Category Archives: News

Former MP will not fight to regain seat


Former Peterborough MP Stewart Jackson, who lost his seat to Labour in the 2017 general election, has announced he will not be standing again.

“It feels like the end of an era but I won’t be seeking the Conservative nomination in Peterborough for either by election or General Election,” he tweeted.

The Conservative party will choose its next Parliamentary candidate next month.

Village news and services on your smartphone

App for Thorney

A new mobile App will be launched for the village later this summer.

The app is intended to work alongside the Thorney Post and the Facebook Community Forum to serve as a quick and easy guide to local businesses, parish councillors, city councillors and local clubs and organisations.

Sections can be added to present further information as required – whether for events, topical issues, community initiatives, etc. A meeting for the local groups and organisations will be arranged following launch to discuss how they can use the App to communicate with their individual groups.

The business directory will initially be created from those advertising in the Thorney Post – at no additional cost to them – and will include contact information, company profile and links to their website and social media pages.

The App for the village will be included in the launch of a new mobile App platform created by local resident Michael Shuster.

“We’ve been using our system to deliver mobile apps for local businesses and organisations for the last few years – including grassroots football leagues, County Football Associations and business networking groups.

We’re now adapting our system to create an ‘app community’ where people can have a huge amount of information available to them for ease of access whenever and wherever it may be required, in a way that is affordable to small businesses and organisations and helpful in improving their communications and engagement.

Our App community will be called Robin Road (searchable in App Store and Google Play hopefully from September) and is sufficiently flexible to apply to most types of businesses – please visit or contact Michael on 07957 576765 for more information.

Please note that the App for Thorney is being delivered at no cost to the village and will be administered by Michael Shuster.

Eric Rayner, editor of the Thorney Post, said: “This might be the future for village news. We’re very happy to work with a local business, giving them access to articles and data, to help get this off the ground.”


New group set up to decide what happens to village assets

Bedford Hall Low Res

What’s happening with our village amenities? In our last edition, we reported on three major issues facing the village:

  • Peterborough City Council wants to sell buildings it owns in Church Street. These are the old infants and girls’ schools built by the Duke of Bedford. One part housed the old village community centre and the other is still used as the library, which will have to be relocated.
  • The city council wants to hand the Bedford Hall to a village management committee so it doesn’t have the burden of repairing and maintaining the building.
  • The sports pavilion in Thorney Park, owned by the city council, can’t be used because it’s falling to bits. There’s a growing campaign for the council to replace it.

So what has happened since April? A steering group called Thorney Futures has been formed comprising city councillors, council officials, members of Thorney Parish Council, representatives from the Bedford Hall management committee, the Thorney Society and Thorney Football Club.

The Thorney Post has also been invited to attend meetings.

Nothing is agreed so far, but the first two meetings of the group considered the following plans:

  • Bedford Hall to be owned by a new management company and grants sought to develop the building into a commercially viable operation, possibly with office space and a flat or accommodation.
  • Church Street buildings to be sold (estimate £220-£250K) and money to be used to build a new sports pavilion and meeting room in the park.
  • Library to be moved to the Duke of Bedford School and incorporated into new building work required to cope with increased numbers of pupils.

Since then, a group of people interested in serving on the new management committee for the Bedford Hall have met with a representative from the Architectural Heritage Fund (AHF) to get specialist advice and find out what support would be available. Some start-up funding is available to support community-led groups. A number of reports have been provided on the condition of the building and several, more in-depth reports are awaited.

Michael Bowen, chairman of Thorney Football Club, has met with council officials in the park. The council has promised to provide the club with support and funding to manage a new pavilion. The council is preparing drawings and plans showing design and location of a new pavilion. Thorney Parish Council may take on ownership of the building and sub-lease to the football club or the club may own it themselves.

Plans to move the library to the school were considered by school governors, who have said they have concerns over parking and security and do not want the library there.

Statement from Thorney Futures:

This statement has been issued to residents of the village by the Thorney Futures group:

Many of the organisations representing the village have recently started to meet formally with senior officers from the city council, to draw together plans to secure the future of some of the important assets the village benefits from.

Discussions are progressing positively in relation to:

  • Bedford Hall and the Museum – unique, architecturally significant buildings that provide invaluable community space and facilities
  • Public Library – an important service for residents of all ages
  • Sports pavilion – a vital changing facility to enable sports activity to take place locally

Alongside city council officers, the working group that has been created includes representation from your city councillors, the parish council, the Bedford Hall Management Committee, the Thorney Society, the school, and Thorney Football Club.

At this early stage, discussions are focusing on ensuring these vital facilities are protected for the village’s benefit for the future. There are no plans whatsoever to close either Bedford Hall or the Library, but it is nevertheless important we ensure they and other facilities are able to be self-sustaining and fit for purpose for generations more to enjoy.

A range of options will be agreed through the working group, the members of which are keen to make sure we hear from villagers as soon as we have more details to share.

We will provide regular updates through this and other media so that you are kept informed, and meanwhile if you have any ideas you’d like to feed in please do contact any of the organisations described above.


Jean (83) abseils down the side of city cathedral

Underhay 1

Four people from Thorney—Jean Underhay, Dorothy Halfhide, Jake Wing and Ken Sheraton—abseiled down the side of Peterborough Cathedral this summer, helping to raise £38,000 for charity.

Jean (83) writes about her experience here:

Many years ago, when we first came to this area, we saw people abseiling down the blank Woolworths wall and I thought to myself, ‘That looks fun.’ Two years ago I was with the Ground Team when the Cathedral first put on an abseiling event. There was a lady older than me doing it. So earlier this year, when the Cath-edral was doing another charity abseil, I promptly signed up.

When the day came, friend John drove me in and we met several friends and my son, Jonathan, who had come to support. Most importantly, the Derby Mountain Rescue Team was there to put us into our harness and cope with the ropes.

Then onto the thing I was dreading, the steps up the tower. Friend Mandy and one of the rescue people came with me as the steps were in a spiral so I could only see about two or three steps at a time. So up I went.

At the top was a lady from the team who attached a gadget to the harness. She kept hold of the blue safety rope and gently urged me back to the ledge. I must admit to a frisson of apprehension at that point, knowing there was 150 feet of nothing below me. Then I was over the ledge and feeding the white rope to guide my speed. I was on my way.

Dorothy Halfhide had come down half an hour earlier, with such grace and dignity that I wanted to emulate her, not do a circular dance as the Dean had done some time before. My friends down below were cheering me on. I took great care going over the carvings, didn’t want to risk damaging anything. Then I was down.

It had been exhilarating. So many people had sponsored me, there was no way I was going to chicken out at the last moment. A member of the charity gave me a certificate and the Mayor gave me a brooch with the City of Peterborough coat of arms. Itreasure both items. It had been a lovely day.

Jean Underhay, Jake Wing, Dorothy Halfhide and Ken Sheraton 37,500 for Spina Bifia and Hydrcephalus


SpeedWatch team are training their guns on you


Are you driving too fast through the village?

Watch out — Thorney’s SpeedWatch team might be training their guns on you.

Organiser Samantha Godley has got five volunteers for the Community SpeedWatch scheme, which is enough to get the scheme up and running.

Volunteers had their training last month and are now able to start surveying.

“We are currently discussing how often we will be surveying, we only need three people to conduct a survey and the session will last 1.5 hours.”

Initially the scheme will run on Station Road, The Causeway, Wisbech Road and hopefully Sandpit Road and Woburn Drive. More checkpoints may be added later.

Information gathered is sent to Cambridgeshire Police. The local team does not issue any penalties or letters, everything is done by the Police after they have collated the information.

“The scheme is all about education,” said Samantha. “It is to raise the awareness of the speed people are travelling at through the village, with the aim to reduce speeding.”

Samantha is still keen to have more volunteers, so anyone interested in helping should contact her on or call 07572 876311.


Thorney Guides celebrates 65 years

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Thorney’s girl guide group reaches the grand old age of 65 this year – but the unit is a long way from being pensioned off.

Guides, Brownies and Rainbows in the village are thriving, with each group almost full to capacity and there is an active Rangers group catering for those over 14.

The 2nd Thorney Guides was launched in 1953, with the late Kath Martin as leader. There had been a 1st Thorney Guides in the village for some years before, but no-one is quite sure when that stopped.

The current unit is now led by Denise Burton, only the fourth Guides leader in 65 years. Denise took over from her mother Sheila Bowen, who took over from Margaret Dewing.

A 65th birthday party was held at the old Methodist Chapel on The Causeway in June when past guides, parents and village leaders were invited. There was cake, singing and a raffle, and the occasion was also marked by the presentation of new standards to guides and brownies.

The units have been without standards for a few years after the old ones basically dropped to pieces from age. This has meant that they haven’t been able to take part in parades such as Remembrance Sunday.

The new standards were donated by Dorothy Halfhide, herself a former girl-guide, and given in memory of her father, who died earlier this year.

“It is great the see the groups in such a good state,” said Denise. “We have a really nice atmosphere across Guides, Brownies and Rainbows and, although some are nearly full, we’re still able to offer places to girls who want to join.

“Guiding is a great way to make friends and learn some life skills. We keep re-inventing the movement to keep it relevant to today’s children.

“It is also wonderful to see mums and grandmothers who were in Thorney Guides themselves, now bringing their girls along to meetings.”

Margaret Dewing, second guide leader, has happy memories of girl-guides. She remembers the early camps held in Kath Martin’s garden on Whittlesey Road and, later, the get-togethers at the guide camp on the Fitzwilliam estate. “We were all in big tents back then and the conditions were a bit basic. Some girls were horrified when they saw the bucket latrines!”

Margaret’s one real regret was the change of uniform. “I really liked the old uniform,” she said. “It just looked smarter, more formal, but it did need a bit of ironing.”

Sheila Bowen had a long association with the guides. She got involved back in her native Wales and as well as leading the 2nd Thorney Guides, she has also served as both district and divisional commissioner and badge secretary for the county.

She also remembers life under canvas. “We had to put our own tents up and then the commissioner would come round to inspect them and if one was a few inches out of line, it had to come down and be put back up in the right place.

“There were no hair-dryers or showers in those days.”

Guides still do summer camps and also use the PGL Holidays activity centre.

Photo – Thorney’s last three guide leaders (left to right): Margaret Dewing, Sheila Bowen and Denise Burton.

Guide leader Denise is made an MBE

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Denise Burton, who’s lived in Thorney since 1980, has been made an MBE for Service in the Community and Guiding. Her team leader at work nominated her for this and Denise was completely unaware her name had been put forward, till a letter from the Cabinet Office dropped through her letter box on 3rd May. With great difficulty I should think, Denise had to keep this a secret, until it was announced officially on 8th June in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List.

Denise told me her first reaction was one of shock and she still won’t believe it till she actually receives the award. At the moment she doesn’t have a date for the ceremony and doesn’t know if she will have to attend Buckingham Palace or Windsor Castle. Denise has also received a congratulatory letter from the Countess of Wessex, who is president of the Guides.

Her long association with the Guides started when Denise joined the Girls’ Brigade when her family lived in Cardiff. When she was eight she joined the Brownies and then progressed to the Guides where her mother was a helper. Later she also went on to help her mother who had her own Guide unit in Carmarthen and then became a Ranger with the Brownies. A Ranger is a young leader.

eing a guide leader means not only organising the weekly meetings with games, crafts, and working for badges but also taking the children away to camp. In 1976 600 children went to a camp in mid Wales. It was a very hot summer and many of them got sunstroke. There was also a trip to an army outdoor pursuits centre where abseiling, potholing and an army assault course could be tried out.

A course booklet has to be completed before a person becomes a leader. This covers all aspects of Guiding. It is then signed off and a warrant is awarded that lasts till the person is 65. In addition 15 hours of training per year have to be undertaken and the leader is also DBS checked.

When Denise and her family moved to Thorney she’d already decided she wasn’t going to continue being a Guide leader. However, the local Brownie group was in danger of folding due to lack of help so Denise got involved to help Janet Jary. and has continued ever since. Denise enjoys interacting with the girls, seeing them mature and make life long friendships, watching them change and gain confidence.

Denise plans to carry on Guiding at the present time. She would like to visit China’ where her nephew is an English teacher, and has put news of his aunt’s award on his blog.

Former Thorney girl is West Australia surf champion

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Proud grandparents Brian and Carol Payne are celebrating having an Aussie surfing champion in the family.

Their granddaughter Maddie Cawood has just won the Western Australian Under-16 Surfing Championship.

Maddie, aged 15, won the title at Geraldton, Western Austrian, battling huge waves from the Indian Ocean.

She is already All-Australia Schools Champion.

Maddie is the daughter of Michaela (nee Payne) and Peter Cawood. Michaela was born in Thorney and the couple lived here for a short while. Maddie actually went to the Duke of Bedford School for a year, and was five when the family emigrated.

“Michaela and Peter spent a year backpacking in Australia and they liked the country so much they decided they wanted to live there,” said Brian.

They now live at Margaret River, about three hours drive from Perth, a stretch of coastline where there are magnificent beaches and huge waves.

“She took up surfing around seven years ago,” says grandfather Brian. “She had been a really promising gymnast, but it got a little intensive and stopped being fun.

“In surfing events, all the competitors have to swim out from the beach and part of the skill is picking the right wave. You then get marked for difficulty, duration and distance. It’s quite complicated.”

Brian and Carol live in St Mary’s Close and have been in the village for 48 years. Brian served in the village fire crew for many years and was in the crew that attended the crash of the US Air Force Starlifter transport plane on Thorney Dyke in 1976. Carol will be known to many people in the village, working as receptionist in the doctors’ surgery at both Park House and the Thorney Medical Centre.

The couple make regular trips to Australia to keep in touch and they’re trying out the new non-stop service from London to Perth – a 17-hour flight – later this year.

Work starts next year on new housing estate

Work on building 91 new homes at Park Farm, Thorney is likely to start next year.

The new estate already has planning permission and will sit at the top end of Sandpit Road.

It is likely that Larkfleet Homes, which built Thorney Meadows estate, will be the developer.

Access is not via Sandpit Road, a new road will be built off Wisbech Road at the eastern end of the village.

Landowner, Michael Sly, says tree planting will start on the field alongside the new road this autumn and work should start on the road and houses some time next year.

We will sort Open Sunday traffic problems, promise organisers

Park farm 2018 - General grounds

Michael Sly, organiser of Open Farm Weekend at Park Farm, Thorney has promised to revamp traffic management for next year’s event.

Beautiful sunny weather for this year’s event attracted record crowds of 12,500, with 7,500 coming on the Sunday.

“We’re really sorry for the problems caused to people, especially those along Sandpit Road,” said Michael.

“I think the good weather persuaded more people to come and a third of them arrived in the first hour.”

Traffic was backed up through the village, causing many people to remember the old pre-bypass days when Thorney was gridlocked at weekends by traffic heading for the coast.

“We have looked at traffic management and will make some changes for next year,” said Michael. “Instead of entering along Sandpit Road, we’ll bring them in through Old Knarr Fen Road. This will mean non-village traffic can come along the bypass, come off at the New Cut roundabout and they won’t touch the village itself.

“We’ll use Sandpit Road as the exit, but people tend to leave in a steady stream, rather than all at once, so traffic will be more spread out. We’ll also have more stewards in the car park to help people park more quickly.

“I want to thank everyone for their positive messages and especially the police, Newborough Young Farmers and our stewards who worked really hard.”

The Park Farm weekend is now the largest Open Farm event in the country. The scheme, run by the National Farmers’ Union, aims to help educate people about how our food is grown.

Michael says he wanted to create a family day out that would leave happy memories and present a positive view of rural Britain. As well as a showcase for farming old and new, the event is also a massive charity fundraiser.

Lots of charities have stalls at the event and this year at least £8,000 was raised. Peterborough farm Machinery Preservation Society raised £3,000, Air Ambulance £1,297, Leaf £1,141, King’s School £1,000, Sue Ryder £500. Thorney Colts £383, Something for the Solomons £277 and Thorney Youth Project £201.

Next year’s event will be on June 8 and 9.

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