Review of the Year: December

A FAMILY in St Neots was left shocked after they lost £1,000 of property to thieves who raided their garage twice in one evening. The Baxter family, who live in Almond Road, lost sporting equipment in the raids, including 100 training balls used by Priory

A FAMILY in St Neots was left shocked after they lost £1,000 of property to thieves who raided their garage twice in one evening.

The Baxter family, who live in Almond Road, lost sporting equipment in the raids, including 100 training balls used by Priory Parkside junior footballers.

Nicola Baxter, who works at Hinchingbrooke Hospital, said: "We felt violated. What gives anyone the right to just break in and take what they like? The police can only give us a crime number and there is no security at the garages so I guess it is easy for the thieves to just take what they like when they like."

A CAR sales company which has parked vehicles outside its showroom for 10 years said it may no longer be able to trade after a police community support officer (PCSO) started issuing tickets.

Francis Margot, owner of Fran Cars, in The Quadrant in St Ives town centre, said: "We have never obstructed the pavement. We always allow room for a wheelchair or double buggies. I have paid all the tickets but it is a big worry. If this carries on, our business will be impossible.

"There has been a garage here for over 50 years. We need to park outside when we want to move cars around the showroom or show a customer a car."

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TRIBUTES were paid to village historian and long-serving parish council member Jack Dady, who died at the age of 93.

Mr Dady, from Fenstanton, was author of Beyond Yesterday, a history of Fenstanton. All proceeds from the book were distributed among groups in the community.

Fellow village historian Nigel Tilbury, operator of the village website, said: "He could only ever be described as generous, kind, selfless, even-handed and forever jovial. Jack was a gentleman, much respected and dearly loved and will be missed by all those who knew him."

ALMOST a year after the death of a seven-year-old boy and his father on the Forty Foot Road, Cambridgeshire County Council pledged to introduce average speed cameras on the road.

The road claimed five lives in six weeks in the winter of 2005/06, including those of Jordan Hawes and his father Dean, 27.

County Councillor Mac McGuire said: "It is quite clear that some motorists are prepared to drive at horrendous speeds along the Forty Foot.

"We should start work on it as soon as we can. If this is successful it could be considered across the UK."

The body of a 43-year-old Ely man was receovered from the river there at Christmas.

A CHURCH in St Ives announced it would cancel its annual live crib - and replace it with a model of the wall Israelis have built around Bethlehem.

In place of their popular nativity scene, complete with live animals, the Sacred Heart Church has decided to erect a life-size replica portion of the Separation Wall outside the church.

Father Paul Maddison, who has been parish priest in St Ives for five years, said: "The lives of the ordinary citizens of Bethlehem have been devastated by the building of the wall around their city. It affects every aspect of their lives."

ANTI-WINDFARM campaigners reacted jubilantly to the end of a plan for 15 100-metre tall wind turbines on the ridge between Boxworth and Elsworth.

Planning inspector Andrew Pykett said the windfarm would completely dominate the character of an area "of quintessentially English lowland landscape in composition, scale and appearance" to the extent that much of its existing quality would be overwhelmed.

Mike Barnard, of Stop Cambridge Wind Farm Action Group, said: It is a very nice early Christmas present."

JUBILANT staff and patients celebrated the news that services at the under-threat Hinchingbrooke Hospital looked likely to be saved.

The news, which surprised many, meant Hinchingbrooke looked likely to retain a full range of accident and emergency services and, crucially, general surgery.

Interim chief executive Jane Herbert said: "The option that looks most favourable at this stage would allow us to continue to provide full A&E services and a full surgical service with almost no noticeable effects for patients, though there would be changes behind the scenes,"

"The clinicians have done a great job, but there has also been a lot of old-fashioned slog involved."

"This trust is always going to need tight financial control," Ms Herbert said. "There's still a long way to go," she stressed.

Huntingdon MP Jonathan Djanogly, who with North West Cambridgeshire MP Shailesh Vara campaigned strongly for the hospital, said: "If the end result is that we retain a full service at Hinchingbrooke, it's a long way down the road from when people were talking about its closure.

"The important thing now is to keep up the pressure and to participate fully in the consultation.

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