The Rotary Club of Irvine Seagate


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Ian Dickson

New meeting venue
(from Oct. 2007):
Annfield Hotel.
See the mention of the Golf Hotel in the centre column.

During the visit to our 'twin' in Orléans in May, Jim Fairgrieve was recognised, on account of his efforts in twinning activities, as an outstanding Paul Harris Fellow through the presentation to him by the Orléans club of a sapphire for his PHF pin.

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Also . . .

In May 2008, President Ian led Seagate Rotarians on the exchange visit to Orléans, spending two nights at the Domaine des Thomeaux and three with Rotarian hosts.

The April 2008 RIBI Conference at Blackpool was attended by Rtn Andy S. and Pres. Ian.

The 2008 Burns Supper was held at Bogside, with an Immortal Memory proposed by Bill Carson. Bill Nolan toasted The Lasses, with a reply by Rtn Fiona.

On Remembrance Day, marching up to the Memorial with wreaths, Pres. Duncan Rennie of RC Irvine and Pres. Ian had to fork to avoid a pensioner in an electric buggy. Beside the 'Irvine Herald' photo of this manoeuvre, the paper reported that the "dopey pensioner" had admitted that he "didn't even know it was Remembrance Sunday".

The Sportsmens' Dinner speakers were Davie Wilson and Jack Westwood. Held at the Sports Club for the first time, and attended by over 100 people, it raised £5,000.

The Club visited Ardagh Glass (once 'Rockware') - impressive!

The GSE team from D9640 Queensland and New South Wales were guests of Seagate for four days in September, staying with Rtns Jim F., Jim A., Hugh H., and Pres. Ian. One of the team, journalist Nerida Blok, reported their visit in her blog as follows:
"Vocational day with local weekly publication The Irvine Herald and Kilwinning Chronicle. Helped local journalist Lorraine Howard, also a former GSE team member to the States, by writing up her weekly page based on our Rotary trip and team. I think they called the page 'Writer's Blok'.
- Ferry ride across to the lovely Isle of Arran where we did tour of Brodick Castle. Had lunch in pub with members of Arran Rotary Club.
- Braehead Shopping Centre for retail therapy and then picked up by hosts Ian and Louise where we drove across to Dunbar and spent the night at their second house. Following day spent in Edinburgh - tried to talk my way into 'The Scotsman' unsuccessfully. Off to St Cuthbert's Church to see where my ancestors were married.

Their evening at the Club coincided with it being the Club's last evening at the Golf Hotel, before its closure. Members thanked proprietors Ann and Rtn Wilson Smith for 15 years of wonderful hospitality, and presented them with an engraved decanter.

The year enjoyed a charity income of almost £10K, of which £5 was raised by the Sportsmen's Dinner. After a £1,665 contribution to Rotary Foundation, Rotary's own charity fund, the largest single donation was £980 to Aquabox.

Like any President, President Ian offered some new initiatives. One was to limit the wearing of Past President medals to formal occasions - a further stage (in keeping with RI recommendations) in modernising the image of meetings. Another was to ensure that some of the banners from other clubs are displayed each week - a symbol of our international links and concerns - though sadly many banners disappeared when the club left the Annfield. Another innovation was to reduce the hospitality after Council meetings - often prepared by a spouse though some members did their bit - a supper which was much enjoyed but often overwhelming. An initiative designed to familiarise ordinary members, especially newer members, with the decision-making process was to invite one non-Council member to attend the monthly Council meeting.

Glebe Primary School were the winners of the 2008 Primary School Quiz - a popular annual event for primary 7s. They then went on to be the Best of the West, by winning the District Final at Clydebank Town Hall, where Killearn PS came second and St Andrew's PS, Bearsden, came third. The team comprised Ben and Beth Cumming, Daniel Law and Alexander Jamieson.

As none of the club golfers were available, the Club sponsored four young golfers, two each from Irvine and from Irvine Ravenspark Golf Clubs, to take part in the District Golf Competition at Dundonald Links in aid of the Maggie's Centre. Meeting them ahead of their 7:20 am tee-off, non-golfer President Ian could later report that he had been on the golf course at 7am that day.

In July 2007, President Ian visited Malawi and officially handed over the science labs, in a joint ceremony with RC Mzuzu President Gibbs Chinula and Jane Whitlock who had helped greatly with day-to-day implementation. In October 2007, Ian described the Malawi project at District Conference at Aviemore, the presentation including video clips from the July visit - the RIBI representative, in the closing session, expressed the hope that "[Ian's presentation] can infect others with that zeal and enthusiasm and make a difference".

Seagate organised a Beach Clean-up Day in September, co-ordinated by Rtn Scott. Sadly, no members of the public or other local organisations joined in, but the dozen Rotarians and families collected over half a tonne (our scribe is metric) of rubbish.

The golf team had taken part in the Rotary national finals in England, not winning, but bringing a donation of £100 back for the club's charity funds, which "made listening to Donald's convoluted report worthwhile" (our scribe is cheeky).

Eight teams took part in the Seagate Rotary Quiz Night in the Burns Club, raising over £250 for funds. The Seagate team "maintained it was only polite to allow visitors to win, but made sure to keep ahead of the other Irvine Rotary team".

This year was President Ian's first year of retirement from paid work - Rotary duties fully filled any free time (not that he seems ever to have much of that).