December 2003  Edition of the Linton News    Previous        Next      Open this page in Full Screen  view 

The night guy became a girl

left to right: Judges Heather Greenhalgh, and Barclays employees Phil Bateman, Trish Hartley, Peter Cottage (and the winning guy aka Barbie - top right!) photo: Bob Hammett.

IT was a perfect night for Linton’s firework display and about 3,200 of us thought so, gathering expectantly on the infant school’s playing field on 8th November.
The event kicked off with the Guy Fawkes competition. Out of fifteen or so excellent entries, Barbie, created by Hannah and Emma Filby, won. The blonde pony-tailed Guy/girl, dressed in a pink sequined t-shirt and jeans was hoisted up to the top of the massive fire, built by Peter Thomas, aka Pete the Pyro.
Pete lit the fire, which he had spent all day building, and everyone watched as it began to cast its glow across the field, Barbie didn’t last long! Soon it was keeping us warm while we saw the first of the brilliant displays light up the sky.
Several members of the fireworks committee scurried back and forth on the other side of the Granta carefully setting off the massive number of rockets, shooting stars and explosions. Everyone responsible for setting off the fireworks has attended courses organised by Essex Pyrotechnics based in Newport, who also supply the £3200 display. They are one of the biggest manufacturers in the UK. The committee says that when they put in an order for the fireworks they specify that they want to try to have the quietest fireworks without minimising the impact of the display. It is not an easy balance to obtain.
The fifteen guys, yes they are all guys (come on ladies, the only prerequisite for joining is the ability to attend meetings at the pub and downing four-five pints), who make up the committee are made up of PSA representatives from the three schools in the village.
The event originally began as a way to raise funds for the school, and this year each schools will receive £2,100 from the profits. Additionally, the Guides, Scouts, Air Training Corps and Fire Service, who also help out on the night are given donations.
This year it was again generously sponsored by Camgrain and Barclays Bank matched four members of staff’s hard work on the food stalls with a contribution of £1,800. Over the fourteen years this event has been going £65,000 has been donated to the three schools.
This is a big event, probably the biggest in the village’s yearly calendar, and it costs! The fireworks themselves, as Jim McNicholas, the compere, told us, totalled £3,200, but on top of that, add the safety equipment, the lights, the music, the stalls and more.
The display ended with several massive rockets going off over our heads. Some people headed home or to the pub, some warmed themselves at the embers of the fire, while others downed a last mulled wine and grabbed a burger from a stall.
The next morning, I happened to walk through the field with my dog (the effect the bangs from the fireworks have on my dog is another story!), and watched in awe as a whole bunch of people were hard at work replacing the scorched turf. Thank you to everyone involved for a lovely evening.
Mandy Honeyman

where there’s a will there’s a way        Top

LAST month’s Linton News included the results of our Village Survey. Have you thrown yours away (in your green box, of course)? Or, are you still curious about any of the findings it threw up?
Well, maybe you should be, because these results are going to come up again and again as the Parish and County Council respond to aspirations for our village over the next few years.
About thirty people were inquisitive enough to join in the Action Planning event held at the LVC in November. It was organised by the Parish Plan Steering Group in order to analyse the survey results and move towards the next stage in the process, drawing up a first-draft village plan.
They split up into five groups: Highways and Traffic, Environment and Wildlife, Education and Employment, Village Facilities and Planning and Development. Unsurprisingly, the first two of these were the most popular; they were also the tables closest to the door, but, surely, that had nothing to do with it?
David Lines, from the county council’s transport department, bravely answered questions at the traffic table. The good news is that there is a clear majority view from the village; the one way option for the High Street is wanted. This means that, at last, there is a decision that will enable the Parish Council and County Council to move forward to the next stage in getting the Village’s traffic problems sorted out. How’s that for a result! Moreover, to do nothing, is simply not an option. The other clear favourites from the survey were traffic lights at the top of the High Street and a roundabout at the Bartlow Road/A1307 junction.
Over at the environment table, Helen Sharman, the county council’s bio-diversity project officer, emphasised that in order to get anything done the village needed a conservation group to co-ordinate applying for funds and organising activities. And guess what? At this table it was agreed to set up the Linton Environmental Action Group, which Andy Booth and Alan Lawley will chair. As it grows, this group will become the liaison between Helen (the money) and sub-groups that will focus on different environmental issues affecting us, like a riverside walk, rights of way, bulb planting, Pocket Park conservation and a whole lot more.
Watch this space, because, yes you’ve guessed it, they are going to need YOU.
At the other three tables the relevant results from the survey were closely analysed, and with the help of additional information, various ideas were mooted that will provide a basis for trying to fulfil the village’s wishes for the future. These include the overwhelming favourites: a swimming pool, small-scale business support, ensuring the ongoing success of the Linton News and minimising the impact of new housing. At future meetings these issues will be discussed at greater depth with the help of specialists.
The purpose of the Parish Plan is to prioritise issues of concern and to get the Parish and County Council responding directly to the residents’ agenda and aspirations and to include everyone in planning and making decisions, none of which can happen without that involvement.
There was an error in the Survey Results printed in the November edition of the Linton News. The correction is given below.
Household Composition:
Single 60+ (live alone):
10.0% or 128 people
Couple 60+:
19.0% or 243 people

lest we forget        Top

Local people pay tribute (photos: Tracey Wilson)
ON Rememberance Sunday, following a service in St. Mary’s Church, there was a parade to Linton Cemetery where wreaths of poppies were laid at the war memorial by various Linton groups. The Last Post was played by a member of the Air Training Corps.
Tracey Wilson

New Junior badminton club gets grant         Top

NEWLY formed Linton Junior Badminton Club has just received a grant of £4,999 from ‘Awards For All’ to help develop badminton in the Linton area.
Based at Linton Sports Centre, the club aims to carry on the excellent work already going on at the Heights and other local primary schools and LVC.
The club is open to those children in years 5, 6 and 7, and aims to develop children’s skills through coaching sessions, and introduce helpers to coaching through attending coaching courses. The club meets every Friday from 4 - 5pm at Linton Sports Centre.
If you would like your child to attend, or to offer your help with organising the club, please contact Mark Wilson at the sports centre on 890248
Mark Wilson

casting a spell with a new piano        Top

John Lill with Linton Music Society committee members at the inauguration recital of the new piano
UNLIKE violins, pianos do not improve with age. The Music Society has a remarkably fine track record over the past 40 years of attracting nationally famous soloists in its enterprising musical seasons. A replacement for the old disintegrating Bechstein was therefore long overdue if standards were to be maintained.
Thanks to tireless fund-raising efforts by the friends and members of the Society, almost enough money has been raised for the purchase of a splendid new Yamaha.
There could not have been a finer recital for its first appearance than that given by John Lill on Saturday 15th November.
Since he won the prestigious Tchaikovsky prize in 1972 John Lill has been a pianist of world-wide renown.
During Saturday’s concert he introduced with helpful clarity and good humour a programme of sonatas by Mozart and Beethoven and the Brahms ‘Variation on a Theme’ by Handel.
There was a full house. The audience, spellbound by the performance, left full of gratitude for such an exhilarating, profound and exciting evening.
Juliet Abrahamson

Come and hear the young ones        Top

THE Cambridge Youth Orchestra, under their conductor Peter Britten will be performing a concert in aid of the piano fund at 3pm on Saturday 6th December at Linton Village College.
The programme will include Stravinsky Movements from La Baisée du Fée, Arturs Makats’ Tango and Bruckner Symphony No 4 in E flat . There will also be a sale of Christmas goodies!
Tickets are available on the door and further information is available
Juliet Abrahamson

your FIRE station needs you!        Top

ALL of the fire cover in South Cambridgeshire is provided by Retained Fire Stations. That’s five stations wholly crewed by part time firefighters - one of which is Linton.
Retained Firefighters are men and women who are on-call at certain times during the week. They may be on call in their own time or in work time (with the support of their employer).
Retained Firefighters can expect to attend fires, road traffic accidents and support all kinds of other incidents and are able to provide a service to friends and neighbours in a very practical way.
Unfortunately, this service is not running at its full capacity, which can lead to delays in attending fires. We rely upon people in the local community to keep this service running and are in urgent need of Retained Firefighters for Linton and the surrounding areas.
We can offer a satisfying, exciting and varied career as a firefighter with the aim of: "protecting people and property from fire and other hazards in the most safe, competent and effective manner". To be eligible you must: be at least 18 years of age (there is no upper age limit but retirement is at age 55), live or work within five minutes travelling time of your local fire station, be medically and physically fit, have good eyesight and hearing and be literate and numerate.
You will be paid an annual retaining fee (fixed) and a payment for each call-out or additional duties. The fees are currently: firefighter annual retaining fee (1-3 years service) £1,809.00, turn-out fee £13.41, attendance fee £7.28, drill night attendance fee £11.76, extra duties fee (hourly) £5.97.
Recruitment is on-going and we hold approximately five recruitment courses per year. A holding list of suitable candidates runs for two years, and vacancies are filled by people from the holding list. Initial training is a two week course at Huntingdon (Monday to Friday each week), for which loss-of-earnings is payable if you need to take unpaid leave from your employer.
Retained Firefighters must attend a two-hour training session (drill night) once a week, which is on a Wednesday in Linton. Your community needs you.
For more information or if you have any queries or would like to receive a copy of our information pack please call %01480 444539 or 376253 and leave your details. Alternatively, please feel free to attend a drill night and talk to Sub- Officer Alan Baker. Kevin Smith

christmas opening at the sports centre        Top

OVER the Christmas period, Linton Sports Centre will be closed only on Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Years Day. For full details of opening times call 890248.
During this time you can either come and use the sports centre during the day on a casual basis, or children can join in the multi sports mornings from 10am - 12.30pm.
For more information call 890248.
Mark Wilson

WI & war stories        Top

TRICIA welcomed visitors, including a few brave husbands attending the WI November open meeting. An inscribed carafe was presented by Brian Wingfield in memory of his wife Margaret, a former WI member.
Volunteers who had helped at the October jumble sale were thanked and although it was hard work, £155 was raised towards funds.
Eileen Impey read her report on the Autumn Council meeting where guest speaker, Jenny Bond spoke of her 14 years as BBC Royal Correspondent.
Business over, Mike Petty, well-known Cambridge Evening News reporter was introduced. His enthusiastic talk on Cambridge at War 1939-1945 included slides of newspaper reports throughout these war years. The town received many evacuees; some were killed in the first bomb dropped on Cambridge. Students left to join the forces and college laboratories were utilised to develop war weaponry. The Leas School was used as a military hospital and the students evacuated to Scotland.
Many changes took place in Cambridge and despite much sadness and great loss of life during this time, Mike Petty was able to find many amusing incidents to lighten the talk. Anne Simpkin thanked him and mentioned her early years in Cambridge during this time.
2nd December is the next meeting (the Christmas Dinner) and members are asked to bring along a wrapped Christmas present.
Cynthia Norris.

Readers Write        Top

Firework fury

Dear Editor
Anyone with an ounce of common sense must surely realise that a firework display and zoological gardens in such close proximity are not in any way compatible.
Once again, we were sad to see that there was no consideration for the residents of Linton Zoo or other people and animals in the village.
Perhaps only when we present people with the carcase of a rare Siberian Tiger or a Grevy’s Zebra, or of a baby zoo animal that has smashed itself to bits, will people finally consider moving the event further away.
I am sure, within reason, no one has a problem with the prettiness of a display, but it seems that fireworks have to get unacceptably louder and louder to impress and attract.
Kim Simmons
Linton Zoo

wheelie bins, poo bins and buses        Top

Dear Editor
I have never been so cross about anything in my whole life.
My anger started when my front window was broken two weeks ago by a catapult, so I had to call in the police. Adding to my anger is the fact that the new wheelie bins are only emptied once a fortnight, so I have two weeks of dog poo mounting up in my bin as the dog bins around Linton have been destroyed by an arsonist. But the last straw has been the change in the bus service.
I have worked at the Junior School in Abington as a lunchtime supervisor for 11 years but now may have to give up a job I love (and a position that will be difficult to fill) simply because I cannot get there any more
– and I know I am not the only person with this predicament.
Linton and Abington are no longer linked by a bus service, as the 13, that goes through Linton, bypasses Abington, and vice versa with the 13A. I have to walk up to the Police Houses to catch a bus to work, which is a good 20 minutes walk (not so bad in summer, but hard in winter) then take my life into my hands by crossing the A1307. Surely there should have been some consultation between the Stagecoach Head Office and us, the local users of the service. The drivers (who incidentally are as confused by the new timetable as we are) have disliked Linton High Street for a long time, but something needs to be done, now, to stop this nonsense. It’s fine if we want to travel to Haverhill or Cambridge, but Linton and Abington have had strong links for a long time and there is a real danger that the link will be broken.
I am letting your readers know how upset I am, in the hope that it will prompt some residents to write to the local MP.
I love living in Linton, but my husband is threatening to move us out, just to stop me from moaning!
Name and address supplied.

At cross purposes        Top

Dear Editor
What a shame Mr Crofts failed to read my letter correctly.
I am not suggesting the High Street should be closed. What I and the majority at the public meeting voted for was to close the High Street to through traffic which, coupled with the construction of a roundabout would allow through traffic, a safe access on to the main road and avoid the village centre.
M R K Holden

OUR THANKS        Top

Dear Editor
Linton Granta Playgroup and Toddlers had an amazing response to their appeal for a computer and now have a computer up and running. It is already a big hit with the children and will be of great benefit to the playgroup.
We would like to say a big thank you to all those who made offers – especially Sue Lambert of Saffron Walden, Pat Cropper of Hadstock, Kate France of Linton and Will of Hadstock.
Liz Crump

Dear Editor
The Linton and District Branch of Save The Children would like to thank all those who have supported their recent events.  £673 was raised at the concert in West Wratting church and the coffee mornings and sale of Christmas cards and gifts raised £331 in Hildersham and £283 in Linton.
Judith White

the Grade-one-a-thon Challenge        Top

Anne Bradley takes on the clarinet challenge
DID you know that a local piano teacher, Anne Bradley, who also moonlights as a violin player in the Cambridge String Players is taking part in a ‘Grade-one-a-thon’ for charity?
The task is to learn a new instrument (Anne’s choice is the clarinet) in just eight weeks, then take a Grade 1 exam and perform in a concert on 29th February. The participating musicians, who are mostly teachers, are raising money in aid of East Anglia Children’s Hospices (EACH). They hope to raise a lot of money that will be used to help care for terminally ill children, and help their families through bereavement.
If you would like to sponsor Anne you can contact her at 4 Symonds Lane or go online at Anne says "the task promises to be great fun" and adds, "it will also be an interesting
exercise to remind us of what we put our pupils through every lesson!"
Please give generously to this worthwhile cause.
Anne Bradley

have your say        Top

WE now have a new online discussion forum at
There are already a number of things being talked about, like wheelie bins, traffic problems and the firework display.
The idea of this forum is to give everyone a chance to talk about anything, particularly anything to do with the village.
Log on and have your say. Each month we intend to publish a summary of some of the subjects under discussion in Linton News.
For the time being Mandy ( editor) will be keeping an eye on the discussion, but if anyone else would like to take on the job of forum moderator, please let her know.
Don’t be left out... speak up and join in today.
Mandy Honeyman

DON’t throw YOUR OLD boots out!         Top

MY wife Colleen and I are professional advisors to ‘Children in Distress’, a charity set up in 1990 to help children in Romania who are dying of AIDS.
We have just returned from a visit there, where we found a small centre that has just opened in the mountains, providing holidays for under-privileged children from the cities.
They are desperate for Wellington boots and waterproof coats for the children, who are aged from 6 to 16 years.
If there is anyone in the village who has such items that they no longer need, and would like to donate them to this centre, we would be very grateful. Colleen and I will ensure that any donated items do get to the centre.
Please telephone us. If there is no reply when you phone, please leave a message with your name and contact number. Thank you.
Dr Derek Lockstone

it’s Time to tell the village your news        Top

WE can’t help noticing that there has been a decline in articles being submitted to the Linton News recently. Do you have news to share, an event to publicise or an achievement you want everyone to know about? Then why not send it in to us?
The Linton News is the village’s most widely used source of information about events and occurrences within and around Linton. It is delivered free to every house in Linton as well as in Hildersham, Hadstock and Bartlow.
You can write about any subject that will be of interest to our community, whether it be a sponsored bath in a tub full of maggotts or a day in the life of a retained Fireman (now there’s an idea!).
We prefer the articles to be written by you so that the paper better reflects individual personalities but if you would prefer us to help, we will!
Articles can be placed in the Linton News box at the post office or emailed to the Editor at
The deadline for the January issue is 8th December (due to Christmas holidays). So come on, tell the village your news. We look forward to hearing from you! LNT

A fruitful venture        Top

Many people enjoy the fresh produce available at the market

A YEAR of success has followed the decision made by Steve Barker and Charlie Baker to start up a Farmers’ market at Chilford Hall. 
Following the huge success of the Farmers’ market in Long Melford, Steve, and Charlie, (who readers may have visited at his organic farm on the A1307 at Abington) decided to bring the same facilities to the villages around Linton. The biggest problem was finding a suitable venue, but the central barn at Chilford Hall has proved to be just the place.
Since starting the Farmers’ market in September last year, numbers of visitors have steadily increased, from around 200 to over 500. The market operates from 10a.m. until 1p.m. on the first Saturday of the month and December’s market will provide local people with the opportunity to pick up a few original and unusual presents for friends and family for Christmas.
The stalls incorporate a large range of products from fresh fish, meat, vegetables and cheeses to organically baked bread, fresh herbs and deliciously made cakes and preserves.  "We had hoped it would be successful", said Charlie, "but it has become a popular trip for many people who enjoy really good, unprocessed and wholesome food."
Jan Lupton

eyes down        Top

HOW often do friends recommend a book as a ‘really good read,’ and you mean to track it down but don’t quite get round to it? Since joining the Linton Reading Group I’ve enjoyed several books I would never have chosen myself.
I became interested in the Group when I heard they had read Jules Verne’s ‘Around the World in Eighty Days’ which had led me on to ‘Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea."
I visited Wigan Pier to see why it was a Music Hall joke as a result of the Group recommending Bill Bryson’s ‘Notes from a Small Island,’ but I found John Grisham’s ‘The Firm’ rather frightening.
The six-weekly meetings in the Dog & Duck (next meeting 7th January, buy your own drink) are fairly casual and are for discussing the current two books and suggesting ideas for the next library loan. Members read either or both books, providing the library can obtain sufficient copies.
Everyone is welcome providing they hold membership of Cambridgeshire Library - joining is simply a matter of visiting the library with identification and completing a short form.
The chosen books are loaned to members for a six month period – presumably Cambridgeshire Libraries think we are very slow readers!
Kate France

START your new year’s resolutions early        Top

AROUND Christmas, people start thinking about what will happen to them in the next year. Sometimes there are worries for the older adult about their mobility; maybe the middle aged think everything is ‘heading south’ (not just for the winter); the younger person may be worried about getting into their swimming costume next summer. If you come along to The Fitness Suite you will receive an induction into how to use the equipment and be given advice that is specific to your needs. So no matter what your age, from 14 - 90, we will help you achieve your goals for the coming year. You will start to see results within 6 weeks of starting to do some exercise. For those just getting back on their feet there’s the GP Referral scheme. If you would like to buy yourself (or someone else) a different Christmas present, then why not consider membership. Call 890248 for more information.
Mark Wilson

Autumnal Wonders        Top

Tracey Wilson captures a fleeting autumn moment. (photo: Jan Shambrook)
THE spectacular colours and tantalising light of this autumn were captured by Camera Club members with a wonderful visit to Houghton and Houghton Mill, between St Ives and Wyton, on 9th November.
The scenes, rich in reds and yellows and including the historic mill, combined with the kind, if cold, weather to make it another very successful photographic expedition.
Overall the Sunday morning produced some spectacular pictures – even from those of us, like me, who are not expert but just ‘point and click’ to see what comes out.
Houghton, like Linton, has some wonderful old buildings as well as a river. Our subjects included a fisherman, lady rowers being trained, old soldiers assembling for the Remembrance Day Service, and a host of other eye catching subjects.
Members who went on the trip included new member Richard Smith – if you are interested in photography, you will be very welcome at the Camera Club, which meets every second Sunday of the month.
Mostly, we get out to take photographs but our next meeting will be at 10am on 14th December at the Social Centre. We will be showing photographs and enjoying a glass of something seasonal – why not come along and meet your fellow village snappers?
More information is available from John Keeble or you can see our 2004 programme at our website at, or you can just turn up for the next meeting.
Jan Shambrook

warden scheme scores ace marks        Top

OUR Mobile Warden has been working in Linton for two years now, helping older people stay independent within their own homes. The scheme is part of Activities and Care for the Elderly, a charity run by volunteers, aimed to fill a gap in care provision not covered by the NHS or Social Services. We had originally expected 20 clients, but with extra funding we were able to increase this to 25. However, there are currently 29 clients.
The Warden (employed by Age Concern Cambridge, another charity) is trying to help wherever possible as need arises but there remains a waiting list. New clients are taken on according to medical or social need, but we do not have the resource to help everyone. We estimated that each year over 7,000 contacts/visits are made – a hefty workload for anyone! Thanks are due to the Warden for her hard work and for the difference she has made to so many lives.
The results of the Parish Plan questionnaire gave us good ratings – we were placed amongst the professional and statutory services, although we are a voluntary community group. That so many more people responded to the question than are actually on the scheme, shows that the village is aware of us. However, if you have concerns or have ideas to help us to improve, then let us know. Next time we want a 100% approval rating!
The warden scheme is funded by grants from Cambridgeshire County, South Cambs District and Linton Parish Councils, from contributions from clients, donations (one of £160 was gratefully received) and fund raising. Many thanks to all who help us – your help is much appreciated. Extra volunteers are always welcome, particularly with the social events, so if you could help us contact Enid.
The social events will continue, using funds raised locally, but we are hoping that the grant applications will be successful.
The next event is a trip to Scotsdales on 11th December, leaving the Social Centre at 1 o’clock. The coach is free and all older people are welcome. Please book with Gill/Dawn on 891001.
A meeting is planned for the New Year – light refreshments and a speaker or entertainment – to add a little joie de vivre post-Christmas. Details will be posted when we have had inspiration and the effects of the Christmas spirits and puds have worn off. Enid Bald

A messy business        Top

HAVE you noticed that all the dog poo bins in Linton have disappeared and all that is left are bare posts?
To us dog lovers this annoyance is all due to a 10p box of matches in the wrong hands destroying bins and causing inconvenience to dog owners and, I suspect, other members of our parish.
To replace all the bins is going to cost over £2200 and the Parish Council is unable to replace them until next year’s budget.
The first edition of the News had dog mess as an issue and unfortunately 16 years later it is still with us.
Graham Potter

brownies find fun on the farm        Top

The members of 1st Linton Brownies enjoying their day out
ON 18th October, 16 children and nine adults could be seen piling into their cars about to make their way to Wimpole Hall and Home Farm. This group of people consisted of the families and members of the 1st Linton Brownie Pack.
The day was a great success, thanks to the wonderful weather and the enthusiasm of all the children, who were delighted to spend the morning at the Home Farm, seeing the feeding of the pigs, goats, chickens and many other animals. The group then went on to Wimpole Hall, learning about the historical elements of the building and its grounds. The children were able to take advantage of the outdoor equipment as well as enjoying the Victorian toys inside the house. Everyone said what a fantastic time they had.
1st Linton Brownies would welcome any other girls aged 7-10 years; the pack meet on a Monday evening in the Linton Infants School hall from 6-7.30pm. If you would like more information, come along to one our meetings. Sian Thorne

community service for master rotter        Top

SEVENTY-ONE year old Andy Booth, known to many Linton children from his days as Lollipop Man at the Infants’ School, is becoming a Master Rotter.
When he heard of his elderly neighbours’ reluctance to accept the new green wheelie bins, he thought of starting a communal compost heap in his front garden.
Andy applied for Master Composter training sessions with HDRA Consultants, working in partnership with Cambridge city, district and county councils. He attended Hinchingbrooke Country Park to learn the theory of composting as part of waste management and visited Ryton Organic Gardens near Coventry for a practical session on techniques of home composting.
To gain a Master Composter’s Certificate Andy now has to give 30 hours community service promoting composting by talks, demonstrations or practical help.  He is therefore keen for people to contact him by phone , or by e-mailing him at andy or to call at 9 Chalklands, Linton.
Andy can show videos, provide literature and help start a home compost bin. He says his neighbours need never use the green wheelie bins and could produce useful compost in their discarded dustbins.
Kate France


MORE than 20 teams took part in a Quiz’n’Cakes afternoon organised by the Friends of Linton Heights last month. Over £220 was raised, to be contributed towards computer equipment and extra-curricular activities.
Keith Savill, quizmaster, set a series of questions on subjects from general knowledge to song lyrics, including a particularly challenging ‘mystery face’ round.
The winning team, Drinking Salad, which consisted of members of the Glover, Omand-Lewis and Orriss families, were presented with a trophy and bottles of champagne, while the best children’s team won a big box of sweets to share. Throughout the afternoon, members served mulled wine and a staggering variety of home-made cakes, which ensured that nobody went home hungry! Tony Kelly

the bush telegraph        Top

WHAT a difference a week makes! This time last week the anticipation and to some extent anxiety about the impending Ofsted inspection of the College was increasing by the hour. Twelve inspectors were to spend the best part of four days getting into every aspect of the College that they could. They arrived, along with the rain and the gloomy days of the last week, and set up their base in the Chilford Room. This meant that several adult classes had to be moved but they were insistent that they needed plenty of space to meet, lay out their papers and write. Large amounts of pupils' work was gathered for them and a detailed schedule of meetings and interviews drawn up to enable them to meet as many staff, pupils, governors and parents as they felt they needed to.
For the team the early part of the inspection is all about evidence gathering and they wade through huge amounts from the pupil work already mentioned to policy documents, the questionnaires and the school's own internal evaluations. Then the lesson observations begin. Days two and three are largely given over to these although they can happen at any time during the inspection. Within this time lots of informal discussions and meetings take place to test out any emerging themes or issues. In our case a large number of pupils were included in the discussions and I am delighted to say that the inspectors were very impressed indeed by their willingness to talk in depth about life at LVC.
So now, as I write this (late again), it's all over and the preliminary findings have been shared with us. I cannot go in- to detail, that will have to wait until the publication of the final report in January, but things are looking very good indeed. And that 'very good is deliberately chosen because in Ofsted-speak it has a specific meaning. It's just short of 'excellent' which is as near to perfection as can be achieved and consequently, very rare. It's nice to be able to say that among all the 'very good' judgements of LVC, there is a healthy scattering of 'excellent's. So for LVC this inspection has been an uplifting and confirming experience. Stress levels were very high but the outcome has been just what we hoped for. I believe the same can be said for the Heights and the Infant school both of whom have been inspected in the same period.
But (have you noticed there's always a but?) you have to ask if this intense and time consuming process is really needed for schools that the data tell us are already doing well. Should not the full monty be kept for those schools that are struggling and need the investment of time that goes with inspection, advice and guidance? Is it sensible to distribute the £200 million that school inspections cost each year, in this way? Answers on one side of A4 to Her Majesty's Chief Inspector please, not me!
Clive Bush, Principal


AZTEC'S will be holding their popular New Year's Eve Dance at Linton Village College, eight 'til Late. There will be a disco and karaoke plus buffet raffle and bar.
This year it will be fancy dress (optional) with a theme of Cowboys and Indians, so come get your stomping boots on and join in the fun!
Tickets are only available in advance and will sell fast. Contact Peter Belsom to reserve yours.
Max Penfold


ANDREW Peters' captivating talk on the gardens of Western Scotland came as a surprise to many who hadn't realised that the area enjoys special climatic conditions which allow almost sub-tropical planting. Given the right protection from winds and salt-laden air provided by a combination of shrubs and managed taller trees, plants native to South America, South Africa, China and the Himalayas will flourish.
Surprisingly, Ullapool is almost on the same latitude as Leningrad which has great contrast between summer and winter weather, but the Gulf stream facilitates a mild and moist climate all year for the west coast of Scotland where you could be fooled into thinking that you are visiting a garden in Singapore. Giant redwoods also thrive; indeed all species seem to grow much bigger than we are used to seeing in England.
Mr Peters, now a garden designer, trained at the Botanic gardens in Cambridge and can boast a spell as head gardener at Michael Heseltine's private garden in Northamptonshire. However, his recommendation to visit these islands with unpronounceable names came with a warning that a good stomach is definitely an asset when travelling on the ferries!
This month's get-together will be a social evening with members' slides and a quiz accompanied by mince pies and mulled wine (please bring a glass). We hope to meet up with all our members, and visitors will be very welcome.
Gloria Fidler

K-Club winners        Top

THE winners of November's K-Club monthly draw:
1st (£50) Jackie Hall (No. 117); 2nd (£25) J Rossiter (No. 235); 3rd (£10) John Harpur (No. 030)

LINTON COUNTRY DIARY by Darryl Nantais Illustrated by Maureen Williams         Top

IN all the precious years we've known, can you remember such gold and bronze and copper hanging from the trees? If ancient Incas and Egyptian Pharaohs could wake and see, green with envy they would be! The weather experts claim October was the coldest for ten years, yet also the sunniest. And now they say look out at night upon clear skies, for a chance to see the Northern lights. Alas, time has flown and soon we will illume for the sake of peace and Christ. Some of you have asked me why the leaves change their colours and what produces such stunning autumn tones. Well, to be honest I could fill the entire Linton news with the full explanation so here is my concise version. During spring and summer the leaves work like little factories transforming carbon- dioxide and water into carbohydrates, like sugar and starch, as food for the tree. Some cells in the leaf contain that almost magical chemical chlorophyll which turns sunlight into the energy needed for this process. It is the chlorophyll which gives the leaf its green colour and masks others, but in autumn and winter this chemical breaks down revealing pigments such as carotenes, as found in carrots. Further chemical changes take place creating those brilliant reds, more evident when cold and sunny but not freezing.
A friend and I have been chasing golden sunsets. Driving here and there to capture on film the recent spectacular events in the Cambridgeshire skies. For instance, the clouds change their form with such rapidity in that last twenty minutes of sundown, but it is then one has the chance to experience a moment of ultra- splendour as the suns rays skim and highlight the rise of land around Linton. The long rays of autumn's light paint the trees with changing colours unlike any other season.
Once again my eye is drawn towards that beautiful old plane tree by The Dog & Duck, for it reacts like no other tree I know! Little by little without a whisper it sheds its bark and with it, so some say, all the toxic pollutants absorbed over the year, thus protecting the main body. As the bark falls away it creates an exotic patchwork and when the sunlight catches the freshly exposed surface of bough and trunk, white and dazzling, a veritable masterpiece is born. Something else I note is unusual about this tree! The winter buds form within a kind of sheath ready for next spring from which will emerge a hairy leaf. In some parts of France, at one point in time, it was forbidden to plant a plane tree near a school. This came about I suspect from concerns over the tiny hairs that drop from the leaves and fruit believed to cause breathing problems and give people colds. No fear of that here, as the damp atmosphere soon brings the hairs to ground. Everything about this tree seems geared to maximise its survival. One might question why this particular tree above so many has developed such a complex and elaborate life security system?
The village firework displays came and went in a flash! I've never quite worked out what it is we are celebrating. Is it the failure, or the attempt of Guy Fawkes' plot? How's that for freedom of choice?
Whilst the fires died to but a glow and the air hung heavy with spent gunpowder, a fitting and natural phenomenon occurred for viewing by night-owls such as myself. The earth cast a dark shadow over the brilliant moon who dressed in a triple halo during a lunar eclipse. The full moon for a while could be seen as a shimmering copper disc which brought us to Remembrance Sunday.
Merry Christmas everyone!

Linton 11+ Club Open Over Christmas        Top

FOLLOWING their successful summer and autumn term pre- and after school clubs, Linton 11+ Club will again be opening their doors to children during the Christmas holidays. Originally for 11year olds and upwards only, the club is now able to accept 10 year olds, with siblings as young as 8 years. For more information and booking on the Christmas and term - time activities, call Mark Wilson


View from the Chair

LOCAL democracy is one of those concepts that is fine in theory, but hard in practice. People have busy lives, too busy to be involved in all aspects of local affairs, which is why we deal with these matters. But some issues are so important that they need the direct input of everyone affected – the residents, the ratepayers.
As you can see from Mike Gee’s article on policing support, the Parish Council felt unable to reach a decision on whether to fund a PCSO. We had no overall view of the efficacy of this type of policing, which would involve a significant increase in the Parish rate. We also feel strongly that the village is not being properly policed as part of the underfunding of police services in Cambridgeshire by central government. It was felt that the opinion of the village was needed as the impact could be significant and long term. The running of the village is not just in the hands of the Parish Council, but is the responsibility of us all; your opinion will help us in this decision. Do you want to pay extra tax for this extra level of protection?
To meet Quality Status criteria we need to increase the interest and involvement of villagers in local issues. Parish Council meetings are open to all, with time set aside for public participation. We have the annual Parish Meeting, and now there is a suggestion that there should be "surgeries" with the committee chairmen. Open meetings will continue to be called to discuss particular issues. For instance, the future of the area of land next to Paynes Meadow will soon be debated with residents, Hundred Housing and other interested parties. We will soon be meeting to set the parish precept, deciding how much money is needed and how this could be best spent. Councillors will submit projects for consideration, ongoing ventures will apply for support, etc. Local groups can also apply for grants to fund capital items; requests should be sent to the Parish Clerk by 9th December, if your group needs support. The running of the village is a matter for us all, not just when it comes to election time. Your thoughts and opinions will help us to make the correct decisions.
Enid Bald


The Council urgently needs your views!

Local police officers
A POLICE presence permanently in Linton, and our very own Traffic Warden as well. Marvellous! Is there is catch? Of course there is but it may just be worth it.
Police Community Support Officers are the new idea from Government – their job will be somewhere between a policeman and a traffic warden. At the moment six of them are designated for 50 villages in the district jointly funded by Central Government and South Cambridgeshire District Council.
Half a dozen PCSO’s, as they are being called, will hardly make a difference between all those villages. However, there is the opportunity to have their presence all the time in Linton – if we are prepared to pay for one or more.
And the cost – just £27,300 a year each! The second catch is a recommendation that it would be better to have at least two to cover Linton over a reasonable period of time each day. In other words, a PCSO will need time to do paper work, have lunch and tea breaks, or dinner and supper breaks, and would not be on the streets even six hours in every 24.
However, many will feel that the cost may be worth it. At the moment we are lucky to see our local PC for a few minutes every day if that. There is no doubt that a permanent PCSO would make a difference to those things which are so aggravating in the village – parking on double yellow lines, vandalism, underage drinking, etc. It is important to understand that a PCSO will have limited powers of arrest, but will be able to levy parking tickets and other fines.
Our precept (the rate charged by the Parish Council) for 2003-2004 is around £84,000 and with all our obligations there will be nothing left to employ a PCSO. So basically it would mean a large increase in the Parish rates – around £16.10 per household – for just one PCSO.
The question is are you willing to pay the extra for somebody to help keep the peace in the village?
LET US KNOW through the Parish Council Tel: 891001, Fax: 891001, email or call in the office and give our Clerk, Gill Barker, your views.
Mike Gee

Council minutescouncilminutescouncil        Top

Minutes of Linton Parish Council Meeting held on Thursday 6th November.
THERE were ten Councillors and three members of the public present.
In public participation Mr Atkinson (CBO for Fulbourn) wished to seek support from Council regarding rail renewal, particularly between Haverhill and Cambridge. He reported on two action groups currently working toward the same goal, one for the Haverhill to Cambridge extension, and one for the St Ives to Cambridge line. He advised that a market research campaign is already underway with over £15,000 raised toward the cost. It is being organised by an independent company from Norwich and will last 12 weeks. Both groups are trying to change the policy of CCC with regard to the guided bus project which is very expensive. Mr Atkinson feels that the renewal of the railway would be a cheaper option. With regard to usage, Mr Atkinson specifically feels that attendees of Cambridge Regional College, which number over 16,000, could benefit. He also reported that Haverhill was the second largest town without a rail link. The Chairman thanked Mr Atkinson for his comments and sought any questions from Councillors. These included whether there was much ‘track’ land to buy back; whether the guided bus system was any more expensive; whether there would be planning implications. The Chairman then proposed that this item be placed on the Agenda for a future meeting to be discussed further. This was agreed by the meeting.
The Planning Committee minutes were considered with no queries.
Within reports from Co-ordinators:- Cllr Clay reported that the footpaths between Rhugrave Gardens and Bartlow Road, and Bartlow Road and Granta Vale had both been extensively cleared of overhanging flora. Wheatsheaf Way had been resurfaced in part, and is much better. Cllr Kenyon reported that on the recreation ground there was a
Golden Jubilee tree which is broken, a large amount of broken glass, and a child running round the play equipment with burning paper, close to the Skateboard equipment. The Clerk advised that the Village Custodian had cleared the glass that morning. Cllr Rossiter reported a tree down in Rivey Lane. The Clerk has notified the land owner. Cllr Cox reported that prior to the recent rain Leadwell Meadows had been in good condition. Dr Rossiter then reported that, in conjunction with the Parish Plan, she had organised for a Biodiversity Officer from SCDC to come and appraise certain village areas, including Leadwell Meadows, with regard to ensuring that any Action Plan formulated for the village was feasible. Cllr Rossiter also reported that there was to be a public meeting to discuss the results of the village questionnaire on 19th November, 7.30 pm at Linton Village College.
It was reported that due to the resignation of Mrs Read as a Parish Councillor, the Council had been requested to appoint a new trustee for the Charles and Mary Anderson Trust. Discussion took place and as a result the meeting agreed the appointment of Cllr Kenyon.
Council then considered the notes of the Steering Group meeting held on 23rd September, with a copy of the updated Action Plan. The Clerk then reported on a further meeting held to update James Paice, MP, on the steering group’s work. There is to be a meeting of the full Traffic group with James Paice and CCC officials on 16th January. It was further reported that the proposal for alteration to parking in the High Street was about to go to formal public consultation with a notice in the Cambridge Evening News. Consultation will take three weeks. There were no queries.
A report had been circulated regarding options of where to hold Council meetings in the future. Discussion took place during which it was noted that to maintain disabled access to all meetings it was necessary to remain at the Cathodeon Centre. This was agreed by the meeting.
The payments due list was circulated. Cllr Cox proposed that the payments, as listed, be made. This was agreed by the meeting. Cllrs Cox and Potter signed the cheques.
From the correspondence received the following were noted particularly:- A letter regarding a fire in the cemetery. This was to be forwarded to the local Police. Linton Music Society had sent two complimentary tickets for a concert - a note of thanks was to be forwarded to the Society. Zurich Insurers’ copy of a playground inspection report with no defects requiring immediate repair. A request from CCC/Libraries for funding toward the ‘Summer Reading Challenge 2004’. This was discussed and as a result it was agreed to fund £100 toward this project. Cllr Gore reported that at a recent Cathodeon Centre trustees meeting the library usage figures for Linton had been discussed and were causing concern. Anything which encourages library usage is to be encouraged.
Under any other business Cllr Gore reported contact from a number of local residents with regard to the alteration to the Service 113 buses. The main concern was the lack of inter-village transport. Cllr Clay reported that the spring bulbs had arrived. He and Cllr Gee are to organise planting.
The meeting closed at 21.15.


Val Urwin

I MOVED to Linton 19 years ago in order that my husband could set up a new veterinary practice for Linton and surrounding villages. Since that time I have seen substantial development both within Linton and also Haverhill. I accept that an increase in population does help to preserve existing amenities which then benefits the whole community. However, I feel that this must be balanced carefully with the down side. One major negative aspect being the concomitant increase in traffic which brings with it congestion, noise and air pollution.
I have been a Councillor for over nine years and have always been concerned with the negative side of traffic. The Parish Council have for many years worked very hard on traffic issues and in fact one of our successes was the setting up of the excellent Access 1307 group which came about as a direct result of a public meeting we organised. Currently, the Parish Council, Access 1307 and the newly formed Traffic Steering Group are all now working towards improving the traffic situation throughout Linton.
I feel very strongly, however, that any traffic management alteration must ensure the character of Linton is maintained and the exceptional conservation area preserved for future generations to enjoy as we do today.

Vice Chairman of Finance        Top

Simon Alper

LINTON is a large community, but we are still trying to catch up with the developments that have taken place in terms of matching amenities and facilities. I do not have a particular ‘big idea’ about what should happen – maybe that will come later – but I would like to help improve Linton as a place to live and to ensure that good ideas for improvements get supported. I am particularly interested in environmental issues.
I would particularly like to make sure that our views and needs as a community are heard, and acted upon, at District Council level.



Council minutescouncilminutescouncil        Top
Minutes of Meeting held on Thursday 16th October.

THERE were 13 Councillors present, with Dr Bear (CC), Mrs Smith (DC) and four residents.
In public participation resident Mr Lee raised concerns regarding the issue of light pollution at the new development in Balsham Road. Further to the recent complaints, all exterior lights had been switched off. This was causing problems for the residents. Granta Housing have now switched all the lights back on. Cllr Potter reported that the original issue was the large yellow light placed on the side of the building, and not the individual security lights for residents.
The Clerk was to contact Granta Housing to try to resolve the situation.
Mr Lane congratulated the Council on the first issue of ‘Parish Council Matters’, a page within the Linton News, in which he had noted mention of regular meetings with County Highways officers, under the heading of ‘Linton Steering Group’. He queried whether he could obtain a copy of the ‘Action Plan’ that this group is working with. Cllr Urwin then gave an update on the Steering Group’s work and reported that copies of the Action Plan are available from the office, or could be forwarded by email. Mr Lane then specifically queried the status of proposed improvements to Back Road/Balsham Road junction. He had noted that costings for this were £56K. He asked for the timescale. Cllr Urwin replied that this was one of a number of issues currently being investigated by the Steering Group. The costings had placed this issue outside of the County’s jointly funded minor improvement scheme ‘pot’ and it would now have to wait to be placed on the ‘October List’, the next ‘pot’ of money available, in 2004/05. The October List, which covered the whole County, was a list of schemes costing between £25K and £300K. Only two or three schemes were agreed to be actioned from this list annually, and it would depend where this scheme was on the list as to when it would be given the go-ahead. The Chairman thanked Mr Lane for his comments. Cllr Potter then reported that feedback to the Linton News team regarding the new Council page within the Linton News was essential for its survival, and he asked residents to make their views known.
Under matters arising from the minutes of the previous meeting the Chairman queried whether DC Mrs Smith had found a Linton resident to accompany her to SCDC Scrutiny Committee with regard to the ‘call-in’ of the feasibility study for Linton Swimming Pool. Mrs Smith reported that whilst it was not essential, if there was a resident who was able to attend to speak on behalf of the need for the swimming pool study, they should contact her quickly. Mrs Smith then reported that at the recent AGM for Linton Area Pool Project (LAPP) it had been agreed that they would like to utilise the original grant of £1,000 from the Parish Council to put toward any feasibility study. Discussion took place regarding the need for a study, and as a result agreed by the meeting after a vote.
The report from the Police showed there had been 14 crimes reported during September. Discussion took place during which it was reported that the ‘Calls for Service’ requests was no longer being shown. The Clerk was to request that this figure be re-instated. Cllr Hammett queried which number should actually be called if a resident wished to report any incident. It was noted that for emergencies 999 should always be used, but if reporting an incident then residents could ring C. 358966, always ensuring they receive an Incident Reference Number.
The Chairman reported that Linton now had its own Neighbourhood Watch Cluster Co-ordinator, Mr Booth, and encouraged others to get involved.
Dr Bear reported, further to the email from the Clerk regarding the impending changes to Service 113 buses, that at a recent meeting with Stagecoach it was apparent that they were being hard nosed about the changes they required. It was not apparent whether they realised the significance of the changes with regard to the inter-village connection. At this time, the results of the capacity study carried out in the previous week, were not available. The Clerk reported no direct response from CCC regarding the Parish Council’s letter of concerns. Dr Bear then reported regarding the Police Community Service Officers. This new post had come about due to the Government decriminalising parking offences. County Councils could now take over this responsibility and provide their own traffic wardens. CCC had decided to trial decriminalisation within the City only, and the results of that would determine whether the other areas within Cambridgeshire would follow suit. Discussion took place regarding this during which it was noted there was no exact timetable for the trial; any funding of Police Authority PCSO’s by government would cease in 2006; all fines collected within the City would go toward the budget for funding traffic wardens there. This information was to be borne in mind for a later agenda item. Dr Bear then reported that he had been selected as a member for the Probation Service Board.
The reports from District Councillors followed. Mrs Smith reported that, with regard to the ‘call-in’ of the decision by SCDC not to fund a feasibility study for a Linton Swimming Pool, the Scrutiny Committee would only be deciding whether the original decision should stand. If they decided it should not, the issue would return to SCDC Cabinet to decide again. She queried whether there were any results from the Parish Plan questionnaire regarding the pool which could be used to assist. Cllr Rossiter replied that the questionnaire data had now been collated and returned to the group, but was not yet released to the public. However, she confirmed that the data showed great support for a swimming pool.
Mr Batchelor reported that SCDC wheelie bins were being delivered in the village. The first collection day was Monday 3rd November, beginning with the black bin. Inside each bin was a ‘flyer’ detailing what should be placed in each type of bin.
It was further reported that within the SCDC magazine, delivered to each household, was a diary planner showing the relevant collection dates. Mrs Smith queried whether there had been any problems reported with regard to the Wheelie Bin Hotline. Cllr Batchelor and the Clerk reported no such problems in Linton. Cllr Hammett queried whether the survey of the High Street collection regarding the new bins was complete and requested that the collection of bags from those premises still using them was carried out in early mornings to ensure the High Street footpath was clear for school times. Both DC’s agreed to check this.
The Planning and Finance Committee minutes were considered with no queries.
The notes of the Traffic Working Party from 2nd October had been circulated. There were two recommendations to Full Council:-
1. Letter to CCC regarding the proposal for improvements to the Back Road/Balsham Road junction seeking urgent attention to this from whatever funding source possible.
2. Letter to CCC/LEA regarding disabled access from Stantons Lane into LVC, possibly through Safer Routes to School.
Discussion took place regarding these issues and as a result it was agreed that the recommendations be approved and the letters sent.
The Chairman then reported on a planning application regarding 38 High Street which involved land owned by the PC. She then invited Cllr Cox to give the history of the site. Cllr Cox explained that the Council owned the Market Square and had entered into a Deed of Easement with the then owners of properties bordering the site in 1984 granting them certain rights. Subsequent to that, the owners of 38 High Street had been rented two parking spaces. It was apparent that the owners were now leasing their property to a small business, along with the parking spaces. The problem was that the planning application showed three parking spaces as reserved. A site visit had been made. Discussion took place regarding this issue and as a result Cllr Gore proposed that the comments should be that the Parish Council believe that the owners of 38 High Street do not have rights to three parking spaces on the adjacent parking area. The dotted line on the plan is incorrect and a correct copy, along with a copy of the original Deed of Easement should be enclosed. This was agreed by the meeting. It was further proposed that a copy of these comments should be forwarded to the owners of 38 High Street.
The Chairman then reported that, with regard to Paynes Meadow open space, a date for a public meeting had now been agreed as Tuesday 25th November. It was to be held at the Social Centre at 8pm. It was agreed the Clerk would organise publicity.
A request to assist funding for Police Community Support Officers had been received. The Chairman had issued a report on the meeting with Cambs Police regarding the above. During discussion a number of Councillors voiced their concerns with regard to cost, time spent within the village in relation to the cost, control, situation if Parish could not fund in the future, lack of information with regard to present situation in relation to that proposed and where funding presently in place for traffic wardens was being redirected if not to PCSO’s. Further to the discussion it was summed up by one Councillor as ‘damned if we fund, and damned if we don’t’. As a result of discussion, Cllr Cornell proposed that an article be written for the Parish page of the Linton News giving as much information as possible to residents, with both pros and cons, and seeking views about the proposal to raise the precept to fund PCSO’s. This was seconded by Cllr Gee, who volunteered to write the article.
The payments due list was circulated and agreed by the meeting. Cllrs Potter and Cox signed the cheques.
Of the correspondence received the following was particularly noted: the Audit for the previous year was complete; a request from a resident of the Heights for a salt box; an invitation from LVC to attend an award ceremony - the Council offered its congratulations to LVC on its own award.
Under any other business, Cllr Alper queried when the issue regarding where Council meetings are held would return to the Agenda. The Clerk reported investigations were still continuing into what options there were and once these were complete the issue would come forward again.
Mr Gore, having been away at the last meeting, reported his concern in the proposed changes with the local Service 113 buses.
Cllr Cornell wished it noted that Mrs Newman, the part time office assistant had coped very well the previous week during the Clerk’s holiday. This was agreed by the meeting and would be passed on to Mrs Newman.
The Chairman then reported on the recent spate of arson attacks on street furniture. The total cost to the local taxpayers of replacement was up to £2,200. Discussion took place and as a result Cllr Potter proposed that no replacement of the dog bins take place at this stage. Cllr Gore further proposed that the whole issue should wait until Precept. This was seconded by Cllr Gee and agreed by the meeting.
Cllr Potter reminded all Councillors that the Precept meeting had been set for
10th December and that any ‘bids’ for projects for the next financial year had to be with himself and the Clerk by 1st December.
The meeting closed at 22.22.

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