Rotary Year 2014-15

21 June 2015

A number of members heeded the call and attended the Prostate Scotland joint cycling event at Tayport under threatening grey skies. However Andre must have had a word as no actual rain fell until the final period of the event although heavy cloud was evident throughout. Peter Whyte is seen preparing for his start and finisher Sandy Rennie downed a welcome draught of water at the end of his circuit of the course.

Also involved were Adam Gaines of Prostate Scotland, Willie Rennie, MSP, and DG Keith Hopkins.


16 June 2015

Our speaker this week was Janet Lowe, Rotary Foundation District Officer. The focus of her presentation was the work of the Rotary Foundation, it's goals and structure. The 1.2 million Rotary members worldwide contribute $120 million each year, making it one of the world's biggest charities. Less than 8% of all donated funds goes on overheads thanks to all the volunteer inputs. Foundation priorities include eradicating polio and by 2014 that gaol is within reach, worldwide cases now down to a few hundred annually. Other worldwide projects involve water provision, education, public health, and small business support. Janet also explained the new simplified system for Clubs to apply for grant support towards their local and international projects.

19 May 2015

Our guest speaker this week was the distinguished Scottish journalist Michael Mullford, with a career that encompassed print and television journalism plus a number of other interesting communication roles. Michael's subject however was not his various careers but instead “morphology” - the study of forms of words. Far from being an academic topic Michael chose to bring this to life by drawing on numerous, very humorous, real life examples of use and misuse of forms of words. His interest in forms of words sprang from his admiration of the actor Leonard Sachs playing a Victorian music hall M.C., and Sach's mastery of extravagant language. Michael's parliamentary experiences included the gem that “Loonies far up the Thames” is an anagram of “Houses of Parliament”. Clever ripostes and phrases used by Churchill in barbed exchanges, many quite ribald, and those of many others - famous and unknowns - kept us laughing throughout his talk.

28 April 2015

This week's guest speaker was Dr. Steve Boardman, Reader in Late Medieval History at University of Edinburgh. Steve's talk focussed on the life and demise of the earliest Duke of Rothesay, heir to the Scottish crown. Steve provided a fascinating insight into what might appear to be dusty old history but which proved, in his engaging talk, to be as gripping as any episode of Game of Thrones. As Steve informed us, real history is just as full of incident, plot, revenge, and deep motive as any television plot. Most of the action and outcomes he focussed upon in his talk involved the Howe of Fife and key characters and places here.

21 April 2015

This week our own Sandy Green regaled us with some of the interesting facts and reported gems from his work as archivist for Cupar Amateur Musical Society ( CAMS). CAMS has a long and illustrious history from its establishment in the 19th. century through to the present. Sandy is in process of compiling a book about it all, but he shared with us some of the interesting and amusing gems he has discovered. The early days of CAMS saw audiences attracted from as far afield as Edinburgh & Glasgow! Among the incidents reported were wigs falling off, sword blows in sensitive places, secreted snow, and people leaning on skyscrapers. Weathering the vagaries of history and finances, the company has more or less continued throughout the near hundred and twenty years. CAMS now also encourages younger people's musical  talents through the Cupar Musical Youth Theatre group it established a few years ago.

24 March 2015

Rotarian Ian Cowie gave an illustrated talk about the visit he and his wife made in 2008 under the Rotary Fellowship Group Exchange scheme to New Zealand. Ian and his wife went as members of a group of Scottish Rotarians and partners. Once in New Zealand they were hosted by Rotary clubs in different communities across new Zealand. They went on to enjoy a wide range of visits and activities including sheep farms and sheep dogs, agriculture, vineyards, river boating, and sea fishing. Ian mentioned that one of the most unusual crops involves red deer and the harvesting of the velvet from their antlers. This is exported for use in traditional herbal type medicines in Asia and elsewhere.

10 March 2015

Always a welcome visitor to the Howe of Fife Rotary Club, the much-travelled Jack Daniels of the St. Andrews Rotary Club regaled members last week with tales of his misadventures over the years. These included sinking nearly up to his 'oxters' in Libyan quicksand; attending a funeral in mistake for a wedding in Turkmenistan; and partaking in a ladies' only session in a North Korean Turkish bath. He also explained that his upbringing on a Tipperary farm had prepared him for his travels, where his skills in milking cows had come in handy on more than one occasion!

3 March 2015

New member Roddy Greig gave us an entertaining acccount of his life and careers, ranging across progressions in banking, his initial professional field, to his more recent lecturing in the field of Family History.


25 February 2015 Primary School Quiz

The PSQ 2015 proved to be as exciting an event as we have had in years with the contest lead changing right up to the last round. Ladybank P.S. Team emerged as worthy winners and are captured with the trophy and their winners certificates.

24 February 2015

Our speaker this week was Past President Sandy Davis. Sandy talked about the life and achievements of the famous WW1 German flying ace, Baron Manfred Von Richthofen. Sandy outlined Richthofen's key achievements in a career from cavalryman through to acknowledged “air ace”, and leader of the fighter arm of the German air corps. Richthofen was shot down and killed near Amiens on 21 April 1918, and buried with full military honours by the Allied troops. Regarded then, and now, as a national hero, his name and influence live on in the German Air Force of today.

17 February 2015

This week we were delighted to welcome two new members, Roddy Greig and Willie Grieve. From Arbroath Roddy worked with RBS, initially in Aberdeen, latterly at HQ. After RBS he embarked on a second career in a support role at the Scottish Parliament. Since retiring for the second time, Roddy has studied for a qualification in Genealogy at Strathclyde University.Willie is a Fifer from Peat Inn, from an agricultural background. His family moved to Aberfeldy where, as a young man, he set up an agricultural contracting business. With Aberfeldy Rotary Club from 1997 to 2010, Willie has wide experience with his former Club especially in fund-raising, a passion passed onto his daughter, one of the British Tractor Girls, who raised over £100,000 in a Land's End to John o' Groats vintage tractor drive. The past experiences of both new members will be invaluable to the Club.


10 February 2015

Our guest speaker this week was Right Honourable Grand Master of Lodge No. 19 Cupar, Kevin Thompson. Kevin kindly provided a comprehensive outline of what Freemasonry is and how, as a charitable organisation, it has aims in common with Rotary. He went on to explain, in a detailed illustrated talk, the history, development and current practices of the organisation. Freemasonry in Scotland he explained is distinct from the rest of the U.K., having its own traditions and practices and an openness that is not always appreciated.

3 February 2015

The Club welcomed as guest speaker, Jimmy Spankie. A member of the St. Andrews' Rotary Club for five years, Jimmy, is a former well-known Grampian TV presenter and reporter. With a wry sense of humour, and well-timed asides, he drew on his experiences in interviewing techniques to practically demonstrate to us the importance of camera angles in presenting speakers to the viewing public. In particular Jimmy demonstrated how important camera positions are to achieve the visual logic we expect in such reports. Despite the comments of members, Jimmy succeeded in making what might have been a dry technical talk into one of fun.

27 January 2015 Burns Supper

Thanks to the organisational skills of Ian Cowie, we held another memorable Burns Supper at The Village Inn, Pitlessie.President Bob Henderson welcomed members and guests who then saw the haggis piped in by local award-winning piper Isla Stout, the “great chieftain” carried by “Poosie Nancy” Chris Dickinson.

Guest Bob Drummond then addressed the haggis, followed by The Selkirk Grace from Ian Cowie.

After an excellent meal the company rose for the Loyal Toast proposed by President Bob. After a musical interlude from Andrew Kennedy,  Bob Drummond gave an “Immortal Memory” full of interesting aspects of Burns life.

Guest singer Layla Brown then led the company in a rousing rendition of “Scots Wha Hae”, followed by Sandy Davis who once again gave us his powerful and dramatic rendition of “Tam O' Shanter”, probably Burns most graphic poem.

A highly amusing”Toast to the Lasses”, was given by Paul Furniss mentioning – among others - his school dinner lady! Singing a capella, Layla Brown gave us a short selection of songs including Burns moving “Ae Fond Kiss”.

Guest speaker Susan Jackson then gave an incisive “ Reply from The Lasses”. On behalf of the company Rotarian Dave Roberts gave a warm “Vote of Thanks” to all concerned in providing the evening including the staff of The Village Inn.

President Bob closed proceedings joined by the assembled company in an enthusiastic rendition of “Auld Lang Syne”.

16 December 2014

Members met for our annual Christmas Dinner evening at the Village Inn, and we all enjoyed a really excellent meal prepared by Kevin and his hardworking staff. During the evening two presentations took place. The first was our award of Citizen of the Year, presented to Anthony Garrett of Falkland. Nominated by Falkland Community Council in recognition of his forty years service to the communities of Falkland and Newtown of Falkland. He has had involvement with both the Community Council and the Village Hall Committee, as well as many other locally-based activities in addition to serving for some years as an elected Fife councillor. The second presentation of the evening was that of Paul Harris Fellowships, awarded to past Presidents Sandy Davis and Peter Whyte in recognition of their exceptional service to the club.

9 December 2014

Well known Cupar veterinary surgeon Andrew Kennedy spoke about his life and work to fellow members of The Howe of Fife Rotary Club on Tuesday 9 December 2014. Meeting over a hearty meal in The Village Inn, Pitlessie, Andrew described the highs, lows and amusing incidents of a career spanning over forty years, unusually all of it with the same veterinary practice. Acknowledging how fortunate he was to be recruited into the practice - even before he graduated from the Dick Vet – his working life has revolved around the farms and animals of East Fife. On one occasion he managed to avoid near fatal injury from an irate bull by diving head first over a high farm gate still managing to hold a blood sample intact! Although officially retired he still enjoys working part-time with the practice with the smaller animals.


2 December 2014

Our speaker on this occasion was our own Sandy Green sharing with us the second part of the story of his charity work in Belarus, work which began in the aftermath of the world's worst nuclear accident at Chernobyl, Ukraine. In addition to the thirty one immediate deaths and the many casualties, we are still faced with the continuing effects in terms of long term health issues and wide-scale contamination of the surrounding land. The accident released some four hundred times more radioactivity than did the Hiroshima bomb in WW2. Belarus received about 60% of the airborne radioactive contamination that fell on the former Soviet Union, much of which fell into the Pripyat River. In turn this affected the water supplies for to Kiev's 2.4 million residents. Sandy went on to bring the full impact into everyday terms by describing the changes wrought on peoples lives and work. An exclusion zone of 20 miles approx. in all directions continues and the soil in the area will take some 20,000 years to lose its radioactivity. All of this has had a very severe impact on the economy and the incomes of people of Belarus and Sandy explained how they had managed to deliver a lorry load of aid, negotiating border controls and the bureaucracy! He also described the warmth of the welcomes received and how people, living in real poverty, were so generous, especially with the vodka. As an example of the the difficulties people face he explained how a young woman was prevented from graduating as a doctor because she could not afford to buy a stethoscope. Sadly todays political climate in the country is less willing to allow such aid missions.


25 November 2014

Jim Hair is well known in the business community of Cupar and the Howe, having founded his accountancy practice in Cupar some years ago. Jim joined us to talk about the work of the A.B.C&D - the Association of Businesses in Cupar & District an important independent voice representing the interests of the Cupar business community. Although other business organisations exist it was felt that Cupar and area needed an independent advocacy. The loss of status as a county town, with the subsequent loss of status and more recently public sector jobs and facilities, has affected the local economy. The association tries to balance the inevitable voice of the bigger communities and to ensure that Cuapr is not forgotten by policy makers and planners. Jim gave examples fo the sorts of decisions and effects that have arisen in the last few years and how the association is striving to help redevelop Cupar and the area.

18 November 2014

We were delighted to welcome Edward Link as our guest speaker this week. Edward spoke enthusiastically about the founding and development of the U3A, the educational organisation formally titled in the U.K. "The University of The Third Age" although unlike the O.U. it does not award degrees or qualifications. Originally founded on the continent in 1983 it has developed into national and regional federated groups including Scotland with branches in Glasgow, Perth and Fife. Small groups meet in an informal atmosphere to study a wide variety of subjects ranging from Art to Politics, Philosophy to Archeology.

28 October 2014

The Worldwide Cancer Research Trust started in St. Andrews and is a charity which aims to fund the best fundamental scientific research in the world into curing cancer. Our guest speakers this week were Faith Nicholson, Trust Manager, and Geraldine Long, Legacy Manager, from the Trust. Cancer has over 200 forms and defeating it is an enormous challenge which will take generations. The Trust stance is that such a complex disease will not be defeated by any one country, hence it supports projects worldwide. Over £182 million of grants have been made to a vast range of projects, some seeming esoteric. For instance a Dr. Dooley of Aberdeen is looking into shark antibodies in connection with breast cancer research; a Dr. Jones in California is looking into new treatments for prostate cancer in men. The support for research is based on submitted ideas examined through critical reviews, then on to lab experiments and trials, with outcomes that may lead to further practical research pathways. Dundee has become one such leading centre of cancer research, part of this worldwide network aiming to conquer cancer.


14 October 2014

With Andre Hawryliw presiding, we welcomed District Governor Keith Hopkins, and his wife Mary. Originally from south of the border, and a Rotarian from the age of twenty eight, Keith moved to Tayside through his work as a chartered accountant some years ago. Continuing his Rotary involvement, he became D.G. of District 1010 in 2014. In an enthusiastic and energetic address, Keith focussed on the current theme of “Light Up Rotary”. He urged us to review the range of our existing and future activities – all with the aim of revitalising the club and achieving even more than we do already. Pointing out that Rotary is a worldwide organisation with over 1.2 million members, he reminded us of the need to more effectively market Rotary including possible links to business, other organisations, and the community. He closed by flagging up that June 21st 2015 will be RIBI Cycle Day, an across Britain fundraising event in aid of Prostate Cancer. He suggested that we partner with Cupar to set up static cycles in the town centre and encourage a range of sponsored participants to become involved.


7 October 2014

We were delighted to welcome the successful candidates for our 2014 RYLA, Isla Stout and Kai Francis. Isla is a keen piper who aims to study music at the Royal Scottish Conservatoire whilst Kai, a Black B Dan 1st., is a keen sportsman. They described the range of testing physical and social experiences that made up the RYLA week and how they individually rose to meet those challenges. Both agreed that the range of experiences – Raft Building, Biking, Games, Volleyball, Gorge Diving, and of course the weather! - together with making new friends, all made for a life changing week one they will remember for a very long time. They expressed their thanks and appreiation for the opportunity the Club provided.


30 September 2014

Our guest speaker this week was Dr. Oliver O'Grady, of OJT Heritage, lead consultants with the Living Lomonds Landscape partnership, a £1.7million project to 2016. The partnership links a range of local agencies and community interests and aims to conserve and revitalise the landscape and heritage of the Lomonds area, based on the Lomond Hills Regional Park. The work carried out includes archaeological, conservation, and rural skills work, including involving young people. Dr. O'Grady's spoke about the history of the landscape from pre-history through Early Christianity, the Middle Ages and onward. Excavation work on East Lomond's large 1st millennium Pictish fort is revealing important Iron Age artefacts, buildings, tools and jewellery. Overall the various strands of the project aim to rejuvenate the local economy through promoting tourism, involvement of local communities, and developing possible employment opportunities. Dr. O'Grady concluded by acknowledging the vital support of The Heritage Lottery Fund, Fife Council and all the other local agencies for their financial and practical help.


23 September 2014

This week our guest speaker was Kirsty Drummond from Ladybank introduced by Dr. John Kerr. Kirsty is a volunteer for The British Heart Foundation in her spare time and has become their co-ordinator for sourcing and deploying defibrillators in our Howe area, a project the club has assisted financially. Kirsty gave an interesting and informative visual presentation about heart attacks and the vital need for help in the immediate four minutes following an attack, particularly CPR. We then had a detailed demonstration of how to administer CPR and correctly use a defibrillator of the type now available at a number of locations in the Howe. The defibrillators have on board audio instructions and are very easy to use.

16 September 2014

Tonight’s speaker was club member and ex-navy man Roger Guy. Roger's subject was the Invergordon Mutiny of September 1931. As a result of the Great Depression the government of the day cut public spending including imposing a 10% cut of naval pay, a cut that had a great impact on lower ranks. Whilst there has been discussion as to whether the action by sailors was mutiny or a form of strike action, Roger pointed out that the discipline inherent in the “Acts of War” ,read regularly to crews even today,  leaves no doubt – it was mutiny, as defined as refusal by a group to follow orders. Roger went on to explain that serving sailors had contacts with socialist and hard left groups, and this led to the presenting of a “petition” to the Lords of the Admiralty for rescinding of the pay cuts. All to no effect of course. Once the ringleaders were identified some ended up in prison, some left, a few left for the International Brigades in Spain, and other left for Russia. Of those in Spain some were in Guernica when it was devastatingly air raided and, by a twist of fate, one such who returned to Britain ended up giving air raid precaution advice to the monarchy and was decorated for such service. One outcome of the Invergordon Mutiny was that Britain went off the “Gold Standard”.

9 September 2014

Our guest speaker this week was Dennis Hopper, Past President of The Rotary Club of St. Andrews. A keen sailor, Dennis titled his talk “Ship to Shore” because his talk focussed on the huge range of everyday words and phrases adopted from our seagoing heritage. Dennis himself had collected a wide range of such expressions from his sailing and had intended, once retired, to develop his collection into a publishable book. To his chagrin shortly after retiring he was beaten to the draw by another author publishing just such a book. Dennis noted that the book, whilst comprehensive, still missed a good few that he had collected. Dennis provided the derivations of a range of words such as “starboard” - originally a steering board hung of side of the boat; “posh” ( port out, starboard home) referring to passengers choice of cabin; “pipping hot” food hot and ready signalled by whistled saignal to hungry crew members; “No Man's Land” originally the open flat area of deck in the middle of a ship; letting the “Cat Out of the Bag” derived from behaviour aboard requiring punishment by use of the “Cat O'Nine Tails”, the lash used to adminster punishments. Dennis provided a good many more examples, proving that although the meanings may have changed over time these nautical words and phrases remain a large part of our everyday vocabulary.


2 September 2014

Our speaker was our own Andy Boddice, currently working in the supply and support services sector of the North Sea oil industry. With his usual verve and focus Andy provided an impressive up-to-date perspective about the current and near future of the North Sea oil industry. Andy pointed out that since exploration began in the nineteen sixties there are over 6,000 oil wells in the North Sea, utilising some 14,000 kilometres of pipelines, drawing crude from some 383 oil fields. When the industry began there was little thought to its end but it is now apparent that detailed plans and costings are required to successfully remove redundant platforms and pipelines.Andy illustrated in detail the sheer scale of the platform structures involved and emphasised that this little publicised need to decommission, remove, salvage and scrap such structures will require new technologies to be developed the costs of which will run into billions of pounds . The BRENT field will be the first to be tackled. The scale involved demands special ships be designed in order to use the new salvage techniques  – all at massive costs. The major players have already developed detailed long-term plans in concert with the U.K government, including the Treasury sharing the financial costs.

26 August 2014

Our guest speaker this week was Mary Archibald, a volunteer guide at the industrial heritage project the Verdant Works Jute Mill in Dundee. After retiring from nursing Mary had visited the Verdant Works some years ago and was so interested that she decided to help. Mary pointed out that whilst the S.S.Discovery is a key attraction the Verdant Mills Works are - in terms of Dundee's industrial heritage and history - just as important, if not more so. The Verdant Works was one of the major Dundee mills operating from 1833 until 1926, initially processing flax and later flax and jute imported from India and made into sacks, cloth, bags, etc. Mary outlined the details of the working conditions and long hours of the workers including the exploitation of women and children. Deafness and respiratory disease being among the hazards of working days starting at 5.00 a.m. through to 8.00 p.m. Thousands of such workers lived in the cramped conditions of the tenements of the Hawkhill and other areas of Dundee, conditions where large families lived in one or two tiny roomed flats with external sanitation whilst mill owners lived in country estates or large house outside Dundee. At the Verdant Works site further development of restoring and extending visitor facilities continues to make it a really interesting visitor experience.


21 August 2014

Himalayas Putting

Our annual putting competition over the Himalayas course in St. Andrews was once again efficiently organised by Bill Inglis. Play began in favourable conditions of bright sunshine and a faintly warm breeze. However conditions rapidly deteriorated and later participants battled chilly winds and strong driving rain. Nevertheless some participants managed very good low scores. Having repaired to the shelter and warmth of the clubhouse, participants enjoyed a nice meal after which Bill Inglis announced the results. Prizes kindly donated by Wilf Cameron were; Best Scorers (Alison Cameron and Sandy Rennie); Hole-in-one (Monique Sanders, Robin Rippin, Sandy Rennie); Booby Prizes to Lyn and John Bonington.

5 August 2014

Our speaker this week was member Dr. Andre Hawryliw. Andre provided a fast-paced and very detailed update on his professional and vocational career from his early interest in science, electronics and physics, through his impressive range of degrees and  senior positions in high tech companies.  It was his involvement in these that led to his arriving and staying in Fife. Andre outlined the vagaries and effects of industry mergers and acquisitions as experienced from the front line of managing affected enterprises through to his current involvement teaching at Fife College.

29 June 2014

Our speaker this week was Jenny Gudgeon, a local photographic artist from Dunshelt. Jenni spoke to us about her “Scolawi” ( Scotland-Malawi) photographic project. Jenni works with an unusual technique of etching into photographic images to alter them in interesting and creative ways. She explained the rationale behind her project involving as it does youngsters from Auchtermuchty and Chimwemwe creating unique combination designs of an exisitng image and their drawing onto it. She showed images of her visit, the activities carried out and the results of the youngsters work in the workshops she ran with them. Her visit also allowed her to capture some of the developments at the Chimwemwe Childrens centre which our club supports and it was heartening to see the progress.

15 June 2014

Our guest speaker this week was Mr. David Beattie, of Forest Spirit Archers, a group based at Cluny. David is chairperson of this sporting club, a club which has grown tenfold since it was established a decade ago. His presentation outlined the history and development of archery from neolithic times through the development of the longbow and cross-bow and on to the sophisticated equipment now used. The Forest Archers concentrate on competitive target shooting, a relatively inexpensive sport. David detailed the different types of arrows and arrow heads and the construction of the arrows. He then explained the differences between field archery and target archery, explaining that the key skills lie in co-ordinating eye, hand and strength together as arrows are released. He showed and allowed handling of a number of different types of bows. Whilst Scotland has had archers and archery since the Middle Ages, we have some way to go to overcome the pre-eminent Koreans for whom archery is their national sport.

8 June 2014

Instead of the usual talk presentation, Oliver Will challenged us with a quiz he devised. The very entertaining quiz tested in more ways than one, with the opening section being of a viewing of various unusual mechanical tools and devices, many with agricultural connotations – the challenge being to identify their uses. Then followed a sheet of images of some current Rotarians when very young, complemented by a similar sheet of images of their spouses when very young - the task being to match up the couples correctly. Finally a round of testing questions about Rotary itself. In the end the winning team was Barbara Acheson, Sandy Davis, Duncan Pickard and Sandy Rennie. Oliver is shown above holding a device for stoning pips from cherries in case you wondered!


6 June 2014

Annual Barbecue Gorno Grove

Our annual BBQ was once again blessed with good weather and members enjoyed the hospitality of our host Dianne Matthew and the beautiful setting at Gorno Grove seen above. After we had enjoyed an excellent BBQ with an excellent range of food, President Bob Henderson presented a bouquet and our thanks to Dianne for once again hosting us.

1 June 2014

Presidential Handover

Retiring President Peter Whyte opened the first meeting of 2014-15 year by thanking members for all their support during his year of office. One of his tasks was to decide which members had made significant contributions to the success of the Club year, and Peter elected to present the Adamson Quaich for Outstanding Service this year to Oliver Wills and Rick Bond who played key roles in the success of the Potato Sales and the Grand Draw as fundraisers.

Having demitted office to President Bob Henderson, Bob thanked Peter for all his hard work and presented him with his Rotary medal. President Bob then went on to present President Elect, Roger Guy with his insignia.