Conservatives Take Control In East Cambs

The Conservative Party has been elected as ECDC’s ruling party with a majority of nine.

Following the count the District Council is now made up of 24 Conservative, 13 Liberal Democrat and two Independent Councillors.

The count began at 10pm, just as the first ballot boxes arrived, with over 3,000 postal votes being counted. The count then went through the night with last result declared at 4.34am after 21,769 votes had been cast equalling a turn out of 36.4 per cent.

Before the election the Council was made up of 17 Liberal Democrat, 16 Conservative and 6 Independent Councillors.

Nearly half of the Councillors are new Members to East Cambridgeshire District Council.

John Hill, Chief Executive at East Cambridgeshire District Council and Returning Officer on the night, said: “It was another exciting night for democracy in East Cambridgeshire with over 21,000 people going to their polling station and choosing the members of the District Council.
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Brittle Women Review

Stretham Players certainly know how to entertain. In a packed house, the contrasting characters of Trisha (played by Barbara Gray), Liz (Carole Gentry), Viv (Maureen Hutter) and Mary (Donna Bright) bonded together delightfully in a skilfully written play by Lindsey McAuley. There was no doubt why the play called ‘Brittle Women’ was voted “Best New Play” at the Cambridge Drama Festival 2007.

This one act show was permeated with a constant flow of humour in the guise of witty turns of phrase, humorous situations and a healthy good laugh at the frailty of human nature. This was balanced well with explorations into the darker sides of life and death such as the devastating effects of cancer and bereavement.

Chatterbox Liz with a phenomenal number of lines to learn filled the stage with her warmth and her joy in the trivialities of every day matters. Glam puss Viv described as “mutton dressed up as lamb” had us roaring with laughter at her obsession with the opposite sex and her failed plot to seduce the new vicar.
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All The Fun Of The Fair

Ely’s biennial fair is back in the city later this month, but did you know the origins of the fair goes back centuries?

Image: Ely Fair

In fact, Henry I (c.1069 – 1135) granted a fair to the abbot and convent for 7 days, beginning 3 days before the feast of St. Etheldreda (or St Awdrey as she was generally called), a celebratory day remembering the anniversary of her death on 23rd June AD 679. The fair was popular and sold cheap, trifling objects to pilgrims by way of souvenirs; the word ‘tawdry’, a corruption of St Awdrey, derives from this practice.

In 1312 a fair was granted to the prior for 15 days at the festival at St. Lambert and in 1318 a fair was granted to the bishop for 22 days, beginning on the Vigil of the Ascension.

Throughout the Middle Ages the fairs were marts of great activity, particularly that of St. Etheldreda which continued to thrive. So popular was the fair that booths were erected all round the precinct walls, at the gateways, in the streets, and on the wharves.

By the 15th century representatives of large commercial firms bargained in Ely over the sale of iron and timber. Townspeople took part in the lively scene. St. Audrey’s ribbons, held in veneration even in the 16th century as having touched the shrine of St. Etheldreda, were in wide demand. So profitable were the fairs to the grantee that a jealous eye was kept for fear that any other fair should queer the pitch.
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Turn Detective To Uncover Ely’s Secrets

This weekend, detectives are needed to uncover clues throughout the historic city of Ely to be used in the ultimate showdown at the Oliver Cromwell House.

East Cambridgeshire District Council and ‘Live the City’ are teaming up on Sunday 27th May to offer visitors to Ely the chance to take part in a fascinating self-guided walking tour of city to gather answers that can be then used in a big screen interactive quiz.

The event will be the first time the new interactive treasure hunt quiz has come to East Cambridgeshire and is a revolutionary way of introducing visitors to an area as well as being a new way to approach team building.

Tracey Harding, Tourism Team Leader for East Cambridgeshire District Council, said: “Visiting a place for the first time can be a fairly daunting experience especially as there is always the fear that you might miss something. This is why we have teamed up with ‘Live the City’ to offer visitors and residents alike the chance to discover Ely in a whole new way.
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Crossland: No Place Like Home

Crossland and the Ely music scene 1989-1992
By Chris Williams

Ian Brown of the Stone Roses once remarked, “It’s not where you’re from (that matters) it’s where you at.” Well, I think he was half right. With Crossland it may have been more a case of, “You can take the band out of Ely. But you can’t take Ely out of the band”. We got close. But close to what?

Pump it up!

Image: Ely Band Crossland

Crossland were already established in Ely by the time I arrived from Cambridge in early 1989. Their formative EP releases, ‘In Your Hands’ and ‘In Shame’, had received a good local response so they were heading in the right direction even though they found themselves without a singer in the Spring of that year. They asked me to join and I thought, “Yeah, why not?”

In early 1989 there were a number of guitar bands (REM, the Pixies, House of Love, Wonderstuff) kicking out against a mainstream of advancing rave culture, depressing Stock Aitken Waterman pop pap and a quagmire of unmentionable bland brand names doing the stadium circuits. Plus ça change… So, on joining Crossland I thought, “Great, I’ve found a bona fide guitar band!” At last there was hope for the local music scene!
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Organists In Concert

The King’s School Ely created new interest in the much maligned instrument: the organ. In Prior Crauden’s Undercroft, within sight of Ely Cathedral, a sizeable audience had the opportunity to watch a series of organists close at hand in a concert entitled “Bombarde of Organists 111”. To see fingers flying over four manual, feet gliding rapidly up and down the pedal board and hands rapidly changing stops gave new zest to a promising programme.

Arrangements of works by Elgar held a prominent position. Paul Trepte, Director of Music at Ely Cathedral, opened the event with excerpts from “Sonata no.2 in Bb: Severn Suite”. Jonathan Lilley, Assistant Organist at Ely Cathedral, played “Serenade for Strings – Larghetto” and “Triumphal March from Caractacus”. These two first-class musicians breathed life into the instrument showing how versatile, powerful and expressive the instrument can be – arguably more than the ever-popular piano.

Saint-Saëns was another favoured composer. Edward Taylor gave a fine performance of his “Seventh Improvisation” from the work of the same name. Will Gardner gave a masterful performance of “Recession” by Mathais, Farrel Gray clearly marked the separate voices of JS Bach’s work, David Tagg-Oram revelled in the strong chords of Stanford and Benedict Todd introduced a fascinating array of effects in items by Couperin.
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