Newsletter 119 - 18 July to 9 August 2019


        Mary Cook  4th February 1968 - 23rd July 2019

       Mary peacefully passed away in the company of her loving family on Tuesday 23rd July 2019.

The funeral will take place at South Bristol Crematorium on Monday12th August at 3pm Donations in lieu of flowers can be made for the charity "Caring In Bristol".

       You are warmly invited to join the family after the service for light refreshments and to share loving memories of Mary at Kings Weston House.


       Conrad’s Tribute

'I am very sorry to say that my beautiful wife lost her battle to cancer yesterday evening. I am sorry if this is a shock to some people but her illness has happened         so fast we have had no time to stop and process. She was my world, my friend and calming influence. She was the kindest and generous person I have ever             known. She truly believed that no amount of wealth or belongings could ever replace the love you get from family and friends. As she always told me “you can always earn more money but you can never buy time, so stop wasting your energy on things that don’t really matter and live.” My heart is broken but i have had 20 plus years with her and she give me my girls, Merryn And Amelie . Will miss you babe. xxxxx'

Mary has a close family her husband Conrad and  two lovely children, Merryn 18 and Amelie 15.

Mary was something of an entrepreneur and had been a director of Bristol Insight the open topped tourist bus within the city. She had a huge amount of experience as a Graphic Designer and absolutely loved what she did and felt really grateful to be able to help fellow business owners succeed in their businesses.

She created our club branding designing an emotionally connecting, attractive brand that will attract and engage people.

Mary was invited by Paul Spaven to come along to our club. She had designed many flyers etc advertising our events. She says she felt curious to come along because you hear stories about Rotary being full of "men of a certain age"... no women allowed!!!! And was pleasantly surprised to see that this is certainly not the case.

Mary contributed greatly to Rotary using her skills and knowledge and sharing her expertise designing/updating the website and producing the various leaflets that we have. Her legacy through our new logo designed by her will live on ‘step forward -give back’. Mary was so proud when our club won the RIBI Public Relations trophy for public image awards in 2018.


Visit to Prague (December 2019)
Our club is twinned with the Rotary Club of Prague International and we have enjoyed a number of exchange visits over the past few years.  Mary Whittington is organising a visit to the Czech Republic in early December this year to Prague during the Christmas Markets period which could be a lovely, magical time to see the city.
Mary is proposing that those wishing to go will fly out from Bristol Airport on the weekend of 7th December 2019. This would be a great opportunity to meet our friends from RC Prague International either during the day or most likely at joint dinners and for those who haven’t visited Prague previously to see this fascinating city. Staffan of Prague  RC has finally confirmed that the suggested dates for our visit to Prague of Saturday 7th to Tuesday 10th December are convenient for them, so Mary has booked the following easyJet flights;

Out - Saturday 7th December at 07.05 (arriving Prague 10.05)
Return Tuesday 10th December at 16.15 (arriving Bristol at 18.05)

If you’re still interested in visiting, then it is suggested that you book your flights at the earliest opportunity. Please let Mary know when you have. 

Staffan has offered to suggest hotels and some ideas for a programme. Mary is investigating the possibility of going to a concert whilst there. 
Please let me know Mary know if you are going.
Bristol Art Trail - 14 August 2019 at 6.15pm. 
An opportunity to view street art around Bristol. A guide has been booked and 20 places reserved for our next Social Event, namely The Bristol Street Art Tour. To date 6 places have been reserved. Please email Mike Blott asap if you want to attend -
Avon and Somerset Police HQ Visits
Two visits have been arranged to visit your Police HQ at Portishead. The visits will be of 2 hours dutration and provide information about modern day policing. The first visit is on Wednesday 25 September 2019 at 10.30am and the second visit on Wednesday 2 October 2019 at 7.00pm. 
Please let Mike Blott know asap if you wish to attend and which visit you prefer -


 Speech for Deaf Children 
 Through Sue and Willem Pietersen we wewere fortunate have world renowned speakers at our club. 

Professor Peter Blamey and Dr Elaine Saunders

 Elaine Saunders is an award-winning businesswoman, audiologist and academic. Her accolades include the Bio-Melbourne Network’s inaugural Women in Leadership Award (2015), Asia’s Leading Woman in Healthcare (2011), the Victorian Pearcy Entrepreneur Award (2011), and the American Academy of Audiology’s Award for Achievement in Industry (2010). Elaine was awarded the 2012 Melbourne Award for Contribution to Community by an Individual, named one of Australia’s 100 most influential women (2015), and received the prestigious Clunies Ross Entrepreneur of the Year award (2016). She is currently Adjunct Professor in the Faculty of Health, Arts & Design department at Swinburne University of Technology, and Chair of their Innovation Centre.


Peter Blamey’s inventions are used in hearing aids, cochlear implants and headsets from major international manufacturers. In 2007, he was presented with the American Academy of Audiology’s International Award, and in 2012, Peter was awarded the prestigious Clunies Ross Science and Technology Medal for his research and development of hearing aids.


On Wednesday 24 March 2019 they spoke at our breakfast meeting about the importance of hearing in older age and how hearing aids can transform lives.

 On Friday 26 March 2019 Bristol breakfast Rotary Club held a fundraising event to provide an art and drama teacher for Elmfield School for the deaf. The event was well attended to hear about how the Australian team headed by Professor Graeme Clark developed the science in the field of cochlear im­plants and hear­ing. Both Professor Blamey and Dr Saunders played vital roles in this research. 

 "A blade of grass that sparked an innovation"

Threading a blade of grass into a seashell — and inspired by his deaf father — Australian Professor Graeme Clark unlocked the secret to positioning an implant inside a human cochlea. In 2013, Professor Clark won the Lasker-DeBakey Clinical Medical Research Award for his vision in using medical intervention to restore the sense of hearing to thousands of people. Since implanting patient Rod Saunders with the world's first multi-channel cochlear implant in 1978, more than 450,000 people have undergone the procedure and experienced the moment they've been able to hear again — or for the first time.

 Graeme had commenced basic research on electrical stimulation of the auditory nerve fibres at the University of Sydney in 1967. Over the years this research has demonstrated that a multiple-channel cochlear implant can provide significant understanding of speech for severely-to-profoundly deaf children and adults and enable near normal speech for deaf children through electrical stimulation of the hearing nerves in the cochlea.

 A month after Graeme and his team operated on Rod Saunders to implant the University of Melbourne’s first bionic ear, they asked Dr Saunders to return so they could see whether the surgery had worked and how they could help him understand speech. When they tested him with an electric current, all Dr Saunders could hear was the hissing sound frequently experienced by deaf people. Finally, just before the third hearing test, they discovered a fault in the test equipment, which could account for the lack of results.

Dr Elaine Saun­ders and Pro­fes­sor Peter Blamey spoke about their work with Dr Graeme Clark and how they them­selves have made great strides in the field of hear­ing. It be­gan with an in­ter­est in is­sues of hear­ing loss. Peter initially a nuclear physicist be­came part of Graeme Clark’s research team and thus in­ter­ested in the is­sues of hear­ing loss and how best to help peo­ple with dif­fer­ent types of hear­ing dif­fi­culty at dif­fer­ent ages. Elaine Saunders was part of that team.

 In the year 2000, about 20 years af­ter Peter first started work­ing with Graeme Clark they de­cided to con­cen­trate on hear­ing aids and tech­nol­ogy for hear­ing aids. That’s when Elaine and Peter started the first busi­ness, Dy­namic Hear­ing which pro­gressed well, and then Blamey Saun­ders came along with it later.

The tech­nol­ogy that Graeme Clark in­vented back in the late 1970s for mul­ti­chan­nel cochlear im­plants had de­vel­oped into a very suc­cess­ful prod­uct for Cochlear, and that prod­uct in­cludes in­ven­tions that came from the Clark team and other re­search teams. Some of those same in­ven­tions are now used in the hear­ing aids. The rise of the im­plant did cause some tech­no­log­i­cal prob­lems.

One of the prob­lems in the late 1990s, was that there were a lot of peo­ple with a cochlear im­plant in one ear and a hear­ing aid in the other. This meant they tended to have a left ear au­di­ol­o­gist and a right ear au­di­ol­o­gist, be­cause the tech­nol­ogy was so dif­fer­ent in the two ears. It doesn’t take a PhD to un­der­stand that that’s not the best for the patient especially as you only have one brain to man­age that.

 Fol­low­ing a con­fer­ence in Lake Ar­row­head Cal­i­for­nia, Pro­fes­sor Blamey came back with an idea for a hear­ing aid that uses dig­i­tal tech­nol­ogy to am­plify sound, keep­ing it au­di­ble and com­fort­able at the same time.

Dr Saun­ders had a dif­fer­ent role with Dr Clark. She was a biomed­i­cal en­gi­neer and an au­di­o­log­i­cal sci­en­tist in the UK and was look­ing to re-en­ter the work­force af­ter hav­ing four chil­dren. Clark was look­ing for an au­di­o­log­i­cal re­searcher and hired Dr Saun­ders to de­scribe the clin­i­cal prob­lems that needed engi­neers and sci­en­tists to solve. She used her skill, and de­vel­oped more skill around be­ing able to frame clin­i­cal prob­lems and clin­i­cal is­sues and ex­press them in a way that en­abled engi­neers and sci­en­tists to use their abil­i­ties to solve prob­lems.

 They continue to  be very in­no­va­tive with tech­nol­ogy, and that en­ables the big ad­vances they are mak­ing in tele-audiology and in clin­i­cal prac­tice by tak­ing the pain out of buy­ing a hear­ing aid and do­ing all the things that make it eas­ier for cus­tomers.


Sheffield "Shear" Perfection - Paul Spaven

Rotarian Paul Spaven, a surveyor extraordinaire provided a potted history of Sheffield Shear Perfection this morning. Paul has the privilege to survey many types of buildings both ancient and modern. Today he talked about La Plata the home of Burgon and Ball who started making sheep shears in 1730 and continue to do so to this day. 


Burgon & Ball is an old Sheffield firm which originally made shears, scissors and knives. Its Sheffield origins date back to 1730; they moved to the La Plata Works on Holme Lane in Malin Bridge in 1873. The works were built on the site of a cutlery grinding wheel, which had existed since the 1690s, on land cleared after the 1864 flood. The works stand on the banks of the River Loxley and the river provided much of the power for the works throughout the 1900s. In the latter part of the 19th century the company patented a design for hand sheep shears and in one year sold over 300,000 pairs of shears. By 1920 the firm was producing more garden shears than sheep shears and it has continued to diversify into garden tools over the years. There is still a market for hand sheep shears and the company is now the only British manufacturer making 75,000 a year.

Contact the Elderly

 This week we heard from Helen Ker- Bridges of “contact the Elderly” She told us that loneliness is the reality for many of the more than two million people aged 75 and over who live alone in the UK and as our population ages, the problem will only get worse. But it doesn’t have to be like that. At “Contact the Elderly” they run monthly social gatherings to bring older people together with their peers in the form of an afternoon tea party.

 Volunteers can make a real difference to the lives of older people who are isolated from family and friends by sparing a few hours to help. The charity is looking for volunteer drivers, hosts and coordinators to help provide monthly Sunday afternoon events for elderly who live alone.

 This can benefit older people in their community feel connected and valued. The charity does this through social groups that bring real pleasure to people through conversation, laughter and, crucially, something to look forward to by hosting an afternoon tea.

 There are 18 active groups in Bristol, each group consists of 20 volunteers who help organise the monthly gatherings, as well as collecting and accompanying older guests from their home to a host’s home for a Sunday afternoon of tea, cake and conversation. Volunteer hosts welcome a small group of guests into their home once or twice a year.

 Can you help if so contact Helen at









Concorde Dinner - Friday 27 September 2019.
We still have tickets for sale to this supersonic gala event. Rotarians please tell your friends and colleagues about this unique evening dining under the wings of Concorde.  A number of people who can not attend have made donations to the charity which can be donated electronically to the Bristol Breakfast Rotary Charity Account: Sort Code 40-52-40 Account Number 00012257 and advise that you are British Tax payer and postcode. 

Our sincere thanks for supporting this event where monies raised will go to a great cause Great Western Air Ambulance to purchase a ventilator.

Contact for tickets or donations: