LETTERS: Pumpkins, PCSOs, WI food and fashion and a Day of Dance

Big is better - at least at Soham pumpkin fair which returns on Saturday September 25

Big is better - at least at Soham pumpkin fair which returns on Saturday September 25 - Credit: Archant

Soham Pumpkin Festival weighing in with a stunning return  

Montage from Soham pumpkin fair

Montage from Soham pumpkin fair - Credit: Archant

2020 was the first time in our history that we were unable to hold our annual pumpkin fair in Soham. 

Instead, we held an online version for arts and crafts, and for everything that is weighed or measured we had a 'drive-through' weigh-in/measure-off.  

This year we are back to normal - well nearly!  

We were unable to raise any funds last year, so our chosen beneficiaries for 2020 - Soham Men's Shed, Cambridgeshire Wildlife Care, and Soham Community Uniform Scheme are the same this year.  

Our theme for 2021 is ‘Wild and Beautiful’.  

Many of our competitions and displays will be based around our theme of British Wildlife. 

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We hope it will inspire children and adults alike to think much more about this wonderful world in which we all live.  

There will be displays from Fens Falconry, ‘SlackmaGirdle’ Morris Dancers, Boss Elite and Soham based club Vogue Athletics.  

During the afternoon, we will hold an auction with TV’s celebrity auctioneer, David Palmer.  

We will also have a wildlife photographic exhibition by local young photographer, Dan Starling, Soham Classic Cars, Gray’s Funfair, Bygones, BBQ, Charity. 

After the difficulties of the past 18 months, we are looking forward to welcoming you back to the Recreation Ground.  

Please follow any regulations that we may have to put in place. Thank you for your continued support and we hope that you enjoy your day at this year’s fair.  

Please contact office@sohampumpkinfair.co.uk to book a stall or for more information search Soham Pumpkin Fair on Facebook page or Instagram. 



Remembering a memorial  
I am writing to raise awareness of a memorial rose garden on the site of the old RAF hospital, Ely. The garden is not easy to find as it's tucked away behind the Cathedral surgery. 

With the development of the site, I understand this garden will no longer exist and in its stead a bench will be placed at St. Mary's church.  

Personally, I feel the garden should remain on the former RAF site as a tribute to the RAF medics who not only cared for armed forces personnel and their families but also for the civilian community in and around Ely. 

Perhaps the memorial garden could be incorporated into the development plans for the site? 

What do your readers think? 



WI back in full swing  

President Rosemary Green welcomed members and a guest, Corina Evans, to the September meeting of Ely Northwold W.I. The meeting took place in the Tythe Room at Oliver Cromwell House, Ely  

The speaker for the evening was Nora Gardner, a local historian, who gave an amusing and interesting talk about ‘Food and Fashion in the 17th Century ‘  

The October meeting will have Tony Winchester telling us all about the Konic Ponies of Wicken Fen. 

For location and time of meeting please contact Rosemary on 01353661508 


Manifestos and broken promises 

At the time of the 2019 General Election, Sir Ian Duncan Smith wrote in the Sunday Express, ''A manifesto is a firm and binding commitment to the British public'' 

He did not say our Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, could discard part of a manifesto that doesn't suit HIS purpose. 

If this situation continues there be no point in producing a manifesto. 



Parking plan not the ticket 

East Cambs Council is planning to have volunteers enforce parking rules and tackle speeding. And all on a £250 starter kit of training and a uniform.  

Sounds too good to be true? It is. 

From where I’m standing as a former police constable, I don’t think that’s anywhere near enough training for the volunteers.  

They won’t be properly prepared for the range of situations they might encounter. And the evidence they gather needs to hold up against appeals. Otherwise, we’ll have a backlog of unpaid fines and lots of unhappy residents. 

Search for parking ticket appeals on the internet and you’ll find plenty of advice and template letters on how to appeal.  

Aside from excuses, there’s a focus on evidence. Is signage clear? Has the ticket been issued properly? 

No wonder that a third of appeals against council car parking fines succeed. 

So, what training do you need?  

The East Cambs proposal rightly talks about the four Es of Engage, Explain, Encourage and Enforce. Principles I understand well from my time in the Police.  

But to put this into practice is more than a few textbook examples. 

Currently the basic level Civil Parking Enforcement Level 1 qualification is a week’s worth of training and that’s mainly about managing car parks.  

To be trained in the necessary conflict management, you need to take the Level 2 qualification which brings it to a fortnight of training in total. 

You won’t get this type of detailed training at a cost of £250 with or without a uniform thrown in. 

So, what's the right approach? If I was on the council, I would bring my real-world experience of street safety issues to help find a way that works. I’d want to make sure we actually achieve the goal of reducing illegal parking. 

And as the old saying has it “I wouldn’t start from here”.  

What the council is looking at is a piece of cheap sticking plaster to patch over a decade of deep cuts in the police service. 

Here in Cambridgeshire the number of Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs) has been slashed by 80 per cent since we’ve had a Conservative Government. A role that was created to free up officer time for more serious crimes. 

Ely Police Station no longer has walk-in enquiries and the number of police officers has fallen behind the growth in population.  

Yet more examples of infrastructure failing to keep up with our growing town. 


(Former PC and Lab candidate for Sohan North) 

Coffee and cake morning  

Macmillan coffee morning on 24th September at White Pheasant, Fordham

Macmillan coffee morning on 24th September at White Pheasant, Fordham - Credit: Archant

There will be a Macmillan coffee morning here at The White Pheasant, Fordham, on Friday September 24,  9-11am. Please come along & support this amazing charity.  

Tea/coffee and a cake £5 with all proceeds to Macmillan. 

Local business raffle prize donations gratefully received. Message or email Beth, tickets will be on sale this week and next in the restaurant and deli and we're kicking it off with £50 White Pheasant restaurant voucher. 

Please note our breakfast menu will be available as normal too. 

As Macmillan Cancer Support says: “We’re here to help everyone with cancer live life as fully as they can, providing physical, financial and emotional support.  

“So whatever cancer throws your way, we’re right there with you" 


Ely Day of Dance 

Ely Dance of Day

Ely Dance of Day - Credit: Archant

Such wonderful news; the Day of Dance is returning to Ely - with numerous Morris and Molly sides coming to Ely to Dance in various spots around the city! 

On Saturday September 18, from 11am and across Ely.  


Panto time, oh yes, it is·  

Auditions at Little Downham for panto

Auditions at Little Downham for panto - Credit: Archant

Second auditions-are you aged 8-16? Do you like singing, dancing and acting?  

Then why not pop along to the second youth auditions for the upcoming Panto- Jack and the Beanstalk (written by Peter Crussell) - taking place this Saturday 18th at 1030-1230 hrs Little Downham Village Hall.