Stormy by-election predicted

FASTEN your seatbelts for what promises to be one of the stormiest by-elections in recent years. For I predict the forthcoming contest to fill the Chatteris (Slade) ward on Fenland District Council will easily surpass most onlooker s normal expectations o

FASTEN your seatbelts for what promises to be one of the stormiest by-elections in recent years.

For I predict the forthcoming contest to fill the Chatteris (Slade) ward on Fenland District Council will easily surpass most onlooker's normal expectations of Guy Fawkes Night.

Following Tuesday's funeral for Peter Dickinson, who won the seat in 2003, it is now only a matter of time before the by-election date is set.

It offers the intriguing possibility of town council chairman, Councillor Florence Newell, who recently quite the Lib Dems, opting to make a comeback bid to the district council as the Conservative nominee.

Pitted against her is expected to be Chris Howes, the colourful Lib Dem town councillor, who came second to Cllr Dickinson in 2003.

With Labour possibly opting for Grant Osborne, the 2003 turn-out of 25.6 per cent could well be beaten as hostilities, as they surely will, flare.

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n 2003: P G Dickinson(C), 165; C W Howes (Lib Dem), 129; G C Osborne (Lab) 125. Majority 36.

WISBECH watch out - The Red Hat Society is about to hit town and the red hatters are out to have fun.

In fact the particular red hatters visiting Wisbech on June 21 are known as the Fen Fatales of Holbeach.

The red hatters are all 'girls' of a similar age (50 plus) who want to enjoy life, have fun and visit new places. They will be visiting Elgood's Brewery on the town's North Brink.

Apparently you can't miss them because they all wear purple outfits and red hats. Growing old disgracefully is fun - isn't it?

ACCORDING to Michael Williamson, chairman of Cambridgeshire Police Authority, Cambridgeshire Police is "emerging as a leading force, dedicated to detecting crime and bucking the national trend by cutting violent crime by nearly a quarter".

And he adds: "In this respect it has proven it is a national leader."

Commendable, though, the figures are and without wishing to detract from the "dedication, professionalism and strong leadership" highlighted by Mr Williamson, I just wonder if he has, temporarily at least, forgotten that Cambs Police will shortly cease to exist.

Perhaps he just felt the need to start the wrapping up process on a high.

A PLEA reaches me from a Burnley man, keen to track down a March RAF veteran who served in Nicosia in the 50s.

Scott Moore says he wants to surprise his father Harry 'Thadj' Moore who served with March man Victor Abbott.

Scott says the last time the former friends met was 46 years ago, and now he is planning to surprise his father by hoping to organise a re-union.

The men served in the RAF's 8LAA wing of 34 Squadron.

If you can help contact our news editor on 01354 652621.

AN innocent report in our paper last week reflected on the day a group of brownies from the Fens visited Hampton Court "when the girls met Princess Margaret, who was patron of the brownies at the time".

But according to Patricia Hicks, brown owl from 1976 to 1981, she was amazed to read that the girls met Princess Margaret.

"If my memory and that of others I have spoken to are correct, Princess Margaret did not even acknowledge that we were there," she said.

Mrs Hicks added: "She got out of her chauffeur driven car and straight into the building. the brownies were nowhere near her at the time." Ouch.

Mrs Hicks (formerly Street) said she was grateful "for allowing me to set the records straight on this matter".

FENLAND District Council says that 20 staff have so far received basic training producing plain English documents. Sounds good to me: only 700 more to go.

Council membership of the Plain English Campaign is to be applauded, but whether it helps our understanding of planning applications is an altogether different issue.

An application, coincidentally by former council leader Alan Melton, to extend his St Martins Road, Chatteris, home this week described the application as "erection of two-storey rear extension to front of existing dwelling."

Still, 20 is a start.

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