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Notes on Last 6 Club Meetings

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Evening Meeting held at Watts Restaurant on Wednesday 21st March 2018

The Rotary Club of Cupar on Wednesday 21st was chaired by Club President Colin Mackenzie who welcomed guest speakers Jen Lumsdaine from the Transplant Unit of the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh and John Fletcher, a local living kidney donor, both introduced by Past President Bill Low.
Jen trained as a nurse and has specialised in the organ transplantation field for 20 years, facilitating many transplants. She has also seen huge changes in the time that she has been involved in the field. The described the early days of transplantation in Edinburgh, and the effects of the time on dialysis that patients have to endure. The discovery of immunosuppressant drugs opened up new possibilities in the transplant field, a far cry from the first transplant in Edinburgh that involved identical twin brothers. Last year 246 kidney transplants were undergone in Scotland, with a range of other organ transplants also taking place. These procedures are transformational and life changing for those who benefit from them.
Scotland has a high proportion of people on the organ donor register, but it is always important that the implications are discussed with family during one's life time. Those in need of a transplant and who are on dialysis will have many life style challenges and possibly develop long term medical conditions. Jen cited the cost of having someone on dialysis as £33,000 per year according to NHS figures. Thus a transplant will be cost effective. In the UK, up to 5000 people are waiting on a transplant each year and of these, 250 will die due to the lack of organ donations. Living transplants are being encouraged because of the shortage of organs. Surveys have shown that 30% of family members would be willing to be a living kidney donor. Until 2006, living transplants were limited to donations from close family members. Then the law changed and this allowed altruistic individuals to offer a kidney to complete strangers, who they are never likely to meet or see the benefits of their donation. She stressed that there are rigorous medical and psychological assessments of potential living kidney donors. The finding of a match between donor and recipient can set of a chain of transplants throughout the UK, requiring rapid action and overcoming logistical challenges.
John Fletcher explained that he had an unexpected feeling of well-being after he made his kidney donation, knowing that he had transformed another person's life and their future. He is now part of a group of donors who meet up on a regular basis. He was surprised to be reimbursed for loss of earnings while he was recuperating from being a donor. The club's vote of thanks was given by Past President Bill Nicoll.

Joint Meeting held at the Fairways Restaurant on Wednesday 14th March 2018

The Rotary Club of Cupar hosted the annual joint meeting of the Rotary Club of Cupar, the Inner Wheel Club of Cupar, and the Howe of Fife Rotary Club at Fairways Restaurant, Elmwood Golf Club, at 6:30pm on Wednesday 14 March 2018. Rotary Club of Cupar President, Colin MacKenzie, opened the meeting by welcoming the Club Presidents and members.
The guest speaker was David Badura, the Administration and Fund Raising Coordinator of the Butterfly Trust registered charity. His talk described the practical support the Trust and its 100+ volunteers give to individuals suffering from cystic fibrosis and their families. The Trust, which is based in Edinburgh, is funded by community support, a range of fund-raising activities, and donations.
Cystic fibrosis is one of the more common autosomal recessive genetic disorders. One individual in 25 carries the affected gene, does not have any resulting clinical problem, but can pass the affected gene on to their offspring. Those who inherit the defective gene from both parents have cystic fibrosis, with the severity of the condition varying between individuals. Of the many organs affected by this lifelong condition, the most severe clinical symptoms and problems result from progressive damage to the lungs, causing fatigue and breathlessness, and the pancreas, with impaired digestion and poor absorption on nutrients.
The condition is most commonly diagnosed in very early childhood. Clinical management involves a wide range of healthcare professionals and combines regular, intensive, time-consuming, specialist physiotherapy; pancreatic enzyme supplements in capsule form; food supplements; regular antibiotic treatment; and in some cases lung transplantation can restore lung function. Although many of those affected can appear fit and well for much of the time, common problems include chronic cough, breathlessness, fatigue, and nutritional problems. Out-patient visits and hospital admissions are regular events, and average life expectancy is less than 40 years of age.
The mission of the Butterfly Trust is, through both advocacy and practical assistance, to help and support those affected, and their families, to not only cope but to achieve their potential, fulfil their ambitions, and realise their aspirations. This can involve offering friendship (in partnership with Children in Need) and mentoring in addition to helping secure access to other services and networks, home schooling, appropriate accommodation, further and higher education, employment, and other leisure and life activities. In addition to help and advice on benefits available, the Trust also provides both resource grants and a distress fund.
David’s illustrated talk included a number of examples of the challenges faced by those affected by cystic fibrosis, and how these impact on everyday life; and instances where through the support, advice and practical assistance offered by the Trust, many of the pressures and stresses faced by the families affected were eased, and the opportunities available to and the quality of life of those suffering from cystic fibrosis markedly improved.
Both the question and answer session which followed, and the vote of thanks from those in attendance, acknowledged the importance of the support and the practical help and advice the Trust can offer.
The Rotary Club of Cupar meets at Watts, Cupar, at 6pm each Wednesday. Those wishing to know more about the Club and its activities, or wishing to join the Club, should visit the Club’s website –

Evening Meeting held at Watts Restaurant on Wednesday 7th March 2018

Past President Graham Findlay was in the chair for the weekly meeting of the Rotary Club of Cupar on 7th March, with resumption of normal service after the postponement of the previous week's joint meeting with Inner Wheel and Howe of Fife Rotary Club due to the prevailing weather conditions. Members at the meeting had the opportunity to examine plans and layout of a club project at Kilmaron School, Cupar which would see the provision of a foundation and paths for a greenhouse to be used by pupils and staff. Past President Dermot Stewart who is leading the project gave an update on funding prospects. The outcome of the club's application for a Rotary District grant would soon be known and this would hopefully allow matters to proceed.
Speaker for the evening was Rotarian Bill McSeveney who took his audience on a descriptive walking tour of his native Shotts in Lanarkshire, from his perspective when he was 11 years of age and not yet in long trousers. The housing scheme that he lived in comprised around 150 houses and was a community where everyone knew their neighbour, as was evident as Bill recalled the names of playmates and adults who inhabited his world. He recollected members of the mining community, including a Welshman, Taffy, who was larger than life. It was a time when there were few cars, and youngsters could roam at will, utilising green spaces or pit bings as play areas. Fights between friends, events such as bonfires and the informal football pitches were described with affection. Pastimes for the community included keeping Budgies, but the community also produced champion football teams and pipe bands. Bill's entertaining talk recalled the street life and the personalities who lived in Shotts, including the local fire brigade that seemed to be under the control of two families. Bill concluded his walk when he reached the open moorland at the edge of Shotts, and the prospect of hours of walking at a later time.
Past President Pat Mitchell gave the club's vote of thanks.

Evening Meeting held at Watts Restaurant on Wednesday 14th February 2018

On Wednesday 14th February, Club President Colin Mackenzie introduced two guest speakers, Bill and Gill, who were attending to give a presentation on behalf of Fife Drive Wise. The Drive Wise campaign seeks to help older drivers keep driving safely and maintain their driving abilities as long as they are fit and safe to do so. Bill illustrated his point by showing a graph that illustrated how both younger inexperienced drivers are prone to being involved in accidents and likewise, elderly drivers may be more vulnerable as their abilities change. He emphasised that regardless of age, we are all personally responsible for making sure that we do not drive when unfit and that we should report and medical condition that affects our ability to drive safely to the DVLA. Driving licences expire at the age of 70, so there is an onus on drivers reaching that age to declare their fitness to drive or otherwise and renew the licence very 3 years afterwards.
it was explained that for those who are unsure, they can consult their GP or contact the DVLA for advice. It was highlighted that there are driving assessments that can be arranged. A series of hints and tips was provided, including reading an up to date version of the Highway Code, as most senior drivers will not have looked at one since passing their driving test. Public transport can be an option, but it was appreciated that in rural areas this is not always possible. Modern cars come with a range of features that will enhance the driver's ability to keep safe and these should be taken into account if a driver is thinking of changing their car. It was appreciated that the decision to give up driving was one of the hardest thongs facing elderly drivers. The situation can arise through recognising that one's abilities, competence or confidence have diminished, or family and friends may recognise that there is a loss of ability. A very useful self-assessment checklist was provided to help arriving at a view as to whether the individual driver's ability was changing. The points emphasised in the checklist included eyesight, physical mobility, tiredness, decision making, medical conditions and recent driving history. Those attending were given a test on their knowledge of current road signs.
The club's formal vote of thanks was given by Rotarian Harry Mellotte.

Evening Meeting held at Watts Restaurant on Wednesday 7th February 2018

Santa's Sleigh Benificiaries - Click for larger image
Santa's Sleigh Benificiaries

Prior to the club's business meeting on Wednesday, 7th February, Club President Colin Mackenzie had the pleasant duty of presenting cheques to a number of community groups from the Cupar area. They had all been involved in assisting the Club with Santa's Sleigh when it visited local neighbourhoods.
The organisations who were able to attend the presentation were Cupar Explorer Scouts, represented by Donald Jenks, Cupar Soccer Sevens represented by Sian and Ethan Burkin, Cupar Hearts by Harry Petrie and John Hamilton, Cupar Highland Games by Alan Hendry and Fife Folk Museum, Margaret Cruickshank.

Evening Meeting held at Watts Restaurant on Wednesday 24th Jan 2018

Wednesday 24th January saw the Rotary Club of Cupar celebrate our national poet in time honoured fashion. Past President Rennie Ritchie was in the chair to welcome the assembled company at Watts of Cupar.
The haggis was piped in with Pat Mitchell taking on the role of Poosie Nancy. The address to the haggis was in the hands of Past President Brian Bayne who delivered it with some style and verve.
The toast to the Immortal Memory of Rabble Burns was proposed by visiting speaker Emil Pacholek. His view was that Burns was an artist, albeit with words with his descriptive accounts of life with an artists's eye. He said that a book of Burns poetry is like walking through an art gallery, meeting landscapes and characters, and also self portraits of the poet himself. His gifts of artistry could be expressed through verse, either long or short. Tam O' Shanter was described as a satanic still life.His impeccable eye for detail brought us wonderful visions of people, and as an example he quoted the description of Willie Wastle's wife from the poem, Willie Wastle.
All these examples were illustrated with copious quotations from Burns verse. Friendship was captured, sometimes through the prism of the bottle. His mentor, The death of James Cunningham, 14th Earl of Glencairn devastated Burns, as it was Glencairn who became his patron and introduced him to the cultural circles of Edinburgh. This led him to write a lament, taking 18 months to do so. 18 months before he died, died, Burns, A Man's A Man for A' That was produced in 264 words, a simple but so effective poem valid throughout the world to this day.


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Thanks to Roger Siddle of the Carnforth Rotary Club for his revolving Rotary wheel.