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fens THE

A magazine with the heart and soul of the Fens


Issue 14 | July 2017


WIN tickets to


and a £100 VOUCHER



Stereo MCs on their festival plans


Peterborough City Council presents

Organised by

Principal sponsor


Sunday 8 October 2017

One of the UK’s fastest half marathons


Perkins Great Eastern Run

Flat and historic city centre route • Great for a personal best time Fantastic spectator support • Family entertainment and more Title charity


Media Partner




The Fens | July 2017






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Anna’s Hope Fun Run 10am


UKA 2017 - 14702






Half Marathon 10:30am

ED’S letter

It appears that summer really has arrived! I’m currently on holiday with my two children in sunny Suffolk and we’ve been truly blessed with blue skies and many delicious ice creams. I can’t help wondering if this is just the start of a wonderfully hot summer, but then again, I hope I haven’t just jinxed us. Our July issue seems to be as sunshine packed as our holiday has been. We have some excellent top tips for packing your suitcases for that special break, and a pick of our best buys at Queensgate Shopping Centre. There’s also a fabulous walk, which would be idyllic on a summer’s day. We love freebies, and this month we have two super competitions. We have free tickets to Tolethorpe’s Open Air Theatre on page 58 and an amazing £100 gift voucher for one lucky reader for Queensgate Shopping Centre. Perfect for buying some summer essentials, or for treating a loved one. If that’s not enough, we also have news from Defibrillators For All, information about a brand new festival, Planet B, and all our great columnists. I hope this issue inspires you to perhaps take up a new sport, visit a new place and support local businesses. Most of all, I hope you enjoy the read!


THIS month 6 WIN a £100 gift card from Queensgate Shopping Centre

18 Why you should sign up for a half marathon

7 Launch of Planet B

20 Top tips for race day

10 Holiday essential buyer’s guide

25 Beauty top tips

12 Top tips for packing for your holiday 15 Your garden in July

fens THE

30 Visiting the Raptor Foundation 42 Elgood’s Brewery 46 Exploring Whittlesey Museum 50 Interviewing Stereo MCs 53 Walking from Hunstanton to Wells with Leanne Hyland

A magazine with the heart and soul of the Fens



Issue 14 | July 2017

WIN tickets to


58 Win tickets to Tolethorpe

and a £100 VOUCHER

64 What’s on this month VISITING ELLGOOD’S BREWERY


Stereo MCs on their festival plans


THE TEAM PUBLISHER / EDITOR Natasha Shiels EDITORIAL/SALES ASSISTANT Amy Corney SUB EDITOR Valerie Matthews/Theresa Shiels PHOTOGRAPHY Chris Brudenell ADVERTISING SALES 01733 202049 | 07927 192854 Becky Daines ACCOUNTS 01733 202049 SUBSCRIPTIONS To subscribe for just £12 for 6 issues, contact us at CONTRIBUTORS Simon Parr-Black | Joe Ferridge | Eamonn Dorling | John McGinn | Westfield Nurseries | Anthony Austin | Mayur and Ubhi Mistry | Eva Jordan | Leanne Hyland | Robert Bull | Whittlesey Veterinary Centre | David White | Tia Henderson | Kerry Smith DISTRIBUTION

9,000 copies printed monthly. Delivered to Whittlesey, Eastrea, Coates, Turves, Pondersbridge, Benwick, plus copies in March, Wisbech, Ramsey and Queensgate Shopping Centre @thefensmag thefensmag

ISSUE 14 | JULY 2017 Titania & fairies from A Midsummer Night’s Dream courtesy of Stamford Shakespeare Company

THE FENS is published by Barley Media Limited. Care is taken to ensure that the content and information is correct, however we cannot take any responsibility for loss, damage or omission caused by any errors. Permission must be granted to reproduce, copy or scan anything from this publication. For a copy of our contributors’ guidelines please email Barley Media Limited accepts no liability for products and services offered by third parties.

The Fens | July 2017


A Green Festival Initiative

Sat 29th July – Sat 12th August 2017 Various Peterborough venues Join us for a two-week programme of events, performances, film screenings, workshops, artist commissions, conferences and debates – all focused around sustainability! #PlanetBPeterB



The Fens | July 2017

Image credit: _aveaskeg_


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The Fens | July 2017 5 Visit our new website at


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Summer is officially here and what better way to celebrate than with a brand new summer wardrobe! Whether you have a looming holiday somewhere exotic or are staying local this summer, Queensgate Shopping Centre in Peterborough has everything you need to style summer your way. From gorgeous dresses and swimwear in H&M, sun kissed beauty from John Lewis, MAC and Boots to must have footwear in Office and Schuh, Queensgate has everything you need to give your holiday a style makeover. To help you on your way to that summer wardrobe of your dreams, we are giving away a


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LAUNCH OF PLANET B Saturday 29th July to Saturday 12th August

Donald Trump may have pulled the US out of the Paris climate agreement but here in Peterborough organisations, individuals, and communities are coming together to show that understanding and caring for the environment is vitally important. Peterborough is home to one of the longest running and largest Green Festivals in the UK, and this year it takes on a new life as ‘Planet B’. Planet B encompasses a twoweek programme of events, performances, film screenings, workshops, commissioned artworks, and a conference – all around encouraging discussion and debate on sustainability. The environmental charity PECT, working alongside arts organisation Metal and The Green Backyard and with funding from Arts Council England, will be running Planet B from Saturday 29th July through to Saturday 12th August 2017. The environment is a huge subject that can often feel hard to get to grips with, but Planet B is asking: ‘What needs to happen for people to understand the issues, become more resilient together and take positive actions?’ Looking at the key themes of how communities can become more adaptable, what lifestyles and habits we need to change, and how we can learn from the past, Planet B will include an environmental conference, film screenings, debates, theatre and much more, meaning there will be plenty of activities for residents to get involved with! “We want Planet B to be both relevant locally to Peterborough, but also to engage with wider contemporary environmental thinking and developments,” explains PECT’s Karen Igho. “It is challenging to consider alternative ways of living to what has become the norm but the process of questioning these and considering what would lead to a fair and respectful global community is what the focus of ‘Planet B’ is.”

More details about Planet B will be released soon, visit PlanetB for more information, see the Facebook page @PlanetBPeterB or call 01733 568408.

COATES VILLAGE SHOW IS BURSTING ONTO THE GREEN IN 2017! The Coates Village show has been an annual afternoon of fun for families for over 10 years, and this year it is going to be even better. As well as the usual attractions in the church grounds, this year there will be a range of activities on the village green! The Coates Village show is actually two events. The Show competition in the morning, where entrants can put forward a range of produce and crafts to be judged against other entries with the ultimate goal of being crowned ‘Overall Winner’. The other event is a fun afternoon for all the family with lots of exciting activities. Similar to previous years, the competition will have categories for vegetables, fruit and salad, flowers and plants, cookery, photography, art, handicraft and farming, as well as a range of categories specifically for children. Entry to the competition is open to everyone living in Whittlesey, Pondersbridge, Eastrea, Coates,

Turves and surrounding farms and smallholdings, as well as any students that go to the schools in this area, no matter where they live. In the afternoon, starting around 1pm, there will be the usual range of activities in the grounds of Holy Trinity including sweet tombola, raffles and a range of stalls and games offering chances to win and buy! But this year they are expanding onto North Green with additional stalls, a bouncy castle and lots of other fun activities for all the family! The full programme for the day, including details of the morning competition and entry forms is in the Show Schedules. These will be available from mid-June, in local shops and pubs at a price of 50p, or can be downloaded for free from The 2017 Coates Village Show will be on 15th July, at Holy Trinity and North Green, Coates. Closing date for entries is 12.00 noon on Thursday 13th July.

The Fens | July 2017



Local charity looking to snap up volunteer photographers!

BENWICK EXHIBITION is a big success The Benwick Exhibition was held at Benwick Village Hall on May 21st, organised by the Benwick In Bloom Street Pride Volunteer Group. It displayed a collection of photographs and memorabilia from the village. Above shows organisers from the Group (left - right) Jill Hindle, and Janet Fountain, with MP Steve Barclay. Photo by Helen Drake

New networking group for women Launching this month, Whittlesey Ladies who Latte will be running a monthly session open to all business women from the local area. You don’t have to live in Whittlesey to attend, and there’s no joining fee or monthly cost (just the cost of a cup of tea or coffee). Run by Kerry Smith and Natasha Shiels, the meetings will be held on the second Tuesday of each month at The Falcon Hotel in London Street, Whittlesey. We’d love to invite anyone who would enjoy being part of a group of like-minded individuals. The first date is Tuesday 11th July at 9:30am-11am. Please register your interest with Natasha (hello@thefensmag. or Kerry (

SUDBURY COURT FAMILY FUN DAY Sudbury Court are holding a family fun day on Saturday July 8th. There will be fun for all ages. Children can put their parents in the stocks and throw wet sponges at them. Other games for children include hook a duck, guess the name of the dog, and knock the cans of the shelf. The main attraction will be a nine hole crazy golf course with the winner receiving the Accent East Challenge Cup. There will also be a cake stall and refreshments available, including BBQ. The day is being opened at 10am by Kay Mayor, Chairman of Fenland District Council. And all proceeds will go towards making the residents’ lives more comfortable. Sudbury Court is off Stonald Road in Whittlesey. All welcome. 8

The Fens | July 2017

Are you a budding photographer? Do you have a keen eye for capturing the perfect shot? Then join Team PECT as a volunteer photographer for your chance to let your creativity shine. The charity PECT is looking for enthusiastic individuals who have a passion for photography to join the team as volunteers. As a charity, PECT is passionate about helping to protect and enhance the environment across the city and beyond. Engaging with individuals and organisations, PECT delivers projects that make a real difference and would love for you to help capture this work. As part of the voluntary role, you will have the opportunity to attend various PECT events throughout the year and will also get a flavour of the projects the charity runs in order to capture a true picture of the work of PECT. There are many exciting opportunities available throughout the year and, as a flexible volunteering position, you can get involved as little or as much as you would like. Some of the work that you produce will be used to tell people about PECT’s work - featuring on its website, social media and in local publications. All applicants should have some experience of photography and access to their own camera. If you are interested, please get in touch on 01733 568408, or you can email: For more information visit:

Annual B2B Charity Bike Ride 2017 For the tenth year, The Letter B pub in Whittlesey, is hosting its annual B2B Charity Bike Ride. Setting off at 8am on Saturday July 15th, approximately 54 riders will be cycling 53 miles to complete a circuit which begins and finishes at the popular Letter B pub. One of the race organisers, Russell Hart, explained that this year’s local charity will be NGNPUK. They also hope to help another benefactory, depending on monies raised. Last year I took part in the ride. I wasn’t expecting to enjoy a charity bike ride so much - but it honestly was a brilliant day. Between us we managed to raise £4,775, and I’m sure they’re set to beat it this year. You can sponsor the group of cyclists by popping into The Letter

B pub and speaking to landlord Bruce, and of course show your support on the day by greeting the cyclists on their return into Whittlesey (around 1:30pm). Good luck to everyone!


A BIG THANK YOU FROM NGNPUK No Gain No Pain UK (NGNPUK) are a local charity raising money for syringe drivers in the local communities. Syringe drivers are small portable machines that give a patient a continuous stream of pain relieving medication and other drugs in end-of-life care. Many local towns and villages locally share just one or two machines to cover large areas. As well as helping patients and their families, these machines also help local nurses. Every machine must be placed inside a locked box whilst it is in use to protect it from potential damage. These boxes cost £90 and need to be replaced frequently. Each machine, including the lockbox, costs £1,100. The team have been fundraising since 2014 and in May, donated six more machines to the CPFT (Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Foundation Trust) to be used in the local communities. This brings the total donated so far to 18. Two of the new machines are for the Whittlesey area, which shares with Thorney, Eye, Stanground and surrounding towns and villages. The previous 11 machines have been in constant use since they were handed over in October last year. “Looking to the future, we found that Whittlesey falls under the Greater Peterborough district nursing team,” explained Louise Nicholls, “and this area shared a total of just 19 machines between all the patients covered by 33 GP surgeries. With some patients requiring more than one machine at a time, this was a big strain on such a limited number. Two of the recent new machines will be shared between all these areas (including Whittlesey), which will help, but in time we would like to increase these numbers if we can.” In addition, the team have also handed over 250 handmade reversible bags. Each bag is donated to one person, they are not transferable due to the possibility of cross-infection. “We would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who has made a bag,” added Louise. “If you, or anyone you know, would be interested in making any bags please get in touch. “Please keep spreading the word about NGNPUK, what we are doing and why. We have a community Facebook page and a website.” Could you help by fundraising or organising an event? Do you know any local companies that could help? Do you know any local sewing groups that would like to help make these bags? For the month of July you can vote for NGNPUK in the John Lewis café in Peterborough, and anything raised from this will go towards funding another machine to be shared with all areas. Louise Lee and Sam, NGNPUK Team


Rutland Cycling

Multi-award-winning Midlandsbased independent bike shop, Rutland Cycling, has taken over Pitsford Cycles, located at Pitsford Water reservoir near Northampton, bringing its growing family of retail stores to 11. Rutland acquired Station Cycles’ chain of stores in Cambridge in 2015 and is due to open a multi-million pound new store in Leicester next year, in partnership with Everards Brewery. David Middlemiss, Managing Director of Rutland Cycling, commented: “We are delighted to announce this further growth of our store footprint, extending our reach into Northampton, Milton Keynes, Kettering and Rugby. With its blend of cycle retail and hire, and beautiful location with ready access to traffic-free trails for hire and demo, Pitsford Cycles is a great fit for Rutland Cycling. The Pitsford team have built a fantastic business and we are privileged to be taking on such a strong and committed team. We look forward to further growth ahead as we bring our expanded offer to Pitsford, including more brands and a dedicated Electric Bike Centre.” Pitsford Cycles was established by local entrepreneur Jeff Webb, who successfully grew the Pitsford business to become Northampton’s leading

cycle hire and retail store, supplying the area with leading brands including Giant, Specialized, Trek and Frog. The store is located on the shore of Pitsford Water reservoir within Brixworth Country Park, with miles of traffic-free waterside trails and the traffic-free Brampton Valley Way, which stretches for 14 miles between Northampton and Market Harborough. With backing from the Business Growth Fund since 2014, Rutland Cycling have made significant investments to grow their store and online presence. Paul Archer, Director and son of Rutland’s founder, reflected: “The last four years have been a great success story for Rutland amid tough times in the cycle retail sector, and we look forward to further growth ahead as we build our family business for the long-term.” Rutland Cycling began life in 1981 as a simple cycle hire cabin on the shores of newlycreated Rutland Water. In addition to its eleven retail stores, at Rutland Water, Grafham Water, Cambridge, Peterborough, Fineshade and Pitsford, Rutland has also built a successful online presence through its website, www. The Fens | July 2017



1 2





A buyer’s guide





8 OUR STOCKISTS ARE ALL SITUATED IN QUEENSGATE SHOPPING CENTRE: 1. M&S Aftersun Balm £8.50 2. M&S Suncare Dry Oil £12 3. Tiger Luggage Tags £1 each 5. H&M Sunglasses £9.99 6. New Look Beach Shirt £17.99 7-8. H&M Swimsuits £29.99 10. Paperchase Backpack £32 11. Accessorize Bikini Bag £10 Prices correct at time of printing

10 The Fens | July 2017

4. H&M Sunglasses £7.99 9. H&M Swimsuit £24.99

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The Fens | July 2017


Cover feature


Stress-free Holiday

With your travel arrangements all booked, the luggage is the last thing stopping you from that great holiday. We know it feels like a chore, so experts, WHITTLESEY TRAVEL, have shared their packing tips to ensure we’ll never have to worry 1. MAKE A LIST Okay, so it sounds a little boring, but idiot-proof lists are the gateway to a stress-free holiday. Separate your essentials from your desirables, and be realistic with your luggage limitations. If you need list inspiration – the following might be a good place to start… 2. DON’T FORGET THE FIRST AID KIT Nobody wants to suffer a punishing headache, high-climate fever, upset stomach or all three during a holiday, so just a small bag with the most necessary pills and medicine you might need is a good idea. It might be easy enough to pick up a domestic remedy for your ailments at home, but medicines in the country you are visiting may be limited to prescription only. 3. LIMIT YOUR LIQUIDS We all know about it by now, and 12 The Fens | July 2017

yet there’s still a mass confusion and hold-up when someone tries to sneak a bottle of water past airport security. Much to everybody’s chagrin, pan-European baggage restrictions state that all liquids carried in hand luggage must be no more than 100ml per item, and must fit into one small and resealable transparent bag (usually available at the airport for a nominal fee). If you’re carrying anything larger, stow it with your checked-in suitcase.

4. NAME TAGS ARE THERE TO HELP Most suitcases come with name tags fitted as standard, so be sure to fill them in just in case you – or the airline – lose your luggage! 5. OBSERVE RESTRICTIONS ON BAGGAGE Weigh your bags before you get to the airport and make sure you are within the restrictions, otherwise you’ll be forced to cough up extra cash at the airport or, even worse, have to say goodbye to that lovely hand-knitted cardigan your grandmother spent so long slaving over. We’ve all tried to squeeze that extra pair of pants in the already overstuffed suitcase, but the restrictions are there for a reason, and that reason is your safety. 6. SAVE BAG SPACE FOR ALL YOUR HOLIDAY PURCHASES Whether it’s duty free goods or holiday mementos, it’s inevitable that

you’ll be bringing more back home with you than when you left – so make sure you have room for it! 7. SKIP THE SHOES How many pairs of shoes you should take is very much dependent on how long your vacation might be, but we’d suggest that three pairs is a reasonable average for a 1-2 week getaway. More important than volume is versatility, so make sure you’re not stuck hiking in stilettos by bringing a pair of shoes for every realistic occasion of your trip. Wear your most cumbersome pair on the plane – plus, stuff your socks in the rest – and you’ll save even more space. 8. COSMETICS – AT A MINIMUM! Unless you plan on travelling to a desert island, it’s likely that you’ll be able to pick up popular shampoo or sun lotion brands in almost any corner of the world. Fewer cosmetics also mean that you’ll be less likely to find an explosion of nondescript gooey liquids spoiling everything in your suitcase when you arrive at your destination. If you really can’t live without that special face cream, try to take only as much as you’ll need for your trip and nothing more. That way you can discard the empties and save extra luggage room for your trip back home. 9. KEEP ON ROLLING… This tip is certainly up for debate, but we think that rolling your clothes really is the only way to go. Not only will it reduce those pesky wrinkles and creases in your gear, it’ll save you some much needed suitcase space. 10. VALUABLES IN HAND LUGGAGE It’s rare that airlines lose luggage these days, but why take the risk? Stay safe and stow all your expensive luxuries – from your camera to your diamond engagement ring – in hand luggage. 11. DON’T FORGET THE ADAPTERS If you do need them, save some pennies and buy them in advance. 12. PACK ALL-ROUNDER FASHIONS, NOT ECCENTRIC STATEMENT PIECES

Pack great all-rounder attire and a classy evening outfit, but leave those outlandish statement pieces for a night out at home. 13. CATEGORISE YOUR CLOTHES Pack clothes in groups: that means shirts with shirts, pants with pants - it’s easier to find what you need and unpack on the other side.

14. PACK A MINI WARDROBE IN YOUR HAND LUGGAGE Not literally, of course, but it’s always a nice idea to add a clean set of underwear and a garment in your carry-on bag, in case of your luggage being lost in an aeroplane mix-up. 15. DON’T PREDICT THE WEATHER – CHECK IT Depending on where you’re going, weather forecasts are either your holiday’s best friend or biggest foe. Come rain or shine, meteorologists will always give you the best idea of what weather to expect on your holiday. Check the day before you fly and pack accordingly, and save room for that trusty pac-a-mac or umbrella you hope you’ll never have to use. 16. NO ON-BOARD MANICURE Tip for the well-groomed flyer: if you’re thinking about carrying a nail file, scissors, or any other sharp primping tool in your luggage – give up the idea! They are prohibited and airport workers will ask you to get rid of them.

17. TOWELS? Towels! Yet another pesky space-filler you need to think long and hard about whether you actually need. Check ahead of time to see if your holiday accommodation will be providing them (they probably will) and pack accordingly. 18. STRIP AT AIRPORT SECURITY It’s unlikely you’ll be asked to strip down to your undergarments, but it’s possible that you’ll be asked to undress a bit as you go through to the terminal. This usually means taking shoes, belts and jackets off, and removing any jewellery or metal goods. Travelling with a laptop or tablet device? Be prepared to present your gadgets to the friendly security staff too! 19. DON’T LEAVE HOME WITHOUT THE ESSENTIALS This penultimate tip is a big one as, without these necessities, you won’t be heading anywhere but home: check and check again that you have your monies, a valid passport and your travel documents. Keep these all on hand and then you’ll be able to remember the most important thing… Enjoy your holiday!

n Whittlesey Travel have access to 1000s of available holidays and can recommend a destination and accommodation to suit any requirement and budget. Get in touch by calling 01733 203680 or visiting The Fens | July 2017



HARD LANDSCAPING All forms of groundwork undertaken


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14 The Fens | July 2017


Home & garden


Fling the doors open to the garden and head outside! Summer is here and what better way to spend your free time than being outside and enjoying your beautiful, flower filled garden. Keep plants looking good by regularly deadheading and you’ll enjoy a longer display of blooms. Make sure you keep new plants well watered to get them through those long, hot days and hoe off those pesky weeds, which can thrive in the sunshine. Although this can still be a busy time in the garden, don’t forget to find the time to sit back and relax so that you can enjoy all the hard work you’ve put in to achieve your beautiful display.



A member of the sage family, Salvias are a diverse group of plants ranging from annuals to herbaceous perennials and herbs.

Why should you plant them?


Adding a liquid feed to your weekly watering regime will give a much needed boost to hanging baskets, containers and borders helping them to produce more flowers and, in some cases, encouraging a second flush of flowers later in the season. Bedding plants, roses and many other perennials will also benefit from regular deadheading. This will prolong the flowering period, making the garden more attractive, and will also prevent the plants from putting their energy into seed heads. Simply pinch off the fading flowers, or for tougher branches use secateurs. Don’t forget to keep weeds down – they steal vital moisture and nutrients. Kill them by regularly hoeing borders and vegetable patches. Larger weeds should be dug out or pulled up by hand.


There’s no science to watering! If you’ve got containers or plants in

hanging baskets a bit of common sense goes a long way. Try lifting a container or basket, does it feel light or under watered? How does the compost look? Is it pale and shrunken away from the sides? Dig into the compost with your fingers. Does it feel dry? It should be moist but not dripping wet. During prolonged dry spells, water at least once a day.

With flowers that are popular with wildlife, they not only deliver colour and fragrance but are also great at attracting bees and butterflies. Salvias are long flowering with the potential to put on a great show from June through much of the summer and into autumn.

How should you plant them? Plant in full sun, with very well drained soil, and water well when it’s dry. Trim in the spring to maintain shape and deadhead once the flowers start to fade.


After all your hard work, enjoy the sunshine and laze in your garden. Enjoy your garden!

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Open 7 days a week including Bank Holidays The Fens | July 2017


Home & garden

A Guide to Hanging Artwork Did you know there is a right and wrong way to hang pictures? Expert Simon Parr-Black talks us through the common pitfulls and helps us make the most of the artwork in our homes

When I visit the home of someone I don’t know well, I am often asked, somewhat nervously: ‘Do you instantly start analysing the interiors of homes you visit?’ The truth is, yes, not in a judgemental way, but I look to see how others have put their homes or workplace together. Sometimes I see things that really work well, other times there are simple things that stick out as not quite working – or not working at all! Artwork is often one of those things – often hung too high and too small. Artwork hung incorrectly is like a character in a film wearing a really bad wig. It’s just hard NOT to see it, and you wish you could just rip it off, knowing that everything would be so much better without it. It doesn’t ruin your experience, but it’s terribly distracting. Growing up, my mother and two sisters were 4’9”, my Father was not too tall either, so our pictures were hung at a height that they could reach – it made it perfect for me – I could see the images. Visiting other homes, I often find I have to practically crane my neck to see what is on the walls. So here’s my general tips for getting it right: 1. Pictures should be eye level, but not if your ceilings are really low (typical is 8 – 9 feet) and not if you are really tall. If the wall were cut up vertically into four sections (going from bottom to top), then think of the 16 The Fens | July 2017

object being in the third quadrant (counting from the floor). 2. If it’s a collection of art, then you need to treat the whole collection as one piece, and start and stop it where it makes the most sense, as if it were one. 3. Engage as much of the wall as possible and orient the collection in the shape of the wall. In my home, I don’t move pictures every time I move the furniture, as I would be constantly removing screws, filling and redecorating. Consequently, pictures aren’t always where I would like them to be. So next time you redecorate a room, remove the screws/nails and start over again. As you add the colour or paper to the walls, adding in the soft furnishings, place the furniture so that it works well for you and sit with the arrangement for a few days before hanging the artwork. There is nothing wrong with having nothing at all on a wall, this allows you to focus on the walls that you look at and ensure that you get them right. Generally the piece of art or the collection should be in the same shape and orientation of the wall that it is trying to fill. Buying big art can be expensive, but there are lots of inexpensive options these days. Sites such as etsy, Amazon and even Google, give you access to affordable art. Viewing it digitally allows you to pick the right size depending on the area.

I like art to be around 8-inches″above a piece of furniture, give or take. I’ve hung it closer, but you have to consider the images and their weight if you want to hang them really close (it can take a while to get them lined up!). As we are all different heights, hanging at ‘eye level’ doesn’t always work. My rule of thumb is to have my eye level about a third of the way down a picture, but when there is no piece of furniture below, the picture may need to come down or be part of a group, otherwise it might appear to float too high on a blank wall. At the same time, when hanging a collection of images, I have hung them as low as 8-inches above the skirting board – especially when they are at the top of the stairs or similar location – it’s not very practical if you have youngsters or animals in the house though, as they end up always crooked. Artwork is very personal and says a lot about the person who lives in the home. I have a collection of flowers that my mother painted on the wall in my lounge – they are all framed the same and may as well be a portrait, but most people visiting the house would never know that. On my landing I have a collection of family photographs; they are randomly framed and mounted, and I add a new one when ever I receive one and move them all around. Few people see these, they are very personal, but allow me my connection with my family who I don’t see so often. The same principle could be used with images from your travels, your hobbies, animals, plants, shoes or whatever makes you happy Like cushions and throws, artwork can be changed whenever you want – so experiment and have fun!

Simon Parr-Black is an interior designer. You can contact him on 01733 688235 or email him at

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WORDS Natasha Shiels

Contrary to what people might think, the furthest I have ever run in a race is 5k (about 3.1 miles). Whilst editing a running magazine, I entered two events. The first I thoroughly enjoyed, and the second I was a few weeks pregnant and spent the entire run worrying that the baby might fall out of me. He didn’t of course, and that tiny baby grew into my four-year-old. Running took a back seat while life, work and being a mum took over. But I always missed it. I missed the fun of being outside and on my feet and I missed the fitness that came with it. Fast-forward to the birth of my second baby, and I felt really unfit. I’d lost so much of my fitness and couldn’t run for more than five minutes without struggling. Joining Thorney Runners beginners group changed everything. With a few friends, we gradually built our fitness and week by week, were able to run further and it felt great. We completed our basic 5k course last year, and since then I have been enjoying running a few times a week. But I’d be the first to admit that I needed another goal to motivate me. By chance I stumbled across the Perkins Great Eastern Run. At first I seriously doubted that I could run half 18 The Fens | July 2017

a marathon (that’s 13.1 miles to you), but as the event isn’t until October, and I’m learning that there’s no such thing as ‘can’t’, I’ve signed myself up! Training so far has been going well and I’ve managed to fit two runs in a week, with a longer distance and shorter run. I’ve seen snakes, horse riders, birds, lots of dog walkers and the occasional fellow runner. What has surprised me the most is the friendliness of people whilst I’ve been out. It’s as though the great outdoors brings out the best of us and we set aside our unfamiliarity and applaud our familiar pursuits. THE PERKINS GREAT EASTERN RUN The Perkins Great Eastern Run in Peterborough is growing in reputation. As one of the flattest and fastest routes around, it’s a great beginner race that is suitable for all abilities from first-timers to athletes looking for personal bests. Participants can complete the full 13.1 miles, or take part in the fun run or wheelchair race. The race, which takes runners through Peterborough, gives people better spectator views and takes participants through a section of the city centre. At previous races, the event attracted more than

10,000 people on The Embankment as runners crossed the finish-line to cheers from a fantastic number of supporters and spectators. And it’s this crowd support that really sets the race apart. I’m in no doubt that by mile 10, when my legs are feeling like lead and I’m questioning my ability to complete the course, it will be the cheers of perfect strangers that give me the strength to reach the finishline. CHANCE FOR CHARITIES TO BID FOR £5,000 IN PETERBOROUGH For the second year in a row, the Perkins Great Eastern Run and the Jane Tomlinson Appeal are joining forces. And it’s clear to see why. Their joint venture has meant that Peterborough charities can apply for a part of the £5,000 raised from last month’s race. The Jane Tomlinson Appeal was launched as a lasting legacy to Jane who died in 2007 aged just 43. Despite suffering from terminal cancer, Jane raised £1.8 million for children's and cancer charities through a series of incredible endurance feats. In this new community initiative, there are five grants available and nominations are welcome from

REAL RUNNERS We asked real runners, who took up running just last year, what inspires them and why they’ve decided to enter the Perkins Great Eastern Run this year. Here’s what they said...

Claire Sibley, 45

charities in Peterborough that support children or anyone affected by cancer. To nominate, people can pick up a form from the Visitor Information Centre on Bridge Street or visit GreatEasternGiveaway. Nominations must be received by August 14th to be considered for a grant. Peterborough is a special place for Jane’s family as it’s where they lived when the children were young. Her daughter Rebecca, one of three children, was born at Peterborough District Hospital and ran the half marathon for the appeal in 2016. “We’re so excited that the Perkins Great Eastern Run has chosen to support the Jane Tomlinson Appeal again in 2017,” she added. “My parents moved to Peterborough not long after they got married and I was born there, so the city will always be really special to me. To know that the city is helping to carry on mum’s legacy now is really touching.” But the fantastic route, the incredible atmosphere and the great charity fundraising wouldn’t be possible if it wasn’t for the many volunteers that work behind the scenes to ensure the race is a success. And so our final word should

be one of thanks to them, those committed men and women who, come rain or shine, help organisers year after year. We salute you! The Perkins Great Eastern Run is organised by Peterborough Council. You can still enter the event, which takes place on Sunday 8th October. Enter online at www. and you can choose to support one of the races’ chosen charities, or support something closer to your heart. I hope to see many of you on the start-line this year, or if you don’t fancy the distance yourself, why not pop along and show your support to the runners. FREE TRAINING SESSIONS Struggling with motivation? Runners of all abilities are invited to join expert coaches at free training sessions being held at Peterborough Embankment Athletics Track. Starting July 12th until October 4th, the sessions begin at 7pm and held every other Wednesday. There’s even free parking and full changing and shower facilities. For more information visit Finally, don’t miss our top tips by local running specialist, Advance Performance on the next page.

1. What do you love about running? I love being outdoors rather then being cooped up inside exercising. It's just me and the open road. Running is great for the mind and body. 2. Why have you signed up for the Perkins Great Eastern Run? I'd built my distance up to 10 miles so the next step was to sign up for a half marathon. I choose the Perkins Great Eastern Run because I think it will make it extra special doing a fab local one. Crossing the finishing line and thinking, ‘wow, I did that’, will be a great sense of achievement. 3. Any advice to others who think they can't do it? Build up the distance gradually - the couch to 5k is a great start. Try to get a running buddy, it makes it so much more fun and easier. But most importantly, go out and have fun.

Paula Andrews, 46

1. What do you love about running? Headspace, 'me' time. The freedom to go when and where it suits me. I can eat cake and not feel bad about it! 2. Why have you signed up for the Perkins Great Eastern Run? A moment of madness!! I have run 10km (6.2 miles) a number of times and just thought 'Yeah, I can do this.' 3. And what are you most looking forward to running it? The end! The challenge of doing something that I never thought I was capable of doing. I never enjoyed sports and didn't get active until I was 43, and I think the GER is a 'must do' as it's local. 4. Any advice to others who think they can't do it? No such thing as can't. Running is a race with yourself so you can only ever win! The Fens | July 2017





Training for your first half marathon? Seasoned runner looking to beat your best time? We spoke to specialist running store, ADVANCE PERFORMANCE, who shared their top tips for the Perkins Great Eastern Run: • Prepare by working up to the race distance gradually, run regularly each week. The PGER website has downloadable half marathon training guides for Beginners, Improvers and Advanced runners • Join our free PGER training sessions based at the Embankment Athletics Track starting in July • Stay cool/dry in moisture wicking sports clothing and ensure you have a good pair of shoes designed for running to minimise the risk of pain or injury. • Stick with your race day eating and hydration plan do what you usually do on your long run day, don’t be tempted to try something new, it could result in gastric distress. RACE DAY KIT TIPS AND CHECKLIST • Never wear new running shoes for a race, they should have done around 50 - 100 miles • Don’t wear new gear, it needs to be tested for chaffing on a long run • Sort out your kit the day before the race, find your running shorts/leggings, socks and top • Trust your training and remember your goals, relax and remember to start steady. DON’T FORGET... • Water bottle, energy drinks and gels if you plan to carry these with you • Bodyglide/petroleum jelly, or similar to avoid unnecessary chaffing • Safety pins for your race number • A shower proof jacket to keep you warm before and after the race • Your race number must be visible throughout the race, so keep warm on the start line with something disposable, like an old t-shirt or a bin bag • Race number/timing chip – complete the personal and contact info on the reverse of your race number • Take your race pack, you may need the some of the contents such as parking information and take along with some cash for emergency purchases • Ensure your sports watch is fully charged the day before if yours is the rechargeable variety • There’s always a queue for the loo, so be sure to join it early • Line up at the start in the correct time slot for your expected finish time and you will be with others running at a similar pace. Remember to run the mile you’re in, focus on the moment • Do your regular cool down/stretching routine when you finish, you may need it even more after the race. Advance Performance friendly and experienced staff offer free help and advice both online and in-store to runners of all abilities including their video gait analysis service for shoes for the way you run. Visit for more information or for training guides, dates and race details. 20 The Fens | July 2017







The best place to get started is at your local pool. You’ll find information on classes for different age groups and levels. And it doesn’t matter if you’re three or 83, there’s a group for you. New Vision centres cater for children, adults and private lessons. Each group is catered specifically for individual needs, for example children follow the ASA National Plan for Swimming and are taught by qualified instructors. And for adults that can’t swim, special classes are designed to help increase confidence and ability in the water.



Swimming can be a great family activity. Perfect for unseasonal rainy days, inclusive of everyone and great for fitness. Here’s our top tips for getting the most of family swims So here’s the important bit according to research, regular swimming can reduce the risk of chronic illnesses, such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes and stroke. It can also boost your mood and keep your weight under control. Swimming is a lifelong skill that could save a life. And if you can’t swim, it’s never too late to learn. Pools, such as New Vision centres, cater for a variety

of tastes and abilities, such as womenonly classes, parent and toddler groups, and lessons for different age groups. Getting into swimming is as easy as finding a suitable swimming costume and deciding whether to invest in a pair of goggles if you aren’t comfortable getting your eyes wet. You might also want armbands for little ones if they’re still young.

STAYING MOTIVATED Like any form of exercise, the key to making a real change in your lifestyle is to make a habit of going swimming. Try to set aside time every week to go to the pool, before or after work/school or on weekends. Write it in a diary so it becomes a permanent fixture in your weekly schedule. And consider getting an annual swim pass, this will help you save money and encourage you to go more often. Swimming is a great way for families to get moving and have fun together. There are so many things you can do to keep the kids interested, such as humming songs under water or playing games. Look out for special events during half terms when swimming pools go inflatable mad. Without realising, the whole family will be exercising and having great fun at the same time!

MIX IT UP The swimming pool makes a great playground and a great gym, even for non-swimmers, with activities such as aquafit. Once you’ve mastered the art of swimming, have a look at some of the other classes on offer at your local pool, such as Swimfit which is designed to encourage you to push yourself further through a Swimfit Active+ session card. By keepig a track of how many lengths you’ve completed, you’re more likely to try an extra one next time. With a family swim at just £10, taking your little ones swimming is the perfect activity for all ages. You can find out more about New Vision’s four fitness centres at www.newvisionfitness., including pool timetables, prices and different classes. The Fens | July 2017




The formation of a human is extraordinary as it requires such a high level of organisation and accuracy to coordinate trillions of cells to create the same form time and time again. So how do we do it? In this article we look to provide you with a simplified overview of our current understanding of this extraordinary process.

Should I stick to a healthy diet on holiday?

As summer approaches, many of you will be heading for holidays around the world. As a keen traveller myself, I’m often asked: ‘Do you stick to a strict diet when you’re away?’ The honest answer is... no. Sometimes not even remotely! But there is a good reason for this, one which I truly believe does contribute towards an overall healthier lifestyle. Let’s face it, we’re surrounded by foods and drinks that are bad for us and can lead to weight gain and poor health. They are often cheaper, packaged better and more convenient to get hold of. It takes a big effort to eat well. A few years ago, in order to appease the part of my brain that was at times screaming out for a sugar fix or a nice cold beer on a hot day, I decided to opt for a 90% approach to

possible, leaving a 10% window for anything else. There’s no need to work it out mathematically, it’s just an approximate figure I keep in mind that to me means ‘almost always’. For breaks or trips that are more than a few days, I do look to incorporate a little of what I do at home, especially making sure I get some vegetables into my meals. Importantly though, the break would be preceded, and then followed, by an extended period of eating well leading up to and immediately following the break. This lets your body know as a default what to fuel from and what the permanent routine should be. Taking short breaks and treating yourself won’t have long lasting changes on your body or health, so long as you always return to your healthier approach, and it will ease the psychological desire for the bad stuff! It’s vital to find a diet that you can do forever. Giving

TAKING SHORT BREAKS AND TREATING YOURSELF WON’T HAVE LONG LASTING CHANGES ON YOUR BODY OR HEALTH eating well, and give myself a small margin for indulgence. This means that 90% of my food and drink consumed over a month is to the highest nutritional standard


yourself a break every now and then is the key to staying on track permanently. So get your diet in-line before and then straight back to it after a break, and enjoy yourself in-between.

Robert Bull is a boxing coach and self confessed food nerd, currently setting up a digital nutrition advice service. You can contact him on 22 The Fens | July 2017

There are three basic components to organised growth: Genes – these provide the basic plan for our development and drive cellular division. Cellular movement – this is a consequence of cellular division and thereby creates forces which mould the shape of our overall structure, as well as stimulating surrounding cells. Chemical signals – these are released during stimulation and alter the function of the affected cell, as well as the cells around them. Let us delve in the detail of this process starting with the genes. These provide the basic information of what we are. They are the building plans of our form. And like all building plans they are modified as the project progresses. There is a greater degree of modification in the creation of a living being, as opposed to a house (for example), because in a living being everything is in a constant state of change. The cells (new or old) are moving, the surrounding fluid (amniotic fluid) is moving, the uterus is moving, etc. When building a house everything is still, yet even then the completed article looks different to the initial plan. A further complexity is that cells that are being added are created from the existing cells. In the case of a brick wall, the last placed brick does not generate the next brick. It is this replication which generates the bulk of the movement, and in so doing creates pulling, pushing, stretching and suction forces. It is this cellular movement which shapes the structure. For example, if the bone cells of an arm are replicating faster than the cartilage cells immediately in front of it, what will happen? The cartilage cells will get flattened and be forced to grow sideways. Hence why the bones have a flattened cartilage lining at the end of them. The forces placed on the cells will not only influence their direction of movement, but also what is chemically happening inside of it. Inside a cell we have many thousands of chemical reactions occurring. When the outer wall is deformed by a pushing force for example, it will change these reactions. The change may cause: • The cell to change its function, i.e. turning from a bone making cell to a tendon making cell or; • The cell will release chemicals into the surrounding space. These chemicals are called signalling molecules and they are absorbed by the surrounding cells. Which, you guess it, affect their internal reactions. In this way, the cellular motion alters the direction of construction in the area. In a similar way to how a brick layer will signal to the plasterer that he is to take over. In our our bone-cartilage example, as the bone cells push into the cartilage cells, it causes them to flatten. The flattening force alters the internal reaction. Some of the signalling molecules would then activate a different part of the gene turning the cell into a synovial fluid producing cell. In addition, some signalling molecules would be released into the outside and be absorbed by the surrounding bone making cells. This would affect their internal reactions in such a way that they stop replicating. Hence the bone stop growing, has a thin cartilage layer on its end and at the periphery are synovial producing fluid cells which lubricate the joint. Through this complex interaction of gene expression, cellular motion and chemical signalling we replicate a human form time and time again.

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Makeup Artist Tia Henderson reveals her secrets to perfect summer skin You should think of your face as a blank canvas. If you don’t look after your skin, you may notice that your makeup doesn’t seem so flawless anymore. Here are my 5 steps for perfect skin this summer!

Step 1 – Cleanse

Cleansing preps the skin, helps remove any dirt from the face and removes makeup. When choosing your cleanser, choose the right one for your skin type.

Step 2 – Exfoliate

Using an exfoliator will help remove any dead skin. I recommend only exfoliating the skin once a week, as to not cause irritation to the skin which could increase the amount of blemishes.

Step 3 – Toner

Toners help shrink your pores, hydrate the skin and leave you feeling refreshed. Apply your toner as a mist all over the face or spray onto cotton wool pads and wipe over the skin.

Step 4 – Mask

Depending on your skin type, there are many facial masks available on the market and choosing the right one for your can be tricky. If you have normal to dry skin, I recommend a hydrating mask which will leave the skin refreshed and moisturised. If you have oily skin, I’d suggest a clay or citric fruit mask, and apply only to the areas which are oily as this will help to control your skins’ oil production. If you have combination skin, you can apply the two masks above to specific areas which will help calm the skin in the correct ways.

Step 5 – Moisturise

Even if you have oily, ageing or normal skin, you should NEVER skip your moisturiser. Using moisturisers helps the skins elasticity, creates a glowing look, a softer feel and the best possible skin to apply your makeup to. Apply your moisturiser day and night to keep your skin hydrated, 24/7! Photography by Jaded Hicks Photography Hair and Makeup by Tia Henderson

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Get out of the Hydrocortisone cycle

When my son was born, nearly five years ago, he had a small patch of eczema on his back that used to irritate him and make him so uncomfortable, especially on a hot summer’s night. I spent a small fortune on various different creams that claimed to ‘cure’ the condition. He was also prescribed bath formulas and emollient cream from the doctor, which didn’t actually help. In the end, the only solution was using a steroid cream. This is when his ‘hydrocortisone cycle’ began – once we stopped using the cream the eczema would re-appear and we’d need another prescription and so on………. It was in conversation with a friend that she recommended I try the Arbonne ABC range, as she’d heard it was free from all the ‘nasties’. So, I did some research and learned that babies’ skin is more delicate and fragile than our own; it’s thinner and continues to develop through the first year of life, making it more vulnerable to irritants. I didn’t realise that many baby-care products on the market contain artificial fragrances, dyes, and other chemical ingredients that can irritate skin. One of the worst offenders is mineral oil (also known as Petroleum, Petrolatum or Paraffin). Mineral Oil’s molecular structure is too large to instantly be absorbed by the skin, so instead it forms a film on the skin’s surface. This film blocks pores and interferes with the body’s natural respiration, as well as the secretion of toxins, which can also prevent the absorption of any beneficial nutrients in your product and can leach vitamins, nutrients, and water from your skin. Since making the switch to the ABC range, which are free from all these chemicals, we haven’t had to use hydrocortisone, and if he does get a minor flare up on his back, I just use a tiny amount of the nappy cream and voila, it’s gone! I just cant recommend this range highly enough, if you’d like to try a FREE sample please get in touch. Kerry x For more information on Arbonne’s range of skincare products, please contact Kerry Smith, Arbonne Independent Consultant on 07834 385201 email Kerry. or visit: The Fens | July 2017


success for Fashion Show

Write Your First Novel – in a Month! Local author and mother of two EVA JORDAN shares her musings A couple of months ago I had the pleasure of attending an author event to hear crime writer, Elizabeth Haynes, talk about her writing career. I also had the honour of meeting and chatting with the author herself afterwards. It’s her current novel, Never Alone, that I read and reviewed for this month’s book review, a great read and one I’d highly recommend if you like crime thrillers.

Penco Dress Agency, a recent addition to the shopping centre in Whittlesey, set the trend by presenting a fashion show on June 13th at Park Lane School, with proceeds going to Friends of Park Lane School. An audience of over 80 were entertained with the music Fashionista, followed by the first few bars of Mendelssohn’s ‘Wedding March’, and Abba’s ‘I Do, I Do, I Do’, signalling the arrival of a parade of models in perfect wedding outfits, coordinated with hats, shoes and handbags. Music and outfits were selected to promote the following themes: Cocktail Time, Get that Job, Proms and Summer Balls, sun, sea and Sangria, and Pretty in Penco, all emphasising the quality and the affordable prices on offer at Penco. The audience had the opportunity of trying and buying, as well as sampling the delicious cupcakes on sale from the Whittlesey Cake Company. The Friends of Park Lane School Committee sold raffle tickets and refreshments, and raised much needed funds for the school. Corrine Wooding, from Penco, added: “It was a really fun evening, everyone seemed to thoroughly enjoy the show. “Penny and I would like to say a big thank you to our production team, M & J Discos for the music and lighting, Sophy of Sophy Beth’s Hair & Beauty Salon for doing the hair for the models, and Toni for makeup. Chris Irvine, Roger Stevens and Ian Hichens for the transport, my sister, Sue Saddington and last but not least, our wonderful models and their dressers. “We would also like to say a big thank you to Tracey Moore and the Friends of Park Lane School and the school caretaker, Steve White.” Penco Dress Agency is situated at 7 Broad Street, Whittlesey PE7 1HA. For more information call 07791 944435 or visit 26 The Fens | July 2017

Elizabeth, a former police intelligence analyst, hasn’t always been an author but, like me, she did always aspire to be such, one-day. Her first novel, Into The Darkest Corner was published in 2011 and won Amazon’s Book of the Year and Amazon’s Rising Star Award. During the course of the evening the author discussed her previous career and where she gets her ideas and inspiration from to write her novels. The idea of Never Alone came to Elizabeth when she was thinking of moving house and found herself spending far too much time browsing through the houses of various property websites. She came across a grey stone house nestling in a remote country hillside, providing the inspiration for the house in the novel, Four Winds Farm, which plays a pivotal role in the setting of Never Alone. The author also discussed, despite juggling a family and a full time job, how she eventually came to write her first novel. She became, and continues to be, a participant in the National Novel Writing Month, otherwise referred to as NaNoWriMo – an annual challenge to write 50,000 words in the month of November (approximately 1667 words a day, or roughly four sides of typed A4 paper). So, this is my challenge to all you would-be writers out there: you have approximately four months to prepare yourself before the start of November and possibly the start of your first novel. It may mean getting up a couple of hours earlier every day, or going to bed a couple of hours later each night. It may also mean you let the housework slide for a couple of weeks, get someone else to do the cooking, walk the dog, whatever – but it is only for one month. However, Elizabeth did also point out that 50,000 words is not a novel (most novels are anything from 60,000 to 100,000 words, much more in some cases), but what you will have is the bare bones of a novel, a good start and something you can build on. Why not take a look at the official NaNoWriMo website and sign up now. You’ll find lots of help and inspiration, including pep talks and the chance to meet other authors online and in person. Good luck if you take part and please let us know how you get on!



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PET CORNER| Most of us can’t wait until the sun shines and the temperature rises, we often feel better with the sun on our backs, we get rid of the winter woollies, kick the socks off and get the shorts on. Now have a thought for our four legged friends; they can’t take their coats or socks off and they certainly can’t change their coat! Just imagine what it would be like wearing a black fur coat on a hot day. Now think about that black Labrador or big fluffy Newfoundland in the sunshine! Overheating, hyperthermia or heat stroke is a serious life threatening condition. It can come on very quickly as most animals don’t have a very efficient cooling system, dogs only have sweat glands on the pads of their feet and around their nose. Dogs lose heat by panting, laying on a cold floor or in the shade. Heat stroke is worse in pets with pre-disposing conditions such as cardiac disease, tracheal collapse and obesity and in brachycephalic (flat faced) breeds like English and French Bulldogs, Pugs and Boxers and even in brachycephalic cat breeds like Persians. The signs to look out for are: excessive panting and salivation; very dark red/ purple gums; glazed eyes; staggering movements; hugely elevated

This issue, Whittlesey Veterinary Centre looks at heat stroke and our pets

temperature; and seizures. If your pet is showing any or all of the above signs, initially get them into shade, lay them on a cool floor, cover their feet and body with wet towels and get them to a vet a soon as possible. NEVER immerse your dog in cold water or throw a bucket of water over them, as the sudden change in temperature could send them into shock with ensuing cardiac arrest. There are two sorts of heat stroke: one is called exertional, which is from over exercising in hot (not necessarily sunny) weather, and non-exertional, where the pet is in a conservatory and can’t get out or locked in a car. To acclimatise to changing temperature, dogs can take up to 60 days to fully get used to it, which in our climate is a problem as we hardly ever seem to have consistent weather. HOW TO AVOID HEATSTROKE • Never leave your dog in a parked car on a hot day, even with the window a little open. • Trim long haired dogs as these are more susceptible to overheating. • Avoid unnecessary exercise, particularly during the hotter parts of

the day. Walk them in the early morning or late in the evening. • Try to avoid taking your dog on long car journeys, if you must, make sure that there is plenty of ventilation and that they are not in direct sunlight through the car windows. • Carry water with you when out for a walk or in the car. • Don’t lock your dog, cat, bird, fish, or anything in a conservatory during the day. Have a nice summer and enjoy the weather, but please think carefully about your pets, and as much as we like taking our furry friends everywhere with us, it is often better for them to stay at home where it’s cool.


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Your pet’s our passion The Fens | July 2017




Situated in Woodhurst are hundreds of birds of prey, reptiles and meerkats. The Raptor Foundation is primarily a rescue and rehabilitation centre first, but it’s also a wonderful day out and experience for all ages. We popped by to find out why it’s invaluable to our feathery friends WORDS Natasha Shiels IMAGES Chris Brudenell 30 The Fens | July 2017

A pleasant drive through the countryside took us to the The Raptor Foundation. Previously an abandoned farm, the centre has been rebuilt to enable its founders, to best care for injured, abandoned or rehabilitated birds of prey and owls. Now housing a children’s play area, cafe, outside seating area, education room and various enclosures, the Foundation has everything you need for an interesting and educational day out. So how did it become the sanctuary it is today? A BRIEF HISTORY Stewart and Liz first opened Ramsey Raptor Rescue after a chance encounter at a campsite with a couple and their disabled tawny owls. As their enthusiasm and experience grew, the couple themselves were asked to look after a disabled owl called Boris, who was blind in one

eye. From here, they began taking in more injured raptors, until they had to move home to house them all. It became apparent that there was a need for a centre to take in injured birds, and rehabilitate them. By 1995 their current location was found and the farm restored. From humble beginnings, The Raptor Foundation has developed into a renowned establishment for the protection, treatment and rehabilitation of raptors. But as well as protecting many endangered species, the foundation also affords thousands of visitors each year the opportunity to interact with and gain a greater understanding of these fascinating birds. A VISITORS’ EXPERIENCE Past the gift shop (with plenty of owl-themed items you’ll want to take home), the first thing visitors are greeted with is the sight of a family of meerkats. These adorable creatures are incredibly popular with visitors, perhaps largely down to a rather popular commercial and the fact that they’re so accommodating for taking photographs! If you, like me, can’t resist them, make sure you’re around when the keeper gives an educational talk on the meerkats. Beside the meerkat enclosure is the newly created reptile house. Here you will find critically endangered species such as the Golden Mantella frog, Electric Blue Gecko, scorpions, snails, snakes and tortoises. Some of the enclosures have living plants, to create a more natural environment for the reptiles, whilst others are fed fresh fruit and vegetables grown on site. Of course it was the many raptors that had drawn me in, and I wasn’t disappointed. We came across such a huge variety of birds, from a Golden Eagle, to hawks, falcons and owls. Some were happy in their enclosures, and others were on perches to allow visitors a closer encounter. The birds are flown three times a day during Summer, at 12pm, 2pm and 4pm, but outside is weather dependent. On our visit it was too windy and it wasn’t safe for the birds, but visitors instead were treated to an indoor flight. THE HOSPITAL We were honoured to be taken into the Foundation’s own hospital. It was here that Liz Blows, our tour guide, seemed most proud, because it was here that the Raptor Foundation’s

concept was originally built on the idea of rescuing, caring and hopefully, releasing back into the wild. On our visit the hospital was home to some baby owls who had been found abandoned on a roof. These babies were fortunate, they were being nurtured until they were ready to be released, but for others, the Foundation becomes home to birds who simply wouldn’t survive in the wild. Such as Captain Scarlet (an Eagle) who has difficulty flying due to wing damage. But the hospital is not just for injured raptors, there were also eggs that had been laid in the centre, and baby owls who would be joining their parents to help educate the public about caring for endangered birds.

“We’re incredibly passionate about our work and educating our visitors,” explained Liz, who herself has been at the Foundation for 27 years. “Our birds are here for a reason, and we educate people about what our influence has on these animals.” The education centre, woodland area and honey bee nests are all part of the same philosophy on which the Raptor Foundation is built - first to rescue, rehabilitate and return injured birds of prey back to the wild and secondly to protect and preserve them through education and conservation. Here the team and volunteers are passionate about each and every animal they care for. So what about the future? Liz explained that they have several future plans to improve on the excellent facilities they already have for their visitors. Their old pond is currently being replaced with a new version which will house native inhabitants, and the children’s play area will then be extended. There’s also talks of new enclosures which will allow visitors to walk through them, giving the public a new experience. A GREAT DAY OUT The Raptor Foundation isn’t just a great day out for families - budding photographers will be delighted to hear they have special photography sessions to allow you the opportunity to capture the birds in different locations. You can also hold a birthday party on site, enjoy special

experience days, visit the Foundation as part of a group or even have the birds come to your school or fete. “We can also have our birds fly at your wedding,” explained Liz. If you have a special request, The Raptor Foundation will always do their best to accommodate you. In fact, visitors can even stay at the on-site accommodation for a truly unique experience. My only disappointment was that I couldn’t take a baby owl home with me, but I was reassured that they were in the very best, loving arms of the team at The Raptor Foundation! The Raptor Foundation is situated at The Heath, St. Ives Road, Woodhurst PE28 3BT. It opens daily from 10am5pm during the summer months. Entry is very reasonable, at £22 for a family ticket (two adults and up to three children), or you can pay for individual entries. For more information call 01487 741140 or visit The Fens | July 2017


The Whittlesey Indoor Bowls Club For the past 5 years we have held a 6-week Saturday morning Introductory Training Course. This year we are starting on the 5th August at 9:30 am to introduce newcomers to our most enjoyable game. In the past, these introductory courses have proved very successful and over the years have resulted in well over 100 people coming along to give it a try. Most have found it to be pleasurable and you do not have to worry about the weather – a warm welcome always awaits you. As well as gentle exercise, bowling brings a new challenge and something to do over the winter months. We have over 250 bowling members and one third of these are ladies. This is a sport where finesse is more important than force and where the ‘gentle sex’ can comfortably ‘hold their own’! If you come to our Introductory Course we will provide all the equipment necessary and all we ask is that you bring along a pair of flat-soled footwear. (we have 5 separate rinks each costing over £10,000 so we must look after them).

Each measures 40 yards long and 6 yards wide, and they will be staffed by experienced club members who will ‘show you the way’. By the end of the 6-weeks course you will know whether this is for you and decide whether to become a club member. For the first season, new bowlers will have their own leagues so that they start on a level footing and not be overwhelmed by those who have been playing for years. The main season begins midSeptember through to mid-April. During this time we run 19 internal leagues as well as enjoying weekend friendly fixtures with other clubs. We also run 9 individual competitions on a knock-out basis throughout the season. Bowling sessions are for 2 hours 15 minutes and begin at 9:30 am, 11:45 am, 2:00 pm and 4:30 pm, as well as evening sessions at 7:00 pm. In addition to all these, there are daily opportunities to book a rink for extra practice and training. This year we fully re-furbished our sports hall. It is currently used for table tennis, walking football, curling and carpet bowls. The hall is available for

hire for other sports activities or club functions. Also, there is a social side to the club with events usually on Saturday nights, including Quiz Nights, Beetle Drives, Bingo and Barbecues in the summer - when we run a limited programme according to demand. We have a fully licensed bar together with a good range of hot drinks from our in-house dispenser. With our large number of members, we are probably the biggest sports club in Whittlesey and are well known as a very friendly bunch! Why not give it a try? If you wish, you can come and have a preview beforehand on any Tuesday or Thursday morning from 9:30 am, or on a Friday evening from 7:00 pm. Introduce yourselves and see the rinks in full swing. During the summer, the club office may not always be manned, so, if you would like any further information we have an answering facility on our telephone 01733 202209. We will get back to you if you leave your name and contact number. See our advertisement below. David Jones, Club Secretary

Whittlesey Indoor Bowls Club & Sports Complex FREE BOWLS TUITION! Try this beautiful game on Saturdays at 9.30am from 5th August.


Six weeks FREE training provided

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Find out more about Whittlesey Indoor Bowls Club & Sports Complex at 32 The Fens | July 2017

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The Fens | July 2017


The Heart OF OUR COMMUNITY This year, local charity Defibrillators for All will be four years old. The team have achieved incredible things in that time. We caught up with DEBORAH SLATOR to find out what plans they have next

IMAGES Chris Brudenell

Turning four years old in November, Defibrillators For All is a charity with hearts at the centre of their mission goal. Originally formed to raise funds for defibrillators in Whittlesey, the charity are now concentrating on maintaining current units, purchasing five new ones, and screening young people’s hearts. SO WHAT HAS OUR TOWN ACHIEVED IN THOSE 4 YEARS? • We have now placed 36 Defibrillators in our town, with five more waiting to be placed. • We have inspired the town of March to follow in our footsteps. • We have supported lots of villages and groups to enable them to have a defibrillator in their area. • We have spoken to every school pupil in the town. • We have given awareness/training sessions to any group who will listen to us. • We produced an eight-page booklet to explain what an AED is. • We raised a massive £10,000 in less than 10 weeks. • We screened 200 young people 34 The Fens | July 2017

between the ages of 14 and 35. • 25 young people have now been referred to a cardiologist as a result of the screening.

or even money can be dropped off to 311 Eastrea Road, or paid direct to Remember every little helps!

“All things evolve and who would have believed that our little town would have been able to achieve all this in such a short amount of time,” added Deborah. “Well done and thank you!”

SPECIAL THANKS FOR HELPING WITH THE FUNDRAISING • Jason Osborne for walking from the west to the east coast of the UK • Andrew Inman for climbing Scafell Pike • Brian Gregory and the Sudbury Court Social Fund • Stephen Duffy from Buckle and Co • Dave Sowman for nominating us to get funding from the Provincial Lodge of Cambridgeshire Charity for Care and Relief • Colin Martin for arranging music nights and keeping Defibrillators For All live on social media. • All those who joined our monthly lottery. • Everyone who has donated and bought raffle tickets. • The local companies that gave £50 for a young person to be screened.

SO WHAT IS LEFT TO ACHIEVE? • We have to raise about £3000 per year for the upkeep of the defibrillators. • We have big plans to enable us to continue to screen our young people. • We need to continue to share information and awareness of the defibrillators. • We have plans to link with other local groups to enable us to keep our young people heart aware. “Keep your eye out for Defibrillators For All at the summer fetes and events where we will be raising money to allow us to continue the good work.” Donations of Raffle/tombola prizes

Find out more at

Help to save a life If you find someone: • With chest pain? • With breathing difficulties? • Having a seizure? • Who has collapsed? • Has stopped breathing?

• Call 999 • Collect the nearest defibrillator quickly (or get someone else to) You may not need to use the defibrillator but it is better to have it close by just in case. You can always take it back later if it is not used!

During the last two years we have provided Whittlesey with more public access defibrillators than any other town in the country. Yet people still seem afraid to collect them. They can cause no harm and talk to you telling you what to do. Cut me out Early defibrillation and CPR saves lives. and keep me safe Just waiting for the ambulance to arrive costs lives. so you know where Remember 999, and grab and go! your nearest

unit is!

Your local defibrillators No Address Saxon Autopoint, 1

No Address 9 Chippy Sue’s,

No Address 17 Childers,

No Address No Address 25 Boons Transport 30 SHSCC (Sports Hall),


311 Eastrea Rd PE7 2AP


Carpenters Arms, 1 North Green, Coates, PE7 2BQ


3 Lakeside Gardens Coates


The Scout Hut Inhams Road


Decoy Fishing Lakes, Drybread Road During Opening Times


The Railway Pub, 139 Station Rd PE1 1UF


Eastrea Centre, 2 Roman Gardens, Eastrea PE7 2BB


West End Stores 30 West End


Whittlesey Fire Station Cemetery Road Whittlesey


Alderman Jacobs School, Drybread Road During School Hours


Westfield Nurseries, Station Rd PE7 2EX


Coates Primary School, The Fold, Coates, PE7 2BP


60 Snoots Road Whittlesey


The Nags Head, 402 Eastrea Rd, Eastrea PE7 2AR


Park Lane Primary School Park Lane During School Hours


Nisa Shop, Victory Ave PE7 1XU


Town Hall, Market St PE7 1BD


Palmers Close New Road


30 Teal Road, Whittlesey PE7 1YE


New Road Primary School, New Road During School Hours


The Letter B, 53-57 Church St PE7 1DE


Grosvenor House, Eastgate PE7 1GH


Cedar Court Care Home 37 New Road

We have offered units to all care homes


Whittlesey Bowls Club 194-198 Station Road During Opening Times


Ivy Leaf Club, 1 Gracious St PE7 1AP


The Dog in a Doublet, North Side PE6 0RW


The Little Hair Shop 34 Bellmans Road Whittlesey


Sudbury Court Inside the office PE7 1RY


The 3 Horseshoes, 344 March Rd, Turves PE7 2DN


Pondersbridge Vill Hall, Oilmills Rd PE7 2LT


4 Yarwells Headlands

Peterborough Rd PE7 1NJ

14 The Delph PE7 1QH

1A Station Rd PE7 1SA

Stonald Road

Eastrea Rd (during school hours)

Next defibrillators will be placed at:

The Straw Bear & Keneydon House

Visit our new website: The Fens | July 2017



A taste of Italy for any occasion

Fontanella’s in Market Street, Whittlesey, is an authentic Italian run by father and son team, Enzo and Luca. As well as daytime offerings and special evening meals, they’re also famous for their catering service which provides their homemade dishes for any occasion

Bored with the usual sandwiches? Catering services are now readily available to bring a unique touch to your special event, and Fontanella’s is no different. Whether you’re looking to feed co-workers for business lunches or feeding guests at a christening, wedding or birthday, Luca and Enzo are experienced in ensuring you have the very best food for any event.

“HAVING ALREADY SAMPLED THE FOOD IN WHITTLESEY, WE HAD HIGH EXPECTATIONS. OUR EXPECTATIONS WERE SURPASSED IN EVERY WAY...” Mr Dobson Using only authentic Italian ingredients, the family team can cater from small groups to guests of over 100, Monday to Sunday. Covering Whittlesey, Peterborough and the surrounding area, Fontanella’s outside catering service can provide food for all types of venues, with or without a kitchen, and have various options depending on your tastes and party size. 36 The Fens | July 2017

INDIVIDUALLY CATERED Customers can pick a ready-made buffet list, which includes Italian favourites such as meat and cheese platters, meatballs in tomato sauce or pizza, or they can mix-and-match. “Everybody can be catered for,” added Luca, “including special dietry requirements. We can also include extras such as fresh bread and olives.”

THE ICING ON THE CAKE What better way to finish the perfect meal is there, then with a piece of authentic tiramasu? Fontanella’s can not only provide desserts, but also Italian cakes. Yum! And what do Luca and Enzo do when they’re not catering? They are busily serving lunches, hot drinks and desserts in their restaurant in the centre of Whittlesey. Such is the popularity of their special evening meals, that Fontanella’s are always fully booked months in advance. So when it comes to catering for your special occasion, you’re in safe hands with the Italian chaps from Fontanella’s. Their hospitality, authentic, delicious cooking and desire to provide the very best Italian food, ensures Fontanella’s reputation will serve them well for decades to come. Bellissimo! To find out more about Fontanella’s catering services, call 01733 203587 or pop in to 10 Market Street, Whittlesey, open Monday to Friday 8-4pm and Saturday 9-2pm.








OPENING HOURS MON - SUN 12:00-23:00 The Railway, 139 Station Road, Whittlesey, Cambridgeshire PE7 1UF

01733 203555 |

The Fens | July 2017





Homemade favourites from lasagne to cottage pie, what’s not to love about Mealheart, the latest food offering newly opened in Whittlesey


“When I was putting together my business plan,” explained Sarah, “somebody asked me who our customers would be. ‘Everyone’, I told them. Whether you’re elderly, a professional, family or living on your own, our meals are nutritious and offer a great, healthier alternative to other takeaways and ready meals.” Set up by couple, Sarah and Mark, who wanted to leave their office jobs behind them and run a business they were passionate about, Mealheart is a lunch and dinner takeaway and delivery service with a difference. Every meal is cooked using fresh ingredients: “We buy all our fresh salad, fruit and vegetables from local grocery store, Alice’s Fruit Sales,” Sarah explained. Cooked without preservatives and lovingly prepared, her only complaints are that portions are too generous! “I wanted to turn my passion for looking after others into my livelihood, and with thanks to our loyal customers and great community, it’s become a reality.” Mealheart will change its menu seasonly. The new summer menu features lighter dishes and salads (including Slimming World friendly, gluten free and vegetarian options), whilst winter will see more heartwarming ‘comfort foods’ like pies and stews. Open at lunch through to evenings, customers can order their 38 The Fens | July 2017

meals from the comfort of their homes HOW TO FIND US and have it delivered fresh to their It’s recommended that you pre-order door. 7 causeway mews whittlesey - Google Maps your food, especially on a Sunday Instantly popular were the when the team can get very busy. takeaway Sunday lunches, which are open Tuesday to causewayMealheart mews whittlesey allow customers to choose from7four Friday, 12-8pm, Saturday 8am-12pm roasts (plus a vegetarian option) and Sunday 12pm-6pm. and all of the trimmings. And if that Mealheart is situated at 7 Causeway wasn’t enough, you can also enjoy Mews, Whittlesey (next to Jason’s a MacDonald’s style breakfast on Barbers). Call the team on 01733 Saturday mornings from just £2 for a 200707 or visit bacon or sausage bun. SO WHY CHOOSE MEALHEART? From £6 customers can enjoy healthy, homemade food at a time when you’re busy or want a rest from cooking. Meals are fresh and full of healthy, natural ingredients. “We’re planning on launching a ‘dessert of the day’ soon,” explained Sarah, “and customers will be able to check online via our website or Facebook page to see what the ‘dessert of the day’ is, or they can simply just ask us.” SPECIAL OFFERS Senior citizens (over 60s) can enjoy 10% off their orders, whilst anyone who signs up to their mailing list via their website can also enjoy 10% 7 High Causeway off their first order. There’s also FREE Whittlesey delivery for orders of over £8 for Peterborough residents in Whittlesey PE7 1AE and Eastrea, over £10 for residents in Coates and Pondersbridge, and on a minimum Mews order of £20 for7 Eastgate Turves residents. Whittlesey Peterborough PE7 1PU



Map data ©2017 Google

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to Farm ............

Our Passion - To rear, source and produce the highest quality local products for you to taste from our on site Butchers,Tea Room or Steakhouse. Our Aim - To encourage and educate all visitors to our farm to better understand our philosophy when it comes to taste, animal welfare, provenance and service. Your pleasure - Enjoy a variety of traditional & some unusual animals to visit, from Cows, Pigs & Sheep to Parrots, Crocodiles and Mara.

F r e e En tr y & P ar ki n g How to find us:

Our Farm - Using & developing traditional farming methods for over 100 years. We feel, we have created a unique farm experience for you to enjoy. Our Visitors - are able to tour our farm following the farm trails to the animal enclosures or ask in our shop about a guided tour.

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Bar open for drinks All Day Tuesday to Friday: 12pm-2.30pm & 5.30pm - 9pm Saturday - 12pm - 9pm Sunday Carvery - 12pm-4pm Monday: Closed Tel: 01487 824658 option 3 email: Facebook: Johnson s Steakhouse@JohnsonsFarmShop Live Music - Last Friday of the Month

The Fens | July 2017



Lavender Shortbread with Clotted Cream and Jammy Strawberries PREPARE 10 mins COOK 20 mins

MAKES 2 ROUNDS OF 6-8 INGREDIENTS • 200g shortcrust pastry


• 115g butter, softened • 55g caster sugar • 115g plain flour • 50g ground rice • 2 tsp Lavender flowers



1. Heat the oven to 170oC Gas 3. 2. Beat the butter until soft, stir in the sugar and lavender. Sift in the flours and ground rice. Work to a smooth paste. 3. Place a 6 inch flan ring on a baking sheet and press half the shortbread dough into a neat circle with the back of a metal spoon. Remove the flan ring and repeat with the rest of the dough. Crimp the edges. Mark around of the shortbread into 6 wedges and prick all over with a fork. Chill until firm. Sprinkle lightly with a little more caster sugar and bake


Add 1tsp of ground ginger and 55g chopped crystallised stem ginger to the mix instead of lavender. Serve with fresh peaches, raspberries and a dollop of mascarpone. This dish is now appearing on Dog in a Doublet’s new summer menu. 40 The Fens | July 2017

for 20 minutes until a pale biscuit colour. Leave to cool for 2 minutes, then lift onto a cooling rack to cool completely.


1. Hull and half as many strawberries as you like, cut them in half and place into a big bowl. Add a spoon or two of strawberry jam and stir gently. The juice given off the strawberries will loosen the jam allowing it to coat the strawberries. 2. Serve the shortbread with a good spoonful of the strawberries, a dollop of clotted cream and a few mint leaves.

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Elgood’s Brewery Steeped in history, this month we visited the family-run brewers that still makes beer the way its ancestors did, welcome to Wisbech’s Elgood’s Brewery

WORDS Natasha Shiels IMAGES Chris Brudenell It wasn’t difficult to convince Chris to come and visit Elgood’s Brewery. And whilst we had unfortunately decided upon a day which turned out to be far from ideal, nothing was going to dampen our spirits (see what I did there?). Elgood’s, which stands proud on North Brink, opposite the River Nene, is one of the few working breweries which still uses machinery from over 100 years ago. Everywhere you walk there is a part of history which tells the story of the beer that is made from within its walls. With ample free parking and a visitors’ shop to first greet you, we began our tour with lovely Sheila. ELGOOD’S Visitors can choose to pay for a

42 The Fens | July 2017

brewery tour, usually costing £8 for adults (or £3.50 for over 60s) which run on a Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday at 2pm. It begins in their own museum. The building itself was purchased by a Matthew Gospling in 1714 for £120 - and subsequently converted to a granary and oil mill. It was sold in 1786 and changed into a brewery, which it remains to this day. In 1877, after the brewery had changed hands four times, John Elgood and George Harrison purchased the building for £38,965. Their first ale was mashed on October 11th 1878, and whilst it proved to be successful, John’s partnership with George wasn’t and he subsequently sold his share. John Elgood carried on the business until his

death in 1890. A LASTING FAMILY-RUN BUSINESS John Elgood left behind five sons and one daughter. His middle son, Horace, became Chairman of the newly formed limited company. He died in 1933, leaving behind his nephew Walter to continue the business through to 1968. Nigel Elgood, Walter’s only son, is still the Chairman and his wife Anne is a director. Their three daughters are also involved in the business, making this brewery one of the best examples of a family-run business in the area. The family history is evident in the photographs in the museum. Much of the brewery to this day hasn’t changed much from Horace’s time as Chairman. Some of the

machinery that visitors see, dates back to 1910, and still produces the same great beer some 100 years later. It’s great to see the old tradition of brewing beer hasn’t altered, and this is clearly a great charm of the Elgood's pint. So for those who don’t know, here’s a mini guide to the brewing process. Barley, which is the main ingredient in beer, is prepared in Maltings to allow the grain to germinate. Once ready, this is then dried in a kiln making malt. At this stage, brewers can choose the kind of beer they wish to make. For example, lightly coloured malt makes a Pale Ale, whilst burnt grains produce stouts. The chosen blend of malts is crushed to form a grist, before mashing with hot water to produce wort. Sugars are then added to the unfermented beer, plus hops, to add an underlying flavour and bitterness. The final process is to add fermentation, the yeast. Elgood’s Brewery have their own strain of living yeast. Alcohol is formed by the act of reproduction of the living yeast cells, which multiply to form large colonies feeding on the wort and converting the sugars to alcohol. The process can take around eight hours, and fermentation around five days, before the the beer is finally poured into casks and stored. At each point in the process, by-products are given a use: spent hops to feed cattle and excess yeast is used for Marmite and food supplements. Nothing gets wasted here! FIT FOR ROYALTY As well as their main brewery, Elgood’s also have a micro-brewery. It is here that they can produce their speciality products such as the

fruit beers, or experiment with new flavours. Elgood’s were even chosen to produce the beer for Prince William and Kate! If you were to ask us what our highlight of our visit was, I’m certain Chris would say the beer he sampled at the end (Black Dog being his favourite), and for the girls, it was the surprise in the gardens. Just outside the cafe area, which sell a variety of tempting dishes and cakes (some of which are made from beer), are the most beautifully landscaped gardens. Created by Claire Simpson, daughter of the current Chairman, the grounds are magnificent. The four acres are lined with some of the oldest and largest trees in East Anglia, and dotted with flowers and greenhouses. The brick wall which gives the garden real elegance, also encases a lake and impressive maze.

And if you have time left over after the brewery tour and garden walk, visitors can indulge in their love of beer and take home one, two, or several different types of ale in the shop. Does Elgood’s Brewery have something for everyone? Yes! I recall coming as a child and having great fun exploring the garden, and as an adult, I can now understand why my parents were so keen to come (especially my dad).

Elgood’s Brewery is situated on North Brink, Wisbech PE13 1LW. It opens 11:30am - 4:30pm, Tuesday to Thursday. Entrance is free but there are fees to visit the gardens and the brewery tour. Find out more by calling 01945 583160 or visiting www. The Fens | July 2017




The Shed Shop Graham Heathcote is the owner behind Whittlesey’s long standing Shed Shop. With a background in carpentry and a knowledge of all things shed or garage related, we visited Graham to find out more


HOW LONG HAVE YOU OWNED AND RUN THE BUSINESS? In August this year I will have been running my business for 30 years, and I will be celebrating my anniversary with a holiday! WHAT MOTIVATES YOU TO RUN YOUR OWN BUSINESS? As a young man, I trained to be a carpenter but always had a desire to run my own business, when the opportunity came up in 1987 to run and later own a Shed Shop I took it. Whittlesey seemed an ideal location as it is in an excellent position, close to Peterborough but also easily accessible to the rest of the Fens. Nearly 30 years later I am very glad I chose Whittlesey as I have excellent customers that have recommended me and allowed my business to grow. HAS THE TREND OF ‘MAN CAVES’ AND ‘SHE SHEDS’ CHANGED YOUR BUSINESS? In recent years sheds have made a resurgence as people want to utilise space in their gardens as extra rooms. I can cater for any requirement and am happy to create bespoke 44 The Fens | July 2017

designs. For instance, if someone uses a wheelchair or mobility scooter we can use larger doors and doorways. I think it’s great people are using their garden sheds for extra rooms. WHAT SHED IS MOST POPULAR? Wooden sheds are still as popular as ever as they are easily the most customizable and there are so many different options such as 6x4, chalets, summerhouses, potting sheds, workshops, or even home offices.

years if they are maintained well.

HAVE YOU SEEN THE TREND FOR COLOURFUL SHEDS TAKE ON? When I first started in the business, creosote was always used to treat sheds. Since then, water-based products have become popular which allows a wider choice of colours. My sheds come in a standard light gold tone which makes them ideal to paint. I always advise painting sheds in September as the sun won’t fade the colour as much. And repaint at least every other year.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE ACTIVITY TO DO IN THE FENS? My favourite hobby is Speedway Racing, which I watch weekly at Peterborough Showground. This year my business has sponsored Ulrich Ostergard, who is the captain of the Peterborough Speedway team. I thoroughly enjoy watching the racing and I am proud to give something back to a sport I love.

HOW LONG CAN WE EXPECT A NEW TIMBER SHED TO LAST? Our Featheredge sheds can be expected to last a minimum of 15

DO YOU HAVE ANY ADVICE FOR SOMEONE STARTING ANY BUSINESS? I thoroughly enjoy being my own boss. It is vitally important to do your research first though, and take advice from those more experienced.

THE SHED SHOP is located at 32 Market Street, Whittlesey, PE7 1BD. You can contact Graham on 01733 350218 or visit the website:

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new enquiries welcome • Two full size snooker tables, plus dominoes, darts and two gaming machines. • Separate bar facility in our function room. There is also a small dance floor in the lounge. • We’re one of the best local venues to hire out for any occasion. We operate a smart-casual dress code. Football tops, baseball caps excluded.

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1. Having enough to live on and enjoy a lifestyle begins with knowing how much you need, it is not difficult to put a range of income requirements even if you don’t know exactly what you expect to be doing and how often – rather than an exact figure – between x and y is a good starting point. From this we can put together a Cash Flow plan that includes all pension arrangements including State pension, benefits, company pensions and private arrangements plus any other forms of income from property, repayment of loans or other financial arrangements, income from investments etc. Deduct tax and expected expenditure to see whether the plan is viable, if not what are the options? Topping up pensions may still be possible, using cash deposits in a more productive way, even drawing on equity from your premises might be an option*. 2. As we get older the possibility that Care might be required, and that it could be very expensive is a worry. Government inspired caps on funding are discussed, some are dropped, Local Authorities and Social Services do their utmost and families are left wondering how it will all pan out. There are actions that can be taken to help provide the best standard of care, the affordability will depend on individual circumstances – therefore advice from a specialist is essential. 3. Everyone is at risk from fraud. It is even more worrying when the fraudster targets someone known to be retiring and might have substantial funds available at that time. The old adage is important to remember at this time: If it seems too good to be true – it probably is! This is because fraudsters have been known to offer irresistible investment opportunities in exchange for the contents of your pension fund just at the time you become eligible to draw benefits. The new flexible drawdown legislation can provide valuable options for some and an opportunity to fraudsters – take advice from a qualified Independent Financial Adviser before making any decisions. Take the worry out of the most exciting phase of your life!. To keep your finances in line with expectations, legislation and what the investment markets are doing, review your plans with an Independent Financial Adviser. *This might involve an Equity Release arrangement that should only be considered with a qualified adviser. You need to be aware that equity release is not suitable for everyone, they can be expensive and inflexible if your circumstances change, they may affect your tax position and entitlement to state benefits and will reduce the value of your estate. To understand the features and risks of equity release, ask for a personalised illustration. I recommend that you take independent advice from a professional and look at all the other options available to you.

Eamonn Dorling Dip PFS, Senior Independent Financial Adviser. Brooks Wealth Management Tel: 01733 314553 Mob: 07767 795816 Email: Brooks Wealth Management is a trading style of Ampris Limited who are an appointed representative of Wealthline Limited, Registered in England 08761632 (Registered office: 8a Cowgate, Peterborough) Wealthline Limited are authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority 684319

The Fens | July 2017


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Exploring the Fens


Treasures in Whittlesey Our second visit to the Fenland museums, took us to Whittlesey’s Museum, and one of the most interesting buildings in the town

WORDS Natasha Shiels IMAGES Chris Brudenell You might think you’ve seen it all in Whittlesey’s Museum, the old Town Hall building. But I would urge you to visit again. The current curator, Jen and her wonderful brigade of volunteers and trustees, have been incredibly busy behind the scenes improving upon an already wonderful and intriguing collection of local documents, photographs and curious objects. Room after room, there are displays of yet more artefacts of the past, and hours could be spent happily viewing without coming close to having seen it all. Welcome to Whittlesey Museum. THE OLD TOWN HALL One of the most beautiful buildings on Market Street, the Town Hall has a colourful past of its own. Originally built by the Town charities to house

below. Divided into sections in each room, the museum tells a story of the town’s past. One of its most popular sections are the old photographs of the local area. Visitors have travelled from as far as America to look through the images, hoping to see family members and understand their way of life. There are also wonderful maps and census copies. But the photographs are only a small selection on display; visitors can view costumes and Victorian outfits, the Straw Bear plough, fossils in the Bronze Age room, and a collection of toys which some people might even recognise. TEMPORARY EXHIBITIONS As well as the fixed displays, Whittlesey Museum shares temporary exhibitions

ROOM AFTER ROOM, THERE ARE DISPLAYS OF YET MORE ARTEFACTS OF THE PAST, AND HOURS COULD BE SPENT HAPPILY VIEWING WITHOUT COMING CLOSE TO HAVING SEEN IT ALL horse drawn fire engines (hence the beautiful curved arches you can still see), it has also been a magistrates office. Amazingly the hall still has the original cell, which kept the prisoners whilst they awaited sentencing, with the door that kept them safely inside. The building is nowadays shared with the local Whittlesey Society groups, who hold meetings in the first floor, and the museum, who occupy the rooms and adjoining old cottage

AN ALADDIN’S CAVE When you think you have seen it all, including a wonderful cabinet of curiosities which houses medals, old soldier books, pipes and other memorabilia, you reach the courtyard. A work-in-progress, the courtyard area displays some beautiful old railway signs, the aforementioned plough, as well as a building full of old farming tools. Walk a bit further, and visitors will come across a funeral bier. This rare item, from the turn of the century, is housed in a glass shed. Limited by the retrictions that come from no longer receiving funding, Whittlesey Museum is an excellent example of how the hardwork of a small but dedicated team can purvey despite the challenges. “Our challenge,” explained Jen Burdock, “is to show the community that we have lots of new things to see at the Museum. We’re redevloping it,

with other people. Currently they’re displaying an emergency services collection, which rather aptly reflects the Town Hall’s original purpose. These temporary exhibitions only stay for a few months, before they’re replaced with a new collection, but they’re always worth a visit especially. See the end of the article for the next exhibitions arriving at the museum.

The Fens | July 2017


and visitors will come across a funeral bier. This rare item, from the turn of the century, is housed in a glass shed. Limited by the retrictions that come from no longer receiving funding, Whittlesey Museum is an excellent example of how the hard work of a small but dedicated team can purvey despite the challenges. “Our challenge,” explained Jen Burdock, “is to show the community that we have lots of new things to see at the Museum. We’re redeveloping it, bringing in more temporary exhibitions and events. Much of the content has changed since 2014, so I’d urge the community to pop back and enjoy what we have on display.” As part of the changes, Whittlesey Museum will be taking part in the Museums at Night national scheme. “We’ll be housing a special display during the October half-term,” added Jen, “centred on the Witches of Warboys.” For that week only, adults and children will be able to visit in the evening and enjoy a spooky experience. But don’t wait until then to delve into Whittlesey’s past. The museum opens its doors every Friday and Sunday between 2:30pm and 4:30pm, and Saturdays between 10am and 12 noon. And if you’d like to get more involved, there are opportunities for volunteers to join the team. Whittlesey Museum is keen to find a volunteer steward with computer skills to help modernise their documenting system, as well as trustees who help to shape the future of the collections. Trustees don’t need extensive historical knowlegde, in fact you don’t need any at all. As Jen explained, what the team really need are people who are

part of the community, who perhaps have local connections or business skills, and who will have ideas on ways in which the museum can engage with the wider community. If you feel that could be you, Jen would love to hear from you. Email the team on and they will get back to you as soon as possible. WHITTLESEY MUSEUM EVENTS Sunday 30th July Emergency Services Event Sunday 10th September Whittlesey Festival Extended Opening Sunday 29th October Whittlesey Museum After Dark Event, 4.30pm-6pm Saturday 13th January 2018 Straw Bear Extended Opening

WHITTLESEY MUSEUM can be found at The Old Town Hall, Market Street, Whittlesey PE7 1BD. Admission: £1 adults, 50p children Opening times: Fri and Sunday 2:30-4pm, Saturday 10am-12 noon Find out more: or call 07706 132437

vTo discover more about enjoying the Cambridgeshire Fens and ideas for great days out, please visit 48 The Fens | July 2017 Find us on Twitter: @CambridgeshireF


Friendly, personal service • Cars & light vans • Service, repairs & MOT • Vehicle air conditioning service • New & used car sales • Petrol & diesel sales • Tyres & exhausts Briggate Garage, Ramsey Road, Whittlesey PE7 1DR Open Mon-Fri 8am to 5:30pm | Sat 8am to 12:30pm

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CALL MATT 01733 840051 or 07939 010257 Or find us on Facebook The Fens | July 2017



Talking to

Stereo MCs

Ahead of their performance next month at Green Meadows Festival, ANTHONY SHIELS caught up with longlasting group, Stereo MCs Born out of the mid 80’s inspirational Hip Hop scene and the DIY UK acid house/club scene, Stereo MCs’ reputation grew slowly throughout the late 80’s. They started an underground dance label, releasing diverse artists from Richie Rich to the Jungle Brothers as well as their own records before being picked up by Island Records. Having performed with groups such as U2 and touring with The Happy Mondays, their album ‘Connected’ became an international hit, which culminated with a Mercury prize nomination and two Brit awards for Best Album and Best Live Act. Stereo MCs are still recording and performing some 30 years later. I remember first hearing Stereo MCs in the 1990s. What’s the key to longevity in arguably the most difficult industry? Nick Hallam: I think the key is to do what you want to do; it’s not about just selling records, it’s about feeling that you are doing something with some kind of integrity, and also constantly challenging yourself. Rob Birch: Love lasts forever. If you love doing something, try to stay in that frequency and be open to new inspirations that will keep you evolving and absorbed in the movement. You’ve toured the world and have 50 The Fens | July 2017

“’s a pretty creative time [...] there’s more power now for individuals to get out there themselves” held a career through some pretty interesting times both musically and politically. How do you feel about new music? Nick: There’s so much great music around and it’s easier now for artists to market their music themselves, maybe harder to make a living from it, but it’s a pretty creative time. There will always be the major label hype marketing, but there’s more power now for individuals to get out there themselves. Rob: I don’t know much about mainstream marketing in the modern day. We run an independent deep house/techno label and the method of releasing and promoting is hands on and minimal, but at the same time, a building process that relies most on the quality of the music. We’re looking forward to seeing you at Green Meadows festival this year! What can we expect from your live show? Rob: Deep energy and a journey through our lives in music from 1987 to 2017. Stereo MCs are 10 albums strong. For anyone who’s lived underground and hasn’t heard of

the band, which album should be listened to first? Nick: Maybe the first one? ‘33-4578’ and of course ‘Connected’ the LP. Then you can check out where we are now with some of our new releases which are firmly embedded in dance music. ‘Adam Port’ and Stereo MCs ‘Changes’ would be a good recent release. We also have a track on DJ Hells new LP, and many releases on our own label ‘Connected’. What’s next for the band after the Green Meadows Festival? Anything exciting on the horizon? Nick: We are making music touring all summer and releasing our music and other artists on our label. Check out ‘Lust’ Feat. Elli by Tigerskin and K.E.E.N.E. (David Mayer Remix), which has been in the top ten deep house chart for the last two months. n You can catch Stereo MCs, and many more bands, at Green Meadows Festival on August 11th-13th at Elton Hall Estate, Peterborough. For more information or tickets, please visit www.


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The Fens | July 2017



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BBQ / Grill with beverages and refreshments Bouncy Castles for the kids



on the Norfolk Coast Path WORDS AND IMAGES Leanne Hyland

The Fens | July 2017


Walk of the month The windswept coastline of North Norfolk links the seaside towns of Hunstanton and Wells-next-theSea. One boasts colourful clifftops, seafood, slot machines, sweeping sandy beaches and as much sandcastle building equipment as you could ever need. The other, a small yet picturesque harbour town with cobbled alleyways, vintage tearooms and stores filled with fresh local produce. Between them lies 26 miles of unspoilt, wildlife rich coast - all of which I’m about to explore. Hunstanton is my starting point - I jump off the Coasthopper bus in the town centre and set off, full of energy. It’s a warm, humid bank holiday weekend and the bracing sea air is a welcome relief. I descend onto the Coast Path where a wooden sign tells me it’s just a short 47 miles to Cromer. Sugary treats spill out from brightly coloured shopfronts and the lively arcades are flooded with children battling to double their pocket money, but the pace of life slows considerably as I leave town. On reaching Old Hunstanton - with its iconic red and white striped cliffs - I pass beach huts of every colour and size. Beneath my feet, deep powdery sand topped with thick grassy tufts makes progress slow. Each step feels heavier than the last, but I’m soon rewarded with magnificent views as the path begins to feel quite remote. Silence falls and all I can hear is the gentle ripple of the ocean. Before me, mudflats sprawl far into the distance and tiny creeks trickle like veins to the sea beyond. Just two miles from Hunstanton, the Coast Path meets up with the Peddars Way, a second long distance trail that follows

Horses gallop along the sands at Holkham

54 The Fens | July 2017

Wildflower filled meadows outside Thornham Village the route of a Roman road for 46 miles, passing through Norfolk, the Brecks, Thetford Forest and Knettishall Heath. Combined, the original paths total 93 miles and form one of just 15 national trails in the UK. Recent additions to the route means you can now choose to walk a further 21 miles past Cromer to Sea Palling. The mudflats soon give way to a boardwalk trail which takes me through Holme Dunes, a beautiful nature reserve and a great place for birdwatching. Hugging the coast I follow a sea defence before heading inland to Thornham, a cute little village surrounded by wildflower meadows. All Saint’s Church peeks out from the trees amid colourful stone cottages, and lanterns dangle in the wind. I spot secret alleyways, manicured gardens and beautiful

roses trailing up red brick walls. It’s lunchtime, so I take a slight diversion to Thornham deli, a rustic building filled with homemade treats, from giant cookies to trifles oozing with fresh cream and vanilla. Outside, an old bicycle leans against the shop front, its wicker basket filled with fresh, juicy strawberries. Despite the name, Norfolk’s Coast Path actually follows an inland route for part of the way, and as I’m determined at any cost to stick to the path, I disregard the baking heat and follow a three mile stretch through open farmland to Brancaster. I hobble into the village at dinner time and stop for a bite at The Ship Inn, a traditional British pub with hearty portion sizes to match. The haddock and chips goes down well, a necessary treat at the seaside.

The harbour side at Burnham Overy Staithe

At Brancaster Staithe - the next village on my route, the tide is out leaving in its wake a harbour full of ships, yachts and lifeboats. Mismatched fishing ropes and lobster baskets lay bedraggled on the dock. In the distance, the sun sets over Scolt Head, an offshore barrier island filled with shingle ridges and intertidal sands. The reserve supports all manner of terns, waders and wildfowl as well as a number of rare plants. Walking in the late evening is a new experience for me, and I love it. Day trippers have long since returned home and the fading evening light casts an amber glow over the harbour, the boats silhouetted on the ocean. Being out and about at this

time of day also lends itself to an increased chance of wildlife encounters. As the day draws to a close I spot a barn owl, its white heart shaped face poised as it swiftly streams past, returning just a few minutes later clutching its prey between its talons. I stumble the last hundred metres across a wheat field, overlooked by a windmill which turns silently in the dusk as I make it to Burnham Overy Staithe. I feel an overwhelming sense of accomplishment, today I’ve walked a massive 17 miles. I sit with my legs dangling over the water, breathing in the fresh, salty air. The water is still and serene but tinged with hues of blue and pink, reflecting the sky above. On Sunday morning

I wake and assess the damage. There’s a large blister on my right foot but I’m feeling awake and ready for another 10 miles. I begin where I left off last night, although this time there’s an altogether different atmosphere in Burnham. The air is cool and there’s low cloud hanging over the surrounding farmland where cows graze and drink hungrily from a nearby stream. The disappearance of the sun means there’s only a mix of seasoned walkers and trail runners on the stretch to Holkham, voted the best beach in

The Fens | July 2017


Walk of the month a little too keen to get up close and personal with their salty shelled companions and there’s the occasional shriek after a nipped finger. At the port I order a fresh crab sandwich from the busy shellfish shack - I can’t quite muster the courage to try a bucket of whelks which don’t look too dissimilar to tiny snails. I sit looking out over the bay, feeling invigorated after my long walk. In just a weekend I’ve covered exactly half of the Coast Path. I’ve taken in some truly beautiful sights, from bustling villages and busy ports to sweeping shorelines, and I’ve eaten my way through some tasty seaside treats. I can’t wait to return and finish the rest. IMAGE top: Foxgloves flower from June to September; bottom: No visit to the coast is complete without an ice cream! the country. The terrain is undulating, twisting and turning before I ascend a final huge sand dune to be greeted with panoramic views of beautiful coast. My hair is tangled and salty. I sit atop the dune and take in the view, watching as two horses gallop through the glistening sand, only sinking hoofprints left in their wake which the sea quickly gobbles up. I walk out to sea, following the beach for several miles before reaching a gap in the canopy and a forest track that takes me to Wells. Despite the drizzle and darkening skies, the harbour is proving popular with children enjoying their half term outdoors, learning to crab. Some are 56 The Fens | July 2017

THE STATS Difficulty Level: Challenging Distance: Approx. 26 miles. Day 1: 17 miles. Day 2: 10 miles Time: Split over two days. Approx. 15 hours walking Terrain: Beach, sand dunes, wooden boardwalks, forest tracks, dirt paths Transport: The Coasthopper bus allows you the flexibility to complete this linear route Facilities: Plenty of cafes, tearooms and traditional British pubs on route

BIRDWATCHING CAPITAL OF BRITAIN The Norfolk Coast is home to a stunning array of birdlife. Its rich mudflats, estuaries and shorelines make up the likes of Titchwell Marsh, Holme Dunes, Scolt Head, Blakeney and Cley. Summer is a particularly abundant season for twitchers, so grab your binoculars and look out for our top coastal birds.


Spy this iconic black and white wading bird in the Cley Marshes throughout late spring and summer, where over 100 nesting pairs now call home. Having disappeared from England in the 19th century, avocets only returned to East Anglia following the flooding of the coastal marshes to inhibit German invasion during WWII.


With a four foot wingspan, distinctive black and grey upper wings and a chestnut back, this distinctive bird of prey can be found hiding among the reedbeds or marshes of the Norfolk Coast. Conservation efforts mean over 450 breeding pairs can now be found in the UK.


You’ll probably hear a redshank before you see it. A constant yelping during breeding season helps these wading birds to attract a mate and deter predators from their young. Redshanks have long orange-red legs and bill, but their plumage changes by the season.


These birds are most commonly found roaming salt marshes and shorelines with a particularly large number seen in The Wash. Oystercatchers sport a black and white coat and large bright orange bill which is pointed to help their search for worms in mud.


Undoubtedly one of the most spectacular birds on the Norfolk Coast. The spoonbill was spotted in Norfolk in 2010 for the first time in over 300 years. Similar in build but a little smaller than a heron, the bird has an enormous, spatula shaped bill which it uses to scoop up prey by swinging its head from side to side.


Once in demand for their long plumed feathers which were used as fashion accessories, the plight of the egrets led to the formation of the RSPB in the late 19th century. The species nested for the first time in 2002 on the Norfolk Coast, and by 2012, 90 breeding pairs were documented.

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The summer is here, which can only mean one thing: rubbish television. Sadly, because we’re all out in our gardens converting food into charcoal on our BBQs, television networks broadcast their most ‘cheapest to make shows’, or, reality shows. Now I can’t pretend I’m not susceptible to watching one myself on occasion and, most recently (although a month ago by the time you’re reading this), I watched some Britain’s Got Talent. It’s not for me to question how talented it makes you to do the ‘hoop the hoop’ to music, and even I can watch a dance group perform looking like someone has strapped hot coal to their feet and shoved them onto a stage, only to hear in the ‘after interview’ that one their mums, nephews, cousins uncle knows a guy whose dog recently died, thereby transforming the whole performance into a two-minute Swan Lake. But it wasn’t a ‘muggle’ performance that has irritated me the most, but rather one from Alfie Boe where it was claimed that he performed a ‘duet’ with Vera Lynn. The reality of this, was Alfie Boe singing ‘We’ll meet again’ with a projection of Vera Lynn in the background. So with this logic, I will give THE FENS magazine an exclusive right here. In a couple of days time, I will be performing live with Oasis, from the comfort of my car, singing along to ‘Wonderwall’ as I’ve been doing since my teens. Who knew I could have sold tickets? Sorry Alfie, singing along to a prerecorded track, does not make it a duet. We are now also in the grip of Big Brother which is a programme I simply cannot believe still exists. I remember when the show felt like a very primitive social experiment, forcing different walks of life into a living space together. Now, every ‘housemate’ seems to be a genuine candidate to be catapulted off the planet and into the sun should there be a sudden shortage of oxygen on Earth. And when this version of Big Brother concludes, no doubt the ‘celebrity’ version of it Sunday will beginopening) where presumably to be a qualifying (No ‘celebrity’ you must have once tied a shoelace in a public place. All of these are, of course, so anyone can have their five minutes of fame and then disappear into ‘Steve Brookstein’ obscurity. But if fame means dressing a dog up in wraps and forcing it to ‘play the guitar’ (trample the strings), then I think I’d rather remain anonymous.

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§ Joe Ferridge is an occasional writer and once performed as the scarecrow in the Wizard of Oz while picking his nose. (I was five). The Fens | July 2017




Two tickets to Tolethorpe Hall this summer

The Stamford Shakespeare Company returns to Tolethorpe Hall, to celebrate we’re giving away two tickets of your choice of either Much Ado About Nothing, Midsummer Night’s Dream or Hobson’s Choice The Rutland Open Air Theatre offers the comforts of an indoor venue with the delights of an outdoor setting. The covered auditorium faces an open air stage set within an idyllic woodland glade. There’s a great view from every one of the 600 seats, and the permanent canopy above means no performance is ever cancelled because of rain. The theatre is situated in the grounds of historic Tolethorpe Hall. The beautiful gardens, enhanced by BBC gardener Bunny Guinness, overlook classic English parkland, where every night, for 12 weeks, hundreds of people enjoy picnics before heading into the auditorium to sit back, relax and be entertained. You can choose to enjoy a picnic in the grounds or if you would like something more formal, you can dine in their restaurant, where more than 5,000 meals are served during the season. There is also a theatre 58 The Fens | July 2017

bar for enjoying pre-performance and interval drinks, and a spacious orangery where interval tea and coffee is served. The historic atmosphere, enchanting gardens, highly acclaimed performances and excellent facilities all combine to create what has become known to regular patrons as “The Tolethorpe experience”. The Shakespeare Company’s performances start on June 6th through to August 26th, with evening performances (excluding Sundays) starting at 7.45pm and matinées every Saturday at 1.30pm. This year, spectators can enjoy three wonderful comedies: A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Much Ado About Nothing or Hobson’s Choice To book tickets or find out dates for specific plays, call the box office on 01780 756133 or visit www.

To be in a chance of winning a pair of tickets, email, marking the subject ‘WIN PLAY’ before July 10th. A winner will be chosen at random and will be able to pick their preferred play between Mon-Thursday

Raising money for Defibrillators for all & YPCS

Charity walk 2017

9th july 2017 Are you ready for a challenge? Would you like to raise some money for local causes and discover a beautiful walk at the same time? WHITTLESEY & DISTRICT BUSINESS FORUM, alongside THE FENS magazine, are holding a Charity Walk on Sunday 9th July - and we need your help! We want you to take part in the 5-mile route and help us raise money for this year’s chosen causes: Defibrillators for All and Young People’s Counselling Service. The WDBF Charity Walk will begin at Lattersey Nature Reserve (on New Road, Whittlesey). Registration starts at 9:30am with the walk beginning at 10am. The route follows the Whittlesey Way, and will take you through Coates and

Eastrea before finishing back at the car park at approx. 1pm. EVENT DETAILS DATE: Sunday 9th July 2017 VENUE: Meet at the car park at Lattersey Nature Reserve, New Road, Whittlesey, PE7 1SZ TIMES: 9:30am registration; walkers leave at 10am ROUTES: 5 miles completes the circuit REGISTRATION FEE: Adults £5, children under 16 £1. All entrants will receive a medal on completion, plus there will be refreshments during the walk at The Vine pub, Coates. Everybody who registers on the day will be entered into a free prize draw to win entry

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This month’s book review What we’re


Never Alone by Elizabeth Haynes; Myriad Editions This is the first novel I have read by crime writer Elizabeth Haynes, and I can safely say it won’t be the last. Gripping, thrilling and wonderfully written, for me, it was a real page-turner. Never Alone is a story about Sarah Carpenter, a middle aged widow who lives with her two dogs in a remote farmhouse set in the North Yorkshire moors. Sarah has two adult children, Kitty, her daughter, who is away at university most of the time and her son, Louis, who although lives locally to Sarah is, for all intent and purposes, estranged from his mother. Still struggling to come to terms with the death of his father, Jim, it’s obvious Louis blames his mother for his father’s death, despite the fact it was clearly an accident. Sarah too is struggling, but her battle is more about isolation, what it means to live alone. “She has a house, and debts, and, while she doesn’t need to worry about the children any longer, it’s a hard habit to break, worrying.” Neither particularly happy nor unhappy, she is presented as someone who, although on the surface appears to be reasonably calm and collected, is nonetheless floundering. When she first met her husband, Jim, as a young woman at university, although she didn’t love him at first, “he promised to be there for her forever, and it was that permanence that attracted her. The idea that whatever lay ahead, she would have Jim.” However, when Aiden, an old friend from university, also the ex-best friend of her deceased husband, turns up and agrees to rent the small cottage Sarah has at the back of her farmhouse, Sarah quickly realises she is not alone. And, as the story unfolds, she also realises there are worse things than being alone. Narrated through two voices, namely Sarah and Aiden, as well as one unknown malevolent voice, it soon becomes apparent Aiden is hiding something from Sarah. The story starts off quite slow then gradually picks up pace culminating in a number of shocking twists and turns. Our verdict… Easy to read, Never Alone is a well-written psychological thriller that is as much about human relationships as it is about the human psyche. The characters are well rounded and believable, and Haynes cleverly uses the weather (being snowed in), location (the isolation of the moors and the old farmhouse, Four Winds Farm), and animal instinct (the whines, low growls and body language of Sarah’s two dogs, Basil and Tess) to build atmosphere and tension that greatly add to the mounting suspense of this brilliant read. Definitely one I’d recommend.

By Eva Jordan, author of 183 Times A Year 60 The Fens | July 2017


I’ve always had an affinity with puzzles, ever since I was little. So when I had the opportunity to try out local artist James Green’s new Wentworth Wooden Puzzles, I jumped at the chance. James, who is known for his stunning landscapes and iconic railway paintings, has collaborated with Wentworth to produce high quality, collector-piece puzzles. Each one comes in a beautiful box and draw-string bag. From the off you realise that this is something quite special. The pieces themselves are unique in that there are no traditional straight edges. As well as curves and unusual shapes, players will find motorbikes, wheels and other surprise objects as puzzle shapes. This gives the Wentworth puzzle its edge and makes the puzzle more challenging. I tested the Sir Nigel Gresley and Flying Scotsman. On average these took several hours to complete, which initially I doubted, but quickly could see why. These puzzles are on a different league to anything I’ve worked on before, and equally so in satisfaction. I had always admired James’ artistic ability, the way in which he captures his chosen subject in such a life-like manner, but piecing together his puzzle gave a different perspective. I could see his intricate detail and talent for colour and technique. In short, I was blown away. So who would these perfect puzzles appeal to? Certainly James Green fans would be thrilled to own one, and at a very reasonable price. Puzzle collectors too would be impressed with the quality and they would make excellent gifts. Even children can enjoy completing one of the 40 piece puzzles. The railway-themed puzzles come in three sizes: 40 piece micro puzzle, ideal for a child (5 years up) £6.50; 250 piece puzzle £26; and 1000 piece puzzle £97.50. Puzzles can be ordered direct from the artist by calling 01733 203230 or visit FANCY WINNING A 250 PIECE PUZZLE OF YOUR CHOICE? We’re giving away a James Green Wentworth puzzle to one lucky reader. To be in with the chance, simply email with the title of the puzzle you would like to win (Sir Nigel Gresley, Flying Scotsman or Duchess) before July 15th. Good luck!


NEWS FROM THE U3A Whittlesey U3A has an open meeting, each third Thursday of the month at Childers in Whittlesey. Meetings start at 2pm and non-members are welcome to join us to see what we offer. As the Whittlesey branch of the U3A continues to expand and attract new members, I thought it would be interesting to look at a few of the interest groups that are offering members the chance to join likeminded people in the enjoyment of their hobbies, exploring new places and learning new skills. Below are just a few examples of these groups, which are open to all members. THE CREATIVE WRITING GROUP This group was only set up at the beginning of this year and now has seven members, who are all working at their own pace on their own topics. They meet monthly for a coffee, receiving support from each other and exchanging ideas. The group is also looking at different styles of writing and the current project is to compare members’ experience of bus-fest. This has produced a variety of reports, ranging from the gentle nostalgia of a coach ride through the Fens, to the drama of a Whittlesey

bus crash, documenting the slight scrape of a coach in truly sensational journalistic jargon. New members are welcome to join us, contact wendyfletcherwriting@

ART APPRECIATION GROUP Earlier this year we travelled by train to Ely to view the Peter Marlow Exhibition entitled, ‘The English Cathedral’, which was showing at Ely Cathedral. It was a stunning compilation of photographs from the 42 English cathedrals, all taken at dawn, looking east towards the altar, so that it was easy to compare the different styles. This was helpful to our group as we have been studying Norman and Gothic architectural styles, and we put our knowledge to the test by trying to identify the style in which each cathedral was built – not a simple task when most were built over many years with several different architects in charge! This group has also visited Cambridge, Norwich and London in recent months and would welcome new members to join them on future trips. For more info, contact michele. burgess@canalboatcottage.fsnet.

PAPER CRAFT GROUP “We enjoyed a day out at Grafton Crafts where we each made two cards and learned some new techniques,” explained Trish Glazier, “including how to matt and layer with uneven mounts, and how to use stamps, dyes, embossing powder, water colours and a heat gun. Many items were available to purchase and we are looking forward to another visit in the autumn. WALKING GROUP “The Walking Group sometimes travel by car to a starting point to allow us to explore a more distant part of Cambridgeshire,” Philip Cumberland added. “One such trip took us to Houghton, where we arrived in time to enjoy the early morning mist. We started our walk at Houghton Mill on the River Ouse. The present mill is 17th century but records show a mill on the site in 963AD. We then walked through beautiful countryside, to St Ives, passing many buildings of architectural merit, including St. James Church, Hemingford Grey, on a circular route back to Houghton in time for coffee.” More groups will be featured in our next article in the October edition of THE FENS. By Wendy Fletcher, Publicity Officer Anyone wishing to join the U3A, please contact Membership Secretary harrison.brian@hotmail.

Whittlesey The Fens | July 2017



Summertime in THE FENS WORDS David White, RSPB IMAGE Simon Evans The month of July is an interesting time to be out and about in the British countryside. In most places, the local birdlife tends to be fairly quiet and most bird species stop singing. This is mainly because they are breeding or moulting after a busy breeding season. This is why when July comes around; many wildlife enthusiasts take the plunge into other creatures such as butterflies and dragonflies. I certainly fall into this category and I enjoy getting out and about in the Cambridgeshire Fens to look for all things that buzz and tweet, so to speak! If you would like to do the same this July, here are a few RSPB sites that you can visit. FEN DRAYTON LAKES One of the best places to visit at this time of year is RSPB Fen Drayton Lakes, which is around 12 miles north of Cambridge. This large area of former flooded gravel pits is not only an excellent place to explore; it is also an easy place to get to by public transport. It has its own dedicated stop on the Cambridgeshire Guided Busway, so it is easy to get to from Cambridge and St Ives. 62 The Fens | July 2017

RSPB Fen Drayton Lakes is absolutely full of bushes and scrub which are well loved by the local butterflies. A wide variety of familiar species can be encountered such as colourful red admirals and small tortoiseshells. Some of these species can be rather photogenic so don’t forget your camera. The reserve is also very good for moths and the reserve team are actually running an “Overnight Mothathon” on Saturday 1 July. This will be run by Luke, the reserve Assistant Warden who will identify the species that are found in the specially made moth traps overnight. For more information and to book your place please visit fendraytonlakes RSPB OUSE FEN If you fancy a slightly wilder experience, then you could visit RSPB Ouse Fen, which is near Needingworth. This large site is in the process of being transformed from a large sand and gravel quarry into Britain’s largest reedbed. As well as being home to rare breeding birds such as bitterns, marsh harriers and

bearded tits, Ouse Fen is also a great place to see insects. One of the more unusual species of insect that calls the reserve home is a dragonfly - the scarce chaser. As its name suggests, this species isn’t particularly numerous and it has a patchy distribution in southern and eastern England. The male is blue with a black tip to its abdomen. The female is a lot more distinctive with a bright orange abdomen and a black stripe. The female also has distinctive yellow patches on its wings which really make it stand out. RSPB Ouse Fen is a great place to explore and, due to its size, there are two long trails to follow. One is six miles long and the other is five miles long. There is a small car park close to Needingworth village and there is a picnic area less than a mile from the car park. Although I have barely scratched the surface, I hope this has given a few ideas of where you can visit to enjoy wildlife this July. If you would like to find out more about either of the reserves mentioned in this article, please ring: 01954 233260. We hope to see you soon!



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Local artist, Derek Massey, will be giving a talk about his art at Ramsey St. Mary’s Church. Time: 7:30pm Tickets are £7.50 which includes a drink 07724 203543

HISTORY OF EASTREA Thursday 4th July



Don’t miss this supernatural themed night at The Falcon Hotel in London Street, Whittlesey. True Spirits Paranormal will be leading the tour of the old pub. Including in the ticket price is light refreshments. Time: 10:30am - 3am £20 per person

Find out about the history of Eastrea area with Maureen Watson. The talk will be held in the Eastrea Centre and is completely free. Tea and coffee with be served. Times: 2pm - 4pm Free

CARRY ON AT THE CAMP Saturday 8th July - Sunday 9th July

Come and see the Classic & American car and bike show at The Camp, Wood Lane, Ramsey PE26 2XD

RAMSEY STEAM & FIRE SHOW Saturday 8th July - Sunday 9th July Join in the fun at Ramsey Rural Museum. Times: Saturday 10-4:30pm and Sunday 10am - 4pm


Make a difference by helping the Rangers out at Ferry Meadows Country Park. Children, couples, grandparents, friends - everybody welcome. All tools and training will be provided, you just need to bring along lots of enthusiasm! Free car parking for all participants Times: 10:00am-12:00noon Cost: Free. Suggested donation £2 01733 234193 Booking is essential.

CREATE-FEST Saturday 15th July

Enjoy this free event held at The Camp, Wood Lane, Ramsey. There’s attractions, live bands, music, stalls, bouncy castles and more. Time: 11:30am-6pm & 7pm-10pm 01487 814897

64 The Fens | July 2017

Agents events at Peterborough Museum. Running for six weeks, help solve museum mysteries as the Agents travel through time. Can you help them solve the trickiest puzzles history can throw at them? Find clues, unravel riddles and get up close to objects. Plus with storytelling from every era, you’ll travel from the Jurassic to the age of steam in no time! Each week will have a different theme starting with Dino Detectives: 25th-26th July. Times: 10am-5pm (4pm last entry) £3 children, £4 adults, £12 families No need to book whatson/heritage/animal-agents/


This month’s speaker at the Whittlesey and District Business Forum at the Falcon Hotel, London Street, Whittlesey, will be Martin Hughes: a Business Rating Appeal expert from Barker Storey Mathews. His talk will be of interest to many Traders so do come along and get some advice. Times: 6pm for 6:30pm start For more information please contact Steve Hodson on 01733 203064


PETERBOROUGH SAUSAGE AND CIDER MUSIC FESTIVAL Friday 28th July - Sunday 30th July This fun, family-friendly music festival returns to Elton Hall in Peterborough. Expect great music, friendly atmosphere, great food options and plenty for children.

LA FLAMBEAU presents from Nashville, Scott Southworth and AGS Connolly at Mama Liz’s Voodoo Lounge, Stamford. Time: 7:30pm Tickets are £8 01780 783689 event/401660

ANIMAL AGENTS Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 25th July - 30th August

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JURASSIC WORLD ROARS INTO QUEENSGATE Saturday 29th July - Sunday 30th July

Mini explorers, budding paleontologists and little adventurers are wanted to help explore Queensgate’s new ‘Dino-gate’, a

Jurassic world themed adventure, coming to the centre this summer. The Central Square will reveal a hidden oasis set in a deep jungle and filled with hidden treasures, games, crafts and, of course, dinosaurs! Join the intrepid explorer, Terry Dactyl as she takes children on an adventure back in time when these humongous creatures roamed the planet. Dig for fossils, make your own dinosaur model and even see baby dinosaurs hatch, ‘Dino-gate’ is free for all the family to enjoy at the region’s biggest shopping destination. There’s more…the main event! See Dexter the dinosaur come to life followed by his adorable babies as they take visitors on a prehistoric journey through time full of excitement, mystery and laughter. Free



Join Ferry Meadows Country Park for a fun session developing skills in woodland tools use, making wood craft items to take home. e.g. kazoo, tent pegs, mallets etc. Times: 10:30am – 12noon and 1:30pm – 3:00pm. Meet at Lakeside Car Park Cost: £3 01733 234193 for further details. Booking Essential.

FESTIVAL, OF FLOWERS Saturday 29th July - Sunday 30th July

Ramsey St. Mary’s Church will play host to beautiful floral displays and refreshments, including “We.’’ meet again” - a floral tribute to the 1940s. Times: 10am - 5pm

AWESOME ARCHAEOLOGY AT FLAG FEN Saturday 29th July - Sunday 30th July

As part of The Festival of Archaeology, get hands on with the past and try your hand at being an awesome archaeologist for the day! Travel back in time in the Bronze Age roundhouse and try traditional dyeing around the fire, uncover artefacts thousands of years old in The Big Dig Tent’s excavation pits, and have a go with our replica Bronze Age tools. Plus there’ll be fun crafts and trails for the whole family to enjoy. Times: 10am-5pm. Last entry 4pm £5 children, £8 adults, £20 families There’s no need to book for this event, just drop in! 01733 864663

WOMEN’S NETWORKING Tuesday 11th July

Join like-minded women in business at the first Whittlesey Ladies Who Latte. Meeting at 9:30-11am at The Falcon Hotel in London Street, Whittlesey. Free to attend. More info on p. 8


Saturday 8th July 54321

Saturday 15th July ravis

Sunday 23rd July

Hog Roast with Steve Carmel

Saturday 29th July Johnny Lodge

Hatha Yoga, for all levels, £6 each, some mats available. Monday - 6pm Wednesday - 6.30pm, Thursday 9.30am. St Andrew’s Parish Room, Parkinsons Lane, Whittlesey Power Yoga, lively music, intended to raise your heart rate & increase your flexibility & fitness. £6.10 to non members, bring water & small towel. Wednesday - 8pm. New Vision Fitness, Manor Leisure Centre, Whittlesey Painting group, we meet in the Eastrea Centre every Tuesday 1pm to 4pm all are welcome, for details contact Sue on 01733 205241 Jim’s Bingo, Tuesday and Thursday. Doors open at 7pm. Eyes down at 7.30pm at the rear of the Conservative Club. No membership required Hot Food Friday lunchtime. at Conservative Club Whittlesea Society meet on the second Monday of each month at 7.30pm in the Town Hall and always have a speaker Members Bingo starts at 7.30pm every Sun, Mon & Thursday at the Ivy Leaf Club Ukulele ‘strum for fun’ first and third Tuesday, at the Ram, Whittlesey 7-9pm. Call Chris on 07960 316724 for info Weekly meditation class in March Fridays 10.30am - 11.30am. £5 per class. March Podiatry Practice, High Street, March, Whittlesey Mud Walls Group Meet upstairs at the Whittlesey Museum on the first Wednesday of the month at 10:30am

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The Fens | July 2017



A STREET IN WHITTLESEY It’s a typical Whittlesey street and this story shows how its population changed from farmers and craftsmen, to poor labourers, achieving the highest percentage of cottages in multiple occupation in the town, not to mention three pubs: The Golden Lion, The Beehive and The Rose and Crown. Until the early 19th Century, most of the houses in Barrs Street were lived in by what we might describe as smallholders. All the houses were single storied with dormer windows, thatched roofs and plastered walls, and would have looked very picturesque. For centuries, small farmers prospered by sharing the best and the worst of the land through having individual strips spread out over all the open fields. In addition, there was extensive grazing regulated by men elected by the farmers themselves and besides that, there were thousands of acres of fen and marsh, providing rough pasture, fodder, turf, reeds thatching, fish, eels and wildfowl for the pot. Such resources made it possible to live on only a few acres of arable land. But take away the common ownership and equality in the land, and it’s clear how vulnerable such families were to change. The Whittlesey Enclosure Act of 1841 replaced such common rights with small plots of land, and in the process, ruined the livelihoods of small farmers. Within 20 years all the farmers of Barrs Street had gone. Their houses were converted into tenements with new rows or yards of cottages, built at the back where once had been barns and stables. A good example of this was the farmhouse on the site of the present day 12-18, Barrs Street. In 1784 it was the home of John Bruce. In 1854 the house had been converted and extended into seven tenements with a further four cottages built in the back yard. 24 Barrs Street went from one farmhouse to four cottages by 1854. The 1851 Census reveals that there were 39 heads of families in Barrs Street, with a total population of 162 men, women and children. Compare that with eight heads of families in 1801, the same number as in 1638. 66 The Fens | July 2017

Two families in the street in 1861 typify the hard times faced in Victorian Whittlesey. Rose Martin aged 49 and Ellen Gay aged 63 were both widows; Rose had five children, Ellen four. Both women were born in Ireland but all their children in Whittlesey. Rose was a charwoman, Ellen was “dependant on alms”. Rose’s children were girls, the oldest Bridget, 14 and a servant; Ellen, 12 was already working as an agricultural labourer; Rose, nine was at school and Jane and Margaret were still at home. Ellen’s three boys, Owen, James and John, were all bricklayers’ labourers, and Ann who was 23, was a hawker or pedlar. Each family lived in a one-up-one-down cottage. With such an increase in population, it’s no wonder the pubs came. The Rose and Crown was built on the corner of Barrs Street and Church Street. It had a brief life being built by Robert Ground in 1845/6 on the site of an older house, but as he defaulted on his mortgage nine years later, the property was bought by John Burnham who lived on the Market Place. It was he who built the presentday house in 1861 and first leased it to, and then sold it to the Church Commissioners. The Beehive was part of the old farmhouse on the site of 12/18 Barrs Street. The earliest mention I can find of it is in an 1837 Rate Book and it appears again on the Tithe Plan of 1841. Owned by William Whyman, who is described as an agricultural labourer on the 1841 Census, the Beehive must have been larger than the other cottages as 12 people were listed as living there. William mortgaged the property for £200 and built several cottages onto the pub, but also got into financial difficulties and the property was bought by Charles Mills. A few years later he demolished all the front buildings and built the four houses that still exist. The tenements in the yard were demolished about 1900. The Golden Lion was part pub, part lodging house on the corner of Parkinsons Lane. It first appears in the 1861 Census as occupied by Thomas Blunt; next in the 1864 Rate

Book occupied by William Cooper. In 1871 his widow Mary living there, but it’s in 1881 that it appears to be used as a lodging house as well as a pub. Thirteen people are listed as occupiers; there were seven agricultural labourers ranging in age from 34 to 76, three pedlars and two fiddlers. At least the evenings would be merry! It was also the longest surviving pub in the street only closing in the 1950s and being converted into a house. The last surviving thatched farmhouse survived in part till the 1950s at 24, Barrs Street. The picture here shows it in 1930.

My old house, 3 Barrs Street, also a farm house at one time, lost its thatched roof in a fire in 1893; it previously extended halfway across the current width of Parkinson’s Lane and it too was converted into seven tenements.

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about Barrs Street. It’s only one of many streets in our town that underwent major changes in Victorian Whittlesey, as people adjusted from a largely agrarian economy to an industrial one. Time hasn’t stood still since.

10% W


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The Fens July 2017  
The Fens July 2017