Club of Royston,Herts, UK
President: Martin Berry

Scrapbook For The Rotary Year 2020/2021

26th June 2020 - Donation to Therfield Village School
Royston Rotary Club have once again been able to support its local community with some much needed funding for Therfield First School. The small village school have been busy planning to build a small extension to their site to create an additional ‘teaching and learning space’. When the school appealed recently for funds for their project, Rotary members decided to step in. Tara McGovern, the Headteacher at Therfield, said: “The email from Rotary, was the best news I had received all week! The money is appreciated particularly under the present challenging circumstances and it will certainly help us to get our project started as soon as possible.” The school – which has 51 pupils, around half from surrounding villages and the rest from Royston – are looking forward to creating a space that can be used for larger numbers of pupils. “Our school is wonderful, but an extra learning space will make a huge difference to us. Our school is regularly over-subscribed and pupil numbers are high. We are always looking at how we can offer the very best provision possible. We have worked exceptionally hard to secure the funding necessary to bring this project to life’. The school has recently opened up to all pupils, following the extensive school closure period with currently 96% of pupils attending school on at least a part-time basis. This is a phenomenal achievement. Martin Berry, President of Royston Rotary Club, added: “I’m delighted that we have been able to make a donation. It has had to be a fairly modest amount of £300 because of a limited charity account this year as a result of having to cancel the annual Royston Kite Festival. However, we do hope we have been able to bring the school a little closer to its target.” Tara McGovern, stated that “We would like to thank everybody within the Rotary Club for their continued support to help others. They offer a shining light in times of need”.
16th July 2020 - A tribute to Rotarian Ken Charles
Ken Charles 1932 -2020 A member of the Rotary Club of Royston I have known Ken since 1972 soon after he came to Royston and was head of Greneway School. Our first meeting did not get off to a good start, as we had a difference of opinion. However this did not detract from our respect for one another and later on in 1983 he brought me into Royston Rotary Club, something for which I have always been very grateful. Ken was a very hard worker and a fantastic organiser both in our club and elsewhere, being chair of most committees over the years within the club and went on to be President in 1983 followed by District Governor in 1997 of district 1080. Ken being the only member within our club to achieve this position. A list of just a few of his other achievements over the years includes: Awarded a Paul Harris Recognition in 1997 Presented with a certificate honouring his 40 years’ service in 2018 Awarded MBE in 1986 for services to sport and education An avid supporter of young people, he introduced the following events to our Club:- o Youth Makes Music (unique to Royston Rotary) o Youth Speaks o Kids Out o Mock Interviews o Technology Tournament o Kite Festival in 1990 (estimated to have raised £100,000 since that time for charities and good causes around Royston) o Christmas Float o RYLA (Rotary Youth Leadership Awards-Rutland Water) o Children in Need (street collection in Royston) We shall all miss him. Words by Rotarian David Richmond.
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August 2020 - Donation to Hannah Harries
News has just come through of extraordinary work being done by a local young woman to help children in desperate need. Hannah Harries, a teacher from Whaddon, has just completed a year volunteering with a charity named New Hope for Cambodian Children in a village near Phnom Penh. Three hundred of the children at the orphanage where her school is based have tested HIV positive. “The spirit of the children here despite all the hardship they have faced losing loved ones and living day by day with incurable illness – is truly inspiring,” she says. Hannah’s own story is no less inspiring. After attending primary school in Orwell and then studying at Bassingbourn Village College, she joined Lattitude Global Volunteering, an international youth development charity, and travelled to a remote village in Malawi. “They had no electricity or running water there,” she says. “We were able to build a school for them and I helped as a teacher.” Fast forward six years, and Hannah is teaching Grade 6 children in Cambodia, from where she spoke to us by Zoom. “The charity I’m now working for was founded by a couple called John and Kathy Tucker,” she says. “They originally went to Cambodia to help adults who were dying with Aids. They soon realised that, as the adults died, they often left behind children with no one to care for them. More often than not, the children were also infected with the HIV virus. Many of them were very sick and dying as well.” Hannah, who has two brothers, and whose father worked for Royston Fencing before retirement, still has strong links with the Royston area and she was home last Christmas for a family visit. “It was lovely to see them all again,” she recalls. “My mum and I planned the whole trip in secret and nobody else knew that I was back in Whaddon. She hid me in a great big box under the tree on Christmas morning and when the family came downstairs, I jumped out. To say that they were surprised is a bit of an understatement!”. Visits home are, of course, expensive and in the past the Rotary Club of Royston have been able to help. “We were fascinated by Hannah’s story when she came to speak to us last year,” says David Blundell, the former Rotary President. “She is a truly amazing young lady and we would like to do whatever we can to go on supporting her.” There is, however, a problem in her coming back any time soon like so many others at this time, the difficulty is as a result of the Covid19 pandemic. “I had set my heart on coming back to the UK to visit the family this summer before the start of the next school year,” she explains. “My brother and his wife, who live in Ampthill, just had a little baby girl named Layla and I am yet to meet her! But of course, a huge part of my heart is here in Cambodia now and I can't even begin to imagine not being able to return to work with these children. “I have contacted Royston Rotary, who have been so generous in the past, in the hope that they can help once again. The issue is this: due to Covid, travelling in and out of Cambodia has become very difficult. If you leave to go home, then to re-enter Cambodia as a non-citizen you have to pay a deposit of $2,000! This money is then returned if no one on your flight tests positive for the virus. I’m trying everything I can to raise this deposit money and reaching out to everyone I know.” Martin Berry, the current President of Royston Rotary, said: “She’s doing great work and it would fantastic if we could help her reach her target. To that end, we plan to donate £350 towards her deposit money.”
Hannah with her grade 6 pupils in Cambodia
9th August 2020 - First Rotary Walk For Months
On Sunday 9th August the club embarked on its first walk since 8th March. The turn-out was almost embarrassingly high eighteen people - which shows how much we had all missed each other’s company in spite of our weekly meetings on Zoom. The walk started from the British Queen P.H. and looped north through the village of Meldreth; past the stocks to the Church; through the field behind the church; out onto the High Street, and back along by the river Mel to the pigs enclosure near the Pub where we started. At this point a couple of people who didn’t feel up to a full 5 mile walk, took the opportunity to duck out, while the rest of us carried on along the path by the river. I was surprised to find that some of our party didn’t know this path existed including one person who is a regular at the pub! It’s a particularly pretty path, running through woodland by the river delightful at any time of year, it is particularly lovely in the spring when the snowdrops and bluebells are out and on a sunny day in the Fall when the gold and yellow and brown and red of the trees are reflected in the river. The Mel is one of only 210 pure chalk streams anywhere in the world. It’s only three miles long and it’s source is at Melbourn Bury. On this day the river was as low as I have ever seen it, and it’s hard to believe that since 1760 five people have drowned in it most recently someone in 1980. The path crosses the railway line and ends on the Melbourn Recreation ground behind the Village College. We walked on through Melbourn village, past Melbourn Bury (where we probably should have, but didn’t, take a short detour to visit the river’s source) and out onto Melbourn High Street. We walked out towards the A10 and turned right along Bury Lane to a footpath that crosses the A10 and runs back to Meldreth – coming out at Fieldgate Nurseries. This was another path that some locals didn’t know about. It was a hot day and everyone was ready for a drink when we got back to the pub. The British Queen had set-up a huge marquee in their garden complete with an outside bar that was very well organised and managed everything had been arranged to keep us all safely distanced. Lunch was excellent – though not to be recommended for anyone on a diet! Words and photo by President Martin
The Rotary walkers - all properly distanced from each other!
15th September 2020 - Talk on APS Awareness
The club was given a very informative talk on APS by Phil Godfrey of the Solihull Rotary Club. This was done via the magic of Zoom at our normal virtual club meeting. APS is Antiphospholipid syndrome and is apparently not very well known about both by the public or by many health professionals. Phil explained how his wife who was previously a very active person succumbed to APS but only through a very late diagnosis which by this time had made her lose the use of all her limbs, and became confined to a wheelchair. She sadly died of the disease and Phil decided that his mission in life would be to raise awareness of APS by walking the complete length of Britain. Because of multiple medical mishaps he was foiled in his undertaking but decided instead to circumvent the complete British mainland by train, meeting people to raise awareness of APS and raising some money. Phil’s talk to us recounted some of his adventures on that trip and also passed on some of the relatively unknown facts about APS that most people are unaware of (click on the panel on the right to see these). There is an excellent leaflet on APS which you can see here and the website for APS is
13th September 2020 - Monthly Walk
A very select group of Rotarians and partners gathered on the Heath on a spectacularly beautiful Sunday morning in September. Around them hundreds of people were enjoying the late summer sunshine. Adults and children were playing sports of all sorts – football, rugby, golf – did I see some people playing hockey? Others were walking – some with dogs, others with their family and others alone. Some people were sun bathing and relaxing. It was great to see this unique space being enjoyed by so many of the good people of Royston – all socially distanced between their various bubbles. In a change to the usual format for our monthly walks, we set-off relatively late at about 11:00 and followed the Icknield way up to Therfield. Not very far as the crow flies but, being uphill all the way, it was more demanding than it looked on the map. It took about an hour to reach Therfield, which was good timing because our plan was to stop at the Fox & Duck P.H. for a drink and they don’t open until 12:00. We were very impressed by the professional way in which the pub managed their responsibilities with regard to Covid-19. We were seated outside, on socially distanced tables of three and four, and our drinks order was taken at the table and delivered to us very efficiently. Jonathan Berks very generously paid for the drinks to celebrate his 21st Birthday – which, it turns out, was sometime ago. The walk back down to Royston by exactly the same route was much easier and bit quicker. This new format – a short walk to a pub for a drink rather than a long walk to a pub for lunch – worked very well on this occasion. I don’t know if it will become our new standard.
Words and picture by President Martin
September 2020 - Virtual Balloon Race
With all our usual fund-raising projects cancelled due to Covid19 the club looked for some alternative ways to raise money for good causes. We eventually decided upon a Virtual Balloon Race which we would organise through a national provider Eco Racing ( ) after a careful selection. We chose to participate in the Schools Back race which was due to lift off from Red Square, Moscow on 14th September and last for seven days. Virtual balloons would cost £3 each. By a large majority of members, the chosen charity to receive the proceeds of the race was voted to be Home-Start (Royston, Buntingford and South Cambridgeshire) who do such good and important work with families in our community. When we contacted them they were keen to help in any way they could. We started offereing the balloons for sale in mid June and we had a bit of a publicity blitz with the local press, the village magazines and even two internet radio stations. In addition we kept up a steady (twice weekly) stream of social media posts on 26 different Facebook groups covering the surrounding area, sometimes with a video but otherwise accompanied with an eye-catching pop-art illustration with suitable words of encouragement to buy a balloon. By the lift-off date we had sold 1044 balloons in total. All the balloons lifted off exactly on time (12.00 BST) on 14th September and the majority drifted off to the north west of Moscow. After 6 hours the leading balloons were already some 60Kms away from the launch point but all purchasers were anyway able to follow the progress of their balloons on a Google Map simulation on the Eco Racing website. We noticed that a rogue cluster of balloons broke away at the start and headed in the opposite direction but evidently this behaviour was to be expected and the winners of the race were the balloons that travelled the furthest, whatever the direction they took. At the end of the seven days the leading balloon from our sales was named “MAS”, owned by Sam and having travelled some 1391 Kms and landing up over Sweden. Although his position was only 20th overall nationally and therefore not qualifying for any of the main prizes he will nevertheless receive a cheque for £100 from Eco Racing as the overall winner from amongst our sales (because we had sold over 1000 balloons) We have now received the proceeds of the race and we raised the sum of £2863.24 (including £94 donations) and, since there were no Rotary expenses, this will be available for donation to Home-Start shortly. Stop Press: The Club is to round this up to £3,000. Interestingly, we have now been contacted by seven different Rotary clubs to pick our brains about the event and are running (or expected to run) their own balloon races to raise funds. Words by Tony Briar
11th October 2020 - Monthly Walk
Ten Rotarians went on this month’s walk from Great Chishill to Chrishall, Heydon and back. We met up at Great Chishill Village Hall Car Park which was rather busy as there was a football match on. The weather was cool and overcast but there was no rain. We set off up Hall Lane then turned off at Hall Farm near which is the highest place in Cambridgeshire. John and I have done this walk many times during lockdown. We’ve watched the crops grow, ripen and be harvested then the fields ploughed. Every time we have commented on how very dry and cracked the soil was. Not on this occasion! Very heavy rain the previous evening meant that the path was a bit muddy. At the end of that footpath we turned right and followed the road round to Builden End. There are a few very nice houses here and at the end of the road there is a pleasant green footpath leading to another field. We could hear the stream running in what had been a dry ditch all summer. The hardest part of the walk came next. We had to walk up a gentle slope but the field was very muddy so our boots/wellies picked up plenty of mud. A good workout for the legs! The path follows the edge of the field and goes around the houses at Chiswick Hall. One of the houses here has an outdoor swimming pool which looked very inviting as John and I walked passed it in the summer. With the autumn chill in the air I expect the pool is now in winter hibernation. The drive from Chiswick Hall takes you to the road to Saffron Walden. We could see Chrishall church in the distance which spurred us on as that was our stopping place for coffee. We went across the road and over a splendid new bridge into the field leading to the church. The bridge was closed for a couple of years but the replacement is very sturdy. It would seem a little strange to spend so much on such a substantial bridge over a small stream ( there are other crossing places) but this route is part of the Harcamlow Way. This is a longer footpath joining Harlow and Cambridge and is shaped in a figure of eight. The gentle slope up to the church meant we had great views of the countryside as we had our coffee. We continued through the churchyard, crossed a small road and walked along a grassy path. Following footpaths we eventually turned right along a little road, with an interesting range of houses, which brought us to The Red Lion. John and I did a longer version of this walk recently and had lunch at the pub. The food was excellent. The shot of brandy which came as part of one of the desserts really set us up for the walk back in the pouring rain. Today we were too early for a drink and besides the sun was coming out so we continued the walk through the playing fields in Chrishall. A strange site awaited us as we walked by the cricket pitch. The wicket area was covered in bags of loam which had been very precisely lined up. We asked the men working on it about the pattern of bags and they said it was to ensure an even spread over the wicket. Apparently it helps the batsmen as the bounce is less erratic. Continuing on the footpaths we arrived a very quiet lane in Broadgreen. From here you can turn left or right. Left would have taken us through another ploughed field but we had already decided we’d turn right and join the grassy footpath which brings us out onto Heydon Road. A short distance on was The King William 1Vth pub. At this point some of the walkers stayed to have a drink whilst a small party continued to the end of the walk. Whilst we sat having our refreshments we could see some very dark clouds moving towards us so we set off as soon as we had finished. We walked back along the road to Great Chishill and the first drops of rain started as we reached The Old School House. John and I were home and dry but I think Martin and Jo and Jim and Sephrone may have needed to put their hoods up as they walk through Bull Meadow back to their cars. It was great to be out walking with friends and well done everyone for completing a walk of around 5 miles. Words by Clarice, Picture by Martin
22nd October 2020 - Feedback Comments About the Covid19 Pandemic
Recently, the Community Breakfast Club asked all the members what they have learned from the pandemic, so that as a community, we can all be better prepared in the future. The responses resulted in a handy checklist (see diagram on the right) which was derived from the collation of all responses. These collated results can be see here and the checklist here.. With grateful thanks to all responders including Gillian Morland (Coombes Community Centre), David Izod (Memory Café), David Allard (Ramblers, History Soc, WEA), Jackie Cotton (Home-Start) and Ray Munden (Rotary). Special thanks to Sarah Hillman for organising and collating the results.
8th and 11th November 2020 - Armistice Day Remembered
On Sunday 8th President Martin attended a service and laid a wreath at the Royston war memorial on behalf of Royston Rotary Club. He was one of a number of local groups and individuals who remembered the fallen of the two world wars and many other minor wars. On Wednesday 11th (the true Armistice Day) there was another short service held at the Royston war memorial where The Rotary Club raised the Union Flag on the flagpole in Priory Gardens. The flagpole was a gift some years ago from Royston Rotary Club to the town of Royston. A short while later a further service was held at the American war memorial in Priory Gardens where the deputy mayor of Royston laid a wreath to remember the dead of the USAF, particularly of the 91st Bomb Group, who lost their lives in WW2 flying from local airfields. On this occasion the Stars and Stripes was flown on the flagpole. At the going down of the sun, and in the morning We will remember them
Pictures courtesy of David Izod and Cllr Mark Hughes
14th December 2020 - A Tribute to Brian Whittaker
The sad passing of Brian Whittaker, leaves an enormous hole in our Royston Rotary family. In the twelve years Brian has been a member, his contribution to the Club has been immense. His extraordinary ability to link with, help and, indeed care for, so many of us, seems totally irreplaceable. Not one to self promote or indeed "hold the floor", his wide range of abilities enabled him to be very involved in wide range of tasks . These included running the Rotary generator, knowing how to erect our marquee and to acquiring and running our essential amplifying system. As well as being Club Secretary his management skills came to the fore when he took on being Chair of what must be the heaviest portfolio in our Club, the Youth Activities Committee. His success at this task led him being invited by our District to become part of the GB&I Technology Team. This and all his many other contributions led to a well deserved Paul Harris award in 2018 . Many of us, on a more personal level, will miss his caring kindness and sometimes very dry wit . A perfect Rotarian? Brian would deny that immediately, but to many of us, he came very, very close... Words by David Beardwell.
10th December 2020 - Rotary and Round Table cheer up a Child
Unfortunately even Father Christmas is not immune to the restrictions due to Covid. While he is still carrying out his tours on his float this year he is not stopping and people are asked to wave from their doorsteps or windows so that no crowds build up. However, on hearing of the plight of one 7 year old who had not been able to leave his house at all in the 9 months since the epidemic started, our Club together with The Round Table arranged for Father Christmas to give him a special wave and for a special early Christmas present to be left at his doorstep. Father Christmas also left him a letter, attached below. The child’s mother, who didn’t want to be named, said that her son had been very good and positive during isolation and was thrilled that Father Christmas hadn't forgotten him. The wave from Father Christmas and the present made him very happy and he was enthusiastically playing with his gift. She also said that he keeps reading his letter from Father Christmas, so she is very grateful to The Rotary Club, The Round Table and, of course, Father Christmas. Words by Ray Munden
15th December 2020 - Monthly Walk
Just for a change we decided to try a midweek stroll because the weekends have been very busy with families out walking and enjoying the fresh air, and rightly so. Thank goodness we did as it turned out to be the most glorious day whereas Sunday was cold, wet and windy. Sunshine and blue skies greeted us as we met at The Wandlebury Estate just outside Cambridge/Stapleford. A Baker’s Dozen met at 10am and keeping to the socially distancing rules we had a splendid wander around the estate. There is around 2,000 years of history attached to Wandlebury beginning with the Iron Age and also as a home to The Romans who built the Roman Road along its boundary line beginning in Colchester right along to Cambridge. Many human remains have been found in the grounds along with the remains of a small village in Varley’s Field. For those of you interested in finding out more, there is a very good website you can check out. It was once an 18th Century Country Estate and it has also been the home to the famous Godolphin Stables of Arabian horses. The Grade 11 Stable Blocks are now beautifully retained as private houses. In 1954 the whole estate was refurbished and the walled gardens are all currently under renovation. There are many myths and legends attached to this area. Not least the Gog Magog Hills which have attracted poets and writers from all walks of life, telling tales of giants, knights, pagans and the Greek gods - Gog and Magog. Apparently, a ghostly tale from Gervase of Tilbury in 1219 tells us that Wandlebury was once ruled by a dark night-rider who no mortal could defeat. Thankfully it was daylight so we didn’t meet up with him!! Along the route there are various viewing points on the Roman Road where, on a clear day like ours you can see Ely Cathedral. Mind you, you need a sturdy pair of binoculars like Ray Mundon’s to be able to find it. Having pointed it out, it was just about visible with the human eye. We had a thoroughly magical time together catching up on new and old news but mostly the great friendship we all experience within our amazing club. At the end of our walk, we again socially gathered to enjoy home made Mince Pies and to raise a toast with Hot Mulled wine to everyone in Rotary and Freewheelers. Wishing everyone a Very Happy Christmas and Hopes and Prayers for a very much Happier and Healthier 2021. Lyn and Jonathan Berks
Christmas 2020 - Gifts delivered to St George’s Nursing Home
Because of the risks to residents during the current Covid19 pandemic it was impossible for the Rotary Club to install the usual three Christmas trees at St George’s Nursing Home in Royston. The Community Service Committee of the club was undeterred and arranged to provide gifts for the residents instead. After many days of ordering, wrapping and labelling, every resident of St George’s was equipped with a beautiful fleece rug wrapped up in Christmas wrapping paper and labelled with each of their names, also with personalised Christmas cards. These were duly delivered to St Georges where they were placed around their own self-assembled Christmas tree (see picture on the right) Bryony recently received a thank you email from St George’s as follows
Dear Bryony and all @ Rotary Club  A huge thank you again from our Residents for the wonderful Xmas presents , we are all sure to keep snug and warm as the colder days are here now.  Please keep Safe and pop in for Tea and Cake when this is all over.  Regards  Rina Marais Activities Coordinator St Georges Nursing Home Royston
February 2021- Remembering Rotarian Captain Sir Tom Moore
The club’s joint flag officers were proud to fly the Union Flag on the Community flagpole in Royston’s Priory Gardens to recognise the recent passing of Captain Sir Tom Moore, The flag was lowered to half staff as a sign of our respect for his efforts in raising in excess of £33M for the NHS during the recent pandemic. Tom Griffin, Rotary GBI President, has previously said that Captain Tom would be greatly missed, and insisted he was the epitome of a Rotarian. Tom said: “Captain Tom was an inspiration to the whole country last year, and a ray of light in a dark time. His determination to ‘do something’ demonstrated just what anyone can do to serve their fellow humans. “I am delighted that Rotary in Great Britain and Ireland recognised Sir Tom last year in awarding him honorary membership and Paul Harris Fellowships. As a former Rotarian, Captain Tom epitomised Rotary’s motto of ‘Service Above Self’.” Last summer, the newly-knighted Captain Tom received a Paul Harris Fellowship, a recognition named after Rotary’s founder. The Fellowship was championed by Flitwick Vale Rotary Club, which is based close to the family home in Bedfordshire. And it was during that presentation ceremony that Captain Tom revealed that he had previously belonged the Rotary Club of March, Cambridgeshire, whilst working there as manager of a concrete company. The Community Flagpole was given by the Rotary Club of Royston to the Town to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the foundation of the club. It was given for the benefit of the Community. The Union Flag is flown to note national events, the British Legion Flag during the poppy collecting period, the Arts Festival flag during their annual festival and the Town Council flag for Council events and the Rotary Flag for Rotary occasions. At other times the Green Flag is flown to recognise the high standard of upkeep of the Priory Memorial Gardens. During 2020 there was a flag flying for 150 days. Many folks strolling through Priory Gardens stop to see why the flag is flying and especially to ask when we hoist it.
13th February 2021 - Our Club Supports Local Initiatives
Two local initiatives doing vital work in the pandemic to help vulnerable families and their children are to be supported by the Rotary Club of Royston. Both the Children’s Services Family Support Team in the town, and an organisation named Make Lunch Royston , will each receive a donation of £500 through the club’s Trust Fund. Rotarian Graeme Dargie, leader of the Rotary Club’s Youth Activities team, said: “We are delighted to be able to help. We know that there are families going through particularly tough times at the moment and it’s part of the role of Rotary to help the local community wherever it can.” Caromy Shannon, Lead Family Support worker, said: “We have been asked to participate in the Herts County Council Winter Grant scheme under which families we know to be struggling financially will get supermarket vouchers to help with the cost of food and other essentials . It is a new scheme initiated by Herts Children’s Services being co-ordinated through the Heads of all the Royston Schools. “Additional help from Rotary Club Royston at this time is invaluable. On behalf of the families who will benefit, I’d like to say a big thank you.” Louise Bradley, coordinator of Make Lunch Royston, said: “We have been providing free-of-charge, healthy, meals to families during school holidays for six years. Holidays can be a very difficult time for families whose children would normally receive a free, cooked meal at school. We are entirely funded by grants and donations and each holiday we receive more applications from local families asking for support. We are extremely grateful to the Royston Rotary Trust for their generous donation - their gift will help us support more families this year. Thanks again for your support! We are really very grateful! You can find more information about us at or email us on” If anyone would like to lend their support to these worthy causes, they may do so on the Rotary Club of Royston's Just Giving page at
16th February 2021 - Young Photographer Competition Results
The Young Photographer Competition is a well-established and successful event organised and promoted by Rotary in Great Britain and Ireland ( Rotary GB&I) . The Rotary Club of Royston organised the local heat for the up and coming young photographers in the Royston area and in which each entrant had to submit a portfolio of three photos on the theme of Wild Nature. Graeme Dargie, Chair of Youth Opportunities for the Rotary Club, said “we didn’t get a large number of entries but the quality made up for that. The youngsters demonstrated a really good eye for composition.” The winner in the 7 to 10 age group was Jack Kirby . One of Jack’s photos was of a dew laced cobweb with Foxton Church in the background. The judges (Keith Truman and Peter North from the Melbourn Photographic Club and Ray Munden from Royston Rotary Club) said that this was very creative with the cobweb beautifully in focus but with the church in the background being lovely and diffuse Olivia Frost won the older age group. Her photograph of a Blackbird gained significant praise for being perfectly focused and showing some good natural behaviour of the bird. A shot by Charlie Grimes of a lichen covered tree was also highly praised. It had an interesting use of colours and the out of focus trees in the background gave an eerie feel to the image. We should like to thank all the young people who took part in the competition and we commend them all for the high quality of their pictures. All of the photos entered into the competition together with the names of the photographers are set out in the album below. This photo gallery contains all the entries in the competition together with the photographer’s name and title of photo (if given). The photos will automatically step forward every 5 seconds but you can use the numbered strip at the top to select a particular photo at any time. The two winning entries (and the highly praised entry) are the first three in the album.
Two local youngsters have excelled in a competition organised by the Rotary Club of Royston. Jack Kirby , aged 10, and Olivia Frost , aged 11, were winners in the junior and intermediate categories respectively of the young photographer contest, run earlier this year. As winners, they were then entered in the next stage, run by Rotary District 1260, which covers all of Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire and Buckinghamshire. Jack’s photo, ‘Nature co-existing with Man’ a misty view of the church of St Laurence, Foxton - will now go on to the national competition , which covers the whole of Great Britain and Ireland. Jack lives in Foxton, and is a student at the local Primary School. The judges felt that his entry was ‘a very well-observed picture and one that many adults would have be proud to have taken. “You have the framing just right and a beautiful depth of field with the spider’s web pin sharp and the church thrown out of focus to provide the perfect backdrop.” While Olivia’s picture, ‘Blackbird’, did not win her category, it did receive a highly commended’ from the judges, who liked the story it told of a mother or father bird gathering food for its nestlings. They said: “You have done rather well here. The blackbird is nicely sharp and the blurred background shows that you have selected a good aperture.” Olivia, who lives in Royston, is a year 11 student at King James Academy. Graeme Dargie, chair of Royston Rotary Club’s youth activities committee, said “we were very impressed with the quality of all the entries we received to our competition, which can be seen on our web-site; and we are delighted that Jack and Olivia both did so well in the district competition. We wish Jack good luck in the national competition.”
30th April 2021 - Local Successes in the Rotary Photographic Competition
9th May 2021 - Monthly Walk
Our last walk was in December when we were at Wandlebury and Lyn and Jonathan supplied us with mulled wine and mince pies. Little did we know how long we’d have to wait to have a Sunday walk again. Our first walk of the year attracted 18 walkers including neighbours of Lyn and Jonathan. We met in the Barkway, Recreation Ground car park for a walk to Newsells village and back. We began walking along the footpath to the side of the Social Club turning right into a field until we came to a gate. In the distance we could see an obelisk and John gave us the first of several bits of historical information. The obelisk was erected by Sir Hugh Rose, later Lord Strathnairn, in memory of his favourite charger, which had carried him well during the Indian Mutiny. It was built in the late 18th century and stands about 15m tall. It is a grade 2 listed building. Of course everyone wanted to know the name of the charger but this wasn’t known. The path took us downhill and onto the Newsells Estate where we stopped, by a pretty cottage, to hear about the history of the estate and stud. The estate covers 1,200 acres and the stud, established 100 years ago, has bred many successful racehorses. We went past a gate to walk through a small wooded area before leaving the trees to take the path to Newsells village. There are only a handful of houses in the village but they are very picturesque. Our own Neil Heywood once lived here before moving to Great Chishill. A short walk along the quiet road brought us to the war memorial. Here John was able to give details of some of the people named on the stone. We followed the track along to a T junction and turned right up the slope which gave us good views of the countryside. At the top of this section we came out behind The Chequers in Barley. We turned right along the road to meet the B1368. The walk involved a short stretch on this road before allowing us to walk on the bank beside the road. It’s a tricky 150m as mentioned in my risk assessment. The bank itself was full of cowslips. A little further on we were able to leave the roadside and take the footpath back into the estate where we stopped in a wooded area for coffee. We could see some of the horses in the distance. At this point Jim said he was going to go on ahead having double checked the route with me. John and Jim had set some geocaches in this area some years ago so we were both confident he knew the way. Suitably refreshed we walked through another lovely wooded area which brought us back to the war memorial. With two styles ahead, the group split briefly to enable some walkers to do a footpath without styles. We re-joined at the gate to the wood we had walked through near the start and retraced our steps back to the obelisk. There was no sign of Jim but we thought he might be waiting for us at the car park. When we reached the car park there was no sign of Jim and there was genuine concern about where he was. He didn’t have a mobile phone so John, Martin and Ray set off in different directions to look for him. Shortly after we could see John and Jim walking down the road from a different footpath. All was well. Typical of Jim he couldn’t see what the fuss was about. He’d taken a wrong turning and ended up at the big house on the estate. I suppose he can claim he was the only one to see it! We were very lucky with the weather and many of us stayed for a picnic on the recreation ground and a chance to have a good chat. It was great to be back walking with everyone. I think the risk assessment needs a tweak after losing a walker! As for the name of the charger, all efforts to find out have drawn a blank. I guess it’s mentioned on the obelisk. What we need is someone who goes off track and ends up where they shouldn’t be……… Clarice!
Coffee Break in the woods
The war memorial
The Rotary Walkers staring off
Two young girls from the village of Reed have been recognised for the astonishing contribution they are making to their community. With the support of their parents, twins Sophie and Emily Harrison, aged 13, have been involved with village events for several years everything from a fund raising “treadmill walk” to a “bike and hike” around local churches. But it was their involvement with the village church of St Mary’s which really caught the imagination, and when the Royston Rotary Club appealed for nominations for the prestigious Young Citizen Award 2021, friends, neighbours and their local rector had no hesitation in putting their names forward. Both girls are learning to play musical instruments and it was their interest in music that led them to step in and help when, like churches all over the country, St Mary’s was forced by the Covid pandemic to cancel public worship. First, the girls offered to learn the hymns and songs chosen for each weekly service, to be broadcast on YouTube. They had to rehearse to a good performance standard, which often took several hours each week. They then recorded these at their home - in 4-part harmony with their parents - ready for Sunday morning service. As the lock-down continued, and the church changed to “live-links”, Sophie and Emily became even more involved and presented some of the set readings and with prayers which they often wrote themselves. Throughout the second lock-down, both girls continued their contribution and commitment to the on-line services each week, providing live music. News of the success of these live services, especially the music, spread in the village and beyond, inspiring many to log-in and enjoy singing with the girls. Some people joined the services from larger villages and towns, as they found being able to sing during the service uplifting and beneficial to their mental health. In a letter of support for the girls’ Young Citizen nomination, The Reverend Canon Ruth Pyke, Rector of Barley, Barkway, Reed and Buckland, said: "I have known Sophie and Emily for over five years and they both participate in the life of the community of Reed and of the church in a way that many adults do not manage.” Sadly, the girls did not win a national award, although they were shortlisted, but Royston Rotary was determined that they should have the recognition they deserve. So, last week, senior members of the club, led by Martin Berry, the President, went to St Mary’s, to give each of them a certificate. In addition, they also received letters and a certificate from Rotary International. President Martin said: “Sophie and Emily are delightful, unassuming young people who have superbly demonstrated ability, commitment, maturity of character - and excitement for this project. They have used their musical talents in new ways and have grown in confidence. They have worked hard to reach and maintain high standards and have been aware of - and are proud of - the difference that they have made - and continue to make - to their community in these difficult and challenging times.” Sophie said afterwards: ‘It was a pleasure to contribute to the church and being nominated for the Rotary Young Citizen Award was very exciting.’ Sister Emily added ‘I really enjoyed being able to make a difference to our online church services and share my enthusiasm for music with others. It was an honour to be awarded a Royston Rotary Young Citizen Award.’
23rd May 2021 - Young Citizen Award