Press releases dated July to September 2008

2008 GSE team from District 5330 with Rotarian Alistair McInlay, President David Pickover and outgoing GSE member Julie Hoole29th September 2008 (links to further information are in blue)

FIVE Californians on a Rotary group study exchange visit to Yorkshire were able to give Wakefield cancer nurse Julie Hoole some tips about life in the Sunshine State when they were guests of the club.

Macmillan head and neck cancer nursing specialist Julie, who was also a guest at the special club meeting at the New Brookhouse Club on Monday, September 29, has been backed by the club for a Rotary exchange visit in October to California.

The visiting all-woman team, led by Dori Dixon, spent three days with Wakefield Rotarians. They gave a presentation to the club after a weekend during which their hosts took them to Chatsworth House and the National Mining Museum. They had previously been guests of Denby Dale Rotary Club, moving on to Pontefract after their stay in Wakefield.

Other members of the team were Lizette Navarette, Sandy McKay, Kristin Halverson and Sonya Dew.

The weekend was organised by Alistair McKinlay, chairman of the club's vocational committee, who six years ago was himself part of a group study exchange to Australia.


President David Pickover presents a cheque to Emma Riley of School 4 All on 25.09.08. Looking on is Rotarian David Oughtibridge25th September 2008

THE ROTARY movement in Britain is backing the Leonard Cheshire Disability organisation's project to help educate disabled children in Uganda, a scheme that is now £200 better off, thanks to the Wakefield club.

The School 4 All in Africa project was explained by the Leonard Cheshire group's York-based area fundraiser, Emma Riley, when she talked to members about the work that has already been done in Africa, especially in Kenya. The organisation has more than 60 years' experience working in 54 countries.

It is planned to spend £500,000 in 20 Ugandan schools over the next two years, an objective backed by RIBI which is throwing its weight behind the scheme.

Emma said that apart from financial support there were opportunities to twin with Rotary clubs in Uganda or to arrange exchange visits.

President David Pickover presented a cheque to Emma on behalf of the club. A vote of thanks was proposed by David Oughtibridge. For more information about Leonard Cheshire Disability go to


Musician Matthew Hodges with President David Pickover at a club guest night on 11th September 200811th September 2008

"YOU don't have to turn on the television to find talented people," president David Pickover told Rotarians and partners at the club's first guest night at their new venue at the New Brookhouse Club on Barnsley Road.

Teenage Wakefield musician Matthew Hodges, who took a lead role at the club's music and arts festival at QEGS in July, gave members another opportunity to experience his guitar playing and singing talent.

Matthew, who was featured in the Express in May, developed his singing by becoming a choirboy when he was a student at QEGS. He now studies at Leeds College of Music and at the July festival he provided support at the major evening concert which featured the Big Chris Barber Band.

His choice of songs at the guest night included Stand by Me, Brown Eyed Girl, Take it Easy and Desperado, which were enjoyed by everyone and showed how at the age of 17  Matthew has developed a real talent for entertaining his audience.

A vote of thanks was given by Colin Moran.


28th August 2008

SPEAKER at the club's final meeting at the Chasley Hotel on August 28 was Rotary district governor nominee Roger Percival, of the Harrogate club, who talked about the work of Hope and Homes for Children.

As a result of his involvement with the organisation, he has visited Rwanda and other countries, seeing at first hand the work Hope and Homes is doing.

A vote of thanks was proposed by the club's international committee chairman, William Smith, who announced that a £200 donation would be made to the organisation to help its work overseas.

In future Wakefield Rotary Club is to meet at the New Brookhouse Club on Barnsley Road. For more details go to


Richard Edge receives his tankard from President David Pickover 31st July 2008

CHEERS! Wakefield club stalwart Richard Edge received a surprise presentation of an engraved silver tankard to mark the major contribution he has made to Rotary activities in the city. He was the driving force behind the club's annual May Day Gala, which over nearly two decades raised many thousands of pounds for charity before it was ended last year. This year he was a leading figure in the organisation of the club's first Wakefield Arts Festival, which also raised a substantial sum for charity. He is seen here (right) receiving the tankard from club president David Pickover, who paid tribute to his dedication and hard work.


Jonathan Eastwood28th July 2008

LONG-DISTANCE swimmer and Wakefield club member Jonathan Eastwood has been splashing out for charity.

He took part in the Derwent Water Triangle Championship in July, a return to challenges of this sort for the 41-year-old who in 2002 competed in the British Long Distance Swimming Association's annual highlight, the 10.5-mile Windermere race.

Jonathan, who lives near Barnsley but trains in the pool at Normanton, said: "All in all it was a great day at Derwent Water and I was very pleased with the result, particularly given that I've had a five-year absence from heavy swimming and knowing that £500 has been pledged in aid of Cancer Research UK from kind friends."

The event was an open water 5.25-mile swim along the length and back of Derwent Water. It was initially a glorious day, turning cloudy at the end of the swim with the lake in a surprisingly calm state with little, if any, wind.

Wakefield club member Jonathan Eastwood on the finishing stretch.Jonathan said: "It was a perfect day to be honest, with the water temperature mostly comfortable, albeit scattered with cold spots."

Many BLDSA swims can draw 40-50 participants with some multiple events attracting many more throughout the day. However, this year the Derwent Water event clashed with a swim in Wales so the attendance of 11 was not as high as might have been hoped.

Each swimmer in the race was accompanied by rowing boats or canoes, backed up by emergency motor boats. Jonathan's crew were Chris Broadhead, who rowed the 5.25 miles, and Jonathan's wife, Diane. 

Summing up his performance, he said: "Starting a good personal pace from the whistle, I only found myself losing speed in the last half hour, but was pleased with my finish time of 3 hours 18 minutes and 59 seconds, coming home eighth.. This contrasted with the winner who arrived in a superb 1 hour 50 minutes 54 seconds, with the first six swimmers being under three hours, showing I am still firmly but happily placed as a 41-year-old amateur."

Jonathan, a service delivery manager for Fujitsu, proved just how much stamina he has when, after his swim, he turned up at the Wakefield club's annual barbecue.

His final word: "I'm going to continue training to get back to my former peak - then we'll see."


WORD PERFECT Eleven-year-olds Louisa Liddicott and Harris Tasab with Rotarian Roland Mold at Sandal Magna school25th July 2008

Helping them find the right word

IN THE National Year of Reading 2008, illustrated dictionaries were presented by Wakefield Rotary Club to nearly 200 pupils in four local junior schools as they left for their holidays before moving up to secondary schools.

The books were distributed as part of the Dictionary 4 Life project, backed nationally by RIBI.

Rotarian Roland Mold, who has led the Wakefield club's involvement in the Reading in Schools literacy programme, handed over dictionaries at Sandal Magna school, where children speak no fewer than 15 languages.. Other schools involved were Sandal Endowed, Royston and Upper Denby.

Roland said: "Rotary has long been dedicated to helping local youngsters to improve and make the most of their reading skills. This project is another step along that road.

"It began with the Rotary Club of Tower Hamlets, supported by Usborne Publishing, but it's been taken up enthusiastically by Rotarians across the country, benefiting thousands of children."

The Reading in Schools project (formerly Right to Read) is conducted locally by the Wakefield club under the auspices of the Retired and Senior Volunteer Programme (RSVP).



Rotarian Guy Cliff, ambassadorial scholar Zandan Bilget and President David Pickover. See Reports 24.07.0824th July 2008

A BREEZE from the plains and mountains of Mongolia swept into Wakefield when Rotary ambassadorial scholar Zandan Bilegt talked to members about her home country.

Zandan, who graduated in Japanese and International Affairs from the National University of Mongolia, is now studying for her Master's degree in Business Administration at Leeds University. Her home is in Ulaanbaatar, the capital of Mongolia, and she has been backed on her scholarship by the city's Rotary club, one of eight in the country.

Clad in traditional dress and using a computer presentation, she took Wakefield members through a lightning tour of her country with its population of just under three million. After her studies in Mongolia, she worked in the country's emerging tourism industry, a city girl who learned to ride a horse only after she found that visitors, used to hearing about her countrymen's legendary expertise, expected her to be a skilled horsewoman. Her aim when she returns home is to set up her own tourism company.

A vote of thanks was proposed by Guy Cliff.

17th July 2008

ROTARIAN Jane Butler gave the ‘My Job' talk traditionally given by new members when she described her working life as a librarian. Following a brief period as a teacher after gaining her degree, she first became a librarian for the Press Association news agency in Fleet Street. She later worked in Bristol for a well-known stationery and packaging company before marrying a serviceman. When he was posted to Germany Jane joined the Army library and information service.

After pausing to raise a family, she came to Wakefield where she was appointed the district council's branch and mobile librarian. In 1996 she became stock manager for the council's library service, a job which including running the acquisitions department. With the end of the publishers' Net Book Agreement she was appointed to the Yorkshire Book Consortium, which represented four authorities, including Wakefield.

She later set up an award-winning website for visually impaired readers, a task which she described as one of the high spots of her career. When she retired from Wakefield council she was almost immediately offered a post with the National Acquisitions Group, an organisation that brings together everyone concerned with the selection, supply and management of library collections - print, audio-visual and digital.

13th July 2008

John Newsone, Vice President Philip Platts and junior chess competitors, July 2008Wakefield Junior Chess championships

THERE was success across the board for youngsters from the Wakefield area as they battled it out in annual chess tournament in July. One of the prizes in their sights was a special award from Wakefield Rotary Club.

West Bretton Village Institute was the venue for the Wakefield Junior Chess Championships, organised by John Newsome, of Netherton Family Chess Club, backed by the Wakefield club.

Schoolboy chess international Nipuna Senaratne repeated last year's success by scooping the open championship. Joint runners-up were Dev Hamal, who also took the Under-15s trophy, and Kiruthika Rajeswaran

The Under-11s award went to Prav Hamal, Dev's brother, while Ben Harrison took the Under-9s prize.

The trophies were presented by Wakefield vice-president, Philip Platts. They included the Dave Woodhead Memorial Trophy, a special award funded by Rotarians. It went to Kiruthika for being the best player not to have won one of the competitions during the day. Kiruthika, who attends Wakefield Girls' High School, is an England girls chess champion.

Dave Woodhead, a former president of Netherton Family Chess Club, collapsed and died at the wheel of his car when he was returning from a chess match. The trophy named in his memory is intended to encourage those who perform well. It is one of three junior chess cups awarded by the Wakefield club during the year, assisted by funding from the Rotary Chess Education Initiative.



10th July 2008

THE work that Home-Start is doing to help struggling parents throughout the Wakefield district was described at the July 10 meeting by one of its four co-ordinators, Hazel Houghton, who joined the organisation as a volunteer when it was launched in 1990.

Last year Home-Start's 105 volunteers provided support to 218 families at a cost of £250,000. Of this, £155,000 comes from Wakefield council.

The organisation trains workers to go into homes where stressed parents need help. While much of the work is in deprived areas, more affluent families sometimes need support, perhaps where the parents are seriously ill.

"Our volunteers are like surrogate aunts and uncles," said Hazel, "It's amazing what a huge difference one two-hour visit a week can make to a mother who is feeling desperate."

Wakefield Home-Start can be contacted on 01977 603860.

A vote of thanks was proposed by Bill Forrest.


David Pickover receives the Presidential chain of office from Peter Gallivan. See Reports dated 03.07.083rd July 2008

Last week PETER GALLIVAN told Wakefield club members how he nearly didn't become their president.

Peter, who this week handed over the presidency of the club to David Pickover for 2008-09, recalled how, three days before he was due to be inducted, his home was struck by the floods that hit the city last summer.

"I came close to deciding to stand down," he said, "but my wife Pauline encouraged me to press on."

That encouragement, he added, had continued throughout his year in office and he paid tribute to Pauline, who was at last week's meeting and who earned a round of applause from members.

David added his tribute to both Peter and Pauline.

"The murky waters did not dilute Peter's enthusiasm for the club," he said.

In his remarks to the club on taking office David said that he wanted to ensure that the 12.5% of members with hearing difficulties would not be excluded from taking a full part in meetings. As part of this strategy he urged all members to use the microphone provided when addressing the club at its weekly gatherings.