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Notes on Last 6 Club Meetings

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Evening Meeting held at Fairways Restaurant on Wednesday 11th September 2019

Club President Roy Marsden was in the chair for a club business meeting when the Rotary Club of Cupar met on 11th September. The Club calendar of activities is rapidly filling up over the coming weeks. Volunteers will assist at a Family Fun Festival taking place at Castlehill Primary School on 21st September, on 3rd October, at the invitation of Kilmaron School, volunteers will assist with their garden tidy up day and on 5th October a collection will take place at Tesco in aid of polio eradication. The club agreed to commit some funds from the charities account towards MND (Motor Neurone Disease) Scotland, a water project bringing water and sanitation in Uganda, and pledged funds towards a joint water project managed by Busega Scotland and Elgin Rotary Club in Tanzania. The club also approved their annual grant to the Fife Festival of Music.

Evening Meeting held at Fairways Restaurant on Wednesday 4rd September 2019

Club President Roy Marsden welcomed guest speaker John Carney, a member of the Elgin Rotary Club, as the guest speaker at the weekly meeting of the Rotary Club of Cupar on Wednesday 4th September. John, who is founder of the charity Busega Scotland, along with his wife Christine, had been invited to inform the club about the activities that his charity carries out in Tanzania. Their work is focused on Mayega, a village with a population of around 2,500 people and a scattered community. The location which is close to Lake Victoria had piped water introduced in 2018, with 10 distribution points in Mayega Village, including the school, dispensary and children's centre. He explained that the school currently had 950 pupils and one tap to service their requirements. Water is only available for 4 to 5 hours per day, and even taking these circumstances into account, the water system is about the best in Busega District which has a population of 200,000 people. The partnership which introduced the existing facilities were from Mayega Village, Busega District Council and Busega Scotland. Progress from having a mains water supply with three distribution points to ten was achieved through adding Elgin Rotary Club and Rotary District 1010 to the partnership. John explained that each distribution point has a tap keeper who manages access. The Mayega water Group commissioned a community needs assessment that reported in June 2019. Specifications require improvements such as proper primary school toilets, a water treatment plant, village toilets and training in water and sanitation. Community participation will meet a good part of the labour costs and the plan is being submitted for Rotary Global Grant as the partnership now includes a local Rotary Club in Tanzania. Recent developments have included provision of mains water to the school kitchen.
Following a question and answer session, Past president Rennie Ritchie gave the club's formal vote of thanks.

Evening Meeting held at Kilmaron School on Wednesday 28th August 2019

Peter Duncan, Isla Lumsden, School Staff and Rotarians - Click for larger image
Kilmaron School Greenhouse - Official Opening

The Cupar Rotary Club meeting on Wednesday 28th August took place at Kilmaron School, Cupar, courtesy of Head Teacher Isla Lumsden and her staff. The special occasion was to celebrate the official handover of a wheelchair accessible greenhouse for use by the school. Those present enjoyed the hospitality provided by the staff and took the opportunity to find out how the school were using the greenhouse as an educational resource and source of food for the school kitchen.
The Rotary Club, principally through Immediate Past President Colin Mackenzie and Past President Dermot Stewart had facilitated part of the essential work to bring the project to fruition. Pictured are a number of the school staff and Rotary Club members during the handover.

Evening Meeting held at Fairways Restaurant on Wednesday 21st August 2019

The Rotary Club meeting on Wednesday 21st August welcomed one visitor, President Elect Willie Lang of the Howe of Fife Rotary Club. Speaker for the evening was Past President Peter MacKinnon on his lifetime in farming and his experience over the past 40 years.
He commenced with some important statistics. The UK is able to produce 60% of its own food and the average age of a farmer is 59. In 1950 one farmer could feed 19 people, today one farmer can feed 155 people.The vast increase in the world's population to 7.6 billion people means that there are many more people to feed. The increase in food production that has taken place is due to larger farms, technology, and developments in plant and soil science. He recollected his school days, when one of his first job was thinning turnips, using his hands rather than a hoe! In coming to Elmwood College in 1989, he recollected the inventive agricultural machinery manufacturers who brought developments in precision seeders. The application of chemicals to inhibit weeds also improved matters greatly. He also recollected techniques used in shearing sheep, with the influence of Australian shearers developing a standard pattern with 35 hand movements to complete the job in a very short time. Preventative medicine and good husbandry has improved animal welfare and production for the market. Significant changes in the dairy industry came with the move to milking parlours and gradually automation allowed identification and care of individual cows, through feeding and housing.
The correct nutrients are measured for all the cows, leading to increases in milk yields. The coming of the Holstein Cows has led to massive milk yields. Robotic methods even detect health issues and convey information to the farm staff. However, the pressure to produce milk, only very short lactations in their lifetime mean calf production is reduced. Peter recollected the demise of the sugar beet crop, replaced later in Fife by the production of broccoli. Cereals have been developed so that crops can be grown with the application of fertiliser according to soil requirements that have been mapped. There was pressure to reduce consumption of red meat, but in his opinion might lead to other problems. He saw dangers for the lamb industry with the uncertainty surrounding our relationship with European customers. Upland landowners may seek other uses for their farms such as forestry. Looking ahead, he speculated that drones may be a new tool that could be of use to farms in the near future.
Rotarian Jim Campbell gave the club's formal vote of thanks.

Evening Meeting held at Fairways Restaurant on Wednesday 14th August 2019

The weekly Rotary Club meeting on 14th August was chaired by Club President Roy Marsden. Rotarian John Morrow outlined his plans to raise funds for good causes supported by the club by taking part in the Edinburgh Kilt Walk on 15th September, a distance of 24 miles. He had high hopes of good support from sponsors. The speaker for the evening, Craig Stockton, was introduced by Immediate Past President, Colin Mackenzie.
Craig is the Chief Executive of MND Scotland, the charity that addresses the needs of those afflicted with Motor Neurone Disease. Even ten years ago, Motor Neurone Disease was largely hidden, as doctors could do little for their patients, but care has improved. Craig highlighted the famous names that had MND, including actor David Niven, Footballer Jimmy Johnstone and Steven Hawking who was unique in terms of the length of time he survived with the condition. Currently, sportsmen Fernando Ricksen and Doddie Weir have campaigned after their personal MND diagnosis. MND is a progressive disabling condition, causing muscles to waste, reducing the ability to walk, talk, swallow, eat, drink and breathe. The condition was first discovered in 1869, but to date there is no cure. The condition covers a spectrum of well-being issues and it affects individuals in different ways. it has been discovered that 10% of cases are hereditary, but other cases strike at random. Craig described the early signs, but went on to say that diagnosis only comes through a process of elimination and may take between 12 and 18 months to discover. A number of videos were shown that brought home the impact that MND has on families as well as the sufferer. MND Scotland maintain a register of those who have been diagnosed and described the role of the charity in providing care, no matter where the individual was resident in Scotland. There is support for carers, specialist MND nurses, equipment loans, financial help, welfare benefit advice, a physio service and campaigning. The campaigning work of Gordon Aikman, an MND sufferer was highlighted, as he made politicians aware of the need to provide support through provision of free personal care. The Charity provides a fully equipped holiday chalet and lodge for those who want to enjoy time away from their normal surroundings. Gordon's presentation was followed by a series of questions form those present and the club's formal vote of thanks was given by Past president Graham Findlay.

Evening Meeting held at Fairways Restaurant on Wednesday 7th August 2019

The Rotary Club meeting on 7th August attracted 28 members. Club President Roy Marsden welcomed three guests, speaker Dr Paul Miller of SRUC and Benny and Isobel Duncan who were being thanked for their role in providing their heavy horse carriage at Cupar Gala in June. The meeting also heard the positive outcome from the Coffee Morning held by the Club at Cupar Corn Exchange on the previous Saturday. Paul Miller, lecturer in golf course management at SRUC provided an illustrated account of the geography of golf. He spoke of the challenges from the Dutch as the originators of the game, but Scotland developed golf as it was suited to the land prevalent on the east coast of the country. The early versions of the game were played without written rules until The Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers who played on Leith Links adopted a document in 1744, written by John Rattray. With very few exceptions, early adoption of golf occurred on the links of the east coast of Scotland. He illustrated an area close to Sanna beach on Ardnamurchan which was undeveloped, but had all the natural elements required to create conditions for golf. There was a strong correlation between the land types that were unsuited socially and historically for growing crops to be utilised for the game of golf.
The middle of the nineteenth century brought the coming of railways, development of cheaper golf balls, leisure time and mechanical methods of maintaining turf. Scotland saw a huge increase in golf courses over the period leading up to the First World War. By this time the new courses were no longer confined to the coastal links. This trend was repeated south of the border and at the same time, the Americans discovered golf. One aspect of the expansion of the game overseas has been the experience in managing turf in temperature zones where there are large variation in temperature. Examples were shown from China where the game had been adopted in some places without regard to the type of turf that would survive in their climate.
Many overseas golf courses had the appearance of being mass produced, while trying to recreate all the elements to be found in traditional environments.
Past President Graham Findlay gave the club's vote of thanks.

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