Debating skills rewarded

A delighted Roundwood Park School team hold the senior cup which they won in the Harpenden heat of the Rotary Youth Speaks competition.

Beechwood Park School, shown here in action, took the intermediate cup against particularly stiff competition.

Youth Speaks is a national competition which for many years has given youngsters experience in public speaking and, more recently, debating a subject of their own choice.

Both teams go forward to the district heat, to be held on a date yet to be decided.

Rotary shoeboxes leave a footprint in Africa

Pupils at High Beeches Primary School with some of the 160 Rotary shoeboxes they filled

This winter’s Rotary shoeboxes not only carried toys, games, writing materials and toiletries to disadvantaged youngsters and elderly people in central and eastern Europe; they also helped to provide a £2,600 donation to a major water and sanitation project benefiting rural schools in Malawi.

1022 special shoeboxes, supplied by Rotary in Harpenden, were filled by pupils from primary schools in the Harpenden area with the help of parents and encouragement from teachers. Scouts and individuals also contributed.

Those participating regularly meet the cost of the boxes with a generosity that creates a surplus, this winter amounting to £686.

With their permission Rotary in Harpenden took that money, boosted it to £936 and, through the Global Grants Scheme operated by Rotary’s own charity, The Rotary Foundation, achieved a further 280% increase, giving the Malawi project a donation worth £2,620.


Santa gets a gator

Rotary in Harpenden again supplied the 'elves' to accompany Santa as he led the parade along Harpenden's High Street, ahead of the Lights On ceremony later in the day.

When technical problems denied Santa his usual sleigh he took to a suitably bedecked gator, an electric utility vehicle supplied by Harpenden Town Council.

Improving those all-important interviews 

After a Covid pause last year, our mock interviews for final-year students have returned.

The interviews aim at giving students a taste of what they may face as they seek a place at university or an apprenticeship.

Our members, drawing on their experiences of being interviewed and interviewing, put each student through a 20-minute mock interview. They then review the student’s performance and give tips on how to improve it. 

Fifty-two students from Harpenden’s secondary schools had signed on for the experience and afterwards described it as ‘very useful’.

Classics – back with a bang

It could have been late July, Classics on the Common’s traditional showtime. Instead, owing to Covid, it was late September.

But you wouldn’t have known it. Gleaming classic cars in their hundreds, enthusiastic spectators in their thousands – just as it always is. Even the weather joined the masquerade, serving up July-like sunshine.

The main charities to benefit from the £33,000 raised by the
show are Harpenden Trust, Hope and Homes for Children and Harpenden Spotlight on Africa.
Event organiser Liz Jack said: ‘The magnificent turnout of cars and spectators proves how valuable Classics on the Common is to Harpenden. While we were delighted to offer people a day out in the sunshine the event directly helps charities to do their very important work.’

photos courtesy of Peter Wilson, Harpenden Photographic Society

For a full report click HERE

Young Photographer competition creates a buzz

There were some stunning local entries to the first round heat of the Rotary Young Photographer Competition 2021, a national competition organised by Rotary in Great Britain and Ireland.


The theme for this year's competition was: ‘WILD NATURE’

The Young Photographer competition, an annual event, is designed for young people to express themselves through the medium of photography by submitting three digital photos on the theme for the year. It is open to students in full time education in three age groups;

For the full press release download this file  ...

Young Photographer 2020-2021 press release
Young Photographer 2020-2021 Press relea[...]
Adobe Acrobat document [1.6 MB]

Awards for ‘an incredible young man’


Adam Sharp of Roundwood Park School has won this year’s Bill Hewetson Memorial Prize and Rotary Young Citizen Award. The awards honour Harpenden teenagers who have been outstanding in reflecting the Rotary motto, Service above Self.


In nominating Adam, the school’s head of Year 13, Rob Mercel, described him as an Incredible young man. At the age of five he was diagnosed with a brain tumour, and four neurological operations resulted in hemiparesis, a weakening of his left side.


Recently, the tumour returned, putting increasing pressure on his brain and making study and everyday living even more challenging.


Yet Adam continues to improve the lives of others. Since year 8 he has taught and encouraged his fellow students to play table tennis at the school’s all-weather tables. When Covid led to school closure he set up a table tennis shadow play on line, which has been enjoyed by people from ages 10 to 70.


As a qualified coach he has encouraged others throughout the pandemic. He has run weekly fitness classes for local karate clubs and provided support and inspiration to all members of the football club.


Adam has also worked with Herts Youth Sports Trust as a Young Athlete Role Model, making a video presentation to be used to encourage disengaged children throughout the county.


The school’s citation concluded: ‘Despite all his talent and skills Adam is a very unassuming young man. He has achieved so much and is so generous helping others. All of which he has done without asking for extra help or bemoaning the challenges he faces.’


Rotary in Harpenden are extremely proud to have him as winner of the Awards.

Help for jobhunters

Job hunters can now get help and guidance from a Rotary webinar.

Rotary in Harpenden are recommending ‘Planning Your Job Search’. The webinar explains everything the job seeker of any age needs to write a CV, make an application, prepare for an interview and much more.

The webinar, produced by the Rotary Club of Dublin Central, is available without charge.

To access it on Zoom, visit and use the password: #Experts1.

For more information about other Rotary initiatives for helping people click on Events and Activities in the menu above.

Something notable to celebrate

One of Rotary’s major campaigns has much to celebrate.

Rotary’s END POLIO NOW has, in the past 18 months, achieved two notable milestones:

  • All but one of the wild polio strains have been wiped out
  • Africa has been certified polio-free

Much of the credit for these milestones belongs to the Rotary clubs and volunteers around the world who have fund raised and worked tirelessly for more than 30 years to rid the world of this debilitating disease.  

In that time Rotary in Harpenden’s regular contributions have earned us Rotary awards. In the past five years alone our donations have totalled more than £10,000.

But the goal of a polio-free world has still be realised as the virus still circulates in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Theo now has his special wheels


Theo Cowan, the severely handicapped eight-year-old, living in Harpenden, is now pictured in his special wheelchair, paid for with grants from Rotary in Harpenden and The Handicapped Children’s Action Group.

‘The wheelchair has made a great difference to our daily life,’ says his mother. ‘We can now take Theo on regular walks without worrying about his safety.

Rotary in Harpenden

Rotary in Harpenden is a charity that runs community events in Harpenden and surrounding villages, with help from Rotary Club members and others. Nine regular events are pictured below. For more details click on "Events and Activities" in the menu above. 

Classics on the Common
Rotary Shoe Boxes
Schools' Mock Interviews
Christmas Carol Concert
Youth Speaks
Young Photographer Competition
Technology Tournament
Quiz of Quizzes
Young Citizen Awards

To read Rotary in Harpenden's Privacy Notice click here

For Harpenden Village Rotary Club website click here


For Rotary in Harpenden's Facebook page, click here

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Rotary in Harpenden CIO is a charitable incorporated organisation, Registered Charity No.1163420
For Harpenden Village Rotary Club website click here