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A look back in words and photos on life in Fenland in 2021



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Well 2021 was a year of ups and downs.

Starting with us here in Fenland under two tier restrictions from Boxing Day - hitting many families' Christmas plans as the 'rule of six' returned.

It meant that the early part of the year was quiet in terms of local events and everybody's focus was on the innovative Covid vaccine and when it would be our turn to get it.

This image of Andy Tilley putting a finishing shine to his lorry before the Flatlands Road Run marked the start of the year's events - and it was in May.
This image of Andy Tilley putting a finishing shine to his lorry before the Flatlands Road Run marked the start of the year's events - and it was in May.

Volunteers rallied to the cry for help manning the area's two vaccination hubs: the former Budgens store in the Horsefair, Wisbech, and Doddington Hospital.

Both were run like well-oiled machines, and the Horsefair continues to do so. But the year ended as it began for an appeal for volunteers to once again step up to help run booster clinics at Doddington Hospital as the Omicron variant began sweeping through the country at the end of November and the Government was urging everyone to get a third dose.

All this meant that Citizen photographer Adam Fairbrother's skills were rarely needed in the early part of the year as event after event was called off.

International Mud Day at Emneth Nursery School. (54032935)
International Mud Day at Emneth Nursery School. (54032935)

But then in May came an event that captured the imagination of many as over 60 vintage lorries took to the streets of Fenland and beyond.

Setting off from Chapel Road car park in Wisbech they headed to Peterborough and back attracting attention as they went.

Among those taking part was Andy Tilley, and Adam picked a photo of him giving his lorry a last minute shine as one of his favourites of the year - simply because it was a sign that a bit of normality was on the horizon.

International Mud Day at Emneth Nursery School was one that inspired photographer Adam Fairbrother to pick not one but three images for his choices in June.
International Mud Day at Emneth Nursery School was one that inspired photographer Adam Fairbrother to pick not one but three images for his choices in June.

Youngsters having fun in the mud at Emneth Pre-School for International Mud Day in June was another of Adam's favourites. There were too many great pictures of the children and their families having fun to just pick one but here are a couple of his favourites.

An image of Spiderman outside March library, where he was among a number of super heroes, Disney and television favourites, who turned up to helped to mark the 21st anniversary of March Library at the weekend, was the pick for Adam in July.

By now 'Freedom Day' in England (July 19) had come and gone, and while people were still being urged to be careful, it meant events like this were now back with a bang and this one offered lots of fun for all the family.

International Mud Day at Emneth Nursery School.
International Mud Day at Emneth Nursery School.

August also saw the return of the hugely popular Wisbech Rock Festival - this year renamed WisBeach Rock Festival as it combined WisBeach day and fun in the sand, which had to be cancelled earlier in the year, with a day full of music from a range of bands including the seventies-favourites Slade.

Adam chose a picture of guitarist Dave Hill as another of his favourites from 2021.

September was a special month for Wisbech woman Bethany Lee as she celebrated her 21st in roaring style.

WisBEACH and Rock Festival saw Slade perform - here guitarist Dave Hill struts his stuff.
WisBEACH and Rock Festival saw Slade perform - here guitarist Dave Hill struts his stuff.

Car enthusiasts roared into action to help her celebrate the landmark birthday - a date Bethany's family feared she would never see having almost died on numerous occasions throughout her life thanks to a genetic illness.

Bethany has a very rare version of cystic fibrosis - an inherited condition that causes sticky mucus to build up in the lungs and digestive system and can shorten life expectancy in sufferers.

Her proud mum Linda Brown, who together with husband Dave Brown and Bethany's younger brother Harley, 13, organised the special surprise to mark the occasion with the help of owners of Ford Mustang cars in the Wisbech area.

East Anglian Mustangs helped Bethany Lee celebrate her 21st birthday in September - a date her family never thought she's see.
East Anglian Mustangs helped Bethany Lee celebrate her 21st birthday in September - a date her family never thought she's see.

And a picture of a smiling Bethany with the Mustangs made Adam's top photo choices of the year.

September also saw the return of the Wisbech Mart for the first time in two years, and crowds joyfully flocked to enjoy the fun fair - and again it was the joy the event represented for people fed up of Covid and the restrictions it has put on everyone's lives for two years that inspired Adam to choose an image from the Mart.

One of the most commented on stories of the year on the Citizen's social media pages was that of eighty-six-year-old Brian Sleight finally receiving the British Empire Medal he was awarded by the Queen in her birthday honours in 2019 at a presentation attended by over 80 scouts past and present, as well as his two sons and daughter-in-law.

First night of the Mart in Wisbech opened by the Mayor of Wisbech Andrew Lynn saw crowds joyfully pack the fun fair for the first time in two years in September.
First night of the Mart in Wisbech opened by the Mayor of Wisbech Andrew Lynn saw crowds joyfully pack the fun fair for the first time in two years in September.

Brian, a former geography teacher at both Wisbech Grammar and Spalding Grammar Schools,was presented with his long awaited medal by Toby Dennis, the Lord Lieutenant of Lincolnshire, who handed it over on behalf of the Queen.

The Wisbech Scout Leader has dedicated over 75 years to the scouting movement - a massive achievement in anyone's book and so Adam chose a picture of Brian with his award as his favourite image for October.

Of course October always ends with a fright night and this year there was plenty of spooky goings on in a Fenland town centre which included a scary clown, a not so cuddly rabbit and an evil-looking wolf.

Brian Sleight receiving his BEM from the Lord Lieutenant of Lincolnshire Toby Dennis was social media hit for Citizen readers, who offered memories of the former Wisbech Grammar School teacher - who was obviously hugely popular with past scouts.
Brian Sleight receiving his BEM from the Lord Lieutenant of Lincolnshire Toby Dennis was social media hit for Citizen readers, who offered memories of the former Wisbech Grammar School teacher - who was obviously hugely popular with past scouts.

Provided by Wisbech Town Council the Halloween Spooktacular was a monster hit with families despite being arranged fairly last minute because of a communications mix-up.

Made possible thanks to a 'surprise' grant to the council the event included free fairground rides, musical entertainment, as well as members of the Nine Lives Theatre Company showcasing their dancing skills.

As the year continued to wind to its conclusion people came together for the first time in two years to mark Remembrance Sunday. The commemoration in 2020 had to be curtailed because of ongoing covid restrictions.

Wisbech Spooktacular was another massively popular event in October.
Wisbech Spooktacular was another massively popular event in October.

But for 2021 the crowds returned in force in all our Fenland towns, but it was an image of one couple's own unique Act of Remembrance that captured the imagination of photographer Adam.

And that was the amazing decorations put up by John and Jane Gilmurray on their bungalow home in Burrett Road, Walsoken, which included a cascade of handmade poppies. With the couple also running an appeal to help boost the Royal British Legion's Poppy Appeal, which like so many charities, has been hit by the ongoing pandemic, which forced many fundraising events to be cancelled.

Finally in December the fun of the panto returned and so among Adam's final selection of the year is one from the production of the Magical Christmas Elf by Nine Lives Theatre Company at the Secret Garden - it was so much fun for families - oh yes it was...

John Gilmurray and his decorated home at Burrett Road Walsoken for the RBL was another favourite of Adam Fairbrother.
John Gilmurray and his decorated home at Burrett Road Walsoken for the RBL was another favourite of Adam Fairbrother.

The other was of the Fenland Farmers' Christmas Tractor Run - which was hugely popular and led by the man himself Father Christmas - on a route through the Fens starting and finishing in Benwick.

And so 2022 is here, who knows what the year ahead will bring, but whatever it is you can be sure the Citizen will be there to bring you more images, and great news coverage of all your local events.

So finally from all the staff at the Citizen a happy New Year to you all.

Crowds were back in force in all of Fenland's towns, including Chatteris, to mark Remembrance Sunday - the year before the commemorations were curtailed due to the pandemic.
Crowds were back in force in all of Fenland's towns, including Chatteris, to mark Remembrance Sunday - the year before the commemorations were curtailed due to the pandemic.
Finally Nine Lives Theatre Company's production of The Magical Christmas Elf at the Secret Garden in Wisbech brought the year in Adam's photos to a close.
Finally Nine Lives Theatre Company's production of The Magical Christmas Elf at the Secret Garden in Wisbech brought the year in Adam's photos to a close.
Fenland Farmers' Christmas tractor run with Father Christmas leading the way.
Fenland Farmers' Christmas tractor run with Father Christmas leading the way.


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