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Notes on Last 6 Club Meetings

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Evening Meeting held at Fairways Restaurant on Wednesday 6th November 2019

The Rotary Club meeting took place on Wednesday, 6th November, with Club President Roy Marsden in the chair. Two visitors welcomed to the meeting were Honorary Member Jackie Taylor and guest speaker, Jenny Miller, Chief Executive of Scottish Charity, PAMIS. PAMIS, which stands for promoting a more inclusive society, provides support for people with profound and multiple learning disabilities and their families. It is the only organisation in Scotland that works solely with this group and has grown from a small charity based in Dundee to become a well-established and valued part of the voluntary sector in Scotland, celebrating its 25th anniversary in 2017. They work in partnership with families, carers and professionals, with families taking a leading role in planning activities. PAMIS promotes accessible leisure facilities for their clients, undertakes research that will lead to a better quality of life and gives guidance through their learning and development facilities that develop the skills and knowledge of those who care and support individuals with profound and multiple learning disabilities.
Included in the range of services are the opportunity to take breaks in adapted accommodation, and a mobile changing places toilet that goes to leisure events to provide fully accessible toileting facilities. In addition to hosting a dynamic website, the organisation also publishes a range of publications and campaigns on behalf of the disable community that they serve. The PAMIS team comprises development workers and volunteers who are overseen by a board of governors.
Past President Peter Mackinnon gave the club's vote of thanks.
Past President Pat McInally reported on a message that he had received from Father Gerald in Uganda, bringing the news that work had commenced on the water project which is being funded jointly by the club and the Parish of St Columba's.
Rotarian Ian Rutherford reminded members that Rotary shoe boxes which had been acquired to be filled with small toys and supplies for underprivileged communities in eastern Europe would be collected soon for delivery. He praised the enthusiasm of the local schools that had provided assistance with the project.

Evening Meeting held at Fairways Restaurant on Wednesday 23rd October 2019

Roy Marsden hosted his President's Reception at Fairways Restaurant, Elmwood Golf Course on Wednesday, 23rd October, with Rotarians being joined by a number of invited guests for the occasion. His invited speaker was Joe Fitzpatrick, Director and Trustee of the Falkland Stewardship Trust who captivated his audience with his account of the history and recent archaeology on the East Lomond Hill since 2014. The Living Lomonds Landscape Partnership through its investigations has revealed previously unknown remains of an Iron Age settlement on the southern shoulder of East Lomond Hill. Joe took the audience through the various ages of occupation, referred to the Pictish and Roman interaction in Fife and the involvement of community volunteers and schools in the excavations. The work was carried out under the supervision of profession archaeologists and careful recording was carried out to mark the discoveries that came to light. Some of the finds suggested that there were buildings at various times of occupation, as did items such as a fragment of a horse bridle that led to speculation about the site being used for iron work. Among the other objects found was an almost complete spindle whorl, late prehistoric pottery, shale jewellery fragments, whetstones for sharpening tools and debris from the base of a smelting kiln. Much of the work has attracted national attention and is contributing to a fresh understanding of the landscape of Fife and the people who lived in Fife in the past. Those present were pleased to learn that their Club President, who had participated in the excavations had made some special finds of significance.

Evening Meeting held at Fairways Restaurant on Wednesday 16th October 2019

Club President Roy Marsden welcomed guest speaker Rennie Urquhart at the meeting of the Rotary Club of Cupar on Wednesday 16th October. Rennie, a retired obstetrician/gynaecologist with NHS Fife decided that having taken early retirement after 35 years with the NHS, he could put his training and skills to use while having an adventure at the same time. That led him to Médicins Sans Frontières ( Doctors Without Borders) who help people worldwide where the need is greatest. MSF delivers emergency care for people afflicted by conflict, epidemics and disasters. Rennie was posted to spend three months in the Central African Republic where much of the population is excluded from good standards of healthcare. MSF was founded in Paris in 1971 as a humanitarian, non-profit, self-governed organisation. The headquarters of MSF are in Switzerland, funding largely comes from private sources and they do not takes sides, providing care on the basis of need. Often their workers witness violence and neglect and they can be moved to speak out in these situations. Having the support of his wife and family, he applied to MSF through a rigorous recruitment process and was eventually asked to travel to Rome for briefing and practical training on issues such as people management, security and safety. He found most of his colleagues during training to be much younger, very enthusiastic and committed to their chosen roles. A further field briefing was given in Brussels where he met an obstetrician who had worked in the Bangui hospital where he was to be working. Travel to the Central African Republic was from Brussels via Casablanca and on arrival he received further briefings in French. He quickly realised that his language skills had to improve, and while he was settling in to his accommodation on the first night, he was called to an emergency at the Castor Hospital and fortunately the treatment went well for the patient. Typical days stared early, seeing about 50 patients over the day, often interrupted by emergency admissions. He had huge admiration for the local staff who see many complex cases in a short period of time. The hospital had a strong emphasis on family planning which meant that no one went home after having a baby without a stern talking to from the midwife. The birth rate in the country meant that the hospital was delivering about 700 babies a month. All the local doctors who are employed directly by MSF were male, which led to some interesting discussions about the role of women in the local society. He stressed that the economy in the post colonial period had been plundered by politicians seeking to line their own pockets.
Rennie drew attention to a number of difficult cases that had to be dealt with while he was there, as the maternal mortality rate is one in seven. However the local staff were dedicated, working with basic facilities.
Past President Pat Mitchell gave the vote of thanks.

Evening Meeting held at Fairways Restaurant on Wednesday 2nd October 2019

Club President Roy Marsden was in the chair for the meeting of Cupar Rotary Club on Wednesday 2nd October at Fairways Restaurant, Elmwood Golf Course. The invited speaker for the evening was Bill Pagan. Bill, who had visited Ethiopia earlier in the year gave a fascinating presentation about a country and society that would not be on most people's bucket list for touring. His title for the presentation was "Ethiopia, History and Piety". He reminded his audience about the country's location, in the northeastern part of Africa known as the Horn of Africa, near the Equator. It is a huge country, comprising 420,000 square miles and populated by 102 million people. He wanted to visit some of the archaeology and Unesco Heritage sites. It is a country with confusing concept of time and a calendar of 13 months which can be confusing. It was the second country in the world to adopt Christianity. The earliest manuscript in the world is held in the country. The African Union has its headquarters in Addis Ababa. Their alphabet has many more letters than we can comprehend. Addis is a modern city, but alongside the modern buildings there are obvious signs of poverty. The Ethiopians are a proud people, often invaded, occupied, but never conquered. Many of their national treasures have been looted in the past, and are held in western museums, with pressure to have them returned to their country of origin. Surprising British connections were the graves of members of the Pankhurst family, who campaigned on behalf of Ethiopia and are commemorated at Holy Trinity Cathedral, Addis Ababa. Ethiopia is also known as the cradle of civilisation, with the remains of the earliest hominids discovered there and proudly displayed in their museum. Bill referred to the distribution of faiths in the country, with a Christian majority and Islamic population comprising a third of the numbers. There are many fasting days in Ethiopia and this is strictly adhered to by followers of the individual faiths. The places of worship were particularly impressive, with iconic paintings, particular attention being given to the maintenance of the world heritage sites. Bill referred to the length of church services and the Ethiopian history of the Bible, believing that the Ark of the Covenant is actually in Aksum. According to Ethiopian tradition, the son of the Queen of Sheba brought the Ark to Ethiopia. The images that Bill captured during his visit provided vivid illustration of a society of contrasts, with modern life and development sitting alongside centuries of tradition. The rock-cut churches in the Amhara region of the country were particularly impressive.
Modern transport developments that are being financed the Chinese include a high speed rail link to the coast, and some motorways.There were also unofficial tolls operated by locals. The downfall of Haile Selassie at the time of the military dictatorship of Mengistu is marked by a Red Terror Martyrs Memorial Museum. Bill did advise anyone thinking of travelling there to follow current Foreign Office advice for travellers, as clearly there are still security issues in some areas of the country. He was able to travel with English speaking drivers and benefit from English speaking guides during his visit.
Past President Bill Nicoll gave the club's vote of thanks.

Evening Meeting held at Fairways Restaurant on Wednesday 18th September 2019

?President-Elect Bill McSeveney took the chair at the weekly Rotary Club meeting on Wednesday, 18th September. Rotarian John Morrow reported on his successful sponsored participation in the Edinburgh Kilt Walk and would announce a final total of his fundraising in due course. Speaker for the evening was Past President Dereck Thomson who had a surprising title for his presentation, The Football Team that was shipwrecked. This little-known event occurred in 1923, when Raith Rovers were given the opportunity of a close season tour that would take them to the Canary Isles. This reward for a successful season involved 13 players and 5 officials who embarked on "The Highland Loch" at Tilbury docks on their way to their first port of call, Vigo. A storm intervened in the passage as the entered the Bay of Biscay and eventually the vessel struck rocks on the bleak coast of North-West Spain. The passengers spent 5 hours in open boats before reaching a small fishing village where food was scarce and the language barrier did not help their plight. Eventually they did reach Vigo, a larger seaport and administrative centre, where to their surprise "The Highland Loch" limped into port. It was too badly damaged to continue, but the passengers were able to retrieve their belongings, including the team's kit. Luck was on their side when they were able to board a liner embarking for the Canary Isles and they decided the tour was still on. During the two weeks spent on the Canary Isles, three matches were played, beating the opposition each time. Dereck brought the name Alex James to the audience's attention, as he was one of the touring party and one of the best footballers ever to play for Raith Rovers. He was later transferred to Preston North End and he moved on to Arsenal under Herbert Chapman. Playing for Scotland at Wembley in 1928, he was part of the team that beat England 5-1, scoring two goals.
The Raith Rovers team of 1923 showed enterprise, courage and persistence, something that was repeated under the manager Jimmy Nicoll in more recent times.
Past President Sandy Mitchell gave the club's vote of thanks.

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.

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