The Charter Dinner, held at Headingley Golf Club on 21 October, broke all previous records for attendance. President Pran Bhattacharyya welcomed the 92 members, partners and friends including Robert Morphet (Bradford West) who is District Governor Elect, Anita Rayner, District Chairman of Foundation and Presidents and members and their partners from the clubs of Roundhay, Normanton, Leeds and Pran’s former club, Leeds Elmete.
After a resplendent repast, the health of the Host Club was proposed by Robert Morpheet. He had researched our website and spoke with enthusiasm about our work raising money for Leeds Weekenders, the President’s Charity, a group who provide respite care for handicapped children. He had also contacted Liz Holliday, Headteacher of St Peter’s C. of E. Primary School which we support. He quoted her letter: an account of the Club’s growing significance in the School, in promoting a Cubs and Beavers group, providing library books, dictionaries and a set of glockenspiels, hearing children’s reading, helping with gardening and growing projects, founding the annual festival of poetry performance ‘The Rotary Recital’, supporting plays and concerts and providing two governors of the School. St. Peter’s – rated by Ofsted an Outstanding School – is in Burmantofts and has a high immigrant population of children – many from Eritrea – for whom English is a second language. Robert commended this working together as an exemplum of how Rotary can have positive impact on a community.
The opportunity was taken to present a Long Service Award by the President to Fred Archenhold. Fred’s twenty-five years of service to the Club as chair of several committees led to his presidency in 2000. A natural choice as mentor to new members. Congratulationsto Fred and his wife, Joan.
The highest recognition of service to Rotary, the Paul Harris Fellowship, was presented by The President to David Kirby. In the words of David Ashelford’s citation: “He introduced Leeds clubs to the work of Foodbanks in the year of his presidency 2014-15. He was a founding member of East Leeds Foodbank and he and his wife Margaret currently manage Harehills Food Distribution outlet for East and South Leeds Foodbank. Headingley members are encouraged to take part in monthly food collections and to support Foodbank activities.” In a brief speech of thanks, David reminded Club members to bring bags of sugar to the next meeting!
Our guest speaker, Mike Green, Professor emeritus of Forensic Pathology at Sheffield University was an early pioneer in the Australian Flying Doctor initiative in the sixties. He and his wife almost stumbled into the role, a poorly paid post with almost impossible working conditions at a time when any medical supplies and instruments had to be purchased by the doctor himself. The plane was smaller than a Cessna, pay was erratic and he served several hundred square miles of outback with skills quickly learnt as necessity demanded them. His hilarious account was so comical that it was only after he had described clashes he had with government and the present vastly professional conditions in the modern service, that I realised we had had the privilege of hearing an account of a major slice of twentieth century medical provision to all of the citizens of Australia. President Elect, John Hafseth, gave the vote of thanks.
As this was just two days before ‘Purple Pinkie Day’ which celebrates and raises funds for Rotary’s ‘End Polio Now’ campaign, Darren Dixon-Hardy and Trevor Hunter sold purple crocus badges, raising over £100 to add to the £532 already donated by members this year.