Christmas time is a very special time in many countries around the world, whereas in others it is a time that is not celebrated or recognised. In the UK the day is a very special day, no matter what belief system people follow. It is a time of reflection, a time of religious beliefs, a time of sharing, a time of family, a time of friendship, but for children it is a time when Santa Claus travels the world in the early hours of Christmas Day with his trusted Rudolf the Red Nose Reindeer delivering presents.
One of the efforts that Rotary Club members worldwide is to eradicate the terrible disease of polio (poliomyelitis) through out our world. To this end over the years since 1985, Rotary Club has raised many millions of dollars, which has been matched dollar for dollar by the Bill Gates Foundation and in conjunction with health authorities, to buy the vaccine and facilitate the distribution and administration in all countries.
There has been a 99% success rate.
Last night at a concert featuring Kingston University Chamber Choir, Chorus and Ensemble entitled, Ancient and Modern, Innovation & Modern: c1656 – 3/5/2013, I made a new friend.
The annual Senior Youth Speaks Competition, for schools in the Royal Borough, was held in the Methodist Church, New Malden, on the 13th November, and organised by the Rotary Club of Kingston upon Thames.
Pupils, teachers, friends and families of the competing teams, members and friends of the Rotary Club, and The Worshipful Mayor of Kingston upon Thames, Councillor Mary Heathcote, were presented with very high standard and thought provoking speeches by five teams from, Richard Challoner, Coombe Boys, Coombe Girls, Surbiton High and Tolworth Girls schools.
Each team consisted of three members, a chairperson, a speaker, and a vote of thanks, with each being allocated a set time to deliver a speech. Titles of the talks covered many areas, “Time: it’s all relative”, “The Rise and fall of the Dark Night”, “The Olympic Legacy”, “Are We Slaves To Conformity”, and a rather controversial “Duty to our Parents”, where the speaker implied that there could be an answer to the ever increasing grey haired population, euthanasia.
Obviously, a lot of effort and coaching had been put into the preparation for the night, and all credit must be given to the teachers for supporting their teams both before and during the evening, and it was wonderful to witness teams supporting their competing teams.
Three Adjudicators sat marking the teams, June McCullough, Dr, Helen Setright and Dr. David Lawson, and after the talks and as we all helped ourselves to an array of food and drink, mingling and chatting as the Adjudicators deliberated the results.
After the break, The Worshipful Mayor of Kingston upon Thames, Councillor Mary Heathcote and Kingston Rotary Clubs’ President Paul Hickson, presented each team member with a certificate of merit. Then the results were anounced.
Best Speaker Stephen Inns from Coombe Boys School
Best Chairperson Jinal Parekh from Tolworth Girls School
Best Proposer Jordan Agyeman from Coombe Boys School
Special Award for Merit Sam Baxter from Richard Challoner
The winning team which will go forward to the next round of the Rotary International in Great Britain and Ireland in March 2013, to represent the Royal Borough was Tolworth Girls School.
The Rotary Club Youth Speaks Competition gives the youth practice and confidence for their future life, both personally and professionally in public speaking, something we all may have to do sometime during our life, with the opportunity to have fun, meet new people, win prizes and a chance to participate in the Rotary Club’s Youth Exchange program, where two teenagers will spend a sponsored week with others in either, France, Germany, Poland or the UK, expanding and understanding others’ cultures.
Every year on 5th November, to celebrate Guy Fawkes Day, of as it is also known, Bonfire Night, the British people burn rubbish piled high, and on top of the bonfire, we will have a Guy, or a mannequin or dummy, which is the representation of Guy Fawkes.
It is so humbling to listen to some of the stories, of those who had experienced difficulties in their life, yet overcame them to attain further education to better themselves.
Following the article Proud Moments at the Music Awards, I have put together a very simple video record.
A group of
Kingston upon Thames Rotary Club members, plus spouses, visited the Kent, Surrey and
Sussex HEMS service, based at the old RAF airfield, home of the BBC’s
Top Gear program, test track for the car manufacturer McLaren,
HEMS, (Helicopter Emergency Medical
Service), is operated every day of the year from 7am to 7pm in
daylight hours, with the hope in the near future to extend its’
service into night flying too, is an emergency response to medical
situations with a team of a pilot, a highly skilled doctor and a
critical care paramedic on board. We were told that this particular
HEMS team responded to 3 or 4 situations per day.
The service is a registered charitable
self funding organisation, covering the three counties of Kent,
Surrey and Sussex in conjunction with the NHS Ambulance Service which
merged the three counties into one service, and has two MD902
Explorer helicopters, one based in Marden (Kent) and the other at
Dunsfold (Surrey), and can reach any part of the SE England
operational area it was said in 20 minutes.
Taking A&E (Accident and Emergency) directly to a patient
within minutes has been proven a lifesaver, with even open heart
surgery being performed onsite, then to get the patient directly to
the most appropriate hospital in a sort time, affects the quality of
Constantly looking for and raising
funds to cover the £5 million per year cost is a host of volunteers,
as the service receives no funds from the Government or National
Lottery. For a small sum, you can enter the Kent,
Surrey and Sussex HEMS own lottery by filling in a form obtainable
from their web site.
The dedication of the people at
Dunsfold was obvious, as the pilot, doctor and paramedic took time
out to show us around the helicopter, explain what they do and answer
out multitude of questions. In the summing-up session back in the
HEMS building, I glanced outside to where the helicopter was parked,
only to see the three of them washing the already gleaming machine,
but having fun in the process. These lifesavers are just human like
you and me, and need our support just as we may need theirs one day.
At the end of the evening, it was a privilege to be asked as one of the judges of the Inter-House Public Speaking Competition at the Richard Challoner School in New Malden, Surrey, to present the awards and give the summing-up speech.