Walk Presentation meeting with partners & Hatfield Rotary Club

Tue 26th September 2017 at 18.30 - 21.00

The annual Rotary Walk Presentation Evening when we honour the walkers who have achieved the largest amounts of sponsorship for their chosen charities. A joint meeting with Hatfield Rotary Club this year hosted by WGC, Mayor Lynne Sparks will attend.

Walkers who raised the most

Volunteers get the Credit!!!


WHBC Mayor, Cllr. Lynne Sparks, spoke of the generosity that she gladly encounters almost every day as she visits charities around Welwyn Hatfield. Speaking at the celebrations for the ROTARY WHWalk 2017 at Homestead Court Hotel last week, Lynne told her audience of 50 Rotarians and Friends. Guest Speaker at the Awards was Caroline McFarlane, Chair of the Digswell Place Riding for the Disabled group. Caroline enthralled the audience, talking about the great works that go on in the heart of our community, in Sherrards Park Woods.

The awards meeting was chaired by Andy Forrow, as Acting President for WGC Rotary. Andy began the meeting with thanks to the many volunteers – not the few – who had contributed to renewed success for the WHWalk, first paying tribute to one of the Walk's “founding fathers”, Dr. John Perren, whose wife, Mary, was present:

Welcome to everyone, here to celebrate another successful year of the Welwyn Hatfield Rotary Charity Walk. 2017 continued the success of so many previous years. What I will say this evening may sound very much like The Oscars – so many people to thank.

Before going on, I'd like to remind you of Dr John Perren and his unique contribution. We owe John a great debt of gratitude and I'm delighted that Mary, his wife, is here with us tonight.

On behalf of both our clubs, I'd like to welcome the Welwyn Hatfield Borough's Mayor, councillor Lynne Sparks – it's a pleasure to see you here tonight.

Next, it's a pleasure to welcome Caroline McFarlane, representing the Digswell Place group of the excellent Riding for the Disabled charity. - A charity that exemplifies Rotary's commitment to local good causes; where any donation will make a difference.

Further, we welcome Alison Shersby and Margaret Frost, representatives of 'Growing People', another Hertfordshire-based charity – winners of an Award tonight.

As hosts tonight, the WGC Club wants to welcome Martin Reeve, President of the Hatfield Club and Jane and all members of Hatfield Rotary. We're proud of the association between our two clubs and the way the joint committee works together to ensure the Walk happens as it should, and it does. Each year. To all of them, all our members thank you. The Walk doesn't just HAPPEN......

Then, there are all the volunteers on the day – the course markers, those on Reception, as Stewards and the thankless Sweeper(s),

Finally, Rotary wants to thank all the local companies that have sponsored the Walk again so generously this year. First of all, we must thank the local staff of Barclays Bank in WGC, and their colleagues in the central Community Support function at their headquarters. Both financially and by their helping to receive our walkers on their arrival at Reception.... with smiles and encouragement. For several years, we have depended on Barclays.

We also want to thank Booker Ltd who support community general stores from their Hatfield Business Park location. Thanks to them for their “hydration” and their “energy supplements” -Mars Bars for every Walker, no less!

On the same theme, we thank Grace Foods in Bessemer Road for their donation of health drinks – Aloe Vera and Coconut Waters and not forgetting their equally popular Ginger Beer!

With apologies, again, for sounding like this is the Oscars.......

Cllr. Lynne Sparks took up the theme of volunteering which, she said, is very well established in the Borough. Everywhere she goes – to charity shops, to care groups, to Scouting, to schools, and elsewhere, there are volunteers making things happen. Lynne encouraged everyone to give a little more of their skills and time to local good causes.

Caroline McFarlane, representing the R.D.A. at Digwell Place, in Sherrardswood, was fulsome in her praise of the volunteers on whom the RDA depends. In fact, Digswell Place Stables operate with no paid employees at all! Dozens of young and older disabled people enjoy the therapeutic benefits of horse-riding. These help both physical and psychological well-being among some very special people.

Cllr. Sparks then presented the Awards to:

* The individual walker raising the most -

Terry Mitchinson, who nominated Willow as his chosen good cause, in memory of Willow's former CEO, David Williams.

* The group award to Alison and Margaret representing the team who raised the most - “Growing People” from Letchworth Garden City where volunteers (again!) use horticulture – growing flowers and vegetables – to help disabled people in the community live more fulfilling lives.

Alison said “The WHWalk was great for us because we just had to turn up on the day and everything was done by Rotary for us!”

Closing the meeting, President, Andy, said:

What Rotary needs, to continue its support for local good causes such as these, national good causes too many to mention, and international good causes like End Polio Now, Shelterbox and others, is increased membership.

All of us need to get out and share the benefits of Rotary to our communities - among like-minded men and women. Please go out and talk over what you have heard today with families and friends”.

WHT Readers can read more about Rotary and the RDA and Growing People on websites: www.wgcrotary.org.uk , www.rotaryhatfield.org.uk, www.digswellplacerda.org.uk, www.growing-people.org.uk, www.whwalk.org.uk.