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Walpole St Peter’s Chuch, a rare treasure

Being born and bred in Wisbech, I lived close to Walpole St Peter for many years without realising what a jewel its church is. I discovered this special gem in Simon Jenkins’ best seller, England’s Thousand Best Churches, where it was awarded five stars – the highest accolade – and visited it on his recommendation for the first time about seven years ago. When I first...
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Wisbech, a town in crisis?

I visited my family in Wisbech today – the very same town which “the Baltic Mafia is terrorising” – according to this sensational report in today’s Daily Mail. Driving through the town, I passed a coach with a Lithuanian number plate parked outside a factory. A new influx of migrant workers? Or potential drug dealers, as the Mail would have us believe. I read the...
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Virgin Health Bank and Cambridge hospitals partnership

Sir Richard Branson has launched an innovative new bank alongside Northern Rock – the Virgin Health Bank – which stores cord blood, the blood that remains in the umbilical cord after a baby has been born and is a rich source of stem cells which can be used for life saving transplants. It will be delivered in partnership with Cambridge University Hospitals and is believed to be the...
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A Headway friend forever

I have just stepped down as a trustee from Headway Cambridgeshire after six years – four-and-a-half years as its chair – and am already feeling withdrawal symptoms, missing the many friends I have made there. I do think you can stay in a position too long and that there is always a right time to move on so fresh blood can reinvigorate and bring different dynamics and insights to the...
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Cannabis on prescription

Cannabis, a class-B drug available on prescription as a medicinal remedy for multiple sclerosis patients, could also be used to target cancer pain, epilepsy, rheumatoid arthritis and even schizophrenia if trials demonstrate its effectiveness. What once seemed a controversial idea has now won widespread approval as Sativex, the first ever prescription cannabis-based medicine, is used in many...
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Inspirational woman Julie Jones meets Samantha Cameron

I was very moved after reading today about the selfless life of single mum of three  Julie Jones who only earns £18,000 a year as an administrator, yet willingly adopted her best friend’s five children after she had died. I think any woman who can bring up eight very happy kids, works 40 hours a week and can survive on £18,000 deserves a top management job. I challenge any man to do the...
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An evening with the “beyond heartbroken” Katherine Jenkins

Last night we took pa-in-law and Aunt Betty to a concert given by the “beyond heartbroken” Katherine Jenkins in Ipswich.  We were wondering if she would blub on stage again following her recent broken engagement, and my husband reminded me tersely that anyone else in that situation still has to get up and go to work. Katherine was a brave soldier and remained smiling and composed in...
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Cambridge academics will bypass European stem cells ruling

BREAKING NEWS The Vice-Chancellor of Cambridge University, Professor Sir Leszek Borysiewicz, has vowed to bypass a European Court of Justice ruling that bans patents on embryonic stem cells by turning to the United States or India instead. There are 26 laboratories in Cambridge using stem cells; it has the largest aggregate of stem cell scientists in Europe. However, their future research, which...
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Stephen Hawking, Master of the Universe

Sitting in the Cambridge University lecture theatre listening spellbound to the synthesised voice of Prof Stephen Hawking, pre-recorded for his 70th birthday symposium which he was too poorly to attend in person, I was struck by two thoughts: 1. The warmth and humour of his personality as he shared anecdotes about his family and scientific life, humble at times, and his passionate belief that...
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Stephen Lawrence verdict should make govt rethink forensic closure

If ever there was justification for the government to rethink its planned closure of the UK Forensic Science Service, then today’s verdict for the racist murder of Stephen Lawrence 18 years ago has proved this without reasonable doubt! A conviction was secured solely on forensic  evidence after the jury was told that the case boiled down to three thing: blood, fibres and hair. These tiny...
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When did you last stay up till 3am reading a book?

It’s been so long since I burnt the midnight oil reading a good book. So I couldn’t wait to discover whose writing it was that captivated award winning journalist Jenni Russell to such a degree of excitement that she stayed up until 3 am to finish reading her book. It turned out to be The Secret Intensity of Everyday Life, by William Nicholson, who is not only an accomplished writer,...
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