In gear for a festive summer

Words by:
Melanie Burton
Featured in:
August 2019

There is a sense of pride in the growing town of Bourne, finds Melanie Burton, not only because of what it has to offer now but also because of its past.
Situated on the busy A15 road between Lincoln and Peterborough, Bourne offers plenty to see and enjoy in the bustling historic centre, which has a charm all of its own.

The town has a long and interesting history dating back to Saxon times, but it is also firmly entrenched in the modern-day world with a range of high street retailers, independent businesses, shops and watering holes.

Big names include Boots, Clintons, Superdrug, M&Co, Costa Coffee and Subway as well as Lidl, Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Heron Foods.

It also boasts an M&S Foodhall which is just marking its first year of trading in the town, at a time when the company is closing many of its stores up and down the country.

The store has certainly made its mark on the community as an employer of local people and through its extensive charity work over the past year, particularly with the town’s Willoughby School.

Bourne has a twice weekly market, held on a Thursday and a Saturday, with a variety of traditional and modern stalls and it has three main shopping precincts – the Burghley Centre, the Angel Precinct and Wherry’s Lane.

The Burghley Centre opened in 1989 near the site of the disused and derelict cattle market and is a mall with about 14 retail units, a supermarket and a car park for 170 vehicles.

The Angel Precinct has a range of interesting businesses located in the courtyard of the Angel Hotel, which is thought to be the oldest surviving hotel in the town, dating from the 18th century, and was originally known as the Nag’s Head.

And Wherry’s Lane is the newest shopping arcade, having been redeveloped in 2016 as part of a major town centre refurbishment plan.

Bourne is very much a growing town with a great community spirit and plenty of amenities for residents to enjoy including a large leisure centre, an outdoor swimming pool which has just marked its centenary, a snooker and sports bar, museums, a good range of restaurants, cafes and public houses and several gyms including a ladies-only gym located in the town’s Renu Health, Beauty & Fitness Studios.

The pride felt in Bourne is an indication not only of what it offers to visitors and residents now, but also its past achievements.

Reputedly the birthplace of Hereward the Wake, it is also recognised worldwide as the birthplace of British motor racing, as it was in Bourne that Raymond Mays established English Racing Automobiles (ERA), formed in 1924, and British Racing Motors (BRM), founded in 1945.

BRM aimed to restore Britain to the top of Grand Prix racing with the most advanced car in history. However, the project lurched from one crisis to another and Mays sold the operation in 1952, staying on as racing director.

Success finally came in 1962 when Graham Hill led the team to the World Championship.

The town boasts several famous residents including William Cecil – Queen Elizabeth I’s Lord High Treasurer and Chief Minister, who built Stamford’s Burghley House – and Charles Frederick Worth, who revolutionised the fashion industry.

Bourne was also the birthplace of the first woman officer in the Metropolitan Police’s CID. Lilian Wyles (1885-1975) served as a nurse in the First World War before enlisting in the Women’s Special Police Patrols in 1918. When this temporary force, established in the face of the nationwide manpower shortage, was later disbanded, Wyles became an attested officer of the CID in 1922.

The town also has 71 listed buildings with a diverse range of attractive architecture, most notably the Red Hall – a stunning Grade II architectural legacy in the heart of the town.

Built in the early 17th century by wealthy businessman, Gilbert Fisher, it remained in his family for almost a century and is one of the oldest surviving domestic properties in Bourne today.

It was used as the town’s railway station booking office and waiting room from 1860 to 1959 and is now owned by Bourne United Charities, which uses it as office space and to hire out for private functions and meetings.

Another historic building in the town is the ancient Baldock’s Mill, which dates back more than 200 years and is the only remaining mill in the town.

The building is now used as Bourne’s Heritage Centre and is classified as a Grade II listed building because of its architectural and historical interest.

Other notable buildings in the town include the Corn Exchange (built by a private company in 1870), Bourne Abbey Church (dating back to the 12th century), the Grade II listed Bourne Eau House (dating back to the 16th century) and the former Town Hall (dating back to 1821).

In fact, new life has now been breathed into the former Town Hall building and it has been brought back into use thanks to the hard work of local people and the dedication of the Bourne Town Hall Trustees.

It made a public plea for help to transform the ground floor former council offices, known as The Shambles, into a multi-purpose events space and local electricians, builders and decorators all stepped up to the mark.

The essential building work was carried out by GMF Builders and in the process of removing the 1990s office additions, they uncovered some of the lost 19th century features of what was Bourne’s original covered marketplace.

Specialist Bourne electrical contractors Alto Electrical completely rewired the building and replaced the lighting while local decorators Kenny & Lucy Goldsmith gave up a week of their time to give the building a lick of paint.

Bourne’s outdoor swimming pool on Abbey Lawns is one of the largest surviving open-air lidos left in the UK and is just two metres shorter than a 50-metre Olympic pool.

Bourne Outdoor Pool Preservation Trust leased the pool from Bourne United Charities in 1990 and took over the running of the pool.

Bourne United Charities now manages Bourne’s Wellhead Gardens park which consists of 21 acres of parkland that is open all year round.

The park has some intriguing historic buildings including Wellhead Cottage, which is an old limestone property dating back to the 18th century, and Shippon Barn which is thought to have been constructed from the remains of an old castle located on the Wellhead Field.

In addition, one of the most ancient sites of artesian water supply in the country is located in the park.

St Peter’s Pool is reputedly fed by seven springs which never dry up and this once formed the source of the water defences of Bourne Castle, as well as the power for the town’s three mills.

Preserving the town’s heritage is a key topic in Bourne and there is much support for groups undertaking heritage projects in the area.

South Kesteven District Council’s economic growth and regeneration company, InvestSK, hosted a special seminar day recently, to provide support and advice to heritage project organisers.

The networking event held in Bourne provided an opportunity for groups to explore the routes to turn their heritage project from an idea into reality.

Speakers from the National Lottery Heritage Fund and the Architectural Heritage Fund attended the event and provided an insight into the world of funding and the project team behind Bourne Town Hall’s redevelopment shared their experiences and lessons learnt throughout the refurbishment scheme.

Claire Saunders, heritage regeneration officer at InvestSK said: “The seminar day was a fantastic opportunity for heritage organisations in South Kesteven to meet with key funders and with each other, to share their experiences, and discover more about the support available to bring their plans to fruition.”

Creating captivating window displays is just one of the accomplishments of Cheryl Novakovic, manager of Moore and Scrupps Jewellers, Bourne and her team. “As an independent, family owned company we take great pride in showcasing our collections,” said Cheryl, “but step inside and we can offer you an even wider choice of high quality jewellery and watch brands.”

Director John Moore has many years’ experience of securing leading names for his stores including Thomas Sabo, Citizen, Rotary, Radley, Pulsar and Bering and the all female team at Bourne bring their wealth of knowledge and experience to ensure customers find just the right item for the occasion, style and budget. “We are a very approachable and friendly team here and love getting to know our customers. Our fine jewellery collections include wonderful gemstones and diamonds. Coloured stones are making a strong comeback and that is where our specialist knowledge is so important. Think of us as your personal shoppers for sourcing unique pieces or creating bespoke commissions.

“Rubies and emeralds have been in demand recently and newer stones such as the purple/blue tones of Tanzanite have inspired a new following. We are passionate about jewellery and have access to specialist suppliers ensuring we are able to go above and beyond expectations to secure the perfect piece for memorable gifts and occasions.”

Moore and Scrupps are also on hand to help with cleaning, valuations and repairs as well as professional ear piercing service. Whatever your purchase you will leave the store with the item gift wrapped, the finishing touch to the exceptional service from Cheryl and her staff.

The Hare & Hounds in Haconby, near Bourne, is one of Lincolnshire’s hidden secrets. Owned by Mary and Derek Holmes, the couple offer a traditional setting for dining or drinks. Using local produce they have a full menu with many traditional items including pies, steaks and salads and all the food is prepared freshly.

During the week (Wednesday – Friday lunch service) there is a Senior Citizens’ menu available as well as the occasional steak, pie and pint and fish nights throughout the year. They also host live entertainment and race nights, as well as their popular Open Mic night on the first Sunday of the month as well as folk nights on the first Friday, second Sunday and third Monday of the month.

Looking for a venue for a private event? The Hare and Hounds can host private parties for up to 40 seated and 80 standing with many options available.

Community spirit is a key element to the success of projects and businesses everywhere and when it comes to rallying round to help, there is never a shortage of people willing to lend a hand in Bourne.

That was very much to the fore when the team behind the refurbishment of the former town hall building made a public plea for support with materials and time to transform the old council offices on the ground floor of the building into a multi-purpose events centre.

Local tradesmen and women from all sectors stepped up to the mark – one of them being the well-respected and rapidly expanding Alto Electrical Ltd company based in the town.

Its all female team of electricians helped upgrade and alter the installation of the building to incorporate multiple levels of mood lighting, a new bar area and new electrical equipment to make it safer.

“We helped to restore the old council offices into a beautiful events venue which they are using to fundraise for the rest of the town hall project,” explained company founder, Coleen Everitt. “This project has really made the building come alive.”

Coleen formed the business back in 2015 as a sole trader.

“It was just me back then,” she said. “I originally wanted to offer a ‘choice’ to anyone who wanted to have work carried out in their home, but very quickly realised that what was needed more were people willing to take extra time and care over specialist heritage buildings.

“After carrying out several heritage projects, enjoying them and getting a great sense of satisfaction from preserving and restoring these beautiful buildings, I knew it was right.”

Over the past three years Coleen has expanded the business, cherry-picking the very best electricians, who are meticulous and thorough.

In July, Alto Electrical welcomed its newest member of staff, another female apprentice who has been trying to become an electrician for a couple of years.

“Ensuring that my team has the same keen eye for detail as I do was paramount,” Coleen said. “Along the way I have been contacted by dozens of women who want to get into construction and just can’t get a break. If I could offer them all a job, I would as I know just how hard it is to be given a chance.”

Last year the company launched its ‘Our Future Generation’ campaign which is aimed at inspiring and motivating school age boys and girls to consider the possibility of working in a trade, or choosing another practical career through activities that will be offered in schools, clubs, groups and gatherings.

This October sees Dexter & Sharpe Chartered Certified Accountants celebrating 20 years of being in Bourne, located on West Street.

The office is headed up by Colin Tyte, partner, and Samantha Berridge, associate. Behind them is a small team dedicated to providing the best service they can to their wide range of clients in the Bourne area.

Dexter & Sharpe provides bespoke accountancy and tax compliance services, meeting their clients’ needs. From a simple bookkeeping, accountancy and tax return package to providing business planning, audit and bespoke tax advice. The Bourne office is supported by the wider Dexter & Sharpe network covering the whole of the county and beyond. Colin Tyte said: “Over the years we have built up strong relationships with our clients in Bourne and the surrounding area and we hope that continues.”

Fitness, beauty, health and wellbeing are things that we all strive to achieve and the local communities of Bourne and its surrounding areas have a helping hand on their doorstep.

Renu, located in Abbey Road, is a one-stop shop for all things health, beauty and fitness related.

Set over three floors, it is a complete centre of wellbeing, offering seven treatment rooms, a fitness studio, ladies-only gym and a hair salon.

As winner of Decléor Salon of the Year 2015, Renu has established itself as one of the premium salons in the Lincolnshire area and all the therapists attend the Decléor academy in Retford and receive regular training to keep their skills and knowledge up to date.

The centre was set up in Bourne 13 years ago by Claire Saunders and was originally based in West Street. But she moved the business to its current location six years ago after purchasing and renovating the former Marquis of Granby pub building.

“I wanted to offer a centre of wellbeing to Bourne,” Claire explained.

“It is not just about becoming fit, it is about wellbeing as well. Everyone has a busy lifestyle and are under pressure for time so it is about making health and fitness something that is really accessible and that can work around all the challenges that life throws at you.”

Renu is also a beauty and hairdressing salon and even offers specialist clinics including acupuncture, podiatry, non-surgical aesthetics and sports massage.

The latest venture for Claire and Renu is the virtual cycling classes programme, which was launched in January.

Excitment is building in Bourne and its surrounding areas as it prepares to play host to a world class cycle race and its first weekend festival of cycling.

The Bourne CiCLE Festival takes place from 31st August to 1st September and will see professional road races for men and women, a Sportive for amateur riders and women’s team time trial in and around Bourne.

Bourne town centre stages the start and finish line, as well as a full weekend programme of family entertainment and music on The Wellhead.

The routes, which fill a geographic race gap on the east of the UK, total 175 kilometres for men and 114 kilometres for women (one of the longest women’s races in the UK calendar).

They will take riders through villages close to both Stamford, Market Deeping and Grantham and will include historic Grimsthorpe Castle. Both races go through Bourne twice before the sprints to the finish line.

Coming at the end of the season, it is a golden opportunity for riders to justify their selection for the following week’s Tour of Britain and the World Championships in Yorkshire and many of the UK’s top road race teams are expected to participate.

Organisers South Kesteven District Council (SKDC) and InvestSK, its economic growth and regeneration company, have worked with professional cycle event organisers to deliver their first cycling festival.

Councillor Helen Goral, SKDC’s cabinet member for growth said: “This is a brand new venture for the district, part of our commitment to stage high profile activities across South Kesteven, and it’s very exciting for the council to stage such a major cycling festival.

“It promises to be top class road racing with a weekend of family friendly entertainment in the centre of Bourne, offering something for residents and visitors alike.

“We are confident that the festival will deliver real economic benefits and put Bourne on the map for two-wheeled sport as well as the four-wheeled motor racing pedigree it has enjoyed in the past.”

Among the riders taking part will be Georgia Bullard, formerly with Bourne Wheelers and now a member of top women’s team Fusion RT – illustrating the opportunities that exist for amateur cyclists to move up in the sport.

Georgia took up cycling with Bourne Wheelers to improve that aspect of her triathlon performance.

She fell in love with cycling and, helped by Bourne Wheelers coach, Mark Botteley, started race riding and progressed to national level. Georgia, who was the youngest rider in last year’s Tour de Yorkshire, still rides with the Wheelers.

Yellow painted bikes are being placed along the race routes to raise awareness of the event.

They include a classic bike from the 1940s donated by Grantham man John Baldwin, re-painted and placed in Billingborough to commemorate his late father.

Andrew Norman, head of visitor economy for InvestSK said: “We wanted to recreate the look and feel of the Tour de Yorkshire with these colourful bikes. We are looking to establish South Kesteven as a cycling destination and want to make a splash with our first festival.

“We put out an appeal for unwanted cycles to paint yellow and place along the routes and more than 50 have been handed over.”

All the bikes are being painted yellow to brighten both the men’s and women’s races in the district’s first cycling festival. One of the first was put in place on the outskirts of Bourne.

As part of the cycling festival there will be a full programme of entertainment in the Wellhead park.

There will be a Classic Car Show and motorbike display, with an exhibition of old bicycles including penny-farthings.

Cycling demonstrations will include an ‘Ultimate Extreme Battle’ show including mountain bikes, BMX stunt riders and free runners, with eight shows across the weekend.

Have-a-go workshops will offer families a chance to enjoy cycling obstacles and activities, with a ‘spinning’ bike challenge, health and fitness testing, and a ‘create your own smoothie’ bicycle challenge

Local bands and groups will be on stage, with a food court, market stalls to include cycle themed goods and services and other family-friendly activities such as face painting and arts and crafts.

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