Graeme and Linda Dargie welcomed us to their lovely house and garden to participate in the President’s Hello. The afternoon got off to a great start with a fly over by the Red Arrows - even previous President David Williams didn’t manage that despite all his Royal Air Force connections.The sunny weather was also just about perfect and a good turn out of Rotarians and guests stood around conversing happily until Graeme made the magical announcement ‘foods ready’. After meals were duly chosen from an amazingly wide and appetising selection, conversations were resumed from seated positions between delicious mouthfuls.Graeme and Linda have a beautiful garden which includes a water feature with water cascading over some shiny stone spheres, rumour has it only very recently installed for the benefit of the Hello.The forecasted rain (well, on some phones anyway), did not appear and the weather seemed to get hotter later on. Everyone agreed it was a wonderful day and felt well and truly welcomed, a great hello from our new President Graeme and from Linda. Thanks to them and to all who helped by providing food and helping with set up and take down.Words by Ray Munden. See the photo album here.
9th July - President’s Hello
Scrapbook for Rotary year 2017/2018
(All entries are in reverse chronological order)
What a beautiful day it was for our annual event on Therfield Heath, the winds were about 12mph and the sun was out for most of the day - and the rain stayed away, thank goodness.We had many hundreds of visitors again this year, many staying for the whole day rather than just the morning or afternoon. This year we also had the historic vehicles on display and, although it was their first time at the show, approx 65 vehicles attended.The kite festival had all the usual attractions, not the least being the famous “Teddy bear drop” where a few bears are hoisted aloft by kite but come down on their own little parachutes. The youngsters really enjoy that spectacle.Many thanks to our Kite Festival organiser for this year, Jonathan Berks, and to his committee and all the various helpers (including partners) who always do so much to make this event the success it was.Click on the link to see the photos of the Kite Festival here and for the Historic Vehicle Show here.
6th August - Kite Festival & Historic Vehicle Show
This was the first Rotarian walk we’d organised so we were a little concerned that the weather would be foul, that no-one would turn up, that the pub would get the meal choices wrong, or worse, that I had booked the wrong weekend; it has happened to me before!But what a morning! We were blessed with good company (twenty one Rotarians, spouses and guests), bright sunshine along with a cooling breeze and a pub that was ready and willing to welcome us back.It was a gentle walk starting from the village of Aspenden, along a mixture of farm tracks, shady footpaths and Roman roads. After six miles we were all pleased to see the pub and judging from the lively conversations in the restaurant everyone seemed to have enjoyed the morning.
13th August - Monthly Walk - Organised by Steve and Sue Higginbotham
Scrapbook for Rotary year 2017/2018
(All entries are in reverse chronological order)
A beautiful Summer’s day for this eagerly awaited event with more than a dozen entrants in a variery of cherished vehicles. The teams were despatched with true military precision by our organiser, Phillip, from Royston Town Hall car park from 10.30am with a few minutes between each. Each team was provided with a route guide and questions about points on the route to answer on the journey.And it was a beautiful day for it, driving through the quiet Hertfordshire and Essex villages and stopping off to answer some of Phillip’s fiendish questions. Inevitably, a certain amount of “bunching” took place wherever Rotarians had stopped and were scurrying about looking for answers in churchyards or village greens. And although most teams managed to navigate the 41 mile course there was the occassional wayward team who deviated to places such as the town of Baldock!Everyone made it in the end to a really enjoyable barbecue at David and Diane Blundell’s house in Melbourn. The Sports and Social Team (and their helpers) had been hard at work laying out the tables, chairs, food and drinks and also erecting gazebos to keep us all cool. Once all the good things were eaten it was the time to announce the winners of the treasure hunt: the winners were declared as the Berks team with a runaway score, with runners up Tony and Bryony.Grateful thanks to Phillip and Ruth Martin who did all the ground work to devise this very enjoyable treasure hunt. Thanks also to David and Diane Blundell for hosting and to all the helpers and contributors to the barbecue.See all pictures of the event here.
28th August - Rotary Treasure Hunt/Road Ramble
We are so sad to announce the death of David Williams, who has been one of our staunch members for many years. David had such a charming manner that he would immediately put you at your ease and was always interested in what you had to say to him. He had a wealth of stories and anecdotes to entertain which were suitable for every occasion. He had been a very successful President of the Club for the Rotary year 2015/2016 and during this year was able to present a cheque for £6,000 on behalf of the Club to the Willow Foundation, a charity very close to his heart.David began his career as an RAF officer, gaining his navigator’s wings and posted to 617 Squadron (The Dam Busters) flying Avro Vulcan jets during the cold war. A later posting saw him commanding a squadron of Victor refuelling tankers during the first Gulf War. He finished his military career with the rank of Air Commodore having just previously been the station commander at RAF Akrotiri in Cyprus.On retiring from the RAF David joined the Willow Foundation as its CEO and spent many years with them building it up from a small local charity into one that now has a national presence. It was natural therefore that the Willow Foundation would be David’s nominated charity during his presidential year.David’s funeral took place on 31st August at Barley Church and it was such a tribute to him that over 300 mourners from all over the country came to pay their respects. The church was full to overflowing with standing room only.David was a real family man and we pass our condolences on to his wife Sue and to their two sons Simon and Jamie and their families.David will be sorely missed!
15th August - Our Past President, David Williams OBE, Has Died
It was a pleasant summer’s morning when Martin Berry and John Wahlich set off on their 75 km (47 mile) walk along the Norfolk Coastal Path from Hunstanton to Cromer. The walk was in memory Chris Hardy, who, if he had not tragically died of cancer a couple of years ago, would have celebrated his 70th birthday this year. To commemorate his life, and to raise money for charity, Chris's children had organised several fund raising events on the theme of 70, and this inspired John to organise this 70 km walk. The walk would take two days and by clicking on the map at the right you can see the route taken.Within the first 200 yards or so, our intrepid walkers had established their modus operandi - they had taken a wrong turn but were still going in more or less the right direction. The beauty of this walk is that – as long as you keep the sea to your left - you can't go far wrong!The first part of the walk took them past Hunstanton golf course and literally miles of blackberry bushes - all with deliciously ripe fruit. Picking blackberries as they walked in the sunshine, with a cool breeze blowing in from the sea, and with glorious views of the North Norfolk coast, they reflected on how lucky they were to be alive – and to be here. If only they knew what lay ahead!After passing Holme and Thornham the coastal path takes an annoying 3 mile detour inland before returning to the coast at Brancaster. Here the path runs along the coast through Brancaster Staithe to Burnham Overy Staithe with a vast expanse of marshland between the sea and terra firma. This section of the walk has its own unique – almost other worldly - beauty. It also has a lonely feel to it – emphasised by the lack of other walkers. Approaching Burnham Overy Staithe there is a little inlet that forces the path inland again through the edge of the village before returning to the coast and an ice cream van by the sea. But our heroes didn’t stop for refreshment. No, they only paused to remove rocks, and jagged bits of dead seagull from their boots.Pressing on, the marshland gives way to a beautiful, sandy beach at Holkham – with horses galloping along the shoreline and dogs doing what dogs do when they go to the seaside. Our heroes had booked a modest bothy for the night at Holkham and their plan had been to go straight there from Holkham beach – but they had made good time and only walked 20 miles that day, with 27 miles to walk the next day. So they decided to press on to Wells-Next-the-Sea. The path between Holkham beach and Wells-next-the-Sea runs through delightful woodland, busy with holiday makers, and it emerges onto a giant levy that runs, straight as an arrow, for a mile or so inland to the town.Here they were met by their adoring support team.The following day, after a hearty breakfast (which in John’s case consisted of some fruit, some cereal and a glass of orange juice) they set off - on very stiff and tired legs - from Wells-next-the-Sea on the second part of their journey. This would be slightly longer – at least 25 miles – and much, much, tougher.Shortly after leaving Wells-next-the-Sea it started to rain. Not very hard at first, but it got harder as time went on – and it didn’t stop. From Wells-next-the-Sea the Coastal Path runs in a straight line past Stiffkey to the edge of Morston where there is a National Trust Information Centre and Tea Room – though our intrepid travellers didn’t dally there. They pressed on past Blakeney and then out to sea before coming back inland to Cley-next-the-Sea. Here they found a delightful tearoom right on the Coastal Path – and they stopped for some refreshment. It’s funny isn’t it? How you can get used to walking in the rain – but be depressed by the prospect of going back out into it, after you’ve been in the dry for a short time. Anyway, they pressed on and walked about half a mile out to sea to get to a point that was no more than a few hundred yards from where they had been an hour before. They then started on the toughest part of their journey – a five mile section of shingle beach that runs past Salthouse and the Muckleburgh Collection of military hardware and on past Weybourne. Feeling really quite tired after the shingle beach, our two heroes now had some hills to climb along the cliffs at Sheringham. They had run out of conversation by this point and were just pushing on – though they did stop to watch a lone golfer playing the beautiful Sheringham Golf Course in the rain and a steam train on the North Norfolk Railway puffing its way towards Holt.After walking along the promenade at Sherringham they climbed the 63m “Beaston Bump” from which they could see their final destination – Cromer, and it didn’t look that far away. But it was further than it looked! The coastal path between Sherringham and Cromer had collapsed, so the route had been diverted inland through seemingly endless caravan parks. They came to a town, which they thought was Cromer and the end of their journey – but it turned out to be West Runton. They pressed on and came to another town they thought was Cromer – but it turned out to be East Runton. They started to wonder how many more Runtons they would have to walk through before they came to Cromer, but then, there it was - Cromer! Not a particularly attractive town but after walking at least 73 km in just over 14 hours it looked beautiful to them.
29th - 30th August - 70 Km Coastal Walk to Remember Chris Hardy
Saturday 16th September saw the annual Rotary contribution, jointly with the Royston Methodist Church, to the Royston Arts Festival. We were privileged to hold one of the first events of the Royston arts festival, featuring the Phoenix Chorus.The Phoenix Chorus can be up to 80 strong, but on this occasion we had 50. Phoenix is an award winning women’s choir (they were wearing medals as proof) who have sung at the Albert Hall and have recently won, by merit, a place in a forthcoming international competition to be held in St Louis, Missouri (and Jonathan via TaxAssist kindly offered to sponsor them as there will be significant costs). They sing “a cappella” songs in the barbershop style and their harmonies were beautiful. Even more impressively the singers for each voice weren’t standing together but were interspersed throughout the choir, so managing to stay in such close harmony was amazing.We were treated to a wide range of tunes, including pop and rock songs from Queen (Don’t Stop me Now), Simon and Garfunkel (Bridge Over Troubled Water), Adele (Rolling in the Deep), a hymn by Horatio Spafford (All is Well With my Soul, written after a series of horrendous disasters in which he lost most of his family and his wealth – its worth a web search on his name) and tunes from musicals such as Anthem from Chess. Several times quartets broke out to perform, again with very close harmony, and we even had a Hen Party quartet along with jokes – the bride to be was wondering how she could remember the stages of the wedding. Easy she thought, I have to go up the aisle, then I have to change my name, then there will be a hymn, so all I have to remember is ‘Aisle Change Hymn’ (say it out loud and you’ll get it)!The audience obviously appreciated the performance as was evidenced by the very loud applause. Many thanks to those from Rotary who helped with the tea, coffee and biscuits at the interval, to Howard for doing ticket sales and of course the Methodist Church for providing the venue and for booking Phoenix. The end result was £100 raised for the Church and, including the retiring collection, £240 for the Garden House Hospice - and all whilst everybody had a thoroughly enjoyable evening.Words and picture by Ray Munden
16th September - Concert By The Phoenix Chorus
At our meeting tonight we were delighted to welcome MIKE DAY and NICHOLA SHARPE to the Royston Rotary Family. Following their successful election, club President Graeme Dargie presented both of them with their badges and a welcome pack. The photo shows (from left) Graeme, Mike, Nichola and Martin Berry who was their membership sponsor.We look forward to getting to know Mike and Nichola even better in the months ahead.
26th September - Election of New Members
About 30 Rotarians and partners met up at the American Cemetery at Madingley near Cambridge for a tour by Tracy, one of the permanent guides. On first arriving one cannot fail to be impressed with the layout of the site and the neatness of it all. There are over 3,000 headstones placed in a series of semi-circles, radiating outwards from the raised flagpole, which is intended to be the focal point of the site. Apparantly every single headstone is washed three times every week.We were taken to the “Wall of the Missing” and our guide explained that over 5,000 names were carved into the long tablets of Portland Stone. She proceeded to bring some of these names to life by relating stories of how specific people were lost and showed a photographs of those persons. It was a sobering experience listening to the stories of these brave men and women.We visted the Chapel of Remembrance with it’s stunning mosaics on the ceilings and all down the east side. On one wall was an enormous frieze showing in relief the various theatres of war of WW2 and the involvement of the US, British and Canadian forces in each of them. At that point the tour ended and we individually browsed around the physical burials and the very interesting visitor centre.At 4.30 we were privileged to be involved with the lowering of the American flag. Once lowered there is a set sequence of folding until there is just a small triangle showing the stars on the flag. President Graeme performed this with aplomb but with more than a little help!Photos by Neil H, Bryony and Tony
29th September - Visit to The American Cemetery at Madingley
Many a Yee-Haw was heard today at our Wild West Party as Rotarians gathered for a fancy dress evening kindly hosted at David and Liz Beardwell’s home. As is typical of these events a fiendish quiz had first been set to test out our knowledge of the Wild West. Your scribe’s team only managed to score 6 out of a possible 15 whereas the winning team scored a creditable 11 points.It was soon time for chow-down and the cookhouse staff had prepared a typical cowboy’s meal of sausages, bacon and plenty of beans. The delicious puddings and cheese that were to follow were never experienced in any old westerner’s ranch house but were nevertheless much appreciated by all.We then came to the shooting competition where we were each given three shots to knock down a few empty bean cans. What a dismal failure we all were! There was many a shout of “aim low” and “shoot high” but without much success. Only a few of our sharpshooters were able to knock down any of the cans despite the fact that the distance from gun to target was only 5 feet!Linda Dargie announced that the prize for the best outfit went (deservedly) to David Easthope for also bringing his horse along (see picture)! There were a few other honourable mentions which included Jon and Linda Berks (pictured above). A great night’s entertainment and grateful thanks to the army of caterers who prepared the food, and to the Sports and Social team for arranging it all. Thank you also David and Liz for risking so much bean juice on your carpets and furniture!Pictures and words by Tony
7th October - Wild West Night
This month’s walk began at Stansted Abbots on the River Lea Navigation. Although there were fourteen walkers in all to do the six mile figure of eight, two walkers opted for an easier (and shorter) hike along the river towpath.The main group set off along the “New River” whose name is a misnomer. It is actually a man-made aquaduct which was constructed in a most imaginative way in the early seventeenth century to bring fresh water from springs near Ware all the way to London. The river exactly follows the 100 foot contour line for 40 miles, thus needing no bridges or tunnels in order to transport the water. After a couple of miles New River converged fairly close to the River Lea and the group diverted across this to visit the Rye House. This is a very old (15th century) grade 1 listed structure with attractive barley-twist chimneys and gateposts, but which, sadly has only the gatehouse remaining (see photo); however it is clearly marked out where the important rooms on the ground floor would have been. This building is famous for being the home of Katherine Parr, the sixth (and final) wife of Henry Xlll. In the seventeenth century the house was also the headquarters of the so-called Rye House Plot to (unsuccessfully) assasinate King Charles ll and his brother James, Duke of York.The walk continued along the towpath of the River Lea passing on the other side, a go-kart track with drivers roaring around. This track was the place which first saw the very young Lewis Hamilton learn his craft and which proudly contains many of his old trophies and posters in the clubhouse.The main group continued following the River Lea for another mile or so until they reached Dobbs Weir. At this point they were planning to cross back to the New River but eventually decided to walk the full return route along the towpath of the River Lea.Both parties met up for lunch at the Jolly Fisherman pub at Stansted Abbot where a convivial time was had by all. Many thanks to John Kelly for organising this walkPhotos by Bryony
8th October - Monthly Walk Organised by John Kelly
The defibrillator paid for by the Rotary Club of Royston club has been officially installed at the Essex and Herts Air Ambulance Trust shop in Fish Hill Square.At the unveiling were Graeme Dargie (club President) and Karin (Last year’s Club President) from our Club, Maria Alexander (Head of Fundraising) and Tina Jolly (shop manager) from EHAAT and a representative of the supplier of the defibrillator.Graeme said ‘Our Club was already considering providing a defibrillator in Royston when we heard that EHAAT were going to raise funds to put one outside their new shop in Royston. As we think that EHAAT is a very worthy charity we immediately offered to fund the whole cost of the defibrillator and were delighted that our offer was enthusiastically received. Our club is committed to helping in the local community so were very pleased to be able to provide this service.’Words and picture by Ray Munden
2nd October -Presentation of Defibrillator to EHAAT