40th Anniversary Celebrations

Oyez!  Oyez! It’s Fenprobe’s 40th Anniversary!  Avril Hayter-Smith, the Town Crier, gave a rousing opening call to the celebration party  on the evening of Wednesday, 12 September.

The Mayor, Michael Rouse and John Elworthy, Editor of the Ely Standard,  both spoke of Fenprobe’s life enhancing service in bringing the local news to the blind and sight impaired people of Ely and the surrounding villages.  John stressed the importance of local news and The Standard was one of the few local papers prospering in the country.  He was pleased his newspaper had been supplying the news  to listeners of Fenprobe for forty years.  

Richard Hobbs, President, took his audience through the early years of Fenprobe, when his late father, Maurice Hobbs, was the first President and a founder member.  He remembered with affection the first volunteers, especially the first Chairman and Treasurer couple, Mary and Henry Howell.

Eight members of the local band,  the Rocking Ukuleles led by John Bassett, made the evening go with a swing as the sixty odd audience sang along.   

Janet Smith, Secretary for over thirty years, thanked everyone who had contributed  to the evening, both the committee who organised it and the band of regular volunteers who supplied the feast on offer and plethora of draw prizes. The Chairman of Fenprobe was pleased to win at this as he had set his heart on a bottle of a locally produced liqueur donated by The Shed, Littleport.  The celebratory cake, an amazing affair depicting sound waves and past and present logos, was made and kindly donated to Fenprobe  by Jen Pickering of Sugarandnice.co.uk at Little Downham.  The magnificent balloon display and pennants were supplied by Ely specialists,  a-specialevent.co.uk and the whole event was held by kind permission of Bedford House Care Centre. 

It was an evening of sheer pleasure as old friends, listeners and present helpers swapped stories.  Ex magazine editors and committee  members Linda and Peter even travelled down from Northumberland and long standing supporter Tony Vale of Wymondham TN and the Talking Newspaper Federation travelled with his wife Georgina from Suffolk.  Always innovative, Tony started talking nationally  about going digital nineteen years ago and Fenprobe has been digital since 2011.

There was a lot of clearing up to do and a good portion of cake was left for the regular visitors to the Bedford House Care Centre, plus the balloons which everyone suddenly realised could not be packed into a car!  The late night helpers all got home about 11 pm, exhausted, but exhilarated… after months of planning, it was all over! 

Photos by Mike Rouse, Ely Std.