Good luck Heidi Allen

I am thrilled to hear the news that Heidi Allen has been shortlisted – one of four all-female candidates - as Andrew Lansley’s successor to be the next Conservative parliamentary candidate for South Cambridgeshire. Heidi wooed and won support from party members at South East Cambridgeshire last December, she won every round of votes during the primary selection, only to be denied her...
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The Shop Girls – Rosemary’s story

Rosemary’s chapters are light-hearted and fun. She is a bubbly shop girl who works in the millinery department, also assisting their milliner to make hats for their most fashion conscious and stylish customers at G. A. Heyworth’s, an elegant ladies department store in Cambridge. She is the youngest lead shop girl featured in The Shop Girls. Her chapters include  many true stories of...
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The Shop Girls – Betty’s story

I suggest you have a box of tissues handy when you read Betty’s story from The Shop Girls, it is a real tear jerker and available today on Kindle. My heart went out to hard working Betty, she faced many knocks in life, being brought up by a strict, cold father who made her life a misery. Her unhappiness at home was so great that she tried to sign up for the ATS on her 17th birthday – but was...
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The Shop Girls – Irene’s story

Unbelievably, my shop girl Irene is 93 years-old and amazes me with her energy and youthful vigour. She called me a couple of days ago to say she had been to Newmarket Races at the weekend – and had backed the first three winners! I imagine it was that kind of exuberance that attracted her to her boss, Herbert Heyworth, a complex man who the shop girls either loved or loathed, preferring...
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Chris Curry’s life saving bus pass

Could your bus pass one day save your life? That is the vision of technology entrepreneur Chris Curry who is pioneering a pilot programme to explore the potential use of the humble bus pass as a powerful multi-function personal data bank. The results of the Cambridgeshire Care Card trial will define how it will be adopted as a national care card and could transform future care delivery in the...
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The Shop Girls – Eve’s story

It was Eve who first introduced me to Heyworth’s, an elegant ladies department store in Cambridge which closed its doors 49 years ago. I had never heard of it before, like most people, and yet its memories are still vivid and nostalgic for the shop girls who worked there in a bygone era during the 1940s-60s when courtesy and an immaculate appearance were the order of the day. They are...
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Why do airlines oversell seats?

Hot on the heels of James Dawson’s legal victory in the Court of Appeal, upholding his compensation from Thomson Airlines following a six hour delayed departure for his flight from Gatwick to the Dominican Republic, six years after the flight, I would like to suggest another airline loophole which needs resolving – airlines deliberately overselling seats, which happened to my friend...
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Scott Polar Research Institute commemorates Sir Edgar Speyer – 100 years on

I am so delighted for Prof Tony Lentin that he has succeeded in gaining recognition for Sir Edgar Speyer for bankrolling Scott’s expeditions to the Antartic. Now, 100 years on, a plaque is to be dedicated in his memory at Cambridge’s Scott Polar Research Institute. German-born Speyer was a philanthropic support of the British arts, innovation and adventure in the Edwardian era. This...
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My weekend bootcamp at Champneys

I did say to myself, ‘never again!’after a gruelling week long bootcamp at Champneys two years ago. Don’t get me wrong, it hit the right spots, though the highlight of my day was my long awaited beauty therapy, and I came away with some life changing dietary habits. But those dozens of exhausting burpees, star jumps and early morning jogs – every day – are best...
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The luck of Lord Archer

I had no idea when I saw Lord Archer speak in Cambridge last Friday that he had recently been operated on for prostate cancer. He was his usual exuberant and confident self, repeatedly saying how thankful he was for his luck which led to his phenomenally successful literary career. Lord Archer looked fit and well at The Sick Children’s Trust literary lunch at Madingley Hall, a charity...
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Introducing The Shop Girls

I am counting the weeks now till the publication on 25 September of my book, The Shop Girls. It is a heartfelt and dramatic collection of memoirs of young women who worked in an upmarket Cambridge ladies department store during the 1940s-60s called Heyworth’s which served titled and distinguished ladies related to the royal family, as well as gypsy women from the Midsummer Fair who bought...
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Why we urgently need new liver disease biomarkers

Liver disease rarely makes the headlines, yet it is one of the leading causes of human mortality, resulting in almost 2 million deaths per year globally – many of which could be prevented by early detection. There are over 100 types of liver disease, which together affect at least 2 million people in the UK. It recently came to prominence following the tragic death of fomer British tennis...
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A relaxing Ragdale Hall break

“Can I stay an extra night?” Nancy pleaded with the receptionist at the end of her short break at Ragdale Hall spa. Nancy has been a regular visitor there for 25 years, but with all the best will in the world, her wish could not be met as the spa was full! I was stunned to hear this; after all, aren’t we still meant to be feeling the pinch from the economic decline? Yet...
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Clones, Darwin’s granddaughter and a popular politician

Reading about Britain’s first cloned dog today reminded me of what the celebrated literary critic, Prof John Carey, said at the splendid Cambridge Literary Festival last weekend where he was giving his new book, The Unexpected Professor, a plug. He was asked to name his favourite contemporary author and the reply he gave, this lover of Milton and Shakespeare, was not what I expected. One...
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The Sunday Times Cancer Campaign

I count myself lucky to live near Cambridge. If I ever need treatment for cancer, I feel confident that I would be given the best care by oncologists at Addenbrooke’s Hospital. I certainly wouldn’t want to go to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King’s Lynn which is on special measures and failed my father. The challenge for cancer patients is to have a doctors to correctly...
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