Clubs and Community: Steam fayre raised a record £25k for hospice

The Dacorum Steam and Country Fayre raised a record �25k for The Hospice of St Francis
The Dacorum Steam and Country Fayre raised a record �25k for The Hospice of St Francis

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Machinery and steam group raises £25k for hospice

Nearly 7,000 visitors who flocked to this year’s Dacorum Steam and Country Fayre raised a record £25k for Berkhamsted-based The Hospice of St Francis.

Vintage Machinery and Heavy Horse enthusiasts packed the 62-acre Green Croft Farm showground in Potten End for the annual charity event in July, organised by dedicated volunteers from the Dacorum Machinery and Steam Preservation Group.

Presenting a cheque for £25k, which will fund a health care assistant for the Hospice’s inpatient unit for a year, organiser Dawn Bunker said: “We’d like to thank everyone for supporting us, enabling us to give such a fantastic amount to the hospice, which provides such an incredible service.

“It was a fantastic weekend!

“We had lots of attractions for all age groups, from children’s Thomas the Tank Engine rides and birds of prey displays to glass blowing and blacksmithing demos - as well of course as 18 steam engines dating back to 1902, 104 tractors, 18 fire engines and a display of heavy horses and mules.”

There were also classic cars, military vehicles and motorbikes on display as well as miniature steam vehicles, many with trailers affording rides, live demonstrations by the fire brigade and an escapologist and his circus skills workshops.

With this year’s donation, the event, now in its eighth year, has raised £120,000 for the Berkhamsted-based charity since it began in 2006.

Hemel Hempstead MP Mike Penning, who attends the event every year as a hospice patron, said: “What the organisers do for the community is incredible – without what they and people like them do, the hospice wouldn’t be able to continue to provide its vital services.”

Alison Allard, the hospice’s head of quality and patient experience, who officially opened the show by being driven into the show ring on an Alvis Saladin tank, said: “It was a superbly organised event and the atmosphere was akin to one big happy family having a wonderful day out.

“There really was something for everyone!

“We’d like to thank everyone for coming and helping to raise such a phenomenal amount. Special thanks must go to the organisers, suppliers and volunteers for supporting us, helping us to edge towards raising 80% of the £4.7m we need every year to continue to care for people living with life-shortening illness across Herts and Bucks.

“We couldn’t do it without them and we’re looking forward to seeing everyone again at next year’s event on 25th/26th July 2015!”

The Hospice of St Francis provides total care when time is precious for people living with life-

shortening illnesses.

It brings peace, comfort and confidence to individuals – as in-patients, outpatients and at home – helping them to live life to the full and providing essential support for their families and carers.

Its outpatient Spring Centre enhances the hospice’s scope to improve health and wellbeing for many more people.

All of the hospice’s care is given free of charge.

All donations to the hospice are warmly received and make a real difference to those who need care now and in the future.

For more information, contact 01442 869555 or visit or follow the hospice on Facebook – TheHospiceofStFrancis, and Twitter – @Hospicstfrancis.

What lies beneath the soil?

The October meeting of the Berkhamsted & District Archaeological Society (BDAS) welcomed Dr Kris Lockyear, FSA, of the Institute of Archaeology, University College London, to speak on ‘Sensing the Iron Age and Roman Past in Hertfordshire’.

At his lecture to BDAS in December 2012 Kris had outlined a proposed surveying project examining ancient sites in Hertfordshire by using a highly sophisticated American-made magnometer.

His application for a grant to the Arts & Humanities Research Council, linking the project with University College London, local interests, especially the archaeological societies, and communities ticked all the right boxes and he was successful.

He had initially set up a training course on geophysics before tackling the major element of the project to reveal hitherto unknown layouts of some smaller ancient sites such as the temple of the Iron Age goddess Sununa at Ashwell before tackling the big one – Verulamium.

One of only four major Roman cities not later overbuilt, the parkland was ideal for non-intrusive examination that could build on the published excavations of Dr (later Sir) Mortimer Wheeler in the 1930s.

The detailed evidence revealed by the magnometer and geophysics in areas both previously excavated and unexcavated was remarkable.

Not least, the survey had been able to identify, via magnetic variations, for example in the firing of clay, the part of Verulamium that had been devastated by fire in the 200s, and might therefore also have been the possible need for an extension of the town to partly compensate for the damage.

There is still much work to be done and, having laid an impressive foundation and proved the viability and value of the project, Kris is applying for further grants to complete and publish the survey and recording work.

The November meeting will hear Brett Thorn of Buckinghamshire Archaeological Service speak on ‘The Mysteries of the Yewden Roman Villa’’. Further details from the BDAS secretary on 01442 875597.

Movie club discusses script of prospective production

During the recent meeting of the Hemel Hempstead Movie Makers, the membership, discussed the script and approach of the prospective production Fruit Cake.

The comedy script, written by member Steve Ballard, certainly has potential.

Various aspects were looked at, as well as casting the film crew, ranging from clapperboard to producer and director.

At the next meeting on Monday the acting aspect will be studied.

Meetings take place in the Buglass Room in Leverstock Green Hall. Doors open at 7.30pm for set up and start at 8pm.

Frequency of meetings are on the third Monday of the month.

New members always welcome.