nene local | helen dawson


Archive for: November 2013

Good-natured gifts for wildlife this Christmas

If you’re stuck for Christmas gift ideas look no further than your local Wildlife Trust for inspiration. Help wildlife in your area by purchasing any of the Wildlife Trust for Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Northamptonshire’s beautiful festive cards or 2014 Calendar featuring images by amateur photographers for the Anglia Co-operative, including stunning regional landscapes and wildlife such as owls, foxes and deer. Cards (packs of 10) and calendars are just £3.99 each and every penny of profit will be shared between the Wildlife Trust BCN, the Friends of Paxton Pits Nature Reserve, Peterborough and District Beekeepers Association and Bungay Community Bees.

 WT cards calendar

Unlike other gifts, a year’s membership of the Wildlife Trust BCN keeps on giving all year round, and the inspiration it brings could last a lifetime! Starting from £15, gift membership includes a visitor guide to their nature reserves, three issues per year of the Local Wildlife magazine and regular updates on wildlife events and sightings.


The Wildlife Trust BCN also have a lovely range of fine china mugs by wildlife artists Mark Greco and Mike Langham, as well as inspiring books about nature to suit all levels, from wildlife beginner to budding enthusiast.   


To order any of these fantastic gifts contact the Wildlife Trust on 01954 713522 or email For more good-natured gift inspiration keep an eye out for the Wildlife Trust online shop coming soon at


Light up the Nene Valley

Are you wishing for a magical start to Christmas this year? Then look no further because the Wildlife Trust has just the thing to help light up the festive season for you, your friends and your family.

lantern making

Join the Wildlife Trust for an enchanting Lantern Walk at Irthlingborough Lakes and Meadows nature reserve on Saturday 7th December, 4-6pm. You will have the chance to make your own personalised lantern followed by a magical candlelit walk through the reserve with Irthlingborough’s legendary lantern tower as a backdrop. Refreshments of mince pies and mulled wine will help to add a little extra festive cheer to ensure that your family enjoy a Christmas treat that they won’t forget. 

Louise Tuffin, Nene Valley Education and Community Manager for the Wildlife Trust, said “It is believed that the lantern tower was built to help guide travellers across the Nene Valley when the weather could be very bleak and foggy.

“The church will provide the perfect setting for us to make our lanterns and it will be a truly magical experience to set off by candle light on the same route as those travellers would have done all those centuries ago.”  

The event is completely free but availability is limited so hurry and book your place now so that you don’t miss out on this unique festive experience.

To book your place please contact Claire Wylde on 01604 405285, email or visit for more information.

Thrapston Christmas Lights Festival


New Chefs try to steak a claim at the Queen’s Head Inn

The Queens Head Inn, a Classic Lodges partner property has appointed two new chefs to join its kitchen staff – Erran Buckingham has joined the as the new Head Chef, alongside David Wade who is joining as Sous Chef.


Before working at the Garden House Hotel in Stamford, Erran gained experience in the Michelin-starred kitchens at Raymond Blanc’s Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons over a year where he rose from Commis to Demi Chef, and also won a competition to work at the Fat Duck in Bray for a month, the restaurant famed for its molecular gastronomy run by Heston Blumenthal that came second in the 50 best restaurants in the world for a number of years.

 Erran saucing pork & Lamb

“Erran joins the Queens Head Inn at an exciting time and with the aim of gaining the restaurant a second AA rosette,” says General Manager, Agata Pawlak. “His knowledge and past experience will help to give the menu a real refresh and hopefully attract new customers looking to enjoy good and interesting food that is unavailable elsewhere locally.”

Alongside the signature wagyu and USDA steakson offer at the Queens Head, Erran has introduced a number of dishes as part of his seasonal revamp of the menu that includes firm favourties King Scallops, Soy and honey belly Pork, pickled carrot rings, smoked bacon sherbet and a salad called the Autumn Garden that is served in a plant pot and includes a quail’s egg rolled in burnt onion powder that looks like a pebble.


“I want to bring something to the area that others may not have tried anywhere else without the food being too pompous. It isn’t about reinventing the food as such, more giving traditional flavour combinations a modern twist,” Erran says. “Wherever possible the ingredients are sourced locally and everything is cooked on site. Long term our ambition is to achieve the second AA rosette and then hopefully a Michelin guide recommendation.”

Alongside Erran is new Sous Chef, David Wade, who will be responsible for the running of
food preparation in the kitchen. Outside of the kitchen, he will be assisting Erran with staff scheduling and ordering ingredients.


Major developer buys Wellingborough site

Development comes as business leaders gear up for growth


A former bakery in Wellingborough is set to be redeveloped in a move that business leaders have hailed as the start of an “economic resurgence” for the town.


The UK’s leading regeneration specialist St. Modwen has bought the 3.5 acre Whitworth Bakery site on London Road, opposite the Castlefields Retail Park, and is considering options to develop a scheme which complements nearby businesses.


Rupert Wood, Regional Director for the Northern Home Counties at St. Modwen, said the acquisition was an obvious choice for the firm, which operates throughout the UK and has a strong reputation for transforming disused sites.


He said: “The site’s prominent location on London Road and potential in the Wellingborough market as a whole made this an attractive opportunity for us. We see this as a key strategic purchase as we seek to grow the company’s Northern Home Counties regional office.


“We look forward to working with the Borough Council of Wellingborough and the other key stakeholders as we work towards the submission of our planning application in the new year and the eventual start on site later in 2014.”


Wellingborough Chamber of Commerce president James Wilson believes St. Modwen’s purchase of the site shows the town is emerging out of the recession and “accelerating towards growth”.


Simon Toseland, director of Prop-Search, and Wellingborough Chamber of Commerce President James Wilson at the site due to be developed

Simon Toseland, director of Prop-Search, and Wellingborough Chamber of Commerce President James Wilson at the site due to be developed

It comes as Wellingborough firms are being invited to have a direct say in growth priorities for the area as part of a new campaign badged ‘Enterprising Wellingborough’ launched by the chamber.


Mr Wilson said: “With all of the public money which has gone into Corby, Wellingborough has missed out. However, planned developments, including Wellingborough North and Stanton Cross, the upgrading of the train line into London and the £16m new Tresham campus, mean it’s our turn now.


“Attracting a prestigious developer like St. Modwen to develop a brownfield site on one of the main routes into Wellingborough is also a significant coup – it represents the beginning of an economic resurgence and acceleration towards growth following a period of stagnation.”


Simon Toseland, who is a director of Wellingborough-based commercial property agents Prop-Search and is the agent for the developers, said: “A national company like St. Modwen, with its reputation for regenerating brownfield sites, investing in Wellingborough is a clear sign of confidence in the town.”


The chamber is encouraging firms to participate in research which aims to highlight key development constraints and identify ways to grow the town.


The findings will be used to help bid for a slice of an initial £100 million funding available through the Northamptonshire Enterprise Partnership and South East Midlands Local Enterprise Partnership.


A free-to-attend business breakfast briefing has been organised on 6 December between 7.30am and 9.30am, at 4-6 Regents Court, Park Farm, Wellingborough, to feedback the results from the questionnaire and to highlight the opportunities for businesses if a growth plan is supported. To book a place, visit:

All businesses large and small are invited to complete the survey by visiting:


Wellingborough’s Christmas plans revealed

Wellingborough town centre will be turned into a winter wonderland this Christmas – with a spectacular show to mark the lights switch on and a festive market planned.


A reindeer at the 2012 Wellingborough Christmas lights switch on

A reindeer at the 2012 Wellingborough Christmas lights switch on

Santa and his reindeer along with a fireworks display and artificial snow will accompany the switching on of the Christmas lights during an event taking place on Saturday, November 30, in Market Street.


A packed agenda of live tribute bands is lined up, with performers set to entertain the crowds from a stage opposite Lloyds bank during the event, which will officially herald the start of Christmas in the town.


The festivities are being organised by the Wellingborough Business Improvement District (BID), an organisation which stages events and activities aimed at encouraging people into the town centre.


John Cable, BID manager, said: “We’ve got an action-packed event planned for the Christmas lights switch on – and everyone is invited.


“Wellingborough town centre will be turned into a festive-themed, hustling, bustling winter wonderland complete with an authentic Christmas market.


“We have a town centre to be proud of and this Christmas we’re giving people a great reason to shop in Wellingborough. So, visit your town centre and come and enjoy the festivities.”


Complete with pop-up shops, the Christmas market, which opens on November 30 and runs for three weeks, will be offering seasonal fare.


New businesses are being offered the chance to test out the marketplace during the biggest shopping spree in the retail calendar by hiring a subsidised wooden hut at the market.


Due to be located in Orient Way, which leads up to the main market, they will cost between £75 and £95 a week and range in size from 7ft x 5ft to 12ft by 8ft. There is a 50 per cent discount for businesses based in the BID area.


For more information, email Mr Cable at or call 01933 270795.