Village People

As of December 2021, this website is no longer being updated. Read the latest Little Shelford news and events at

Little Shelford resident Professor Andrew Hopper CBE, professor of computer technology in the Department of Computer Science and Technology, was knighted for services to computer technology in the Queen's birthday honours in June 2021.

Being proficient with a soldering iron and having an interest in electronics started Professor Andy Hopper CBE on a career in computer engineering that led to him becoming one of the UK's most successful IT entrepreneurs.

Andy Hopper studied a computer technology degree at Swansea University, which included elements of business studies and accountancy. After completing his studies he moved to Cambridge University to pursue a PhD.

He is probably best known for bridging the boundary between academia and industry and the formation of numerous high-tech businesses. His success in academia led to some of Cambridge's first technology spin-outs. In 1978, Andy Hopper founded Orbis Ltd, to develop networking technologies and during that time he worked with Hermann Hauser and Chris Curry, founders of Acorn Computers. Orbis became a division of Acorn in 1979 and while he was there he designed the chips which led to the creation of the BBC Micro.

The experience of Acorn took Andy Hopper along a path that has seen him establish a dozen or more businesses. In 1986 he and Hermann Hauser established the highly successful Olivetti Cambridge Research Laboratory.

Andy Hopper FREng FRS FIET, who lives in Whittlesford Road in Little Shelford, maintains that research students should become directly involved in the spin-out companies that use their technology. "My fundamental model has not changed in 30 years, which is that a PhD student who works with me is a partner and should become part of the business.

Professor Hopper's next step is to address what computers can do for the environment. He advocates a move towards "energy proportional computing" and computation where every bit of energy is used for a useful purpose or switched off. Although the UK has built up expertise in green computing he emphasises that action needs to be taken soon: "We have got another few years but no more than that.

On a local note Andy has flown round the world in his Cessna 210 departing from and returning to his airstrip at Sainsfoins in Little Shelford.

Caroline Bewes from Little Shelford has been installed as High Sheriff of Cambridgeshire, succeeding Brigadier Timothy Seal.

Caroline was officially appointed to the post in a Declaration Ceremony on April 6th attended by the Under Sheriff, Caroline Stenner; Chairman of the Bench, Ian Balmer JP; High Sheriff’s Chaplain, Reverend Simon Scott, and Caroline’s husband Nicholas Bewes. Due to Covid regulations, the Declaration took place in their garden in Little Shelford.

A non-Executive Director of Howard Group, a family-owned leading regional property investor and developer founded by her grandfather, Caroline is also a shareholder of the company, and chairs the Family Council.

Caroline takes a keen interest in the local community and is a trustee of a number of charities including the Howard Foundation, Mrs Jane Cart’s Trust, and the Cambridgeshire Police Shrievalty Trust. She is also a Patron of Viva, an arts and community group in Soham.

Recently appointed a Deputy Lieutenant of Cambridgeshire, Caroline will serve as High Sheriff of Cambridgeshire for 2021/22. As High Sheriff, a particular theme for Caroline will be a focus on supporting and enabling young people throughout Cambridgeshire. She will also seek to support the judiciary, the police and the prison services, and looks forward to engaging with the voluntary sector in the county through the Cambridgeshire Community Foundation.

Caroline commented of her appointment: “It’s a real honour to have the opportunity to serve Cambridgeshire in this way. I look forward to supporting and encouraging those involved in crime prevention as well as supporting and enabling young people, especially in these challenging times.”

The Office of High Sheriff is an independent, unpaid and non-political Crown appointment and is the oldest secular office in the country aside from the Crown itself, dating from Saxon times. Today, there are 55 High Sheriffs serving the counties of England and Wales each year.

He is often credited as the man who made the recording console.

Rupert was the third person to receive a Lifetime Achievement Technical Grammy Award and became

Rupert Neve is known for his work on microphone preamplifiers, equalizers, and early large format mixing consoles. Many of his long discontinued products are considered classic equipment and are very highly sought after by the professionals in the recording industry. This has resulted in several companies releasing products that are Neve replicas or clones.

Some of the best regarded recording equipment in the world started life in a workshop in Little Shelford. Rupert Neve was living at the Priesthouse in Church Street in the 1960s when the famous electronic engineer used one of the outbuildings there to create the forerunner of what became the professional sound desk. The equipment is still known as the Shelford range.

Rupert died in February 2021 aged 94. Here is his obituary in the Daily Telegraph.

Rupert died in February 2021 aged 94. Here is his obituary in the Daily Telegraph.

One of the village's oldest residents, Marjorie Powell, died in May 2020.

She was a botanist who spent three years after World War 2 travelling the globe in the yacht that later found a home in her garden in Church Street. (She spent the Millennium sailing from Canada to Holland).

Her travels included Hawaii, Honduras and she received a scroll from the King of Bhutan according to a feature on her in the book "Little Shelford - faces in time".

Miss Powell's horticultural sketches from around the world are now held by Nottingham University.

She could trace her family tree back to 1066 to the founder of the Wale family, Walter de Wahul.

Miss Powell was born in Highgate, London.

Relative Jane Lagesse recalls:" She was certainly a marvellous character, so feisty and brave. She had a knee replacement operation a few years ago and was back riding her bike three weeks later!

"I saw her not long before she went into the nursing home and congratulated her on having a bell on her buggy," she told Jane Lagesse.

"I said it annoyed me when people on bicycles came up unexpectedly behind you without ringing their bells, to which she answered” it’s all very well ringing one’s bell, but when the young have those plastic plugs in their ears they don’t hear it”. So I said “ what do you do then, Marjorie?” - the answer came quick as a flash” I poke them in the back with my walking stick”!

"She gave me a card with her telephone number on the back. The picture on the front was of her huge boat which lived in her garden (on Church Street) until a few months ago. She gave me a wry smile a said “ I call that my next of kin”.

Fanny Wale was Little Shelford's first historian who died in 1936.

She wrote and illustrated a book called A Record of Shelford Parva between 1908 and 1919.

The book mentions former England football captain Arthur Dunn, famous garden designer Lawrence Johnstone and war hero Sid Dockerill who all had strong connections with Little Shelford.

There was only ever one copy of the book, which is now held by the Cambridge Archive.

However the book was republished in 2012 with support from the Heritage Lottery Fund following work by David Martin and the Little Shelford Local History Society.

Fanny Wale was the eldest of Colonel Robert Gregory Wale’s seven children.

When she was born in 1851 the pain

t was scarcely dry in the spanking new Shelford Hall which her mother’s money had built. (The hall burnt down in 1929).

She also lived at Low Brooms and Ivy Cottage during her life in Little Shelford.

Read the full profile of Fanny's life by Graham Chinner on the Little Shelford history website.

John Sutherland from High Street, Little Shelford was made a Fellow of the Royal Society in 2017.

John’s research concerns the origin of life – how did chemistry initiate biology and to what extent did it shape its basic structure and function?

His research to date has focused on establishing prebiotically plausible syntheses of the building blocks of the informational, catalytic and compartment–forming macromolecules crucial to life, and his group is now seeking to establish how these building blocks could have become linked together.

His major contribution has been to show how amino acids, ribonucleotides, lipid precursors and core metabolites are the products of a reaction network based on the reductive homologation of hydrogen cyanide and some of its derivatives. The network does not produce a plethora of other compounds, however, which suggests that biology did not select all of its original building blocks, but was simply presented with a specific set as a consequence of the chem

istry of hydrogen cyanide and that set turned out to work.

His research has been recognised by the award of the Darwin Medal, the Tilden Prize of the Royal Society of Chemistry, and by his being appointed an Investigator of the Simons Collaboration on the Origins of Life.

Here is a BBC radio programme about Rupert.

You can see the company website here.

Click here to hear Rupert talking about his days in Little Shelford.

an inducted member of the Mix Hall of Fame in 1989. He was named man of the century by Studio Sound Magazine in 1999, and was selected by his peers as the number one audio personality of the 20th century. When he was 17 he was in the Signals. In the 1950s he worked for Rediffusion. Neve left the company, and formed CQ Audio, a company specialising in the manufacture of hifi speaker systems. In the early 1960s he designed and built a mixing console. In 1961 he formed Neve Electronics.

Neve then started a life of manufacturing and designing audio recording equipment. Neve has founded or been involved with several companies and currently runs Rupert Neve Designs, based in Texas where he lives with his wife Evelyn. They have been U.S. citizens since 2002.

In 2008, he was appointed as Minister of State at the Department of Finance with responsibility for the Office of Public Works, Minister of State at the Department of Arts and Sports and Tourism. Mansergh was also a member of the Council of State during President Mary McAleese’s second term between 2004 and 2011.

Nancy Giggle was born in Little Shelford in 1909. She was 106 when she died. She had lived on the High Street in Little Shelford.

She went to school in the Shelfords until she turned 14, and then moved into her Grandfather’s bakery where she also worked for several years.

Later she moved to Great Shelford to work in her aunt’s cake shop on Woollards Lane.

During the Second World War, she worked at Spicers in Sawston, before returning to Great Shelford where she worked as a dressmaker for more than 20 years.

After retirement she moved into a nearby residential home, and relocated to Home Close in 2011.

When asked for the secret to a long and healthy life, she told the Cambridge News: “I believe that keeping mentally active with reading and daily crossword solving is good for you.

“Also, accepting the things you cannot change. A busy life is a happy life, because you have no time to let it be otherwise.”

While she has no children, Nancy enjoys visits from members of her family, including her nephew Peter and his wife Jess.

She always makes an effort to enjoy her daily crossword puzzle, and is happy to be involved in daily activities and socialising with other residents at Home Close.

Read a Cambridge News article about Nancy's 105th birthday here.

Greta Hague, widow of the late Little Shelford vicar Rev Eric Hague died aged 95 years, at Trumpington in December 2012, after a short illness. Born of missionary parents in Kunming, China, she trained in medicine at Cambridge University and King's College Hospital, London, before returning to China as the superintendent of the CMS Way of Life Hospital, Guilin in 1947. There she met Eric, whom she married in 1948. She and Eric left Guilin in 1949, working in Hong Kong until a return to the UK in 1957. After Eric's incumbencies in Woking, High Wycombe, Little Shelford, and Parr Mount, St Helen's, where Greta resumed medical practice for a short time, they retired first to Hoylake, then to Chipping Norton, to Appleby, and finally to Cambridge, living first in Oakington, then Coton, and lastly in Manor Court, Grange Road.

Her husband Eric was the Rector of All Saints Church. Eric's grave in the Church Yard is the only headstone to have a message in Mandarin on it.

In every home her Christian hospitality was legendary, and she was a loved friend and confidante of many. She maintained her passion for China and its people, especially those with leprosy, returning several times, most recently in 2011 for the Centenary of the Way of Life Hospital, now the Guilin Women's and Babies' Hospital, and also the 125th anniversary celebrations of the CMS Po Yan Hospital, Pakhoi, now the Beihai People's Hospital, where her father had first worked in China, particularly with leprosy patients. Her life's passion was to share that Bible-based Christian faith in the living Lord Jesus could be held and maintained vigorously, even into old age. In her final years, she shared a home with John and Anna, continuing her prayer and China interest groups until her last weeks, as well as an active international email correspondence.

Paul Leivers has been highlighted as a rising star of the Construction industry after being selected as one of the top 40 to watch over the next decade.

Paul, who lives in High Street, is Managing Director of Planning Manager. He set up the company while still in his 20s. While Planning Manager focuses on large scale construction, which has included Olympics related projects, they have also been involved in the planning and successful delivery of a £50 million yacht.

He has also just set up a construction company called CB1 Build Ltd.

Douglas Walker, Little Shelford's oldest resident died in 2019 aged 102. He was born on 10th April 1917 to Joe and Emma Walker in Swiss Cottage where he lived along with his 3 siblings.

Douglas had good memories of attending the local primary school and then going on to the High School in Cambridge. In September 1939 he became a private in the army during the Second World War. In fact, he was quickly promoted to achieve the rank of Regimental Sergeant Major, the youngest person to do so at the time.

After leaving the army Doug sought work at Cambridgeshire County Council as a Principle Officer and continued to work in finance until his retirement. He also took up stints as Chair of the Parish Council, Chair of the Recreation Committee and Chair of the Men's Club. Alongside the day job and his service to the village, he pursued his long love of sailing, racing high speed catamarans wherever he could both in this country and abroad. A shelf full of cups and trophies attested to his many successful competitions.

Over the years, Doug amassed a wealth of memories of life in Little Shelford. He recalled more open spaces in the village before many of the houses we now take for granted were built. He remembered playing with his hoop and his top on the Whittlesford Road since in those days it saw almost no traffic, except for the odd horse and cart. One day two motor cars came down the road at once which caused Doug's playmate to comment that the village was becoming more like Piccadilly Circus every day!

Douglas could recall when the village had 4 pubs and a general store. Shopping was supplemented by the various mobile merchants who plied their trade selling, bread, hardware and fish and chips. The local dairymaid brought round the milk (straight from the cows) in a bucket that hung from the basket of her bike. She ladled the milk into the consumer's waiting container!

Doug puts down his longevity to having a calm and settled life with good friends, good luck and also to avoiding red meat.

Shaista Tayabali, who lives in Newton Road writes a blog – – , about her battle with Lupus, which now has followers across the globe. And she also plans to publish a memoir in the future.

Shaista has been helped by immunoglobulin treatment – essentially a dose of good antibodies. She then began lobbying for monoclonal antibody treatment - periodic infusions used to stimulate the immune system.

“I wrote the Primary Care Trust a very emotional letter. This treatment is expensive, but it’s life-changing. I’ve been having it for the last two years. I haven’t had any high fevers, I’ve been able to start my MA. If you added up the cost of my various hospital stays and all the other treatment I was having before, I think it’s well worth it.

“I went to Addenbrooke’s for an infusion this week and I was walking around with a big, stupid grin on my face: this treatment has totally changed my life.”

Dr Martin Mansergh is an Irish politician who grew up in Little Shelford who went on to play a vital role in the northern Ireland peace process.Dr Mansergh is a former Senator and Junior Minister in the Fianna Fail Government as well as being a historian and author.

He was born on 1946 in Surrey and raised in Little Shelford. He was educated and obtained a Doctorate at Oxford University where he studied Politics, Philosophy and Economics. He entered the Irish Department of Foreign Affairs being appointed a third Secretary in 1977.

Mansergh was also a former Diplomat and political advisor to Taoiseach Charles Haughey, Albert Reynolds and Bertie Ahern.

As a senior advisor to Taoiseach Bertie Ahern, Mansergh played a vital role in the Northern Ireland Peace Process and contributed to it greatly in the last 20 years. He was involved in discussions between Nationalist parties and the Irish Government and met regularly with the Redemptory priest, Father Alec Reid. He was a co-winner of the 1994 Tipperary Peace Prize.

A memorial bench has been installed on the Wale Recreation Ground to commemorate the life of Mrs Grace King. She was born in 1908. Her husband was killed in Italy during the Second World War. She was therefore one of the many women who struggled bravely to raise their children without the levels of state aid now available to lone parents.

She always gave unstintingly of her care and support. Indeed, supporting her sons and grandchildren was the mainstay of her existence. For her and her generation, ‘duty’ and ‘service’ were not mere words; perhaps we should be more aware of their example today. The memorial bench is a small tribute to her memory. Hopefully, it will serve the community for many years.

One of the few British female motor racing drivers lives in Little Shelford. Fiona James has worked with horses for many years and her horses have competed nationally and at Olympic level in dressage. Fiona owns a company called Active Equestrian Ltd which she started with Nicola McGivern nine years ago. They specialise in the training, sourcing & breeding of dressage horses, with one of our horses being chosen for the Athens Olympics.

Fiona's day job is Sports & Remedial Massage for both people & horses. However competing internationally in motor racing at speeds of up to 180mph is her big passion! She started out in 2006 after a driving lesson on a racing track proved she had a talent for driving.

She won her group in the BritSports Championship in her first year. She then achieved several podium finishes in her move up to GT racing in her Ginetta G50 in 2007, 2008 & 2009. Fiona will be making the big step up to GT3 racing in her Lamborghini Gallardo GT3 in the BritCar championship. She will be the only woman in the championships, with races ranging from two to 24 hours long.

Fiona may also being featured in a dedicated TV series on Motors TV. She moved to Little Shelford two years ago. “I had a lucky find with a house in Litlle Shelford on my first viewing, which was ideal as I have a lot of friends in the area,” said Fiona.

Dr Hugh Pelham, who was the director of the Medical Research Council’s Laboratory of Molecular Biology who lives in Little Shelford, has been knighted.

Sir Hugh was appointed to head the world renowned Medical Research Council Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge in 2006. The cell biologist lives in Manor Road.

After graduating from Cambridge University, Sir Hugh studied for his PhD under Richard Jackson and Tim Hunt, who was awarded the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 2001 for “discoveries of key regulators of the cell cycle”.