Devonshire Hall was the perfect venue for an evening that cemented our links in the community. Headingley Rotarians include Wardens and alumni of Devonshire Hall, we have Rotaract friends among the current students and Devonshire Hall was Headingley Rotary’s home for many years. How wonderful, then, to come together with Devonshire students for a ceilidh provided by the President and Junior Common Room Exec. 

Our part was to find a ceilidh band and that was easily done, as Ernest got in touch with Hilary, a student at Devonshire when he was Warden, and the Capstick Ceilidh Band was ours. Hilary told me that the last time she had played her fiddle in the Devonshire Dining Room was 30 years ago. I am so glad we could contribute to a rich musical tradition.  

The music was lively and so was the dancing: verve made up for momentary lapses and the band was very accommodating. Julia’s granddaughter helped us out with a quick demonstration of the Gay Gordons. Well done! Ernest had invited 4 grandchildren and they had a great time; Ernest on piano was, of course, in his element. The students seemed to enjoy every minute and made the evening for those Rotarians who were unable to dance. 

Every ceilidh band needs a good MC and we were delighted to discover that, serendipitously, the MC was Ann Nicholl, Chair of the Governors at St Peter’s C of E Primary School. Headingley Rotary has strong links with St Peter’s with 3 Rotarians on the governing body and a former Headteacher in our midst. You will recall our support of the Sensory Room and many other projects. 

And so much more! On a glorious evening Devonshire Hall was transformed into a luxury leisure resort with prosecco on the lawn, the sounds of a steel band, relaxed dining and wine flowing freely. With limited uptake from Rotary for the ceilidh, it was very sociable to join the Houldsworth and Devonshire Hall Senior Common Room Wine Tasting Society for our meal. Our thanks go to Darron and his team. 

Patricia assures me that there will be a summer ceilidh in 2024. I hope more Rotarians will come along. With the support of the Wine Tasters, we raised around £300 this year. With next year’s date already in the handbook, I’m sure we can do even better for the President’s charities.