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fens THE

A magazine with the heart and soul of the Fens


Issue 13 | June 2017




David Proud talks about his new project





n Fo llo wu so n us o Fin d



WWW.VE SUV IOWH ITTL E S E Y. C OM T: 01733 204599


The Fens | June 2017


ED’S letter

One year ago I sent off my very first issue of THE FENS to our printers, unsure what everybody would think of our magazine. My fears were ungrounded and our readers embraced our vision of a publication that inspired and informed them of our beautiful area. A year on and we have grown to twice in size and distribution. I am continually amazed by the kind words we hear as we deliver the magazine. I hope you love this issue as much as I have putting it together. We’ve freshened up the design and have celebrated our birthday with two amazing competitions in this issue. Our team visited Sue Ryder’s Thorpe Hall Hospice to find out how important our fundraising is for the wonderful work they do. We also explored the Wisbech and Fenland Museum and learnt all about its fascinating collections. Foodie fans will be excited to learn about the Oundle Food Festival on page 39; music fans will discover there are some wonderful festivals coming up; and art lovers will be interested to learn about the open studios happening over Peterborough and the surrounding area in June and July. What a cultural place we live in! Enjoy the read!


THIS month 7 Peterborough Artists’ Open Studios 10 Father’s Day gift guide 12 Interviewing David Proud 18 Visiting Sue Ryder Thorpe Hall 22 Women’s cycling guide 26 Open farm weekend

fens THE

36 Recipe of the month 39 Oundle’s three festivals 40 Exploring Wisbech and Fenland Museum 44 Walk of the month - the Lincolnshire Wolds 48 A look at local music festivals 50 Independent business of the month - Grosvenor Flooring 58 Win tickets to the Battle of the Proms at Burghley House

A magazine with the heart and soul of the Fens




Issue 13 | June 2017




64 What’s on this month

David Proud talks about his new project



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 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 13 | JUNE 2017 Front cover - Thorpe Hall Mansion House by Chris Brudenell

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 | June 2017




FATHER’S DAY Yes, it’s time to celebrate our dads! This year it falls on Sunday, June 18th. Stuck for a gift idea? Turn to page 10 for our gift guide


The Fens | June 2017

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PETERBOROUGH Artists’ Open Studios is here Inspirational art in homes and studios throughout the city of Peterborough and surrounding villages 93 ARTISTS EXHIBITING AT 41 LOCATIONS NEW FREE PRIZE DRAW COMPETITION TO WIN £100 Arts and crafts lovers are invited to support local artists during Peterborough Artists’ Open Studios (PAOS) 2017. Artists will open their doors during Saturdays and Sundays for three weekends: 24 & 25 June and 1, 2, 8 & 9 July 2017, showcasing some of the great art that is made in our area. PAOS is a membership group of talented local artists who live or work in the Greater Peterborough/ PE postcode area. The organisation was started in 2000 by two artists, and has grown in strength over the years. Artists open their homes, studios, galleries and often gardens to showcase their work during the three separate weekends. This year the group have a total of 93 individual artists exhibiting at 41 locations. Visitors will have the opportunity to see many art-forms including textiles, jewellery, ceramics, mosaics, digital art, printmaking and painting – something for everyone! FREE PRIZE DRAW Following on from the success of last year’s prize draw, PAOS are again offering visitors the chance to win £100 worth of vouchers to spend on an artist(s) piece of their choice. To take part, you need to visit eight or more venues and collect a sticker in your brochure from each – see full details on how to take part on pages 5 & 6 of the PAOS brochure. These can be found at any of our venues. Opening times vary for each venue, so it’s important to check before visiting (you can find this from the brochure or at There are also extra details about the artist, contact details and a brief overview of individual artistic discipline. WHAT TO EXPECT You will get a warm welcome at all of the venues, many of which are the artists’ own homes. In some you will be able to look around the gardens

Photos by Tony Nero

and/or enjoy refreshments. In other venues there will be more than one artist exhibiting, some will have work in progress as well as finished work: and in other venues you will just see the finished art on display. You will be able to talk to the artists about their work and methods, and in some venues you will be able to see demonstrations. There will be work for sale wherever you go. Entry is free and there will never be any obligation to buy. There will be signs out showing you where to go at each venue but please respect the venues wherever you go. For further information visit www.paos. or look out for the bright blue brochure in various outlets around town.

The Whittlesey area will see open studios of Pauline Wheatley, Jeni Cairns and Jan Ward displaying and demonstrating their work. All three live and work locally. At Pauline’s home she will be displaying a wonderful array of paintings, prints and cards inspired by nature and animals, amongst other things. You may recognise Jeni from The Cookhouse & Fresh Pizza Co. Alongside ‘her evening job’, Jeni is also a garden designer specialising in recycling and environmental features. She has won several awards, most notably Gold at Hampton Court. Through this work she started to create garden sculptures. Jan works as a part-time teacher and is the owner of The Busy Box Room, a jewellery and fused glass business. She has been making jewellery in precious metals for 20 years and will be exhibiting and demonstrating at Pauline’s home. To create an even more relaxed atmosphere, Pauline and Jan will also be providing refreshments for which a small charge is made and donated to charity. The Fens | June 2017





Runners taking part in the 2017 Perkins Great Eastern Run have got a little bit of extra help around the corner. Organisers are offering help to prepare for the big race with free training evenings! Runners of all abilities are welcome to attend the free training sessions that take place at the Peterborough Embankment Athletics Track. The training sessions have been organised by Advance Performance and are held in conjunction with experienced runners and coaches from local running clubs, who will lead the runs. Each training session begins at 7pm with a warm up. Runners will be divided according to level of fitness and aspirations before being taken for a training run. Free parking is available at the Regional Fitness and Swimming Centre car park and the athletics track has full changing and shower facilities. Training sessions take place on every other Wednesday from July, starting on July 12th until October 4th. For more information email or visit

Wisbech Rose Fair Wisbech’s Georgian market town, which is nestled on the edge of Cambridgeshire, has many beautiful buildings including Peckover House, The Friends Meeting House and the Town Hall. And there is no better time to plan a visit than during their annual Rose Fair! This year the fair opens from June 28th to July 1st and sees local churches, businesses, charitable organisations and the Town Council working together to create four days of spectacular flower displays and entertainment. The tourist attractions all open their doors to the 8

The Fens | June 2017

Whittlesey & District Lions Club had their most successful Golf Day ever! 19 teams of four competed at Ramsey Bowls & Golf Club to win the Lions Trophy. Each year, the President chooses a different charity to benefit from the event and this year, Louise chose NGNPUK (No Pain No Gain UK). Through the generosity of golfers and sponsors, they were able to raise £1100 - enough to purchase a new syringe driver. Sponsors this year included Jones Butchers, The Muffin Oven, Hugh Crane, Aspect Fires, Royal Fish Bar, Neville’s Opticians, AA Whittlesey Computers, Grade A Recruitment and Watson Electrical & Property Services. “In particular we would like to thank Forterra,” added Louise, “who not only sponsored four holes, but were generous enough to also pay for the individual trophies - thank you!”

JUNE 28 - JULY 1

public. The WIsbech Rose Fair started over 50 years ago when St. Peter and St. Paul’s Church needed funds to restore the building. Two years later, the church decided to make the Rose Fair an annual event and each year it has grown a little more until it blossomed into a Flower Festival. Today St. Peter and St. Paul’s Church is famous for its magnificent flower displays and is recognised as the Premier Flower Festival of East Anglia. Arrangers come from afar to be part of the festival and spend days creating fantastic displays. You can find displays at Trinity

Methodist Church, The Baptist Church and The United Reform Church, also at Peckover House and Octavia Hill’s Birthplace. In the gardens of St. Peter and St. Paul’s, there are well in excess of 40 stalls selling a variety of goods from fruit and vegetables, to cosmetics and toys. There are also tombola stalls and cards, locally grown strawberries and plants. Wisbech Round Table’s organised float holds two parades on the Saturday at 11am and 2pm. For more information call St. Peter’s Church office on 01945 582508 (open on Thursday 9-11am and Friday 10-noon) or visit


Young Fenland Poet Laureate Announced

We were thrilled to hear that local student, Sophie Lutkin, had been named as this year’s Young Fenland Poet Laureate. Here she shares her thoughts on the award, and also her winning poem.

In Situ

Winning the title of Young Fenland Poet Laureate was an incredible experience for me. As someone who has only recently begun to seriously explore writing in both an analytical and a creative sense, it came as quite a shock when I was announced the winner—albeit a very pleasant one at that! My poem ‘In Situ’ was based around the archaeological finds at Must Farm in Whittlesey, which I was privileged enough to see as part of a visit organised by my school, Sir Harry Smith Community College. I would like to thank the College and especially the staff in the English department for their unceasing support regarding my creative endeavours. I was particularly inspired by the range of pottery and textiles which were uncovered, all perfectly preserved by the silt present after the fire which destroyed the settlement. There was such a rich history surrounding the tale of the preservation of the Bronze Age site, I couldn’t help but put my thoughts to paper. My role for the next year involves collaborating with the senior Fenland Poet Laureate to raise the profile of poetry in and around the Fens. I will be performing at local poetry nights in the months to come whilst I hold the title and discussing what

influences me as a writer in order to encourage others to delve into the world of poetry. Inspiration is everywhere and can be very frustrating when you don’t have a notebook to hand! What I’ve learned so far in my position as Young Fenland Poet Laureate is that I have a responsibility as a writer. My words hold meaning, and I’ve learnt to value every one of them. I would just like to thank one person in particular whose encouragement and guidance has been a large factor in my success. My English teacher, Mr De Almeida, has been an endless vessel for growth for me as a writer and as an individual. He deserves just as much recognition for my achievement as myself, so as a result, I am extremely grateful for his continued influence in my literary career. In the future, I wish to be able to help others understand the perplexities as well as the beauties of the English language. I am quite an ambitious individual, so presently I am working towards completing my GCSEs, to hopefully progress on to studying English, History and Philosophy at A-level before then transitioning to university to undoubtedly study English.

He traced the curves of his lover’s body; smoothed the wrinkles, dips and folds of skin. He held her in his hands – she was young, fragile. A taupe tapestry. She was a small pot soon burnt a rich copper, flames which tore like hands the pages of her flesh. Her lover preserved her in centuries of silt, buried her with ember and jet from foreign lands; beads for her eyes. He dressed her in plant fibres intricately charred and waterlogged, spun from the fusion of bone and bronze. Her legs collapsed like timber under her, stilts which fell like spoons against bowls. They found her years later, a sleeping artefact. They traced the curves of her worn body, smoothed the wrinkles, dips and folds of skin. They held her in their hands – she was old, but not fragile. A Bronze Age discovery, resurfaced in situ. Sophie Lutkin

by Sophie Lutkin The Fens | June 2017


Chocolate is not just for girls, these beer flavoured treats will make him smile. The Beer Collection £10; The Beer Hamper £25; Hotel Chocolat, Queensgate Shopping Centre A great little gift for under £10, this set is perfect for any man who deserves a little manicure at home. The Body Shop Hemp Hand and Nail Set £6; The Body Shop, Queensgate

SPOIL YOUR DAD Father’s Day Gift Ideas

The Paul Smith Pen Print Card Holder is a playful and yet finely crafted leather wallet which comes in a presentation box, making it an ideal gift this month. Paul Smith Pen Print Card Holder £89; John Lewis, Queensgate Shopping Centre

Ideal for any railway or puzzle enthusiast, these high quality wooden Wentworth puzzles showcase local artist James Green’s superb paintings. Each piece is railway shaped and there are no corner shapes! Flying Scotsman, Sir Nigel Gresley and Duchess Wentworth Wooden Puzzle available in 250 pieces at £29; To order call James Green on 01733 203230 or

WIN A GIFT VOUCHER Why not take your dad out for an experience instead this year? Peterborough Greyhound Stadium are running a special promotion Saturday night before Father’s Day. ‘Father’s Fosters Promotion’ entitles every father who books into their restaurant or Pizza Pasta Restaurant on that night a free pint of Fosters (the first to order a pint gets the next one free, they have to be a father however, limited to the first 50 pints). As an extra special treat, you could even win a £10 Greyhound voucher for your father. All you have to do to email win@ marking the subject “Win Dad” by June 10th. Peterborough Greyhound Stadium, 10 The Fens | June 2017

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The Fens | June 2017



A Proud


This month we were thrilled to catch up with actor, writer and all-round nice guy, David Proud, to find out about his exciting latest project

WORDS Anthony Shiels

Photo courtesy of 104 Films

In the quiet suburbs of Whittlesey resides actor, writer and director, David Proud. Although he's been involved in a huge number of projects he's best known for his role as Adam Best in EastEnders. He made ripples in the show, not just for the colourful character he portrayed, but also as being the first disabled actor to be cast in arguably the most successful soap in the UK. I first met David circa 1990 whilst attending Alderman Jacobs Primary School. He was, and still is, unlike anybody I've met. David was born with spina bifida and uses a wheelchair. As far as I'm aware, this has never stopped him doing anything. From primary school David was a driven and passionate individual who doesn't let life get in his way. 12 The Fens | June 2017

I asked how his disability has shaped his life: "I don't think I'd have been as driven,” explained David. “Being disabled, you have things daily that happen to you and subconsciously it goes in and it creates something to fight against. I always felt ambitious but I never really knew why. I think it's a

“I THINK IT'S A HUMAN THING, IF YOU’RE TOLD YOU CAN'T DO SOMETHING, YOU WANT TO DO IT” human thing, if you’re told you can't do something, you want to do it. If you feel like people are treating you differently, you want to prove that they shouldn't.” “It has shaped me, definitely. I might

have had an easier life but in truth, my ambition is harder to deal with than my disability." We stayed friends during our mini adventure through secondary school. David was always heavily involved and had a natural flair for acting and drama. His role as Tiny Tim in 'A Christmas Carol' was heartbreaking and remembered by many nearly 20 years after. In fact, I'd forgotten until writing this piece that David was also a formidable drummer, and featured as the rhythm section in my first band, the regrettable band named Mezzmerize. We left the school gates, moved on with our respective lives and like friends often do, we lost touch. "I didn't pursue acting,” he added. “I joined the civil

service and worked in social security. I did that for around four and a half years. It's a tricky time for anybody post school and finding what you want to do next.” “I've played wheelchair basketball since I was around 12, and have kept it going since. One game my coach said that the BBC were looking for an actor who could play basketball for a TV show. I wasn't acting at all at this point. So I went to the audition, and I'm not kidding, there were 200 young people in wheel chairs packed into one sports hall!” “Over a load of different weekends I kept being invited back until we were down to 20 people. I remember we were asked to do an improvised scene which was a family scene. I promptly asked everyone if they'd mind if I played the mother. They looked at me a little gone out. So I played the mother where I'd had an argument with the Dad character, and persisted to tidy the room aggressively, whilst giving him the silent treatment.” “I could see the producer out of the corner of my eye in hysterics. I knew at that moment that either I've completely blown this, or I may have done enough to get myself noticed." Years later I was dumbfounded to turn on the TV and see David Proud in none other than Albert Square! I was also really chuffed to find that David hadn't only succeeded in an acting career, but was also busy writing scripts and even directing. Was EastEnders a turning point in your career? "It raised my profile overnight,” David told me. “The night that my first performance on the show aired, my mentor asked if I was prepared for the next day. He warned me that things might be a little different. I laughed it off and said I was going about my life as usual. “The following day I went into Queensgate to buy a birthday card. I went in the shop and had to be escorted out by security. Unbeknownst to me, a small army of kids had surrounded the entrance. I didn't even get to buy the card! At that moment everything was really crazy. “Eastenders was amazing but ultimately I didn't want my career to be defined by one role." David’s latest project is a short film titled 'Sympathy For The Lemon.' "I had this idea of joining a couple, mid-argument. As it's a short film, I thought it was funny as the audience then has to catch up with what's happened. “Then it dawned on me that one of the funniest places to join a couple mid-argument would be the bedroom halfway through an intimate moment that's just gone horribly wrong. “So that's what we did. Basically he'd said something inappropriate that he thinks she would appreciate... And she doesn't." The script has been performed as a play in London which attained rave reviews. David was elated to inform me that the film has also been selected to feature at The Edinburgh Film Festival. This is a huge deal for a writer and can lead to bigger things. I asked David about his plans after this project has completed. "I'm quite interested in developing the characters of 'Sympathy For The Lemon' some more. It has the potential of a feature. I like the idea of the parents not approving of the relationship and a storyline based around an awkward weekend spent together with the family." David is an inspiration and a refreshing reminder that whatever card life deals you, with hard work and determination, anything is possible. Find out more at www.

CREATE-FEST IN RAMSEY! Summer is coming and so is Create-Fest on Saturday July 15th, back by popular demand after a successful debut event in 2015. And the best part is, this free all-day music festival is now extended into the evening with the spectacular, “Rock Q” a Queen Tribute band. The 1940s Camp on Wood Lane, Ramsey, opens its gates at 11am with local musicians, dance schools and Upwood Ukuleles playing, as well as craft stalls, bouncy castles, food and a bar. There’s a real variety of music on offer making sure that there’s something for everyone: rock, blues, street dance, ballet and 70s rock and 80s covers. You can listen to the music, watch the show and picnic! Popular local band, 10o’clock Curfew, round off the entertainment and the field closes at 6pm before re-opening at 7pm for the night entertainment. The Wise Naïve, a contemporary soul, funk band from London and Cambridge start the night’s entertainment at 7pm. Then the Guvn’rs, another well-established local band from Earith, will be playing their popular set from their Cambridge gigs before the finale with Rock Q. If the rain threatens the fun, the whole event will move into the Drill Hall. A WEEK OF MUSIC IN RAMSEY The weekend before Create-Fest, RDF Event’s RamFest 2017 is being held at the 1940s Camp and tickets are selling fast! There will also be music throughout the week in Ramsey in the pubs and cafes to get everyone in the mood for the weekend. So far, there’s live music in the Railway on Wednesday 12th June and in Milkshake Junction from 7pm on Thursday 13th (with karaoke for those brave enough!). More acoustic sessions are planned for the week, just keep checking the events calendar as more dates are confirmed. So, put the date in your diary and come over to Ramsey and enjoy a free festival! For more information please visit www.discoverramsey. By Ann Cuthbert, Ramsey’s Promotions Officer The Fens | June 2017



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Home & garden


Come June, it’s pretty safe to say that the risk of frost is behind us – summer is on its way and it’s time to make sure the garden is in good shape for the summer months. The sun is shining, the birds are singing and the garden is bursting into life. This makes June a particularly busy month for the green-fingered among us with lots of planting, pruning, maintenance and weeding to be done. All our hard work is sure to be worth the effort though as we sit back and admire the onset of summer in our garden.



Why should you plant them?

Roses suit all kinds of gardens – they come in a huge variety of colours, shapes and scents. They can be grown in beds, borders and containers and can be grown up walls, fences and trellis.

How should you plant them?


Now the risk of morning frost has passed, it’s time to plant up your containers, hanging baskets and planters. If you already had them growing in the greenhouse, or hardening off outside during the day, then it’s now safe to move them out to their summer position – choosing a sunny spot will ensure you get the best from them. Trim any excess growth to maintain shape and deadhead regularly to encourage flower growth. Water at least once a day or more frequently when it’s hot, dry and windy. Regular feeding – once per week in the summer – will also help your plants to thrive.


The lawn will be growing fast now and will continue to do so throughout the summer, so a good weekly cut is essential to keep it looking neat and tidy. To make sure your lawn looks its best for the summer, apply a spring fertiliser onto established lawns now. A

good feed and a regular close cut will encourage extra growth making your lawn thick and lush. Don’t forget to reduce cutting frequency and raise mower blades if we have a drought.


June is traditionally the month when roses are at their peak. You will need to keep an eye out for black spot and aphid attacks. Both of these will need treating immediately to ensure that too much damage doesn’t occur. Black spot is a serious disease for roses caused by a fungus which infects the leaves and reduces plant vigour, and should be treated at first sign of infection with a fungicide. Green fly are sap-sucking creatures that can alter the growth of roses, also decreasing their vigour. Treat roses that are being attacked by aphids with an insecticide. Deadhead any faded rose blooms to encourage fresh buds to grow and apply a rose fertiliser after the first flowering. Enjoy your garden!

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Roses grown in containers can be planted all year round – check the label when buying though as their preferred spot and conditions will vary depending on the type. Dig a hole roughly twice the size of the root ball to a spade’s depth, dig in a good quality compost and fork in a general fertiliser. Plant the rose to the same depth as it was in the container, firm down and water well. Apply a rose fertiliser every spring for amazing displays of colour.

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


Home & garden

Choosing an Architect Designing and completing a successful building or extension is a complicated process - getting it right can mean the difference between a building you love or one you hate. Simon Parr-Black shares his top tips for finding the right architect

Often choosing to extend or develop your own home is preferable to moving. There are, however, many things to consider when doing this. The right development can make a dramatic impact on your property and increase its value, but when it goes wrong, you could be left with regrets. Choosing an architect is a crucial part of any building project. Making sure you have the right architect to design your extension, loft conversion or re-plan your entire home is essential. Not only do they need to understand the local authority planning rules and regulations, but they have to understand what it is that you want from the project and how to exceed those expectations. It often helps to choose an architect who is familiar with your locality in order to ensure the local regulations are considered. If they don’t, your wonderful new design can’t be built, and your money and time is wasted. Further to this, you need someone that you feel you can work with, who understands how you want your home to operate and how you want to live in it. I tend to get out my scale rule when looking over plans and try to envisage how a space is going to feel. If you are unsure, you can always use string or tape on the ground to get an idea of the space. Think about the furniture you want to use in the new space, how will it fit (remember to allow for plaster and skirting). Think about what you are going to see as a you walk around your home – the downstairs 16 The Fens | June 2017

toilet isn’t always best placed by the front door but it could be the only place for it. As you work through the areas, you will find things that you want to fight for and others that you are happy to live with. The Architects Registration Board (ARB), hold the Register of architects in the UK. RIBA, RIAI and RIAS are the professional bodies. Architects must be registered with ARB in the UK, and can elect to be a member of one of the above mentioned professional bodies if they choose to. For more information visit architects-register. Before you talk to any architects, make sure you really understand what you want from the space you are looking to create. Do you want it just to be ordinary rooms with one use, or a multi-functional room? Think about whether the use you have now for the rooms will be the same in the future, or whether it might change. Here are some points to work through before you get started: • Check with local builders if they know a good architect they have worked with before. • Source two to three architects to contact. • Make sure they have created designs for extensions and conversions in the area of your local authority, ask what their approval rate

is for submissions. • Secure in writing that they have full knowledge of planning permission and building regulations (or standards) in your local authority. • Let the architect know what your budget is, minimum and maximum for the build, explain whether this includes decoration or additional features such as a bathroom suite or kitchen. • Check what services the architect will supply. Will they secure planning and building regulation approval? If changes to design are required to secure approval, will you have to pay extra? Make sure they have professional indemnity insurance. • Find out how many visits to your property are required to finalise the design and/or manage the build. • Some architects are great at design but don’t have the experience of managing tradespeople, check previous projects and secure references and feedback. • Agree a budget, ideally fixed, for designing the additional space. • Always meet with the architect at your property to ensure they understand the details of your build. • Ensure you sign a contract with the architect, agreeing payment terms in return for the services they offer. • Explain to the architect whether you want the extra space to be in keeping with your current style, modern or traditional. • Take photographs of local examples of what it is that you are looking to achieve. As always, it’s your home, so make sure you enjoy the journey…

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

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Cover feature


Thorpe Hall Vintage clothes, kitchen garden, award-winning extension and Grade 1 listed building, Sue Ryder Thorpe Hall Hospice is something quite special. This month we went behind the scenes to find out why it is thought of so highly by those who have stepped inside

WORDS Natasha Shiels IMAGES Chris Brudenell 18 The Fens | June 2017

There is much more to Sue Ryder Thorpe Hall Hospice than first meets the eye. An impressive building, yes, steeped in history and charm, and whilst it is a place of sadness where patients are offered palliative or end of life care, it is also full of love and happiness, a place where memories can be made and savoured. A garden to transport you to another place, a shop to discover treasures, a Coffee Shop to indulge yourself or enjoy a hot lunch, Thorpe Hall is a crowning jewel in the heart of Longthorpe and it has stolen my heart. THE MANSION HOUSE We couldn’t possibly talk about Thorpe Hall without reflecting on some of its colourful history.

was left derelict and deteriorated until in 1986, Lady Sue Ryder acquired the Hall for use as a Sue Ryder hospice. The Grade 1 listed building cost £3 million to renovate, and greatly helped by local businesses who donated goods, Thorpe Hall became a 20 bed hospice, providing specialist palliative care for adults across eight rooms on two floors. The hospice, as it does to this day, provided specially trained medical and nursing staff who control patients’ pain and symptoms, whilst also offering emotional and spiritual support. In 2015 a major transformation took place as a purpose-built, single-storey

Originally built in 1653 as a private family home, the building then evolved into a boarding school, convalescent home and maternity hospital (of which many people in the Fenland area have the privilege of noting that they were born here). Thorpe Hall was built by an ambitious and wealthy man called Oliver St John, the Puritan Lord Paramount of the Liberty of the City of Peterborough. The Cromwellian mansion was built on a small rise to ensure its vaulted cellars weren’t affected by the floods that covered the water meadows every winter. The building has a dutch influence (since Oliver had been inspired by buildings in Holland). By 1791, after several ancestors had inherited the house, its contents were sold off to pay for Sir Robert Bernard’s (a descendent of Oliver St. John) debts, culminating in the sale of the hall itself in 1791 to Earl Fitzwilliam. Since Earl already had Milton Hall, Thorpe Hall became part of the Milton estate, and was transformed into a school for 20 years. In 1850 Thorpe Hall was sold for £8,000, along with 70 acres of park, to Reverend William Strong. By 1926 the estate was sold again to Edward Meaker for just £11,500, but after just 10 years, with both parents dying, the property was put in trust and requisitioned for use as a hospital during the Second World War, before becoming a maternity home until the hospital was opened in 1971.

in-patient unit was built in the Hall’s former orchard. This new building, which has since won awards for its design, is far from a clinical space. Its four corridors, named after the seasons, are brightly coloured and vibrant. Each room has its own ensuite and door leading directly into the garden areas. It’s more like a 5-star hotel, despite offering the best care and medical treatment for its patients. The new building better serves the patients’ needs, allowing the Mansion itself to house offices, treatment facilities for day patients, and venue hire for weddings and other occasions. The Hospice has been thoughtfully designed to allow patients and their families to enjoy the precious time they have together. As Suzanne Ostler, our guide, explained: “We don’t see it as a sad place, although of course sad things happen, but there is fun and memories made here. It’s a warm place.”

THE SUE RYDER HOSPICE During the next decade Thorpe Hall

THE VERY BEST CARE With 20 beds for its in-house patients,

Thorpe Hall often has a waiting list, but everybody is welcome. The care received is completely free to the end user - whether that’s a patient staying or those who use the Hospice at Home Service. And it’s not just the patients who receive loving care at Thorpe Hall Hospice, their families are offered support too. The Family Support Service offers advice and round-the-clock help, whether it’s taking care of practical things such as funeral arrangements, or counselling groups to help with bereavement. There are even walking and lunch groups who meet monthly, and a group specially for 6-11 year olds.

What struck me was something our guide mentioned, the real crux of a hospice. Here family members can stop being a carer for a loved one, and instead revert back to The Fens | June 2017


being a son, father, mother, daughter - creating memories to treasure forever. Amazingly, around 60% of patients are able to go home after a short stay, pain and symptom free, to spend time with their loved ones. For others, the hospice provides a place to enjoy their last few precious moments as comfortably as possible, surrounded by caring and supportive nurses. For those unable to leave their beds, patients can be wheeled out of their rooms to enjoy the fresh air, or lifted into specially made baths to enjoy a comforting soak, without losing their dignity. THE GARDENS, COFFEE SHOP AND SUE RYDER SHOP It’s not just the patients and their families who are welcome to walk in the beautiful gardens, some of which are also listed. Members of the public are more than welcome to take in their splendour, plus visit the newly appointed kitchen garden, which not only provides fresh vegetables for the kitchens, but also provides produce which can be sold. The Coffee Shop serves hot lunches, tea and cake and an afternoon tea in the Great Hall once a month. Both the gardens and Coffee Shop are open seven days a week, and the gardens are open to four-legged friends, as well as children. The quaint Sue Ryder shop is a real little gem on the estate. Previously a carpenter’s workshop, the Sue Ryder shop was opened in 2013 and sells highly desirable items from designer bags and clothes, to jewellery, crockery and shoes. The ladies informed me that they are often astounded by the quality of donations that they receive. It’s a real vintage lovers’ paradise, and 20 The Fens | June 2017

I suspect few of the managers or volunteers leave empty handed after spending a few hours inside. HOW YOU CAN HELP So how can you help? There are of course many ways you can make a big difference. From volunteering in one of the many roles such as helping in the gardens, in the shop or hospice, to taking part in an event and raising money for Sue Ryder Thorpe Hall Hospice. You could run the Great Eastern Run in October (alongside me), or maybe even the London Marathon next year? You could organise an event, coffee morning or hold an open house? We’ve included a few ideas, but the sky’s the limit (literally, you could do a skydive!). Even with an invaluable team of volunteers, Sue Ryder Thorpe Hall Hospice requires £2.8 million a year to run, maintain and pay for its team of nurses and additional staff. And whilst half of that amount is provided for by the NHS, the remainder is solely funded through donations and fundraising.

I was touched by a note in one of the family sanctuary rooms, which hung on a tree of wishes. It said, “Please, please keep my mummy alive.” Of course the Sue Ryder Thorpe Hall Hospice cannot keep her mummy alive, but what they can do is make her mummy as pain free and comfortable as possible, ensuring she can be a mother to that little girl for as long as she possibly can. And it is through the constant help of individuals and businesses that the hospice is able to provide such incredible care for patients at the end of their life. So, what can you do to help?

HERE ARE SOME IDEAS OF HOW YOU CAN FUNDRAISE FOR SUE RYDER HOSPICE: Tea and cake Quizzical Movie night Sponsored walk Pack a bag Raffle sales Fun day Cycle race Go hairless

Dress down or up Skydive Open your garden Running event Hold an auction Give it up Car wash Teddy bears’ picnic Tombola

Find out more about how you can help by emailing thorpe. or by calling 01733 225999

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• Commuting and Urban Riding Hybrid and traditional bikes are also great for commuting as they sit the rider in a stable position with good visibility. Commuting focused bikes will be designed with ease of use in mind, so will require less maintenance and may include extras like mudguards. • Roads and Racing Road cycling is a unique opportunity to explore the local countryside from a new perspective. If you’re looking to venture further afield by bike or take part in a race or sportive, road bikes are perfect for the job. The larger wheels and narrow tyres are more efficient on tarmac, meaning covering larger distances is quicker and easier. They are also very light and responsive, meaning getting up hills is more comfortable. • Off-Road Trails The kind of off-road trails you want to tackle can vary wildly and will determine the kind of bike you are looking for. Mountain bikes are capable of handling a wide variety of terrain and offer an entry point into the exciting world of off-road cycling. Most mountain bikes will feature some sort of suspension to absorb shocks and bumps from the trail and women’s versions may feature a kinked top tube to allow for a more stable riding position.

British Cycling Ride Leader, Breeze Champion and owner of Rutland Cycling, SALLY MIDDLEMISS, gives us her top tips on getting into cycling – how to choose the right bike and where to find friendly local women’s rides to join Do I need a women’s specific bike? Women’s bikes (sometimes described as “Women-Specific Design or “WSD”) bikes offer an alternative to a unisex or men’s bike, which is designed to better fit a woman’s frame and body shape. For example, the frame geometry may feature a shorter reach to the handlebars, as women’s arms and upper bodies tend to be shorter than men’s. Ladies’ bikes will also come with specially designed ‘contact points’ (e.g., saddle, handlebars), to make them more comfortable for women to ride. Of course, we all have different heights and body shapes, and women can ride any bike they want to. Indeed, some women will find a men’s bike more comfortable, and vice versa. For many women, the introduction of women’s-specific bikes has meant less ‘tweaking’ of a new bike is needed. What type of bike should I buy? The first decision to make is: which

22 The Fens | June 2017

style of bike is best for you? If you’re just starting out, you’ll probably want to choose one of the following three popular styles: a hybrid/traditional bike, mountain bike, or road bike. • Leisure and Fitness Riding If you want to focus on improving your fitness or venture into a hobby that allows you to enjoy the great outdoors, a hybrid or traditional bike is ideal. They allow for a variety of terrain to be ridden without needing to make adjustments or use specialist equipment and clothing. They won’t go as fast as a road bike or cope with tough terrain like a mountain bike, but are perfect for those not interested in really specialised riding. A traditional ladies’ bike is best suited to paved roads and typically has a step-through frame, making it easy to get on and off, especially if you’re wearing normal clothes. A hybrid bike usually has more gears and some models come with front suspension, so they’re a smoother ride along unsurfaced paths.

How to choose the right bike? Once you’ve decided on which style of bike you’re after, the next step is to visit your local bike shop and try a few different models until you find one that feels just right. In the end, it’s all down to personal choice and fit – so do spend time trying out a few different bikes until you are happy you’ve got just the right bike for you. Rutland Cycling have been helping people discover their pedal power for over 30 years. To find out more, visit Peterborough store on Ham Lane, or one of their other nine stores at Rutland Water, Grafham Water, Cambridge and Fineshade Wood. You can even test ride a bike before buying it – Rutland Cycling have the UK’s largest cycle hire and demo fleet, including electric bikes.

• Rutland Cycling, Ham Lane Peterborough, PE2 5UU. Call 01733 371013 or email


Free, friendly women’s bike rides at Ferry Meadows Rutland Cycling has teamed up with the British Cycling Breeze Network, with the aim of getting more women into cycling for fun. The rides are free to join with your own bike, or thanks to the Breeze discount, hire a bike and equipment from just £5. Rides led by British Cycling Ride Leaders. • Mums & Tots Rides - 9.45am Pedal on quiet, traffic-free trails. Distance 5-7 miles. 9th & 23rd June, 7th & 21st July, 4th & 18th August. • Breeze Midweek Pedal - 10.00am A leisurely ride around Ferry Meadows and a lovely way to meet new friends. Distance 5-10 miles. 8th & 22nd June, 6th & 20th July, 3rd, 17th & 31st August. • Breeze Weekend Pedal - 10.00am Easy pedaling, suitable for beginners. Coffee and cake stop at the end! Distance 10 miles. 3rd & 17th June, 1st, 15th & 29th July, 12th & 26th August All groups meet at Rutland Cycling Peterborough store. Booking essential for the Breeze events at breeze@

The Fens | June 2017




What exactly is pinching a nerve and why is it so painful? This month we explore this very question.

MILK - And the secrets

A nerve is made up of many separate conducting fibres that are bundled together and encased in a protective sheath. The sheath is then enveloped by small blood vessels like a vine would wrap around a tree trunk to provide the nerve with nourishment it needs. See figure 1 (below) for a cross-sectional visualisation.

that are hidden from you!

To many people I talk to, one of the strangest things I could ever suggest to them as a beneficial change to their diet is... stop drinking milk! But let’s have a look at what milk, or more specifically, dairy, really is. Put simply, cows’ milk is meant for baby cows, everything about it is designed to turn a little calf into a 400lb cow, it is full of everything that a calf needs to grow, and believe it or not, what that calf needs is very different to what you or I need. The biggest argument I hear back is that dairy is a great source of calcium, but I’m afraid to say this way of thinking is the result of extensive misleading advertisement, poorly conducted studies and a heavy government backing for many decades now. Dairy consumption is actually linked to a number of ailments, illness and diseases too long to

who refrain from dairy, which counteracts anyone that says ‘milk is good for the bones’ The facts show that the calcium in vegetables such as kale and broccoli, to name two very cheap and common examples, is absorbed into our blood stream twice as quickly as that of cows’ milk. They also have the added benefit of containing iron, fibre, and Vitamin K (which is the vitamin that actually strengthens your bones!) you won’t find these in cows milk. I don’t feel this is the place to let you know some of the other ‘things’ that are legally allowed to make it into your green, red, or blue topped milk, but a quick YouTube search into the practices of the dairy industry may well be enough to change your way of thinking about dairy for good, or feel free to email me! There are dozens of vegetables with comparable calcium levels and shelves full of alternate plant based milks in our supermarkets that are much better for your overall health. Leave the baby cow milk for the baby cows!

STUDIES HAVE SHOWN THOSE CONSUMING MORE DAIRY ARE AT A HIGHER RISK OF OSTEOPOROSIS AND BONE FRACTURE THAN THOSE WHO REFRAIN FROM DAIRY mention here. In the UK, studies have shown those consuming more dairy are at a higher risk of Osteoporosis and bone fracture than those


Robert Bull is a boxing coach and self confessed food nerd, currently setting up a digital nutrition advice service. You can contact him on 24 The Fens | June 2017

Blood vessels Nerve fibres Sheath

Figure 1 - Cross section of a nerve These nerves run throughout our bodies ducking, weaving and even passing through any structures (e.g. muscle, tendon, organ, bone, etc) which stand between them and their destination. When we pinch a nerve, as the name suggests, the nerve’s space is encroached by the surrounding structures. The extent to the encroachment determines the amount of compression placed on the outlined components of the nerve, and hence the symptoms we feel. A mild pinch results in the outer blood vessels and sheath being compressed. This reduces the blood flow downstream and tethers the sheath making it less elastic. Our symptoms, therefore, become one of a low grade ache and momentarily sharp pains on movement in the distribution of the nerve. A moderate pinch extends into the outer nerve fibres. Here we start to see symptoms relating to dysfunction in the conduction of the nerve signals. Generally speaking, the outer circumference fibres tend to consist of tactile sensation fibres. Therefore, the first neurological symptoms are pins/ needles, tingling and/or altered sensation along the path of the compromised nerve. The ache becomes more pronounced as more blood vessels are affected and the sharp pain occurs more often and with less movement. In cases of severe pinching the compression extends deeper into the nerve affecting those fibres controlling our muscles, joints and organs. We then see symptoms such as muscle weakness, reduced limb control, dysfunction in how a particular organ functions and a further enhancement of the symptoms in a moderate pinching scenario. How to rectify the problem involves finding the structure which is causing the pinching and address its dysfunction.



Mayur and Ubhi can be found at Whittlesey Osteopaths, 01733 785214

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& Vintage Weekend SATURDAY 10TH & SUNDAY 11TH JUNE 2017 Open Farm Sunday encourages farms to open their doors. Farmers across Britain are invited to take part and host an event on June 11th. But Park Farm in Thorney are going one step further and opening for the whole weekend, and it promises to be an event not to miss. Discover more about life on a working arable farm and enjoy lots of fun family activities at Park Farm’s Open Farm and Vintage Weekend in Thorney. Organised as part of the national Open Farm Sunday Event, entry is FREE, plus there’s plenty of parking. Gates open at 10am and close at 4pm on both days. So why not come and see the hilarious sheep show or travel on

their Farm Safari! Park Farm Thorney also have a farmers market selling a wide variety of local products, Kids Zone where you can make butter or let the children have a go on the pedal tractor circuit, or just relax with some locally produced food from their food hall. The Peterborough Farm Machinery Preservation Society will also be displaying their vintage machinery, with a working area. Shire horses will be working the land and there is also a pick-your-own spuds area! The farm also has a livestock zone where you can see plenty of animals and even feed the lambs! So make a date this month and support your local, working farm?

OPEN FARM & Vintage Weekend Park Farm Open Farm & Vintage Weekend, June 10th-11th. Park Farm Thorney can be found at Sandpit Road, Thorney PE6 0SY. For more information please visit: www.parkfarmthorney. or call 01733 270298.

Park Farm, Sandpit Road, Thorney, Peterborough PE6 0SY Tel: 01733 270298

26 The Fens | June 2017

OPEN FARM & Vintage Weekend th 0 1 Sat 11th n u S 7 1 & 0 2 e n Ju


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PET CORNER| Fleas, ticks, ear mites, biting and sucking lice, tapeworm, roundworm, lungworm... as if we don’t have enough of our own bugs to worry about! The importance of internal and external parasites and their zoonotic significance is becoming increasingly diverse. A disease that has the ability to transfer from animal to humans and vice versa. Either from being brought into this country via unscrupulous breeders importing sick, poorly-bred puppies, people adopting rescue dogs from abroad or by the parasite actually increasing its geographical range for ‘whatever’ reason. There are too many parasites to go into them all, but here are a few of the more common ones. Every pet owner has at some stage come across fleas. Extremely athletic little beasties that can jump around 200 times their own body size, which equates to a 6ft man jumping easily over the Eiffel Tower, they can bite all mammals including ourselves, and in some dogs and cats, can produce a nasty itchy reaction called flea allergy dermatitis. Fleas are quite easily controlled with various methods including spot-ons, tablets and collars, all with varying degrees of success. Generally, the

This issue, Whittlesey Veterinary Centre looks at parasites on your pets

products that can be bought in pet shops are not as strong or effective as the veterinary supplied ones, as shop bought one aren’t subjected to the same degree of testing and can, on occasion, give quite nasty adverse effects. Fleas can lay their eggs in your house necessitating treatment to your house. These little beasties are picked up from long grass, attach to the skin of the pet where they bury their mouth parts and ingest the pet’s blood by forcing a liquid in from themselves.

6 signs of fleas on your pet

When they have fed enough, they drop off. Ticks can attach to any mammal including ourselves, and they ‘can’ transmit several nasty diseases. You may have heard about lungworm from the television, transmitted to dogs by ingesting slugs or snails, and can be fatal. Even though the incidence of lungworm is on the increase, the prevalence in this area is low. If your dog has breathing difficulties, lack of energy or persistent bleeding, they will need to see a vet. Toxocara canis is a worm that is a very significant parasite and can have far reaching consequences for both children and adults alike. It is contracted by accidental ingestion of eggs that are shed in dog faeces and remain dormant in soil. Once ingested, the egg releases a small larvae that enters the blood stream and gets to the eyes by chance. Once in the eye, a response is triggered which can ultimately lead to blindness. This is one reason why it is important to treat your pets and also pick up their faeces after they have defacated. Most parasites are preventable and it is for the benefit of both pet and owner. If you require any advice regarding parasites please contact the practice.


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Find us: 27 Broad Street, Whittlesey, Peterborough, PE7 1HA Opening: Mon-Fri 8:30am - 6:30pm | Sat 9:30am - 12:30pm 28 The Fens | June 2017

Your pet’s our passion

PHOTOS Chris Brudenell

Charity Shop


Now positioned in the former bicycle shop on Market Street, FACET have been overwhelmed with some truly special donations. We popped along to find out more Local charity, FACET, who believe in focussing on ability and not disability, recently moved their Whittlesey shop to Market Street, after several years on Broad Street. “Our new store,” explained manager Louise Bryan, “better suits our needs and we’ve already had some amazing donations. In our first few weeks since opening we were given a Versace jacket, as well as some beautiful pieces of furniture and vintage items.” A TREASURE TROVE From designer shoes and vintage jewellery, to hats, clothes for all ages, outdoor furniture to collectible items, books and retro pieces, FACET really is a treasure trove of goodies! Some of the best sellers, Louise and her assistant Teresa explained, are ladies fashion and vintage linen sections. Whilst charity shops don’t always conjour up images of chic and fashionable items, you would be pleasantly suprised to find quality brands, gift ideas for all ages and desirable items inside FACET’s doors. In fact, photographer Chris walked away with a gift for his friend whilst we

were visiting! A GREAT CAUSE If treating yourself or a loved one isn’t enough of an excuse to go shopping, then knowing you are supporting a great cause at the same time should settle any doubts. FACET have four retail outlets in the Fenland area, covering March, Chatteris as well as Whittlesey. Profits from each shop go directly towards helping to provide opportunities for students to develop skills that encourage and support their independence. Their local charity shops give students work experience in retail, as well as an opportunity to sell their own crafts. SHOP AND DONATE FACET, like all charity retail stores, rely on donations from the public. Do you have any clothes hanging in your wardrobe that could find

a new home? As well as furniture, Louise is particularly keen to see men’s clothes and shoes, plus anything vintage or retro. All items are checked, washed and carefully arranged in store ready to be upcycled and enjoyed. So make sure you recycle at your local charity shop! Next time you’re looking to buy or even donate, pop by FACET, Market Street, Whittlesey. FACET is open Monday-Friday and Saturday mornings. You can contact your local shop on 07518 149020. Founded in 2002 FACET is a charity with a focus on providing training and day care to adults with disabilities within the Fenland area. FACET offer three main areas within the tuition they provide: horticulture, woodwork and Towards Independence. Find out more at The Fens | June 2017


Helping Others to Help Themselves We go behind the scenes with Angela Hinton from local care provider, MIDAS CARE, to find out more about this essential industry When most of us think about elderly care, the first thing that comes into our heads is going into a care home. This can often be synonymous with leaving our home, giving up our freedom and suffering an overall loss of independence. However, it doesn’t have to be that way. Home care is a different option that offers a person all the support they need, while still retaining their independence. For the past 25 years, Midas Care has been providing private and funded domiciliary care to communities across Cambridgeshire, giving less-able people the confidence and peace of mind to continue to live as independently as possible in their own home. Support Worker, Angela Hinton, has been working in the care industry for eight years, and understands the importance of home care. “It is really important to my service users because it allows them to stay in their homes as long as they are able, giving them the

quality of life that they deserve in comfortable surroundings.” Adding empathy is an essential part of her work: “It’s important to be patient, so I always say: ‘I’m not here to take over, I’m here to help’, because I know I may be in their position one day.” Angela’s average day is made up of a number of different visits, helping her users in a variety of different ways. She might be making breakfast or cooking lunch, assisting with medication, personal care, washing and dressing or just helping to ensure that the home is kept tidy. But arguably most importantly of all, she offers company while she’s there, which for some people is the most valuable thing. “First and foremost, my responsibilities are to take care of their requirements and make them feel safe at all times” says Angela, “but I always make sure I have a catch up while I’m working.” With a rapidly growing elderly

population, the care industry could not be more important to our society. Taking care of the older generation is a huge priority and companies like Midas Care are crucial to combat the challenges that the industry faces in the coming years. “The benefits at Midas Care are great and they manage my rounds really well,” added Angela. “Knowing that I am helping people every day is an amazing feeling!” If you’re interested in starting a career in care, Midas Care Ltd are always looking for people to join their team. Not only will you enjoy full training, highly competitive rates of pay and fantastic benefits (not least, your birthday off as paid holiday!), but you’ll also enjoy a huge amount of job satisfaction. n Get in touch to find out more by calling 01223 666899, emailing, or visiting

Imagine being the centre of someone’s world by being the person they can’t wait to see each week. In return Midas Care offers you support, recognition and a host of benefits with great rates of pay.

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30 The Fens | June 2017

Natural Makeup


Makeup Artist Tia Henderson reveals her secrets to a red carpet look Do you know the hottest trends for Prom this year? Look no further…. whether you’re going all out on a glamorous red carpet worthy dress or keeping it simple, here are a few hair and makeup looks that will turn heads. Full Glam Hair and Makeup! Use the eyes as the main attraction with Glitters, Cut Creases and bold colours that work well with your dress and bring out your eye colour. Team this with bold or nude lips and you’re set to go! A beautiful dress needs beautiful hair so why not try a messy bun with braids coming from each side with small glitzy pins for an elegant hairstyle that’s hot-right-now. It’s the small details that make the biggest impact. If you’re looking for a more relaxed but elegant look, use softer colours like Pinks, Mauves, Browns and Coppers to define the eyes. Add a subtle glitter wash over the whole lid for a relaxed but glamorous finish. Use the modern take on a smokey eye and bring your eyeshadow slightly above the crease, darken the outer corners and lighten up the inner corners with a subtle shimmer eyeshadow. Keep your hair simple with a boho inspired look. Soft beach waves, big braids or relaxed half up and half downs are on trend this year. Glam up your hairstyle with hair rings, simple headbands or small flowers.

Local Fashion Show Penco Dress Agency in Whittlesey, Cambridgeshire is partnering up with Park Lane Primary School to put on a fashion show. The show, which will raise funds for the Friends of Park Lane School, will be held on Tuesday 13th June at 7:30pm at the school. Tickets are £2 per person, and are available in advance from Penco Dress Agency and Park Lane School reception. Refreshments and a raffle will also be provided. Penco Dress Agency is situated at 7 Broad Street, Whittlesey PE7 1HA. For more information call 07791 944435 or visit www.

Please call me on 07495 784689 or email hello@ to book in a consultation where we can discuss the perfect look for your Prom!

n About the expert - Tia Henderson

“I want you to look and feel the best you ever have” - Specialist hair and makeup artistry for special occasions, couture bridal and prom, event and media. TIA Hair & Makeup Artist 07495 784689 The Fens | June 2017


Writing - the school of hard knocks Local author and mother of two EVA JORDAN shares her musings “Hardships often prepare ordinary people for an extraordinary destiny” – C S Lewis

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“Writing – ain’t for the faint hearted.” Who said that? Oh yes, of course, me! And if you think it is, I suggest you give up now. It often involves long, solitary hours tapping away at a keyboard in front of a computer screen, where emotions are apt to swing violently from belief your work is the next big thing to the worse piece of writing on the planet – ever. Then there are the edits and the rewrites and that’s long before you start submitting your work. There’s every possibility it will be rejected. And even then, if you are lucky enough to get a publisher, or indeed as many successful writers now do, self-publish, you’re still putting your work ‘out there’ for public scrutiny. Reviews are vital to a writer and sometimes they’ll be great, at others, brutal. Accept it though, the one thing you open yourself up to, as a writer, is rejection and criticism. In fact, that’s probably a given for most things in life, especially those that catapult you, one way or another, into the public arena, which of course writing definitely does. However, how can you become known as a writer unless you take a chance? Luckily, reading is subjective. There will always be those (hopefully!) who love your work and sadly those who don’t. Never let rejection or bad reviews sway you from pursuing your writing dream though. Rejection is a strong test of character. Nonetheless, I do accept there will be days when it’s not always possible to remain so philosophical. So, for all the writers and would be writers reading this, currently suffering a crisis of confidence, here is a list of famous writers whose novels were initially rejected. • A publisher rejects H.G. Wells The War Of The Worlds, describing it as “an endless nightmare.” Eventually published in 1898, it has been in print ever since. • Louisa May Alcott is told to “stick to teaching.” She doesn’t give up on her dream to become a published writer and later Little Women goes on to sell millions. Some 140 years later it is still in print. • Agatha Christie experiences five years of continual rejection before landing a publishing deal. Her book sales are now in excess of £2 billion. • Stephen King was told, “we are not interested in science fiction which deals with negative utopias. They do not sell.” Carrie sold over one million copies in the first year alone. • The Christopher Little Literary Agency takes on a new client. Her book is rejected by 12 publishers. Eventually picked up by an editor at Bloomsbury, the company agree to publish but tell the writer to get a day job as she has little chance of making money from children’s books. Yet Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J.K. Rowling generates a series of such books, setting records as the fastest-selling books in history, with combined sales of £450 million.


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34 The Fens | June 2017

The Fens | June 2017



Smoked Poacher and Wild Garlic Quiche with Buttered Courgettes and Red Onion Marmalade This creates a great meal that makes the most of local and seasonal ingredients. Wild garlic is very easy to find this time of year but John has some great substitutions if you can’t find it PREPARE 15 mins COOK 40 mins


• 200g shortcrust pastry


• 15g butter • 1 onion finely chopped • 400ml double cream • 3 eggs beaten • 3 egg yolks • 100g smoked cheese grated • A handful of wild garlic leaf, chopped (reserve some whole for decoration)



1. Roll out the pastry and line an 8 inch flan ring or 4-6 individual ones. Blind bake in the oven at 190oC for around 8 mins or until a pale golden (dont forget the pastry will go back in the oven once filled). 2. Melt the butter in a sauce pan and stir in the onion. Cover with a lid and cook on the lowest setting until the onion is soft and golden. 3. Remove from the pan and drain off any fat (reserve the fat for the courgettes). 4. Mix together the cream, eggs and yolks, then pass through a sieve to remove any threads. 5. Stir the onion, cheese and wild

garlic into the creamy eggs and season with sea salt and pepper. 6. Pour the mixture into the pastry case/cases and bake at 145oC in the bottom half of the oven for 10 mins for individual quiches, or 35 mins for a large quiche. You may want to add more mixture to the cases once in the oven to ensure they are filled to the top. 7. The quiche is cooked when the filling does not wobble and is browned. 8. It can be served cold as part of a summer picnic, or warm for lunch with buttered courgettes and red onion marmalade.

This dish is part of the Spring vegi/vegan menu at Dog in a Doublet. The Summer menu begins on July 1st.


Cant find wild garlic? Replace with cooked bacon or cooked leeks, or you could also swap the smoked cheese and wild garlic for either: • Goats cheese and pea • Smoked haddock and spinach • Sun-dried tomato and pine-nut 36 The Fens | June 2017

Eat, drink, stay!

Pub gastronomic, farmhouse kitchen, boutique rooms

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01733 202256

Chef James isn’t your typical cook - offering a restaurantquality delivery service to the local community and area, he’s a passionate man who believes that everybody should enjoy healthy, fresh meals every day of the week. Delivering ready-to-heat food to the Peterborough area, he is now looking to branch out an include Whittlesey residents and the surrounding villages. WHY CHOOSE CHEF JAMES? James has worked at some of the best restaurants, including catering for the Royal Family, but decided to follow his dreams last year by running his own business. “I champion local produce whilst utilising every part of each ingredient used,” James added. “Every meal can be catered for individuals, whether you’re vegetarian, gluten-free, and have a particular dietary requirement or any intolerances.” Meals can be pre-ordered and selected from the website, and delivered ready to heat between 6-8 pm or, by prior arrangement, between 4-5pm at a local business or pick-up point. There is a wide selection of cuisines to choose from, including fresh soups to take to work for lunch. And if you thought it would be expensive, you’d be mistaken. In fact, you can have an amazing healthier meals, cooked by a top chef, delivered to your door from £6.50 per head! Many of James’ regular customers order four times a week, costing around £30-£40 and do not need to go food shopping! WHITTLESEY WEDNESDAYS As an introduction, Chef James will be trialling a delivery to Whittlesey on a Wednesday. To take advantage of a meal cooked by James, customers will need to place their orders online between Tuesday 5pm and no later than 4pm on the Saturday before. Meals can be kept for up to two days in the fridge. To find out more, contact James on or visit his website at Chef James also has great reviews on his Facebook page: ChefjamesPeterborough/reviews/?mt_nav=1


THE RAILWAY WORDS NATASHA SHIELS IMAGES CHRIS BRUDENELL Last month we were delighted to be invited to sample the Railway’s new menu. And we weren’t disappointed. The Railway in Whittlesey, which has recently undergone a total renovation, including an extension and refit, was the ideal setting for a Monday night treat. The menu, which includes plenty of options for vegetarians as well as meat eaters, offers a good range of classic dishes. I chose the mushroom and asparagus pie, which came with spring vegetables, and Chris opted for the burger with a side of chips and coleslaw. The friendly and helpful staff catered to our needs and the food was hot, tasty and well presented. We both opted for a dessert (well, we had to test the menu for research purposes you understand), and enjoyed a chocolate brownie and Prosecco jelly, followed by a pick-me-up latte. Subtle background music, low lighting and the perfectly decorated restaurant gave a warm ambiance to what was a thoroughly enjoyable meal. Prices were affordable and exactly as you would expect from a family pub/restaurant. I was told that they had experienced a really busy Sunday carvery, and I can see why with an outside area and plenty of space for everyone, The Railway will become a staple eatery for residents and those looking to try somewhere new. You can view the full menu online at www. or call 01733 203555 The Railway, 139 Station Road, Whittlesey PE7 1UF The Fens | June 2017


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Real Honest Food from a Real Honest 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.

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38 The Fens | June 2017

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Three Festivals

Oundle has plenty on offer in June and July with three festivals - Oundle Food Festival, Oundle Fringe Festival and Oundle International Festival. Food, film and music - what more could we want? As the weather starts to warm up, so does Festival fun in Oundle. This year’s Oundle Food Festival, with events and offers running throughout June, culminates with the ever popular Food Market on 24th June. This is followed by the Oundle Fringe Festival (runs 30th June – 7th July) when the town’s pubs, hotels, cafes and streets will be buzzing with entertainers of all kinds. The Festival fever will continue with the Oundle International Festival, which provides nine days of outstanding entertainment, is rounded off by the fantastic Party at the Wharf on Saturday 15th July. OUNDLE FOOD FESTIVAL The 2017 Oundle Food Festival promises to be bigger and better than ever. The highlight is the very popular street market on Saturday 24th June when over 75 of the region’s finest independent food, drink and kitchenware producers fill Market Place and New Street, offering a chance to meet people who grow, raise, bake, brew, distil and make the range of treats on sale. Sponsored by Hambleton Bakery and AGA Oundle, with music and dance from the Oundle Fringe, street entertainment from Balls Up Juggling Club and pub games from World

Conker Championships, this is a great family day out and a busy one! A park and ride service is provided by Oundle School from the Oundle Wharf. Full details can be found at OUNDLE FRINGE FESTIVAL Visit Oundle during Fringe Week and you’ll find the town buzzing with entertainers of all kinds in the town’s pubs, hotels, cafes and streets. From tribute bands to poetry, blues to rock, comedy performances to choirs, storytelling to swirling and kicking dance teams, it’s a fantastic week of entertainment. There are three ticketed events to help toward running costs. The Fringe’s first ever Quiz Night is on 23 June (tickets £5); on 24 June there’s a ceilidh with Five String Thing (£7) after Oundle Food Festival, and on 30 June you can learn to jive then dance away the rest of the evening to rock ‘n’ roll, rhythm and blues band One Eyed Cats (£7). Tickets from Oundle Box Office, www.oundleboxoffice. . All other Fringe events are free. Full details of all events are available on OUNDLE INTERNATIONAL FESTIVAL This year’s Oundle International

Festival opens with a night of jazz and closes with the ever popular Party at the Wharf which is headlined by Absolute Bowie - a fitting tribute to the Starman himself - and supported by Lincolnshire rockabillies, The Houndogs. With great food, local brews, children’s entertainments in abundance and a friendly atmosphere, this is a Party for everyone to enjoy. Throughout the week there are classical performances by the wonderful European Union Chamber Orchestra with finalist of the BBC’s Young Musician of the Year 2016, horn soloist Ben Goldscheider, the award winning Ruisi Quartet and Lunchtime Recitals from talented young musicians. Outdoor entertainment includes a play by Illyria Children’s Theatre, Back To The Future at the Outdoor Cinema and The Bach Walk – an evening of music, walking and dining. During the weekend of 8th & 9th July, Oundle on Show will showcase the area’s creative, artistic and musical talent through exhibitions, Open Gardens, and performances of choral, orchestral, jazz and the spoken word all given freely for audience members to enjoy. Visit or call 01832 274734 The Fens | June 2017


Exploring the Fens

FENLAND’S Pandora’s Box

As part of our series looking at the Fenland museums, we began our journey through time at the Wisbech and Fenland Museum in the heart of the Fens, Wisbech

WORDS Natasha Shiels IMAGES Chris Brudenell 40 The Fens | June 2017

I wasn’t too sure what to expect when I stepped foot inside the Wisbech and Fenland Museum along Museum Square in Wisbech. What initially struck me though was the splendour of the buildings around me, and the reminder that Wisbech was once a very affluential town with some very wealthy occupants. My tour guides, HLF project manager Ari Volanakis and assistant curator Robert Bell, explained that the museum itself was one of the earliest purpose built museums and houses the collections of the Wisbech Museum and Literary Societies. Once inside you can see how the rooms were formed with high ceilings, giving the place an almost ethereal ambiance, and perfectly built to house the most extraordinary curiosities from as far as Egypt to closer to home in the Fens. At first it can seem almost random - collections of exquisite china sit beside mummified hands and cats, which in turn find themselves neighbours to an anti-slavery collection and archaeology remains. But amongst the many groups of fascinating objects lies one thing in common, they are all interesting snippets of history, beautifully presented to remind us of our past,

definitely an experience I know I will never forget. So how did the original manuscript of Great Expectations, end up in a museum in Wisbech? To answer this question, we need to delve a little further back in the museum’s history and look to a man who was responsible for many of

ONE OF THE MANY PIECES OF TREASURE WE CAME ACROSS WAS ALSO NOT ONLY THE MOST VALUABLE, BUT INCREDIBLY IMPORTANT FOR THE HISTORY OF ENGLISH LITERATURE whether that’s 50 years ago or 500. GREAT EXPECTATIONS One of the many pieces of treasure we came across was also not only the most valuable, but incredibly important for the history of English literature. I could hardly believe my eyes as Robert lifted up the original manuscript of Great Expectations written by Charles Dickens. I was in awe of this incredible book, seeing Dickens’ handwriting so close is

the collections still on display to this day: Chauncy Hare Townshend. The man, whose obituary stated “Every house in which he lived had, indeed, the interest of an art museum”, unsurprisingly was a supporter of the arts. Born in 1798, his parents encouraged his interest in poetry. After graduating from University in Cambridge, he met many important literary figures, including Wordsworth and Coleridge, Robert Southey and

John Clare. Although he had taken Holy Orders, he never actually worked as a Reverend, and instead in the 1830s, became fascinated in the cult of mesmerism (which at the time, was gaining considerable popularity). It was during the period he was chief British exponent of mesmerism, that Townshend was introduced to Charles Dickens and a lifelong friendship followed. As well as leaving Dickens’ manuscript in his will, other examples of the men’s friendship can be found in the museum, such as the crystal ball which is said to have been used by Townshend and Dickens. In 1850, the visitors’ book indicates that Townshend visited the (recently opened) Wisbech Museum. It appears that just a year later, birds’ nests, eggs as well as a German book on fossils were donated to the museum by Edward Jackson on behalf of Townshend. Jackson was his agent, but he was also the Secretary of the Wisbech Museum Committee. His connection to the museum might well explain why Townshend’s will of 1863 divided his collections between Wisbech Museum and one other. The collections that came from Townshend were, and still are, incredibly important. They included printed books which have considerable local interest. According to his will, Townshend’s museum bequest should be “exhibited to the public for the advantage of the town and neighbourhood.” The Fens | June 2017


And looking around Wisbech Museum, some 154 years later, it is clear that the current curators are still honouring his wishes. The permanent displays in the Townshend Room emphasise the finer elements of his collection. There are examples of Dresden China, Venetian glass and Japanese ivory. Visitors can travel the “Grand Tour” of Europe that Townshend experienced through admiring his collections still on display. You get a real sense of that decorative time, but also of the natural sciences in his bird specimens and fossils. The culmination of these collections in one place does give the sense of a shop of curiosities, but that is meant in the kindest of ways. It’s a truly unique and fascinating place where at every turn you are surprised and delighted. There are also new collections, like the contents of an old post office which in a few decades time, will be unfamiliar to the next generation but documents a part of our history. There’s also a powerful collection of objects showing the anti-slavery movement.

THE FUTURE OF THE MUSEUM So what future does Wisbech and Fenland Museum have, when funding cuts seem to threaten many important groups and organisations? The museum is fortunate to have been given Lottery Funding for the next year, which as Ari explained, has given them an opportunity to look at ways to offer more to their visitors.

The plan is to develop a fully interactive local museum. The Fit for the future Resilience Project 2017/18 aims to engage stakeholders, community and a wider range of audiences. Making the museum sustainable is vital to safeguard its future. So what does this actually mean? Future plans include a trial pop-up cafe, new educational spaces, a redevelopment of the garden area, interactive exhibitions and a new study space. Ari also hopes to open the library permanently, hold more exhibitions and trial Sunday opening hours. It is crucial that developments succeed as these will build support for the museum and help preserve the collections, Townshend’s legacy, and the museum itself. Because as Robert said to me, there’s not one single object in the museum that is his personal favourite, “the museum itself is my favourite object,” and it should be preserved so that it can go

vTo discover more about enjoying the Cambridgeshire Fens and ideas for great days out, please visit 42 The Fens | June 2017

on, being an “exhibition to the public for the advantage of the town and neighbourhood.” Can you help? All museums will need our support if they are to survive. Could you be a volunteer and help the team build for the future? The Wisbech and Fenland Museum are holding an engagement session on June 13th, in the afternoon, to explain more about its project, please see timings on the website and join in the activity to save the museum. There will also be themed future exhibitions and events, so watch this space.

WISBECH AND FENLAND MUSEUM can be found at Museum Square, Wisbech PE13 1ES. Admission: Free Opening times: Open all year, Tuesday to Saturday 10am-4pm Find out more: or call 01945 583817 Find us on Twitter: @CambridgeshireF



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Walk of the month



This month Leanne Hyland journeys to the Lincolnshire Wolds for breathtaking views and stunning scenery within easy reach of the Fens The sheep pads towards me tentatively, its long woollen coat twisting in the breeze. It stops to have a sniff and I fear I may lose a trouser leg should I hang around much longer, but it’s hard to tear myself away. These rare breed Lincoln Longwools are quite a sight, with their large shaggy heads and tightly curled

Hilltop views from Normanby Le Wold

44 The Fens | June 2017

coats resembling something similar to dreadlocks. They’re also clearly accustomed to a bit of fuss. I’m standing on a hilltop high above the village of Tealby on the northern edge of the Lincolnshire Wolds. Although I’m just a 90 minute drive from Peterborough, the flat landscapes of the Fens have disappeared completely and I’m surprised by the level of ascent. My ears are popping and I can’t stop

looking at the beautiful wildflowers, thatched rooftops and ivy clad cottages that line the streets. My walk began at the 650 year old Kings Head, the oldest thatched pub in the county, with traditional beams and a beer garden so pretty it wouldn’t look out of place on a postcard. Following a tiny country lane past chocolate box cottages, I merged onto a section of the Viking Way - a 147 mile long distance trail

Lincoln Longwools are the largest native breed of sheep in the UK passing the sites of early Viking settlements. It’s helpfully denoted by images of bright yellow helmets - so I won’t be getting lost any time soon. The ascent started immediately, taking me through lush grassy fields, past historic farm buildings and along dirt tracks until I reach the first ridge and meet the Longwools, known locally as the Risby Flock. I’m not the only one enjoying their company out in the Wolds today, and laughter frequently carries through the air. I greet those who pass with a cheery hello. Families with small children wielding sticks as wands, elderly relatives soaking up the fresh morning air and couples with dogs who have seemingly boundless amounts of energy. Often overlooked in place of the more dramatic national parks, the Wolds have drawn visitors in for generations, earning their status as an area of outstanding natural beauty over 40 years ago. ‘Wold’ is an old English term for a forest or woodland area on high ground, and the undulating countryside that surrounds me certainly lives up to the name. The views are spectacular and the low haze hanging just on the horizon only adds to the scene. I start down a steep valley and onto the next ridge, greeted by a family of deer - which are presumably being raised for venison. Their long ears stick up, alert and silhouetted against the background. The wind picks up as I stumble into Walesby, with its medieval church dating back to the 12th century standing tall upon a rocky hilltop. Before me, dozens of paths criss-cross through farmland, alongside hedges

and over hills. There’s a multitude of routes to follow in the Wolds, no matter your fitness level, and it’s clear by the many ‘walking your way to health’ signs that those looking after the reserve are keen to promote the health benefits of an active lifestyle. Following a winding path into the village, I admire the amber tulips branching out from the green. Horses shuffle sleepily in the long grass and lambs frolic, taking shelter beneath a gnarled oak tree. After a brief respite, the ascent begins again. I climb slowly, taking small steps. The land here sports deeply cut tyre tracks, much wider than those of a car and I’m about to find out why. The warning on a nearby fence tells of cows ahead, but I’m more concerned by the squad of landrovers, off-roading through deep muddy puddles and over ridgetops thrillseekers in tow. I skirt the edge of their track, and think myself lucky to have my feet on the ground. I can’t say those in the back of the trucks look quite as assured. I continue to gain height and am quickly rewarded by the best view yet. Normanby Le Wold perfectly encompasses the English countryside with its lush green rolling hills, small cobbled streets and tiny terraced cottages with bright window boxes spilling over with spring flowers. The highest point in Lincolnshire lies just north of here too, standing 168 metres above sea level. The sun warms me and I start the long descent downhill, retracing my steps back through the sleepy villages of Lincolnshire. I arrive back in Tealby as the church bells ring out, signalling the end of my walk and a chance to rest my aching feet.

TOP TIPS FOR TACKLING A FULL DAY HIKE PACE YOURSELF Don’t start off with 100% energy, you’ll exhaust yourself mid-route. TAKE BREAKS Even 5 or 10 minute breaks every few miles can refresh your legs. STAY HYDRATED A walk of this length makes hydration essential. Though you may not realise it on a cool, windy day, you’ll still lose moisture as sweat. EAT REGULARLY You’re constantly on the move and burning calories. Opt for energy boosting foods like trail mix or jelly babies. BREAK IT DOWN Set yourself small milestones and don’t think too far ahead. Focus on reaching the next village or landmark.

The Ramblers Church, Walesby


The Stats

Difficulty Level: Moderate Distance: 9 miles Time: 4.5 hours Terrain: Rolling hills, well-marked tracks and plenty of ascent Facilities: The 650 year old Kings Head Pub is just down the hill from Tealby The Fens | June 2017



PARALYMPIAN Evie Edwards visits Peterborough Boccia Club WORDS EMILY HILL

Q&A with Evie

Boccia is a disability sport where players have to either throw, roll or kick their balls to a target ball. If the player is unable to do any of these then you are able to use a ramp. You can play this sport either on your own as a pair or in a team of three. The team or player that has its balls closest to the target ball will win the points. There are a certain number of ends in which you will play in order to see who will be the overall winner at the end of the match. You play this on a flat surface, i.e a sports hall floor and the court is roughly the same size as a badminton court. Each player is allocated their own box which they play in throughout the match. Back on the 17th September it was National Boccia Day. This was a day to try and encourage more people to come along to our club and see what we have to offer. There were a number of clubs around the Country that had done the same thing to try and promote the sport. One of the challenges which we took up on the day was to see who could get the ‘best Boccia selfie’. We had a go at doing this and put our entry into the running and didn’t think anything of it winning at all. Then in November, we got an email from Boccia England to say we had won the ‘Best Boccia Selfie’, and would have a Boccia Paralympian come to our club for the day. Everyone within Peterborough Boccia Club was ever so excited to get the opportunity to meet a Paralympian. Last month, Evie Edwards took over my role as coach for the morning, before letting me interview her. Peterborough Boccia Club would just like to say a huge thank you to Evie for spending the morning with us. We wish her all the very best for the future and we would be more than happy to have her come along again. If you would like to find out more information about the club then you can visit our Facebook page (PeterboroughBoccia), or you can email The group train on a Saturday morning, 10am-12pm at Peterborough Indoor Bowls Club, and welcome new members. 46 The Fens | June 2017

How did you feel when you got asked to come to Peterborough Boccia Club? I was really excited to come along to your club as I have never been to the city before. I also like to do community work so I was really pleased when I got approached. How did you hear about the sport Boccia? As a child I went to a mainstream school; my mum worked in a special school and because of my disability I would often get invited to their school sports days and Boccia would usually be one of the sports that they would play. How long have you been playing Boccia? I have been playing since November 2011 properly with my local club Ipswich Jax How did you end up getting in Team GB? I went along to a couple of different competitions and then it went from there really. It’s through something called Talent spotting. So at the competitions I got spotted by the academy and got noticed. Then I competed for the academy. I then trained for six months with Nigel Murray MBE (the most successful Boccia player for Britain), and eventually got spotted by Team GB. I have been playing for Team GB since 2015. How often do you train? Locally I train five times a week in blocks of two hours playing Boccia itself. I also go swimming and to the gym twice a week as part of my training programme. I also go up north to train with the squad. Do you find it is quite accessible when you have to travel to different countries to play in matches? Yes kind of, the competitions themselves are, however the modes of transport aren’t so much. When we went to China there weren’t seat belts in the minibuses and I was a little scared that I might end up going out the front door when they stopped! Where have you been recently? We have just come back from Barcelona with the team taking part in the European Regional Open. In order for us to qualify for the Olympics we have to have so many points over the years leading up to them. I came away with an individual Bronze and I also got Gold in the pairs, which was amazing. Are you hoping to be at the next Olympics in Tokyo? YES, I would so love to be at the next Olympics and go one better than Rio and get a medal - it would be great. Finishing in fourth in Rio has really motivated me to try and go that one better next time. Do you have any advice for our Boccia Club? Always look for every opportunity going, take part in competitions - you never know what they might lead to. You will learn from everything you go for, so always say yes to opportunities that come your way!


Commissioned by Cambridgeshire County Council


Centra Support provides a free outreach community support service to tenants living in the Fenland Districts. The service aims to help people live more independently, and maintain their accommodation. Housing related support is any need for a person in relation to their current housing. Either they need support in ensuring their current housing meets their needs, or the person needs support in finding more suitable housing.


We accept self referrals and referrals from other agencies including Housing, Health, and Social Services. To be eligible to receive this service, you must: • Live in Fenland • You can also apply even if you’re a home owner • Have a support need and do not already receive a similar support service • Be over 65 years of age • Be willing to engage in a support planning process

FREE TO ANYONE 65 OR OVER LIVING IN FENLAND - it doesn’t matter where you live, even homeowners and private renters can apply!

HOW DO I APPLY? Centra is the specialist care and support provider for Circle Housing and Callmission us on 0300 0040 349 andChances leave a message. We we work with. our is to Enhance the Life of the people can also take down your details over the phone in order to Life Chances are the opportunities each individual has to improve his or make the referral. her quality of life and are linked to a person’s social situation. You can also email using Alternatively our website for more details Our service isplease free forvisit everyone in Fenland over the age of 65, to help people live independently. It is all about offering you more choices and control. We Service providedyou on behalf of Cambridgeshire Council aim to support to meet your needs to County keep you safe and independent in your own home for as long as possible.

Find out more about this FREE service for anyone over 65 living in Fenland at: Fenland Older People Email or phone 0300 004 0349. Please leave a voice mail and we will return your call the next working day.

Outreach Services


Or you can can request a callback on our website

Commissioned by Cambridgeshire County Council




WINDOWS ◆ DOORS ◆ CONSERVATORIES ◆ REPAIRS TOO HOT IN THE SUMMER AND COLD IN WINTER? Centra is the specialist careAand support provider forALL CircleYEAR Housing and TRANSFORM YOUR CONSERVATORY INTO COMFORTABLE our mission is to Enhance thePOD Life Chances of the people we work with. ROUND LIVING SPACE WITH AN ECO WARM ROOF


Life Chances are the opportunities each individual has to improve his or her quality of life and are linked to a person’s social situation. CALL MATT

01733 840051 or 07939 Our service is free for everyone in Fenland010257 over the age of 65, to help people independently. It is all about offering you more choices and control. We aim to support to meet your needs to keep you safe and independent in Oryou find us on Facebook your own home for as long as possible. Email or phone The Fens | June 2017 0300 004 0349. Please leave a voice mail and we





Festival season is almost upon us, so this month we decided to take a look at some of the hottest plays to find live music - right on our doorstep


PETERBOROUGH SAUSAGE AND CIDER MUSIC FESTIVAL 28th - 30th July 2017, Elton Hall, Peterborough Sausage and Cider Music Festival is a friendly, fun family affordable weekend music festival with a line-up of the top UK tributes acts, sausage based artisan street food and a cider menu to suit everyone along with other food and drink options such as stone baked pizzas, gelato ice creams, Prosecco and cocktails to name just a few. If you’re a festival virgin or seasoned festival goer you can expect chilled sunny afternoons with friends and family in front of the main stage working your way through a great variety of ciders and sampling sausage themed artisan street food, or enjoy spending time with the little ones at the petting zoo, softplay bus or craft tents. As the sun drops the music cranks up as headline acts take to the stage including the World’s Number One Michael Jackson Impersonator, Navi. At the end of the evenings entertainment, retreat back to either your tent, caravan, pre-pitched rented tent or glamping bell tents, and enjoy the friendly campsite atmosphere. Peterborough Sausage and Cider Music Festival 2017 will be held at the outstanding Elton Hall, Peterborough, Friday 28th, Saturday 29th and Sunday 30th July 2017. For tickets and info:


11th-13th August 2017, near Elton

Hip Hop act The Sugarhill Gang will be joined by Reverend and the Makers and Stereo MCs at the Green Meadows Festival in August. The festival, which takes place near Elton, features a wide range of live acts and DJs across four stages, including Radio 1 legend Danny Rampling. During the festival there are plenty of free activities for children, including animal encounters with Bugtopia The Zoo! and live science experiments, as well as inflatables and circus skills. Hungry festival goers can enjoy awardwinning food, plus cocktail and real ale bars. The festival has been held annually since 2012 and supports Teenage Cancer Trust. Weekend tickets start at £10 for kids and £70 for adults. For more information visit 48 The Fens | June 2017

We’ve teamed up with Peterborough Sausage and Cider Festival to offer a family weekend camping and entry ticket (2 adult and 2 children). To be in with a chance of winning this super prize, simply email win@thefensmag. marking the subject “SAUSAGES” before June 15th. One winner will be picked at random after this date. Make sure you also ‘Like’ our Facebook page to double your chances! Good luck.

MUSIC ON THE SQUARE June 18th, July 16th, August 20th

This summer music will liven up Whittlesey’s Market Place as various live acts take to the stage at 2pm. The event, which is supported by Whittlesey Town Council, is a free community event aimed to bring everybody together. Acts playing over the three events include The Fedz, Blue Wood, Motor City Vipers, Steve Walsh, One Eyed Cats and Jimmy Doherty. Don’t miss out on this mini music festival, which gets bigger and better every year!

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Parties ~ Weddings Conferences ~ Funerals Birthdays ~ Christenings

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.

June Events • Sat 3rd Steve Carmel • Sat 10th Joanne Day • Sun 11th Sunday Lunch • Sat 17th The Big “D” • Sat 24th Michael Knight FRIDAY LUNCH Hot food served Fridays 12-2pm

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In the past, people have invested in Buy-to-Let property to provide some additional income in retirement. There were tax advantages in borrowing the money in that interest could be offset, so could various costs and repair expenses. In recent times a view has developed that landlords were receiving preferential treatment compared to other investors. See the changes in what may and may not be offset as a legitimate cost and see the additional Land Tax on property that is not the main residence. However, the government still want us to invest now so that when we retire, enough income can be generated to prevent falling back on the State for financial help in our dotage. One benefit is that a net contribution to a pension will be uplifted by tax immediately. For example, if you contribute £2,880 it will become £3,600 – and anyone can contribute this amount, depending on your circumstances, you may be able to contribute more. Compare this with an amount held in a deposit account with a Bank or Building Society, if you manage to get 1% your £2,880 will increase to £2,908.80 after 12 months. It is possible that the setting up of a suitable pension might cost something, or you may already have an arrangement that will accept additional contributions. As an Independent Financial Adviser I am bound to say that the investment fund may perform well or poorly, it may be suitable or not – so advice may be required. However, there are few arrangements that will provide a 25% uplift in value out of what I call ‘Lazy Money’ – that which is above an emergency fund just deposited waiting for interest rates to increase. At the other end of the scale pension benefits may be taken after age 55, whether it is a good idea to do so depends on your circumstances. If this is an area you need an independent opinion on request a free initial consultation. To keep your finances in line with expectations, legislation and what the investment markets are doing, review your plans with an Independent Financial Adviser.

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 | June 2017




Grosvenor Flooring Grosvenor Flooring is Whittlesey’s independent flooring shop, a family business it is run by Ian and Jackie Rattan, and their friendly pet American bulldog Elwood. Now married for 28 years, Ian and Jackie have recruited some family members to start learning the business and continue their legacy so we called in to find out more


HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN IN THE FLOORING BUSINESS AND WHAT MADE YOU CHOOSE TO OPEN YOUR SHOP IN WHITTLESEY IN 2010? Ian has been in the flooring business for over 35 years; originally we opened a shop in Peterborough but our intentions were to always open a shop in our home town of Whittlesey. Seven years ago, we were walking past this shop building and saw the owner putting up a to-let sign. We took the opportunity then and there and agreed to take on the lease and have never looked back. WHO IS INVOLVED IN RUNNING THE BUSINESS AND WHAT MOTIVATES YOU? We are a family business and currently are a team of five, our latest recruit is our family member Curtis. We both enjoy being our own bosses and the job satisfaction we get from it. We are building up our business for our future generations so Grosvenor Flooring will continue once we retire, but that isn’t anytime soon! HOW HAS FLOORING CHANGED IN THE LAST 30 YEARS? When Ian first started over 30 years ago, heavy patterned wool carpets were the fashion and they were built to last. These days people change their flooring when they redecorate, 50 The Fens | June 2017

rather than when it is worn out. Hard flooring and Luxury Vinyl Flooring have become much more popular and customers tend to go for a minimal, plain style of flooring. WHAT IS THE BEST THING ABOUT HAVING A BUSINESS IN WHITTLESEY? We love having a business in our hometown as there is a real sense of community. We are very lucky to have great customers that help spread the word and recommend us. DO YOU HAVE ANY FUTURE PLANS FOR GROSVENOR FLOORING? We now have our promotional vehicle, our grass monkey truck, which we will have displayed at events. We are keen to keep up to date with modern technologies and trends such as the new development of 3D flooring. We have just revamped our website, and with our artificial 3D grass business growing, we will be developing that further. WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO SOMEONE CONTEMPLATING STARTING THEIR OWN BUSINESS? Running your own business is not a 9-5 job, so be prepared to work 24/7 particularly at the start. In the long term, it is definitely rewarding having you own business but it does take a lot of sacrifices.

OUTSIDE OF WORK WHAT HOBBIES DO YOU ENJOY? Our other passion, aside from flooring, is classic cars, particularly hot rods. We enjoy going to car shows and displaying our own Classic Chevrolet Rat Truck (Grass Monkey) and when the weather is nice our 34 Ford Hot Rod comes out. WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE THING ABOUT THE FENS? We really enjoy living in Whittlesey as there are so many great independent businesses, as well as pubs and restaurants. It has been a wonderful place to bring up children and for us there is no better place to live. GROSVENOR FLOORING is located at 16 Queen Street, Whittlesey, PE7 1AY. You can contact the team 01733 208484 or visit their website: www.

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This month’s book review What we’re


Love and a Dozen Roast Potatoes by Simon Wan; Urbane Publications

If you like the idea of reading something a little different, then this is just the book. Honest and warm with lots of laugh-out-loud moments, plus a couple of weird ones to boot (check out the acknowledgements to give you a bit of an idea), this is the story of one man’s quest to find true love. As Shakespeare himself famously wrote, “the course of true love never did run smooth” and never has there been a more appropriate turn of phrase when it comes to the complicated love life of Mr Simon Wan. Beginning at the tender age of eight, the author takes us right back to the 1980s and the first girl he fell in love with, Claire. Having only been at his new school for a couple of days, Claire and her friend feel sorry for the half-Chinese boy being teased by the others. In a bid to make him feel better, the girls kiss him on the cheek. “The next playtime, the boys who called me ‘chinkychong pong face’ were a little more interested in being my friend… and that probably set the precedent [for my life] for the next thirty two years.” With an obvious zest for life and an honest love and appreciation of women (all kinds of women), as well as music and fashion, not forgetting the roast potatoes of course, the writer then proceeds to walk us through three colourful decades of his life and the never ending story (and yes, that sentence is alluding to a friend of said author who gets a mention in this book – think eighties pop icon with spiky blonde hair) of his search for true love. And it’s all there, the long hot summers, public transport, the video player, mix tapes, skateboards, drink fuelled fights and drug fuelled raves – “we drove around the country lanes in the middle of the night searching for phone boxes that would lead us to hidden rave arenas and when we got there we danced until it was a different day. Life was fast. Life was about lasers and ecstasy, nothing could stop us. We had the keys to a brave new world. We were invincible.” Our verdict… Snappy, fast paced but easy to read, Wan is masterful at painting pictures with words. He is also brutally honest about himself and although, on the whole, the book remains upbeat and wonderfully witty throughout, Wan doesn’t sugar-coat his faults or his mistakes, which in a way only makes him more endearing. He is human and doesn’t try and hide it. Written with great humour and sincerity, if you’re looking for something a little different then I’d definitely recommend Love and a Dozen Roast Potatoes. But be warned – be prepared to feel very worn out after reading it.

By Eva Jordan, author of 183 Times A Year 52 The Fens | June 2017


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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in pictures IMAGES Chris Brudenell

s In a ceremony in May, the new Mayor of Whittlesey was announced as Cllr. Ralph Butcher and the Mayoress, Mrs Pat Butcher. The Deputy Mayor will be Mrs Julie Windle, and her consort Mr Robert Windle. Before Cllr. Alex Miscandlon handed over the reigns, he handed over three cheques to his chosen charities: Whittlesey Warriors Netball club, NGNPUK (No Gain, No Pain UK) and Manor Dolphins. The grateful groups all thanked Alex and Sue for the generous donations, which will all help these wonderful community groups. t Defibrillators For All did it! The charity managed to raise £10,000 in less than three months since announcing their campaign on February 8th. The community spirit in Whittlesey is amazing, and when the charity announced it needed to raise the money to provide heart screening for people aged between the ages of 14 and 35 in the town, it did not take long for groups and individuals to show their support. On June 2nd and 3rd, Cardiac Risk in the young (CRY) will perform Electrocardiogram (ECG) and Echocardiogram (ECHO) with the intention of identifying those that are at risk from sudden cardiac death. Sudden death syndrome is an umbrella term for the many different causes of young sudden cardiac death. The Principal of Sir Harry Smith Community College has given full support to the campaign, which will take place in the college premises. Deborah Slator from Defibrillators For All, added: “I am amazed by the support shown. We are so thankful to all those that helped us to raise the money.” Some of the many groups who helped include Brian Gregory from Sudbury Court, Stephen Duffy from Buckles Solicitors plus Andrew Inman who climbed Scafell Pike. The charity also received a donation for £1000 from the Provincial Grand Lodge of Cambridgeshire Charity for Care and Relief. “We would like to thank the Freemasons and everyone who has helped us reach our target.” The Fens | June 2017


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54 The Fens | June 2017

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Internet The Oxford English dictionary describes the word ‘nemesis’ as an ‘arch enemy’, and so I say with no hesitation, that I have a nemesis. One that pops up with its ugly, disgusting shape, causing my blood pressure to rise and temper to flare. I am of course referring to the horrible, the putrid and unspeakable. The ‘swirly circle’. You all know it, because ‘swirly circle’ lives in all of our internet connected devices and it pops onto our screen when there is a drop in internet connection meaning that at any random point, anything you are watching or relying on the internet for will freeze and be replaced with that irritating little circle with a gap in it and it will rotate, and rotate, and rotate until the speed is back up, at which point it will continue the programme. You see, I don’t have live television. I watch everything through catch up services or streaming sites such as Netflix, and so I rely completely on the internet working, which it just doesn’t. I have complained about my ‘dodgy’ connection many times via phone and email but sadly, whereas you can treat the common cold or rash with medicine, it seems there is no way to rid my life of my ‘swirly circle’ menace. There is though, an even worse nemesis than the ‘swirly circle’ and that is its meaner and even more swirly counterpart, ‘intermittent swirly circle’. I happened to be watching the boxing the other evening, for which I had paid the best part of £20. I watched this fight on the edge of my seat, seeing Joshua go down in the 6th round, thinking it was all over, only for him to fight back. It looked for all the world that it was going the distance until suddenly in the 11th round, Joshua rallied. The momentum was with him, the crowd were going mad and I, with my glass of pineapple juice and lemonade in my hand (I was on call that night) was literally standing up, heart racing, (No Sunday opening) watching as Joshua swung his arm for what I was sure would be the knockout blow and then before it hit … swirly circle, then Joshua had his arms in the air … swirly circle … then more movement … then swirly circle, and so it continued and I’m sure that when I squinted, within that swirly circle there was the faintest outline of a hand with a particular finger raised at me...

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§ Joe Ferridge is an occasional writer and thinks the new BBC iPlayer ‘colourful swirly circle’ can go to hell.

The Fens | June 2017


Be a Part of it!

For some it begins with a love of music, for others, a love of sports. For some it’s a love of the outdoors, or perhaps meeting new people. But for most, it’s for the love of having new experiences and challenges. DC Site Services brings a unique working environment to those looking for a different kind of job out of the everyday office

It all began for DC Site Services at Reading Music Festival, the same place DC Site’s Project Manager Emma’s career started: “I was really looking for a cheap way to see my favourite bands at Reading Festival that year. I’d considered volunteering for my festival ticket, but I was lucky to see DC Site Services advertising for paid roles on the Reading Festival website. I applied and had the most memorable work experience ever and went home with money in my pocket! “After that I applied for more and more shows over the years, and with the help of DC Site Services I supported myself through university and ended up being offered qualifications and training by the company that has helped secure my organic growth within the company and in some very famous fields! “The work has its ups and downs but every day it is different. At one event last year we were juggling between traffic management, waste disposal and stewarding. One day I would be parking cars, the next I’d be flattening cardboard or providing customer service to the general public! It keeps me fit and challenged, I’ve made hundreds of friends and I’m incredibly pleased to have found such a unique company to work for.” With over 160 events and festivals to choose to work at this year, DC Site Services offers flexible work 56 The Fens | June 2017

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opportunities that you can fit around your everyday lives. Some staff will come and work at events at the weekends while returning to their full time job during the week. Others (such as students) will commit their whole summer to living in a tent at some of the best music festivals in the world, hopping from show to show with their friends and being fed by our fantastic caterers and utilising our (slightly cleaner!) toilets and showers in our staff areas. Whatever you enjoy out of life, be it

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Tickets to the Battle Proms at Burghley House

The UK’s premier picnic concert series returns to Burghley House in their 20th anniversary year, and to celebrate, we’re giving away three pairs of tickets, worth over £74 a pair! Since their first concert in 1997 the Battle Proms have been treating their audiences to a heady mix of sublime classical music, carefully choreographed Spitfire and cavalry displays, dramatic cannon fire and stunning firework finales. As the series enters its 20th anniversary, the elegant Elizabethan Burghley House will once again play host to the opening night as the Battle Proms returns to Stamford on Saturday 8 July 2017. With a loyal audience and up to 8,000 people attending annually, the Battle Proms is now in its 13th year at Burghley House. The Battle Proms takes much of its historical inspiration from the Napoleonic wars. As well as staging a colourful skill-at-arms cavalry display in full regalia, the Battle Proms is also the only place in the world you can see Beethoven’s Battle Symphony performed as he intended. Written to celebrate a key victory during the Peninsular War, the 58 The Fens | June 2017

Battle Symphony was composed to include 193 live firing cannons, not something you can find in your average concert hall! But the Battle Proms Team brings over 200 cannons to each of their concerts for use in Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture and the Battle Symphony. It is this authentic, groundshaking and breathtaking percussion that makes the Battle Proms signature piece a truly remarkable experience. And if this wasn’t drama enough, the Battle Proms have worked closely with the Grace Spitfire team over the years to create a carefully choreographed Spitfire display. So much more than just a fly past, this display has the iconic plane dancing through the sky to the opening pieces of the orchestral performance by the 60 piece New English Concert Orchestra. The full orchestral programme then takes centre stage for the rest of the evening, complete

with a stunning performance by star soprano Denise Leigh and culminating in a flag-waving, singa-long ‘last night of the Proms’ style finale as a spectacular firework display lights up the sky! For more information, or to book tickets for this spectacular night out, visit or call 01432 355 416. To be in a chance of winning a pair of tickets, email, marking the subject ‘WIN PROMS’ before June 10th. Good luck!

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Fenland Youth

Award-winning Students Last month, several students across Whittlesey were given special awards from the then Mayor, Cllr. Alex Miscandlon. Merit awards were given to sisters Miley and Sydney Gleeson at AJS, for donating their hair to The Little Princess Trust, and to Yasmin Hills who also donated her hair to the organisation which make wigs for children suffering from hair loss. Jack Cooke was also awarded a merit award for his positive attitude and work ethic in the face of adversity. The winner of the Young Citizen of the Year was awarded to George Porter. George impressed judges with his selfless and imaginative fundraising in aid of Parkinsons disease. Well done to all the students who have done themselves, their parents, school and peers extremely proud. f Merit Award winner, Jack Cooke, photographed with his parents and grandparents

Merit Award winners: Miley and Sydney Gleeson i

Yasmin Hills was also presented with an award at Sir Harry Smith i

COATES BOOK CLUB RAISE MONEY FOR HOMELESS CHARITY The coffee morning held by the Coates Book Club on 19th April raised £280 for the homeless charity Centrepoint. Organisers of Coates Book Club thanked supporters and helpers that made it such a successful and happy morning and was delighted to welcome newcomers into Holy Trinity Church.

LOCAL CHARITY CHOSEN IN JOHN LEWIS CAFE NGNPUK (No Pain No Gain) has been selected as one of John Lewis’ chosen community charities for the next three months. The Whittlesey-based group provide syringe drivers for the wider area. Being recognised by the chain store is fantastic for the team. So next time you’re visiting John Lewis cafe and receive a little green token, consider NGNPUK. “We would love to see photos of people popping their token into the tub,” explained Louise, “so feel free to take one and send it to us via our Facebook page or website. Help us raise as much awareness as we can. Don't be shy.” “We would like to thank everyone who came along to the NGNPUK quiz night on 6th May at St. Andrew’s Hall,” added Louise. “We hope everyone enjoyed the evening and will join us again next year. The winning team were the B team. Well done to everyone who took part and helped us raise £603.”

COUNCILLOR SURGERIES Councillor Surgeries will be held in Grosvenor House from 09:30 to 10:30 on the first Saturday of every month throughout 2017. Saturday June 3rd Councillors present will be: Councillor Dee Laws (District, and Town Councillor) Councillor Rita Jolley (Town Councillor) If you have any matters of concern and wish to discuss with a Councillor, then please come along and let us know.

f George Porter, winner of the Young Citizen Award, photographed with his proud family at Park Lane Primary School 60 The Fens | June 2017

WHITTLESEY TOWN COUNCIL OPENING HOURS From Tuesday 2nd May 2017, the Town Council Offices will be open to the public between the hours of 9.30am and 1.30pm, Monday to Friday.


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Total funds raised from Ticket Sales, Raffle and Donations for St.Mary's and St. Andrew's Church at the above event amounted to £4,000. With grateful thanks to ALL those that assisted and supported the event.



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I am taking part in the WDBF Charity Walk 2017 on Sunday 9th July 2017 to help raise money for Defibrillators for All and Whittlesey Young People’s Counselling Service. Thank you for your support.

Participant Details: First Name: Surname: Group name/other names (if applicable): Home Address: Postcode: Email: Age (of all participants): Please delete as applicable: I have enclosed £5 / £1 / Cheque / BACS (Sort code: 20-45-45 Account no. 33061086 please use your surname as reference) / Other: Return completed forms to Aspect Fires, 37 Market Street, Whittlesey PE7 1BA before July 2nd. Remember to wear sensible footwear on the day. The tracks can be muddy and uneven, so unfortunately wheelchairs and pushchairs are not advisable. There will be limited parking, so if you’re coming by car, please be mindful of other road users and car share or walk wherever possible. We will have water, but please bring a bottle of water and wear sun protection if it’s very sunny. There will be a small prize on the day for children who complete our butterfly trail.

All entrants receive a medal on completion. Marshalls will direct walkers on the day. The Fens | June 2017




WORDS David White, RSPB IMAGES Chris Gomersall

As I often say, the Fens are a wonderful area for wildlife. The area is home to some of Britain’s most scarce breeding birds, such as cranes and bitterns. The Fens are also home to another rare nesting bird, the blacktailed godwit. Although this species may not grab as many headlines as the two mentioned above, an exciting project has recently been launched to increase the population of this charismatic wading bird. Project Godwit aims to conserve these wonderful waders and increase their numbers across the Fens. Black-tailed godwits are medium sized, long-beaked and long-legged wading birds. In the winter, they are mostly grey with white wing bars. They have an obvious white rump and a black tail (which is where they get 62 The Fens | June 2017

their name from just in case you are wondering.) In the breeding season, they have beautiful, orange breast feathering with a white belly. They have a distinctive, “wickering” call which echoes around their breeding areas. They nest on the ground in areas of wet grassland alongside other more numerous wading birds such as lapwing, redshank and common snipe. Historically, birds will have bred throughout East Anglia, before being driven to extinction in the nineteenth century as a result of land drainage. This species then nested again after an absence of over 200 years in 1952 on the Ouse Washes, which stretch for approximately 20 miles between Earith in Cambridgeshire and Denver in Norfolk. Only around 60 pairs of

black tailed godwits nest in Britain with around three quarters of this population nesting at RSPB Nene Washes, near Whittlesey. As blacktailed godwits are ground nesters, their nests and chicks can be susceptible to spring flooding and predation. One of the key aims of Project Godwit is to address these issues, by undertaking research and providing safe nesting habitat so that the species can once again thrive. Project Godwit is an ambitious five year partnership project between the RSPB and the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust (WWT). It is being made possible by some very generous funding from the EU Life Nature programme, the Heritage Lottery Fund, HSBC 150th Anniversary Funding and with support from Natural England. It is based at RSPB Nene Washes, RSPB Ouse Washes and WWT Welney (situated just into Norfolk on the Ouse Washes near Littleport.) At RSPB Ouse Washes and RSPB Nene Washes work is already being carried out to create the right conditions for black-tailed godwits. At RSPB Nene Washes for example, a 260 hectare area (larger than 200 football pitches) of wet grassland is being restored and managed specifically for black-tailed godwits and other wader species. There are currently around 46 pairs nesting on the Nene Washes each year and by doing this work, it is hoped that we can increase the population of godwits on the reserve At WWT Welney, plans are afoot to “headstart” black tailed godwits on the reserve. This involves collecting eggs from RSPB Nene Washes, hatching them in incubators, rearing birds in aviaries and releasing the chicks on the reserve once they are able to fend for themselves. Special pens have been built on the reserve to facilitate this and it is hoped that the first “headstarted” birds will be released on the reserve this June. Although it is still early days, we are already excited about Project Godwit happening here in the Fens. If you would like to find out more, please visit www. projectgodwit.


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at 3pm. Please bring your own food and drink, and something to sit on. All are welcome at this Churches Together event. Time: 3pm

WE’RE GOING ON A BEAR HUNT Thursday 1st June

Bring your own teddy bear and join Nene Park Trust on a bear hunt. There will be a craft session, followed by storytime and then a walk around Ferry Meadows to find Barney the Bear. Times: 10:30am-12:00noon and 1:30pm-3:00pm Cost is £4 and booking is essential 01733 234193

USED BOOK SALE Saturday 3rd June

Book lovers take note, Holy Trinity Church in Coates is holding a used book sale. With over 1,000 used books covering all genres, you’re bound to find something tempting. Times: 9:30am - 12 noon


PENCO FASHION SHOW Tuesday 13th June

Penco Dress Agency is holding a fashion show in conjunction with Park Lane School, raising money for the Friends of Park Lane School. Times: 7:30pm at Park Lane School Tickets are £2 per person available from Penco Dress Agency or Park Lane School reception. Refreshments and raffle provided. 07791 944435

SANDS MEETING Thursday 15th June

Sands, the Stillbirth and Neonatal death charity are holding a meeting in the Asda Community room at the Rivergate Shopping Centre. Meetings are casual, so no need to book. Time: 7pm-9pm

MURDER ONE NIGHT Friday 16th June

Peterborough Rowing Lake will play host to this year’s Dragon Boat Festival. Cheer on the rowers as they race each other, all in the name of raising money for Sue Ryder Thorpe Hall. 01733 225999

An interactive whodunit where you are invited to attend the Key Theatre for a police reconstruction of the last known moment of a missing girl. Time: 7:30pm Booking essential at Key Theatre Box Office 01733 207239

BEE WEEKEND AT PECKOVER HOUSE Saturday 10th - 11th June

NATIONAL CIVIC DAY Saturday 17th June

See Peckover bees at work with beekeeper David Arlott, who will be on hand to demonstrate bees and beekeeping. Beeswax products also available. Time: 11am - 4pm The event is free with the usual entrance fee at Peckover House 01945 583463

Whittlesey Mud Walls Group are organising a town tour of the Mud Boundary Walls in Whittlesey, visible from the roads and pavements, as part of the National Civic Day. The tour can be tailored according to weather conditions and age groups and each tour is expected to last one hour and ten minutes. Time: 10am/12pm at the Buttercross


THE BBC BIG BAND Wednesday 21st June

Holy Trinity Church, Coates, are holding a picnic and open air service 64 The Fens | June 2017

Join the internationally renowned BBC Big Band for evening of world-class big band music - inspired by the finest swing bands and composers of the

Twentieth Century. Time: 7:30pm Booking essential at Key Theatre Box Office 01733 207239


This month’s speaker will be Louise Russell from Young People’s Counselling Service. Times: 6pm, start 6:30pm at Falcon Hotel, London Street, Whittlesey. 01733 203064


Now in its 21st year and having raised close to £150,000 for Macmillan Cancer Support, the Championships are again due to be staged at Peterborough’s Greyhound Stadium. Entry is free to the stadium for spectators on the night and programmes will be sold at £2 each which will have a lucky number and be entered into a prize draw. 07711 198391

WINE TASTING Thursday 22nd June

Who doesn’t love wine? The Railway, Station Road Whittlesey are hosting a wine tasting evening. Seats are limited, so booking is essential. Time: 7pm 01733 203555

PETERBOROUGH ARTISTS’ OPEN STUDIOS Saturday 24th - 25th June, 1st - 2nd July, 8th - 9th July ●

Don’t miss this year’s artists’ open studios. Various venues across Peterborough and the surrounding villages will be opening to the public. More information can be found on page 7. Time and areas: Various (see website for more details)


Saturday 24th June ●

The Secret Garden in Wisbech will be alive with the smell of local produce, crafts and local music. There’s something for everyone at this family event. Time: 10am 01945 585044 www.thesecretgardentouringpark.

Manor Leisure Centre, Station Road, Whittlesey PE7 1UA 01354 622399

WISBECH ROSE FAIR Wednesday 28th June - 1st July

Wisbech comes alive at the end of the month as floral displays decorate the town. Find out more about this annual event on page 8. 01945 582508

DEREK MASSEY TALK Saturday 1st July


Don’t miss this celebration of summer as Park Lane Primary School opens its field to all of the fun of the fair. Time: 2-4pm

THE BIG BAND THEORY Saturday 24th June ●

The Steve Hession Big Band, in association with Peterborough’s multi-award-winning musical theatre society, PODS, presents a gala concert in aid of The Young People’s Counselling Service. Time: 7pm Booking essential at Key Theatre Box Office 01733 207239

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

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


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


Enjoy the music of Motown, Northern Soul, plus sounds of the 70s and 80s at Manor Leisure Centre, Whittlesey. Times: 8am - 12am Cost is £10 prebooked or £15 on the night. Tickets available from

Steve Carmel

Saturday 10th June Joanne Day

Sunday 11th June Sunday Lunch

Saturday 17th June The Big “D"

Saturday 24th June Michael Knight

REGULARS 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 | June 2017



Spotlight on


WORDS Tony Austin

I thought I ought to give you a break from my endless verbiage and instead relax you with some old pictures. But before I do, and as this month we’re looking at High Causeway, Whittlesey, a few words about its past. It’s like London Street, in a way, narrow and obviously early medieval in date. It appears to have started out as a bridle lane, cutting more or less straight across the open fields from the St. Mary’s Manor, to the little harbour where the Delph or dyke dug by the monks cut across the Fen marsh to Thorney island and their Abbey. The width of the lane was just wide enough to enable traffic to flow between the Delph and the Manor of St. Mary’s, and narrow enough so it didn’t waste good tilling land. Over the centuries of course, the open fields were built over and High Causeway itself was split up into plots for houses and eventually Inns, Guild Halls and shops. But the road itself remained just as wide as when it lay across a great open field. The plan below shows how the plots were laid out, blue being St. Andrew’s Manor and pink St. Mary’s.


4 Over the centuries the buildings on those plots changed and I’ve include some photos, old and less old. 1. Looking down High Causeway towards the Market Place about 1905. 2. Looking towards the Market Place from the corner of Syers Lane, about 1970, before the current road was cut through High Causeway. 3. The Copper Kettle, a thatched shop at 18, High Causeway. 4. Millers the bakers shop at 34, High Causeway. 5. Shop and house at the corner of Gracious Street and High Causeway, about 1890. 66 The Fens | June 2017


3 5








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The Fens | June 2017



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The Fens June 2017