Finlay Weir Receives Paul Harris Fellowship Award
President George presentation speech.
Finlay Weir –
Paul Harris Fellowship awarded 2nd May 2019
At the start of my Rotary year, I made it known, that as a matter of course during the year, the Club Council and indeed all members should consider whether they wished to nominate a member for a Paul Harris Award.
Unlike many other Clubs, Rotary Elgin has only made such an award where the individual has clearly demonstrated outstanding service as a Rotarian.
This year, an individual has been nominated for such an award and I’m delighted to say that they have received unanimous support from the 19 members of the Club Council for a Paul Harris Award.
This person joined Rotary in 1993 and served as Club President in 2001 – 2002.
Their enthusiasm and consistently high level of commitment are truly inspirational and they epitomise the Rotary motto of “Service above Self”
Despite being now in his 80th year, with their birthday just passed, and having health issues for some time this person continues to remain highly committed to Rotary.
Although I have known this person for many years, and thinking they were quiet and reserved, I got a dramatically different impression when I attended my first RIBI Conference in Bournemouth in 2006. No sooner had we booked into our hotel than we were invited to his room to find this person in bed with 5 or 6 other ladies including my wife. Clearly, my long-held beliefs were shattered there and then.
On a more serious note, this person has clearly demonstrated outstanding service in 2 International and 3 Local fronts.
This person joined the hosting programme for Rotary couples under the Golf Exchange between District 1010 and District 7280 Western Pennsylvania. He duly hosted and then travelled to the USA on the District 1010 always accompanied with bagpipes.
They built up lasting friendships with Bill Wilson from the USA still regularly visiting this Rotarian in Scotland.
In 1999 they were a member of a group of Elgin Rotarians who helped PHF Sally Wood Lamont in providing orphanage facilities and special computers for blind children in Cluj, Romania.
In late September 2000 this person joined 15 Rotarians from England and Scotland on a trip to very mountainous region of Humla in north west Nepal organised by The Nepal Trust to build a new health post at Kermi. On their way back to Nepalgunge, this person identified the clear need for clean drinking water to improve health and enhance the survival expectations of babies They were one of the originators and supporters of our Club’s involvement with Water, Sanitation and Health Projects in Nepal since then. This person has spent many hours visiting other Clubs in District 1010 raising both awareness and money to continually fund such projects since then. They have revisited Nepal in both 2004 and 2010 and to this day has prayer flags fluttering proudly in his back garden. They are now tattered and torn but they are a constant reminder of his commitment and love of the very needy people of Nepal.
This person has always been a hands-on Rotarian involved in all aspects of Rotary life. The Rotary Revellers is a prime example. Involved from the start this person took on the task of leader/conductor over a decade ago when no one else would. Since Milly Herd died 4 years ago, finding replacement accompanists hasn’t been easy. However, this person with customary drive and commitment has managed with the latest pianist Jane Farquharson coming from Keith. As she doesn’t drive, he has on occasions had to collect and deliver her home. All this despite health problems which left him completely drained after the latest Abbeyside gig.
Commitment to Change
In this Rotarian’s year as Club President they introduced less formality in dress code e.g. no tie which was indeed revolutionary at the time and not at all popular with some members.
They also heartedly endorsed ladies coming into Rotary and took great pleasure in being instrumental in having Jo Maunder and Sarah McGregor join our Club.
In 2002, Rotary Elgin held an exhibition in Elgin Library marking the 75th Anniversary of the Club’s charter. A massive amount of work went into this exhibition which was visited by our Honorary Member HRH The Princes Royal which featured on national television. It was this Rotarian who led the team that organised that exhibition.
To many Rotarians out with Rotary Elgin, it is the playing of bagpipes which singles this Rotarian out. This Rotarian has attended numerous District and RIBI Conferences over the years. There are many, many stories concerning this stalwart of our great Club, but one past Club President recalls his favourite at a District Conference at Aviemore in 1993. There was a fair contingent from Elgin attending and all met for a wee customary libation before the dinner. This Rotarian, had his pipes and it was decided he would pipe Elgin into the hall. Thinking it was the top table making their entrance the hall rose as one. Two minutes later the real top table entered and no one stood!
Fellow Rotarians I would ask you to stand as I ask fellow Rotarian, Finlay Weir, to come forward so that I can present him with a richly deserved Paul Harris Award.