Wednesday, 2 December 2009


The second Sunday in each month means ‘pinnies off, coats on’ for a group of ‘certain age’ ladies and gents as they head off for lunch at one of the area’s hostelries. This was started four years ago and the group has been enjoying good food and great company once a month ever since. The membership total stands at 26, with an average number of 18 people usually attending. The venue is chosen, and the event co-ordinated so that non-driving diners are assured of a lift. Although noisy on occasion, they’ve so far not been banned from any of the pubs they’ve frequented!

In December 22 of the group will enjoy a Christmas lunch at the Golden Ball, Boxworth. The deposits have been paid, the menus chosen, and lunch at their favourite venue is eagerly anticipated. It’s bound to be a happy, noisy affair with much laughter and will be a wonderful start to the Christmas celebrations.

Wednesday, 11 November 2009


If you ring 999 complaining of coronary or respiratory problems, an ambulance will be despatched as well as, if appropriate, the Over First Responders. This village-based service, run by MAGPAS (the emergency medical charity for Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Peterborough - and well supported financially by fund-raising, is now entering its sixth year. A bit like insurance, you hope you never need it, but you’re glad to know it’s there, just in case!

The First Responders is currently a team of three – Ann the Co-ordinator, with Dave and Ellie, the Responders. Dave told me that their role is to ‘sustain life until the ambula
nce or other help arrives’. Many lives have already been saved by the prompt arrival of the Responders with their equipment.

The team would love to hear from anyone interested in joining them. If you are over 21 and under 70 and have even one hour a week to spare, contact Ann on 01954 230115 for more information. No medical knowledge or experience is required – you'll be provided with excellent training and support – and your one hour could be a lifesaver!

Tuesday, 3 November 2009


Allan Papworth got in touch after finding my blog on Google. He was born in Cambridge and lived in Over until his early 20s. Generations of his family have come from Over, and Papworth’s Close is named in memory of his father Ernie, who wrote a lot of the local history articles. Some of the older villagers may also remember Allan delivering their newspapers!

Allan and Rosemary have been living in Florida for the past 12 years, but expect to return to Over when they retire.
The photographs sent with Allan’s message include one of him with his grandparents, Frank and Jessie, and one of him in school uniform on his first day at Cambridgeshire High School.

Tuesday, 13 October 2009


8pm Friday night at the Community Centre – its ‘eyes down’ for bingo.

Organised by Dot and Myra, Friday night bingo is now in its tenth year. There have been various callers, but for the last five years this has been done by Rod, who seldom calls the numbers I need! Though he does get it right for me occasionally.

There are a fair number of ‘regulars’, but always room and a warm welcome for new players. Refreshments are available during the interval (or available from the bar if something stronger than tea/coffee is required!), as well as a raffle. Twice a year the proceeds from the raffle are donated to support the work of the local branch of the British Legion.

Tuesday, 29 September 2009


When Mary heard about the World’s Biggest Coffee Morning - an event now being held annually across the country and in several other parts of the world to raise money for Macmillan cancer support - she wanted to get involved, having, like many of us, lost someone dear to this disease. She says: ‘I was going to do one from home but I took the opportunity to make it bigger and organised it in the Town Hall, with a lot of help from my friends’.

Last Saturday Mary organised her fifth Coffee Morning, assisted by her team of willing helpers. Starting at 10 o’clock, coffee and cakes were provided for a donation of £1. There was also a raffle, tombola, and home-made cake stall, so plenty to spend your money on and add to the total raised. Lots of people came to enjoy the refreshments, the chat and laughter, and support this very worthy cause. With donations still being received, the amount raised currently stands at £340, a steady increase on previous years. Well done, Mary and helpers, who put so much time and effort into organising this event.

Monday, 21 September 2009


St Mary’s Church has the second highest spire in the Ely District. As the distance between the ground and where the bells are hung is relatively long (Long Draught), a Rope Guide is used to assist ringing. The eight bells (two were added to the original six in 1930) are rung by a team currently consisting of approximately 20 people, ranging in age from 13, to the eldest who has been bell ringing for 56 years. A Peal takes about three hours, and is only rung for special occasions, the most recent to mark 900 years of the Ely diocese.

Thanks to Marion – the Conductor – and her happy, enthusiastic team for their very warm welcome when I called in to their Thursday night practice, and for all the fascinating information they provided – wish I had space to include more of it. The photograph shows the group proudly displaying the trophy they received this year when they won the Annual Striking Competition.

Monday, 14 September 2009


A fairly recent but already very popular landmark in the village can be found on a roof in High Street. When this grade II listed building was renovated a few years ago, the three pigs were added to the top of the roofline. Constructed from long straw thatch, one of the main reasons for this was because many years ago there had been a piggery on the nearby land.
The owners are aware that many people stop to look and photograph the pigs; they have been used as a landmark for treasure hunts, and local school children are brought to see them when learning about the history of the village. My grandsons certainly think they're great fun, and they always make me smile.

Monday, 7 September 2009


When Christine, Liz and Wendy circulated a flyer (see left) inviting anyone interested in forming an AmDram Society to attend a meeting in the Church Hall on 16 February 1984, they could surely not have imagined that 25 years later The Over Players (TOPs) would be putting on three productions a year, including a traditional Christmas panto, whilst still retaining 15 of the original members.

The amount of work and dedication required for each production is amazing, from scripting, production, rehearsals, back-stage and front of house, and already in September the first production meeting has taken place for the TOPs’ 2009 panto, ‘Peter Pan’. Considering that last year’s sell-out panto ‘Sleeping Beauty’ won a regional award, look out for more information in the Over News and make sure you book your ‘Peter Pan’ tickets early!

Monday, 31 August 2009


When I think of Over WI, it’s not of the meetings, outings or other good works, but of the excellent carnival floats for which it has become known.

Brilliantly conceived and executed by Melanie, supported by her husband Brian and friend Roger Denson, the WI float is always eagerly awaited, as we wonder what clever idea she has come up with. Following the theme set each year by the Carnival Committee, we have been treated to Ernie, The Fastest Milk Float in the West (1970s Music); Synchronised Swimming (Sport); and who can forget the Calendar Girls (Films). Great!

Well done, Melanie & Co – will be looking out for you next year. And thanks for the photos.


Born in Marietta, Georgia, USA, the eldest of four children and son of a cotton farmer, Dick joined the US Air Force at the age of 18, serving as an aircraft mechanic, then as First Sgt, in charge of 600+ personnel. His time in the USAF took him to all parts of the world, including active service in Vietnam. He retired from the Air Force in 1975.

In 1976 Dick and his wife moved to Over. He retained connections with the USAF, working in a civilian capacity at RAF Alconbury, finally retiring in 1988 due to illness.

Refusing to let health problems get him down, Dick still has a twinkle in his eye and a wicked sense of humour. He loves to travel, and has seen most of England, and has returned often to the States to visit family. Perhaps because of his roots, he has a particular love of country & western and jazz music.

Friday, 21 August 2009


Due to family connections, Eileen has known Over all her life. Born in the small village of Bicknacre, Essex, she is the eldest of three sisters (see sidebar photo).

During the War, Eileen served in the WAAF - based in the Midlands and at Speke Airport - as a Meteorological Forecaster.

Eileen and her husband came to live in Over some 30 years ago, and soon after she started researching her family history, a subject which had always been of great interest to her. She is related, by birth and by marriage, to many old Over families, and on one line has traced back as far as 1558. In 2003, in collaboration with Jean Nelson, over 20 years’ work was published under the title ‘Bicheno: A Family From Cambridgeshire 1558-2003’.

Thursday, 13 August 2009


With his father in the RAF and the house in Romford bombed out, Dennis was evacuated to Cambs. with his mother and younger brother. The sidebar picture shows Dennis, amongst others, in front of Cottenham Memorial on VE day. The family later moved to Cambridge, where Dennis became an apprentice bricklayer, and the eldest of five brothers. His National Service was completed in the Royal Engineers.
Dennis moved to Over with his wife and family more than 30 years ago. He built houses all over the county, including some in the village. He now makes the most of his retirement, surrounded by family and friends, and enjoying fishing, bowls, and other pastimes, but especially spending time with his young grandson.

Thursday, 6 August 2009


If you thought whist drives were quiet, serious affairs where you were scowled at for playing a 'wrong' card, you haven't tried this one!
Just entering its third year, the whist drive is a great way to spend three hours on a Saturday evening.
The number of players varies from week to week, having been as low as five or as many as 26. People have come along from Swavesey, Cottenham, Papworth Everard and York! But however many players turn up, there's always a great atmosphere, with plenty of chat and laughter. There's always a selection of cakes in the interval, sometimes even home-made ones (thanks, Kath). And everyone goes home with a prize. Not bad for £2. It's also great for sharing your excess fruit harvest (cheers, Dennis and Glenice, the plums were lovely).

Wednesday, 5 August 2009


Someone who represents village life for me has to be Bert, who owns the farm shop in High Street. He has spent his life working on the land, and much of the produce in his shop is still home grown. When asked his age, he would only say 'too old'. He has not travelled far from home, and never wanted to, although he did go to the seaside a couple of times but wasn't impressed.

Bert can be found in the farm shop every morning, and is so cheerful and welcoming. It is always a pleasure to pop in and have a chat with this gentleman, who is so obviously happy and content with life. Thank you, Bert, for agreeing to be my first 'blogee'!
MKS commented: 'I have known "Bert" and his family for almost fifty years, having lived in Over as a child and maintained contact after leaving the village. What lovely people!'