Brakespeare: Parish council says No, prison find, shoe shine Fry, mutual love in and carpeted Beadle costs town cool �8k

TRAWLING their on line minutes produced the revelation that Elm Parish Council was approached for help with a student’s PhD research.

The clerk said the Plymouth University student was conducting a research project on rural life and had selected Elm “as an example of a rural area with a scenic landscape”.

The student wanted to quiz residents face-to-face and, naturally enough, run focus groups and picked Elm “as an example of a rural area with a scenic landscape”.

The council gave her the cold shoulder though “members deciding that the parish council is unable, because of lack of capacity, to provide the assistance sought by the student”.

HAPPILY we can report the village sign in Wisbech St Mary has been repaired and is to be re-instated.

There were fears it had been lost inside Whitemoor Prison after being sent there for inmates to repair and then there was the little matter of finding the money for the paint needed for the job.

However the sign was eventually tracked down to workshop 9 at Whitemoor and has now been collected and returned to Wisbech St Mary where the restoration work has been completed.

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NOT that Brakespeare has suddenly developed a shoe fetish but I couldn’t help but admire this highly polished pair being worn by Posh director of football Barry Fry at Chatteris on Sunday.

Not that he seemed fearful of getting them dirty on a dank, damp autumnal morning but one has to concede the indefatigable Mr Fry sure knows how to stand out from the crowd.

He also knows how to wow an audience- his barnstorming appearance at the opening of all weather pitches was the perfect warm up for gymnast Louis Smith who came later to open Chatteris Leisure.

BEADLE Alister Hopkins found himself unexpectedly in the limelight this week, probably for the wrong reason!

Mr Hopkins performs his duties in Wisbech admirably well but town clerk Erbie Murat reports that he “tripped and fell in the mayor’s parlour”.

The Beadle has now submitted “a certificate for fractured ribs. The accident has been reported and temporary repairs have been carried out to the carpet.”

The town clerk says as a result the council has agreed to replace all the carpets in the council chamber- to include the replacement of the carpet in the mayor’s parlour.

“The total cost will in the region of �8,000 for both- and the landing outside the mayor’s parlour- using a good quality Axminster type carpet and including a good quality durable underlay”.

A STUNNING image of Ely railway station on a misty day has been selected as a runner-up in a national photography competition.

The photograph by Rohan Reilly was commended in Network Rail’s Lines in the Landscape Award, as part of the Take a View Landscape Photographer of the Year competition.

Mr Reilly tells me the photo “was taken at Ely station while changing trains on a misty day in December. The various lines and striking lamps leading into the thick fog captured my attention.”

The best images will be displayed at a free exhibition at the National Theatre in London from November 12.

A SCURRILOUS letter doing the rounds- and copied into this paper- suggests we ask each of the candidates for police and crime commissioner candidate for Cambridgeshire whether they have any criminal convictions.

“You’ll be surprised what you find out,” says the writer of the letter, who dubs himself ‘Fenland Explorer’.

As I have pointed out to many and various people who inquired, declarations remain a matter for the returning officer, candidates and their respective consciences. The legal requirements also come later- should they win.

I did enjoy UKIP’s reaction to the letter- their candidate Paul Bullen drove out to Ely and dropped a copy of his Criminal Record Bureau check into the office.

And, as you would expect not just from him but from all candidates, it is as pure as the driven snow.

POPPING into Wisbech the other day it was again noticeable how tired the wood cladding on the Boathouse is beginning to look.

Fenland District Council has also been debating the issue and Councillor John Clarke, the portfolio holder for finance, told members the cedar cladding contains oils and resins which weathers over time to a silver colour.

He pointed out there is a “degradation of colour and the ageing process depends on its position to the sun”.

Councillors were told the same process was used elsewhere- including Newmarket Races- and if the wood was treated it would be repeating every three to five years “at significant cost but adding little or no life to the wood”.

THERE’S a chance for young boys to become an Ely Cathedral chorister for the day on Saturday, November 10, so they can get a taste of what it’s like to sing in the fabulous Ship of the Fens.

Boys aged from six to eight years old, who love to sing, can spend the day with Ely Cathedral choristers, and find out just what’s involved in being a chorister.

Paul Trepte, Director of Music, is organising the event jointly with King’s Ely.

He tells me that this is a “fun and informal day which takes place every year. It provides the opportunity for any young boy who enjoys singing, or who has a talent for singing, to experience life as a chorister at Ely”.

The Ely Imps is made up of girls and boys aged from eight to 13. They are involved in some of the biggest concerts of the cathedral’s music programme, which in 2013 will include appearing with Aled Jones and The Military Wives.

For further details about ‘Be a Chorister for the day’ on November 10th, or information on joining the Ely Imps, please contact Paul Trepte on 01353 660336 or

COMMENDABLE indeed to discover what appeared to be a mild disagreement between two county councillors was actually nothing of the sort!

Councillor Steve Tierney and Councillor Martin Curtis have been entertaining respective audiences on their ‘blogs’ to whether in fact their Conservative Party should have considered John Pye as police commissioner candidate.

Mr Pye, of course, is the independent candidate who won Tory Party support but then fell out with South Cambs Tories who ‘persuaded’ him to stand down.

Steve has now tagged a comment to the bottom of Martin’s blog “conceding that members who thought we shouldn’t be promoting somebody who wasn’t a member were, on balance, right.

“So we don’t disagree - I was wrong, you were right.”

The mutual love-in restored then.

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