Lunchtime meeting – Colin Fletcher – India, the Golden Triangle – 16 December 2014
At this week’s meeting, Past-President Colin Fletcher gave a slide presentation of his trip to India where he travelled the Golden Triangle from Delhi to Agra and Jaipur. His excellent slides highlighted the architectural splendour of so many buildings seen on the tour.
Situated in the heart of New Delhi, the India Gate is the National Monument of India. Designed by Lutyens, it is 42 metres high and was originally known as the All India War memorial. Built in 1931 it commemorates the ninety thousand men of the British Indian Army who fell in WW1
The spectacular Baha’i Lotus Temple was completed in 1986 and was designed to resemble a lotus flower with 27 giant white marble petals springing from nine pools, symbolising the nine spiritual paths of the Baha’i faith.
Colin’s talk linked the many magnificent buildings with the Mughals who once ruled large parts of India and beyond. The Taj Mahal in Agra is regarded as one of the eight wonders of the world. It commemorates both the Mughal Emperor Shan Jahan and his wife who died during the birth of their fourteenth child. Completed in 1653 it is the finest example of Mughal architecture.
Jaipur-the Pink City is also blessed with magnificent edifices- the Hawa Mahal or Palace of the Winds a signature building erected in 1799 to house the purdahed ladies of the harem to observe the outside world. During the monsoon when water fills a lake, the Jal Mahal or Water Palace seems to float serenely on the calm waters.
In giving the vote of thanks Rtn Richard Morgan said that the architecture of the Mughal emperors had been clearly shown through historical pictures. India , the largest democracy in the world, was a land of great diversity of culture, race and language.
Lunchtime meeting – Wil Troughton – Aberystwyth’s First World War – 11 November 2014
” Aberystwyth and the Great War ” was the title of a talk given by William Troughton at this week’s meeting. He is preparing a book on the subject to be published next year. In August 1914 some days before the declaration of war, a group of Aberystwyth naval reservists assembled for the journey to Devonport. Fourteen of them joined HMS Jupiter, an old battleship which was deployed as a guard ship before leaving for Archangel to act as an icebreaker allowing supply ships to enter the White Sea. They had to contend with a force 9 gale and -23 degrees C as well as being icebound for some time with food supplies low. After four months at sea, the Aber contingent were given a civic reception in May 1915. The Jupiter crew were allawarded silver medals by Emperor Nicholas 11. As early as 1908, the Territorial Army recruited over 140 men to establish the Cardiganshire Battery , a gunnery unit which saw war service in Egypt and the Suez Canal. RSM Fear initiated a Comforts Fund which purchased cigarettes and other items for the troops. Confirmation of receipt was encouraged so relatives were reassured that all was well. Mr Troughton touched on life in the trenches and the action of Lewis Pugh Evans who was awarded the VC for his exploits. At home there was the unsavoury episode of the German Professor, Hermann Ethe driven out of town by a large angry mob. Local householders were forced to take soldiers who trained on the Prom and Constitution Hill . The Theological College was closed to students and became a Red Cross hospital where local women acted nurses. In 1915 a blackout was declared to avoid the attention of German submarines in the Irish Sea. The town held the record in the UK for donations during War Weapons Week in 1918 The town became a refuge for many Belgian artists and musicians who became attached to the College and whose children attended local schools. Concluding his talk, William appealed for documents and photographs of the time of the Great War. President Hywel thanked him for his presentation which had involved much research.
Lunchtime meeting – Ceridwen Lewis – Global Exchange Volunteer – 4 November 2014
The speaker at this week’s meeting was Ceridwen Lewis a former pupil of Penweddig and Penglais Schools and an honours graduate of Sussex University,
Ceridwen was successful in becoming a Global Xchange volunteer with the Voluntary Overseas Service (VSO) which is run in partnership with the British Council .
She was also successful in gaining a grant from the Rotary Club for her venture.
Ceridwen spent three months working on community projects in Rangpur, Bangladesh with Polli Sree, a Human and women’s rights campaign, A small country, but the world’s eighth most populous with 180 million, it is flooded for 80% of the time.
Ceridwen lived with a host family and got used to curried meals three times daily. Traditional dress was adopted with a sarong on celebration days and some Bengali was learnt. She also did some protesting on behalf of women particularly for the very poor and low caste Hindi.
For the remaining three months in Edinburgh she volunteered with Stepping Stones, a charity that provides support for people with mental health problems. Her art background enabled her to set up art workshops as well as using a new skill – making curries.Ceridwen thanked the Club for their financial support, adding that she is using the experience gained as a Global Xchange volunteer working as a Refugee Support for the British Red Cross as a voluntary asylum case worker based in London.
President Hywel congratulated her on her presentation delivered confidently and with humour
Lunchtime meeting – Jordan Shapiro – Rotary Global scholar – 28 October 2014
After an interval of four years, the local Club is again hosting an overseas Rotary Scholar this academic year. A University of Rochester, New York alumna, Jordan Shapiro will continue her studies of international relations through a Rotary Global Grant Scholarship by pursuing a master’s degree at the department of International Politics at the University. This is not her first visit to Wales. In 2011 through a US-UK Fulbright scholarship Jordan spent six weeks in Wales studying our culture, history, economy and language. She met faculty members in the highly regarded International Politics department which sparked her interest in the Welsh Government and Devolution . Her research will examine how the UK nations’ system of government can be a model for other countries embroiled in separist conflict. This is in line with the Rotary Global Grant’s focus on peace and conflict resolution. The Club’s vice-president John Harries who is acting as Jordan’s counsellor, thanked her, adding that her enthusiasm for her subject was obvious. Members would look forward to learning how her studies had developed.
Lunchtime meeting – Christine Thorpe, Lifestraws – 21 October 2014
The Rotary Club of Brynmawr, south east Wales, has been promoting a water filter known as LifeStraw since 2005. Manufactured by a Norwegian company, it is a portable water filter that effectively removes all bacteria and parasites responsible for causing common diarrhoeal diseases. It requires no electrical power, no spare parts or chemicals and can be carried around for easy access to safe and clean water away from home simply by sucking as using a straw.
At this week’s meeting, Chris Thorpe, president of the Brynmawr Club spoke to members on the use of the three variants of LifeStraw and how they have been distributed worldwide by her Club.
The Individual and original model can filter at least 1,000 litres of water before being discarded and costs £10. It is not meant for sharing and can be cleared by blowing.
The Family model costs £30 , again is an instant microbiological water purifier for routine use in the home. It filters up to 18,000 litres which is enough to supply a family of five for three years. It does not require running water or a piped-in supply in any form. It has an easy to clean prefilter and purification cartridge.
The recently introduced Community model is a point-of-use water purifier intended for use in community, educational or institutional settings. It can process 100,000 litres in a three year life and provides convenient access via 4 taps and a 25 litre built in storage tank.
The speaker noted that every 20 seconds somewhere in the world , a child would die as a result of drinking unsafe water. In an hour 180 children – in a day ?- in a year?
In 2011 in the worst drought in East Africa for sixty years, the Brynmawr Club sent thousands of Personal and Family models to the region to be distributed by local Rotary Clubs. They have also been heavily involved in Pakistan, Haiti and the Philippines.
After being thanked by past-president Meurig Lewis , the Club’s International chair, vice-president John Harries presented a cheque for £1000 to Chris for her Club’s Water Projects. The cheque represented the profit from the summer pig roast.
Lunchtime meeting – Tony Bates – Developments at Aberystwyth Football club – 14 October 2014
Tony Bates, the local solicitor who is chairman of Aberystwyth Football Club was this week’s speaker. The Club was founded in 1884 and has had a proud history. To remember the fourteen players who failed to return from the Great War, the Club will soon unveil a memorial to them in the Clubhouse
In 1900 the Club won the Welsh Cup and almost repeated the feat last year narrowly losing to the New Saints in the final.
The early games were played on the College Vicarage field which Lord Davies bought for the College in 1907. Later the current ground was acquired as the Smithfield Park now Park Avenue. To alleviate the frequent flooding the ground was raised four feet by bringing in debris which has proved to be a problem with the maintenance of the playing area..
In 19e of European Football,Clubs have to have improved infrastructure and need sound finances. In 1998 Mr Bates was instrumental in securing sponsorship from Safeways at a time when finances were desperately low. He has been heavily involved with the Club since that time.
In Febru92 the FAW established the National League of Wales with Aber FC one of 20 clubs which have now been reduced to 12. With the chancary this year plans were announced for great changes to the ground in association with Tai Ceredigion including an artificial pitch, new housing,
a dedicated youth centre and a new spectator stand. However currently those developments are on hold.
Rtn Iori Jones in thanking Tony, said that the Club had a solid future, played good football and hoped that the exciting plans would come to fruition.
Evening meeting – Colin Evans – Wales’s lost international – 23 September 2014
Colin Evans MBE , former head of Thomas Picton High School and later Schools Liason Officer UCW was the speaker at an evening meeting this week.
He explained how he had searched the records to confirm a family held belief that great uncle Dai Evans had played rugby for Wales.
Born in Maenclochog, Pembs in 1872, his father , a railwayman, was killed when an engine went out of control , Dai was two years old.
With too many people looking for few jobs in farming, he saw his future in the coal mines of SouthWales, Cwmparc in the Rhondda.
Physically strong, 6 foot tall and 15 ½ stone he was soon attracted to rugby football. At that time, 1891, the game was being imported from the English public schools and Oxbridge.
St David’s College, Lampeter was a founding member of the Welsh Rugby Union when its vice-principal, an Oxford man introduced the game to his students. The game rapidly caught on particularly in the coalmining valleys where colliers of immense strength caused the English union to complain about their tactics and physicality.
Aided by his size he joined the Glamorgan Constabulary, gained five Welsh caps but was drawn back to his home county in 1908, becoming a tenant farmer
At the age of 38 in 1929, he died from TB.
Colin’s research had shown that sixty thousand families had left west Wales in search of employment in south Wales but had kept their roots in Pembrokeshire.
Hywel Wynn Jones thanked the speaker for a talk on an intriguing subject, a fascinating look into migration and how they had become part of a new society.
Lunchtime meeting – Foundation scholars Conor Berner and Peter John – 2nd September 2014
Conor Berner from Talybont and Peter John from Rhydyfelin, both former Penglais School pupils were this year’s beneficiaries of the Rotary Club’s scholarship awards for work of a humanitarian nature overseas.
At this week’s meeting they gave a slide presentation of their experiences in a ten week visit to Ecuador, the Galapagos Islands and the Andes.
The first three weeks were spent in Santa Domingo, Ecuador workingon a reforestation project and building ecological toilets. Two new toilets were constructed with a bamboo frame and roofed with leaves. When the 6 metre hole was full after two years it provided compost. In their free time they played football with local tribe members or swam in the river which was the only washing provision. Tribe members showed off their traditional dress which included dying their hair red using crushed seeds.
In the Galapagos they worked for three weeks on a farm which included herding and milking the cows, clearing an area for a plant nursery and with machetes, removing invasive plants which threatened native species. The boys did their own cooking – because it came from mainland Ecuador, food was expensive though the Wednesday Pizzas were a treat.
In a town in the Andes they dug channels for pipe work for six hour stretches conveying water to houses. Time was also spent helping in the local school as well as learning some Spanish .
Before leaving for home they visited Machu Picchu and glaciers in Peru, salt flats in Bolivia, and Rio de Janeiro .
In thanking the speakers for their excellent presentation. Rtn Hugh Davies said it was it was of great benefit to be able to travel worldwide at such a young age and that the experience would be with them for life. He wished them every success in their forthcoming university career.
Lunchtime meeting – Allan Lewis – 19th August 2014
Allan Lewis ,this week’s speaker is head of Economic and Community Development Services with Ceredigion County Council. His responsibilities include Regeneration, Town Centre and Commercial development, Business Support grants and European funding.
Recent changes in the Authority had seen the reduction in the number of Officers resulting in the condensing of work which in the speaker’s opinion had been beneficial in bringing things together. Officers were dealing in many fields and needed to be multiskilled particularly with the Council facing huge budget cuts.
Mr Lewis invited members to take a questionnaire which asked which services should be protected. Leisure centres and tourist offices were vulnerable and were in the hit list of 170 services
Aberystwyth was being promoted as a regional and national centre and is one of three towns being assessed by the Academy of Urbanism as a Great Town.
Regeneration plans were subject to control by Cardiff so plans for an athletic track, Clocktower Square, the Coliseum and paddling pool were being delayed because the new Minister for Regeneration and Housing has given priority to housing.
Speaking of the Mill Street development, the so called Road to Nowhere at Parcyllyn now has Welsh Government and Council premises and the car park will provide free parking for three hours as well as jobs for 300.
Properties in the town were being improved or being sold to the private sector. An interest free loan of £1.25 from Welsh Government would be used for regeneration or recycling at enhanced value to provide revenue for other purposes.
The £35m spent on Bronglais Hospital, the student village, the railway station improvements, the plans of Network Rail,and the Promenade would add to the town’s claim as a regional and national centre.
Mr Lewis fielded questions which included the museum, the old Boots premises, the Express café and sea defence and was thanked by a former colleague Emlyn Watkin
for his presentation adding that Allan was the right person in the right job.
Lunchtime meeting – Geraint Evans – 12th August 2014
Geraint Evans, the Ceredigion Manager for Music Service since 2011, was this week’s speaker. The Service has just developed a website which is updated daily for parents to view the calendar of activities and for past students to contribute as well as to listen to audio clips of concerts performed.
Geraint outlined a year in the life of the Service starting in September with the start of the primary schools’ ensembles leading to a concert in March. Three Friday evenings in Aberaeron are devoted to the intermediate wind and strings with over 80 participants in each. In December from the 5-7, is the three day County orchestra course in Llangranog with a concert on the 15 December. The senior choir will be involved though Geraint admitted that with a shortage of senior boys with exam commitments it was a struggle. The senior orchestra would perform Dvorak’s New World Symphony in the Great Hall 15 December.
A wind and strings course for seniors in January would be followed by a concert and the Spring term would see tutor Alan Phillips start rehearsals for his youth band.
Alan, over 31 years as music tutor, has had phenomenal success , in the National Youth brass band of Wales where 12 of the 52 members were Alan’s pupils.
A concert in the Art Centre on February 25, will feature the primary schools’ choir for 7 to 10 year olds led by Alison Powell. The current Six Counties scheme is difficult to administer so there may be a reversion to the three counties. Sadly there is no music service in Powis.
The Kronberg twinning is strengthened by regular exchange visits by local young musicians. September will see a new venture- music ambassadors, year 12 students will visit schools to talk about their experiences of the music service to encourage youngsters to become involved .
Musical instruments are supplied for the first year after which there is an assisted purchase scheme to buy their own instruments. Geraint emphasised the part played by Friends of Ceredigion Young Musicians. From the annual fee of £10, over £8,000 has been raised and spent on renewing instruments.
In thanking the speaker Rtn Derek Whiting spoke of the part Rotary played in arranging music competitions for youth. He also paid tribute to Geraint in his role of musical director of the bandstand concerts enjoyed by so many.
Lunchtime meeting – DG Sandra Townsend – 29th July 2014
At this week’s meeting, President Hywel Davies welcomed District Governor Sandra Townsend of the Porthcawl club. DG Sandra spoke on the critical matter of declining membership in Britain and Ireland while in the rest of the world the movement was growing. Rotary generally was against change but she had already implemented changes in the annual Assembly and District council meetings. ‘We should lighten and light up Rotary’
The battle against polio was ongoing encouraged by the news that India was now polio-free.
Having read of the Club’s projects for the year she was particular impressed with the plans for youth activities.
In thanking the District Governor for making the long trip to visit the Club, President Hywel commented that she was a breath of fresh air and an inspiring leader.
Present at the meeting was Liliana Melnik from Aber’s twin town Esquel, Patagonia, She addressed the meeting in fluent Welsh and brought a message from the Rotary Club of Esquel. The President of that Club, Norma Pazos wrote that July 2015 would be the 150 th anniversary of the arrival of La Mimosa carrying 153 passengers including five from Aberystwyth, to found the Welsh settlement in Patagonia. She invited the Aber Club to become involved in some of the celebratory projects. Hywel thanked Liliana and looked forward to having more details of the plans.
Lunchtime meeting – Nigel Nicholas – 22nd July 2014
Nigel Nicholas, the Ceredigion Coast Path officer was this week’s speaker.
In the year 2000 Ceredigion secured half a million pounds of Objective One funding to create the path from the Teifi estuary in Cardigan to the Dyfi estuary at Ynyslas. The Path, 60 miles in length , took six years to construct and was officially opened on 4 July 2008 and is part of an All -Wales coastal path 870 miles long. Wales is the first country world-wide to have a such a path along its coastline.
The total cost of construction was £150,000 with much of the work undertaken by volunteers who cut paths, built bridges and replaced stiles with gates to help the disabled.
It is estimated that in its first year, the Path generated £32m and bringing a 100.000 tourists to Wales in an extended holiday season. The Cardi Bach shuttle bus servicing the path has had its hours extended and is no longer just seasonal such has been its success.
Initially 95% of landowners were against the project but by its completion 95% had agreed for easement over their land.
Maintenance of the path is no easy task, £60Kyears it provided compost. In thing.
Erosion of the glacial clay cliffs by sea action and land drains necessitates moving the path inland by agreement and good will. Badger sets have been a problem but by the use of one way gates the sett will eventually close for new sets to be built off the path. Care has been taken to ensure no disturbance of wild life – seals and their pupping sites, the iconic choughs have their habitat improved.
Past-president Haydn Davies said it was a pleasure to be asked to give the vote of thanks to his former student .It was pleasing to learn of the contribution of local volunteers to the project, the enhancement of tourism attracting people to our lovely county and the success in winning over landowners .
Lunchtime meeting – Roy Roberts – 8th July 2014
Roy Roberts, a fairly new Club member, spoke at this week’s meeting of his career in journalism and broadcasting. Roy is Aber born and returning home after 40 years away he had seen many changes in the town particularly the threefold increase in the student population since the Sixties.
During his schooldays at Ardwyn he became a radio ‘anorak’, building his own receivers to listen in world wide. At that time he took part in the ITV quiz ‘Taro Deg’ answering all ten questions correctly and winning £95.
After Swansea University where he read journalism and involved in student politics he became an indentured journalist with the Western Mail. He described his work there as brutal and where a thick skin was needed to survive. In those days the paper sold a hundred thousand copies where today it’s thirty thousand. He criticised the London papers for lack of Welsh news.
Roy was industrial correspondent when the coal and steel industries were in decline with the slimming down at Shotton, Port Talbot and Llanwern. However the arrival of Sony, Ford and Panasonic reduced the trauma of job losses.
A move to television followed where technology was quite primitive with foot-operated auto cue which often went wrong. Then producer of Wales Today, and local radio stations from Bristol and Plymouth where some current TV news readers honed their skills in his charge and to Pebble Mill in the Midlands.
He had seen huge changes in broadcasting- the nine or so BBC TV channels as well as 12 radio channels plus the commercials which gave a huge choice. He touched on the licence fee and its future when currently down – loading needed no fee.
President Hywel Davies thanked the speaker for an interesting talk giving an insight into the world of broadcasting
Lunchtime meeting – Dana Edwards – 1st July 2014
.This week’s speaker Dana Edwards, as an introduction to her talk on Aberystwyth, presented members with a 10 question quiz which included the year the first lifeboat arrived, what disaster befell the people of the town in 1349 and who originally owned the first car to be registered in Ceredigion EJ1
The theme of her talk was books which could provide the perfect memory revealing much . Books had provided the speaker with much information on Aberystwyth which was the substance of her talk.
Much had been said about the town’s name .Should it have been Aber-rheidol. Whatever its name it was easily pronounceable unlike many other Welsh town names.
From the early hill-side settlement at Tan y Castell to becoming known as the Biarritz of Wales the population grew from 200 in 1800 to five thousand in 1850.
With the coming of the railway, it became tourist destination with hotels to match the demand. The Waterloo, later to become the site of the King’s Hall, had 120 beds Queens had 80 . The climate, the air, sunsets and sea bathing were all promoted, the salt is was claimed stimulated the skin and had healing properties.
Bathing huts appeared in 1835 as it was prohibited to undress on the beach. If sea swimming was not for you the Bath St baths had heated sea water in 1880 .
Most visitors stayed for a fortnight to enjoy the entertainment, the gardens, theatre, the bandstand, golf and tennis, boat trips and donkey rides- “the place where holiday fun begins”.
Following the 39-45 war, during which the town hosted army units and the RAF, the Town became less popular and with the coming of cars and caravans the old form of tourism had changed.
Dana referred to the Court Leet which showed the power of the Pryse family of Gogerddan. As the chief land owner, for hundreds of years the control of the town lay in their hands. Through burgesses they could also decide who should go to the Westminster parliament- usually a Pryce.
The affairs of the town were governed by the Court Leet which met twice yearly up to 1835. Use of the stocks and public flogging were common and idle vagabonds were marched through the town.
The list of famous visitors included Alfred Llord Tennyson, John Ruskin, WilliamWilberforce and John Keeble. Those granted the Freedom of the Town include Sir John Williams , founder of the National Library, Lloyd George and Winston Churchill.
Officiating as Club President for the first time, Dr Hywel Davies thanked Dana for an entertaining and fascinating presentation which had involved much research .
Lunchtime meeting – Kim Peartree – 3 June 2014
WaterAid is an international charity that transforms lives by improving access to safe water, hygiene and sanitation. Rotary International,in supported the charity for twenty-five years, has raised more than £20m
At this week’s meeting, Kim Peartree of WaterAid spoke of the work of the charity using the mission statement “ Water and Sanitation for all”. Their vision is to provide clean, safe water for everyone by 2030 –currently 2.5 billion people do not have access to a toilet so it is not surprising that diarrhoea kills two thousand children every day.
In the UK, 200 litres of water are used per person per day, in the US it is twice that but in the developing countries the figure is 10 litres per day
One in ten people in the world have to walk several miles for water resulting in millions of school days lost, as well as billions of working hours.
WaterAid works in 26 countries in Asia and Africa but lately has had to pull out of Angola. The charity has massive support from UK water companies.
The speaker explained that WaterAid worked in partner ship with the communities helping them to help themselves – villagers dug wells and mixed concrete . On a recent visit to a project in Nepal, Kim saw that one benefit on completion of a project was the generation of a grerat community spirit as well as the provision of fundamental needs.
Kim ended her talk by thanking the Club and Rotary in general for their fundraising.
In thanking Kim, President Colin noted that supply of water was taken for granted and was pleased that the Rotary Prom wishing well was now devoted to fund raising for WaterAid . Thanks to the generosity of townspeople and visitors the latest donation to WaterAid was £820
Evening meeting – John Wilden – 13 May 2014
At this week’s evening meeting , President Colin, members and partners welcomed John Wilden as guest speaker, John has been a practicing osteopath for 39 years based in Llanidloes .
However his illustrated talk was on his trek to Kilimanjaro, in Tanzania, in September 2013 when in a party of 48 brave souls including celebrities rugby legend Martin Williams, naturalist Iolo Williams and comedian Rhod Gilbert tackled the highest mountain in Africa at 19,340 feet.
Kilimanjaro is made up of three volcanic cones, two of which are extinct and the third Kibo is dormant. The ascent took four days, the descent two.
Sponsorship raised more than £300,000 for the Felindre Cancer hospital near Cardiff
Although the ascent was not blessed with clear weather, John’s slides showed the changes in vegetation from rain forest to alpine deserts and the volcanic terrain.
As the climb progressed, altitude problems appeared which the medics in the group had to treat. Some of the party were unable to continue from the Kibo base camp for the final push to the summit which started at 11pm at -30 degrees, to allow a daytime traverse of the perimeter of the volcanic caldera of Kibo and a four hours descent to the Horombo camp. The last day was blessed with sunny weather for the final trek through the rain forest and the final signing out from the national park. John was fortunate to be a early lever from the park which allowed him to join a safari and enjoys sightings of the African wildlife.
Vice-President Hywel Davies thanked the speaker for a superb talk which had engaged and fascinated everyone present
Lunchtime meeting – Keith Morris – 6 May 2014
Local freelance photographer and photojournalist Keith Morris gave a lively, enthusiastic and amusing presentation of his photographic skills to Club members this week.
Keith has been chronicling local events since 1977 using the Barn Centre, with other artists since 1982.
Perhaps it came as a surprise to some that his images have graced the pages of most of our National papers indeed a photo of an Aber storm on New Year’s Eve 2012 found the front page of the Guardian which earned him £150.
He showed some spectacular shots of this winter’s storms and the damage caused. In the course of his work, Keith was struck by a wave which ruined his £6.000 camera. He showed an exclusive image of the boy stranded on the wooden jetty by the huge seas. This was taken from the safety of the RNLI station and within five minutes the image was in the offices of the Sunday Times and Express!
His image of three figures jumping into the sea from a beach groyne was purchased through his agency by Elton John-if he’d known the prospective purchaser he would have added a few noughts.
One striking image was of a Jewish family standing atop Constitutional Hill with the bay in the background, fire raging for half a mile across Borth bog after the months of rain, and the spectacular murmuration of the Pier starlings were other images shown. His photograph of the uncovered Bronze Age forest at Borth made the Times and the National Geographic news. The arrival of the Council gritter at Nantyrarian made for a great wintry scene
In thanking the speaker Rtn. Roy Roberts whose career was in journalism remembered the days of small black and white newspaper images.
The new technology allowed of a more creative talent which the speaker had shown to have in abundance.
President Colin thanked Rtn John Harris and members who had helped in the latest session of mock interviews, this time at Coleg Ceredigion.
Lunchtime meeting – James Cass – 8 April 2014
The speaker at this week’s meeting was James Cass, sales and marketing manager of Dulas Ltd, of the Dyfi Eco-Park, Machynlleth.
Dulas was formed in 1982 as a commercial subsidiary of the Centre for Alternative Technology at Machynlleth and are pioneers of the renewable energy industry,
responsible for thousands of megawatts of installations world wide. Thirty years ago they were among the first to specialise in renewable energy, the market was very small, the company concentrated on the international market. They worked with the UN providing the technology for solar powered vaccine and blood fridges for some of the world’s remotest regions as well as systems for pumping water and essential power supply.
Before the Shard was built, the Heron Tower was the tallest London building. It had a problem with its vast array of glass producing so much convected heat that the lifts were unstable. Dulas were able to install solar cells which had a shading effect but also generated electricity for use in the building.
Amongst their clients are Ty Nant, the National Trust, Unicef, Welsh Water, RME and the UK government. Many housing associations have adopted their photo-voltaic PV systems to provide ‘free’ electricity as well as proving finance for reinvesting.
The first zero carbon church- St Martin’s in the Cotswolds has a solar panel system as well as a biomass boiler.
Wind turbines and hydro power are also within the company’s remit. The Scottish government are particularly sympathetic to hydro power potential.
The company act as consultants by providing feasibility and site finding, systems design and the environmental impact.
President Colin thanked the speaker for the insight into the work of company on our doorstep involving the vital area of green technology. No doubt their international work of solar powered refrigeration would have involved the carrying of the polio vaccine in Rotary’s fight against that disease.
Lunchtime meeting – Jo Kennaugh – 11 March 2014
Jo Kennaugh, Development Officer for DASH was the speaker at last week’s meeting. DASH, which stands for Disability and Self Help, provides leisure opportunities for disabled children and young people (4 -25 years old) living in Ceredigion. Jo described the various schemes which the charity organises.
For the younger age group (4 – 11) playschemes are available in the Summer and Easter holidays which parents can book for a modest cost. Free transport is provided and siblings within the age range are also included. There are also DASHAWAY weekends for this age group. YMUNO provides financial help or one to one support for disabled children to attend mainstream play activities.
For the older age group there are a range of activities provided through DASHAWAY weekends, DASHABOUT FRENDZ and DASHABOUT activity days. The UNO project, funded for 5 years by the Lottery, aims to provide opportunities to develop resilience and the skills necessary for adulthood.
The benefits of the work of DASH are threefold. It offers families of disabled childen and young people short breaks from caring. The children and young people greatly appreciate the chance to have new experiences and learn new skills, make new friends and have fun resulting in increased self esteem and confidence. For the community, the charity offers volunteering opportunities to gain experience and training suitable for employment in the caring sector.
Rotarian Alun Rees thanked the speaker for her excellent presentation and President Colin Fletcher presented a cheque to the charity.
Lunchtime meeting – John Bradshaw – 4 March 2014
Club member John Bradshaw was this week’s speaker. Under the title ” Stupas, Payas and Pagodas ” he spoke of his travels in Burma/ Mayanmar.
His 500 mile journey started in Rangoon / Yangon using a guide with a very old taxi rather than the pre-planned bus and train.
Yangon is a crumbling, dilapidated colonial city with few cars, no big stores. No motor bikes allowed to reduce crime with the local transport tri-shaws
The Buddhist country is littered with places of worship as the title suggests and their building is still going on. Shwedagan Paya is clothed in 60 tonnes of gold. Huge Buddhas of stone, concrete or marble sit or recline everywhere.
A legacy of the Japanese invasion of Burma were the many war cemetaries where British and Colonial troops of the Burma campaign were buried or commemorated.
The country is very undeveloped, oxen driven carts and ploughs serve the extensive paddy fields, less than half of the country’s roads are sealed.
Fuel is rationed, three gallons is the maximum allowance though there are frequent illegal road side stocks at inflated prices.
In Kalau, John visited a long house of the Palaung tribe with its communal living, the occupants coughing in the 200 foot room full of smoke from the cooking fires.
In Mandalay he saw the biggest pile of bricks in the world., the remains of the huge Mingun paya destroyed in the 1800 earthquake. nearby was the Mingun Bell, at 90 tonnes the world’s largest hung bell.
A long standing ambition was fulfilled when John spent 10 hours on a boat trip on the Irrawady river before visiting Bagan and its two thousand temples dating from 1200AD. John showed a short video of group of men wielding sledge hammers making quite a noise. He explained that they were not a local band but engaged in making gold leaf. His last slide showed a number of military vehicles having their fuel siphoned out before moving back to base.
Club President Colin Fletcher thanked John for his presentation of another of his Michael Palin-like adventures.
Lunchtime meeting – Rhys Sutcliffe – 25 February 2014
At the meeting on 25th February the speaker was Rhys Sutcliffe, a pupil from Penglais School, who had been selected to attend the Rotary Youth Leadership Award Course, held annually at Dolygaer, Brecon.
Rhys explained that he was one of thirty young people from all parts of the UK who, at the commencement of the week-long course, knew nothing about their companions but, by the end of the week, they had made many new friends.
All the students were involved in caving, canoeing, mountaineering and orienteering under the guidance of experienced and qualified instructors. They were put into teams of six and assigned a daily activity and even though most activities were new to the students, after the first day, each of them was designated a leader in an activity for the following day so that by the end of the week every student had been a team leader.
Rhys thanked the club for giving him the opportunity to take part in the RYLA scheme for, not only had he gained an insight into the different practical skills involved during the week, but to develop his inter-personal skills which he hoped would be beneficial both at university and in his working life. President Colin thanked Rhys for giving such a clear account of his time at Dolygaer and wished him every success in his future studies and career.
Lunchtime meeting – Lindsay Fletcher – 28 January 2014
The guest speaker at the meeting was Lindsay Fletcher who gave an excellent talk about his work as Captain of the container ship Maersk Laguna. Born and bred in Swansea, but now living in Aberystwyth, Captain Fletcher told Rotarians that he had entered the Warsash Maritime Academy in Southampton in 1970 to study for a National Diploma in Nautical Science before following a four year apprenticeship. He then progressed through the ranks – qualifying initially as Chief Officer and then, in 1994, as Master. His early career was spent working for P&O before it merged with Nedlloyd in 1997. In 2006, P&O Nedlloyd became part of the Danish business conglomerate Maersk – the world’s largest overseas cargo carrier operating over 600 vessels with a 3.8 million container capacity. He had taken command of the newly built Maersk Laguna in January 2012 and was one of two captains who sailed the ship, each in turn spending three months at sea and three months at home.
The scale of the ship was most impressive – 300 meters long, 45 meters wide, 24 meters high and with a draft of 14 meters. Weighing 130,000 tonnes, it carries 7,500, twenty-foot long, containers. Built for Maersk at a cost of $130 million by the Daewoo Shipbuilding company in Okpo, South Korea, it consumes 150 tonnes of fuel daily at a cost of $30,000. For a ship of it’s size it was surprising to learn that its Filipino crew was only 23 strong. Amongst the facilities provided on board are a gymnasium and a swimming pool. Sophisticated navigation systems ensure that, once set up, the ship steers automatically.
The main route for the Maersk Laguna is from South America to Europe stopping at Algeciras in Southern Spain – a ‘hub port’ where containers are moved on to other ships often destined for the Far East. Captain Fletcher explained that container ships such as his were now used as ‘warehouses’ with goods going directly from ship to factory or supermarket with no intermediate storage. His South American cargo was typically refrigerated food products such as beef, pork, poultry and citrus fruit. Concluding his talk, Captain Fletcher described the next generation of Maersk container ships – the ‘Triple E’ series, also built by Daewoo; these have capacity for 18,000 containers and an increased emphasis on fuel economy. A recent order, for ten of these huge ships, has been valued at $1.9 billion.
Past President Sonia Dobson thanked Captain Fletcher for a fascinating and illuminating talk and explained that, while she herself would shortly be sailing around the South American coast, it would be on board a cruise ship and not a container vessel!