Our very own Rotarian Chris spoke to us this week about his career and charitable work.
Chris started work as a sponsored apprentice with British Rail in 1971, studying at Portsmouth Polytechnic. Since then, he has enjoyed a number of employments, Shell and Transco amongst them, before setting up his own consultancy in 2002 following redundancy.
In his career he has lived all around the world, including Sarawak, Athens, The Netherlands and Elmers End in Kent, where he was Station Master! Chris joined Rotary in 2006 – apparently the second best decision he has ever made (no prizes for guessing which was the first!).
A few years ago, Chris took the chair of the trustees of a charity called Action for Children in Conflict, based around the Oxford area. Set up as a relatively small organisation, it raised several thousand pounds to help children affected by various conflicts around the world, including the aftermath of the break up of Yugoslavia.
As is often the case with many smaller charities, however, it has not had a completely smooth ride. Some fairly serious issues have proved challenging at times, but the charity has overcome these and Chris highlighted some of the key lessons learned as a good guide to anyone thinking of getting involved in anything similar. These include ensuring that trustees are fully aware of their responsibilities and that they understand the objectives of the charity.
The charity has subsequently merged with another organisation and been rebranded as Acacia UK, and is thriving.
Chris fielded a number of questions from the floor. On behalf of the club, Rotarian John Thraves thanked Chris for a very interesting talk.