An inspirational talk – Crohn’s & Colitis Garden – a winner

In 2016, The Royal Horticultural Society revealed that people in their 30’s and 40’s were a ‘lost generation’ of gardeners – Baby Boomer parents hadn’t passed on the skills, and gardens were now be decked rather than nurtured. But as shadows lengthened over Chelsea last year, a solitary figure shimmered into view – with garden trowel in hand – and brought with them a devotion for the sheer joy and promise of gardening that is certain to bring inspiration to Generation X and Y.

Denise Shields has achieved something we had previously been unable to realise visually – the confusion, pain and loneliness of living with a
chronic condition but with a pleasing peek towards hope and a welcoming place to retreat.

The idea for the Crohn’s and Colitis UK charity garden was conceived by Denise in October 2015. The passionate amateur gardener has experienced, first-hand, the devastating effects of Crohn’s Disease. At the age of 13, Denise’s son was diagnosed with the disease, and in 2013 at the age of 23 he had a severe relapse of the condition which nearly cost him his life, changing his life forever.

Denise was inspired by the bravery and resilience shown by her son in the face of his debilitating disease, so she wanted to do something positive to help him and all those people who are affected by these dreadful conditions. The 77sq m garden was designed by Rory Tompsett and Peter Hulland working with Denise, to share the story of an individual’s emotional journey through illness and remission. The journey begins in Facing Fear, an uninviting place. The confusion, loneliness and turbulence an individual can suffer when their condition erupts are symbolised by a steet pergola, angular path and bubbling pool while the sensations of fear and pain are represented by the dark colour and texture of the planting. When exhaustion becomes overwhelming, the bespoke redwood chair provides a welcome place to retreat. Steps, drawing the visitor downward into Finding Hope represented by a bright sunken area, reflect the transition towards better health. This is a happy place, where improved well-being and confidence are illustrated by the attractive, colourful planting and gently flowing water, which raises the spirits. A formal hedge, denoting an inner boundary is a reminder that Crohn’s Disease has no known cure and those diagnosed have to learn to manage the disease. This ambiguity is emphasised by the specially commissioned stainless steel sculpture.

The Crohn’s Disease inspired garden called ‘Facing Fear: Finding Hope in support of Crohn’s and Colitis UK’ was on display at the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) Flower Show Tatton Park from 20-23 July 2017 and won both the Gold Award and the People’s Choice Award a credit and incredible achievement by the inspirational leader and her cohort of volunteers.

On behalf of Flint and Holywell Rotary Club members our thanks for your presentation at our Monday meeting – it’s message will not easily be forgotten.

Are there angels??

In your desperate plight
When the world has gone black,
And you scrabble to get a grip on your situation
And can’t get one…
You might pray for help
Even if God is an imaginary friend
And praying is reverting to a childlike state
You still might pray.
And here’s the thing,
God sends his angels.
They pick you up
They smile at you
They cry compassionate tears.
Some angels have familiar faces
And others are unknown
But the look in their eyes is the same.
If there are answers for you, they find them.
If there are none, they settle your mind
I pray that you find the kindness of strangers
And the kindness of friends.
You never see them coming,
You did not expect them.
They do not know they are angels
But God sends them anyway.

Steve Blakesley © January 2017 (Steve, our poet laureate, is a member of the Rotary Club of Flint & Holywell)

     President Neil Roberts & Denise Shields

Youth Speaks – Presentation to members

Members of the Club and partners were delighted to welcome competition teams from Holywell and Flint High Schools at their meeting on 21st May – a truly memorable occasion.  Holywell presented a debate on homelessness and Flint on Mental Health – sterling performances and great maturity by a;ll participants – our thanks.

 

Dawn Jones (English teacher / tutor) Erica, Kate & Carys (Flint HS)
Sarah Lewis (Creative Arts teacher) Amy, Rachel & Jessica (Holywell HS)
Teams – Holywell HS and Flint HS

Youth speaks – National final

Top chairperson in the UK

As previously reported, the team from Flint High School reached the National finals in
the Rotary Youth Speaks competition. Despite a magnificent performance, they were not in the first three places, but let nothing detract from what is a tremendous achievement.
On a personal success, Erica Roberts was judged as the best Chairperson of all teams. Again, their chosen topic was Mental Health as was delivered by Kate with considerable passion. The vote of thanks was delivered by Carys. All of Flint High and Flint and Holywell Rotary are so proud of them. Also huge thanks to English teacher, Mrs Dawn Jones, who has nurtured and guided the team to their success. Also mention to their parents and family who made the long journey to Exmouth and back.

The photograph below shows the team at the final in Exmouth – from the left, Mrs Dawn Jones, Kate John, Erica Roberts and Carys Watchorn.

Spectrum Project

Members welcomed an address at the weekly meeting of 30th April 2018  – guest speaker Jessica Morrell of Hafan Cymru.

As part of the drive by Welsh assembly Government to tackle violence against women, domestic abuse and sexual violence the Spectrum Project is funded to raise awareness of domestic Abuse and associated issues in all secondary and primary schools in Wales.

In 2017 the project reached 31,234 children across Wales, in 2179 sessions delivered by their school liaison officers,

Spectrum offers 20 different sessions – from Year 1 to Year 11 pupils. Sessions with the youngest explore gender equality progressing through age gaps to developing healthy relationships, sexual exploitation, social media and topics appropriate to the age group being taught and advised. All sessions are intended to promote discussion NOT disclosure

President Elect Dave Roberts, Jessica Morrell & Rtn. Steve Blakesley

President Elect Dave Roberts, Ollie & Jessica Morrell  & Rtn Steve Blakesley

 

Rotary Youth Speaks Competition

CONGRATULATIONS

Flint High School have won through to the national final of Rotary Youth Speaks competition.  This is a tremendous achievement beating teams from North Wales, Merseyside and the North West of England.  They will now compete in the National Final with Rotary sponsored teams from all over the UK on 12 May.

Rotary Youth Speaks is for teams of 3 students to present a topic to an audience – there is a chair who introduces the team, a main speaker, followed by the third member who proposes a vote of thanks.  Flint High chose Mental Health as their topic.  Their presentation was very well researched by the team, and brilliantly delivered by Kate, who was also judged as the best speaker.

Our Rotary club sends its warmest congratulations on this outstanding success, and our best wishes for the National final.  It is also very gratifying to report that a team from Ysgol Treffynnon also reached the regional final of this competition, and just narrowly missed out on getting a first place, which would have seen them competing with Flint High.  Their topic was Homelessness – a topic that resonated well with the audience.

Watch this space for what we hope will be further good news in May!

The Flint High team are (from the left) Mrs Dawn Jones, teacher and team tutor,  Carys Watchorn who gave the vote of thanks,  Erica Roberts, Chairperson, and Kate John, the key speaker.

Forest School, Mold

Club members completed a project started in November 2016 with the planting of 35 trees in the Forest School, Mold  – a pupil refferal unit – children who have been temporarily excluded from mainstream education. Rotarian Paul Islip was the catalyst for this project and several members supported the initiative despite atrocious weather on each and every visit to the site.  A formal opening of the garden will take place in the Spring of 2018

Christmas Float

Once again we have completed the Christmas Float for the year.

This year has been hard work at best for so many reasons – times have changed and it appears we should sell selfies !

None the less many thanks to so many for their committed efforts to make the float work this year, before, during and after runs.

Please pass sincere thanks to non members of the Club who and assisted us this year including sponsors of the calendar.

Sincere best wishes for Christmas and 2018 to all.

 

Local kids enjoy marathon success

Children from local primary schools in Flint and Holywell showed their paces on a running machine at Tesco Stores in Holywell on Saturday and Sunday (18th & 19th November).  They were running to raise money for Dictionaries 4 life.

Every June, The Rotary Club give all the year 6 children in Flint, Holywell and surrounding villages, a fabulous fully illustrated Usborne dictionary- theirs to keep for life. “It’s a great boost as they start their secondary school careers” said organiser, Rotarian Steve Blakesley. Together they ran 46 miles and raised over £500.

Participating schools were St Winefrides Holywell, Flint Gwynedd, Ysgol y Llan Whitford, Ysgol Bryn Garth, Ysgol Maes y Felin Holywell, Cornist Park  Flint and many students from Ysgol Treffynon who came to run because they appreciated their dictionaries from years past.

President Neil Roberts, Anne & Rotarian Steve Blakesley

Books for Uganda

Today is a special day as the book collecting has come to an end. Hundreds of books which have been stored at Rotarian Gordon Cook’s factory in Mold were packed into boxes supplied by Lidl.
This morning one of Rotarian Jim Reid’s vans collected 40 boxes of books from Mold and transported them, on two pallets ready to start the long journey to Kampala.
Thanks go to the many local schools and individuals who donated educational books which will benefit children in 12 different schools in Uganda. These schools include nurseries, primaries, secondaries and a technical college.
Flint and Holywell Rotary Club put high value on advancing education both at home and abroad.
Members would wish me to express the Club’s thanks for the tremendous effort in finalising this project to Rotarian Kevin McIntyre and his wife Delyth