Scottish fisheries Museum..
03 June 2019

We were pleased to welcome Ian Goodyear, Director of Operations at The Fisheries Museum in Anstruther, as guest speaker on 3rd June.

It was a pleasure to hear of the work of this very fine museum - and also very timely as the museum is about to celebrate the 50th anniversary of its founding on 4th July 1969. We heard that, from July 2019 to late June 2020, the museum will be putting on a whole host of events starting with a spectacular opening ceremony on the 4th July, where the museum will welcome home the ‘Reaper’, the museum’s prized Fifie fishing boat after major restoration.

From July 2019 until January 2020 the museum will host a journey through the last 50 years of the fishing industry, charting the changes to the fleets, the harbours, the livelihoods and the lives of those who work to put fish on our table - an insight into the real price of fish.

The museum occupies premises of almost 28,000 square feet and is located in an historic setting facing Anstruther’s picturesque harbour. It tells the fascinating story of the Scottish fishing industry in stunning detail. A fact that emerged and is perhaps less well known, is that the fishing industry had its roots in the highland clearances; people being forced to fishing in order to survive.

The museum collections include extensive and historically important records of the fishing industry and communities as well as many artefacts and preserved examples of the wooden hulled boats. 19 boats in total are preserved. Even so space permits only about 20% of the total collections to be on display.

Ian illustrated his talk with many photographs from the collections and spoke enthusiastically of the detailed histories of some of the most famous boats. ‘Reaper’ of course, but also ‘The Research’, ‘Silver Spray’ and ‘Lively Hope’.

Many Anstruther Rotary club members have direct or family links to fishing - a relationship that made this talk especially interesting and following many questions, Roderick Skinner proposed a warm vote of thanks on behalf of the club.


Modern Eye Care in Scotland..
13 May 2019

Club member and optometrist Eric Govan, was speaker at the 13th May meeting and had as his topic ‘modern eye care in Scotland’.

We heard that the modern term ‘optometrist’ is now used in place of the older ‘optician’ (and various other terms) as it is protected since a 1989 Act, which legally defines qualifications and training that are required in order to practice. We also learned that it is only since 2006, in Scotland, that the role of optometrists has been extended to include additional - and important - primary checks on eye health. The additional responsibilities involved retraining.

The talk proved to be extremely interesting, with much detail about modern eye testing and especially about the treatments now available for conditions such as cataract, diabetic damage, trauma damage and glaucoma. Eric illustrated his talk with pictures of some of the techniques and procedures now in use. It was reassuring to learn of the progress that has been made by the profession over the years; progress that greatly benefits us all.

Just one example is in the treatment of cataract, which is now a safe and painless procedure. The cloudy natural lens is removed and a replacement artificial lens immediately inserted, to provide immediate good vision - usually without the need for corrective spectacles. Not so long ago the natural lens was removed with no replacement; meaning a lifetime use of heavy correcting spectacles - and a loss of peripheral vision.  

A most interesting talk and, following questions, a vote of thanks was proposed by Ian Kennedy.


Medecins Sans Frontières..
06 May 2019

We were very pleased to welcome Dr B Hauffe as speaker at our 6th May meeting. Dr Hauffe is a GP and volunteer with Medecins Sans Frontieres - doctors without borders. What followed was a moving tribute to the work that MSF does - but also a shocking indictment of political failure, warfare and human cruelty that makes their work so necessary.

MSF medical teams act fast to save people’s lives in conflict zones, natural disasters and epidemics. The teams go where they are needed most and the MSF charter covers three areas of work:

Emergency health care to those in need
Temoinage (witnessing)
Research and advocacy.

We heard that in 2017 MSF had 20,000 field staff and 10.5 million outpatients. Five European countries provide direct support - France, Netherlands, Belgium, Spain and Switzerland - with the bulk of its funding being from Europe. It was interesting to learn that around 92% of staff are nationals with 8% international. Dr Hauffe paid tribute to the essential work of MSF’s administrative workers - those who manage the, often dangerous, day to day organising that makes the work of the doctors possible.

Dr Hauffe also spoke of her own service with MSF - in Angola, Liberia, Haiti, Bahrain, Syria and South Sudan. She has responded to earthquake, civil war, cholera and the aftermath of the ‘Arab Spring’.

Pictures of the poor conditions in which the refugees, wounded and ill were existing were often shocking and it was sobering to hear that in a first mission to Angola she found only about 0.08% of people had access to safe piped water.

It was a revealing and disturbing talk, yet one that allowed a great appreciation and admiration for the work of MSF. Following many questions an appreciative vote of thanks was proposed by George Hunter.   


Playlist For Life..
15 April 2019

Speaker at our 15th April club meeting was Sue Eddy, from the Scottish registered charity ‘Playlist for Life’ ( This organisation, which was founded in 2013, wants everyone with dementia to have a unique, personal playlist - all the tunes that are most deeply attached to memories and emotions, gathered together in one place; the soundtrack of a life.

We heard that more than twenty years of scientific research shows that listening to a personal playlist can make living with dementia easier and happier. Caring professionals have commented on the way this music is calming, reduces agitation and helps communication. 

Playlist for Life’s founder, the writer and broadcaster Sally Magnusson, discovered this by accident when caring for her mother, Mamie, who had dementia. After Mamie’s death Sally wrote her memoir 'Where Memories Go: why dementia changes everything'. In the course of research for her book, she learned that this power of personal music is a recognised phenomenon, with huge benefits for those with dementia - but also for family and carers.

Sue explained that music from a persons ‘memory bump’ during the ages 15 - 25 years was especially effective and mentioned a book ‘100 years: A Century of Song’ as being helpful in finding the music. It lists the 100 most popular songs for every year from 1915 to 2015. 

Although a Scottish charity, Playlist for Life works in all parts of the UK and aims to have a total of 150 help points set up by next year.

Sue concluded her interesting and impressive illustrated talk by showing film of the remarkable and positive benefits experienced by people with dementia. It was very moving to see the story of Harry and Margaret and the almost magical way in which communication came back. It is not too much to say that lives were uplifted during remaining years.

A heartwarming story and, following questions, club member John O’Neill proposed a warm vote of thanks.  


Engineering in Miniature..
25 March 2019



Club member Eric Dewhirst was speaker at the 25th March meeting and chose as his topic the hobby of ‘engineering in miniature’. This was illustrated with his partly built steam wagon - a 1/6 size version of a 1920’s prototype built by Clayton Wagons Ltd of Titanic works, Lincoln. 

Clayton built their first road vehicle in 1894 and continued for 70 years. At their peak they employed 5000 people on a 100-acre site.

Eric went on to describe the hobby of constructing proportionally-scaled working representations of full-sized machines in miniature. It is skilled metalworking with a strong emphasis on artisanry or craftsmanship.

We also heard something of the history of the hobby - with origins in the Industrial Revolution where new technical skills were needed to make machinery, service it and organise factories. The hobby reflected social change. Hugely influential were the Mechanics Institutes; educational establishments, originally formed to provide adult education in technical subjects, to working men. Often funded by industrial philanthopists such as Robert Stephenson, James Nasmyth and Joseph Whitworth.

The world's first Mechanics' Institute was established in Edinburgh in October 1821 as the School of Arts of Edinburgh - still there almost 200 Years later as Heriot Watt University.

Eric spoke too of some of the men who contributed over the years to popularise the hobby and provide designs and ‘how to make it’ instructions in books and magazines - especially the ‘Model Engineer’ magazine, founded in 1898 and still going strong.

An unexpected name was Neville Shute Norway - best remembered as an author of novels such as Pied Piper, A Town Like Alice and On The Beach. But he was himself a professional Aeronautical engineer and a maker of models too. His last book ‘Trustee from the Toolroom’ had as its hero a model engineer. 

In conclusion we were brought up to date with the work of Cherry Hill, nine-time winner of the Duke of Edinburgh’s Challenge Trophy for excellence in model making. She is outstanding in the quality of her work. 

Following questions a vote of thanks was proposed by Steve Blaney.


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