Tri-District Conference - A weekend with Rotary

October's Tri-District Conference, covering three Districts (London, South and South East), was billed as a "full weekend of Rotary fun"- and we're delighted with this piece by new Member Roger Hickman which nicely sets out what took place.

 

A Weekend with Rotary - October 2023

By Roger Hickman

Arriving in the coastal town of Eastbourne in October 2023, the sun shone a welcoming glow. The scene was set for an exceptional weekend as over 700 delegates gathered for the Rotary Conference. Among the attendees, President Rosemary, Roger Hickman, along with Irina Marta, proudly represented the Rotary Club of Canterbury.

The conference kicked off with a series of uplifting and motivational speeches from three distinguished District Governors: Ray Seager, Annemarie van Bochove Allen, and Suraiya Kassamally. Their words resonated with the delegates, setting a positive tone for the entire event.

The conference agenda was packed with informative sessions, engaging discussions, and inspirational presentations. One of the highlights of the opening day was the dual presentation by two Rotary GB&I special advisers, Steve Martin, who spoke on the subject of Membership, and Phil Dyer, who discussed the critical aspect of Public Image. They delved into the ambitious plans to expand Rotary membership and the substantial funding dedicated to ensuring its success, a topic that garnered considerable attention.

The afternoon session brought a change of pace as the renowned snooker star Dennis Taylor took the stage. With an abundance of humour and anecdotes from his journey to fame, Taylor had the audience in stitches with his hilarious stories.

As the sun set on the first day, an evening drinks reception for Presidents and new members provided the perfect opportunity for our trio from the Rotary Club of Canterbury to meet both old friends and new acquaintances. This intimate gathering was followed by a private dinner party hosted by David Pentin and his wife Alecia of the Forest of Blean club, offering a chance for meaningful connections and networking.

The sessions on the following day were equally compelling. The day commenced with an inspiring address from Gordon McInally, the RI President. He shared his vision for Rotary and emphasised the importance of our shared mission in making the world a better place.

Rotarians then participated in sessions dedicated to Health and Wellbeing. Ryan Harland presented a talk on Emotional Intensity Disorders, an insightful view on his battle with BPD. Adding a touch of light heartedness, famous cricketer Geoff Miller later engaged the audience with anecdotes from his time in front of the stumps. Laughter and inspiration flowed freely.

In the afternoon, a Bridge Taster Session diverted many delegates from the brewing storm outside. Despite the heavy rain and wind, it didn’t manage stop delegates attending this oversubscribed event, posing the question of perhaps a potential fund-raising opportunity for the future. The formal dinner, serving as an alternative to the cabaret session, was a delightful affair where Rotarians danced to the tunes of a local band. However, the spirited atmosphere could not entirely erase the disappointment of the recent rugby game where England faced a defeat against South Africa.

The conference reached its zenith on the final day with a series of inspiring stories from District Clubs across the region. These stories demonstrated the incredible fundraising efforts aimed at helping those less fortunate and keeping the Rotary name at the forefront on a global scale. Examples ranged from sending a forty-foot container full of toilet rolls to Ukraine to providing paraplegic children with a pony to enhance their childhood experiences. These initiatives underlined the profound impact Rotary has on communities worldwide.

As the conference concluded, the District Governors were showered with gratitude from all the attendees for their unwavering dedication in organising such an extraordinary event. The showcase exhibition they curated featured remarkable speakers and engaged participants, truly exemplifying the spirit of Rotary.

In conclusion, the October 2023 Rotary Multi District Conference in Eastbourne was a testament to the organisation's commitment to service, fellowship, and inspiring positive change. It was a weekend filled with warmth, camaraderie, and valuable insights that left attendees reinvigorated and ready to continue making a difference in the world. Rotary, indeed, shines as a beacon of hope and goodwill.

Picture: Irina, Roger and Rosemary at the formal dinner. Picture credit: Roger Hickman. 

Monday 23rd October 2023

Published by: The Rotary Club of Canterbury

⇐ Back to News