robert ​morris

rotary GB&I chair

A thirst for life and a ​thirst for adventure

Being an active Rotarian can be interpreted in so many ways, with each of us probably capturing the essence of membership in a different way.

For me, being an active Rotarian is more than simply being a member and taking part in activities of my club and wider Rotary community.

For me, it is also about how I lead my life and what I am able to do for others.

Some years ago now, a friend and member of another Rotary club told me of an amazing opportunity for personal service and personal development that he had taken part in. I was so taken by the details that I signed up and some months later found myself at the check-in area of Heathrow Airport terminal 4.

I had no idea what to expect and I wasn’t even sure who I was due to be meeting.

“For eight years, my friend and I ​continued together to support The ​BackUp Trust, as self-funded ski ​buddies and helpers at their ​assessment days for future ski trips.”

My first big clue that I was in the right place was when wheelchair users kept arriving. This group of adventurers all had spinal injuries that had left them paralysed and this trip was intended to give them back a thirst for life.

Paraplegics and quadriplegics who were about to experience skiing on sit-skis.

Or for those with quadriplegic injury and hence limited movement, they would learn on what I came to call adapted go-carts; with mini-skis instead of wheels and levers to enhance their capability to move their arms.

But the biggest surprise was when a lady came over and said: “Hi Robert, how lovely to see you.”

She was a member of another local Rotary club and was to be the only direct link with Rotary that whole week.

She introduced her friend, one of that group of wheelchair users and her introduction to being on this trip.

closeup disabled man hand on wheel of wheelchair

Th​e ski trip was intended to give wheelchair users back their thirst for life

For that week, us ski-buddies pushed wheelchairs through the snow, lifted them ​down to basement discos at night and helped the group to learn to balance and ​manoeuvre their sit-skis.

Plus, of course, we were there to act as anchors when they got out of control and ​began heading directly downhill at ever increasing uncontrolled speed.

This was not so easy with the ex-rugby players whose bulk added to the ​challenge of halting their heavy equipment.

For eight years, my friend and I continued together to support The BackUp Trust, ​as self-funded ski buddies and helpers at their assessment days for future ski ​trips. As regulars, we got permission for our wives to also come along as carers.

I may not have the physical energy for those high-altitude activities now, however ​I have found other ways to offer my skills and interests to others in need.

What are you able to offer those in need?

Next Arrow Button
Next Arrow Button


Simple Facebook Icon
round icon
round icon
In Typography Outline
Simple Instagram Icon
Simple Youtube Icon

© 2024 Rotary International in Great Britain & Ireland