Sunday, April 21, 2019

Lincolnshire: A wedding utopia

When it comes to getting married, there’s one thing that is at the forefront of a couple’s minds.

Apart from the logistical task ahead and juggling priorities alongside real life, where the wedding will take place is often the first hurdle to start the organisational process. That’s not to say it’s an unpleasant task, wandering round grand venues all over the county can be fun, but plumping for the venue that ticks all your boxes is the hard part.

Thankfully, Lincolnshire is full of venues that suit everyone’s tastes. Want a city wedding with the option of plush hotels and fantastic transport links? Then Lincoln’s myriad venues can provide not only the cosmopolitan style you require but also comes with some splendid backdrops. Prefer a more sedate and classical venue out in the country? Then we have that in spades too, from stately homes to riverside venues and much more besides. The choice really is yours and with so much going on, there are great deals to be had. Often hotels and similar venues will allow you to have exclusive use, meaning that you and your party are the only people on site, allowing privacy and an auspicious atmosphere.

Planning your wedding within venues has become somewhat easier over the years too, with venues across the region being keener than ever to ensure your day goes as smoothly as possible. Gone are the awkward charges for linen and customisations and instead an attitude of ‘what can we do for you?’ has taken over. Recent weddings we’ve seen take place have involved laying turf within a hall in order to create an exclusive afternoon tea feel and one couple who decided to give each guest a personalised 7” record to take home after they had used them as place mats at the evening reception. The sky really is the limit, or rather, your level of creativity. Of course, some venues will insist you arrange everything in tandem with a wedding planner or manager, but often these people are only there to help, rather than hinder your big day.

One thing to consider however is your guests, whereas it is your big day, certain considerations must be made, such as:

Food – Are any of your guests allergic to certain kinds of food? Are any guests vegetarian, vegan or need a gluten-free meal providing?

Music – You might dig heavy metal or dubstep, but will your elderly relatives? Think about their reaction if the music grates, it could leave you with an empty venue if it’s too loud or obscure! Try a healthy balance, everyone loves to dance at a wedding!

Travel – If you are planning on a city wedding, there’s not a real issue. Plan a wedding in the countryside and you’ll need to pick a place easily reachable by public transport or car, too remote and you’ll see guests returning RSVPs in the negative. Equally find out if there’s plenty of accommodation nearby.

Space- Don’t book a venue that’s too large, you don’t want to feel like your ceremony is taking up a small corner of a grand location. Equally, don’t try and squeeze too many people into a tight space, you’ll end up tripping over people and formal meals are no fun if you have no elbow room!

Gifts – Don’t presume people will bring what you want, if you have all your home’s accoutrements then state this in the invitation. Asking for kind donations to honeymoon funds is acceptable these days, with some seeing wedding lists going the way of the dodo.

Overall, you should pick a venue you think reflects your personality. It’s your day after all and who’s to tell you where’s suitable or not? We’ve seen weddings in all manner of locations from grand old houses to the couple’s back garden, it’s a day for love, not show. Go with what feels right to you.


Lincolnshire Police introduce bicycle passports after increased thefts

As a hobby biking has taken off across the Lincolnshire region, with more bicycles being sold than in many previous years. Coupled with this boom however is the increased chance of theft, particularly with expensive racing bicycles and road bike...

Pure Light: A night in North Clifton

You may already be aware of Pure Land, a Japanese Meditation Centre and relaxation garden in North Clifton, but have you been on a summer’s evening when it’s lit by lanterns?

Buddha Maitreya has called North Clifton home since the early 1970s, having moved to the county to set up a mediation centre, Maitreya missed the solitude and beauty of Japan and so sought to create a space that not only reminded him of home, but also complemented the mediation aspect of his life.

In 1980, he started putting together the garden despite having no gardening experience. With a lot of help, he created a hilly, winding and contemplative garden on his two acres. Stepping into the place just as dusk is descending over Lincolnshire, we can see why people return here constantly.

The garden is styled in a way that you can’t quite believe you are still in Lincolnshire. The planting is dense and has created walkways and hidden areas that are simultaneously intriguing and peaceful. Ferns, conifers and stone collide in a way that blots out the sky in most places, but this is to its credit. Miniature bridges mean you can navigate over ponds and lead yourself to new areas. There’s several points at which to stop and contemplate and indeed meditate and there’s even a tea house that Maitreya uses for tea meditation practice.

The large rocks, sourced from nearby quarries, were placed where they appear thanks to meditative positioning and therefore the paths reflect this spiritual way of design too. The whole place as a result exudes calm, as Maitreya writes himself: “The essence of the crystal garden is for spiritual inspiration, to bring awareness of the beauty of Life and the miracle of creation. When we are aware of Life, which all creation is, we realize the Truth of our self. Without appreciation there is no respect of Life and we are lead by ignorance, greed and fear, which makes our life frustrating and we feel discontent.

“When we have awareness of Life and its wonder we respect all life, all beings, and our self. When we love our self, we love all.”

As the light falls, Maitreya makes sure the lanterns that dot the garden are glowing and the dozens of spotlights, solar lights and mood lighting mean that it is transformed into a twilight wonderland. The sense of calm is replaced by one of wonder, as you wander round the edges of the ponds, light is reflected off the surface of the water, giving a unique and altogether transcendental experience. At points you could almost mistake it for being another country altogether. Why not make the trip out this summer? We’re glad we did and the atmosphere cannot be beaten.

Pure Land is open for the lantern-lit evenings every Friday, Saturday and Sunday throughout August and September. For more information, visit

Machine digs in to beautify the Beck

The amphibious machine being brought in to regenerate Bottesford Beck near Scunthorpe has started work – and improvements can already be seen.

The stretch of the Beck between East Butterwick and Scotter Road overpass has been de-weeded. This has cleared a large channel of aquatic vegetation and the flow of the water has visibly improved.

Work is now being carried out further along the Beck past Messingham Road going towards Ashby Nature Reserve.

North Lincolnshire Council is continuing to work closely with The Friends of the Beck to revitalise the area.

The TRUXOR machine has been brought in by Ebsford Environmental, the contractor that is carrying out the improvement works along Bottesford Beck, to help with the regeneration project.

This machine can work both on land and on water. It can carry out de-weeding on land and desilting and dredging works in the beck that is non-invasive.

It will be used to desilt the downstream end of the Beck where there is heavy silt levels possibly inflowing from the River Trent. The full length of the Beck will also be de-weeded.

In February The Friends of The Beck received a £76,000 grant for ‘Paths for Communities’ from Natural England. This was used to improve the path along Bottesford Beck; it was also used to create a car park, footbridge and boardwalk through to Ashbyville Local Nature Reserve. The new path is part of the new Ironstone Way.

This grant not only improved existing footpaths but will create new ones. Access for all from the outskirts of Scunthorpe and the new residential area will be provided into more rural parts of North Lincolnshire.

This community-led project has the support of the Environment Agency and the Local Access Forum.

Cllr Neil Poole, cabinet member for policy and resources, says: “Bringing in the TRUXOR machine to help with this project is extremely advantageous for us as it rules out the need for a large machine running alongside the beck and damaging the banks – more specifically not damaging the newly constructed path.

“Improvements can already be seen along the Beck where the TRUXOR has been. It is brilliant to see what a difference it has on the landscape. We want to bring out the Becks true potential as a beautiful nature spot. All of this work is in addition to the great work The Friends of the Beck has undertaken.

“With the Natural England funding it means that even more development works can be undertaken to improve the appearance of Bottesford Beck and make it more accessible. We are seeing more and more people venturing out to the Beck, which is fantastic. I am looking forward to seeing further improvements.”

Margaret Armiger from The Friends of the Beck says: “Established two years ago, The Friends of the Beck very soon recognised that with good management Bottesford Beck was a spectacular jewel. Magnificently supported by North Lincolnshire Council, Bottesford Council, Environment Agency and significant others, the group worked tirelessly to create a linear park from Messingham Road right down to the lake and nature reserve beside the A18 dual carriageway.

“Whilst being happy to undertake work to improve the river, more was needed to improve the condition of the Beck which is the main drain for the whole of Scunthorpe. At the request of the Friends of the Beck, North Lincolnshire Council set about researching the most suitable method of improving the flow of the river without too much disturbance to the wildlife and the ecological balance, of which there is much to be enjoyed.

“The TRUXOR machine operating from within the river does not disturb the banks or the path but allows those areas needing de-weeding and/or desilting to be managed appropriately. The completion of the work will be the final, but most important, procedure creating the splendid, tranquil parkland to the south of Scunthorpe, of which those involved are all so proud. It is there for the public to come to visit and enjoy.”

£80k awarded to sport projects in the county

Over £80,000 has been awarded to sport projects in Lincolnshire which aim to encourage more young people into sport.

The Sportivate funding, which was set up as part of a London 2012 Olympic legacy project, has been allocated to 120 projects which aim to encourage ‘semi-sporty’ teenagers aged 11 – 25 to take part in six-weeks of sport sessions.

The 120 projects received over £80,000 in the 2014/15 Sportivate funding block, giving young people the opportunity to take part in 25 different sports during the 12 month period. Current activities include:

• Horse Riding in Spalding

• Rifle Shooting in Market Rasen

• Hockey in Spalding

• Girls’ football in Lincoln and Gainsborough

• Tae Kwon Do in North Hykeham

• Target Shooting in Reepham

The projects which were awarded funding are taking place between April 2014 and March 2015 and can be searched online at

Lincolnshire Sport help to deliver the legacy project through Sport England, who are providing lottery money to each county from 2011 until 2017.

Lucy Blakey, Children and Young People Officer at Lincolnshire Sport, says: “Sportivate not only provides a great opportunity to encourage young people to get involved in sport; it provides a huge financial incentive for sports clubs, schools, leisure facilities and others, to deliver more sport across Lincolnshire. It is great to see so many different projects receiving funding to encourage young people to take part in sport”.

The next deadline to apply for Year 5 Sportivate funding to run a project between April and June 2015 is Friday 16 January.

To apply for the next round of funding contact Lucy on 01522 585 580 or email.

Property sales boom across North Lincolnshire

The property market is booming across the North of Lincolnshire official figures show. The latest Land Registry figures are showing a 32% increase in property sales in the area, compared to the same period last year. What’s more it shows there has been a steady rise over the last number of years as people’s job confidence returns.

North East Lincolnshire in particular has registered as a hotspot, with a 39% increase in sales compared to last year, totalling almost 700 specific sales. It’s not only news of people buying new homes though, there is also a suggestion that residents in the area are looking to cash in on the sudden interest, with a higher than average number of homes in the area being put up for sale.

Challenging weekend for Jack Harvey in Milwaukee

Lincolnshire racing driver Jack Harvey endured a challenging weekend for the latest round of the Indy Lights Championship at Milwaukee. Despite a tough weekend, Jack is third in the drivers Championship, with just 23 points separating the three Championship contenders.

2014 is Jack’s first year in Indy Lights and the young Brit leads the way as the highest placed rookie driver, with eight podiums to date, including two wins. The Racing Steps Foundation-backed driver had a strong start to the weekend, posting the fastest time in Friday’s first practice session. However ahead of the second practice session of the weekend, Jack suffered an engine problem which lost him valuable track time during the 90-minute session.

Jack struggled for pace during Saturday’s qualifying session, setting the fifth quickest lap time for Sunday’s race. When the race went green for the Milwaukee Mile 100 at 1300 local time, the top four cars began to pull away from the rest of the field. However, by half distance, Jack's pace picked up and he was able to start closing the gap. After 100 laps of racing, Harvey crossed the finish line in fofth, just five seconds behind race-winner Zach Veach, and a lap ahead of Jack’s nearest challenger in sixth.

Jack says, “It’s been a a very mixed weekend for us at Milwaukee. We started off posting the fastest time in the first practice session but just couldn’t get the right set up for qualifying or the race so we struggled from then on. It’s disappointing after such a fantastic weekend in Mid Ohio but with the final two rounds of the Championship coming up this weekend, our focus now changes to Sonoma.

“The fight for the Championship will go down to the wire with Zach, Gabby and myself separated by just 23 points. Our goal is another double win like we got at Mid Ohio as that would clinch the title for us. The track at Sonoma is similar to Mid Ohio so hopefully we will also be strong there and we can bring the title home for the team."

Getting vintage in the kitchen!

The trend for capturing a sense of the past in your home shows no sign of stopping! It’s vintage all the way, so why not go retro in the kitchen too?

This pink beaker from Giggling Hedgehogs (£18) is a fantastic art-deco take on the usual, dull drinking receptacle. Hand made in limited edition batches, it’s earthenware that will last a lifetime, but is already so retro! (

Cast iron is as vintage as it comes! This lovingly-crafted egg tree (£9.95) is perfect for those who love getting dusted up with flour in the kitchen, who could resist? (

For those who love growing their own herbs or just need some stylish storage, these fishmarket boxes (£35 small, £40 large) are perfect. These hand-crafted reproductions look the part and have iron handles too for ease of moving. (

Cheeky but clean, this vintage pin-up tea towel (£11) will not only dry the dishes in style but will look great too. It comes rolled up in a gift tube too, so makes a perfect present! (

Need a place to take a load off, or a seat to host larger parties in the kitchen? This bench (£492) is perfect. Reclaimed train station bench wood is on a heavy steel base which means it will last generations! More fun than sitting at the train station too! (

Floral patterns are still in, and never really go out of style either! These tea, coffee and sugar caddies (£22) are designed by Emma Bridgewater and are part of the Rose and Bee range. (

More of a display feature than a practical gadget, this vintage butter churn (£55) will look great on a sideboard or up on a shelf. It’s perfect for those who love a dash of the past in their home. (

The maple leaf design on this vintage cocktail shaker (£65) makes it a must-have item for anyone who loves mixing their own creations in the kitchen. It’s perfect for those parties when the wine just isn’t enough! (

‘Pay and Play’ badminton sessions start in Branston

A weekly pay and play badminton session aimed at people who want to have fun and meet new people is launching on September 2nd in Branston.

The badminton sessions, which are set up to encourage adult beginners and improvers to keep fit and be active, provides a fun, social environment where people can play for enjoyment, rather than competitively.

The sessions will take place every Tuesday and Thursday evening at Branston Community Academy, Station Road, Branston from 7.00pm – 9.00pm. The sessions costs £3.00 per person and are open to anyone aged 15 and above. The first session will take place on Tuesday, September 2.

Roger Burke, Community Badminton Coach at Lincolnshire Sport, says: “The weekly badminton sessions are purely for people who want to enjoy themselves in a social setting and play a new sport without taking it too seriously. There are a lot of people who have played badminton before but wouldn’t feel comfortable joining an established league club. This group will provide a fun and social environment for people to keep fit and be active, without having to play too competitively.”

Participants are encouraged to wear sensible footwear and clothing. Rackets can be provided and coaching is available if required.

For more information call Roger Burke at Lincolnshire Sport on 07940 937 689.

Formula 1 comes to Cadwell Park

Thie Modified Live event at Cadwell Park will mark the venue’s eightieth anniversary year in style with modern Formula 1’s debut appearance at the Lincolnshire track!

A Benetton B190, raced by triple World Champion Nelson Piquet, will take part in a high speed demonstration run around the undulating Lincolnshire track on Saturday 9th August. Piquet used the B190, penned by legendary McLaren and Ferrari designer John Barnard, to great effect, winning the 1990 Japanese and Australian Grands Prix in his penultimate F1 season. The car, which is now owned by enthusiast John Reaks.

John says, “I’ve driven many laps around Cadwell Park and it’s one of my favourite circuits, so I can’t wait to drive a Formula 1 car around there. It’ll be challenging, probably a bit like Monaco, but lots of fun and the Mountain should really be special. I’m looking forward to making history!” Other powerful single seaters at the event will include a Formula Nippon machine.

Modified Live will also include the thrilling Time Attack Championship, where drivers compete against the clock in highly modified machines. Cadwell Park is one of the trickiest circuits on the championship's calendar and the most spectacular, with drivers pushing to the limit. This Saturday will also witness the debut of the Classic Time Attack class, for historic cars.

Visitors can take part by lapping the circuit, also known as the ‘mini-Nürburgring’, in their own car for just £25 by booking via Off-track activities at the event will include a trade village, car club and show truck displays, plus a show-and-shine competition.

Tickets for Modified Live at Cadwell Park are available from £12 with free entry for children aged 12 and under. For more information please call 0843 453900 or visit

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