JOHN BONE: Caught on camera – thanks to cathedral

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Latest news from the Newmarket Journal,, @nktjournal on Twitter

CCTV coverage in Ely and Soham will, we are promised, be solved by new antennae on Ely Cathedral. It will speed broadband coverage, too. So local people will be able to keep an eye on each other and have a chat that much more easily. I bet the Bishop whose Gothic towers have come in so handy for profane purposes wishes he could get the Church’s message over just by screwing a gadget to a tower.

I suspect the pursuit of sponsorship is for athletes almost as ruthless as the pursuit of victory, so it is a notable achievement for Goldie Sayers, the Newmarket Olympic javelin star, to have secured backing for the future and a new job, too. There is no aspect of life in which experience is without worth. That holds good for flower arranging and scaffolding as for jiving and javelin. So, with Goldie freed to continue competing and giving guidance to a young heptathlete. we are all in a win-win situation. Thank you, philanthropist Barrie Wells.

West Row may lack some of the picturesque charm that seduces popular opinion when a community is in a fix but that does not weaken the village’s case as it opposes a 138-house expansion. People need homes and blind opposition to building lacks logic. But all of us with this area’s best interests at heart should consider the words of West Row’s leading advocate, John Smith: “Our community is under threat. This is not for the village but, because Forest Heath does not have a local housing plan, the developers have an open door.”

Cynics like me doubted whether links created between the neighbouring Forest Heath and St Edmundsbury councils would ever show the savings promised. Now I am forced to take this thrift club seriously. It is getting down to nitty-gritty however painful. Evidence the sharing of services even if this does mean closing or shutting down entire waste fleet depots. The cost may fall painfully on a few, and they must be supported, but the gains are greater for all.

The Ofsted judgments on St Benedict’s Roman Catholic Upper School in Bury, despite its excellent A-level results, are now so fogged by confusion and changes of mind as to be irrelevant to anyone interested in trying to grasp what is going on. What must the students, including those from Newmarket families, make of these strange goings on? It seems the teaching of a somewhat nebulous subject called “citizenship” may be involved. You have my permission to emit a hollow laugh at this point.

Whenever I read about people in business giving each other gongs for some sort of nebulous achievements I raise an eyebrow and sigh. Architects are the worst. They bestow awards on each other’s awkward eyesores very generously. But I am almost persuaded by Newmarket’s success in the Olympics-inspired World Host status scheme. Twenty town businesses have submitted themselves to scrutiny and to comparison with the brilliant way the nation greeted anyone interested in sharing the Olympic experience. They have won what’s called World Host standard. Hooray. I do not doubt they deserve it. But, let them be warned, we shall all, not just visiting outsiders, be watching their service with eagle eyes from now on. Being famous for something carries its own burden.

I hope Ely City Council is settling down well in its new home at the dignified old magistrates’ court in Lynn Road. Of course, it would have been better if someone had managed to persuade the bean-counters at the Justice Department that the best use of court buildings is for courts. But, since justice, like so much else, has been driven out of our ancient provincial centres, local government is better than yet another coffee shop or fancy goods store. You never know, we may yet get a proper out-of-hours medical service for Newmarket one day but at least they have not yet turned our hospital into another nightclub.

We all lay ourselves open to mockery even here at The Journal, so I don’t feel too mean in poking fun at another local paper which last week reported the success of a dieters’ recruiting drive with the headline “Weight -loss group swells.” Or perhaps it was intentional. Fat people are always good for a cheap laugh.