Speakers & Presentations at the Club
The people who gave up their time to speak to us on a variety of interesting topics
It has to be said that the District Governor's address is not always the highlight of the year. Not always, I said; but it can happen!
Today we were priveleged to have that particular topic deliverd by a passionate and spirited lady who had no problem in transmitting her enthusiasm for Rotary. District Governor Jo Pawley did not disappoint when she addressed the Club today. She spoke about membership and how it was declining; she spoke about age; she spoke about diversity and change.
She spoke about "Project Members" Rotaract and Satelite Clubs, but most of all she displayed the many attributes that Narek founded upon in his vote of thanks. This lady is Passionate (about Rotary) determined, Committed, Visionary and Hard working. "If we don't Continue", she said, "Who will pick up the reins when we stop?
Good question! Well done Jo!
Jack Farge from The Scottish Wildlife Trust entertained us today. He spoke mainly about the Scottish Wildlife Trust but also made us all the wee bit wiser about the JUpiter Urban Wildlife Centre in Grangemouth. Jack is obviously passionate about his work having gained a Master's in Conservation Science and has since worked for conservation charities in roles focusing on community engagement and environmental education. In his current role at Jupiter he delivers
environmental education through events and school trips. He also maintains the reserve with the help of volunteers.
John Brown from the Rotary Club of Kilsyth came today as an ambassador for Aquabox. He very competently demonstrated just how the Charity works and let us see the work of the volunteers in Derbyshire. The Aquabox not only holds educational, domestic and personal needs but most importantly is repository for an ingeneous water pump/filter that will happily purify 250,000 litres of filthy water, filtering out many viruses (including the wild Polio virus) to provide potable water from the worst of sources. John demonstrated the hand operated pump and explained how the filter could be backwashed and continue to work on a daily basis for a period in excess of six years. The pump is available in both family and community modes and is available for all regardless of Politics, creed or nationality.
Linsey Hansford of the CVS spoke to us today about the work that they do. We were all impressed at the breadth and depth of the services that they provide uniting volunteers with opportunities that will enhanced their empoyability prospects. Linsey's job means that she develops and implements the "Improving Employability Through
Volunteering" project. In this project she develops rewarding volunteering
placements for people who are engaging with the Local Authority Employment and
Training Unit to improve their employability skills.
She says that she is passionate about volunteering and believes that the right opportunity can be a life-changing experience. In her spare time she volunteers for a children’s activity group in her local community.
Linsey also spoke about the annual event they are to hold in the Trinity Church on the 1st of October 10.00 - 14.00 "Age is just a number" This year's topic is "Keeping safe and well in your community" and everyone is invited. Check out www.cvsfalkirk.org.uk or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Ian Wallace spoke to us today about the history of the Order of St John. His presentation was delivered with surgical precision and outlined the amazing history of the areas surrounding the Mediterranean and the complex interweaving of The Gods of the Roman Empire, Christianity, the rise of Islam, and the conflicts that surrounded them. The resulting Crusades and the miriads of pilgrims that descended on Jerusalem and The Church of the Holy Sepulchre resulted in the establishment of a Hospital to tend to their distress. The men and women who worked there became known as the Knights of the Order of St John Jerusalem. As a result of Islamic pressure we were told that they moved to Cyprus then Crete then eventually settling in Malta where they paid the annual rent with a Falcon. Later the real Falcon was replaced by a jewel encrusted effigy!!! The origin of "The Maltese Falcon" - Fantastic stuff. It was as usual a rivetting, informative and most enjoyable experience being in the company of such an accomplished speaker.
Alex Fleming from Falkirk BID spoke to us today. She more than ably described the work that is carried out by her organisation on behalf of the retailers and other interested parties in the town. I am sure that most people are blissfully ignorant of the fact that our town centre is being transformed not by accident but by dint of a huge and diverse plan which is co-ordinated by Falkirk BID in a forward looking and imaginative fashion.
Club member Sandy McGill addressed the club on the topic Frank Lloyd Wright. He illustrated his talk with a presentation showing the eight of the FLW designs that have been inscribed on the Unesco World Heritage list.
From top left they are Unity Chapel, The Robie House, Taliesin, The Hollyhock House, Falling Water, The Jacobs' House, Taliesin West and the Solomon R Guggenhiem Museum.
Catherine King, a local artist and lecturer in art at Forth Valley College showed us her work today. She explained how the character of what she is seeing is portrayed in her paintings. Landscapes figured alongside some beautiful portraits and dynamic studies of Tango dancers. Catherine is an accomplished artist and exhibits her work widely.
Donald Johnston spoke to us today about fire safety in the home. Donald was extremely explicit and informative if a wee bit scary but it had the desired effect. He pointed out to us that currently there is a change to the legislation affecting all homeowners in Scotland that will come into effect in 2021. This will require that we have a heat detector in the kitchen, a smoke detector in the Living room and upstairs and downstairs landings and if you have fires a carbon monoxide detector too. The fire detectors should all be interlinked. This is able to be done wirelessly or hard wired. You will need an electrician for the hard wired option but you can do the wireless type DIY. The information is available on line here
Additionally you can arrange a home fire safety visit in three ways: -
- text to 80800
- freephone 0800 073 1999
Ian McSween spoke to us today about his tripo to Tanzania for the VIne Trust. While the expedition that was to assist in the construction of two homes was under the auspices of the Vine Trust it had been facilitated by the Trinity Church. 12 members of the congregation including Ian and Sandie Bovaird (whom we were delighted to have as a visitor on the day) visited Tanzania and not only helped to build the two dwellings but contributed to the Construction cost. The congregation and associated communities of the Trinity Church had accumulated £38,000 approximately £10,000 was for the group's expenses and the remainder contributed to the materials required for the build. That part of Tanzania ranks among the most deprived and disease ridden areas of the world in which the Vine Trust seeks to enable volunteers to provide medical, home building and care support to communities living in severe poverty.
The trip was occasioned by the fact that Ian's knowledge of the Fishery trade had resulted in his advice to the area, on the shore of lake Victoria, to establish a fish farm to breed Tilapia. Before that could be established however the necessary infrastructure for its maintenance had to be in place.
Michael Hendry Admissions Superintendent at Edinburgh Castle kept us well entertained today with his talk "Behind the scenes at Edinburgh Castle". Michael kept us suitably engaged with his droll humour while he explained just what it was like to be responsible for everyone that crossed the threshold or should I say the Drop Bridge of arguably the biggest tourist attraction in Scotland. Apparently the drop bridge took the place of what would have been a drawbridge. While a Drawbridge is raised and retained in the inner keep a drop bridge simply self destructs and requires rebuilding if it is ever deployed. The visitors that Michael supervises include everyone from deliveries of toilet paper to Prince Harry and includes Cruachan IV the shetland pony mascot of the Royal Regiment of Scotland.
Bill Laurie explained to the Club the History of the Litter/Eco awareness competition and showed us just how clever and detailed the entries have been. This pioneering initiative has been hugely successful and is in danger of being mothballed due to a lack of interest by the schools.
Andrew Niven brought us all up to date with the "End Polio Now" Global Initiative. The statistics are unbelievable. The stories harrowing but we are slowly getting there.
13th June was our Club assembly when the Committee Chairs inform the Club of their plans for the future.
"Big" Arthur McInnes spoke to us today about Community Policing. Arthur was dubbed "Big" Arthur by the people of Camelon who so much admired his presence there as the Community Police Officer that they proposed him successfully for the British Empire Medal. Arthur spoke easily and freely about his experiences in Camelon displaying just the character that endeared him to so many of the local Mariners. (That's whit Kemlin folk are ca'd) Big Arthur is pictured here with Wee Jim Flanked by David Wheeler and President Brian Muldoon from Grangemouth who along with 5 other members were visiting on a scatter week.
So popular is Arthur that his daughter's employer (David Wheeler) brought her along to listen to her father along with six others of her colleagues.
At the end of the Month Chris Cutts from Forth Estuary Forum spoke to us about the ecosystem that is the Forth Estuary. The up side is that the incidence of heavy metals in the water is on a decline as the water benefits from the lack of Industry on its shores. As part of a Scotland wide plan Chris is responsible for ensuring the protection and better management of the Firth. This relies on the voluntary co-operation of all parties that share the shores of the Firth. You can see what they are up to here : -
Marianne Pattison spoke to the CLub today. Raymond has known Marianne since they were in the Sunday school at 5 years old. He must have had a BAD paper round, he says, as she looks much younger than him. She was a primary school teacher and then Headmistress. She is a past president of the Soroptimists, an Elder in The Trinity Church and is married to David, who has previously spoken to the Club. She is going to Tanzania in a few days’ time with the Vine Trust and fellow volunteers. We will hear about this project from Iain MacSween in July.
Marianne told us in great detail of the harrowing time she had during a Viking Cruise on the west coast of Norway in March 2019 when a malfuntion on the Ship's system caused the engines to cut out. The presence of mind of Marriane and her husband and friends all of whom were qualified fisrt aiders led to not a few of the panicked passengers receiving care that might not otherwise have been available.
Marianne was quick to point out that Viking behaved magnificently both on board in the treatment of the more seriously injured but also by way of the management reaction to the unfortunate events that unfolded.
While the ship heaved in mountainous seas that broke windows on the exposed side, arrangements were being made to airlift 20 passengers at a time from the stricken vessel by helicopter. While a complete evacuation proved not to be necessary (and Marianne and her party chose not to be airlifted) many of the passengers arrived in dock while still onboard, the ship having been herded home by a flotilla of tugs.
Marianne was full of praise for the Viking organisation and their handling of the incident.
The delightful Jo Pawley came to the Club today. Jo is District Governor elect and she sought to tell us about the District Conference in Aviemore in August.
Jo's honest and straightforward attitude was a breath of fresh air when she spoke about trying to make the Conference something that everyone would want to go to. The Friday night would feature a Shelterbox presentation from actual experienced operatives on the ground while the Saturday night would see entertainment in the shape of "Chasing Lights".
Jo brought Luke Skywader with her to illustrate one of the fun parts of the weekend which entailed a Duck Race in the Swimming Pool. The monies raised would be donated to the Local Hospice.
Both Jo and her Conference convener Jim were at pains to point out that the theme of the Conference was "Partnership - Think differently". Much care had been given to the inclusion of those of us who have difficulties one way or another and Both Jo and Jim were eager to show that the "Partnership" part embraced "Inclusion". Deals had been struck with Scotrail for discounted travel from anywhere in Scotland and it was felt that the "One Venue" principle at Aviemore would be a winner.
John Helliwell addressed the Club today, 2nd May, on the subject of Mary's Meals. John began by confirming that he was not in the habit of delivering these talks but usually just organised them. Douglas Robertson, a member of Linlithgow Grange, had been scheduled to speak to us but had sadly passed away two weeks ago.
John, while being unaccustomed to speaking, drew on his personal experience of the plight of the people of Malawi and Zambia and delivered an impassioned talk on the hardships that they faced. Mary's Meals seeks to remedy the situation in part by ensuring that the children attend school where they can be assured of an education and a nutritionally fulfilling meal. The Charity also provides back packs, school wear and the accoutrements required for school work.
Eilidh Gallacher and Jayne Lennox visited us on the 18th April. Jayne accompanied Eilidh, a young carer, to allow her to tell us about her experiences over the Challenge Enterprise weekend at Carronvale. Eilidh was initially unsure about how she might fare among so many strangers and this was exacerbated by a nasty throat infection on the day. She persevered however and spoke warmly about the friends she made while fulfilling all of the challenges posed. She remembered with humour the testing time of creating structures with marsh mallows and spaghetti. Her enthusiasm displayed just how she had enjoyed the experience.
In a departure from the Norm, on the 11th April, Raymond Morton very skillfully laid bare Ian Rule's chequered history. The presentation took the form of an interview with Ian being the subject.
Ian, (81), however cheerfully recalled his previous, albeit unrealised aspirations to be an Architect through Plumber, Jockey, Sailor, Rugby player and Falkirk's very own Peter Stringfellow, reliving his experiences with "La Bamba". If you put all of this together with a 44 year career in Rotary encompassing two presidencies, one District Governor, Rotary Foundaton Cadre in water and Sanitation and an ambassador for Rotary Jaipur Limb Centre you have a remarkable picture of a remarkable man.
On April 4th the two young carers, Eilidh Arnot and Ross Barr, who attended RYLA last July, spoke to the Club about their experiences gained during their separate weeks at Ardeonaig Lodge. They described their day-by-day activities of canoeing, rock-climbing, Munro bagging and high ropes climbing and many more, much to the enjoyment of members. They had clearly enjoyed the experience and stated without hesitation that they had benefited from it in terms of gaining confidence and making lasting friendships. Jayne Lennox, Falkirk and Clackmannanshire Carers Trust, thanked the Club for their ongoing support of the Young Carers and emphasised how much it was appreciated by the young people themselves and the staff of the Trust.
Our annual joint meeting with Grangemouth was on Thursday 28th March and the speaker then was Bruce Keith. Bruce has a blog site called "The Happy Pontist" which is a reference to the subject of his talk which was Bridges and Bridge designers in Scotland.
Roy Russell, a Volunteer from Step Forth addressed the Club today to tell us about Step Forth. Step Forth is an initiative by Falkirk Community Council. It is a walking programme with walks across the Falkirk Council area for all ages and abilities. It was started in 2003 as a health walking programme supported by Paths For All, but it has grown and expanded across the years to include a range of walks and activities to suit everyone. Roy told us about the breadth of programme and walking opportunities that they offer from Buggy walks to Nordic and Otago. Otago is a region in South Island New Zealand where the system of excercise that bears its name was established. The walks are arranged across the District and are free to anyone who has the motivation to join. Roy, an Electrical Engineer and retired Civil Servant walks the best part of 50 miles each week while leading these walks.
Today we were treated to the rare prospect of a young person talking to us about her work and in this case it was Stephanie Sutherland talking to us about Forestry Management by drone. Her passion as well as her business is providing aerial views for forestry plantations for a number of different crucial reasons. Windfall areas normally hidden from view, diseased areas and species identification are only a few of the outlets for her innovative approach.
Stephanie was so passionate about the notion that, because her employer didn't take her seriously, she quit her job and did it herself. This marrying of state of the art information technology with the knowledge of centuries of forestry management has revolutionised the industry and can provide geographically accurate information in a matter of hours that would have taken days or weeks before.
Stephanie showed herself to be a confident and knowledgable individual who knows her craft and is not afraid to jump the boundaries to broaden the scope of her ability.
7th March 2019
The first Thursday of March was our annual Schools Day and pupils of three High Schools gave presentations on a broad Community Service theme.
Ellie MacKay and Abby Fish of Denny High School described the setting up of their school’s Uniform Clothing Bank and members were highly impressed by the sensitive methodology employed by the senior pupils operating the uniform bank. Volunteers helped with the sorting of the clothing, washing and ironing the items to prepare them for distribution. Elly and Abby have received a special invitation to present their work at a UK Youth meeting in London later this month.
Maddy Smart and Josh Sheridan of the Charities Committee, Falkirk High, described an impressive list of events held in the school including a sleepover in the assembly hall, a games day for all years of the school, a ‘purple plaster ‘ day, ‘brave a shave day’ and a number of other highly inventive ways of raising cash for a large number of worthy charities. Josh and Maddy proudly informed the audience that their school was in the top ten of schools in Scotland for raising charity funds
Moving the theme from local efforts to the international stage, Rachel Lapsley and Dominic Pollock spoke very movingly about their visit to Aushwitz and the effect it had on them. They both contribute to the Global Citizens’ Group at St Mungo’s High and related how their experiences of what life had been like in one of the most notorious concentration camps of the Holocaust have affected them in their consideration of current racial issues and hate crime.
28th February 2019
We were priveleged today to have with us Alastair Lamb. Alastair is 93 and still lives in the House in Riverside in Stirling where he was born. He was a rear gunner in a Lancaster Bomber in the second World War and was on active service at the end of the war dropping food and supplies to a beleaguered and starving population in Holland during "Operation Manna".
Alastair's sight is failing and he had Sheena with him to assist in the presentation. All Sheena did was push the remote button every so often.
Alastair needed no assistance in delivering what turned out to be an awe inspiring memoir about just what it was like back in the day. He spoke without aid for a period of 20 minutes and to a stunned audience who were silent through all but the cheekily humorous anecdotes about such things as parachutes being deployed inside the aircraft.
Considering the life expectancy of aircrew at that time it is a miracle that Alastair survived. That he was there to speak to us today almost 75 years after the fact was something that none of who were present on the day will forget.
21st February 2019
Mae Bell from Prostate Scotland was at the Club today to tell us about prostate cancer/disease. In a mostly male environment the talk was presented to a hushed and sometimes stunned audience.
Mae's confident and knowledgeable presentation covered every aspect of the subject sometimes in alarming detail. Her coverage of the myths and truths of the statistics gave us all food for thought. Mae's presentation was at one and the same time informative and scary but delivered with such ease that one could not help but believe that all of it was brand new even although the men among us would have thought that they were aware of the subject beforehand. A Polished performance from an undoubted professional.
Ian Low arrived at the Club today for the third time in two years. Is there no end to this man's knowledge?
Firstly it was Hopetoun House. Then it was Tartan. Today it was Glasgow Cathedral and St Mungo. The history that we were all treated to was widespread and much more than just the Cathedral. Apart from the tour of the Cathedral and its stained glass (not all of it was stained) the talk included the origins of the Glasgow coat of arms, Scottish women of note, the "Dingin' doon" and the fact that St. Enoch was St. Mungo's mother!
It was obvious that Ian could spend much more than his allotted twenty minutes on the subject and this, all the more remarkable for the fact that he has been in place as a guide at the Cathedral for less than a year. A polished and rivetting performance! Again.
Calum McRae spoke to us today and surprised us all in regard to the content of his talk "Marzipan Media". I think most of us were expecting a discourse on pastry calligraphics but Calum's Grandfather's historical eronious ordering of years worth of Marzipan turned out to be the basis of the renaming of his company which deals in the provision of background music both with and without licences.
Calum is a more than able communicator who expertly outlined the progress of his Company through many difficult times to the thriving undertaking that it is today. Calum unlike many we know has no need to rely on the name of his forebears for success. His confidence and personality shone through an awesome presentation.
The presentation today was by Tyreece Wright, a young carer, and Jordan Rowse, a support staff member with the Young Carer’s Project for Falkirk and Clackmannanshire, both of whom had been on the Ocean Youth Trust voyage from Oban to Tobermory and Mallaig in July 2018. Tyreece spoke eloquently about the experience of the voyage and how much it meant to him to see a beautiful part of Scotland along with nine other young carers. He emphasised the enjoyment of working together, playing board games, cooking and living in the compact space of the yacht ‘Alba Venturer’ and contrasted this with the isolation he sometimes felt when his caring duties prevented the social interaction enjoyed by his peers at school and in the community. Jordan gave a summary of the care and support for the young carers provided by the staff and how she too had enjoyed the voyage.
The voyage had been sponsored by Falkirk and three other local Clubs and eight members and friends of Alloa Rotary Club, one of the sponsors, were in the audience to hear this inspirational presentation by two caring members of our community.
David McClements visited today on the day before the Bard's 160th Anniversary to tell us about Robert Burns' relationship with the legal profession. His knowledge of the process of Law I think fired his enthusiasm for his subject which enthralled his somewhat depleted audience. David was able to spark the memories of quite a few of us when he referred to Burns's friends and Acquaintances in that field. His faither wid ha'e bin prood o' the laddie!
We were also priveleged to have as a guest, Alastair McMillan's Grandson Sam. Sam has taken leave of absence from his work in London to tend to his Grandad's affairs at his house. There's not many grandsons would do that now are there?. Well done Sam.
Sam is pictured here with Robert Spears who was celebrating his 65th birthday.
17th January 2019
How time flies! Half way through January already but to make up for it we had a supremely educated, enthusiastic and entertaining speaker today. Eck Stewart spoke to us on behalf of ABF The Soldiers' Charity. Eck joined the armed forces as a trooper and worked his way up to Colour Sergeant teaching Officers at Sandhurst before earning a commission himself. A veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan (There were more but, sorry, that's all I can remember for sure) Eck spoke with humility and conviction about the job that he does in looking after our veterans and their dependants. He spoke at length about the miriad of other charities that "The Soldiers' Charity" funds and in some detail about specific cases whose lives were changed as a result of the support that they had received.
10th January 2019
Our first meeting of the New Year on the 3rd January, at which we were to hear about the Rotary experience of the veteran icon that is Ian Rule, unfortunately went awry when we all arrived to discover that the Hotel was shut. "I believe that it was because they found out that I was the speaker!" said Ian- No comment
on the other hand was a different kettle of fish. For a start the Hotel was open but the icing on the cake was Anamaria Koeva, a graduate of Architecture from Edinburgh University (pity it wasn't the Mac) whose delivery shone with enthusiasm and empowerment as she told us first about herself and then about Rotaract.
Anamaria is Bulgarian and first joined Rotaract in her home Country before coming to Edinburgh to study. Having graduated with a MAhons Degree in Architecture she has since given up Architecture for a life involving Art, Writing and freelance translation.
Anamaria, Chair Elect of Rotaract in GB&I, proved to be a highly effective ambassador for Rotaract and indeed Rotary as she explained to us just how involving younger people in Interact and Rotaract will eventually pay dividends in Rotary membership.
20th December 2018
Our annual meeting where we are reminded of the Christmas message was brightened today by Rev. Willie Shaw. Willie quite unusually took his text from Isaiah Chapter 9 (which is the inspiration behind Handel's Messiah) rather than the New Testament as has been the norm in the past. Willie reminded us that we can all shine a light, however weak, into the lives of others. Willie stood in for his wife, Sarah, who is currently on adoption leave, the pair of them recently having adopted two boys.
6th December 2018
Her Majesty's Chief Inspector of Constabulary, Gill Imery, was delight when she addressed our annual Christmas Lunch today. Gill, an Alloa girl, spoke of how her father had been a member of Alloa Rotary and her mother a member of Inner Wheel. She continued to outline her journey through the ranks of the Constabulary with hilarous effect before arriving at the post that she now has held since earlier this year. Unfortunately her husband, Dougie, was unable to accompany her having been struck down by "Man Flu"
22nd November 2018
Today we had a real treat! Ian Wallace Past President of Linlithgow Grange spoke to us about "The History of Surgery" Ian, with the greatest of knowledge ability and confidence, delivered a fascinating insight into his topic spanning 4,000 years and culminating in the present day of information technology, CT scans, MRI scans, Heart and brain surgery and micro surgery for Cancerous growths. His knowledge on his subject was ssuch that he was able to distil what was usually a 1 hour talk into 20 minutes with no apparent lack of detail. (To us heathens anyway!)
15th November 2018
Today is always special in the Rotary Club of Falkirk Calendar. Jill Buchanan from the Falkirk Herald and Linda Pacitti from Morton Pacitti, joint sponsors of the Communiuty Achievement award, were present to see this year's presentation.
John Ormsby a mega-volunteer from the Sensory Centre, Childrens' Panel, Seagull Trust etc. was presented with the award which marked the 24th anniversary of its establishment.
Additionally and following on from last week John Struthers was presented with his Appreciation of Long Service award for having put "Service above Self" for 35 years. Well done John!
8th November 2018
Harry Baird from Falkirk Victoria Harriers spoke to us today. Harry, a Camelon man, joined Victoria Harriers 6 or 7 years ago as a volunteer and now takes up the role of acively promoting the Club and what it aspires to. Victoria Harriers, while not an elitist Club has many very successful credits to its name with National representatives and world records figuring among their achievements. However Harry was at pains to point out that they stress that they wish everyone at whatever level or age perform at the peak of their own ability and the Club provides a forum within which that can happedn. Harry was anxious to spread the word and sought help in identifying groups that would benefit from his presentation.
1st November 2018
Professor Helen Bond spoke to us today. Helen was born in Durham. She is married and has 2 children. She now lives in Falkirk and has a Degree in Theology. Helen is the Head of the School of Divinity at Edinburgh University.
Helen is pictured second right beside Robert, a guest of Jim Watson. Left to right are Past RI President John Kenny, Marylin, a guest of Robert Spears and Sheena from Kidney Kids beside President Jim.
Helen spoke about how she was a great student of 1st Century history and Christianity, particularly in relation to the role of Female followers of Jesus at the time. She had, she says, an idea about doing a series of documentaries on the subject and was successful in securing a commision from channel 4 to do one programme called "Jesus' female disciples". She did so in an honest and humourous manner while not losing sight of her original objective. George Honeyman delivered the vote of thanks recognising the speaker's attributes in every sense.
Before Helen spoke, President Jim presented a cheque for £250.00 to Sheena Dunsmore from Kidney Kids.
We were treated today to a splendid address by Marjory Sime. Marjory is an artist (She calls herself a painter because she says the title “artist” can only be conferred by an observer) who was born in South Africa. She has a studio in Larbert and for the past two years has run the Art Gallery in the Howgate where 27 local Artists exhibit their work with part of the proceeds being donated to the Seagull Trust Cruises. Marjory gave up a perfectly good career in Law to paint and says that “Creativity takes discipline and inspiration”. She brought some of her work with her “The essence of Summer” and adds “It’s all about what you feel! If Critics recognise and acknowledge your work you will make money. The rest of us”, she says “Well we just slog along!” Modesty beyond description.
Bruce Keith, a distinguished expert in the field of water and environmental management, gave a fascinating presentation on ‘Bridgescapes’ which examined a variety of significant bridges in Scotland. Bruce interspersed his talk with many excellent photos of both well-known and less known bridges as well as entertaining historical and literary references.
Our old friend Ian Scott entertained us today. His topic was "War Memorials Falkirk, an update". Ian initially paid tribute to Past President Sandy Bovaird who had been a friend and neighbour for many years.
After also thanking Sandy Murrison for his delivery of his memories of Sandy B he went on to tell us about the War Memorials in Newmarket Street and Dollar Park. While the South Africa Memorial in Newmarket Street seemed to have been designed and built with the weight of the Town Council and the community at large behind it the War Memorial at the Dollar Park was considered less enthusiastically by the Council who had to bend to the wishes of the Public eventually.
We were treated today to our annual address by the District Governor. This Year Agnes FRitchie occupies the Chair and she delivered her address "Be the Inspiration" with confidence and humour, recognising that we all require to inspire and be inspired.
Agnes is a member of the Bathgate Club and has held a plethora of posts during her Rotary Career while holding down a career in nursing at the highest level.
Agnes was kind enough as praise the Falkirk Club for their efforts in the past
Maureen Kilgour and her husband Neil visited to day to tell us about her passion for providing facilities for people with learning difficulties.
Maureen and Neil have two boys both of whom have learning disabilities. It was they who were the catalyst in the pair's mission to make sure that there were facilities in Falkirk to cater for people like their sons. Enable Falkirk Branch has blossomed under their leadership to a permanent place where support for their clients consist of help for them to plan and achieve the things they want to do in their life.
Whether they want support to live independently, to get out
and about in their community, to work or go on holiday, they’re there to help.
Martin Strang spoke to us today about his achieverments in Archery and Petanq at the Transplant Games. A Gold medalists in archery, Martin outlined his journey through two transplants and how he seemed to be a "Natural" when it came to archery, winning gold medals after only two years in the sport. But he has a second string to his bow in Petanq a sport in which he also wins medals.
The thrust behind Martin's delivery was in drawing everyone's attention to the Organ Donor Register and to alert them to the notion that it was not enough simply to sign up but it is also of paramount importance that you should talk about it with your loved ones so that they are aware of your wishes.
Today we were privileged to have Jamie Rae from the Throat Cancer Foundation speak to us about the Charity that he founded when he experienced the condition first hand. Jamie's delivery was as sincere and rivetting as it was disturbing. Having realised the lack of facility for treatment of the disease and the radical oral surgery that was necessary as a result of the poor facilities, he set about putting things right.
At this point in time because the cause of the disease is primarily recognised as a feminine disorder only girls are inocculated aginst the disease. As a direct result of his motivated and relentless attitude, as of 2019 boys as well as girls will be inocculated against the Human Papiloma Virus. All strength to your elbow Jamie. Well done.
Our speaker today was unable to manage along so Jim, Linda and Sandy spoke to the Club about their walk along the Forth and Clyde canal.
Ann McCulloch from "Baby Steps" spoke to us today about her work. Ann is the Manager of the shop 'Baby Steps' in Vicar Street, Falkirk. This is a Baby Goods Shop which offers paid, sustainable employment to people with support needs. The Charity it supports is Called Watch Us Grow, which provides for people to take part more equally within the wider community. Ann lives in Cumbernauld with her son who is coming up for 17. She is a Co-founder of the Charity.
At last Graham McGregor delivered his job talk today. Having wrongly reported previously that he had entertained the club with this I can now confirm that his laid back account of a Globe trotting professional life form Bo'ness to Bangkok, Nigeria and California USA mapped out an illustrious career as a civil engineer.
Graham's forte was in soil mechanics and foundation structures but he admitted to the structural design of the Woolco store in Cumbernauld Town Centre which has now been demolished to make way for Fleming House, the HQ of Cumbernauld end of North Lanarkshire Council.
James McDonald from Falkirk Writers Circle returned to speak to us today about the Poets and Artists of the First World War.
James in his usual relaxed style, paid tribute to Falkirk Arts and Civic Council and the work that they have done over the piece before speaking humbly about his subject. The humour that preceded, while talking about the Falkirk Council, was not present during the latter part of this honest and sincere delivery.
Maureen Burns from the Grangemouth Heritage Centre talked to us today about the History of Grangemouth
Maureen was born & bred in Grangemouth. She is married
and started working for ICI in Grangemouth for 1 year before working for ICI/Syngenta all over the world until 2002, when illness
forced her to retire. She then joined the Heritage Centre, before becoming
it's Historian. Maureen spoke eloquently and knowledgably to the powerpoint display that showed many parts of Grangemouth that lots of us recognised from the dim and distant past. Her light hearted and humourous approach made for a very enjoyable lunchtime.
David Mieras Chairman of the Seagull Trust Cruises entertained us today telling us about the development of the Charity which employs absolutely no salaried posts. Everyone from the Chairman down is a volunteer. The Charity was begun 40 years ago to the day (almost) with one boat providing cruising for 400 disabled passengers. They now have 8 boats at 4 different locations, with 600 volunteers providing free cruising for people with special needs. Last year 23,000 people took advantage of the opportunity. David put a smile on all of our faces with his many amusing anecdotes.
Two representatives from Braveheart came to talk to us today.
Anne Black, the Braveheart Manager, brought Rodney Moore along with her. Anne spoke confidently about the work that Braveheart does in promoting healthy lifestyles among those who may be suffering from heart related problems, Diabetes and overweight. While doing this she stressed that the organisation is always on the lookout for volunteers, both in the Walk Leader category and as Trustees. Rod, a walk leader and ex paramedic told us about the breadth and geographic reach of the work that they do along with an indication of how the walks are arranged.
In a break from the norm our new programmes convenor decided to entertain us himself today. The theme was "Would I lie to you" and while I had added "probably" to the question, in the event he didn't.
Raymond recounted episodes from his legal career which could have been construed to have been fabricated but in fact turned out to be accurate accounts of actual happenings. Both the Client who scored a century at Lords on Raymond's only visit there and the sale of a "Fetish factory" brought smiles to all of our faces. John Struthers's recollection of laying Irish girls end to end up the centre of the road proved no less entertaining.
Today July we had Andy Paterson Chair of Trustees , and Anne Hemfrey Vice chair of the Trustees of Home Start Falkirk West.
Andy spent most of his career in financial services as a computer programmer and systems analyst he then moved into running day care schemes for the elderly. He has been with Home Start Falkirk West since 2011. Anne spent her career working for BAA Scotland as head of planning for Edinburgh, Glasgow and Aberdeen Airports she now sits on the board of Strathclyde Partnership for Transport. She is also a lay member of Law Society's Client Protection Fund and has been with Home Start since 2017.
Home start Falkirk West has been going since 1973 and has one full time manager and a part time family support worker and are based at 72 Duke Street Denny. It is the UK's leading family support charity Each of the areas is a separate charity in its own right and answers to Home start UK.
To become a home visiting volunteer you be, a parent or have full time Parenting experience, undergo 40hrs training and gain formal qualifications, with regular further training, and access to intranet web training. If a volunteer has any problems they can get help from another volunteer or from Home Care UK.
They currently help 40 families by providing home visits and family support groups.
Total income in 2017 was £121,000.00
Home Start Falkirk West are seeking to recruit support, at the moment they have only five trustees and would like to have at least eigh. New trustees would benefit from induction, training and support from existing trustees, national training courses and events and access to the Home Start Intranet which contains information and guidance on all aspects of running a local Home Start.
If you know of any member, family member or friend who may be interested contact
Home Start Falkirk West, 72 Duke Street, Denny FK6 6NT Tel. 01324 829444
Todays Speaker was Pat Duncan.
Pat, an ex art teacher, spoke of how Mercy Ships started with three ex cruise ships but now only has one. The original ships became redundant after a change in shipping laws rendered them no longer fit for purpose.
They now have only one larger ship an ex German rail ferry named Africa Mercy. It has had a huge refit changing the car and rail decks into operating rooms and wards, with wards ranging from 35 to 50 beds. The ship sails from Scotland to around 70 countries. Pat was at pains to point out that it is necessary for them to be invited into foreign waters and often they require to send envoys to Countries that they feel would benefit, to outline their services and what they are capable of providing, before getting the required invitation.
Pat spoke about her own volunteering experience from dish washing to laundry work. She has now joined Mercy Ships UK Speakers Network. Volunteering lasts from 1 month to several years with one speaker who has been there for 35 years.
She told us about the children that are sometimes scared of the beds as they have only ever slept on a bed roll and are frightened by the height of the beds which are old army metal framed type single beds. The children's mothers sometimes lie on bed rolls at the side of their children. The bed rolls are rolled up and stored under the child's bed during the day.
Mercy ships not only provide care, they provide after and follow up care along with land based renovations to building and wells and also training of hospital staff in modern medical techniques. The ship only carries enough water for around 1 week in port. Water is a vital resource for them.
Kris Elliot, intrepid Atlantic rower, returned today to tell us about his epic journey with his brother. The boys took up the Talisker Atlantic Challenge to raise funds for the Firefighters Charity. Kris's beautifully presented account abounded with tales of Flying fish, skin sores, sea sickness, sleep deprivation, 40 ft waves and of course whisky (This was after all a Talisker Challenge).
The boys have organised a Black Tie ball in the Dunblane Hydro on 21st September. You can buy tickets at: -
It is hoped that appoximately £25,000 will be raised from the whole venture.
Yvonne Gray delighted us today with her presentation of Tai Chi and Qigong. These ancient methods of mindfulness and wellbeing have their roots in the same understanding as acupuncture. The movements take account of the meridians, the pathways that transport the life energy through the body. Yvonne was able to attest to the efficacy of the systems having spent years in pain as a result of a back injury and now is completely pain free.
Rhona Campbell, Information Manager for Action on Hearing Loss Scotland, visited today to tell us about how what used to be known as RNID had changed its name as a result of the fact that they catered not only for deaf people but people with hearing impairment too. She ably and confidently taught us all how to behave in the presence of people that did not hear as well as most and went further to tell those of us who fell into that category how to cope with the difficulties it presented.
Bill Laurie who was so proud of the presentations by all of the Schools in the Litter and ECO awareness competition volunteered to let us have a taste of how the competition was recieved.
Bill Blair from Friends of the Forth Valley Royal eventually managed to speak to us today about just that. He had been programmed to speak to us at the beginning of March but the weather put an end to that. Bill, a veteran of CERN and the Large Hadron Collidor in Switzerland who had in his own words "Hit the buffers" has spread his considerable talents supporting a number of worthwhile causes. He spoke briefly about his career and in more detail about the history of the Friends of The Forth Vally Royal and their fundraisng.
Having been told that the GSE Team were unable to speak to us today Ian Scott had generously agreed to fill in at very short notice. Imagine my surprise and embarrassment when Scott Anderson and Jill McCardel showed up. Ian was as ever the gentleman and understood the situation for what it was.
Scott and Jill did not disappoint, both displaying the credentials that befit ambassadors for Rotary and Scotland. Both told of how they had learned from the experience, imparted their own experience and knowledge to those they met and of how their own confidence and ambition had benefited from the trip. Les is to be involved in the national organisation of the fire service in Scotland where he hopes to put what he learned in America to good use, while Jill was promoted to the board in her employment on her return.
Jim Herd, an old friend of President elect Jim Cairns, came today to talk about the internet. JIm ably (I think) detailed how the internet as we know it today evolved from the notion in the cold war of the 60s and 70s that we needed a communications system that was not likely to be at risk as a result of a single incident. The IPs DNSs & etc however were I think sailing well above the heads of most of us in the room. A fascinating talk nonetheless delivered by a fascinating man.
John Kirkhope from Falkirk Council Waste Management took us on a tour of the streams of waste that he has to deal with from the thousands of homes and businesses around the area. The separation of the recycling is ther greatest problem that they hope to solve with something like 30-40% of materials having been put in the wrong coloured bin.
Ian Low kindly agreed to return to address the Club today on the topic of Myths and Lies of Scottish Tartan. Ian's easy and humorous presentations are always a treat and today was no exception. This was also our annual joint meeting with Grangemouth
Today is our annual Schools day. Two pupils from each of Denny High, Falkirk High, and Graeme High Schools attended and as is the norm showed us all how the public perception of today's youth is wildly off the mark. Aaron Robertson and Becca Harrington from Denny High were unaccompanied by a member of Staff but ably and confidently presented the School's ground breaking and award winning initiatives relating to LGBT awareness among Staff and pupils alike. The pupils from Falkirk and Graeme High both centred on the School's Charitable fundraising and the various imaginitive ways the pupils had of doing that. They both are to be roundly applauded for their selfless dedication to the community in their area. President Margaret is pictured here after having presented cheques to each of the schools to recognise their efforts.
Ewan Aitken from the Cyrenians wowed the members today with his inspiring address describing just what the Cyrenians do and how their aims and objectives are so similar to those of Rotary. Ewan ably described the amazing transformation that changed the lives of individuals who had been excluded from society, to active confident individuals who contributed to the benefit of that society and gave them a sense of esteem and usefullness that they had never experienced before.
`Flying Officer Marc Esson RAFAC Officer in charge of 470 (Falkirk) Squadron ATC delighted us today wioth his presentation on the part that the ATC is playing in our community among young people.
The weather confined us all at home today including the speaker. He is however booked for a late date.
Clare Short from Woodcraft Folk spoke to us today. Clare's enthusiasm for her topic shaone through a very enjoyable account of what the organisation was and what it hoped to achieve.
Ian Lowe spoke to us today about "Tenuous Links" to Hopetoun House. His encyclopaedic knowledge of not only the Hoiuse and family itself but also Scottish History in general was awesome. Ian educated an d entertained right royally.
For the third time this year our speaker failed to show but Bill Laurie stepped into the breach in his usual inimitable fashion to grill the Club on one of the Primary School Quizes from 2015. Needless to say we faired little better (if better at all) than the kids,.
Our Challenge enterprise candidates addressed the Club.
25th January 2018
Unfortunately due to his recent election as Provost, Billy Buchanan had scheduled duties at the local Schools to do with Robert Burns and was unable to address the CLub as arranged.
Consequently we had an impromptu Quiz which was won by Raymond Morton who walked of the proud winner of a miniature of Port.
18th February 2018
Louis Wall and his wife Esther visited today. Louis gave us a splendid presentation of the work that he does along with 16 other volunteers at Railway Stations from Dumfries and Stranraer to Ayr.
Louis had been presented with a lifetime honorary membership in South West Scotland Community Rail Partnership by John Yellowlees who said: -
“Louis's achievements never disappoint. Thanks to him, the South West has the finest station gardens in Scotland. Morale on the Stranraer line which might have collapsed following Stena's relocation is kept high by lovely floral displays. Ayr's flowerbeds are so good that they altered Michael Portillo's schedule. And the station gardens at Dumfries where ScotRail's MD has today announced extra trains present the town's best face and were the secret weapon in its recent successful bid for floral glory.”
11th January 2018
Our speaker never showed this week so we had a long chat about the Charter Dinner which is to be held on Friday 16th February.
4th January 2018
Cecil Meiklejohn, leader of Falkirk Council came today to give us the annual "New Year Message". Cecil chose to outline her life for us demonstrating just what sort of person she is and what it was that convinced her to take up a life of Politics. Showing us poignant photographs of her husband, confined to a wheelchair with M.S. and her two beautiful children, she ably portrayed herself as one whose values centred just where they ought to be.
She went on to outline her vision for Falkirk for the future, providing opportunities for young people, jobs and housing through the recognition of the developing valuable tourist economy of which Falkirk could and should ably take advantage.
Every year at this time we have a member of the local Clergy address the Club on the topic of Christmas. This year Rev. Sarah Shaw delivered the address in a beautifully simple and thoughtful manner. Sarah is Rector at the Christ Church in Falkirk which is part of the Scottish Episcopal Church. She drew numerous parallels between the birth of Christ in basic insanitary conditions to an unmarried young woman in a troubled part of the World who was subsequently forced to flee the terrors of Herod to Egypt as a refugee, and the plight of millions across the world today in the same condition. Sarah's inate humanity shone through an inspiring address and gave us all food for thought.
Today we presented the Community Achievement Award to Mrs Ann Kerr. Unlike some previous recipients Ann was delighted to be able to address the Club on the subject of Motor Neuron Disease. Ann spoke with knowledge and passion about the work that was being done in conjunction with Multiple Sclerosis charities to find a cure or treatment for the disease.
It was Christmas Lunch day today and 26 members, spouses, partners, Inner Wheelers and guests were treated to an address by Allan Simpson Lord Lieutenant of Stirling and Falkirk. Allan let us have an insight into his life as a Civil Engineer working in the dim and distant past when lorries had solid rubber tyres and OPEC ruled the world. He extended the address by outlining just what it was like to be Lord Lieutenant and the duties and responsibilities that the post entailed. We normally like a speaker of note for this occasion and Allan was more than up to the task finishing up his afternoon by winning the "boys" raffle of a bottle of Famous Grouse.
On St. Andrew’s day Chloe Sliman-Millitt, our RYLA candidate this year wowed us all with her heartrending life story and how RYLA had changed her for life. This confident and capable young lass spoke cleverly about both the Triumph that was RYLA and the Disasters that had preceded it, her life threatening surgery, that left her disabled and partly sighted and the loss of her mother. Reminiscent of the words of Rudyard Kipling's "If" I am inclined to recall the line "If you can deal with Triumph and Disaster and treat these two imposters just the same...." Well done Chloe, both for your success at RYLA and for your inspiring address today you are a Star.
Geoff Bailey from Falkirk Community Trust came to speak to us today.
Geoff says that he has been Keeper of Archaeology & Local History at Falkirk Museum for 30 years and is just beginning to get to know the place. In that time he has discovered the Roman fort at Falkirk, an Iron Age hillfort in Callendar Wood and a 10th century Celtic Cross at Carriden – amongst other things. He has published the odd (very odd he says) article, including books on the 1746 Battle of Falkirk and the Second World War.
Geoff's commanding knowledge of his subject which, this time, was "The 1745 Rebellion" shone through his captivating delivery. Geoff never ceases to entertain and educate.
Tommy Thomson from Scottish Canals visited today with an amazing delivery of the History of Scottish Canals and their feeeder resevoirs coupled with some pretty awesome sketches and photographs of the development of the Falkirk Wheel and the Helix network. Couple this with the extremely nostalgic photographs of the historic dirty Industry that grew up alongside the canal and what you get is a truly entertaining and educational lunchtime.
It's that time of year again! Time for the District Governor's address. District Governor Lindsay Craig took time out of his busy schedule en-route to Geneva to deliver the annual address. Lindsay displayed a superb enthusiasm for what he does and imparted the same among us. His inspiring talk was illustrated minimally but most effectively making the point precisely and no more. He spoke about the RI President's theme "Making a Difference" and its constituent parts while painting a picture of a man with as much humanity and enthusiasm as Lindsay himself. He spoke about planting trees and about Rotary Club Central in both of which initiatives the Falkirk Club are actively involved. He spoke about the many youth programmes where Rotary "Makes a Difference" and recognised Falkirk's heavy involvement in many of them.
Lindsay is pictured here handing over the RI Presidential banner to President Margaret.
Anne Brown AKA Mrs Broon reeturned to the Club today to update us on the progress that she personally has made and on the progress that has been made by RDA. Anne's enthusiastic delivery spanned from her first marriage through her fight to convince the medical hierarchy that her ailments were not in her head, her love of horses, her diagnosis with Multiple Sclerosis and fostering the ideals of riding in her grandchildren. She realises that while her mobility on her own two feet is deteriorating her ability in her riding is improving. She intends to take part in a number of out of the ordinary activities to raise money for Equipower the more recent manifestation of RDA in this area. New premises are looming big on the horizon but the obstacles loom just as large. Equipower need to raise in the region of £100,000 to ensure unimpeded access to their new site in Stirling. After the delivery of Anne's address and District Chair Person Evelyn's update on the progress of the new RDA Ceentre President Margaret handed over a cheque for £200.
As can be seen from the photograph everyone in the room participated in the "Purple Pinkie" initiative which raised £40 for End Polio Now on the day.
James McDonald from Falkirk Writers' Circle came today to tell us about his passion for writing and how he came to be writing. He spoke at length in an extremely humourous vein about getting published or not, about poetry and about his own personal situation. He had been writing for some time and collecting his work and having lost his parents a step daughter and a son within a very short space of time to heart disease he unearthed his collected works and published a book called "Poems from the Bottom Drawer". He published the book himself and seeks to sell them in aid of the Forth Valley Royal Hospital's Cardiology Department. Well done James I say!
12th October 2017
Nicola Stephenson, Operations Director, Zoolab Ltd, gave an interesting and at times disturbing presentation of the problems of rhinoceros poaching in South Africa. Nicola, with a team from Zoolab, had recently visited the Mankwe Wildlife Reserve and spoke of the problems facing the family running the reserve. Poaching rhinos for their horns is a huge problem and the rhino population is declining rapidly as a result. The alleged benefits of rhino horn are a complete myth but the perception of its properties, held especially by the Chinese, means that the poaching continues with consequent dangers to the reserve staff trying to protect the animals. Nicola illustrated her excellent presentation with graphic photos of the problem and a hard-hitting video by the owner of the reserve.
5th October 2017
Irene McKie from Strathcarron Hospice came to the Club today to update us on the current status of the Hospice. Irene's address was awe inspiring. She adeptly described in detail exactly what the Hospice does and what it aspires to do.
She surprised a lot of us with the detail of the operation. The statistics about how many referrals are received compared to how many of these actually stayed in the Hospice were surprising. The consideration shown for folk who would rather be at home was highlighted in the sustainable Hospice@Home initiative. The way that the Hospice is funded was also confusing considering that the NHS won't agree to the actual figures required to run the place because if they did it would cost them money.
Irene's commitment and enthusiasm for her job shone through the address which left all of us much wiser.
John Beever a member of Coatbridge, Airdrie and Monklands Rotary Club was recommended to us by Shotts and District Rotary Club. We were not disappointed. John delighted us with two videos. The first was a documetary that he had directed with his friend, James Cairns. It told the story of a Tram 1017 that had been restored and is at Summerlee Industrial Heritage Museum. The second was a more light hearted Comedrama which centred around two "Old Men" attempting to tour the history and sites of Edinburgh. Both were highly entertaining and were greatly enjoyed by all of the members.
21st September 2017
Tom Purdie ex policeman and prolific author on Football topics entertained us today right Royally with his amazing knowledge of "Scottish Football The Golden Years". Tom's laid back delivery and huge humour coupled with his intimate knowledge and relationships with names that we can all recall as heroes of the Scottish Game, provided an amazing insight into the days when it was all so simple. His anecdotes ranked among the best, and to top it all he offered to return to tell us more about the Heart of Midlothian Players who risked all for their Country by volunteering for the First World War before conscription was introduced. I for one can't wait.
14th September 2017
We were treated today to a force majeur of an address by Donald McNicol while he outlined his "Job Talk". Donald left us in no doubt about his passion for his work and his inimitable ability to carry it out. He waxed lyrical about oral hygiene, diet, awareness of our mouth and how the methods employed today to rectify dental defects have changed considerably from the days of high speed drills to the application of laser cured resins and from the face numbing Novocaine to the very latest in more easily targetted and more effective local anaesthetics. His discourse on the subject of implants left Linda Noble in some distress as she has, within the past week, signed up to just that procedure. Well done Donald. Robert Spears was conspicuously absent so I'm sorry I forgot to take a photograph.
However since Margaret was unwell and Jim stepped into the breach, I made this one up!
7th September 2017
Alex Napier from the Rotary Club of Shotts and District visited to tell us about his life long passion for organ music and in particular the work and music of Claus Wunderlich. Claus, "Mr Hammond" initially played the piano but soon graduated to the Hammond Organ upon which he entertained for years until finally having exhausted the repertoire of the instrument. He went on to develop an organ that was capable of reproducing the sound af a complete Orchestra or Big Band and enthralled audiences world wide until his death in the 90s. Alex's obvious enthusiasm and knowledge of his subject shone through this wonderful presentation.
Alex is shown in the picture alongside President Margaret and Des King from Old Costessey Probus Club who was a Guest of Hugh Gillespie
31st August 2017
Doctor Pankaj K. Argarwal had volunteered through District to speak to Clubs in the District about Cataracts and Glaucoma. Doctor Agarwal is a Consultant Ophthalmologist with special interest and expertise in sutureless small incision cataract surgery and Glaucoma. He is a consultant at Princess Alexandra Eye Pavillion in Edinburgh and St John's Hospital in Livingston.
His clinical expertises are in small incisions Cataract Surgery (Phacoemulsification), all types of lasers for Glaucoma and Glaucoma surgery including Trabeculactomy (augmented) and tube surgery. He offers a comprehensive service in minimally invasive Glaucoma surgery (MIGS) including XEN implant, istent etc.
As if that wasn't enough he turns out to be an after dinner speaker extrordinaire. Doctor Agarwal held an enthralled Cub's attention for 25 minutes while he explained, not without some humour, the intracacies of his profession and at the same time urging as all to have regular eye tests.
Les Mason, Scott Anderson and Jill McCardel, The GSE team who visited Ohio were our speakers today. Les was nominated by us, Scott by the Rotary Club of Kilsyth and Jill by the Rotary Club of Linlithgow Grange.
They showed us the presentation that they gave to the Rotary Clubs in Ohio during their trip. It is their intention later to present to the District Conference a resume of their trip and they promised to come back and deliver the same to the Club once the Conference presentation is complete.
Our speaker today didn't show up but that didn't dampen our spirits. We enjoyed an extended chat among the well attended meeting, 80% of members were there. The banter between the members relating to style of dress appropriate to a Rotary meeting was hilarious : -
Does anyone remember the Monty Python song "I'm a lumberjack"? I won't repeat the words of the song here. If you want to know the content you can Google it. I'm also sure that it is likely to be on Youtube.
There is one other member of the Club with a penchant for older men!
PC Douglas Cole visited on the 10th August to address the members on the subject of Fraud and Scams. Douglas confidently outlined the many ways in which vulnerable people might be tricked cajoled or simply forced to part with cash. Many of the things he spoke of were familiar to us but many were not.
Christine Bell and Fraser Johnston from Cycling without Age visited to update us on the progress of the project. With 25 million hits and 2,600 "likes" their facebook and Crowdfunding Campaign has borne fruit to the tune of £20,000 and all within 2 weeks. This will enable the purchase of three new Trishaws.
The initiative has been rolled out in countries all over western Europe, USA, South America, Africa and the Middle and Far East.
On the 27th July 2017 we were entertained by Olivia Hernandez from San Antonio Texas, a Global Scholar studying in Edinburgh for an MSc in International development at Edinburgh University. Olivia spoke about this being her second visit to Edinburgh having been studying there previously and fallen in love with the place. She spoke at length of her home town and its place in Texas then outlined her aspirations as a result of her studies. Her main specialities would be in Law relating to energy. Olivia brought her friend Whitney from Austin Texas.
20th July 2017
Gillian Gardner, Business and Development Manager from The Falkirk Trinity Church spoke to us on the 20th July. Her role in the Church entails ensuring that the Church's commitment to the Community at large is met. She skillfully outlined the breadth of local involvement in the Church and its halls over seven days of the week. Gillian's obvious enthusiasm was matched by the outgoing and pleasing Character that is the Hallmark of someone who loves their job. George Honeyman delivered the vote of thanks on behalf of the Club. President elect Jim Cairns was in the chair in the absence of President Margaret.
Kathleen and Greg Boswell visited the Club on Thursday 13th July to tell us about the History of their home town of Sedalia Missouri. The cattle drives that took place after the Civil War from Texas to Sedalia were the inspiration for the TV series Rawhide, one of the hands having kept a diary of the events.
In recognition of their home Club's centenary a project had been put in place to honour these Cowboys where none had existed before anywhere in the USA.
The project involved procuring a contemporary (with the time) Locomotive, Cattle Truck and cattlemen's caboose to display alongside a windmill, water tower and a life size bronze sculpture including longhorn cattle and a cowboy. Amazingly this was all completed three years ahead of the centenary.
Sedalia also boasts among it's noted Citizens none other than Scott Joplin who died in 1917. The town now stages an annual Festival of Ragtime Music to honour the man. Performers from two thirds of the United States and 6 other Countries as far away as Japan visit to make it probably the biggest Ragtime festival anywhere. This year being the Centenary of the great man's death a concert was staged in the Carnegie Hall in New York where a lone Pianist performed all of Joplin's recorded works.
Well done Kathleen and without the aid of a note too. It all rolled off the tongue like peas aff a knife.
On Thursday 6th July we were Regailed by Ross Martin a polymath who outlined his aspirations for the town of Falkirk within the wider frame of the Scottish Cities. Ross ably explained the opportunities that existed that would put Falkirk firmly on the map and occupy the centre ground of tourism, industry and entertainment in Central Scotland.
On Thursday 29th June Nancy Rule addressed the Club wearing her hat of District Rotakids Officer. Nancy delivered what was a detailed and well thought out description of the What Why When and Where of Rotakids. Her Passion for the job shone through the thoroughly professional presentation.
30 March 2017
A joint meeting between Rotary club of Falkirk and Rotary Club of Grangemouth hosted by RC of Grangemouth. The speaker was Claire Kennedy from CVS Falkirk. Claire explained that the main goal of CVS Falkirk is to provide a range of services predominantly to volunteers and third sector organisations and also to provide support and assistance to statutory partners to engage better with the third sector.
2 March 2017
Our latest member June McAlpine used her ‘job talk’ to give an insight into her long career as a Senior Nurse in Forth Valley and North Lanarkshire. Her enthusiasm and her love of the work she was doing was clear to everyone as she spoke about her increasingly senior role in infection control and care quality management, two examples from her wide experience. June epitomised all that is good about the NHS with her obvious concern for her patients and their welfare as well as her dedication to the training of younger staff.
15 Dec 2016
8 Dec 2016
1 Dec 2016
24 Nov 2016
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10 Nov 2016
3 Nov 2016
27 Oct 2016
20 Oct 2016
13 Oct 2016
6 Oct 2016
Today's special guest and speaker was Olive Geddes, the DG of District 1020. Olive presented a a very inspiring definition about "What is Rotary" adding personal local, national and international perspective. Geddes also present her travelling companion and fundraiser, the teaddy bear, who has accompanied Geddes in all her visits to the various clubs within and outhwith the district.
29 Sep 2016
todays speaker was Alex Galloway, A rotarian froom Stirling who introduced us about an epic story that took place in 1925, about a life-or-death race to deliver desperately needed anti-toxin from Anchorage to Nome, Alaska.
On January 21, 1925, several Inuit children in Nome, Alaska were diagnosed with diphtheria, a disease that was still common, widespread, and greatly feared in the 1920’s. Without anti-toxin to combat it, the highly contagious disease would quickly spread to all of the children in Nome.
More than 20 mushers and their dog sled teams eventually took part in a Pony Express-type relay to deliver the precious cargo battling against temperatures that rarely rose above -40 degrees Fahrenheit and winds that were sometimes strong enough to knock over both the dogs and the sleds.
On February 2 at 5.30 AM, the last team finally arrived in Nome. The dogs were too tired to even bark, but the serum had successfully been delivered — only seven days after leaving Anchorage, and just 127 1/2 hours after leaving Nenana.
22 Sep 2016
The guest Speaker was Kris Elliot. Kris is a fireman based in Stirling. He is married and has 2 children.
He spoke to the Club about "Team Noble". The team is going to take part in a 3000 mile race in December 2017, from the Canary Islands to Antigua in a rowing boat over the Atlantic Ocean. Approximately 30 to 40 teams are expected to participate.
The team is raising funds for "The Firefighters Charity". The team is called "Team Noble",because a few years ago Kris' Watch Manager, Johnny Noble, died in an a road accident, whilst responding to a call which turned out to be a false Alarm.
To-date the team have raised £12000 which covers the entry fee. They are hoping to raise another £10000. The team is hopeful that they can complete the race in 36 days. Kris and his three teammates will row every two hours day & night. There will be a support yacht for the race, but the yacht could be hundreds of miles away at any time. during last year's race 7 out of 10 boats capsized in the first week of the race. The boat, that Kris and his team will use, has previously competed the race with one of the rowers being an English based fireman.
Raymond Morton on behalf of the Club thanked Kris for his presentation.The Club wished him a safe and successful race
15 Sep 2016
8 Sep 2016
Our own Website
Narek Bido, the secretary of our club introduced the club's website to the members and discussed how we can utilise the website to improve our public image and to make outr internal communication and record keeping more effective
1 Sep 2016
25 Aug 2016
18 Aug 2016
TALK TITLE - ITS NOT QUITE SHAKESPEARE – BUT WHO CARES
Spoke about the Lesser known Scottish poetry and poets
11 Aug 2016
Susan is an Advanced Nurse Practitioner -perinatal mental health. She has over 30 years clinical experience. Susan was a finalist in the RCNi 2016 mental health practice award recognising her role in the development of perinatal services in NHS Forth Valley.
Susan is one of the founder members of maternal mental health Scotland where she is trustee. She spoke about the impact of mental illness during pregnancy and the postnatal period and the aims and the achievements of the charity to date.
4 Aug 2016
28 July 2016
21 July 206
14 July 2016
7 July 2016
30 June 2016
23 June 2016
16 June 2016
9 June 2016
2 June 2016
26 May 2016
19 May 2016
12 May 2016
28 April 2016
21 April 2016
14 April 2016
7 April 2016
31 March 2016
24 March 2016
17 March 2016
10 March 2016
3 March 2016
25 February 2016
18 February 2016
11 February 2016
4 February 2016
John Yellowlees from Scotrail visited us on the 28th and, while outlining the huge investment in infrastructure that is the electrification of the Glasgow Edinburgh railway line, he managed to find time to compliment us on our Community boards at Falkirk’s two Stations
21 January 2016
The Sky at Night
Today's speaker was Alan Cayless. Alan is physics and astronomy lecturer with the Open University and a former chairman of Stirling Astronomical Society who has a special interest in lunar photography.
The Stirling Astronomical Society is responsible for the preservation and maintenance of the Old High School observatory in Spittal Street, Stirling - which houses a 127-year old telescope in full working order.
will outlined the history of the Observatory and present day activities
of the Society, which include outreach and public viewing events. Alan enthralled us with interstellar tales and a history lesson into the bargain. He spoke knowledgably about the observatory and its telescope and outlined the huge effort that went into its restoration.
14 January 2016
Todays speaker was Irene Mckay. She talked about raising Children's awareness of Dimentia
Irene wrote her book "The Forgetful Elephant" 4 years ago following her Mum's diagnosis of Vascular Dementia. She worked for Alzheimer Scotland as a Home Support Worker for 2 years and now spends her time campaigning to raise children's awareness of dementia by visiting primary schools and other children's organisations.
It is unfortunate that Irene is not getting the support of the local Schools in her initiative.
7 January 2016
New Year Message
Dennis Canavan was our speaker today who gave us a thought provoking talk maping and analysing the major, local, national and international events in 2016
Dennis Canavan represented part of the Falkirk area for 26 years at Westminster, followed by 8 years at Holyrood.
He is involved in several charities, as Chair of the Falkirk Football Community Foundation, Patron of the Falkirk and District Association for Mental Health, Vice-President of Ramblers Scotland and a member of the Board of Trustees of the National Mining Museum of Scotland.
The Christmas Message
This year's Christmas message was given by Captain Peter Clak from the Salvation Army.
Peter and his wife Suzanne was appointed to lead the Salvation Army's Church and Community work in Falkirk in February 2015.
10 December 2015
Battle of the Forth
Our speaker today was author Bill Simpson, a Civil Engineer from Edinburgh, with great insight and interest in the R.A.F. and British Auxiliary Forces. Bill’s subject was “THE BATTLE OF THE FORTH” which took place on October 16th, 1939 and was considered the first battle of World War 2.
The German’s target was Rosyth Dockyard where they believed Britian’s greatest battleship H.M.S. Hood was stationed. This was not the case. Led by Captain Helmut Pohle, 9 German Junker JU-88 aircraft bombed the ships and ports around the Forth Rail Bridge but was confronted by the R.A.F. and Auxiliary pilots in Supermarine Spitfires.
The ensuing dogfight saw 2 aircraft downed, 4 killed and 4 captured on the German side and 16 killed and 44 wounded on the British side, mainly through the bombing of H.M.S. Southampton and H.M.S. Mohawk. The 2 German aircraft were the first aircraft ever shot down by a Spitfire.
After the Battle, Captain Helmut Pohle was captured and sent to the Tower of London where he was held as a P.O.W. for a few years before being patronised to Germany after the war.
Bill Simpson gave a clear and informative address to the Club on his chosen subject which was well received by all concerned.
Narrated by Hugh W.Gillespie.
3 December 2015
RCF Christmas Lunch
26 November 2015
19 November 2015
My Life on Two Wheels
Today the speaker at Falkirk Rotary Club was Thomas McIntosh (Tosh to his friends), a past President and current member of Whitburn Rotary Club.
What a joy of a talk this was. Tosh regaled us with stories of motorbike purchase, ownership, modification, repair and racing from his early youth to the present day. I can seldom recall a meeting where the speaker was listened to so intently , nodding heads at anecdotes and a very good and appreciative applause at the end.
It was clear that many members could remember the Times when cars were relatively few in number and bikes were a lot safer on the roads.
The stories were hilarious and delivered swiftly with a knowledge and humour rarely bettered, allowing the listener to visualize the stories.
This was certainly one of the highlights of our Rotary year so far. What a treat.Narrated by Tom Currie
12 November 2015
Leaving Care Team
Jenny Kane, from the Social Work Children and Families Services in Falkirk, spoke to us about the Leaving care team work with young people aged 15 to 19 who are or have been looked after away from home by Falkirk Council.The team provide young people with advice, guidance and assistance.
Jenny manages two Children’s Homes as well as the Leaving care Team.
05 November 2015
29 October 2015
We were indeed privileged to hear for Ryan Ingram and Kaye McGillvary who recounted their experiences at the RYLA camp earlier this year. Both candidates stressed the fact that they had no idea just how much they would benefit from the week away. The emphasis was on Teamwork and they managed famously as a team on the day. The photograph shows Ryan with his “John Mair Trophy” presented to the participant who achieved the greatest progress during the week. Significantly this accolade is voted upon by his peers in a blind ballot.
22 October 2015
Doug Marr spoke about how Micro Finance works and about how Rotary Clubs and indeed any organisation or person can join the scheme by financing individual small entrepreneurs all over the world so that they can start or improve their businesses. His own club, The Rotary Club of Currie Balerno, has given loans of between £50 and £200 to many small businesses over the last 4 years and every one has been repaid in full.
15 October 2015
A Cruise doon the river
David gave us a very interesting talk on his recent holiday to Las Vegas. David his wife Marianne and two friends spent part of their time white water rafting on the Colorado River. This was a trip the group had spoken about doing for a number of years and it was everything they had hoped it would be. David complimented his talk with photographs emphasising the camping experience and the thrills of white water rafting.
8 October 2015
Hopetoun House in 20 Objects
Ian Lowe From Hopetoun House spoke knowledgeably to us about the artefacts and history of this fine family home, its relationship with the surrounding area and its continuing commitment to the local Community
Chris Murphy addressed the club on the disturbing realities in the country, relating to domestic abuse. Women’s Aid sadly is an organisation that is in great need in a society that has come to recognise a huge incidence of physical, mental and social abuse
A quiz week which demonstrated the wealth and depth of knowledge that existed within the Club.
Barber Shop Choir
Ian Silcock visited and spoke to us about the intricacies of “Barber Shop singing” Ian ably demonstrated his topic and delighted the Club with a well informed history of the development of the genre.
Our newest member, Linda Noble, gave her Job Talk on the 27th. Linda delivered her talk in the same lively and bubbly manner that is her trademark. A gifted nurse and able administrator, Linda has now retired from NHS and is enjoying life to the full gardening, sewing and keeping fit.
(She says she goes to the Gymn.)
Did you know that the word Gymnasium comes from the Greek word Gymnos (naked) because all of the Greek athletes of the time were not attired in the slightest while training.
The Dynamic Loop
Calum Falconer, a pupil from Falkirk High School demonstrated an eloquence and confidence that belied his youth. Calum spoke at length about the Dynamic Loop that he was instrumental in designing for Scotrail. His researches for the project were wide and varied but always in depth. The Loop which will reduce rail journey times between the central belt and Inverness by as much as 30 minutes is likely to be executed by Scotrail. A testament to this young man’s ability.
Today we enjoyed two exceptional presentations
Our first speaker, Graham Harvey, introduced us to Forth Valley Disability Sport with an enlightening address highlighting the breadth of disability sport in Forth Valley.
That was followed by a breif presentation by Kevin Walsh who spoke about the "‘Provision of defibrillators, associated training activities and community awareness events in District 1190.’ a project that was designed and delivered in partnership with Rotary club of Falkirk
Kevin visited us today with his wife Wendy. Both are Rotarians from Brampton and Longtown Rotary Club in Cumbria. Kevin is their current President for a second time. Wendy is a founder and past president of Carlisle Castle RC and also an Assistant Governor of District 1190, Cumbria and Lancashire. Both are Paul Harris Fellows.
When District Governor in 2013-14 Kevin masterminded a successful Global Grant application ‘Provision of defibrillators, associated training activities and community awareness events in District 1190.’ Subsequently the project has been recognised by a Gold Cardiac Smart award from the North West Ambulance Services Trust and Kevin has given evidence to a Commons Committee on the provision of defibs.
The Rotary Club of Falkirk were invited to be Brampton and Longtown’s international partners and our committee of Brian Jack, Andrew Niven and Bill Laurie have been kept closely in touch as the project has developed and have visited Health Fairs in Leyland and Fleetwood.
Marianne Pattison from the Food Bank who described in detail the work carried out by the Volunteers on a daily basis.
University of the third Age
Austin Reid talked about the “University of the third Age” U3A. Austin spoke at length about the learning process and described an institution that brings older people together to teach and learn from each other. The journey was verbally illustrated with historical tales from St Andrews to Rome and from Continental Monasteries to the modern education system. All in all a remarkable and interesting proposition.
Guest speaker John Paterson from Morphotecnics in Falkirk spoke about the technology and the benefits of 3d printing. The content of the talk was absolutely off the wall. Who would have thought that not only can we “print” body parts from stem cells for implantation in the stem cell donor without rejection; we have a prototype concept printer that will “Print” a perfectly viable House in concrete within 20 hours. An amazing delivery of an amazing subject.
Today's speaker was Sam Short from Ochils Mountain Rescue. Sam is an Irishman who has espoused Scotland and its beauty and says that he never regrets leaving his homeland to take up residence in Bridge of Allan. Sam described at length the rigorous training regime that must be undertaken if his teams are to do what they do. Funded largely by donations from larger bodies the Team requires a huge funding to maintain the fleet of vehicles and other vital resources that must be continuously kept up to date.
Suzanne Arkinson from the Howgate explained to us how the “Mall” has never lost its original title in the Community and how the organisation seeks to become actively involved in Community development. Suzanne was a Credit to her employer displaying a huge appetite for her job while entertaining during her address.
Coalfields regeneration trust
Pauline Douglas told us about the Coalfields regeneration trust. The Trust exists to help communities who have seen the demise of the dominant employer in the area when the coal mines were closed.
No speaker today. RCF Assembly and Presidential handover
18 June 2015.
Dollar Park and Arnotdale
Today's speaker was an old friend of the Club, Geoff Bailey. Geoff never fails to inform and entertain. His address on this occasion centred on the history surrounding the Dollar Park and Arnotdale, the house at its centre. It’s amazing what even the oldest of us can learn from this man.
11 June 2015
George McBurnie visited on the 11th and told us the story of the Kelpies from the very beginning. Duke and Baron were named by Scottish Canals at the inception of the project. The Kelpies name reflected the mythological transforming beasts possessing the strength and endurance of 100 horses; a quality that is analogous with the transformational change of our landscapes, endurance of our inland waterways and the strength of our communities.
4 June 2015
The story of one Rotary Global Grant Scholar
On June 4th we had Alexandria Vincent, a Rotary Global Grant Scholar address the meeting. Also in the audience were our two Rotary Youth Leadership Award candidates. Alexandra absolutely blew us all away with her enthusiasm and positivity. The breadth of her achievements at such a young age was awesome. Her delivery was faultless and utterly inspiring.
28 May 2015
Sharon Allison represented “The Family Hub”. This is an interface between Prison and the families who visit. It provides an environment whereby family relationships can be nurtured when a parent is serving a custodial sentence. Sharon is a psychiatric nurse who obviously has a passion for her chosen career and the way in which she delivered her address was proof of this.
21 May 2015
Jacqueline Morgan talked to us about sexual violence. Jacqueline spoke at length about the breadth of sexual abuse and violence that still pervades our society.
14 May 2015
The Scottish fishing Industry
Iain McSween from the Scottish Fishermen’s Organisation. Iain, a local man, is another high flier who travels the globe for the furtherance of the Scottish fishing Industry. He highlighted the fact that most of the Scottish catch is exported, much of it as far as China. And those huge Spanish prawns eaten on Holiday? in fact are Scottish langoustine. Iain knew his subject and delighted in presenting it in a hugely entertaining fashion.
7 May 2015
Jim Cairns surprised us all with his Job Talk. None of us believed that this loveable cuddly joker would turn out to be such an accomplished high flier in the field of Civil Engineering. Jim certainly hides his light. Well done Jim.