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July 2004 - June 2005
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In this section are held items that appeared on the News page of the web site during Tony Rifugiato's year as President, largely relating to club events and activities.


The Philippines

Health, Education, and Livelihood

The Rotary Club of Melton Mowbray began working with Rotary Clubs in the central Philippines in June 2004, supporting education, health, and the livelihoods of Filipinos in the region. Sponsorship from our Rotary Club has been matched by grants from the Rotary Foundation and from Rotary in Great Britain and Ireland.

The children we aim to help:

The projects originate through the contacts and friendship with the people of the Philippines of our club's past president, John Dehnel. These dates back to the time in the 1980's when John worked with companies in the Philippines, importing foodstuffs to the UK.

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Rotary Club of Tagbilaran, Bohol

Our projects in conjunction with the Rotary Club of Tagbilaran on Bohol started in June 2004, supported by a matching grant from Rotary District 1070 and from Rotary Foundation.

This grant covered a menu of activities:

  • New School Books for Corella Primary School, Day Care Center and High School
  • Prescription Drugs, for Community Service on Panglao island, Bohol
  • Provide 20 sewing machines for a village cooperative on Bohol, plus all materials, tools, and training for 200 women
  • Seed money to purchase Nubian goats, to provide 20 stock animals for a perpetual programme in Corella
  • Construct dry-toilet blocks at 2 schools in the Corella/Doljo district of Bohol

School Books:

The books at Corella school were in a shocking state - termites had attacked most of the stocks of books, and they were unusable. Through the charity Brothers' Brother and via the Rotary Club of Makati, Manila we were able to source new educational books at 10 US cents each. As as result the Tagbilaran club was able to distribute 5,000 books, to Corella school and to over 100 other school libraries across Bohol island.

From this:

To this:

Prescription Medicines

The availability of the simplest of prescription drugs is very poor particularly in the rural areas. Many of the village health centres cannot get the most basic antibiotics and analgesics. We provided a fund to the Corella village health centre, so that villagers can now be provided with the needed medicines. We discussed with the staff there what drugs are in most demand, so as to ensure the funds are spent on the most critically needed drugs. There is also some money available to help where villagers are too poor to be able to afford the medicines themselves, particularly for their children.


Under the heading of livelihood, part of our project has been designed to help establish some self-sustaining local industry. The first of these is to help establish, with local women's cooperatives, a small clothing manufacturing facility. 20 treadle sewing machines have been handed over to two groups of women's cooperatives, together with training and starter kits of materials.

The men in the rural areas are often subsistence fishermen, spending days at sea in small dugout boats catching a few fish with primitive lines. With the aim of helping them to develop a more sustainable farming activity, we have handed over to men (selected by their local communities) a batch of Nubian goats. These goats are much larger than the local scrawny beasts, and produce more kids, milk, and eventually meat. The plan is that from each litter the first and third kids are returned to the project for further distribution, enabling a self-sustaining growth in the population.

Both these projects have been set up with formal memoranda of agreement with the local communities, and started with ceremonial hand-over parties, all to involve the communities in the projects, hoping they will feel more ownership of the activities. This hope does seem to be being realised.

Toilet Blocks:

Excellently designed toilet blocks have been constructed and handed over to two schools in Bohol, one each in Corella and Doljo villages.

Each comprises four stalls,

two for boys (with blue/grey tiles):

and two for girls (with pink tiles):

The design is a "dry-composting" toilet, with liquid waste separated early to land drainage and solid waste collected in such a way that it composts rapidly and hygienically (and is later used as compost for agriculture). The design uses natural ventilation, aided by the up-draught caused by the black chimneys, to ensure a smell-free environment. They do not use one drop of precious fresh water, and does not pollute the aquifer.. Bonus: this first-class design is only $2,000.00 for a four stall toilet block. After several months use the toilets are still in excellent condition, being well looked after by the children and kept spotlessly clean.

The communities have been involved in the construction of the toilet blocks, with the children at the schools painting the buildings. No doubt this has contributed to the good state in which they are being kept.

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Rotary Club of Cebu Capitol North - IT Project

A matching grant for a project in conjunction with the Rotary Club of Cebu Capitol North was approved in early June 2004. The project is to help provide school office equipment and internet access to schools and Community Information Centers throughout Cebu Island, Philippines.

Equipment is being provided for a Curriculum Development Center for K.I.T.E.S.( Knowledge of information Technology for Elementary Schools) being piloted in 4 public schools in Metropolitan Cebu and 8 Community Information Centers in the rural areas throughout the island of Cebu. This is designed to upgrade the quality of education of teachers and pupils in the public school system who are disadvantaged by the lack of classrooms, qualified teachers, lack of textbooks. Materials are being supplied by the partnering private schools that will be participating in the program as their social outreach program via the internet - some schools in the U.S. have even indicated their willingness to help.

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Our work with the Bohol club featured in the following article in the July 2004 edition of ROTARY WORLD , the news journal circulated monthly by RI Evanston to all Rotary Presidents world wide.

Matching Grant project reaps range of benefits in Philippine community

A multifaceted Rotary Foundation Matching Grant project is strengthening children's education and providing sustainable employment opportunities for women in Tagbilaran, Bohol, Philippines. The project, undertaken by the Rotary clubs of Tagbilaran and Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire, England, provided 20 sewing machines to a sewing cooperative in order to train 160 women in dressmaking. The women are from families that exist on subsistence farming.

"The ability to manufacture clothes enables [the women] to contribute to the welfare of their families," says David Collins, 2004-05 president of the Tagbilaran club. "By forming a cooperative, the women become a manufacturing center for school uniforms in the community. This keeps the money circulating locally and increases the wealth of their township."

The effort also provided 2,500 new textbooks to two schools and made possible the installation of a four-stall block of composting toilets at a high school, with plans to establish a second unit.

"The design [of the blocks] accomplishes two critically important objectives," says Collins. "It is environmentally friendly and does not pollute the aquifer. It does not use one drop of precious fresh water."

Tagbilaran Rotarians helped assess Bohol's needs in planning the project. They also worked with the local parent-teacher association, Boy Scouts, and Girl Scouts to help carry out various phases of the effort. Melton Mowbray Rotarians have visited the project to oversee its progress and are exploring ways of expanding vocational training in the community.

"Officials, members of the cooperative, teachers, and parents went out of their way to express their gratitude [for the project]," says Collins. "Joy and hope finally reached this very poor town of our island."

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Club Visit to Ferndown Rotary Club, Bournemouth

A small group from the club flew to Bournemouth in early September 2004, to visit the Rotary Club of Ferndown, on the outskirts of Bournemouth. Our excuse was that a previous member of the Melton Mowbray club, John Bartholomew, had moved down to the New Forest a few years ago, and is now a very active member of the Ferndown club - indeed he is now the secretary, bulletin editor, and incoming Junior Vice President!

The real excuse, however, was that our member John Dehnel fancied an interesting private aircraft flight - John has been flying for 5 years - and knowing that there were at least three private pilots in the Ferndown club.... The rest is history.

Our President, Tony Rifugiato, and 3 members of the club (Marshall Pobjoy, David Ward, and John) duly drove up to RAF Cranwell, where John's flying club is based. We had tried to do this trip in mid-August, but the summer thunderstorms on the day planned had made it not advisable. This time though, the weather was perfect - blue skies with an occasional fluffy cloud to enliven the scene. At Cranwell we prepared the club's Grumman AA5 plane: although a 4-seater, its weight restrictions meant we had to travel with an absolute minimum of luggage - one toothbrush shared between all four.

We flew initially to Turweston, a small airfield near Brackley - about 3/4 of an hour. On the way, and just south of Leicester, we overflew the maize maze at Wistow - well spotted by eagle-eyed David.

Lunch was in the lovely market town of Buckingham, then taxi back to the airfield for a second 45-minute flight down to to Bournemouth International airport (aka Hurn airport). John was relieved to find a rather larger runway than at Turweston - I like a challenge, but life is much easier landing on nearly 1 1/2 miles of tarmac than the apparently tiny runway available for the first landing!

We were greeted at the airport by John Bartholomew, his wife Linda, and one of the flying members of the Ferndown Rotary Club, Bill Field.

Then Linda and John began their hospitality, taking us back home for a very welcome tea before setting off for the Rotary Club's evening meeting.

This evening was the District Governor's A visit to Ferndown club, so we had the chance to hear the aims and aspirations of district 1110. Ferndown is clearly a thriving and lively club, and we all had a good time meeting so many of the members before and over dinner.

After a good night's sleep by all (oh, I forget to mention the nightcap first) Linda treated us all to a splendid cooked breakfast. John was a little concerned about the extra weight in the plane, but this proved unfounded.

We took off from Bournemouth about 11:30, for a 90 minute flight back to Cranwell; quite uneventful with excellent views of central southern England all the way back.

So what will be the next trip? Certainly the Melton Club would be very pleased if some of the Ferndown flyers and friends could fly up to the Midlands some day for our club meeting - the invitation is open. And for our club - the sky's the limit.

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Rotary Club of Melton Mowbray Twins with Warszawa-Wilanow Rotary Club

Five members of The Rotary Club of Melton Mowbray, including President Tony Rifugiato and President-Elect David Morris, visited Warsaw in November 2004 to take the first step in entering into a twinning relationship with the Warszawa-Wilanow Rotary Club.

There are eight Rotary Clubs in Warsaw, which all form part of Rotary District 2230. Earlier this year President-Elect David and Rotarian Ben Abbott made contact and visited five of these clubs. The Wilanow club was recommended by them because it was similar in size to the Melton club and, because many of their members were ex-patriots from a number of other countries, it conducted all of its meetings in English - a language common to them all. Also the Wilanow club were actively seeking a European club to twin with after several years of trying to form a link with an Asian club. The current President of Poland is an honorary member of the Warszawa-Wilanow Rotary Club.

It was proposed that the two Rotary Clubs should enter into a joint Declaration of Friendship for one year. Subject to this working out satisfactorily, the two clubs would then formally agree to a Twinning Charter. The Wilanow club had agreed to the Declaration of Friendship before meeting the representatives from the Melton club; this was signed by President Alojzy at the meeting. President Tony initialled the document pending obtaining the Melton club's full agreement and commitment on his return.

It is anticipated that, during the first year of the relationship between the two clubs, members of each club will attend the other club's Charter Night. Eight members of the Polish club agreed spontaneously to visit Melton for their Charter Night on 17th March; President Alojzy thought that this number would almost certainly double. The Warsaw Wilanow Club will be ten years old in April 2005; they have never held a Charter Night before and plan to hold the tenth anniversary of their Club Charter on the 9th April. Many members of the Melton club plan to attend. Also District 1070 Governor Andrew Cowling has agreed to be present.

During their recent visit to Warsaw the members of the Melton club also met Assistant District 2230 Governor Wojciech Brochwicz-Lewinski. He and three members of the district team are promoting a major fund-raising initiative to help the victims of the recent Beslan tragedy, when around 300 children were massacred. This is a three year project and proposes to provide computers, text books and practical help in teaching English to the young people in this small Christian country. Amongst other things, every member of District 2230 has agreed to pay a levy on their annual subscriptions to raise funds. The members of the Rotary Club of Melton Mowbray agreed to present to their club plans to assist with the fund raising efforts.

Pictures from the visit to Warsaw in November 2004:

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A Hundred Years of Rotary

77 years in Melton Mowbray

If you have other reflections on the club's history you would like included here, please let the club web-master know:

The following is a summary of some of the presentations made by various members to the club on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of Rotary International, at the club meeting in February 2005.

The Rotary movement was born on 23 February 1905 in Chicago, with a meeting of four men who wished to develop friendship and fellowship among professionals and business leaders while supporting their community. They were: Paul Harris (a lawyer from Vermont), Hiram Shorey (a merchant tailor), Silvester Schiele (a coal dealer) and Gustavus (Gus) Loehr (a mining engineer).

The Rotary movement, to be renamed Rotary International in 1924, quickly spread overseas, and in 1929 reached Melton Mowbray.

On 23rd February 2005 Rotary Clubs across the globe celebrated the 100 years of Rotary. The Rotary Club of Melton Mowbray incorporated a review of the club's history in its meeting, given by those who remember it all personally (or at least, with regard to the earlier years, knew and know of those involved). What follows is a summary of the presentations made, covering the 1940s to the 60s, then from 1985 to the present day. Also included is a reflection on Women in Rotary, following the induction of a significant number of lady members to club from 2000 onwards.

We hope to add text concerning the missing years shortly.

Bob McCord's history of the Club from the Second World War up to the late 60's.

One of the first things I found was a poem describing a MELTON ROTARIAN of 1939 which I think is as true today as it was then . It goes something like this:

Oh, I'm a Rotarian gallant and bold,
My heart is as pure as the purest gold.
But on Monday at home the mutton is cold
So I always dine out on a MONDAY
I've the Objects and Aims of the movement by heart,
Any good work I will help from the start.

May my Club and my Council be ne'er in the cart,

While I keep dining out on a Monday

At Councils and Conferences I'm quite a lad,

Dining out I enjoy, e'en though speeches be bad,
And the ladies, you bet, get the eye that is glad

From the lad who dines out on a Monday.

We're all getting older, for time slips away
The call soon will come that all must obey.
But I hope that Saint Peter will finally say,
"Yes Lad" you shall dine out on Monday.
For the Saint has a heart that is broad and is kind,
And at one o'clock weekly,
I'm sure he won't mind,
If we slip back to Melton on Monday.

That was written by Frank Warner who was President of the Club 1939/40

During the War years there was very little Rotary activity, no Conferences or Inter Club visits; everyone was fully stretched carrying on their vocation by day and A.R.P or Home Guard Duties at night and weekends. However, Melton Rotarians soon provided a get you home service at the expense of their precious petrol ration, this for Forces Personnel who found themselves stranded in Melton and unable to get transport to outlying villages. This was a much needed and appreciated voluntary scheme. Immediately after the War, the Rotarians used their driving skills in a different way. The single ambulance in Melton was only manned 8 hours a day, and was operated by a member of the hospital staff. Outside these hours no ambulance was available even for emergencies until Rotarians undertook to provide drivers for urgent cases at any time during the night There was no Maternity Hospital in Melton at that time, so Emergency drives to Leicester Royal Infirmary were by no means infrequent. This very necessary and valuable service was maintained for many years, in fact until the NHS appointed full time employees.

In 1947 the Club entered a most unusual competition, the R. C. of Hobart, Tasmania set a challenge to the Rotary Clubs of GB, to submit an account of their town and the conditions under which they were living immediately after the war. The people of Australasia had for so long been starved of uncensored news coming out of the UK . As an incentive to reply, the four winning letters would be broadcast on the Australian Broadcasting Network, and the Clubs chosen would receive a special food hamper. Imagine the surprise, when some months later one of the members received a letter from his sister saying how thrilled she was to hear the Broadcast about her native Melton Mowbray. The Special Food Hamper duly arrived and was enjoyed by all.

In 1950 the only County without a Rotary Club was Rutland, so the Melton Club set the procedure in motion to form the R.C. Oakham later to change its name to the R.C. of Rutland.

In the Presidential year of 1949/50, Ladies in Rotary was formed to give Rotarians' wives the opportunity to meet socially, and of course assist in Club Fund Raising which it does to this day. Charity Funds have benefited immensely from their activities and on several occasions in the past they actually raised more money than the men. It is interesting to note that at this time, they were involved in providing Ever Green Teas. They are still involved and surely must hold the record for this commitment.

Sporting Challenges started in the 50s. There were Cricket, Bowls, Golf and Skittles matches against the Grantham Club. The Oakham Club was challenged to a Shooting Competition for the much-treasured Dick Turpin Trophy. The trophy itself has had a chequered history, it has been mislaid and threatened with being sold, but it has survived and is at present held by the Melton Club.

Polio Plus is a relatively recent Rotary campaign, but you may have seen from the extract of Andrew Aikman's diary, he attended the first R.I. Conference after the war. He heard a presentation given to the Medics by a Dr. Salk on his attempts to immunise against POLIOMYELITIS. Andrew was somewhat skeptical at that time, but as we now know Rotary with other organisations is hoping this year to rid the world of Polio. It might also interest you to know that this conference was held in Paris and Ken & Florence Westmoreland were amongst the delegates who travelled all the way by Barton's Bus. I don't know if it was a single decker or a double decker bus, but I'm sure it must have been an adventure.

The Swinging 60s - President John Roper introduced the idea of one main charity per year instead of small donations to numerous projects. His objective was to start a Chiropody Clinic for the elderly at Gloucester House. The Club provided the equipment for a qualified chiropodist at a cost of more than 300 (which at the time was a considerable sum of money) The Clinic continued way into the 70s. In 1962 a Charter cum Ladies Night took place instead of the previously poorly attended charter nights, Maybe the cost of 17/6 per head or 87 1/2 pence in new money had something to do with more than 200 people attending. District involvement was noticeable too, with 3 members of the club taking District Office - Frank Skinner Vice Chairman, Frank Parker District Extension Officer and our own Ken Westmoreland Conference Secretary.

1968 being the 40th anniversary of the Club, 3 of the founder members presented the Club with a Silver Cigarette Box, in appreciation of their 40 years of fellowship I think at that time most of the members were smokers; Today it is totally the opposite.

Another significant event during this era was the enrolment of 4 new members under the age of 45, which dare I say it, probably brought the average age of the club below 70.


How have we fulfilled these aims and objectives of Rotary?

Maintenance of High Ethical Standards

Service to Others, by personal service

Service to Others, using monies from fund raising

We set up a separate Charitable Trust. Much good can be achieved through projects which require finance. We have organised many events to raise funds including -

Support for Community Projects and Grants for individuals

International Understanding

THE LATER YEARS, 2000-2005 (John Dehnel)

2000-2001, President Bob McCord

2001-2002, President Charles Jenkin

2002-03, President Richard Haines

2003-04, President John Dehnel

The club continues with

Pam Wiggins presented her thoughts on "WOMEN IN ROTARY"

Women have been associated with Rotary for over 95 years - unfortunately the first 75 of these were spent trying to join it.

So today, as we celebrate 100 years of Rotary, it is perhaps important to remember that women were only allowed to become members less than 18 years ago.

The first Rotary Convention was held in 1910, which is the same year that our founder member, Paul Harris, married Jean Thompson. It is perhaps ironic that Paul welcomed Jean into his life in the same year that women were refused entry into Rotary for the first time.

They say that behind every successful man there is a woman, perhaps that is also true of the Rotary movement. The contribution of women to the success of Rotary has always been in a supporting role until, as members, we can now actively participate on an equal basis.

The addition of women to the Rotary family represents the single greatest force for growth in Rotary International. In this centenary year there are now approximately 140 thousand female Rotarians throughout the world. 2,350 of them are Club Presidents and over 50 are District Governors. Perhaps within the next few years one of them may become a member of the Board of Directors and eventually the Rotary International President.

It was in the year 2000 that Melton Mowbray welcomed its first female members and we now have a total of 6 women in our club.

I was approached a couple of years ago to consider becoming the first Lady member of the Grantham Kesteven Rotary Club. My husband was also going to join this club and I thought that it might not be such a good idea. It's a bit like husbands teaching their wives to drive. It seems like a good idea at the time, but in practice it creates more problems than it solves.

My involvement with Rotary started by supporting my husband's Club on their Annual Golf day 2 years ago. The event organiser did a fabulous job with lots of money raised for a local charity. Experiencing the terrific atmosphere of the day and being a small part of the success gave me a real buzz. It made me want to help out again the following year.

It brought back memories of the first big fund raising event that I organised for the Grantham Junior Chamber many years ago. Upon reflection I realised that, through Rotary, I could help others whilst building new friendships. This is what first attracted me to Rotary and I was delighted to become a Rotarian in my own right 12 months ago.

Having spent the last 5 years working in Melton, joining Rotary gives me the opportunity to put something back into the town. It means that I am part of a professional organisation that addresses the needs of the wider community. I can interact with other like-minded people and establish contacts with Rotarians both locally and around the world.

In 2004 my husband and I met with a group of Rotarians as we sailed from Japan to Thailand. This was a completely new experience for me and it was great to find out a little bit more about Rotary Clubs in Australia and America. It was here that I discovered how easy it is to make friends through Rotary.

In addition, the real bonus is the fellowship that we all enjoy through those activities that are organised for our family and friends.

I am sure that you would all would agree with me that in the 20th Century women had a tough time getting recognition both in business and in Rotary. However, as we move into the 21st century this is all changing. Perhaps today, as Rotarians, we have more to celebrate than anyone else. I therefore wholeheartedly recommend the Rotary Movement and Women in Rotary.

If you have other reflections on the club's history you would like included here, please let the club web-master know:

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Group Study Exchange

A team of five from District 1070 visited Australia - District 9670, New South Wales - in March and April 2005 for a Group Study Exchange. The Melton club supported both the team leader and one of the team members for this Rotary Foundation exchange visit.

Group Study Exchange is a unique cultural and vocational exchange opportunity for young business professional men and women between the ages of 25 and 40 in the initial years of their professional life, The programme provides travel grants for teams of young participants to exchange visits between paired areas in different countries. For four to six weeks, team members study the host country's institutions and ways of life, observe their own vocations as practiced abroad, develop personal and professional relationships, and exchange ideas.

Rotarian John Dehnel from the Melton Mowbray Rotary Club was selected by the District as leader of the team, to ensure the visit ran smoothly, and that an interesting and challenging vocational visit was available to the four young professionals who made up the team.

The team members, shown from left to right below, are:

District 9670 forms part of New South Wales, from the coast around Newcastle (north of Sydney), out west to Bourke about 400 miles west across the Great Dividing Range. District 9670 is approx. 420 x 160 miles (almost exactly the same size as the whole of England). We travelled close on 800 miles visiting 9 Rotary Clubs across the District.

There are 23 districts in Australia (cf. 29 in UK), and 52 clubs in District 9670 (89 in 1070) .

Our itinerary across District 9670 :

We were able to study the industry, commerce, culture, and social life of a wide variety of types of Australian towns. We were hosted by Rotarian families in all the towns we visited, and were privileged to be part of their lives for a short while. So we saw Australia in a way not achievable by other means.

Each of the team members spent much time visiting their vocational counterparts. Lisa was able to visit, for example, community health centres and hospitals. Melanie went to schools and to several art centres and exhibitions. Nicola spent her vocational visits in supermarkets and wineries(!). Tracey saw hospices and hospitals, and participated in home visits with the local nursing staff. There is no doubt that all the team developed personally, helping their careers and their understanding of other cultures.

Other visits we all made were to:

We found the GSE visit a fascinating experience. We had the fortune to be a team of great individuals, all very different, but coming together as a good team; we each gained enormously from the exchange. We met many, many kind, thoughtful Rotarians and their families, and many others in Australia only too pleased to help make our trip a success. It was a delight to meet them all.

The support we got from District 9670 and all the clubs was superb, with a well planned programme vocationally, culturally, and socially.

Thank you to DG Michael McNamara, his team, and especially GSE chair Alan Moir for their hard work and support. Thank you to Rotary Foundation for making this exchange possible.

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Kids Out 2005

The Rotary Club of Melton Mowbray took 177 children, helpers and Rotarians for a day of fun and excitement to Wicksteed Park at Kettering on Wednesday 8 June. Our 115 children from Birch Wood Special School and the Grove School were part of the 2060 children from all parts of our Rotary District who enjoyed a great day with excellent weather.

We took three coaches and two minibuses, and provided everyone with a Kids Out tee shirt and packed lunches. We are grateful for a donation from Masterfoods towards the costs.

Many letters of appreciation were received from the children who participated.

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Club Visit to Sicily

Our President for 2004-05, Tony Rifugiato has strong links with Sicily; his father was born there. So, continuing a tradition of club visits to various countries, Tony and Kay organised a visit in June 2005 to Sicily for members and friends of the club. We flew to Palermo, and travelled around the island visiting many of the varied and magnificent historical and cultural sites. Below are some pictures from the visit.

Taormina Greek-Roman amphitheatre:
Piazza Armerina, Roman villa mosaics:
Agrigento Temple of Concordia:  
Marsala winery, meeting with Sicilian Rotarian:  
Palermo mosaics
Palermo cathedral, and lunch!
Monreale cathedral:  

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