Plenty of cheer amidst our post bag as Inner Wheel and WI celebrate

Inner Wheel back together 

Inner Wheel back together - Credit: Inner Wheel

Plenty to celebrate among our correspondents this week as they reflect on community groups coming back together. 

For some groups it has been a long haul, but let our readers explain. 

Plenty of other topics too. 

20 months – but we’re back  

Inner Wheel back together 

Inner Wheel back together - Credit: Inner Wheel

Inner Wheel back together 

Inner Wheel back together - Credit: Inner Wheel

Inner Wheel had their first face to face meeting for twenty months on July 21.  

The reunion took place at Ely Golf Club with drinks and a buffet.  

Members enjoyed catching up with each other and the raffle was won by Maureen Woodbine. 

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The band played on  

I thought that you may be interested in an unusual engagement for our band. 

In late 2019 Soham Comrades Band was asked by Andrew Barnabus of Bob and Barn Ltd to provide some musical input for a new musical score.   

This was then used in the film 'Me, Myself and Di' a 'Bridget Jones' style comedy set in Bolton. 

Recordings were made at the Millenium Centre in Red Lodge, to provide the sampling for the soundtrack. 

Recently our chairman attended the release of the film in Bolton and was delighted to see that we had been featured in the credits along with our Musical director: Mark Ager. 


Band Secretary  

Two sides to ‘distressed cries’ 

I read your recent article '‘Distressed cries’ of beagles fuel animal research unit protest’ with interest. 
I was a little concerned with how much weight you placed on ‘Understanding Animal Research’ (UAR).  

It is worth being aware that they not a scientific think-tank, but rather a PR firm, whose clientele are exclusively in the animal research sector.  

Their CEO Wendy Jarrett has no scientific background, but prior to the formation of UAR spent 13 years working in the PR industry, with clients including Flora, Unilever, and the American Hardwood Export Council. 
UAR act as a mouthpiece for the companies which fund them.  

While they purport to promote “a broad understanding of the humane use of animals in medical, veterinary, scientific and environmental research in the UK,” much of what they claim is either straw man arguments, or outright lies. 
For example: "only some footage is of the site – the animals in transport crates. The rest is from who knows where, may have been staged by campaigners, and isn’t reflective of what happens in the kennels”. 
The first part of this statement is true, and no one has claimed otherwise. MBR Acres breed dogs for research laboratories.  

The campaigners are not suggesting the research is carried out there, but that MBR Acres supply them with dogs.  

The second part is the lie. UAR know where all of the footage comes from.  

Much of the vivisection footage comes from abroad, as it is incredibly difficult to film inside a UK laboratory.  

MBR Acres ship their beagle all over the world, so there is no deception in showing the fate these animals will meet if they are amongst those shipped to Germany, France, Spain or elsewhere. 
In the UK, filming inside a laboratory carries a 2-year prison sentence, and all applicants are vetted by specialist companies such as DEXC, who trawl social media accounts and even bug their cars.  

As a result, it is many years since anyone has successfully filmed dogs inside a British laboratory.  

The RSPCA have no right to access without a court warrant, which can only be sought based on existing evidence of cruelty. Nobody sees inside these places except the people who work there, and the government inspectors who are generally former staff of these same establishments.  

You may remember the famous case of Huntingdon Life Sciences; when they were filmed pushing dogs in the face, their senior vet at the time became one of these inspectors. The reports are never published. 
And this is where the straw-man argument comes in. The protestors think animal research is ethically abhorrent.  

Their issue is not the conditions inside the facility (though government guidelines do suggest there should be some outside space available for the dogs), but rather that it exists at all.  

It breeds dogs for a fate which generally involves being slowly poisoned to death. It is irrelevant where that death and poisoning take place; MBR create the lives that will be destroyed. 
The second straw-man argument they use is to focus solely on medical research, as though pesticides, refrigerant gasses, food attitudes, plastic products and much more besides aren’t regularly tested on the dogs from MBR Acres. Once again, they refuse to discuss this, as their job is to promote animal testing, not discuss it, or even tell the truth about it. 
In regards to cosmetic testing, this is often hailed as proof that the industry is progressive, and was somehow involved in the ban.  

However, right up until the ban came into place, leading cosmetic firms were insisting it was the only safe way to test their products.  

With the ban, alternatives were very quickly found, which have proven to be just as (if not more) safe than animal models. Rather than supporting the ban, the industry actively lobbied to scupper it. 
The protestors are calling on the government to mandate an independent review of animal research, led by scientists from across the spectrum. This is a move which UAR vociferously oppose, which suggests they understand the fragility of their arguments. 


(Via email) 

Writing on wall for wreaths 

I know that I am not alone in my loathing of the garish door wreaths that have started appearing in certain parts of my delightful city.  

They are like a virus, and I for one have had quite enough of those for a while!  

You see one or two appear and then a week later an entire street of front doors is ruined by this riot of the ridiculous. 

 Do neighbours confer on colours and style, or is it actually an example of community competition? One can only wonder at what drives this insanity.   

These monstrosities come in a range of contemptible colours, and what makes it worse is that the flowers are clearly fake, probably made of plastic.  

Yet another example of chronic consumerism and draining of precious resources from our dying world.  

This is a sweeping generalisation with my broom of extrapolation, but I expect that in most cases when the males of those houses return home, they hide their faces in shame, and a little bit more of them dies inside each time, poor chaps. 

Some of them even have messages, 'hello', 'keep calm and carry on' or 'home sweet home', I think if you need a sign to remind you that home is sweet, then it most likely isn't very sweet at all.  

Buy less, read more is my motto, especially this peerless periodical. Keep up the good work! 


(The Earl of Ely) 

Feast your eyes on this  

After the absence of Little Thetford Feast last year, the village is gearing up for the 2021 Feast which will take place on Saturday August 28 from 12-4pm on the Village Field. 

Many activities will be on offer for all ages featuring marvellous magic shows, games and races as well as bottle tombola and a prize raffle. 

There is a BBQ, licensed bar, strawberries and cream and of course ice cream all on offer to ensure a fun filled afternoon whilst raising vital funds for the village. 

There will be competitions including best cake, best bloom and best jarred preserve! As well as traditional running races, and tug of war competitions for children and adults to enter. 

The Feast has been running since the mid 1920’s and raises money for village organisations or a specific item for the Village. 

The success of recent years’ Feasts speaks for itself as not only is fun had by all local families, but money raised has provided the village with a defibrillator and speed awareness signage as well as most recently the redevelopment of land now known as Bert’s Garden. 

This year, the Feast is aiming to provide a fun family experience in a safe outdoor space and to give families and villagers a wonderful afternoon filled with joy and laughter which has been lacking in so many lives in recent times. 


Little Thetford 

WI says ‘we’re back too’ 

Members of Ely Northwold Women's Institute met earlier this month (July) to enjoy a strawberry tea together.

Members of Ely Northwold Women's Institute met earlier this month (July) to enjoy a strawberry tea together. - Credit: Rosemary Green

Ely Northwold Women’s Institute enjoyed the opportunity to finally meet again now that lockdown rules have been relaxed.  

Guests included Beryl Brooks, the federation chairman, Judith Cornwell, federation treasurer and Ann Purt, newsletter editor.  

The weather was dull but guests still appreciated the day together in a member’s back garden.  

During the afternoon, Beryl Brooks presented Rosemary Green, president, with a certificate to congratulate Ely Northwold on gaining first place in the yarn bombing competition that was held to celebrate the centenary of the Isle of Ely FWI.  

It was a very close competition but Ely Northwold was successful due to their yarn bombing being widely spread around Ely. 

We worked very hard to create the bunting and post box toppers that were spread around Ely.   

We were delighted to have a purpose during lockdown and are very proud to have gained first prize.’ 


President, WI