Since my last Welcome article, I’m very sad to report that we have lost our Chief of Staff, Robin Sudlow, due to a fatal heart attack. His passing is a huge loss to us and I have paid tribute to him in a short article elsewhere in this ‘Rotafloat’.
HRH The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, the husband of the Queen of the United Kingdom, Queen Elizabeth Ⅱ, has also passed away. He was a great sailor and provided the opportunity for many young people to develop and grow and find fulfilling lives ahead of them. His daughter, HRH The Princess Royal, is an Honorary Member of IYFR and so I have written to her on behalf of IYFR to pass on our condolences.
I am afraid that the COVID situation is still very much with us, but is becoming quite different from one country to another. In some, people are living almost normally with just travel restrictions to other countries, while some countries are in a tight lockdown situation with case numbers rising alarmingly. Here in Scotland we are about to ease our lockdown restrictions slowly, with case numbers falling steadily, but even domestic travel is very limited, although it is to be lifted earlier than expected. However, international travel is some way away from us yet.
This means a further use of Zoom or some similar virtual form of meetings. We have a get together approximately monthly in the Clyde Fleet and I know other fleets have similar meetings. It would be really good if you would tell us about how your fleet is dealing with the restrictions during the pandemic and help to give us some new ideas by sending a short report to our Editor, Andre.
The RI Convention is no exemption, as you know and will be virtual from the 12th to 16th June. We are still hoping to have a booth at the virtual House of Friendship, but so far no details have been released. I hope we will be able to use Zoom again to allow our members from around the World to meet up again and also to talk with prospective new members, just as we do at the booth in our normal Conventions when we meet face to face. I will circulate details once I know the situation with the House of Friendship. Our AGM will also be virtual, but at the end of June this year and again I will circulate details shortly.
I am pleased to say that all the grants have now been paid to the fleets whose applications were successful. I hope that they will send articles to the Editor describing how the money has been spent. I know there are some excellent projects out there.
In common with other Fellowships, we have had to conform to the Rotary re-branding exercise and I have written a short article elsewhere in this ’Rotafloat’ explaining it.
However, in spite of all the problems, IYFR is still forming new fleets. A new fleet in Dubai will shortly be chartered, which is another new country for IYFR. The intended date of 27th March unfortunately had to be postponed, but it is hoped to have another date soon. We still have new fleets to be chartered in Hawaii, Tokyo and Taiwan, so I am delighted to say that IYFR is still moving forward in spite of the pandemic.
Robert Burns - International Commodore