Full of life in Watford

PUBLISHED: 10:07 17 November 2011 | UPDATED: 20:19 20 February 2013

Watford Junction Station

Watford Junction Station

The end of the year may be approaching but there is no sign that the people of Watford are winding down just yet, as Damion Roberts finds out...

Keep on running

NOVEMBER and December are two of the biggest months in Watford Joggers calendar.

In the former, on November 13, the Joggers host their largest event of the year, the Autumn Challenge, which sees 350 runners of all abilities take on a five-mile cross-country course across the parkland and footpaths at Whippendell Woods and Cassiobury Park.

On December 18, the Joggers host the Wine and Pie race where the two luxuries mentioned in the races title are handed to competitors dressed in a variety of outfits from elves to Father Christmases and snowmen once they cross the finish line. Visit www.watfordjoggers.org.uk for details.

The two events see an end to a busy year for the club which also helped co-ordinate the Watford Race for Life back in June on behalf of Cancer Research UK and the Watford Half Marathon.

Speaking about the club, and the activities in the months ahead, secretary Bob Wallace says, The Autumn Challenge is the biggest event of the year. We race in Whippendale Woods and the park for five miles and have been putting the event on for some 10 years now. It originated with us commemorating our first run together when the club was originally set up, and now we run it every year and we get plenty of people at all levels running it.

The Wine and Pie Race, thats really good fun. Quite often we get people coming in fancy dress for that and its open to all joggers. It sums up the club, really, in that its a really good social event, and well supported.

Investing in youth
ANOTHER well-supported organisation and has been for the past 125 years is the Watford & District YMCA, which this year celebrated its century-and-a-quarter anniversary.

To celebrate the occasion in September more than 60 people took part in a 125ft abseil from the top of the tallest building in Watford, the YMCA tower.

The occasion helped raise the charitys profile even further as it looks forward to another 125 years of raising money to help vulnerable homeless people by supporting them into long-term accommodation and better job prospects.

Young people may have been vilified in the press recently, with the riots in particular, but we firmly believe that investing in them now means that Britains future will be brighter, says chief executive Guy Foxell.

The YMCA has existed in Watford for over 125 years and although our ways of working with individuals and communities may have changed a lot over that time, the way that I have seen our staff go the extra mile time and again to help those in need, shows that our values havent changed a bit.

Watford & District YMCA has come a long way since its beginnings, and has helped hundreds of thousands of people over the years. However, as we continue in these uncertain financial times, we can be sure that people will need big-hearted charities like the YMCA more than ever.

With this in mind, we plan to dig deep and dip into our pockets to make sure that we continue to serve the people and communities of Watford and its surrounding area.

Singing their hearts out
SERVING the community, albeit in a different way, is something Patrick McGinn knows all too well.

Patrick is the chairman of the Watford One Voice Community Choir, which meets every Thursday at Watford Grammar School for Boys, and puts on performances all over the town throughout the year.

We do it purely for the community, said Patrick. We have around 45 to 50 people who come along to the choir and just really enjoy using their voices and singing.

Its getting on for just over three years now since I joined. The musical director at the time had some workshops over a period of four weeks and myself and my wife thought wed give it a go.

We hadnt sung since school, apart from the occasional "happy birthday", and weve been there ever since. Its a real pleasure for us, and for the others that are members.

Nyree OBrien is the current musical director and since she joined the choir in February has gone about bringing in a new repertoire which the choir has embraced, says Patrick.

Nyrees doing a great job, bringing in new songs. We perform for local charities and the songs shes brought in have gone down well.

Its a choir where you dont have to audition; you dont have to be a great singer. You just come along, try it, and have a bit of fun. Thats all there is to it.

The choir will be performing at The Harlequin Shopping Centre on December 1.

Did you know

Former Spice Girl Geri Halliwell, former footballer Vinnie Jones and current TV star Bradley Walsh are all famous Watfordians.

This summer the Watford Colosseum in Rickmansworth Road re-opened after a 5.5 million facelift and offers an array of entertainment from live music to comedy as well as offering space for weddings and conferences.

Elton John became chairman of Watford FC in 1976. He remains a life president alongside his then manager Graham Taylor.

The Harlequin Shopping Centre offers more than 140 stores offering an array of high street brands.

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