May 2000 Edition of the Linton News    Previous        Next

Articles:-  Ashley Johnson Diana Award,   Local House Prices,   Post Office Banking,   Bridge Club,   LVC Reporter Wanted by Parish CouncilBowls Season,   New Police Officer,    Anderson Trust,   Swimming Pool,   WI AGM,   Aztec Men's team,   Kerb Replacement Again,   Musical Celebration,   J-Team Special,   Blood Donor ,   LA4Y,   Bank Closure,   Brownies Walking,   Football Pin-Ups,   Police Report,   Senior Surfers,  Jazz, Bush Telegraph,   Garden ClubCountry Diary,   Church Orchestra,   Election,   Fitness Suite

Letters:-   Health Centre Clean Up,   Library Computer Use,   Hedge Removal,   Police & Tax,   Mozambique Fund

Linton Village College pupil Ashley Johnson,

winner of the Diana, Princess of Wales Award for Young People, tells how he and his family went to the award’s launch event in London    Top

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Ashley Johnson with a photograph of his brother Tristan and the award certificate
My Uncle’s joking prediction of snow turned out to be true for the day I went to London with Mum, to be present as an Award holder at the Launch Event of the Diana, Princess of Wales Award for Young People. Everyone had experienced horrendous journeys even just travelling through London!
It was awe inspiring to be present in the Great Room of the Royal Society of Arts, with many other Award holders from only 143 secondary schools throughout Britain, amidst the spirit of others who have celebrated their achievements there over the last two hundred years. It also felt very good to have lunch in the Benjamin Franklin Room. Dr. Kay Andrews, OBE and Director of Education Extra who had literally just been made a Baroness, welcomed everyone, speaking of this ‘unique award for a unique purpose’. Lindsay Mackie, Director of the Memorial Award was swiftly followed by T.V. presenter Diane Louise Jordan who interviewed a representative group of Award holders before the list of all of us present was read out and shown on screen. I have to admit to a lump in my throat and Mum, along with other parents and school representatives, to a tear or two. It was a very moving occasion especially considering the amazing variety of youngsters and their accomplishments.
David Blunkett MP, Secretary of State for Education and Employment spoke to us all. He said that young people are the solution, not the problem and the wonderful activities in which they are involved are happening right across the country all the time, everyday. He spoke of the way we as young people, shared our talents and abilities with each other, taking on a challenge and reaching out to others, showing an example of what we can do and how we can do it. This Award was a way of honouring our individual methods of quietly and unobtrusively giving to others.
The Newsletter "inspire" was named by Award holders and also launched. The last sentence that I wrote in response to a request for contributions to this new publication, features on the front page. The extract is "To receive this Award was something I never dreamt of, but it seems to have opened up new avenues." This newsletter is to be sent to every secondary school in the U.K. to encourage other schools to nominate their pupils, and to all Award holders.
Linton Village College encouraged and supported me in my fundraising efforts for the local charity COPARS (Childhood Cancer Organisation for Parents and Relatives Support) and were responsible for nominating me for this Award. I feel that my Award is the result of the amazing support I received from my fellow students, teachers, villagers, friends, local newspapers and radio stations and my family. Without all these people the money wouldn’t have materialised, neither would this Award and of course my brother, Tristan, is totally responsible in a very strange way.
Everyone at the event felt that The Princess of Wales would have been very proud of this "celebration of individual courage and community consciousness," quoting from the article by Andrew Motion, Poet Laureate, in "inspire." Tristan too, I believe.

What price the Linton House sales boom?    Top

House prices in Linton have been roaring ahead, with some properties worth over 50% more today than three years ago.
But buyer demand is part of the population growth in the county with economic development sucking in new people.
What does this all mean to Linton? House sales specialist ANDREW BIBBEY looks at the housing market and District Councillor JOHN BATCHELOR assesses the growth in development
Any casual observer of the property market will have been staggered at the recent steep price rises. Home ownership has grown at a massive rate and I believe the pattern of change has followed that of the motor car with the same three influencing factors:
Greater affluence due to better paid employment and inherited wealth
Increasing expectations and desires for materialistic improvement
Cheap money for mortgages.
Locally, there is a net inflow of buyers with a buoyant employment situation sucking even more people to Cambridge, Stansted Airport and all the local towns which are enjoying their own mini-booms.
The housing market is a classic example of supply and demand. Prices last peaked in 1988 and then fell until 1995 – the 20-40% "losses" have not long been made up and any recent gains should be taken as part of a long-term pattern.
Rising prices will classically cut demand and leave some unable to buy deciding to rent. This demand is now largely met by private landlords who have reappeared since the introduction of the ‘Shorthold Tenancy’. Mortgages specifically designed for the ‘Buy To Let’ borrower are leaving some pundits shaking worried heads and opining that it will all end in tears and an almighty property crash.
This extra bank of buyers plus Housing Associations buying at the cheaper end of the private sector to house the erstwhile council tenant has meant more competition for the ordinary buyer and another twist to the price spiral.
Where are Linton and the nearby villages in all this? Will local people be able to afford a home locally? Will prices keep on rising?
Prices will rise with inflation, stoked by demand, which will grow as local employment pulls people into the area.
The M11 and the A1307 link to it also encourages buyers to look at the Linton area, where before it was too far north. The results obtained in tests by the local schools mean that parents are happy to settle here knowing there is good education available.
Different types of property rise at different rates and older, non-estate homes are always in short supply. Bungalows are thin on the ground, new homes are under-supplied, good large new properties in the £300,000-plus category are scarce, and so on.
Generally there are not enough homes for sale. So prices rise. When no-one buys, then prices have to be reduced.
There are already some prices which are proving to be top heavy and these vendors will either sit and wait for the market to rise further, or reduce prices.
Andrew Bibbey FNAEA is a partner in CENTURY 21 Davies & Bibbey
THE government wants 83,700 houses built in Cambridgeshire by 2016 – which will mean the population of South Cambs. growing by at least 50% in the same period.
What does this mean for Linton? The true answer is that we do not know yet. We know the general level of growth expected but we do not know how it will be split within the region. What is certain is that very substantial housing growth will happen.
The government has taken the alarming step of changing the way it issues its figures, from a target to be achieved over a long period to a minimum number of houses that should be built each year. The growth expected has never been achieved in the past.
Will Linton have to expand? Not necessarily. Together with the figures, the government has also given a priority order identifying the order of growth.
The first two areas would be to develop within the City or on the edge of the City.
The third priority would be a new settlement "close to Cambridge". The use of the word "settlement" is important because it means that the new town idea is dropped and replaced with a smaller development.
The last two priorities call for growth within, or extensions to, market towns and larger villages.
We could come into the "larger village" category. However, this section specifies that the larger village would have to have "good public transport access to Cambridge". In Linton’s case that is clearly a debatable point.
We are also still protected by the Policy of Restraint. This specifically restricts development in our area as a protection against the effects of an ever-expanding Stansted Airport. It was this policy that saved us from a large housing allocation last year. The policy of housing dispersal, everyone getting a share, has been dropped in favour of concentrating development in a few areas.
All these things mean that it is less likely that Linton would be called on for more housing growth.
What happens next? The figures are not yet final; this is yet another round of consultations. The District Council is trying to reach agreement on a united front with the other authorities in the region. We will argue that the figures are not realistic and cannot be achieved, that the infrastructure needed to sustain these growth levels does not exist, that the 70% allocation to our area is too high and that more growth should go to those areas that want it, Peterborough and the Fenland District.
What is certain is that every builder, developer and chancer will make proposals for grandiose schemes all over the area.

Personal banking at Post Office     Top

GOOD news for Barclays’ customers! Personal banking facilities are now available at the Post Office. Cash and cheques can be deposited using your current deposit slips, and daily cash withdrawals can be made by cashing a cheque up to the value of your cheque card limit.
The same facilities are also available with Alliance & Leicester, Giro, Lloyds TSB and the Co-operative banks.
So do not despair, your Post Office is there!

Join us to play bridge    Top

LINTON Bridge Club, which began in March with a membership of 20 enthusiasts, wants to expand. We would welcome new members, and help is at hand for any rubber bridge players requiring assistance with duplicate scoring. We meet at 7.15pm on Fridays at the Linton Library where facilities are excellent. At the inaugural meeting, a membership fee of £10 was agreed, plus £5 annual fee, and a table fee of £1.50. For further information please telephone Bill Penfold

Are you young and keen? We want you!    Top

THE Linton News is looking for someone in the 14 to 16 age group (Year 10 or 11) a pupil of Linton Village College and living in the village, to join the editorial team.
We need someone who is bright and enthusiastic – and who wants to write about young people and what they are doing. You will become a member of the Linton News executive committee, which runs the paper, and get a voice in how it operates, as well as how we cover youth interests and concerns.
You will get the opportunity to learn in as much detail as you like how the paper operates – from the Apple Mac technology to how to plan pages, from getting in the advertising to making sure that everyone in the area gets a copy of the paper.
This chance to have fun while doing some worthwhile voluntary work and expanding your skills comes up because the present youth member, Ashley Johnson, is leaving the College, and the Linton News, this summer after making an excellent contribution to the paper.
If you are interested in joining the Linton News Email the editor


A REQUEST has been received from Mrs Jeffery to help fund her late husband’s research on Council Houses in Linton – the village was one of the earliest to have Council Houses – the Parish Council agreed to give £400 to help the project.
The police reported that 150 calls for assistance had been received since January, resulting in 29 crime reports. Under the new police arrangements a higher police presence in the village should be seen.
The paper bank in the car park has been set on fire. Three new litter bins are to be provided on the recreation ground. The cemetery is now under the new maintenance contract and progress will be monitored. The cost for interment would come under review at the next meeting. Dr Brian Cox was thanked for repairing the shed window in the cemetery and for the maintenance carried out on the notice board.
Leadwell meadows (Pocket Park) have been cut, including Hogs Head, the furthest field. The recreation ground is once again being invaded by moles; a catcher has been called in. The ground also needed weed killing but the spray used is not as effective as in the past and the contractor is trying to find a solution.
In a review of Council Meetings, members agreed to keep the present format two full council meetings a month, Mrs Linda Read was elected as representative on the Social Centre Committee. The Council suggested Paynes Pasture as the road name for the houses on the Chalklands development. The work on the kerb stones in the High Street has started.
Barclays has not changed its policy on bank closures. The cash machine has been removed even though planning permission had not been sought.
A grant from the Anderson Trust is being used to improve disabled access to the rear of the Cathodeon Centre.

Bowls Season Starts    Top

THE new Bowls Club season has begun. We played our first friendly match against Melbourn on Sunday 16th April; it was a close run game, in the end we won 86–64 shots. Everybody enjoyed the afternoon; it was good to be on the green again.
When you read this the Wednesday Drives will be in full operation. Please be there by 2pm if wishing to play.
League games start on Monday 8th May at home against Lucas (A) and continue thereafter, mostly on Fridays.

New Officer on the Linton beat    Top

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Meet Andy Denzey, the village’s community policeman
I have been in the police for six years, working both in Cambridge City and Cambridge Rural. I have also worked in the Divisional Intelligence Unit as well as CID.
I took over the Linton beat on 14th February. I am married with two children and I have lived in Linton for five years.My responsibilities are to tackle the priorities outlined within the Crime and Disorder Act, which are burglary, vehicle crime, drugs and youth problems as well as anti-social behaviour.
I am not just the local police officer for Linton. My beat includes Balsham, West Wratting, West Wickham, Hildersham, Castle Camps, Shudy Camps, Horse-heath, Weston Colville, Carl-ton and Bartlow. I have to investigate assaults, thefts, traffic matters and anything else in my area as well as being the contact point for local councillors.

Trust gives away £7,550    Top

THE Trustees of the Charles & Mary Anderson Benefaction held their first AGM at which they agreed to donate £7,550 to local causes.
This was: £5,000 to the Infants School; £1,800 towards two computers for the use of people of all ages at the library, £750 to St Mary’s Church for a signpost and notice boards.
The Trustees will be meeting again in October to review how the donations have been spent and to consider fresh applications to the Benefaction.

Pool group aims to raise £1m    Top

THE Pool Steering Committee met for the first time last month and made the following main decisions:
Although aiming to raise a maximum of £1m for the building of the pool, we must set our target higher to cover three other items – the cost of modifying the A1307 to make a safe entry to the Sports Hall, re-making the road from the main road to the Sports Hall, and making a parking space for 45 vehicles.

Gratitude was expressed for Mr Alan Hurran’s invaluable help in basic planning and drawings. Unfortunately pressure of work has made it impossible for him to join this committee. The outline plan, on which the display model was based, led to much discussion concerning the design of changing-rooms. As the pool will be used by several schools as well as the general public, compromises must be made. The available space is limited but flexibility is possible.

New WI President Elected    Top

THE Linton WI annual general meeting last month began with birthday posies and posies for visitors being presented by the President, Mrs Eileen Impey. We had with us a Voluntary County Organiser, a trainee VCO and a lady with a stall selling WI books, birthday cards and the annual WI glossy magazine Women’s World. Also present were our Auditor, Mr Roger Bowran, and his wife.
The President then told us that £83 had been sent towards the cost of the Linton Library display table and £35 to the Association of Country Women Worldwide. She mentioned the Cambridge Federation Spring Council Meeting in May and also the Federation Cake Baking.
There are many activities arranged by the Cambridge Federation ranging from a soft toy competition and a poetry competition, to a visit to the Dome and a science conference.
After 29 years of auditing the Linton WI accounts, Mr Bowran is retiring. He was presented with a cut glass decanter and with a bottle of whisky. Mr Frank Appleyard has kindly agreed to be our new auditor.
Six new committee members were chosen with Wendy Foster as President, Joan Pearman as Secretary (as last year) and Jean Goodwin as Treasurer.

Dear Editor    Top

Who would want this job? Early morning duties at the Health Centre: 8am arrive for work. First, pick your way through broken bottles, cans and fast food remains to the door. Unlock the door taking care not to stand in the vomit deposited on the step. Collect bucket, broom and several bin bags from the store cupboard. Put on rubber gloves for protection. Return to porch and first scrape the vomit from the doorstep (the lids from the Chinese take-away containers can be useful for this purpose). Sweep up all the empties and the solid refuse. Swill the front step down with water/disinfectant. Climb in to the shrubbery and pick up any empties that have been tossed in there (wear gloves and take care as this area is used as a public lavatory). When front entrance is clear, proceed to clear side entrance.
Duties from 8.15am or when finished the above: Proceed with more traditional duties. Doctors: prepare to greet your first patient. Caretaker: prepare the treatment room for nurse. Reception/admin staff: prepare to welcome patients.
The above job description is a true reflection of the situation faced by staff on Saturday and Monday mornings in particular. On Saturdays the receptionist and duty doctor clear the porch area before patients arrive. On Mondays we are extremely grateful to Mr Colin Tofts and Mrs Linda Read who work incredibly hard to ensure that patients arriving at 8.30am are, for the most part, blissfully unaware of the disgusting mess left by the youngsters over the weekend.
There are times when emergency patients are seen at the Health Centre in the evenings and, of course, the doctors often return to do their paperwork in the evenings. Patients and doctors alike feel intimidated when faced with approaching a group of youngsters on the doorstep. Unfortunately, a polite request to move away is often treated with abuse.
Readers will have noted that security bollards have been installed. This is on the advice of the police and sends a clear message to all that the Health Centre is private property and the car park is out of bounds.
To those who think the youngsters are not doing any real harm, please come down before 8am on a Monday morning and see the mess that they leave and the distress that this causes to the staff and doctors.
Sheila Griffiths,
Practice Manager
Dr Hewlett & Partners

Dear Editor    Top

I visit the library often and noted in the computer room that they are currently running courses for use on the internet. When I inquired about this I was told it was for Senior Citizens only and I don’t think this is fair as I am only in my early 40s and when I was at school this particular range of technology was not available to us.
Do you feel this is fair to exclude younger members of the community from these classes?
I am sure if you dropped the age limit you would certainly attract a wider range of interest from members of the community.
Hillway resident
Editor’s note: It is not our practice to print letters without a full name and address being supplied but this echoes many comments reaching us from people in the village.
Senior surfers, page 5

Dear Editor    Top

It gave us all great pleasure to see our daffodils in bloom; an effort well rewarded. The mention in the Linton News was much appreciated, especially in the Country Diary describing the daffodils as "up and blooming – a lovely sight and hedges tipped with green leaf buds or in places white with the flowers of the sloe".
Alas! The hedges did not bud or flower for long and bird’s nests fell to the ground.
The hedges were slashed by a tractor/hedge cutter much to the disappointment of many residents.
It was thoughtless, bad timing. Lovely whilst it lasted.
We want more for police money

Dear Editor    Top

Like all council tax payers we have just received our bill for 2000/2001. I am sure that I will be corrected if my calculations are wrong. I was intrigued to note the difference in the amounts collected for Linton and the Police Authority.
The Special Expenses for Linton amount to £78,125. The figure for the Cambridge Police Authority is 34.55% more. If my calculations are correct the money collected from Linton for the Police Authority exceeds £100,000. This begs the question, when will there be a police officer posted to Linton on a permanent basis? If this is not possible there should be a greater police presence in the village.
It would be nice to see police officers on speed enforcement duties, especially at the Bartlow Road crossroads and the High Street junction with the A1307. The number of accidents justifies speed cameras – they are a deterrent with or without film!

Dear Editor    Top

I would like to thank all those who so generously supported our little effort towards raising funds for the stricken area of Mozambique on Saturday 18th March. We made £85.

Early win for Aztec men’s soccer team    Top

The very successful Aztecs Men’s team have won the Alliance league already . On Sunday 7th May at Cambridge City Football ground they will play Chem Labs for the Alliance Cup. Please come and cheer them on

Kerb repairs ‘will last longer’     Top

DURING the Easter school holidays, County Council contractors repaired the kerbstones in the High Street between Green and Mill lanes. This follows the public meeting at the Social Centre to discuss the problem of the broken, dangerous kerbstones. At the meeting nearly everyone said that they thought the broken kerbstones should be repaired as they were, rather than change the road layout or parking restrictions to protect the kerb from heavy vehicles.
High Street residents also said that their cellars did not extend under the road and therefore there was no reason why the kerbstones could not be set deeper with more substantial concrete foundations. Consequently, County Council engineers supervised the excavation of some of the broken kerbing to see if the stones had been laid properly and if there was any limit on the depth of foundation. They found that the concrete foundation was as specified, but it looked as if it had failed before it had a chance to cure properly.
Based on this survey, the County Council has re-laid the kerbstones deeper than before and with a stronger concrete mix. This time, traffic lights were installed in the High Street to protect the kerbs from traffic for a few days until the concrete had time to cure properly. The engineers now hope the kerbs will last much longer than before. Let us keep our fingers crossed. Other ideas on traffic management that came out of the meeting, such as one-way systems or a partial restriction on cars in the High Street, will need further consideration by County Council traffic engineers.

Reasons to be Cheerful – Year 2    Top

THE afternoon of 5th April was one of musical celebration at Linton Infants School. All the Year 2 pupils from the surrounding cluster schools came together to enjoy a combination of rap, calypso, popular and traditional songs, line dancing and country dancing. The schools taking part were Burrough Green, Great Abington, Castle Camps, Meadow School Balsham and Linton Infants. Each school performed an individual item during the afternoon and everyone joined in for combined items.
The MC for the afternoon was Mr Rod Halls, headteacher at Linton Heights Junior School. Last year he contacted the music co-ordinators of all the schools and put forward the idea of a regular annual music festival. This year’s theme was ‘Celebration’ and we all organised and rehearsed with the children in our respective schools.
Great Abington School performed the ceilidh dance ‘Brighton Camp’ and the enjoyment on their faces was obvious. Castle Camps gave us a rap that we all joined in with. From Meadow School Balsham came an excellent exhibition of line dancing, complete with ten-gallon hats! We at Linton School showed off the ability of our recorder group who played two pieces followed by a calypso song performed by all forty-two children with percussionists, singers and dancers. Everyone joined together for a variety of songs, culminating in a round that we all sang in Hebrew! As an extra treat, Anna Mudge and Lucy Cunningham, pupils at Linton Heights, performed a piece on the oboe, not the easiest of instruments to play.
Although the weather was dull, the atmosphere in the school hall certainly wasn’t. I would like to say a big thank you to all those who took part and helped during the afternoon. The ceilidh was a great success, one which I hope we will all repeat next year and once again ‘make those rafters rock’.

Your Mission, If You Choose To Accept It    Top

CHILDREN aged five to 11 are invited to be detectives for the day at the latest J-Team Saturday Special "Mission Impossible". This will be a fun-filled activity morning packed with Bible stories, music, games and crafts as we join Inspector Bodgett on his latest case, which he thinks is Mission Impossible.
The activity morning will be held on Saturday 3rd June at the Free Church (URC) Hall in Horn Lane, Linton. The cost will be £1.50 per child. The fun begins at 10am and at 12.30pm the rest of the family are invited to see what we have been doing and join us for lunch and games.
Look out for posters nearer the day! Registration forms will be distributed via local schools or contact

Blood Donor Session    Top

THERE will be a Blood Donor Session on 19th May at Linton Social Centre. The session will run from 11am – 7pm with no break at lunch or tea time. It is hoped that this will give more flexibility to the donors and also reduce the Blood Team’s long working day which is, on average, 13 hours including travelling. Please come if you possibly can; blood is urgently needed. Susan Anderson

Council Saves the Day    Top

LINTON Action for Youth thanks South Cambs. District Council for agreeing to cover the £4,300 shortfall on the building costs for the Drop-In Centre. Particular thanks to Joan Smith, our District Councilor, who persuaded the Council to do this.
This means that the Drop-In Centre is complete and paid for – and we are free to concentrate fully on our real work. For some time we have been working with young people who are excluded from school and other youngsters with problems, in addition to running the Drop-In sessions. We have found that help is needed by parents as well as youngsters. Mediation by our professional youth workers has proved to be of great benefit in a number of cases. We hope to expand this ‘parent support’ role but it is the same old story, not enough money to pay for the time we need. We are exploring various avenues for funding more hours so that we can offer this service to the community.
An area of particular concern to us since the beginning of LA4Y has been the problem of under-age drinking. No alcoholic drinks are allowed in the Drop-In Centre but it is clear that alcohol is regularly consumed in and around the recreation ground. We are hopeful that a charity, specialising in this area of work, will provide us with some additional funding to help us address this serious question. Recently the police have taken an interest, confiscated alcohol from under-age drinkers and notified their parents. There is little more they can do. Needless to say, if asked, no one should buy drink on behalf of people under age.

Barclays Close but Life Goes On    Top

AS a result of the public campaign Barclays have at least made some arrangements for customers (sorry not us - that’s share holders only, according to their management) so I should say, for account holders, to access some services via the post office.

This still leaves us with the problem of access to cash out of hours. So I have written to the Co-operative Bank’s Network Development Manager asking him to consider putting a cash machine into the Co-op shop in Linton. He told me that the Co-operative Bank is expanding their network into Co-op shops, spending £8 million this year. He said that this year’s programme is complete but he would be prepared to consider us for later and that he was more likely to listen if there were several other villages where this was needed.
I have since got the support of councilors from Melbourn, Gamlingay and Cottenham which all have Co-op shops and have written on their behalf as well. All these larger villages have a ‘necklace’ of smaller ones whose population come in for schooling and other services and are also on commuter routes. I am hoping that he will give us serious consideration.
I am also talking to the Co-op Bank about the possibility of their visiting our village to help people to open or to move accounts.
I am so annoyed myself at the poor management for large salaries shown by Barclays management that after 50 years as a customer (sorry – account holder) I am moving all my accounts. It is a nuisance but money seems to be the only language their customers, i.e. shareholders, may understand – and there is a small silver lining I’ve discovered – it’s cheaper!
There are, of course, several banks offering services through the post office.
On the national scene there is a movement to secure community banking services which is being led by several charities, especially Help The Aged, which we as a community should be aware of and contribute our ideas to. They are indicating that the spur of national legislation might be needed so I have written to our MP to ask him to support the All Party Group on Community Banking Services and to lobby ministers. I am pleased to say he does support it but feels, disappointingly, that it is unlikely to be very effective. District Councilor Joan Smith

Walking Is Good For The Heart    Top

THE Brownies are holding their Charity Walk on Wednesday 17th May, in aid of The Heart Foundation. We leave from Linton Infants School Playground at 6pm to walk across the meadows to Hildersham, where refreshments will be served. Please come along and support us. Mums, Dads, families and dogs are invited. Cost £1 per family.
Monday Brownies will be collecting pennies for NSPCC.
Wednesday Brownies would like help for one hour a week, so if you have some spare time, please come along.


Tracey Wilson meets two Linton lads poised for football stardom

fballlsm.jpg (5507 bytes) Fballrsm.jpg (5918 bytes)MOST small boys dream of playing football, and getting paid for it – this was certainly the ambition of Neil Elsom and James Bohanna (Bo to his friends) when they used to kick a ball around the playground at Linton Heights Junior School. When they were just eight, they joined the Aztecs Junior Under 9 football team within days of each other. By the time they progressed to the Under 10 team, they were the two main players of the side, both strikers.
In just one season, their team won the league, and Neil and James notched up 130 goals between them. A highlight of this period was playing at Abbey Stadium in Cambridge against Fulbourn (one of the opposition players was Daniel Murray from Balsham who has just signed a 5-year contract at Peterborough United, and played for the first team). Unfortunately Aztecs lost 6 goals to 5 after extra time.
A regular treat for Aztec players is a tournament for the Holus Sofrasem Cup, against Strijen from Holland, played alternately in Holland and England. Neil and James’s team won the tournament when they played in Linton, and were runners up in Holland.
Many awards were won whilst with the Aztecs. James earned the titles Player of the Year and Players’ Player of the Year, and Neil was awarded Players’ Player of the Year, Most Improved Player and Player of the Tournament during their first Holland trip .
Whilst playing for the Aztecs, a talent scout saw James in action and offered him a trial at Peterborough. Naturally, Neil trialled as well (as they usually did things together) and within a week both Peterborough United and Cambridge United were expressing interest. Without consulting each other, they both decided to join the Peterborough School of Excellence, during which time their family cars clocked up countless miles taking them to and from the Peterborough ground, and away grounds all over the country, at least three times every week. Without the support of Sue and Colin Elsom, and Wendy and Dave Bohanna, they wouldn’t have got this far in their footballing careers.
By this time, both players had changed playing positions – James to right wing, and Neil to centre half.
At Under 14 level, Neil played in Austria at the biggest indoor football tournament in Europe (at youth level). Seven players were selected from Peterborough, with Neil as their captain. The team won the tournament, beating some youth players from the German Bundesliege.
During this season, Neil was asked to play up a year older. One of his team-mates was Matthew Etherington, a recent £1million buy for Tottenham Hotspur. By Under 16 level, both boys were making regular youth team appearances.
Whilst playing for the county and Peterborough, there were also many matches for Linton Village College, in some very successful seasons. Their team appeared in three cup finals for Area Schools, winning two of them.
But school came to an end, and at the same time, their Peterborough careers. They were not offered apprenticeships, as there were no openings for players in their playing positions. Interest for Neil came from Lincoln City and Cambridge United, while Cardiff City and Scunthorpe United were looking at James.
Due to personal circumstances, football had to take a back seat for Neil in early 1998, and James decided to join Cambridge City Football Club on a YTS scheme. Neil then joined James at Cambridge City in the summer of that year – still both playing in the positions they trained for at Peterborough. During the final month of their first season, they narrowly lost the league, and a cup final. They had a very good FA Youth Cup run, being narrowly defeated in the first round by Northampton Town.
This season they have been playing Under 19 football, occasionally appearing in the youth team, with regular places in the reserves and many mentions on the back pages of the Cambridge Evening News. Neil, who has appeared for the first team, has recently been offered a one-year semi-professional contract which he will take up when he finishes his studies at Long Road Sixth Form College. Both hope to make the first team regularly by Christmas. But not everything is done together. The football teams they both follow avidly are Manchester United (James) and Liverpool (Neil).
As for the future, well, Michael Owen and David Beckham started somewhere, and are now pin-ups on bedroom walls all over the country. Will it be Neil or James on your child’s wall?

Police Tickets    Top

DURING the past six weeks I have paid eight visits to Linton. A total of eight fixed penalty tickets were issued by me during this period, seven outside the Co-op, and one in Balsham Road opposite the Post Office. Ten drivers have been reported for Tax Disc offences.
One anonymous complaint was received about delivery trucks parking outside the Co-op. It is not unlawful to cause or permit any vehicle to wait for as long as may be necessary to load or unload goods. Parking outside the Co-op on the double yellow lines to pop in for some milk can’t be classed as loading.
TW20 James Hutchinson

Senior Surfers Share Skills    Top

LINTON Seniors IT Club has proved very popular with our senior citizens. Most have learnt how to send and receive e-mail, many have learnt how to surf the internet, and others have moved even further ahead. One member has recently enjoyed a trip to Venice for an amazingly cheap price, details of which he discovered on the internet. Some have their own computers, but most use the library opening hours and club meetings to practise what they have learnt.
Everyday life is now so affected by Information Technology, that every opportunity should be taken to understand something about how it works. Our club is a gathering of like-minded villagers finding out for themselves, at their own pace, without embarrassment, how they can use IT to their own advantage. If you can work a video recorder, get money from a cash machine, or fill in a lottery ticket, you will soon get to grips with computing. At club meetings, everyone is to some extent an instructor. Most members know some little thing that the next person does not know and it is very encouraging to be able to pass tips on to someone else!
The organisers of the club and the volunteer instructors feel that the time has come to extend membership to more adult members of our community. Parents who had no opportunity to learn about computers at school or college need help to keep up with their children. Other young adults who are thinking of buying a computer would feel happier if there was some inexpensive and convenient way of learning basic skills. The club makes learning about computing and the internet fun. If you are interested, come and register at a club meeting (Tuesday 7pm to 9pm in the Cathodeon Centre). You do not have to attend meetings every Tuesday if it is not convenient. There are enough volunteers at most meetings to give you some time individually, whether it is for basic instruction or for helping you with problems or difficulties you have experienced. When you enrol with the club, it is advisable to join the library if you are not already a member, because you will need the help of the library staff when you use the joint facilities. Some of the computers are owned by the club and some by the library service. If you become a member of both, there is no problem. At present it does not cost anything to join either the club or the library. Anyone who is unsure whether they are eligible should come to the club and enquire. Have fun!

Instrumental In Their Success - Jazz    Top

THE Linton Jazz Cabaret evening on 15th April raised £620. Thank you to everybody who helped behind the scenes and to the Libra Company, Linton Zoo, the Village Chemist and Culpepers for their generous donations to the raffle. A very big thank you to everyone who supported us on the night. The money raised will go towards new music and a baritone saxophone. Our next appearance will be at the Linton Infants School fete.

The Bush Telegraph    Top

AS I write, it is almost the end of the last day of a very long term
and quite frankly, I’m tired out! So are my staff and all our pupils. We all like to believe we have two whole weeks off even though we know we have much less time than that. The marking, examination preparation and coursework moderation all reach a head around this time of year and with a late Easter, the examination pressures of the summer term are on us very quickly. What makes the job so exhausting of course, are the legitimate requirements of 760 young people. The better they do, the more we put in so they can do better still. This produces an amazing sense of fulfilment and job satisfaction which is why we do this job. Achievement is a word normally tied to examination marks but it is important to take a broader view. We had a visit from three university graduates today, volunteers in the Link Africa scheme who will be going to South Africa this summer to work in township schools like the one we support. They arrived looking nervous and apprehensive. By lunchtime, in a hall full of pleasant, well behaved and animated school children they were a little happier. After spending time chatting to groups of bright, well turned out and articulate youngsters over lunchtime, they were positively smiling and by the time their visit was over they were full of excitement and wanting more. Now that says a huge amount about our school. One of my greatest sources of pride in LVC is that visitors always leave singing the praises of our children and their teachers. Looking back over this term’s brilliant sporting success, that marvellous production of Oliver!, the music, art, high levels of academic attainment, fundraising and our enthusiastic visitors, I think it is very important, for all our futures, that we do not fall into the common trap of condemning young people as selfish, careless and badly behaved. Some manage to be these things with spectacular success of course but for the vast majority, the reality is very much the opposite and that is a cause for celebration for all of us Clive Bush, Principal

Season Ends With A Splash Of Colour    Top

AT the last Gardening Club meeting of the season, Ken Akers, a freelance gardener and designer, demonstrated how to plan striking herbaceous borders. Trees, shrubs, the occasional conifer, perennials and static elements all combine to make a pleasing display, and colour schemes don’t necessarily matter. Many of the slides were of his own garden in Great Saling which has developed from an almost empty space to a beautiful area designed to give colour and interest through the seasons.
There will be an evening outing on 9th May, and please do keep potting up for the bring and buy plant sale to be held at 101 High Street on Saturday 27th May. Everyone welcome, so look out for the posters. Happy gardening during the summer break.

LINTON COUNTRY DIARY By Olwen Williams    Top

Wednesday 19th April 2000   Illustrated by Maureen Williams
APRIL was a mixture of January temperatures, February rainfall and March winds, with occasional spring-like days in between weeks of gloom. Finally in the last few days, the sun returned and with it the birdsong.
On 9th April, I found a first bluebell in bud. Sloe blossom is about finished and the leaves are out. Hedge parsley is half grown and hopefully it will not be too long before the early spring flowers give way to the delights of summer. However, toadstools in spring are unusual, as fungi seem mainly to favour the autumn. A few are to be found all the year round and the same trip produced a fine display of Sulphur Tuft fungus growing on rotting wood.
One of the spectacular events of April is the mating of frogs and toads. On the same day, I came across a ditch in middle of a wood, where some forty or more toads had congregated. At first, I mistook their calling for the sound of ducks, but then realised that the water was crawling with pairs of toads, each male clutching a larger female under the arms. There were matted tangles with a female surrounded by six or more males, all trying to gain possession. It was evidently early in their mating ritual, as there was no sign yet of toadspawn.
In the garden, starlings are plump, sleek and cheeky; blackbirds call defiantly at dusk; great tits and blue tits continue to call for nuts ; dunnocks sing from the tops of bushes and chase away rivals; the wren calls from the middle of the Japonica bush and collared doves argue over territory and chant "United, United" endlessly. (Not that it did Manchester any good this evening!)

Speedy Meeting, Quick Recital    Top

FOLLOWING the successful concert given by the Barton String Orchestra in the church on 12th April, the Friends of St Mary’s Trust, formed to arrange fund-raising events for the upkeep of Linton’s parish church, are holding their Annual General Meeting at 7.45pm on Thursday 11th May in the church . The business of the AGM is generally concluded fairly rapidly and this year will be followed by coffee and biscuits and a short organ recital to be given by Richard Godel, the parish church organist, and by David Parry-Smith, who often plays the organ when Richard is conducting the choir. There will be posters around the village giving more details. Dr Bruce Conochie, Chairman

Election Day Reminder    Top

District Council elections on 4th May.
The District Council provides services that touch all our lives. It organises rubbish collection, provides social housing, acts as the Planning Authority, oversees environmental health regulations and collects the Council Tax . These are the nuts and bolts of our village life and it’s important that you play your part by choosing who you want representing you.
All three major parties have candidates standing, so please use your vote!
Councillor John Batchelor

Fitness For All     Top

WANT to look the bees’ knees in your bikini, smashing in your swimsuit or just feel the benefits of physical fitness? Put a spring into your step with Kate Weber’s fitness classes. Suitable for all fitness levels, the classes run on a pay-as-you-come basis each week (including holidays) at the Village College.
Kick start the week with body conditioning and aerobics on Monday 9.30-10.30am in the Sports Centre. There is a step class on Tuesday 8-9pm and a more rigorous aerobics session on Thursday 8-9pm. Both these classes are held in the LVC gym.
Telephone Mark Wilson at LVC Sports Centre for more information  890248.

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