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

Scrapbook For The Rotary Year 2019/2020

President’s Charity

25th June - Presidential Handover
Once again this annual event was held at Madingley Hall, a fine Jacobean mansion owned and run by Cambridge University. Over sixty Rotarians, partners and guests dressed up in their finest for the event and were all provided with a glass of bubbly on arrival in one of the upstairs reception rooms. All too soon dinner was announced and we trooped down to the main dining room to find our respective places on the seating plan. Although we had all pre-ordered our meals some time ago from the provided menu this year, your writer had had initial doubts about his choice but unnecessarily as it turned out, the food was absolutely superb. Once the meal was out of the way and the coffee served President David rose to conduct the first part of the formal handover. After a short speech which included thanking everybody for their help in the last year he made particular mention of the enormous help he had received from the outgoing secretary (Neil Guttridge) and the continuing club treasurer (David Smyth). President David also presented a bouquet of flowers to his wife Diane for all her help and support over the past year. The presidential chain(s) of office were duly passed over to the incoming president Martin Berry A series of handovers were then made to the incoming vice president (Nichola Day), the incoming junior vice president (Mike Day) and the outgoing president (David Blundell). A “Best PR Campaign special award was made by the incoming assistant governor Karin Weston to Di Charles on behalf of District 1260 in the form of an engraved shield, for the excellent work she produces for our monthly Rotarian magazine. Incoming president Martin made an amusing address in which he expressed his total confidence in his team of club officers for the coming year and hoped that with such an excellent team in play he would be able to take some well earned time off! He proceeded to make a special award to outgoing president David in the form of an engraved spade as an acknowledgement to David’s comments at the start of his year that “what you put in to Rotary you get back in spades!” Vice president Nichola stood up and expressed the club’s admiration for Rotarian Karin Weston who is shortly to become an assistant governor for District 1260. The applause was well deserved. The formal part of the evening being over diners were able to mingle and chat for a while before eventually setting off home. A most enjoyable evening. Words by Tony Briar, Pictures by Neil Heywood. Click here to see all photos of the event
30th June - President’s Hello
A lovely summer’s afternoon brought over forty Rotarians, partners and guests to the village of Meldreth to be welcomed by President Martin and partner Josephine into their lovely garden. A great deal of trouble had obviously been taken to erect several sails between trees at the end of the garden. These sails were intended to provide shade for the guests, but they did more than that in the gusty winds they billowed and snapped and left some people nervously wondering if they might be caught up in them and carried away! A President’s Hello is an annual tradition of our club and enables a newly-elected president and partner to host a social occasion in which to welcome members to their home. Today we were welcomed with a glass of bubbly and the chance to enjoy one or two enormous strawberries with it. There was a tremendous cold buffet laid on in the vast kitchen followed by a range of enticing desserts and cheeses. Out also came some chocolate mousse and, I’m told, Josephine is a real whizz at these and guards the recipe closely. After three and a half hours of friendly conversation and banter plus eating and drinking, we reluctantly said our thanks and farewells. So thank you Martin and Josephine for welcoming us to your lovely garden and for all your hard work. Thank you also to the social committee for their support, and a huge thank you to the Freewheelers for all your mouthwatering culinary delights Words by Tony Briar, pictures by Tony Briar, Ray Munden and Neil Heywood. To see all the photos of the event click here
4th August - Annual Charity Kite Festival and Historic Vehicle Show
Rotarians were on a high on Sunday, when over 5,000 people came to the 2019 Royston Kite Festival which took to the air again over Therfield Heath. The day was "a roaring success" said Royston Rotarian Ray Munden, who managed this year's event. "Everything seemed to work in our favour this year," he said. "The weather was warm, but not too hot, a good breeze pleased the kite fliers, the historic vehicles sparkled, and of course Royston families turned out in strength to support the show." The teddy bear parachute drop sessions proved to be as popular as ever with youngsters queuing up to give their treasured friends a fur-raising experience! The space round the arena was filled with family groups, many with picnics, and there were more traders and community organisation stalls than ever. Ray said: "It's become a real community event, which is what Rotary is all about. It's wonderful that the festival raises money for charity , but it's just as important that we bring our local community together on this unique day out." The car that won the cup in the Historic Vehicle Show was a 1935 Austin Chalfont 6/18 owned by Mr & Mrs John Ives. This vehicle is totally original and unrestored having spent most of its life in a museum. It has a one-off bespoke interior and was originally commissioned by an unknown person of royal blood, hence the interior privacy screens. Originally 10 were bodied like this of which 6 remain worldwide mainly in museums. John acquired the car last year and prior to his ownership it had only enjoyed 4 outings in the previous 14 years About 5,000 people came to the Festival, and although the full accounts won't be ready for some days, Rotarians are sure that there will be a healthy surplus to benefit president Martin Berry's chosen charity, the Sick Children's Trust. Ray paid tribute to the hard work of the many Rotarians whose effort and commitment made the day a success. "It's an amazing piece of teamwork, and it shows that when we all pull together, we can do amazing things," he said. Words by Neil Heywood. To see the complete album of photos of the event click here.
There were fourteen walkers this month who assembled at Ashwell’s oldest pub, the Rose and Crown. Everyone having arrived we set off early on a route that took us along Back Lane in the village and then very quickly on to open land for a mile and a quarter gentle (for some) climb until we had a magnificent view over the countryside which took in many distant sights in both Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire. After some gentle flat walking on established paths we descended into the little hamlet of Hinxworth where we stopped to admire the (reputably haunted) medieval 14th century Hinxworth Place. This protected building is evidently constructed with clunch (a chalky stone once extensively quarried in this area) with infilling of loose flint. The larger part of the building is currently owned by the rather famous sculptor John William Mills and we admired some of his works which we could see in the garden. Shortly after this we stopped for a well earned coffee break before continuing on through clearly marked tracks back in the direction of Ashwell church steeple (also called a Hertfordshire Spike) which we could see far away in the distance. After traversing fields of corn, farm tracks and minor country lanes we soon found ourselves back at Ashwell village, straight opposite the Rose and Crown. A welcome sight after 5½ miles! We were joined for lunch by Jim, Phillip and Ruth. Despite the pub having lost their chef that morning with only half an hour’s notice, the meals were both tasty and timely; and the beer tasted particularly good after the walk! A big thank you to Neil for organising the walk and lunch. Words by Tony Briar, photos courtesy of Bryony
11th August - Monthly Walk
18th August - Garden Party
A great turnout for the August social event of this Rotary year. Members and their partners descended on Mike and Nichola’s lovely garden near Saffron Walden for a leisurely garden party. This was a great occasion to catch up with friends for a good old chin-wag and, any lull in the conversations was quickly filled by the antics of the pet kittens and chickens who were just as interested in seeing who all these visitors were. A well stocked bar and a really good spread was laid on by the Sports and Social committee and their army of helpers. There was plenty of food to go round and many took the opportunity for second helpings! A few games were set out for those wishing to try out their skills, with petanque in the gravelled forecourt of the house to croquet on the back lawn. There was another more fiendish looking game involving tossing wooden bricks (or something) - this scribe couldn’t quite grasp the rules and I suspect Phillip might have been making them up “on the hoof”! Grateful thanks to Mike and Nichola for hosting this event and putting up with us all, and to the Social Committee for organising it. Particular thanks also must go to the ladies who put on such a delicious range of dishes. Words and picture by Tony Briar. (Click on any of the images to enlarge)
8th September - Monthly Walk
An elite little group of seven enjoyed an approximate five mile stroll under a slightly cloudy blue sky and in much cooler temperatures than our last outing. Not sure of the distance as every watch/Fitbit said something different! The group photo was a bit of a challenge so take a look at both of them and decide ‘Where’s Wally Now? Or should I say Where’s Jonathan / Peter M Now?? I confess to being the guilty photographer who is still to conquer the wonderful art of Selfies. Autumn is indeed here and we dressed for the season in warmer gear. As advised, no shorts were worn as we did meet up with several long sections of nettles and thistles along the way. Leaving cars at The Royal Oak in Barrington we took a gentle walk from the village green down to the start of the River Walk along the River Cam or Rhee ( both rivers join somewhere near this point) into woodlands. Lots of tripping and stumbling from everyone finally brought us out onto the Malton Road and into the edge of the village of Meldreth. A short walk along the road brought us into Shepreth and over the bridge to the Shepreth L Moor Nature Reserve. Not too surprisingly, it’s called The L Moor because as you might have guessed it is L shaped! Under the railway bridge and out into Shepreth village we passed the old water mill house and crossed over the bridge to walk along the lane behind Willers Mill Park Zoo. Peering through the mesh fencing, we took quite a while to try and identify the animal we could see. A large brown hairy creature with large white sticky out ears, four legs and a very aloof expression had us all baffled. Maybe someone might take a trip back there only this time on the inside to find out and put us out of our misery as we had no idea what it was. Across a few more grassy areas and over the last bridge we entered Barrington opposite the village green where a cricket match was in progress. Despite the temptation for the cricket fans and old timer cricketers among us to stay and watch, we turned left and headed straight back to the Royal Oak as we were all really quite peckish and thirsty by then. Two of the team had a quick drink then headed off to catch a train, but the rest of us enjoyed a roast dinner with a good laugh and plenty of chatter in the sunny conservatory before finally making our way home and once again, a well earned feet up. A very pleasant, undemanding walk in happy friendly company…what could be better on a beautiful Sunday Morning? Lyn Berks
21st September - Concert by Cambridge Clarinet Choir
Garden House Hospice has benefited from a charity concert. Part of the Fringe programme within the Royston Arts Festival, it was sponsored jointly by the Methodist Church and Royston’s Rotary Club, which enabled Rotary to donate their share, £400, to Garden House. Stars of the show were Cambridge Clarinet Choir, an amateur group conducted by Andrew Webster. They entertained an enthusiastic audience at the Methodist Church on 21 September. A varied programme featured music of many genres, from American song book classics to Gustav Holst and Granados, all faultlessly performed by the 12 performers - or rather 13, as conductor Andrew Webster also had two solo spots to demonstrate his remarkable virtuosity. Andrew’s stellar CV includes Glyndebourne and guest Principal Clarinet with all major UK symphony orchestras. All of which may explain the musicality and precision achieved by the Clarinet Choir under his baton. The choir’s other solo spot was awarded to Chris Earnshaw, whose gruff but agile contra-alto clarinet featured in SaenSain’s ‘Elephant’ from Carnival of the Animals. Anne Bannister’s expert team of Rotarians ensured that the capacity audience was well refreshed during the interval. We’d like to record our special gratitude to Andrew Webb and the members of the Clarinet Choir, who generously charged no fee for appearing, thus enabling the Methodist Church and Garden House Hospice to benefit from the concert. Story by Neil Heywood.
4th to 7th October - Walking Weekend
Twenty Rotarians, partners and guests went to north Norfolk for our club’s fifth annual walking weekend. We’d previously visited the Cotswolds and the Isle of Wight, both of them chalky and hilly places, but this year’s trip was different. “Very flat, Norfolk” said a character in Noel Coward’s ‘Private Lives’, trying to revive a flagging conversation. Indeed it was flat, but our conversation never flagged. Indeed we had the jolliest of weekends. We arrived on Friday night apparently equipped for a long siege, with numerous cakes, lots of mysterious cold boxes, and a seemingly bottomless wine store. Our HQ was Brazenhall Barns, a set of converted farm buildings near Fakenham in contrast with last year’s Jacobean elegance, this venue was super-cool with a shiny and well equipped black kitchen, more switches than an airliner and lots of electronic whizzery - although even with every light switched on, it was still difficult to read a newspaper. On the first night everyone ate out, at Q’s Bistro, owned by Barbara Mitton’s niece. I arrived too late to join them, but everyone who went, and the Trip Advisor reviews, tell me it’s a smashing place. If you are in Fakenham, don’t miss it! Saturday’s walk had been planned, as usual, by John and Clarice. It involved driving a few miles to Burnham Market, where the occupants of the various cars had been instructed park in a particular place, then to rendezvous outside a certain pub a few hundred yards away. These being Rotarians, two car-loads parked up, then headed confidently off in the wrong direction. They (all right, we) covered nearly a mile wandering hopelessly round the town before finding the RV point. By this time the main body of walkers had given up and set off, leaving us remnants to straggle along in their wake, shepherded by a surprisingly good tempered President. Not the best of starts. John’s route took us out of town and we soon found ourselves entering the swampy, reedy tidal flats that separate Burnham Market from the North Sea. To our south, cows grazed on the lush grass, and so did many geese, which let us get surprisingly close to them. Ray told us they were Egyptian geese. That seemed strange, but maybe they had come for a holiday. To our north, a river meandered in great loops, then there was water and mud and reeds stretching to the sea a mile away. We noticed only a few birds, which came as a surprise. There was a Little Egret on the other side of the river, and some other birds in the shallows which Joan said were redshanks, plus a swan and few gulls, and that was it. But Ray and Joan, who generally lagged behind the party in order to check for wildlife through their binoculars, told us that they’d spotted a wondrous variety of birds. There were marsh harriers, and curlews, and lots of others, none of which had been evident to the less bird-wise members of the group. We all admired Ray and Joan’s powers of observation. It would have been difficult to miss a group of a dozen camouflage-clad persons, all with huge telescopes on tripods, peering at an unremarkable bush a few yards away. They were twitchers or birders (there’s a difference). We learned that they were observing a rare avian visitor. You’ll have to ask Ray what it was. The landscape changed and we were back on a road approaching Burnham Staithes, a village with a fine pub nemed The Hero, a.k.a. local boy Admiral Lord Nelson - they are very keen on him in these parts. Here we were served welcome pints of beer and monster doorsteps of cheese on toast and ham sandwiches, which we devoured greedily. Then, back on the road and more marshes, mud and birds for another four very agreeable miles, including brief stops at a couple of interesting and remote churches before we were back in Burnham Market. It ’s an interesting town; some of us visited a famous hat shop (a little disappointing, Sue Ross said afterwards) while others drank coffee outside the Hoste pub. It was charming to watch the picturesque inhabitants of the place going about their traditional fishermen’s tasks driving their 19 plated BMWs and Range Rovers, sipping a soy cappucino and shopping for organic hummus or Gerry Weber tops. Back at base, it was time to assault the cake mountain and drink tea, then wine and G&Ts while BBQ captains Beardwell and Higginbotham donned aprons and fired up the twin hearths outside the French windows. The cooking process lasted longer than predicted, partly because we ran out of charcoal and an expedition had to go to look for more. Luckily someone found charcoal in a petrol station, and the final results, combined with salads and nice bread, were excellent, as were the puddings many people had brought. Some more wine was drunk. Sunday morning was gloomy, and it was raining hard. Quite unsuitable for walking, unless you are named Munden or Scott. While the rest of us planned a less energetic day, Ray, Joan and Sandra set off into the gloom, determined not to be deterred by a bit of wet. There was rugby on the TV, but by mid-morning after France had defeated Tonga I joined a group which decided to visit Blickling Hall, a fine Tudor mansion not far from Cromer. The visit was instructive, though the interior is kept in semi-darkness to conserve their priceless textiles and paintings, making it difficult to distinguish a portrait of the Third Earl from that of his horse. The NT’s room guides and the restaurant staff did a fine job, but the journey home was a nightmare of seriously flooded roads. We had chosen the wettest part of England’s wettest county for our Sunday excursion, and it was a relief to see everyone get back safely. The Mundens and Sandra had returned from their walk perfectly dry, or so they told us. That evening we demolished Jonathan’s peerless chilli con carne. After dinner, John and Clarice provided a fiendish picture quiz, won by Sandra, Lyn and Jonathan. Then it was time to finish off the contents of the cellar, do the washing up, and go to bed before heading for home on Monday morning, along roads that had mercifully dried out. It was an excellent couple of days, and we owe special thanks to Peter and Barbara, for planning the event and discovering Brazenhall, to John and Clarice for planning the routes, to President Martin and Jo for hosting our planning meeting; to Jonathan and Lyn for sourcing all the barbecue food as well as cooking industrial quantities of chilli; to Steve and Sue for doing the rest of the shopping, and to everyone else who baked cakes and puddings, washed up, barbecued, made coffee, and generally co-operated in making everything go so well. Words by Neil Heywood. Click here to see all the photos of the weekend
13th October - Annual Swimathon
Sponsored swimmers completed more than 1800 lengths of the Royston Leisure Centre pool on Sunday night, and raised an estimated £3,500 in the process. Royston Rotary Club’s annual Swimathon challenges teams of up to six swimmers to raise sponsorship money by completing as many lengths as possible in 50 minutes. The funds raised are split between each team’s favourite good cause and Rotary’s chosen charity. This year the club has chosen the town’s parish church refurbishment fund, which will help repair the damage caused by last December’s disastrous fire. Fifty six swimmers in thirteen teams showed up at the Leisure Centre. They came from Royston’s Methodist Church, cubs, scouts and guides, the town’s twinning association, boys and girls from the new King James Academy, and even individual family teams. “It was a super evening” said organiser Rotarian Howard Peacock, “there was a great atmosphere with everyone from seven to seventy having a good time while raising money for some excellent causes. We’re delighted.” Words by Neil Heywood. Click here to see all photos of the Swimathon
7th November - £5,000 Donation to Sick Childrens Trust
Royston’s Rotarians have donated £5,000 to the Sick Children’s Trust for the second year running. The donation comes from the proceeds of the club’s annual Kite Festival. President, Martin Berry, had been so impressed by the charity’s work that he took the unusual step of making the award to SCT again, after the club donated the same amount last year. The Sick Children’s Trust is the charity that gives over 3,500 families with a seriously ill child in hospital a warm and comfortable place to stay when they need it most. Across England, the charity runs ten ‘Homes from Home’, two of which are located at Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge. “We think the Trust does a wonderful job, and after we learned more about their work in the past year, I thought they really merited a second award and all the club’s members thought the same” said Martin Berry as he presented the cheque to the Trust’s vice- president Patsy Glazebrook at a ceremony in Cambridge, also attended by Dr Jane Hawking.
Martin Berry presents the cheque to Patsy Glazebrook and SCT Hon Treasurer Trevor Mawby
13th November - Youth Speaks (Year 4)
Youth Speaks seeks to give our young people the chance to express themselves on a chosen topic to their parents and members of their family, their teachers, friends and watching Rotarians. It gives them the opportunity to present their ideas and experiences which is an important feature of modern-day life. This year the event was hosted by Studland Rise First School. Representatives of five Royston schools took part with thirteen different topics and by twenty three presenters on a wide range of topics. Rotarian Graeme Dargie, had previously emphasised in his opening remarks that the event wasn’t meant to be a competition. However, all the young presenters spoke confidently and were completeley unfazed by the presence of their audience. Special mention should be made about Teddy Irish from Studland Rise school, our first speaker, who spoke fluently, with great aplomb and without notes about his wide-ranging subject, “Gods”. A certificate was awarded by President Martin to every speaker at the end of the event following his complimentary remarks about the quality of the presentations. Thanks must go both to Studlands Rise head teacher Mrs Alison Rinna for hosting the event and also to Hardcastle Burton (Royston accountants & business advisers) who kindly sponsored the event.
President Martin addressing the speakers and parents
3rd November - Monthly Walk
Fifteen regulars and two guests, Susan & Richard, met at Chequers P.H. in Wrestlingworth for a delightful walk through the gently rolling countryside north to Cockayne Hatley and back. The first part of the walk took us out into open countryside under an overcast sky, but by the time we reached our coffee stop on the Clopton Way just beyond Hatley Gate, the sun had come out and we were treated to fabulous views across North Herts and East Bedfordshire. We could even see the Johnson Matthey buildings in the distance. After refreshments, we continued on to Cockayne Hatley a tiny hamlet of just a few houses in the middle of nowhere. Although very small, Cockayne Hatley has an impressive history. Originally a Saxon settlement it is mentioned in the Doomsday Book. In 1408, Sir John Cockayne bought the hamlet, and 1500 acres around it, and gave the settlement its current name. The local church, St John’s, sits out of sight a little way above the hamlet. It is a very impressive building which is out of all proportion to the community it serves. It is known for its brasses and other monuments commemorating members of the Cockayne family however we did not get to see any of them because the Church was locked when we got there. Next to the Church is a graveyard with a number of impressive headstones and monuments. One of them (see picture) commemorates William Earnest Henley and daughter, Margaret. Margaret died at the tender age of 6. J.M. Barrie was a friend of the family and it is said that Margaret inspired the character Wendy in Peter Pan. Robert Lewis Stevenson was also a friend of the Henley’s and the character Long John Silver in Treasure Island is based on William Henley who only had one leg. He lost the other one after contracting a tubercular infection. After dallying a while in the churchyard, we completed our walk back through Cockayne Hatley and on to Wrestlingworth and lunch. On the way back, Richard told us that he had worked in Cockayne Hatley as a boy. Apparently, all the fields around the hamlet were full of apple trees indeed, Richard told us that people used to come out from London by train just to see the orchards. Finally, a little known fact about Wrestlingworth. It was home to Sarah Dazley who was convicted of poisoning her second husband in 1843. She was also suspected of murdering her first husband and her infant son. She was the last person to be publicly hanged in Britain. Story by Martin Berry,
15th November - Barry Love’s Farewell
It was a sad day indeed when we said goodbye to Rotarian Barry Love who had his funeral service today at St Mary’s Church, Fowlmere. The service was well attended by his large extended family, friends from Fowlmere and beyond, and a large contingent of his fellow Rotarians. Barry had been an active member of Royston Rotary Club for many years but following a diagnosis of Myeloma (a form of cancer of the bone) and some ground-breaking experimental treatment at Addenbrookes Hospital he survived until just a few weeks ago. During his last ten years Barry continued to throw himself into club activities. In October 2013 he arranged a highly successful charity concert by the Opera Dudes where £13,500 was raised for Myeloma UK at which his consultant oncologist, Dr Jenny Craig, as well as several myeloma patients were able to attend. About 4 years ago Barry became a lot weaker and had to be admitted to a nursing home in Chesterton in Cambridge where he reluctantly settled in but remained cheerful until the end. We’ll all miss Barry with his thck bushy beard and witty repartee. Our condolences go to Betty and to all his family
Barry and Betty - Summer 2015
15th and 16th November - Children in Need Collection
The Majority of the Royston Rotary Club and many of their partners worked tirelessly over these two days to collect money for the BBC Children In Need Appeal. Most worked in two-hour shifts at both Royston High Street and the Tesco Extra supermarket, where Pudsey bear was a big draw with the kids. It was cold work (the temperature was in single figures) and the north wind howled down Royston High Street. However, neither Roystonians nor Rotarians were put off by the cold weather and a healthly collection was made in aid of this good cause. Organiser Jonathan Berks has reported that £3,900 was collected which is £600 greater than last year. A big Thank You to all volunteers and also to the people of Royston for their generosity.
4th and 7th December- Decorating Christmas Trees at Royston Nursing Homes
Once again Royston Rotarians turned up trumps for the less fortunate in the community by erecting and decorating Christmas trees at two nursing homes in Royston. On Wednesday 4th December we assembled at Richard Cox House Nursing Home on Dog Kennel Lane where we put up and decorated a single 7 foot tree in the day centre. We had a number of willing helpers to offer us advice as to the best way to decorate the tree and when it was all done we were treated with (most acceptable) glasses of sherry and some mince pies. On Saturday the 7th December a slightly larger group of Rotarians descended on St. George’s Nursing Home on Kneesworth Street to erect and decorate three 6 foot trees. Here the mood was already “Christmassy” with seasonal music playing and lots of decorations already up. After our trees were decorated we were treated to mulled wine and more delicious mince pies. LHS photo is of the tree at Richard Cox House, RHS photo is one of the St George’s trees. Thanks to Bryony for arranging and co-ordinating this annual event which brings so much cheer to all concerned.
3rd December- Induction of New Member
At our regular weekly meeting at Royston Golf Club we were delighted to welcome Jean Green as a new member to the Rotary Club of Royston. Jean has visited our club a number of times and has (apparently) not been put off too much by our behaviour. She becomes the sixth female member of the club in addition to Natalie (who is an honarary member). Kash and Ray jointly proposed Jean for membership and it was Ray who has been nominated as Jean’s mentor for the next few weeks. The picture shows President Martin (left) performing the induction ceremony for Jean with Ray looking on proudly.
8th December - Monthly Walk
As the ten of us left the south end of the lane down the side of our house (in Great Chishill) we were subjected to an extensive view of rolling countryside over which we would walk - to Shaftenhoe End, the Mill, Barley and the countryside beyond. On a sunny day it’s a beautiful sight. Unfortunately the day was a little grey but dry and a big improvement on the past December walks of rain and snow. The going under foot was good until we reached Chalky Walk where we were dodging the mud and water caused by the recent downpours. We were on our way to visit the.grave of the Naughty Nun at Little Chishill Church. You will note from the photograph that the tomb stone is built half into the wall. Stories abound as to why this is the case. The consensus is that she fell foul of somebody in the clergy and after some disagreement they came to a compromise. We left John (W) checking his geocache in the church yard. Passing through the first of four kissing gates in less than a hundred yards we were on our way to Shaftenhoe End . There are lovely views wherever you look. The owner of ’Hotel Chocolate’ lives close to the gate where we joined the lane. At the road junction we stopped briefly to admire the highly decorated letter box. These knitted decorations are a recent introduction by a charity raising money for the homeless at Christmas. See Photograph. A short walk on the road towards Great Chishill took us to a track on the left across the fields to the newly renovated Chishill Mill. Again there were extensive views to both Great Chishill on the hill and over the valley to Shaftenhoe End, Lovely view of stables and the village of Barley. The Chishill Mill is one of only four post mills in the country and the only one that has the ability to turn to keep its sails head to wind. It has recently been renovated by the village trust and in June last year was opened by Sam Smith who used to live in Great Chishill. Details of how to arrange a visit to view the mill can be found on the adjacent notice board. A short stroll up the hill took us back to our starting point to enjoy a glass of mulled wine and lunch. Words by Jim Webb, photos by both Jim Webb and John Wahlich
17th December - Christmas Dinner at Chilford Hall
On a cold December evening many Rotarians and several honoured guests set off by various means, self drive, taxi or world tour (Kash) to Chilford Hall near Linton. Sat navs safely delivered most of us in plenty of time for pre-dinner drinks before we sat down to a splendid 3 course meal. If, however, you enter an incorrect postcode into your satnav then you might be an hour late after visiting a vineyard, unfortunately too late for any tasting to be done. And so Kash and his unlucky victim, Karin, arrived while most of us were tucking into our main course. Completely unabashed they rapidly ate and soon caught up with the rest of us. The venue was delightful, a well set up and pretty marquee that was kept very warm while the food was delivered very promptly so we didn’t have some waiting ages while others eat. The staff were very efficient with the Maitre D’ hopping around anxiously to ensure that this was so. Our President didn’t bore us with a long speech (actually his short speech didn’t bore us either). It soon became apparent why as he then dashed off with Jo to take advantage of the photo booth, hopefully he will publish the results later but there is a sneak preview on the left. Thanks to Nichola for finding this lovely venue. To see more photos of the event click here. Words and photos by Ray Munden
President Martin taking advantage of the photo booth
12th January - Monthly Walk
Sixteen of us met up at the Fox and Duck in Therfield for a 5 mile walk which was extended by an extra half a mile by our leader, Sandra, to avoid walking over muddy fields. It had rained quite heavily during the night leaving a lot of surface water everywhere. We set off along the road towards Kelshall and lingered by the stone obelisk which features a number of small information panels about the village of Kelshall. Our route took us on the Hertfordshire way for some of the time and through country tracks and wooded areas. In places the tracks became very muddy and it was definitely a benefit to be wearing wellies. We arrived back at the pub just a little past our expected arrival time of 12:30 and 14 of us sat down for a very enjoyable meal. A big thank you to Sandra for organising a good walk. Text by Bryony, photos by Bryony and Ray
11th January - Annual Rotary Quiz Night
Once again this annual event was held at King James Academy lower School (Greneway School, as was) and we had a total of fourteen different teams taking part. The event was once again ably organised by Peter Ross and he was supported by an army of Roratians and their partners in the preparation and execution of the evening. The quiz consisted of ten rounds, each of different subjects and each with ten questions. Once again we had that Machivellian character Phillip Martin to both compile and call out the mainly fiendish questions. A fish and chip supper gave our poor brains a rest after five rounds and this was followed by the raffle ably organised by Barbara Mitton, Sue Ross and Di Charles (but sadly without our old stalwart Iris Newling this year, RIP). By Round 10 there was keen interest to see if team TADS could be beaten this year but sadly this was not to be. TADS romped home clear winners and having only got 16 questions wrong (allowing for the Joker round) out of one hundred How do they do it? The photo shows a representative of the TADS team receiving the winners trophy from Club President Martin Berry. A very successful evening and nearly £800 was raised for Rotary charities. Well done to all who made it possible
5th February - Technology Tournament
Glue guns were locked and loaded at the King James Academy (KJA) Senior site (Meridian to you and me) on 5 February as 18 teams from local schools KJA, Freman College and Ralph Sadler assembled for yet another test of their design and construction skills. They included a team of teachers from all three schools, and what seemed to be an encouragingly high proportion of girls. The gender ratio can’t have been much less than 50:50, including several all-girl teams, which is a Very Good Thing. Tight security still surrounds the event, so we can’t tell you the details of the task the students were set, as many other clubs still have to mount their event. Though it looked simple at first, the task had hidden problems, so not all efforts passed the critical public testing stage with flying colours. Points were awarded not only for the performance of the finished model, but for the team’s planning and teamwork, and the quality of their written proposals. This last element was the undoing for the teachers’ team; their workbook only scored two points out of a possible 20, no doubt to the secret joy of every student present. The Club fielded a fine team of judges, stewards and scorers. The judges moved from table to table, asking questions and making gentle suggestions as they went. County Councillor Fiona Hill and District Councillor Tony Hunter, for many years firm supporters of the event, came to observe. So did Andrew Bullen and Jim Gregory, our current and future District 1260 TT co- ordinators. The Club’s Graeme Dargie had a ‘watch and learn’ brief; he is to take over the event next year, succeeding our current TT guru Brian Whittaker. Finally, the scores were revealed. Freman won both Senior and Foundation prizes, and Ralph Sadleir took the Johnson Matthey Innovation Award. A clean sweep for Buntingford! But everyone went away with a certificate, and, we hope, an experience that will spark a few future careers in science and technology. Editor’s note: A great many pictures were taken by our photographer Neil Heywood; however because of privacy concerns we can only show a few innocuous ones on a public facing website such as this. Main text by Neil Heywood.
President Martin Addresses the event
Some of the Judges, stewards and scorers look on
Mill Road in Cambridge has always been a surprising place, so it was fitting that the city’s first purpose-built mosque should be located there, and that the building itself is full of surprises. A group of Rotarians and their partners visited for a tour in February. We were given a comprehensive tour, progressing from the Islamic garden and fountain which separates the peaceful mosque from busy Mill Road, and then after removing our shoes, into the large atrium with its impressive brick walls incorporating a Koranic verse. Finally we were led into the great prayer hall itself, with its fine calligraphic inscriptions on the walls. The building’s signature structures are its ‘trees’ the many columns of laminated spruce whose branches spread and intertwine across the ceiling in complex and pleasing patterns. There’s an evocation of King’s College Chapel’s vaulted roof, but the mosque’s trees seem more free and organic, creating the illusion of walking through an immense forest. If you’ve been here, you might also be reminded of the branched columns of Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia in Barcelona. Sustainability and respect for the environment is the guiding principle of the whole place. There’s no minaret, for example, the dome is modestly proportioned, and the roofline echoes that of surrounding buildings. The bricks which face the timber structure are the familiar Cambridge gaults. It’s all, our guide told us, because the mosque’s designers wished to be good neighbours, blending into, rather than dominating the neighbourhood. As you might expect, the site is also close to carbon-neutral. Heating and ventilation is by ground source heat pumps, grey water is harvested for WC’s and irrigation, and the roof is invisibly covered with solar panels. Our tour included a visit to the mosque’s exhibition area, where examples of Islamic scientific innovation were to be seen: there were astrolabes, a camera obscura, medical instruments, observatories and much more. Our friendly young guide was happy to answer questions, and indeed we all felt that we were welcome guests in this beautiful addition to Cambridge’s wonderful places of worship. We came away impressed and a little better informed about the ways of our neighbours, which is never a bad thing. Story and picture courtesy of Neil Heywood
6th February - Visit to Cambridge Central Mosque
8th March - Monthly Walk
Fifteen walkers gathered at The Brampton Mill pub on a fine blowy Sunday morning. It had rained in the night, the river was flowing fast and the mill wheel was turning. After placing our lunch orders we set off. There is an entrance into Hinchingbrooke Country Park (click for map) just opposite the road leading to the pub which was very convenient. We parted company with Tony who was taking the shorter (less muddy) route and headed round the main lake, along the Chestnut Avenue and up past the apiary where we paused to try the fitness equipment whilst a couple of walkers took advantage of the nearness of the toilets by the cafe. Once reassembled we skirted the wildlife lake, up through the woods and along Pine Avenue to the cafe where Tony was waiting for us. After our coffee break and being given a history lesson on the place we all headed back to the pub arriving in good time for lunch. We were extremely lucky with the weather which stayed fine until we were seated inside. The many paths around the Park varied from very muddy, under water, slippery to dry pleasant walking. Walk arranged by Bryony, who also wrote the text. Photos by Neil and Bryony