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OPERATION CHRISTMAS CHILD 2020 A huge thank you to everyone who supported Operation Christmas Child during what was an extremely difficult year. I am thrilled to say that almost 400 gift-filled shoe boxes were sent from Cottenham to children in some of the poorest countries in the world. Thanks to the help and support given by a large number of people, the box packing went ahead over several weekends, with the help of a rota of socially distanced helpers. Thanks to wonderful contributions from the knitters, bag makers, and many others who donated in so many ways, we were able to make the boxes really special for the children, many of whom will not have received anything else at Christmas.

My hope is that we will be able to resume our more normal box packing weekend in November this year but we will see how things go over the course of the Summer. In the meantime, please can you continue with the crafts, knitting and gathering things to go into the boxes, so that we can send more boxes to needy children again this year. Please contact me if you would like to know more about Operation Christmas Child. My thanks again for a truly wonderful effort. Sue Hooks

COTTENHAM LIBRARY Opening hours: Monday Thursday

14:00-18:00 10:00-14:00

Dear Residents, We at Cottenham library wish you a very happy and healthy 2021, and would like you to know that we’re open for limited services during the lockdown. As well as standard reservations – at a special reduced rate of 50p per item – we’re also offering our ‘Select and Collect’ service. The staff will choose a number of books for you based on your preferences and any special needs you might have and get them ready for you to pick up at your convenience. Please use the online form, available at, to make requests. If you don’t have access to the internet you can phone Customer Services on 0345 045 5225 and your request will be forwarded to the library. There are currently no overdue charges being levied on materials borrowed, so please don’t worry about being caught out by future restrictions.

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Aside from the collection and return of books – and please note that returned books will be held for 72-hours quarantine before being removed from the reader’s account – the library is available for the essential use of our public computers. One 45-minute session per person per day can be booked. All our online services are running as normal. We have eBooks, eAudiobooks, eNewspapers, eMagazines and eComics available to download to all platforms. We also have access to encyclopaedias, directories, genealogy, online film, music, history, business resources and much more. Please visit the library pages on the County Council website for more information. We look forward to welcoming you to the library but please do keep an eye on the website and on social media channels for updates. Wishing you all the very best The staff at Cottenham library 0345 045 5225

Office available From 1 April we will have a central heated ground floor office (4.5m x 3.3m quiet room in the heart of Cottenham, in the same building as the coffee shop) available on licence. Could be shared – maybe as a collaboration hub or hot desking for two people. Secondary double glazing, modern lighting with newly refurbished, shared kitchen facilities and toilets. Very good WiFi. Do get in touch if you are interested. or 07896 194291 Volunteers Volunteering at the coffee shop is a great opportunity to meet people, learn new skills, add to your CV and be part of a very worthwhile community facility. Please have a chat with Jane Tel 01954 202109 (when open) or manager@ Trustees Please consider becoming a trustee to assist with the smooth running of the Community Centre. The trustees are hands-on as well as making key decisions. Do let me know if you would like to know more. The Coffee Shop We plan to be open 10am – 2pm, six days per week, when possible. Thank you for supporting the Community Centre. Just come along, or to reserve a table or to place a takeaway order you can call us on 01954 202109 during opening hours only. Keep an eye out for the Coffee shop reopening, perhaps as early as 17 May. Jane, Tricia, and the team look forward to welcoming you. Come and enjoy a great coffee or tea or hot chocolate, delicious scones and cake or great light lunch from our menu.

beverage after you have bought ten drinks. You will also get a 10% discount on one-off room hire. Please download a membership form here: membership/ If you are shopping online, please consider using (it costs you no more) Easy Fundraising or Amazon Smile for Cottenham Community Centre (which will then receive a small percentage). If you would like a personal invite, please let me know. We now have attractive gift vouchers – please consider buying as a gift for someone local. Contact treasurer@ Covid restrictions have caused the income to fall substantially. If you can help with fundraising in any way, please do get in touch – ideas welcome. Classes and room hire Some of our classes may be running by the time you read this or soon after (children’s classes may be allowed to resume as early as 12 April and others from 17 May). Do check with the class leader or the community centre whether spaces are available. Room hire – subject to the Covid rules at the time, there are three rooms (main hall, studio, coffee shop) for hire (full entertainment licence etc held). Our wonderful new back kitchen facilities are great, including for a pop-up café. We encourage classes, community activities and welcome organisations looking to try out new community projects.

Events Community Cinema on the first Sunday of the month, films (probably restarting on 6 June) start at 7:30pm each time. See top-class films at a fraction of the cost and without having to travel.

For other enquiries see the website or email bookings@

Funds and membership We welcome your support. Membership is just £15 for an individual (seniors £10) with a loyalty bonus of a free Charity Number 1128604

Please DO NOT come to the Community Centre if you feel at all unwell, thank you.

ARTICLES, DATES AND ADVERTISEMENTS E–mail, CD, memory stick and paper submissions are all welcome. Please contact the editor if you have any questions. Dates of events to be advertised in the next issue should span the months of June and July.

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COUNTY COUNCILLOR’S REPORT Scientists have been warning of the consequences of climate change for decades. One of the effects is hotter drier summers and warmer wetter winters. 2020 and 2021 so far bear this out. There had already been 50% more rainfall than the annual average from September to November. Add to that the third wettest consecutive couple of months since records began in 1850. The drainage infrastructure was not built to cope, in particular the gullies and road drains, as well as the sewerage systems.

Anglian Water told us that they were operating at maximum capacity to clear the 11,000 calls they had received (including five times the usual number in Christmas week). Their usual fleet of 40 tankers was augmented to 120 by pulling in every available vehicle from all over the country. Anglian Water usually discharges a million litres a day, but in the first week of February this had risen to five million litres a day, with consequential wear and tear on assets like pumping stations.

Levels in the Great Ouse were high throughout January and into February. All remediation measures were in place and all water flow routes were ‘open’. However, the tributary streams and brooks were having difficulty discharging into the river because surface water run-off from adjoining fields was keeping their levels high too, without normal flows out of the land. The results have been road flooding, sewage discharge, mechanical equipment strains and instances of standing water.

As chair of the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Flood and Water Partnership I have been coordinating over 750 reports of flooding since just before Christmas, with about a third of these involving water inside people’s houses. We have been mapping these according to location, source of the water (whether river, surface, ground or sewer), and severity – in particular whether homes were flooded internally. We will be investigating, as usual, every incident that resulted in water getting into someone’s house, and seeking to identify the cause or causes. (There is rarely a simple answer.)

After another 11mm of rainfall over the first weekend of February, the ground reached a peak of saturation. Further rainfall just sheeted straight off the land, filling the ditches immediately and spilling on to roads, driveways and gardens. And in the worst cases into sheds, garages, businesses and homes. As a society we have chosen not to attempt eliminating flood risk completely – even if that were conceivably possible. We accept a certain level of risk in the understanding that from time to time property and farmland will be damaged. The priority is on avoiding loss of life. In cleaning up after a flood event it is often advisable not to replace fitted carpets on a ground floor living room, but have rugs that can be rolled up next time. Or to place power sockets higher up the wall so that they will not get wet. These sort of adaptations are part of building resilience to the increasing likelihood of warmer wetter winters arising from climate change. A frequent complication is surcharge of foul water drains by surface water. This in turn overwhelms sewage pumping stations, causing sink, bath, shower and toilet drains to back up. This is disgusting, inconvenient, and a potential health hazard.

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As the Lead Local Flood Authority the county council oversees flood risk management. The partnership brings together Peterborough, the districts, emergency planning, police, fire and rescue, Highways England, our own highways department, Anglian Water, the Environment Agency, engineers of the groups of Internal Drainage Boards, and our Flood and Water team. There are something like 78 flood risk management authorities altogether. The Environment Agency is responsible for main rivers. These include Cottenham Lode and the Old West River. Many of the Christmas flooding events were the result of a peak in the Great Ouse resulting from 55mm of rainfall over Buckingham during the night of 23/24 December. The Environment Agency kept its incident room permanently staffed as the water made its inevitable way downstream, through Bedford, St Neots, Huntingdon, Godmanchester and St Ives. The peak level subsides as the river flows. A lot of flood risk management involves “lengthening the hydrograph” – a very similar process to “flattening the curve”. The

Anglian (Great Ouse) Regional Flood and Coastal Committee, which I sit on, met to review its response in January. The Old West Internal Drainage Board pumps water out of low-lying land into the Old West at Queenholme and Chear Fen, with pumps at Smithy Fen Engine kept in reserve. They worked flat out over Christmas and well into the new year. We were also fortunate to have had most of the gullies and road drains jetted in the last week of November, so that water cleared quickly out of what we call around here the “highland” on which the village sits. South Cambridgeshire District Council is responsible for some “Award Drains” as a result of various nineteenth-century enclosure acts. The rest of the ordinary watercourses are the responsibility of the landowners along their length. The county council owns hardly any of the land designated as “highway”. This means that ditches alongside roads are almost always the responsibility of the adjacent landowner. One of the challenges we face is that those buying houses in new estates are often not aware that they have an obligation to keep the ditch the other side of the fence

at the back of their garden clear of obstructions, so that water can flow freely. These are called “riparian responsibilities”, and there are powers under the Land Drainage Act 1991 to require landowners to fulfil them. We want to capture the latest “flood memories” before they fade, and encourage everyone – for example those out walking – to report blocked or poorly maintained ditches to us at floodandwater@cambridgeshire. Send either a map, such as a Google Maps screenshot, showing an identifiable place or road with the ditch clearly marked, or a location code using the “what3words” app. If you can also send photographs so much the better. Tim Wotherspoon

ROTARY CLUB OF CAMBRIDGE SOUTH – SUPPORTING LOCAL GOOD CAUSES Club members accepted various challenges (Sue and I walked 40 miles) during December with a view to raising sponsorship of £5000 or more to help reduce the impact on local charities from the loss of grants from our usual Christmas car parking in Cambridge due to Covid restrictions. Many thanks for your kind generosity – we raised over £7,000 and with club monies from reserves we have made this up to £12,000! Local Good Causes we are supporting include: Jimmy’s Night Shelter The Salvation Army The Arthur Rank Hospice Cambridge Foodbank Camsight The Samaritans Emmaus and Crisis homeless charity We continue to meet weekly on Mondays using Zoom, with fascinating speakers, often from overseas and sometimes from former international students that we have hosted. We have also been able to contribute to some good causes locally, including Kids Out Christmas box appeal and Food bank. Hopefully, we will be able to restart our

direct activities (like Memory café at Girton and Peace debate) by this Autumn. Rotary has 1.2 million members across 200 countries and at an international level, Rotary’s effort continues to progress the eradication of Polio worldwide. Working with the WHO and thousands of volunteers, Rotary are getting ever nearer worldwide eradication with the whole of Africa being declared Polio (wild virus) free in August. This just leaves Pakistan/Afghanistan. Immunisation must continue around the world until it is eradicated (like Smallpox which is the only one to date). Rotary describes the activities as “polio plus” and it has given, and will give, the infrastructure for many medical benefits including Coronavirus Covid 19 immunisation in many countries. Our club had planted purple (purple is the symbol for polio plus) crocuses on Queen’s Green, Cambridge as a reminder and has raised funds and contributed to Rotary’s charity for this cause. Do think of the Polio Plus campaign when you see them in flower. If you just want to know more about Rotary or our club (which has members from Waterbeach, Cottenham, Cambridge and beyond) and its Activities, or to consider joining, do get in touch. We are a welcoming club that has fun putting “service above self”. Mike Smith, Rotary Club of Cambridge South Issue Number 178 • page 5

PARISH COUNCIL Precept At their meeting on 28th February, the Parish Council set a Precept for 2021/22 of £299,274; equivalent to £122.96 per Band D home – The resolution was based on an expected income of £70,773 and expected expenses of £370,047 – including funding the “supplementary precept” which pays for most of the PWLB loan financing the Hall/Nursery project. The precept is the amount levied as part of Council Tax by the Parish Council on homes in Cottenham. The increase is around 1.5% on this year’s total, a little less than that for individual homes as more have been occupied since last year. Major developments Surface water displacement concerns affecting all three sites under development may have contributed to the recent flooding in Cottenham. Bellway land between Rampton Road and Oakington Road, via the now wet Oakington Road ditch towards the failing AW sewage pump around 7 metres lower south of Histon Road at Between Close Drove. •

The widening of Oakington Road may have contributed with heavy traffic passing over an unfinished section, possibly compromising the pipes below the carriageway. Highways have requested permission to pass on the CCTV report on part of this area.

Imminent restoration work to “finish” the “bridge” and carriageway increases the urgency of this work.

A safer pedestrian route from the Persimmon estate via Rampton Road has been found but may be in partial conflict with established rights of way over the land. A pragmatic approach is currently being taken so as to expedite the Persimmon footway extension with work expected alongside full roadside ditches. Extensive groundworking on the Rampton Road Redrow site may be contributing to the surface water run-off towards Oakington Road as well as putting a lot of mud on Rampton Road. This Land Ltd have advised us they have submitted a planning appeal to “protect their position” on the Rampton Road site. It seems that the County Council

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are now amenable to moving the alignment of the school access road to the edge of the site which helps us. Kier expect to submit a revised application in April; the version we saw recently has resolved most of the issues against our criteria applied to the rejection of the Reserved Matters application. Village Hall The ground floor of the Village Hall is approaching completion and is already open on a limited basis for the Kids Club and as a Parish Office with the local elections, including the referendum on our Neighbourhood Plan, due to take place there on 6th May. As yet, we are still working on the investment needed to open the first floor and provide a regular bar service. Nursery The Nursery is almost complete and we hope to resume the Operator Selection process shortly. Once that process is complete and ratified by the Parish Council, we will advise staff hiring and opening dates, hopefully over the summer period. Recreation Ground Hopefully you’ll have noticed the new signage that has gone up around the site. A reminder again that dogs aren’t allowed anywhere on the Rec. For the avoidance of doubt this also means the access road and car park. We have also installed two new recycling bins in the play/skate area. One side is for general rubbish and the other is for cans/ bottles. Please ensure that you separate your waste accordingly. We have generally increased the number of bins across the site to discourage the amount of littering that we have experienced over the past year. We’d also encourage people to take advantage of the new cycle parking arrangements where possible to reduce vehicle movements. Action for swifts The eagle-eyed may have noticed a ‘hole’ in the side of the new Village Hall near the top (facing Ladybirds). This is a ‘swift brick’ to encourage nesting and was part of several biodiversity requirements as part of the new building. Swifts are now an endangered species in the UK so we are now working with Action for Swifts to create more nesting opportunities for them. Swifts are colony birds so a single brick won’t necessarily prove attractive. We have therefore agreed

to install six further external swift boxes on the Village Hall gable and a ‘triangle nesting box’ for a further six pairs of birds on the Pavilion gable. The boxes will be accompanied by an attraction call system to encourage the birds to the site. The majority of the works will be covered by a grant. It’s likely that we’ll need volunteers to help build and install the boxes so please look out for further information on our website and Facebook. Highways We encourage residents to report any Highways related issues they see directly to the County Council, via their reporting site https://highwaysreporting. However for faults which pose an immediate risk of danger to the public please call Cambridgeshire Highways on 0345 045 5212 during office hours – 8am to 6pm Monday to Friday and 9am to 1pm on Saturdays, or for out of hours emergencies use the Police 101 service. Neighbourhood Plan A few days before we all got locked down for the first time in March 2020, our Neighbourhood Plan referendum was set to be voted on – for or against. A majority “for” vote would make it part of local planning policy to be used by SCDC when making planning decisions. Now, a little more than a year later on 6th May, electors in Cottenham will get that chance again, alongside the votes for a County Councillor and Police & Crime Commissioner. The Polling Station has moved back to the Recreation Ground – this time to the new Village Hall.

identifies some opportunities for increased employment both in and beyond the village boundary.

Viewing: you can view the full Neighbourhood Plan on-line on the Parish Council website at www. South Cambridgeshire District Council is making arrangement for viewing the Plan at their offices and on-line. A limited number of hard copies will be available at £10 each from the Parish Clerk – clerk@ New Councillor We are delighted to welcome Tracy Hutchison onto the Council. You can find out more about Tracy via her bio on our website. We have moved! We have now completed our move into the new Village Hall at the Recreation Ground. The Clerk is contactable between 9:00am – 3:00pm weekdays only and messages can be left outside of these hours. If you wish to meet with us in person, please contact us in advance to arrange an appointment. Please note that our staff don’t work on weekends or public holidays. Jo Brook, Parish Clerk PSLCC Email: Phone: 07503 328401

The “referendum version” of the plan: • increases the protection offered to parts of our landscape, heritage assets, village character – from alterations and extensions to new build, and various green spaces around the village • extends the village’s development framework to acknowledge recent planning permissions, sets out some design criteria for the large sites and identifies several brownfield sites for housing • sets out the need for a new medical centre and supermarket alongside better sports facilities and extensions to the burial grounds

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FAMILY AND FRIENDS RAISE MONEY FOR HOSPITAL IPADS IN MEMORY OF DANNY GRANGER Family and friends of firefighter Danny Granger, who sadly died in February, have set up a Go Fund Me page to raise money to buy iPads and holders for the Addenbrooke’s intensive care unit.

others see and speak to patients in the unit. Danny was always doing things for other people and we think he would feel really proud to know that he will be continuing to help others in this way.”

The fundraising page, which has already reached over £6000 has been set up in Danny’s memory to help families of those in the critical wards see and speak to their loved ones while visiting is restricted.

The Go Fund Me page can be found at:

Danny’s close friend and colleague at Cottenham Fire Station, Matt Scruby, has set up the page on behalf of Danny’s family. Matt explained: “Danny received the best care at Addenbrooke's intensive care unit. The doctors and nurses were amazing and so compassionate. The current restrictions in place due to Covid mean that families cannot visit loved ones in the hospital so they had to reply on the nurses video-calling so they could see and speak to them. However the hospital struggles with enough iPads so nurses were kindly using their own phones. “Danny’s mother and sister would like to raise enough money to buy several iPads for the hospital to help

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VET RETIRES Letters AFTER 30 YEARS to the Editor: Mardie has retired after nearly 30 years working at Village Vet Cottenham/Longstanton. As a new graduate, she spent a few years in general practice, gaining a Certificate in Radiology, before heading back to Cambridge Veterinary School. She studied first for an MSc and then a PhD, which she completed just after the birth of her first daughter. After a short break whilst her two eldest children were very young, she joined what was then Robin Hughes-Parry’s practice in 1992/3, and has been with us ever since. We all wish her a long and happy retirement – she will be very missed by staff, clients and pets alike. Enjoy your well earned rest, Mardie, and thank you so much for all your years of service to our community.

Dear Sir, Les King Wood The past months have highlighted how important open spaces are to our physical and mental health. Living in a large village with a limited network of footpaths, like many Cottenham residents I have very much appreciated the Les King Wood. I understand that the land on which the wood was planted some twenty years ago (my daughters remember being part of a Girl Guides group which helped with the planting) has been sold by Cambridgeshire County Farms. I would like to know who is now responsible for the wood and whether this vital facility will not only remain accessible to us but also that it is being properly maintained. If new woodland is not properly managed it soon becomes a dense impenetrable mass with loss of the diversity of woodland flora. I would be grateful if anyone who has accurate information could reassure me on this point. Yours, Joanna Griffiths ......... Wood mouse steals bird food A wood mouse comes out of the hedgerow beside our house and steals the bird food put down for the blackbird. He breaks cover at lightning speed takes one piece of food, runs off and presumably hoards it somewhere and is back for more. On the last occasion he seemed to take exception to the blackbird being there and came towards him then ran back again; even jumped about 18 inches from the hedgerow near to the blackbird and scampered off presumably in an attempt to frighten the much larger blackbird away from the food! Regards, Bob Mansfield

Letters for publication may be sent to the Editor, and should include the name and address of the sender, although this may be omitted from publication if requested. Please keep correspondence short and topical. Please note that the Editor may use his discretion regarding publication, and his decision is final. The views expressed by correspondents and other contributors are their own and are not necessarily shared by the Editor. Issue Number 178 • page 9

ASPARAGUS – IN AND OUT OF SEASON As we come to April we all can look forward to asparagus appearing once again in local grocers, on

exhausted. So growers have to work hard in that short season, with expert pickers, packers and shippers ready to go. For me, the price of fresh asparagus is worthwhile for a delicacy so full of flavour – do you pay extra for good meat or wine, or the best apples or tomatoes? But... asparagus, nowadays is made available by stores throughout the year. To achieve that it must be grown on the scale of ‘agribusiness’ in distant places – Peru is an example. There it is grown in the driest regions west of the Andes mountains where water is a crucial resource, and so must be diverted from other important purposes. To get the asparagus from Peru to our shops before it degrades requires air freight – aviation fuel and engine emissions. How much does it cost for you to fly to south America?

roadside and market stalls, and in supermarkets. It is the first spring vegetable of the year, and holds the promise of many more fresh foods moving quickly from field, garden or allotment to our taste buds. I love it barbecued or steamed or fried or in an omelette. But freshness is the key! If you haven’t seen it growing there’s now a large bed at Wimpole Hall next to the Walled Garden. You can grow it at home if you have a bit of space for a dedicated area and can be patient while the plants come to maturity. My bed sits behind the garage, and gives me a lot of pleasure for the sake of a 2 metre x 1 metre space. The season for asparagus is short – the plants can only sustain about 8 weeks of picking before being

Agribusiness has created employment in the new asparagus growing area. But how much benefit flows down to the workers, when asparagus spears freighted to the UK are sold cheaper than our own produce in season? There are many and varying statistics on asparagus air miles, but a National Geographic report from 2016 concluded air freighted asparagus produce 8.9 kilogrammes of CO2 equivalent per kilogramme of food, far more than other foods that can travel by sea, or more locally by lorry. So buy asparagus out of season if you wish – but it will not taste as good (according to internet reviews), and actually costs far more than you have paid. If you can’t grow it yourself, buy seasonal, buy local, buy fresh! Justin Hiscock

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HOW GREEN IS YOUR GARDENING? There’s lots of fresh green in our gardens now, but being green as a gardener is more of a challenge. While our gardens are a vital part of biodiversity, sadly the business of gardening can have a damaging environmental impact – as in these key areas: • •

There are 500 million plastic plant pots in circulation in this country, each taking 400 years to break down. Peat bogs are an important carbon sink, storing far more carbon than forests. Destroying them to make garden compost contributes to climate change.

Here are some tips from Sarah Dumont, of Cottenham Gardeners’ Club, on ways to go greener in your garden. •

Keep existing plastics going for as long as possible. If all else fails, B&Q takes plastic pots for recycling. [Scotsdales has a ‘bring and take’ collection point for pots, but only at Shelford]. Oakington Garden Centre has compostable bamboo pots and seed trays.

Save loo rolls for seed sowing. Stand them in a container (I use ancient 4 litre ice cream tubs with holes drilled for drainage). Use them for sweet peas, and to start parsnips off. Plant the whole tube, making sure it is under the soil to avoid a collar of dry cardboard which restricts plant growth.

Always buy peat-free compost. Oakington Garden Centre stocks New Horizon (now on a three for £15 offer); Cottenham Co-op also has New Horizon,

small size only. Unfortunately compost with peat is generally cheaper than peat-free (since no monetary value is put on the damage done to the environment). The Government has so far held back on a legal ban, relying unsuccessfully on voluntary action by garden centres to stop selling peat-based composts. •

Of course, the ideal is to make your own compost. Or help yourself to free ‘soil improver’ at the Amey Waste Management Park at Waterbeach – this way, your compost comes free of plastic packaging too!

For more info check out these Royal Horticultural Society advice pages: get-gardening/how-to-go-plastic-free-in-your-garden (on peat-free growing media)

VOLUNTEERS NEEDED We are seeking volunteers to deliver the Newsletter. Please contact Trevor Lawrence on 01954 250011 if you are able to help.

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COTTENHAM TENNIS CLUB A ‘small virus’ has managed to ruin most of our plans over the last year. At present we are in lockdown and unable to play at all, just getting a small tennis hit from watching the professionals play on TV to maintain our addiction. So sadly none of our coaching has been able to happen. We are particularly sorry that, having booked the sports hall to do so, we were unable to coach the tiny tots indoors, which would have been lovely for them over the winter. I really feel for our coaching company, Game Set Tennis, that has been unable to run their business most of the year. I hope that once coaching restarts we all support them as much as possible. Any plans mentioned here come with the proviso that they may or may not happen. PLAYING TENNIS YOUR OWN WAY Hopefully we can dust off our rackets and get back on court at CVC from 6th April. There are many different ways to play in Cottenham so read on to find something to suit you. Even if you don’t know how to serve or can’t hit from the baseline yet, it doesn’t matter, just have a go and have fun. Tennis is a great family game and can be played from age 3 to age 80 + so why not give it a try? WEEKLY COACHING Fun, affordable coaching is available for everyone, adults and children age 3+, from beginner to advanced level. Group and individual lessons are available from 12th April – 24th July at Cottenham Sports Centre on Wednesdays and Thursday from 4pm and Saturdays from 8:30am. To book your course visit or email PAY & PLAY If coaching isn’t your thing and you just want to play with friends or family you can book a court at Cottenham Sports

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Centre weekday evenings from 4:00pm – 9:50pm and on Saturdays from 7:00am – 4:30pm. Prices are from £2.50 for members and £4 for non-members. To book a court visit GRASS COURTS The courts at Cottenham Recreation Ground will be open from May – August. There is no charge, you don’t need any membership but you will need to book to play via the tennis club website, SOCIAL TENNIS/CLUB NIGHT Depending on government guidelines we hope that anyone age 16+ will be able to drop in at these sessions from 17th May. The club books the courts every Wednesday throughout the year at Cottenham Sports Centre, 7:30pm – 9:30pm, and there is always someone there from the club to organise friendly games of doubles. Balls are provided. It’s free for the first three sessions then you can decide whether you’d like to join the club. It’s a great way to get a regular game, keep fit and make new friends. MEMBERSHIP New memberships run from 1st April 2021 until 31st March 2022. For all enquiries about membership visit or email the club secretary on We really hope that with all these great opportunities to play tennis on your doorstep that we will see more of you on court over the summer months and beyond. ADULT BEGINNERS/RUSTY PLAYERS – SHORT COURSES COMING SOON We are hoping to go ahead with our new adult beginner “Tennis Xpress” short courses this summer. This “learn the basics” course will focus on meeting other players, keeping active and having fun! The coaching will aim to introduce basic tennis skills while familiarising players with the scoring system and the rules. Taking place over six weeks, this course is tailored for adults who are either new to the game, or a little rusty and needing a confidence boost before getting back on court.

By the end of the course, participants will be ready to serve, rally and understand the scoring system. These new skills will provide foundations to continue playing tennis on a regular basis, whether in a social or competitive environment.

regulations to ensure everyone can play safely as soon as we are allowed to. It will also have space for club information so people can keep an eye on all the tennis coaching and other events available to all residents in the local community.

The Co-op has chosen to support us as one of their current local causes, for which we are very grateful. We hope to raise enough money to make these courses available at half the cost price.

DONATION TO COTTENHAM PRIMARY SCHOOL The club was pleased to be able to donate 30 new rackets to Cottenham Primary School, as well as some trainer balls, for children in years 5 and 6 to use during their curriculum tennis sessions. We hope this will encourage more children to have fun and take up the sport.

Keep an eye on our website www.cottenhamtennis. and Facebook page cottenhamtennis/ for updates. COVID GRANTS We would like to thank the Cambs County Council Covid Enabler Grant and Cottenham Covid Support Team for their kind donations, which are funding a noticeboard at the courts at Cottenham Sports Centre. This will enable us to display all the necessary signage about Covid

NON-MEMBERS WELCOME Don’t forget we always welcome non-members who want to come and see what we offer for a trial period without any obligation to join, so do get in touch. Our email address is Let’s hope that we can all get back on the courts soon, with many of us now jabbed it may be safe!

CAMBRIDGE BUSINESS COMMUNITY BENEFITS FROM LOCAL SKILLS SWAP Trying to think of ways to help others, Paul Lane, a website designer from Great Shelford, is using the free time he has been experiencing over the past few weeks to benefit the local community. Realising that, like him, many talented local trades people and business owners have unexpected time on their hands he started to explore an idea for a new venture and tested it on friends, clients and social media. After generating a lot of interest on the first day, he created the innovative idea of “Skills & Trade Swap Cambs” a Facebook page that introduces local people with different skills and talents that can be swapped.

One of the local businesses considering getting involved is Chloe Ambrose, a creative consultant from Cambridge who is planning to swap her skills with a therapist. The Skills & Trade Swap website is now live where you can find more information, so you can then post your need or skill on the Facebook page.

“The idea came to me in the garden,” said Paul, who has owned his own creative design business “Savvy Design” since 2001, “looking at my old decking that needed replacing, I thought wouldn’t it be great if I could offer my website design services to a local carpenter.”

Facebook page: SkillsAndTradeSwapCambs Website:

Paul concludes: “My hope is that we can all pull together. Despite the terrible situation we find ourselves in, we are noticing incredibly generous acts from the local community. This is the time to start thinking of others more, rather than what’s in it for me.”

The idea gained further traction when Sue Walden, a freelance business development consultant contacted him after seeing his idea on social media as she had started to swap her services with friends. She needed a website designed for her business, so the first swap was crystallised, and she is helping Paul build awareness for his new project. “With the recent dramatic change to everyone’s lives, the free time currently being experienced and the loss of earnings affecting many self-employed workers, we can now use our time at home on projects that assist others or planning swaps for when businesses are operational,” says Paul, who has had projects put on hold. Issue Number 178 • page 13

COTTENHAM CRICKET CLUB NEWS Writing this in February, before any news of lockdown easing has been announced, it is of course, impossible to say what we may and may not be able to do regarding the pandemic moving forward. We have to be optimistic, though, that we will be able to play when the new season comes around in May or, if not then, soon after. The signs are promising but we have learned the hard way to take nothing for granted where Covid-19 is concerned! As things stand, the Club is planning to run our two adult men’s sides, as usual, and we also hope to have some junior teams, from the u-15 age range downwards, playing in the school summer term. As ever, we are keen to reach out to all local cricketers not currently playing for Cottenham to join us in our efforts to keep our Club, one of the oldest in the County, progressing and providing the opportunity for all ages to take part in our great game. We feel this is so vitally important, especially after the extremely difficult times, and the lack of opportunity to play, that we have had to endure since March last year. Please do get in touch – you’ll be most warmly welcomed. We are still hoping, everything crossed, to start our indoor net practice for the senior teams at Fenners Indoor School in March or, again, as soon as possible thereafter so please keep an eye on the Club News section of our website for details. And anyone interested in finding out more about what’s going on, and the latest situation regarding all our teams, can simply contact any one of us as outlined below.

Issue Number 178 • page 14

Take care everyone and stay safe. Club Contacts: Email: Secretary: David Chaplin (01954 250075) Chairman: Ralph Lamble (01954 250313) Vice Chairman: Dave Partridge (01954 203210) Junior Teams Coordinators: Dave Partridge and Alan Raven (01954 250388) Website: Twitter: @CottenhamCrickt Dave Partridge

COTTENHAM UNITED F. C. We are continuing to run our two adult men’s teams, a 1st team in the Kershaw Senior A League and a Reserve side in the Kershaw Div 3B League. A delayed 2020/21 season started in September and we were just getting into things when we had a month’s break for the lockdown in November. The 1st team then got off to a decent restart in December with a draw away at the League leaders. Of course, the season soon came to another halt with the January lockdown and what will happen going forward regarding the pandemic remains uncertain. It looks like the season may possibly be extended into May, or even June, or it may simply be declared void with an earlier start planned for the 2021/22 season. It’s all up in the air at the moment until we get some indication of the way ahead from both the Government and the Cambs FA.

outdoor facilities at Cottenham Village College, 8:009:00pm on Wednesdays. We haven’t been able to do this since before Christmas and we have no indication yet as to when we will be able to restart. As we move out of winter, these training arrangements may well change so please check out with us what’s happening. All are most welcome and you can be assured of a very friendly reception so please do come along if you are interested in playing. You may be new to the village and looking for a chance to play closer to home or already living here and wanting to get started again. Please just contact us by email at cottenhamunitedfc@ Dave Partridge

We are immensely grateful to the Cambs FA and the Parish Council for all their help and advice in enabling local football to have at least started on the recreation ground this season with all the associated Covid rules and regulations. It gave a massive boost to the physical and mental well-being of everyone connected with the Red and Blacks family that this had been made possible. Now everyone is raring to get going again as soon as we get the chance! Training sessions for both squads were taking place weekly with the 1st team training on the outdoor, allweather surface at Northstowe College, 8:15-9:30pm on Tuesday evenings and the Reserves on the similar

Issue Number 178 • page 15


Issue Number 178 • page 16

Small ads: HAYLEY JANE’S BEAUTY For all your beauty needs. Waxing, facials, massage, manicures/pedicures, spray tan. Call now to book an appointment 01954 251967. Located in the High Street at Cottenham Cutz & Beauty. ......... TUITION. ENGLISH AS A FOREIGN LANGUAGE (EFL). Teresa Haymer Cert Ed TEFL MA – General English, all levels, Business English, other ESPs & Homestay Immersion Courses. Email: or text to: 07410 978290 ......... HANDYMAN SERVICES COTTENHAM Need help fitting a kitchen or bathroom? Leaking washing machine, sink or shower? Need a blind fitted or guttering repaired? Call Mike on 07768 931810. ......... MATHS TUITION up to and including GCSE. I can offer ongoing general support to help consolidate school and college teaching or specific areas of the curriculum can be addressed. Lessons online or, if permitted, face to face in Landbeach. Contact Frank Batten,, for more information. ......... TOAT – “TOM OF ALL TRADES” Tom Wykes Handyman. No job is too big or too small – garden/house clearance, shelving, plumbing and so on – call Tom for a quote on 01954 250324, 07762 559259. ......... FRESH GRIMSBY FISH Fresh and smoked fish, shellfish in Cottenham every Thursday morning. Est. since 1989. Call John on 07584 578315 to arrange a call to your office or home. No order too small. ......... VIDEO TO DVD TRANSFER SERVICE Preserve your precious memories with Cottenham Video. We cater for all types of video tape. Cottenham Video – We can transfer your old VHS and camcorder video tapes to DVD or digital file. Audio cassette and cine film also catered for. Tel: 01954 775004 or Mobile: 07795 630037,, www.cottenhamvideo. com ......... C HILSDEN DECORATING SERVICES all aspects of painting and decorating, tiling and home maintenance carried out to the highest standard. Free estimates and excellent rates. Carl Hilsden – Mobile: 07590 517882 Home telephone 01954 250446 ......... DOG DAY CARE IN COTTENHAM. Open Mon – Fri, 8am to 6pm. Great area for hour walks on our 150+ acre farm and 100% attention all day at home and in our enclosed garden all for £15.00 a day. Lingwood Farm, Cottenham, CB24 8PX Tel: Erica 07956 406643 or visit ......... R J BENSON CARPENTRY Local fully qualified reliable carpenter. Please call 07961811454 or email robbenson15@ for advice/free quotes. ......... FENCING – P MARTIN FENCING, all types of fencing undertaken, over 30 years trading, please call 07802 440494

or 01954 250568 email for a free no obligation quote and advice. ......... PEAT’S GARDEN SERVICES Lawn and hedge cutting, pruning, planting, rotovating, turfing, weekly and monthly visits, all garden work undertaken. All garden waste removed. For a free estimate call Pete Bullen 01954 250771 or 07749 863047. ......... HOUSE/PET SITTER, fully insured and CRB checked. Tailor made service having your pets looked after in their own home with anything from daily visits to living–in, assuring security. This is a reliable/discreet/confidential business with visits in an unmarked vehicle. Excellent references. Email: ginnyr38@ Tel: 01223 232972 or 07980 042601. ........ ANTIQUE, MODERN & BESPOKE UPHOLSTERY using traditional materials and techniques. Based in Cottenham, Victoria Morris Upholstery offers a professional (AMUSF Qualified) and reliable upholstery service for your most treasured antiques or favourite chair. For all enquires and/ or a free consultation, contact Victoria on 01954 270050 or 07547 496931 or by email: or visit ......... THE VILLAGE FOOT CLINIC Wilburton Clinic & mobile chiropody for: nail cutting/nail thickness reduction. Corns, callous and cracked heels. Diabetes etc. Assessment and treatment £32. Marisa Jolley MCFHP MAFHP. Tel: 07909 943171. ......... AGRIPEST If you’re looking for a friendly, reliable and competitive pest control service then please get in contact with AgriPest today! Rats, mice, wasps, moles and much more! Please call Neil on 07889 018041 or email AgriPest@outlook. com. Thank you. ......... Why not advertise in the Newsletter! Items for sale, announcement of family events, local products and/or services... 10p per word, with some proceeds going to the MAGPAS charity. Send advertisements and payment to the Advertising Manager. Cheques should Newsletter’.






Issue Number 178 • page 17

CONTACTS: Police General Switchboard Doctors

Newsagents Shaun’s News Council Offices 101

Dr. T Blumenfeld, 188 High Street 250079 Firs House Partnership, 42 Telegraph Street 251180 Urgent Care Cambridge (formerly Camdoc) 0 330 123 9131 District Nurse Team 01223 726469

Cottenham CareCar

Co–ordinator, 10:00am – 4:00pm, Gerry Brett

251929 Cottenham Community Centre 202109 Cottenham Charities 250387 Cottenham Day Centre 200873 Cottenham Gardeners Club 260482 Cottenham Tennis Club Cottenham Toy Library Christina Koester 270334 Village Society Glynis Pilbeam 251544 Cottenham WI Margaret Briggs 250870 or Margaret Squires 488427 Dentist Wiese and Associates, 40 Margett Street 251696 Chemist 222 High Street 250556

Child, Teen & Family Counselling

Julie McCrae 07482 723265 Counsellor & Therapist Ruth Barnett, 202556, 07961 644006 Samaritans Cambridge Centre 01223 364455 Veterinary Surgeon Village Vet Cottenham 252122 Schools Village College and Community Office 288944 County Primary, Lambs Lane 250227 Under–Ones Baptist Church 251066 Pre–School Ladybirds Pre-School, Rec. Ground 250891 Kids Only (Out of School Club) 250025 Ballet School or 200533 Brownies 1st Cottenham Lisa Nicoll 201575 2nd Cottenham Julie Percival 200854 3rd Cottenham Chris Hurworth 203764 Guides Deanna 250388 Scouts Army Cadet Force 2Lt Mark Parker, Longstanton Detachment Commander Parade night Wednesday 7:30-9:30pm ACF Cadet Centre, The Old NAAFI Shop, Magdalene Cl, Longstanton, CB24 3EG


County Council Switchboard 0345 045 5222 SCDC Switchboard 0345 045 0500 Parish Council Jo Brook, Clerk 07503 328401

District Councillors

Neil Gough, 07919 990299 Eileen Wilson, 07825 770899

County Councillor Tim Wotherspoon,252108 01223 301426

British Red Cross Shop Citizens Advice Bureau

66 Devonshire Road, Cambridge, CB1 3BL 0844 848 7979 Social Services Histon Team 01223 718011 Mobile Warden Scheme 200080 NSPCC Cottenham Area Team 01733 558245 RSPCA 24 hour cruelty & advice line 0300 1234 999

Railway Station Cambridge Passenger Enquiries

0845 7484950

Driving Instruction TOPS Driving School 252239 Taxi Panther Taxis 01223 715715/424424/523523 Library Margett Street 0345 0455225 Library at Home Service (formerly Doorstep)

0345 045 5225 583651 252298 Office hours: 9:30am-2:30pm Wednesday and Friday Baptist Church Church Office 252378 Catholic Church St Laurences Church 01223 704640 Methodist Church 07554 202929 Salvation Army Paul Cooper, Captain 252419 Royal British Legion Ann Scott 251468 Cottenham Brass Band Diana Braverman (Sec.) Bridge Farm Riding School 252284 Allotments Cottenham Charities 250575 Sustainable Cottenham Christine Ward 251813

Parish Church Revd. Lynda Davies Parish Administrator Matt Unwin-Riches

Cottenham Dissenters’ Cemetery

Kate Lees 252378, Sarah Berenger 07484 221369,


Adrian Ient, 2 The Wrens, Cottenham CB24 8XD. Tel: 01954 775004 e–mail:


Peter Robertson, 30 Lyles Road, Cottenham, Tel: 01954 200080

ADVERTISING MANAGER: Liz Porteous, e–mail: Tel: 01954 250468 WEBSITE:

Issue Number 178 • page 18

BLACK SQUIRRELS OF COTTENHAM As a village we are very lucky to have a whole family of black squirrels living by the college, in the woods by Brenda Gautrey Way and some have even been spotted by the recreation ground. There are only 25,000 black squirrels living in the UK compared to 2.5 million grey squirrels and 140,000 red squirrels. The first black squirrel was recorded in Woburn in 1912, after it had escaped from a zoo when being imported from the United States. Now the three main areas to find black squirrels in the UK are Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire and Cambridgeshire.

for the squirrels as well. If they have enough food, squirrels can bury up to 3,000 acorns per season; yet they only find 26% of acorns they bury. This is actually vital for the ecosystem, as the leftover seeds can turn into trees or be used as a food source for other animals like hedgehogs or birds. Therefore these little creatures are very important to look out for especially the unique black ones. Amy Field

The reason they are black is due to a mutation in a gene called Melanin; a uniform dark brown or black colouration over the whole body which occurs at low frequency (less than 1%) across most of the range of grey squirrels. To be categorised as a ‘black’ squirrel the melanic count has to be between 75-90%. If you want to read more about the science behind, Helen McRobbie is the main researcher of black squirrels in the UK. If you look closely you might have spotted a very special black squirrel that lives by the college. It is a very black furred squirrel with a white tipped tail. This is because, like the black fur, the recessive gene is related to the same types of genetic variants that can lead to albino (white) fur. These types of mutations are very common in animals which are confined in areas by roads and housing. In the case of our black squirrels they are encircled by the High Street and Beach Road. Therefore they have to breed within a smaller group than what they naturally would. Due to this, mutations are far more common hence why we have black furred squirrels and now the black and white squirrel. You are able to see these little creatures all year round as grey squirrels don’t hibernate. However during the winter months in winter they are far less active, sleeping for long periods, sometimes several days at a time. Squirrels are mainly herbivores, eating acorns, nuts, berries and sometimes bark. However, if food is scarce they will eat insects, birds eggs and even smaller rodents. That’s why it’s very important to have bird feeders in your garden not just for the birds, but


Poetry Corner: Readers are invited to send in either original poetry or short stories for inclusion in the Cottenham Newsletter. Short stories should be no longer than 600 words. The objective should be to entertain the general readership – go on, have a go!


To discuss your advertising requirements Contact Liz Porteous: 01954 250468 Artwork, if required, is charged separately, (minimum £10.00) depending on the amount of work involved. Quotations are available on request. Issue Number 178 • page 19

BIRD REPORT – WHOOPER SWANS ON THE FEN EDGE PATCH Back in November, I noticed quite a lot of swans, whooper swans (Cygnus Cygnus) to be precise, pecking and calling on the farmland between the River Great Ouse and the fens north of Cottenham. There were perhaps 100 or so. At the time of writing, that number had gone up substantially in the space of a couple of weeks or so. One birding friend Ian counted 500+ on a trek along one of the droves to observe them. He reported back again today that he estimates there are perhaps 800 spread across two or three nearby sites. Moreover, reports from elsewhere around the locale hint at four-figure numbers of the birds on our patch. Another friend, Chris pointed out that he was being kept awake by honking calls from behind “The Birds” estate. Turns out it’s the whoopers again. They’re nibbling at beat tops on the land between The Cut and Les King Wood, 120 or so, as counted by yet another birding friend Neil. If you’ve ever visited WWT Welney (closed due to Covid at the time of writing) in Norfolk, you may well be familiar with the whooper swan. They are a large white bird, roughly the same size as the more-often seen mute swan, but with a yellow and black bill, rather than orange and black. Their bills also lack the bobble seen on the mute swan. The whoopers head south from their summer breeding grounds in Iceland to find food and shelter in the British Isles. The Welney wetlands are a magnet for this migratory species and thousands spend the season there alongside other visiting and resident waterfowl and their relative Bewick’s Swan. Regardless of which field you spot the whoopers on, they generally fly off at dusk, to roost on the Ouse Washes or perhaps even Welney itself, each evening. You might also notice that scientific name, the binomial, of the whooper (silent w, by the way) Cygnus cygnus. This is a tautonym, where the genus and the species name are simply repeated. This indicates, taxonomically speaking, that the whoopers are the “type” of the swan genus, the archetypal swan. See also, Buteo buteo, the common


buzzard, Troglodytes troglodytes, the Eurasian wren, Carduelis carduelis, the goldfinch. Elsewhere in nature we even have Gorilla gorilla gorilla, the Western lowland gorilla, which is the archetypal gorilla. There are lots of flooded fields around us that have also attracted quite a few teal, gadwall, pochard, wigeon, mallard, goosander, shoveller ducks, Egyptian geese, and other birds that we do not commonly see on the farmland around our village. Other birds to watch out for feeding in the fields and hedgerows are the winter thrushes, the fieldfare and the redwing. There are also to be seen corn, reed, and yellow bunting, the latter being the yellowhammer. There are also meadow pipits around and local birders are hopeful of “ticking” water pipit in the village this year. Linnet, goldfinch, and greenfinch are flocking around the outskirts of the village in groups of several dozen, sometimes more than one hundred, depending on where you were going for your allowed daily exercise during Lockdown 3.0. Also around the farmland bordering the village, stonechat and small gatherings of pied wagtails on wet patches and dung heaps. You might even spot the yellow rump of its relative the grey wagtail on High Street rooftops towards the church and watch out for redpolls flocking into silver birches. Also, given the flooding and the growing number of Glossy Ibis around Cambridgeshire at the time of writing, there may well have been a chance of seeing this rather exotic visitor within walking distance of the village. David Bradley – Please send nature sightings you would like to share to

#Cottenham on social media

Adrian Ient, 2 The Wrens, Cottenham CB24 8XD. Tel: 01954 - 775004 e-mail:

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