Posted by Jaye Howey on Oct 18, 2018
There were a number of surprises during my recent 5-week trip to Europe, several of them related to Rotary.

I was home hosted in Chesterfield as part of the Derbyshire Friendship Force Club hosting of our Wellington Club. My host, an ex-Rotarian – had contacted me before I left New Zealand and said that he was trying to arrange for me to attend a Rotary Lunch meeting of a nearby Club which was being attended by the District Governor, and asked me to bring an EHR banner.


The visit didn’t work out, but I was instead invited to a Fund Raising Dinner planned to celebrate “Last Night at the Proms”. The Dinner was held in the Banqueting Suite(!) at the Chesterfield Football Club looking down on the Football pitch. Very impressive! The room was decked out in red, white and blue and the 150 guests had been requested to wear similar colours! It was the same day as the actual last day of the Proms at the Albert Hall and I thought we would probably be watching on a big screen, but “No” after a beautifully presented 3 course waiter-served Dinner, a 28 piece Brass Band marched in and treated us to a wide range of very enjoyable music in true “Last Night at the Proms” style!.


During the interval, the President announced that he had a special guest from New Zealand and invited me to come forward. He gave me a very nice Welcome and I was able to say that I brought Greetings from the Rotary Club of Eastern Hutt, told everyone a little about us and then we exchanged banners. A very enjoyable occasion finishing up with much flag waving, everyone on their feet for Land of Hope and Glory etc. I was also able to have a good chat with the District Governor – a charming young woman.


A couple of days later, my host said that he had arranged for me to  attend the UK’s packing centre for Aquabox, on a day when at least 12  volunteers would be packing.  I was not prepared for the extent of this procedure, in a very large 2 level warehouse with large areas for storage and packing. These are similar to our Emergency Resource Kits, the main difference being the introduction of Micro-Filter technology. These submicron filters are impenetrable to bacteria and viruses. There are 2 sizes. One capable of producing 1 litre per minute of pure water, the other, larger, version produces 5 litres per minute. I have leaflets, many photos and a CD if anyone is interested in finding out more about these.


My last Rotary surprise was when I was in Croatia. We were in the beautiful town of Split when I noticed that one of our group was wearing a Rotary cap. He also wore a Rotary Club shirt on several occasions. I probably wouldn’t have found out he was a Rotarian without these garments.  He was from Chicago and a member of the Stockton Sunrise Club. He was aware of another Rotarian in the group from the Kenmore Club, Brisbane. We had several good conversations. It seems that all clubs have similar problems (and successes) no matter where they are situated!