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Letters, April 11 2014

PUBLISHED: 21:44 10 April 2014 | UPDATED: 17:46 15 April 2014

After my husband passed away in January, I was immediately charged bedroom tax, and they even backdated it to when he passed away, leaving me in rent arrears.

I had heard of the protection from bedroom tax for 52 weeks after a bereavement, but neither my local estate office or the borough council housing department had heard of this ruling! So after finding a link with this on, I took a copy of it to the housing department, and thankfully now have a year’s protection from paying bedroom tax.

When I first mentioned this protection soon after my husband passed away I was told, “No, that’s wrong.” My question is, how are people supposed to know about what they are entitled to if the council themselves don’t know? Here is the link where the appendix is found.

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/226237/a4-2012.pdf

LOUISE POWLES

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I read some employers’ adverts for jobs that are just not good enough. Some employers need to work harder if they want to fill vacancies. If they will only acccept someone with two years’ experience then say so, do not just put experience preferred or an advantage, as this is very misleading. Another classic error is forgetting to put a driving licence is needed to enable the person to get to the job because of the location of the work. Another misleading advert will be something like “Charity Fund Raisers Needed” which turn out to be commission-only sales jobs and nothing to do with fundraising for charities at all.

Come on you employers, write better adverts for your vacancies then you might just fill them.

COLIN THOMPSON

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I took flowers to my grandmother’s grave for Mother’s Day only to find that someone had taken the pots from the grave. Now I know times have changed but this is one of the lowest things anyone can do.

No-one seems to respect cemeteries anymore. When I was a kid you did not run in cemeteries let alone play in them, and in those time past you wouldn’t see drunks and people doing drugs. If you travel abroad, cemeteries are clean, tidy and well managed, again I suppose it boils down to respect which seems lacking now.

On a different subject: still no sign of the passageways at the back of properties on Palgrave Road being cleaned and the passageway between the Sportsman’s Arms leading to Palgrave Road. Is GYB Services and environmental health aware of the problem?

KEVIN HUBBARD

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I notice as usual that all the roadworks have been going on around Great Yarmouth before the end of the financial year. This is all fine and good but what about the lack of dropped kerbs in the town?

I went to Norwich with a severely disabled friend (I also have mobility problems) and half the time she had to ride her wheelchair in the road as there were no dropped kerbs for her wheelchair. My friend has nearly fell out of her wheelchair several times trying to mount/dismount the kerb so councillors sort it out please.

TINA MARIE ROBINSON

Great Yarmouth

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At very frequent intervals the Mercury publishes letters full of praise from well satisfied former patients of the James Paget Hospital. It is a splendid hospital doing an absolutely marvellous job for us, the residents of the east coast area, despite unwarranted funding cuts.

I have been a patient of that hospital and experienced first hand the first class treatment they provide.

Unfortunately very few members of the public see first hand the many back up aspects that go into providing the hospital’s care service. However, I was really hugely privileged to be on a patient led Assessment of the Care Environment group tasked with inspecting James Paget Hospital last week.

Five of us were members of the public. We had been professionally briefed on our inspection tasks, and our main priorities were cleanliness, decor, quality and taste of food, and how the privacy and dignity of the patients is provided. However, we also looked at building structure, equipment, safety matters and much more.

A senior officer of the hospital escorted us from ward to ward but made no effort to influence us in any way. We were free to talk to patients, staff, or visitors and ask any question we wanted to. Also provision was made for us to eat exactly the same food as patients.

I, and another member of the public, assessed A&E on what turned out to be their busiest day of the year. We visited the admissions ward, intensive care, heart unit wards and a women’s surgical ward. I had a free hand so went anywhere I liked, if appropriate, and inspected everything on my check sheet.

Now I knew from experience that James Paget was a fine hospital, but I was astounded at the excellence of everything I inspected. It was clean, safe, well looked after and quite superb. I also thought the food was really food.

So I asked myself the question, would I be happy for me or my family to use these facilities – my answer is 100pc yes. So my praise goes to those behind the scenes, essential but perhaps overlooked domestics, cooks and those who maintain this hospital.

BRIAN CALLAN

Busseys Loke,

Bradwell

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Through your newspaper, I would like to thank everyone involved in the Inner Wheel Club of Great Yarmouth’s recent Easter Fayre at the Minster Church of St Nicholas. The hard work and enthusiasm of the members and stall holders, the public who came and supported us, the caretaker, Neil, who couldn’t have been more helpful, and anyone who made a donation, all contributed towards raising the magnificent sum of £900.

This amount will go towards the President’s charity fund which this year includes the Stroke Association Support Group of Yarmouth. Last but not least, a big thank you to the Mercury for all the advertising before the event.

MARY COLEMAN

President, Inner Wheel Club of Great Yarmouth

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I am very sad to learn of Andy James’ passing. Aleyn and I met him in 1982 when I was working in public relations, information and publicity on the Britannia Pier.

He was a brilliant melodic singer and musician. He could not write or read music, but played by ear and the melodies he put to the lyrics of five songs I wrote I treasure to this day. I had them put into CD formation and “Too Much Love” which was written for Aleyn, was played on Radio Norfolk on our 29th wedding anniversary and was also played at his celebration of life in 2003 which Andy attended.

He was a pleasure to listen too when he entertained the holidaymakers on the Pier and at various other venues. A real talent with a warm ready smile.

VALERIE JORDAN

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Why is it that the council have to bring in outside experts to run the council?

I thought when they put themselves up for the job they would have some clue how to run a business (council). I would like to know how many councillors have started and run a successful business all by themselves....not taken one over from family, but started it from scratch. And now they are in this position of power they just can’t make it work as they have never had to turn over a pound to pay bills.

In the Mercury this week they are spending £150K to find out what they should know themselves. It goes on to say: “This is being driven forward by a small temporary, dedicated strategy council officers.”

Is this mumbo jumbo supposed to make us feel better.

Let’s stop wasting money on temporary, dedicated strategy council officers and experts and look at the obvious things to save money. We need business people who have a good track record of running a successful business to be in charge not ones who have nice words to say to get elected.

MIKE RAWLINSON

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Following on to the letter in last week’s paper concerning the need for a bus service via Caister, Filby and Fleggburgh to Norwich.

We in, East Norfolk Transport Users Association (ENTUA), have been campaigning with both local operators, First and Anglian, for such a service for some time. We are heartened to see that others are now realising the merits and the untapped market that there is in these villagers for this service.

It would not have to be more that, say hourly, during most of the day, Mondays to Saturdays and with the right promotion we feel it would work well. Not only would the villages mentioned benefit, but so too would residents in the north of Great Yarmouth, who if wishing to travel to Norwich, would no longer need to travel into the town centre to change buses, therefore, if paying, saving an extra fare as well as the inconvenience.

Also the potential in the summer months with holidaymakers staying in the Caister area having the luxury of a bus to and from Norwich, again without the need to travel, at first into town.

STEVE HEWITT

ENTUA

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I read with interest the article regarding the blue plaque honouring the memory of Harry Harvey-George and the history of his association with the “Short Blue” fishing fleet that used to be based in Gorleston and Yarmouth, March 28. May I add a little more to the story:

As the article rightly states, Harry Harvey-George originated from Barking, Essex and married into the Hewitt family, also from Barking. By the 1850’s the Hewitt’s owned the Short Blue fleet of fishing smacks, which at the time formed the largest fishing fleet in the country, sailing out from Barking to fish as a combined fleet in the North Sea with other vessels from as far away as Devon.

The Short Blue employed 1,300 men and boys, landing the catch at Great Yarmouth and taking it to London by cart. The arrival of the railways to East Anglian towns was complete by the early 1860s therefore it became more commercial to be based at North Sea ports but the final part of the Barking fleet’s history was a terrible storm off the Dutch coast in 1863 resulting in the deaths of 60 men and the fish smacks lost were valued at £6,000.

In 1865 Robert Hewitt transferred most of the fleet to Yarmouth and Gorleston under the direction of Harry Harvey-George. The Short Blue pub in Gorleston High Street and the Barking Smack pub on the Yarmouth se front reminds us of the Essex connection with local fishing history.

PETER LAWRENCE

Tower Road

Repps with Bastwick

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I was recently reading in the Mercury about the local borough council’s joke of a savings idea. But not to panic...

As the council has got it under control ie they need to save money, and that’s why they are spending £150,000 on finding saving with a private consultancy company. But why? Don’t we have a finance and treasury department at our Town Hall? We must ask ourselves why pay for this department if we have to go to outside bodies for help?

I cannot believe money out of the public purse is to be paid to a council who can’t seem to line-manage these areas and departments effectively.

I say roll on the election and fingers crossed we may have less old faces on the council this time around.

May I suggest a good saving idea: scrap the borough councillors’ allowances as from what Mr Wainwright is saying we must look at what is mandatory and not, and we are in need of savings, After all there are many parish councillors that do equal work and I’m sure in many cases a lot more, and on a voluntary basic representing the residents of their parishes.

Questions do really need to be asked how the council can spend such an amount.

HARRY WEBB

Caister on Sea

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In reply to Ms Harper on the council taking her freezer away free of charge: freezers, washing machines, cookers and fridge freezers have hazardous materials and if doors are left on are a danger to anyone, like a child playing hide and seek for instance, or an animal getting shut in and unable to get out, so the council do take all these things for free.

And although I don’t condone fly-tipping, which is illegal, other items could hold hazardous materials. The reason some people fly-tip the likes of sofas, tables, beds and mattresses is because the council do charge for this service.

I don’t think it’s a huge cost myself and have paid for removal of items before, but there are people out there who just can’t or won’t pay.

Mrs P LONG

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Soon many churchgoers will celebrate “Easter” but without any realisation of its ancient pagan roots. The very name “Easter” comes from the fertility goddess Ishtar (also known as Eostre).

The Babylonians celebrated the day as the rebirth of Ishtar, the goddess of spring. They believed a huge egg fell from the sky and landed in the Euphrates River. Then Ishtar broke out of the egg. Later came the idea of a nest in which the egg could incubate – the Ishtar egg was placed in a wicker or reed basket.

This led to the Ishtar egg hunt. Anyone who found the egg from which the goddess was being reborn would receive her blessing. And because spring was a joyous time, the Ishtar eggs were painted bright colours.

God, in the Bible, says to His people: “Do not learn the way of the nations,” (Jeremiah 10:2).

E BARKHUIZEN

Albemarle Road

Gorleston

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This year’s 44th Gorleston St Andrew’s Competitive Festival of Music, Speech and Drama ran for a successful fortnight from March 17-29, although the entry numbers were approximately one-third fewer than last year.

It appears many Festivals across the country have experienced a similar drop so perhaps it is not because of something our committee has said or done! All our adjudicators agreed likely causes were the present economic climate, the ever increasing demand in schools on teachers’ time and energy, and the difficulties some pupils and parents were facing in obtaining authorised leave of absence so children could participate.

On behalf of the committee, I should like to thanks local school heads and teachers, who entered groups and individuals, for their support. I am sure pupils benefited from the experience of listening to other performances, receiving positive feedback for future personal development from the professional adjudicators, having a platform to show individual talents and sharing the challenge and enjoyment of the occasion.

Once again, the festival is grateful for the financial support of Great Yarmouth Borough Council in partnership with Seachange Arts, Norfolk County Council, Gorleston Rotary Club and all the advertisers in the festival programme. Thanks to Allen’s Music Centre for loaning the piano and the various church groups who may have missed meetings during the festival.

I would like to express my personal thanks to the conscientious committee who voluntarily give a tremendous amount of time to organise this annual event so keeping it alive and successful. Also a big thank you to the festival friends who helped with stewarding duties.

I should like to conclude by urging heads and teachers in schools and private teachers who have not yet participated in the festival (or have not entered for a few years) to look at our website (www.gorleston-festival.org) to check out the current syllabus, which encompasses classes across all age groups in all the musical disciplines, speech, and drama, including classes for music and poetry composition. This is a plea for all amateur, talented adults too!

It would be wonderful to welcome a host of new entrants next year!

MARGARET JERMANY

Chairman,

Competitive Festival

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This year is the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings on 6th June 1944, and this year we are holding a special parade and service in Norwich to run in conjunction with the Normandy Veterans Service in France. The service in Norwich will be attended by VIPs and Normandy Veterans who are unable to go to France.

Sadly the Normandy Veterans Association Norwich branch, will be standing down in November, although they hope to carry on as a social group.

The ceremony will start with a wreath laying service at the City Memorial at 10.30am, followed by a service of remembrance in St Peter Mancroft at 11am. There will be schoolchildren from Thurton and Blofield schools, who the NVA visit.

The parade and service is being organised by the Norfolk and Norwich ex-Combined Services in conjunction with the Normandy Veterans. You can contact me on Norwich 01603 439232 for further information.

BRIAN WILSON

Chairman, Norfolk & Norwich Combined Ex-Services Association

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I would like to thank the kind people who handed in my purse to Tesco customer service on Thursday, April 3, after I left it in a trolley.

JOY FERROW

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Having walked along the prom opposite the Burlington Hotel in Great Yarmouth, I thought I would take a breather and sit in the sun. But within a short time two cars came racing into the nearby car park, drove down to the bottom and then go back out.

There are no signs giving any speed limit on such a large car park and it is the perfect shape for a raceway. It will only be a matter of time before a child or someone gets knocked down. I will give the borough council an idea that speed bumps or even CCTV might help the situation.

KEVIN HUBBARD

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I would like to thank the lady behind the volunteers desk at the James Paget on Monday, March 31. She went out of her way to help by phoning for me as I had locked myself out of my house and could not open my keybox. I was very upset and she did all she could to help.

Mrs V KEYZOR

Potters Field,

Gorleston

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