Birdie Boys off for a round at St Pierre

Photographs by Ron Ashton, Colleen Gauntlett and Lyn Gauntlett

Caldicot Choir’s golfers, The Birdie Boys not only tweet and twitter in the choir, they and their friends play a round of Golf or two to raise funds for Charities.  Last Saturday 23 of them came along to the St Pierre Marriott Golf resort near Chepstow to play on the Mathern Course in a special Golf Day to help Caldicot Male Voice Choir continue to raise funds for good causes through its concert activities.

While trying to emulate the achievements of past winners on this course such as Jacklin, Woosnam, Langer, Ballasteros and Gallagher, six teams of four started off from the clubhouse and hotel and after a marathon 5 mile walk (although some went by buggy) through the links while trying to get a little white ball down a sequence of 18 holes, they all managed to get back to the hotel by about 5-30pm.

The eventual winners of the event organised by choristers Maurice Penny, Tony Griffiths and Alyn Dawe was a team from the Choir captained by chorister Tony Griffiths and guest golfers Mike Griffiths, Chris Orum and Dale Harris. Birdie Boys captain on the day, Alyn Dawe presented the intrepid four with a magnificent trophy, donated by The Birdie Boys golfers  Second place was a team of choristers represented by captain Dave Gould, Paul Thomas, Ron Powell and Mark Stocker. Third place was another team of choristers; Tom Hole, David Hennesey, Alyn Dawe and Jason Dawe. Nearest the pin on the 5th hole – Chris Orum, nearest the pin on the 18th – Dale Harris and finally, longest drive on the 17th – chorister Karl Gregory.

Following the fish and chip supper and the presentations of awards by Birdie Boys captain Alyn Dawe, a raffle with prizes on the night and sponsorship of each of the 18 holes and pins raised about £700. The main sponsors were Flexi-Print, Gambia Horse and Donkey charity, JAGA transport, Ray’s Garden Services, Blood Bikes Wales, MPS, The Tredegar Arms, Shirenewton and Timothy Taylor’s Brewery not to mention several individual sponsorships.

A fabulous day of golf was enjoyed by everyone in perfect weather conditions.

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Birdie Boys fund-raising day out to Wernddu

Saturday 13th May – The golfing members of Caldicot Male Voice Choir enjoyed a day out to Wernddu Golf Club led by our very own Golf Captain Alyn Dawe.  On a slightly overcast morning seventeen players, made up of choristers and friends, met up for coffee and bacon butties before tackling the course which was in tremendous condition. Three nearest the pin prizes were up for grabs as was the main prize for the winning team.

 Before the first ball was struck our former choir chairman Leon “The Firework” Jones felt it was important to warm up properly first !!

Suitably exercised, the golf commenced under the Texas Scramble format  The skies cleared a little to let the cries of “Fore left” ring out beautifully as the players enjoyed the challenges that Wernddu presents.

To many players dismay “driving the green” on the dog-leg 3rd is not allowed any more, so it became part of nearest the pin but “in 2” shots. Well done XXXXXX XXXXXXX on winning this. The other two nearest the pin prizes were won by XXXXX YYYYY at the ZZZZZ hole  and ZZZZ YYYY at the XXXX.

The overall team prize was won by Dai Gould, Harry Giblin (playing his first game after 30 years!!), Spike Hughes and Ron Powell with a score of XXXXXX points.  In fact all the teams scores were covered by XXX points, well done Mr Handicapper!!!

The players then enjoyed the hospitality side of Wernddu Golf Club with a curry and chips meal washed down with some cool, refreshing drinks.

Of course, it wasn’t all about the golf and with match fees,a small raffle and a scratchcard game a total of £TTTTT was raised for the choirs chosen charity for 2017, Severn View Without Doors based in Chepstow who are doing tremendous work for those suffering from dementia and related illnesses. They are planning to build a sensory garden and monies raised by the Birdie Boys and the Choirs cycling club in 2017 will go forward to this project.

Many thanks to Wernddu for hosting us for the day again, for the excellent course condition and hospitality, and finally to our Club Captain Alyn Dawe for making all the arrangements.

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Choir’s Chosen Charity is Severn View Without Doors


Many of you will already know that the Choir’s chosen charity for 2017 is Chepstow based ‘Severn View Without Doors’.  This is a project to provide a restful sensory garden for those suffering the many forms of dementia and related illnesses which sadly is becoming all too common these days.  The project is run in conjunction with Dementia UK.

The choir has obligated itself to attempt to raise over £6000 to purchase and erect three outbuildings for the garden such as a gazebo, potting shed and a greenhouse or similar for use by Carers and sufferers of this terrible disease.

Again most of the fund raising will be carried out by the Choir’s associated Côr Meibion Caldicot Cycle Club and The Birdie Boys  Golf Society who are arranging a series of events throughout the coming year, the first being The Redwick Challenge.  This well organised and popular event challenges cyclists to ride as many laps around the 2 mile ‘Redwick Circuit’ as possible in an 8 hour period.  It is open to all cyclists, young and not so young on May 21st starting at 8-00 am at the Rose Inn.  Entry is £10 and all will be donated to the fund.  Participants can turn up at any time between 8 am and 3 pm, pay the £10 to complete as many laps as they can.  As little as one lap or try to break the record of 53 laps.

A special Memorial Cup in memory of chorister Theo Roberts is to be inaugurated this year.  It will be presented annually to the Choir section whose members complete the most laps of the circuit and will be held proudly in the Choir’s display cabinet. Theo was a great supporter of the Cycle Club charity raising events and turned up to help on just about every occasion to help out over the past 5 years, including being a member of the support team on the long distance cycle rides.  He will be greatly missed.

Other events planned include a 4 day ride from Holyhead in Anglesey to Caldicot and a Golf tournament at the St Pierre Golf Resort near Chepstow.  More details to follow.

Events such as these in the past five years have raised over £33000 for charity so please give us your full support.

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Stormy Weather Charity Ride for Choir Cyclists

Caldicot Male Voice Choir is well known for and is proud of its charity fund raising efforts through its concerts over many years and has raised several hundreds of thousands of pound in its history.  It continues to be active in this through its charity concert programmes over the year.  To enhance its endeavours it formed a cycling club five years ago for choristers and guests to enjoy social cycling and help worthy causes.  The Choir also has a golf society with the same aims of a different social face to the choir and also to raise money for charity.

In the past 5 years the choir, through its cycling club and golf society has raised about £30000 for local charities including Prostate Cymru, Sparkle, local Caldicot toddler Annalese Gosling, the Victims of Chernobyl Childrens’ Trust and this year is concentrating its efforts to help the Cardiff branch of the Motor Neurone Disease Association to buy essential equipment and services for sufferers of this terrible disease.

The cycle club, Côr Meibion Caldicot Cycle Club has already held a sponsored Endurance ride at Redwick which has raised over £1000 for the charity and on Saturday 20th August it organised a sponsored 65  mile ride from Hay on Wye to Caldicot.  The group of 12 intrepid cyclists and its support team set out in atrocious weather to Hay on Wye and undaunted by the severe weather conditions pedalled the route from Hay on Wye, through the Golden Valley to Abbey Dore, past the slopes of the Skirrid and against the storms and wind to Abergavenny and then on to Usk for lunch.  The gales and driving rain were unrelenting but nevertheless the cyclists, now soaked to the skin continued their journey on through Usk to Langstone and on to Redwick to partially dry out, warm up and get a meal at the welcoming Rose Inn.

Suitably refreshed and heartened, the 12 cyclists and support team then braved the worsening weather to make the final stage of the journey through the Caldicot levels to the Choir Hall at Caldicot, dead on time to be greeted by the choir supporters.  The day was rounded off with a celebratory evening of food and music to celebrate not only the endeavours of the cyclists but also to thank the choir for its efforts towards its entry to the National Eisteddfod at Abergavenny.  To date the Choir members and cyclists have raised nearly £2000 to help The Motor Neurone Disease Research Association.

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Cycle club takes on the Redwick Challenge

Group photo of organisers and supporters
Group photo of organisers and supporters

Left click on the image to enlarge. Photo by Colleen Gauntlett

On Sunday 29th May, as part of the choir’s undertaking to raise funds for the Motor Neurone Disease Association (South East Wales branch) this year, forty five choir cyclists of the Côr Meibion Caldicot Cycle Club including their guest riders undertook the Redwick Challenge. This involved riding as many laps of the 2 mile circuit as they wished during an 8 hour period.  The oldest rider was 72 year old chorister Harry Giblin and the youngest was two year old Zac Potter who did a lap of 2 miles on his tricycle.  Guest riders Nick Powell and Gareth Davies completed the most laps, with chorister Rob Stallard in third place.  Nick and Gareth will have their names engraved on the frame of the collage photograph which will be displayed in the Rose Inn at Redwick.

On a gloriously sunny Spring bank holiday Sunday, the riders had to contend with not only other cyclists using the route around the Caldicot Levels, but also huge farm machinery transferring silage from one field to another, joggers, horse riders and a herd of cows moving to another field.  Colleen and Lyn Gauntlett took a total of 426 photographs, too many to post on the web site but there are 338 on the Choir’s Facebook page.

Although the board in the photo indicates 1047 completed laps, a total of 990 laps or nearly 2000 miles was actually completed, an incredible achievement.

Tannwen Saunders, the area coordinator for the charity is thrilled with all the efforts the choir is making towards helping their charity and in appreciation turned up with huge trays of doughnuts for everyone.  The day’s event produced a grand total of £752 for the charity which includes £120 raised by Harry Giblin and £22 by Dai Gould.

Many thanks to Theo Roberts and Dave Kirton for logging all the laps and to Peter Williams for completing the registration documents and taking the entry money.  Also thanks to Chris Nolan, Kirstie Benjamin and Leon Jones for setting up the site with the two gazebos and to Grahame and Pat Morton for organising the refreshments.  A special mention must go to cycle club captain and chorister Anthony Griffiths and all members of the cycle club committee for organising the event.




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Choristers get on their bikes for Annalese and Sparkle

All set up and ready to go
All set up and ready to go

Photo by Lyn Gauntlett


Members of Cõr Meibion Caldicot Cycle Club, friends and supporters leave the choir hall this morning to set out on their epic three day sponsored cycle ride from the source of the Severn to Caldicot via Shrewsbury, Ironbridge, Bridgnorth, Stourport upon Severn, Worcester, Tewkesbury, Gloucester and Thornbury and finally over the first Severn Crossing.  This ride of 210 miles, along with other events is to raise money to buy Annalese Gosling who suffers from incurable FOP, a new purpose made bed and to raise funds for Sparkle, a Newport based charity which supports severely disabled youngsters in Newport and South Monmouthshire.

On Saturday they will be joined by another fourteen or so other cyclists to ride the last leg from Tewkesbury to Caldicot.  The cyclists will be back at the choir hall on Saturday to a welcome party and hog roast from about 6-30pm. There will be some entertainment as well from not least, the Serenata Ladies Choir.  Please be there to welcome them back and hopefully if you haven’t done so already, donate some cash to two very worthy and deserving causes.


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Choristers and friends cycle for Prostate Cymru


What an event!  Four days of sheer torture and happiness. Three hard stages of cycling plus three nights camping out with a great bunch of lads.


Day 1 – leaving the Choir Hall early afternoon in the mini-bus, driven by Leon to the Gateway Holiday Park in Llanelli. Eventually tents put up and bedded-down for the night following a meal and a couple of beers in the camp clubhouse.


Day 2 – joined by ex-Welsh Rugby International, Ray Giles, it was on the mini-bus to Fishguard followed by the fantastic support crew. On arriving in Fishguard and making our way down to the Old Town, the only way out was via a steep hill a mile long. Some miles later on leaving the food stop at Crymych, we took a wrong turning and ended up 10 miles out of the proposed route, eventually arriving at Carmarthen some two hours later than scheduled. The rest of the journey saw us climb (yet again) to Kidwelly before reaching Pembrey Forest and the Millenium Coastal Path, eventually arriving at the campsite some 80 miles later having climbed 5500 feet. Time for a shower, food, drink and a good nights sleep.


Stage 1 riders: Leon Jones, Tony Griffiths, Spike Hughes, Grahame Morton, Nathan Finney, Greg Tinker, Bob Stevenson, Steve Tobin, David Whittle and Ray Giles.


Stage 1 Support Team: Alyn Dawe, Peter Williams, David Currie Dave and Coral Kirton, and Roger Matthews.


Day 3 – The second ride saw nine riders (minus Ray Giles) leave the campsite having said goodbye and thank you to the holiday camp for their kind hospitality, heading for Swansea. A lovely ride down the Clyne Valley led us to Swansea sea-front, resplendent in the July sunshine with stunning views across the bay to the Mumbles. It was time for an attempt at the fearsome cobblestone climb of Constitution Hill, famously used in the Tour of Britain, only around 300 metres long but with a gradient of 20%. Three riders; Nathan Finney, Steve Tobin and Bob Stevenson took up the challenge and won, fair play to them, awesome effort. The ride then continued up the Tawe Valley with a stop at Asda in Ystalyfera for lunch, paying a visit to the Dan yr Ogof cave site before taking on the long 8% climb up Black Mountain in the Brecon Beacons. A fast descent into Sennybridge and then into Brecon arriving at tea-time at Pencelli Castle campsite. Fish and chips and beer was ordered before laughing the night away around the campfire (well a chair). Distance 60 miles with 4500 feet of climbing.


Stage 2 riders: Leon Jones, Tony Griffiths, Spike Hughes, Grahame Morton, Nathan Finney, Greg Tinker, Bob Stevenson, Steve Tobin and David Whittle.


Stage 2 Support Team: Alyn Dawe, Peter Williams, David Currie, Dave and Coral Kirton, and Roger Matthews.


Day 4 – We were joined at Brecon Canal Basin by another twelve riders bussed up from Caldicot for the third stage. Following photos and good wishes it was a quick stop back at Pencelli Castle to say our thank you’s to site owner Gerwyn, who kindly made a donation of £50 to the charity, before taking on the seven mile climb up to the top of Talybont Reservoir. Met by comforting drinks and sugary sweets handed-out by the support team, to replenish ourselves after the climb, we made our way following the Taff Trail through Merthyr Tydfil to Quakers Yard for lunch. After a brief stop, we had our first drop of rain as we headed through Ystrad Mynach and Ynysddu before arriving at the Monmouthshire Canal at Cross Keys. On through Newport, home was in sight as we rode through Magor, Undy, Rogiet finally arriving at the Choir Hall around 6:30pm, met by rapturous applause by the waiting crowds of choristers, families, friends and the Mayor. Folllowing photographs, it was an evening of entertainment with a lovely Pork Supper, a presentation of flowers and wine to the support team, and apt music from chorister David John spelling out the dangers of Prostate Cancer and a communal sing-song led by Jason Dawe (guitar), Alyn Dawe (Harmonica) and Mike Griffiths playing the cahon. Distance 70 miles with 5800 feet of climbing.


Stage 3 riders: Leon Jones, Tony Griffiths, Spike Hughes, Grahame Morton, Nathan Finney, Greg Tinker, Bob Stevenson, Steve Tobin, David Whittle, John Antell, Kenneth Dann, Chris Nolan, Carolyn Griffiths, Julie Donoghue, Mike Griffiths, Diane Potter, Sue Earnshaw, Alyn Dawe, Jason Dawe, Andy Thomas (Prostate Cymru) and David John.


Stage 3 Support Team: Peter Williams, David Currie, Roger Matthews, Theo Roberts, Kirstie Benjamin, Sue Murphy, Helen Dawe, Dave and Coral Kirton,  and David Hennesy.


Many thanks must go out to our fabulous support team, without them it would not have happened and to our cycling friends who came along and helped raise money for a worthwhile cause.

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Cycling Club has Distinguished Patron

Following the success of the 55 mile Taff Trail ride, the riders have formed a cycle club under the auspices of Caldicot Male Voice Choir and known as Côr Meibion Caldicot Cycle Club (CMCCC).   The new club has two founding principles: 1. to embrace the health benefits, attendant with organised social cycling and 2. to raise awareness and generate funding for an appointed charity.  The club is already planning several medium distance rides thoughout the coming months for its members.


The choir celebrates its 50 year anniversary next year and intends to honour this pledge of helping local charities by the Cycling Club supporting ‘The Victims of Chernobyl Children’s Fund’ next year. This remarkable charity was set up by Mrs Marcia Doyle of Caldicot, and has been forwarding humanitarian aid to orphanages and hospitals in Belarus for 24 years. In conjunction with strategic practical assistance, administered directly in Belarus; the charity arranges for groups of Belarussian children to visit south Wales annually, in order to supplement their palliative care packages.


Next year’s challenge has been code named “Chernobyl 1600“, which is reflective of the approximate 1,600 mile distance between Caldicot and Chernobyl. The mission will involve club members cycling the 60 mile distance between Brecon and Caldicot, crossing over Llangynidr Mountain, on 14th July, 2013.  The Belarussian group will be in Caldicot at this time, so the plan is for the children to welcome and receive the exhausted cyclists back to the Choir Hall, at the end of the ride. Furthermore, in order to raise individual sponsorship, a number of ‘designated’ cyclists have agreed to pledge to ride, between them the equivalent of the 1,600 miles, during the training and preparation period leading up to next July.


Further, we are delighted to announce that keen cyclist and long standing choir supporter, John Griffiths AM, Welsh Assembly Cabinet Minister for the Environment and Sustainable Development has accepted the Choir’s invitation to become the Cycling Club’s first Patron.  John, in this capacity will be a great help in raising awareness of our aims and efforts, both nationally and within the local community.  We understand that he has every intention, public service schedule permitting, to accompany us on our Chernobyl 1600 ride from Brecon to Caldicot. Thank you John, your acceptance is very much appreciated and we look forward to a long and productive partnership.

John Presenting Chairman Leon with his 25 year Service Certificate

If you are interested in supporting the choir’s cycle club, sponsoring individual riders in their efforts for the victims of the Chernobyl disaster, or even coming along on a practice ride, please contact any chorister or e-mail us.

Press Release


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Choir Cycle Club Web-site Created

Following on from the recently arranged bike rides and the highly succesful Taff Trail sponsored ride by members and friends of the choir, organiser and chorister Tony Griffiths has created a new web site which will specialise on the Choir’s newly formed Cycle Club.


This promising site will focus on past and forthcoming Choir cycle events with cycle ride reports, photographs, stories, a diary and special features such as interesting routes for beginners and experts alike.


The choir has always reduced its concert activities during the ‘summer’ months  because of choristers holiday commitments.  Activities such as the Cycling Club and the Golfing Birdie Boys, not forgetting the Entertainment Nights at the Choir Hall, help to keep choristers in touch (apart from continuing twice weekly practices) with an interesting, active and fitness inducing social life.  In their short lives so far, both sporting extensions of the Choir have introduced new, young blood members and have created an increased active awareness of the Choir in the wider community.  In an effort to support local charities,  activities of both clubs are arranged throughout the year and event dates are arranged so that they do not conflict with our main function of performing concerts.


To link in to the new web-site please click on  Choir Cycle Club for more information.

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Taff Trail Story Told

I’ve included a lot more photos of our Taff Trail riders and supporters.  Many are taken from video footage so the size and quality may be poorer, but nevertheless they’re worth showing (I hope).  The preparation of a commemorative DVD is underway and should be available next week.


It’s worth reiterating that this was a fabulous achievement by all involved, especially since many of the riders have previously had no involvement with the choir and it’s hoped this will inspire others to come forward and help us out when needed.  Plans are underway for a similar event during our 50th Anniversary year to raise funds for other deserving charities and we’re confident it will prove an even greater success.  Well done everybody!




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