NIGEL THORNTON: No more Nobbies please

Thornton on Thursday column with Peterborough Telegraph's deputy editor Nigel Thornton -
Thornton on Thursday column with Peterborough Telegraph's deputy editor Nigel Thornton -
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Put “famous people from Peterborough’’ into an internet search engine and one of the names that will come up is Nobby the Tramp.

Nobby of course is no ordinary tramp, from living in a bus shelter with its own postcode to displaying a startling aptitude for golf, Peterborough folk took him to their hearts.

There can’t be many cities who have a tramp as one of their most famous sons. I don’t think it’s anything to be ashamed of, on the contrary, it reflects well on the generosity of spirit of city people.

The problem of rough sleepers was brought into sharp focus with last week’s shocking front page about the man who has made his home in a telephone box in Gladstone Street.

It’s by no means scientific research but it does seem to me there are more rough sleepers and beggars on city streets than there has been for some time.

And, yes, I know not all rough sleepers beg and not all beggars sleep rough, but they are part of the same problem.

Given that most of us are living in times of austerity (not counting the increasing number of obscenely wealthy people our society seems designed to create) it is perhaps not surprising to see an increase in the numbers of homeless in the city.

Peterborough City Council makes a very decent fist of dealing with these people, many of whom, including our man in the box, don’t want help.

And it’s probably a problem that is impossible to eradicate totally but we should never give up trying.

With all due respect to Nobby, one famous tramp is enough for any city.

Back of the net

We just get Christmas and all of its stresses out of the way and then we’re hit with the horror of St Valentine’s Day. In some ways its even harder than Crimbo as most of us (who shave in the morning) have to pretend we’re something we’re not (romantic). Last year, I thought I’d got it sorted when I bought Mrs T a book of football cliches. She wasn’t impressed and told me it wasn’t an appropriate gift for Valentine’s Day.

“Maybe not,’’ I said, “but I’ve seen them given!’’

A real monster

Must Farm Quarry, near Whittlesey, is proving to be a real treasure trove of discovery with the latest exciting find being Eve, a giant prehistoric sea monster.

Eve is suspected to be a previously unknown species of plesiosaur and the man who found her Carl Harrington said: “It was one of those wow

moments – I was the first human to come face to face with this reptile.’’

As a young journalist I had a similar reaction when faced with a certain news editor!

Pond life

A teenager was arrested after falling into a fish pond while running from the police in Langley, Bretton, last Monday. Does that mean he was


Computer says no

Twenty-first century irritations... I had a week off work, so why on earth would I expect that on Monday morning I could just rock up to my desk, switch on my computer and start work. I wonder how many man hours are wasted in the UK because people can’t log on to their computers after returning from holiday?

Figure it out

I don’t think it will come as much of a shock to anyone that there’s been a big rise in violent crime in Peterborough.Crime overall has also gone up in the city although the

defence from a Cambridgeshireshire police spokesman was as unconvincing as Posh’s back four has been at times this season. He said: “While there is an increase in recorded crime, our increase is lower than the regional and national averages.’’

He might as well have added: “And our chief constable is bigger than your chief constable.’’

Isolated, not rare

Talking of the police and violent crime I do wish they would stop trotting out the line that it’s an “isolated incident’’ every time a violent crime is committed. I’m sure their motives are pure – to reassure the public – but it’s a meaningless phrase. Suppose there was a 100 violent incidents in Cathedral Square on a Tuesday afternoon, I for one would be worried whether they were isolated or not?

Labour of love

I think shadow chancellor John McDonnell had a point when he told a Peterborough audience the media was giving Corbyn’s Labour a rough ride. Mr McDonnell said: “It’s been tough – the media has come at us on a daily basis. They’ve dug out an ex-girlfriend from the 1970s I’d forgotten I went out with.’’

He must have had a lot more girlfriends than me.

Diary Of A Bad Dad

My little man is up and running now the next key stage in his development is getting him to kick a ball (with both feet). I hope he shares my love of football and like me (and me faather and me faather’s faather) becomes a lifetime supporter of the Mighty Leeds United.

Hang on a second, what on earth am I saying? I love my son and I love Leeds United but the two are incompatible. I can’t subject the Toddlernator to a lifetime of misery! As a young lad of five I went to my first match (with me faather and me faather’s faather) when Revie’s Leeds were just embarking on a magnificent footballing journey. Even then there were more tears than cheers thanks to corrupt and incompetent refs and the vindictive football authorities (who made us play a title-deciding game 48 hours after an FA Cup final!).

No, my son, you’re heading for Headingley and the Leeds Rhinos and Yorkshire cricket.