I FELT I really must comment on the route the Olympic Torch is taking in our area, which at the time of writing is bypassing our St Neots, on its way to Bedford, which I must admit couldn’t bother me less.
However this does put St Neots in its place, geographically and status-wise, in spite of being the biggest town in Cambridgeshire, by sending the torch to a foreign capital – Dublin – rather than here.
St Neots has to take its place after non-UK destinations in the minds of the organisers, which again doesn't surprise me at all.
Having lived here since 1965, when it was a delightfully self-contained and independent town of just over 7,000 with its own facilities (most of which have now been subsequently transferred to Huntingdon), it is still the norm for bureaucracy to treat St Neots as before, when it was looked upon as the breeding ground of the labouring class to support the gentry in Huntingdon.
The Rowleys, the current squires of the town and formerly secretaries to the Lords Sandwich at Hinchingbrooke, just scraped into some county functions by the skin of their teeth with the very last invitation, I'm told.
A factor perhaps causing this was that to the west of the river, ie Eaton Ford and Eaton Socon in the Borough of Bedford definitely up until the late 1960s or early 1970s and to whom we paid our council rates – that's also why perhaps our two secondary schools are on the eastern side of the river, built in the then Huntingdonshire and causing over half our town centre traffic problems in term time.
It could have been thought that, if one was built in the west, then Bedford might successfully claim it as it would have been in its administrative district.
Finally, the makers of the video of the town for our application for funding from the Government-backed Portas scheme should be heartily congratulated, but unfortunately it portrayed a fairly prosperous town, which luckily it is when compared with the empty shops etc in Huntingdon town centre.
On this basis the organisers easily identified more urgent cases for investment which makes the chances of being successful later very slim.
W R WILKINSON