President: Peter Mitton
Rotary
Club of Royston
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In October 2022 we welcomed thirteen guests from the Rotary Club of Paray-le-Monial. They should have come in 2020 but couldn’t because of Covid. Then they should have come in 2021 but, again, they couldn’t because covid. Finally, they arrived 30 months late, but even then Covid took its toll. One of our guests discovered they had Covid just before departing so she, and her husband, cancelled at the last minute. We provided a luxury coach to bring the French up to Royston from Luton Airport - the sort of coach used by visiting dignitaries and Heads of State. They must have felt very honoured and privileged. After renewing old acquaintances with lots of hugs and kisses, our guests went off with their hosts to settle-in and have dinner. On Friday morning our guests, their hosts and a dozen or so other members of the club drove to the National Horseracing Museum in Newmarket. Here we were given a tour of the exercise areas and an interesting talk on the museum’s work to retrain racehorses for a life (emphasis on the word “life”) after racing. Some are retrained for dressage, some for point-to-point and some for eventing. Really successful racehorses go to stud and, apparently, their owners can charge up to £250,000 a go for their services. After a traditional lunch of Bangers & Mash, we went to Anglesey Abbey for a tour of the house and a stroll through the amazing gardens. The French were very impressed by the house and, indeed, the gardens especially the Dahlia Garden. Having decapitated their aristocracy in the 18th Century the French don’t have our range of stately homes and landscaped gardens though they do have EuroDisney & Asterix World. The day finished with a fabulous meal at the home of a friendly Rotarian, in my case Jonathan and Lynn Berks. They really spoilt us and our guests. As we left, I heard one of them say “if only we could produce food and wine like this in France”. On Saturday morning we had free time to do whatever our guests wanted to do and they all wanted to go to Cambridge, though not all for the same reason. Some wanted to see the sites, others wanted go shopping. I met up with some other Royston Rotarians and their guests. Getting our combined party from one end of Trinity Street to the other was an exercise in herding cats. We eventually made it to Great St Mary’s Church where we climbed up to the roof and enjoyed amazing views over Cambridge. Did you know that all the students studying at Cambridge University have to live within three miles of this church? After lunch everyone gathered at Di’s for the Ashes. In addition to the games we usually play when Royston hosts, this year we added an extra game “find the Ashes”. It’s quite a simple game - someone hides the Ashes and a panicking President has to try and find them before he’s due to present them to the French. We all joined in, and it was great fun. Needless to say, Di was the prefect hostess. She had prepared for bad weather, but the sun shone, and everyone enjoyed games in the garden with tea and delicious cakes. After a quick change, we all gathered at Madingley Hall for dinner. Here, we added another new game for the Link Weekend “musical chairs”. I had prepared a seating plan for three tables of eight, and three of six. Madingley Hall gave us six tables of seven and seated people apparently at random. The fun part was trying to get everyone back on the same table as their partner in the five minutes we had before we all sat down for dinner. This was almost as much fun as “Find the Ashes”. After dinner, I’m told that our President delivered an eloquent and witty speech in French. I didn’t understand a word of it and neither, apparently, did any of my French guests. However, Marc Dumas, President from Paray-le-Monial, responded with a delightful speech in English, which I did understand, ending with a gift for Peter a wonderful Charolais Cow in porcelain. (I hope we’ve got a picture of this). On Sunday morning some of us got up VERY EARLY to give our guests breakfast before driving them to Luton airport for their early morning flight home. I don’t know about the other hosts, I was too tired to do anything else for the rest of the day. I’d like to thank everyone who took part in the weekend for their fantastic support. I hope everyone enjoyed the weekend - I know the French had a great time and they are looking forward to hosting us in 2023. Martin Berry Club Twinning Coordinator To see the complete photo album of the visit Click Here

Visit by the Rotary Club of Paray-le-Monial

Thursday 13th – Sunday 16th October2022