Interview with Rtn. Margaret Marquis progamme for week commencing 14th August, 2014

Sydney photographJohn: Margaret welcome to our speaker slot and can I start by asking you to tell us a little about yourself.

Margaret: I married Alistair thirty two years ago.  We first met in Holland when both of us were accompanying groups of children from the primary schools in Glasgow where we taught.  By the time we met again, Alistair had moved to Livingston where he was the head teacher of a large primary school.  Two years after we married, our daughter, Laura, was born.  She is now married, living in London and is an economist with the government.

I started my teaching career in Glasgow then taught in various schools before my final post as a Junior School Deputy at George Heriot’s School in Edinburgh.  (Search for information about this historical school.)

For most of my adult life I have been involved in church youth work – first of all as a leader in the Girls’ Brigade then joining the Boys’ Brigade when I married Alistair (I had to do this if I wanted to see him as he was out most nights of the week at BB events!!!!).  I reluctantly had to give this up when work circumstances changed.  I am still involved in working with children through my church commitments – and still enjoy it.

My other interests include dressmaking, knitting, reading, flower arranging and travel. I especially enjoy visiting the USA – it is such a large and varied country and I enjoy telling people who are interested that the school where I worked is older than their country!

John: That’s great. Turning to Rotary, how do you find the distance between Scotland and Swindon affects your involvement with Rotary?

Margaret: My local involvement with Rotary is usually via Alistair’s club – Whitburn- but I also work with the recently renamed eClub of Southern Scotland. I have also given my name to other clubs who will contact me when required to help with their local projects (including, yes, a Santa Sleigh at Christmas. As this raises a huge amount of funds and the local community look forward to it, it is worth supporting.) For the past few years D1020 has helped at the Royal Highland Show in June.   Wristbands are distributed to children in the hope that if they get lost, parents have a means of being reunited with them.  On entering the showground visitors now look and ask for ‘the Rotary tent’ to get their wristbands.  New members may not be gained but the profile and the work that Rotary does is certainly raised.

Margaret Scotland

Being away from the ‘hub’ curtails activities in which I would like to be involved – hence my being willing to support clubs where we live.  I was happy to take on board some of the admin for the eDraw as this is something which can be done from a distance.  I have, however, been somewhat disappointed that not more of the club members have decided to participate in this as it helps to raise funds for Rotary’s own charity – the Rotary Foundation.  Without input from members, the Foundation would not be able to support the many projects in which Rotary is involved throughout the world.


Margaret joins in with shoe boxing packing by Skype
Margaret joins in with shoe boxing packing by Skype

I try to involve myself in other aspects of the eClub by donating what I can in the way of raffle prizes, raiding Alistair’s tie rack for ties for Janice’s project ‘Get Tied Up with Rotary’ and last year I knitted items for the Shoebox Appeal. I also went to London for the President’s Day and enjoyed meeting other members of the club who were also present.  I have also met some on my home territory when they were visiting family in Scotland.

John: What made you join an e.rotary club?

Margaret: Have you tried saying NO to Tim Mason?!!!!  I met Tim and Janice at the RI convention in Lisbon last year.  We first met on a bus which was transporting delegates to the convention centre and we kept on meeting at various times throughout the week.  Each time we met, Tim and Janice spoke about the eClub and the work it did.  I was eventually persuaded (and encouraged by Alistair) to join – and I’m glad I did.  When I visit clubs with Alistair, I visit as a Rotarian and sign my name in the visitors’ book as being a member of D1100 Rotary eClub (I feel ‘Click 4 Action eRotary’ would not indicate to which club I belong).


Margaret inducted by Skype
Margaret inducted by Skype

John: Finally, if you could invite one Celebrity to a Dinner Party who would that be and why?

Margaret: Celebrity – that’s difficult.  I was once asked by a colleague if I could invite someone – anyone- to dinner, who would it be?   She was somewhat taken aback when I said ‘my Dad’ over people such as Mandela or Luther King.  My Dad loved his grandchildren but he died when Laura was just six months old. I would have loved him to see how they had grown and what they had all achieved in life.   But if I had to choose a ‘celebrity’ it would be someone like Nicola Benedetti.  I would ask her to bring her violin so she could entertain my other guests!

John: Margaret that’s brilliant and you are an inspiration to us all. Thank you

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