Busy time for Mr B, more on that B rail line, and story evokes memories of crown on town B

“DEAR Brakespeare,” starts a letter from Rosemary Venni.

“On behalf of the Turner family, please may I thank you for publishing the photograph of the crown erected over March Town Bridge to commemorate the coronation of King George VI in 1937.

“Some of your readers may be interested to know a little more about the crown.

“The crown, which was a replica of the imperial state crown, was built in two halves in the workshop of Turner & Son, Carpenters & Joiners in City Road, March, by my grandfather Elihu Turner and his staff.

“My father David Turner can remember, as a 12-year-old, it being built. The crown, which took three weeks to build, was made of timber. It was assembled on March Market Place in front of the Town Hall where it was trimmed with 190 square yards of material.”

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Mrs Venni says the gold and silver gilding took 40 rolls of metallic paper and the crown and its supporting pillars were illuminated by 193 light bulbs.

When assembled it measured 18ft 3ins high and was 20ft 6ins in diameter at its widest point. It weighed in the region of 17 tonnes.

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Mrs Venni added: “At 5am on a Monday morning with the help of council workers, the crown was moved from the market place to the town bridge. By means of a system of ropes and pulleys on the four corner pillars, and with a great deal of muscle, the crown was ‘lifted’ into position.”

The workshop in City Road still exists and some of the Maltese crosses, Fleur de Lys and letters from the crown still remain in the roof of the workshop.

ONE was awfully sorry one was unable to attend the opening of the rather jolly and pleasing new Number 10 tea rooms in Wisbech on Saturday, run by Councillor Steve Tierney.

The tea rooms even has its own Facebook page where it describes itself as being “a luxurious little shop which specialises in the special foods and drinks that you love”.

MP Steve Barclay turned up to perform the official ‘opening’ ceremony which is just as well since the plaque had been made some weeks earlier and required good synchronisation to get it right.

A BUSY time for Mr B who also dropped into the celebrations for the first anniversary of Selby and Taylor opticians in March.

An odd occasion this, I felt, celebrating a first anniversary but no matter in this day and age I suppose 12 months unbroken service is no mean feat.

“He visited the shop to pay tribute to staff and meet some patients,” said the MP’s spokesman. “He also presented the owners with a letter of congratulations.”

The spokesman pointed out that Mr Barclay opened the shop last year and at the time welcomed the new business to the area.

Mr Barclay said on his return: “I am delighted to be back here at Selby and Taylor and it is great to see that they have been doing so well. Over the last year over 1,000 patients have been through the door and they have run new schemes such as a children’s clinic.”

He added: “It just goes to show that even during these difficult times the right business, in the right area with effective management can succeed.

“Attracting investment into North East Cambridgeshire has been a key priority for me and there is no better way of doing this than encouraging the entrepreneurial sprit of small business like this.”

COMMUNITIES put “at the heart of shaping council services”, the “most comprehensive budget consultation seen in Cambridgeshire” and your views, of course, are “vital” in that process.

Yep, folks, its that time of year again when Cambridgeshire County Council comes to you, in one form or another, to tantalise you with the thought that you could actually influence how it spends our money.

Not that we have much choice since we’re told before we’ve even begun that the council “has to make some �540million in cumulative savings over the next four years” when, of course, what it should have said was they had “decided to make some �540 million” savings.

The council insists our views on “action to try and prevent future needs for social care” are important and some lucky souls will, it seems, be asked to take part in a face-to-face survey.

“There will also be special workshops for interest and hard to reach groups” says a spokesman, which presumably doesn’t define hard to reach as those who would go to the end of the earth first in preference to taking part in a survey on council spending.

Cambridgeshire County Councillor Mac McGuire, deputy leader and Cabinet member for community engagement, describes it as “building on the budget exercise carried out last year so we can shape future years and properly plan services and how they may transform”.


CHIEF Constable Simon Parr says he’s keen for the Cambs force not to come across like “older men in jeans” and he’s liaising with teenagers to ensure the force is getting its message across.

“Twitter is a different way of doing business,” he says. “People are now contacted by things going viral on their mobiles. We want to be, and I hate the phrase, ‘down with the kids’.

“We are using teenagers to come in and [tell] us ‘this is how it works, this is how you will come across’. We need to understand how they use it.”

Given the high percentage of teens involved in the recent riots and given the widely acclaimed use of Twitter during those mad few days one can understand the reasons for Mr Parr wanting to get closer to the kids.

However it worked both ways for @cambscops boosted its followers massively during that period.

Mr Parr says: “There was a lot of press about Twitter being used to organise the riots but the use of it for us was tremendous. We had dozens and dozens of tweets from people saying ‘This was really reassuring’.”

And if you think we’re in the middle of some sort of social media meltdown be grateful you don’t want to work for a local paper in Essex where the editor insists new recruits apply in just 140 characters to his Twitter account.

BRIAN Baylis, who tells me he is joint president of the Wisbech and Bramley Line Trust, submits an angry letter but which, unfortunately, is so legally challenging I find publication of all of it not an option.

“Re me being a spiritualist, I said on the radio that being a strong believer in spiritualism, I had a message recently given and informing me that we will have trains running in two years time, says Mr Baylis.

“So WHY your ignorant and pathetic comments about a ghostly timetable?”

Er, sorry Brian that was a J.O.K.E.

He also questions why I “keep being allowed to write garbage” but since the insult is combined with a torrent of abuse heaped upon a former colleague of Mr Baylis it’s best I think to draw a (Bramley) line under further correspondence.

“HELLO Brakespeare old chum,” began a letter from that ragamuffin of a correspondent Hew Dunnit.

“Whilst reading your delightful page it suddenly struck me like a bolt of lightning and shone like the glint of a diamond in a dung heap,” he wrote.

“What to do with the old Wisbech-March railway line - why turn it into our own Fenland Guided Busway!

“Further more we can kill several avian creatures with one pebble by calling it The QE II Jubilee Fenland Guided Busway thereby saving the expense of a heap of tangled metal on March market place!

“I can tell by the expression on your face that you are shocked by the magnificence of this bold idea.

“Just think - people from March and Wisbech can ride back and forth all day sitting in the Howdahs of their very own Pachyderm Blanc!

“And it doesn’t stop there; The publicity for this scheme extraordinaire can be placed in the capable hands of Reginald Kemp (who is experienced in such heritage matters) oyez! Matthew Broadfield-Ward could be asked to project manage the scheme and Fenland District Council planning department would, I’m sure, expedite the planning application for such a prestigious plan. Voila!

“With such people involved I’m sure the QEIIJFGB could be open in time to celebrate - the Queen’s Centenary Jubilee in 2052!!!

“Toodle pip old thing and please do try to contain your excitement.”

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