Clubs and Community news round-up (including scuba diving club’s weekend of swimming with seals)

Harbour Lights Scuba Diving Club enjoyed a trip to the Farne Islands, off the coast of Northumberland, to swim with seals
Harbour Lights Scuba Diving Club enjoyed a trip to the Farne Islands, off the coast of Northumberland, to swim with seals

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

Car boot sale success

Tring Lions car boot sale PNL-141109-150459001

Tring Lions car boot sale PNL-141109-150459001

Following on from two very wet fundraising events, members of Tring Lions were delighted to see the sun as they staged their fifth annual charity car boot sale.

The event in the town’s Market Square on Sunday, September 7, attracted 25 cars, whichsold a wide variety of goods.

As the sun was out, a considerable numbers of buyers attended with most going home with a bargain or two.

Tring Lions themselves raised in excess of £400 on the day through car booking fees, refreshments and their own stall.

Tring Lions car boot sale PNL-141109-150510001

Tring Lions car boot sale PNL-141109-150510001

The money raised had already been earmarked to support Young Carers in Herts. The money will pay for an outing to the climbing wall in Hemel Hempstead later in the year.

Best fruit, veg and flowers chosen in autumn show

Flowers, vegetables and fruit drew in the crowds at the Sarratt Horticultural Society’s autumn show.

A total of 266 entries from 49 people, including seven children, were on display at the event.

Sarratt Horticultural Society's autumn show PNL-141109-151736001

Sarratt Horticultural Society's autumn show PNL-141109-151736001

Steven Booth took the honours of being first in 16 of the classes to win the David Osborne Trophy for Vegetables and Fruit.

Christine Head was the winner of the Clutterbuck Trophy as well as the Morton Neal Trophy for aggregate points in the spring and autumn shows.

She also won the Dahlia Cup and the Frederick Barber Trophy for other flowers whilst sharing the Arthur Pritchard Trophy for foses with first time winner Mair Lewsey.

In both the flower arranging and cookery classes, there were joint winners - Marilyn Butler and Jenny Peiser for flower arranging and Sarah Dobson and Sheila Brady for cookery.

Sarratt Horticultural Society's autumn show PNL-141109-151749001

Sarratt Horticultural Society's autumn show PNL-141109-151749001

The Flight Cracknell Trophy for Arts and Crafts proved a very close contest with Ted North obtaining one point more than 6 other entrants.

In the children’s classes, the winner was Samuel Gill who beat his elder brother Oliver by a solitary point.

As a result, it was no surprise that the Three Rivers District Council Trophy for Families was won by the Dobson/Gill Family.

The prizes were presented by Kate Hobhouse who paid tribute to the high standard of all the entries.

Scuba divers swim with the seals in ‘one of best UK sessions’

A group of 28 Harbour Lights Scuba Diving Club members spent six hours driving up to the Farne Islands recently for a weekend of swimming with seals.

The younger ones went on the fast RIB (Ridged Inflatable Boat), while the Hemel Hempstead group’s more mature ones motored out to sea on the hard boat.

The islands, off the coast of Northumberland, have no permanent population, the only residents being National Trust bird wardens during part of the year

Harbour Scuba Diving Club instructor Gordon Harland said: “On the Saturday morning, the seals seemed to be everywhere.

“There was no need to go deep. We were at five metres and seals were nibbling at our fins.

“After lunch on one of the islands, we had been told to ignore the seals and they would come even closer. This, we did.

“As was pointed out by the skipper they are like puppy dogs they are very inquisitive the more you ignore them the more they want to be played with.

“The club had its BBQ at the local farm.

“Sunday morning, we did our first proper dive. It seemed that every seal on the east coast was out to greet us.

“Some of the club dived to 20 meters looking for old cannons and the seals just kept on following them.

“The second dive was the best of the weekend by far.

“Ten of us formed a circle all looking inwards when the seals just kept dive bombing us, nibbling at our fins and looking into our mask from a few inches away.

“This went on for about 10 minutes then they all disappeared we all looked around not one was in sight.

“Only to find out that our other boat had arrived & the seals were playing with them.

“The weather was great, the divers were great, the seals were great of the 25 years of diving I can say this was one of the best weekends of diving I have ever had in British waters.”

For more information about the weekend’s scuba diving or about the clubs Matthew’s Sharks for 13 to 19-year-olds and Harbour Lights for those aged 20 and over, phone 07748 176906 or email

History of Ashridge going back to 1283 explained

Dacorum’s University of the third Age (U3A) enjoyed a talk by retired principal of Ashridge Business School Philip Sadler CBE during its September meeting at Hemel Hempstead’s Boxmoor Playhouse.

The subject was the history of Ashridge, spanning more than 700 years. In 1283 Ashridge was the home of monks from the south of France, known as the Bonhommes.

They were rumoured to be linked to the heretical Cathars, but this is unproven. The crypt and well house from that time still exist.

Following the dissolution of monasteries, the estate was occupied by Henry VIII’s son, Edward, and after his early death his half-sister Elizabeth lived there for a short time.

In 1604 the Egerton family purchased the estate from the king and eventually became the earls and dukes of Bridgewater.

The third duke, Francis Egerton, was nicknamed the ‘canal duke’ but it was the 7th Earl of Bridgewater who commissioned James Wyatt to design the mansion.

During the Second World War Ashridge became a hospital for injured service men and huts were erected over 40 acres to provide wards.

After the war the huts were used by the Record Office until 1983 when they were removed and the land restored.

In the 1980s Ashridge became an international institution with 850 clients from 60 countries. The college has university status and the first MBA graduation ceremony was held there in 1988. Ashridge has also appeared on the big screen – The Dirty Dozen was filmed there in 1964.

For further information regarding U3A, phone its membership secretary Judy Baldwin on 01442 211289.