ADVER readers were treated to a faintly alarming image of a former Prime Minister this week a decade ago.

Taken backstage at the Arts Centre in Devizes Road before a Swindon Festival of Literature event, it showed him artistically blurred around the edges and bathed in a yellow glow.

We said: “In a political career that saw him ascend rapidly to become one of the leaders of the free world, Sir John Major displayed more sticking power than a tube of superglue.

“He fought off economic crisis, satirical slaughter from the press and internal party struggles to implement a raft of policy changes over seven years.”

That same tenacity, we said, allowed him to deliver a long series of historical cricketing anecdotes to an appreciative crowd at the Old Town venue.

Sir John was promoting his new book, More Than A Game. Although many a 1990s satirist portrayed him as dull, and Spitting Image famously coloured him grey from head to foot, according to the Adver’s reviewer his witty delivery and engaging style held the audience’s attention throughout the evening.

Other celebrities appearing at the festival that year included cannabis campaigner and former smuggler Howard Marks, Apprentice victor and future TV news pundit Michelle Dewberry and Lionel Shriver, the author best known for disturbing but acclaimed novel We Need To Talk About Kevin.

Still in the realm of celebrity appearances, 16-year-old Wootton Bassett musician Nathan Gregory managed to organise one by the people who brought us iconic single Teenage Dirtbag.

Nathan got in touch with the management of Wheatus, invited them to visit the town, learned that they had a free evening toward the end of the month and promptly booked the Memorial Hall.

Hall secretary Veronica Stubbings said the venue would be delighted to host the band, which was in the midst of touring British universities, provided suitable safety and security measures were in place.

As things turned out, the number of bookings soon outgrew the hall, and the booking was transferred to Swindon’s Area 51 venue.

Later in the week, we sent a reporter and photographer to cover an exhibition at Highworth’s Coleshill gallery by an artist who had been told by doctors four decades earlier that she didn’t have long to live.

“A woman who was told she would die of cancer has used painting to defy doctors’ expectations,” we said.

“Pamela Bouverie, known as Pammie, says she has been artistic all her life and, aged 81, has finally got her own exhibition on display.”

She said: “I was told I wasn’t going to live, and that was 40 years ago.

“They said they couldn’t do anything more for me, and I am still here. I have got tremendous faith. I feel everybody has been given a gift and you might as well use it.

“People always say to me that they would love to be able to paint, or there is something they really want to be able to do.

“By having the exhibition I thought it just might give someone else the courage to give something a go.”

One of our more unusual stories this week in 2007 was about a trio who collectively went under the scientific name Mustela putorius furo but were known as Molly, Ivy and Opal to their friends.

They were among the guests at a ferret foster centre run by Jessie Bascombe from her Pinehurst home. Two had been given away when their owners left the country while the other was abandoned.

Unfortunately the centre already had more than its share of the creatures, so Jessie, who went on to be a founder member and trustee of the SNDogs rescue charity, asked the Adver to help her find new homes for them.

Anxious to dispel misconceptions about the animals, she said: “Ferrets are wonderful pets, especially for older children. I have got three children and they get on together brilliantly.

“I love ferrets so much. They are perfect pets and great company.

“I would happily keep every one that comes through the door, but I think I have enough already.”

Wiltshire Coroner David Masters, whose work inevitably tended to involve tragedy, was at the centre of a cheery story.

The previous July, a metal detectorist called Ray Stone and members of his family had uncovered a collection of coins that had been hidden for centuries beneath a Chiseldon field.

The small hoard consisted of 29 pennies and 29 groats - fourpence pieces - from the reigns of Edward I (1239-1307) and Edward IV (1442-1483) and was seized as Treasure Trove by Mr Masters on behalf of the Crown.

This meant compensation would be paid to their discoverer and the landowner.

One coin was an original forgery.

Mr Masters told Mr Stone: “Without you and other conscientious metal detectorists doing this, our heritage is lost.

“We are very grateful to you.”