Club Scrapbook For The Year 2015/2016


28th June 2016:  Presidential Handover Dinner


The Presidential Handover Dinner was held in the atmospheric surroundings of the Hall at Magdalene College, Cambridge with the names and coats of arms of dozens of famous alumni such as Samuel Pepys and Thomas Cranmer above us.  The whole event was held in candlelight, there being no electric lighting the the Hall (previously the monastic refectory).

Following a champagne reception in Benson Hall (previously the Masters Dining Room) the nearly sixty Rotarians and guests were taken to the Hall where we were served with a delicious meal consisting of:

  • Seared Scallops, Butter Bean & Truffle Puree, Apple & Watercress

  • Beef Fillet, Confit Ox Cheek, Butternut Squash Puree, Burnt Shallots & Purple Broccoli

  • Orange Blossom Panna Cotta, Mint Oil, Puffed Wild Rice, Raspberries & Lemon Balm

  • Coffee & Chocolates

(with an appropriate vegetarian alternative)


Following the meal President David Williams gave a short address and then formally handed over the chain of office to our new President for 2016/2017, Karin Weston to much applause.  President Karin in turn spoke of her plans for the year and also passed on her Vice President's chain of office to the new vice president, Graeme Dargie.


This annual event is always something to be savoured with the ladies looking beautiful in their finery by candlelight and the men in formal dress looking very distinguished, but this year your author felt was particularly memorable because of the historic atmosphere of the place.  It would be good to return there another year.


See all the photographs of the evening here, pictures courtesy of Neil Heywood.


12 June 2016:  Monthly Walk - 5 miles from Stanstead Abbotts to Ware and back via the Amwell Nature Reserve.


Walking by water is always enjoyable and our walk on 12 June was a real delight. Ten of us met at the Jolly Fisherman to set off on a quiet footpath by the New River from St Margarets to Amwell. We then joined the Lee Navigation to continue along the busy pathway to Ware, the furthest point of the walk. We then headed south on a little used track by the old river Lea. This took us to the Amwell Nature Reserve,  a little jewel.

Amwell Nature reserve is a complex of lakes, reed beds, grassland, scrub and woodland in the Lee Valley. The lakes were created by sand and gravel extraction between 1973 and 1990. The gravel pits were bought by Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust in 2006 which now manages one of the best wetland birding sites in Hertfordshire.

Our valiant walkers visited the well laid out dragonfly trail but as the morning was somewhat overcast and wet we saw only a few. As a bonus we were able to admire the field of wild orchids close to the trail. As we progressed we were able to enjoy sightings of a variety of waterfowl including a pair of Egyptian Geese with their family of eight chicks.

Back at the Jolly Fisherman we enjoyed excellent service and some really good pub lunches. We all agreed that despite having to raise our umbrellas at times the walk was a real delight. It was such a pleasure that Jennifer and I will be going there again very soon.

Words by John Kelly (walk organiser), photo by Ray Munden.


22nd May 2016:  Monthly Walk around Hertford

Some fifteen Rotarians and friends met up for the walk at Hertford with promising weather.

We started by going over Hartham common and  crossing the River Beane then up the gently rising slope of 'The Warren' to St Leonards church. This is an ancient Norman church which was restored in the 19th century, the oldest building in Hertford. We then descended back to river level passing Revels Hall a fine Grade 2 listed, mid 16 century building. Here we encountered the next river, the  Rib which. enters Hertford from the north having passed through Westmill, Standon, and Wadesmill . We then  joined the Hertfordshire Way following the River Lea Navigation as it flowed beneath the thundering A10 road. We approached the idyllic setting of the large Pharmaceutical outfit which gainfully employed several of the members of our group in days of yore. Playing fields to die for etc. After crossing the river on what Ray explained was the longest single span wooden bridge, when it was built, we came to the picturesque lock in Ware. Here we stopped to admire to scene and enjoy the parkin which Jo had made. Question: When did you last have parkin? It was delicious.

Leaving the river Lea and crossing what is usually a boggy place but luckily was dry, we risked life and limb crossing the railway. Bravely striding through the undergrowth we came to the New River which we followed to it's beginning . The building of the river was started  in 1604 to provide fresh water to London. It is  10 feet wide and several feet deep and snakes for about 42 miles to London. There was considerable opposition from the landowners along the route and only intervention from James 1 pushed it forward. He wanted London to have clean water and also an extra income for himself. People were not allowed to use the water for any of the usual purposes on its journey into London and certainly it looked sparking clean as we passed by. The New River was initially to be water from the springs of Chadwell and Amwell but records show that soon after it's completion,  water from the river Lea was also being diverted into it. This met great opposition because of the need for the shallow bottomed barges to use the river down to Ware so the uptake from the river Lea needed to be limited. This was done by a system of floats and in 1865 New Gauge House was built,  it has a system of floats and plates that limit the intake from the River Lea to twenty two and a half million gallons a day. There is a walk along the whole length of the New River starting at Islington but that's another story!

We then passed through Kings Meads a riverside flood meadow, a rich wetland habitat that is increasingly rare in Britain. Ditch restoration and a series of sluices are  gradually restoring water levels to create a rich environment for wildlife.  Ray had his binoculars out and reported on Buzzards, Redshanks and Lapwings and a duck with a red head whose name escapes me, maybe a Pochard. On the walk we also saw fluffy ducklings, signets and moorhen chicks which are such a pleasure at this time of year.

Crossing this meadow we were treated to a spectacular flying display from a dedicated mini airfield. A local model aircraft club displayed their not inconsiderable skills with up to four electric airborne high speed aircraft including a Vulcan, (performing some rather un-Vulcan-like manoeuvres). The cows below were not amused and moved sedately behind us (thankfully) into some shade.

Now on the homeward path we entered Hertford somewhat waylaid by the sight of a canal boat going through the lock. Neil put his considerable skill into action and helped open the lock gates, right man in the right place! Negotiating the canal path whilst listening out for bicycle bells and the heavy plodding of runners coming from behind was thankfully short lived, and we were led to the pub by Jim who seemed to speed up as we got closer to our destination, The Old Barge. All minor earlier confrontations with the pub were but distant memories as we settled thankfully into our seats and had a good meal.

After eating we had a pleasant meander around the grounds of Hertford castle. A site first fortified by Edward the Elder around 911. It was a motte and bailey castle with the motte still in evidence and when we saw it was covered by a mass of wild flowers. The castle was reconstructed between 1170 and 1174 including flint walls, drawbridges and gatehouses. In 1216 a French invasion besieged the castle for a month which seems quite incredible now, I mean what was the Council doing?  They now have it as their offices but the grounds are accessible to the public and make for a pleasant stroll. We then passed several McMullen's brewery buildings which are very much part of the Hertford townscape. The company was founded in 1827 and has moved within the town as it expanded.

We were very lucky to have perfect weather, lovely flowers and trees newly in leaf which made for a very pleasant walk with of course the usual excellent company.

 Words by Liz and David Beardwell, photos here by Ray Munden 

12th to 15th May 2016: Visit by our "twin" club Paray le Monial et du Charolais

This year’s arrival of our friends was a little different from usual as not all of them travelled together.  Karin hosted two ladies who arrived early in the day by train and the remaining 10 arrived later by plane in Luton.  Their flight was a little late which caused problems with teatime traffic.

The late arrival also caused some anxiety for David and Sue WIlliams who hosted a welcome party at their home in Barley. However, all arrived safely and our guests met their intended hosts and ventured off to prepare for their evening dinner hosted by other club members. A delicious evening was had by all.

On Friday morning, thirty two of us headed off to Ely for a refreshing coffee at the Almonry just close to the Cathedral. This was followed by lunch at The Ffolks Arms at Hillington near King’s Lynn .  We had a very relaxed meal there before our arrival at the Sandringham Estate. From then on it was on with the thermals and walking shoes for a trip around the house, museum and the gardens. The weather stayed dry although rather chilly in the cool Norfolk breezes. Next stop Siberia!  We arrived back in Melbourn around 6.15pm.

Friday evening was again another round of partying with various other hosts and lots of good food and drink and good fun with our guests, whilst on Saturday morning everyone planned their own  activities before meeting up at the British Queen to play for The Ashes. The weather remained fine and mild so we managed to complete all of  the challenges outdoors . After several rounds of Petanque, Jenga and Kubb along with  a few drinks and a lot of chatter, we again went our separate ways to prepare for the final evening and Celebration dinner at Barley Town House.

Starting with a glass of Fizz and a variety of canapés, we had a thoroughly good feed with more drinks and chatter followed by a welcome speech in French by President David and the reply in English by President Sophie. At the end of the meal The Ashes were surprisingly handed over to our guests who as always were very shocked but delighted to be the victors!  How do they do it ??

They treated us to their final showpiece of a little singsong ditty which originated in Paray le Monial. Much hand waving and clapping brought the evening to a close. On Sunday morning, breakfast was enjoyed at The Hub in Melbourn before departing to the airport.

It’s always a brilliantly enjoyable weekend as our French friends are such good company and full of fun despite our miserable weather.  We now await the date of our return trip in 2017 to embrace the hospitality of our wonderful Twinning club – Paray le Monial et du Chrarolais.  Sante - Cheers!

To see all the photos of the weekend click here/cliquez ici (Photos courtesy of Jacques Mariotte and Ray Munden)

7th May 2016: We Mourn for Les Baker, Member of our Club Since 2010


Sadly we record the passing of Les who had joined Royston Rotary Club in May 2010.  He was affectionately known as "Mr Royston" because of his long associations with the Town. 

Les was a journalist for many years, working in Fleet Street and later as the editor of The Royston Crow weekly paper from 2000 to 2008.  He was a Town Councillor and served as Mayor of Royston in 1995.  He also served as a councillor on North Herts District Council for six years.

Les devoted many hours to community work including events such as Royston in Bloom and Creative Royston; he was also involved with the Royston Museum and was at one time a governor of Meridian School in Royston.

At Rotary, Les was particularly keen to develop youth activities such as Youth Makes Music and Youth Speaks events.  He took responsibility for the Royston Rotary Club flag pole in the Priory Memorial Gardens in Royston.  The flag has been flown at half mast for some days as a sign of respect for Les.

Les will be sorely missed by many and our deepest sympathy goes to his wife Christine.


6th to 8th May 2016: President's Weekend to Lincoln

Our Presidential weekends have become a firm fixture in the Club's annual calendar. More than thirty members and partners have just enjoyed the latest one - in Lincolnshire, a county well known to our President David from his days in the RAF, but not so familiar to many people. So it was a revelation to see the great city of Lincoln at close quarters. To begin with there was Brayford Pool, a huge inland harbour, looking more like St Tropez in the sunshine with its classy cruisers and waterside eateries. Even better, our hotel overlooked the Pool, which was visible from most bedroom windows at the Doubletree Hilton. Turn your head the other way, and the Cathedral’s towers dominated the skyline. It was all very spectacular.

We had started our trip by visiting the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight at RAF Coningsby, where today’s Typhoon jets rub shoulders with 1940’s Hurricanes and Spitfires plus the extraordinary Lancaster, all living tributes to those who fought for us so valiantly in WW2. We toured the vast hangar housing the historic aircraft of the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight (BBMF), seeing those icons close up and in a state of partial undress. They are kept as fully airworthy as the modern jets, and that demands constant maintenance.

It was a festive dinner at our hotel in Lincoln that we enjoyed on Friday night.  We were entertained with a series of quizzes between the delicious courses with the prize of champagne going to the winning table.

Saturday was full of things to do. First, we were given a hugely educative tour of the Cathedral, a miracle of mediaeval engineering and art; then we strolled the few yards to Lincoln Castle, where more guides explained its Roman origins and often bloody history. (Castle guides do seem to enjoy a good hanging, and we learned more about execution techniques than was perhaps strictly necessary). After the tour, we wandered at will. The more energetic Rotarians climbed the walls, which offered tremendous views. The Castle also contains its own jail, dating from Georgian times, very well preserved and full of relics of its years confining unfortunate pickpockets and sheep-stealers. Those of us unfamiliar with the inside of any HMP enjoyed that greatly.

Then, on to an open-topped bus for a tour of the entire city. It was a fascinating tour, and the bus took us back to the hotel, happy and crammed with history. Our Saturday night dinner was a jolly affair. Well nearly all jolly; our special speaker, Karen, a sinister black-cloaked figure, appeared from nowhere as the coffee was served and in dimmed lighting told us stories of Lincoln’s huge population of ghosts and its many eerie manifestations. Our President was then presented with a gift – a blazer complete with the RAF crest, something David surprised us by admitting he did not possess, being a modest sort of retired officer.

We slept well, hoping no ghosts inhabited the Hilton. As usual, it took for ever to get the coach loaded on Sunday morning, so it had to wait outside the hotel for much longer than a passing parking warden thought was necessary. He had his pad out and his pencil poised to write the ticket before Alan, our driver, appeared and spoke whatever secret spell drives traffic wardens away. This one replaced his pencil and wandered off. He was not seen again, though the coach remained for another 15 minutes. (They train them well at Richmond Coaches. I must find out what that spell is; it could come in useful).  As we set off the Red Arrows performed a flyby for us - we never knew Mike had that much influence!

We paused on the way home for a tour of lovely Doddington Hall, a Tudor pile of great charm, and with excellent gardens, a farm shop, and restaurant. We patronised all departments with enthusiasm, especially the restaurant, before we set off on the last leg to Royston. The coach was a peaceful place as we tracked South, most travellers replete and dozing happily in the sunshine.

Ah, the sunshine! Lincoln was the second sunniest place in Britain on the Saturday (12.8 hours) and only Oxford and London were warmer. That was one bonus; the other was that the weekend was immaculately planned and managed. So everything was just right, and as they say, a good time was had by all. Special honours to David, for being such a good host, and a big round of applause to Mike Taylor and Ruth, who organised the whole adventure with great efficiency and enormous good humour.

See all the photos of the visit here (courtesy of Neil Heywood and Ray Munden)


2nd May 2016: Classic Vehicle Show (Part of Royston May Fayre Celebrations)

Hundreds of people came to see the historic vehicle display in Royston's Town Hall car park on Bank Holiday Monday. Proud owners brought along a huge variety of vehicles, ranging from a British Army Scorpion light tank to an iconic New York yellow cab and the most immaculately restored Rolls Royce you ever saw.  Not forgetting a great line-up of historic bikes. The show is getting to be a firm fixture in the May Fayre programme, and Royston's Mayor Ben Lewis was clearly enjoying himself when he and Club President David Williams presented trophies for the vehicles they would most like to take home - an immaculate Ford Popular (Ben) and a wonderful Chevrolet New York cab (David). What's more, the sun shone! Well done organiser Peter Homent and his team of marshals.

Prize-winners were as follows:

  • Best Motorcycle - 1962 Norton, presented by Michael Jiggins from Royston

  • Mayor's Best in Show: - 1957 Ford Poplar 105E, presented by Richard Healey from Hemel Hempstead

  • President's Best in Show - 1952 Chevrolet Fleetwood New York Taxi, presented by Gary Seeley from Cambridge

Click here to see all the pictures (photos courtesy of Neil Heywood and Peter Homent)


23rd April 2016: Visit to BBC in London

Forty or so Rotarians, spouses and visitors paid a visit to BBC Broadcasting House on 23 April. It was lucky we took this chance to see a little of the BBC behind the scenes, because from next week tours are to be abandoned, as a security measure. We were comprehensively scanned before being allowed into the building, and we could soon see why. The first thing we were shown, and maybe the most impressive, was the vast underground newsroom cum studio, the one you can see on screen behind the BBC TV newscaster. A terrorist attack on such a key site would be an international disaster. Virtually all the BBC’s news output plus weather for TV, radio and on-line, originates from this one vast space. It’s the biggest in Europe and our view (through soundproofed glass from off a gallery) allowed us to appreciate the logical layout of the many different newsdesks, as well as to spot well-known TV anchor, Gavin Esler, chatting with the journalists.

A quick divert to the famous Art Deco lobby, then it was upstairs to what used to be the Radio Theatre, where most radio panel and comedy sketch shows take place, and once the home of the likes of Billy Cotton and Jack Hilton (for those who can remember them). In use since the building was created, it retains much of its art deco glory.

Then it was off to our very own hands–on broadcasting experiences; volunteers were invited to read the news and give a weather forecast in a very authentic TV studio. Then we were shown into a radio drama studio, where more volunteers performed a short "whodunit" to the accompaniment of two small boys on sound effects duty (think creaky doors and boots crunching on gravel). It was great fun, and, as with the news broadcast, we had the fun of watching and listening to the playback afterwards.

The tour was over too soon. Back to the coach, where our long suffering Richmond’s coach driver Alan threaded through the West End traffic and along the embankment to Tower Hill and our lunch appointment at Strada, the Italian restaurant on St Katharine’s Dock. Strada had put several tables aside for us, but the kitchen still took something like an hour to produce any food, even though we had pre-ordered. Never mind, it was an opportunity to have a natter and drink some wine, and the lunch, when it came, was excellent.  After a stroll round the dock, Alan wafted us back to Royston up the M11 with traditional Richmond efficiency.

See ALL the pictures of the visit here.  Photos courtesy of Ray Munden.


10th April 2016: Monthly Walk

Our April walk took as the starting point the grounds of beautiful Anglesey Abbey, a few miles to the north east of Cambridge.  We merry band of fourteen walkers strode out in the lovely spring sunshine to explore the fenland surrounding this area.

On our way we were somewhat perplexed to find some discarded male underwear and camouflage jacket (see below) snagged up on some thorns;  we were further bemused by the rather stern sign (again, see below) with the underlined text prominent when, shortly after, we entered into Quy Fen.  Could these events be linked we wondered?

There being no persons of interest in the fen, nude or otherwise, we continued on our merry way through the quiet fields and lanes, marvelling at the sounds of the song birds (which Ray kindly identified for us) and tut-tutted at the number of trees that appeared to be damaged in some way.  And with all this to occupy us it was no wonder that we accidentally missed an important turn which took us a wee bit out of our way - the keen-eyed amongst you will probably see where this occurred from enlarging our route map below.

We covered just over 5 miles in 2 hours 30 minutes (having stopped halfway round for 10 minutes).  Arriving back at Anglesey Abbey we met up with Bryony for a thoroughly enjoyable pub lunch at the White Swan in the nearby village of Stow cum Quy.

Many thanks to Clarice for organising this month's very enjoyable walk.  Click on any of the pictures to view them larger.


(Photos courtesy of Ray Munden, route courtesy of Walkmeter & Google Maps)

13th March 2016: Monthly Walk

This month the walk was planned by Sandra and she had arranged a really great Spring ramble for us starting from the historic church at Benington in Hertfordshire.  There were seventeen walkers, a really great turnout for a misty March morning, but the weather rapidly improved as we progressed.  We were happy to welcome Steve and Sue Higginbotham to our monthly group. 

Although the ground was a bit muddy in places it didn't really hold us up - although it certainly failed to hold up Lesley who took a tumble into the mud, but gamely carried on.

We covered four and a half miles in all, in just over two hours, including a stop for a flask of coffee half way around.  The weather stayed fair and we even saw glimpses of the sun.  So nice to see young lambs and also goat kids gambolling in the fields.

We finished our walk back at Benington and settled ourselves in The Bell hostelry where we had an excellent Caribbean-themed meal.  Thanks Sandra for organising another great walk. 

Click on pictures to enlarge to full size



11th March 2016: Youth Makes Music

Everything must evolve, or it will die. The law applies to nature, but it’s true of most human activities too. If you were at this year’s Youth Makes Music, you could see that this excellent annual fixture is also evolving – not radically, but perceptibly, and for the better. Previous YMMs followed a well-worn path: School A performed a set, followed by Schools B and C, then the first schools all performed in concert, and finally there would be a big set-piece finale featuring all the singers and players. And quite wonderful it was too. But – structurally at any rate – there was just a hint of predictability. Like the Last Night of the Proms, you could be pretty sure how it would go.

This year, change was in the air. Schools have begun to join forces much more; for example, the combined schools, who used only to get together in the finale, now opened the show with a three number set. They all reappeared later to give us a spectacular ‘Ghostbusters’, and closed the show with two more numbers. Think about the logistics of this operation; that’s well over 200 singers and instrumentalists spread across eleven schools, needing to be rehearsed in six quite complex numbers, and only able to get together on the day of the concert. That they sounded as if they had been singing together for weeks is a tribute to the teaching staff and performers alike.

That wasn’t all; Roysia and Greneway Schools performed a set each as usual, but then got together very successfully in ‘Can You Hear My Voice?’, with its encouraging message about the benefits of doing singing (and much more) together. And, perhaps most originally, the youngest and oldest performers combined as Meridian School formed a backing group for the first schools in a hugely upbeat ‘Best Day of Our Lives’.

There were many clever touches; the eternal director’s problem of how to cover a scene change was solved brilliantly as 200-odd performers slowly left the stage after their first set. They were played out by a deafening all-percussion ‘Samba’ rendered in stereo by teams up in the side galleries. ‘Ghostbusters’ was played in pitch darkness, with dozens of glow-sticks dancing in the gloom. The production team had been digging deep in the creativity bin.

Musically, there was much to enjoy. My shamelessly partial list includes Ben Forrester’s lovely piano solo in ‘I Giorni’, backed sensitively by Greneway’s strings and woodwind; Roysia’s lovely ‘Ashokan Farewell’ (“a Scottish lament written by a Jewish guy from the Bronx” its composer said) and Meridian’s exquisite ‘One Hand, One Heart’, the most moving song from West Side Story, which did have me fumbling for the Kleenex. And lastly, as ever, the sheer exuberance of the first schools; every year they lift the heart with their uninhibited rendering of whatever new bits of jolly rhythmical swaying, hand-waving, stamping merriment their teachers have discovered. This cheerful playground tonality seems to get lost as they grow older, but mercifully there is always another generation of newbies ready to delight us.

Tim Penn compered with his usual suavity and charm. Oh, and there was a premiere. Craig Maddox of Greneway’s lively music and drama team wrote a new song, ‘Island’. It was lovely.

Report by Neil Heywood.  See all the photos of the day here courtesy of Ray Munden

8th March 2016: New Member Induction


Tonight we had the great pleasure in welcoming a new member, Steve Higginbotham, who has joined us from the Cambridge and Sawston Rotary Club.  Club President David Williams presented Steve with a Rotary badge and, most importantly, a smartcard for use behind the bar entitling a discount on purchases.  The picture shows the presentation by President David to Steve, looked on by District Governor Elect Derek Rothwell, who later gave us an interesting presentation on the principles which would guide his coming tenure.




3rd March 2016: Visit to the Royal Artillery Museum

A group of our Rotarians visited 'Firepower', the Royal Artillery museum on the site of Woolwich Arsenal. We were treated to a tour personally conducted by the Museum's Curator Mark Smith and were shown ordinance from the 15th century up to WW2, and learned many things such as why a gun's barrel is so called (early ones were made by coopers). The museum's display of medals is unequalled, and Mark gave us many stirring stories of the heroes behind the medals.

Sadly, Firepower is to close in July and the contents will go into storage until a new exhibition centre on Salisbury Plain (!) is opened - perhaps by 2020, but don't hold your breath. An inspiring visit, with a sad ending. If you haven't been, go while you still can.

Click on any of the thumbnail pictures (below) to see it enlarged.


24th February 2016: Bowls Evening at Thriplow

A reminder of a fine evening in February when the Club turned out at Thriplow Village Hall for an evening of bowls. An amazing display of athletic prowess and dexterity from members and partners, and a great supper too from the team in the kitchen.

Pictures courtesy of Neil Heywood (Click on any picture to see it enlarged)



14th February 2016: Monthly Walk - Hampstead Heath

‘Appy ‘Ampstead

Martin Berry, whose job it was to organise our walk in February, decided it was time to have a change from the usual Hertfordshire winter mud-fest. Instead, he took us to Hampstead, a lovely district of North London, and a place full of both urban and rural delights. We set forth from Royston on an early and unusually full train. Arsenal had a Sunday match, and the hundreds of supporters who got off with us at Finsbury Park were a cheerful and well mannered lot. Then down onto the Northern Line, where Rtn Heywood caused the train to stop by getting his jacket caught in the sliding door.


Finally we were in Hampstead, and Martin and Jo led us off on a complex tour along many narrow alleys and pathways (we called them snickets in Yorkshire) which showed us that Hampstead is still very much a village - albeit a rather grand one, with plenty to admire - splendid Georgian terraces, Restoration mansions, and haunted pubs. The place has a Bohemian and rather raffish air, and lots of actors and artists (the rich and successful ones) live there - blue plaques abound, and Michael Gambon was spotted in the tube station. We visited the parish church, and viewed Constable’s grave, and that of John Harrison, who built the first successful marine chronometer.




After a couple of miles, we turned onto the Heath. There was a bitter wind, but the place was full of dog walkers, joggers, and families out for a stroll; a lively and interesting scene. There were also some fine views over London. Back on pavements, we took a break for coffee at Fenton House. Inexplicably, we shivered in a courtyard outside the house while we waited for our drinks. That’s except for Kash and Jo Berry.  They had opted to miss out the Heath segment, Kash’s shoes being more suited to urban pavements than muddy paths. It appears that they promptly took refuge an hour early in the Pizza Express reserved for our lunch, and sat there drinking coffee and what looked very much like champagne until the muddy contingent arrived. Not really the Rotary spirit chaps, but it was a very cold day! Our pizzas were very welcome, although we had only walked 3.5 miles.

Hampstead was well worth the visit, hugely picturesque, and full of interest. We ought to go back in the summer.

See all the pictures here (photos courtesy of Ray Munden)

3rd February 2016: Technology Tournament

The annual Technology Tournament was held at the Cambridge Motel and a total of twenty teams (including one teacher's team) from six different schools took part.  The task set this year for all the teams was fiendish - and that was just for the Foundation Teams, the advanced task for the senior teams was doubly so.  For each team their tasks were assessed for their planning, their design analysis, the design development and their construction skills (including final testing).

Since this is a nationally organised task set by the Rotary Clubs of Britain and Ireland it is inappropriate to publicly state what exactly the task was because many of the other Rotary clubs around the country will not yet have staged their tournament.  Sufficient to say that the complexity of the task and the inventiveness that needed to go into the solution was well up to the normal standards.

The winners of the Johnson Matthey Trophy for The Most Innovative Design overall was the team Meridian 3 (from Meridian School, Royston) with a total of 96 points out of a possible 100.  The winners of the advanced task was Freman Seniors 1 (from Freman College, Buntingford) with 74 points out of 100.

We are grateful for the support of Johnson Matthey,  the TTP Group, NCPI Solutions and Hertfordshire County Council.  Also the days events would not have been possible without the help on the day of many Rotarians from the club under the watchful gaze of Brian Whittaker (organiser), David Richmond (chief judge) and Mike Taylor (design tester). Special thanks to Di Charles for all her organisation and preparation behind the scenes.

To see a photo gallery of activities during the day click here (photos courtesy of Ray Munden)



26th January 2016: Burns Night Supper

It's a few years since we did a proper Burns Night, but thanks to our one indisputably Hibernian member, Graeme Dargie, the club got thoroughly in the mood.. The haggis was excellent,. the cranachan a revelation, and the whisky finished it off wonderfully. Graeme proposed the toast to the "Immortal Memory", Phil Martin proposed the toast to the ladies, and Clarice responded with grace and wit. Piper Andy McLuskie entertained with bagpipes and guitar, and a good time was had by all, as they say. It would be fun to do it again next year.

See pictures of the Burns Night Supper here


9th January 2016: Annual Quiz

The club held it's annual quiz at Greneway School, Royston.  There were 130 participants spread over 19 different teams, each team determined to answer every question correctly.  Alas, this was not to be, quizmaster Phillip Martin had once again set us some fiendish questions that really taxed the brain.  There were ten rounds of ten questions and each team had the option of using a "joker" for a nominated round (which would double the score for the team on that round) so it needed choosing with care

Halfway through we had earned a well deserved meal break which allowed everyone to refresh and replenish their brain cells.  The bar was kept busy throughout the evening under the care of the two Peters (Mitton and Ross).  Iris managed the sale of raffle tickets with her usual friendly persuasion.

The winning team was "The Dark Horses" for the second year running.  Congratulations to them.

The result of the evening was a that nearly £900 was raised, a very gratifying outcome.  President David Williams announced that this sum would be supplemented by Rotary funds to contribute a four figure sum to the flood relief efforts in the north of England.

A great evening was enjoyed by all.  Grateful thanks to the organiser Graeme Dargie and his team of helpers.


Throughout December 2015

The club helped Father Christmas with his visits to Bury Lane Farm shop where he was ably helped by Josie the Elf .  At times Father Christmas was very busy, at other times just left to the mercy of a very tickling beard.  There were some lovely highlights with children serenading Father Christmas with songs such as Jingle Bells and Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer and in general the delight of seeing children’s excitement in meeting Father Christmas.  A few of the children even sat on Father Christmas’ lap and posed for photos

Father Christmas obviously enjoyed himself and pleasingly £550 was raised for charity. And even more, we provided a service to the community and made lots of children very happy.

Full marks to Ray Munden for organising all the visits by Father Christmas and to all the male Rotarians who helped make Santa feel at home!



15th December 2015: Christmas Dinner

About ninety Rotarians with partners and guests, all scrubbed up and wearing their best outfits, descended on  the delightful South Farm event venue at the village of Shingay for our annual Christmas dinner.  The service and food was outstanding and we were thoroughly spoiled by the staff so that a fun evening was enjoyed by all.  During the evening we were entertained between courses to Christmas-themed songs by the outstanding voice of our guest singer Holly Rose.. 

A cheque for £2,200 from the Club was presented by President David Williams to Dr Peter Gough who accepted it on behalf of Khandel Light, our nominated international charity for this year, working with vulnerable and disadvantaged families in Khandel and its surrounding villages in Rajasthan.

A further cheque for £6,000 from the Club was presented by President David to Mrs Megs Wilson who accepted it on behalf of the Willow Foundation which is the President's nominated charity for this year.  Megs and her husband Bob Wilson founded Willow, now a national charity, in memory of their daughter Anna. Willow brings special days to the seriously ill young people. Later we were entertained by a series of amusing anecdotes by Bob Wilson, recalling his long association as a player with Arsenal Football Club and his later career as a television sporting pundit. 

With the meal and presentations over many attendees took advantage of a further session of jazz and easy listening songs delightfully sung by Holly enabling all who cared to, to dance.  A great evening and a special thank you to Karin Weston for organising everything so carefully and making it such a success.

You can see all the photographs of the event here   (courtesy of Ray Munden)


6th December - Monthly Walk


Most of those on December's Sunday walk had also been celebrating somewhat chez Easthope the previous evening, but they looked surprisingly sprightly nevertheless. The route, set by Jonathan Berks, was a figure of 8 around the RSPB Fowlmere nature reserve. The conspicuous lack of birds was more than compensated for by the appearance of Lyn Berks at the half way point with supplies of mulled wine and a big box of her wonderful mince pies. Having enthusiastically replaced our lost calories, we waddled on and finally enjoyed a wonderful soup and rolls lunch at Jonathan and Lyn's home. Thanks to both of them, and special greetings to Polly Hardy, whose smiling face was there with Lyn to welcome us to lunch.



5th December - Santa makes a surprise visit to Thriplow

Many club members enjoyed a Christmas themed social evening at David and Pat Easthope's Thriplow home on Saturday night, and after some of us had consumed maybe just a bit too much, guess what - Santa himself appeared! He gave everyone a present, too - except for poor David, who unaccountably disappeared during Santa's visit. Special thanks to the Easthopes, the Social Committee, and the several Rotarian spouses who contributed some amazing food (ace ice cream bombe, David!)



5th December - Decoration of Three Christmas Trees for St George's Nursing Home

A group of six Rotarians erected three large Christmas Trees at St George's Nursing Home, Royston, this morning.  We were warmly received by the residents and staff and provided with delicious mince pies and warm mulled wine as we set about putting up and decorating the trees.  Once the trees were decorated and lit up it transformed the building with a sense of the impending Christmas festivities.  This is the fourth year running that Royston Rotary Club has decorated St Georges's, previously we had decorated the wards of the Royston Hospital until the regrettable closure of the in-patient facilities there.


30th November - Christmas Tree for Richard Cox House


We were warmly welcomed by Richard Cox House this morning when we put up the Christmas Tree in their day care lounge.  Four Rotarians assisted in the decorations along with one of the day care visitors.   It was a lovely party atmosphere with background carols, mince pies and sherry and we were able to have some time to chat to all those present.  A big thank you to all who helped and a special thank you to Bryony for organising.




18th November "Youth Speaks" Event


Following on from the “Youth Speaks” event for children in Year 4 (held on 11th November), we held a further event on 18th November for children in Year’s 5,6,7 & 8.  Four schools took part this year: Edwinstree, Roysia, Greneway and, for the first time, St Mary’s RC Primary School.

Forty six children from these schools spoke on nineteen subjects – all very interesting and entertaining, and certificates were presented to all participants by our President Mr David Williams OBE.

This event was held at Greneway Middle School and we are greatly indebted to Mrs Laura Rawlings (Head Teacher), for allowing us to use her excellent facilities, and to Martin Berry for organising. 


To see sample pictures of the event and the list of topics and speakers Click Here

11th November Junior "Youth Speaks" Event

The 18th annual ‘Youth Speaks’ event for Year 4 Students was held at Studland’s Rise School on Wednesday 11th November. This event gives young people the opportunity to speak on a subject of their choice to an audience of parents, family members, Teachers, fellow students and members of the Rotary Club of Royston.
This year we were delighted to have forty four speakers from seven local schools namely: Icknield Walk First School, Barley & Barkway First Schools, Studlands Rise First School, Tannery Drift First School, Therfield First School and for the first time in very many years, St Mary’s RC Primary School.  

The children spoke on a wide range of subjects, all very interesting and informative.  All the speakers were presented with a certificate to commemorate their participation by the Vice-President of Royston Rotary Karin Weston.

We are very grateful to Mrs Alison Doke, Head Teacher of Studland’s Rise School, for hosting the event, and to Martin Berry for organising.

To see sample pictures of the event and the list of topics and speakers Click Here


18th October 2015: Annual Swimathon

This was a very well attended event this year with a total of 86 swimmers in 16 teams.  They covered an impressive 1,743 length of the pool between them and in the process raised in excess of £5000, a really excellent result.  We hope to increase this figure significantly once gift aid has been added.  Half of the sponsorship money raised will be returned to the various participating organisation for their own charities or projects; the balance will be added to the Rotary Trust Fund account for charitable purposes.

The event started around 6.15pm and continued until shortly after 9pm.  Comments received from the participants were very positive with a wish to participate next year.

Full marks to our organiser, Howard Peacock who was the driving force behind the event.

To see pictures of the event click here


22nd September 2015: Auction of Promises

Following a delightful meal with partners the regular Tuesday meeting turned into an auction of promises for the 17 or so "lots" to come under the hammer.  There was predictably brisk bidding for many of the items, ably hyped up by auctioneer Mike Taylor. 

The second highest bid item was "an evening of fun and games (including light supper and wine for 12 people)" and donated by Ray and Joan Munden which realised the magnificent sum of £150: 50% over it's estimated value!  But the top bid was for a tour of the Worshipful Company of Gunsmiths in London, kindly donated by David Izod and which raised £160.

The picture on the right shows Hazel Cooper determined to get her bid in!  In total, over £1300 was raised during the evening - a wonderful result.

To view the full list of auction items click here.  To see photos taken of the evening (courtesy of Liz Beardwell) click here


18th to 21st September 2015: Cotswold Walking Weekend


Twelve hardy souls spent the weekend of the 18th to 21st of September in a very comfortable house two miles from Stow on the Wold. The accommodation was extremely spacious , with 8 bedrooms and 6 bathrooms, with additional attractions such as table tennis & badminton court.

Friday evening was spent in a local hostelry, where we enjoyed our evening meal, giving us strength for the walks to come. The walks were planned by John and Clarice Wahlich, using their local knowledge.   Saturday was a seven and a half mile circular  walk from a village called Stanton. The lunch stop was at Snowshill, a National Trust property formerly owned by Charles Wade, who amassed an amazing collection of 22000 handmade craft objects from around the world….a truly fascinating place.  Dinner was then in-house, followed by much hilarity playing various games.

Sunday’s walk started at Naunton, and took us through the Slaughters to Bourton-on-the-Water where we had a lunch break,  returning to Naunton,  which was a total distance of 11 miles . Six managed the whole route, others dropped out when it suited them, which was the whole idea of the weekend. Dinner on that  that evening was a BBQ, followed by more games.

It was a superb weekend…...great fun…lots of laughter; everyone played their part in the house ,coupled with good walking in beautiful countryside…what more could you want? 


More photos here


18th September 2015: Blue Skies Big Band




The Royston Arts Festival got off to a cloudless start with a concert by the Blue Skies Big Band held at the Royston Methodist Church (RMC) on Friday 18th September. A capacity audience was entertained in brilliant fashion by a very professional band playing lively swing music, many of the tunes being from the 40s in honour of the 100th anniversary of the end of World War 2.     Emulating the sounds of Glen Miller, Benny Goodman, Count Basie, Ted Heath and others, the band also strayed into the 50’ and 60’s with Herb Alpert and his Tijuana Brass.  Individual items included performances by talented soloists and vocalist.     All received loud and enthusiastic applause.


The audience clearly loved the performance and there were enormous smiles and foot tapping aplenty.  The concert, another successful collaboration between the Royston Methodist Church and the Rotary Club of Royston as part of the Royston Arts festival week, raised funds for the Church and for the Garden House Hospice.  In all the Garden House Hospice, which is celebrating its 25th anniversary, will receive £565 (plus about £35 in gift aid) and the RMC around £365.


16th August 2015: Monthly Walk



Annual holidays and illness seemed to have reduced the numbers walking this month.  However, five people managed to do the 5.5 mile walk from Great Offley in a circular route back to the Red Lion pub in that village.  Two more (slightly crocked) members managed the shorter walk of 1.6 miles and joined the main party for lunch along with Annette for a very enjoyable and leisurely meal.

No picture available beforehand I'm afraid but photo shows the five hardy trailblazers at the end of their walk.

Many thanks to John Kelly for organising the walk through this very pleasant Chiltern countryside.


9th August 2015: Summer Barbecue


The annual barbecue was held at Mike Taylor's house in beautiful summer weather.  The event was very well attended by both club members and their partners, and food and drink was available in abundance. 

Mike and his team slogged away cooking at the barbecue with their usual flair whilst the ladies had brought along an array of mouth watering sweets to eat.

It was so pleasant to sit in the sunshine eating and chatting plus looking out for the trout and other fish which occasionally swim along the chalk stream which runs through the garden.  (Should've brought a net along!).


See more pictures here



4th August 2015: Ruby Wedding Celebration Dinner


This was a very special year for two of our Rotarians, Neil & Annette Guttridge and Ray & Joan Munden. Both were celebrating their ruby weddings within a few weeks of each other and they very generously invited all the remaining Club Rotarians to a special celebration dinner which proved to be a roaring success. 

A special cake had been baked and iced for the two couples showing their respective wedding days in 1975, as shown, 

The evening also raised a sum of money for Polio Plus.

See pictures of the event here





2nd August 2015: Kite Festival

THOUSANDS of people turned out for this year’s Charity Kite Festival on Sunday – and helped raise an estimated £7,250 for charity.  Rotary vice-president and event organiser Karin Weston said: “I think we can say that it was another successful year for the event. “We certainly attracted the usual large crowd who, I believe, appreciated all of the displays and helped so much in raising funds for charity.”  Karin Weston added: “The event lived up to expectations and we had the weather on our side.”

All the proceeds from the gate receipts will be donated to president David Williams’s charity of the year, the Willow Foundation.  This charity was set-up by ex-Arsenal and Scotland international goalkeeper Bob Wilson and his wife Megs Wilson after their 31-year old daughter died from cancer.  It provides special days out for seriously ill young adults. The rest of money raised by the Rotary Club of Royston will be distributed a number of the charities its supports. Rotary over the past 10 years has raised almost £50,000 for charities from the kite festival. 

The event, itself, held on Therfield Heath included a precision display from Team Spectrum’s Brian Wright and his son Carl, the drama of the Royston Power Kites and the skill of Indian Fighting Kites. Outside the arena there were morel that 50 stalls – mostly representing local community groups and charities.  On display, too, was a Rotary Shelter Box, which is used to provide vital shelter and equipment in disaster areas around the world.

 During the day the Royston Lions Club ran a children’s kite-making competition which was judged by Councillor Ben Lewis, the Mayor of Royston, Councillor John Booth, the vice-chairman of North Herts District Council, Chris Cawdell, the president of the Lions Club, and Mr Williams.  The winner was nine-year-old Neve Church, from Stotfold.

See pictures here (Photos courtesy of Ray Munden & Neil Heywood)


19th July 2015: President's Hello



Although the weather forecast wasn't very promising it turned in to a beautiful afternoon for the president's traditional "Hello" in his beautiful garden in Barley.



Click here to see photos of the event (Photos courtesy of Howard Peacock)




30th June 2015: Presidential Handover at Sidney Sussex College

Some 50 Rotarians and partners met for dinner in the delightful surroundings of Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge for the annual presidential handover.  We all gathered for a reception in the Fellows Garden in what was a gloriously warm evening, and were called in to the main dining room for the formal meal at 8pm.

Following an excellent dinner with copious amounts of wine, an address was given by outgoing president, Clarice, who has been the Club's first lady president.  She said that how much she had enjoyed her year and particularly thanked her husband John for his unstinting support throughout the year.

After the handing over of the chain of office, the incoming president David said how much he was looking forward to the challenges of the coming year.  He was then presented with (a newly introduced custom) a hat, suitably covered in items representing the new President's interests of golf and flying!

A bouquet of flowers was presented to Past President Clarice by President David (pictured).  The Vice President's chain of office was passed on to our new Vice President for the year, Karin.

Click here for some more photos of the evening