Author Archives: Steve Tierney
Wisbech Castle Working Party Visit
Volunteers from the Wisbech Castle Working Party joined Councillors and a few special guests for a thorough exploration of Wisbech Castle, its grounds and its vault, today.
I had previously predicted that they would all fall in love with the place once they got a good look around it, and from the smiles and incredible flow of ideas, I believe most of them did!
It was nice to be able to show that, despite rumours to the contrary, the place is broadly in good nick – of course some work needs to be done but the vast majority of it is superficial, involving some elbow grease and some tender loving care.
I’ve also begun work on the Castle website, although that has a ways to go since I don’t presently have much content. It will grow though, for sure.
The team are really a wonderful bunch, with all different skills and expertise. People were suggesting things left, right and centre, and most of us are really keen to pitch in and get started.
We cannot do this until 4th May, for legal reasons, but we are really looking forward to getting on with the job and turning the Castle back into the powerful, vital and exciting asset that it should always have been.
Thank you to the various folks who took these photos, including Alan Wheeldon, Tony Bennett and Roger Rawson. The photos are (c) those guys.
Swing Wing 2018
Saturday night saw me having a wonderful time at the Swing Wing event – Thomas Clarkson Academy.
Celebrating 100 years of the R.A.F., this was an emotional and powerful musical tribute to their heroism, courage and honour.
I was welcoming people at the door, and then serving teas, coffees and soft drinks during the interval with the other volunteers. It was a lot of fun.
Credit must go to Jan Hutchinson? and Ray Hutchinson for organising the event and to all the volunteers who helped deliver it. And also to the Swing Wing band, who were amazing.
Wax On, Wax Off
Tesco had organised a fundraiser for Cancer Research this morning and I had (stupidly) agreed to have my legs waxed, along with four other gentlemen from the Tesco staff.
Not sure how much we raised in total, but with donations and pledges I managed £400 so was pleased with that.
Fun morning all in all, though I will not pretend the waxing did not hurt. ‘Coz it did. :) But all in a good cause.
My “Mayors At Home.”
I was both humbled and touched by the amazing turnout at my Mayor’s At Home event today. I certainly did not expect such a huge turnout, both from Mayors and Council leaders far and wide but also from all over Wisbech. I suppose no matter how hard you hope you have worked, you don’t really know if you’ve had a successful year as Mayor until you put on your last event and see who shows up. Thank you, everybody, for being there.
I’d like to thank the local talented youngsters who provided the entertainment for the guests including the incredible Amy Palmer, the Fenland Gymnastic Academy and the Nine Lives Theatre Company. In turn each wowed the audience and were a spectacular example of the incredible talent that Wisbech has to offer.
I’d like to thank the Armed Forces youth groups who were so professional and looked so smart including the Wisbech Scouts, Air Cadets, the Army Cadets and the GVC. You were all as excellent as ever.
I’d also like to thank the Town Councillors who worked so hard to make the event a success and the many other volunteers who pitched in setting up, running the event and then clearing it all away.
I must not forget to thank my Mum and my Stepdad, who catered the entire event with good humour, professionalism and damn fine food. They worked their socks off and delivered an incredible spread which received nothing but compliments from the guests.
The Mayors At Home was also the event where we got to hand out the remainder of the money my Wife and I have raised during our Mayoral term. Totally almost £9000.00 it is been a record-breaking year.
I’d like to give my most heartfelt thanks to all the individuals businesses and organisations which have helped us raise money throughout the year. In particular, I would like to thank Mr Dain Jensen, whose exceptionally generous donation at the Nightmayor’s Big Bash last year allowed us to do some important work early on in my Mayoral term.
Although we had a fair amount of cash to distribute today, we had already spent several thousands of pounds over the course of the year on other causes. We had already made donations to local causes including Cat Haven, Sharman’s Dog Legacy, the Lois Smith Fund, the Wisbech Grammar School Rugby Fundraiser, On Track Education. We were very pleased to be able to fund the delightful Bedazzle group last year, to offer assistance to the Corps of Drums, and to work with the St Augustines Knit & Natter group with two Mayoral Commissions.
We had said we would like to purchase a Defibrillator Unit for Wisbech and we were able to do that last year, allowing the Town Council to have a mobile unit for use at festivals and activities around the town. Training has taken place and that defib unit is now making people safer in and around our town.
We had already purchased a gazebo for McMillans which I have seen them making very good use of at events around the town. The Breathe Easy team have a nice new PA system which we purchased for them to help with their important work. We even paid for the scary Ghost House that delighted and scared people at the Halloween fun day last year in Wisbech Market Place.
One of my favourite local teams, Boogie Tots, who deliver friendly and fun dance classes for very young children, and a nice opportunity to chat and get out for their parents, were supported last year to enable their class to continue offering the help and support that it does.
But today we had to hand out the cash to the charities which my Wife and I chose nearly a year ago – ably assisted by the advice and suggestions of the people of Wisbech via the Wisbech Discussion Forum on Facebook.
And so it was a great pleasure to help Community House in the North Ward with some funds to carry on the great work they do. They had already been helped by the Mayors Fund in 2017 but they are such an important asset for the town that I wanted to be sure to show my ongoing support.
For the organisation that encourages children from our area to read, and which continue to do much work to share the joy of reading and foster is early, I was pleased to be able to give some money to the Wisbech Reads organisation.
We also had funds for the Wisbech Stroke Club and the Wisbech Cubs and Scouts organisation.
Although Cat Haven weren’t able to make it to the event, we didn’t forget them and were able to give them a donation.
One of the fantastic organisations for young people in Wisbech is the Fenland Gymnastics Academy, which is raising funds to move to a larger location because it simply does not have enough space to meet the huge local demand. The Mayor donation isn’t going to buy a new premises, I know, but I hope what we were able to give them demonstrates the high regard in which we hold them and the fine young people they train.
I had invited Boogie Tots to the event but I didn’t tell them that I had a surprise for them. I knew they were looking for a source of funding to allow their activities to continue for the next six months. I had not told that that we would be able to assist with that, and it was fun to spring the good news on them.
Finally, our key local cause. My Wife and I continue to consider this such an important organisation. These ladies do such fantastic work in our town. They are a never-ending source of enthusiasm, compassion and care. I have enjoyed working with them throughout my Mayoral year and it was a great pleasure to be able to make a significant donation to help them carry on doing what they do so well. I know that the support we were able to give the St Augustine’s Day Centre will be put to fantastic use and will help some of the most vulnerable people of Wisbech to live brighter, happier and more fulfilled lives.
I could not have asked for the event to go any better than it did. It was packed with people, they all seemed to have a really nice time, and we got to reward some really wonderful local causes and charities. Thank you, everybody.
Area Champion Update
After some careful consideration, I have taken the decision to step down as Area Champion for Fenland and have emailed the decision to the relevant people this afternoon.
I will continue to do everything I can to be a champion and a Councillor for the areas I represent, just as I always do.
I wish my replacement, whoever they may be, all the best in the Area Champion role.
Wisbech Castle Project – From the Fenland Citizen
Two years of ‘hard graft’, a lot of imagination and a dedicated band of supporters will see Wisbech Castle transformed into a community asset the whole town can enjoy. That was the promise made at the first meeting of the Wisbech Castle Working Party Group on Tuesday night.
Twenty-one volunteers keen to get stuck into the project to breathe new life into the Georgian building took on an assortment of tasks with the aim of getting at least part of the Castle ready for use over the Rose Fair weekend in July. Mayor Steve Tierney chaired the meeting and outlined the task ahead which includes clearing rooms of clutter and debris, redecorating as well as building work to repair water damage.
He said Cambridgeshire County Council, who have given the Castle to the town council to manage for the next 34 years, have already been out to carry out urgent repair work to guttering and in particular to a down-pipe which was causing water damage to one wall. Coun Tierney also promised the team would become even more excited with the project once they have an opportunity to go round the building later this month and start seeing potential uses for the various rooms – from the vaults to the second floor office areas. “It really excites me to see the potential every time I go round the building – this is a real opportunity to create something special for the town and for the area as a whole. I want the Castle to be a reason for people to visit Wisbech – a must see attraction,” he said.
Working groups were set up to tackle individual schemes from tidying the extensive gardens to clearing rooms and redecorating. Local planning consultant Peter Humphrey was among the 21 to attend the meeting in Wisbech Town Council Chamber. Other volunteers included a professional gardener, an architect and people with business and social media skills as well as councillors. A tour of the building is being organised for the working party to enable them to see the task ahead for themselves and to allow an opportunity to start brainstorming ideas for the various rooms.
Suggestions already include making it an ideal wedding venue, introducing an escape room experience, opening up to local schools with rooms set out telling not only the building’s history but also that of the town. It was agreed to try to involve the College of West Anglia in the various aspects of the project such as potentially creating displays, possibly even helping with building work utilising construction students giving them hands-on experience, and also encouraging the college to use it as a venue for exhibitions. Another suggestion involves turning the Old Pump House into an old fashioned tea rooms, and using the gardens for corporate events.
Coun Tierney said: “This is an exciting project, it is going to take two years of hard graft and a lot of imagination, but it will be worth it. I just can’t wait to get properly started.” He added the working party will be the engine room for the project, doing the actual physical work, and for those keen to support but do not want to commit to working on the scheme a ‘friends of’ group is being set up, which will enable people to help in more flexible ways.
Read more at: https://www.fenlandcitizen.co.uk/news/21-are-for-turning-wisbech-castle-into-a-must-see-attraction-and-a-great-community-asset-1-8448805
Church Terrace Toilets
People were asking why the Church Terrace toilets are all closed.
This is the answer I have received from Officers at FDC:
“Just to update everyone, I have spoken to service engineer who was called to church terrace toilets wisbech regarding coin and door locking mechanism to one of the toilets, on his inspection all of the mechanism on the doors have been condemned with the doors not opening or not locking and a high chance of persons being locked in which is why engineer was called, to safe guard the public I have made the decision to close the block to eliminate any chance of anyone being locked in till this has been rectified.”
George Dunlop R.I.P.
I was very sad to hear of the passing of George Dunlop. I had the pleasure to work with George on many occasions at Town Festivals and community events.
I always found him to be just the more pleasant gentleman you could hope to meet. Nothing was too much trouble and he was always ready to help at a moment’s notice with anything that would benefit the community.
My sincere condolences to his family.
Number 46, Revisited
I have just received confirmation that the County Council has agreed to fund a replacement service for the 46 bus route from 30th April, which is exactly what County Councillors have been calling for.
I will post the revised timetable shortly.
The service will continue to be operated by Stagecoach and the new contracts have been let until the 25 August 2018.