Clubs and Community - Mountbatten Lodge enjoys a night at the Opera

Connaught Opera perform at Mountbatten Lodge. From left to right: Maria Arakie, Glenn Wilson and pianist Nicholas Bosworth
Connaught Opera perform at Mountbatten Lodge. From left to right: Maria Arakie, Glenn Wilson and pianist Nicholas Bosworth

All the latest news from clubs and community groups in your area.

Flamstead and Trowley Women’s Institute clock up special anniversary

Seventy years of Flamstead & Trowley Women’s Institute was celebrated in October. Instead of the usual meeting, members decided to mark the occasion with a meal in the village hall. A caterer was booked, and he provided a delicious three course meal. Everyone was welcomed with a glass of Madeira, and members felt it was a lovely informal evening – very relaxing and fun.

A group of members went to the Abbey in St Albans to see the Festival of Music and Flowers, at the end of September. The floral displays were amazing. Members enjoyed a cream tea in the Abbots’ Kitchen afterward - which they highly recommend as no WI event is complete without tea and cake!

A lovely lady called Dot Wig entertained members at the November meeting with a talk entitled ‘Tea with the Queen’.

As county chairman of Bedfordshire Federation of Women’s Institutes, Dot was invited in 2003 to a Buckingham Palace garden party. She spoke of the events leading up to the day and then described in detail her day at the palace.

Protocol is strict, but everything runs smoothly. She said the Queen appeared interested in each person she met – Dot hadn’t realised how tiny the monarch is. Dot had already chosen an outfit and a hat for the occasion, when a lady at a meeting she was attending said she would like to provide her with a designer hat. As a lover of hats Dot was delighted and spent happy hours choosing a design from a large collection. She brought ‘the hat’ to show members! She was an entertaining speaker and members enjoyed her talk.

The next evening meeting is on Thursday December 11 at 7.30pm, when the speaker will be Vic Botterill. His talk is entitled ‘A Christmas Cracker’. Visitors are always welcome.

Mountbatten Lodge enjoy entertainment from the Connaught Opera

Residents of Mountbatten Lodge care home in Old Crabtree Lanem Hemel Hempstead were delighted to welcome the Connaught Opera for the first of six concerts to take place in the home over the next 12 months.

Performances will take place in seven of Quantum Care’s Homes, with a different theme each time, thanks to an application made by the Connaught Opera to deliver the programme. Singer Maria Arakie said: “Our latest grant from the Arts Council England, Grants for the Arts, has a major focus on caring. This will be a long-term programme, over a one year period, to deliver a varying and appropriate repertoire, matched by stunning costume changes, to develop a focussed engagement with a small number of locations.

“The grant is for Connaught Opera to perform 42 themed concerts, in selected Quantum Care Homes in Hertfordshire and Essex.

“The project will be monitored and evaluated to measure the impact of a sustained intervention in one place and link the outcomes to health and the arts.”

The first concert at Mountbatten Lodge had a Georgian Odyssey theme, and included numerous costume changes as part of a spectacular performance from the Connaught Opera’s Glenn Wilson, Maria Arakie and pianist Nicholas Bosworth.

The event at Mountbatten Lodge was organised by the home’s activity team Lorraine Sheward and Corinne Bowgen.

Lorraine said: “We were absolutely delighted to have the Connaught Opera with us, and are thrilled to have them perform in our home over the coming months. The residents thoroughly enjoyed the performance and we look forward to welcoming them back for their Christmas themed concert here in December.”

RSPB Hemel Hempstead - The Changing Wildlife of the Chilterns

The next meeting of the RSPB group will see John Tyler, a well-known naturalist, taking his audience through millions of years to follow the story of the wildlife of the Chilterns. The event will be held in the Cavendish School’s main hall on Monday, December 1 starting at 8pm.

At the previous meeting Roy Atkins of Speyside Wildlife gave a superbly illustrated and entertaining talk about the special birds, mammals and other wildlife of the Scottish Highlands. The group’s annual Grand Draw was also held during the evening, and the first prize was a sizable food hamper.

A very successful Quiz Night was held in early November at the Apsley Community Centre, when 15 tables of six quizzers found themselves facing some challenging questions. The proceeds from both fund raising events will go towards the RSPB’s conservation work.

There is no group outing in December. The next outing on Saturday, January 10 is a local shared car trip to HWT Lemsford Springs and RSPB Rye Meads.

Find out more by visiting or by contacting group leader Ian Wilson on 07929 997759. For outing details contact Alan Corner on 01442 833585.

Adeyfield Townswomen’s Guild

At the November meeting chairman Mrs Gwynneth Wood welcomed members and asked Denise Chennells to describe her experience at Pendley Manor where she was awarded Care in the Community at the Pride of Dacorum awards.

The speaker for the evening was Leanne Walters who works at the Waterside Theatre in Aylesbury. Her topic was the History of British Pantomime and she gave a very interesting illustrated talk starting with the beginnings of the theatre in Greece and Rome through to the Georgians and Victorians.

Members learnt that the Georgians would put on Extravaganzas with over 500 members in the cast. Leanne explained how the traditional dame (played by a man) and principal boy (played by a woman) all began.

After tea and the raffle members were reminded that the next event is the Adeyfield Neighbourhood Fair on Saturday November 29 where the guild will be providing refreshments and a sales table.

Members were also reminded about the Christmas lunch at Feldon Lodge on December 3.

The next meeting of the guild is at Adeyfield Community Centre on Wednesday January 7 next year. New members are welcome, if you are interested please phone 01442 247391.