Rotary Club of Belfast

Varied and Interesting Presentations

Speakers April May22In recent weeks the Club have had very varied and interesting presentations, either virtually on zoom or at the Europa Hotel, from guest speakers: Rotaractor Theo Burton, Ursula Quinn, Hon. Secretary Rotary Club of Portadown, Alan McBride Co-Ordinator, WAVE (Widows Against Violence Empower) and Rev. Alex Wimberly, Leader Corrymeela Community. All of which were very well received by members.

Theo Burton 11.04.22Monday 11 April Theo Burton explained aspects of cyber security and why it is important and noted that the cyber security industry is growing rapidly as firms realise it is better to invest in it than pay the price. He stressed that it is vital to be vigilant, careful and sceptic take regular back-ups and change passwords every 6 months and if it looks too good to be true, it probably is! Theo’s Rotary journey began as a TABU candidate in 2018/19 during which he became aware of the values of Rotary and had to get more involved. He subsequently was a successful Youth Leadership candidate and visited Euroscola and now at Queens has been instrumental in the setting up of a Rotaract Club.

Ursula Quinn 16.05.22In a highly personal address Monday 16 May Ursula Quinn reflected on how her life had been turned upside down 20 years ago after her daughter, on her way to university, was killed in a car crash outside Portlaoise with the added tragedy that the man convicted for dangerous driving was her father. She has since had a passion to save a life by empowering young people to make others aware of road safety, dangerous driving and speeding with publicity, lobbying and supporting Rotary’s Just One Life Campaign and the joint PSNI, Fire Brigade and Ambulance Roadshows. She has compiled a leaflet to be circulated in schools and this id currently being digitalised for distribution to schools in September.

Alan McBride rIn his very personal address Monday 23 May Alan McBride revealed how his tragic past developed his quest for peace. WAVE was formed in 1991 from a small nucleus of eight women who had lost their partner in the Troubles. The objective was to empower women whose husbands or partners were murdered. Alan himself lost members of his family in the Shankill Road bomb and today WAVE is the largest cross community victims’ group in Northern Ireland, with five centres and 15 satellite projects, spread across the country. In his stark commentary on how far we in NI have yet to go in the long term peace process he highlighted that he wanted NI to be a place where children from both sides can play and laugh together.

Rev Alex WimberlyMonday 30 May Rev Alex Wimberly comprehensively covered his upbringing and the story of the Corrymeela Community and why it is essential today. He noted that Corrymeela is the oldest peace and reconciliation centre in NI and they have 190 members today. Their mantra is "go see what needs to be done" and they believe that being in a community changes us by being open to the experiences of others, being able to show empathy, being present when things happen to us and that we are changed by a fuller reality. He concluded when we know that we belong we can find the courage to address what needs to change in ourselves and in the world and a Christian community can provide that belonging and collective courage that is so needed today.

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