Regular readers of this blog will know that I am the President of my Rotary Club (West Ashfield) for this year; last night was our 2011 charter which was also our 25th since we began. The club charter is in effect our birthday `bash` when we all get dressed up, eat too much, drink (hopefully not too much !) and have some good quality entertainment.
When you`re President it is usually regarded as your special night and as I had recommended the entertainers the pressure was on for it to be right.
Well, the food was good (at the Derbyshire Hotel, Jct 28 M1) it always is, the service to 105 people was excellent, speeches were suitably short (thankfully) and the entertainment of Jonathan Panton and Hilary Leam was absolutely spot on. Jonathan has appeared in West End shows professionally and next month starts a new season at the West Yorkshire playhouse. Hilary has spent many years semi-professionally singing in a band (I believe) and also solo. They are two very good friends and they put on an amazing evening of top quality entertainment. They were so good that they allayed all my fears about whether or not I`d done the right thing. One or two thought that the sound was a little too much but everyone else was simply full of praise and many remarked that it was the best charter they had been too. It was certainly the first one that I had attended where there was a standing ovation at the end of the entertainment, instead of the usual rush to get out at the end of a long night.
As you can imagine I`m feeling rather elated and extremely proud this morning. Combined with staying at the hotel overnight, having a relaxing morning and breakfast this morning (Sunday off) and a lazy afternoon today this is proving a special weekend. On top of all this I was delighted that not only Alison, but Vikki, Rebecca and Tom were there and they did me proud. I was also privileged to have had Jim and Jane (my co-superintendent), Judith from Oldham, and Alison and Stuart Wood in attendance as well. Even last years President Graham, his wife Tina and other friends travelled all the way from the Isle of Wight to be there. I feel quite honoured.
As I said in my speech last night Rotary has given me the opportunity to play a small part in having a practical effect on people’s lives; the eradication of polio is almost complete thanks to Rotary, we have supported local schools and Shirland Miners Welfare training band from our own area, Poiana in Romania and the ongoing Tibshelf school project in Sri Lanka. Over the years we have had school governors, carried out mock interviews, looked after overseas visitors and given them a cultural experience (Mansfield ?????). In many ways it doesn`t seem much but Rotary International has given me a chance to be a part of all this, and to try to make the world a better place.
Good friends, good food, good fun……………………..what a great way to spend an evening.