Hirnant Community Centre, the former church of St Illog, serves a scattered community in the beautiful countryside between Penybontfawr and Lake Vyrnwy. One of the main obstacles to improving their ability to put on a wide variety of fundraising events was the old, heavy and unsafe tables that had been in use for many years. Modern tables would enable more people to attend and make it easier and safer to set up for each event.

Although grants for such projects are very hard to find in the current economic climate, a successful application to the Rotary Club of Oswestry’s Mary Hignett Bequest Fund resulted in a grant amounting to over a third of the total cost of 18 new tables.

At the first event to put them to good use, an audience of nearly 50 people heard absorbing presentations from Andrew Bonsall of the RSPB and wildlife photographer Jake Stephen and participated in a lively debate on sustainable farming followed by an enjoyable supper.

Mary Hignett, a much-loved local writer, teacher and naturalist left half of her substantial estate to the Rotary Club of Oswestry with wide discretion as to how the money was to be administered and disbursed, with the only guidance being that it should be used mainly for local small projects in the fields of Sport and the Arts. It was very fitting that the first meeting to use the tables partly funded from her bequest should so closely match Mary’s interest in natural history.

With activities spanning pantomime and other dramatic productions, Celtic and other music events and a popular art competition, the Community Centre certainly met the “Arts” focus of the bequest. Hirnant

Events Organiser Nicola Bradley said: “What a wonderful idea it was to leave a fund which helps so many small organisations to keep going productively, especially in financially difficult times.”

Presenting a commemorative plaque to Chairman of Trustees, the Rev’d Kit Carter, Graham Moss, secretary of the Rotary committee administering the bequest, said: “It has been a great pleasure working with Hirnant Community Centre on this project. I hope the tables will prove a great resource for forthcoming events. It is a privilege for the Rotary Club of Oswestry to help implement Mary Hignett’s vision through the projects the bequest fund is able to support.”

The next event at the Hirnant Centre will be on November 3rd at 7.30 pm – “An evening of charismatic French and English music” from many genres performed by Flossie Malavialle. Tickets (£12 including “Hirnant’s fantastic French Feast) are available from nicolajbradley@gmail.com or on 01691 870482.

Meanwhile the Rotary Club of Oswestry is inviting other local organisations to apply for similar grants. Full details including guidance notes and the required application form can be found on the club website at www.rotarycluboswestry.co.uk . The deadline for this round of applications is November 30th 2018.


Pictured: Secretary of the Rotary Club of Oswestry’s Mary Hignett Bequest Fund Graham Moss presents the Hirnant Chair of Trustees the Rev’d Kit Carter with a commemorative plaque.