The Rotary Club of Irvine Seagate


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Donald Menzies

In September, the visiting DG, Alastair Denholm, recognised Jim Fairgrieve as a Paul Harris Fellow, in recognition of his service to the wider community through his work in Rotary, the Boys Brigade and the Irvine Trades.

In April 2000, new member David Cousar was welcomed to the club.

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Also . . .

Charity disbursements were made to 15 organisations in this financial year, the largest being to the Sea Cadets (£500), Aquabox and Blind Golf.

One of the first of the summer meetings, in July 1999, took members to a buffet, a short talk, and a guided tour at Dundonald Castle. The club returned there in June 2009. A ten-year inspection schedule?

The Marymass hot dogs and bottle stall raised £1,000.

Rtn Dan was reported in Jan. 2000 to have given up the weed. We do not have the date when he returned to the practice.

Some 30 Rotarians and family members enjoyed a Weekend Away to Dundee in February 2000. Organized by Liz Black, she "even laid on brilliant weather, and litter free streets which wasa novelty for the travellers".

Arran High were this year's local heat winners in Youthspeaks. The other team was from Kilwinning Academy. Judges were President Donald, Jennifer Niven, and Hugh Drennan.

The May 2000 Pensioners Outing visited Edinburgh.

President Donald's major innovation was the introduction - despite vigorous opposition - of "Red Sea Rules", his version of the diplomatic Red Sea Rig of a relaxed dress code for the heat of a Scottish summer, originally for July and August only, in 1998 extended to a warm June, and more recently all year round. At the first Red Sea Rules meeting, as divulged to the regular readers of the press column, "Rotarian Dan Moriarty apparently misheard this as Rab C. orders and appeared resplendent in dinner suit and vest."

The 1999 press report proceeded to advise for its following meeting, where guests would be students from the International Youth Rally, that "Dress should be smart as well as casual." The image of Rotary has since relaxed all year round, leading to a mix of styles for the 21st year and the 21st century.

The Club awarded its annual Community Service Award (in August) to Jim Davidson of Irvine Rugby Club, in recognition of his unsung backroom work in doing many of the unseen jobs which keep the club running smoothly.

The Seagate team of Donald, Jimmy, Murray and Andy H. won the Ayrshire Rotary Golf League in September.

The press reports mention an August vote of thanks by Rtn Hugh, "whose Mickey Mouse tie showed no signs of its recent foray into the profiteroles, reports of which were allegedly exaggerated", but the 'July gap' caused by our reporter's sailing break probably allows the original story to go untold.

A charity walk through the Lairig Ghru in September met storm force winds and driving rain. The six hikers were Donald the Bunnet, Irish Bill (his wild brother-in-law of Stirling Rotary), Hugh the Ties, Sandy the Sailor, Raymond the drug dealer, and Franco the Italian refugee. The south-to-north team enjoyed a tail wind of 50 mph. The opposite team was forced by the weather to turn back, but only two did - the Italian battled on into the gale, like a solitary Capt Oates - on meeting the northwards group, he was forcibly turned round, as much for his culinary skills as his safety, and survived to prepare "a sumptuous Italian meal at base camp". Before that meal, Rtn Raymond needed to make two trips to ferry both teams back to Braemar, and finished his day after only 3 hours walking but 280 miles driving. The walk raised £500 for the annual Christmas Hampers. The Winter Walks series resumed in November.

During the year, President Donald gave priority to local youth organisations, with funding in equipment and scholarships, rather than the handing over of cash. In his valedictory address, he reiterated his belief that the first loyalty of members should be to the Club - to ensure the fellowship which leads to the ability to raise funds for both local and overseas charities.

This session also saw a recruitment scheme based on targeted letters to members of the local community - successful in that the club gained YYY new members.

The 1999 Sportsmen's Dinner was chaired by Hugh Drennan. Speakers were Brian Donald, a TV and radio sports reporter and regular rugby columnist, and Gordon Smith, a media sports personality, ex professional footballer for 17 years. The comedian was Jimmy Stirling and auctioneer was Leonard Kerr of Arthur E Collins Ltd. The programme 'sported' the Club's first web address at, long since superseded. £2,500 was raised for the club charity funds. Let press reporter Sandy continue: "Winner of the the top raffle prize, a weekend for two in Paris, was Bruce Fairgrieve. That means that Jim and Wilma have won a week's babysitting in Irvine. There was an added cost for one of the club's members, a frequent traveller who should have checked his ticket. This unnamed joiner who stays quite close to the Redburn, ordered a taxi which took him to the Thistle Hotel. Finding no one there, he then got another taxi to take him to the correct venue which was only two minutes walk from his house."

The Immortal Memory at the 2000 Burns Supper was proposed by Bobby Haswell, Immediate Past President of Irvine Burns Club. Bill Carson addressed a small haggis, Gordon 'Rhyming' Robertson toasted the lasses in Drongan doggerel, and met with a devastating response from Isabel Murdoch, denigrating men for an inability to change nappies, and accepting men were useful for getting spiders out of the bath. Piper was Judith Niven. Willie Young and Gordon Stevenson contributed musical items, and Jim Anderson sang.