A Busy Month In Ely For The Mayor

PUBLISHED: 15:29 10 November 2008 | UPDATED: 10:38 04 May 2010

From The Mayor s Parlour OCTOBER was a very busy month. Recent high winds and changeable weather have hastened the growing feel of autumn, with the falling leaves piling up on the lawn and by the roadside. This feeling was heightened as the poppies descen

From The Mayor's Parlour

OCTOBER was a very busy month. Recent high winds and changeable weather have hastened the growing feel of autumn, with the falling leaves piling up on the lawn and by the roadside. This feeling was heightened as the poppies descended from the octagon at the Remembrance Day service in the cathedral. There seemed to be more people on the streets this year and in the Market Place, where soldiers from Waterbeach led the parade and the Ely Military Band looked and played particularly well. Remembrance Day reminds us how much we owe to the heroic sacrifice of so many lives in two world wars and in recent campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan.

This year an appeal has been launched for a memorial in London to Bomber Command, which is particularly relevant to us, as so many aircraft set out from runways in East Anglia, and those who lost their lives are listed in pages of honour in Ely Cathedral.

For the first time in 15 years, the Isle of Ely Federation of Women's Institutes held its autumn council meeting in Ely. A packed audience heard a moving presentation on domestic violence from DS Parker from Cambridgeshire Constabulary and, after a delicious lunch provided by Haddenham WI, there was an entertaining talk by Sheila Dibnah about her late husband Fred, the famous steeplejack and steam enthusiast.

At the recent AGM of Voluntary and Community Action East Cambridgeshire (VCAEC) we learned about the marvellous work of this organisation, which gives valuable support to the voluntary sector throughout the district. The social car scheme and Helping Hands still operate from within this newly named group. Helping hands, which enables older and more frail residents to manage their gardens, won the Queen's Award for voluntary service in 2007 but it struggles to attract funding and, for this reason, I am supporting it as one of my charities.

Had I known earlier about the opportunity for the local Wildlife Trust to buy Chettisham Meadows, I would have also included this on the list, and this is why I held a coffee morning at the Cathedral Education Centre on Wednesday. Generous support from this event, and previous donations, will enable future generations to enjoy these meadows, which are famous for rare wild flowers and butterflies.

I had a meeting in Jubilee Gardens with Simon Hobson, the new gardener from East Cambs District Council, and Alistair Steele, a horticultural student, to look at an area near the river for a Winter Garden. Together with the Friends of Jubilee Gardens we intend to establish a smaller, but nonetheless beautiful, version of the winter garden at Anglesey Abbey. This project has already received several very generous donations and we hope to begin preparations for it towards the end of the month.

On Saturday, I was invited to open the Heart Beat Christmas sale. This is a fantastic event, spearheaded by the Canham family and a vast number of friends, which raises a large amount of money each year for the Papworth Hospital. Father Christmas was unfortunately not able to attend because of illness. The next seasonal event will be the switching on of the Christmas lights on November 28 and I am sure Father Christmas will be there. There will be a great range of entertainment and numerous stalls to enliven the evening, while Churches Together is staging a live nativity scene to remind us of the true meaning of Christmas.

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