CUMNOCK Rotary Club enjoyed its first meeting of the year last month.

The first speaker in the New Year was Paul Schenke, an established author of thrillers and espionage themed novels.

He gave an insight in to how he had developed his craft, drawing on experiences whilst he had served in the Royal Navy followed by a period in the Royal Naval Reserve which gave him an opportunity to travel the world and learn about different countries, regimes and international affairs.

He gave a brief account of the plots of several of his books and responded fully to the many questions asked and brought a sample of his books and these were on display and attracted a great deal of interest from the book lovers among us.

In the club’s second meeting of the month, on January 28, members heard reports on two recent events. One was on the latest meeting of the Interact Club at Cumnock Academy which is maintaining its focus.

The other event was a Burns Supper held by Alloway Rotary in the Horizon Hotel, Ayr which was attended by several members. The meal, programme and hospitality were excellent and those who attended encouraged other members to keep it in mind for future invitations.

That night the speaker was Liam Armstrong who is an elected member of the Scottish Youth Parliament. Liam is a student at Cumnock Academy and served as a member and leader of the Interact Club.

Liam told us about the process he had gone through, standing as a candidate, being elected, and attending the Parliament in Edinburgh. He soon established himself in the eyes of his fellow members and was put forward and elected as a representative to the UK Youth Parliament.

He then described the wide range of issues he had become involved with, including social security, mental health, climate change, social media and youth opportunities. This often entails conducting surveys among local young people on issues affecting them and holding workshops in schools. Liam expressed himself in a confident and competent manner and left a good impression of the relevance and importance of young people getting involved in these issues.

Prize Draw Winners from January’s four meetings were revealed as January 7, was Roger Clark, January 14 was Barbara Goudie, January 21 was Dave Perriman, January 28, was Roger Clark.