Clubs and Community (including a talk by a puppet-maker)

High Sheriff of Hertfordshire Fergus McMullen with, from left to right, Linda Nateghi (DCFL Manager), Geoff Lawrence (DCFL Chairman) and John Parkey (DCFL Secretary)
High Sheriff of Hertfordshire Fergus McMullen with, from left to right, Linda Nateghi (DCFL Manager), Geoff Lawrence (DCFL Chairman) and John Parkey (DCFL Secretary)

The latest news from clubs and community groups in your area.

New season for Hemel Hempstead Movie Makers

Hemel Hempstead Movie Makers’ new season commenced with an evening of viewing contenders for primarily next month’s annual comedy film competition.

This will be with its colleagues St. Albans Movie Makers.

The annual Hertfordshire amateur film competition will also take place later during this autumn.

At the time of writing, no firm decision has been finalised as to what the Hemel club’s entries will be.

Hemel Hempstead Movie Makers meets in The Buglass Room in Leverstock Green Community Centre, which is behind The Leather Bottle pub.

Doors open at 7.30pm. Meetings have changed to the third Monday of the month.

Coffee for a good cause

Dacorum Communities For Learning and Boxmoor & Warners End Community Centre are holding a MacMillan Coffee Morning on Friday, September 26, from 10am to 12noon at the Centre in Stoneycroft, HP1 3QG.

As well as the usual tea, coffee and cakes, visitors to the centre will also be able to come along and try out tablet computers and laptops with the help of tutors and volunteers free of charge.

Find out about low-cost courses on tablets, iPads, laptops and mobile phones as well as skills for work courses and arts and crafts and other courses on offer.

There will also be information on all the activities the centre has to offer to all ages of the community, so please come in and help raise funds for MacMillan Cancer Care.

Group holds AGM

The annual general meeting (AGM) of the West Hemel Action Group (WHAG) was held recently.

Organisers say it was ‘extremely well attended’ by more than 100 people, leaving the hall where it was held in Chaulden Infants School with standing room only.

WHAG spokesman Lee Royal said: “We spent almost two hours updating residents on the LA3 Development with particular emphasis on the up and coming public consultation on the Master Plan & Site Allocations documents.

“It is pretty clear that there is still a high level of local resident interest in LA3 and frankly a lot of that interest is negative in the sense that people still do not want it, but maybe more importantly at this stage, people are unhappy in respect of a lot of the content of the proposed LA3 development.

“Of course WHAG’s message to residents, is very much ensure that you make your views clear through the public consultation process and equally ensure that you communicate directly with your DBC councillors and MP, given that it is these people that are making and contributing to the decisions for the area that we all live in and local elections are just around the corner!

“Fiona Guest, local Conservative councillor and councillor Terry Douris also attended the meeting and responded to a number of questions raised and equally made promises to feedback on a number of points.”

High Sheriff of Hertfordshire visits DCFL

The High Sheriff of Hertfordshire, Fergus McMullen has visited Highfield Community Centre to see the work of DCFL (Dacorum Communities for Learning).

As a charity DCFL aims to provide affordable training to help people who find themselves disadvantaged because of a lack of computer skills and to enhance the quality of life by engaging people in crafts and other leisure activities.

The High Sheriff met Linda Nateghi (DCFL manager), John Parkey (DCFL Secretary), Geoff Lawrence (DCFL Chairman), Mike Caldwell (a DCFL Trustee) and a number of past learners.

He discussed the work of DCFL and was very impressed by the quality of training and the commitment to providing affordable training to those who most need it.

The High Sheriff was pleased to note that DCFL were keen to engage in providing training in ICT skills to help ex-prisoners readjust to life in the community, one of the aims of the High Sheriff’s tenure and something the High Sheriff and DCFL can work together on.

The High Sheriff also spoke to learners Susan Capron, Susan Scott and Hilary Franoux and was able to see how they had improved their life skills through doing courses with DCFL.

All three learners had recently been nominated for awards that recognised their outstanding learning achievements.

For more information on DCFL contact Linda Nateghi on 01442251930 or email

Puppet-maker’s secrets unveiled

Flamstead and Trowley Women’s Institute members enjoyed a talk by a puppet-maker who took her Punch and Judy shows up and down the country during their latest meeting.

The speech by Angela Collins was entitled ‘A puppet’s tale’.

Club spokesman Anne Bisson said: “She began by telling us how she had started her career as a hairdresser, moving on to work in the textile industry, where she learnt her sewing and design skills.

“Then, what started in a small way making puppets and giving a Punch and Judy show to amuse children at a local event, escalated into a full time life of making puppets and appearing at events all over the country.

“She was an amazing lady, whose life had not been an easy one, but she was an amusing and lively speaker.

“Her husband provided the musical accompaniment. She had brought lots of the puppets with her which we were able to hold and try out.

“They ranged from children’s characters to the Beatles and some were life-size costumes. “They were instantly recognizable. She also had lots of pictures from some of the events.

“The characters were great – she obviously has a flair for thinking up ideas to amuse children (and also adults at times).

“We were all in awe of the way she had managed to overcome the hardships her life had brought. An entertaining speaker.

“In October we celebrate the 70th birthday of Flamstead & Trowley W.I., so our next evening meeting will be on Thursday 13th November at 7.30pm, when our speaker will be Dot Wig.

“Her talk is entitled ‘Tea with the Queen’. Visitors are always welcome.”