Traffic improvement triggers cash

RATHER than eat his hat, Cambridgeshire business leader John Bridge promised to give £500 of his own money to charity if the new traffic lights at the Spittals interchange in Huntingdon succeeded in improving users journey times. The sceptical bet was ma

RATHER than eat his hat, Cambridgeshire business leader John Bridge promised to give £500 of his own money to charity if the new traffic lights at the Spittals interchange in Huntingdon succeeded in improving users' journey times.

The sceptical bet was made by the chief executive of Cambridgeshire Chambers of Commerce last December, when the introduction of lights was delayed by a month.

He offered to let readers of The Hunts Post be the judges of whether he should hand over the money - and you told him overwhelmingly he should (Letters, February 15).

Last week, he gave a cheque to the Saxongate Community Learning Centre Appeal, which has been enthusiastically backed by this newspaper and is part of the Papworth Trust's Foundations for Living project.

The £8million Saxongate complex, in Hartford Road, in Huntingdon town centre, will include 30 wheelchair-accessible flats and a further 13 flats for sale to anyone, to achieve the charity's ambition to enable disabled people to integrate fully into Huntingdon life. It will also include a ground-breaking centre for community learning in the heart of the town with a range of accessible facilities.

Mr Bridge's donation has reduced to just £100,000 the money still needed to fulfil the appeal's £2million target before the complex opens its doors fully in September.

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"My wife, Jenny, was aghast when I made the rash bet," Mr Bridge told The Hunts Post. "But when I told her the money would go to Saxongate she was absolutely delighted.

"It is state of the art," he added after a tour of the unfinished complex. "It will give true integration. People are going to be quite astonished."

Professor Alan Barrell, chairman of the appeal's development board, said: "We are really grateful to John, not only for his personal support but for that of the chambers."

INFORMATION: The appeal hopes to raise £30,000 from participation in the London 10km run on July 2 and a golf day on July 3, leaving the £100,000 outstanding. Individuals and organisations wishing to help raise these funds should contact Mandy Barker at the Papworth Trust on 01480 357257.

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