Royal awards are so well deserved

Cllr John Holdich
Cllr John Holdich
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Well, what a week it has been for Peterborough talent!

This column is more jam packed than usual, as I want to take the time to congratulate the many, many achievements announced this week, says Peterborough City Council leader cllr John Holdich.

I’ve always maintained that when it comes to talent, Peterborough more than punches above its weight. For a relatively small city, we have so many talented and dedicated people living here.

First of all, it’s been a great week for Brian Pearce, who will receive an MBE for work at Railworld Wildlife Haven, just days after the organisation won a Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service, along with Peterborough Sailability.

Railworld Wildlife Haven creates and maintains wildlife habitats and provides recreational, social and educational opportunities for all ages.

Sailability, based in Ferry Meadows, was also celebrating. It offers people with disabilities the chance to sail and broaden their horizons.

Other city MBE recipients include Denise Burton, for her services to girlguiding, and Dr Alexander Mustard for services to underwater photography.

Recognised with a British Empire Medal was Dorothy Fowler, for services to young people and the Sawtry community, and Tahir Masood for his work with young Peterborough people. Tahir arrived in the city from Pakistan aged 14 and has spent 37 years improving lives.

Well done to all those who represented the city so well in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List.

While I’m on the subject of talent, well done to Neil Hair, who moves to the Football League after promotion from the National League. Neil has refereed around 1,300 matches in 22 years, in all weathers, across non-league football.

Of course, the World Cup starts this week and our pubs and bars will be showing the live matches. Hopefully, in next week’s column we will celebrate a successful winning start to the tournament.

We are on the lookout for talented individuals to become school governors.

The Peterborough Governor Conference takes place at Hampton Gardens Secondary School on Saturday from 9.30am. Our director of education, Jonathan Lewis answer questions and talks about this wonderful way to develop new skills and benefit young people in our city.

This week the Peterborough Investment Partnership (PIP) received an award for its Fletton Quays partnership at the National Planning Awards.

When innovative plans were first announced by the PIP back in 2015 - a joint venture formed by the council and GB Strategic Land Fund - many thought it couldn’t be done.

But the PIP has delivered. Fletton Quays is its first regeneration project. The completed scheme will include our new council offices, high quality apartments, a Hilton Garden Inn hotel, leisure and retail facilities and plans for a whiskey and gin distillery.

Now the first part of the site is due to be finished in the coming weeks, even our most hardened critics are having to reflect on their doubts.

We also have our very own potential Guinness Book of Records winners for the most people dressed as fairies in one place, in aid of Anna’s Hope, a charity which supports children with brain tumours, and their families.

Subject to verification, the record was broken by just six – the width of a fairy wing – and raised thousands of pounds.

This event followed our first Sunrise 5K held on Friday, in which 222 early birds pounded city centre pavements for the Wish Upon a Star charity, creating life changing wishes for children with critical illnesses.

Well done to all those who took part and raised funds for these charities.

This weekend, we also have the Peterborough Heritage Festival, themed on a ‘Festival of Celebrations’, marking 900 years of the Cathedral. It’s always a colourful event and I’m sure this year won’t disappoint.

Finally, in last week’s column I mentioned that Cllr Irene Walsh and I attended the Emmaus homelessness charity near Cambridge.

This organisation provides best practice outreach work to help people get off the streets and into a stable home and meaningful work.

We are hoping to replicate this in Peterborough. This week our cabinet approved an advisory group to investigate this. This is part of our new scheme to tackle rough sleeping, which will be launching in the late autumn.