Category Archives: News

Free running-for-fitness sessions


A series of free lunchtime running sessions will make a return to Peterborough’s city centre from May through to July.

The hour-long sessions give people the opportunity to put on their trainers and get active during a lunchtime break.

The runs will leave the Embankment Athletics Track, in Bishop’s Road, Peterborough, every Wednesday from May 2 to July 4 2018. Everyone is welcome to attend and all abilities will be catered for.

The sessions take place from 12noon to 1pm and are overseen by a fully qualified England Athletics Endurance Coach.

Annette Joyce, Peterborough City Council’s service director for environment and economy, said: “These sessions have been held for the past two years and have always been well received and attended, so we were very keen to run them again in 2018.

“The hour long sessions are suitable for everyone, even if you’ve never thought about taking up running before. The hour can be based on the athletics track with the option to run out further into the city centre if you want to stretch your legs a little more.”

Running and exercise can be part of living a healthier lifestyle and residents can find out more advice on

There is no need to book in advance, just simply turn up with your trainers and running clothes.

Changing facilities and showers will be available at the athletics track and for further information you can email

The big running event of the year in Peterborough is always the Perkins Great Eastern Run. This year’s event takes place on Sunday 14 October and entry for the half marathon and Anna’s Hope 5km fun run are now open at

Five contest city council seat

Five people are contesting the Eye, Thorney and Newborough seat on Peterborough City Council, including sitting councillor Richard Brown (Conservative).

They are (in alphabetical order):

Michael Alexander (Green Party) of Wisbech Road, Thorney

Richard Brown (Conservative) of Upton Close, Peterborough

Christian Defeo (Labour) of Pasture House Farm, Thorney

Layton Mills (UKIP) of Walsingham Way, Eye

Callum Robertson (Lib-Dem) of Lincoln Road, Deeping Gate

The election will be on Thursday, May 3.

Parish Council election uncontested


Election of Parish Councillors for Thorney was uncontested as there were no more nominations than seats available. The following people are returned as Parish Councillors:

John Bartlett of Ash Close

Russ Bevington of Abbey Place

Andrew Butt of Kingsline Close

Samantha Godley of Church Street

Dorothy Halfhide of Wisbech Road

Margaret Long of French Drove

Kenneth Parrish of Knarr Fen Road

Nathan Potts of Wisbech Road

Nigel Simons of French Drove

Raymond Wood of Woburn Drive

Free history walk around Thorney

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Would you like to know more about the history of Thorney?

You might be new to the village or a long-time resident just keen to know more about where you live.

The Thorney Post is sponsoring a series of history walks this spring.

They will start at the Abbey and finish at the village Museum and last about one-and-a-half hours. Trained guides from The Thorney Society will take groups round, explaining the history of Thorney Abbey, the old schools, post office, the model village and the Tankyard.

The walks are completely free. There’s no upper (or lower) age limit.

The first walk is on Sunday, April 22, starting at 2.30pm. There is a second walk on the evening of Thursday, May 3, starting at 6.30pm.

If you’d like to attend, just e-mail with the names of those wishing to attend. Places are limited, so be quick!

City Council gives four options for Bedford Hall

Bedford Hall

Pressure is increasing on the village to take on the running costs of the Bedford Hall.

Peterborough City Council, which currently owns the building and is responsible for repairs and maintenance, says it can no longer afford the costs.

It wants to either sell the building or transfer ownership and responsibility for its upkeep to the village.

The Bedford Hall and its distinctive tower was built by the Duke of Bedford as part of his model village project. The tower housed a water tank, which provided running water to cottages, and there were workshops and homes in the rest of the building.

In 1981, it was converted to a community hall, under the ownership of the city council with a long lease to a village management committee which looks after day-to-day running and bookings.

The city council has already decided to sell the old community centre and library buildings in Church Street, which is expected to raise £235,000, and has promised that money to fund a new library, provide a grant towards a new sports pavilion and pay for essential repairs to the Bedford Hall.

It has offered the village four options:

  • Move the library to the Bedford Hall and transfer the building to the village.
  • Move the library to the Duke of Bedford School and transfer the Bedford Hall to the village.
  • Sell both the Church Street property and the Bedford Hall and build a new community/sports facility.
  • Do nothing – which the council says is not viable due to costs.

A meeting on March 8 of Thorney Parish Council, the current Bedford Hall Management Committee and members of the Thorney Society agreed to ask the council for more detail on cost of repairs.

Council estimates put these at £271,000, plus costs of up to £108,000 to move the library to the Bedford Hall. The meeting was concerned that there were other costs the council was not considering, such as subsidence and damp in the part of the building that houses the museum, also potential problems in the cellars and tower which have not been thoroughly surveyed.

The meeting pointed out that even trusting current council estimates of repairs plus the library move, the sale of Church Street property will not cover those costs. Even without a contribution towards a new sports pavilion, there’s a deficit of £143,000.

Some members of the Bedford Hall Management Committee were keen to take on the building and felt the council’s costs were grossly over-estimated. Nathan Potts thought they could use local village craftsmen and have work done much more cheaply.

“Council figures are nonsense; the building isn’t falling down and we would prefer to spend the money ourselves. If we had control of how it’s spent, where and when, we’d get much better value,” he said.

Other people felt money spent on moving the library would be a waste and questioned whether the village needed a library. Parish councillor Ray Wood said: “For the amount of use the library gets, we should get rid of it. Get a mobile one instead.”

The Thorney Society is committed to keeping the Bedford Hall as a community asset. Chairman, Michael Sly pointed out that the village had a lease on the building until 2079 and therefore didn’t have to do anything.

A letter has been sent to the council asking for more detail of costs and whether land around the building would be included in the transfer.


Since the meeting on March 8 in the village, there was a further meeting on March 29. Kate Harding, Senior Peterborough City Council Officer responsible for Community Asset Transfer,  chaired the meeting, which started off with each of those present giving their thoughts on what they would like to see happen.

The preservation of the Bedford Hall complex was top of people’s agenda, but at what cost?  John Bartlett, chairman of Thorney Parish Council, said he was opposed to any cost being added to the Parish Precept to fund the Bedford Hall.

It was stated that all the exterior maintenance of the Bedford Hall was Peterborough City Council’s responsibility, and the internal maintenance was the responsibility of the Bedford Hall Management committee.

John Bartlett stated very little if any work had been undertaken by PCC on the Bedford Hall during the last 10 years.

Michael Sly, chairman of The Thorney Society, said the Bedford Hall needs to be run on a more commercial basis, with parts let out to private businesses .  The cast iron tank at the top of the tower could be removed (by a tower crane) as this would relieve any stress on the tower’s brickwork.  The bar area could be reconfigured so more use of the tower could take place.  He also stated the land to the north of the Bedford Hall should be transferred to the new committee.  Michael Sly said that within the Thorney area resided villagers with commercial and business skills that could be used for the future of the Bedford Hall Complex.  These people have a great deal to offer and must be used.

Jeff Bellamy, chair of the Bedford Hall Management Committee, said the Bedford Hall was used by village organisations most days and evenings of the week, but they only paid a minimum rate.  The Bedford Hall is registered for weddings which are popular and a commercial rent is charged but this could be increased.  At present the Bedford Hall just managed to balance its accounts.

Cllr Steve Allen, one of three city councillors representing Eye, Thorney and Newborough on the City Council, stated the Bedford Hall was a unique building and must be preserved not just as  a community asset but something Peterborough City Council should be proud of and support.

Kate Harding, when asked about the relocation of the Library, said plans to transfer it to the Duke of Bedford Primary School were being looked at bearing in mind the school needs to expand to take in more children.  The safe-guarding of children was also raised.

The sale of the library and old Social Centre was mentioned and that money from this sale would be available for community use in Thorney.

It was mentioned that a new pavilion in Thorney Park was urgently required.  But concerns were raised about residents living in Tavistock Close not being happy with any development in Thorney Park.  These concerns need to be addressed by all parties involved, including Thorney Football Club.

Cllr Irene Walsh, Cabinet Member for Communities, said that the Bedford Hall was a unique building and that it would be treated differently to other Community Centres involved in the asset transfer by Peterborough City Council.

As the meeting drew to a close Kate Harding said it was important that discussions continued.  At the next meeting Planning Officers and Education Officers would attend, along with Adrian Chapman, Senior PCC Officer, Responsible for Asset Transfer, who should be able to give more details of possible funding from the Mayor of the Joint Authority for Peterborough and Cambridgeshire.

Photo: © Richard Humphrey

Football’s coming home – if they can raise £250K


THORNEY Football Club has launched a £250,000 fundraising drive to build a new pavilion in the park.

The pavilion has stood since 1973 but a leaking roof forced the council to lock up the changing room on safety grounds.

The senior team is enjoying its best league performance in its 50 year history but is forced to play home games in Gunthorpe because FA regulations require a home and away dressing room.

Playing away from the village has stripped “the soul out of the club” according to Thorney FC chairman Michael Bowen (pictured).

“In three years time there will be no football clubs left in the village,” he says. “We want to come home but the facilities are an embarrassment.

“The village deserves a facility fit for purpose, I wouldn’t keep dogs in there.”

The pavilion was once home to more than 10 sports clubs, including the village’s senior and youth football teams and running club.

The decline of the pavilion has matched a loss of sporting life in the village – the Thorney Colts have lost six junior teams in the last five years.

After five years of fruitless appeals to the City Council for funds, villagers are finally taking matters into their own hands.

An architect has drawn up plans for a replacement pavilion with an estimated construction cost of £250,000.

It will include two changing rooms with shower facilities and toilets and a separate changing room for the referee, as well as a public toilet and disabled access.

It’s a hefty sum to raise but Bowen is looking for support from villagers, fundraising or on the committee.

For anybody wanting to get involved contact: Michael Bowen ( on 0771 401 6252 or Sam Godley ( on 07572 876 311. There is also a Facebook group at

There is a meeting on April 3 at Thorney Ex-Servicemen’s Club for anyone who would like to sit on the fund-raising committee.

Family raising cash for to fight Alzheimer’s Disease


A Thorney family has set itself a target to raise £6,000 for Alzheimer’s Research.

Elizabeth Hurn of the Maltings saw both her father and mother die as a result of the disease, so when her daughter’s boyfriend secured a place in the London Marathon, the family decided they would make his run the centre of a fund-raising effort.

As the Thorney Post went to press, they had already raised over £3,500 through a quiz night, cake sales and race sponsorship.

“Alzheimer’s is a very cruel illness,” said Elizabeth. “It affects every aspect of the victim, weakening their body and destroying their mind and personality. I’m an only child and mum and I were very close. For a mother to no longer be able to recognise her daughter is terribly hurtful.”

Elizabeth’s father Eric Stacey had shown some symptoms of Alzheimer’s, but following a fairly routine knee operation, the condition developed quickly and he died soon afterwards, aged 75. Her mother, Pam, was affected differently by the disease. The symptoms came on more gradually, with increasing forgetfulness and then confusion.

One day, she travelled from her home in Orchard Court to see her sister in Peterborough, but instead of getting the bus back to Thorney, she got on a coach to London and ended up at Victoria bus station.

“That scared us so much,” said Elizabeth. “A woman tried to help her, but all she could remember was the number of a neighbour in Whittlesey from years before.

“Thankfully, the neighbour called me and I was able to arrange for my brother-in-law, who works in London, to pick her up.”

Pam died last year, aged 82.

The choice of Alzheimer’s Research for a fund-raising effort was down to Ben Parker, boyfriend of Elizabeth’s daughter Alice.

Ben has wanted to run the London Marathon for some time and when his entry was accepted for this year’s race, he was clear he wanted to run in memory of Pam and to raise money to help people who will suffer from Alzheimer’s in future.

“Experiencing the immense difficulty and sadness the family had to go through because of Alzheimer’s was heart-breaking,” he said. “Alzheimer’s leads to the death of nerve cells and the loss of brain tissue. I was not aware that one in six people over the age of 80 develop this disease, yet there is still no comprehensive understanding of the connection with genetic inheritance and no definitive way of completely removing your chances of diagnosis.”

A quiz night at the Bedford Hall in February was sold out and raised £1,400.

“I can’t thank people enough for their support. It was fantastic,” said Elizabeth. Husband Paul was helping on the night and he said he was surprised by how many people approached him to say they had relatives who had suffered in the same way, either through Alzheimer’s or dementia. “It really is a massive problem,” he said.

Ben (27) is currently training hard for the big day on April 22. This will be his first marathon and he’s hoping for a sub four-hour time.

If anyone wants to support the Hurn family’s fund-raising, you can give online at


Thorney’s French heritage


Why are there so many French-sounding names on gravestones on Thorney Abbey? Did you know that for many years, French was a common language in the village?

If your family originated in Thorney, there’s a chance you will have some French or Huguenot ancestors. A book called Cromwell’s Settlers tells how settlers from abroad were invited to Thorney in the 17th century and what happened to their descendants.

The book has just been reprinted and is available from Thorney Heritage Museum (cost £4.95) when the museum opens for its summer season on Easter Sunday, or from Margaret Fletcher on 270634


Race will close roads

Thorney 10K

It’s the annual Thorney Road Race on Sunday, March 25 with runners starting at the Bedford Hall and following a course east along Wisbech Road and then up and down Old Knarr Fen Road.

Wisech Road will be closed to traffic from 10.30am to 11.30am from the Rose & Crown to Old Knarr Fen Road.

Station Road will be closed for five minutes at the start of the race (from 10.30am) and will be down to a single lane for the rest of the hour.

Better service promised at post office

Thorney’s part-time Post Office is up and running with fresh equipment and new personnel so the problems that have been experienced are hopefully now a thing of the past.

It is run out of the Parson Drove Post Office so should you have any problems, please ring Jayne or Phil for assistance on 01945 700 511.

The opening hours remain the same:

Mondays 10.00am until 2.00pm

Wednesdays 11.00am until 2.00pm

Fridays 11.00am until 2.00pm

Please make good use of this important facility in the village. The Post Office is at the Bedford Hall, in the meeting room, just around the corner from the main entrance.

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