FENLAND: Teachers take top prizes at East of England's teaching awards

TEACHERS TAKE TOP PRIZES AT EAST OF ENGLAND S TEACHING AWARDS FENLAND: Two teachers have picked up two of the East of England s top teaching awards. Primary school teachers Caroline Nofer, from Gorefield Primary School, and Claire Asher, from Antho


FENLAND: Two teachers have picked up two of the East of England's top teaching awards.

Primary school teachers Caroline Nofer, from Gorefield Primary School, and Claire Asher, from Anthony Curton School, Walpole St Peter, won the top prize in their categories and will go through to the national finals later this year.

Miss Nofer won the BT Award for Teacher of the Year in a primary school, and was nominated by one of her pupils, eight-year-old Maya-Rose Tomlinson.

Her application to the judges for this award said: "You can take anything in the world that was boring to Miss Nofer and she will make it more fun than Disneyland."

After she was nominated last month, Miss Nofer said: "I really enjoy spending time with the children and it's really rewarding when you see them enjoy learning and make a good progress."

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Mrs Asher won the award for Special Needs Teacher of the Year. She has been teaching for 15 years and, last month, said: "It is such a rewarding profession. My role in special needs means I help children with a range of needs such as dyspraxia, dyslexia and global delay. Watching them progress and improve really gives me a kick."

Anne Senior, Head teacher at Anthony Curton, nominated Mrs Asher for the award. They were two of the many teachers across the East of England who were cheered on at the ceremony, at the DeVere Dunston Hall in Norwich, by a 250-strong audience which included pupils, parents and colleagues. The ceremony was hosted by BBC presenter Susie Fowler-Watt. Caroline Evans, chief executive of the Teaching Awards said: "I am delighted to congratulate all our award-winners who deserve every bit of praise and applause. They are real heroes among their colleagues, pupils and parents and now the wider world knows what a difference they make. "This is the Teaching Awards tenth anniversary year and in that time hundreds of outstanding people in the East of England have been thanked for the excellent job they do, day in, day out. I am really looking forward to meeting the class of 2008 at the UK event this autumn." LOAN SHARKS COULD BE TARGETED BY SPECIALIST SQUAD CAMBRIDGESHIRE: Loan sharks and illegal money lenders operating in Fenland could be targeted by a specialist national squad dedicated to help catch them. Cambridgeshire County Council Trading Standards has agreed to forge a link with a specialist Illegal Money Lending Team based at Birmingham City Council to tackle loan sharks in the UK. Trading Standards officers in Cambridgeshire will still investigate these crimes but will be able to call on the specialist services of this national squad freeing up time and resources as well as helping to improve the chances of conviction. Loan sharks and illegal money lenders have been known to use violence and threats on their victims who are often the most vulnerable and desperate members of the community. Cambridgeshire County Councillor, Sir Peter Brown, said: "Loan sharks and illegal money lenders are the lowest of the low and use violence and threats to family members to get their overly inflated payments. This new link gives Cambridgeshire an extra string to its bow when it comes to dealing with these criminals. It gives us specialist and expert investigative advice and help with no cost to the authority. The only people to lose out are the loan sharks." DADS BUILD SUN SHADE AT PRE-SCHOOL

CHRISTCHURCH: Youngsters at a Fenland pre-school can now play safe in the sun, after a group of their fathers built a sun shade for them.

Dads of children who attend Christchurch Pre-school spent a wet day building the sun shade in the pre-school garden - and built planter boxes and carried out a number of other DIY jobs at the same time.

The children have already put to the planter boxes to use by growing their own tomatoes, salad leaves and sweet corn. The sun shade has been a huge aid to the pre-school who are preparing for the awaited summer sun.

Pre-school committee member Vanessa Murray said: "You have to encourage children to understand how to play safe in the sun. Our new sun shade will enable the children to play happily in the outdoor environment in the summer."

• Spaces are available at Christchurch Pre-school, which is open Monday to Friday. Fore more information contact Lisa Peel on 01354 638027.


WIMBLINGTONL: A fearsome looking hunting knife was pointed at a terrified woman following a neighbours' row over parking, magistrates heard this week.

Fifty-eight-year-old Michael James told June Sibley he would "slit her partner's guts" with the 10-inch bladed weapon - and claimed that he had a collection of knives that he was not afraid to use.

"She was terrified, and thought the defendant was going to use the knife against her," said prosecutor Sylvia Cundell.

James, of Chapel Lane, Wimblington, had earlier admitted possessing the knife, and this week changed his plea, and admitted using threatening behaviour during the incident on April 30.

The knife, with a decorative handle, was safely stowed away in a plastic caddy when it was displayed in court.

Before the incident, James' wife had argued with Ms Sibley's partner over parking and access issues, explained Mrs Cundell.

James went to Ms Sibley's home in Doddington Road around 6.50pm, and complained that his wife had been sworn at.

"She saw the knife in his left hand, pointing directly towards her," said Mrs Cundell. "He made a number of specific threats, including a threat that he would slit her partner's guts."

Police arrived at 7pm, when a sobbing June Sibley struggled to explain what had happened. Officers went to James' home, and found the knife on the dining room table, and it was seized.

James told officers he had endured "a particularly stressful day at work" and his wife had been distressed by an incident between herself and Ms Sibley's partner.

"He said he had inherited a set of decorative knives," added Mrs Cundell. "He must have deliberately picked up the knife, there is no assertion he was under the influence of drink or drugs, or has any mental impairment.

"He makes some reference to frustration boiling over, that sums up this case very well, he just lost it."

Sentencing was adjourned until July 2 and James was given conditional bail.


MARCH: A man charged with raping a woman on two occasions in March has been banned from the town as part of his bail conditions.

Barry Gregory, 32, of Brunswick Court, Stevenage, is alleged to have raped the same victim on December 28 last year, and on another occasion between October 31 and December 31 2003.

He is also accused of stealing the woman's bank card and two sums of £10 from her on December 28 last year.

Gregory appeared before Fenland magistrates on Wednesday, when the case was sent to Cambridge Crown Court, with a preliminary hearing on June 18.

Gregory's bail conditions also order him to live at his home address, and ban him from contacting his victim. He has been electronically tagged, with a curfew between 9pm and 7am; and must report to Stevenage police every Friday between 5pm and 8pm.