We work on projects ranging from the conservation of textiles to transcribing documents, helping in museums, recording gardens and churches and refurbishing books in libraries. Our groups always welcome new members.

Skills and techniques can be learned on the job and there are special training days available so please do not feel you are not competent to become a volunteer.

Volunteer of the Year


Many congratulations to Judith Christie who has been nominated ‘Volunteer of the Year’ by The Gardens’ Trust.  All who know her will be aware of her passion for gardens and tireless work organising meetings and lectures for our local Gardens’ Trust. However, this is a national award, recognising her outstanding contribution to the organisation as a whole.

Judith has been an active and long-standing member of our Arts society. She was present at our meeting in February to inform members about the GT and the excellent work it does.

The Garden History Group

Our Garden History Group seeks to excel in three areas:

  1. Friendship: bringing together those with a shared love of gardens and local history with lectures and garden visits.
  2. Research: finding out more about the people and plants that have contributed to our designed landscapes, parks and gardens.
  3. Conservation and Planning: making available our expertise and vigilance to planners and other organisations, when open space has never been so much under pressure from development and population increase.

This last year also saw us dusting down volumes of the ledgers of the important Wood and Ingram Nursery. Founded in 1745, this nursery supplied garden owners and landscapers throughout the British Isles, and the ledgers include entries for Lancelot Capability Brown himself.

The photo below shows entry from Wood & Ingram ledger noting delivery of fruit trees to Brown.

A highlight of the Brown tercentenary year was the joint funding by the Heritage Lottery Fund and NADFAS, now the Arts Society, of a project to engage the children of Fenstanton and Hilton Primary School in the design of a new stained glass window to go into the Fenstanton church centre as a commemoration of the great man. Jill Challener won a NADFAS grants to match our HLF award and the window was duly created following the children’s design by Sarah Hunt in association with Ely Stained Glass Museum.

Our attention in 2017  focussed on walled gardens where the enclosed space is a design feature within a greater curtilage, bringing together elements of architecture, landscape and planting. Our research and recording work is published regularly by CGT who are hoping to achieve (with our help) a book or monograph publication on the Walled Gardens of Cambridgeshire, so do watch this space.

We always seek to increase membership so to find out more about our activities please contact the Garden Group co-ordinator, Judith Christie, by phone on 01954 230536 or by e-mail at judith.christie@ntlworld.com. You will be assured of the warmest of welcomes from our group. 

The Church Recorders Group

In early April 2016, after four and a half years of dedication and hard work, the Church Record for All Saints Parish Church, St Ives was formally presented to the Church. The Record is a beautiful hardbound two-volume book spanning 600 pages, a 21st century snapshot of the church that will hopefully be useful to both it and researchers for years to come. I extend a huge amount of thanks to all those who were involved in this mammoth project whatever their role. Without their hard work and commitment we would never have accomplished it.

Not wishing to be idle, in February 2016 the group started to record St Peter & St Paul Church in Fenstanton, to tie in with the tercentenary of the birth of Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown who is buried in the churchyard. It is a beautiful, well-cared for church and we are delighted to be recording it. Currently there are 11 active recorders who meet weekly at the church when life permits. I would like to extend my grateful thanks to members of the current group for their enthusiasm with our new project and to all those who support us at every level.

Chuch Recorders

The next church to be recorded, on completion of St Peter and St Paul, will be St. Andrew’s, Swavesey. New volunteers are always welcome; please contact the Church Recorders co-ordinator, Pat Hamilton, by e-mail at i.ham@btinternet.com.

Photos by John Cutting.

The Embroidery Group

We have recently completed the restoration of a white Frontal and Super Frontal for Girton Church. These were dedicated on Palm Sunday by the Bishop of Huntingdon. A Burse and Veil were completed for Catworth Church and we made a new purple Frontal for Madingley Church, and are making a new white Frontal for Bourn Church. This is likely to be our last project as numbers are diminishing and no new members seem to be interested in joining us. For further information, phone Isabel Lattimore at 01954- 719310.

Jill Donnelly reports: “On Sunday 29th May 2016 a packed congregation attended evensong for a service of dedication led by Bishop David of Huntingdon. Representatives of many of the 7 linked churches in the group which includes Catworth filled the church on a sunny evening. The service had a dual purpose: first to dedicate the bells which have been refurbished and now returned to the tower. They had their first triumphant peal after the re-dedication by the Bishop.

Isobel Lattimore and her small band of loyal and accomplished embroiderers were also in attendance for the return of the Burse and Veil which they have remounted on apricot silk and reattached to the original embroidery. The finished effect is stunning.

The congregation were treated to a splendid tea after the service was over, and many old friends were found chatting happily for some time.

Congratulations to Isobel and her team for another example of their beautiful and meticulous work.”

On September 21st 2013, the Bishop of Ely blessed the newly restored altar frontal in Ely Cathedral at a Festal Eucharist attended by the group of our embroiderers who had done the work, led by our then president, Isobel Lattimore.

The lettering is copied by couching down gold threads onto felt shapes that add depth to the lettering so that the gold will catch the light. You can see the gold threads down two of the bars of the lettering.

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