Meet Polly Robinson originally a founder member of the Rotary Club of Worcester Vigornia. Polly tells John about her life and why she became an eRotarian
John: Polly welcome to our Speaker Slot and can I ask you to tell us a little about yourself:
Polly: Much of my time is taken up with the Worcestershire LitFest & Fringe; I’m a director and the secretary. I go to most of the Worcester SpeakEasy evenings. They take place at The Old Rectifying House in Worcester on the second Thursday of each month, interesting and entertaining performance poetry and prose at these spoken word events.
I also love 42 Worcester, another spoken word night. They are on the last Wednesday of the month; this Worcester gothic / horror / sci fi / fantasy group is often fascinatingly ghoulish and always fashionably dark. As a member of the friendly and well-established Worcestershire Writers’ Circle, which meets on the first and third Tuesday of each month, I get to see other like-minded individuals.
John: I see from our website that you are our Cultural Officer, what does that entail?
Polly: The cultural officer looks after cultural activities for the club. Difficult to put flesh on the bones of this statement since there is no JD. However, I take it to mean that I would be the ‘go to’ person for any music / arts / literary / scholarly pursuits that the club wishes to take part in… I’m the eClub and District 1100 representative for the Young Writer competitions, for example. If anyone in the club wanted to become involved with other Rotary competitions eg Young Chef, Youth Speaks etc, I’d support them. I’m the link, alongside a fellow director, Rtn Martin Driscoll, with the Worcestershire LitFest & Fringe, which does spoken word events, walks, fayres, workshops as well as the main festival.
John: You mentioned Young Writers. This is a fantastic idea but for those who don’t know about it, just explain, what it is and for what age groups.
Polly: To quote the Young Writer website ‘A flair for creative writing is a special gift so RIBI set up the Young Writers competition to promote and encourage the work of young people who show talent in this area. Starting at club level competitions, winners progress to district events and ultimately a national final, with the winning work subsequently published in Rotary magazines.’ See more at: RGBI Youth Competitions. These are fabulous opportunities for Young Writers between the ages of 7-17, the entrants are split into three categories: 7-10, 11-13, 14-17 and have the chance to get their work read and published. This is of major importance to new writers. Also, the clubs give good prizes to their Young Writers, as does district. Young Writers, LitFest and eClub support each other in Young Writer competitions. The eClub competition is in Oct / Nov and the LitFest Young Writer competition is in April / May – a wonderful partnership in which the young writers benefit from two superb organisations.
John: Tell us about your Interests outside of work and Rotary:
Polly: I love walking, reading and gardening, not necessarily in that order, and I blog at journalread.com. I’m a published writer of both poetry and short stories, including flash fiction, and I’m working on a novel, a family saga that starts just before WWII.
John: If you could invite one famous person to Dinner who would it be and why?
Polly: John, it’s impossible for me to select just one person, but if I have to I’ll say Sir John Betjeman. I’d invite many other writers and poets – I love creative minds and admire their writerly skills.
John: Finally, what prompted you to join e-Rotary?
I was a founder member of Worcester Vigornia back in 2008 and the president in 2011-12. The following year my work in education took me to London every other week and it always coincided with Vigornia breakfast meetings. I find I can’t do Rotary without contact, so decided to give the eClub a try as I knew I’d be able to keep up online and in touch with other club members. I love the eClub, it’s so flexible. I like the way we can stay up to date with current thinking in Rotary and join in where we can. The ‘physical’ or actual meetings we have are always worthwhile, I’m thinking here of our Christmas dinners in January, visits like the one to the Trussell Trust, the President’s Day in London, Uplands School events, Mental Health Awareness days – and even if we can’t attend, we can read all about it online. I admire our website immensely. I’d encourage all eClub Rotarians to take part in Skype meetings and get on with Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, great ways of keeping in touch with what’s going on and I particularly like that we don’t get bogged down with bureaucracy. Tim and Janice Mason are trailblazers in my view, what a great way to ‘do’ Rotary.
John: I haven’t stopped thinking about your expression fascinatingly ghoulish and always fashionably dark. Perhaps we’ll have you back to talk about that later..! Many thanks Polly.