Letters: Time to vote, litter pick success and day of prayer

Littleport Lions Club

Members of Littleport Lions Club relaxing in Peacocks Meadow after the litter pick. - Credit: DAVID ELLIS

Litter pick success

Members of Littleport Lions Club did a litter pick around Littleport on Sunday and collected lots of bags of rubbish.

Our first outdoor event since the easing of lockdown, it was great to get out into the community again as a socially distanced group.

We worked in groups of two to observe government guidelines.

We have lots of plans for future events and look forward to raising funds and helping to support local charities.

To help raise funds one of our members is being sponsored to give up chocolate and ice cream for the whole of May.

We hope to see lots of people at our future events.

For more details contact lionscluboflittleportgmail.com
or visit www.e-clubhouse.org/sites/littleport

DAVID ELLIS, Littleport Lions Club

Special honour

On Saturday April 17, a one-minute silence was held on Huntingdon Market Square to mark the passing of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.

Witchford Village College student invited to participate in one-minute silence to honour the Duke of Edinburgh

Witchford Village College student Louis was invited to participate in a one-minute silence to honour the Duke of Edinburgh HRH Prince Philip - Credit: WITCHFORD VILLAGE COLLEGE

Louis Rose, a student from Witchford Village College and Duke of Edinburgh Award recipient was invited to join Huntingdon mayor, Cllr Karl Webb, chairman of Cambridgeshire County Council, Cllr Mac McGuire and three other Duke of Edinburgh recipients from schools in Cambridgeshire who all stood and honoured the passing.

They were joined by members of the public who all stood in socially distanced silence next to All Saints Church.

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The bells at St Mary's Church, in Huntingdon tolled 99 times to mark each year of the Duke's life.


Day of prayer service

Ely’s World Day of Prayer Service 2021 takes place on Friday May 7 at 1.30pm in St Mary’s Church Ely.

The World Day of Prayer would normally have taken place in March, but because of Covid restrictions, it was decided to postpone it until May.   

This year’s service has been prepared by women from Vanuatu on the theme: ‘Build on a Strong Foundation’, calling people to live in unity, love and peace in the context of ethnic and cultural diversity.   

As we had to postpone the Service in March, we are delighted that it will now be able to go ahead, and look forward to welcoming you to this service of celebration.

If you would like to join us it will be necessary to book your place via the church website on Eventbrite or phone the Church Office  (www.stmarysely.org/world-day-of-prayer / 01353 659550).  

All are welcome to attend – men, women, young people, and children. 

Further info from Celia: 07810 782641 or visit:  http://www.wwdp.org.uk   


County farms

Cambridgeshire County Council farms changed my life. 

I went from being a hill shepherd to a farmer in my own right. 

It gave my family and l the space to develop our dreams and prosper. 

It pains me greatly to see the estate in the news as it is at the moment.  

I can only assume the forefathers from Shire Hall who between the wars bought well to give Cambridgeshire the family silver that is the envy of any county in England will be turning in their graves. 

They would know there is right and there is wrong and there is no in between. 

The politicians responsible for this unpleasantness today must look to themselves for the answer to a situation that is entirely of their own making. 

When my wife and I started looking to farm on our own account more than 30 years ago we looked at many estates and with what was on offer. 

Cambridgeshire was head and shoulders above any other estates in terms of openness and professionalism and l have no reason to change that view over the years.

The people of Cambridgeshire have an estate that moves with the times. It takes into account what the public need over the years.  

In terms of what politics dictate since the war it has been about increasing food production and the environment. 

I hope we will always have an estate that is at the forefront of what the people of Cambridgeshire feel is important not only now but for generations still to come.  

This must happen devoid of interference from politics with hidden agendas. 

Generations still to come will look back in anger if we let incompetent or worse corrupt politicians steal that dream from them. 

And sadly, our forefathers and founders of the estate will look at us in disgust and turn in their graves.


My vote

I watched the special BBC TV programme prior to the May 6 election for Mayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough.

What did I think of it? Well, I was disappointed - as much with the 'audience' and the questioners as with the BBC - and, in short, I don't think that the format worked.

As to detail, James Palmer (who was described as a 'former dairy farmer' when we in Soham knew him as the local milkman - and it made me smile), there was a lot of talk about '£100k houses' that sounded great but we learned that only eight - or was it four? - had been completed.

It seemed to me that the Combined Authority was/is subsidising the developers and the developers were/are subsidising the '£100k houses.'

Easy enough if there are sufficient subsidies but, of course, the government has just cut off the housing subsidy money. Which is not good.

Palmer also touched on the need not to build on land liable to flooding: the council that he led has permitted lots of that in Soham, even down to 17ft above sea level on Cherry Tree Lane.

Overall, Palmer performed quite well, though he looked uncomfortable in that awful BBC chair and drank a lot of water.

Aidan Van de Weyer was obviously competent and knowledgable - based on his extensive local government experience.

Dr. Nik Johnson works for the NHS - good for him - but he didn't come over all that well.

I am pleased that I have already voted (by post) for Aidan Van de Weyer.


People not cars

During the pandemic, people have rediscovered the simple act of walking – the oldest, cheapest and greenest transport there is.

It has allowed us to stay healthy, happy and connected to those around us.

But lots of us still struggle with narrow, cluttered, uneven pavements; crossings that prioritise cars rather than people; and growing numbers of speeding vehicles.

That’s why I support Living Streets’ Manifesto for Walking, which calls for candidates in our upcoming election to pledge to end pedestrian deaths and injuries on roads, tackle air pollution, make school streets safe and make walking easier by cutting the clutter on our pavements.

It is time we redesigned our streets around people not cars. That way we can all continue to enjoy the benefits of walking and healthier, happier communities.


Volunteers needed for water vole survey

Wildlife charity People’s Trust for Endangered Species (PTES) is launching their annual water vole survey, which runs until June 15, which I hoped would be of interest…

PTES is calling for people in England (including Cambridgeshire), Scotland and Wales to take part and survey a local waterway close to where they live and record what they see online – a good Covid-friendly activity, too!

The survey is part the National Water Vole Monitoring Programme which PTES set up in 2015 to try and combat the devastating decline in water vole populations.

Visit http://www.ptes.org/watervoles


New station

I was interested to read that a new station is proposed at Reston on the East Coast Main Line.

The cost is estimated at £20 million for two 270-metre platforms, 70 car parking spaces and a new access road, a fully accessible footbridge with lifts, waiting shelters, ticket machine, and so on.

The artist's impression shows a full-length Azuma train in one of the platforms.

Compare this with the new Station for Soham on the Stowmarket to Ely line, which is currently single track through Soham.

For the expected cost of £18.6m we get a single 99-metre platform to accommodate four - carriage trains, a stepped footbridge across the line, a car park for 55 vehicles, a shelter and ticket machines.

It would make a little bit more sense if a second platform and the line re-doubled were included in the price.

Something is very, very wrong about the cost of Soham's one short platform and mediocre facilities. 

There ought to be an inquiry of some sort to find out if there are any irregularities in the awarding of contracts at this hugely inflated price.

BRIAN SCOTT, Stowmarket