Inn's night of tragedy

IT is with sadness I saw a report in last week's Mercury that the Horning Ferry Inn has closed its doors and prompted memories of its past.Whilst the east coast has never been famous for its dockyards, it does (or did) excel in the expertise in the building of wooden boats.

IT is with sadness I saw a report in last week's Mercury that the Horning Ferry Inn has closed its doors and prompted memories of its past.

Whilst the east coast has never been famous for its dockyards, it does (or did) excel in the expertise in the building of wooden boats. These were all built on the traditional lines of bulkhead stringers and diagonal planking. This was the exact specification as the motor-torpedo boats and mortar-gun boats, and a vast wartime industry was built up by Broadland boatyards like Woods of Potter Heigham, Percival of Horning and Bunns and Ladmores of Wroxham and Brooms of Brundall.

These boatyards all contributed to the war effort and it didn't go unnoticed by the German Luftwaffe.

On the night of April 27, 1941 the Luftwaffe were looking for the yards at Wroxham and the Horning Ferry Inn, which was rumoured to have shown a light, was bombed with severe loss of life. Nearly all the Sutton family (the fishing boat magnates in Great Yarmouth) were killed. Their memorial is in Gorleston cemetery.

Another casualty was Mrs Adlington, wife of the senior physician at Great Yarmouth hospital who had to have her leg amputated. A number of Battle of Britain pilots who were based at RAF Coltishall and who used the Ferry Inn as their watering hole were also killed. One of the most celebrated Battle of Britain pilot's Robert Stanford Tuck, had just left the inn and escaped injury.

Also on that night, the boatyards at Herbert Wood, Potter Heigham was also targeted, but with no serious damage. I hope this will be of interest to your readers.

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MAY I add the following to the correspondence regarding the cemetery headstones, backed by my own observations and comment of others. I, like others, question how do the personnel concerned select or determine which of a row or upright and apparently undamaged headstones needs to be strapped to a stake. Perhaps those same personnel have been specially trained, bearing in mind the expense and anguish this causes to relatives and/or friends of those commemorated by the stone.

What is the method used to determine which stone needs attention, perhaps they are observed, swaying in the wind, if not, then vision alone would require use of x-rays, or is it all down to muscle-powered leverage to the top of the stone, in which case, all the stones in the cemetery would (to be fair) have to be treated likewise and the person doing this surely deserves danger money, since, if seen by a visitor to the cemetery, he could be justifiably accused of trying to cause damage, and who knows what this could lead to.


Nuffield Close


IN a recent Mercury, I read with some dismay the comments made at a parish council meeting on the future of the CLIP information desk and service it provides from the library premises.

The future funding is of course most important, however the comments concerning the venue as a service to the community were uncalled for. The parish council in its drive to achieve quality assurance will have to make considerable improvements to its methods of communication to local people and I wonder how it will tackle this if it intends to replace the CLIP service.

I have some experience with parish councils and in my experience the aim was for each elected member to know his/her area, to interact with the people, to be known, and to be available.

I feel many councillors, parish and district, are out of touch with their constituents and that the CLIP has done, and is doing a good job in helping local people with information and support; local councils and councillors should recognise this and consider how and who will replace this service.

The local representatives of Community Connections provided Caister Chatterbox, a voluntary organisation for carers of which I am the chair, with invaluable advice and support when we set up last year and I am certain that they have assisted and advised others in the community. I hope local people continue to support them. It will be a sad day if they have to leave and the parish council will have a difficult task to replace the service they provide.


Caister on Sea

IT seems that my letter recently appearing in your columns has been proven partially correct within a matter of a few days. I did however underestimate the speed with which the impending harbour's mouth road closure was implemented.

I read in the headlines of the closure of the road in the edition following my letter and was amazed at the rapidity of events that followed. As stated, the Port Authority are seeking the closure of the road because of HM Customs and Revenue concerns for the outer harbour security, and border controls.

It seems a little strange there are very little controls in place at the berths in the present harbour. Surely a 15ft high security fence, with the accompanying security patrols would suffice. It seems to have done the trick in Felixstowe.

No, I believe the reason for the closure is to allow huge sections of scrap metal to be transported from the outer harbour to the area across South Denes Road where these sections will be cut up.

It was stated that the road closure is subject to a period of consultation. Fair enough but with whom will these consultations be with? Why is there already a turning point at the harbour mouth with a notice in the road saying “Port vehicles only” and why have road signs been erected informing the public of the impending closures and then covered up with black plastic?

I firmly believe the South Denes area is common land and thus is not under direct control of the Port Authority. Over the years they have denied the right of the public free access to the river front, from Haven Bridge to the harbour mouth on both sides of the river.

Who are these people? Do we elect them? Do they have a right to deny access to areas where all have the right to go? Remember, Great Yarmouth is the most expensive port for shipping on the east coast.

Why is it consensual to occupy a redundant factory which was shut down by the HSE because of asbestos? Why don't they let it be known what the new outer harbour is to be used for? If I am wrong, then why is there no rebuttal, if, on the other hand I am right, then 2010 is the year to watch.

But unfortunately no one will be able to see anything happening in the outer harbour as we will not be allowed anywhere near it.


MV Brigid Mary

Lowestoft Haven Marina

I WRITE in answer to Fred Harman's reply (Letters, December 26) under the headline “Please, don't be so negative”, concerning the closure of all access roads to the harbour mouth due to the new port area's Customs and Excise bonded warehouse area.

How much room do they need for goodness sake! He mentions if the ancient pyramid builders had thought twice about erecting the pyramids because it was in a spot where local camel owners and camels got together, then the pyramids would not have been built.

The Pyramid of Khufu at Giza in Egypt is the only one remaining of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.

Egypt has more land mass and sand than Great Yarmouth. Where the pyramids are built there is no beautiful sea view like Great Yarmouth's harbour mouth but I take on board what Mr Harman is trying to say.

It could be a win-win situation for all Yarmouthians, holidaymakers, artists, naturalists as well as EastPort UK if a small two-lane access road to the harbour mouth was made available. The Pharaohs who built the pyramids were deities/divine beings/God-like and their word was law with slaves carrying out every wish and command.

Surely in this present day and age the general public (no longer slaves) are allowed to have opinions that can be voiced, and if necessary, acted upon. I hope I have not read too much into Mr Harman's reply!

Come on Great Yarmouth planning department - play the game - let's all share in this beautiful view.


Kent Square

Great Yarmouth

I HAVE just spent Christmas at the Star Hotel facing the harbour in Great Yarmouth. I read your newspaper and the letters column while there and wonder if anyone can help me?

In 1941 I joined the RAF and was posted to Great Yarmouth to do my initial training, learning to march along the seafront. We were billeted in empty houses off the front. While there, this Christmas I tried to locate where I believe it was, somewhere Trafalgar Road? The houses were facing the sea and had a grass frontage. Also nearby was the Mess and also a hospital. I was there when Jerry set light to Smiths Crisps factory with fire bombs. The factory was nearby.

A person or persons who would remember would have to be the same age as I am now, 88. I have written my memories: What did you do in the war Daddy,” and the first entry to the memories of when I was in Yarmouth is missing because of the lack of information.

I served with a Norwegian 332 Squadron from North Weald. We were a mobile signals unit. When war ended I spent 12 months in Berlin. My service number was 1219063 LAC Scott.


Ricketts Drive,


If anyone can help, contact Anne Edwards at The Mercury, 169 King Street, Great Yarmouth NR30 2PA or email and we will forward the replies to Mr Scott's home address.

IN 2008, my husband and I visited Gorleston on a number of occasions for family reasons. How we envied Gorleston people their lovely High Street with its traditional shops and friendly atmosphere. You really have everything within a very short distance - banks, pharmacies, two butchers, a greengrocer, two bakeries - I could go on.

Yes, we know you have a traffic problem, but please be proud of your High Street and do not allow the local powers that be to tear the heart out of it, in other words “modernise” it, as Medway Council has done in our area.




RE: King Street Christmas lights. Referring to both articles “Lights Pledge” (December 12) and “Dark! The herald angels sing” (December 26), thank you Michael Stephenson for absolutely nothing! No lights at all down King Street when the Town Centre lights were switched on, November 26 and for the following late night shopping evenings, so why on earth would any of the traders care if you got them working for Christmas Day?

And even now they're not all working, excuses range from “they needed to be wired up to the same electricity box above Victoria Arcade”, to “scaffolding at the St George's Road end of King Street which had prevented workmen from connecting up the cable carrying the lights.” So please do explain why they were prevented from being wired up to the box above Victoria Arcade and haven't you noticed that the scaffolding you're referring to has been up for the best part of a year?

The workmen were observed by several traders along King Street, sitting in the vans smoking and drinking tea/coffee, for most of the morning, before spending an hour or so in a cherry picker putting up a few lights. One trader even dared to ask one workman if he thought they would be finished and switched on quite soon, his reply was “what do I care!”

Did you by any chance have anything to do with the Christmas lights along Gorleston High Street? If so congratulations, they are excellent, so why couldn't we have something similar along King Street? If not, go and have a look at them, see how effective they are and why couldn't we have something similar along King Street?

I note that traders in Market Row have thanked you and the council for their superb Christmas lighting this year; they too had had difficulties the previous year. I think I can safely speak on behalf of the rest of the traders in King Street and say that we won't be so forgiving.


King Street

Great Yarmouth

I READ with interest your article on fly-tipping in the town (January 2) and was not surprised to read how high the number of reported illegal incidents or the low number of prosecutions.

My own experiences in 2008 of taking DIY waste to Caister recycling centre and being told I couldn't dump the amount of waste I had in my car was frustrating, and I will confess the thought of fly-tipping it briefly entered my head. Perhaps if Norfolk County Council made it easier to take rubbish to its council-run recycling centres, instead of putting limits on how much you can take per week or charging you once you get there to dump rubbish, then perhaps the incidents of fly-tipping would drop.

After reading the pamphlet I was handed, it seems Norfolk County Council is evading its responsibilities on recycling by hiding behind legislation by only doing the legal limit.

I solved my waste problem with a trip to Lowestoft recycling centre where I had no such problems on how much I could take or what I took. It would be interesting to see figures on any fly tipping there.

PS The DIY waste turned away from Caister and which Lowestoft would take, was wood.



I AM in total agreement with the article by Rachel Moore in last week's Mercury. Yes, our pubs are closing at an alarming rate, thanks to the arrogance and hypocrisy of this government. They always shouted on about human rights, yet for 10m smokers there doesn't seem to be any human rights. Wherever we go we are treated like lepers, even though we contribute about �8bn a year in extra taxes. You would think that in these difficult times the government would be helping small businesses rather than using bully-boy tactics. But then again, we are not talking about the banks or the car industry.

Just remember this is the government that introduced 24-hour drinking then had the audacity to blame everyone for binge drinking.

For the record, since 2003, 35 pubs have closed in Yarmouth and Gorleston; many after the smoking ban came into effect. Admittedly three have since reopened leaving just 87. Happy New Year, Mr Brown.


St Mary's Court

Great Yarmouth

ON visiting the new Wilkinson store last week in Gorleston, we were disappointed to find that the free car park behind the Precinct has now been turned into a pay and display with a minimum charge of �2. The car park was only about a third full, so we, not wanting to be “rooked” parked elsewhere. As Gorleston High Street is already gridlocked, this move will only make it worse. This is hardly the sort of encouragement people need to shop locally.


Mill Lane


WE have four casinos already so one more won't hurt, but where are the people to fill these going to come from? I sometimes think our councillors walk around with their eyes shut - we do not have the trade here anymore. They should walk down Victoria Arcade, see all the empty shops. It is a sorry sight.

Thirty or 40 years ago this would have been good for the town, but these are bleak times and I cannot see it working. Teenagers have nowhere to go; why not build somewhere for them, like a roller-skating rink, instead of wasting money on the outer harbour, and in any case the Acle Straight should have been dualled first. Wait till the summer, and see what will become of this town.


Trinity Avenue


IT'S sad we live in a “material world.” I tried to take my grandson out for a little while on New Year's Eve before putting him to bed. Not an easy task! The cinema for children's films was all over by 3pm, the bowling alley was closed at 5pm. For children aged six to 14, there was not much on offer for them to enjoy; the last day of the old year. Many banks were open until 5pm as per usual. Boxing Day, New Year's Day many shops were eager to take money.

Children are our future and yet they are still treated as second class citizens. Modern times I suppose. Computer games, TV, walking the streets bored, watching adults get drunk - this seems to be the norm on New Year's Eve, when children's laughter and fun with people who love them should be top priority. Children are our future; giving them an example that we care could help them be more caring adults.

It's a shame but we live in a profit-making “material world,” where children's fun and laughter are at the bottom of the list. It seems the old Victorian saying comes to mind on New Year's Eve: “Children should be seen but not heard.”


Borough Councillor,

Caister South

I LIVE in Bradwell and am disgusted by the amount of dog excrement left on public footpaths by irresponsible dog owners.

My wife and I have recently had our first child and we often go for walks around Bradwell including Gapton Hall Road, Mill Lane, Mallard Way and Beccles Road. We are getting fed up with the amount of times we have to clear dog excrement off the pram wheels and our shoes.

As you can imagine hygiene is a big issue around newborn babies and I would like the irresponsible dog owners made aware of the law: Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act 2005. Since April 6, 2006 local authorities in England and Wales have had the power to introduce new Dog Control Orders under this Act. These Orders may restrict where you can walk your dog (on or off lead), how many dogs you can walk at one time, and makes it an offence if a person in charge of a dog fails to clean up its faeces. Designated land may include roads, parks and other public areas within the local authority's boundaries; in fact any land which is open to the air and to which the public are permitted to have access.

If you don't abide by these Orders, you could be fined up to �1,000. It is no defence to claim ignorance of the dog's actions, the law.



ON Monday, January 12 at Christchurch will be the first concert of the new year and will be the start of the second part of the 62nd series of the Great Yarmouth Classical Music Circle concerts of recorded classical music. Anyone who likes listening to classical music is welcome to come along. There is a wide selection of music included in the programme. Not only is there a wide variety of music but there can also be some details given by the presenter about the music and composers as an added interest. Anyone is welcome to come along as a guest and there is no obligation to become a member. Anyone wanting to know more about the music circle contact John on 852747.

J T TAYLOR (club secretary)

Caister Road

Great Yarmouth

I WOULD like to thank everyone for their marvellous response to my letter (Mercury, December 24) about the Roman name for estuary. Naturally, proper credit will be given in my projected book to any person whose information I utilise. However without dates, or knowing whether the information on the Roman era is from original sources or later theories, I cannot do anything with the evidence.

I propose the following: Iceni “Garu-an”, Roman (unn); Anglo-Saxon “Gerne”; middle English “Jerne” and today “Yare”.

The Roman name of the estuary has lain dormant for 16 centuries: to obtain a consensus agreement would, I believe, be a major coup.


Tan Lane


I FELT I had to write and say what a shame it is that an institution such as Woolworths has had to close in town.

I met my husband there 44 years ago, it was our first job when we left school. I started my time on the jewellery counter then ran the small tea bar at the back of the store, where each morning and afternoon the men from Leech's next door came for their tea breaks.

They were also the days when you could not only buy Pick and Mix, but your slab cake and loose biscuits by the pound, and a very busy bread and cake counter.

Woollies was also the only store in town that sold cooked chicken, and they sold hundreds. My mother also worked there for many years, slicing meats for a very busy cooked meats counter. Such an awful shame it's all come to an end!

ELAINE PARKER (nee Thrower)

Holt Road


AS a follow on to previous articles on Saturday, December 20, a party of 20 parents, carers and staff of Smart Kids - The Autistic Way, went to Atlantis Arena for a Christmas dinner dance, paying �30 a head.

The hours that followed were a nightmare, starters and the main course arriving late in dribs and drabs. This was the sum total of the food for a party of 20, no vegetables, no sweet and no explanations. When complaints were made, diners were told it was an “outside event”.

An announcement was then made. To make up for the “slow” service, each table would receive two bottles of wine. Many people were angry and small fights broke out. The last straw was when it was announced at 11.30pm that the act, Signature, would not be appearing until 12.30pm.

Because of the nature of autism, the parents and carers of autistic children have to make elaborate arrangements before having a rare night out. For most it was the one night to relax after coping with many difficulties throughout the year. Their night was ruined and they were so disappointed. I personally did not attend the event but after seeing so many disappointed faces, felt that I should take some action.



JULY 2006, and it was a beautiful summer's day when I arrived at Stalham to meet up with some friends who had been housed temporarily by Wherry Housing at the Old Railway Site in Stalham. My friend, her daughter and I had a long catch up on what we had all been up to.

Although my friend had been through a rough ordeal, I did notice how happy she was and looking around I could see why. My friend was given temporary accommodation in one of the flats that had been built on the old railway site, it was a modern and clean, new two-bedroom flat with a large enclosed garden at the rear. My friend's daughter who was a toddler at the time was having lots of fun in the garden with one of the neighbour's children.

I moved to Stalham to be closer to my friend and her daughter and soon realised that it was more than just the flat that was making my friend happy. It was the feel of community in the whole block. All of the flats were occupied except number nine which to this day has never been occupied.

That was two-and-a-half years ago.

Slowly the flats emptied and no more families were moved in. How sad to see that for the last year-and-a-half no other families have had the same benefit as the people I made friends with and my dear friend and her daughter.

What a waste of public monies - perfectly good houses standing idle whilst there is enormous need for good quality affordable rented housing! The houses are still empty and surrounded by barriers!



I AM a 74 year old pensioner who lives alone. I recently had a total hip replacement operation that afterwards makes bending very difficult. Cutting one's toenails, especially the corners, is almost impossible.

As my toes became painful when walking, I decided to go to a chiropodist in Gorleston for some assistance. He spent about four minutes clipping the corners of about seven toenails and applied some cream to the toes.

For this small service he charged me �22 which I find disgusting. Hard times are ahead but at the end of the recession I hope greedy practitioners like him have gone out of business.



I JUST shake my head in amazement at the ignorance of people as it relates to outdoor lighting. Study after study has concluded that outdoor lighting often facilitates crime after dark rather than preventing it.

A criminal is aided by light, so if it is provided for him, he won't go stumbling around in pursuit of victims. If light is not provided by street lights, for example, the criminal must use a torch to commit his crimes which draws more attention the darker his surroundings are.

The feeling of safety on lit streets is a false one that needs to be overcome by your council educating the public. But it appears that they need to educate themselves first, instead of running around in the dark, so to speak. There are experts who specialise in outdoor lighting issues. I suggest the council consult with one of them on these issues.

I suggest you go to, the website of the International Dark Sky Association, and educate yourselves on the many hazards of light in the night. This is a much bigger and more complicated problem than just the costs or the safety issues. There are health and environmental issues also.