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 BerryA 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 delightsWords 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 yearsAbout 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 Millsand 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