Rotary
Club of Royston,Herts, UK
President: Martin Berry

Scrapbook For The Rotary Year 2020/2021

26th June 2020 - Donation to Therfield Village School
Royston Rotary Club have once again been able to support its local community with some much needed funding for Therfield First School. The small village school have been busy planning to build a small extension to their site to create an additional ‘teaching and learning space’. When the school appealed recently for funds for their project, Rotary members decided to step in. Tara McGovern, the Headteacher at Therfield, said: “The email from Rotary, was the best news I had received all week! The money is appreciated particularly under the present challenging circumstances and it will certainly help us to get our project started as soon as possible.” The school – which has 51 pupils, around half from surrounding villages and the rest from Royston – are looking forward to creating a space that can be used for larger numbers of pupils. “Our school is wonderful, but an extra learning space will make a huge difference to us. Our school is regularly over-subscribed and pupil numbers are high. We are always looking at how we can offer the very best provision possible. We have worked exceptionally hard to secure the funding necessary to bring this project to life’. The school has recently opened up to all pupils, following the extensive school closure period with currently 96% of pupils attending school on at least a part-time basis. This is a phenomenal achievement. Martin Berry, President of Royston Rotary Club, added: “I’m delighted that we have been able to make a donation. It has had to be a fairly modest amount of £300 because of a limited charity account this year as a result of having to cancel the annual Royston Kite Festival. However, we do hope we have been able to bring the school a little closer to its target.” Tara McGovern, stated that “We would like to thank everybody within the Rotary Club for their continued support to help others. They offer a shining light in times of need”.
16th July 2020 - A tribute to Rotarian Ken Charles
Ken Charles 1932 -2020 A member of the Rotary Club of Royston I have known Ken since 1972 soon after he came to Royston and was head of Greneway School. Our first meeting did not get off to a good start, as we had a difference of opinion. However this did not detract from our respect for one another and later on in 1983 he brought me into Royston Rotary Club, something for which I have always been very grateful. Ken was a very hard worker and a fantastic organiser both in our club and elsewhere, being chair of most committees over the years within the club and went on to be President in 1983 followed by District Governor in 1997 of district 1080. Ken being the only member within our club to achieve this position. A list of just a few of his other achievements over the years includes: Awarded a Paul Harris Recognition in 1997 Presented with a certificate honouring his 40 years’ service in 2018 Awarded MBE in 1986 for services to sport and education An avid supporter of young people, he introduced the following events to our Club:- o Youth Makes Music (unique to Royston Rotary) o Youth Speaks o Kids Out o Mock Interviews o Technology Tournament o Kite Festival in 1990 (estimated to have raised £100,000 since that time for charities and good causes around Royston) o Christmas Float o RYLA (Rotary Youth Leadership Awards-Rutland Water) o Children in Need (street collection in Royston) We shall all miss him. Words by Rotarian David Richmond.
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August 2020 - Donation to Hannah Harries
News has just come through of extraordinary work being done by a local young woman to help children in desperate need. Hannah Harries, a teacher from Whaddon, has just completed a year volunteering with a charity named New Hope for Cambodian Children in a village near Phnom Penh. Three hundred of the children at the orphanage where her school is based have tested HIV positive. “The spirit of the children here despite all the hardship they have faced losing loved ones and living day by day with incurable illness – is truly inspiring,” she says. Hannah’s own story is no less inspiring. After attending primary school in Orwell and then studying at Bassingbourn Village College, she joined Lattitude Global Volunteering, an international youth development charity, and travelled to a remote village in Malawi. “They had no electricity or running water there,” she says. “We were able to build a school for them and I helped as a teacher.” Fast forward six years, and Hannah is teaching Grade 6 children in Cambodia, from where she spoke to us by Zoom. “The charity I’m now working for was founded by a couple called John and Kathy Tucker,” she says. “They originally went to Cambodia to help adults who were dying with Aids. They soon realised that, as the adults died, they often left behind children with no one to care for them. More often than not, the children were also infected with the HIV virus. Many of them were very sick and dying as well.” Hannah, who has two brothers, and whose father worked for Royston Fencing before retirement, still has strong links with the Royston area and she was home last Christmas for a family visit. “It was lovely to see them all again,” she recalls. “My mum and I planned the whole trip in secret and nobody else knew that I was back in Whaddon. She hid me in a great big box under the tree on Christmas morning and when the family came downstairs, I jumped out. To say that they were surprised is a bit of an understatement!”. Visits home are, of course, expensive and in the past the Rotary Club of Royston have been able to help. “We were fascinated by Hannah’s story when she came to speak to us last year,” says David Blundell, the former Rotary President. “She is a truly amazing young lady and we would like to do whatever we can to go on supporting her.” There is, however, a problem in her coming back any time soon like so many others at this time, the difficulty is as a result of the Covid19 pandemic. “I had set my heart on coming back to the UK to visit the family this summer before the start of the next school year,” she explains. “My brother and his wife, who live in Ampthill, just had a little baby girl named Layla and I am yet to meet her! But of course, a huge part of my heart is here in Cambodia now and I can't even begin to imagine not being able to return to work with these children. “I have contacted Royston Rotary, who have been so generous in the past, in the hope that they can help once again. The issue is this: due to Covid, travelling in and out of Cambodia has become very difficult. If you leave to go home, then to re-enter Cambodia as a non-citizen you have to pay a deposit of $2,000! This money is then returned if no one on your flight tests positive for the virus. I’m trying everything I can to raise this deposit money and reaching out to everyone I know.” Martin Berry, the current President of Royston Rotary, said: “She’s doing great work and it would fantastic if we could help her reach her target. To that end, we plan to donate £350 towards her deposit money.”
Hannah with her grade 6 pupils in Cambodia
9th August 2020 - First Rotary Walk For Months
On Sunday 9th August the club embarked on its first walk since 8th March. The turn-out was almost embarrassingly high eighteen people - which shows how much we had all missed each other’s company in spite of our weekly meetings on Zoom. The walk started from the British Queen P.H. and looped north through the village of Meldreth; past the stocks to the Church; through the field behind the church; out onto the High Street, and back along by the river Mel to the pigs enclosure near the Pub where we started. At this point a couple of people who didn’t feel up to a full 5 mile walk, took the opportunity to duck out, while the rest of us carried on along the path by the river. I was surprised to find that some of our party didn’t know this path existed including one person who is a regular at the pub! It’s a particularly pretty path, running through woodland by the river delightful at any time of year, it is particularly lovely in the spring when the snowdrops and bluebells are out and on a sunny day in the Fall when the gold and yellow and brown and red of the trees are reflected in the river. The Mel is one of only 210 pure chalk streams anywhere in the world. It’s only three miles long and it’s source is at Melbourn Bury. On this day the river was as low as I have ever seen it, and it’s hard to believe that since 1760 five people have drowned in it most recently someone in 1980. The path crosses the railway line and ends on the Melbourn Recreation ground behind the Village College. We walked on through Melbourn village, past Melbourn Bury (where we probably should have, but didn’t, take a short detour to visit the river’s source) and out onto Melbourn High Street. We walked out towards the A10 and turned right along Bury Lane to a footpath that crosses the A10 and runs back to Meldreth – coming out at Fieldgate Nurseries. This was another path that some locals didn’t know about. It was a hot day and everyone was ready for a drink when we got back to the pub. The British Queen had set-up a huge marquee in their garden complete with an outside bar that was very well organised and managed everything had been arranged to keep us all safely distanced. Lunch was excellent – though not to be recommended for anyone on a diet! Words and photo by President Martin
The Rotary walkers - all properly distanced from each other!
15th September 2020 - Talk on APS Awareness
The club was given a very informative talk on APS by Phil Godfrey of the Solihull Rotary Club. This was done via the magic of Zoom at our normal virtual club meeting. APS is Antiphospholipid syndrome and is apparently not very well known about both by the public or by many health professionals. Phil explained how his wife who was previously a very active person succumbed to APS but only through a very late diagnosis which by this time had made her lose the use of all her limbs, and became confined to a wheelchair. She sadly died of the disease and Phil decided that his mission in life would be to raise awareness of APS by walking the complete length of Britain. Because of multiple medical mishaps he was foiled in his undertaking but decided instead to circumvent the complete British mainland by train, meeting people to raise awareness of APS and raising some money. Phil’s talk to us recounted some of his adventures on that trip and also passed on some of the relatively unknown facts about APS that most people are unaware of (click on the panel on the right to see these). There is an excellent leaflet on APS which you can see here and the website for APS is www.aps-support.org.uk
13th September 2020 - Monthly Walk
A very select group of Rotarians and partners gathered on the Heath on a spectacularly beautiful Sunday morning in September. Around them hundreds of people were enjoying the late summer sunshine. Adults and children were playing sports of all sorts – football, rugby, golf – did I see some people playing hockey? Others were walking – some with dogs, others with their family and others alone. Some people were sun bathing and relaxing. It was great to see this unique space being enjoyed by so many of the good people of Royston – all socially distanced between their various bubbles. In a change to the usual format for our monthly walks, we set-off relatively late at about 11:00 and followed the Icknield way up to Therfield. Not very far as the crow flies but, being uphill all the way, it was more demanding than it looked on the map. It took about an hour to reach Therfield, which was good timing because our plan was to stop at the Fox & Duck P.H. for a drink and they don’t open until 12:00. We were very impressed by the professional way in which the pub managed their responsibilities with regard to Covid-19. We were seated outside, on socially distanced tables of three and four, and our drinks order was taken at the table and delivered to us very efficiently. Jonathan Berks very generously paid for the drinks to celebrate his 21st Birthday – which, it turns out, was sometime ago. The walk back down to Royston by exactly the same route was much easier and bit quicker. This new format – a short walk to a pub for a drink rather than a long walk to a pub for lunch – worked very well on this occasion. I don’t know if it will become our new standard.
Words and picture by President Martin
September 2020 - Virtual Balloon Race
With all our usual fund-raising projects cancelled due to Covid19 the club looked for some alternative ways to raise money for good causes. We eventually decided upon a Virtual Balloon Race which we would organise through a national provider Eco Racing ( ecoracing.co ) after a careful selection. We chose to participate in the Schools Back race which was due to lift off from Red Square, Moscow on 14th September and last for seven days. Virtual balloons would cost £3 each. By a large majority of members, the chosen charity to receive the proceeds of the race was voted to be Home-Start (Royston, Buntingford and South Cambridgeshire) who do such good and important work with families in our community. When we contacted them they were keen to help in any way they could. We started offereing the balloons for sale in mid June and we had a bit of a publicity blitz with the local press, the village magazines and even two internet radio stations. In addition we kept up a steady (twice weekly) stream of social media posts on 26 different Facebook groups covering the surrounding area, sometimes with a video but otherwise accompanied with an eye-catching pop-art illustration with suitable words of encouragement to buy a balloon. By the lift-off date we had sold 1044 balloons in total. All the balloons lifted off exactly on time (12.00 BST) on 14th September and the majority drifted off to the north west of Moscow. After 6 hours the leading balloons were already some 60Kms away from the launch point but all purchasers were anyway able to follow the progress of their balloons on a Google Map simulation on the Eco Racing website. We noticed that a rogue cluster of balloons broke away at the start and headed in the opposite direction but evidently this behaviour was to be expected and the winners of the race were the balloons that travelled the furthest, whatever the direction they took. At the end of the seven days the leading balloon from our sales was named “MAS”, owned by Sam and having travelled some 1391 Kms and landing up over Sweden. Although his position was only 20th overall nationally and therefore not qualifying for any of the main prizes he will nevertheless receive a cheque for £100 from Eco Racing as the overall winner from amongst our sales (because we had sold over 1000 balloons) We have now received the proceeds of the race and we raised the sum of £2863.24 (including £94 donations) and, since there were no Rotary expenses, this will be available for donation to Home-Start shortly. Stop Press: The Club is to round this up to £3,000. Interestingly, we have now been contacted by seven different Rotary clubs to pick our brains about the event and are running (or expected to run) their own balloon races to raise funds. Words by Tony Briar
11th October 2020 - Monthly Walk
Ten Rotarians went on this month’s walk from Great Chishill to Chrishall, Heydon and back. We met up at Great Chishill Village Hall Car Park which was rather busy as there was a football match on. The weather was cool and overcast but there was no rain. We set off up Hall Lane then turned off at Hall Farm near which is the highest place in Cambridgeshire. John and I have done this walk many times during lockdown. We’ve watched the crops grow, ripen and be harvested then the fields ploughed. Every time we have commented on how very dry and cracked the soil was. Not on this occasion! Very heavy rain the previous evening meant that the path was a bit muddy. At the end of that footpath we turned right and followed the road round to Builden End. There are a few very nice houses here and at the end of the road there is a pleasant green footpath leading to another field. We could hear the stream running in what had been a dry ditch all summer. The hardest part of the walk came next. We had to walk up a gentle slope but the field was very muddy so our boots/wellies picked up plenty of mud. A good workout for the legs! The path follows the edge of the field and goes around the houses at Chiswick Hall. One of the houses here has an outdoor swimming pool which looked very inviting as John and I walked passed it in the summer. With the autumn chill in the air I expect the pool is now in winter hibernation. The drive from Chiswick Hall takes you to the road to Saffron Walden. We could see Chrishall church in the distance which spurred us on as that was our stopping place for coffee. We went across the road and over a splendid new bridge into the field leading to the church. The bridge was closed for a couple of years but the replacement is very sturdy. It would seem a little strange to spend so much on such a substantial bridge over a small stream ( there are other crossing places) but this route is part of the Harcamlow Way. This is a longer footpath joining Harlow and Cambridge and is shaped in a figure of eight. The gentle slope up to the church meant we had great views of the countryside as we had our coffee. We continued through the churchyard, crossed a small road and walked along a grassy path. Following footpaths we eventually turned right along a little road, with an interesting range of houses, which brought us to The Red Lion. John and I did a longer version of this walk recently and had lunch at the pub. The food was excellent. The shot of brandy which came as part of one of the desserts really set us up for the walk back in the pouring rain. Today we were too early for a drink and besides the sun was coming out so we continued the walk through the playing fields in Chrishall. A strange site awaited us as we walked by the cricket pitch. The wicket area was covered in bags of loam which had been very precisely lined up. We asked the men working on it about the pattern of bags and they said it was to ensure an even spread over the wicket. Apparently it helps the batsmen as the bounce is less erratic. Continuing on the footpaths we arrived a very quiet lane in Broadgreen. From here you can turn left or right. Left would have taken us through another ploughed field but we had already decided we’d turn right and join the grassy footpath which brings us out onto Heydon Road. A short distance on was The King William 1Vth pub. At this point some of the walkers stayed to have a drink whilst a small party continued to the end of the walk. Whilst we sat having our refreshments we could see some very dark clouds moving towards us so we set off as soon as we had finished. We walked back along the road to Great Chishill and the first drops of rain started as we reached The Old School House. John and I were home and dry but I think Martin and Jo and Jim and Sephrone may have needed to put their hoods up as they walk through Bull Meadow back to their cars. It was great to be out walking with friends and well done everyone for completing a walk of around 5 miles. Words by Clarice, Picture by Martin
22nd October 2020 - Feedback Comments About the Covid19 Pandemic
Recently, the Community Breakfast Club asked all the members what they have learned from the pandemic, so that as a community, we can all be better prepared in the future. The responses resulted in a handy checklist (see diagram on the right) which was derived from the collation of all responses. These collated results can be see here and the checklist here.. With grateful thanks to all responders including Gillian Morland (Coombes Community Centre), David Izod (Memory Café), David Allard (Ramblers, History Soc, WEA), Jackie Cotton (Home-Start) and Ray Munden (Rotary). Special thanks to Sarah Hillman for organising and collating the results.
8th and 11th November 2020 - Armistice Day Remembered
On Sunday 8th President Martin attended a service and laid a wreath at the Royston war memorial on behalf of Royston Rotary Club. He was one of a number of local groups and individuals who remembered the fallen of the two world wars and many other minor wars. On Wednesday 11th (the true Armistice Day) there was another short service held at the Royston war memorial where The Rotary Club raised the Union Flag on the flagpole in Priory Gardens. The flagpole was a gift some years ago from Royston Rotary Club to the town of Royston. A short while later a further service was held at the American war memorial in Priory Gardens where the deputy mayor of Royston laid a wreath to remember the dead of the USAF, particularly of the 91st Bomb Group, who lost their lives in WW2 flying from local airfields. On this occasion the Stars and Stripes was flown on the flagpole. At the going down of the sun, and in the morning We will remember them
Pictures courtesy of David Izod and Cllr Mark Hughes