Author Archives: Eric Rayner

Thorney couple escape Tunisia terror attack


A couple from Thorney were caught up in the terrorist attack in Tunisia on Friday.

Joe and Shirley Church, who live in Station Road, were flown home on Saturday.

It has been reported that Shirley has a leg injury and will have medical treatment in the UK.

A lone gunman targeted holidaymakers in Sousse on Friday, killing 38 people and injuring many more, before being shot dead by Tunisian police.

French Farm wind turbines – decision delayed

Site of the proposed wind turbines at French Farm

A decision on whether to allow an additional four wind turbines to be built at French Farm has been put back to the end of July.

A decision was expected three weeks earlier, but the new Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Greg Clark, has delayed the decision to allow time for more comments to be submitted.

The Conservative manifesto made a number of commitments regarding onshore wind-farms which promised to make it harder for them to get planning permission. In a statement made on Thursday (June 18), Mr Clark said:

“Local planning authorities should only grant permission if the site is in an area identified as suitable for wind energy development in a Local or Neighbourhood Plan; and following consultation, it can be demonstrated that the planning impacts identified by affected local communities have been fully addressed and therefore the proposal has their backing.”

The new guidance says that because French Farm has already been through the planning process, the local planning authority (in this case Peterborough City Council) can find the proposal acceptable if, following consultation, they are satisfied it has addressed the planning impacts identified by affected local communities and therefore has their backing.

The Secretary of State is now asking for comments relating to his statement and revised planning advice. He says he will take those comments into consideration in making his decision.

The deadline is July 3 and a decision on whether the additional four turbines can be built will be made by July 31.

Mr Clark’s statement can be read here.

The revised planning guidance on wind-farms can be read here.

There is already planning permission in place for two turbines at French Farm, French Drove (to the north of the village), but the developers – REG Windpower – applied for permission to build four more. The application was approved by Peterborough City Council, but “called in” by the Secretary of State following the intervention of Peterborough MP Stewart Jackson.

This meant that the city council’s decision was set aside and the application would be decided by a planning inspector, with the Secretary of State having the final decision.

Help MAGPAS say women whose lives were saved

Rebekha is pictured at a MAGPAS fund-raising event last month next to retired Thorney GP, Dr Nick Jackson, who helped save her life 20 years ago.

A Thorney woman is asking people to get behind a fund-raising campaign for MAGPAS, the charity which aims to provide specialist medical help to assist NHS ambulances at accidents.

Louise Cade wants people to support Rebekha Cheshire, who is doing a five-kilometre run this weekend in aid of MAGPAS.

The two young women were both treated by Thorney doctors supported by the charity after being involved in dreadful accidents in the village.

Louise was just eight when she and her sister Sally were hit by a car crossing the road from the school bus.

She takes up the story: “Our three local doctors (Dr Nick Jackson, Dr Andrew Knights and Dr Simon Richards) all volunteered for MAGPAS and were on the scene, followed by two ambulances. Sally and I were taken to hospital and doctors were unsure if we were able to make it through the night.

“After much fighting Sally passed away but her memory lives on! I also passed away but came back, although my parents were told I would probably not walk and talk in the same way again. This has never held me back.

“At Sally’s funeral my family decided to ask people not to bring flowers but to donate money to MAGPAS to help buy live-saving equipment to help others. The money that was raised meant MAGPAS could buy more equipment to help others and indeed it did.”

Fund-raising T-shirt produced by Louise in memory of her sister Sally

Fund-raising T-shirt produced by Louise in memory of her sister Sally

The following year Rebekha Cheshire, then just two years old, was seriously injured when her mum’s car crashed just outside Thorney.

“I had a severe head injury and I was not expected to survive. My mum was later told that I had suffered two severe bleeds in my brain, and that in the ambulance on the way to hospital my heart had stopped beating twice,” said Rebekha.

“It was two local GPs – Dr Jackson and Dr Knights – volunteering for MAGPAS that day that came out to the accident and saved my life – twice!

“The money that was raised by the Cade family was used to buy a piece of equipment that was used to save my life, so fund-raising really does make a difference.”

Rebekha came out of intensive care on Christmas Day 1994 and spent another two months in hospital. She had to learn how to do everything all over again: talking, walking, eating …

“Twenty years on, I am now 23 and I live an independent life and am proud to say I also have my very own job volunteering at a playgroup. I would not have been able to achieve any of this without the help of my family, friends and two amazing support workers, and of course the two incredible doctors that came to help me that day.

“All MAGPAS staff are volunteers and without their help I would not be here today. So I want to do this run to help raise money so that they can continue doing excellent work in helping people like me.”

Louise said: “Please sponsor her so we have help to save more lives and support our volunteer doctors.”

Rebekha will be running the 5K fun run at Stanwick Lakes on Sunday, June 14. She is hoping to raise £1,250. If you would like to support her, money can be donated online via her Just Giving page. Go to:

Rebekha is pictured at a MAGPAS fund-raising event last month next to retired Thorney GP, Dr Nick Jackson, who helped save her life 20 years ago.

Wisbech Road closed from Monday

Work starts on improving drainage in the east of the village on Monday (June 8).

This will mean that Wisbech Road (B1167) will be closed just to the east of Sandpit Road. The work will take up to four weeks.

The work is a continuation of improvements to the Steward’s House Drain which runs alongside Wisbech Road and takes water from the village out into the surrounding fen. It involves putting a new culvert under the road to divert water to the north of the village where there is better capacity to cope with large flows during heavy rain.

The drain in front of the Duke of Bedford School has already been piped and covered over for safety reasons. The drain in front of houses along Wisbech Road will remain open and act as an additional overflow to prevent flooding.

Ed Johnson, operations engineer at the North Level Internal Drainage Board, said they would try to keep one of the footpaths open while work was taking place, but the road would have to be closed.

Park Crescent and Sandpit Road may be used to bypass the closure and refuse collections will continue as normal. The X1 and 36 bus services will be altered however. The X1 will drop off and pick up at Orchard Court on The Causeway accessing via Station Road. Stagecoach says the 36 will also not run past the Rose and Crown because of difficulties turning round further into the village. This will also pick up and drop off at Orchard Court.

Missing cat – can you help

Missing cat

This young cat – just five months old – is missing. It was last seen on Wisbech Road last night (Wednesday). Owner, Lisa Hoggett Murray says it was the first time she had been out as she’d only just had her injections. Check your sheds and outhouses and if anyone sees the cat, you can ring Lisa on 07794 829087.

The story had a happy outcome, the cat was found next day and re-united with its owner.

It did have a happy outcome – Lisa has just (Wednesday) reported that it’s gone missing again! Any sightings, the number is above.

Footnote: and on Thursday it showed up again. We think Lisa just has a cat that likes a night (or two) on the tiles.

Gores Farm turbines cut from eight to seven

View Bukehorn Road

Developers have cut the number of wind turbines at Gores Farm from eight to seven in a revised plan submitted to Peterborough City Council.

The development, just to the west of Thorney, would be adjacent to another, separate proposed wind-farm at Willowhall which has five turbines, making 12 between the two sites. You can see a plan of the new layout here.

Developers, West Coast Energy, says the reduction in the number of turbines will reduce the visible impact and, in particular, on the view of Thorney Abbey. It claims no wind turbines will be able to be seen from The Green.

The revised planning documents can be seen here: or by visiting the city council’s customer service centre in Bayard Place, Broadway, which is open from 9-5pm Monday to Friday (from 11am on Wednesdays). If you want to see them, the reference number you’ll need is 13/00431.

People have until June 11 to comment on the plan and can make submissions in writing, by e-mail or online.

The seven turbines would have a height of about 127 metres to the tip of the highest blade and a capacity of up to 21 megawatts. West Coast Energy says this would provide power for more than 11,000 homes.

Like other wind-farms in the area, the developers are committed to paying an annual sum as a community fund, which would be split between “good causes” and discounts in electricity bills for properties within a certain range. This may amount to £84,000 per annum and continue for the projected life of the wind-farm of 25 years.

In their submission, the developers claim the removal of one turbine “will reduce the horizontal spread of turbines so that they are entirely to the right of the church towers in views from the northeast and none will be visible from Thorney Green. This will result in a reduction in the degree of effect on St Mary and St Botolph’s Church from moderate significance to minor significance.”

Wisbech Road closed for four weeks

The main road through the village will be closed for four weeks from June 8 to allow a new culvert to be constructed.

Closure will be just to the east of Sandpit Road (Wisbech side).

The work is being undertaken by the North Level Internal Drainage Board as part of its plans to prevent flooding in the village.

The Steward’s House Drain, which runs alongside Wisbech Road, was culverted in front of the Duke of Bedford School during April. The next stage of the work involves installing a large culvert under Wisbech Road to carry water away to the north of the village.

Keep Thorney Beating raises £3,500 in three months

Coffee morning

Keep Thorney Beating – the fund-raising campaign to buy a life-saving heart defibrillator for the village – has raised £3,500 since February.

A coffee morning on Saturday added £475.85 to bring the total up to £3,493.35.

Lynn Batterbee, one of the organisers, said they now had enough money to buy the machine and she is placing the order as soon as they have been able to arrange public liability insurance. The machine will be sited at Thorney Medical Centre on an external wall by the entrance, so it’s available to use 24 hours a day.

The coffee morning was at Lynn’s home in St Botolph’s Way and she said she was really grateful for the support. Books and gifts that were not sold will be given to charity shops raising money for the British Heart Foundation and Cancer Research and also handed on to the Royal British Legion Women’s Section for their coffee morning at Thorney Ex-Servicemen’s Club on May 30 (full details in our Events section).

Keep Thorney Beating also hopes to recruit a small team of villagers willing to act as “responders” to help if the defibrillator is needed. Their job would be to provide support to help the machine to be used properly and also make sure it was kept safe after use. Full training will be given and if anyone would be willing to volunteer they can contact Lynn or Mick Batterbee on 270670.

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