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The Autumn edition 2012

Olympics legacy...what it means for

iHarpenden & community

Inside stories: •Inspiring a generation? - Government action needed now! •Harpenden Schools - an insight. •How a Harpenden Business benefitted from London 2012. •New car dealership established in Harpenden. •Local authors make the charts. The Nickey Line revisited. •Financial grants to help young sports people make it to Rio. •Spring colour in the gardening feature.

From the Editor. Autumn 2012 Local schools, business and people have been involved with London 2012 Games in many different ways. You can read all about it in this edition. But that’s not all, there are several exciting and interesting articles about other aspects of Harpenden life. I hope you enjoy the read. Ron Taylor Editor October 23rd 2012. Please contact me to air your views on any aspect of Harpenden life.

In this issue. EDITORIAL COMMENT. Pg. 2. By Ron Taylor. WOBURN ABBEY GIFT FAIR Pg. 3.

THE NICKEY LINE REVISITED Pg 14. By John Cooper SPRING COLOUR Pg 15. By Renata Rybczyk-Savage




VOLUNTEERING AT LONDON 2012 Pg. 18 & 19. By Jeremy Silverstone.





CRIME WRITER LEIGH RUSSELL Pg. 12 & 13. By Amanda Thomas.

HARPENDEN FREE SCHOOL Pg, 24 & 25. By Ron Taylor

‘Inspire a Generation’ A Government promise needing action...Now. By Ron Taylor. Editor

Above. Children from Roundwood Park School were lucky enough to visit the London 2012 Games. Their enthusiasm for sport is incredible. Their school, the teachers, and the children are role models for the Country.

“A sporting legacy with more people taking part in activities at grassroots level was at the heart of the London 2012 bid. Almost 2 months have passed since the London 2012 Games ended. The inspirational effect will soon begin to wane on both young people and their parents/ guardians if more positive actions are not announced soon. So who are we aiming to inspire? It has to start with young people in Primary Schools who need to have competitive sport and physical education as part of

their curriculum. This requires recognition by and support from the Schools themselves, local government and at the highest levels in the Department for Education. We need Government action now to capitalise on the success of the London 2012 Games. Not cross party point scoring but a serious consensus on the best way forward.” Article continues...

Article concludes... Serious thought needs to be given to:

• A new strategic approach to sport in education • Increased resources not cuts to school sport funding • Weekly PE classes • Status for PE teachers • Guaranteed school playing fields • Develop links with local sport associations

• The School Premises (England) Regulations 2012 were approved by schools minister Lord Hill on 19 July, a week ahead of the Olympics' opening ceremony. The guidelines come into force at the end of October. • The Sport and Recreation Alliance have expressed real concerns about the lack of minimum requirements for playing field space. • The Youth Sports Trust is an independent charity devoted to changing young people’s lives through sport

Schools in Harpenden seem to have the sporting ethos with generous support from the local community so they need to continue in their good work. Roundwood Park School are one of Harpenden’s Already there are delays ahead for leading schools where Sport is at the the Olympic Stadium legacy. The most heart of the curriculum. (Read about them prized asset of the whole Olympic on Pages 22 & 23) Park. The solution of offering the stadium to football clubs (West Ham On Thursday Oct 11th the Youth Sports and previously Spurs) have hit Trust awarded them a Gold Standard as a problems. A most recent proposal is for sporting college. London 2012 to go it alone and use the Stadium for a range of sports (the For further information contact: • The Education Funding Agency which rugby world cup and world athletic games are just two examples) and it controls the school budgets. could succeed as concert venue.”

Develop your child’s independent learning skills We all know the importance of maths and English. It has been widely shown, for instance, that young people with better literacy and numeracy skills are far more likely to succeed in gaining good employment and fulfilling their potential later in life.

Kumon Educational, the UK’s leading supplementary education provider, offer maths and English study programmes which are tailored to each child’s ability. Kumon’s unique method focuses on your child as an individual, providing them with transferable skills and the ability to learn for themselves. As a result, children can improve their all-round academic performance and gain the confidence to tackle new challenges both in and outside of the classroom.

The Kumon Maths and English Programmes complement classroom learning, building speed and accuracy and developing abilities such as time management and problem solving. They also focus on long-term learning and achievement rather than just exam preparation or catching up with schoolwork. Above all, the programmes develop confident, independent children with a passion for learning. Mrs Rogers, whose son is studying maths at the Harpenden Study Centre, said: “We had our parent's meeting this week and I am extremely pleased to let you know that Jake had a glowing report, especially in relation to maths. He has made huge steps since last September. He is no longer at the bottom of the class and he knows certain things that other children in the class do not. I do believe that Kumon has played a big part in this and the guidance it provides for us at home has been invaluable. Enrolling with Kumon has been a fantastic decision.”

Before enrolling, your child will benefit from a Free Assessment. This will determine where on the programmes they will begin and will ensure that your child’s Kumon study is individualised to their needs from the outset. Once enrolled, students will attend their local centre every week and will have individually set worksheets to complete at home. This ensures that they establish a daily study habit and that there are no gaps in their understanding of the subject before moving on. Kumon is the UK’s leading supplementary education provider, with over 63,000 children study with Kumon at more than 650 centres across the UK and Ireland. For more information or to book a Free Assessment, call Harpenden Kumon Study Centre Instructor Ann Price on 01582 766269 or email

Hi Tech Harpenden company stars in the Olympic Pool By Ron Taylor

The organisers (LOCOG) of this summers swimming events at London 2012 wanted to ‘wow’ worldwide TV audiences with underwater TV sequences of the swimmers and in action. This required specialist underwater cable on which the TV cameras could track up and down the pool at speed to capture all the drama. Acoustic Marine Systems of Harpenden were the company that solved the problem. They worked with the broadcast contractors to design and supply the cable to run from the central control area at pool side through a pulley system into the swimming pool, to the small underwater mobile camera that runs up and down the pool on a track. During the Games they provided technical support to ensure that the finals were covered each day without any problems.

Above: Poolside Below: Remote camera operator Below right: Remote camera winch with AMS cable

The end results were spectacular with fantastic images of swimmers like Michael Phelps and Rebecca Adlington. Below: Spectacular underwater Olympic images in the Pool courtesy of London 2012.

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Years of Underwater Experience Acoustic Marine Systems of Harpenden is a leading manufacturer of Passive Acoustic Monitoring Systems for marine mammal monitoring and mitigation. For instance they work with many off shore wind farm developers who have to comply with stringent regulations on how Whales and dolphins (right) are affected by the installation of these huge units on the sea bed. AMS manufactures and installs passive acoustic monitoring systems on ships to detect and record marine mammals so that construction activities do not commence whilst they are in the area. This ensures they are not exposed to excessive underwater noise. This data is provided to the Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC) thus protecting an important part of the sea’s ecological balance. AMS have been established in Harpenden for many years and are recognised as one of the worlds leading companies in the underwater marine market.

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Brayleys Cars reports promising start to new dealership Having opened the doors to his new Kia and Mazda dealership in Harpenden almost three months ago, Paul Brayley, owner of Brayleys Cars, has reported an encouraging start to his first dual-franchise business. Following a complete refurbishment after Brayley acquired the site in February, which had lain dormant for over ten years, the new dealership is the only new car showroom in the town. According to Brayley, the site’s unique position has influenced its early success:

Fifteen-year-old Emmanuel Chitambira applied for the 5-day work experience offered by the dealership and was selected from a number of other candidates. During his week, he gained an understanding of how a busy car workshop operates and the importance of teamwork, customer service and attention to detail. Speaking at the official launch, Tim Hutchings, Chief Executive of HCCI commended Brayleys Cars on providing young people with an insight into business during their formative years, so that they can make informed decisions about their future careers. Paul Brayley, Managing Director, Brayleys Cars, said: “Our business is about empowering people to do the best they can for our customers as well as for their own professional development. We are always on the lookout for dynamic and enthusiastic individuals and the company is a supporter of Apprenticeships. Wherever possible, Brayleys Cars will respond positively to requests from schools to help students."

“We have been delighted with the response from local residents, who’ve made us feel very welcome. We’ve been running promotions to engage the community and encourage footfall, which has proved a good way of getting the pulse of the market. Sales of new and used units have been brisk and workshop activity has been particularly buoyant. It’s clear that our new location has been well received.” As part of its commitment to promoting the automotive sector as a desirable career choice for young people, Brayleys Cars hosted a student from Sir John Lawes School in Harpenden, which was arranged by the Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Above: Tim Hutchings,(left) Emmanuel Chitambira (centre) and Paul Brayley, (right) More on the next page...

With every booking of this special offer at Brayley Kia / Mazda made before 31 OCTOBER, they will provide a complimentary health check, involving a visual inspection in the workshop and a full electronic diagnostic heath check with an easy to understand green/amber/red reporting system. To book your car in, simply call 01582 447377 and quote this special a/c offer.

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Thanks to ground-breaking SKYACTIV Technology, the all-new Mazda CX-5’s high performance engines deliver up to 61.4mpg and CO2 emissions as low as 119g/km, giving you a spirited driving experience without the bills to match. Call 01582 762075 now to book a test drive and experience the all-new Mazda CX-5 for yourself.


Brayley Mazda 17 Luton Road, Harpenden, Herts AL5 2AU 01582 762075

Retail sales only. Subject to availability at participating dealers only. Model shown: All-new Mazda CX-5 2.0 2WD Sport (165ps). OTR £23,595. Model shown features optional pearlescent paint (£520). On the road price includes VAT, number plates, delivery, 12 months road fund licence, first registration fee, 3 year or 60,000 mile warranty and 3 years European roadside assistance. Test drives subject to availability. Details correct at time of print.

For just £49, Brayleys will carry out a full service of your car’s air-conditioning system, to ensure it’s operating at optimum performance over the winter months. This includes an inspection of all functional elements to check for any leaks, replacement of air-conditioning refrigerant and recharging to recommended levels, adding fresh system oil as necessary.

For only £10 extra the service department will also carry out an anti-bacterial treatment to eradicate any nasty bacteria that can live in a car’s a/c unit.

The official fuel consumption figures in mpg (l/100km) for the Mazda CX-5 range: Urban 37.7 (7.5) – 52.3 (5.4), Extra Urban 55.4 (5.1) – 68.9 (4.1), Combined 47.1 (6.0) – 61.4 (4.6). CO2 emissions (g-km) 144-119.

Brayley editorial concludes with SPECIAL OFFERS... As well as some enticing offers on new cars from both Kia and Mazda, the company has launched a special air-conditioning offer with a complimentary vehicle health check included, to ensure that resident’s cars stay in top condition as the colder weather approaches.

Not a ‘who dunnit’ but a ‘why dunnit’ By Amanda Thomas

Some time ago Ron Taylor interviewed crime author Leigh Russell for Harpendia, and recently I met up with her for an update. We met somewhat appropriately on a dark, autumnal evening in an olde worlde pub in Aldenham, close to where Leigh works as an English teacher. When we last talked to Leigh in 2011, Harpenden publishers No Exit Press were about to bring out the third book in her crime series, Dead End, following the success of Cut Short (2009) and Road Closed (2010). No Exit Press released Dead End as an eBook at the same time as it was launched in book shops, and such was its success that Dead End became one of the top fifty bestsellers on Kindle for 2011. It was also voted one of five Best Crime Fiction Books of 2011 by Crime Time magazine readers, and if that wasn't all, the book's female protagonist, detective Geraldine Steel, was named Number 1 on Amazon Kindle's bestseller chart for female sleuths.

Above. Leigh Russell in a library where she talked to her fans.

included in the Top 50 Bestsellers Chart for WH Smith's Travel. Death Bed marked a change of course in the series and is set in London rather than Kent. Leigh chose to set the early books in the Whitstable area as this was near to where she had spent her student days when she read for an MA in English and American Literature at the University of Kent at Canterbury. However, Leigh is quick to point out that whilst the By 2012, Leigh had yet locations of her plots are another title under her belt, important, she is more Death Bed, which was swiftly interested in exploring the

psyche of her killer characters. Her books are why dunnits not who dunnits and their appeal lies very much in Leigh's ability to describe the workings of the psychopathic mind and how each killer has a different motive. Her attention to detail and the way her plots unravel are key to the success of her work. Leigh consults medical advisors (including her GP father), and the police; for Death Bed she conducted research at the Human Remains Unit at the Natural History Museum. Article continues...

Article concludes... Leigh will be hitting the road at the end of October on a book tour which will take her from Cambridge to Southampton, from Northampton to Birmingham and with plenty of stops in between in our local area and London. Then in December, book number five, Stop Dead, will be published as an eBook by No Exit, followed by a launch in bookshops in May 2013. Stop Dead is likely to be as successful as the last five books in the series, having already received praise from crime writers such as Peter James: In good company at CrimeFest 2012. Above. Leigh with Frederick Forsyth. Below. Leigh with Jeffery Deaver ''Stop Dead is taut and compelling, stylishly written with a deeply human voice." An active member of the Crime Writers' Association and the Society of Authors, when she is not writing, Leigh attends literary festivals, gives talks, and runs workshops. She is passionate about interacting with her readers and giving advice to up and coming writers: she can be heard on leighrussellauthor. Leigh Russell is without doubt a formidable force and talent in the world of crime fiction.

Leigh Russell's best selling Geraldine Steel crime novels are published by No

Exit Press and are available at all good booksellers. Titles include Cut Short (ISBN 978-1842432716), Road Closed (ISBN 978-1842433447), Dead End (ISBN 978-1842433560) and Death Bed (ISBN 978-1842435946); Stop Dead is available as an eBook December 2012 and then in paperback in May 2013.

Just in time for Christmas, a special hard back limited edition of Death Bed, numbered and signed by Leigh Russell, will soon be available from the No Exit Press website (

Harpenden memories reignited in Canada By John Cooper

'I was delighted when I received an email in mid September from Ron Taylor, Editor of Harpendia, asking me to write a short article on a series of events relating to my first book 'A Harpenden Childhood Remembered', a copy of which had recently turned up in Ontario, Canada.   Nothing unusual there you say, but the recipient turned out to be a Dr. James Clark, late of Harpenden whose father, Albert Clark, many older residents will remember once owned a chemists shop and opticians in Station Road.It was in my book that I had written a couple of paragraphs when as a small boy, I had often accompanied my father, George Cooper, on his weekly visits to the shop on a Saturday morning to replenish the photographic materials for the hobby that both he and Albert, a great personal friend, shared.   During the war, Albert was Chairman of Harpenden Urban District Council whilst my father, the Production Control Manager at Vauxhall Motors, was a Special Police Sergeant in the Village.    Dr Clark also reminisced on being a former client of Gaskins, the men's hairdresser in Leyton Road where many a youngster in those far-off days visited for the obligatory short back and sides each fortnight.   He remembers too travelling on the old Nickey Line,(right) which ran from Harpenden to Hemel Hempstead, where he attended the local grammar school.  I too travelled the same route on one memorable occasion, living out every schoolboy's dream by a return trip from Roundwood Halt on the footplate of a steam engine, a never to be forgotton exhilerating experience.  Dr Clark also mentioned an uncle, Bob Messer, another friend of my father and his daughter Brenda who knew my elder sister Pat very well.  They were, like us, from Bloomfield Road in north Harpenden where we lived during the war and just after.    Although Dr Clark is a few years older than me, he was born in 1930 and I was 1938, no

Above top: A steam train approaching Roundwood Halt.   Following the line's closure, the railway tracks have been replaced by a leafy path with mature trees on either side.   Bottom: Shows part of the old concrete platform, all that now remains of Roundwood Halt. This is the platform where I joined the driver and fireman on the footplate of a steam engine on 20 November 1947 for the memorable return trip to Hemel Hempstead.   It was on this line that Dr James Clark travelled daily to school in Hemel Hempstead.

doubt we can both recall many amusing and fond anecdotes from those halcyon days of our respective childhoods.    It seems an amazing set of coincidences that after nearly seventy years and across thousands of miles, a link should be established between the sons of two old wartime friends who shared a joint interest in the hobby of photography.'    

Colour your Garden for Spring By Renata Rybczyk-Savage. The Plantsitter.

As autumn had arrived on our doorstep, it’s time to plan ahead for spring. Now is the ideal time to plant spring flowering bulbs in your beds and borders. It’s not too cold and there will be the odd dry day to allow you to work outdoors! The plant nurseries will also be heaving with a wonderful variety of bulbs for spring colour. Snowdrops, daffodils and early flowering tulips are the traditional choices, providing colour during days of short sunlight hours and dull overcast skies. The variety of daffodils and tulips are simply breath taking these days. Glorious colour combinations and wonderful scents are a plenty so there’s no excuse to not finding what is right for you! Less often we see other bulbs in flower at spring, such as anemones, chionodoxa and pushkinia, all of which provide a great variety of colour and heights. Fritillaria are my personal favourite, with Imperialis Rubra standing tall and regal over smaller bulbs like hyacinths and narcissi. Muscari and bluebells are the playful imps of the garden adding delight and a smile to every face when in bloom.


Timing is key to planning spring colour too. It’s important to remember that different varieties flower at different times, from January to May, keeping your garden pretty and insects

Winter pansies

happy in harsh times. When planning your spring colours for your garden things to remember are to plant colours that match to prevent clashes that don’t work and planting in small clusters create a natural effect rather than the odd flower popping up here and there. Plant taller bulbs further back, giving small bulbs the opportunity to shine in their corner of the garden instead of being hidden away by competing plants. If you’re not happy with just bulbs, then you are still spoilt for choice as there are many spring flowering bedding plants available from nurseries. Pansies, violets and primroses are faithful plants. For a woodland effect try cyclamen, which are also great in containers. Winter and spring scented shrubs will attract wildlife as well as your nose, so think about winter sweet (chimonanthus praecox) and sweet box (sarcococca humilis). Or to invite birds in spring add the beauty berry, Callicarpa bodinieri giraldi 'Profusion', to give you brilliant purple berries that stand out like beads, which birds will enjoy eating. So take advantage of this time and create a little surprise of colour early next year! Contact me via:

Financial support to help YOU on the way to RIO in 2016. By Ron Taylor. Editor

Yes, you did read that right! The 948 Sports Foundation, based in St. Albans, have a large fund available to help young local people who are short of finance to develop their sporting ability. With the next Olympics now four years away in Brazil that leaves plenty of time for local athletes to develop their skills and training programmes to attain the ultimate level of performance and join the elite as members of Team GB.

The key criterion for applicants is that the project must benefit the residents of Harpenden, Redbourn, Wheathamsted or St. Albans. Geraint John (below) explains. “We are approached by applicants who live outside our boundaries , but who practice sport here . We can approve those. Also, of course, we can approve of those who live here , but play or participate elsewhere. This would be particularly true of high level “ It would be an incredible achievement for performers, like many of the Team GB us to help a local athlete become an Olympic athletes seen at The London Games this champion and bring kudos to the likes of Summer“ Harpenden or St Albans.” Geraint John (Chairman of The 948 Trustees). Q. What sports can be considered? A. All the sports recognised by Sport England, so that covers most of the Olympic disciplines. Q. What is covered by the grant? A. Equipment or facilities; Specialist training; Developing the activity within a group or team Q. Who can apply? A. Any young sports person who lives in Harpenden, Redbourn, Wheathamsted or St. Albans. Q. How much are the grants worth? A. They range from £500 to £5,000

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Q. How to apply? A. Complete a detailed on line application form (This has full guidelines) Q. When will the Grant be confirmed? A. The Trustees meet quarterly in with grants from £500 to £5,000 being confirmed within a month.

A brief history The 948 Sports Foundation was established by the OA Sports Club (Old Albanians) who gifted £500,000 to promote participation in sport by young people in the St Albans district. The Foundation was launched in February 2003 and to date have made more than 150 grants to individuals, schools, sports clubs and community bodies.

Above: Roundwood Park School in Harpenden participated in a 2012 Games School ‘Get Set’ competition, winning a visit from Olympics mascot Wenlock at their Summer Sports Day. Why not ask your School to help with an application.

These included awards to individuals across a range of sports, junior soccer clubs such as Harvesters and St Albans City Youth, Start your journey to Rio now and team sports clubs based at Woollams, ten apply on line: schools and Harpenden's Skateboard Park Appeal. In addition £5,000 has been awarded to the Saracen's Foundation for the involvement of local primary schools in the The 948 Sports Foundation "Ready for Rugby" initiative. Applications or other enquiries should be

directed to: Mrs  Julia Dekker,  Asst Sec 948 Sports Foundation, c/o The Woollam Playing Fields Harpenden Road St. Albans, Herts. AL3 6BB Phone. 01727 864476 Registered with the Charity Commission as 1088273

“Volunteering at the Games was a huge privilege” Says Jeremy Silverstone.

I met Jeremy in mid July at a St Albans BNI Network event (see docs/summer_marketing_guide_2012_pdf) where he told me about his work as a volunteer. Ron Taylor. Editor. Here is his inspiring story. Most days, Jeremy Silverstone designs logos and websites, or produces leaflets, brochures and other marketing materials, so when he applied to be a volunteer at the London 2012 Games, he couldn’t have imagined in his wildest dreams that he’d be in the middle of the stage at the Opening Ceremony! After nagging the organisers to give him a meaningful role, Jeremy, from Potters Bar, found himself with not one, but two, and since April this year, has spent more than 75 days at rehearsals, in workshops and at the Olympic Stadium. “At times, it has been really hard juggling work and volunteering, but it was always a dream of mine to be involved in the Games, so when such incredible opportunities present themselves - and Above. Jeremy in rehearsals with Olympic Opening you know they are once-in-a-lifetime events - it’s Ceremony director, Danny Boyle. Below. One of the Torch transfers in the opening ceremony. impossible to turn them down!” he says. Jeremy’s initial role was as part of the Props & Staging Team: making, preparing and shifting the thousands of props needed for the four ceremonies - Olympic Opening and Closing, and then the Paralympic Opening and Closing. “We’ve spent hundreds of hours doing painting chairs, putting batteries into beds, repairing umbrellas that light up, ironing the flags, blowing up balloons, or just washing down trucks. But the team spirit has been tremendous, and we all know that we’re contributing in some small way to making the London Games the best ever.“ And once the props are prepared, we need to make sure that they are all in the right place at the right time, so we need to be at the rehearsals, and that can be really exciting, seeing the creative process. “I can’t pretend that there hasn’t been plenty of waiting around - that’s the nature of such a massive undertaking - and when you’re stuck in the middle of a huge open showground in Dagenham day after day in torrential rain, you definitely begin to question your own sanity!” “But then you get the chance to be in the middle of the Opening Ceremony, and you are reminded that it’s a huge privilege to be a part of this whole thing.”

Jeremy’s role in the first three ceremonies was mainly setting up the stages, and handling the logistics of getting the props on and off the stage at the right time, but he was required ‘on stage’ on a few occasions, most notably to help....

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transform the Green & Pleasant Land into the Industrial Revolution scene at the Olympic Opening, and then to be centre stage pushing around one of the massive puppet beds in the NHS nightmare sequence. “The atmosphere in the Stadium has been absolutely electric for each of the four Ceremonies, and I had to pinch myself to know that I was really there! “The opportunity to rub shoulders with such talented people has been truly extraordinary. To stand and chat with Danny Boyle or Ray Davies or Seb Coe, to see the choreographers at work, and to be there at the Stadium when the cauldron was lit, or to see Mo Farah winning gold - these are moments to be treasured forever.” But for all the excitement of his role in the Props team, it was his final role which provided the icing on the cake - a cast role to perform at the Paralympic Closing Ceremony with Coldplay, Rihanna and Jay-Z.

“I’ve never performed in any show before these Olympics, so the chance to sing, dance, and do deaf signing with those stars was as exciting as it was daunting! It was a really enthralling experience, and it’s given me so many friends and so many priceless memories. I owe a huge debt of gratitude to my family and friends, who have allowed me to take five months off from domestic and social duties to fulfil this dream, and my clients have also been amazingly tolerant.”

Above. Jeremy and long-suffering wife Gina at the Stadium just before the Paralympic Closing Ceremony

Above. Jeremy (far left) about to take the stage for the Paralympic Opening Ceremony with other Props

“The reason I did all this, and gave up over 500 hours of time, was because I had a real passion for London, for the Olympics - and Paralympics and because I shared the dream for our capital to put on an event we’d be proud of, and would inspire our kids to reach new heights.” “And looking back, I can’t think of any ways in which we didn’t succeed. To be a small part of it was a massive privilege.”

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Chart success for Harpenden author By Amanda Thomas

I met historical novelist Jenny Barden fresh from the Historical Novel Society Conference in London where she had just completed an extremely busy few days in her role as UK Conference Co-ordinator. She had also presented a workshop with authors Patricia Bracewell and Simon Scarrow called Making the Breakthrough, sharing her experiences of finding a publisher for historical fiction. Still buzzing from the success of the weekend, and full of energy, it was hard to believe that Jenny was in the middle of a tour which had taken her across the West Country and London to promote her latest book, Mistress of the Sea. Published by Ebury Press, the book was launched at Daunt Books in Marylebone High Street in August and during her appearance at Waterstones in Plymouth copies had sold out within two hours.

courted Ellyn playfully without any real hope of winning her, but when she is discovered aboard ship, dressed in the garb of a cabin boy, he is furious. To Will’s mind, Drake’s secret plot to attack the Spanish bullion supply in the New World is a means to the kind of wealth with which he might win a girl like Ellyn, but first and foremost it is an opportunity to avenge his brother Kit, taken hostage and likely tortured to death by the Spanish. For the sake of the mission he supports Drake’s plan to abandon Ellyn and her father on an island in the Caribbean until their mission is completed. But will love prove more important than revenge or gold?…”

Left. Mistress of the Sea makes No 6 in Waterstones Plymouth chart.

Above. Book signing in WHS Harpenden Oct 13. Store manager Allan Roberts with Jenny Barden.

Jenny has lived in Harpenden for over 28 years and Mistress of the Sea is her first published novel. The plot begins in Plymouth in 1570 when a young Ellyn Cooksley boards Francis Drake’s expedition ship, the Swan, as a stowaway. Jenny's website ( explains what happens next: "Also aboard the Swan is Will Doonan, Ellyn’s charming but socially inferior neighbour. Will has

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Article concludes... alive. For Mistress of the Sea she travelled to Panama with her husband to trace Drake's original journey. Then, earlier this year she visited Roanoke Island in North Carolina, the site of one of the earliest English settlements in the US, and the setting for her next book, The Lost Duchess. Mistress of the Sea and The Lost Duchess share common themes and in particular Jenny's fascination with Elizabethan explorers such as Drake and Raleigh. The books question what it must have been like to come face-to-face with new lands, new peoples and new cultures and reveal how human endurance can succeed in the face of huge setbacks. Above: Editorial consultant Amanda Thomas with Jenny Barden in WHS Harpenden.

Jenny read Fine Art at Reading University, but then changed courses and studied Law, eventually qualifying as a solicitor. During her time working in The City and bringing up a family of four children, she continued to paint and write in her spare time. In the end the creative side of her character - and a lifelong love for history won through. A trip to the National Gallery inspired her to write the yet unpublished work, Water and Glass, a fictional biography of the Dutch painter Carel Fabritius. Interested in her work and impressed by her enthusiasm and persistence, the literary agent Michael Alcock took Jenny on, but publication did not follow and it was not until she moved to Curtis Brown to work with Jonathan Pegg that things started to happen. With Jonathan's support, Jenny swiftly overcame publishers' concerns that she was not a socalled marquee name. She joined organisations such as Verulam Writers, and worked on ideas Above: Jenny Barden in WHS Harpenden signing for plots and characters which would appeal to books for a new fan. readers and satisfy editors. Jenny had always been interested in the Age of Discovery and her Mistress of the Sea by Jenny Barden, decision to write a fictional work involving Sir published by Ebury Press is available now Francis Drake seemed to hit the right note. at all good bookshops, price ÂŁ14.99; ISBN However, it is Jenny's meticulous research and 978-0091949211. attention to detail which make her work come

Roundwood Park Schoolâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Olympic Legacy By Amanda Thomas

The Olympic Legacy is alive and well at Harpenden's Roundwood Park School (RPS), deftly guided by PE Subject Leader, Michelle Rooney. It has been quite a summer for Michelle. In June she was honoured in the Services to Sports category at the St Albans and District Sports Awards ceremony. Following this she took part in the Luton celebrations during one of the scheduled overnight stays for the Olympic torch. She attended around seven separate events at the Games with a fervour which only waned momentarily at the men's three metre springboard preliminaries when she discovered (poolside) that it was to go on for several hours. She also encouraged athletes such as gymnast Beth Tweddle and blind football captain Dave Clark to tweet their support for RPS sportsmen. It is therefore really no surprise that at the start of the new term at RPS sixty four students turned up for extra curricular Key Stage 4 badminton. Michelle Rooney is a true inspiration. The sports department at RPS has suffered at the hands of government cuts, but is making the most of an additional ÂŁ1 billion which will be available to schools over the next four years. At Roundwood Park this will allow the creation of Community Sports Clubs such as badminton, table tennis and fencing. Fencing has already had a promising start as members are coached by fencing choreographer Andy Wilkinson, a Roundwood parent, and a member of the British Academy of Fencing, who has worked on some well known swashbuckling films.

Above left to right: Rebecca Way, Emma Ellis and Michelle Rooney all from RPS PE department. Below: Paralympics day pass for RPS pupils on 7th September

The Sky Sports project which RPS is also involved in means that an athlete from Team GB will soon be visiting the school. "It is so important for students to have the right role models," says Michelle. Article continues...

Article concludes... The new clubs are open to everyone in the community, but Michelle is also keen to promote competition in sport throughout the school. Last year there were over fifty different inter-house sports competitions, and this consistent diversity of choice gives everyone a chance to find a sport they can enjoy and do well at. This ethos is reflected in the names if the houses: GreyThompson ,Wilberforce, Frank, Scott, Cadbury, Owens and Mandela. None of this would have been achievable without a hardworking PE team, but the school recognises that this is also an opportunity to involve students and by the end of the academic year, the PE department has set a goal of training 212 student leaders. Volunteers from Year 9 (ages 13 to 14) will learn how to be football referees, primary school helpers and trampolining coaches. In addition, Year 12 and 13 students will be encouraged to have a more active lifestyle by becoming Sports Makers, mimicking the popular Games Makers of the summer.

Above: RPS year 7 pupils getting into the spirit of the games. Below: Hockey club funded by parents to allow more provision, opportunities and esteem

Activities such as walking to school, walking a dog, in fact any recreational pursuit, will count as part of the scheme and will earn students valuable house points. If enough hours are undertaken then students will also receive a certificate from the Youth Sports Trust. The following day, Michelle was due to attend The Get Set Inspire a Generation Conference in London, the purpose of which is explained on the London 2012 website: "This conference will celebrate the achievements of Get Set, the London 2012 education programme and will bring together practitioners, policy influencers and policy makers, along with leading figures from the worlds of sport and education. Hosted by the London 2012 Organising Committee, the British Olympic Association and the British Paralympic Association will be among the key participants." In Michelle's words, "It's all about lots of little changes which, when they come together, make one big change."

Above: Emma Wiggs,(front row centre) Team GB Sitting volleyball captain visited the school and ran workshops for KS3 and KS4 pupils

Harpenden Free School off the mark. By Ron Taylor

With half term imminent I took the opportunity to contact the ‘Chair’ of Harpenden Free School, Adam Nichols, to find out how the first few weeks had progressed.

modules with literacy tasks and outdoor work. With one 2 one learning the teachers get to know the pupils much better and are able to develop the pupils skills, building confidence and knowledge.

“We are very pleased with all aspects of the School after what was a challenging start.” said Adam. I asked him several questions to enable readers to gain a rounded and informed view.” Q1.The location. Has the Tithe Barn in Redbourn proved to be a suitable venue and if yes why? A.It’s a beautiful building (below)and the open plan structure with plenty of space makes it ideal for the ethos of the School and the teaching methods. It’s easily accessible from the Dunstable Road and we encourage car sharing. A sign will be installed soon at the entrance area.

Q2.The curriculum. Can you describe what the children will be learning and how it differs from local state schools? A.We take the framework of the National Curriculum and add elements of Montessori with the best of other teaching methods. Children are taught in small class groups with vertical learning via aptitude and interests. There are day by day

Q3. PE and playground activity. As lively 4+ year olds what facilities are offered? A.The School is set in a rural location with plenty of open spaces and a meadow across the narrow river. So there is lots of space for outdoor play activity (below) as well as environmental appreciation.

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Article concludes... Q4. The Teaching staff. How have they adapted to the new regime and what benefits do they see for pupils in the Free School approach? A.There are 5 staff including the Head of which 2 are full time. They were recruited from the State system knowing the Free School culture would enable them to develop a new way of teaching children that would be rewarding in terms of educational knowledge and personal development. Q5. The pupils. How have they reacted to the Free School approach? A.It’s early

with the School’s development including help over two weekends.

Q7. What are the School’s main objectives for the rest of 2012 and 2013? A. First and foremost we want to implement the teaching structure. And with the School now up and running we want to develop community relations and increase local activity to enhance our awareness. This will include social media for communications. Additionally we will looking for volunteers to help with a variety of activities. We aim to increase days but all the children seem to be the pupil intake next year to sixty. (these enjoying learning in this new environment, being in the 4 - 11 ages) so a positive start.

Q6.The parents. Given the initial problems with the location what has been the feed back so far from parents on the first five weeks? A.The parents have been

fantastic and fully engaged

More information. The Free School web site is packed with all the background information you could need.

Editor. Ron Taylor Contact: Daily news updates: Video Channel: Type ‘harpendia’ in the Youtube search box Editorial consultant. Amanda Thomas COMING SOON Christmas in Harpenden with Harpendia.


The London 2012 Games and the legacy for Harpenden people, Schools and Business. Financial grants for young sports people.PLUS the Nickey Li...

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