Making Bourne a priority

Words by:
Melanie Burton
Featured in:
August 2017

The historic market town is a hive of activity in all sorts of areas, from business to retail and social groups to community projects.
With the main A15 traffic route between Lincoln and Cambridge passing through the middle of the town centre, it makes an ideal base for companies and small businesses as well as shoppers and the discerning travellers who take the time to stop off en-route to destinations further on.

It has a variety of independent retailers and a number of top-name High Street brands, making it a good place to shop and the retail sector has been boosted by the news that Marks & Spencer is planning to open a food store in the Burghley Centre.

The Burghley Centre is one of two shopping centres in the town and was opened in 1989 near the site of the disused and derelict cattle market.

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

Moves are being made to improve the look of the town through an initiative from South Kesteven District Council.

The local authority has launched a ‘Big Clean’ programme aimed at keeping the streets clean and tidy and transforming ‘grotspots’ where litter, weeds, fly-tipping, graffiti and damaged street furniture are blighting the streetscene.

The public has been asked to identify areas in need of a clean-up and an initial £450,000 has been earmarked for the programme to provide a number of new teams that will tidy areas and carry out work identified by local residents and town workers. Work is due to begin this month on the twelve-week programme.

SKDC’s Cabinet Member for the Environment Councillor Dr Peter Moseley said when residents were asked about their priorities for the area, one of the top five issues identified was litter and cleanliness.

“Cleaner streets make our villages and towns nicer places to live in and visit,” he said. “We also want to make the area as attractive as possible to businesses that will provide future jobs and growth.”

Bourne already has an active business community driven by the Bourne in Business Club, which is chaired by local businessman Paul Ross.

It started life as the Bourne Business Club in 2006 when Ivan Fuller decided to launch a new networking club which ran successfully with the help of Norman Stroud. Following its merger with Bourne Trade and Commerce, it was relaunched as the Bourne Business Chamber and has been under Paul’s chairmanship since 2011 with the help of Joanne Dolby and Taff Lovesey.

“The club ran very well and membership reached eighty, which wasn’t bad for a small town like Bourne,” said Paul, who runs his own independent financial advisory business called Landmark IFA Ltd.

“However, after discussions with the committee, and as the innovative people we are, we decided to revamp the club and it was suggested calling the club Bourne in Business.

“The aims and objectives of the club are to promote Bourne in terms of trade and commerce and to provide a business platform for local entrepreneurs and professionals to discuss their business issues, share ideas and grow their businesses,” said Paul.

Businesses that are members of the club range from hypnotherapy and health, beauty and fitness to luxurious hampers and flowers.

Founded in 2006 Renu Health Beauty and Fitness has just celebrated its eleventh year of trading in Bourne. Owner Claire Saunders originally based the business in West Street, but in 2011 she purchased the former Marquis of Granby on Abbey Road and after spending two years renovating the old pub had a grand opening there in September 2013.

Renu is a complete centre of wellbeing, offering seven treatment rooms, a fitness studio, ladies-only gym and 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.

In June they launched the CARITA Cinetic Facials which offer unprecedented results in new anti-ageing techniques.

The studio schedule includes clinical pilates and yoga as well as regular fun classes such as Turkish Belly Dancing, HIIT, Legs Bums and Tums and Indoor Cycling.

In addition to the beauty and fitness side of the business, Renu also has a resident podiatrist, osteopath, sports massage therapist, aesthetic nurse, acupuncture doctor and semi-permanent makeup artist.

“The people of Bourne have welcomed Renu into the town, and it has built its reputation on its friendly and professional service,” said Claire.

Another company which has gone from strength to strength since moving to Bourne and joining the Bourne in Business club is Pilot Fish financial services – a commercial finance company which helps small to medium sized companies raise funds.

“We moved from Market Deeping to Bourne in 2011 and we are growing fast,” said executive assistant Kate Bird.

“We have grown from three people to seven and refurbished the office as well as taken over the whole building.

“A lot of our clients are in Peterborough but we like being in Bourne because it is central and close, giving us easy access to Nottingham and Lincoln.”

Last year, Lincolnshire County Council agreed to transfer ownership of Bourne Town Hall to a new or existing charity as a preferred option.

A steering group was formed from existing charities in Bourne who put a proposal together for the future charitable use of the building as a community arts venue.

The Charity Commission has now approved the change of charitable purpose in the original deeds to enable the project to be developed further.

Chair of the Bourne Town Hall Trust Management Committee, Councilllor David Brailsford said: “Although we may be some way from the Town Hall being in full use as a community venue, this is an important step as we work towards ensuring an exciting future for the building.

“We hope that the steering group can start to use the building in the near future for fundraising and to develop their ideas.”

Charles Houseago, chair of the Steering Group, said: “With this significant milestone complete, over the next few months we will complete the legal formalities of setting up the new Town Hall Charity to take over administration of the building and start the process of raising funds for the restoration and conversion of this iconic building.”

Bourne makes an ideal base to explore the surrounding areas and not far away is Grimsthorpe Castle, which makes for a great family day out.

The playground and park trails are great places for families to spend time together and there is even an adults’ section in the playground that can be used as a ‘Trim Trail’.

The playground is in a woodland setting where you may also spot deer, foxes, red kites, buzzards and pheasants. The sights, sounds and smells of the wood make this a special place to visit.

There are picnic benches too. A woodland path leaves the playground and winds through the wood for around 1,500 metres including great views of the lake.

Cycling is a great way to explore the hidden delights of the park and you can even pack a picnic and find a sunny spot to relax.

To go cycling at Grimsthorpe is easy. You can either take your own bikes or hire them – there are all sorts of sizes including special tag-alongs for young children who are just learning to ride or can’t quite balance. There are even new two-wheeled ‘piggyback’ tags which can be attached to one of the standard hire cycles.

The way marked park trail route has been designed with families in mind and avoids steep inclines and rough terrain wherever possible.

Bourne has been synonymous with the world of motor racing for more than eighty years and is justly proud of the fact that two prestigious racing car marques were founded in the town.

International racing driver and designer Raymond Mays set up English Racing Automobiles back in 1934 and British Racing Motors’ first car was unveiled in 1949 at Folkingham airfield.

No wonder then that Bourne has a permanent exhibition to the legend and the town’s links with motor racing located in the Heritage Centre, which is also the home of the Civic Society, which celebrates its 40th anniversary next year.

Run by volunteers, the Heritage Centre is a totally independent museum and relies on public donations and subscriptions from members.

The aim of the Civic Society is to make sure that new developments are of the highest quality and of good design.

“We also seek to safeguard our existing heritage and the many listed buildings from demolition and neglect,” explained Chair Brenda Jones.

The ancient Baldock’s Mill was built on the banks of the Bourne Eau in 1800 and stopped working in the 1920s. Bourne Civic Society took it over to preserve it for community use and restored the building.

It is also classified as a Grade II listed building because of its architectural and historic interest. It is the only remaining mill in the town and is more than 200 years old. The Domesday Book gave Bourne three mills and there has been a mill on this site since 1086.

The centre has three floors of exhibitions and includes a permanent memorial room on the middle floor dedicated to the achievements of Raymond Mays. Many of his trophies are displayed here, having been donated by his PA Trissie Carlton and her daughter Anne Boggitt. The room contains photographs, memorabilia and silverware won by BRM cars and drivers.

A smaller room on this floor houses information about Charles Frederick Worth, the famous Paris designer of perfume and haute couture. The genuine Worth Dress and copies of Worth’s designs as well as many other exhibits of the same era are on display.

The ground floor is home to a small shop area and the machinery and agricultural implements displays. The new mill wheels can be seen through a large viewing window. Exhibitions on this floor do change.

The top floor of the centre is devoted to local history and features local industries once familiar in Bourne such as the water industry and the railway and details of Bourne in wartime, including some old domestic items of interest.

If you love to sing but can’t carry a tune, then Bourne has just the answer.

The town’s Tuneless Choir was set up in October 2016 in the beautiful Bourne Abbey Church and is for people who love to sing but lack the ability, practice or confidence to do so.

Choir manager Linda Gunthorp who formed the choir with choir leader Kenny Ring believes everyone has a right to sing whatever their voice.

“We sing purely for the pleasure of it – with no aim for improvement or pressure to develop,” said Kerrry.

Linda, who is a self-confessed tuneless singer, said: “Tuneless Choir is for those who LOVE singing but lack the ability. Our only aim is to have fun and to leave feeling uplifted.

“Our choir is for people who can’t sing in tune, may not always be pitch perfect and may hit a bum note. Having no fear of judgement really does give our choir members the confidence to ‘sing like no one is listening’, as our motto says.

“We are enthusiastic, fun, and friendly and we enjoy belting out some great tunes with no worry of what people think. Being tuneless is celebrated not disparaged and the atmosphere is always uplifting.”

Linda said research shows that singing exercises the lungs, as well as releasing endorphins which are known as ‘happy hormones’.

“Singing with others in a choir has been shown to have an even greater effect, by reducing anxiety and depression and increasing social and emotional well-being,” she said.

“It’s these feelings of fun, belonging and leaving uplifted that our members take away with them each week and leave them wanting to come back for more.”

Bourne Tuneless Choir meets on Wednesday’s from 7.30-9pm at the Abbey Church, Bourne and always offers a warm welcome to new members.

There are no auditions, no judgement, no teaching, and no pressure to improve. Linda said: “It’s been an amazing time since we started in October with people who were barely confident enough to sing in front of each other and now we have a fabulous group who have grown in confidence so that we have had our first performances in public at local community events.

“Despite our name we have surprised a few people and ourselves with how good we do sound with the songs we know well and those we don’t, well we just bash on, sing loud, sing proud and sing happy.”

Bourne Tuneless Choir launched October 2016 and is part of a nationwide franchise. For more information contact the choir manager Linda Gunthorp by telephone on 07949 057811, or email bourne@tuneless, choir leader Kenny Ring.

Bourne is home to a number of well-established family retailers such as Moore & Scrupps jewellers, which opened in the town fifteen years ago.

The firm has three other shops in Lincoln, Sleaford and Newark selling diamond rings, watches and everything you would expect from a traditional jewellers including branded products such as Thomas Fabio, Ti Sento and Couer de Lion, which are important brands.

“We combine traditional with modern brands,” said John Moore, one of the partners in the business.

“We also offer all the usual services such as watch repairs, valuations, ear piercing and we are buyers of gold and second hand jewellery.

“We stock a comprehensive range of secondhand and antique jewellery and we also do a gift wrapping service.”

The Larkfleet Group of Companies is one of Bourne’s largest businesses.

The Larkfleet Group provides local employment, supports training for young people and helps to solve the problem of providing affordable, high-quality homes. It also supports local community groups, schools, sports clubs and charities with ‘help in kind’, sponsorship and cash donations.

Bourne Heights is a popular Larkfleet development located in West Road, Bourne PE10 OLB. It is an outstanding location with green open spaces nearby, making it the perfect place for families and professionals looking for a new home. Bourne Heights is just two minutes’ walk from Bourne Woods, a quiet ancient woodland which is ideal for those who enjoy walking, jogging or cycling.

Chief executive Karl Hick says: “Bourne is a thriving market town and it is a pleasure to have the group’s headquarters based there.

“We will continue to show our support to town through employment, community and property.”

The Orders of St John Care Trust (OSJCT) is one of the UK’s largest not for profit care providers for older people.

You’ll find Digby Court in the heart of the local community in Bourne. We offer short stays for respite, if you need a break but also longer term residential and specialist dementia care. OSJCT is dedicated to delivering the highest quality, person centred care. Our underpinning values focus on dedication to caring, empowering individuals and promoting communities. Our overriding aim is to provide care homes where people love to live and work – appreciating and respecting individuals’ dignity, need for privacy and freedom of choice.

To find out more about Digby Court, the services offered (and the career opportunities available), visit our website:

Robert & Julia Reid offer a warm family welcome to customers old and new. Maintaining a reputation over 40 years for excellence and quality of hospitality, together with superb cuisine, Toft House is an ideal venue for all occasions.

In the seven years since they became owners, the hotel and golf course have been continually updated and refurbished, to keep the countryside feel but with modern facilities.

The hotel has been lovingly restored from the original stone farmhouse to meet modern needs whist retaining the original features such as stone walls and beams.

They are a leading venue for wedding ceremonies and receptions, as well as large parties and banquets. The George Suite offers a totally exclusive self-contained venue with its own dining room, bar, gardens and dancefloor, ideal for parties from 40 to 150. For smaller parties the dining room is suitable for up to 34 and The Reid’s room for parties of up to 18 – both of these rooms are available for private dining hire.

Their team of experienced chefs offer freshly cooked seasonal food, all sourced locally wherever possible.

The hotel offers ample parking and is well situated for touring the South Lincolnshire/East Midlands & East Anglia with plenty of interest for all.

Award-winning garden designer Debbie Cooke is a familiar face around the town of Bourne. She has gained many awards for design and horticulture from numerous shows, including the most prestigious in the world, the RHS Chelsea flower show.

Debbie is responsible for the creation of the lovely, vibrant border outside the former public toilets on South Street, which she maintains with the help of volunteers.

This border, together with other projects around the town, is sponsored by the Len Pick Trust and has won a coveted Judges Award from East Midlands in Bloom.

Debbie offers consultations, written articles and inspirational presentations and talks intended to inform, enthuse and inspire.

If you’re looking to put the life back into your garden but don’t have a clue where to start, then a garden consultation is perfect for you.

Contact Debbie for more information on mobile 07870 603953.

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