Round the Clubs - District News

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Laurencekirk Inner Wheel

In the absence of president Gladys, Kathleen Murray welcomed partners and friends to the February meeting. She then introduced Monifieth man, David Martin MBE from the RNLI. David was awarded his MBE for maritime safety. He spent his early years in Cupar before embarking on a 12-year career in the Navy and 32 years in the police, including some time with the International Police Task Force in Bosnia. His time with the RNLI began as a volunteer crewman in 1978. He is now an operations manager at Peterhead Lifeboat Station as well as an education and sea safety presenter. Through lifeboats, lifeguards and safety advice, the RNLI is committed to ending preventable loss of life at sea. The RNLI is the charity that saves lives. It provides, on call, a 24-hour lifeboat search and rescue service around the UK and Ireland, and a seasonal lifeguard service. On average the RNLI saves up to 24 people a day. It has a volunteer ethos, generously supported by voluntary donations and legacies. It was formed in 1824 by Sir William Hillary after witnessing the destruction of dozens of ships from his home on the Isle of Man, and getting involved in rescue attempts. Grace Darling, a lighthouse keeper’s daughter from Northumberland, became a national heroine in 1838 for her part in the rescue of passengers from the wrecked steamship Forfarshire. Although she wasn’t on a lifeboat she was awarded the RNLI’s Silver Medal for gallantry. She was the Institution’s first female medallist and remains a lifelong boating icon. The RNLI Heritage Trust manages a museum in her honour in Bamburgh, Northumberland. David explained how lifeboats have developed over the years. Initially they were rowing boats, but these then change to sailing boats. Steam powered lifeboats were introduced in 1890. In the early 1900s the RNLI began experimenting with motor driven lifeboats. These could be unreliable so sail rigging was also prominent on these boats. Each newer incarnation was faster and safer than its predecessor. All lifeboats are now self righting and other craft include hovercraft for rescues in shallow waters and the lifeguard’s inshore rescue watercrafts. David told some anecdotes of rescues that he had been involved in, as well as outlining the training that is carried out at the Lifeboat College in Poole. He presented a short video and answered questions from the floor, before concluding his talk. A very successful charity bazaar was held on March 5 in Laurencekirk, raising approximately £1100 which will be dispersed amongst local charities later in the year. President Gladys thanked all who had supported this event both in the club and in the local community. At the March meeting president Gladys welcomed visitors from the Inner Wheel Clubs of Kirriemuir, Forfar, Arbroath, Montrose and Aberdeen St Fittick. Also present was the speaker, Jeannie Gladstone, who provided the ladies with an insight into the life of her late mother in law, Isla Gladstone. Born as Isla Margaret Crum, in India in 1905, she was sent home to Oxfordshire as a child to be brought up by an aged grandmother. She trained briefly at the Slade School of Art in London. Whilst in London, at the age of 19 she married Royal Flying Corps veteran Charles Gladstone. His grandfather was the Liberal Prime Minister, W.E. Gladstone. Charles then became a teacher at Eton and together with Isla had six children. As a visitor to Fasque House, Isla enjoyed sketching on the moor, whilst the men were out grouse shooting. Jeannie told the ladies that her mother in law’s cure for boredom whilst on holiday there was to clean the linen cupboard. From 1946 until 1967 Isla and her husband lived as tenants and caretakers in the ancestral home of her husband’s grandfather, at Hawarden Castle five miles west of Chester and 20 miles south of Liverpool, just inside Wales. Her first studio, from 1960 to 1967 was in the old kitchen of Hawarden Castle. From this studio she set up as a silk screen printer and designer. Then in 1968 she moved into North Park, a studio house originally designed for her and her husband. Between 1960 and 1980, aged 55 to 75, she produced hand screened wallpapers and fabrics for a number of clients, interior decorators, dress designers and some department stores. She continued producing, having a repertoire of well over 100 different designs. She was 55 when she started and over eighty when she finished work. Jeannie intimated that as well as her talents as a designer, Isla was a great gardener, amazing seamstress and very fashionable dresser. During a discussion about fashion with her daughter- in-law Jeannie, she is quoted as saying: “At least dear you look clean”. Liverpool FC at Anfield, backs on to Stanley Park. On this park was the original Gladstone Conservatory which had been built in 1900 but had fallen into disrepair in the 1950s. When it was taken over by Liverpool FC and rebuilt in 2009, it was dedicated to Isla Gladstone and re-named The Isla Gladstone Conservatory. One of her designs, a Celtic Knot forms the centre of a mosaic in the conservatory. The new “Isla” is an entertainment centre on two floors. In particular it is a much sought after destination for elegant weddings. It is also used by Liverpool FC for hospitality. Some of her family are now seeking to license part or all of Isla’s work, particularly within the textile and wallpaper industry. Jeannie concluded her fascinating talk by sharing some samples of her designs with the ladies. One particular delight was a cushion she had made from old evening dresses.

Rotary Club

Laurencekirk Rotary club held its annual primary school quiz at the Mearns Academy campus. President Jim Brown welcomed seven teams from the local schools – Auchenblae , Fettercairn, Laurencekirk, Luthermuir, Marykirk , Redmyre and St Cyrus. They were competing for the coveted Douglas Cargill Trophy. The Rotary community chairman, Maitland Wilson, was quizmaster and, in a very close competition, the final result was: 1 Laurencekirk, 2 Auchenblae, 3 St Cyrus. The winners now go on to compete in the Rotary District final at Carnoustie.

Inverbervie Probus Club

Nigel Simpson introduced the speaker, Ian Bell, who very willingly stood in at short notice. Ian’s subject on this occasion was ‘The Great Tapestry of Scotland’ (part one). When the renowned Scottish author, Alexander McCall-Smith, saw Andrew Crummy’s 2010 tapestry depicting the Battle of Prestonpans, he was so impressed that he invited Crummy to design one depicting the history of Scotland from its very beginning – 420 million years ago. In turn, Crummy encouraged Kelso-born historian Alastair Moffat to write the historical timeline and Dorie Wilkie to advise on sewing and stitching. Thus began Scotland’s answer to the Bayeux Tapestry. A special linen/jute material was produced in Kirkcaldy to make the 160 panels, mainly one-meter square. Over 1000 volunteers from throughout Scotland, using 300 miles of wool, stitched away for the next 18 months. Amazingly, each panel required 500 hours of work. To illustrate his talk, Ian had taken hundreds of photographs while the tapestry was on display in the art gallery, Aberdeen, in 2014, including the one of Rosslyn Chapel, stolen later in Kirkcaldy. Ian’s talk was an encouraging advert to visit the touring exhibition, currently on display at the Verdant Works, Dundee. Hopefully the tapestry will soon find a permanent home for all to see. In expressing the appreciation of members, past president Gordon Mercer also looked forward to hearing part two of this remarkable story of Scotland and of the craftsmanship behind this wonderful achievement. The next meeting will be on Tuesday, April 5, when the Johnshaven author, Eileen Townsend, will make a very welcome return.

Shark activities

Shark, Johnshaven’s environmental group, held their first Beach Clean of 2016 on Sunday, March 20. An enthusiastic bunch of volunteers helped to remove some of the large amount of waste, mostly plastic, deposited on our coastline by the winter storms. This coming Sunday, April 3, we are doing our annual village clean-up in conjunction with Keep Scotland Beautiful. Meet at the Community Garden at 2pm. Bags, gloves and litter pickers will be provided. All welcome. Come and help us keep Johnshaven beautiful!

Mearns Ladies Probus

Mearns Ladies Probus Club was delighted to welcome Mrs Isobel Law to our meeting on March 16. Isobel learned needlework as a child and continued with this hobby even as a student studying to become a teacher. She attended courses on needlework and needle art both in the UK and abroad in order to enhance her skills.She showed us her beautiful lace fans, collars and pin cushions; Isobel makes several types of lace. She also showed us her lovely crewel and embroidery projects, as well as her quilted bedspreads and explained how she made them and gave us needlework tips on how she achieved her perfect results.Isobel is a committee member of Montrose Embroiders Guild. Marian Finlayson, president of the Mearns Ladies Probus Club gave the vote of thanks.

Stonehaven Rotary Club

The speaker at last Wednesday’s lunchtime meeting was Rotarian Brian Thomson who entitled his talk ‘The long, slippery slope’. This turned out to be about Brian’s experiences of downhill skiing. He explained that there were two forms of skiing – Nordic, which is cross-country with its origins in Norway, and Alpine which is downhill. The invention of toe and heel bindings, credited to a Norwegian called Sondre Norheim, made it possible to ski downhill. In the early days skiing tended to be a sport for the wealthy and the 1920s was a time of big spending and opulence in the developing ski resorts. In the winter Olympics at Chamonix in 1924, Nordic skiing was included but not Alpine. It made its first appearance as an Olympic event in 1936. The first cable car, which helped European skiers, was in operation in Chamonix in 1928. The first chairlifts were installed in Sun Valley Idaho in 1936. The chairlift design was apparently adapted by an engineer based on banana loading conveyor equipment used for tropical fruit ships’ cargo. Brian also spoke about snow grooming and snowmaking machines being introduced in resorts to ensure that skiers always had good snow conditions.He recalled his early experiences of skiing when he was young with no tows, no fashionable skiwear, overnight stays in dormobiles and having to put on wet clothes again the next day as there were no drying facilities...but it didn’t put him off. He had a 16-year break from skiing but as his own children grew up, they wanted to go skiing and in the ‘80s he and his family, along with many other Stonehaven families, spent their Sundays skiing at the Lecht. He recalled snow being plentiful then and families making lots of use of family season ticket, changed days with less snow in the winter in more recent times. It has been said that if you can ski in Scotland you can ski anywhere, and Brian has demonstrated that by going skiing every year in Italy, Austria, Switzerland, Canada and France. In Chamonix, you have easy access to the slopes in France, Italy and Switzerland– all with the same ski pass! He finished by saying that what he enjoyed about skiing was that it was an adrenalin sport that now three generations of his family could enjoy together, and his aim is to reach the qualifying age for a veteran ski pass. However, the qualifying age limit is continually being raised but he will enjoy continuing to ski in the hope of catching up with it. The vote of thanks was by Joe Samson.After a lot of head scratching, conferring with team members and gazing into space for inspiration, the team from Mill O’Forest Primary School emerged as the winners of the Rotary primary school quiz last week, beating Arduthie Primary into second place by the narrowest of margins. This was, according to Rotarian George Forrester who introduced the event, the 35th year of this popular competition. The winning team pupils were Aliza Milroy, Ramone Waters, Hamish Clark, Alex Davidson and reserve, Arran Staff who now go forward to the area final on June 4. On Tuesday, March 22, Stonehaven Rotary Club presented awards to the winners of the Rotary Young Photographer Competition. The winners were: Junior (7-10) – Kyle Thomson Bervie Primary School; intermediate (11-13) – Eve Smith; senior (14-17) – Charlotte Taylor, both Mackie Academy. The judges were Russell Adams, Martin Sim and Dave Bowman. A number of members of Stonehaven Rotary Club travelled to Inverness last Saturday to play against a team from Thurso Rotary Club in the Rotary District 1010 Gavel Competition. It was a worthwhile trip, as the team defeated Thurso 9-7 and Stonehaven Rotary is now through to the finals. Well played.

Bridge club

Results of the final session of the season are as follows: North/ South – 1 Mrs P. Walton & Mr G. Shanks +1980pts, 2nd Mrs S. Powada & Mrs V. Davies +1470, Mrs P. Watt & Mr J. Dickinson +310; East/West – 1 Mrs C. Harrison & Mr C. Davies +310pts, 2 Mrs L. Banton & Mrs C.Masterton -90, 3 Mrs D. Gray & Mr J. Payne -1020.