1851 and moved to The Butts in 1870. 4 cricket teams amalgamated in 1900 and moved to the present ground which at that time was on land rented from The Drapers. 1919 saw the formal beginning of The Coventry and North Warwickshire Cricket Club. At that time rugby was also played on the pitch in the winter months!

                                                                                                                                                  Today, in addition to cricket a variety of sports are played at the club including: tennis netball, squash, bridge and gymnastics. There is also an outreach program bringing sport to young people.

                                                                                                                                                  The social, catering and hospitality events aspects of the club are increasingly important in ensuring the financial, security of this historic sports club. The two Rotary Clubs which have their weekly meetings at the club are lucky to have the opportunity to be involved in the life of this historic Coventry sports venue.