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Issue 6 | March 2020


A magazine with the heart and soul of the Fens

Inside this issue Discover all about Thomas Clarkson

Ramsey Neighbourhoods Trust

Visiting the Crowns and Gowns Exhibition Find the best local bluebells


Herman’s Hermits 55th Anniversary Tour Friday 20th March Tickets £24

Psychic Sally 10 Years and Counting Thursday 16th April Tickets £25

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Saturday 1st February Tickets £8* * £10 on the door

Tuesday 7th April Tickets £30 family or from £8.50pp

Best in Comedy Ed Gamble & Guests

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Saturday 20th June Tickets £15

Thursday 22nd October Tickets £24.50

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Road, St Ives PE27 6WU The FensWestwood | March 2020

ED’S letter This month is not only Mothering Sunday (March 22nd) but also International Women’s Day (March 8th); a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating women’s equality. For my column this edition, I wanted to highlight a few of the important women that work behind the scenes of this publication because they are all, equally incredible. Having been with me from almost the launch of the The Fens magazine, Amy Corney has been an amazing assistant of mine. She plans our diaries, shares her creative ideas and organises our Ramsey distribution. Not long after, and through a mutual friend of Amy’s, we met Cassie Ward. Cassie is not only a wonderful mum to her two teenage boys, but she sells advertising space for our publication whilst managing her very own successful career creating and writing her own crochet designs. This year she became a published author. And then last, but definitely not least, we have Theresa Shiels, my proofreader and wonderful mother-in-law who checks all three publications for any awful errors and usually gets only a few hours to do it. I’m so thankful for you all.


THIS month 7 Your Neighbourhood news

27 Mother’s Day gift ideas

13 Local news

28 The history of Thomas Clarkson - a forgotten man

14 Last chance to see Ely Cathedral’s ‘Crowns & Gowns’ exhibition 18 Gardening in March 24 Have you heard about the Fenland Flag?



Issue 6 | March 2020


A magazine with the heart and soul of the Fens

Inside this issue Discover all about Thomas Clarkson

Ramsey Neighbourhoods Trust

Visiting the Crowns and Gowns Exhibition Find the best local bluebells


30 Shrek the Musical hits Peterborough 32 Find the best places to spot bluebells this month 39 Getting into... ice hockey 42 Useful numbers and events guide 46 Visiting Johnsons of Old Hurst

ISSUE 6 | MARCH 2020 Sunrise over Ely Cathedral by Andrew Sharpe

THE TEAM PUBLISHER / EDITOR Natasha Shiels hello@thefensmag.co.uk ASSISTANT EDITOR Richard Groom richard@pcbonline.co.uk EDITORIAL ASSISTANT Amy Corney amy@thefensmag.co.uk PROOF READER Theresa Shiels PHOTOGRAPHY Chris Brudenell chrisbrudenellphotography.co.uk ADVERTISING SALES sales@thefensmag.co.uk 07511 662566 SUBSCRIPTIONS To subscribe for just £12 for 6 issues, contact us at hello@thefensmag.co.uk CONTRIBUTORS Westfield Nurseries | Eva Jordan Robert Bull | Caroline Fitton | Sara Fontanella | Richard Groom | Molly Day-Coombes |Bill Watt | Anna Bradley-Dorman | Val Fendley DISTRIBUTION 7,000 copies printed monthly. Delivered to Ramsey and the surrounding villages as well as being available for pick up at Ramsey TESCO and the library

www.thefensmag.co.uk facebook.com/thefensmag @thefensmag thefensmag Ramsey Neighbourhoods Trust

THE FENS is published by a local team. 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 hello@thefensmag.co.uk. THE FENS accepts no liability for products and services offered by third parties.

The Fens | March 2020


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Pop in for Tea & Cake (2pm-5pm) Wine & Nibbles (5pm –7pm)

Come and find out what’s going on in Ramsey for local people of all ages

Wednesday 25th March | Ramsey Library 6

The Fens | March 2020

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Neighbourhood Office Ramsey Neighbourhoods Trust, Neighbourhood Office, 25 Great Whyte, Ramsey, Cambs, PE26 1HG | Tel: 01487 814897 www.ramseyneighbourhoodstrust.org | wwww.ramseymillion.org | wwww.discoverramsey.co.uk

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Ready to get rid of those winter blues? Wanting to get fit for the summer? We might just have what you need. Phoenix is offering a ‘Be Active, Be Healthy’ workshop, run by Everyone Health, on 29th April in Ramsey Library. You will be able to book for either a 10am -12pm or 7pm-9pm session. Places will be FREE but must be reserved, once booking is open in early April.

HIGH SHERIFF OF CAMBRIDGESHIRE VISIT On Monday 10th February the trustees, volunteers and staff of Ramsey Neighbourhoods Trust (RNT) were delighted to receive an informal visit from His Honour N A McKittrick DL, the High Sheriff Of Cambridgeshire. The office of High Sheriff is unpaid, non-political and held for one year by appointment of the Crown. Records of there being a High Sheriff in Cambridgeshire go back to 1155. During his year the High Sheriff particularly wanted to highlight the work of the voluntary sector so

we invited him along to see some of the great things that are happening in Ramsey, as well as discussing the challenges of living in a rural community. After his visit the High Sheriff said, “Thank you so much for facilitating my visit this morning and for giving me the opportunity to meet so many of your volunteers. You are obviously all doing a brilliant job by providing so many community-based amenities using the wonderful library building as a hub.”

SPOTLIGHT ON RAMSEY Ramsey Parish is a hive of activity. Did you know there are over 65 volunteerrun or supported groups in and around the town? From sports clubs to school governing bodies, lunch clubs to games afternoons, heritage sites to toddler groups, bell ringers to cyclists – the list goes on! On Wednesday 25th March we’re offering you a chance to come and

find out what is really going on. You can chat to some of the people who run these groups at this informal, drop-in event (see p6 for more details). Whether you want to find a new hobby, discover what children’s activities are on offer, learn something new, get fit, or give back to your community, we are confident you will find something of interest. No matter

The Repair Café is back on the 4th April, 10am at Ramsey Cricket Club. Please book your items in before the day to ensure we have someone with the right skills to help you. New for this session is blade sharpening. Have you got old kitchen knives, garden shears, scissors that are not working as well as they should? Don’t throw them away, come along and give them a new lease of life. We will aim to fix your item for free, but any new parts will be charged for. You will be advised of any fee before a repair is undertaken. Previous Repair Cafes have repaired/ restored clothing, garden ornaments, small pieces of furniture and jewellery. So don’t bin it – repair it! Alison Seery – Ramsey Neighbourhoods Trust Project Manager Contact: rntprojectmanager@gmail.com what, this is a great opportunity to meet other local people over a cup of tea or a glass of wine – it is also rumoured there will be cake! Pop along, we’d love to see you. Spotlight on Ramsey | 25th March | 2pm-7pm | Ramsey Library For more information please contact Anna Bradley-Dorman (01487 814897) anna.rntoffice@gmail.com or Ann Cuthbert (07762 710257) promotingramsey@gmail.com The Fens | March 2020



April’s Heritage Day SUNDAY APRIL 5TH

Our BOSH and CRUNCH Youth Clubs are now back in full swing and the young people are helping us to plan for the year ahead. We would like to publicly thank Ramsey Town Council and the Ramsey Million Partnership for the funding allocated throughout 2020 and in to 2021, which enables us to employ well trained sessional youth workers. The valued support with staffing means we can continue to deliver the weekly clubs and some school holiday activities, which we know families appreciate. Young people are also helping to fundraise so that we can keep our trips out affordable you may have seen some of them on our chocolate tombola at the Christmas Lights.

We’re currently planning an Easter event and our much-loved BOSH summer play scheme.

Sunday April 5th sees the next FREE Open Heritage Day in Ramsey. The library on the Great Whyte opens at 11am where you can come for tea and cake and a look at the new exhibition on the Treasures of Ramsey Abbey. You will then be ready to hop on the free vintage bus and begin your “Journey through Time”. Visit all the local heritage sites for free, join the treasure hunt and pick up the Children’s Pack. And of course, there are several tea, cake and lunch stops available around the town and at some of the sites. Information points and leaflets for the day will be available at the library, on the Abbey Green and at the various heritage sites. You can visit the National Trust Abbey Gatehouse, the Lady Chapel, Abbey House, the 8

The Fens | March 2020

More details coming soon but the dates for your diaries are: • Thursday 9th April • Monday 3rd to Friday 14th August.

Walled Garden, the Rural Museum (with craft fair) and the Mortuary Chapels. You can walk between all these sites or jump on the vintage bus which will be travelling between the sites, leaving, the library on the hour. For further details see p10. Ann Cuthbert 07762 710257, promotingramsey@gmail.com

In addition to our youth workers we have volunteers who support the staff and I’m delighted to introduce our two latest recruits who are volunteering at BOSH as part of the Duke of Edinburgh Award. Meet Jess Trotter and Zi Feng Lim who have told us they’re enjoying the volunteering so much that they plan to stay on after the Duke of Edinburgh hours are completed. Well done to them both and thank you.

BUS CAMPAIGN UPDATE Contact Us Neighbourhood Office, Ramsey Library, 25 Great Whyte, Ramsey, PE26 1HG Tel: 01487 814897 Email:

To show the mayor of the combined authority how strongly local people feel about the lack of public transport we are launching a postcard campaign. These will be available from Ramsey Library and other public locations from mid-March onwards. The address and a brief description of what we are asking of the combined authority is already printed on the back. There is room for a short comment, should you wish to add anything. All we ask is that you add your name and postcode (to show you are a real person!) AND A STAMP. Alternatively, you can put it in the collection box in Ramsey Library and we’ll post it for you. The more we send the greater impact it will have. You can send your card anytime throughout 2020. Thank-you to those who responded to our article in the last issue about our campaign to save and improve local bus services. Don’t forget we

Phoenix & SPARKS : Alison Seery rntprojectmanager@gmail.com Ramsey Million : Anna Bradley-Dorman office.ramseymillion@gmail.com Discover Ramsey & A Journey Through Time : Ann Cuthbert promotingramsey@gmail.com Activities for Families and Young People : Val Fendley val.rntoffice@gmail.com Ramsey Community Market : Carol Aston market.rntoffice@gmail.com Websites : www.ramseyneighbourhoodstrust.org www.ramseymillion.org www.discoverramsey.co.uk

are collecting thoughts and ideas from local people to support our case. Remember any story, idea or opinion is important to us. We want to hear from anyone, regardless of age or whether you use the bus or not. If you are interested, please get in touch. We are happy to take written submissions, or we’ll come and talk to you. Please contact Anna at: office. ramseymillion@gmail.com or anna.rntoffice@gmail.com | 01487 814897

Facebook : Ramsey Neighbourhoods Trust Ramsey Million – Big Local Crunch - Ramsey BOSH -Ramsey SPARKS Club Ramsey Timebank The Dog’s Meet Jobsearch Ramsey Ramsey Phoenix Project Discover Ramsey Twitter : @RamseyTrust @RamseyMillionBL @RamseyTimebank @discover_ramsey

YOUR NEIGHBOURHOOD OFFICE NEWS IN BRIEF Car Boot Sales are back on the Great Whyte from the end of March. These will be held (weather permitting) on the last Sunday of the month throughout the spring and summer. To book a pitch contact market.rntoffice@gmail.com A BIG Thank-you to the Ramsey Hospital Charity Shop which donated £500 last month towards software

essential for debt and money advice support service. Without it our amazing advisor would not be able to support people who find themselves in need of help, quite often at times of crisis when they are at their most vulnerable. If you live

in Ramsey or the surrounding area and have money issues our advisor may be able to help. Please contact the Neighbourhood Office for more details or pop into Job Search on a Monday between 10am and noon, in Ramsey Library.

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BURY VILLAGE HALL FILM CLUB The Bury Village Hall Film club are screening the 2019 film ‘Once upon a time in Hollywood’ by the director Quentin Tarantino, which has a Certificate 18, on Saturday 21st March 2020, at 7:30pm (doors open at 7pm). Entry is £3.

ROTARY IN RAMSEY TO HOLD A SPECIAL CONCERT IN RAMSEY Rotary in Ramsey are holding Voices of Spring concert in aid of improving community facilities at The St Thomas A Becket Church and Rotary in Ramsey Charities. The concert, which will be held on Saturday 7th March at 7:30pm, will be held appropriately in St Thomas a Becket Church. The concert will include Rotary Voices Choir, Ouse Valley Chorus, Emily Darlow (Soprano), Aarathy Thusyanthan (on piano) and Jackie and Adam Southwell on flute and cello. Tickets are £10 each (under 16s £5) and can be purchased from Jenny Stratton on 01733 844536 or at the Sue Ryder Charity Shop on Great Whyte or any Ramsey Rotarian. Tickets will also be available on the door.

Their film programme until June is: Saturday 25th April – Knives Out (2019) Cert 12A Saturday 16th May – Green Book (2018) Cert 12A Saturday 20th June – GalaxyQuest (1999) Cert 12 (Films subject to availability) Films will also be advertised in Ramsey Library, on posters and on their own Facebook page.

THE CRAFT MARKET IS COMING TO QUEENSGATE – TWICE! Queensgate Shopping Centre is preparing to host a craft market in Central Square on Saturday 30-Sunday 31 May. If you can’t make the date, then don’t panic, because it’ll be back again on Saturday 18-Sunday 19 July, just in time for Independent Retailer Month! Both two-day events will take place from 9am – 6pm on the Saturdays and 10.30am – 4.30pm on the Sundays. Come along to pick up unique handmade goodies from independent crafters. Whether you’re buying gifts or treating yourself to something nice, you can be sure that you’ll leave with bags full of beautiful, handcrafted items that put a smile on your face. The events will take place in collaboration with The Craft Market, a

local business network which supports independent retailers to grow through craft fairs. The Craft Market will see 22 business coming together at each event to showcase their creations, and will give shoppers the chance to snap up unusual buys. Queensgate Shopping Centre will approve each trader, so you can be sure that every stall will be worth browsing and buying from. Rebecca Keefe, Marketing Manager at Queensgate, said: “We can’t wait to welcome The Craft Market and talented local crafters to Queensgate. These two events are going to be so exciting! Everybody loves shopping with independent retailers, and now we’re bringing them together all in one place, to make it easier than ever to shop independent! Plus, it’ll give visitors

a great day out. Whether you’re coming in May or July, or popping along to both events, we look forward to seeing you there!” Find out more about The Craft Market by visiting https:// en-gb.facebook.com/ CraftMarketWisbech/ Or check out Queensgate Shopping Centre’s new website at www.queensgateshopping.co.uk

RAMP INSTALLED AT ST THOMAS A BECKET CHURCH St Thomas a Becket Church have completed a ramp for those disabled who require an access door. A Dedication Service will be held on 8th March at 10amall are welcome. This completes the area of new kitchens and toilets. Fundraising has been ongoing for this project, giving community opportunities for all. The Fens | March 2020



Crowning Glory This month is your last chance to visit a collection of costumes, jewellery, props and memorabilia from major films which is currently on display in Ely Cathedral. So what does the ‘Crowns & Gowns’ exhibition hold?

WORDS NATASHA SHIELS IMAGES CHRIS BRUDENELL Showcasing original dresses and outfits from some iconic films such as ‘The Other Boleyn Girl’, ‘The King’s Speech’, ‘Macbeth’, ‘Elizabeth:The Golden Age’ and the Netflix smash hit, ‘The Crown’, the cathedral exhibition gives visitors the chance to see the exquisite costumes in full detail. There are no glass cabinets and minimal restrictions which enables you to fully appreciate the incredible work which goes into each piece. But the exhibition is more than just dresses proudly on display, it showcases the cathedral as the chosen location for these iconic films. In fact, Ely Cathedral has 14 The Fens | March 2020

been the set for a total of nine films, narrowly missing out on being picked for a Harry Potter film. To bring this to life, the exhibition houses various interactive screens which, as well as providing fascinating information about the films shot here, also plays movie clips of the scenes in which the cathedral is centre stage. THE COSTUMES Set in the Lady Chapel, ‘Crowns & Gowns’ has costumes worn by Hollywood stars including Cate Blanchett, Geoffrey Rush, Scarlett Johansson, Natalie Portman, Michael Fassbender and Colin Firth. Frankly,

it’s the closest I will ever get to Colin Firth in the flesh, and that was quite thrilling. Visitors will also learn about the history of the company who are responsible for the intricate detailing of each and every costume held in the exhibition. Angels is a family-run business dating back to 1840. Spanning seven generations, Angels are one of the leading costume houses and have been dressing the stars of the stage, screen and TV for over 175 years. Based in London, the company which started from humble beginnings making men’s attire, soon discovered

there was a lucrative market for making clothes for the London theatres. Today, Tim Angel and his three children manage the costume house, making not only costumes for TV but they also are the UK’s largest fancy dress supplier. Walking through the ‘Crowns & Gowns’ exhibition, it’s not difficult to see why they are still at the top of their game. The incredible detailing of each costume is faultless and as authentic as possible. By lending the cathedral some of the outfits from the scenes filmed here, the artists’ dedication to their art really comes to life. There’s no trick of the camera here. In addition to the costumes, the exhibition also includes a few pieces of genuine movie memorabilia such as original film scripts, daily call sheets and on set photographs. I found the call sheets particularly interesting, getting a glimpse of what a typical day’s filming involves. So why bring this exhibition to life? “This is something we have been considering doing for some years and it has been an exciting journey to bring it to fruition,” Joss Palmer, Events Manager at Ely Cathedral explained. “It has been a real privilege to have the Cathedral used as a location for such prestigious movies and television shows and we are grateful to the film industry for their continued support. If the event proves popular, we hope to follow ‘Crowns & Gowns’ with a larger scale exhibition in the summer of 2021.” Your last chance to catch ‘Crowns & Gowns’ is March 15th. Whether you’re a film buff, interested in dressmaking or just want to appreciate the splendour of Ely Cathedral, a visit to the exhibition is a wonderful way to spend a few hours. Appealing to a wide age range and interest groups, entrance to the cathedral is just £8 (which includes the exhibition). If you visit on a Sunday entrance to ‘Crowns & Gowns’ is £5 (children under 16 are free when accompanying a paying adult). The exhibition is open Monday to Saturday 9:30am to 4pm or Sunday midday to 3:45pm. There are some wonderful volunteers on hand to explain more about the costumes and history behind them, as well as a beautifully stocked gift shop and tea room. Find out more by calling the Box Office on 01353 660349 or visit www.elycathedral.org The Fens | March 2020


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Home & garden

YOUR GARDEN IN March Spring is finally here! The warmer and sunnier days during March provide the opportunity for an increasing range of gardening tasks. It’s a great time of the year as new life bursts forth and the garden begins to transform. Preparation of seed beds and borders should be well under way this month as well as cutting back winter shrubs and generally tidying up the mess that the winter has left behind. Whether you’re preparing for shrubs and bedding plants or sowing seed for vegetables, once all the tidying is done you’ll be in a better position to plan the seasons planting.

Looking good this month...Pansy/Viola


ESSENTIAL JOBS FOR MARCH SOW SEED AND PLANT ONION SETS, SHALLOTS & POTATOES As the soil begins to warm you can start to sow broad beans, salads and sweet peas. If bad weather is forecast be sure to cover seedlings with cloches to protect them. March is also the time to plant out onion and shallot sets – cover with fleece or netting to protect from birds. Early varieties of potato such as ‘Rocket’ and ‘Swift’ can be planted in the early part of the month. If they have been kept in a light and frostfree environment they should be ‘chitting’ (a slight sprouting from the seed potato). Chitting before planting can encourage earlier and heavier cropping. FEED As the warmer weather promotes fresh growth a general garden fertiliser should be applied to help boost roots, green foliage and encourage more fruits and flowers

from your plants. It can be applied around the base of plants by scattering straight from the box and left to be watered in by the rain. Unfortunately the warm weather will also see weeds start to grow as well. Weeding isn’t the most popular of jobs but it is best to pull any that start to appear while they are young to prevent spreading. SCARIFY THE LAWN Do some lawn preparation this month before the growing season gets well and truly under way. Choose a dry day and give the lawn a thorough rake to remove the remnants of winter before giving a cut with the mower blades set at the highest position. Then aerate with a garden fork or aeration machine. This improves drainage and gets oxygen to the grass roots. Finally, apply a top dressing of spring lawn feed to add nutrients.

One of the most popular bedding plants, pansies and violas are hardy annuals that have a stunning array of colours to choose from. Bringing the joy of spring to your garden during the colder months, they grow happily in borders or containers as well as providing great ground cover. HOW SHOULD YOU PLANT THEM? Plant them in moist, well-drained soil in a spot with good sunlight to encourage flowering. Tough little plants that are extremely hardy, they prefer cooler temperatures and need watering regularly. They are also very versatile – plant them in beds, borders, containers and hanging baskets.

Enjoy your garden. The Fens | March 2020





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The Fens | March 2020


Training Shed opens at one Leisure Outdoor Centre

The TRAINING SHED have opened a new gym based at One Leisure, California Road, St Ives The brand-new TRAINING SHED facility, specialises in functional training, nutrition and injury rehabilitation. This decision to expand the fitness offering in the district is in direct response to achieving One Leisure’s objective to improve health and wellbeing and support people to be the best they can be in Huntingdonshire. The new facility provides a holistic approach to fitness and wellbeing that will serve the ever-growing population of St Ives and its surrounding area. This is a unique facility that is not on offer anywhere else across Huntingdonshire. We’re all unique. Every single one of us - our mechanical movement, recovery rates, endurance levels and more. The only thing we have in common is a start point and a personal goal. What’s yours? Using Shedology, TRAINING SHED get you to where you want to be in the

most efficient way. How? Your body tells them. Genetically. mechanically and physiologically. It tells them (and you) everything they need to know about your body and how to best meet your personal goals. Sheducate yourself – TRAINING SHED is all about shared knowledge. The more you know, the more control you have over your lifestyle. The aim is for you to live your life with those you love. Not spend your life at the gym! The SHED’s job is to educate you about your body and how it affects your wellbeing. Health and wellness

20 The Fens | March 2020

are their two guiding lights. With their support, they’ll be yours too. You will go beyond the physical, it’s about a healthy balance of fitness and that’s why they will encompass your physical, nutritional and mental set up, when designing your custom active programme. They are able to do this because they don’t do star coaches. Everyone brings something to the party, whether they are exathletes or sports academics. The SHED’s strength is in their combined breadth of experience and expertise. TRAINING SHED classes provide a motivating and fun way to exercise,

with a chance to learn some new and exciting ways to train – that you won’t find anywhere else! The classes are unique to the SHED and they guarantee that you will get what you’ve always been looking for ... results. SHED ZONE classes are the TRAINING SHED’s answer to virtual classes. Designed (& tested) by the SHED coaches and monitored via MyZone Heart Rate belts, choosing a 30 minute SHED ZONE class ensures challenging and motivating workout for you! Each class has video demonstrations to ensure correct technique, the correct heart rate zones are recommended throughout to ensure you are working at the right intensity and a target number of MEPs (MyZone Effort Points) is set to ensure you push yourself! INJURY CLINIC AND SPORTS MASSAGE The TRAINING SHED Function & Injury Clinic offers you access to a comprehensive range of treatment and rehabilitation services provided by highly qualified and experienced therapists with many years experience in private practice and professional sports. All treatments are personalised to suit each client’s needs and goals with a strong emphasis on promoting education, awareness and patient participation in your treatment. All of their Function & Injury Clinic services are available to both members and non-members. FUNCTION & INJURY CLINIC Providing you with professional injury and rehabilitation support, their services focus on the prevention, diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation of both your sporting and occupational injuries whilst aiming to provide the highest standards of care, advice and contemporary exercise methods available. SPORTS MASSAGE THERAPIST The Sports Massage service is aimed at improving circulation, relieving tension and preventing muscle tightness/soreness accumulated from the repetitive stresses and strains of competition, training and work. Ideal both prior to and post-competition and a great supplement to keep your training on track to improve performance, aid muscle recovery and reduce the risk of injury.


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Visit www.trainingshed.com to find out more. The Fens | March 2020


Feeling stressed? ADVICE FROM THE FENLAND MIDWIFE Currently routine preconceptual care is not readily on offer from a healthcare professional unless you have an existing chronic health condition. So where does one get information? Do folk even consider that they should be in peak health before pregnancy? As a midwife I understand that planning to become parent (s) is a lifechanging event! It is also an opportunity to make personal improvements to health and lifestyle for good – what better time to take a long hard, honest look at yourself inside and out? Q. Do you eat a balanced diet? I do not mean a cake in each hand type of balance (if only) but eating foods from each of the food groups in the correct quantity daily. I am not suggesting a reducing diet unless you feel that is appropriate. Look at the meals you eat, or the meals you inadvertently miss, are they good for you, your concentration, appropriate in size for the type of activity you undertake at work and in your leisure time? Q. Are you getting the right amount of exercise? No one expects you to be an elite athlete, but you need at least 30 mins exercise per day that increases your heart rate This could simply be a

brisk walk, so don’t feel you have to search for a gym membership and the time to go there! Q. Are you drinking too much alcohol? Alcohol consumption affects the fertility of men and women, did you know that? There is plenty of evidence to read and understand the implications, starting at www.drinkaware.co.uk. Q. Are you a smoker? Most of us accept that smoking is harmful to our bodies because the research evidence has been available for years. It is however an addiction. Quitting successfully requires careful planning, strategies in place and plenty of support. Seek helpful, guided support to help navigate this. You could access NHS online at www.nhs.uk/smokefree for some information as a start. Firstly, though you must be convinced yourself of how it can impact you, your baby now and in the future. This may well be the motivation you need! If you find you are pregnant and haven’t had chance to make changes, it is never too late! Have the conversations and make the changes as quickly as you can! Now is a good time to start with better habits because these will be transferred to your baby at conception and during pregnancy and beyond.

If you wish to contact or speak to me I have a facebook page, rachelthefenlandmidwife@ gmail.com or visit the website fenlandmidwife.co.uk 22 The Fens | March 2020

Are you feeling stressed, tired and overwhelmed? What would you think if I told you that you don’t have to? What would you think if I told you that you are in control of how you feel? Some of you will be open to the idea and want to know more, some of you will think that it can’t possibly apply to you, that’s okay, I just ask that you to be open to the possibility. Our thoughts turn into our reality, so if you do not like what you are getting or how you are feeling it stands to reason that you need to not only change what you think, but how you think. Our thinking patterns are largely driven by the values and beliefs we develop in childhood, if you have the belief that you are not good enough or not deserving your thoughts are rarely going to be attracting happiness and wealth. Einstein famously said “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, expecting different results.” the same applies to our thoughts, unless you change them you are going to keep getting more of what you already have. There are lots of ways you can interrupt your negative thought patterns and shift towards more bountiful, positive thinking, visit safehaven-therpay.com for free techniques and exercises on how to create big change in your life. Do you want to feel energised, happy and focused? Join me at Orton Hall on the 10th May for my sell out Unleash Workshop.

Susie Munns can be found at Safe Haven Therapy & Coaching Mobile: 07915 073 013 www.safehaven-therapy.com www.facebook.com/ SafeHavenTherapy

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Flying the Fenland Flag

WORDS RICHARD GROOM The Fen Tiger is flying proudly across the region and around the world, symbolising the history and character of Fenland people The flag is the creation of James Bowman, an Ely-based writer and historian with a passion for flags and the Fens. He designed the flag in 2017 and started to promote it across the region the following year. James says: “I saw that there was an increasing interest in county and regional flags across the UK. Having lived in the Fens for 25 years I felt very strongly that it has its own identity, and therefore that it should have its own flag. Since I shared my design with people the response has been fantastic. It’s clear that people are proud of the Fens and want a flag to share their pride.” A POSITIVE SYMBOL OF THE FENS The flag’s design consists of three elements. The central yellow band represents agricultural prosperity, echoing fields of wheat that are such an important part of the Fenland landscape and economy. The blue outer bands represent the natural and man-made waterways that keep us dry. Taking pride of place is a tiger representing the Fen Tigers, who were protestors opposed to the drainage of the Fens (see ‘Centuries of Fen Tigers’), and the determination of local people in general. The flag has gained significant support in the 18 months since James began his campaign. South East 24 The The Fens Fens | | March March 2020 2020 24

Cambridgeshire MP Lucy Frazer has already written a letter of support to the Flag Institute, and several East Cambridgeshire and Fenland District councillors have expressed their support. Perhaps more importantly, local people not involved in politics have enthusiastically welcomed the flag. It can be seen flying over many homes and businesses in the region and dozens of narrowboats also fly the flag. Stickers have been produced and countless shops, pubs and other businesses are displaying one on their premises. They are also featured on all the buses operated by FACT Community Transport in March. SPREADING THE WORD There has been media interest in the flag across local newspapers and TV. But this isn’t just a local story. The campaign has gone global and pictures of the flag flying across the world - from Mongolia to the USA have been sent into the Fenland Flag Facebook page. The flag is especially gaining visibility in Whittlesey thanks to the efforts of Cheryl Wright. Since moving to the town a couple of years ago she has embraced Fenland life and the community, and is a keen supporter of the flag. She has already encouraged many local shops and other businesses to display the flag in

one form or another on their premises. Cheryl says: “Everyone can adopt the Fenland Flag as it has no political meaning or controversy. It’s just a positive way to show you are proud to live here. James has produced a few hundred stickers at his own expense that I’m taking around the town. I hope that we’ll soon have them available to buy from local shops in Whittlesey and across the Fens.”

James will officially submit the flag for (hopefully) acceptance by the Flag Institute for inclusion on the UK’s official Flag Registry. The more local support that can be generated before then, the greater the chance of the application being successful. Similar flags have been accepted onto the Registry in recent years, such as the regional flag for the Black Country in the West Midlands. Once the flag is on the Registry as the official flag of the region, it is likely that more organisations locally will display it.

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To find out more or express your support for the Fenland Flag, visit the flag’s Facebook page (search ‘Fenland Flag’). At least four UK companies produce and sell the Fenland Flag in various formats and sizes: Flying Colours, Red Dragon Flagmakers, Mr Flag and Jersey Flags all have websites where you can order your very own Fenland Flag.

CENTURIES OF FEN TIGERS The original Fen Tigers used sabotage to thwart the efforts of rich landowners trying to drain the Fens in the 1600s in order to create new farmland. Drainage would destroy the way of life for thousands of people who depended on the wetlands for their livelihood. The Tigers destroyed embankments, blocked up drains and dykes, and burnt farmhouses and crops. The level of civil unrest severely delayed land reclamation in the Fens. When works to drain the Fens resumed in the late 1700s and early 1800s, there was further rioting and sabotage. Ultimately however, the works went ahead. The wetlands were transformed into the most fertile farming land in the country. ‘Fen Tigers’ has since been used to describe Fenland folk in more general terms, especially those with a resilient, hardy character. It was the nickname of the Army’s Cambridgeshire Regiment, which was active from 1908 to 1961. Many sporting individuals and teams are also known as Fen Tigers, from boxers Eric Boon and Dave Boy Green to Mildenhall’s speedway team and Ely Tigers Rugby Club. Tigers can also be seen on the coat of arms of Fenland District Council.

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Rotary in Ramsey celebrating 50 years

Saturday 7th March 2020 7:30 pm St Thomas à Becket Church Tickets - £10 (under 16s £5)

In aid of Chari&es supported by Rotary & St Thomas à Becket Church

By coincidence, there may actually be real tigers in the Fens. For years there have been reports of a mysterious big cat roaming the Fens. But as one big cat expert said in 2013: “It may just be a domestic cat.”


Performers : Rotary Voices Choir Ouse Valley Chorus Emily Darlow – Soprano Aarathy Thusyanthan – Piano Jackie & Adam Southwell – Flute & Cello Tickets available from Rotarian Jenny StraCon – 01733 844536 Sue Ryder Charity Shop Great Whyte, Ramsey, any Ramsey Rotarian or on the door

The Fens | March 2020


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The Fens | March 2020


A forgotten man

THOMAS CLARKSON Despite a monument dominating the centre of Wisbech and a local school carrying his name, few in the Fens know the man behind the dedications WORDS MOLLY DAY-COOMBES Thomas Clarkson was born on 28th March 1760 at the Free Grammar School in Wisbech where his father was headmaster. Thomas was one of four and they lived in the school grounds until his father died of a fever when Thomas was six years old. His widowed mother moved their family to what is now 8 York Row, between Etcetera and Coakley's Opticians. EARLY RESEARCH Thomas left home at fifteen years old to enter St Paul's School in London. He intended to follow his father into the church (his father was an Anglican priest). Thomas then attended the University of Cambridge in 1779 and graduated with honours in 1783. Thomas was first encouraged to consider the immorality of slavery when he took part in an essay competition. The essay question asked "Is it lawful to make slaves of others against their will". Thomas launched himself into his research with the intensive nature that defined his career, interviewing former slave traders and those who had witnessed the trade first-hand. He was deeply disturbed by his findings and later recorded, "It was but one gloomy subject from morning to night...I sometimes never closed my eye-lids for grief". The essay which resulted from this all-consuming work earned Thomas first prize. In June 1875, whilst riding to London the thought crossed Thomas’ mind that "it was time some person should see these calamities [slavery] come to an end", and Thomas decided that person was him. Thomas decided to publish his essay and enlisted the help of his brother, John, and Quaker 28 The Fens | March 2020

printer James Phillips, who agreed to publish Thomas’ work. THE TOURS After making Phillips’ acquaintance, Thomas was officially part of the abolitionist movement and he proceeded to dedicate his entire life to ending slavery. He was the only one in the movement to make it his sole career, making him one of the first professional reformers. Thomas’ next move was to visit slave ships in London’s ports to gather notes on the trade. He subsequently used these to lobby Members of Parliament. One such MP was William Wilberforce who was instantly interested in Thomas’ research and requested to be kept involved. In 1787 Thomas embarked on a series of tours of the country, covering 35,000 miles over the next four years. He attempted to galvanise public opinion while gathering evidence and locating witnesses. Thomas gave speeches in hundreds of venues and became the public face of the movement. Thomas’ first tour in 1787 covered the major slave ports where he conducted numerous interviews. Spending so much time around the ports as a vocal abolitionist posed a great threat to his safety. Thomas was often threatened and was once attacked on the Liverpool docks where the mob attempted to push him in the Mersey, however he managed to escape relatively unscathed. Thomas’ campaigning made him recognise the need to dramatise his

speeches to increase public appeal. His signature method was his ‘Africa Chest’. The chest was divided into sections, each of which held samples of objects including: wood, cotton, oil, rice, cinnamon, ivory, dried fruit, cloth and ornaments. Thomas used this chest to prove that Africa offered abundant trading opportunities to Britain which were more ethical and financially viable than slavery. Also stored in the chest were slave traders’ instruments which Thomas used to demonstrate the barbarity of the trade. These included chains, shackles and a device for prying a slave’s mouth open to prevent them from refusing to eat. Another technique the abolitionists utilised was the use of images to exemplify the inhumane treatment of the slaves. The most famous of these images is of the Brookes ship, which Thomas reworked with the help of Committee members, to include the measurements of the ship alongside the detailed drawing of 454 slaves lined up in rows. Another iconic image was John Wedgewood’s ‘Am I Not A Man and a Brother’ which consisted of a kneeling, chained slave uttering the title question. This was the first widespread use of a logo designed for a political cause which adorned a range of paraphernalia, including 500 medallions which Thomas distributed. Eventually, the toll of the tours, long hours and constant anxiety hit Thomas, and following a period of poor health he was forced to retire in 1793 as he found himself on the brink of a physical and nervous collapse. The constant defeats

“Thomas continued his fight with the aim of abolishing slavery in the British Empire. Thomas’ ultimate goal was achieved on 1st August 1838 when nearly 800,000 black people throughout the British Empire were freed” and disappointments in Parliament exhausted Thomas so he decided to move to the Lake District where he married and started a family. In 1804 Thomas moved to Bristol with his ill wife. Shortly afterwards, Thomas resumed his work, embarking on another tour of England in 1805 to gather support. On 24th February 1807 legislation was passed by the House of Commons banning the trading of slaves. The next stage of the abolitionist movement was directed against the whole institution of slavery. By this stage Thomas was nearly eighty years old and was almost entirely blind, however Thomas continued his fight with the aim of abolishing slavery in the British Empire. Thomas’ ultimate goal was achieved on 1st August 1838 when nearly 800,000 black people throughout the British Empire were freed. The second wave of the movement saw Wilberforce receive more prominence and after his death his

sons wrote a biography which was hugely influential and paved the way for Wilberforce to be seen as the leader of the movement in the national consciousness. THE TRUE FRIEND OF THE SLAVES Where other abolitionists were buried in Westminster Abbey, when Thomas died on 26th September 1846 he was buried in a churchyard near Ipswich. Only in 1996, exactly 150 years after his death, was a plaque unveiled in the Abbey, dedicated to ‘A Friend of the Slaves’, Thomas Clarkson. The Clarkson Memorial in Wisbech stands on Bridge Street on the South Brink. The memorial was unveiled on 11th November 1881. The statue stands at 68ft high with a statue of Thomas and an inscription to his memory. Other figures adorn the base, depicting Wilberforce, Granville Sharp (one of the first English campaigners for the abolition of slavery), and the ‘Am I Not a Man and a Brother’ cameo. The Peckover family funded a large proportion and the remainder was funded by

public subscriptions. The location was chosen due to its central position and it ensures that all who visit the town view it. Thomas dedicated his entire working life to abolishing slavery, yet his role was overshadowed by Wilberforce, who continues to eclipse him, making Thomas one of the most important ‘forgotten men’ of history. As the unsung leader of one of the most important humanitarian campaigns in modern history, it is the responsibility of those in his hometown to keep Thomas Clarkson’s memory alive. You can find out more about Thomas Clarkson, as well as view his ‘African Chest’ at Wisbech & Fenland Museum, Museum Square, Wisbech. The museum opens Tuesday to Saturday 10am - 4pm. ABOUT THE AUTHOR Molly Day-Coombes BA (Hons) is a History graduate from the University of Lincoln. Author of https://allthingshistory108. wordpress.com/ The Fens | March 2020




show hits Peterborough this Spring

Hot off the success of their criticallyacclaimed production of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, PODS return to The Cresset to perform the Broadway smash hit, Shrek the musical. “Once upon a time, there was a little Ogre named Shrek….” And so begins the tale of our unlikely hero and his loyal steed Donkey as they embark on a quest to rescue the beautiful (if slightly temperamental) Princess Fiona from a fire-breathing, love-sick dragon. Throw in a short-tempered bad guy, a cookie with an attitude and over a dozen other misfits, and you’ve got the biggest, brightest musical comedy around. Based on the Oscar-winning DreamWorks Animation film, Shrek the musical is a Tony award-winning fairy tale adventure, featuring all new songs as well as the popular Shrek anthem ‘I’m A Believer’. Shrek the musical brings much-loved fairy tale characters to life in a hilarious 30 The Fens | March 2020

all-singing, all-dancing extravaganza guaranteed to delight audiences of all ages. The cast is made up of over 30 talented local performers who rehearse each week to put on PODS’ award-winning productions. Their previous sell-out production of ‘Hairspray’ at The Cresset won the regional award for Best Musical and last year’s ‘Chitty Chitty Bang Bang’ has received a nomination for Best Musical 2019. “We’re thrilled to be nominated again and we find out the result at the awards ceremony at the beginning of March. It’s testament to the hard-work and passion that all of our members put into our shows that they’re recognised as the best in our region” said Director, Rob Bristow. PODS mark their 120th Anniversary this year and are excited to stage a celebratory concert in the Autumn. In the meantime, the company continue to work hard rehearsing

for the regional première of this SHREKtacle of a show which plays throughout May half-term.

Shrek the musical runs May 26-30 at The Cresset, 7.30pm nightly with Thursday and Saturday matinees at 2.30pm. Special Opening Night Offer - all tickets only £15 (standard price £20 adults and £17.50 concessions) To book call 01733 265705 or visit www.cresset.co.uk

The Fens | March 2020


Walk of the month

Bluebell Spotting this Spring WORDS AND IMAGES AMY CORNEY

32 The Fens | March 2020

Over the next few weeks Spring will be bursting into life and the countryside will fill with vibrant colour leaving behind the dreary days of Winter. One of my favourite things to do at this time of the year is to visit some of the local woods in the search for the native English Bluebell. Nothing heralds the start of Spring like the carpets of blue that fill our nature reserves and woodlands. Almost half of the world’s bluebell population are grown in the UK and we are particularly lucky in the Fens as there are lots of local places to spot them! Bluebells are an important early food source for pollinators such as bees, hoverflies and butterflies and usually start flowering from the middle of April but they can flower earlier if the weather is mild. I find checking the nature reserves’ social media pages helpful as often they will post to let you know the bluebells have started. Before you visit! Bluebells are a protected species, meaning it is illegal to intentionally pick, uproot or destroy bluebells. Trampled bluebells will die from being crushed, so please stick to paths and its best to wear wellies as it can be very muddy at this time of the year!

Our top places to enjoy Bluebells Lady’s Wood in Upwood This is one of my favourite ancient woodlands to visit and if you can time it right then the bluebells always put on a fantastic show. The wood is only 7 hectares so is a manageable size for those with small families, although the entrance is 600 metres from the car park so could be tricky for pushchairs if there has been wet weather! There are lots of places to sit and make the most of the wonderful photo opportunities the bluebells offer.


Free/ Car park Dog friendly

Wistow Wood in Ramsey A nature reserve predominately made up of old ash woodlands and that puts on a pretty spring display. Bluebells, Dog’s Mercury, wood anemones and primroses can all be spotted during the

Spring and the woods are not far from Johnsons of Oldhurst so perfect for a walk then a spot of lunch.



Brampton Wood in Huntingdon This is Cambridgeshire’s second largest ancient woodland stretching over 132 hectares and is at least 900 years old, with records of the wood mentioned in the Doomsday book of 1086AD. Over 340 plant species have been recorded here and Spring is the perfect time to visit. Vast areas of the woodlands are carpeted with bluebells as well as violets, primroses and other seasonal flowers. Wild orchids can also be seen in the Summer, so a perfect place to visit throughout the year! Free/ Car Park Dog friendly

Grafham Water Nature Reserve in Perry, Huntingdon Created in the 1960s to supply drinking water to the new town of Milton Keynes, it is the third largest reservoir in England. Naturally evolving into a wildlife haven the reserve is a mix of ancient and plantation woodlands, grasslands, scrub, ponds, wetlands and open water. A great place for families to visit as there is lots to see and do, as well as an onsite café. Bluebells and other spring delights can be spotted

Car parking charges Dog friendly

Free/ Parking in roadside Dog friendly


in the ancient woodlands.

Thorpe Wood in Holywell Way, Peterborough An ancient 10-hectare woodland that has been recommend to us to visit for its bluebell display and is located close to Ferry Meadows. We haven’t been yet, but the wood is known to be suitable for wheelchairs and pushchairs thanks to its crushed limestone paths. A mix of large mature oaks, ash and hazel trees with a diverse mix of ground flora.


Free/ Small car park Dog Friendly

Old Sulehay Forest in Yarwell This was a new find for us as we only visited for the first-time last year, the reserve covers 85 hectares and some paths run through the old quarry so are a bit trickier to navigate. As well as bluebells the ground gets covered with wild garlic, which provide a heady scent on a warm day. A perfect place to spot other Springtime flowers and the grasslands are home to glow worms in the Summer months.


Free / Parking in laybys Dog Friendly

The Fens | March 2020



Making Nature’s Connections WORDS Caroline Fitton, The Wildlife Trust

Bringing the beauty and fascination of the natural world to the fingertips of those who may not be able to easily access the outdoors, the Wildlife Trust in Cambridgeshire’s education and community team based at the Great Fen have been running Nature Connections sessions as part of an outreach programme. These have been gathering momentum over the last few years and are offered to community groups, care homes and recovery groups, designed to connect people with nature who may be restricted to outdoor access by limited mobility or illness. They are a wonderful, gentle way of engaging with people about their childhood memories of wildlife or being outdoors, and involve simple activities using natural materials. The team take natural objects into the homes, for example scent bags with natural herbs, ‘feely’ bags with cones, stones, shells etc, and greenery such as plants and leaves. Simple crafts using natural materials, planting seeds or plug plants, making colourful images using leaves, petals etc all help create a sense of wellbeing.  Rebekah O’Driscoll, Communities and Wildlife Manager, explains: “In one session at a care home with around 10 residents (almost all dementia sufferers) we were planting some plug plants to keep in the home. As

soon as the compost came out the residents were suddenly engaged with the activity; it evoked memories of having allotment gardens and enjoying gardening in the past. We also read the Wordsworth poem ‘Daffodils’, to finish off the session and almost the entire group joined in and recited along - it was a very poignant moment for us. “Another memorable session was with the Blind Association in Peterborough, where we focussed the afternoon on bird song recognition. The group varied in terms of stages of sight loss, some had been blind all their lives while others had lost sight or had partial vision. We had various props to use and played bird song to identify the different birds. We also had some wooden eggs made to the exact size of the real thing. One lady who had been blind all her life was absolutely astounded at the size of the wren’s egg, smaller than a Cadbury mini egg, and how she had no idea how small a wren must be but this gave her an idea, but also she couldn’t believe that such a small bird made such a lot of noise!” Some of this work during the last year was made possible by funding via Tesco Bags of Help scheme, which enabled the team to recruit help in delivering the sessions, plus made the purchase of resources possible, for example table top magnification

Fluttering onto April’s horizon . . .

lenses to assist those with poor sight, and a large floor-scale size artistic impression map of the Great Fen area, to help connect people with the landscape by identifying where they are - a real visual aid connecting people with the landscape. Rebekah O’Driscoll again: “We meet all kinds of people at these sessions and their value is very apparent. People can connect with nature in many ways and if we can bring a bit of that wellbeing inside to people who struggle to access it then we feel like we have made a real difference. We are taking bookings for 2020 - and welcome any requests - and have a dedicated volunteer and staff member to deliver them.” For anyone wanting to volunteer or help with Nature Connections sessions, please contact Rebekah.ODriscoll@ wildlifebcn.org or call 01487 815524. To discover more about volunteering opportunities at the Great Fen please visit www.greatfen.org.uk/get-involved/ wild-experiences/volunteer

Make a date with the Butterfly Brothers: Thursday 23 April, Great Fen Countryside Classrom, 7-9.30pm Jim and Joel Ashton (the Butterfly Brothers) are passionate about wildlife and have been designing and creating all manner of interesting wildlife-attracting projects ever since. From wildflower meadows and wildlife ponds to putting up nest boxes and building log piles, they enjoy designing and managing new or existing projects of any size and work nationwide.

34 The Fens | March 2020

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Serving the Eastern Region for over 90 Years

2020 a Year of Change Whiting & Partners has been present in many market towns of the eastern counties for over 90-years. Naturally, over time, there has been massive change, but will the seemingly relentless advances in technology help to fashion your business? Asks Emily Haines According to our professional body AAT, the Association of Accounting Technicians, advances in technology will reshape our industry even further in 2020. It lays out four key areas of importance to our clients:


Now we are out of the EU there are three key questions. What will the significant alterations be that could affect your business and your cash flow? Will you have to look further into the future with management accounts and financial forecasts as an act of support into the unknown? We are already providing assistance to many of our Ramsey and district clients with these services.

Open Banking

New Open Banking regulation impacts the way in which banks connect with third parties including software providers like Xero. Many of our clients have recently switched from bank feeds using Yodlee to the new Open Banking feed.

Whiting & Partners offers core accounting services with specialist expertise in:

• • • • • • • •

Agriculture Construction Contractors Manufacturing Property Retail Road Haulage Technology

Ramsey Office 108 High Street, Ramsey, Cambridgeshire. PE26 1BS Telephone: 01487 812441 ramsey@whitingandpartners.co.uk

Artificial Intelligence

Businesses, including accountancy firms, are evolving endlessly driven by new technology. We use third party software like Receipt Bank and Auto Entry to automate our processes. This means we can invest more time in complex and detailed client matters, enabling us to boost our client-centric approach.

App Integration

Application Programming Interfaces are allowing apps to share data and information with cloud accounting software, for example Xero, in a seamless and innovative manner. There are now over 800 third party apps which integrate with Xero! So, it seems that continuous advances in technology will be shaping the accountancy industry even further over the next 12-months.

whitingandpartners.co.uk Bury Edmunds Ely | King’s Lynn | March | Mildenhall | Peterborough | Ramsey | St. Ives | St. Neots | Wisbech 36 TheSt. Fens | March| 2020

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Ice Hockey Continuing our series to inspire you to try something new, this month we’re looking at ice hockey and how locally you can get involved Britain defied the odds and secured their place in the division for at least another year. The Peterborough Phantoms are the only team local to the area, competing in the NIHL National League, the UK’s second division. Formed in 2002, the Phantoms replaced the Peterborough Pirates, who had been in existence since 1982. The Phantoms have always competed in the second tier since their formation and have enjoyed plenty of success in recent years.

Ice hockey has been played in the UK since the early years of the 20th century. Britain was a founder member of the world governing body, the IIHF (International Ice Hockey Federation), which was formed in 1908. The first game between Oxford and Cambridge Universities was held on 16th March 1900, when Oxford won 7-6. The sport continued to increase in popularity during the 1930s, with the opening of large indoor arenas in London at Wembley, Haringey and Earls Court. Teams were almost full of Canadian professionals, many of whom went on to compete in the NHL (National Hockey League).

Hockey League and below that is the NIHL National division, which acts as the second tier of the sport in the UK. The Elite League attracts players from all over the world, some of which have previously played at the top level of ice hockey, the NHL, whilst the NIHL consists mainly of British players, who are accompanied by imported players, mainly from Europe.

Ice hockey is now considered the most popular indoor sport in the United Kingdom, whilst also being regarded as the fastest growing winter sport. The game is played with five skaters and one goalie on the ice for each team at one time, but teams have up to 19 skaters and rotate players on a regular basis. The game is split into three 20-minute periods, but the clock stops each time the referee blows their whistle. The aim, like football, is to score more goals than the other team to ensure victory. Unlike football, ice hockey matches do not end in a draw. If the score is level at the end of the 60 minutes, five minutes of overtime are played. If no one wins in overtime, the result is decided on penalty shots. The top league in Britain is the Elite Ice

The Great Britain team have enjoyed success in recent years. In 2018, they were promoted to the top division in International hockey by winning their group. In 2019, they competed in the top division for the first time in many years and dramatically won their final game 4-3 against France to ensure their safety in the top division. The top division contains teams like USA, Canada, Finland and Russia, who are staffed almost entirely of wellestablished NHL players, but Great

In 2008/09, the Phantoms won the league, cup and playoff treble, in one of the most historic years in the club’s history. In 2014/15, they won the playoffs for the first time since the treble winning season, beating the Manchester Phoenix in the final at Planet Ice, Coventry. The 2018/19 season was also an extremely successful one for the Phantoms, who won another treble. This time, they won the NIHL Autumn Cup, NIHL South Cup and the South playoffs, before losing out on a fourth trophy in overtime in the final. This year, the Phantoms are competing in the newly formed NIHL National division, which has brought together teams from around the country, scrapping the regionalised formation of the previous league. They are competing in upper mid-table as the season goes into its second half. The goal for the rest of the term is simply to finish as high as possible in the league table, whilst competing to win the National Cup and end of season playoffs. There has never been a better time to get involved with ice hockey, especially in Peterborough, in what is an exciting time for the club. The team play the majority of their home games on Sunday evenings at 5:30pm, at Planet Ice Peterborough. For more information, visit www.gophantoms.co.uk The Fens | March 2020



White Chocolate and Bay Leaf mousse with Cardamom Shortbread and passionfruit curd The mousse can be made from dark or milk chocolate. You can swap the bay leaves for chilli, rosemary, coriander and the same with the shortbread. Lemon curd is classic with this recipe but you could also try orange or even pineapple....

WHITE CHOCOLATE AND BAY MOUSSE 8 bay leaves 100ml milk 250g white chocolate 300ml double cream 3 large egg whites



1. Crush the bay leaves into a small saucepan and heat gently until almost boiling (but not!) then remove from the heat and sieve into a plastic bowl. Stir the chocolate into the milk and heat 10 seconds at a time in the microwave, stirring in between until the mix is velvety, set aside. Whip the cream in a bowl into soft not stiff peaks, set aside. Whisk the egg whites until stiff peaks form. Stir a spoonful of the egg mixture into the chocolate then fold in the rest with a large metal spoon. Then fold in the whipped cream. Spoon into glasses and chill.

120g Plain Flour 70g cornflour 70g icing sugar ½ tsp sea salt 8 cardamom pods (just seeds) 120g diced butter

2. Put all of the dry ingredients for the shortbread and cardamom into a food processor and blitz to combine. Add the butter and pulse-blend until you have a dough. Tip onto a worktop and knead until


Eat, drink, stay!

6 passionfruits 1 large egg 1 large egg yolk 80 grams caster sugar 50 grams unsalted butter

40 The Fens | March 2020

velvety smooth. Roll out to about 1cm thick then press into a greased baking tray and place in an oven at 170oC for 35-40 mins until golden and firm. Cut whilst still warm and place on a cooling rack.

3. Put the seeded pulp of five of the passionfruits

into the processor and blitz just to loosen the seeds. Strain into a jug or bowl. Beat the eggs, egg yolks and sugar together. Melt the butter over a low heat in a heavy-based pan, and when melted stir in the sugar-egg mixture and the passionfruit juice, and keep cooking gently, stirring constantly, until thickened. Off the heat, whisk in the pulp - seeds and all - of the remaining passionfruit, let cool slightly, then pour into a container. Keep in the fridge. To finish, top the mousse with a spoonful of curd and shortbread biscuit.

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Editorial Policy Summary •All items are included entirely at the discretion of the editor who reserves the right to edit or refuse to print any item submitted. •The Fens Magazine cannot accept any liability for omissions, errors or mistakes which occur in production. •All materials contained within are strictly copyright, all rights reserved. Production in whole or part without permission of The Fens Magazine is prohibited.

24 Hour Emergency Number 01480 52222 Age UK Cambridgeshire 0300 6669860 Care Network Cambridgeshire 01480 423065 Caring Together (Carers Trust) 03452 410954 Citizens Advice Bureau 0344 2451292 Cromwell Vets 01487 814789 Huntingdon Job Centre 0843 5092446 Hunts Forum 01480 420601 Life Amid Debt (LAD) 07768 681564 Locality 01480 376209 Luminus Group 0345 2669760 Muir Housing 01480 453234 One Leisure 01480 817900 Police Emergency 999 Police Non Emergency 101 Ramsey Child & Family Zone 01480 379420 Ramsey Community Bus 01487 711330 Ramsey Community Warden 07900 340265 Ramsey Food Bank 01487 812818 Ramsey Library 0345 0455225 Ramsey Million* 01487 814897 BOSH/CRUNCH 07955 817137 Ramsey Neighbourhoods Trust* 01487 814897 Ramsey Post Office 01487 812549 Ramsey Volunteer Bureau 01487 814117 The Bobby Scheme 01480 413311 Stagecoach 01223 433250 Swearers Funeral Services 01487 812239 The Ramsey Initiative 01487 813612 WI Centre 01480 453137 Health Addenbrookes 01223 245151 Hinchingbrooke Hospital 01480 416416 Peterborough City Hospital 01733 678000 Rainbow Surgery 01487 710980 Ramsey Dental Surgery 01487 812312 Ramsey Health Centre 01487 812611 Village Halls/Community Centre Bury Village Hall 01487 813848 Ramsey Community Centre 01733 844816 Ramsey Forty Foot Village Hall 01487 814637 Ramsey Mereside Village Hall 01733 844459 Upwood Village Hall 01487 815475 Wistow Village Hall 01487 822708 Schools/Child Care Abbey College 01487 812352 Ashbeach Primary 01733 844262 Bury C of E Primary 01487 813784 Bury Play Group 07733 360836 Busy Bee Day Nursery 01487 711643 Head Start Nursery 01487 711122 Ramsey Pre School 01487 710160 Ashbeach Ladybirds Pre School 01733 219900 Ramsey Junior School 01487 812500 Ramsey Spinning Infants 01487 813587 The Ramsey Day Nursery 01487 710422 Upwood Playgroup 01487 813510 Upwood Primary School 01487 813510 Councils Ramsey & Bury County Councillor County Cllr. Adela Costello 01487 813124 Ramsey & Bury District Councillors District Cllr. Steve Corney 07795 057440 District Cllr. Jeff Clarke 07802 398259 District Cllr. John Palmer 01487 814063 Warboys District Cllr. Jill Taverner 01487 823082 District Cllr. Graham Bull 07780 511928 Ramsey Mayor - Cllr.Steve Corney 01487 814957 Ramsey Town Council 01487 814957 Parish Council - Clerk 01487 812447 Bury Parish Council 01487 813278 Wistow Parish Council 01487 812877

42 The Fens | March 2020




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WHAT’S ON Include your event for free by emailing hello@thefensmag.co.uk HERITAGE WINTER TALK: LIFE ON THE FENS


Ramsey Library. 2.00pm to 3.30pm. An afternoon of history and nostalgia as Rosie Veitch delves into the East Anglian Film Archive. Free event places can be reserved by calling Anne Cuthbert on 07762 710257 or email promotingramsey@gmail.com

Ely Cathedral. Monday to Saturday 9.30am to 4.00pm; Sunday 12.00pm to 3.45pm. A fabulous collection of costumes, jewels, props, behind the scenes footage and memorabilia from some of the major Hollywood movies filmed at the cathedral. Visit elycathedral.org or call the box office on 01353 660349.

Thursday 5th March


Thursday 5th March

Ramsey Library. 7.00pm to 8.30pm. An illustrated talk by Jane Sills covering the history and restoration of Ramsey Walled Garden. Free event - places can be reserved by calling Anne Cuthbert on 07762 710257 or email promotingramsey@gmail.com VOICES OF SPRING CONCERT

Saturday 7th March

St Thomas a Becket Church. 7.30pm. Performance by Rotary Voices Choir and Ouse Valley Chorus. With Emily Darlow soprano, Aarathy Thusyanthan piano and Jackie & Adam Southwell flute and cello. Tickets £10 (under 16s £5) from 01733 844536, Ramsey Sue Ryder shop or on the door. COMMUNITY COFFEE MORNING

Saturday 7th March

Ramsey Library. 10.00am to 12.00pm. Organised by Friends of Ramsey Library. All welcome. MUMMA-MORPHOSIS: MORNING/ EVENING GROUP

Thursday 12th March (7pm), Thursday 26th March (10am)

This free of charge group is for Mums and parents from pregnancy and after with babies. The group meets at Ale House Kitchen one morning and one evening session a month (each session is two hours), see facebook for details. For more information please contact rachelthefenlandmidwife@ gmail.com or visit www. fenlandmidwife.co.uk

Until Sunday 15th March


Saturday 21st March

Ramsey Library. 10.15am to 12.30pm. Organised by Friends of Ramsey Library. 50p per child. THE MAYOR’S CHARITY DINNER

Friday 27th March

Ale House Kitchen, Ramsey. 7.00pm to 11.00pm. Tickets £30 including three course dinner and entertainment. All proceeds to Mayor’s charities. Call 01487 814957 for tickets or more information. QUIZ NIGHT AND RAFFLE

Friday 27th March

GER Sports & Social Club, March. 7.30pm. £2 per person, max of six people per team. Raising money for March Respite, which supports people with Learning Disabilities. For more info call 01354 654146. HUNTINGDONSHIRE PHILHARMONIC (CHOIR AND ORCHESTRA) CONCERT

Saturday 28th March

Hinchingbrooke Performing Arts Centre. 7.30pm. Brahms Symphony No 4, Schumann Missa Sacra. Visit huntsphil.org.uk for info and tickets. RAMSEY CHORAL SOCIETY

Saturday 28th March

Church of St. Mary Magdalene, Warboys. 7.30pm. ‘A little light music’ conducted by Tansy Castledine. Tickets £12, children £5, available from 01487 813562.



Westwood Community Junior & Infant School, Maple Grove, March. 10.00am to 4.30pm. March & District Model Railway Club present their exhibition with layouts, trade stands, demonstrations, steam traction rides and refreshments. Free parking. Adults £5.00, children £2.00, family (2 adults + 3 Children) £10.00. Visit www.mdmrc. co.uk for info.

Ramsey Community Centre. 7.15pm. All proceeds to Friends of Bury School. £5 entry to include ten games, available from 01487 812445 or on the door.

Saturday 14th March

Doors open 7.00pm, performance at 7.30pm. A murder mystery play presented by Warboys Amateur Dramatic Society. Tickets £7.00 available from 01733 844536.

Saturday 28th March


Saturday 28th March

Ramsey Mereside Village Hall.


Sunday 29th March

Bedford Hall, Thorney. 9.30am start for 10K, 10.30am for 3K. Chip timing, flat PB course, medal for all finishers and prizes for different categories. 10K race £12 affiliated or £14 unattached, online entry only at totalracetiming. co.uk/race/146. 3K is just £3 entry with cash only entries on the day. More info at www.thorneyrunningclub.com RAMSEY SPRING HERITAGE OPEN DAY

Saturday 5th April

Events across Ramsey’s heritage sites. 11.00am to 5.00pm. Free entry to eight heritage sites, vintage bus rides and more. Visit discoverramsey.co.uk for more info. EASTER CRAFT FAYRE

Saturday 5th April

Ramsey Community Centre. 10.00am to 1.00pm. Craft stalls, children’s crafts, raffle, tombola and refreshments.


Saturday 20th June

People and organisations of the Fens are invited to ‘do their thing’ to promote the Fens. This could be anything from holding an event, camping, writing a poem, putting a photo on social media or leading/joining a tour. The ideas can be endless, but the organisers Fascinating Fens invite you to consider ideas that promote and explore the Fens through heritage, nature, creativity, wellbeing and accessibility. Please email fascinatingfens@outlook.com for more information. The Fens | March 2020


REGULARS MONDAY Acorn Cancer Support Group v 1st Monday of the month (2nd if Bank Holiday) 11:15 - 1pm. Rainbow Resource Centre. For details call 07739 934524 Ramsey & District Garden Club v 3rd Mon of month, 7:30pm Ramsey Community Centre [ 01487 710702 Women’s Section Royal British Legion v 3rd Mon, 7:30pm, British Legion [ 01487 812143 Ramsey WI v 2nd Mon of month, 7:30pm Ramsey Community Centre Time Out v 2nd & 4th Mon 9:30am11:30am Great Whyte Baptist Church [ Peter + Valerie 01487 812323 Ramsey Senior Road Runners v Every Mon & Weds 7pm9pm, Bedford Room, One Leisure Centre [ 01487 812829 Bingo - Mereside Village Association v Mon fortnightly, 7:30pm Mereside Village Hall Trekkers (7-11 years) v Every Monday term time 6:30-7:30pm, School Room, Salem Baptist Church [ 01487 815568 Handbell Playing v Every Monday 7-9pm Upwood Church 1st Bury Brownies v Monday 6-7:30pm, Bury Church Hall [ 01733 844850 Yvonne Toddlers v Every Mon 9.30-10.30am Thomas a Becket Church 1st Bury Guides v Monday 7:30-9pm, Bury Church Hall [ 01733 844850 Yvonne Sweaty Mamma’s v 10 -10.45am, Mereside Village Hall [ Rosie - 07963 468740 Ramsey Crafters [ Every Monday 12-3pm Ramsey Cricket Club [ 01487 710851 / 01487 814633 44 The Fens | March 2020

For up to date information about news and events www.discoverramsey.co.uk

Ramsey Tennis Club v Every Monday 6pm, Abbey Grounds [ 01487 209369 Caring Together - Ramsey Family Carers Hub v 3rd Monday of the month, 11am-1pm, Ramsey Library [ 01480 499090 Yoga Class v Every Monday 7-8:15pm, Ramsey Junior School [ Debbie 01487 812218 Ramsey Rockets, Netball Club v Every Monday 8-9pm One Leisure Astroturf [ Jo.rose4@btinternet.com Little Miracles, After School Sports v Every Monday 5-6pm One Leisure, Ramsey [ Amy - 07715 306112 TUESDAY Crossroads (4-7 years) v Every Tuesday term time 3-4:30pm, School Room, Salem Baptist Church Christian Meditation Group v Every Tues, 7.30-8.30pm Sacred Heart Church, [ mrsestorey@gmail.com Line Dancing v Every Tuesday 8-9:30pm Ramsey Mereside Village Hall Ladies Meeting v Every Tuesday 2:30-4pm Great Whyte Baptist Church [ Peter/Valarie 01487 812323 or Pauline Nixon 01487 814030 Ramsey and District U3A v 2nd Tues 2pm Ramsey Community Centre [ Jane Cusworth 01487 814984 ramseyu3a.org.uk Ramsey Child & Family Zone, Stay, Play & Learn v 10 - 11.30am, Ramsey Community Centre, £2 [ 01480 372700 Rotary Club of Ramsey v Every Tuesday 7:30pm Ramsey Golf Club [ 01480 460843 511 Air Cadets, Ramsey v Tuesday & Thursday, 7-9pm Redebourn Lane, Bury [ 01487 710776 Bell Ringing, St Thomas a Becket Church v Tuesdays (Except Holy

Week) 7.30-9pm [ Cathy 01487 814860 [ Paul 01487 813372 Ramsey Child & Family Zone Bumps & Babies v 1.30pm-3pm, Ramsey Library [ 01480 3727000 Ramsey Senior’s Lunch Club v Every Tuesday & Thursday Rainbow Resource Centre [ 07748 837899 Toddlers, Mereside Village Association v Every Tuesday 2:30pm, Mereside Village Hall [ 01733 844816 Food Bank v Every Tuesday,10am 12noon, Thomas a Becket Church 1st Ramsey Rainbows v Tuesdays 5.15 - 6.30pm, Ramsey Methodist Church [ 01733 844850 Yvonne 1940s Volunteer Day v Every Tuesday 10am, The Camp, Wood Lane [ 07881 730047 2nd Ramsey Brownies v Tuesdays 6-7:30pm, The Scout Hut [ Ann Patmore 01487 815878 [ Wendy Nicholls 01487 814547 Upwood Table Tennis Club v Tuesdays 7:30-10pm Upwood Village Hall [ 01487 815833 Ann56dea@gmail.com Ramsey Cycling Club v Every Tues & Thurs 7pm, Bus Bay, Abbey Road, Ramsey [ Paul: 07707 598621 WEDNESDAY Ramsey St Mary’s WI v 3rd Weds, 7:30pm, The Barn, Ashbeach School [ 01480 453137 Upwood Table Tennis Club v Wednesdays 2-4:30pm Upwood Village Hall [ 01487 812923 hollyhouse.upwood@tiscali. co.uk Ramsey Senior Citizens Club v 1st Wednesday of month 2pm (Except Jan & Aug) Bury Village Hall [ 01487 711649


Dementia Cafe v 1st Weds of month 10-12pm Rainbow Resource Centre [ 01487 415235 Bingo Evening St Mary’s Church, Ramsey St Mary’s v 2nd Wednesday, 7:3010pm, Ashbeach Barn [ 01487 711548 Wistow WI v 2nd Weds, (Except August) 7:30pm, Wistow Village Hall [ 01487 822828 Becket Senior Lunches v 3rd Wednesday of month St Thomas a Becket Church [ 07763 205042 Ramsey & District Stroke Support v 3rd Weds of month 2pm, Rainbow Resource Centre [ 01487 815274, Parkinson’s UK Ramsey Support Group - Medication Review Clinic v 2nd Weds, 2-4pm Rainbow Resource Centre [ 01480 896735 Ramsey Rangers v Alternate Weds, 8pm9:30pm Royal British Legion Club [ 01733 844850 Yvonne 1st Ramsey Scouting Group, Beavers v Every Weds 5:45-7pm (Term time only), Scout Hut, Little Whyte [ 01487 813435 1st Ramsey Scouting Group, Cubs v Every Weds 7:10-8:30 (Term time only), Scout Hut, Little Whyte [ 01487 813435 Bury Carpet Bowls v Weds 7:30-9.30pm [ 01487815363 or 01487822450 Upwood Brownies v Wednesdays 6-7:30pm Upwood Village Hall [ 01733 844850 Coffee Morning v 1st Weds, 10-12pm Ramsey Mereside Village Hall Noah’s Ark - Mums & Toddlers v Every Weds 9.30 -11am Term Time, Great Whyte Baptist Church Hall [ 01487 812689 Young Farmers Club v Every Wednesday, Various Locations [ Jordon 07717 723266

[ Tris 07743 655337 1st Ramsey Brownies v Weds 5:30pm-7:00pm Ramsey Junior School [ 01733 844850 Yvonne 2nd Ramsey Guides v Weds 7-8:30pm Royal British Legion club [ 01733 844850 Yvonne Urban Dance Academy v 3 to 4 years, 4-4:30pm v 5 to 6 years, 4:30-5:15pm v 7 to 8 years, 5:15-6pm v 9 to 10 years, 6-6:45pm v 11+, 6:45-7:30pm Ramsey Community Centre [ UDA 07776 122841 Indoor Carpet Bowls v Every Weds 7:45-10pm Ramsey Forty Foot Village Hall [ 01487 813085 Ramsey Junior Road Runners v Weds 7:30-8:30pm Bedford Room, One Leisure Centre [ 01487 812829 Craft club v Every second Weds of each month, Ramsey Mereside Hall [ 01733 844459 Junior Youth Club v Weds (1st, 3rd and 4th of each month) 5.457.15pm , Ramsey Mereside Hall [ Louise Clark themeresider@aol.com Senior Youth Club v Weds (1st, 3rd and 4th of each month) 7.30 - 9pm, Ramsey Mereside Hall [ Louise Clark themeresider@aol.com 1st Warboys Rainbows v Weds Warboys Church 5 - 6pm [ 01733 844850 Yvonne 1st Warboys Brownies v Weds Warboys Church 6.15 - 7.45pm [ 01733 844850 Yvonne Ramsey Friendship Centre v Weds (except first week in month) 10am-12noon. Ramsey Methodist Church hall. Transport available. [ 01487 711330 Upwood Table Tennis Club v Weds 2pm – 4:30pm Upwood Village Hall [ 01487 815833 THURSDAY Messy Church - Fun & Food for Juniors v Second Thurs 3.30-5pm Scout Hut, Little Whyte [ 07859 594227

Warboys Friendship Club v 10-11.30am, Warboys Parish Centre [ Ann Doyle 01487 823176 Salem Baptist Chapel Oasis (People over 50) v 2nd & 4th Thursday 2pm High Street, Ramsey [ 01487 815568 Abbey WI v 1st Thursday of month 2pm Bury Village Hall [ 01487 813848 Little Lambs Toddler Group v Every Thurs 9:30am, Salem Baptist Church, High Street, Ramsey [ 01487 815568 Ramsey Choral Society v Every Thursday 7:309:30pm, Ramsey Junior School [ 01487 813819 Ramsey Camera Club v Fortnightly (Except School Holidays) 8-10pm, Ramsey Community Centre [ 01487 711706 Ramsey Rural Museum Open Day v Every Thursday 10-5pm, April to October, Wood Lane, Ramsey [ 01487 815715 Ramsey Reading Ring Book Group v 1st Thurs of month 10:30am, Ramsey Library [ 0345 0455225 Papworth Trust Fun United Youth Club - for young people with additional needs v Every Thursday 7-9pm Holy Cross Parish Church Hall [ 0800 952500 Ramsey Yarners v Every 3rd Thursday 2pm Ramsey Library [ 0345 0455225 Knit n Natter v Alternate Thurs 10am –12pm Ramsey Mereside Village Hall So nSews v Alternate Thurs 10am 12.30pm, Ramsey Mereside Village Hall Ramsey Forty Foot Brownies v 6-7:30pm, Ashbeach School Barn [ 01733 844850 Yvonne Line Dance Classes v Every Thursday 1:45-3pm Warboys Sports & Social Club [ 01487 824143/ 01480 494367 Ramsey Bridge Club v Every Thurs 7-10:30pm

Bury Village Hall, [ 01487 824002 Food Bank v Every Thurs,10am12noon, Thomas a Becket Church Abbey Ukuleles v Every Thurs, 7-9pm, Ramsey Golf & Bowls Club [ 07887622077 FRIDAY Hunts Mind v Fri, 10-11am, Ramsey Library [ 01480 470480 Bury Table Tennis Club v Every Friday 7 -10pm Bury Village Hall [ Roger Albone 01487 813428 Rhymetime at Ramsey Library v Friday (term time)10.3011am (0-2ys), 11.1511.45am (2+) [ 0345 045 5225 Child Health Clinic v Friday 9.30 – 11am Ramsey Library [ 01480 357152 Little Bugs Club v Every Friday, Countryside Centre, 10.30am-12noon [ 01487 815524 SATURDAY & SUNDAY Ramsey Rural Museum (April - October) v Saturday & Sunday 25pm, Wood Lane, Ramsey [ 01487 815715 Open Door - Drop in for Coffee v 3rd Saturday of month 10-12pm, Ramsey Methodist Church [ 01487 813833 Salem Baptist Chapel v Sunday School - 9:45am Morning Service - 10:45am Evening Service - 6:00pm High Street, Ramsey [ 01487 815568 Ramsey Walled Garden v Every Sunday & Bank Holidays Easter - Oct Wood Lane, Ramsey [ 01487 813054 Little Miracles, Family Session v Every Sat 10:30 -12pm Ramsey Methodist Church [ Amy - 07715 306112 Bury Rainbows v Saturdays 9:15-10:30am Bury Church Hall [ 01733 844850 Yvonne AA v Every Saturday, 7pm, Thomas a Becket Church

Great Fen Wildlife Watch v Every 2nd Sat 10-12pm Countryside Centre. (No meeting in August). Now taking children from Primary Schools, parents must stay with children under 8 yrs old. Cost is £3 per child or £5 a family (siblings) [ 01487 710420 Ramsey Mortuary Chapels v First Sun, Easter-Oct, 2-5pm Wood Lane, Ramsey [ 01487 814304 Heritage First Sunday v First Sunday - April to October www.discoverramsey.co.uk Great Whyte Baptist Church v Sunday Service, 10.45am [ 01487 812323

REGULARS Job Search v Mon & Wed 10am-12pm Ramsey Library [ 01487 814897 All-a-Board Games Club v Monday 2-4pm, Ramsey Library SPARKS v Monday 7-9pm, Ramsey Methodist Church The Dog’s Meet v Tuesday 10am-12pm, Ramsey Cricket Club [ 01487 814897 BOSH v Thurs (Term-time) 4.306pm Ramsey Cricket Club [ 01487 814897 CRUNCH v Thurs (Term-time) 7-9pm Ramsey Cricket Club [ 01487 814897 Community Market v Sat & Thurs 7am-1pm Great Whyte [ 01487 814897 Toddler Time v First Sat of the Month, Ramsey Community Centre [ 01487 814897 Ramsey Crafters v Mondays, 12-3pm, Ramsey Library [ Contact 01487 814897 Boxing Fitness v Wednesdays 6-7pm (7-10yrs - £1.50 per session) and 7-8.30pm (11-16yrs - £2 per session), Ramsey Methodist Church Hall [ Contact val.rntoffice@ Information is believed to be correct at time of printing, please contact us if anything needs amending at hello@thefensmag. co.uk . Ramsey Neighbourhoods Trust and The Fens Magazine does not endorse any of the services/organisations within this publication.

The Fens | March 2020



Ye Olde Croc House A visit to Johnsons of Old Hurst is never a dull day; last month we visited Andy and Tracey Johnson to talk about their latest addition to their family-run farm business (and met some new friends along the way)…. WORDS NATASHA SHIELS IMAGES CHRIS BRUDENELL Originally a dairy farm back in 1899, Johnsons of Old Hurst has seen many changes, most of which I am sure would surprise and delight Andy’s great grandfather. But like our changing climate, traditional farms have needed to evolve in order to survive. Few, however, have evolved in quite the same way. Whilst the cows remain a staple on the farm, providing beef for the farm shop, they now have new neighbours living in a specially built tropical house. Andy’s crocodiles (which are used to explain the ethos behind ranching and conservation of crocodiles ) are joined by iguanas, snakes, parrots, turtles, tropical fish and much more. There are few places in the Fens where you can witness all of the above in a habitat where banana trees can grow and rare species can thrive. But the success of the farm comes at a cost and last year saw visitors in their thousands. The family hadn’t expected the popularity of their site, which offers families and couples the chance to walk around woodland and meet a huge variety of different animals. Last summer, their popular tearoom hit new heights and a decision was made to convert the crocodiles’ old home into a third seating area (to complement the tea room and steak house). Appropriately named Ye Olde Croc House, the cosy room, which is dominated by a stunning stone fireplace with working log burner, offers visitors a quieter and more tranquil place to enjoy a spot of afternoon tea. 46 The Fens | March 2020

summer months. We hope this new addition will give a more grownup, quiet ambience, allowing the families to still enjoy the tearoom,” Andy explained. There are always new plans in the pipeline for this unique family business, including an additional outside kitchen to provide another option for purchasing food. Of course no visit is complete without a walk to the tropical house to meet Cuddles, Sherbert, Romeo and their other crocodiles. I even had the privilege of holding Gordon, their ‘friendly’ burmese python. Now that was an unforgettable experience (see pg. 3 for evidence). One thing is for certain, Johnsons of Old Hurst will keep on growing and providing delight and discovery.

The great thing about this building is that visitors can hire it out privately and can enjoy an intimate occasion, whether it be a christening, party, funeral, corporate or something else. “We wanted to create somewhere for our existing and new customers who find the busy tearoom a bit too much during the

Johnsons of Old Hurst is open all year, please visit their website (www.johnsonsofoldhurst.co.uk) for opening times (please note they close Mondays). If you would like to book a private function in the new Croc House, please call 01487 824658 or email sales@ johnsonsofoldhurst.co.uk

FARM TO ….. A family run farm for over 100 years. Ten minutes from St Ives & Huntingdon. Visit a variety of traditional and some more unusual animals from cows, pigs, deer to parrots and crocodiles.

50ft fresh meat counter offering one of the largest selections of home produced meats in the country. With our own deli celebrating a wide range of home produced products and fifty British cheeses.

Visit our tearoom and enjoy homemade cakes, scones, sandwiches, afternoon teas and our traditional breakfasts. Try our new steakhouse and jiggers bar for a home produced steak.


Bar open for drinks all day Butchers & Farm Shop Tuesday – Friday: 9am - 6pm Saturday: 9am - 4pm Sunday: 10.30am - 4pm Monday: Closed

Food served Tuesday – Friday: 12pm - 2.30pm & 5.30pm - 9pm Saturday: 12pm - 9pm Sunday Carvery: 12pm - 4pm Monday: Closed

Church Farm, Church Street, Old Hurst, Huntingdon, PE28 3AF Tel: 01487 824658 Email: sales@johnsonsofoldhurst.co.uk Email for steakhouse bookings: info@johnsonssteakhouse.co.uk Visit our facebook page: johnsonsofoldhurst & johnsonssteakhouse Web: johnsonsofoldhurst.co.uk

Tea Room

Tuesday – Friday: 9.30am - 4.30pm Saturday: 9am - 4.30pm Sunday: 10.30am - 4pm Monday: Closed


The Fens | March 2020


Based on the DreamWorks Animation Motion picture and the book by William Steig




26TH - 30TH MAY 2020

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The Fens Ramsey March 2020