A memorable couple of days for the Rotary Club of Leicester Novus came to an end when Debbie Hodge, the President of Rotary International in Great Britain and Ireland, visited the Peace Garden Novus has created at Falcons Primary School, in Leicester.
Debbie and her husband Mike came to the city from their home in St Albans, Herts., for a meal marking the 10th anniversary of the creation of Novus and to raise money to rid the world of polio. The dinner, at the superb Chef And Spice restaurant in Hinckley Road, Leicester, raised more than £1300. But with donations and the generosity of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation which is currently giving £2 for every £1 raised by Rotary clubs for End Polio Now it is likely to be nearer £5,500.
Before attending the meal, Debbie and Mike kindly visited the Technology Tournament hosted by the Rotary Club of Leicester at Leicester Grammar School, Great Glen. Both were impressed by the numbers of competitors and the skills they employed to overcome a fiendishly difficult problem involving making a model crane, with an electric motor and a magnetic ‘hook’.
The next morning the couple were taken by their hosts Rodney and Pam Spokes, of the Leicester and Novus clubs respectively to Falcons Primary School. Headteacher Jasbir Mann, a member of Novus Rotary, welcomed them to an assembly at which Debbie showed her impressively-heavy chain of office to the children. Then the pupils on the school council discussed with Debbie and other Rotarians what the Peace Garden means to them and why and when they use it.
The party moved outside where Debbie and Mike said they were very impressed by the project, which had been led by the club’s Foundation Officer Frazer Robson. The Rotary Foundation is one of the world’s biggest charities which allows individual clubs to use some of its resources for projects which meet stringent conditions to ensure the money is spent prudently. Frazer drew up the plans, with help from Leicester Wildlife Trust and Oadby Launde Rotary Club who bought the Peace Pole a two-metre-high pole bearing the words May Peace Prevail On Earth in several different languages.
Mai Tsumura, a Rotary-sponsored student from Japan currently studying philanthropy as represented by the life and works of the 19th century English philosopher John Ruskin, took delight in reading the words in Japanese.
Debbie and Mike admired the flowering purple crocuses which had been planted in the garden and which represent Rotary’s End Polio Now campaign. Sadly, many of the trees donated by The Woodland Trust and planted along the school boundary with help from students from Leicester and De Montfort Universities in bitterly cold conditions last spring did not survive the long, hot and dry summer a few months later.
Frazer told Debbie that had been encouraged to submit the club’s Peace Garden project into a competition aimed at recognising and encouraging Foundation projects like our Garden.
Debbie patiently posed for many photos and was still smiling when she was asked to record the video below for a second time because the cameraman didn’t press the ‘on’ button…
Last edited: 7pm Sunday, March 3, 2019