At the evening meeting on 1st November, the Rotary Club of Lochaber welcomed Bill Cameron who gave a most interesting talk and slide show on his visits to, and his study of the life and people of, St. Kilda. Last summer, he fulfilled an ambition to run a marathon on the island.
He talked about the history of St. Kilda and the reasons behind the evacuation of the island by the 36 remaining residents to Lochaline in 1930. Bill recalled the several conversations he had with Nancy Macdonald, who was the widow of Glen Nevis forester Lachie MacDonald. Lachie was one of the 36 who were evacuated and who spent most of his life in Fort William.
Bill told the meeting that he had ran a half marathon on St Kilda in 2015, but had always wanted to try the marathon. He said, “As far as I am aware, I’m the first person to run a marathon there”. He plotted his route carefully, leaving supplies of water and food at strategic spots along the way.
The main problem during the run was not the extreme terrain or the weather, but the skuas who consistently dive bombed him. He completed the marathon climbing a total of 9,000 feet.
The vote of thanks was given by Alan Kirk. Although Bill is now a teacher at Lochaber High School, he worked for many years with Alan in McTavish’s Kitchen. Members responded with a very hearty round of applause.
The Rotary Club of Lochaber continued its efforts to eradicate polio by holding a special lunch last week.
Already this year, the club’s ‘End Polio Now’ campaign has seen them sell jars of Tiptree plum jam and distribute Purple4Polio badges.
Purple4Polio is a Rotary-wide partnership with the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS), aiming to plant five million crocus corms to add a vibrant carpet of purple to communities.
But the Lochaber branch says these events were topped on Saturday, May 13 by a soup and sandwich lunch where the generous Lochaber public, and a big turnout of visitors to Fort William, helped raise several hundred pounds to get rid of the disease.
Polio is a crippling and potentially fatal infectious disease. The Rotary polio campaign dates back to 1985 when Rotarians promised to the mothers of the world that polio would be eradicated and their children would no longer suffer from the disease.
The Lochaber branch says this promise is on the brink of being fulfilled, with just 37 polio cases in three countries in 2016 and that there are real hopes 2017 will see the last case.
Last Saturday 13 May 2017 in Duncansburgh Church Hall, the soup and sandwiches were complemented by tea, coffee and shortbread.
Club members produced a range of homemade soups, including sweet potato and parsnip, tomato and lentil and cream of celery, followed by platters of freshly prepared sandwiches.
Club president Paula Ross said she was delighted by the public support and added: ‘At one stage there was hardly an empty table. Ending polio is just one of the hundreds of initiatives Rotary is involved in to make a difference to communities at home and abroad.’
At the lunchtime meeting on the 8th of June 2016, Cameron Sommerville reported that he had received 57 bags from Tulloch Scouts, which brings our final figure to 218 bags collected this year. This will result in approximately £7,630 revenue for Fort William Cancer Research Shop.