January to March 2015

26th March 2015


Star spkr Mar 2015Wakefield’s Star bereavement service for children costs £150,000 a year to run – and the money will run out in July following dramatic cuts in funding. No wonder then that Rosy de Csernatony was delighted tonight when president Stuart Livesey handed her a cheque for £100. 

Rosy, a trustee and founder of Star, came to the club to talk about the work that the organisation does in the Wakefield area, helping children come to terms with losing a parent or sibling. The service’s team of six people deals with referrals from families and a variety of agencies. “We normalise grief – that’s our job. It happens to us all,” said Rosy.

Star faces a crisis now that Wakefield Council has withdrawn its £25,000 yearly contribution and the NHS Wakefield Clinical Care Commissioning Group is about to end its £65,000 annual funding. Both authorities say that there are a number of other bereavement services available.

Our photo shows Rosy with Rotarian Ray Preston and President Stuart Livesey

14th March 2015

THE funds of the Forget Me Not Children’s Hospice were given a boost last night with a hugely enjoyable concert by The Mastersingers in the stunning surroundings of Dewsbury Minister. The event was organised jointly by our club and Dewsbury Rotarians, the proceeds beings shared with other charities supported by the two clubs. Volunteers from the hospice also ran a bucket collection during the evening.

The Mastersingers – who were introduced by the rector, Canon Kevin Partington –  presented a varied programme beginning with Gershwin’s ‘I Got Rhythm’ and ending with two hit numbers originally made famous by rock group Queen. Before the singers began, the Forget Me Not Hospice community fundraiser Lisa Calvert spoke briefly, explaining that the hospice has running costs of £3.2million a year and thanking the two Rotary clubs for organising the concert. 

The ticket price included wine and soft drinks which were served during the interval. 

To learn more about the hospice, go to http://www.forgetmenotchild.co.uk/. The Mastersingers’ website is at http://www.mastersingers.co.uk/

12th March 2015

Carolyn Brown with Mary Peace and the PresidentA CHRISTMAS mince pies and mulled wine event organised at her home by Rotarian Mary Peace has led to £400 being handed over to the Wakefield branch of the Riding for the Disabled Association.

The £200 raised by Mary was match-funded by Wakefield Rotary Club and a cheque for the total amount was presented on Thursday to Carolyn Brown, general manager of Wakefield RDA. She is pictured here with Mary (right) and club president Stuart Livesey at the club meeting at the New Brookhouse Club.

Wakefield RDA, which was formed in 1990, is based at the Pennine Camphill Community at Chapelthorpe and during the summer its riders will often be found taking advantage of the bridle path at the nearby Newmillerdam Country Park.  

Carolyn said that our local RDA is one of 500 such groups, each self-funding and relying heavily on volunteers, of whom there are 55 at Wakefield. There are eight horses and ponies of different sizes to accommodate an equally varied group of 80 riders.


Carolyn added: “The horses seem to know they’re carrying a disabled rider, they’re so calm and good with them.”


She explained that for people with disabilities riding was not only fun, it improved their general health and well-being. At Wakefield the riders include small children, young people and adults with a wide range of physical and learning disabilities, mental health and behavioural problems. As well as enjoying riding sessions, many of them learn horse care and help with stable duties. For more information go to http://www.wrda.org.uk/

5th March 2015

Louie TobergteKentucky-born Louie Tobergte, told this evening how he had drawn inspiration from an unlikely book written by journalist Rose George, daughter of club member Sheila Wainwright. The book was the widely-praised The Big Necessity: The Unmentionable World of Human Waste and Why It Matters. It helped set him on a path that has brought him across the Atlantic to study sanitation and health engineering at Leeds University. 

A serving US Army officer and graduate of Westpoint military academy, his background is in chemical engineering. He is now on a Rotary Global Scholarship through which, he said, he hopes to be able to make a difference to the lives of people, especially in developing countries.

He said: "Lack of sanitation and proper hygiene causes as many deaths worldwide as malaria - about 1.5million - and many of them are under-fives. I'm the first on this programme and I hope many others will follow."

A vote of thanks was proposed by John Richardson. 


American student Louie Tobergte with club president Stuart Livesey and host John Richardson

26th February 2015


In the absence of the scheduled speaker, club secretary Peter Clarke boldly stepped in to entertain members with stories from his 30 years in the police in West Yorkshire. 

He retired as an inspector in 1998 after serving in Wakefield CID, the burglary squad at Mirfield, Batley, the police training school at Bishopgarth, then Castleford followed by Holmfirth ("You couldn't imagine two places so different from one another") and finally in the discipline and complaints department where he investigated issues relating to other forces.

Among a variety of incidents that he recalled was one in which he made an arrest at Nora Batty's house at Holmfirth, but in the course of three decades he dealt with a complete range of crime from theft to murder, from fraud to rape.

"Never were two days alike," he said. Nowadays he leads a more predictable existence providing gardening services. So if you want an ex-copper to cut your lawn, give him a call! He is pictured here (left) with club president Stuart Livesey.

19th February 2015

An astonished Roland Mold was bowled over this evening when a surprise ‘This is Your Life...' presentation marked the 50th anniversary of the day he joined the Rotary movement in Hong Kong.

 Roland saw a great deal of the world in his job with travel agents Thomas Cook with whom he also served in Singapore and India, as well as the UK. He joined Hong Kong Rotary club on 16 February 1965, remaining a member until June the following year when he returned to England where he joined the Bromley club. He later became a Rotarian in Norwich where he was posted with Thomas Cook. After other moves - and a short gap in his Rotary service - he joined the Doncaster club in 1976, transferring to the Rotary Club of Wakefield in 1991.

 In Wakefield he has become well known for his work with the Right to Read programme in schools, launched locally in 2003, and the schools chess competition which was inaugurated three years later. He is still heavily involved with both, particularly at Sandal Magna Community Academy, and he is now helping to introduce chess to students at Sandal Castle Primary School. In 2009 his community work led to him receiving a Paul Harris Fellowship, the highest award a Rotary club can make.

The ‘This is your Rotary Life...' slideshow at tonight's club meeting at the New Brookhouse Club was presented by president Stuart Livesey, who read greetings and congratulations from all the clubs to which Roland has belonged in his long career in Rotary, including those in Hong Kong and Singapore. Roland was handed the folder containing all the information and also a special 12-page booklet, outlining his Rotary service and packed with photos charting his work with the Wakefield club. And to round it off he was presented with a framed print of member Roger Brown's Wakefield Cityscape artwork which now forms part of the club's corporate image. It was made special by the addition of a brass plaque recording the occasion for which it was given.

Roland, known for his hearty laugh, is not usually a man lost for words but he had just one to summarise the evening: "Wonderful!"


Two former presidents of other clubs, now members of the Wakefield club, were shocked when they were awarded Paul Harris Fellowships this eveningt. Roger Brown led the Barnsley club in 1990 and Geoff North was president at Heswall in the Wirral in 1996.

Making the presentations, Wakefield president Stuart Livesey said: "Several years ago club council decided to make an award of a Paul Harris Fellowship to every club president. This has continued to the present day."

He added that Roger and Geoff had been presidents of other clubs so they had never received Paul Harris awards. It had now been decided to put this right, especially in view of the significant contributions both had made to their present club.

Roger, former architect and a Rotarian for 35 years, drew the Cityscape artwork that has been used to create a corporate image for the club. It now appears on the website and is the cover image for the club's Facebook and Twitter pages. It is also used as a masthead on the club bulletin and on letterheads and compliments slips.

In the Wirral in the early 1990s, Geoff, who has just clocked up 25 years as a Rotarian, was district organiser for Rotary's Young Inventor of the Year. He joined the Wakefield club in 2004 and is now its communications chairman. Stuart said: "He has slowly improved our bulletin to such a standard it must be one of the best in the country."

The Paul Harris Fellowship is the highest award any club can give for service to Rotary and/or to the community.

OWLS NIGHT 12th February 2015

Owl night Picture 2Owl night Picture 1FIVE birds from Yorkshire Owl Experience at Ossett were very special guests at this evening's meeting at the New Brookhouse Club. The owls, which were brought by Steve Arabskyj, were very well behaved throughout the whole evening and made no fuss about being stroked by Rotarians and their guests.

Steve explained the breeding procedures, the life and diet of owls in the wild, and his own experiences with these handsome birds. He makes visits with them to schools and even appears at weddings. To learn more, go to www.yorkshireowlexperience.co.uk

At the end of the meeting Steve was delighted to receive a cheque for £100 towards his work from club president, Stuart Livesey. Steve said this would help him buy his next bird, a tawny owl.


Lift off! Casper the Indian Eagle Owl spreads her wings. Steve Arabskyj explained that these birds are very difficult to sex when they are chicks, hence Casper's name. Rotarian Mary Peace is holding a barn owl.


Rotarian Roy Midgley gets close up with a barn owl.

Burns Night 2015BURNS SUPPER 22nd January 2015

HAGGIS and neeps were on the club menu when Rotarians and guests, helped once again by members of Wakefield Caledonian Society, celebrated Burns Night at the New Brookhouse Club this evening.

The haggis, paraded by chef James Wales, was piped in by 87-year-old Tony Hindley and addressed by Andy Kidd, a member of Pontefract Rotary Club. Master of ceremonies for the evening was Bill Sim.  Barbara Clayton sang The Burns Song and two others associated with the bard. All the Caledonian Society members were presented with a gift by club president Stuart Livesey, including Norma Redfern who has been instrumental in setting up what has now become an annual event for the club.

Everyone was given a buttonhole or corsage of white heather and many of those present wore an item of tartan - including club treasurer Peter Gallivan who was in his trews. The evening ended in traditional style with the linking of hands for Auld Lang Syne.


Piper Tony Hindley, 87, explains some of the secrets of the bagpipes to Diane Livesey and Wakefield Rotary Club president Stuart Livesey.

New Years MessageNEW YEAR'S MESSAGE 8th January 2015

THE club's traditional New Year' Message, held last night for the second time at Restaurant 315 at Lepton, was delivered by the Rt Rev Nick Baines, who became the first Bishop of Leeds for the Diocese of West Yorkshire and the Dales in June last year.

He was previously Bishop of Bradford (2011-14), and before that was Bishop of Croydon. He read German and French at Bradford University and, before ordination, worked for four years as a Russian linguist at GCHQ.

Bishop Nick has a particular expertise and passion for communication and is known for his engagement with the media. He has 10,000 followers on Twitter and his blog - Musings of a restless bishop' - attracts between 500 and 2000 views every day - pulling in over 1.7 million views in the first five years. He is frequently asked to comment nationally on topical issues and is heard regularly on the Chris Evans Show on Radio 2 and Thought for the Day on Radio 4. 

He told Rotarians and guests that In constantly changing circumstances life is full of challenges which we need to address. He said there was no formula to guide our response to changes but actions should be based on faith, hope and realism. We should take time to think, to learn from events in the past and, particularly in cases such as terrorism, avoid knee-jerk reactions when massive media attention helps to fuel its growth.

A vote of thanks was proposed by President-elect Michael Townsend