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WISBECH & SURROUNDING

Issue 24 | March 2020

THE

A magazine with the heart and soul of the Fens

Inside this issue Discover all about Thomas Clarkson

Visiting the Crowns and Gowns Exhibition Find the best local bluebells Fens | March PEOPLE | FOOD | HOME & GARDEN | NATURE | WHAT’S ON |The PLACES TO2020 VISIT1


2

The Fens | March 2020

01354 704500


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.

NATASHA SHIELS, publisher

THIS month 12 Last chance to see Ely Cathedral’s ‘Crowns & Gowns’ exhibition

14 Visiting Johnsons of Old Hurst

24 Fiesta held at Freedom Leisure 28 Find the best places to spot bluebells this month

17 Your garden in March

34 Have you heard about the Fenland Flag?

18 Digging up the past

38 Recipe of the month

20 Mother’s Day gift ideas

40 Shrek the Musical hits Peterborough

fens

WISBECH & SURROUNDING

Issue 24 | March 2020

THE

44 Events diary

Inside this issue Discover all about Thomas Clarkson

Find the best local bluebells Fens | March PEOPLE | FOOD | HOME & GARDEN | NATURE | WHAT’S ON |The PLACES TO2020 VISIT1

PUBLISHER / EDITOR Natasha Shiels hello@thefensmag.co.uk ASSISTANT EDITOR Richard Groom richard@pcbonline.co.uk EDITORIAL ASSISTANT Amy Corney amy@thefensmag.co.uk SUB EDITOR Theresa Shiels DESIGN TEAM Natasha Shiels Charlotte Whittaker Vinny Clarke PHOTOGRAPHY Chris Brudenell chrisbrudenellphotography.co.uk ADVERTISING SALES Cassie Ward 07734 952626 SUBSCRIPTIONS To subscribe for just £12 for 6 issues, contact us at hello@thefensmag.co.uk CONTRIBUTORS Caroline Fitton |Gareth Monger | Garry Monger | John McGinn | Steve Barclay MP | Richard Groom | Lauren Bremner DISTRIBUTION

Printed monthly to the villages Emneth, Gorefield, Leverington, Murrow, Newton, Parson Drove, Tydd St. Giles, Wisbech St. Mary, Outwell plus Wisbech centre

www.thefensmag.co.uk

A magazine with the heart and soul of the Fens

Visiting the Crowns and Gowns Exhibition

THE TEAM

facebook.com/thefensmag @thefensmag thefensmag

ISSUE 24 | MARCH 2020 Sunrise over Ely Cathedral by Andrew Sharpe

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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FENLAND TWINNING ASSOCIATION: HOW TO SUPPORT OUR FRIENDS IN FIRE-RAVAGED AUSTRALIA As recovery operations get underway in Australia following its wildfire crisis, Fenland Twinning Association is sharing details of how people can best help communities in devastated areas.

of enquiries concerning how people can support the bushfire recovery and it has been somewhat difficult to advise safe and approved ways of helping people and communities in devastated areas.

Fenland is twinned with the Sunshine Coast in Queensland, Australia, with Fenland District Council having wellestablished links with the Sunshine Coast Council.

“Our friends and colleagues at the Sunshine Coast Council have also received such enquiries and have now shared a number of safe ways people can give help.”

The country has suffered some of its worst bushfires seen in decades. Some 30 people have so far been killed, including four firefighters, and more than 10 million hectares of bush, forest and parks across Australia has burned. It is estimated that around one billion animals have also been killed.

To support PEOPLE:

Roger Coulthurst, Chairman of the Fenland Twinning Association, said: “Members have received a number

• GIVIT (umbrella organisations which supports a number of agencies, services and charities): www.givit.org.au • Australian Red Cross: www.redcross.org.au • Foodbank: www.foodbank.org.au • Salvation Army: www.salvationarmy.org.au • St Vincent De Paul: https://donate.vinnies.org.au

To support WILDLIFE: • Queensland RSPCA: www.rspcaqld.org.au • New South Wales RSPCA: www.rspcansw.org.au • Victoria RSPCA: www.rspcavic.org.au • WIRES (Wildlife Rescue): www.wires.org.au To support RURAL FIREFIGHTERS (volunteers) • Queensland Rural Fire Brigades Association: www.rfbaq.org • New South Wales Rural Fire Service: www.rfs.nsw.gov.au • Victoria Country Fire Authority: www.cfa.vic.gov.au • South Australia Country Fire Service: www.cfs.sa.gov.au To find out more about the Fenland Twinning Association, visit: www.fenland.gov.uk/twinning

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. queensgate-shopping.co.uk

The Fens | March 2020

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GRAND TOUR EXHIBITION

When Algernon Peckover and his two daughters set off on the Grand Tour of Italy, they were embarking on a major journey that would last them some 53 days and cover around 3,200 miles. Between 22 February- 15 November 2020 there will be an exhibition in Lord Peckover’s bedroom (first floor) about the Grand Tour undertaken by some of the Peckover family in 1872. Using research from original Peckover travel journals, photographs and source material, we tell the story of the Victorian Grand Tour and how the Peckover’s’ Quaker faith shaped their journey. Many items, never before seen, will be on display, providing an opportunity to engage with the Peckover’s experience of the cultural phenomenon of the Grand Tour. While visiting Peckover, a stroll around the beautiful gardens is certainly not to be missed. But why not extend your

visit further by taking an adventure to Egloods Brewery and Gardens. Their four acre garden is a wonder

to explore, part of which historically formed some of the Peckover estate.

LOAN OBJECTS THAT SPEAK OF YOUR MEMORIES FOR A SPECIAL EXHIBITION AT WISBECH MUSEUM Paul McGregor from Guyhirn still has his mother's old washboard and fond memories of how his parents used it on different days of the week. Now he's loaned it to Wisbech and Fenland Museum for its communityled 'Memento' exhibition that will open next month. The exhibition, which will explore the role of objects in keeping personal memories alive, is being put together by a team of volunteer community curators, overseen by project officer Louise Haselgrove. Instead of only displaying artefacts from the museum's collection, the curators are inviting local residents to come forward and fill the exhibition with their own objects and stories. That's where Paul and the washboard came in. He said: “This old washboard was used by my grandmother and mother on washdays. This was hard, hot work. I know my mother hated it and loathed Mondays as a result. “But my father, who was a jazz 8

The Fens | March 2020

drummer and worked with Kenny Ball and as a Union Castle Line musician, would borrow it for gig nights. It was used as a percussion instrument in jazz and skiffle bands at the time. It would disappear, only to reappear in time for the Monday scrub.” Now anyone living in the area who would like to get involved by loaning a special memento is invited to bring their object to a drop-off day at Wisbech and Fenland Museum on Saturday, February 22, between 10am and 2pm. At this event Community Curators will record details of associated memories and accept the objects for loan. Owners of large, fragile or valuable objects are requested to contact the museum in advance to discuss if their item is suitable for loan. 'Memento' opens on Saturday March 7 and runs until Saturday April 11. It's part of the museum's National Lottery Heritage Funds Project Sharing Cultures: Exploring our Collections. This is aimed at providing volunteering opportunities to create exhibitions

and events which have relevance to the collective daily lives of local people. Pictured above: Paul McGregor with the washboard he’s kept for the memories it brings back.


THOMAS CLARKSON ACADEMY ACHIEVES GOOD OFSTED GRADING For the first time ever, Thomas Clarkson Academy has been awarded a Good Ofsted grading in a report that focused on the quality of leadership, positive relationships between staff and students, a curriculum ‘that helps pupils to succeed’ and a Sixth Form ‘where students have the support required to be successful.’ The judgement, after a two-day inspection in January, says that the school is ‘unrecognisable’ compared to a few years ago and ‘parents and carers, pupils, staff and members of the community comment on the positive changes at the school.’ The Academy received good grades in all five key areas inspected. Inspectors found that leaders have made ‘substantial improvements’ to the quality of education and have ‘high expectations’ of all pupils, providing ‘effective support’ for those with social, emotional and mental health needs. The report said: ‘The school is well led. The dedication of leaders and governors to the school, the pupils and the local community is impressive ... Leaders work hard to engage parents and gain the confidence of the community’ and ‘work effectively’ with external agencies to support vulnerable pupils. The report notes that ‘teachers’ subject knowledge is strong in many subject areas, particularly in maths and English’, and the curriculum is ‘ambitious’ for those with special educational needs or the disadvantaged. The range of extracurricular activities was also highlighted, along with careers advice and guidance as ‘almost all Year 11 pupils move on to further education, employment or training.’ The Sixth Form received praise with students valuing ‘the distinctiveness of the sixth form while still feeling part of the school community ... Students’ attitudes are very positive. They maintain a strong focus on their studies.’ Pupils feel safe and well supported in school and are known as individuals by staff. Inspectors said that ‘relationships between staff and pupils are very positive’ and ‘staff increasingly motivate pupils to work hard and try their best ... Staff have high expectations of pupils’ conduct ... know their pupils well and can spot potential safeguarding concerns.’ Principal Richard Scott said: ‘I’m over the moon that the community of Wisbech has a good state school for the first time in its history - a school

that people can be proud of. This is a fantastic achievement and it is confirmation of the hard work by all the staff and students at TCA, with support from parents and the local community. It reflects our shared ethos that every single young person in Wisbech has the right to a good education delivered by their local school. ‘We are beginning to have a significant impact on the lives of young people in this town and that is something which will continue. One of the things I am most proud of is that inspectors recognised the positive relationships between students and staff. I am also pleased that the number of parents who would recommend TCA has now more than doubled. We have benefited from invaluable support from the Brooke Weston Trust and from Executive Principal Anne Hill.’ Secondary Executive Principal Anne Hill said: ‘The Good Ofsted judgement for Thomas Clarkson Academy has been hard-fought and hard won by Richard and the TCA staff who have tirelessly devoted hours of expertise to improving the school and the fortunes and aspirations of its students, a journey which I began as its Principal in 2016. I am so proud that Thomas Clarkson Academy has been recognised for the massive transformation achieved in just a few short years.’ Brooke Weston Trust CEO Dr Andrew Campbell said: ‘We are absolutely delighted with this judgement, which demonstrates the incredible progress that has been made.

‘I’d like to pay tribute to the huge talent and determination of all the staff, especially Richard Scott and Anne Hill, whose vision, determination, commitment and leadership has taken Thomas Clarkson Academy to a level never before seen in its long history. ‘I’d also like to thank staff from across the Trust who have offered their expertise, particularly when Thomas Clarkson Academy joined our family of schools and needed support and professional intervention. They, and many others, shared our ambitious vision of what the school could, and should become. ‘This level of performance and success at Thomas Clarkson Academy has come about only through an unrelenting commitment to improve. I’d like to thank partners, such as the County Council, Local Authority, District Council, politicians and supporters who all shared our faith and vision in wanting this school to succeed and be a hugely positive force. This is undoubtedly a ‘Good’ day for Thomas Clarkson Academy and an equally a good one for the town of Wisbech itself.’ The Fens | March 2020

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ELY’S

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 12 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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VISITING...

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. 14 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


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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

MOWERS MARCHING INTO SPRING After the high winds and almost constant rain in January & February, I’m sure I’m not the only one looking forward to longer days and warmer weather. It makes us all feel so much better. It also means we can finally get started on those gardening tasks. • A good place to start is tidying the garden by cutting back winter shrubs, pruning trees and raking winter leaves and debris. Clear up anything the winds spread across your garden and repair fences or structures damaged in the storms. • If the ground is not too wet, spring is the ideal time to lay new turf or reseed sparse areas of lawn. Make sure you don’t walk on new grass, give it a chance to root undisturbed and you’ll see the benefit in Summer. If it’s dry, remember to water new turf regularly. • The RHS advises April and May are the best months to treat your lawn. If you have a scarifier or even a rake, use this to remove moss or thatch and open up the grass. Aerate the lawn by spiking the ground with a fork or proper aerator tool, this improves drainage. Use a combined moss killer and fertilizer to feed and weed your lawn.

• When you start cutting your grass, set the level on the mower at it’s highest settings so you don’t scalp the ground. Compost grass clippings with a mix of shredded paper or newspaper and veg peelings etc. Too much grass alone will make a wet & slimy mess, you need air and mixed organic matter to make good compost. • If you have an allotment or veg garden you might use a tiller or rotavator to loosen the soil. It saves back breaking digging and mixes nutrients into the soil to feed your growing veggies. Make sure your fuel is fresh and nothing is wrapped around the blades, to keep the machine running freely. If your garden equipment is struggling to get the job done, it may need a service or even replacing. Fenland Spirit Services can help with repairs, servicing and we supply refurbished lawnmowers, ride-on mowers and rotavators.

WHY SHOULD YOU PLANT THEM? 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.

Please remember we get very busy in Spring so the sooner you get in touch, the sooner we can help you. Find us on Facebook, give us a call on 0775 383 6499 or check out our website (fenlandspiritservices.co.uk). We look forward to helping you. The Fens | March 2020

17


History

DIGGING UP THE PAST

PLAYERS, PERFORMERS AND SHOWMEN WORDS GARRY MONGER Strangers were often viewed with suspicion and sometimes rightly so. In the past people travelled less and a trip to the nearest town and back could take up most of the day. Nearby markets and fairs attracted buyers and sellers of items that might not be easily available locally. Markets and fairs were controlled by charters and these were jealously guarded by the holders. Over time race-meetings, markets and fairs proved an attraction to circuses and groups of actors (or comedians). Reliant on such erratic income the players sometimes had the appearance of beggars - on one occasion a family ended up in a local poorhouse. The massive touring circuses such as Buffalo Bill’s Wild West had their own trains, enabling them to visit Wisbech and King’s Lynn on successive days in the early 1900s. In the 18th and 19th centuries provincial theatres were often used for a season of no more than six weeks, in large buildings such as the Peckover Reed Barn. Temporary theatres, such as one erected near Wisbech High Street, could take a month to build. As both circuses and theatres would endeavour to cram in as many paying customers as possible, inevitably the structures sometimes failed, leading to injuries and death. By 1837 large circuses were visiting the town by road, although the Wisbech stone bridge proved difficult to negotiate with the elephant trailer, which required jacking. The WIsbech Mart attracted Wombwell’s Royal Menagerie which featured a pair of elephants; a pride of lions; tigers; panthers; leopards; wolves; hyenas and jackals. The Prince Of Whales (sic), Mrs. Samwell’s Royal Circus, offered a troop of Arabian horses as well as the usual performers, numerous side shows and other attractions. Such stiff competition for customers meant that 18 The Fens | March 2020

entertainers would need to vary their performances over their stay. The Robertson’s theatre in Wisbech would also offer a variety of plays and other shows. By this time local theatre circuits were struggling, as improved transport allowed easier access to the attractions in London and other cities. The theatre ownership was now with James Hill. Mrs. Robertson Snr opened the recently-refurbished theatre on Thursday, 9th February (the improvements to the theatre did not pass unnoticed - on 27th May, Georgina Gooch was charged by the police with stealing the theatre’s gas fittings!). Over the planned five-week season, offerings included the play The Stranger; the opera Rob Roy and the comedies The Will; The Storm; She Stoops To Conquer and The Farmer’s Story. The Mart gradually evolved into today’s format of dodgem-cars, merry-go-rounds and sideshows. In a few years James Hill had gone bankrupt and the theatre-ownership changed again, with Mrs Robertson

Snr handing over the management of the company to Mr Robertson (her nephew). She retired and lived in Wisbech. The theatre eventually closed in the 1850s and the building was used for other purposes until it reopened as the Angles Theatre in the 1970s. Younger Robertsons went on to carve out careers in or outside the world of theatre.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR Garry Monger BSc PGCE is a former local councillor, teacher and army reservist. He is a member of FenArch and other local groups working to promote community archaeology in the Fens.


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FENLAND GOT INTO THE FREEDOM FIESTA SPIRIT FREE Fitness Fiesta event at Hudson, George Campbell, Manor and Chatteris Leisure Centres was a huge success! Hundreds of people were given a taste of the wide range of fitness facilities provided at all four Fenland District Council Leisure Centres, managed by Freedom Leisure last Saturday as they held their first “Fun Fitness Fiesta” at the Manor, Hudson, Chatteris and George Campbell centres in Fenland. Visitors were shown the recently refurbished gyms which are now equipped with the very latest Technogym kit and attended taster fitness classes such as Body Pump and HIIT all for FREE, as well as enjoying swimming sessions for the whole family. Existing members, their families and friends, as well as people looking to start their fitness journey turned up to see what the four Freedom Leisure Fenland Sites had to offer. The event was hosted by representatives from Fenland District Council including Phil Hughes and Simon Bell, and councillors Kay Mayor and Sam Clark. They visited all sites accompanied by Jordan Gill (Professional Boxer) and other local 24 The Fens | March 2020

councillors. Jordan, a local boxer from Chatteris at the top of his game,was suitably impressed with the top class facilities available to the residents in Fenland. He was also able to meet and greet members, giving them advice, hints and tips on how to train effectively whatever their goals and aspirations. As part of the celebrations, Freedom Leisure invited some of the oldest and youngest members to attend. These members show that you are never too old or young to start a fitness regime and being a member at one of the centres enables you to achieve your goals and to keep fit and healthy whatever your age or ability! Fenland District Council’s Portfolio Holder for Leisure Cllr Sam Clark commented about the day; “Since I became Cabinet Member for Leisure in May 2019, I have been very happy with how Freedom Leisure has been operating our four leisure centres. The refurbishment at the Hudson Leisure Centre and the new gym equipment across all four centres is providing a fantastic visitor experience which has


translated into improved membership figures and more people being more active, more often. I am really looking forward to more progress with our partnership with Freedom over this year.” Dan Palframan, Freedom Leisure Area Manager also added; “We’re so pleased with all the recent changes across all four of our centres and this Fun Fitness Fiesta was the best way to see for yourself the improvements we’ve made and how you can join your local fitness facilities. It was great seeing so many people attend our

Free Fun Fiesta Day.” Freedom Leisure manage the four leisure centres within Fenland in March, Whittlesey, Chatteris and Wisbech, with a combined total of 3 pools, 2 learner pools, 4 top of the range gyms, 2 soft play areas at Whittlesey and Wisbech, and over 100 classes a week across all sites from Body combat and Group Cycling to Zumba.

For more information, please visit www.freedom-leisure.co.uk/fenland or contact the centres direct.

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THIS GIRL CAN IN FENLAND! WORDS Kate Squires, Active Fenland was mainly stopping them. Fear of judgement can come from many things such as appearance when exercising, their ability to do so and prioritising exercise and worrying what others would think about them if they did so.

Many of you are probably aware of Sport England’s ‘This Girl Can’ Campaign that has been running since 2015 now. This Girl Can aims to inspire and motivate all women and de- stigmatise the idea that exercise isn’t for women by using non airbrushed, real photos of women participating in exercise.

Therefore, the This Girl Can campaign was developed to help normalise the idea of women exercising and remove any barriers they felt were stopping them for doing so! At Active Fenland, we champion this campaign and use images of real women getting involved in our sports and activity sessions to highlight that activity is for everyone. We also try to break down barriers people may have towards getting active, such as cost, with many of our sessions either Free or costing less than £3 per session, with certain activities put on at varying times of the day to make them as accessible as possible.

The reason This Girl Can started was due to the huge gender gap in exercise participation, with 1.8 million more men exercising than women in 2014 (This Girl Can, 2020). It was found that a huge unifying barrier was that of ‘Fear of Judgement’ which meant that although 75% of 7.1 million women aged 14-40 years wanted to be more active, it was this fear which

If you feel you have any recommendations as to what sport/activity you’d like to have on offer, venues to host activities or good times/days to deliver certain sessions please get in contact with us and let us know! Either email us at activefenlandbookings@fenland. gov.uk, message us through our Facebook page @ActiveFenland or

26 The Fens | March 2020

call 01354 622498 to speak to us! We have lots of sessions open to women of all ages, shapes and sizes to get involved in, including Yoga, Clubbercise, Buggy Fit, Ladies Badminton and much more! Get in touch with us to find out more information. Please see details for Netball, a growing and very popular fun activity, below. BACK TO NETBALL The Hudson Leisure Centre, Wisbech. Tuesdays, 7-8pm, £2 Pay & Play. A welcoming, coached social session that complete beginners and returners are welcome along to; also a great mother daughter session for those over the age of 13years. WALKING NETBALL The Hudson Leisure Centre, Wisbech. Thursdays, 9-10am, £2 Pay & Play. Whittlesey Indoor Bowls Complex. Wednesdays, 9.30-10.30am, £3 Pay & Play. COMING SOON TO CHATTERIS! These sessions are open to complete beginners or even returners to the sport. Walking Netball enables you to keep your fitness and physical skills strong while reducing the impact the sport can have on muscles and joints, with no running or jumping involved.


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Walk of the month

Bluebell Spotting this Spring WORDS AND IMAGES AMY CORNEY

28 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.

£

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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

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£

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.

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The Fens | March 2020

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HOW WILL THE GOOD WORK PLAN AFFECT YOU? WORDS Kim Cross, Solicitor

The media has increasingly scrutinised modern employment practices over the last few years, for example featuring stories about the rise of the gig economy, the use of zero-hours contracts, the growth of part-time working and the employment status of contractors working with a single employer.

breaches of employment’ have also been increased.

On 6th April 2020, a range of new measures will come in: Currently, employers have to provide a written statement of particulars of employment to all employees who will be working for a month or more within two months of the start of their With an eye on this, the Government employment. This will now have to has launched its ‘vision for the future of be given to all workers as well as the UK labour market’, dubbed ‘one of employees, it must be given on or you Buying, Selling orand Remortgaging the biggest shake-ups Are of employment before day one, must now also law in a generation’. The changes are include; comprehensive, so it is worthwhile forsimplify and At Fraser Dawbarns we work to both employers to have • The days of the week on which remove stress and fromemployees your property transaction. an understanding of the new laws. employee is expected to work • Whether these days are variable We keep you updated with all major developments as The Good Work Plan is the and how any variations will be they occur and our fixed fee service helps you keep Government’s response to the Taylor determined track of your costs. Review of Modern Working Practices. • The benefits that the employer will ItOur aims to ‘significantly change provide lawyers can provide advice on a wide range of the enforcement landscape’ • The duration of the probationary conveyancing matters including:of employment rights to accommodate period and the conditions for the new ways of working which have passing • House Purchases and Sales come about with the emergence of • Details of training entitlement and • New Build Purchases new digital platforms. mandatory training • Remortgaging and Releasing Equity Buyingofa changes Retirement Home A• couple have already Currently the holiday pay of a worker • Buying a Shared Ownership Home taken place. All workers now have the with irregular hours is calculated by • Transferring of a Home right to a payslipOwnership (with hourly-paid staff averaging the hours worked over the • Buying House as a of Landlord also havingathe number hours worked previous 12 weeks. The new legislation outlined). for ‘aggravated will increase in the period over which • MovingPenalties into a Rented Home

holiday pay is calculated to 52 weeks. This aims to be fairer for seasonal workers and others whose working hours fluctuate over the course of a year. There will also be increased protection for agency workers. Currently certain distinctions exist, which can mean an agency worker will not be paid the same as a permanent employee. These will be abolished in April 2020 and comparable pay will subsequently your Home? apply to all agency workers after 12 weeks. There are future changes planned, which do not currently have an implementation date. These are an extension of the ‘break of service’ period from one week to four and giving all employees with at least 26 weeks service the right to request a stable contract of employment. Whether you are an employer or an employee it is important to understand how the new employment regulations will affect you. The employment law team at Fraser Dawbarns have experience helping both employers and employees and can help you navigate the changes that the Good Work Plan will bring.

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Nature

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.

32 The Fens | March 2020


Established over 40 years ago by brothers Geoff & Steve, Mendis is a warm & friendly enviroment serving great food & entertainment

Quiz Nights Every fortnight

Teams up to 6. £1 per person. 8pm start. Everyone welcome.

Quiz dates this month Thursday 12th March Thursday 26th March

Party Night

Music from the 60s, 70s, 80s Saturday 21st March Complimentary tickets available. Please call in to enquire.

Sunday Lunch at Mendis

Open 11.45 a.m. to 2p.m. Traditional roast plus a wide range of other dishes.

Mothering Sunday March 22nd 2 Courses £14.95 3 Courses £17.95. Children under 12 Half Price. Booking advisable.

Easter Sunday April 12th Serving our normal menu.

Special Occasions 2020

Mendis has two function rooms available for private hire on Saturday Evenings. Stewards Lounge up to 60 people £175 | The Paddock £250. The above prices include guests greeted at the door, hire of premises & D.J.

www.mendiswisbech.co.uk Call for more information 01945 461051

The Fens | March 2020 Mendis Restaurant, 22 Old Market, Wisbech PE13 1NB Our 43rd Year 1977 to 2020

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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 34 The Fens | March 2020

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.


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.

The Peckover’s Grand Tour 1872 Using archive material and original travel journals, we tell the story of the Victorian Grand Tour and how the Peckover’s faith shaped their travels. 22 February – 15 November during house opening times. www.nationaltrust.org.uk/peckover © National Trust 2020. Registered Charity no. 205846. Photography © National Trust Images.

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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:

Brexit

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 Wisbech 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:

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Wisbech Office 12 & 13 The Crescent, Wisbech, Cambs. PE13 1EH Telephone: 01945 584113 wisbech@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 St. Edmunds | Ely | King’s Lynn | March | Mildenhall | Peterborough | Ramsey | St. The IvesFens | St.|Neots Wisbech March| 2020 37


Recipe

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

CARDAMOM SHORTBREAD

THE METHOD

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

PASSIONFRUIT CURD

Eat, drink, stay!

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

38 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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THEATRE PREVIEW

SHREKtacular

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 40 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


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WHAT’S ON Include your event for free by emailing hello@thefensmag.co.uk WISBECH SOCIETY WINTER LECTURE Monday 2nd March The Chapel at Wisbech General Cemetery, North End, Wisbech. 7.30pm. Peter Thatcher explains what the medieval ‘white crosses of Fenland’ were, and where in Fenland there are examples of them. No charge for members, non-members welcome for a £3 donation. Free to young people aged 18 or under. BUGGY FIT Tuesday 3rd, 10th, 17th and 24th March Wisbech Park, near the hospital. 9.30am to 10.30am. All parents and babies welcome; parents need to be ‘exercise ready’ and signed off by their GP/midwife before attending. Parents with babies younger than nine months may need to adapt some exercises. Hosted by Active Fenland. WALKING NETBALL Thursday 5th March Hudson Leisure Centre, Wisbech, 9.00am. Walking netball is a slightly slower paced version of netball, with no running or jumping. This session is open to all abilities wanting to have a go. FOREVER ELVIS Friday 6th March Angles Theatre, Wisbech, 7.30pm. A full tribute show featuring hits from every Elvis era, starring multi award winning Eddy Popescu. Visit anglestheatre.co.uk for more info and tickets.

MEMENTO EXHIBITION Saturday 7th March to Saturday 11th April Wisbech & Fenland Museum. From 10.00am Tuesday to Saturday each week. An exhibition of objects belonging to local people that help them keep precious memories alive.

THE MARXIST IN HEAVEN Friday 13th March and Saturday 14th March Angles Theatre, Wisbech, 7.30pm. Following a tragic accident, Valerie, a young, political and strong girl, ‘wakes’ to find herself in heaven. But things are not so heavenly: it’s time for a revolution. A funny, thoughtful play performed by Ratzcool Youth. Visit anglestheatre.co.uk for more info and tickets. CROWNS AND GOWNS - AN EXHIBITION Until Sunday 15th March 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.

MODEL RAILWAY EXHIBITION Saturday 14th March 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.

PRIZE BINGO Tuesday 17th March Five Bells, Upwell. Doors open 6.30pm, eyes down 7.00pm. Basket meals available. Raising money for Magpas Air Ambulance. To reserve a table,

REGULARS FREE Glow in the Dark Table Tennis! New and exciting activity for ages 1019 years old Just drop in and play! Fridays 15.30-17.00, Rosmini Centre, Wisbech. Fenland Music Centre Association Orchestras, Bands and Ensembles. Open to all ages and abilities. Meets every Friday evening during Term time 6pm - 9pm, March Community Centre. Just come along or visit our website on http://www. fenlandmusiccentre.org.uk Fenland Archaeological Society (FenArch) meet at 7:30pm in 44 The Fens | March 2020

Mendi’s, Old Market, Wisbech on 4th Wednesday of the month. Young archaeologists The 8-16 Fenland Archaeology group meet 10am - 12pm at the museum, Museum Square, Wisbech on the 4th Saturday of each month. Wisbech Model Railway Club The group meet every Monday from 6:30pm to 9pm in Room 1 of The Institute, Hill Street, Wisbech. New members most welcome. Unfortunately there’s no wheelchair access. Further details from 07707 885718. Walking Netball – Hudson Leisure

Centre, Wisbech, 9.00am. Walking Football – Tuesday 9:30am and Friday 8pm Hudson Wisbech £2 Back to Netball – Tuesday 7pm Hudson Wisbech £2 Ladies Badminton – Wednesday 7pm Hudson Wisbech £2 Adults Badminton – Monday 7pm Hudson Wisbech £2 Forever Fit – Tuesday 11:30am £2 (Short mat bowls, New Age Kurling and Table Tennis) Adults Table Tennis – Friday 1:30pm Wisbech Table Tennis Club £1 Beginners Running – Tuesday 9:30am Wisbech Park Free Yoga Oasis Centre – Tuesday 1:30pm Oasis Centre Free


call 01945 772222. THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST Thursday 19th March to Saturday 21st March Angles Theatre, Wisbech, 7.30pm. Oscar Wilde’s classic tale of two young men who discover they have each crafted elaborate double lives. Visit anglestheatre.co.uk for more info and tickets.

KEITH HALL MEMORIAL 10K & FUN RUN 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

HEALTH & WELLBEING FAIR Saturday 21st March Queen Mary Centre, Wisbech, 10.00am to 3.00pm. Local businesses and organisations showcasing their services covering food, fitness, self-care and mental health. Refreshments available. Free entry. A NIGHT AT THE RACES Saturday 21st March Morrow Village Hall, Murrow Bank, Murrow. 7.00pm to 10.00pm. With licensed bar. THE HARD WAY: THE STORY OF HANNAH MITCHELL, ENGLISH SUFFRAGETTE Friday 27th March Wisbech Library, 7.30pm to 9.00pm. Over 16s only. Celebrating one woman’s determination to take power in the face of insurmountable barriers. An intimate, one-woman performance by Louise Jordan of storytelling with original song which will make you laugh and cry. Tickets £8, concessions £5/£4, available from cambridgelive.org.uk/tickets

JOSEPH AND THE AMAZING TECHNICOLOR DREAMCOAT Tuesday 7th April to Saturday 11th April Angles Theatre, Wisbech, 7.30pm. The Angles Theatre RATz Youth present the classic feel good retelling of the story of Joseph, his 11 brothers and the coat of many colours. Visit anglestheatre.co.uk for more info and tickets.

WALPOLE FAMILY FUNDAY Sunday 28th June Walpole Community Centre. Craft, food, small business, clubs and groups stalls are available from £5. Please contact Chloe on 01406 478800 or walpolecommunitycentre.events@ gmail.com if you would like to book a stall.

CELEBRATE THE FENS DAY 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 believe these event details are accurate but advise you to always check with venues to make sure before making a special journey. We do not endorse any of the events listed.

Play Bridge? Wisbech Mixed Bridge Club meet every Thursday 6.45pm at WWMCC, 29 Hill Street, Wisbech. No partner necessary. Call 01945 464608 for more details.

NEW Ukulele Group at Parson Drove A new Ukulele playing and singing club meets each Wednesday at The Butchers Arms, Parson Drove 7pm to 9pm. Beginners and learners or those who have never played are welcome. The choice of music will be yours as we will have a democratic approach to what we play. Martin Hammond 01945 700 676

Silver Surfers We meet at Parson Drove Sports Pavilion behind the village hall. Thursday mornings, 10am to 12noon. Everyone is welcome to meet others and to overcome problems with computers iPhone or ipads.

Marshland Hall activities Mondays: 9:30-10:30 Yoga; 10-1 Soft Play; 2-3:30 Line Dancing; Tuesdays: 10-1 Soft Play Wednesdays: 10-12 Indoor Bowls; 1-2 Sweaty Mamas; 6-7 Karate; 6-7 Marshland Saints Football; 7-8 Tai Chi;

For more info on any of the above email lbremner@fenland.gov.uk or call 01354602116

LOOKING AHEAD…

8-9 Clubbercise Thursdays: 6-7 Marshland Saints Football; 7-8 Yoga; 7-8 Marshland Saints Football Fridays: 10-12 Soft Play; 2-4 Tea Dance; 6-7 Karate Saturdays: 10-12 Archery All events held at Marshland Hall, Smeeth Road, Marshland St James, PE14 8JB. More info can be found on facebook or by calling 01945 430414. Junior Science Club Meets every second Saturday of the month at 11am to 1pm at the Wisbech and Fenland Museum.

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46 The Fens | March 2020


BUILDING TRULY BESPOKE TIMBER FRAMED HOMES SINCE 1929 Award-winning self-build specialists Insulation options from 0.10–0.18 W/m2K Nationwide architectural partners Oak framing options/oak hybrid systems Part or full project management optional FAST CONSTRUCTION

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www.eb-bespoke.co.uk The Fens | March 2020

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48 The Fens | March 2020

Profile for The Fens magazine

The Fens Wisbech March 2020  

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