Letters: Mayor's tribute, poem for a pigeon and letter release refusal

Mayor of Wisbech, Councillor Aigars Balsevics and deputy mayor, Councillor Andrew Lynn

Mayor of Wisbech, Councillor Aigars Balsevics, was joined by deputy mayor, Councillor Andrew Lynn, to lay flowers outside the Town Hall to pay homage to the late Duke of Edinburgh. - Credit: WISBECH TOWN COUNCIL

Mayor's tribute

The Mayor of Wisbech, Councillor Aigars Balsevics was joined by Deputy Mayor, Councillor Andrew Lynn to lay flowers outside the Town Hall, North Brink to pay homage to the late Duke of Edinburgh who passed away peacefully at Windsor Castle the previous day.  

Councillor Balsevics has also chosen to donate £100 to local charity, LK Tennis which is also one of 11 charities he is supporting with financial donations from fundraising activities through the past year.  

Councillor Balsevics has also written to Brigadier Archie Miller-Bakewell, the Private Secretary to His late Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh at Buckingham Palace to offer his and the people of Wisbech’s condolences on Her Majesty’s loss.  

TINA GAMBELL, Wisbech Town Council 

Racing pigeons and their fate

In early January, several of us in Newton-in -the -Isle, Wisbech, tried to house a beautiful 'white dove' (racing pigeon) that had got confused.

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Its ring identified it to an owner in Lincolnshire who said as it couldn't fly he would only kill it.

I wrote this sonnet to it.


You came near Epiphany, the Dawn of the year

Sweet white dove, perched giddily on scented shrub

Ringed but lost, peeking in panes for company

Wooing love and nurture, unphased by fear.

Rejected, my heart sang on your return

Rapping on my pane, seeking hail the same

Like errant son who learns what he has spurned -

Till instinct made you test your wings again!

White dove, sweet bird, now ever lost to flight

Village homes welcomed you and tried to trace

Owners afar, pitiless, knowing your plight:

That, instinct fled , never more you could find base.

White dove, rare visitation

Epiphany in Newton! May you here find salvation.


Charity skydive

I wanted to drop you a note to let you know we have a team of six skydivers taking to the sky above Chatteris this Saturday for Action Medical Research.

After being postponed for 13 months due to the pandemic, the team at Price Bailey Accountants are excited to finally be taking on their challenge.

They are raising money for Action Medical Research, who was the firm's charity partner from 2018 to 2020.

The partnership raised over £107,000 for us in that time, and the skydive alone has seen the team raise more than £4,100.

It is money that will be put towards funding our research projects across the UK, especially those based in Cambridge.

Action Medical Research funds life-changing research that helps shape the future of medicine and medical technology for babies and children.

With over 60 live research projects currently ongoing into conditions including childhood cancer, epilepsy and most recently, Covid-19, we exist to transform the lives of seriously ill babies and children here in the UK.

Price Bailey also has two other staff members taking to the sky in early May.

LYNDSAY WOOD, Price Bailey corporate fundraising manager 

Open letter to our MP

Dear Mr Steve Barclay, 

I wonder if you could explain why you voted against the Labour bid to force the government to conduct a Westminster-led inquiry into the Greensill Capital lobbying scandal.

Labour’s motion would have seen a committee of MPs chosen to probe Greensill’s links to the government, including efforts by David Cameron to lobby ministers on behalf of the failed finance firm, and you among others, seem not to want and probes.

Why is the Conservative government making such a great effort to ensure that potential corruption never comes to light? 

As the saying goes,  if there's nothing dodgy going on, why protest against scrutiny?

Unless Dennis Skinner's name for David Cameron was apt? Is he 'Dodgy Dave' after all?


Letter release refusal 

In response to a Freedom of Information request from the Cambridgeshire Liberal Democrats, Mayor James Palmer’s Combined Authority has refused to release a letter from Luke Hall MP, the Minister for Local Government. 

The letter explains why the government has decided to withhold £45 million of the £100 devolved affordable housing funding. 

Palmer’s refusal to release the second letter from the minister Luke Hall - that explains why the government has withheld £45 millions of funding for affordable housing - shows his contempt for normal standards of accountability. 

Palmer has failed the people of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough - especially the hundreds of families who stand to lose the chance for a new home. He cannot continue to hide the reasons for his failure. 

Palmer has used an exemption from the Freedom of Information Act that applies when publication would ‘constitute a breach of confidence actionable’ by the other person.  

Is he really claiming that Luke Hall is going to sue him if he publishes the letter? 

A letter from a government minister to the mayor isn’t some private document. It doesn’t contain personal information about their love life or their holiday arrangements.  

This is a letter between public bodies about millions of pounds of taxpayers’ money. We deserve to see it. 

AIDAN VAN-DE WEYER, Liberal Democrat candidate for Mayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough 

Junior cricket coaching

March Town Cricket Club start outdoor Junior Cricket coaching this week.

Under 13/15s started last night (Thursday)

Under 11s tonight (Friday) from 5.45pm to 7pm.

All the club coaches are fully qualified and all equipment will be provided where required.

Teams have been entered in the CYCA Leagues for competitive games during the summer months.

All new players welcome to attend.

For younger cricketers All Stars Cricket (5 to 8 year old`s) and Dynamos cricket (8 to 11 year old`s) start on Sunday 9th May (10am to 11am);

March Town Cricket Club is an ECB Club mark Accredited Club which shows that the club is safe, effective and child friendly.


Looking back on the Census

Fenland Family History Society hopes to restart our monthly meetings in September, with a special meeting as it will be our 20th anniversary with a lot of interaction for our members, it will including our annual meeting.

In Wisbech LibrarY, Thursday September 23, from 7-9pm. Non members always welcome.


It’s a Census Year! By law (Census Act 1920), every household should have filled in the 2021 census with details of who was living or staying in the household on 21 March 2021. 

Although family historians love the census (if not the transcribers, sometimes spellings of personal and place names leave a lot to be desired.

But we family historians have learned to take that into account); the reason for this decennial (every 10 years) survey is to help decide how to find and manage public services.

The object of the census was to gain information about the population as a whole.

Luckily, it was decided that, by listing individuals wherever they happened to be on a single night, was the most efficient way to count everybody once, and nobody twice.

Although I’m sure if you ask, you will find family historians who have found a few of their kith and kin listed twice, especially those st(r)aying away from home on the night in question.

The first census in the UK was taken in 1801. However, the first were just numeric data and it wasn’t until 1841 that the information collected began to look similar to that we filled in recently.

If you come along to one of our family history sessions, or open days (as soon as we are able to hold them within Covid restrictions), you are sure to be shown the 1841-1911 censuses to track down individuals and find details of families.

We are also aware of the problems with spellings and other errors and can guide you through your searches. As a family history society, we are eagerly awaiting the 1921 census.

This is due out in 2022 as, again by law, the information collected cannot be made public for 100 years.

It will be made available online via Find My Past; the index will be free to search, but, the images will cost per view.

The 1921 is a significant census as the 1931 was lost during the Blitz and there was no 1941 taken due to the War. 

A National Register was compiled in 1939 that listed the personal details of every civilian (i.e. nomilitary personnel) in Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

It was used to coordinate the home-front war effort in issuing identity cards, organising rationing etc.

The censuses and Register all form part of the sources used when we help with your family tree research; finding names, relationships, where people are from, where they live, what they did for a living etc. 

The census is also a wonderful snapshot of days gone by in occupations.

Here are some jobs from the 1921 census:

Hayward of the manor - looks after hedges and fences

Penstock keeper – maintains drainage sluices

Fat lad – greases wagon wheels

Muffin maker (otherwise a jiggerer) – makes small plates (crockery)

Cosaque maker – maker of Christmas Crackers

Cattle floater - drove a low horse-drawn wagon used for transporting cattle

Pole shifter – moved the pole on electric trams from one overhead wire to another

Dandy rover – part of the silk thread process

I wonder if our app developer, coffee barista, life coach, web designer, biodiversity and climate policy advisor, cyber security defence analyst, and digital fundraising officer titles will seem as odd in 100 years’ time?

Our research sessions will also restart as soon as we are able to attend the venues. In the meantime our researchers are working hard on all the queries we receive from those who contact us.

For further information on any of the above please call Bridget 01945 57723.