Bleak Mid Winter To Spring Sunshine Since My Last Column

PUBLISHED: 17:11 23 March 2009 | UPDATED: 10:49 04 May 2010

IN the time since my last article appeared in this paper, the weather has changed from bleak wintry conditions to wonderful spring sunshine (though March will probably live up to its reputation of going out like a lion having come in like a lamb). Valent

IN the time since my last article appeared in this paper, the weather has changed from bleak wintry conditions to wonderful spring sunshine (though March will probably live up to its reputation of going out like a lion having come in like a lamb).

Valentine's Day was celebrated in great style at the re-opening of the Babylon Gallery. More than 400 people flocked to the exhibition of fen photographs by Richard Heeps on the first day, and there is still time to view it before it closes on March 29. It was an exciting occasion, which will probably only be matched by the re-opening of The Maltings this week and the Ely premiere of Slumdog Millionaire on April 5. This is the first film to be shown at the venue as part of an exciting programme promoted by ADeC.

The Youth Council has also been celebrating the receipt of a grant from the district council, which will enable them to progress their project of lighting the path in the park with low-level solar lighting. Detailed work and a planning application have yet to be achieved, but this is an encouraging start.

Young people are often unfairly maligned and there have been two attempts recently to rectify this. The first was the presentation of the High Sheriff's Awards, when our Army Cadet Force and the Ely Youth Club received well-deserved awards, although the youth club members could not be there in person. The second occasion was a magnificent "Oskars" evening when lots of young people from across the county received their Oscars in the beautifully decorated Littleport Leisure Centre.

On February 21, Jeremy and I hosted the Mayor's Ball in the Hayward Theatre. This was well supported by many local residents, as well as our district council chairman Cllr Peter Cresswell and his wife, with district and city councillors and many civic guests from across the county and beyond. It was a very enjoyable way of making more than £1700 for my charities, which included £1400 from the Auction of Promises.

As always we are very grateful for use of The King's School buildings, which I am also going to use for the Mayor's Concert on Saturday, April 18, when my daughter-in-law, Elizabeth Marcus, is bringing her Tzigane Piano Trio to the Recital Hall. Elizabeth is a Professor at Guildhall School of Music and Drama and the trio has broadcast, made records and played together since 1988. Tickets at £10 to include a glass of wine or fruit juice will be available from me on Ely 01353 663118, and there is a special price of £6 for full-time students.

There are many other events to look forward to, including the Ely Choral Society's performance of Elijah in the cathedral on 4th April, the Perspective's Showcase event at the Maltings on the evening of April 20, when local clubs and societies will be given the opportunity to show what their organisation offers to potential members and, of course, there is our ever popular Eel Day on Saturday May 2. On May 8 and 9, Witchford Village College will be hosting two marvellous evenings of entertainment by a large number of talented amateur dramatic and music groups from Ely and the surrounding area, in aid of the Neurosciences Critical Care Unit at Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge.

Sheila Friend-Smith.

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