Round the Clubs

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Mearns Probus Club

The speaker at the club’s first meeting in February was Peter Reilly, a club member who talked on his 36 years of employment with Shell.

Now retired and living in Laurencekirk, Peter spoke of his work in the U.K., Nigeria and Europe, both on-shore and off-shore before finally spending the last three years before retirement, seconded to work with Grampian Police.

Using a D.V.D. to illustrate the workings of the team set up to prevent an attack either on shore or on a rig by terrorists and their subsequent outcomes.

In an emergency, it was important to get all agencies working together and arrange good communications.

The Coastguard, Met Office, Police, hospitals, telephone companies, oil companies and support personnel all had to work together.

A training exercise covering all aspects of an emergency either on a rig, a helicopter ditching or attacks on land installations was put into practice and the results and outcomes analysed.

Various teams would deal with the emergency on a rig, and the co-ordinate rescue operations, inform hospitals of possible casualties, rescue from the sea where boats or helicopters were involved.

Trained counsellors on shore would deal with family liaison, next-of-kin and pass information to other teams.

Information would also be given out to the local and National Press to keep the public informed.

To arrange all these procedures, Tulliallan Police Training College provided the facilities for the teams to meet and co-ordinate their efforts.

To this end Peter spent a lot of time there working with trained Police Officers who would be called in, in the event of an emergency.

Although Grampian Police have now become part of Police Scotland, the teams behind the original set up, still operate and hopefully will never be required to be involved in a real event.

This had been an interesting and informative presentation from someone with real life experience in an International Company over many years.

Malcolm McCoig thanked Peter on behalf of club members present.

Portlethen SWRI

Our speaker on Monday 8th February was Dr Patricia Norwood, a research fellow at Aberdeen University whose field is health economics.

Dr Norwood gave a talk on food labelling and other mechanisms to encourage consumers to make healthy food choices to stem the rising tide of obesity in Scotland which has escalated since the 1980s.

We are all familiar with the ‘traffic light’ system and calorie counting.

However, Dr Norwood highlighted that sometimes a healthy or premium brand burger can at first glance appear higher in fat than a standard burger, until one compares the weight.

She also spoke about a concept called ‘nudging’ where an attempt is made to change behaviour to promote good choices without levying taxes or penalties on unhealthy items eg by the provision of nutritional information on labels, or placing healthy items in a more prominent position in a canteen.

The talk was both interesting and informative and stimulated plenty of questions and discussion.

The audience went away with some zero calorie food for thought.

The next meeting is Monday 14th March (not the date in the programme) where John Callander will talk about his experience of polio and its longer term effect on his life.

The venue is Portlethen Academy Community Wing.

Inverbervie Probus Club

President Eric Gove warmly welcomed 22 members to Inverbervie Probus Club’s meeting.

The speaker, Andy Hall, was introduced by Nigel Simpson “Scotland’s Still Light”, a photographer’s perspective on landscape and literature, was a wonderful presentation of Andy’s breath-taking photographic images of Scotland, marrying them to quotations from well-known Scottish writers and finally having these accompanied by the haunting fiddle music of Duncan Chisolm.

It was a fascinating and historic tour of Scotland from the Orkney’s in the north to Galloway in the south, Mull in the West to Montrose in the East and many parts in between.

Andy capably answered the many questions from members prior to Bill Cochrane giving the vote of thanks for an excellent and very interesting talk.

Members also had the opportunity to purchase copies of the book as a memento of the occasion.

At the next meeting on 23rd February, Ian Bell will present “Old Aberdeen”.

Gourdon SWI

President Mrs Sheila Lownie welcomed members to the February meeting in Gourdon Village Hall.

Members welcomed Lorna Smith, who works at Invercarron Resource Centre. Lorna gave members an in site of clubs and groups which are run within the centre and the fundraising needed.

Lorna then judged the competitions and the winners were:-Photograph of Trees - 1st Mrs Morag Rees, 2nd Mrs Diane Dunbar, 3rd Mrs Sheila Lownie

Coaster - 1st Mrs Sheila Lownie, 2nd Mrs Morag Rees, 3rd Mrs Diane Dunbar, Mrs Lisa Milne thanked Lorna Smith for coming and gave the vote of thanks.

The next meeting will be on Monday 14 March 2016.

Muchalls WRI

Mrs Barclay welcomed all to our meeting and we started with the Rural Song.

Mrs Barclay said had dissapointing news, our speaker had had a bereavement in his family.

Mrs Barclay had organised and evening four us.

A Quiz (hard going), pictures of castle and we all created a card using decoupage.

A succesful evening.

Tea followed then business.

Competieiton - A pot of bulbs: 1st Mrs Rattray, 2nd Mrs Barclay, 3rd Mrs Marr.

Mrs Rattray gave a vote to all and the raffle was then draw.

We finished by singing the national anthem.

Stonehaven Bridge Club

Results for February 10th

North/ South - 1st Mr S Annand & Mrs P Kemp +1720pts, 2nd Mrs S Powada & Mrs V Davies +1340, 3rd Mrs P Walton & Mr G Shanks +940

East/West - 1st Mrs G Junnier & Mrs P Watt -240pts, 2nd Mrs M Clowes & Youssef -290, 3rd Mrs D Gray & Mr J Payne -770

Laurencekirk Bridge Club

North/South - 1st Olive Henry/Fiona Bruce, 2nd Lesley Fotheringham/Hazel Wiseman

East/West - 1st Alan & Mary Cunningham, 2nd Amy Ruxton/Cathie Aitken

Maryculter WRI

President J Thomas presided over the February open meeting .She thanked committee members for their support in her enforced absence over the last few months due to family illness . Tribute was paid to our long term member Mrs Helen Donald who died recently before introducing Steven Willis our speaker for the evening.

Mr Willis is part of a national project set up to save Scotlands squirrels . The initial aim is to control spread of grey squirrels but the eventual aim is of course there irradication.A lot of work goes into detailed suveys, monitoring and recording of both species and plugging gaps and altering tactics as appropriate.

In his very interesting talk he also helped to dispell some myths often quoted . a)Grey ands red squirrels do not interbreed .b) Grey squirrels do not attack red squirrels .

Also it appears the reappearance of pine martins is a positive sign as they are okay with red squirrels . All sightings of squirrels are recorded and help to maitain an up to date picture of the current situationwhich is looking positive .

J Thomas proposed the vote of thanks to Mr Willis for a very informative evening and also thanked the hostesses for the welcome cup of tea. The evening concluded with a raffle and judging of the monthly competitions.

Wildlife Sketch 1st E Braithwood 2nd S Pike 3rd K Paterson

Flower of the month 1st S Pike 2nd K Paterson 3rd P Paterson

Stonehaven Rotary Club

The speaker at last Wednesday’s lunchtime meeting was Rotarian George Forrester. He began by playing a piece of music-Born Free- and asked which singer was associated with this song. Members guessed correctly that it was Matt Monro.

George told members that his music tastes and he always liked Matt Monro for his ballad singing. George went on to tell members that Matt Monro was born in 1930 and was called Terry Parsons.

He left school aged 14 and joined the army, being posted to Hong Kong where he became a regular guest (and frequent winner) of Radio Rediffusion’s Talent Time show. He was invited by Ray Cordeiro the host of the show to perform in his own one-off show, on the condition that he would not appear in future Talent Time episodes to make way for others.

By 1956, he had become a featured vocalist with the BBC Show Band. An important influence on his early career was the pianist Winifred Atwell, who became his mentor, provided him with his stage name, and helped him sign with Decca Records.

George Martin asked Matt Monro to record a satirical ditty to help Peter Sellers imitate the song with a Frank Sinatra-type styling for an LP he was making called Songs for Swinging Sellers.

When Sellers heard the recording he decided to use it to open the record rather than record his own version. George Martin subsequently asked Matt Monro to begin recording with the Parlaphone label. In 1966 he sang the Oscar-winning title song for the film, Born Free, which became his signature tune.

Matt Monro kept recording until his death in 1985 at the age of 54. Vote of Thanks was by Rotarian Donald Mitchell.

On Saturday evening a group of around 60 Stonehaven and Portlethen Rotarians took part in a fundraising event, which was also an evening full of fun! With raffles, a whisky trail, and a horse racing activity-the one with large foam dice, model horses moving along a checkerboard carpet, not to mention music by the Soggy Bottom Stompers and a tasty Stovies supper.

To start off the evening there were two short presentations on the causes which were to benefit equally from the funds raised-Arbroath Rotarian Alison Stedman who has a long connection with Nyumbani in Nairobi, Kenya spoke about the life-saving care and home which is provided to more than 120 HIV-positive children aged newborn to 23, who live at Nyumbani Children’s Home until they are healthy and self-reliant.

As well as the Children’s home, there is also Nyumbani Village, built on more than 1,000 acres, where up to 1,000 children and 100 grandparents displaced by the Kenya AIDS epidemic live in small cottage units. The Village provides a stable home for the most vulnerable.

Portlethen Rotarian Robbie Middleton spoke about the Amazing Love School near the district town of Kabale in rural southwestern Uganda with which he has a long connection. It was founded by James Saturday - who himself was helped through sponsored education and wanted to give something back to the community.

The school has around 180 students, 20% of whom receive free education, as their family are unable to afford the fees- the prevalence of HIV/AIDS has resulted in a large number of broken families and orphaned children.

Three Stonehaven Rotarians, President Elect Billy Hunter, together with John Balsillie and Peter Newell are due to travel to Nyumbani on Friday of this week with a small group of Rotarians from other clubs led by Alison Stedman to spend 2 weeks helping with ongoing work on the project. The total raised last Saturday was £1270, which means that both causes receive £635.

Stonehaven and District Probus Club

At their last meeting Stonehaven and District Probus club members heard the true story of WW2 double agent Eddie Chapman. Known as Agent Zigzag to MI5 and Agent Fritz to the German Abwehr, Chapman started his career as a small-time crook in Soho before the war and graduated to becoming a crack safe- blower. However when things began to get too hot for Eddie and his gang they fled to Jersey. A tipoff led to their capture and imprisonment on the island. This was 1939 when the islands were British, the Germans invaded in 1940 and Chapman became a prisoner of Hitler’s Reich. When released Chapman had the bright idea that he could get back to his old haunts in wartime London by persuading the Germans he could work for them as a spy.

His offer was accepted and after intensive training he was parachuted into E. Anglia in December 1942. He made straight for the nearest telephone, rang the police and asked to be put in touch with British intelligence. Once in the hands of MI5 he told them all he knew and together they devised a program of misleading information he could transmit to Germany. Since Eddie’s most important assignment was to sabotage the Mosquito bomber factory an elaborate plan was concocted to convince the Germans that this had been achieved. The Abwehr were completely taken in and Eddie quickly became regarded as their most effective agent.

Eddie offered to return to Germany to gather more information so in 1943 MI5 shipped him out to neutral Portugal where he made contact with the German embassy in Lisbon and was eventually moved on to Berlin for debriefing. There they paid him handsomely for his ‘successes’ and awarded him the Iron Cross!!

After spending some time lecturing at the Abwehr ‘School for Spies’ his offer to return to Britain was accepted and he parachuted back into E. Anglia on the night of 28th June 1944. By this time German V1 rockets were falling on London and so Eddie’s wireless transmissions to Berlin were used to convince the Germans to adjust the rocket’s range so that they usually fell short of their target.

After the war Eddie, regrettably, returned to a life of crime but though sometimes caught and tried he was never sent to prison again. In fact he prospered, married, bought a castle in Ireland, a Rolls Royce and died aged 83.

David Jackson proposed the Vote of Thanks to speaker John Benton.