Court In The Act: Ely Mods, Rockers & Skins

Image: Mark and Chris at Ely Magistrates Court (1982)

In an occasional feature Ely Online peeks into the archives of our local newspapers to discover just what trouble Ely’s teenagers got into with the police and the courts in the early-80s. This month we focus on the Ely Mods and their altercations with Soham Rockers and Lakenheath Skins.

Twenty Six years on and its hard convey the diffidence an Ely Mod lived with around 1979-1982. Going to Ely on a Saturday afternoon/evening could bring you unwanted attention (laughing at the way we dress – too smart and clean) from any number of clique’s: rockers, skins, punks, and even the occasional teddy boy. Back then it wasn’t uncommon for fights to break out in the street, disco or pub, that’s not to say the mods never started any trouble, of course they did. The mods went to the weekend discos at Little Downham, Ely and Littleport and trouble was never far away. Most of the mod’s hostility was aimed at Soham’s rockers and (to a lesser extent) Lakenheath Skins who crossed into the Ely neighborhood when they dated local girls.

Here are a few related court cases that were featured in the Ely Standard and Cambridge Evening News. The names have been abbreviated, if you were around back then you will know who’s who.

Be sure to check the footer of the page for an Ely Mod’s slideshow.
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Absolutely Quackers – ECDC To Suffocate Ducks

Image: Muscovy chick

In a move that King Herod would be proud of, East Cambridgeshire District Council plans to suck the life out of Ely’s newly laid Muscovy duck eggs before the cute little chicks hatch by oiling eggs (meaning dip them into paraffin). ECDC have, apparently, received many complaints about the number of Muscovy ducks in Ely.

Environmental health officer, Claire Finlayson, said:’ There has been a massive increase in the duck population in Ely and therefore an increase in fouling. ‘The last two winters have been mild and this has brought about a duck breeding bonanza,’

In contradiction to the council’s view, many residents of Ely are actually quite fond of the ducks. Michael Tuck, of Annesdale, said he had lived with the ducks for 30 years and said he did not think they were a nuisance and for many young children it is a draw to Ely’s waterside to feed the ducks.

Conspiracy theories are rife that ECDC were to wring the necks of the mature ducks in a midnight operation without alerting residents, a rumor that has been strenuously denied by ECDC. ‘We all love to see the ducks in Ely’ a spokesperson quacked.

You can shop a duck nesting in a garden by contacting the council on 01353 616284, If you can live by your actions!

F**k, Gordon Ramsey Almost Joined Eel Day

Image: Gordon Ramsey

A source close to ECDC tell’s me that celebrity chef, Gordon Ramsey had considered filming part of his The F Word TV show at this year’s Eel Day. ECDC’s tourism office had a call from Gordon Ramsey’s F-word production crew to say that they were currently recording the second series and intended doing one programme on eels and had got information about Ely’s Eel Day and were potentially interesting in attending.

Unfortunately, the F-word production crew came back saying the timing of the event was not right and they would not be attending! So it is just good old Wendy Hurrell, the weather girl from About Anglia that will be joining the celebrations. However, with both Star 107 and Q103 attending this event along with the TV cameras, the day will be well covered. Gordon would have been the icing on the cake mind you!

Ely Author’s World Cup Stories

Image: Chris Hunt (with World Cup)

When the 2006 World Cup kicks off this summer, local Ely author and journalist Chris Hunt (pictured right with Geoff Hurst and Peter Shilton) will be hoping for a good tournament. His book, ‘World Cup Stories: The History Of The FIFA World Cup’ (Interact) has just been published and the feelgood factor created by a successful England campaign could help its sales go through the roof. “If England do well this summer it will really help,” says Chris Hunt. “Nothing cheers up the country more than a great World Cup campaign.”

A former Editor of Match, Britain’s biggest selling football magazine, Ely based Chris Hunt is a freelance journalist, magazine editor and broadcaster, who splits his time between football and rock music journalism. In the last few years he has been Editor of many of the Special Editions of Q, Mojo, NME and Uncut, producing high quality magazines devoted to artists such as The Beatles, John Lennon and Kurt Cobain, and musical genres like mod and punk rock. But this year is a football year for Chris. “It’s the World Cup,” he says, “so I’ll be busy all year.”
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Thousands Visit Ely’s Eel Day

Image: Ellie The Eel

People came in their thousands on Saturday to celebrate what is fast becoming one of Ely’s most successful events. Many joined the eel like procession, snaking its way from the town into Jubilee Gardens. Led by Star 107’s Promo Car and Ely Samba’s Band, the procession stretched from the bottom of Forehill to the very top. Once in the gardens, the magnificent 3-metre high galvanized steel Eel was unveiled by Anglia TV weather girl Wendy Hurrell. A gift from the Rotary Club of Ely to the people of Ely and District, it was accepted on behalf of the community by Councillor Jeremy Friend-Smith, Chairman of East Cambridgeshire District Council.

Rotary President, Keith Butterworth, explained that the members of his Club had decided to mark the centenary of Rotary International by commissioning the Eel from Peter Baker, a well-known artist in steel who lives in Pymoor. £7000 had been raised in ‘cash and kind’ to enable the project to be brought to completion. Much of the money had come from Rotarians’ own pockets, but the local companies and corporate bodies who had also generously donated were acknowledged in a commemorative pamphlet which was given.
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