October to December 2008

Sue Parkin presents a cheque to Major Andy Rhodes on 18th Dec 200818th December 2008

BRITAIN'S servicemen and women came in for high praise from Wakefield-born Major Andrew Rhodes when he talked to the club about the tough and dangerous fight against the Taliban in Afghanistan. It was a message that struck a chord with members, who gave him a cheque for £100 for the Help the Heroes charity.

Andy Rhodes, a former QEGS student, is the 37-year-old son of Rotarian Peter Rhodes, a retired Wakefield veterinary surgeon. He recently completed his third tour of duty in Afghanistan, this time as Deputy Chief of Staff with 16 Air Assault Brigade in Helmand Province.

His first tour involved the defence and operation of Kabul airport while his second six-month assignment was with the advance party that set up Camp Bastion in Helmand Province.

He used a computer slide show to explain the British Army's presence in Afghanistan where, he said, the aim was to contain insurgency to allow the people to develop their own government.

"The country is in a dreadful condition as a result of decades of conflict," he said, "It has few resources and the extremes of climate make it a staggeringly hard place to live. It's no wonder it produces such a hardy people."

He spoke of their mistrust of the British as a result of earlier invasions, adding: "Where the road ends, the Taliban begins."

Our troops, he said, were doing an amazing job in 50 degrees of heat but on its last tour 16 Air Assault Brigade had lost 33 people, mostly as a result of roadside bombs.

"Despite these losses, everyone - including the families - think it's worth it," he said.

The cheque for Help the Heroes was presented by president-elect Sue Parkin and a vote of thanks was proposed by Richard Taylor.

Andrew Cole plays harmonica for Xmas carolsThe 18th December was also the night of our Christmas dinner. Rotarian Andrew Cole came across an harmonica earlier in the month and remembering old skills provided music for a couple of carols to round off the evening.

Presentation to React on 11 Dec 2008

11th December 2008

WHILE there are many troubled countries throughout the world, there are still needs right on our doorstep, said club president David Pickover. He was introducing Zimbabwe-born Cuthbert Pazvakavambwa, who has spent the last ten years in the UK where he trained as an accountant.

Cuthbert, who now works in Bradford, gave his first address as a fundraiser for React, an organisation that provides specialist care and equipment to struggling families who have a terminally ill child.

React - Rapid Effective Assistance for Children with potentially Terminal illnesses - works in the UK where it seeks to support families who are unlikely to get the help they need quickly enough from any other source.

Their work was given a boost when David presented Cuthbert with a cheque for £100.

A vote of thanks to the speaker was proposed by Peter Gallivan.


William Smith, Matthew Smith, Sue Parkin and David Pickover27th November 2008

A 27-YEAR-OLD who as a lad enjoyed messing about in boats on Pugneys lake at Wakefield is now on his way to fulfilling his ambition of becoming master of a tall ship.

Matthew Smith, son of the Wakefield club's president-elect Sue Parkin, served more than six months as a Merchant Navy cadet in two of the Jubilee Sailing Trust's majestic ships, the Tenacious and the Lord Nelson. He talked to the club about his experiences in both vessels, the only two in the world which have been designed and purpose-built to enable people of all physical abilities to sail side by side on equal terms.

He backed this up with a Power Point presentation which showed how even blind people and those in wheelchairs could go aloft to man the sails. His enthusiasm for the Jubilee Sailing Trust was rewarded when club president David Pickover presented him with a cheque for £100 to help the organisation's work.

Matthew is already a yacht delivery skipper, a powerboat coach and a dinghy instructor. He is currently working for his Officer of the Watch certificate in the Merchant Navy and will then go on to earn his mate's and master's certificates. He aims that in six to seven years' time he will have accumulated enough sea time to qualify for command of any merchant vessel - including a tall ship, his ultimate ambition.

A vote of thanks was proposed by William Smith.


Carlotta Rehkater with Peter Slater and President David Pickover13th November 2008

WAKEFIELD members had a brush with the law when they listened to Rotary ambassadorial scholar Carlotta Rehkater, from Lower Saxony in Germany.

Carlotta is working for her Master's degree in international law at Leeds University, which she said was a highly regarded centre for such studies.

She paid tribute to the Rotary movement for the opportunities it had provided her, beginning with a student exchange to Brazil when she was a teenager.

Carlotta is pictured with club president David Pickover (right) and host Dr Peter Slater, who commented on the high standards set by Rotary ambassadorial scholars - and congratulated Carlotta on her command of English.


30th October 2008

Outward Bound Youth Ambasadors 2008 with RotariansA QUARTET of dedicated 15-year-olds successfully faced their first challenge as this year's youth ambassadors for Wakefield Outward Bound Association.

The four, all from Kettlethorpe High School, gave a presentation at the New Brookhouse Club on Thursday (OCT 30) to their sponsors from Wakefield Rotary Club, including Sir Rodney Walker, an honorary member of the club, whose Myerscough Charitable Trust helped provide funding for the courses in which they took part.

The teenagers were Robert Smith, Kym Dalton, Alex Jennings and Shane Morvan, who were introduced by Wakefield Outward Bound chairman, Colin Moran (2nd from left). Also in the photograph are Dennis Edwards, President David Pickover and Sir Rodney Walker.

Mr Moran, who is also a member of the Rotary club's youth activities committee, said the local association worked with the Outward Bound Trust to help local young people take part in character-building outdoor courses. Apart from Rotary and the Myerscough Trust, backing came from other organisations, including Sandal Charities.

The final tough three-week courses attended by the four from Kettlethorpe - the youngest from Wakefield ever to have taken part at that level - were at the Outward Bound centres at Loch Eil and Aberdovey.

"Only the keenest and most committed youngsters get that far," said Mr Moran.

During their presentation the four said their Outward Bound experience had been "just amazing". They faced a series of challenges, including rock climbing, kayaking and gruelling expeditions.

Shane Morvan earned a special commendation from course instructors for completing his 24-hour solitary woodland survival - despite being on crutches with a sprained ankle.

A vote of thanks to the four was proposed by Rotarian Dennis Edwards who said Wakefield Outward Bound Association, of which he is treasurer, had just celebrated its 25th anniversary.  One of its founding members had been a Rotarian, the late Reg Eyles, which meant the club's links with the association had remained unbroken over all those years.

For further information please see the special PROJECT page.


23rd October 2008

FOCUSING mainly on literacy issues, Hazel Haas, district chairman of the Community & Vocational Committee, gave club members several ideas for further discussion when she spoke at the meeting on the 23rd October.

She is keen to see more help for the Royal National Institute for the Blind (RNIB) Talking Books scheme, where there are no cost, low cost and higher cost avenues of assistance. The first of these involves recruiting people to take advantage of the scheme. They do not have to be registered blind and most current users are not in this category - they just have difficulty in reading because of failing eyesight. The second is in sponsoring the special CD "daisy players" which are rented at a cost of £75 per year. The third avenue is in sponsoring a book to be made into a CD. This costs £1,000 to £1,500 because professional actors and recording studios are used to ensure a high quality product.

Hazel then went on to speak about the Illustrated Dictionary, where the Wakefield club had taken a lead in the last Rotary year in helping to distribute 30,000 to primary school children. She suggested that the dictionaries may be used more if distributed at the beginning of the last primary school year rather than at the end and said she hoped that ten times the number could be made available this year.

Malcolm Matthewman with Sue ParkinTo round up current literacy ideas she mentioned the Rotating Books scheme. These are books left in appropriate public places with a Rotary sticker on them. The sticker invites members of the public to read them and then ensure that they are available for others to read in the same way.

A vote of thanks was proposed by Rotarian Ray Preston.

Following Hazel's talk President David Pickover invited Wakefield Hospice representative Malcolm Matthewman to come forward to receive half the proceeds of the club's annual raffle amounting to £1240.69. The presentation was made by Ways & Means Committee chairman Sue Parkin (pictured).


16th October 2008


LOTS of Wakefield Rotarians and their guests proved they didn't have a clue at the club's first ‘Murder Night' - but they still managed to raise more than £300 for charity.

After a pie and peas supper, the St Austin's Players enacted ‘Murder in the Big Bruvva House', leaving more than 60 would-be sleuths, working in teams, to identify the guilty person. A prize went to the winning group.

There was a raffle and club president David Pickover, a former police officer, ran a quiz based on British murders over the past 100 years.

The event was held at the club's new meeting place at the Brookhouse Club, Barnsley Road, Wakefield.


14th October 2008

This evening a presentation was made to a joint meeting of the Wakefield and Wakefield Chantry Rotary Clubs by students who had attended a Rotary Youth Leadership Award course. Please see the appropriate page under the Projects menu entry