Changeover Dinner is our annual event to celebrate the changing of our current president of the club to the new president for the coming Rotary year (effective 1st July). It’s also an excuse for Rotarians and their partners and guests to dress up in their finery and enjoy a pleasant evening with good food and in the company of friends.This year the event was held at Madingley Hall near Cambridge and was the first time the club had visited there which proved to be an inspired choice. The hall is set in beautiful surroundings and the perfect weather showed it off at its best. A few Rotarians were unfortunately delayed by traffic so our meal was postponed until 8pm to allow for everyone to be present; but the catering staff were easily up to this challenge and the food courses were both timely and delicious.With the meal over, outgoing President Graeme Dargie thanked all who had supported and assisted him over the last 12 months, particularly his wife Linda (to great applause). He then proceeded to formally hand over the chain of office to our new President, David Blundell. President David made his acceptance speech before handing over the vice president’s chain to Martin Berry who, in turn presented the junior vice president chain to Nichola Sharpe.With the formalities now over, Rotarians mingled with all the other guests, some of whom had travelled a long distance to be there, and many who had had long associations with the club. A really great evening to celebrate our changeover.Words by Tony Briar, Photos mainly by Ray Munden. To see all the photos, click here.
New President David with wife Diane
8th July - Monthly Walk
We had a glorious English summer day for this 6.6 Km. walk. Hats and sun-cream were necessary. Had we given some thought to how hot it was going to be we might have taken swimwear too for a refreshing paddle in Ashwell springs. From the lovely village of Hinxworth we strolled to Ashwell and did enjoy a rest by the springs. But there were a number of families messing about in the water so poor Emmi, the Kelly’s lively Labrador had to make do with a paddle on her lead.As we neared the end of our walk we stopped by the medieval Hinxworth Place and admired the sculptures in the garden. The sculptor’s wife greeted us and invited us to look around the garden. She also kindly fetched a bowl of water for Emmi. The walkers who also needed a drink had to wait another ten minutes until we arrived at the Three Horseshoes. This pub is well worth a visit. The food and the service was excellent. We enjoyed a most congenial lunch in the shady garden.We were eleven in the group including regular walkers Jim and Sephrone Webb; Ray and Joan Munden; Peter Ross; Sandra Scott and John and Jennifer Kelly. We had a very special guest walker with us. Sophia Daoudi from Paray le Monial who is working in Cambridge for three months. She is a charming young lady who intends to come on the August walk. John Kelly had also invited along Keith and Marian Taylor. All told it was a very relaxing and enjoyable day.Words, pictures and walk arrangements by John Kelly
15th July - President’s “Hello”
It’s a Royston Rotary Club tradition that a new President for the year entertains the club members and their partners to a social event sometime shortly after his or her appointment. This year was no exception and our new President David and his wife Diane invited us all to their lovely home in Melbourn on a beautifully sunny afternoon.Of course, the whole event was held in the garden where a lot of preparation had obviously been undertaken with gazebos, awnings and plenty of tables and chairs. David had even arranged for an outside bar in the confines of a garden shed - eminently practical!Approximately 40 Rotarians and their partners were present in addition to 10 friends, helpers and family so the conversation was animated and it was pleasant to chat with people one hadn’t seen for a while. However, the talking had to be cut short once it was announced that the food was ready and we all admired the array of food on offer - even more so with the sweet course which followed. Throughout the afternoon we were entertained to old 78rpm vinyl jazz records on a genuine wind-up gramaphone. Our resident DJ was David’s son in law, Brent, who apparantly has a massive collection of vintage records. Your reporter was quite taken with the very effective and responsive volume control in the form of a large duster pushed up the horn to quieten the sound where necessary.Mention and thanks for the delicious food must go to Diane, Ann Bannister, Liz Beardwell, Linda Berks, Jo Mellor, Di Charles, Linda Dargie, Pat Easthope, Lesley Izod, Barbara Mitton, Glynis Smith, Clarice Wahlich, Sephrone Webb, Annie Whittaker and Polly Hardy. There were also welcome contributions of chocolates and wine. My apologies if I have left anyone out.A great afternoon and special thanks to David and Diane for hosting and arranging.
5th August - Annual Kite Festival and Classic Vehicle Show
A brilliantly sunny day for this annual event held as usual on The Heath and we estimate that over six thousand people from the Royston area attended. Ice cream vendors did a roaring trade and the fresh fruit juice stall was sold out by early afternoon, such was the demand. The show was opened by Royston Town Mayor, Cllr Iain Leggett and the photo shows him with Royston Rotary President David Blundell, DG Dave Ford from Rotary District 1260 and Royston Town Crier Graham Pfaff.Although very hot, the wind was a bit temperamental and there were long periods in the morning when the lack of it stopped the professional kite fliers from showing their skills; but the wind picked up in the afternoon so a spectacular show of kite flying was put on by the various clubs. Many children even got to see their beloved teddy bears do a long-awaited parachute drop from a kite (see picture).Apart from the kite flying we had children’s face painting, a kite-making workshop run by the Lions Club and, of course, Royston Rotary Club’s famous tombola tent with in excess of five hundred different prizes. All this plus various stalls and sideshows and, not forgetting the bouncy castle and childrens roundaboutIn the display area we were later entertained to a talented group of youngsters who were part of the Crystallite Majorettes from Letchworth. This troupe can certainly twirl the pom-poms, as we saw!There were some 75 entries in the Classic Vehicles Show which was run alongside the Kite Festival A number of the classic cars were eventually shortlisted for a prize and the selected cars were processed around the display area and lined up ready for the drivers to be interviewd by the MC. Eventually the winner’s cup was presented to John Ives, the owner of a beautiful 1955 Armstrong Siddley Sapphire limousine. The photo shows John Ives being presented with the cup by ADG John Hammond from Rotary District 1260 (left) and our own Royston President David Blundell (right).A great day out for all the family and all the money raised will benefit charity, especially Acorn House (part of the Sick Children’s Trust) which is Royston Rotary President David Blundell’s chosen charity for the year.Grateful thanks must go to all Rotarians and their partners who worked so hard to make the show a success. Particular praise must go to Rotarian Jonathon Berks who organised the Kite Festival this year, and to Ray Munden who organised the Classic Vehicle show. Thanks also must go to Royston Scouts for their hard work in the heat on car parking duties and litter picking.Words by Tony Briar, photos by Neil Heywood and Ray Munden. See all the photos of the Kite Festival and Classic Vehicle Show by clicking here.
10th August - Presentation of Cheque to Garden House Hospice
Music to Garden House Hospice Care’s earsWhen the Rotary Club of Royston heard that the Garden House Hospice Care were raising funds for Music Therapy sessions it immediately decided to support the initiative with a donation of £1000.Kash Sharma, Chair of Community Service for the club, said ‘We frequently support the Garden House Hospice care as a deserving local charity and so we are very pleased to be able to donate to this wonderful initiative’.Lisa Seccombe, Director of Fund Raising, Marketing and Communications for the Garden House Hospice Care, said ‘We appreciate the continual support we get from The Rotary Club of Royston and are grateful for their support of our Music Therapy sessions, which have been demonstrated to significantly benefit patients. Our qualified Music Therapist, provides one-to-one and group music therapy sessions for patients. Patients can choose to play instruments, sing or simply listen to a piece of music. They can then discuss the feelings, emotions and memories the music invokes. Music therapy helps improve emotional wellbeing, promotes relaxation and reduces feelings of anxiety. Our Music Therapist also runs an in-house choir including patients, family members and carers, and volunteers. Such support makes a huge difference to the local community of which we serve”.Words and picture by Ray Munden.
12th August - Monthly Walk Around Wicken Fen
A good turnout for the August walk saw 20 people take a leisurely 5 mile stroll around Wicken Fen. The party included Jonathan and Lyn’s family, complete with 18 month old grandson, Harrison. Sophia, daughter of Khalid Daoudi past president of Paray Rotary Club, also joined us before returning to Lyon the following day. Wicken Fen is such a special habitat. It may be flat, but the skies can be dramatic and at this time of the year there are plenty of dragonflies, damsel flies and butterflies to look out for. The walk took us past the Visitors’ Centre and right onto Adventurers’ Fen. We followed Wicken Lode to the footbridge at Reach Lode. A left turn here took us to the junction of Reach Lode and Burwell Lode where we stopped for a break. Ray took the opportunity to bird watch and spotted a Marsh Harrier in the distance. We continued alongside Burwell Fen until we reached Cock-up bridge, a swing bridge which, when lowered over the lode, can be used by pedestrians, horses, cycles and vehicles. This was supplemented by an ugly fixed concrete bridge in the 1990s which, as the guidebook says, is OK for pedestrians, difficult for bicycles and impossible for horses or vehicles. A left turn took us along Mark’s Lode with St Edmund’s Fen on the right and we followed this back to the National Trust car park.The Visitors’ Centre is well worth a look and facilities there now include a café and education room – a far cry from the ‘facilities’ that were present when I came on school trips in the 1970s and 1980s. There is also an electric boat which provides a very pleasant ride along the lode. Surrounded by magnificent swaying reeds you get a close up view of the wildlife. Lunch was at the Maid’s Head in Wicken village. This is a large pub and we were lucky to have a room to ourselves. The food was good and the staff friendly and helpful. A lively Harrison kept us all amused!Words and photos by Clarice