Join English Tourism Week in the Nene Valley … Virtually

Destination Nene Valley (DNV) will once again be raising the profile of tourism along the River Nene for English Tourism Week which runs from 25-31 May 2020.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, activities will take place online and concentrate on encouraging visitors, residents and business to celebrate the Nene Valley whilst remaining safe and following Government guidance.destination nene valley | nene local

Through the week, the team at DNV will be working with tourism providers across the area to deliver the following activities:

  • A social media campaign to raise the profile the profile of the Nene Valley and support tourism businesses by sharing videos, websites and photos.
  • A photographic competition with the title of ‘life in lockdown’.
  • A webinar for tourism partners.
  • Sharing inspirational stories from our communities in the Nene Valley on
  • A Nene Valley Quiz with prizes to be won.
  • Delivering the first annual award to find our very own Nene Valley hero!

East Northamptonshire Council board member for the DNV project, Cllr Sarah Peacock said:

“English Tourism Week is a staple in the DNV calendar and this year is no exception. Obviously, this year is different and we have had to adapt accordingly with activity focused online.

“But ultimately, we want to raise the profile and awareness of tourism along the Nene Valley, by working with partner organisations, and support all of our tourism partners and businesses during what is a challenging time.”

All of the events have been organised through the Destination Nene Valley project, which aims to promote the Nene Valley as a competitive, sustainable destination offering wildlife and heritage to a mixture of local, national and international audiences.

destination nene valley | nene local

English Tourism Week is an annual celebration, and this year the campaign will focus on engagement with Central Government, MPs and other stakeholders to support the recovery of English tourism in the aftermath of the pandemic, whilst raising awareness of the importance, quality and value of the sector to the UK economy.

VisitEngland is proud to lead the annual English Tourism Week campaign celebrating our diverse, exciting and vibrant sector, and showcasing the quality, range and value of English tourism to stakeholders. The week provides an essential opportunity to raise awareness and the sector’s profile to key stakeholders, with VisitEngland working to support English destinations with political engagement nationally, regionally and locally.

For more information and to get involved with English Tourism Week in the Nene Valley, visit, @_nenevalley on Twitter or search for Nene Valley on Facebook

Northampton General Hospital Reinstates Home Birth Service

The home birth service, provided by the midwifery team at Northampton General Hospital, will be reinstated from 22nd May after a temporary suspension due to Covid-19.

The popular service provides home birth care and support for women in Northampton. The team will gradually reinstate the home birth service, starting with women who have previously had a baby and who were already booked to have a home birth. It’s anticipated that the full service will resume for all women in the summer.

Women who have already booked for a home birth who want to speak to a home birth team midwife should contact the Barratt Birth Centre 01604 545434. All pregnant women registered with NGH will continue to receive information and guidance on how to access services during Covid-19.

Earlier this year the service was suspended due to COVID-19 to ensure staff could support safe maternity care in the hospital. By suspending the service the team were able to continue to offer women midwifery-led care and continuity of carer, where possible, in the Barratt Birth Centre.

The decision to reinstate services comes following guidance from the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) and Royal College of Midwives (RCM). The service is being reinstated in accordance to the latest guidance and the hospital has tailored their service in line with national guidance to ensure safe care for families. This is being regularly reviewed and the team are also working in conjunction with the East Midlands Ambulance Service to ensure there is paramedic support available if required.



Local Make-up Artist gets Sew Creative to Help Kettering Hospital

Elaine Barrow has been a make-up artist for 10 years and works all over the UK. Her jobs have included teaching Make-Up masterclasses, training up retail artists to sell products, working back stage at London Fashion week, being part of the make-up team for the Rio dancers at the Olympics in 2012 and for TV, fashion, editorial, Bridal and one to one lessons.

elaine Barrow bandana

Elaine Barrow


Whilst in lockdown Elaine has been trying to make the most of her time, she has begun her own YouTube channel and does online tutorials to put onto her social media channels. Elaine says “People are always asking about different looks and techniques, so I wanted to provide these through step by step video’s.”  It’s proving very popular, especially as people are having more time to experiment with different looks at home.

Elaine also wanted to do her bit to help all our keyworkers who are working through some tough times at the minute and the NHS in particular, and came up with the idea of making rainbow dog bandana’s after doing a rainbow eye make-up tutorial.

As Elaine or her partner don’t have children the ideal partners to help out were her trusty dogs!  Elaine knew exactly how she wanted them to look and being creative  got onto it straight away, ordered the material and when it arrived began cutting and making them, drawing an NHS logo on each bandana.

After putting a photo onto her own Facebook and Instagram accounts Elaine got some great feedback and had others asking if she would make their dog one. She had material left so thought why not!

Elaine had the fabulous idea of charging a small fee to raise that money for the NHS as they’re doing such a wonderful job it made sense to help. Elaine charges £7 for each bandana which includes postage and £5 of every one goes to the NHS (£2 covers cost of the material, posting and equipment).   It’s been such a success she has now made over 70 and is determined to get to the 100 mark and raise £500.elaine Barrow bandana

Elaine has also bandanas for cats, donkeys and Alpacas too! And has received some lovely messages back from very happy doggie parents and photos too which she going to present to Kettering General Hospital (which is where she has chosen for the money to go) when she has completed the task! Elaine says “It’s been such a wonderful thing to keep me busy and keep my creative mind going throughout lockdown and give just been so happy that I could do something small to help.”


Get in touch with Elaine Barrow on:



Website :

Instagram : @elainemakeupartist

Traversing a Lock Safely During the 2020 Pandemic

The EA has now lifted restrictionsand the river is now open.  Knowing that the boating crowd are a fairly sensible lot all in all, they’ve deemed short day trips safe.  If you are going to be on the river and going through locks during this time, we suggest something like this….


Going through the lock on your own – This one is the simplest, you will just need to take extra care and be aware of your surroundings as you normally would, plus wash your hands thoroughly (also washing any equipment you have touched with your hands, such as the lock key) on your return to your vessel.

If you see a boat going through a lock, leave them to it rather than going to help which many of us usually do.  Wait on our boat until they have passed by.


Two boats in the lock – Again, fairly straight forward.  Each lock has two sides, one boat crew gets off one side and vice versa, with each boat crew always remaining on their own side of the lock.  If you are on the port side, your crew does the port side gate, if the electric is on the port side then your crew is in charge of the buttons.  Once boarding your vessel, was hands and all equipment.  You are more than 2m apart and outdoors so no need for masks.

When you are out of your vessel do not touch your face, you will be touching lock gates, and other river furniture, we know the virus does not last long outdoors but you do not know when the last boat crew went through.

If you are on a river where you need to reset the lock for the next boat, then the same rules should apply to each boat resetting their own side of the lock, before departing.


More than two boats in a lock – Do not overcrowd locks, both for safety and for social distancing reasons. Visualise the lock as having four ‘corners’.

  1. The electrics to raise the guillotine
  2. Lock gate port side
  3. Lock gate starboard side
  4. A ‘corner’ with nothing to do opposite the electric box (more on this later)

Boaters can easily get their vessels into the lock, each person responsible for their own ropes.  Do not throw or catch ropes from another household.   Everyone moors ready to begin the procedure.

Only one boat crew can be at any one corner, so willing crew members go to the ‘corner’ nearest their boat.  If all corners are already manned, stay aboard.  If a corner is unmanned a boaters hearty call is all that is required!

Corners 1,2, and 3 it’s obvious what you do.  If that is your corner, you remain there until your job is completed.  The person at corner 4 is the watcher.  Watching for boats caught on chains and other general boating safety and hazards.  No one wants to be calling the emergency services out or going to A&E.  They should also watch for people observing 2m rule, we are all new to this and will occasionally lose concentration – I think a watcher is a good idea for these reasons.  The watcher just calls to people to make them aware of their surroundings.


Once aboard your own vessel, wash hands and all equipment used.  Stow equipment safely until the next lock.

Following the ideas above the 2m social distancing should automatically occur.  Keep alert and aware of your surroundings at all times and keep everyone safe.


Happy boating!



Christine’s COVID Recovery Sparks Pogo-Athon Fundraising

NORTHAMPTON GENERAL HOSPITAL NEWS: Christine’s COVID recovery sparks pogo-athon fundraising.

A 71 year old grandmother of six has inspired family fundraising in honour of the hospital that saved her life after she contracted COVID-19.

Christine and John Leggett

Christine and John Leggett

Christine Leggett first noticed symptoms of the virus when she began to feel achy and lethargic. As her breathing was not affected she was advised to stay at home to recover from her symptoms. However a decline in her condition and difficulty breathing in the days after first noticing symptoms meant that Christine needed to be bought to hospital to have treatment.

Freddie Minnie and Summer

Freddie Minnie and Summer

Christine described arriving at the hospital “The ambulance arrived and the paramedics said I had a temperature and low oxygen and needed to be admitted. When we arrived I was taken through to a large room that looked like something out of a sci-fi movie. Everyone dressed in all the protective clothing and plastic sheeting separated different areas. A chest x-ray was taken and I was told that I had pneumonia on both lungs and it was highly likely that it was coronavirus. After a few more tests I was taken to a ward and put on oxygen”.

Freddie, Minnie and Summer

Freddie, Minnie and Summer

In the following days, despite treatment, her condition worsened and she needed to be taken to the intensive care unit for ventilation to help her to breathe and then oxygen therapy. She spent 4 days in intensive care before being discharged back to a ward. Two weeks after being admitted to hospital and only a week after leaving intensive care, Christine was able to return home to her loved ones to continue her recovery.


She explained “When I first came home I felt tired and didn’t have a lot of energy, but after a couple of days I started walking a few laps round the garden, increasing the distance every day. I feel absolutely fine now and everyone says how well I look.


“The care that I received while in hospital was amazing. Everyone was treated with such kindness and I know they saved my life. No one should be worried about going into hospital”.


And now to thank the hospital her son Jonny, daughter-in-law Hayley and three of her grandchildren took on their own unique fundraising challenge to say thank you to the NHS.

Jonny explained how the idea of fundraising came about “Hayley had taken the lead role in calling the hospital twice a day for updates on mum, so she had first-hand experience of how well mum was being looked after. Captain Tom Moore had given us so much inspiration of what could be achieved in the back garden so we decided to do a 2.6km pogo-athon!


“Freddie, Summer and Minnie all took turns doing the 8.5m width of the garden on the pogo stick. We completed the challenge in just over two days on one of the hottest weekends. By the end of it they had blisters and bruising but they wanted to keep going for their nanny and the NHS. To date they have raised over £1,300.


“NGH saved my mum’s life. No if’s or but’s.

We are eternally grateful”.

Plans to Create Two New Councils Undergo Major Redesign

Plans to create two new councils undergo major redesign as Covid crisis continues.

With tackling the Coronavirus everyone’s top priority, plans for creating two new councils in Northamptonshire will be scaled down, with a new approach called ‘Safe and Legal Plus’.

New legislation that came into effect on 8 May, as expected confirms the new North and West Northamptonshire Councils will start on 1 April 2021.  This follows the postponement of this spring’s scheduled unitary elections due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The North and West Shadow Councils’ Executives at their first meetings in late June will be considering proposals to prioritise work to ensure all services are set up safely and legally for day one of the two new authorities, whilst still working hard to bring together and improve as many existing services as possible.

Preparations will continue towards setting up the new countywide Children’s Trust by 1 April next year, with the timescale dependent on the ongoing pandemic response.

The priorities of the proposed revised Safe and Legal Plus programme include:

  • Ensuring all services for the new councils are ready to go next April so residents continue to access services as they usually would.
  • Setting up the new North and West shadow authorities, which are made up of the existing district, borough and county councillors. They will meet in June and replace the West and North Northants Joint Committees.
  • Ensuring budgets are set for each new council, and developing plans for equalising Council Tax rates across each unitary area.
  • Bringing together the existing district and borough services into the new North and West unitary councils and splitting county council services across the two areas.
  • Even better joint working in Adults Services and Health and Social Care, with improved ways of working to improve services for residents and deliver significant savings.

Cllr Russell Roberts, Leader of the new North Northamptonshire Shadow Authority said: “Our councils and services are facing unprecedented challenges in responding to the Covid pandemic and the health and welfare of our residents is at the forefront of everything we are doing.

“We’re working on the assumption that safe and legal is deliverable by 1 April 2021 but due to the uncertainty that exists at the moment, we will continually review what is possible to achieve and by when as we move through the next few months.

“We’ve had to re-think our ambitions as to what we can achieve by Go Live Day, but while the focus is on Safe and Legal we’ll be doing what we can between now and April.”

Councillor Ian McCord, Leader of the new West Northamptonshire Shadow Authority, said: “Providing essential public services to residents and businesses during the Coronavirus pandemic has rightly been our top priority, with work on the new councils put on the back burner.  As a result, we’ve had to scale back how much we can do before launch of the two new councils next April.

“We’ll certainly have each new council up and running on time, but will complete much of the behind-the-scenes work of integrating staff from the previous councils later on.  What’s most important is that residents relying on public services continue to see them run smoothly.”

To view the vision document, ‘Prospectus for Change – the next chapter’ and to find out more about the new Safe and Legal Plus approach for the unitary preparations visit and



How can Busy Women Networking Help your Business Grow?

Busy Women Networking has local groups near to you!

It’s a female only networking group running monthly in various areas, such as Oundle, Kettering and Northampton – as well as further afield in laces such as Banbury, Rugby (coming soon) and Buckingham.  Check the main website for all the areas covered –

Each meeting runs from 12 until 2pm and lunches are included, when the meetings are running normally…. in non Covid 19 times.


The meetings include networking opportunities, getting to know other businesses, a member speaker spotlight each month on a specific topic, plus lots of referrals between the members.

bwn nene local

Nene Local Magazine owner, Helen Dawson, runs the Oundle BWN group.  The group has been running for one year now and has a core membership of around 15 ladies, although there is plenty of room for more.  Lots of business has been done in the group in the first year, with members gaining new clients all the time.

Oundle Members include: 595-0-0-0-10000-10000-297

  • Inspired to Change (Hypnotherapist)
  • The Marketing Team (Marketing & Websites)
  • BTS Accountancy (Accountant)
  • Bray & Bray (Wills & Probate Law)
  • Tropic Skincare
  • Magazine Editor
  • Dermatechnix (Beauty Therapist)
  • Mary Coulson Photography (Photographer)
  • Gilded Wealth (Financial Planning)
  • Excello Law (Employment Law & HR)
  • Utility Warehouse (bills & Utilities)
  • Time for Tranquillity Retreats (Retreats)


The group is on the look out for new professionals to join from all sorts of sectors such as:

  • Trades Women – plumber, electrician, tiler etc
  • Health & Safety
  • Osteopath
  • Engineer
  • Architect
  • Solicitor
  • Business Coach
  • Dietician
  • Charity
  • Personal Trainer
  • Hairdresser
  • Mortgage provider
  • Interior Design
  • Insurance Specialist

This list is not exhaustive so if you’re a women with your own business or a business you’re in charge of marketing and you’re not mentioned just get in touch!


Meetings during Covid 19 are running online on Zoom and at only £12 per meeting they are a fabulous way to pop in and see us, and try BWN for size…


The next Oundle meeting is June 2nd   12-2pm – bring your own lunch to the zoom meeting!

If you want to see when the other groups meet please check the main BWN website.


For more information.

Aruna Rao – BWN owner

Helen Dawson -BWN Associate for Oundle group

Oundle Facebook group














VE Day 75th Anniversary Celebrations in Thrapston – May 2020

Photographs courtesy of Eric Franklin, Val Jefferson Archive at Thrapston Heritage, Thrapston Town Council, Helen Dawson and the residents of Thrapston.


ve day 75 thrapston



ve day 75 thrapston

 ve day 75 thrapston


ve day 75 thrapston

The residents of Thrapston enjoyed a safe, socially distanced day andit lifted all our spirits.

Covid Constitutional – A Walk for Photographers from the A605 Lay-by

When I posted the cover photo on the Welcome to Thrapston Facebook page of this stream and bridge it caused quite a stir, people asking where it was.  Read on to see how you can walk to this little stream to take a look.

Photo courtesy of Kris Newman

Photo courtesy of Kris Newman, taken earlier in the year in flood.

the little stream thrapston lakes

April sunshine

The length of the walk is just under two miles, a bit muddy today but fairly flat ground and OK for small children.  Take your camera along, as this is a stunning little walk to grab some great nature and wildlife photos.

Most of my walks have been circular, but this one is a ‘there and back again’ walk, starting at the lay-by on the A605 just as you leave Thrapston going toward Oundle.

todays map

There is a dog poop bin on the edge of the lay-by, denoting where the gate is, walk through the gateway and go down-hill, towards the sailing lake which you can clearly see through the trees at this time of year.todays map

This is pretty much a straight path through the farmers field, it is a public right of way but please respect any crops or livestock by keeping to the path and not leaving any litter or dog poop.the farmers field thrapston the farmers field thrapston

Through the next gateway and carry straight down into the wooded path.

the farmers field thrapston

After a while, you will see one footpath carry straight on, into what appears to be quite heavily shrubbed and wooded area, we will come back to this, you need to veer off to the right (keeping the lake on your left) to see the stream with mini bridge over it, very picturesque and good for a paddle.

Once you have enjoyed the stream turn back on yourself, walking now with the lake on your right-hand side, and once you come to the path I told you to ignore, turn right along that path.   This path does not go anywhere – but there are ample photography spots along its length.  It is a spur of land that juts out into the lake, fabulous for birdwatching.

Walk to the end and then return.  You will walk back the way you came, across the famers field to the A605.  This is a really simple walk, for fresh air and some breath-taking views, don’t forget your camera!

Come on Mum! Hurry up.

Come on Mum! Hurry up.

We hope you enjoyed the walk and have maybe seen parts of Thrapston you are unfamiliar with?  Pop a note in the comments below and tell us if you enjoyed it and if you saw any wildlife along the way.  Post your walk photos to Welcome to Thrapston too!

thrapston lakes

All our walks can be found here

Please always follow the current government guidelines for Corona Virus

A Covid Constitutional – A Walk from the Woolpack Inn

The second walk in our series of Thrapston walks to try during your daily exercise time.

The terrain of this walk is ‘challenging’ with some small hill scrambles/climbs.  It is NOT suitable for pushchairs and small children.nene local | second walk

The walk is 1.35 miles long.

My walk today begins at The Woolpack Inn, just over the bridge in Islip.

The Woolpack Inn

The Woolpack Inn


Cross over the road and past a five-bar gate taking you to the River Nene, where you can sit by the EA moorings in summer weather.  If you carry on walking in the same direction as when you crossed the road, you will see an archway in the hedgerow to walk through.

Looking back towards Nine Arches Bridge

Looking back towards Nine Arches Bridge


You will appear at the top of a bund, put there to protect local houses from flooding. In 2012 the water from the rains saw the River Nene burst its banks, filling these fishing lakes with excess water, and see the water reach the very top of the bunds.

Continuing on, with the fishing lakes on your left.  Follow the shorter grass ‘path’.  Ahead of you, you will see many cut trees and also some newly planted ones.  We’re not sure on what’s going on, whether the trees are being cut for wood or are diseased and need to come down. Great to see lots being planted though.

The large black/grey bridge ahead is the old railway bridge.  Another walk on another day will take you under the bridge and further round, but for today, don’t go through the bridge… the railway bridge

Look upwards and you will see a way to scramble up the side of the old railway and onto where the railway line would be – we are going to go over the black bridge.  The scramble up the bank is short but quite steep, you need to be sure on your feet and wear trainers or similar.

After you’ve scrambled to the top, turn left along the old railway track.

Along the old railway track

Along the old railway track

You are now walking quite high up and if you can see over the walls of the bridge, the views are lovely.  Look over the right-hand side and see the A14 snaking its way across the river and flood plains.

flood plains and A14

Continue to walk along this path – but what goes up must come down…. Another scramble back down and onto Midland Road.  You are now opposite The Sidings Estate entrance.

The Sidings

The Sidings

Turn left and walk down Midland Road until you get to the roundabout with The Plaza Centre on it, take the first exit, walking past The Bridge Hotel, over Nine Arches Bridge and back to the Woolpack.

A fairly short walk but with some exciting scrambling for older kids.

nene local walks

We hope you enjoyed the walk and have maybe seen parts of Thrapston you are unfamiliar with?  Pop a note in the comments below and tell us if you enjoyed it and if you saw any wildlife along the way.  Post your walk photos to Welcome to Thrapston too!

Our first walk can be found here – A Covid Constitutional – An April Walk to the Sailing Club