Scrapbook For The Rotary Year July 2021 to June 2022

(in reverse date order)
11th July - Monthly Walk
Our walk of just under four miles long, started and finished at the Red Cow in the village of Chrishall. Chrishall Common at 482 feet is the highest point in Essex. Recorded in the 1086 Domesday Book in the hundred of Uttlesford with 58 households and 8 slaves, Chrishall in size is in the top 20% of settlements in England. It has not changed a lot in almost a thousand years. The land at that time was assigned to Count Eustace of Boulogne by William the Conqueror for his support in the battle of Hastings.
27th July - Presidential Handover
This event was the first time in some sixteen months since the Royston Rotarians had been able to meet together socially. Thirty six members and guests met at the Garden Room at Chilford Hall near Linton at 6.30 pm. The event had been delayed due to the Government covid restrictions and despite the fact that the event could at last go ahead all guests had to book in with a Test and Trace recording. Guests were met with a Bucks Fizz drink and canapés and were able to mingle and chat for the first time in ages. A delicious meal followed served by carefully masked waiters. Following the meal the formal proceedings began with President Martin Berry (who had diligently served for a continuous two year stretch) addressing the attendees before passing on the chain of office to our new president Stephen Higginbotham. The twist here was that due to social distancing limitations of covid President Stephen had to place the chain on himself rather than have the past president place it round his neck. Sue Higginbotham was presented with the Lady’s Jewel by Martin’s partner Josephine who, in turn was presented with some white orchids to thank her for all her support over the last two years. After presenting the vice president’s Jewel to Peter Mitton and the past president’s jewel to Martin, President Stephen made an address where he thanked the past president and his council members. With the formalities out of the way the attendees were able to chat with each other long and animatedly, something they had all been missing for far too long.
27th July - Award of Paul Harris Fellowships
As one of his final duties, outgoing President Martin Berry announced two Paul Harris Fellowships at the Presidential Changeover. These fellowships are usually awarded for service to the club over and above what would be expected. Paul Harris Fellow recognition was created in memory of Paul Harris, the founder of Rotary. It has been a practice of many clubs to award Paul Harris Fellowships in appreciation of his or her service to the club or the local, national or international community. The citations announced by President Martin was as follows. It is my very great honour to present not one, but two Paul Harris Fellowships this evening. The first goes to someone who has found the past 18 months more restrictive than most of us but who, in spite of that, has continued to be particularly active within club. When we were no longer able to meet in person, he suggested we should meet on Zoom and helped the less computer literate of us to master this new technology. When we had to cancel our fund-raising events, he suggested we should raise money online with a virtual balloon race. And when we were approached by a scurrilous organisation about a ludicrous copyright infringement he responded quickly and very professionally to manage our risk and help Council deal with the situation. And, on top of all this, throughout the pandemic he has kept our “shop window” – our website - up to date and interesting. I am, of course, talking about Tony Briar. The second Paul Harris Fellowship goes to someone else who has kept himself busy on the Club’s behalf throughout the Pandemic. He has managed to become a very successfully blogger without even knowing what a blogger is! His ad-hoc musings have gained a wide following and kept many people, some of whom are living in difficult circumstances, entertained and connected during the lonely days of lock-down. He was the driving force behind the creation of our Memory Café, and he is always looking for ways to help the less fortunate in our community. To that end, he has served for several years as a Trustee of the Deard’s Trust and has been particularly busy in that role throughout the pandemic. He helped our new President set-up a committee to look at the future of the club and he has given us two excellent talks on Zoom both finishing exactly on time. I am, of course, talking about David Izod.” Sadly, Tony had to cry off from the event due to illness but David was able to accept the Paul Harris Fellowship award in person as shown in the photo.
11th July - Monthly Walk
Our walk of just under four miles long, started and finished at the Red Cow in the village of Chrishall. Chrishall Common at 482 feet is the highest point in Essex. Recorded in the 1086 Domesday Book in the hundred of Uttlesford with 58 households and 8 slaves, Chrishall in size is in the top 20% of settlements in England. It has not changed a lot in almost a thousand years. The land at that time was assigned to Count Eustace of Boulogne by William the Conqueror for his support in the battle of Hastings. The barn of the Red Cow, in the back ground to the picture on the left, was built in the 15th century and is the oldest building in the village. The pub itself was much modified in the 17th century. We started the walk by crossing the road and sports field before turning right on reaching a lane. The various thatched cottages on our left dated back several centuries. After passing the pond to our right we cut back through the trees to the road leading to the crossroad and memorial with the Red Cow on our right. At the top of Church Road we turned down Loveday Close. On turning right at the end we walked along the edge of the fields to a lane. At the lane we turned left to the end of the wood to get a view across the Cambridge countryside to the tower of Ely Cathedral in the far distance. You will need your binoculars to see it on a good day. Retracing our steps we continued along the edge of what is known locally as Bluebell Wood, a blaze of colour when the spring bluebells are in full bloom, to a crossroad. To our left is the village of Elmdon and to our right the village of Chrishall. We crossed the lane keeping the woodland on our right until we reached the fence paddocks of Hugo Lascelles Bloodstock situated in Elmdon, where we stopped for a coffee break. It was along this stretch of walk that John Wahlich remarked how easy it is to lose ones orientation on these walks and I remarked only a blind man could lose his way on this walk. After the coffee break to prove John’s point I had to eat my words. Instead of orientating myself I set off towards Pond Street before having to retrace my steps and turning towards Chrishall Holy Trinity Church. I have always done this walk the other way round but changed it to have a suitable break for coffee. With the private wood on our right we had a beautiful view across the undulating Essex countryside with Chiswick Hall on the far side of the B1039. This was the site of Flanders House, not that of the Simpsons, but that of Count Eustace of Boulogne, whose daughter Matilda married King Stephen. The remains of the fish pond and moat can still be found in the grounds of the house. On reaching the Church we crossed the church yard and descended to Church Road. The current flint built church dates back to the 12th Century. On crossing the road we followed the path up to Chalky Lane passed the hand pump which used to draw its water from the chalk aquifer, on to Hogg's Lane and the Red Cow and a pint of ale and a good meal. A pleasant and enjoyable stroll after all of the confinement. Jim Webb
The weather prediction for the August walk promised rain from about 1.00pm and luckily it followed the script, with a substantial downpour occurring soon after we were ensconced comfortably in a marquee at the Fox and Duck in Therfield. Well maybe not quite so comfortably as a heater was turned on that proceeded to cook the occupants to medium rare until it was turned off after a request from the sweating diners. The walk was unusual in that it allowed options of 0, 2, 4, 6, 8 and 10 mile circuits. Only Sandra Scott joined Ray to walk the 2 miles from his house to meet everybody else, now totalling 8, at the F&D to set off for the 4 mile circuit - after the obligatory photograph of course. The walk started off north before joining the path following to the East along a ridge with spectacular views across miles of Hertfordshire as well as a vast expanse of Cambridgeshire. It is possible from a single spot on this ridge to see the tall transmitter aerial on Sandy Heath, Wimpole Hall and its folly, Ely Cathedral (some 34 miles away), a water tower (some 40 miles distant) in Littleport (Barbara Mitton’s birthplace apparently Littleport that is, not the water tower), lots of Cambridge including Kings College Chapel and Addenbrookes, Great Chishill windmill and Peter Homent’s and Neil Heywood’s houses. The only part of Royston visible is the tip of the 4 chimney stack in Johnson Matthey. Turning south we found our way to Reed End where, peeping over a high hedge, a cottage displayed a rather nice weather vane. We followed the road towards Dane End but turned west onto a footpath across the fields to Rooks Nest Lane. Here after a short southerly walk we once again turned west onto a footpath, Ray having been disappointed that a house that normally displayed several high performance cars, including a couple of Maclarens, was on this occasion merely offering an Aston Martin SUV. A further annoyance on this route was that in several places the farmer(s) had ploughed right up to the edge of the fields, leaving slightly difficult walking and no margin for wildlife. We followed various paths, hugging field sides until we skirted briefly through Kelshall and then back across to Therfield Church and from there onto the Fox and Duck, where we were joined by Tony, Kash and Di for a very nice lunch. Those choosing Sunday lunch were mostly defeated by the giant Yorkshire puddings. The rain deterred even Sandra and Ray from walking back to Royston and so only the 4 and 6 mile walks were completed. Words and Pictures by Ray Munden
The walking group waiting in anticipation
No photo can do justice to the view across Cambridgeshire
The Striking Weather Vane
15th August - President’s Hello
At last we were to have the President’s Hello, much delayed from the month of July when we normally have this highly anticipated event. The origins of the event are lost in the mists of time but it allows all Rotarians and their partners to meet the new president for the year in an informal setting. The setting this year was President Steve and wife Sue’s lovely garden situated in a quiet and secluded part of Royston and on a beautifully sunny afternoon. The event was very well attended and we all sampled the extensive array of drinks on offer. After much catching up among friends it was time to eat, alfresco naturally, and what a feast lay before us. Quite apart from the hard work of preparing the salads and cold meats by Sue and Steve, other Rotarians (or more often their partners) had also contributed to the feast. So we sat in the sun, contentedly chattering and munching away until it was time for the sweet courses - always the most anticipated part of any meal. Once again we were faced with delicious-looking sweet dishes (all ever so slightly fattening to the waistline!). With Steve serving out strong coffee to finish I think we can remember a really great meal in lovely surroundings and with like-minded friends, A big thank you to Steve and Sue, and to all the other contributors who had worked so hard in the preparation. Photos below (they automatically slide in at 8 seconds but you can use the arrows at each side of the picture to step forward or back at your own pace). Pictures Courtesy of Steve Higginbotham
8th August - Monthly Walk
31st August - Presentation to the Photographic Contest Winner
A highly talented young local photographer was recognised this week by Royston Rotary Club. President Stephen Higginbotham was delighted to present a certificate to Jack Kirby, aged 11, in recognition of his significant achievement. Jack, who lives in Foxton, reached the national finals of Rotary’s Young Photographer after earlier this year winning the junior category in a local contest organised by our cklub. He then went on to win at the district level (covering Herts, Beds and Bucks), securing entry to the national finals. Although he did not win nationally, his photograph, ‘Nature co-existing with Man’, which depicts a misty view of the church of St Laurence, Foxton, greatly impressed the judges with its quality and composition. He was told “many adults would have been proud to have taken it. You have the framing just right and a beautiful depth of field, with a spider’s web pin sharp and the church thrown out of focus to provide the perfect backdrop.” Presenting Jack with his certificate outside Foxton church (above), Mr Higginbotham congratulated him on his achievement and hoped that he would enter this year’s competition, which Royston Rotary Club will be launching soon.
1st September - President’s “Weekend”
The quotation marks above are intentional - it was decided that the much delayed President’s Weekend for past president Martin Berry would be held midweek for a change. This year the trip would be down to Wiltshire, near to Martin’s old stomping grounds and was meticulously planned by Jonathon Berks (with no doubt a lot of assistance from both Linda and Josephine). The Luxury Richmond’s coach picked us up in stages from Barley to Green Drift in Royston and we set off to Beaconsfield to visit the Bekonscot Model Village and Railway, claimed to be the worlds oldest original model village ( ). On arrival we met up with Graeme and Linda Dargie and David and Glynis Smyth who had travelled by car from Royston. We weren’t disappointed at Bekonscot, every facet of British life from the complete 20th century was there in miniature and in meticulous detail. And who can forget the tongue-in-cheek (if slightly corny) names of many of the miniature shops e.g. “Len D Cash, Pawnbrokers”, “Daily Reed, Newsagents” etc (See the picture gallery ). Back on the coach we travelled down to Great Missenden for lunch at the Cross Keys pub where we had pre-ordered our lunch selections, before wandering around the town itself for half an hour or so. We had originally wanted to visit the Roald Dahl museum in the High Street but they weren’t geared up to accept large groups whilst covid restrictions were still in force. Back to the coach which took us to the little village of Wroughton and the Alexandra House Hotel where we met up with Mike Taylor, ex Royston Rotarian, and his partner Ruth. That evening we all met up for a very pleasant dinner in one of the hotel’s function rooms. (See the picture gallery ). Thursday morning we all set off after breakfast to visit the village of Lacock ( museum-and-village ). This picturesque Wiltshire village dates from the 13th century and nowadays is owned almost exclusively by the National Trust to maintain a very rustic charm. It won’t surprise visitors to know that it is a very popular filming location, Harry Potter, Downton Abbey, Cranford, Pride and Prejudice, to name just a few. In addition the village boasts Lacock Abbey, originally a 13th Century nunnery but with its upper floors converted for more comfortable country house living following the Dissolution. The Abbey is also home to the Fox Talbot museum, “Britain’s birthplace of photography”. (See the picture gallery ). Mid afternoon we set off back to our hotel via Avebury (stone circles) for a rest and a change of clothes before setting off in the early evening to the GWR Steam Museum ( ) in nearby Swindon. Here we were given a guided tour by an experienced old railwayman who was able to explain the beginnings of the Great Western Railway and Swindon’s central role in its development. We toured the exhibits, marvelling at the size of some of the steam engines, before having dinner in one of their function rooms. Eventually, back on the coach to return to our hotel well before 10pm. (See the picture gallery ). Friday, being our last day, we all checked out of our hotel to set off for Henley-on-Thames. Here we met up with our guide Graham, who walked us around parts of the town pointing out various bits of history. This town is evidently also a favourite place for filming, particulary scenes from Midsomer Murders, and Graham was able to point out various locations used in the many episodes. Once the walking tour was over we all boarded a pleasure cruiser from Hobbs of Henley for a two hour boat trip upstream and back, including traversing Hambleton lock. We were treated to a very acceptable buffet lunch on the boat so that we could see the sights passing by as we ate our food and listened to Graham describing points of interest. Having a licensed bar on the boat was a bit of a plus, too. (See the picture gallery ). Finally, we boarded the coach to return to Royston where we arrived safely about 5.30 having successfully negotiated both the M40 and the M25 on a typical Friday afternoon/evening. Special thanks to Jonathon (and his helper elves) for organising such a faultless trip - everything went like clockwork! (Word is that President Steve is also using Jonathon’s talents for his own President’s Weekend next year).
Group photo at GWR Museum
27th September - Results of Creative Writing Competition
The Rotary Club is delighted to have played a major role in overseeing Royston Arts Festival’s Creative Writing Competition. Winners have now been announced in the four categories and prizes of tokens for David’s Bookshops, Letchworth, have been distributed. Rotarian David Blundell, an organiser and judge, said: “The standards of entries were really high once again. It was very encouraging that so many youngsters in the 7-10 years group took part.” Carl Filby, Chair of Creative Royston, said: “Thank you to all those who entered the competition and congratulations to the prize winners. We would particularly like to thank Rotary and David’s Bookshop for their support. Together, they covered the cost of prizes amounting to £300.” Three judges from the world of literature and journalism, selected the following winners (full details can be found at ): 7-10 years Joint-Winner: Priscilla Tibenderana (9) New Life Joint-Winner: Nathan Tibenderana (7) Dinos and me Runner-up: Freya Johnson (8) The four heroes 11-14 years Winner: Genevieve Eaton-Banks(13) The Refugee 15-18 years Winner: Elizabeth Eaton-Banks (18) Phoenix Runner-up: Jasmine Brett(16) I’m a Were-What? 19+ Winner: Justine Blaydon. In the deep woods Highly recommended other entries Amelia Keen (8) Moving to Italy Edward Scales(8) A new person Darcey Brown (8) The girl who helped the world Imogen Clements(11) The heavens spoke to me
27th September - Results of Creative Writing Competition
1st to 4th October - A Kentish Adventure
The journey is part of the fun, they say. Not on a Friday during a national fuel shortage it isn’t, and not on a Monday when you’ve been stationary on the A2 for an hour trying to reach a 7 mile jam on the M25 (accident in the Dartford tunnel). What happened between these annoyances was luckily much more enjoyable. The club’s 2021 walking weekend took place in Kent. It was delayed a year thanks to the unmentionable, but it was well worth the wait. Peter Mitton had discovered our base: Knowlton, an estate not far from Canterbury, consisting of 1900 acres of farmland surrounding a splendid 18C mansion, with several buildings repurposed as holiday lets. Our home for the weekend was the biggest and finest of these; the 10 bedroom 17C Dower House. Well up the high standards of previous years, the handsome Jacobean pile was provided with all our basic needs (except, on occasions, hot water) and we arrived laden down with the rest. Everybody had contributed something: wine, beer, cheese, bread, a wonderful variety of cakes (thanks, all you Rotary bakers), sausages, potatoes, lamb chops, chicken, plus big dishes of pre-cooked curry and lasagne. We seemed unlikely to starve, nor to suffer from alcohol deprivation. After we settled in, it was off for supper in the pub at nearby Chillenden. Some brave souls even chose to walk there and back, no doubt getting in training for the next day’s trek, planned for us by John and Clarice. The scheme was to drive to nearby Deal, leave our cars at the station, then walk along the coastal path to Sandwich. From there we could catch a train back to our start point. I liked Deal; old fashioned and unpretentious, with quirky seaside teashops, Dickensian lanes, and a general air of 19th century cheeriness. Most of us obediently followed John to the end of Deal’s long and very windy pier and then (as is the way with piers) back again. Some people spotted a seal, and we all admired the town’s diverting roofscape as viewed from offshore. Then away to the north we went, sharing the stony path with many dog owners. Deal’s last villas on our left were succeeded by a golf course, with the steep pebble beach and the grey Channel always on our right. More nature notes: even more surprising than the seal were the two hardy middle aged ladies we spotted frolicking in the brown waves. A rare sighting for October. The gusty wind was strengthening at our backs and the clouds were gathering over the sea, but it stayed dry until we stopped for a break opposite the Yacht Club’s grand HQ. There, as we sipped our Thermos tea, the rain started. Hoods and my Rotary brolly went up, then off we trudged again, now with another golf course on our left - the prestigious Royal St George’s, where doubtless Jack Nicklaus and Bobby Jones once hunted for lost balls in the cruel rough. One of our number found two of them (lost balls, not golfers) while taking a discreet comfort break behind a bush. The path now left the coast and headed inland. We crossed the golf course, a typical links with hills and hollows, but mercifully dry underfoot thanks to the sandy soil. Soaking wet, we must have looked a little like Napoleon’s army retreating from Moscow, although there was no snow, and we didn’t have to eat any horses. The course then gave way to a long snicket (as we say in East Yorkshire) a narrow path overhung with briars, which continually snagged my umbrella until it collapsed and had to be chucked into a bin. I was soon as wet as everyone else. It seemed a very long way. Finally, the streets and houses of Sandwich appeared. We were cheered to spot two restaurants here, yards apart and both selling pizza. We split into two parties and crowded into both, greedy for Quattro Stagioni and toilets. Afterwards, warmer and a little drier, we emerged into the soaking streets and dashed through the rain to the station, where we bought our tickets from a machine, considerately placed outside the locked building and sited so that the drips from the roof fell on purchasers’ heads. It was like using a fruit machine; some people got one ticket, some two, and one lucky Rotarian got four. We all seemed to pay different amounts. But the train came soon, and it delivered us back to Deal in a very few minutes. It was still raining. Back at Knowlton, dry clothes replaced wet, and tea and more wonderful cakes made a good finale to a memorable walk. Someone’s fitness app said we had achieved 17,000 steps. That would be about 7 or 8 miles, though John assured us it was less. Miles seem longer in bad weather, but whatever the distance we had a truly enjoyable walk. There was certainly a sense of achievement in finishing it. Supper, taken round the Dower House’s enormous table, featured Kash’s chicken curry (plus trimmings courtesy of Jonathan) and Lyn’s lasagne. Both were splendid, as was what followed: Sandra’s bread pudding, Jo’s chocolate mousse, and Joan’s pear frangipani tart. Sunday was dry! We started the day with a visit to Goodnestone House and Park, which has a fine garden. We met the knowledgeable head gardener, Paul. He explained a little of the history of the place. Jane Austen was a frequent visitor. Her brother had married into the Fitzwalter family, who built the house and still live there. It’s now marketed for weddings and suchlike, so it would be ideal for another Rotary walking weekend. Three nights self-catering costs just shy of £10,000 in peak season. Well, perhaps not. After lunch, it was back to the coast again; this time to Walmer, south of Deal, a Cinque Port with a castle where Wellington died. A much more leisurely expedition, this one; we strolled along the coast path to Deal past innumerable ‘in memory of’ benches and fishing boats hauled up on the shingle, and then paid a visit to the town’s charming small museum, a lovely maritime jumble of pictures and models of ships and sailors and lifeboats, and long gone Deal shop signs. It was a bit like our Royston Museum; friendly, eclectic, and staffed by enthusiastic volunteers. Then we strolled back to Walmer again. Time to finish off that cake! The grand finale was Sunday’s barbecue. David Beardwell and President Steve, boldly wielding enormous tongs amid clouds of smoke, laboured over the modest Weber kettle in the courtyard, and there was salad and jacket potatoes to go with the grilled meats. How they produced so much on such a small barbie is a mystery, but it all tasted very good. John Wahlich’s signature ginger, cream and orange pudding made a ceremonial appearance afterwards, and was judged excellent. John and Clarice had produced quizzes, too, which entertained us in the sitting room after the meal, John’s featuring the fiendish standard of difficulty we’ve come to expect from him. As ever, Rotary fellowship kept us all smiling, Rotary cookery kept us very well fed, and Rotary management made sure nothing went wrong. Everyone who was there did something to deserve a big round of applause, and that, when you think about it, is what makes the world go round. What a weekend it was. Who cares about a bit of rain? We had a wonderful time. Words and pictures thanks to Neil Heywood. To see the photo album of the visit click here.
November - Monthly Walk
This is a very brief account of our walk around Abbotsley near St. Neots.. We set off from the Eight Bells public house on a glorious autumn day wit the sun shining on gold and yellow leaves as they floated gently to the ground on a cool breeze. The walk around Abbotsley was about four and a half miles long over a gently rolling countryside which gave us some delightful views of west Cambridgeshire At the end of the walk, when we got back to the village green, we found a special memorial to commemorate Armistice Day. The memorial reads: In Memoriam 1914 - 1918 The trees on the village green were planted to honour the men of Abbotsley who died in WW1 Lest we forget We also found some very moving tributes to four brothers, all of whom volunteered at the start of the War, and all of whom were killed. Here are two of the tributes ALBERT PAGE Who lived in Abbotsley on HIGH GREEN Gave all whilst serving in ‘the Great War’: son of James & Esther, Albert was a stretcher-bearer in the R.A.M.C before he was killed in action in Cambrai on 27/9/1918 ALL GAVE SOME SOME GAVE ALL Lunch at the Eight Bells was extremely good value for money! Story by Martin Berry
4th December - Christmas Tree Decorating
With the stalwart efforts of Neil G and Jo M one of the St. Georges Nursing Home Christmas trees, decorations and lights were put up on their first floor landing. Several hoops had to be jumped through to be able to gain access to the Home, evidence of lateral flow test, full vaccinations and masks and only two people allowed in. The Home is so grateful for our help and as usual we were presented with some lovely mince pies. Unfortunately due to the new covid variant, omicron, Richard Cox House felt it too risky for us to decorate their tree. Hopefully we will be able to do that next year. Story by Bryony
14th December - Christmas Dinner Celebration
Clarice Wahlich said the Grace and President Steve Higginbotham read out a surprise telegram believed to be from afar but in fact only from darker reaches of Bassingbourn (Thank you Tony and Bryony). A previously ordered meal was served very ‘Master Chef’ in its presentation, not the usual “meat and two Veg” but very tasty! Kash was disappointed that there was no coffee but eventually managed to charm the young waitress in his inimitable way to find him a cup. Words and pictures courtesy of The Rotarian
The annual Christmas Dinner for the Rotary Club of Royston was held on the 14th December at the Cambridge Country Club, Bourn. Much thanks for the arrangements of this event must go to the diligent efforts by Vice President, Peter Mitton. With DJs all pressed, medals burnished, (and trousers replaced by party frocks in the case of the ladies!!) we were greeted with a welcoming glass of Prosecco and the conversation flowed amongst the 50 Rotarians and guests – there was much to catch up on after so many months of virtual meetings by Zoom!
A group of 12 set off from Sawston for the first Rotary walk of 2022. We were rewarded with a sunny and not too cold morning. We had to plough through a few backstreets to leave the town (village?) before crossing over some fields that luckily weren’t too muddy. As we approached Babraham an attempted shortcut led to us having to climb a double barbed wire fence. Luckily it was a bit broken down and with mutual help we managed to negotiate it safely. Pressing on we arrived on the outskirts of the Babraham Research Campus, an impressive 420 acres of leading edge research on the biological working of the body. There are around 60 companies on the site, mostly innovative start-ups, with some 2,000 staff. The heart of the campus is the highly prestigious Babraham Institute, which is funded by various Research councils, the EU (at least it still says on their website) and charities. Their basic research is spun off into some of the start-up companies. As you approach there is an impressive looking building, which used to be an agricultural college (and presumably before that someone’s country pile) just the other side of the diminutive River Granta. We carried on alongside the Granta and the paths became somewhat muddier. We had a quick walk around a church (literally around as it was locked) and then as we proceeded along we had our first mud slide with Peter Ross taking a tumble. Fortunately the only damage was some muddy clothes. The path went through some woods before returning to an open path across fields. Just before we took the final steps back into Sawston unfortunately we had our second casualty as David Beardwell also tumbled over. This time he was quite shaken up and so after a brief discussion a few remained with David, who was resting on a wall, while Steve dashed off to get his car to retrieve David. The rest, mindful of the 3 hour car park limit and prospective £100 fine, marched quickly along the main road to speed up their return. Wisely David and Liz skipped lunch so that David could go home and recuperate. Luckily there was no permanent damage. A depleted group of 7 dined in the otherwise empty but good quality Jade Fountain, it is sad to see such a nice restaurant struggling for customers. They were very friendly and understandably did their best to encourage us to spend more, it can’t be economic to open for such a small clientele. Words and photos by Ray Munden
9th January - Monthly Walk
12th February - Results of Young Photographer Competition
The Rotary Club of Royston is delighted to be able to announce the results of its Young Photographer Competition. This year the theme was “Colours of Nature” and the competition once again attracted some extremely high-quality pictures, particularly bearing in mind the ages of the entrants. All the photographs entered can be seen below, and they will each step on at 5 second intervals. 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. The junior category (7-10) was won by Joel Baker, aged 8, for his photo of the “Sands of Sound” in Shetland. The judges commented that it is a beautiful seascape, technically very good, and a wonderful composition. The winner in the intermediate category (11-13) was Olivia Frost, aged 12, for her picture of an avocet. The judges said the photo had a wonderful texture which gave a sense of movement to the background and also the colours of the background set off the bird perfectly. Graeme Dargie, the Rotary club's chair of youth activities, said: “Once again, we were hugely impressed with the quality of all the entries. I should like to thank all the young people who took part, as well as the judges - Keith Truman and Peter North, from Melbourn Photographic Club, and Royston Rotary's own Ray Munden. My thanks, too, to Royston Photographic Club, which has offered to provide a coaching session to our talented young photographers. Finally, our best wishes go to Joel and Olivia, whose winning entries go forward to the Rotary District competition.”
1st February - Visit to The London Transport Museum
Twenty four Royston Rotarians and partners enjoyed a visit to the London Transport Museum at Acton. This purpose-built museum houses most of the collection which are not on display in the main museum in Covent Garden. Having left Royston just after 9.00 am, we duly arrived at the Museum and were ushered into a large assembly area where a black and white historical film was shown. After being divided into three groups, each led by a ‘Friend of the Museum’ volunteer, we were treated to a 2-hour tour. The history of road transport was illustrated by examples of horse drawn omnibuses, trams, trolley bussers (Oh, yes many remembered the little man with his long pole!!) the Route Master and Green Line Country Buses. We were shown examples of the Underground Railway dating back to the late 1800s and more recently the Tubes where we were able to sit inside on the ‘Moquette’ seats. Moquette being the French word for carpet. It was introduced to London Transport in 1920s as being hard wearing. Each tube line had its own moquette design. (As a bit of ‘useless’ information, Moquette can be purchased from the Museum at £20 per metre.) Finally on the Mezzanine floor there was a display of historical posters and signs and examples of the ingenious map of the Underground Stations based on an electrical circuit devised by Harry Beck, a cartographer back in 1931. Updated regularly and still used today. There was actually one made of Lego! Having briefly stopped at the Museum shop (as one does) we reboarded the coach and drove to Sanzio Restaurant in Willesden Green where we enjoyed an excellent pre ordered meal before we made our way back to Royston. Many thanks to David Beardwell for his excellent organisation; also, thanks to Di Charles for this text and to Linda Berks for the photographs (click on each one to enlarge).
13th February - Monthly Walk
This month’s walk took us into a new area. Sandra Scott was the organiser and she had planned a walk on Dunstable Downs. We met in the car park at the Chiltern Downs Centre. As we opened our car doors to get out, we got a better idea of the weather conditions. It was very windy and rather cold. The eight people who were walking were very well wrapped up as we set off. Sandra assured us we would be out of the wind before too long. The advantage of being so high up was that we had fantastic views over the Downs. We walked along the side of the hill and could see Ivinghoe Beacon in the distance. Once we had rounded the corner we had a good view of the Whipsnade lion carved into the hill. We were soon out of the wind and enjoying a walk through the fields. The footpaths were mainly good but we did encounter a particularly muddy stretch which required some deft footwork to avoid an embarrassing fall. John and Ray were at the front at this stage and so busy chatting they walked on past the turn off. Sandra had to call them back to get them on track. Soon we arrived at a clearing which had an information board telling us we had arrived at the Whipsnade Tree Cathedral. This is a 9.5 acre garden in the village of Whipsnade. It is planted in the approximate form of a cathedral with grass avenues for nave, transepts, chapels, cloisters and ‘walls’ of different species of trees. We stopped for a break here before exploring the grassy paths of the cathedral. The walk continued through open fields and soon we were able to see the sculpture / chimney on the top of the hill and visitor centre where we had started. The final part of the walk was windy. It was a fairly short walk but most enjoyable. It’s always good to try something different and we all enjoyed exploring a new area. Lunch was a short drive away at Old Hunter’s Lodge. This was a great pub and we all enjoyed our lunch choices. We had a friendly waiter who looked after us very well. Ray even managed to persuade him to put extra chocolate sauce on the profiteroles! The weather forecast hadn’t been good for Sunday but we had a bracing walk and the rain only started once we were having lunch. Huge thanks to Sandra for organising a great walk. Clarice
11th February - Community Breakfast Restarted
After a break of exactly 25 months due to the covid pandemic, we had a good turnout of 11 people for the Community Breakfast re- start meeting,including 2 new members. Karin Weston kindly chaired the meeting in Neil’s unavoidable absence and the group was very happy to be able to meet in person again – and to have the usual excellent Old Bull Inn breakfast! We had a useful update from each person and a discussion about possible future Speakers, coming up with several very good possibilities. As the group’s primary purpose is mutual support for group leaders, we discussed how to give enough time also for members to raise their own group’s issues and concerns during meetings, and so benefit from others’ experience, techniques and practical solutions. Full details of the Community Breakfast can be found on the Rotary Club’s main website here The next meeting is on Friday 11th March at 7.30am for Breakfast at 8.00am at the Old Bull Inn, contact for an invitation.
Club of Royston
President: Stephen Higginbotham
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9th March - Visit to HMS Belfast
A party of 19 Rotarians, family and friends set off at 9am from Royston Golf Club by Richmond coach, destination - the south London Embankment where the famous HMS Belfast is moored. She is a Town-class light cruiser that was built for the Royal Navy and is now permanently moored as a museum ship on the River Thames in London, operated by the Imperial War Museum. Construction of Belfast, one of ten Town-class cruisers, began in December 1936. She was launched on St Patrick's Day 1938. Commissioned in early August 1939 shortly before the outbreak of the Second World War, On arrival, most of the party made directly for the Stokers Cafe on the ship for a refreshing cup of coffee. Thereafter we were free to wander around and explore the ship, all nine decks of it. Typically for a warship, the stairways leading between each deck are very steep and required facing the rungs when ascending AND descending (unlike the sailors who previously served on her). But there were other dangers to look out for when exploring and poor David B came a cropper somewhere near the bow (that’s the pointy bit) leaving a very large bruise on his chin and some other cuts and bruises. Fortunately HMS Belfast boasted a 4-berth sick bay plus an operating theatre as well as a dispensary and dental surgery to cater for various accidents when at sea! The Belfast is clearly not an aircraft carrier but it used to have a plane on board. When you look at the structures above deck you’ll notice there is a conspicuous gap between the front and rear structures where a crane is currently sited. This is because a reconnaissance plane used to sit here and it was launched using a catapult. This increased the range of the Belfast's vision, but once radar came along, the plane became obsolete and they got rid of it. HMS Belfast was extremely crowded, so many of the crew would have to sling their hammocks in the corridors. When walking along these corridors you can spot the hooks high up on the walls where the crew would attach their hammocks when they needed some kip. By 1pm some of the party set off to look for lunch in one of the numerous eating places nearby. This gave us a chance to walk past Hays Wharf which used to accommodate huge tea clippers to unload their cargo off the main river side. Nowadays this whole area has been completely renovated and the dock filled in but there is a huge modernist sculpture called The Navigators sitting in it’s own pool of water and with moving oars at each side. We all met up at 3pm at London Bridge Pier to take the boat down to Greenwich where we would meet our coach. The trip was very pleasant in the sunshine and our boat stopped off at a number of places to pick up and put off passengers. On arrival at Greenwich we saw the huge Cutty Sark which these days is completely encased with steel around its hull following the fire in 2007 which destroyed three of its decks (now thankfully completely restored to its former glory). We set off back to Royston through the busy London traffic and arrived back at Royston golf club at 5.30, exactly on time. Many thanks must go to the Sports and Social Committee for arranging this brilliant day out and specifically to Ray Munden who arranged it all with such precision. Photos courtesy of Ray and Bryony. This album will step on every 8 seconds or use the white arrows to step forward or back.
13th March - Monthly Walk
This month’s walk was organised by David and Liz. The promise of a flat route encouraged more than twenty people to join in. We met outside The Green Dragon pub in Chesterton in Cambridge where a large and happy group set off in beautiful sunshine over the footbridge to the far side of the river Cam. Walking was easy along the towpath and it wasn’t long before we saw Neil and his neighbour, Phyllis, walking on the other side of the river. Help was at hand as they were able to cross over a very impressive new footbridge (The Chisholm Way) to join us. We were able to watch the rowers, out in force, enjoying the river. A little further on we left the river walking across the fields to Fen Ditton. Here we were able to see the houses which had formerly been unloading bays for cargo brought up on the river. After a stop at the war memorial, we walked on along the road to rejoin a footpath. This was quite narrow and we were frequently having to move aside for the many serious runners who were part of a race. We walked under the A14 bridge and reached Baits Bite Lock where we crossed over the bridge and had our coffee break. With the sun still shining and beautiful blue skies we continued our walk back on the opposite bank of the Cam. Here we encountered cyclists many keeping pace with the rowing boats and shouting instructions to the rowers. Before too long we were back at the footbridge and shortly after we found our way through the houses to get back to the pub. The peace was broken by a car alarm going off but in true Rotary style we all walked by pretending we didn’t know Bryony who was frantically trying to stop the noise coming from her car. We enjoyed a good lunch at the Green Dragon. The inscription over the fireplace was a bit confusing so a photograph is included for you to make of it what you will. During our lunch it started to rain heavily and we realised how lucky we had been to enjoy our riverside walk in such lovely sunshine. Thanks to David and Liz for organising a great walk and finding a pub to accommodate so many of us. Clarice. A note about The Green Dragon pub. The Green Dragon is arguably the oldest coach house & pub in Cambridge. Housing famous people like M.P. Oliver Cromwell (1599- 1658) who reportedly sat in the pub with his friends practicing their knife throwing skills into the fire lintel that can still be seen today. J.R.R. Tolken (1892-1973) often visited the pub for inspiration for writing the likes of The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings. Tony B All the pictures taken on the walk can be seen in the moving album below. It will step forward every 8 seconds but can be manually moved using the arrows at either side.
15h March - Aid for Ukraine
Ukraine: We Lend a Hand What is happening in Ukraine, and what can we do about it? Our leaders face the terrible problem of how best to deal with the politics, the strategy, the frightfulness. Ordinary people also face a challenge:how to help the two million-plus other ordinary people mainly the elderly, mothers and children - who have fled their shattered homes and are now homeless, hungry and frightened in neighbouring countries. What we see on our TV screens is a scale of misery and horror not seen in Europe for 80 years. The club is supporting the efforts of Sofia and Leonardo Mitrofan (she Romanian, he Italian) who run the Chequers in Barley. They organised a local collection of necessaries for refugee families in Romania - mostly food and medical/hygiene supplies) which quickly grew until three vans were needed to transport the load. At the Romanian end of the journey, the Rotary Club of Braila will assist in distribution. Peter Homent, who lives in nearby Great Chishill, as well as several other local Rotarians, had donated goods, and suggested that the club could help by sponsoring the initiative. Club members quickly bought into the idea, and we shall be helping to pay for the costs of the project when the vansarrive home. On Saturday evening President Steve and and wife Sue went to the Chequers to see the three vans one driven by Leonardo, set off at dusk on their long journey east. It was an emotional occasion, and the Chequers was packed with well-wishers. Barley’s vicar Ruth Pike blessed the project and the three drivers, and then the vans were gone. BBC Look East covered the story the following Monday (better late than never!), and on Tuesday afternoon we had the great news that the vans had arrived and were already distributing the goods to refugees from Odessa. In addition to the club’s support for the Chequers initiative, more help for will come from the individual donations made by Royston Rotarians. These will go to a Rotary-nominated charity which is best placed to help those in most need. At time of writing the club’s total pledged donations exceed £1,600. The Ukraine crisis may be with us for months or years; perhaps we dare not imagine how this awful thing will play out. But Rotary, and the club, will continue to do what we can in the name of humanity and peace.
22nd March - Charter Night (60th Anniversary)
It was a glittering turnout of Rotarians, guests, dignitaries and, of course past club members who met at Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge for our 60th anniversary Charter Night. The Royston Rotary Club had been formally granted its charter on 23rd March 1962 so technically we were a day early - as if it mattered. President Steve Higginbotham presided over the evening and was honoured to welcome the Queen’s representative in Hertfordshire, High Sheriff Lionel C Wallace DL. Also present was Jane Mordue the Rotary District 1260 Governor (which is the district within which the Royston Rotary Club belongs) and also welcomed Deputy District Governor Andy Calvert. Following the pre-dinner drinks where old and new friends caught up we were called into dinner where President Steve formally welcomed all the guests and then invited Rotarian David Izod to say grace, which he did with great aplomb. And now the meal could start: a herb risotto with baby leeks and feta cheese to start followed by roast guinea fowl with gnocchi and fresh vegetables. The pudding was apple terrine with salted caramel ice cream followed by coffee and mints. President Steve proposed the Loyal Toast and then addressed the assembly relating the history of the Royston Rotary Club and its various ups and downs over the last 60 years. He particularly highlighted the recent help the club had given for the Ukrainian refugee crisis, both in goods and services and monetary terms. Steve then introduced District Governor Jane Mordue who also spoke from the heart about how Rotary has, and continues to, help the Ukrainian refugees and that we mustn’t forget those too who are fleeing from Syria, Afghanistan and other persecuted humans who seek sanctuary in the UK. It was now the turn of the High Sheriff of Hertfordshire Lionel Wallace, resplendent in the uniform of his high office with frock coat, silk cuffs, silk cravat and a very shiny and sharp silver sword. Lionel congratulated the club on reaching this milestone of 60 years and spoke a little about his responsibilities representing the Crown in Hertfordshire. He then proposed a toast to The Royston Rotary Club which was responded to in a witty and light hearted way by Rotarian Kash Sharma. After the traditional final toast “Rotary and Peace the World Over” the dinner party split up to resume conversations friends not seen for some time such as Peter and Pam Franks, Guy and Julia Garfitt and Noel Cooper. Many took the time to study the original charter document and also the photographs of the founder members of the club and a later photo of Rotarians taken in the mid 1990’s A great evening most efficiently arranged thanks to our vice president, Rotarian Peter Mitton. This album below has a few of the photos of the evening - they will step forward every eight seconds but you can manually control them with the white arrows at either side.
22nd March - Charter Night (60th Anniversary)
10th April - Monthly Walk
The April walk was a four mile circular amble, starting and finishing at my local pub, The Three Horseshoes, in Comberton. This pub opened in 1861. The sun shone, thankfully, and seventeen intrepid walkers set off, once Kasifa nd her grandchildren found us! Walking north, the first stop was beside the village pond, and the village sign which depicts a lady handing out fish - more later. Green End, the first leg, is an attractive residential road, named after Sir Henry Green, Chief Justice to the Queen’s Bench, who was beheaded in 1399 as one of Richard 2nd’s councillors. A large property, Manor Farm, with beautiful gardens was admired, although all had to take my word for how beautiful the gardens are, as they are not visible from the road. Then followed a stretch of footpath pointing toward Hardwick, lined on either side by hedges just bursting into leaf and blossom. This opened on to open land, and we headed east, with wonderful views of rolling countryside, although perhaps only a mile from the Cambridge City boundary. After the mandatory coffee stop, we pointed south, back into Comberton, to pick up a short stretch of the Drift, a byway, before turning right, and returning via the church towards the pub, Here I pointed out the reason behind the fishes on the village sign:- There are seven acres of land, owned by the Herringland Trust (of which I am the Chairman of the Trustees, so it is my land!). There is reference to the Township of Comberton owning this land in 1567,and there is evidence that in1783 the land was let for £5.6sh and the rent was used to buy barrels of herrings to distribute to the poor of the village. There are no herrings now, but the income from the rent is to provide help in the community when required. Finally, back to the pub, where thirteen of us enjoyed our Sunday lunch after a very pleasant walk. Words by Peter Mitton, photos by Bryony. Click on any image to enlarge and then right click to save or copy.
6th April -Visit to Cambridge Museum of Technology
On Wednesday 6th April 14 members of the club visited the Cambridge Museum of Technology. On arrival we were greeted by the curator, Pam Halls, who took us on a guided tour showing us the very impressive 1894 steam pumps, the rather less impressive gas engines installed in 1909 and the very unimpressive electric pump installed in 1937. The original engines, however, operated from 1894 until the whole set-up became redundant in 1968 when a new electric pumping station was built on a nearby site. Pam guided us through the museum for about an hour, eloquently relating its history together with anecdotes on the people who worked there over the years. Until the late 18th century Cambridge’s sanitation was very much the same as other major cities throughout the country and was dominated by the “bucket and chuck it” system. In the late 18th century, following diseases such as typhoid and cholera, things got so bad that the city decided to construct a new sewage system which resulted in a pumping station being built at Riverside. This now forms the core of the Museum of Technology. The system installed involved the construction of two steam operated pumps constructed above a 40 foot deep sump into which Cambridge’s foul and surface water was drained. The pumps pumped the sewage up to Milton where it was spread on the fields as fertilizer. Originally the steam was raised from boilers that burned all of the rubbish collected from Cambridge in an early recycling scheme. Eventually not enough rubbish was produced and the fuel reverted to coke. We were taken to the areas where the waste was first gathered and sorted, with anything that was salvageable for reuse or recycling was taken out. We were then shown the three enormous boilers which raised the steam. From there we went to view the 180 foot chimney serving the boilers. We were told that when the volunteers took over the museum the brickwork at the top of the chimney was crumbling and needed repairing and repointing. Quotations were sought for the work but the two companies approached quoted sums which were far higher than the museum could afford to pay. Subsequently, one of the volunteers was in the north of the country and found himself in Bolton and so decided to knock on Fred Dibnah’s door inviting him to advise them. Fred, as ever, was enthusiastic and offered to do the job for £6000, a great deal less than the quotes they had previously received. Part of the deal apparently was that Fred would not have to pay any hotel bills but the volunteer members would fund accommodation for Fred , his wife and his son while he was in Cambridge. We were told that Fred was happy to give talks when not working on the chimney for which the museum were able to charge and that the revenue raised in this way more than paid for Fred’s charges. In addition to the original pumping station there is a large collection of old engines and equipment, much of which has been donated by local companies as the equipment became outdated and uneconomic to operate. There is also an exhibition room set up with a great deal of exhibits covering the story of Pye in Cambridge and of the Cambridge Instrument Company, both with a great deal of original equipment. The visit was very much enjoyed by all who attended and all praised Pam Halls on the quality of her commentary and for her obvious enthusiasm for the museum and its exhibits. Visit was arranged by Rotarian David Easthope who also wrote this script and supplied the photo.
3rd May - Visit to Peacock’s Auction House
A large group of Rotarians and their Partners descended upon Peacock’s Auction House in Bedford last Tuesday. Their headquarters is on a large industrial complex in a modern purpose-built unit with at least four individual auction rooms (they hold four auctions every Saturday selling about 2,500 items each time). After meeting up for a welcoming coffee we were given an introductory talk by Lindsey and Matthew, two of Peacocks auctioneers. They explained the history of the firm and about it’s recent move from the centre of Bedford into their current premises. There were some amusing anecdotes about items that had been auctioned by them over the years and it was explained how busy it usually is on a Monday and Tuesday with the public bringing in items for the next sale with others picking up items purchased in the previous sale. We were then given a tour of the various auction areas in the building, finishing up in their Sale Room 1 which was all set up for the next Saturday sale. Here they had prepared a quiz for us with five items in the room having been pre-selected and we were invited to answer questions on each to test our knowledge over the next 30 minutes. This caused quite some head scratching but eventually we were invited to sit while both Lindsey and Matthew gave us the answers and explanations (in red below).
Following the quiz we were led back upstairs to the visitor’s cafe where we enjoyed a very satisfying lunch before departing back to our homes. This was a most interesting, instructive and enjoyable outing and many thanks must go to our Sports and Social Committee, and particularly to Peter Ross as the prime organiser. Words and photos by Tony B
2nd May - Historic Vehicle Show
T he Historic Vehicle at the Royston May Day Fayre proved very successful. People were demob happy after covid restriction were lifted and were keen to get their vehicles out on display. As a result we had a pleasing variety of around 170 vehicles on display, including some 40 motorbikes, a steam engine and our the usual child pleasing tractor. The weather was quite kind, while not very sunny there was no rain and a reasonable temperature. President Steve chose Ken Stratton's beautiful Triumph Tiger 110 as best bike in show. Steve's choice for best car in show was a beautiful two-tone 1958 Nash Metropolitan owned by John and Rosemary Dowling. Deputy Mayor Marguerite Phillips awarded the trophy for best vehicle in show to a 1947 MG TC that had been lovingly restored by Ray Brand. The charity buckets collected a pleasingly large sum, over £300, much more than we have ever received before. This included a generous donation from a new venture, our first ever commercial stall, which was selling small model cars. It is very rewarding to see how the show has grown over the last decade, from having around 80 to 90 vehicles to the current 170 and with substantial sums raised for charity. The distribution list has more than doubled from 218 (only 10% by Email, the rest snail mail) to 448 (65% by Email, much better but still frustrating). And of course we now have two shows rather than one. We also have to thank the generosity of previously David Smyth from UK Hacker Young but, this year through Peter Homent from Hardcastle Burton LLP for franking the paper posts and saving us a significant cost. Thanks also to everybody who turned out to act as marshals. Words by Ray Munden, photos courtesy of Neil Heywood and Ray Munden. To see the complete photo album click here .