Why we love Stanstead Abbotts

PUBLISHED: 11:53 25 May 2011 | UPDATED: 19:27 20 February 2013

Hertfordshire Wheelers. Graham Knight is pictured fourth from the right

Hertfordshire Wheelers. Graham Knight is pictured fourth from the right

Stanstead Abbotts is home to a number of sports clubs and is a haven for our four-legged feline friends, as Damion Roberts finds out...

The social side is brilliant

Stanstead Abbotts Badminton Club meets at John Warner Sports Centre on Stanstead Road, Hoddesdon.

The club has been running for 55 years after local sportsmen and women first began playing badminton at Stanstead Parish Hall, with the club being founded by the then headmaster of Stanstead Abbotts School, Ernest Pearce.

Although now living in Hoddesdon, Pamela Newman is a Stanstead Abbotts girl born and bred and has been involved with badminton in the village since she was 12.

Aged 64, Ms Newman is the current club secretary and her partner Tim Francis is the chairman. We used to play in the hall because the club started there and Ernest got lots of us into badminton and weve been running ever since. Its a really good club, Ms Newman said.

There are about 50 members at the moment and we have a very strong junior section which has a waiting list which goes to show how well theyre doing.

Ive been playing there since I was a child and its good that I hold the position of secretary as I dont play any longer but Ive still got a keen interest there.

We love it because it keeps you fit, and the social side of the club is brilliant. When it was at the hall there was only one court so you would spend time on the side waiting to play and having a cup of tea and a chat with friends. Its still a really nice place to go.

Popular and great fun

Graham Knight is a committee member of Hertfordshire Wheelers Cycling Club, which meets at St Margaretsbury Sports and Social Club and includes rides around Stanstead Abbotts among its programme.

Mr Knight has been involved in the club for the best part of five years and says joining gave him the opportunity to enjoy one of his true passions with like-minded cyclists.

I used to do a lot of cycling on my own and it was really enjoyable, but after a while I thought it would be good to have some people to do it with and I joined the club. Mr Knight said.

Most people who join have a similar history. Many cycle for fitness, others because they enjoy riding and the scenery, and they joined the club to cycle with others like I did.

The club has been running for more than 80 years and has around 100 members, a number which is on the increase.

We have two main activities, Mr Knight said. On Sundays we have club runs which are mainly social and we cycle perhaps 40-50 miles, even if it rains.

There are also quite a number of people who enjoy time trialling, which is the second event, and we often do this on dual carriageways as flat courses are better. Both are really popular and are great fun.

For more information about Herts Wheelers visit www.herts-wheelers.org.uk

It always lifts my heart

Stephanie Adams is the publicity officer for the Great Amwell and District branch of Cats Protection which last year re-homed 200 cats and kittens in Great Amwell, Stanstead Abbotts and the surrounding towns and villages.

The branch is run by volunteers and Ms Adams joined seven years ago.
I have been a cat lover since a child and became a volunteer for the branch after we adopted a beautiful cat called Shelley. The branch is run completely by volunteers and it never ceases to amaze me how everyone who is involved in it works so tirelessly to help cats and kittens.

I was given a beautiful grey and white kitten, which I named Gemini, as a child and I loved and cared for that cat for all of its life.

She gave me so much love and affection, as well as making it quite clear when she wanted some of her own space!

So, my love of cats began from then and everyone who knows me thinks of me as a cat lover and all my birthday cards feature pictures of beautiful cats.

It gives me so much pleasure to see a poorly treated or possibly ill cat or kitten cared for by our branch volunteers and then re-homed somewhere safe and warm where they will be loved. It always lifts my heart to hear of these stories.

If you would like to donate to the branch or look into adopting a cat, visit www.greatamwell.cats.org.uk

Did you know

The organ in St Margarets Church is believed to be the only remaining William Allen barrel organ in
working order.

Each year the town runs the Riverside Festival. This years day of celebrations takes place on Saturday, June 18.

The Greenwich Meridian (longitude o) passes through the village and its position is marked on Riverside Green by Meridian obelisks which were erected in 1984.

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