Other towns and villages could profitably follow Burwell’s brilliant Easter stunt. The local Co-op offered a special chocolate confection for “Good Eggs” – villagers nominated by others for their good example of promoting community well-being. And well done Helen McNenamin, one of the Good Eggs, who picks litter and raises charity funds. Will Newmarket, Mildenhall and other larger communities take their cue next year?
n Newmarket Lions Club have done well to find a new site for their annual Bonfire Night fireworks. And it is good of Wild Tracks at Chippenham to play host. The Guy Fawkes celebrations should be part of every town and village calendar and the two-year gap at Newmarket has been a shame. That said, it would be hypocritical of me not to admit that I’ll probably be among the absentees. Those of us who remember lighting the blue touch-papers of desperately disappointing golden rains and jumping jacks in our own back gardens long ago find modern well-organised events somewhat tame compared with the dangerous days before Health ’n’ Safety was invented.
n For one still so young (33, and she retired at 32), Newmarket ex-jockey Hayley Turner is wiser than her years. Confessing recently that school made little impression on her, she added: “Being academic is remembering stuff that’s already happened; some people are better at thinking of things that haven’t happened yet.” She has a way with words, too. Which is coming in handy in her new career on racing TV. Clare Balding, look out!
n A fly-tipper was fined £1,000 plus 100 hours’ unpaid work in Cambridge last week after council enforcement officers were alerted by residents. Forest Heath, please note. That’s the way to deal with these anti-social wretches. But it needs witnesses to take the first step. Same goes for litter louts. The same Cambridge authority successfully took a fag-end-dropper to court after he refused to pay an on-the-spot fine. He, too, was outed by a witness. Sorry if I sound a little totalitarian but it’s the only way to curb these dirty pests.
n I’ll believe it’s a reality when I can actually step on the platform, but, against all odds Soham is still succeeding in its campaign for a new rail station to match its economic ambitions. Where many slipped away, the Soham plan just clung on in the latest list of regional rail projects.The plan’s survival must largely be down to the energetic lobbying and pressuring from local people and representatives. It’s still early days, but I fancy I hear a distant station announcement of success.
n We can just about shrug off the risible fix Newmarket Town Council has got itself into about the distribution of a member’s magazine, but the way Forest Heath officials blundered over a town council by-election is less laughable.It is hard enough to get citizens to take local government sufficiently seriously to get out and vote, without directing them to non-existent polling stations. This will do the public respect for councils and councillors no good at all.
n The extent to which Newmarket looks to racing as its main employer has long been a source of unease for working people who hope for good pay and a diversity of jobs. The news of the loss of two non-racing enterprises is, as Forest Heath leader James Walters says, a body blow. The good news is that we have a talented workforce available, a history of industrial success and are placed in a region internationally celebrated for innovation and resourcefulness. The news is bad for the unfortunate few in this serious setback, but as an area we can keep our confidence.
n I have often wondered why estate agents hate using the word bungalow. Most prefer such circumlocutions as “older-style single-storey residence” or something similarly evasive. Yet “bungalow” has a splendid history, redolent of imperial splendour. Is it some sort of
prejudice, because bungalow comes from the Hindi and means “belonging to Bengal”? No matter how carefully we pick our words, we cannot escape our history and I, for one, would not want to.