The Three Rivers Group of Parishes
Church of England - Diocese of Ely

Chippenham, Fordham, Isleham, Kennett, Snailwell



Intercessions - please pray for:

John Smith at 11.30am on February 23 at Chippenham Church

Wedding Blessing:
Sarah Earl & Jorge Vazquez on February 17 at Isleham

Phillip Wilding & Victoria Gill on February 24 at Fordham.

Thought for the week

The rainbow is a sign of God’s love for us and the promise to care for us. It is used as a symbol of Peace in some places and of equality in others. As we rejoice in the diversity of creatures saved in the ark we reflect on the wondrous diversity of the human race and pray that we might live in harmony.

Easter Eggs

We would like to give every child who comes to ‘Messy Church’ a Fairtrade ‘Real Easter Egg’ the only one with the Easter story in the box.  The cost of each egg is £3.99.  Would you consider sponsoring an egg (or two!)? Please contact Rev’d Sue if you would like to help.  (01638 721662).  

Three Rivers Mothers' Union - next on Monday February 19

  • February 19 Lent Lunch at Fordham Victoria Hall from noon – 1:30pm.

  • March 2 Women’s World Day of Prayer at St Andrew’s, Isleham.  Service at 10.30am followed by a light lunch.

  • March 12 Lent Lunch at Chippenham Village Hall frpm noon – 1.30pm.

  • March 19 Lent Lunch at St Andrew's Isleham Social Centre from noon – 1.30pm.

The Thursday Prayer Group - next after Easter

The Thursday Prayer Group iss taking a break during Lent, restarting after Easter. If you are interested in the group but the time and venue doesn’t suit please talk to David or Sue.

Intercessions Workshop - Saturday March 3

A meeting for current and potential new intercessors, on Saturday March 3 from 10-11am. A chance to share ideas and best practice, with tea and cake.

Baptism Visitors

The Church of England commissioned some research which found that baptism families were much more likely to join the worshipping life of a church if they met with people other than the clergy. 

It would be good if we had some people who were willing to engage with baptism families. It would involve meeting with the family during the booking process and perhaps going to see them afterwards. 

It would be good to have a small team from each church. If you are interested, please talk to one of the ministry team. Full training and ongoing support will be offered.


We have a couple of potential confirmation candidates around at the moment, if anyone else is interested now would be a good time to come forward.

Ely Cursillo

An opportunity to spend a weekend deepening your faith with other Christians, starting the evening of Thursday April 5 until the afternoon of Sunday April 8. More information on the website

Tea and Choral Evensong at Jesus College Cambridge - Tuesday May 1

Jesus College is patron of Fordham parish and they have invited us for tea and evensong on Tuesday 1st May. Tea at 5pm, Evensong at 6.30pm. All welcome, lifts can be organised for non-drivers. Please speak to David or Sue if you are interested.

Is God calling you to something?

There are a few things around which it might be good for our churches to be involved with. If anyone would like to take a more active part in prayer, reading the bible, working with young people, thinking about church growth, visiting baptism families, thinking about our faith, and many other things, then please contact David if this is something God might be nudging you towards.

Mel Takac - Pioneer Partner

On November 21 we welcomed Mel Takac as our new “Pioneer Partner”.

Mel is coming to work full time across the group as part of her exploration of what God is calling her to do. Mel will be with us for between 12-21 months. Please do make her feel welcome.

More about Pioneer Ministry:

Tuesday mornings - opportunities to meet!

  • Fordham church cafe 
    As usual on August 8 onwards.
    From 9am onwards. Refreshments and play area for children.

  • St Andrew's Isleham Coffee morning at The Social Centre
    Tea, coffee, cake and bacon rolls, from 9am- 12noon. 

Tuesday mornings - opportunities to meet!

  • Fordham church cafe 
    As usual on August 8 onwards.
    From 9am onwards. Refreshments and play area for children.

  • St Andrew's Isleham Coffee morning at The Social Centre
    Tea, coffee, cake and bacon rolls, from 9am- 12noon. 

Mums+ - next on Friday March 16

Mums+ is a monthly coffee morning for fun, conversation and sharing our questions of life, faith and parenthood – all ages welcome. For more details contact Laura Cox-Watson 01638 724839.

Upcoming dates -

  • Friday March 16, at Scotsdales.

  • Friday April 20, at Scotsdales.

Healing Eucharist - next on Sunday February 18

Healing Eucharist is on the 3rd Sunday of the month in the evening and is held at Fordham at 6.30pm. 

Fordham Day Centre Lunch Club - next on February 28

Fordham Day Centre is a lunch club for older people and meets on the 1st and 4th Wednesday of each month from 10.30am to 2.30pm.

We meet at Withers’ Place community room for company, chat and food. Coffee and tea are provided on arrival, then lunch and a cup of tea before you leave.

We have a “mobility” taxi available, if needed, for transport to and from the meetings. The Day Centre is run by volunteers (not carers) who cook and look after the members.

If you are interested and would like to know more about the Day Centre please contact Judith Wood. Tel: 01638 720328.

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St Andrew's Church, Isleham, Cambridgeshire
Festival of Light on December 2/3 and 9/10

The Church was open to view over 40 illuminated Christmas trees decorated by local groups and businesses and attracted many visitors.

The Community Carols service on Sunday December 10 was very well attended.

The institution of the Rev’d David Cleugh - October 20 at Fordham

The institution of the Rev’d David Cleugh as Rector of the Three Rivers Group by the Bishop of Ely was held on Friday, October 20 in St Peter and St Mary Magdalene, Fordham. 

There was a good turnout with excellent music during the service and splendid refreshments afterwards.  Thanks to all who helped to make it a great occasion.

 David and his wife Hannah, who is the Senior Chaplain to the Bishop of Ely, will live at the vicarage in Fordham.

James Marston - Placement Student

We are pleased to welcome James Marston on placement in the Three Rivers Group. James is training for ordination at Westcott House, Cambridge. He will be with us for the next year.

Mel Takac - Pioneer Partner

On November 21 we welcomed Mel Takac as our new “Pioneer Partner”.

Mel is coming to work full time across the group as part of her exploration of what God is calling her to do. Mel will be with us for between 12-21 months. Please do make her feel welcome.

Mel will be commissioned at Fordham and Isleham on December 3 and Snailwell and Chippenham December 10.

More about Pioneer Ministry:

New Rector appointed for the Three Rivers Group

The Revd David Cleugh has been appointed as Rector for the Three Rivers Group David is currently Priest-in-charge of the parishes of Leadgate, Medomsley and Ebchester in the Diocese of Durham.

The Bishop of Ely instituted David to his new post on Friday, October 20 at 7.30pm in St Peter and St Mary Magdalene, Fordham.

David describes himself as a 'liberal Anglocatholic, vegetable grower, dog walker and Mansfield Town fan".

David and his wife, Hannah, will reside in the vicarage in Fordham.

The Revd Dr Hannah Cleugh, formerly Chaplain and Solway Fellow of University College, Durham, has been appointed by the Bishop of Ely as his Senior Chaplain.

She is a board member of Affirming Catholicism.

New Address – Brenda & Tony Lee

Flat 25, 11 Cullum Road, 
Bury St Edmunds , Suffolk. IP33 3PB

Sue and David's Ruby Wedding Celebration - Sunday July 30 

Thank you all so much for your good wishes, greetings and cards, and for making our Ruby Wedding such a special occasion.
Revd Sue & David.

Annual Band & Blossom Concert and BBQ - Sunday May 14
at St Andrew's Social Centre, Isleham

The Annual Band & Blossom Concert featuring the splendid Newmarket Town Brass Band, with a BBQ, was held in the Social Centre Garden on Sunday May 14. Thanks to all who supported this event which raised £850.

Section 12 Meeting with the Archdeacon - May 9

Last Tuesday’s Section 12 meeting to discuss the vacancy timeline was led by Archdeacon Alex Hughes and Rural Dean Rev’d Sue Giles. 26 people attended and the meeting was positive, informative and encouraging. Information on parish reps for the interview process to follow shortly. 

The vacancy is now advertised on the Ely Diocese web site.

Berkeley Castle to Berkeley Close 1500 miles in just over a week in a Berkeley T60 with Geoff Dabrowa - May 8-14

After spending the weekend camping near Stroud for “Wheel Nuts” Charity Car Show and The Club AGM Barry Jones and myself start off on Monday morning May 8 from Berkeley Castle in our standard 328cc motorcycle engine three wheel Berkeleys to replicate as near as possible a drive that was done in 1960 by Bob Currie and Andre Baldet that took them all round the UK, as far north as Inverness in a NEW Berkeley, (ours are 57yrs old !!). 


Sadly, Barry's car broke down on the first day and after a series of dramatic breakdowns - and repairs - Geoff too was prevented from from completing the planned itinerary.

However he covered over 800 miles, arriving at Berkeley Close in Biggleswade on Sunday afternoon May 14, (the site of the old Berkeley factory). Many thanks to all who enabled us to meet our goal of raising over £1,500 for Cancer Research.

Download an A4 flyer which shows the route and planned daily schedule (PDF file).

Geraldine and I have been active members of our village church, St Andrew's Isleham for 40 years. Geraldine had great support from the Church family and Macmillan Nurses, since being diagnosed and successfully treated for breast cancer last year.

We are hoping to raise £1500 for Macmillan Cancer Support (one £ for every mile of our journey. 

Anyone wishing to donate can do so on my “Just Giving” site and gift aid if possible. 

Farewell Mike and Helen

The farewell Group Eucharist at Isleham last Sunday was a very special time. It was very moving for us, write Mike & Helen, and we are extremely grateful for your very generous gift to us both. It will come in very handy for all the work we are having done to our house in Ely. So THANKS. Very much appreciated.

It will be difficult to move on, but these times come to us all, and we support and encourage one another on the journey. You have certainly encouraged and supported us in our ministry with you in these churches and these villages for the past fourteen years. I still have some weddings and baptisms to take, so will see you from time to time. 

Lunch on Monday at Chippenham Park was another super day, which I hope and pray all enjoyed too. Over 200 of us gathered for a superb hog roast from La Hogue, with salads and desserts. Our grateful thanks to Hugo and Becca Nicolle and Eustace Crawley for their great generosity, and to Louise, Yvette and all their helpers with the food and drink. Peter Maxwell and family make splendid bar persons, and Liz made a very special cake. Judy Burbidge made the table decorations to round off a brilliant day.

Thanks again. God bless.

The 6th Annual Spurgeon Trundle - Saturday May 6 

On Saturday May 6 about twenty of us walked from the pond in East Fen Road Isleham, via Ferry Drove to the River Lark on our Annual Spurgeon Trundle.

We gathered there by the monument to the Reverend Charles Haddon Spurgeon, who was famous as The Prince Of Preachers. He was baptised there in the river in 1850, and we commemorated the occasion with a very short act of worship.

Evensong at Jesus College - Tuesday May 2

The patron of Fordham and Kennett, Jesus College, have invited us to attend choral Evensong in the College Chapel in Cambridge on Tuesday May 2nd. We would travel to the college on the Tuesday afternoon, for a short talk from the Dean of College, at 5 pm in his rooms, with tea and coffee and then a 45 minutes Evensong at 6.30. We could share transport I am sure. 

The Student Cross - Holy Week Tuesday and Wednesday

The Student Cross walked through the parish again in Holy Week. 

They stayed overnight in the Victoria Hall in Fordham and Jenny Bowen and her team of helpers fed them supper and then rose early for the students’ breakfast before their walk on Wednesday. 

They joined us for Compline on Tuesday evening: it is a delight to be able to offer hospitality to them.

Three Rivers Lady Day service - March 24

Three Rivers Lady Day service was at Burwell on March 24, followed by lunch. 

The Bishop of Ely blesses new works at Fordham church

The Bishop of Ely, the Rt Rev’d Stephen Conway, presided at the Eucharist at Fordham on Sunday, March 19. He blessed the new works in church and the porch. Members of John and Judy Abbott’s family were with us as was Anne Newport. It was very good to say thank you to them for the generous donations which have made all this work possible. Jeremy Newport and Allen Heseltine left us gifts which have contributed to the new doors, and the work at the back of the church.

The new café in the porch at Fordham - Tuesday mornings

The new café in the porch at Fordham started really well this last week. It’s now every Tuesday 9 – 10.30. DO join us. Thanks to all who help.

Duncan Dalais

Duncan Dalais has now moved with Peter to Norfolk, though we will still see him once a month. He has agreed to take some services during the interregnum. Many thanks in advance for that, and for all Duncan’s help in the parish. Much appreciated.

Weddings lunch - January 29

Our annual lunch for wedding couples was held on Sunday January 2 at Chippenham Village Hall. We have 22 weddings this year, so this way we can sort out details better together rather than saying the same thing 22 times!! Thanks to Jenny and her team for the catering.

Fordham Clean Up

Many thanks to all who turned up at church to start a big clean up after our works have been completed. A great morning’s work, with the new curtains installed and looking very good. The Bishop of Ely is coming on March 19 to the morning Eucharist to bless the new works. We are also hoping that Judy Abbot will be represented as much of the finance for all these works is a gift from John and Judy. Additionally Allen Heseltine left us a bequest which has also helped with the new choir vestry. Grateful thanks to all.

Peter Welch

After the death of Peter in October, his funeral was held in Fordham Parish Church, when a collection was taken for the Arthur Rank Hospice in Cambridge, in memory of Peter. The total was £733.

Peter’s family would like to thank everyone for their generosity as well as the kind thoughts and memories of Peter sent to Audrey and family. 

Work in progress at Fordham

The new doors are now in place at Fordham and work is continuing with placing pews in the crypt, and the new curtains (thanks to Pat, Jenny and Jackie at Fordham).

Parish News needs a Proof Reader 

If you are interested, and can spare a couple of hours 6 times a year please contact Mike.

New Vicar for Soham

The Rev’d Eleanor Whalley has been licensed at Soham and Wicken. Eleanor comes from St Neots where she was the curate.

Judy Abbott

Judy Abbott (from Fordham) has now moved into a care home on the Wirral, but is well. Helen, her daughter, sends her greetings to everyone. Judith Wood has an address if you would like to send a letter.

Fordham School expands

Work is continuing at Fordham Church of England Primary School in the new build of classrooms, an enlarged Hall and various other facilities too. The school will be able to use some of the spaces by September 2016, and the work will be completed ready for a grand opening in September 2017. The school roll will double, meaning that all the children in our villages will be able to attend their local schools.


Floods, Droughts and Sausages! - October 8 at Karma Farm


A super Saturday at Karma Farm. Many thanks to Bridget, Will and Sheila for hosting and Kath for the catering. Nigel and Alastair for leading us on this Christian Aid event.

This Autumn Barbecue event was run by St Andrew's Church, Isleham,  and sponsored by Christian Aid as part of their nationwide Week of Action (8-16 October), to tell the government, ahead of upcoming environmental legislation, that we want powerful laws to combat climate change and protect places we love, for example, in our parish, The Wash, with its precious bird life.

Alistair Burn told us about the winter migrants that will be starting to arrive, and Nigel Cooper talked about the threats posed to Fenland wetland habitats by climate change.  

Pet service - at Snailwell on September 25

Many thanks to Sue, Helen and Carol for a super service.


Snailwell Galaxy Big Band Concert

After the payment to the band there was £800 raised for church funds. Again many thanks to everyone who worked so hard to make it such a good evening.

Gift Day at Isleham - July 16

Thanks to all who have donated contributions to our Gift Day. It is too early yet to say how much we have been given, so thanks to everyone who did and to all those who were in church to receive the gifts.

Celebration in Fordham for the Queen’s birthday - July 9 and 10

There was a lovely atmosphere in church on Saturday as we celebrated this milestone in our Monarch’s life and the service on Sunday was both well attended and meaningful.

Fordham barbecue - June 26

It was lovely to welcome everyone to the Vicarage Garden on Sunday 26 for the annual St. Peter’s Day BBQ.  Thanks to Terry Cross for cooking and to everybody for contributing.

Gift Day at Fordham - June 25

As we write over £1200 has been sent in to the church. Many thanks for such generosity. It is very much appreciated. Trevor is still counting- and we are about £1000 less than last year.

Open Garden and Coffee morning

A super morning at Roger’s home in Mill Lane on  Saturday June 11 and a great sum raised. £240 is the total to be split between the Arthur Rank Hospice and St Peter’s Church. Many thanks to Roger and all who helped make it a great success.

Band, Blossoms and BBQ - May 15 in Isleham

This annual event was held at the St Andrew's Social Centre, Isleham on Sunday May 15.

Featuring the Newmarket Town Band, a full barbecue and homemade desserts, and a licensed bar; all those who attended enjoyed a good time.

Congratulations to Sue and David

Congratulations to Sue and David on the safe arrival of their grandson Sacha for Emily and Phil on Wednesday April 20.

The Student Cross

Prom Praise

Thanks to Roy and Janet Vatcher for organising the super visit to Prom Praise in the Royal Albert Hall.

Dawn service - Easter day

Lent lunches 

Our three Mothers' Union Lent Lunches have been very successful and raised over £460.

We are sending all of this money to MU Projects Worldwide.

2 x £100 – “Salt and Light” – which  establishes self help groups in churches to help the wider communities.

4 x £40 – “Going the extra mile” –to fund development co-ordinators.

2 x £50 – “Helping Hand” – training parenting facilitators group.

Mothers' Union Deanery Lady Day service - April 4

We were part of a well attended  Deanery Lady Day Service at Lode Parish church on Monday 4 April and it was interesting to see the difference the removal of pews at the back of the church has made.

Diocesan Day and AGM is at St. Peter’s, March see Helen Banyard for further details. 01638 721616

Our next branch meeting is on Thursday April 28 at 10.30am at St. Peter’s Snailwell, where Dr Stephen Taylor will tell us the history of our round towered church.  Followed by an optional lunch at the George & Dragon, Snailwell.

Isleham Church of England (VC) School Head retires  

Nicola Bramley, the Head Teacher at Isleham School for the past eight years, is retiring on Maundy Thursday. She has made a tremendous difference to the school. The church and the whole village and staff, pupils and Governors will thank her at the school service at 2 pm on Maundy Thursday.

Nicola will continue to live in Fordham. Dawn and Rhian will be leading the school as Acting Heads in the summer term, and Sarah Skillern will take up the reins as the new Head in September.

Sponsor a 'Real Easter Egg'  

Last year many members of our church family generously sponsored Fairtrade ‘Real Easter Eggs’ to be given to children who come to Messy Church, and we'll do it again this year.

Sue reports that, “there has been a fantastic response to the request for sponsoring Real Easter Eggs. We have 30 eggs for the children who attend Messy church and some money to put aside for next year’s eggs.” Many thanks to everyone who contributed so generously.  

Lent lunches 

Our three Mothers' Union Lent Lunches have been very successful and raised over £400.

A huge vote of thanks to all who have prepared soup, made the sandwiches, set up the rooms and cleared away.  It is really good to be together like this in Lent and to share the discipline.

Festival of light at St Andrew's Isleham 
December 5/6 and 12/13

A magnificent event with tons of hard work from everybody concerned. Many thanks to Mark and Nettie for leading the community carols on Sunday at 4pm.  Final results as soon as they are known.

See pictures from a previous Festival of Light...

Snailwell Christmas Fayre - December 12 from 2-4pm

A magnificent afternoon. Total so far is over £1800. Again many thanks to everyone who played such an important role.

Mothers' Union Christmas lunch - December 7

Our Christmas Lunch was held at the Walnut Tree, Worlington on Monday December.

Chippenham Christmas Market - Friday December 4

This popular annual event is taking place on Friday December 4 in Chippenham Church from 6 - 9pm.  A reminder to anyone with items for the Church Stall to drop them off at Chippenham and Fordham Vicarages or on the morning/afternoon of the event. Gifts suitable as Christmas presents for all ages will be greatly appreciated.

Abbot Consort of Voices - November 28

There will be a concert at Soham Parish church on Saturday November 28. Tickets from Mike or turn up on the day.  

Diocesan Strategy Roadshow - Tuesday November 10 

The Archdeacon, Dr Alex Hughes, and Diocesan Secretary, Paul Evans, presented the new Strategy at the Roadshow at Chippenham for the Deanery.  It was an excellent evening with splendid refreshments (thanks to Gaynor) and we all had the opportunity to discuss the way forward.  More for PCC’s soon.

Fordham church Harvest Fair - Saturday October 24 

Fordham church Harvest Fair raised in excess of £1,300. A huge vote of thanks to all who made such a difference.

Coffee morning for the Linkylea Trust

St Andrew's, Isleham, held a Coffee Morning for the Linkylea Trust Charity in India and raised £464.41; thank you to everyone.

Etheldreda Medal for Terry Cross - October 17

The Diocese has instituted a new medal in recognition of the immense contribution so many make not only to their home church, but also to the local community. Terry Cross of Chippenham has been awarded one of the 11 medals given out this year and will received it at our Cathedral at Evensong on October 17, St Etheldreda's Day. Congratulations to him!

Race Night at Fordham School - October 16 

A lovely evening at Fordham School, many thanks to Roger, Neil Stittle and Stephen Taylor and everyone who helped to make it such a success.

Group Songs of Praise - Sunday October 11 at Fordham

A super evening worship last Sunday, with over 65 parishioners.  It was also very good to see the children from the Fordham School Gospel Choir.  Many thanks to our organists, our musicians and our choirs for leading worship so beautifully.  The music leaders met for their regular lunch last week and we talked about the possibility of doing this again.

Harvest Festivals

Grateful thanks to all who made our churches look so grand for Harvest Festival. The lunches and suppers were excellent, with great food, drink and company.

Our schools and churches have sent over 200 kg of food to our Food Bank, so thanks for your generosity.

Building works - Isleham, Fordham and Chippenham

The builders hope to start on Isleham’s porch and chancel roofs towards the end of October.

At Fordham the builders are currently making the new choir vestry cupboard off site. 

At Chippenham the DAC has approved the plans subject to East Cambs Planning Dept. agreeing too, so that we can start work there too.

A special service at Ely Cathedral on Sunday September 27 to launch the Strategy, Ely 2025. People fully alive. A strategy for growth.

The service to launch the Strategy, Ely 2025. People fully alive. A strategy for growth, was a great service. Now we have to get down to it!

Thanks to Peter Maxwell who has been instrumental from our parishes in working on this.

Mothers' Union Deanery Coffee Morning - September 25

Deanery MU Coffee Morning was held at Chippenham Village Hall on Friday September 25. Stalls included Cake & Produce, Books, MU Cards and Refreshments.  

70th anniversary of the end of WW2 
events on September 12 and 20

A superb Veterans lunch at the Victoria Hall on Saturday with many from our five parishes present.  Huge thanks to Andrew Mead, who paid for it all, Louize Hurst, Yvette Hill and Anomi and her daughter for helping prepare and serve the food and for the willing band of volunteer helpers and the Fordham Guides who made the event so special.

That evening the concert in church was tremendous.  Thanks to John Pryke and the Charity Group for all their work.  The concert raised over £1600 for the Church, the Fordham Charity Group and The Royal British Legion Poppy Appeal.  Above all our thanks to Brenda Lee for her inspiration and detailed work in making sure everything went very smoothly.  

Our Commemoration concluded with the Group Service at Fordham, on Sunday September 20. A time with folk from all five churches in our parish, super music, and a good time to give thanks. 

We have purchased a commemorative mug for each primary school child in our parishes, and will give them out soon. 


Syrian refugee crisis prayer vigils on Sunday September 13 

Our Prayer Vigils for the Syrian Refugee Crisis last Sunday, in the churches of Chippenham, Fordham, Isleham and Snailwell went very well. It was good to be in church focussing our thoughts, minds and prayers on this terrible situation. Thanks.  

Installation of the Rev’d Canon Timothy Alban-Jones

It was very good to be at Peterborough Cathedral last Sunday afternoon for the installation of the Rev’d Canon Timothy Alban-Jones as a Residentiary Canon of the cathedral and as Bishop’s Chaplain in our neighbouring diocese. He is settling in very well and sends his regards to all.

Wedding dresses and Christening robes exhibition
at St Andrew's Isleham - Bank Holiday weekend August 29 & 30

An exhibition of wedding dresses and Christening robes was on display over the August Bank Holiday weekend. 

There were nearly thirty wedding dresses on display along with other memorabilia of the wedding days. Three dresses are over one hundred years old, another has been worn by three generations of brides.

View a gallery of photos...

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A day trip to Eleveden - August 27 

Day Trip to Elveden with lunch. 

Mike Banyard appointed Rural Dean


Bishop Steven has appointed Mike to be Rural Dean of Fordham and Quy Deanery as from now. Archdeacon Alex licensed Sue as Associate Priest and commissioned Mike as Rural Dean of Fordham and Quy Deanery on Thursday August 20.

'Polar Explorers' Holiday Club - from August 11- 14 

The 'Polar Explorers' Holiday Club met at The Victoria Hall in Fordham from 9.30am-noon, from Tuesday to Friday.

Each day the children embarked on a 'mini expedition' in which they found out about a Biblical character through story and song, arts, crafts and games, and learn that they too can be part of God's  'Big Expedition.'

A huge vote of thanks to Revd Sue, Emma, and the tremendous group of leaders who made this year’s holidays club such a success. The children have thoroughly enjoyed their time and learned a great deal about God’s love and grace in all our lives.  

Many thanks too, to Rob Savage who constructed the awesome sledge and to so many who made unique and creative contributions throughout the week.  

Our Holiday Club is now a well established and well loved part of our mission so thank you to everyone who helped and to everyone else who through their prayers grounded the whole activity in God’s love for us.

Galaxy Big band at Snailwell - August 1


An excellent evening once again in Snailwell. Many thanks to all, especially Maureen and her band of helpers, who maede sure everything went well.


Fordham School achieves Outstanding rating


Fordham School achieved Outstanding rating in its recent SIAMS inspection. (Statutory Inspection of Anglican and Methodist Schools).  A great affirmation of what is going on there.


Etheldreda Medal for Terry Cross

The Diocese has instituted a new medal in recognition of the immense contribution so many make not only to their home church, but also to the local community. Terry Cross of Chippenham has been awarded one of the 11 medals given out this year and will receive it at our Cathedral on October 17, St Etheldreda's Day. Congratulations to him!

70th anniversary of the end of WW2

Preparations for the celebrations in the parish for the 70th anniversary of the ending of the Second World War area moving ahead. There will be a special lunch for those who served in any capacity during the war on September 12, with a concert in the evening, and then on September 20, a service at Fordham at 10.30am in commemoration.

Replies are coming in, so if you know folk who do not yet received an invitation please do let Mike or Sue or Brenda Lee know.

Chippenham Chicks to compete in Race for Life - Sunday July 19

Chippenham Chicks joined in with the Race for Life last Sunday, and I am reliably told that in the pub afterwards, another £200 at least was raised, so well done to all!!

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St Andrew's, Isleham Gift Day - Saturday July 18


Dear Friends,
St Andrew’s Isleham has stood at the very heart of the community for several hundred years. It contains not only much of the history of the village, but is also the space for a lively, vibrant, prayerful, community of faith which meets for worship. This equips us for acts of service in our village and beyond. Many come to visit, to witness for themselves the beauty and peace of the building, and to lift their spirits. St Andrew’s is both a source of inspiration to all and a symbol of those eternal values of love, joy and peace which are at the very heart of the universe. Many find a home in our church, and come to celebrate marriage, and for the baptism of children and adults alike and to gather in times of sadness too, for funerals and memorial services. 

Through offering space for the Post Office at St Andrew’s Social Centre, the church has been able to work with the community to retain the PO in the village, an asset for all. A very generous local donation meant that we could repair the Social Centre roof, and a Government grant from the Repair Roof Fund, means that we can repair the church porch and chancel and vestry roofs too. Our choir thrives, our Sunday School continues to teach the faith to our young people, and our Church of England primary school is a safe and excellent educational experience for youngsters in the village. Many work hard in church and community alike, ringing bells, arranging flowers, welcoming, cleaning and helping in keeping the church alive. We all want to keep St Andrew’s open for everyone. Your contribution is vital in this, for the future of St Andrew’s is in the hands of the whole community. St Andrew’s is entirely self-supporting, receiving no outside grants or contributions for the everyday maintenance and running costs. It’s the church for everyone in our community, so please do give generously to ensure it can remain open for all.

On Gift Day, Saturday July 18 this year, members of the regular congregation and friends will be in church from 9am – 4pm to receive your gift. (If you pay tax, it will help us if you could fill in the attached declaration: this increases the value of the gift by 25p in every pound. Please complete the form below when you return your gift. Cheques to be made payable to Isleham PCC please.)

With love, prayers and every blessing
The Rev’d Mike Banyard, Rector, the Rev’d Sue Potts, Associate Priest
Robert Savage, Peter Pedersen, Churchwardens.

Etheldreda Medal for Terry Cross

The Diocese has instituted a new medal in recognition of the immense contribution so many make not only to their home church, but also to the local community. Terry Cross of Chippenham has been awarded one of the 11 medals given out this year and will receive it at our Cathedral on October 17, St Etheldreda's Day. Congratulations to him!

70th anniversary of the end of WW2

Preparations for the celebrations in the Group for the 70th anniversary of the ending of the Second World War area moving ahead. There will be a special lunch on September 12, with a concert in the evening, and then on September 20, a service at Fordham at 10.30am in commemoration.

Fordham School achieves Outstanding rating


Fordham School achieved Outstanding rating in its recent SIAMS inspection. (Statutory Inspection of Anglican and Methodist Schools).  A great affirmation of what is going on there.

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Isleham Gala July 4

Thanks to Angela Wells and Mary Wightman and all who manned and contributed to our church stall at the Gala, we raised over £150.

Open garden and coffee morning - June 27

Many thanks to Roger Palmer for allowing us to look around his beautiful garden and stay for coffee and cake. All very much appreciated and raised over £200 as well. Thanks

St Peter's day lunch at Fordham - June 28

A super lunch in the rain on Sunday, though it did clear up as usual when everyone was leaving. It was good to be together and to be able to thank all those who help so much during the year.

St Andrew's Isleham Clear up day - Saturday June 20

The church has been transformed and much clutter has gone. Huge thanks to all who came along and helped. The flower room and vestry are clear and all the lights now work! Thanks.

Ministry team

It’s a real delight to welcome back Carol Taylor as a Licensed Lay Minister to our Group, and Stephen too. Already we are witnessing their strong and prayerful presence among us. Welcome back. 

Also welcome to Duncan Dalais, a retired priest who lives in Chippenham and who has Permission to Officiate in our Group and across the Diocese too. I am delighted that he will be taking services and assisting us all in our ministries here.

Mothers' Union garden party in Bishop's garden at Ely

Ten members attended the Diocesan Garden Party and enjoyed the setting and the roses. It was an excellent evening with strawberries, shortbread and cream with fizz! The Ely Imps Singing Group entertained us and it was a good opportunity to mix with other MU members.

Urgently seeking an Editor for the Parish News


We are still searching for an editor for the Parish News for Fordham, Kennett and Snailwell to join Laura Watson, as she will be completing her present stint as Editor early this summer. This is an urgent request. Do make suggestions to Mike or Sue.

Mothers' Union - Jo Wibberley, Diocesan Vice President

Jo Wibberley, Diocesan Vice President, has been cycling around our churches in the Deanery these past couple of weeks, in all weathers. Members of the MU have also accompanied her. Thanks to everyone who gave their time, especially Helen. 

A good members’ day too on May 20 in Cambridge.  

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Band and BBQ Garden Party in memory of Graham Wells
St Andrew's Social Centre garden Isleham - May 17 

The rain held off and everyone enjoyed the splendid Newmarket Town Band and the excellent barbecue and homemade salads and desserts, not to mention the licensed bar.

Over £800 was raised for church funds.

Thanks to all who helped in any way to make the day a great success.

Ascension Day Group Eucharist at Snailwell at 7.30pm - May 14

The Spurgeon Trundle May 9 2015

On a windy but pleasantly sunny Saturday afternoon at 3 o' clock, some twenty-five men, women, children, and a dog called Abby set off from the duck pond in East Fen Road, Isleham, on the 2015 Spurgeon Trundle. 

For those who haven't heard of the Trundle before, it consists of a leisurely annual walk down East Fen Road, and then along Ferry Drove, to the place at the River Lark where the great Reverend Charles Haddon Spurgeon was Baptised on the 3rd of May in 1850. He had walked all the way from Newmarket to Pound Lane Church - here in Isleham - especially for that occasion. One of Isleham's best-kept secrets is that someone  - we are not sure who - placed a memorial stone on the river bank over forty years ago, to mark the occasion where such an eminent Christian began his Baptised Ministry.

He was known as 'The Prince Of Preachers,' because during his lifetime, he preached to over 10 million people; all this long before the days of radio and television! It's worth looking him up on the internet - - as he had such an extraordinary career, which has been, and still is, revered worldwide. 

This Trundle has now become an annual Isleham event, and is something like Chaucer's 'Canterbury Tales,' in the way that those who made the 'pilgrimage' made friends with each other, chatted about all sorts of things on the way, and shared stories with each other. At the monument itself, there was a short act of worship, beginning with The Lord's Prayer, and then the singing of the hymn, 'Jerusalem,' and 'The Grace,' and finally three cheers for Spurgeon! 

Each 'trundler' was given a brief souvenir handout, which included a photo of last year's 'pilgrims,' some facts about Spurgeon, and an appropriate extract from one of his sermons that he had specially addressed to the farming community. 

Next year, the Trundle will take place on Saturday the 7th of May 7 starting at 3pm,  so put it in your diaries now while you think of it - and, if you've never joined us before, come and do The 2016 Spurgeon Trundle: you'll love it! 

Christopher Goodwins

The Annual Parochial Church Meeting April 28

An excellent meeting at our primary school in Isleham saw some 32 members present. 

There were quite a few apologies this year as the choirs were meeting at Ely to rehearse for the festival in May and it was the sole rehearsal!

All present contributed to an overview of what had been good in the past year and came up with this list:

  • Potential at Kennett

  • Congregations growing

  • Violinist at Snailwell

  • Flower Festival at Fordham

  • Messy Church and Holiday Clubs

  • Heating at Fordham works!

  • Carol service at Fordham very good

  • Our choirs and new members

  • Solvent

  • Four young bell ringers at Fordham

  • Children at Snailwell

  • Sue and David

  • Carol and Stephen

  • Children in services

  • Ministry Team

  • Unsung helpers

  • Pastoral care for congregation.

Our challenges for the year ahead include:

  • Heating that works                          

  • Community space Snailwell

  • Better facilities in church            

  • Sound systems improved

  • Toilets in church            

  • More service sheets please

  • Grow mission                                     

  • Up to date prayer lists

  • Café church

  • Sit at front.

Please share your thoughts with the Ministry Team and with Churchwardens and PCC members about how we can pray our way into the future.

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Summer Holiday Club - Save the Date!

Summer Holiday Club will be held during the week commencing August 10.  Lots of help is needed, more details to follow shortly. Flyers have been sent to all the schoolchildren in our parishes, some 500 in three primary schools.

Jenny Gage licensing - Easter day

Jenny Gage was licensed on Easter Day at Haddenham to the Grunty Fen group. We wish her well in this new stage of her ministry. 

Holy week 

The Student Cross walked through our parishes on Tuesday March 31 and Wednesday April 1. Fordham was the halfway point on their pilgrimage from Epping to Walsingham.

They stayed at Fordham’s Victoria Hall on the Tuesday night. They joined with us for Compline and Address on the Tuesday evening and then after their breakfast, they had  a short service in church at 8am before they set off for Methwold the longest day on their pilgrimage.

It was good to welcome this group to the Parish on Tuesday.  Many thanks to Jenny, Doreen and Barbara for preparing dinner on Tuesday and breakfast on Wednesday morning, really early.  We hope to welcome them again next year.

Lent lunches 2015

This year we held Lent Lunches at Fordham, Isleham and Chippenham.

A big thank you to those who have provided homemade soup and sandwiches and those who have supported these lunches, our final total was over £300 which will go to MU Worldwide projects. 

The second Lent lunch was held in Isleham on March 5.

Lent courses 2015 

This year there were three groups; Sue led the group at Isleham hosted by the Vatchers; Mike led the group at Fordham; and Jan and James Broad hosted and led the group at Chippenham.  We used materials produced by the Diocese of Norwich called Mapping Lent which were very interesting.

Carol and Stephen Taylor

I am delighted to let everyone know that Carol Taylor, who many of you will know as a Licensed Lay Minister (Reader) and who lives in Fordham, will be re-joining the Parish after Easter. Stephen will also be re-joining us.


Summer Holiday Club - Save the date!

Summer Holiday Club will be the week commencing August 10.  Lots of help needed, more details to follow shortly.

Easter eggs for Messy Church

There has been a fantastic response to the request for Fairtrade Easter Egg sponsors, and we now have more than enough to give one to each child coming to 'Messy Church'.  Many, many thanks for your generosity.

Fordham PCC Meeting

Tuesday March 3 from 7.30–9pm at the Vicarage.  

Holiday Club Shrove Tuesday

A super time was had by 37 children and a goodly number of helpers in activities, song and fun.  A huge thank you to Sue and all who helped to make it such a success.  The morning finished with pancakes, of course, and our fervent hope that many will return for our holiday club  in the summer.

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New roof for the Social Centre at St Andrew's Isleham

Many thanks for the most generous gift of a new roof for the Social Centre at St Andrew’s in Isleham. A parishioner saw the state of the roof, and offered to pay for complete re-roofing, so THANKS. It is all very much appreciated, and the roof looks great too. The builders also put new insulation in the roof and evicted the squirrels.

Three Rivers' Weddings Lunch - February 1

Our Weddings lunch was great last Sunday at Chippenham Village Hall. Many thanks to Jenny Bowen, and Doreen and Barbara who all helped with the lunch which was excellent. Thanks too to Sue who was at this event for the first time.

All the couples who came, and we were 28 for lunch, found it helpful and informative. Sometimes you will see the couples in church, especially if they are coming to our churches in order to make the connections in the six months before their wedding. This year we have 18 weddings and blessings, and the first was in the middle of January.

Mothers' Union Craft and cookery demonstration and lunch - January 12

Many thanks to Gaynor for hosting our craft and coffee morning last week and for the scone making demonstration, we all enjoyed tasting the delicious results afterwards!  This was followed by lunch at La Hogue.

Our next meeting is Wednesday 4th February 2:30-4:30pm at Chippenham Village Hall.  Speaker Sue Potts our curate.  All welcome.


Many thanks to all who helped make December such a good month in all our churches. To our musicians, flower arrangers, bell ringers, cleaners, all those helping with refreshments, the list is endless, thanks. It is all very much appreciated. We had over 2,000 in our five churches during the month. Thanks. Mike. 

Ride and Stride at Fordham & Fare well to Jenny and Andrew - December 28

Many thanks to everyone who helped to make our Ride and Stride after Christmas such a good occasion. 

And thanks to all who helped with the refreshments at the Bowls Club in Fordham when we said fare well to Jenny Gage and Andrew. 

Jenny will be in South Africa from Friday onwards for about a month, and will be licensed on Easter Day at 4pm at Haddenham. We will go over and support her in this new stage in her ministry.

The Festival of Light at Isleham - December 6/7 and 13/14

The annual festival of Light at St Andrew's Isleham took place this year on the weekends of December 6/7 and December 13/14.

There was a stunning display of about forty decorated illuminated Christmas trees. 

There was a Christmas Fayre on December 6, and on December 14 a Carol Service.

You can view some more photos from the displays in previous years.


Mothers' Union Christmas lunch - December 8

Sixteen members enjoyed a lot of excellent food and laughter in a lovely location at The Beeches, Isleham.

Schools news

Our schools are very busy and are preparing for their Christmas plays and services.

Isleham came to church on Friday for their Christingle, Kennett have theirs next week and Fordham are coming to church for their end of term service on the 18th. 

There was the first of many farewells to Kevin Bullock at Fordham last Saturday. Kevin has been our head for 20 years and has made an outstanding contribution with his staff to the lives of so many in Fordham. We wish him and Christine a very happy retirement. Thanks.

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Flower Arranging - November 25

A big thank you to Gaynor Ryan for demonstrating and teaching others to arrange a Christmas Table Centre, ably assisted by Jenny Bowen. A delightful, relaxing evening, enjoyed by all who attended and a request for another similar evening nearer Easter was suggested. Money donated will go to MU charities.

Work starts on the Social Centre roof at St Andrew's Isleham

Work has started to repair the roof of the Social Centre at St Andrew's Isleham.

Work continues at Fordham 

Work continues at Fordham on replacing weathered stonework at the three windows on the north aisle, on the Tower internal steps, and on stonework over the toilets. If you see men working there this next week, they are meant to be there.  

Becca's licensing - October 20 at Haslingfield

Rev’d Becca Gilbert was licensed in the Lordship Group on Monday 20 October at 7.30pm at Haslingfield Church.  Thanks to all who attended from the Three Rivers group churches. 

Works at Fordham St Peter & St Mary Magdalene

The Chancellor has now approved our faculty for the works to the church, so we will hope to set the works in progress very soon. Again, grateful thanks to Diane Catchpole who has completed all the necessary preparatory work.

Chippenham St Margaret clean up - November 8

A clean up morning at church on Saturday November 8 starting at 9.30am. There is plenty to do, so bring your brushes and dusters. All welcome!

Fordham St Peter & St Mary Magdalene - works

The Chancellor has now approved our faculty for the works to the church, so we will hope to set the works in progress very soon. Again, grateful thanks to Diane Catchpole who has completed all the necessary preparatory work.

Peter Maxwell appointed Lay Canon

Great congratulations to Peter Maxwell, Churchwarden at Chippenham and Deanery Lay Chair, on his appointment by the Bishop as a Lay Canon of Ely Cathedral. Peter will be installed on November 25 at Evensong at the Cathedral.

Peter makes a substantial, significant and much appreciated contribution to the life of the parish, the Deanery and the Diocese too, so we are all delighted.

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An Evening of History, Music, Readings and Poetry

The two evenings, in commemoration of The Events of World War One, were excellent, thought provoking and challenging. Many thanks to Ashley Brown and Paul Mangell for co-ordinating the evenings, and for their contribution to the Three Rivers Flower Festival at Fordham in the previous week.

Fordham Garden Club Annual Show - September 13

It is very good to welcome the Garden Club which is so strong in Fordham into church for their annual show. There was an encouraging  number of entries for most classes.

Chippenham fete and Fun day - September 7  


An excellent Sunday afternoon in Chippenham Park with many activities for all ages. Not sure what the final figure is yet. It was very good to see the whole community coming together. Many thanks to Becca and Hugo Nicolle for the use of the Park, and Terry Cross and all his helpers for their vision and hard work.


Rev'd Sue Potts to join the Three Rivers Group


Sue and David Potts moved into Chippenham Vicarage this week. She finishes at the Raddesley Group on the September 14 and starts with us on the September 28.


Quilts and quilting display at St Andrew's Isleham - August Bank Holiday weekend

The Quilts and Quilting display was superb. The church was full to the brim with wonderfully crafted quilts of all sizes and colours, demonstrating skill, great craftsmanship and invention. It was also good to see so many old and new friends alike visiting the church and social centre. Grateful thanks to all those who gave their time so willingly to make this a fantastic weekend.

I think we also raised a goodly sum of money for the funds too, so thanks.

More photos of the quilts...

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Farewell to Becca, Rich and family - Sunday August 17

A super time last Sunday afternoon with over 65 turning up at the Vicarage to say fare well to Becca and Rich, Minty and Benedict.

Becca and Rich have made a tremendous difference in the parishes and will be sorely missed. 

Becca & Rich would like to say a huge thank you for a wonderful send off on Sunday 17, it was lovely to see so many of you there and we will cherish very special memories of our time with you all. Thank you also for the generous gifts too. 

Please do keep in touch, and as of Wednesday August 27, our new address will be the New Vicarage, Broad Lane, Haslingfield CB23 1JF. Much love, The Gilberts x

Becca's licensing will be on Monday October 20, at 7.30pm at Haslingfield. 

Group service at Fordham - Sunday August 3

The only morning service in the Three Rivers group this Sunday celebrated the Mega Makers Holiday Club.

A fantastic week with tremendous thanks to the huge team of willing helpers making this a significant contribution to our outreach to children in the Three Rivers group. 

Rob Savage made a magnificent Mega Machine which featured in our service. 

Many, many thanks to Rich Gilbert and Janine Taylor who led the week so successfully.

Christian Aid Walk and collection 2014


The Christian Aid Walk and collection made over £1000 – way up on last year.


Visit by Sheringham Mothers' Union - July 11 


Janice Pope and members of Sheringham MU visited Ely and Isleham on Friday July 11. They met up with the Three Rivers Group MU for Afternoon Tea in the gardens of the Social Centre followed by a service at St. Andrew’s Church, Isleham. 

St Peter's  Preservation Trust - Sunday July 6

Seeley House picnic  was excellent on Sunday afternoon. Good food, super company and I am sure we will have raised a goodly sum for the Preservation Trust. Many thanks to Anne Newport for hosting this event and making sure we were all well fed.

A concert performance of Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro 
Cambridge Operatic Society Isle of Ely Arts Festival in church - July 6

The Isle of Ely Festival performance of this Mozart opera on  Sunday evening was another excellent, well attended event. Though quite long, the performance was in English which makes it more accessible. Great singers, super orchestra. I hope they will come again.

St Peter's Day Barbecue - Sunday June 29

The weather was very wet for the BBQ last Sunday. The gardeners amongst us were delighted. Everyone else was damp and cold. It did NOT spoil the fun though and some 45 turned up for a super meal cooked by Neil and his team from Carter Street. As the last person left the Vicarage, the rain stopped and the sun came out!!

Gift day at Fordham - June 28

Gift day at Fordham was on Saturday June 28. Over £500 was donated even before the day. Thanks to all who have been so generous. Over £2,900 so far. A brilliant result. 

Discipleship Group - met first on June 26

At the final meeting of the afternoon Lent Group, we agreed we’d like to continue meeting for Bible study, prayer and discussion once a month.

We’re got together again on Thursday June 26, at the Vatcher’s (96 The Causeway, Isleham).  We agreed to meet regularly on the last Thursday of the month at 2pm.

All are welcome to this group, regardless of whether you came to the Lent group, or where you live or worship. 

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Three Rivers Group Mothers’ Union

Thanks so much to Malcolm and Liz Barber for inviting us to their home for a super and illuminating talk on the Knights Templars.  It was both fascinating and informative and we could have stayed much longer and heard more.  Perhaps we can persuade him to give a further talk sometime in the future.

Gareth Wood

Gareth’s family would like to thank everyone for donating so generously in his memory.  These donations amounted to £1200 and have been shared between Arthur Rank Hospice, Ely and District Nursing Team and Staploe Medical Fund.

Open Garden  at 78 Mill Lane - June 14

A huge vote of thanks to Roger for inviting us all to his lovely garden in Mill Lane.  It is a wonderful space with the River Snail running through. We all had a great time – and £320 was raised - so thank you once again.

Deanery Evensong at Isleham - June 8 

It was great to welcome Bishop Stephen and so many others from the churches across the deanery.  Our worship was great and the social time afterwards was a tremendous opportunity to get to know each other better.  See you at the next one!

Ascension Day - May 29

It was good to meet at Snailwell on Thursday last for this great festival.

Christian Aid walk - Bank Holiday Monday May 26

About twenty of us gathered at Chippenham Village Hall for a 2.30pm start and walked across Chippenham Fen to Fordham Church, some with sponsorship towards Christian Aid. And a few walked back again. Thanks to those who kindly provided refreshments at Fordham.

Christian Aid Week - May 11-17

There are envelopes available in church to donate to Christian Aid – please give generously.  These can be returned with the normal collection any Sunday in the next month, or given to Amy Bridgeman (Isleham) or Trevor Hill (Fordham) or Jenny Gage.  Please also take extra envelopes for family and friends.  

Band & Barbecue at Isleham - Sunday May 18

Newmarket Town Band & Barbecue at St Andrew's Social Centre Isleham. A super afternoon last Sunday with over £911 raised for Church funds. Thanks to everyone who worked so hard to make this a success.

Withers’ Collection Concerts at Fordham Church - May 17 & 18

It is very good to welcome our performers and audience to the concerts. Gareth Wood organised these earlier in the year and they are a more than fitting memorial to his patronage of the Arts in this area.  Thanks to him and to Judith too.

Mothers’ Union lent lunches


A big thank you to all who supported the Lent Lunches. We are pleased to report that our three lent lunches made £350. This money has been divided between two MU appeals.

  • The Wheels Appeal helping the MU Community Development Coordinators worldwide to travel long distances and often through difficult conditions to provide training and help start community projects.

  • AFIA – holidays at Hunstanton for families in the Ely Diocese who would not otherwise be able to afford a holiday.

Joint PCC Meeting - May 13

It was very good to have Alan Williams, Brenda and Harold visiting on Tuesday at the Joint PCC meeting to give us an overview of the Foodbank Movement.  We have several points of collection in our villages and churches and keep up to date through the pewsheet with current needs.  In Isleham Christopher Goodwins is a voucher holder and Mike and Jenny are also voucher holders for the whole of the Group.  If you know of anybody in any kind of need do put them in touch with us.

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Spring Fayre at Fordham - Saturday May 10 

A very good result with over £1100 to add to our finances.

Thanks to everybody who worked so hard on Saturday to make this event such a good time.  Thanks to Denise and her dancers for entertaining us.  

Special thanks to Jackie Naylor who is now standing down as chair of the Social Committee after five years great service.

The 2014 Isleham Spurgeon Trundle -Saturday May 3

The Rev'd Christopher Goodwins writes - On the 3rd of May, a Saturday afternoon that couldn't have been sunnier, about thirty people met at the pond in East Fen Road, to begin the second annual Spurgeon trundle. 

At 3 o clock precisely, after three blasts on a vuvuzela (reminiscent of the rams' horn trumpets at Jericho) we set off along the track, rather like the pilgrims in Chaucer's Canterbury Tales. The time seemed to pass very quickly as we talked, and laughed, and got to know each other, and before we knew it, we were at the left turn into Ferry Drove. 

Some who had earlier gone by car met us and walked the last hundred yards to the river bank, where we assembled for a short act of worship, and commemorated the Baptism of 'The Prince Of Preachers,' - the Reverend Charles Haddon Spurgeon, on that very day, 164 years ago. 

The occasion concluded with three cheers for Spurgeon being made, after which no one seemed to want to go home, but stood around in small groups listening to stories about old Isleham, and the ferry, and what Baptisms were like there years ago - within living memory of some of the people there. Group photographs were taken, but no baptisms took place on this occasion, except for Millie, the golden Labrador who demonstrated how it should be done, by diving straight into the water. 

Isleham residents were well represented, as were people from Worlington, Barton Mills, Fordham, and the three Isleham Churches. Peter Flatt had kindly mown the grass on the bank a day or two before, which made access much easier. 

"Next year in Jerusalem" was not exactly the cry made by people leaving the site, but it was suggested that it could well become a picnic in future years, for those who were prepared to trundle along the paths to Isleham's best-kept secret - the Spurgeon's Baptismal stone on the banks of the river Lark, at the site of the old Ferry. 

Outreach group - May 1

The second meeting of the Outreach group was held at Isleham Social Centre. The agenda will included the Foodbank, Christian Aid, and further discussion on how we can make a difference in our immediate neighbourhood. 

Mothers' Union - April 30 

Mothers' Union met at Chippenham Village Hall with Isabel Cross talking about Lepra. There was an enrolment for 3 new members and a welcome for a transferred member. Followed by lunch at La Hogue Cafe. 

Annual parochial church meeting - April 29

Many thanks to all who contributed so effectively to the Annual Meeting on Tuesday evening.  It was good to be in one of our church schools and to share both the good things that are happening in all our parishes and to respond to the challenges of the year ahead.

Spring Fayre at Fordham, Victoria Hall, Saturday May 10 from 2–4pm

Preserves, Crafts, Pottery, Plants, Children’s Activities, Tombola and Grand Draw.

Afternoon teas, cakes and savouries.

Please may we have donations for the Fayre for Adult Tombola to Jenny Bowen or Church by Wednesday April 30  For Children’s Tombola to 45 or 47 Carter Street before Wednesday May 7.  Also cakes and savouries to Jackie Naylor or Victoria Hall on Saturday May 10.

Many thanks for your support.

Student Cross

It was lovely to welcome the 21 strong group of walkers through the Parish on Tuesday and Wednesday in Holy Week.  Special thanks to Jenny and her band of helpers for cooking a splendid meal and getting up and serving breakfast at 7am.  The group walk and meet similar group at Walsingham on Good Friday.

Rowan Williams talks about Foodbanks - March 12

An interesting talk at Burwell.  Thanks to all from our parishes who supported and continue to support the work of our local foodbank.  It is very much needed.

Mothers' Union Lent lunch - March 10

A big thank you for your support for our first Lent Lunch held at Fordham last Monday, which raised an excellent £102 and with the money raised at our further 2 Lent Lunches will be given to MU projects at home and overseas. We will give you further information in the future.  Lent Lunches are a very good opportunity for everyone from our villages to come together over a bowl of homemade soup, roll and sandwich.


Many thanks to Teresa Eley for preaching at Isleham and Fordham last Sunday, March 2.

It was very good to be reminded of our commitment here in the parish to Fair Trade. Thanks too to Lydia and Amy. If you would like a catalogue then please do ask them.

Fordham’s Stewardship Campaign

Many thanks to Canon David Pritchard who preached at the  start of Fordham’s Stewardship Campaign. Letters and more details will be out with Electoral Roll members within the next week.  PCC members have agreed to deliver them.  We are praying for a generous and positive response to our financial challenges here and would like to thank you in advance for all your help. 

Outreach group - February 12

The Outreach Group had its first meeting on Wednesday February 12 in Fordham. Discussion focused on our outreach beyond our local community through Fair Trade and Christian Aid, and to our local community through the Foodbank, and through what we can offer directly.  

We are aware however that we don’t always communicate what is happening in our churches to the wider community as well as we might, and this is an area for further discussion, as is support for those who are lonely or isolated.  

Please do discuss these issues – and communicate them to your representatives (ask, if you don’t know who they are!)  so that they can bring your views to our next meeting, which is on 1 May.

Kennett Family Service 

We are trying to build up the monthly Kennett Family Service.    If you are able to support this service, please do!  It would be an enormous encouragement to the faithful few, and to the new people who venture in.

Weddings lunch - January 26

Our weddings lunch was a great occasion last Sunday afternoon with 14 of our this year’s weddings couples joining us for a super lunch prepared and served by Jenny Bowen, Barbara Whitwood and Doreen Rule (huge thanks to them), and then discussion about the details of the wedding day and relationships led by Jenny Gage and myself.

Withers’ Collection - Fordham church, January 24

The Withers’ Collection viewing on Friday, January 24 was great. 

Gareth has done an amazing amount of work to make this happen and to move the exhibition from the Victoria Hall to the church. It is now by the window in Withers memory too. Thanks to him and everyone else involved, especially Ren Bowen.

There will be concerts on May 17 and 18 in church to celebrate.

Mothers' Union 

A big thank you to Gaynor Ryan, who hosted our January Craft and Coffee Morning on Monday.  Over 20 people attended and Gaynor demonstrated a quick and easy method of making soda bread, which was very popular.

Our next meeting is at Newmarket Hat Hire, Carter Street, Fordham on Monday 24 February at 10 am. to view the new season’s hats, followed by lunch at Fordham Garden Centre Cafe.

The committee would like to thank members and supporters who attended the Lent Lunches and Coffee Mornings during 2013.  We were able to send £150 each to AFIA (which provides holidays for underprivileged families) and the Wheels Appeal (which supports MU workers in Africa who require transport to do their work) and £200 towards providing school uniforms for children in Rwanda.  

Thanks also goes to those who knit for premature babies at the Rosie Hospital and save stamps to help the Church in South Sudan.


Many thanks to all our musicians and bell ringers, decorators, flower arrangers, cleaners, and those who have made and served refreshments for making our churches such welcoming and inviting places for the many who joined us for worship at Christmas tide; over 2,000 joined us at one service or another.

Christmas is a time to refocus our lives and thinking on what is at the heart of our lives here, a love for God, for self and for each other. Let’s continue to follow Christ’s way through the year.

David Kightley


The funeral service for the late Rev’d David Kightley was held on Friday December 20 at 2pm at Chippenham Church and afterwards at Chippenham Village Hall.


David was Priest in Charge of Isleham, Chippenham and Snailwell, and lived in Chippenham from 1976 - 1996. Much loved, he built up the congregation at Isleham from a handful to around 70. He had excellent relationships with the High St and Pound Lane churches.

Isleham Post Office

Thanks to Les, John, and Peter, for paving and putting up the fence to make a clearer area and preserve the orchard. 

All the leases have now been signed, and Gary has lost his “minder” inside so is now very much on his own. I am hoping and praying that everyone will be very patient. There is much to learn. 

The Social Centre is taking on a new lease of life, and many thanks to Geoff and his team for all the hard work inside. It is making a huge difference and is very much appreciated.

St. Peter’s Preservation Trust

A grand evening with French Canapes demonstrated by Anne Newport.  Thank you. We raised over £340. Great.

Festival of Light at St Andrew's Isleham - December 7&8 , 14&15

The Christmas Market was on Saturday December 7 and the Christmas trees were in place for both weekends of this great festival.

A memorable and moving community carol service ended the two weekends. Grateful thanks to everyone who made it possible and who contributed. Over £1,700 has been so far.

Christmas market at Chippenham

Was another splendid occasion and a lovely festive atmosphere.  The total raised is around the £2,000 mark which has made a big difference to the finances.  Many thanks to everyone who worked so hard.

Kennnett St Nicholas' Supper

An excellent evening with superb food and drink, an intriguing quiz and the usual huge draw. We raised £544.  Again grateful thanks to all who made it possible.

Isleham Christingle service - December 6

We welcomed Isleham school to church for the annual Christingle Service, the collection raised raised £350 for the Childrens’ Society.  Thanks to all for their generosity. 

St Peter’s Preservation Trust

A grand evening with French Canapes demonstrated by Anne Newport.  We learned a great deal and had a brilliant time.  Thank you.

St Peter's Snailwell Christmas Fayre

Was a super time with much support from the whole community.  Many thanks to all who helped to make it such a success.

The new Isleham Post Office - opened December 5

The new Isleham Post Office at the St Andrew's Social Centre was officially opened by the Venerable John Beer, Archdeacon of Cambridge, on Thursday December 5.

The new Post Office will be open from 9am-5.30pm Monday to Friday and from 9am-12.30pm on Saturday.

There will be restrictions on parking at the Social Centre, at least during Post Office opening hours, to avoid damage to the gardens.


Christmas Market in the church at Chippenham - December 6

The Christmas Market was on Friday December 6 from 6–9pm. 

St Nicholas' Supper - December 7

Kennett St Nicholas' Supper was on Saturday December 7.  

The new Isleham Post Office - opened December 5

The new Isleham Post Office opened at St Andrew's Social Centre on Thursday December 5.  Our Archdeacon, John Beer, ‘cut the ribbon’.  W

Mothers' Union 

A big thank you to everyone who supported the Deanery Afternoon meeting with our Diocesan President speaking of her recent trip to one of our link dioceses, Kilgali in Rwanda. 

On Friday October 11 we held a coffee morning, at Chippenham, an excellent opportunity to socialise.

St Nicholas Kennett - October 5-6

A wonderful weekend at Kennett with a comprehensive clearout.  Many thanks to the 24 who turned up last Saturday to help clear inside and outside the church, it made a huge difference.  

The Harvest Service saw 29 people worshipping together; a most encouraging development.

We are praying for the growth of the church here in Kennett, so please do join us in our prayer. 

Services will continue at Kennett, usually on the first Sunday of each month (but not November, Remembrance being on November 10, nor December, when the Carol Service with Newmarket Band will be on December 13) and will usually be All Age Worship. 

Holy Communion services will be on Monday mornings at Mary Deary’s house.  

Fordham - Harvest Bring and Share Supper

The Harvest Bring and Share Supper with quiz was a super evening, so many thanks to Jackie and her committee for organizing it.

Coffee morning raises £545

Congratulations to Carol Noble for a fabulous Coffee Morning which so far has raised £545.  A super morning and a fantastic result, thanks.

Mothers’ Union AGM - Thursday September 26

Our AGM is on Thursday September 26 at Fordham Victoria Hall at 7.30pm.  Margaret Smith will be enrolled and we will be welcoming Beryl Coleman, who has transferred from a Leicester MU branch.  

Following the ‘business’, there will be a time for discussion, with tea/coffee and cake.  As we are planning our 2014 programme we are open to suggestions so either come to the AGM or phone Helen Banyard 721616.  Everyone is welcome to our meeting, do bring a friend with you.

King's College Festival - Saturday September 21

The Choir at Fordham, and all who joined them at Kings College had a wonderful time.

Concert at St Peter’s Snailwell - Saturday  September 14

David and Carol Shippey came from Cromer where they live. They entertained us royally. Many thanks to them and all who turned up for this concert.


Ride, Drive & Stride 2013 -September 14

Rich Gilbert would like to say a massive thank you to everyone who supported him on the Ride and Stride, through sponsorship, church manning or prayer! A (mostly) following wind sent him on a wing and a prayer from Ely on a route that took in 44 churches and 72 miles, before rolling to a halt at Swaffham Prior. The provisional total looks to be in excess of £200 - thank you everyone! Please do pass on any sponsor money to Becca or Rich. 

Funds raised are shared between the Group and Cambridgeshire Historic Churches Trust, who organise the event.  

Messy Church - started Sunday September 8


Last week, we started  Messy Church in Fordham. 15 children and their parents turned up for an afternoon of craft, play, worship and food. A great team of helpers led under Becca’s supervision. 


We will do Messy Church once a month every month from now on. If you know anyone who would like to take part, or you would like to help in any way please do speak to one of the Ministry Team, but Becca in the first instance.


Joint PCC Meeting - September 3

At our joint PCC on Tuesday at Fordham School, members discussed some ideas for future activities. 

These centred around suggestions for:

  • A meditative Eucharist once a month

  • The development of the prayer corners in our churches

  • Reading the whole Bible in three months

  • Social Justice, centred around the new Soham Food Bank

  • Quiet Gardens and Churchyards

The discussion was in threes and we tried to be in groups not from our own churches, so we could spread ideas. We also asked everyone to put in some other new ideas or make suggestions. 

Jenny Gage has summarised the results of the meeting and we will publish those in detail once that is completed. There was lively discussion among all the members, so we are hoping for some of these new ideas to be taken up. 

The Soham Food Bank is an offshoot from the Ely Food Bank, as they discovered that a quarter of those asking for help came from Soham, so a branch has been set up there. We have leaflets and much more information about the bank, so we are hoping that perhaps some of our produce from the Harvest Festivals at the end of September might go there. Decisions soon!

Summer Social at St. Andrew’s Church - Saturday and Sunday, August 24 and 25

The annual St Andrew's Church Summer Social was held at the Social Centre over the Bank Holiday weekend.

Many thanks to all who ran and supported this great weekend.  We raised over £1,300, so a welcome addition to church funds.

Pyramid Rock

Pyramid Rock Was a tremendous experience both for the young people who took part (some 30 in all) and for the parishes!! This is the first time we have mounted a Holiday Club for some time. They used to be held in both Isleham and Fordham in the past. It was good too to have such a supportive group of adults leading each of the three groups, contributing to games and sport, leading the music, providing the refreshments, organising the crafts and being prepared to help those who might be injured (mercifully that skill was not called on much).

The group service on Sunday at Fordham was both well attended and a real delight. It was good to share refreshments after the service and then for so many to be at the BBQ in the Vicarage Garden to celebrate the end of the week. 

Becca and Rich and so many others played a great role in ensuring this was a huge success. THANKS. It is and was very much appreciated. 

Galaxy Big Band at Snailwell - Saturday August 3 

Thanks to everyone who made this such an amazing evening. The music was superb, the weather kind and clement, good company and great food and wine. Special thanks to Shamus and Jean Flack for the use of the paddock once again. 

The total raised was over £2,500 so a very welcome addition to Church funds and for the Galaxy Big Band too, who share the proceeds with us.

Three Rivers Mothers’ Union -August 7 and 9

Had a great outing to Shelford, visiting the Scotsdales Garden Centre there on Wednesday August 7.

Burwell MU held a Deanery Coffee Morning on Friday August 9. A good morning.  

New priest

The Archdeacon did not receive any applications for our House for Duty Post. 

Mike has had a further discussion with the Archdeacon and we will advertise again in September and see whether there are any applicants then. The Archdeacon, John Beer, reassured us that this does happen quite often! Do talk with Mike if you would like to know more, or have any views about our new priest.

Gift Day - St Andrew's Isleham - July 20

Thanks to all who have made contributions and those who helped man the church on Saturday.

Three Rivers Mothers’ Union day trip to Sheringham - July 16

Members and friends enjoyed a lovely day trip to Sheringham last Tuesday.  It was a beautiful day and we enjoyed the scenery from our coach. Janice Pope and her husband, Brian who retired to Sheringham last year met us and we would recommend The Mulberry for an excellent lunch.  


We enjoyed window shopping as we made our way to St. Peter’s Church, where we joined with MU members from Sheringham and Roughton Branches for a short service. 

A strawberry tea followed which gave us an excellent opportunity to socialise and use their lovely church room and its facilities.  


A big thank you to Betty Ashley, her husband Allan, Janice and Brian Pope, Jenny Bowen and our hostesses for a memorable day.

Bell ringers Thanksgiving 25 years of new bells at Fordham 
Evensong July 7

A splendid, well attended service giving thanks on this anniversary of our new bells.  Many thanks to all who contributed and made it such a moving occasion.

Isleham Gala - July 6

An excellent day in gorgeous weather, thoroughly enjoyed by everybody.  Many thanks to all who ran the church stall and made a good sum.

New priest

The advertisement for a House for Duty Priest to join our team has been put in the Church Times on Fridays June 28 and July 5. The group helping in the process will be short listing with the Archdeacon in late July, and we will hold interviews at the start of September. Please pray for all those involved in the process, and for those who will apply.

Chippenham Vicarage

Work continues with the improvements to the vicarage and we hope will be finished soon. The new House for Duty priest will be based there.  

St Peter’s Day BBQ

A wonderful Sunday with over 40 people enjoying sunshine, good food and wine and great conversation.  We thanked the magazine distributors for all their work too.  Many thanks to Ren and Jenny, Roger and Trevor, Terry Cross for the tent and Rob and Gill Savage for the cooking.

Isleham Church Cleaning and Maintenance Morning - June 22

Many thanks to all who help with the start of the clear up. A good deal was accomplished, and we now have a very good plan for completing the works mentioned in the Quinquennial report.

Isleham Post Office relocation

The discussions about re-siting the Post Office and sorting office in the Social Centre continue and we hope that wee will have a clear plan for the PCC meeting on July 8.

Mothers' Union news

Our coffee morning to raise funds for MU projects at Eileen Page's home in Chippenham raised nearly £120. many thanks to Eileen and Tony for hosting the morning and all who contributed to the great final total.

Two new members, Liz Barber and Jenny Flatt, were enrolled by Becca Gilbert,  at our meeting where Helen gave a talk about the workings of the Mothers' Union from local branch, to Deanery, to Diocese, National through to Mary Sumner House in London and our international membership - over four million in all.

Jenny's licensing at Chippenham - June 2 

It was super to welcome Bishop David at Evensong on Sunday as he licensed Jenny as Associate Priest in the Group. Thanks for all your support.

Archdeacon's Visitation - St Andrew's Isleham - May 29

The Archdeacon's Visitation to swear in the churchwardens took place at St Andrew's Isleham on Wednesday May 29 at 7.30pm. Over 80 people attended.

May Fayre at Fordham - May 18

The May Fayre at Fordham raised over £1400 for church funds.

Many thanks to all who helped to make this such a lovely event.  Special thanks to Fordham  school for their great contribution.

Isleham Bands and Blossoms - May 19

Isleham Bands and Blossoms in the Social Centre garden last Sunday worked extremely well. It was good to see so many there, and to welcome old friends Brian and Janice Pope among many others. The afternoon, in glorious and unexpected sunny weather raised over £900. Many thanks to Newmarket Town Band & everyone who helped.

Mothers' Union Deanery Coffee Morning

A Deanery coffee morning at Chippenham was enjoyed by members from our Deanery MU groups from Burwell, Soham and the Anglesey Group (made up of the five villages around Bottisham).  An excellent opportunity to meet other members and buy from a variety of stalls.  A big thank you to all the stall holders and those who brought or bought.  We raised £150 for MU projects.

Joint PCC 14 May

Many thanks to Kevin and Chris Bullock, Head at Fordham School for speaking to Council members about Church School. 

Ascension Day - Thursday  May 9

The Group Eucharist was held at Kennett and we flew kites after the service. 

St Andrew's Isleham Fabric Committee

The Fabric Committee did a lot of great work in the planning for the nave roof repair and electricity system refurbishment at St Andrew's and we would like to resurrect it. Its remit will cover the planning of work that might need to be done to the Fabric and applications for grants.  We would like to invite people interest in playing a part to offer their assistance to Nick Carver or Rob Savage.

The visit to the Spurgeon baptismal stone - May 3 


Christopher Goodwins writes: About forty men, women and children - representatives and others from Pound Lane Church, High Street Church, and The Three Rivers Group - met in East Fen Road on Friday afternoon, May 3, for a leisurely half-hour trundle along Ferry Drove to the River Lark, by kind permission of Mr Derrick Beckett.

This novel event was planned to mark what we believe may have been the fortieth anniversary of the siting of a memorial stone, marking the place where the Reverend Charles Haddon Spurgeon was baptised by total immersion in the River Lark on that very day in 1850. 


He earned the title of 'The Prince Of Preachers,' because his sermons proved to be the most powerful means of persuading thousands of people to become Christians.

The ecumenical trundle was a relaxed and pleasant occasion in bright sunshine, and a wonderful way of making friends, and getting to know one another. A small souvenir publication was given to all present, with illustrations of former baptisms there, the ferry, Spurgeon himself, and other interesting photos; and Mr Dave Hall, of Pound Lane Church, spent a moment highlighting some of the facts about Spurgeon's great Ministry.

It was surprising, however, that nobody seemed to know for certain who put the stone there, who paid for it, or who planned it. 


Even more surprising is the fact that so few people today even know of its existence, and few have ever seen it. Of all the things that Isleham is known for, the guide books are remarkably silent about the huge importance to the Christian Church of the Baptism of this remarkable clergyman. 

Our 2013 visit was held to be such a success that we have been asked to make it an annual occasion. Next year, May 3 falls on a Saturday. Now that we all have a year's notice, maybe we could arrange to have our choirs, a brass band, and some hearty hymn-singing at the Spurgeon baptismal stone? Maybe a different aspect of his Ministry each year could be featured, maybe some snippets from some of his sermons, and full Media coverage? 

Do let us have your ideas, photos, thoughts, and suggestions about next year's visit. But please don't delay – because next May 3  is only about a year away!

Want to know more about Charles Spurgeon?:

The Diocesan Advisory Committee visit - Fordham and Chippenham

The Diocesan Advisory Committee visited Fordham and Chippenham to review our plans for our buildings.  The Archdeacon has given us immediate permission to alter the Lady Chapel at Fordham for an experimental period, so we have set those changes in motion. 

This week Jason has been in church with Roger and Mike moving the altar rail in the Lady Chapel.  The other work needed to create a simpler worship space will be completed soon, and the Friday 8.30am Holy Communion will move to the re-ordered Lady Chapel at the beginning of May.  

Three Rivers Group Annual Meeting - 15 April


The Annual Report is available on request from Mike or Carol Noble.

It was so good to see so many representing all our churches at the annual meeting on Monday at Isleham School,  to reflect on the past year and to discern where God is leading us in the year ahead. Thanks.

Lent lunches

The Lent lunches at Fordham, Isleham and Chippenham were well attended and the money raised will go towards Mothers’ Union projects abroad and in the UK.   

Cross Roads


If you read The Shack a couple of years ago, and found it stimulating, the author has written a new book called Cross Roads, in a similar style. It is equally stimulating and well worth a read.


Chippenham Vicarage


Work has now started on rebuilding the wall; it will take some time. Work on the interior will start soon.


Church Wardens’ meeting February 27


We had a very productive meeting with all the Church Wardens on Wednesday.  A huge vote of thanks to them for all they do in maintaining and growing the vibrant life of our communities.  

Bishop Stephen


Bishop Stephen is now out of hospital and recovering at home.  We will be sending a card from the Group to wish him all the best.  Please keep praying for him as he recovers.


Baptism visitors group - March 1


The Baptism visitors group met at Fordham Vicarage on Friday March 1.


Mothers' Union Coffee and craft morning

Many thanks to Judy Abbott for hosting our recent coffee and craft morning.  We made over £80. 

Weddings 2013  - January 27

Our annual lunch for this year’s wedding couples was a super occasion, with many of them able to come and talk through their Big Day. Many thanks to Jenny Bowen, Doreen Rule and Barbara Whitwood for the lovely lunch, much appreciated by us all. If you would like to know more about our ministry for weddings then do ask.

Joint PCC meetings in 2013

The Joint PCC’s this year will be from 7.30-9pm on

  • Tuesday May 14

  • Tuesday September 3  

The Rev’d Rebecca Gilbert 

The Rev’d Rebecca Gilbert started her ministry with us last Sunday at the Ride and Stride New Year Service in Fordham.


Rebecca and her family will continue to live in Ely and she will be based in the parishes at the vicarage in Fordham.  You can expect to see her at one of our churches soon. 

Rebecca is already a priest and has completed the first part of her curacy at St Mary’s in Ely (where her training incumbent is now leaving), and has been on maternity leave in 2012.  Bishop David will come and issue her license as soon as that can be arranged. 

Christmas services 

Christmas services in all our churches were a real delight.  Our churches were full and it was good to see so many worshipping with us, both at Christmas and in December.  


There will be an opportunity to discuss and review the format of our Advent and Christmas celebrations at our PCC meetings during January.  If you have any thoughts or helpful reflections on our pattern of services then please do speak to Mike and/or the churchwardens.

Kate’s Institution -Tuesday December 18 

A lovely evening when 35 members of our churches went to Great Hormead to support Kate, Daniel, Emma and Alice at Kate’s institution as Priest-in-Charge of her new parishes there. Thanks to everyone who came. It was a great evening.

Isleham Festival of Light - December 8 & 9 and 15 & 16

A wonderful two weekends of the whole community coming together to celebrate Advent and all our preparations for Christmas. The Carol Service last Sunday was super, so a big vote of thanks to all who made it works so well. Total raised is still being counted so as soon as we know we’ll let you know too. Thanks.

If you have never been been this year you missed an impressive display of nearly 40 illuminated Christmas trees, donated and decorated by local groups and businesses.

Click here to view some pictures of the Festival of Light in 2007

There were more than 45 Christmas trees on display in 2010 as shown in the panoramic image below.

Click and drag to rotate the panorama, and use the + and - keys to zoom in and out.

Chippenham Christmas Candlelight Market - December 7

A wonderfully successful evening with a full church and a lovely variety of stalls to get us all in the Advent and Christmas spirit; a great financial result too, so thanks.

Snailwell Christmas Fair - December 8

A lovely afternoon with the community gathered together and a financial result significantly better than last year, again many thanks.

St Nicholas’ Supper & Quiz Kennett  - December 8

A lovely evening and a full schoolroom with good food, good fun and good company and a substantial boost to church funds, thanks.

Festival of Light at Isleham - December 8 and 9

A bustling and purposeful atmosphere in the church for the Christmas Market and the Light.  A super weekend of activity and many visitors enjoying the festival.  This weekend sees its culmination and the community Carol Service on Sunday at 4pm.

Sundays@6 becomes Sundays@7

Sundays@6 becomes Sundays@7 as we join forces with St Andrew's Soham.

We will in future meet alternately in Isleham and Soham. 

Join us for a new year of events for fun, food and faith.

Year 6-11 welcome. 

Upcoming dates: 

January 13 - at 7pm an 'Icebreaker' meeting at the Old Vicarage, Isleham opposite the church.

January 27 - at 7pm 'Murder in the Dark' at St Andrew's, Soham.

For more information please speak to the Rev’d Mike Banyard on 01638-721616, the Rev'd Tim Alban-Jones on 01353-720423.

Or join our Facebook page Sundays@7.

Keyboard Lessons

Geoff Symon, professional organist and teacher, is keen to encourage church musicians living in the parishes.  He is happy to teach keyboard players in their own homes.  Beginners and all grades are welcome.  All styles of music are encouraged.  Give him a call on 0785 259 6351.

Canon Tim Elbourne's final services - November 25


Congratulations to Canon Tim Elbourne, who has been appointed as Diocesan Director of Education in the Diocese of Chelmsford. 


Tim has been in Ely since 1998, and has been Associate Priest here in the Three Rivers Group for the past 12 years. His ministry has been highly valued here and we shall all miss him. 

Tim’s final services were last Sunday, November 25 at Isleham at 9.30am, and then at Chippenham, with Snailwell, at 6.30pm followed by a reception where he was presented with a selection of 'Essex-themed' gifts, including spray-on fake tan and a guide to Estuary English.

Three Rivers Mothers’ Union new banner

Our new branch banner was blessed at the Holy Communion Service held at Chippenham Church on Monday 12th November.  It was paraded at the Commissioning Service on Saturday 24th at Ely Cathedral. 

Revised Architect plans for Fordham

The architect has revised and amended the plans in line with our requests.  Please scrutinise the new plan (on the notice board) carefully, as we want to make sure that the work to be carried out is to the highest standards and meets the needs of the church here.

Fare Well service and lunch for Kate, Daniel, Emma & Alice - October 28

It was wonderful last Sunday to see so many worshipping in Fordham church, representing all five parishes. The joint choir sang very well, the Chippenham Cherubs were splendid and Kate’s sermon was one of her very best.  The lunch at the Victoria Hall was overflowing with people, excellent food, good wine and a tremendous atmosphere.  The churches here gave some splendid gifts to the whole family including a unique photo montage of all five churches.

A huge vote of thanks to all who made the service and lunch such an uplifting occasion.  The bell ringers rang Kate out on Saturday with a joyous ring!


It was so good to welcome our three schools into church for their Harvest Festivals. Over 600 children, staff, parents and grandparents attended at Fordham, Isleham & Kennett. A further 250 attended our Harvest Festivals, all followed by Harvest Suppers. Thanks to everyone who contributed, delivered produce and made Harvest such a time of thanksgiving for all.

The Mothers’ Union AGM - September 17

The Mothers’ Union AGM took place on Monday. The Committee members were thanked for their work and support during the year. The members enjoyed a time of discussion of important times in their lives and interests they have enjoyed.

If you have items for inclusion in the pewsheet then do speak to any of the Ministry Team or ring Carol on Wednesday mornings, when, usually, it is compiled. Thanks.

Brief report from Joint PCC meeting - September 4 

Our second joint PCC meeting was last Tuesday at our church school in Fordham. 

The PCCs approved a new service pattern to take effect later this year, and some of our churches also discussed the qualities they would seek in a new priest to minister in our parishes. 

Mike and Helen will move to Fordham, and improvements are to be carried out at the Vicarage in Chippenham. 

The PCCs also elected one rep from each church to work with Mike on the detail of the stipendiary post vacant in our ministry team. More details soon, but do please talk to the Ministry team if you have specific questions.

St Andrew's Summer Social weekend - August 25 & 26

A great weekend of activities last week at Isleham to welcome cyclists from Mildenhall, and many others too. We raised about £1,300. Thanks to all who worked so hard!

MU Outing to Horningsea - August 21

The Three Rivers Mothers' Union  had an excellent outing to Horningsea garden centre last Tuesday. Many thanks to chauffeuses Jenny and Jackie. 

Church wardens meeting - August 14

The Church Wardens met at Chippenham Vicarage on 14 August 14with the Rural Dean to talk about how we might augment the Ministry Team and organise ministry in the Group after Kate leaves later in the year. Full details at the joint PCC meeting on September 4.

Galaxy Big Band, Picnic & Autumn Draw – Snailwell August 11

The event was a great success and thoroughly enjoyed by everyone present. Final details of how much we raised are still being worked out. 

Many thanks to Maureen and all those in Snailwell who have worked so hard to make sure that the event turned out so well.

Christian Aid

£296 was raised at Isleham and among all our churches in May. Many thanks to Jenny and Amy for organising this.

Open Gardens Event at Chippenham Park - June 24

St Margaret’s Chippenham had a great day doing teas at the Park, raising £500. Many thanks to all who helped.

St Peter & St Mary Magdalene Fordham BBQ - June 24

Another very good social occasion. The weather cannot deter us! Thanks to all who contributed.

St Peter & St Mary Magdalene, Fordham Gift Day - June 23

£2,100 was given most generously on our gift day. Again our grateful thanks to all who contributed and all who made the day such a success.

Three Rivers Mothers' Union Coffee Morning - June 19

Thank you to Eileen and Tony Page for hosting our coffee morning on Tuesday 19 June. We made approximately £80 so thank you very much to all who came and supported it.

Come and Sing Evensong - Isleham June 9

The "Come and Sing evensong" organised by the Archdeaconry of Cambridge Church Music Society on the theme of A Summer Of Celebration at St. Andrew’s, Isleham yesterday was a splendid event. It was open to singers in the Archdeaconry. Music included works by Purcell and Stanford. Many thanks to Mark Liversidge for making this happen in our parish.

Jubilee Big Lunch and Songs of Praise - Chippenham June 3

A fantastic lunch in spite of the rain at Chippenham with a rousing Songs of Praise at the beginning. Over 90 at the service and then full to overflowing for the Hog Roast and picnic lunch.

Jubilee Songs of Praise - Fordham June 3

Our evening United Songs of Praise at Fordham joined the Parish Church with the Congregational Church. Hymns chosen by many different groups in the village, made for a memorable service with over 80 including Scout and Guide groups, followed by bubbly to toast Her Majesty the Queen, on this her Diamond Jubilee.

Joint PCC Meeting - May 15

An excellent start to our twice yearly joint PCC meetings. Our thinking this time was led by the Rev’d. Dr. Peter Waddell, Dean of Sidney Sussex College Cambridge, who led a discussion on children and holy communion. A thoughtful presentation, debate and a question and answer session, followed by individual PCC meetings.

Brass Band, Blossom & Barbeque at Isleham - May 13

An excellent afternoon, when the weather was very kind and we were able to be in the Social Centre and the garden. It was great to have the Newmarket Town Band with us again. Many thanks to everyone who made sure all the food was well prepared, the draw went smoothly and all had a great time

Diamond Jubilee May Fair at Fordham - May 12

Many thanks to Jackie and all her committee and everyone who helped to make this such a successful day. The total raised on the day was £1,279.40. The draw was a great success.

Concert at Fordham - May 12

St Peter’s Preservation Trust Concert last Saturday 12 May at Fordham Church was a splendid occasion. The Burwell Community Choir sang beautifully and the children’s steel band from St. Felix School in Newmarket, called Pantastix, complemented each other perfectly. Thanks.

Three Rivers MU Branch - Tuesday May 1 

A super talk from Tony Page (Three Rivers Group Treasurer) on his life and career in banking and his helpful hints on how to save money.

Annual Parochial Church Meeting - Wednesday April 25

It was good to have a supportive and encouraging attendance at the APCM. The Annual report shows the huge variety and depth of our commitment to both worship and service in our communities. There are significant challenges and opportunites and we need to discern prayerfully together where God is leading us in the coming months and years. Thanks!

Election of Church Wardens - Sunday April 22

Elections of Church Wardens went very well last week. Thanks to our ten Church Wardens. With grateful thanks to Rob Savage for all his years at Isleham and to Ruth Ogden who has taken up that position.

Student Cross

It was very good to welcome the Student Cross Group through our parishes on Tuesday and Wednesday of Holy Week. The group was fewer in number this year but made their usual impact. Thanks to Jenny Bowen, Doreen Rule and Sue Lewis for all their help with the meal at the Bowls Club.

Church Wardens Meeting - February 28

Many thanks to all our churchwardens for a productive and joyful meeting last Tuesday.

Weddings preparation day - Sunday February 5, 12 noon-2.30pm

We had a very successful Wedding lunch last Sunday, with many thanks to Jenny and Ren Bowen, Barbara Whitwood and Doreen Rule for all their help in making sure the event went so smoothly

Mothers' Union 2012 Diocesan Marathon Relay

On February 4 our Three Rivers Branch hosted the arrival of the MU Book of Inspirations, from Soham. There was a display of the work of the MU, and our new banner was on show, with a soup and sandwich lunch. The morning raised over £80.

A big thank you to everyone involved with the refreshments. The Book of Inspirations moved to Burwell with grateful thanks to Roger Palmer for the use of his Bentley as our form of transport.

Three Rivers Group Mothers' Union - January 23

The Coffee, Craft and Cuttings Morning at Judy Abbott’s went very well and the new 3 Rivers MU Branch Banner was on view for the first time. 

We are very grateful to all who helped with both the banner and for the large turnout of both members and supporters to the coffee morning.

Advent and Christmas season

We had a great Advent and Christmas season in all our churches, so thanks for your great hospitality to all who worshipped with us. There were over 2,000 in all at services in these seasons.

Snailwell Church Christmas Fair - December 10

Snailwell Church Christmas Fair on Saturday was another good day in our parishes. The total raised was over £800 so many thanks to everyone who helped.

St Nicholas' Supper and Quiz - December 4

The Supper and Quiz at Kennett School was a great success with a total of £600 raised. A great boost. Huge thanks to Betty and Diane and Robin.

Chippenham Christmas Market - December 2

A super evening with so many supporting and having a great time. Thanks to Peter, Fiona, Terry and Kevin and everyone for all their help. The total so far is £2,300. A magnificent effort and great atmosphere.

School Christingle services

Both Kennett and Isleham Schools had wonderful Christingle Services last week.

All the children and many parents joined us in celebrating with an individual Christingle for every pupil. Staff, children and parents at both schools joined us in Church for this annual celebration. Thanks to Angela Roebuck, Head at Kennett and Nicola Bramley, Head at Isleham for their great support of this fund raiser for the Children’s Society.

Isleham Big Crib - November 25-December 3

It was so good to have three schools exhibiting their Big Cribs - Isleham, St Andrew’s Soham and Cheveley. You may have noticed publicity in the Ely Standard about this event in our Benefice.

Last night of the proms - Fordham church Sunday October 9

A wonderful evening with excellent music, great fun and superb community spirit! See you there next year!

‘Romany Wood’ 

A superb evening of entertainment from the young people of Chippenham and their friends too. Many thanks to Nick for narrating, and especially to Fiona, Isobel and Terry for preparing, leading and setting it all up. 

Cambridge Clarinet Choir in Concert - October 5

The Cambridge Clarinet Choir performed a concert in St. Andrew's Church, Isleham on October 5. It is a group of over a dozen clarinet players who play a variety of different clarinets. Their music is a mixture of popular, folk, swing and classical music, from Bach and Mozart to the present day. 

A super concert with Susie and her Clarinets. It was lovely to welcome this consort to Isleham on Wednesday evening. Many thanks to Mark Liversidge for organising it.

Fordham art and photography exhibition - September 24 and 25

A splendid weekend, the result of a huge amount of work, for which many, many thanks. It was great to include all this creativity with our Harvest Festival.

New evening service schedule from September

From September onwards, evening services will follow this new pattern:

  • First Sunday: Choral Evensong at Fordham 6.30pm.

  • Second Sunday: Evensong at Snailwell 4pm.

  • Third Sunday: Healing Eucharist at Fordham 6.30pm.

  • Fourth Sunday: Evensong at Chippenham 6.30pm.

Fordham Sunday School

From September Sunday School will be fortnightly.  

The dates will be:-

  • September 11 and 25

  • October 9 and 23

  • November 6 and 27

  • December 4 and 18

Mothers' Union AGM

We had a successful AGM at Fordham Victoria Hall with Gaynor Ryan demonstrating how to use small flowers and small leaf greenery to make an arrangement in a cup and saucer. 

Our Mothers’ Union Branch continues to thrive enjoying services, a lively programme, fundraising events and social activities.

For more information contact Helen Banyard 721616 or Jenny Bowen 720820.

Isleham Bank Holiday weekend

Thanks to everyone who made last weekend such a success.  A change from previous years' weekend festivals; this year saw some changes, including a Treasure Hunt on the Sunday afternoon.  A good sum was raised to help the church finances so many thanks once again.

Snailwell Barn Dance

Another great evening at Snailwell, many thanks to all who made it such a success.

Mothers' Union

We made just over £41 at the Ploughman's Lunch. Thanks to everyone who helped and to those who supported us.

Isleham Gift Day - Saturday July 16

A reasonably good result at Isleham, in spite of a very wet day which saw fewer people than usual coming into church. Money however continues to come in, and we are most grateful for all the support from every quarter of the village.

Snailwell Galaxy Big Band

An excellent evening’s entertainment with an enthusiastic crowd, many of whom danced the evening away. Many thanks to everyone who made it such a success.

Celebration of 900th birthday of Chippenham - July 17

A wonderful celebration last Sunday with all five churches at St. Margaret’s in Chippenham, when our new Bishop Stephen came and led our worship. It was a very good occasion and we celebrated 900 years of the church’s physical presence here in Chippenham. The lunch afterwards was splendid and many ate and drank to their hearts content and some even bounced on the castle! Here’s to the next 900. Again grateful thanks to everyone who made the day possible.

Abbot Consort Concert at Chippenham - July 2

A splendid concert as part of the 900th Anniversary celebrations. Thanks.

Christian Aid collection

We have collected £225 across the Three Rivers Group. Many thanks to all who contributed.

Fordham Patronal Festival  - Sunday 26 June 

Parish Barbeque after the principal service, at Fordham Vicarage. A great and hot day – many thanks to all.

Visit to Cressing Temple

The weather was kind to the 27 members and supporters and despite an early problem with the coach, which was quickly rectified, our outing to Cressing Temple was a great success.  The farm was formally held by the Knights Templar and there was plenty to see, from the working areas and equipment used in the past by tanners, blacksmiths and other agricultural labourers, a Tudor walled garden with an interesting section about herbs, an old bakery, and a covered well.  But the 2 large medieval barns were truly magnificent, with the use of wooden beams to create a massive ‘cathedral’ type space for the storage of wheat and barley.  Just over an hour away, near Braintree , with a cafe, we thoroughly recommend this interesting visit.

Visitation by the Archdeacon

It was very good to welcome our Archdeacon of Cambridge at the Visitation on Tuesday evening at Chippenham, when Churchwardens were sworn in for the coming year.

Fordham’s Quiz Night 

The Quiz Night at Fordham raised nearly £300. Thanks again to Jackie and Peter Naylor and all on the Social Committee who helped.

Mothers’ Union Deanery Coffee Morning  - 17 May

 A very successful, well attended coffee morning which raised nearly £200 for Mothers’ Union projects.  Thank you to all those who supported us.

Confirmation Service at Fordham - May 7

It was lovely to be able to welcome our new Bishop who led a super service for our four candidates who were clearly very moved buy this new step in their journey of faith. There is still one further candidate and Jenny will take her to the Cathedral at Pentecost to be confirmed there.

Easter flowers

A huge thank you to everyone who made all our five churches look so special at Easter tide. The flowers were beautiful and enhanced the special transformative events of Easter, after the stark reminders of Lent. 

John Abbott’s funeral Requiem 

Many thanks to all who made John Abbott’s funeral Requiem such a moving occasion. We remember him with love and affection and are very grateful for his substantial and significant contribution both to the life of the Church in Fordham and in the wider church in the Deanery and Diocese.

Robert Cross's Choir

It was a great joy to have Robert Cross’s choir from London at Chippenham. A lovely programme of Lenten and Easter music prepared us most effectively for Holy Week and Easter.

The concert marked a great start to our 900th year anniversary celebrations there will be more concerts and activity during the year to celebrate this great milestone.

Thank you too, to all those who turned up on Saturday morning at St. Margarets to clear and clean the insidie and outside of our beautiful church building.

Fairtrade Fortnight

The Fairtrade service at Fordham last week was a spl