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 -2020A member of the Rotary Club of RoystonIhaveknownKensince1972soonafterhecametoRoystonandwasheadof GrenewaySchool.Ourfirstmeetingdidnotgetofftoagoodstart,aswehada differenceofopinion.Howeverthisdidnotdetractfromourrespectforone anotherandlateronin1983hebroughtmeintoRoystonRotaryClub,something for which I have always been very grateful. Kenwasaveryhardworkerandafantasticorganiserbothinourcluband elsewhere,beingchairofmostcommitteesovertheyearswithinthecluband wentontobePresidentin1983followedbyDistrictGovernorin1997ofdistrict 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 1997Presented with a certificate honouring his 40 years’ service in 2018Awarded MBE in 1986 for services to sport and educationAn avid supporter of young people, he introduced the following events to our Club:-oYouth Makes Music (unique to Royston Rotary)oYouth SpeaksoKids OutoMock InterviewsoTechnology TournamentoKite Festival in 1990 (estimated to have raised £100,000 since that time for charities and good causes around Royston)oChristmas FloatoRYLA (Rotary Youth Leadership Awards-Rutland Water)oChildren in Need (street collection in Royston)We shall all miss him.Words by Rotarian David Richmond.
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.HannahHarries,ateacherfromWhaddon,hasjustcompletedayearvolunteeringwithacharitynamedNewHopeforCambodian ChildreninavillagenearPhnomPenh.ThreehundredofthechildrenattheorphanagewhereherschoolisbasedhavetestedHIV positive.“Thespiritofthechildrenhere–despiteallthehardshiptheyhavefacedlosinglovedonesandlivingdaybydaywith incurable illness – is truly inspiring,” she says.Hannah’sownstoryisnolessinspiring.AfterattendingprimaryschoolinOrwellandthenstudyingatBassingbournVillageCollege, shejoinedLattitudeGlobalVolunteering,aninternationalyouthdevelopmentcharity,andtravelledtoaremotevillageinMalawi. “Theyhadnoelectricityorrunningwaterthere,”shesays.“Wewereabletobuildaschoolfor themandIhelpedasateacher.”Fastforwardsixyears,andHannahisteachingGrade6 childreninCambodia,fromwhereshespoketousbyZoom.“ThecharityI’mnowworking forwasfoundedbyacouplecalledJohnandKathyTucker,”shesays.“Theyoriginallywentto CambodiatohelpadultswhoweredyingwithAids.Theysoonrealisedthat,astheadults died,theyoftenleftbehindchildrenwithnoonetocareforthem.Moreoftenthannot,the childrenwerealsoinfectedwiththeHIVvirus.Manyofthemwereverysickanddyingas well.” Hannah,whohastwobrothers,andwhosefatherworkedforRoystonFencingbefore retirement,stillhasstronglinkswiththeRoystonareaandshewashomelastChristmasfora family visit. “It was lovely to see them all again,” she recalls.“MymumandIplannedthewholetripinsecretandnobodyelseknewthatIwasbackin Whaddon.ShehidmeinagreatbigboxunderthetreeonChristmasmorningandwhenthe familycamedownstairs,Ijumpedout.Tosaythattheyweresurprisedisabitofan understatement!”.Visitshomeare,ofcourse,expensiveandinthepasttheRotaryClubofRoystonhavebeenabletohelp.“We werefascinatedbyHannah’sstorywhenshecametospeaktouslastyear,”saysDavidBlundell,theformerRotaryPresident.“Sheis a truly amazing young lady and we would like to do whatever we can to go on supporting her.”Thereis,however,aprobleminhercomingbackanytimesoon–likesomanyothersatthistime,thedifficultyisasaresultofthe Covid19pandemic.“IhadsetmyheartoncomingbacktotheUKtovisitthefamilythissummerbeforethestartofthenextschool year,”sheexplains.“Mybrotherandhiswife,wholiveinAmpthill,justhadalittlebabygirlnamedLaylaandIamyettomeether! Butofcourse,ahugepartofmyheartishereinCambodianowandIcan'tevenbegintoimaginenotbeingabletoreturntowork with these children. “IhavecontactedRoystonRotary,whohavebeensogenerousinthepast,inthehopethattheycanhelponceagain.Theissueis this:duetoCovid,travellinginandoutofCambodiahasbecomeverydifficult.Ifyouleavetogohome,thentore-enterCambodia asanon-citizenyouhavetopayadepositof$2,000!Thismoneyisthenreturnedifnooneonyourflighttestspositiveforthevirus. I’m trying everything I can to raise this deposit money and reaching out to everyone I know.” MartinBerry,thecurrentPresidentofRoystonRotary,said:“She’sdoinggreatworkanditwouldfantasticifwecouldhelp her reach her target. To that end, we plan to donate £350 towards her deposit money.”
Hannah with her grade 6 pupilsin Cambodia
9th August 2020 - First Rotary Walk For Months
OnSunday9thAugusttheclubembarkedonits firstwalksince8thMarch.Theturn-outwas almostembarrassinglyhigh–eighteenpeople- whichshowshowmuchwehadallmissedeach other’scompanyinspiteofourweeklymeetings onZoom.ThewalkstartedfromtheBritishQueen P.H.andloopednorththroughthevillageof Meldreth;pastthestockstotheChurch;through thefieldbehindthechurch;outontotheHigh Street,andbackalongbytheriverMeltothepigs enclosurenearthePubwherewestarted.Atthis pointacoupleofpeoplewhodidn’tfeeluptoa full5milewalk,tooktheopportunitytoduckout, whiletherestofuscarriedonalongthepathbythe river.Iwassurprisedtofindthatsomeofourpartydidn’tknowthispathexisted–includingonepersonwhoisaregularatthepub! It’saparticularlyprettypath,runningthroughwoodlandbytheriver–delightfulatanytimeofyear,itisparticularlylovelyinthe springwhenthesnowdropsandbluebellsareoutandonasunnydayintheFallwhenthegoldandyellowandbrownandredofthe trees are reflected in the river.TheMelisoneofonly210purechalkstreamsanywhereintheworld.It’sonlythreemileslongandit’ssourceisatMelbournBury. OnthisdaytheriverwasaslowasIhaveeverseenit,andit’shardtobelievethatsince1760fivepeoplehavedrownedinit–most recently someone in 1980. ThepathcrossestherailwaylineandendsontheMelbournRecreationgroundbehindtheVillageCollege.Wewalkedonthrough Melbournvillage,pastMelbournBury(whereweprobablyshouldhave,butdidn’t,takeashortdetourtovisittheriver’ssource)and outontoMelbournHighStreet.WewalkedouttowardstheA10andturnedrightalongBuryLanetoafootpaththatcrossestheA10 and runs back to Meldreth – coming out at Fieldgate Nurseries. This was another path that some locals didn’t know about. Itwasahotdayandeveryonewasreadyforadrinkwhenwegotbacktothepub.TheBritishQueenhadset-upahugemarqueein theirgardencompletewithanoutsidebarthatwasverywellorganisedandmanaged–everythinghadbeenarrangedtokeepusall 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
TheclubwasgivenaveryinformativetalkonAPSbyPhilGodfreyofthe SolihullRotaryClub.ThiswasdoneviathemagicofZoomatournormal virtualclubmeeting.APSisAntiphospholipidsyndromeandisapparentlynot very well known about both by the public or by many health professionals.Philexplainedhowhiswifewhowaspreviouslyaveryactiveperson succumbedtoAPSbutonlythroughaverylatediagnosiswhichbythistime hadmadeherlosetheuseofallherlimbs,andbecameconfinedtoa wheelchair.ShesadlydiedofthediseaseandPhildecidedthathismissionin lifewouldbetoraiseawarenessofAPSbywalkingthecompletelengthof Britain.Becauseofmultiplemedicalmishapshewasfoiledinhisundertaking butdecidedinsteadtocircumventthecompleteBritishmainlandbytrain, meeting people to raise awareness of APS and raising some money. Phil’stalktousrecountedsomeofhisadventuresonthattripandalsopassed onsomeoftherelativelyunknownfactsaboutAPSthatmostpeopleare unaware of (click on the panel on the right to see these).ThereisanexcellentleafletonAPSwhichyoucanseehereandthewebsitefor 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.