Ysgol y Llan – inspiring writers – March 2020


It was the turn of Ysgol y Llan students to have a presentation for the winners of their entries in the Rotary Young Writers competition.

The quality of the entries proved to be a very difficult task for the judges  After considerable reading and rereading, two entries were inseparable, so two first prizes were awarded.

The joint winners were Alexa King and Katie Jones, and their prize was presented by Rotary Vice President Gareth Owen.

Three other entries received a   ‘Highly Commended’ award, and there were certificates for everyone – even a  ‘Thank You’ one for teacher Mr Nathan Williams, for his encouragement and support in the fantastic standard achieved by everyone.

Alexa (left) and Katie receive their awards from Rotary Vice President Gareth Owen and Rotarian Rob Board.

Westbridge – Vocational visit – 3rd March 2020


Nine members of the Club attended a vocational tour of the Westbridge factory units in Greenfield and Deeside – hosted by the Managing Director (Commercial) of the company – Rotarian Paul Islip

Westbridge Furniture Design operates out of four UK production sites occupying in excess of 450,000 square feet of production, design and office space, employing over 1300 people in the UK and also a dedicated cut and sew factory in Romania.

With a vast and diverse range of over 1200 fabrics and leathers widely sourced throughout Europe and Asia, their fabric stores stock in excess of 300,000 metres of cover in readiness for quick and on time delivery.

In 2006 they started their Eco journey to become the first ‘Model Green Factory’ in the UK in partnership with Marks & Spencer.  Their initial goals were to reduce our carbon footprint and send zero waste to landfill.  The company  have had continued success in reducing the amount of material that becomes waste, rather than recycling it.  For example reusable transport packaging for supplies into Westbridge, rather than single-use cardboard, or polythene packaging. Much of the recent success they have had is due not only to their own efforts, but to the help received from partners, JEM Recycling Ltd and Art Services Ltd which takes a proportion of our timber waste and turns it into charcoal for barbeques and filters.

Westbridge are suppliers to the biggest and best high street retailers including Marks & Spencer, John Lewis Partnership, Next home, Ikea, Sofology, Argos and to over 200 of the best independent retailers


The company employs 1200 people of which one third are of Eastern European origin many of whom have worked for the company for many years.



The local economy benefits from Westbridge – the third highest employers in Flintshire following the Local authority and airbus – with a turnover of £83m emanating from an incredible production rate of 7000 pieces of furniture including 3000 suites per week.

In the near future they will be introducing a training academy and apprentice scheme with the support of Coleg Cambria.

An education in ‘what goes on’ on our doorstep – thanks Paul

Rotarians Malcolm Mellor, Alan Friend, Peter Williams, Kevin McIntyre, Damian Davies, Paul Islip (resting) Rob Board, Gareth Owen & Barry Harrison

Army Chaplain Major Nathan King – 24th February 2020

Army Chaplain Inspires Rotarians

At a packed meeting of The Rotary Club of Flint and Holywell held at The Springfield Hotel, Pentre Halkyn, members and guests listened with great interest to a talk given by guest speaker, Major Nathan King, a serving army Chaplin whose home is in Northop.

Major King first of all described how, at the age of only 17, he received his “calling” to enter the ministry, notwithstanding that up to that time, he and his family had little contact with the Church since his baptism. He described to an enthralled audience how he had approached a local Vicar, who provided invaluable advice to the young Nathan as to how best he could pursue his calling.

After studying at University, he eventually entered the Ministry and was ordained, acting as a Curate in a number of parishes in Flintshire and just across the Border into Cheshire.

A further important turning point then occurred in his life when he discussed the work of the Ministry in the British Army with an Army Chaplin who was nearing retirement. Following on from this, Nathan decided that he too should apply to become a Chaplin in the Army, which involved him in further religious training as well as some quite intensive military training.

Nathan explained to his audience that to be an effective Chaplin, it was important for him and all army Chaplins, to experience first hand, the hardships and intensity that soldiers are expected to endure, especially when on active service, and when the bullets are flying. He then described in some detail, his time in Afghanistan, where he served during the recent bloody conflicts, and how he was required to provide both spiritual and mental comfort to serving troops. Many of these soldiers were battle scarred both physically and mentally during one of the most brutal and prolonged actions the British Army were required to face since the Korean and Second World Wars. Nathan described in detail some of the intense battles he and his fellow troops were involved in. He also explained that the role of Chaplin was particularly dangerous as the Taliban had placed a special bounty on the heads of serving priests!

The President of The Rotary Club, Jim Reid, expressed his thanks to Major King on behalf of all who attended. Nathan had spoken some time ago to The Club and his talk had been so interesting and inspirational, that the Club was delighted when they heard he would be able to return, hence the packed room. Pointing to this large number of members and guests, The Club President remarked that it was a long time since he saw a Rotary Audience so captivated by a Guest Speaker and asked Nathan to return for a third time in the not too distant future.


Marie Curie – collecting – 29th Feb 2020

Members were more than willing to support the annual Daffodil collection morning at Broughton Retail Park.

An email received from Marie Curie:

Thank you for collecting at Broughton Shopping Park.

You raised a total of £487.77.

Thank you so much – this really will make a difference for people living with a terminal illness.

Isn’t that something to feel proud of?

Yes we do feel proud – it’s good to give of time on occasion rather than money!!

Rotarians Gareth Owen, Mike Holt, Paul Islip,         David Pearse and Martin Barker

Thanks to the public for your support

Young writers at Ysgol Treffynnon – Feb

Budding Young Holywell Authors Show off their Skills

There was huge interest in this year’s ROTARY CLUB’S Young Writers Competition, from pupils attending Ysgol Treffynnon in Holywell, resulting in nearly 30 entries, and this gave the panel of judges a really hard task in finding an eventual winner. The judges were very impressed with the high literary standard and in particular, the imagination shown by any pupils in the entries. Six entries were considered worthy of a ‘Highly Commended’ award and after more detailed reading, the entry from CHLOE HUGHES was judged to be the winner.

The theme for this year’s competition was ‘Connections’, and Chloe wrote a futuristic story about a young girl called Lisa walking her dog through the ruins of Glan Clwyd Hospital.  Suddenly, the dog was floating in the air, and as Lisa went to grab her dog, there was a girl, with coloured lights shooting from her hands saying “Don’t break the connection!” Lisa ran quickly with the girl chasing her, but slipped on wet logs and everything went black.
Suddenly Lisa woke up, checked she had no injuries, then went downstairs and found her dog fast asleep. It was all a bad dream!

Rotarian Rob Board who organised the event commented that this project was designed to encourage the pupils to use their powers of imagination to the full and Chloe has clearly done a brilliant job in using her ‘connections’ theme to great effect, and is well worthy of her first prize.

The Flint and Holywell Rotary Club expressed their thanks to all the students for the hard work in writing their entries, and particularly to teacher Miss Helen Franklin for her support and encouragement.

The picture shows Chloe, with Miss Franklin and Rotary Vice President Gareth Owen.


Rotary were delighted to present the winner of the YOUNG WRITER COMPETITION entry of Ysgol Gwenffrwd, Lois Roberts, with a prize and certificate.

Lois wrote a super story about a young girl called Millie, who had a heart transplant, and then set out to find the family of the donor.  Millie and her family ended up moving closer to the donor family and remained friends for ever.  The theme for the competition was ‘Connections’, so it is easy to see how Lois met the challenge.

There were 7 entries from the school, and the judges thought all of them were of the highest standard.

Well done Lois – so when can we expect your first book !

Rotary really appreciate the encouragement given by teacher Mrs Angharad Rule.

The picture shows Lois, with teacher Mrs Angharad Rule, and Rotary Vice President Gareth Owen.

Young Chef Competition – Feb 2020

What’s cooking???

The answer was a superb and delicious dinner of a Pea and Mint Soup starter, followed by Mexican Pasta, and a magnificent healthy Fruit Cheesecake for sweet.  All this accomplished by Young Chef Rachel Jones from Ysgol Treffynnon, who was the entry from Flint and Holywell Rotary Club in the annual  District Rotary Young Chef competition.  All this took place on Saturday 8 February at Coleg Cambria, and judged by Michelin Star Chef Bryan Webb and owner of Tyddyn Llan, and Paul Smith, Chief Lecturer at Coleg Cambria.

Rachel had just 3 hours to produce this great dinner, and within a budget of just £20. Although not placed in the top two, Rachel received some very complimentary comments from the judges.

This was the first year that your local Rotary have entered a competitor, and we will certainly do so again, as it allows young students such as Rachel good opportunity to showcase her talents.  Our warmest thanks go to Mrs Jenny Morris, teacher at Ysgol Treffynnon who has organised our entrant and supported Rachel.

Well done Rachel, a great effort.  Even with these obvious skills, she still aims to be a Doctor!

The pictures show Rachel’s Dinner, and Rachel with Jenny Morris:

Thanks to the Clubs Vocational & Youth Services Chairman, Rob Board,for supporting Rachel’s contribution to the competition.


United Cavers Exploration Team – Feb 10th 2020

What a presentation – spellbound for 75 minutes – brilliant!!!

Tim watts ( vice chair UCET) and Ian Adams (Secretary UCET) addressed members and friends at our Monday meeting – Tim talking through the presentation and Ian providing technical backup.

As background – from the UCET web site:

U.C.E.T. was formed in 2003 by a few experienced cavers who wanted to push the boundaries a little further. We are based in North Wales where we’re lucky enough to have a wide selection of caves and mines. Easy “training grounds” through to more technical and sustained cave and mine systems. With plenty of scope for finding more and more ‘new ground’.

Caving keeps you fit and (depending how far you want to go) can involves a fair bit of walking, crawling, climbing and dangling on ropes. It also demand a high degree of team spirit, problem solving and planning to make progress into previously un-explored areas.

We continually welcome new members and pride ourselves on being a friendly and welcoming bunch! We meet on Thursday evenings for local trips and generally aim to be back to the Glan Y Afon Pub in plenty of time for a pint or two although sometimes we head to alternative pubs depending on the time and geographics of the trip! Longer trips and trips further afield take part most weekends.

The club has equipment to lend to new members and has a dedicated training officer who can run through all the relevant training as and when you want to progress. But remember, there are as many walk in walk out trips available as technical trips so there really is something for everyone!

Feel free to have browse and join our web forum. We are a very open club and welcome input from members and non-members alike.


Their presentation majored on the N E Wales geo-structures and in particular the Milwr tunnel – from construction in 1897 to closure in 1987 – information on the tunnel can be be found on the Wikepedia web site at

It is impossible for me to condense their presentation on this site suffice it to say – one of the most interesting talks ever given to members – sincere thanks – more to come ?? – i think so

President Jim Reid, Tim Watts & Ian Adams

A vote of thanks was expressed by Rotarian Paul Islip


PRESS RELEASE  – courtesy of D  Pearse (Press Officer)


A packed meeting of The Flint & Holywell Rotary Club at The Springfield Hotel in Pentre Halkyn sat spell bound as local caver Tim Watts from Pantymwyn described in great detail, the vast network of caves that exists under Flintshire. Tim who is the vice chairman of The United Cavers Exploration Team (UCET) aided by Club Secretary, Ian Adams brought with him plans of the mine workings some of which go back to Roman times. Whilst the knowledge of old limestone coal and lead mining is already well known to most members, many were surprised to hear the extent of some of these workings and one of the Rotarians was particularly shocked to find that some of the very deep early workings extended directly under his own farm buildings!

Some of the photographs and video clips also showed the presence of a huge underground chamber near Holywell, whose depth has never been determined, but which extends well over 300ft below sea level, Apparently when this vast chamber was discovered in the early 19th century, many local miners were killed when they broke through into the previously unknown underground lake, which engulfed all the surrounding workings, creating one of the biggest disasters in the history off local lead mining.

Many were also surprised that lead working was still taking place until the mid 1980s and photographs showed some of the Caving Club’s recent initiatives undertaken to ensure that further unknown workings can be discovered and investigated. This includes the design and construction of a purpose built motorised unit which has been manufactured by Club Members themselves, specifically to utilise existing railway lines left in the old workings.

Rotary members had recently been invited to view the old wartime tunnels at Rhydymwyn, but were surprised to here that there were even deeper  mine workings extending almost 600 ft below the surface close by, which had been constructed to provide some of the purest limestone available for use by Pilkingtons in St Asaph for the production of glass. Further photographs were shown which demonstrated the massive chambers created by these old workings, some of which had been used in wartime to store not only strategic food supplies, but also the country’s gold reserves.

The meeting went on far longer than usual and the UCET members agreed to return to the Club at a later date to continue with their talk. In the meantime The Rotary Club Members were invited to join the cavers in a trip down one of the “easier” local caves, an invitation which interested many members.




Samaritans – Feb 3rd 2020

Diane Langhorn addressed the Club at our weekly meeting on the work of the Samaritans – Diane is a volunteer at the Chester Branch of the organisation.

To quote from their web site:

We’re working together to make sure fewer people die by suicide.

Diane outlined the training undergone pre ‘sole working’ – 6 months of a listening agenda. In the UK there are 200 branches, receiving a call every 6 seconds answered by one of 20,000 volunteers – 365 days a year, 24/7. In 2018 the Chester branch handled 21,000 calls plus emails – incredible. Many of the calls are not of a potential suicidal intent and can range from personal relationship breakdowns, mental health issues, people ‘in crisis’ to prisoners often with Samaritans being their only outside contact – unfortunately there are an excess of sexual demanding calls to the operators. Interestingly Samaritans are a listening, non advisory service and volunteers will only sign post to other organisations if requested to do so.

      President Jim Reid and Diane Langhorn

A vote of thanks was given by Rotarian Mike Holt.


Life in Japan – language and culture – Jan 27th 2020

Monday 27th January – The Rotary Club of Flint and Holywell had great pleasure in welcoming Lord Greg Mostyn as its principle guest to give a talk on Japan and his love of Japanese culture. Lord Mostyn explained that he first visited Japan shortly after he left University to teach English as a foreign language. He almost immediately fell in love with the Country, and since then, had revisited on many occasions,  and now tries to visit at least once every year. He explained that to understand Japan, it was essential that he learnt the language, and after six months he felt he was reasonably proficient, sufficient to undertake some limited conversation, and since then his fluency has increased considerably. This ability to converse with visiting Japanese people has been a tremendous asset, he explained, when he greets the increasing number of Japanese tourists who come to look around Mostyn Hall each year. The tourist are surprised and delighted when they meet a British aristocrat who can actually welcome them in their own language,he commented.

On an earlier visit to Mostyn Hall, Lord Mostyn showed Rotary Club members a “Japanese Garden” which had been laidout by one his ancestors who had toured Japan at the beginning of the 20th century. Lord Mostyn then took great pride in explaining how he and his staff had lovingly restored the gardens, and later showed Club members an album containing photographs taken during this earlier visit together with another album, this time containing photographs taken by himself showing many of the same views as they are today

Rotarians were particularly interested to get an insight into the the culture and characteristics of the Japanese people, which is so different from our western culture. His talk also encompassed the beautiful countryside of Japan, its remarkable transport system and in particular its food which is one of his favourites. The last time Lord Mostyn visited Japan was to support Wales at the recent Rugby World Cup and Rotarian David Pearse, an avid English rugby supporter, who had also been in Japan for the Final when proposing the vote of thanks commiserated with Greg on the failure of Wales to get past the semi finals. Lord Mostyn immediately countered this by proclaiming that England’s defeat in the Final to South Africa was one of the best days of his life! Honour being satisfied on all sides, the meeting concluded with the Club’s President, Jim Reid also adding his appreciation.

Lord Mostyn, President Jim Reid and Rotarian David Pearse