Our Harpenden Quiz of Quizzes, an ever-popular event staged in St George’s School hall, on a Friday evening in March, regularly attracts 30 or more teams of six people.
As well as giving some 200 quiz enthusiasts an entertaining evening it allows us, through the bar and a raffle, to raise funds for charity. Since the first Quiz of Quizzes was staged in 1996 more than £60,000 has been raised. Next year’s Quiz of Quizzes will be held on Friday, 8 March.
Classics on the Common is our flagship event. Since we took over organising the show in 2009, ‘Classics’ has become Britain’s biggest mid-week classic car show and is ranked as one of the top events of the classics calendar.
More than 1,200 classic 4-wheel vehicles, motorcycles and scooters, with over 10,000 admiring spectators, fill Harpenden Common on a Wednesday afternoon in late July.
Charities have benefited, too. Since taking on the event we have raised and distributed more than £200,000 to needy causes.
Since 2005 our Santa Float has toured the roads of Wheathampstead and district, playing Christmas music, delighting the children and collecting donations from the residents.
As a prelude to making the rounds, in late November the float makes its way through Wheathamstead High Street to MacIntyre Home. There, Santa flicks the switch for the village’s official Christmas Lights On. He then descends to his specially made grotto to greet and chat to the many youngsters already queuing to meet him.
A choir drawn from 12 local junior schools provides the music at A Concert for Christmas which we hold in early December each year at High Street Methodist Church.
Performing before an audience of parents, grandparents and siblings the choir alone renders some modern carols, interspersed with several favourites to which audience can add their voices. A collection is taken for charity.
Drawing on our members’ experience of being interviewed for university or a job and, in the course of their careers, interviewing others, we offer school leavers the opportunity to undergo a 20-minute ‘mock interview’ with a further 10-minute review of their performance.
Rotary Youth Speaks, another long-standing nationwide competition run by Rotary across the country, aims at giving young people an experience in public speaking that will benefit them forever.
Teams are drawn from senior schools and, depending on their age, compete in junior, intermediate or senior categories. Each team has three members – chairperson, speaker and proposer of the vote of thanks – with the speaker having six minutes to talk on a subject of the team’s choice.
Imagine having to design, build and test a coin sorter with only wooden dowel, card, square-sectioned wood, rubber bands, modelling material and Sellotape to work with. And you have only fours hours in which to complete the job.
That’s the sort of task facing 90 secondary school students from eight Harpenden and St Albans schools taking part in a Rotary Technology Tournament held at Marlborough Science Academy, St Albans, each March. We run this event in association with the three St Albans Rotary clubs, with sponsorship from local businesses.
Our Young Citizen Awards honour teenagers from Harpenden’s secondary schools and organisations like scouting and guiding, who have been outstanding in reflecting the Rotary motto, Service above Self.
The award winners, chosen by the school or organisation, gather with their parents at a dinner we host each May, to be introduced by a senior member of the school or organisation.
Each October we supply up to 10 local junior schools, Guide and Scout groups with specially made Rotary shoeboxes which the youngsters, with their parents’, teachers’ and leaders’ help, fill with toys and household goods to bring some Christmas cheer to orphans and elderly people in Eastern European countries.
Budding young photographers have the opportunity to enter their work in a new competition now that Rotary in Harpenden have initiated a Harpenden heat in Rotary’s country-wide Young Photographer Competition.
The competition is split into three age-defined sections: junior, intermediate and senior. The judges, drawn from Harpenden Photographic Society, have no knowledge of the identities of the competitors. For further details see here
As with most of our international giving, the money or goods are handled by Rotarians in the UK or who are based in the receiving countries. That way, we know our aid will reach the people who need it.