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22nd June 2022

Can anyone help? The Friends of Jubilee Gardens have recently reformed & need a volunteer secretary for the committee. It’s not too onerous, maybe 6-8 evening meetings plus an AGM each year. Requirements are to create and circulate an agenda for meetings. attend & record minutes at meetings, agree minutes with the chairperson & distribute. Working with word or similar - fairly critical, knowledge of gardening & Jubilee Gardens useful but not essential. If you are interested or you know someone else who could be I would appreciate you/them getting in touch. Thanks mobile is 07887 682310


6th June 2022

Following John Crawford’s message posted in April I can now bring you the exciting news that we have re-launched the Friends of Jubilee Gardens (FoJG).


We have a new committee (see the about us page) and we look forward to bringing you more news as it becomes available.


The gardens have been a particular source of community enjoyment and involvement since their opening in 2002 and it is our intention to further the same community spirit of which so much has been evident during the weekends Jubilee celebrations.


In the meantime, if you need to contact us about any aspect of the gardens and particularly if you would like to become involved in some way please use the contact facility on the website and we’ll be in touch as soon as possible.


All of us hope to meet many of you in the gardens during the coming year.


With best wishes for a long, warm and happy summer.


Phil Mitzman

Chair - Friends of Jubilee Gardens.


18th April 2022

A Message from the Former Chairperson


Many people with an interest or potential interest in Friends of Jubilee Gardens may have noticed that this website has had no recent update. I apologise for this. I have been preoccupied with other issues.


During the pandemic no membership subscriptions were collected and consequently membership for the vast majority ceased. This led to some difficulty in determining the future. An attempt to call an open meeting to reconstitute the Friends resulted in only minimal interest and also revealed that the most recent membership list was out of date. A final committee meeting in October 2021 concluded that FOJG had come to the end of the road and should be wound up and that ECDC should be approached and consulted on an appropriate way of acknowledging the Friends’ contribution to Jubilee Gardens and also to recognise original donors and contributors. It was felt that this was in keeping with the aims of FOJG and the most ethical way to dispose of any assets. This is in hand. It was also felt that Jubilee Gardens is now well established as part of Ely life for the last twenty years that this was an appropriate time for the Friends of Jubilee Gardens to bow out and perhaps allow a shift in focus toward voluntary gardening groups which was latterly the most popular aspect anyway.


At the October meeting it was decided that this should be the final act of the committee. Most committee members had come to the end of their service and as a result offered their resignations.


At the time of writing there are some moves to re-launch friends of Jubilee Gardens in the original format.


Thank you

John Crawford


Wednesday 14th October 2020

Jubilee Gardens has just been awarded the Green Flag 2020-21. This is despite all of this year’s problems. It is the 16th consecutive year the gardens have achieved this prestigious award.


For information about the Green Flag Award scheme visit www.greenflagaward.org.uk


Wednesday 7th October 2020

Wednesday (7th October) saw the first use of Jubilee Gardens as a helipad (as far as I am aware). The East Anglia Air Ambulance landed amid great clatter much to the surprise of visitors to the gardens and local residents alike. Paramedics had been called to a person taken seriously ill down by the river. The helicopter crew meanwhile chatted to passers-by and residents from nearby.


The helicopter departed after over an hour on the ground. We later learned that sadly, the outcome of the emergency was not good.


March 15th 2020 - AGM Cancelled

All members will have been made aware of the intention to hold the Friends of Jubilee Gardens AGM on Tuesday 24th March. Please note that the AGM has now been cancelled. This is of course due to the current COVID-19 crisis. It is possible we may be able to rearrange in the summer or autumn but for now we can only wait and see how things unfold.


March 12th 2020

The first Working Party of the year were in the gardens today accompanied by a team of East Cambs Gardeners. Members who game busied themselves with some of the many tidying jobs which were in need of doing.


Over the last few weeks East Cambs gardeners have made a concerted effort to tidy the whole garden. Beginning on the Jubilee Terrace side they have pruned back the overgrowth of the shrubs and used the mulch as ground cover. The Winter Garden looks much neater. Subsequently the gardeners have progressed up the opposite side and have made a huge and beneficial changes to the very overgrown and untidy trees and shrubs. The edging around the Queen’s Wood has been improved and I understand they will be coming back to continue the good work in the Queen’s Wood.


February 9th 2020

Some further damage was caused by Storm Ciara uprooted a tree near to the Sensory Garden.

Storm Ciara


28th January 2020

Jubilee Gardens was again subjected to some vandalism particularly affecting the potted olive trees at the Broad Street end. The good news though is that all of them are being repotted (which was badly needed) and will return soon!

Olive Trees


Friends of Jubilee Gardens Annual General Meeting - 2020

This year’s AGM will be held at East Cambs District Council, The Grange, Nutholt Lane Ely CB7 4EE, at 7.00pm on Tuesday 24th March. Plenty of parking is available at the Grange. Entry will be around the back. Follow the signs.

Chairman's Letter


2019 Meeting Minutes


22nd January 2020

For information: This year’s AGM will take place on Tuesday 24th March. The venue will be the East Cambs. Council offices at the Grange. An agenda and more details will be emailed to all members nearer the time.


15 January 2020

A Mr Richard Pownall contacted Friends of Jubilee Gardens via our website and informed us that he was administering the will of his late aunt Mrs Christine Pownall who died in October. Mrs Pownall wished to bequeath some money to various charities including the Friends of Jubilee Gardens.

I am pleased to report that Mrs Pownall generously bequeathed £1000.00 to the Friends and the committee will discuss how this may be put to good use in the coming year.


29th December 2019

Unfortunately the garden was again subjected to some vandalism. A young birch tree near to the children’s playground was damaged and also some of the potted olive trees near the Broad Street Entrance were pushed over damaging the pots. The terracotta pots which were in fact, in poor condition and will need replacing.


11th December 2019

On the 1th December the Friends of Jubilee Gardens Held a Christmas “get together”. This basically, was a cheese and wine evening and was open to all members and their families to attend. The venue was the Babylon Art Gallery and it proved to be an ideal one with interesting artwork on display. Attendance was good and all those who came seemed to have a very pleasant evening.


28th July 2019

Cottenham Brass Band

After a blisteringly hot week the weather turned wet for the weekend but some of the attendees at the Sunday band concerts were intrepid.


The Cottenham Brass Band played a full concert despite the weather which did improve a bit and did attract a decent audience in the circumstances.








17th July 2019

For the fifteenth consecutive year Jubilee Gardens was awarded the Green Flag in recognition of the gardens as a well-managed public space.

Green Flag 2019


The raising of the new 2019-2020 Green Flag took place in the gardens on Wednesday 17th July.


Present were Councillor Anna Bailey, Spencer Clark (East Cambs Open Spaces). Lewis Bage (East Cambs Tourism Strategy) and John Crawford (Chairperson, Friends of Jubilee Gardens).


A link to the video of the flag raising can be found here


More about the Green Flag award can be found here


Monday July 15th July 2019

The Friends of Jubilee Gardens summer outing took place on Monday 15th July Around 30 members travelled to the Cambridge University Botanic Gardens for an evening guided tour. It turned out to be perfect from the weather point of view with the overcast day giving way to a beautiful evening which showed the gardens in magnificent summer evening sunlight.


Three groups of “Friends” were taken around the gardens by extremely knowledgeable volunteer guides. The gardens are large and each group’s tour differed slightly but all were agreed that it was an excellent trip and many will be encouraged to revisit the garden again soon.



Saturday 6th July 2019

The Friends of Jubilee Gardens annual Tea & Cake party was held on Saturday 6th July. The party was held at Sheila Friend-Smith’s home and was very well attended and enjoyed by all who did so.


The party raised £290 for the Fiends of Jubilee Gardens.


Many thanks are due to Sheila and all those who provided scones and cakes.


Saturday June 8th Working Party

We planned two extra working parties this month the first of these happened on June 8th. We were hoping to give an opportunity to some members who due to weekday commitments cannot attend the regular Thursday events.


Unfortunately the weather was truly awful with heavy rain and strong wind. In other circumstances we would have cancelled the working party but ECDC had already purchased bedding plants which really were in need of planting. In the event, six stoical individuals turned out and planted all the large tree pots on both sides as one enters the gardens from Broad Street. Also a start was made on tidying and planting the beds around the trees further down the garden which were badly overgrown. Two members continued this work on the Sunday which was a much better day.

Working Party
Working Party
Working Party
Working Party


Saturday June 1st 2019


The Friends of Jubilee Gardens had planned to repeat last year’s successful plant stall and recruitment drive at Etheldreda Fair. Unfortunately we had to cancel at short notice because of communication problems with ECDC and the plant wholesalers. The latter did not receive our order via ECDC and then proved impossible to contact. We did acquire some plants the day before the fair but they were not suitably potted and too young to sell on the day. We still have these and will consider other ways of selling them. Apologies are due to members who volunteered to give up some time to man the stall on Palace Green and had to be cancelled at the last minute.


On another topic: some will have noticed the impressive display of foxgloves in the Queen’s Wood. These are not quite crowded out by the rampant oxeye daisies which will need to be thinned out a bit for next year.


Thursday 2nd May 2019

Committee members:

Patricia Simmonds is now "Vice Chairperson"

Sheila Friend-Smith and Jane Blanchard have "retired " and is no longer on the committee

Rachel Ingham is now "Secretary"

Philippa Royle is an new ordinary member


Latest News : At the last committee meeting held on Tuesday 23rd April, it was noted that Sheila Friend-Smith and Patricia Simmonds had reached the end of their 3 years on the committee. Members of the committee are required to stand down after 3 years unless becoming an "officer " of the committee. Patricia Simmonds has stepped up to be" Vice Chairperson" and will continue to serve on the committee. Sheila is standing down for the coming year but is going to concentrate on the historic side of Jubilee Gardens. Sheila has been associated with the gardens since their inception and has given her time on many occasions to the committee.Her knowledge and experience will not be lost to us.


Jane Blanchard retired from the committee at the AGM in March after a busy time as secretary. Jane has done an outstanding job as secretary and we thank her and wish her all the best for the future.

English Bluebells


Rachel Ingham has kindly agreed to be our new secretary.


We have a new ordinary member of the committee, Philippa Royle. We welcome Philippa and look forward to her input of ideas.


There is a new Spring Newsletter now available and will be emailed or mailed to all members. It, and previous newsletters can be accessed from the "Newsletters" Box at the top of this page.


Working Party: The second working party of the year took place on 12th April and continued the ever present task of keeping the beds tidy. The English bluebells we planted last autumn are now providing a beautiful display.


We are planning an additional couple of working parties on 2 Saturday mornings, the 8th and 22nd June. There is more planting to be done and all members ant their families are welcome to join in.


Summer Outing: A summer outing to Cambridge Botanical Gardens is planned for Monday 15th July. We were hoping to interest enough members in this to justify hiring a coach but this now looks unlikely. However the trip is still “on”. If members are interested in this outing Please contact Judith Lockyear.


The outing includes a private guided tour.


Thursday 21st March 2019

Working Party
Members of the Working Party with the new apple tree

Working Party: The first working party of the year met today.


This was scheduled for last week but postponed due to poor weather.


Today the weather was spring-like and much better.


There was a reasonable turn out and a start was made beginning with the Blue & White Garden and the Queens wood.


It was noted that the bluebells planted there last autumn seem to be thriving and we can expect a spectacular display soon.


Following the vandalism last Friday and the destruction of the young apple tree the Friends purchased a tree to replace this and also a tree to replace the “wedding cake tree” which was not thriving.


The new specimen looks much healthier. The old tree will be replanted elsewhere.

The next Working Party will be on Thursday April 11th.




Friday 16th March 2019

Membership subscriptions: Most Friends of Jubilee Gardens subscriptions are now due. To renew or become a new Friend of Jubilee Garden please contact the Membership Secretary. Many have already done so and some local businesses have also become “Corporate Members”. These include PlanSurv, Neaves & Neat, Etheldreda Flora and Ely Rotary Club.


Annual General Meeting: This will take place on Tuesday 26th March at 7.00pm. The venue is St Peter’s Church Hall, Broad Street. Hopefully all will have received an agenda by now.


Damage to Trees: Unfortunately several trees in the gardens were damaged last night (Friday 15th March), not by the high winds but by a large group of young people around 11.00pm. Police were called but arrived just after the vandals moved on.



Friday November 30th 2018

In recent years the Friends of Jubilee gardens has had an entry into the Christmas Tree Festival held annually in the Ely Methodist Church and this year Sarah Canham took over responsibility for obtaining and decorating a tree on behalf of the Friends. Visitors to the festival are invited to vote for the entry they consider to be the best.


The Christmas Tree Festival takes place this weekend and is open to the general public on Saturday 1st and Sunday 2nd December. There have been many contributions from a number of local organisations.


Our entry has a “vintage Christmas” theme which not only will induce a feeling of nostalgia in some but also references Jubilee Gardens itself. Sarah Canham writes:


Our vintage themed exhibit with its Nordman Fir Christmas tree and fireplace was inspired by the medieval history of the site and the nature of the different spaces within Jubilee Gardens.


The exhibit overall with its vibrant colour, textures and the strong smell of the gingerbread reflects the sensory garden.
The wood on the hearth reflects the wood yard that stood for many years on the site and also “The Queen’s wood” an inspiration of the Friends in 2016 to celebrate the Queen’s 90th birthday.


The blue and white items of the exhibit comes reflects the blue and white garden which is situated at the upper end (Broad Street).


The reclaimed Quarry tiles which make up the hearth and the beautiful ceramic tiles down the sides of the fireplace reflects life on the site several hundred years ago and the Kiln with its treasures discovered by the time team in 2001. The pottery discovered on the dig remains in the gardens today and forms the mosaic eel in “The Dry Garden”


Our vintage decorations have all been handmade or contributed by our members. We hope you like our exhibit and continue to enjoy the gardens for many years.


Christmas 2018
Decorations Under Construction
Christmas 2018
The Completed Exhibit (on the right)

The tree has been decorated with hand-made crackers, hand-made paper decorations, vintage candle holders and genuine ginger bread men and Christmas trees. Sarah made the gingerbread and members also made contributions which included the lone of a fireplace! Sadly, Santa Claus’s sherry was deemed unacceptable by the church and had to be substituted but Rudolf’s carrots survived. Our tree, and the many others on show, are worth visiting. Try and do so this weekend.



Thursday 11th October and Saturday 13th October 2018

Working Party
Some of Saturday’s crew hard at work in the Queen’s Wood.

There were two “working parties” this past week.


On Thursday the Winter Garden was given a thorough weeding and tidying up. It now looks so much better than it did. The working party was well attended with around 8 or 10 volunteers. After three hours of hard work we repaired to the Maltings for a well earned cup of tea.


On Saturday an extra working party was organised to give Friends who find the midweek days difficult an opportunity to participate. In the event the working party was again well attended and we planted 180 cyclamens both autumn and spring flowering.


In addition 5000 bluebell bulbs were planted and a number of snowdrops too. All of these in the Queen’s Wood, where hopefully there will be a spectacular display come spring.


For now the autumn flowering cyclamens provide a welcome autumn splash of colour.



16th September 2018

Committee Meeting:

A committee meeting was held on Tuesday 11th September and among other things it was decided that the next AGM would take place on Tuesday 19th March 2019. Members will be circulated and reminded nearer the time.

Working Party
Some of Thursday’s Working Party in the Garden


Working Party:

There was a members’ working party in the garden on Thursday last and although they did a lot there is still plenty to do. The next working party will be on Thursday 11th October at 09.30. In addition an extra working party is planned for Saturday 13th October at 10.00 and hopefully Friends who cannot make it on Thursdays will be able to come. If this proves a popular idea we could consider repeating it in future.


The Friends of Jubilee Gardens have ordered some tulips, bluebells and cyclamen and will be planting these on the Saturday.


Tea and cake have been arranged after both the Thursday and Saturday working parties at the Maltings.


New Committee Members:

At the meeting on 11th September we welcomed two new “ordinary” members to the committee, Rachel Ingham and Niall O’Briain.



Sunday 19th August 2018

The Monster Racing Ely Triathlon was headquartered in Jubilee Gardens. Conditions were dry and fairly cool which will have satisfied the multitude of athletes who competed in the events.



Saturday 11th August 2018

The first Pride event was held on Jubilee Gardens. The weather was good and attendance appeared to be also. It is the first time this festival has taken place here and hopefully it will become another Ely annual event.

Pride Event


27th July 2018

Tour of Barcham Trees

Yesterday evening a group Friends and friends of Friends enjoyed a guided tour of Barcham Trees. Barcham Trees is one of the largest tree nurseries in the UK, offering around 450 different species of tree for sale and having around 110,000 trees on their site at Barcham between Ely and Soham. The company employs 45 permanent staff and about 25 people on a seasonal basis.


The tour was led by Clyde who is an experienced member of staff specialising in sales. We learned that all the trees on site are potted and we were shown the large machine that did the potting. Following this we were shown where the various composts used in the potting were put together. We then moved on to see how the trees were arranged in rows according to species and date of planting. We were shown how the irrigation system worked and visited one of the five pumping stations and also the large on-site reservoir.


Throughout the tour Clyde was able to answer our questions which ranged from questions about the various species of trees to measures and policies to control disease and also questions about Barcham’s commercial operation. At the end of the tour there was a sociable buffet supper.


Thanks are due to Judith Lockyear for arranging the tour with Barcham’s and to Clyde for his time and imparting his knowledge.


Friends on the Barcham Trees Tour


27th July 2018

Membership Secretary and Committee

Following Ann Laird’s departure from the Committee after five years I’m pleased to announce that Judith Lockyear has stepped into this role.


The committee is short of two or three “ordinary” members so if you or anyone you know would be interested in serving on the committee please get in touch with me or any committee member for further information. The committee meets quarterly in order to further the aims of Friends of Jubilee Gardens and would welcome fresh input of ideas and suggestions as to how the aims can be met and the gardens flourish.


John Crawford



21st July 2018

I am sorry to have to announce that Membership Secretary Ann Laird has resigned her role with immediate effect. Ann has served on the committee for five years and has other interests she wishes to pursue.


I am sure the Committee and members will all want to join me in thanking her for her contribution over the years and wishing her well for the future.


John Crawford


20th July 2018

As members will know, the gardens were inspected in June for the Green Flag Award 2018-19 and I am pleased to announce that the 2018-19 Green Flag is now flying over the gardens.

Green Flag

Thanks are due to the gardeners, Alli and Matt and to all of the friends to helped in the “working parties” for all their hard work. As yet I haven’t seen any comments provided by the inspector but hope to do so soon.


At the time of writing the gardens have seen no rain for a month and the grass is looking very parched particularly on the right as you walk down to the river. Recovery is going to be slow.


17th July 2018

Welcome to the new Friends of Jubilee Gardens website, www.jubileegardensely.org.uk . Note the new web address. The previous website got a little out of date and I will try and keep this one more current and relevant.


So far this year the Gardens has hosted the Eel Day Festival and part of Aquafest both were great successes thanks to beautiful weather. The weekly summer band concerts are ongoing (see the link for info) and also still to come is the Monster Racing Triathlon (Sunday 19th August) which helps put Ely on the sporting map.

Mayor of Ely
The Mayor of Ely at the Friends’ Stall at Etheldreda Fair


The Friends of Jubilee Gardens have been active in fund raising. On 2nd of June we ran a stall as part of the Etheldreda Fair on Palace Green. We sold a selection of plants and raised a goodly amount of Money. On July 14th there was a summer tea party hosted by Jane Blanchard. Again the weather cooperated and it was very successful. It was well attended and many members worked hard to provide food and drink. Again we raised a significant amount of money all of which will go toward the continued maintenance and development of the gardens.


Still to come on Thursday 26th July is a visit to Barcham Trees which is situated between Ely and Soham. They are a leading supplier of large trees and the evening should be extremely interesting. It’s not too late to add your name to the list of attendees. The cost is £8.00 per person which includes a buffet. Judith Lockyear has made the arrangements. Contact us if you would like to go.


John Crawford (Chairperson)