Community News… Up, Up and Away at Royston Kite Festival!

Community News… Up, Up and Away at Royston Kite Festival!

The origins of kites can be traced back over 2,000 years to the continent of Asia,   proving very popular with the Chinese, initially to frighten off invading armies, but later for celebrating ceremonies and festivals. The two main materials required, silk for the sails and bamboo for the tough main construction, were readily available there and the idea rapidly spread to other nearby countries such as Korea and Japan.

Kite flying is still a popular hobby and for over 20 years, only punctuated by the Covid Pandemic, the local Royston and District Rotary Club has been responsible for organising their wonderful charitable Kite Festival on Therfield Heath, raising well needed funds for the Angels support group for children with Autistic problems.

The Rotary story was launched on the 25th of February in 1905 at Illinois, USA, by Paul Harris with the concept of professional people sharing their knowledge and skills with others and forming lifelong friendships. Over time the vision extended to fundraising for needy causes and individuals. The idea infiltrated other countries and soon extended across the Globe, with the first club in the U.K. opening in 1912 in the capital. The Rotary Club of Royston and District was augmented in 1962 and has since won many plaudits for the discerning work of its members in and around the town in not only procuring funds for local cash strapped charitable organisations and local needy folk, but at the same time bringing countless pleasure to the general public.

This aura of happiness was very visibly displayed at the recent Kite Festival, coupled with member Ray Munden’s professionally run historic classic vehicle show, at which he is very adept at organising both this event and the Royston May Fair. The delight that both functions brought to both young and old was a well delivered tonic in itself, and due to the generosity of those attending the Club succeeded in raising over £8,000 for the Angels, the chosen Charity of Ray. Over 60 stalls were present as well as a range of street food vendors.  Other Rotary Clubs assisted in helping with the spectacular day, and the Letchworth and Baldock Lions were present with their traditional Kite Making tent.  The sight of the brilliantly coloured kites swooping and soaring, and competing for air space with their Red Kite rivals, which were plucked from their near extinction some years ago to deliver a current healthy thriving colony here portrayed a sense of freedom and normality in a morbid and often frightening world.

It is now down to the general public to ensure that this unique and most easterly outcrop of the Chiltern Hills is always accessible to them and for all to enjoy events, such as the Kite Festival, that bring pleasure and happiness to be maintained. This is what the Heath is all about, and any decision on its future should not be restricted to just a chosen few individuals.

Article and photography by Clive Porter

You can also read an article from the organisers Royston Rotary Club –