Rotary Club of Malling
Humanity in Motion
Despite this being the wettest month since records began, and all the misery that this has brought to so many people, our January began well with the celebration lunch in Tottiscliffe with Rotarians, old and new, and their guests and partners. We then went on to plan for our major new event on 31st January “Music at the Castle” and to put into place the proposals arising from our recent, members review of the nature and structure of the Club.
The review had been established in response to many queries and concerns that had arisen in the last year or two about how well the Club was meeting the needs and interest of all the members and how effective we were in encouraging and developing new membership whilst retaining our long standing members.
Only two members were unable to respond to the process and every other member expressed their views about all aspects of Club life and activity in a frank and honest way. Proposals for the future, based on the outcomes of the review, were presented to the Club on 7th January 2014. These proposals were not based on a “first past the post” or “winner takes all” outcome but a strategy that enabled everyone to win and was based on retaining the spirit of fellowship which is at the heart of Rotary.
The new programme which was agreed on 7th January has now been put into place and is working well. The new arrangements for the meetings include a review of the meals and the buffet style meal agreed for the informal Task/Committee group meeting of the third Tuesday in the month was a great success. Each group minuted their meeting carefully and their plans and proposals will be discussed at the next Club Council meeting (03/02/14). This will ensure that everyone knows exactly what is happening in the Club and everyone will be part of at least some, if not all, of what is proposed.
The review threw up many different ideas, some polar opposites, but what was very evident was the importance of good communication. We now have clarity and expect that we will now be able to build on our new base and move the Club forward. My thanks to everyone for taking part and for your frankness and flexibility. The Club is stronger for having addressed these issues.
The internal re-
Despite appalling weather everyone had a thoroughly enjoyable evening. The music, played by two exceptional musicians, violinist Thomas Kemp and cellist Robert Harwood, was glorious, holding everyone spellbound. The food was delicious with attentive service and the warmth and good fellowship of the sixty plus guests was palpable. Over a thousand pounds was raised to support the charity which aims to bring the very best of classical and jazz music and musicians and dancers from the National Ballet, to the people of Malling and the surrounding area in venues and at a cost that makes it accessible to all, not just the privileged few. Their work includes special performances for hundreds of local primary school children who have been enthralled and inspire by the creativity and excellence of the work they have seen, including such delights as “Peter and the Wolf”.
Such was the response that we hope that Music at the Castle will become an established part of the Rotary programme and will ensure that the Rotary Club of Malling remains at the heart of our Community.
The last Guest and Partners evening of the month was both hugely entertaining and very informative as Rotarian Sue Woodcock shared her photographs and her experiences of the life and culture of China from her recent extended visit. In her usual inimitable style she took us with her to some of the most famous parts of China and we were enthralled, amused and horrified in turns by her experiences, extensive knowledge and some of the practical challenges of life. It was a great evening and we are looking forward to going, with her, to India next year.
The first meeting of the month is focussed on the members and February begins with a reflection on the two visits made by Club members at the end of 2013 to Marrakech and to Cologne,. Very different experiences but in sharing them with fellow Rotarians we hope to emphasise the fellowship, good fun and the excitement that are part of the Rotary experience. There are many more places to visit and the recent banner exchange with the Rotary Club of Tempio in Sardinia may be the first step to a lasting friendship within Rotary. Sadly James who organised and led the Marrakech visit will be away on another visit but the evening will be in the hands of those who thoroughly enjoyed the extraordinary programme that he made possible.
Later in the month for our formal Partners and Guests evening, we look forward to meeting again the Head teacher and Business Manager of Grange Park School, Robert Wyatt and Zoe McNally who will be talking about closer ties with the Club and the ways in which we can support their work with some of the most vulnerable young people as they are on the brink of adult life. It is an exciting challenge and one which we are eager to explore.
Our next community based activity is actually in March, Saturday March 1st. The annual quiz will be held at Ryarsh Village Hall and offers all the fun, challenge and anticipation which characterises that event. Tickets are £5 each and all are invited to bring family and friends to make tables of up to eight people. The range of raffle prizes, locally donated, is always splendid. Do come! Note the date!