BRIAN Potter and Michael Timewell are to be congratulated for saying out loud at a Tourism Authority meeting that the council must “get real” about the future of the old Pontins Camp at Hemsby (Mercury, January 30).

BRIAN Potter and Michael Timewell are to be congratulated for saying out loud at a Tourism Authority meeting that the council must “get real” about the future of the old Pontins Camp at Hemsby (Mercury, January 30).

It wasn't necessarily the message that tourism bosses wanted to hear. However, a boarded-up site would do nothing to help other holiday businesses in Hemsby! That is almost certainly what we are likely to get if the council stubbornly resists considering any realistic alternative use.

I would have hoped the experience some years ago of boarded-up old guest houses in Wellesley Road and Nelson Road South would have taught us all a salutary lesson about how to handle contraction of the industry without turning the whole area into something that looks like Beirut during the “troubles” in the Middle East.

The holiday industry is enormously important to the Yarmouth area but it must continue to adapt and re-invest to secure its future.

Another symptom of the lack of reality permeating the discussions was the renewed call by some present for the scrapping of the popular Zone A Residents Permit Parking scheme in Euston Road and St Peter's Road in order to free up parking for holidaymakers. What a cheek!

And do we really need a county councillor from Neatishead - Chris How - to tell us how to organise parking in our town?

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We have thousands of parking spaces in both the seafront and town centre areas and sad to say they were often less than half full, partly due no doubt to a run of wet summers that have dampened the appeal of the town for day trippers. Yarmouth council parking staff can testify readily to how rarely there was any shortage of spaces in our car parks last summer.

Park and Ride schemes in the past have only worked well in terms of coping with pop festivals and I can assure Chris How that congestion charges would be every bit as unpopular as they were when proposed for Manchester. Fortunately, local tourism figures like Albert Jones are more receptive to the feelings of local residents such that a large new car park will be delivered as part of his The Edge casino/leisure development in South Yarmouth and his company will make a voluntary financial contribution to the establishment of a Zone C Residents Parking Zone south of St Peter's Road in order to protect the quality of life for local people living in the terraced streets just off the seafront.

People in Yarmouth are generally proud of their town as a top holiday resort but they expect respect and fair treatment. Their quality of life is important.


Borough Councillor,

Yarmouth Central and Northgate ward

OVER the past two weeks there have been letters in the Mercury with regard to disabled parking outside car parks. I have to agree with the first letter - why do disabled drivers park on a busy road when they could easily park on the designated spaces on the car park? Maybe it is because they have to pay now.

It does make me angry when with my daughter, we have to drive round and round to find a parking space when most of the disabled spaces are empty because the disabled drivers are parking on the road, and why is this? Oh yes. It's free parking on the roadside!

This is not a case of sour grapes as my husband is issued with a blue badge, and yes, we do use the car parks!

Just a thought - if disabled drivers don't use the parking bays, why don't they turn them into mother and toddler parking?


Havelock Road

Great Yarmouth

LAST night I witnessed an incident that I have in the recent past only heard about: teenagers causing havoc on public transport, only this time it was at 8pm on a Saturday.

When I entered the bus it soon became apparent that the rear was occupied by several youngsters who seemed to think they could shout and swear to their hearts' content. As the bus pulled into the James Paget Hospital, the driver asked the group (all girls) that if they used the buses would they refrain from putting their feet on the seats, to which he was met with names and cursing.

As I left the bus, the group of girls then tried to smash the bus shelter windows and continued screaming and ranting at anyone in sight.

I am by no means someone who complains about everything I see or hear; this is the first letter I feel incensed to write. As I saw it, these teenagers had school bus passes and obviously their entertainment was to climb aboard any buses and spend all evening on a warm, dry bus travelling back and forth to Yarmouth causing uncomfortable journeys for other paying travellers.

My main question is why are school bus passes allowed to be used out of school hours and weekends?

Name and Address withheld

I AM the caretaker at Cliff Park High School, and would like to respond to the letter from Mrs Woods of Leman Road, Gorleston regarding the wasteful use of our astro floodlights on Saturday, January 17. May I explain we have hockey matches at the weekends. Sometimes it is necessary to have the floodlights on, due to poor visibility on the pitch (hockey regulations). We only put the floodlights on at the request of the match supervisor. On that day it was foggy and the visibility on the pitch was poor. We, at Cliff Park High, always try to maintain as low a carbon footprint as possible when it concerns energy use within the school.



Cliff Park High School

THE inference of the Great Yarmouth Mercury in your comment column (January 30) is that Norfolk Constabulary is masking crime by not reporting every incident to the newspaper. Not so!

Our intention is to make crime information available as widely as possible through a number of popular communication channels, including the local media. In December we launched crime mapping, an interactive website which can be found at www.norfolk.police.uk. Building on the monthly crime figures that have been issued since July 2008, crime maps give an up-to-date visual picture of crime that is available 24/7.

Providing information is just one piece of the jigsaw - it is also our aim to seek the help of the public in bringing to justice those responsible for that crime and deciding on the priorities for our neighbourhood policing teams. There are approximately 50,000 crimes each year in the county - one of the lowest rates per 1,000 population in the country - and we have to exercise judgement in deciding what incidents we proactively report.

We are working with the public to find new ways to engage in order to develop a service that is increasingly attuned to their needs. Anyone who would like to receive information on a regular basis from us about what is going on in their neighbourhood is encouraged to contact our Safer Neighbourhood Communications Officer for Great Yarmouth, Jonathan Smith, a regular contributor to this newspaper. He can be reached by phone (0845 456 4567), fax (01953 424050) email (Smithj@norfolk.pnn.police.uk ) or at our Police Station in the town.


Director, Communications & Public Affairs

Norfolk Police

IN March 2008 I visited Auschwitz-Birkenau Concentration and Extermination camp as part of the Holocaust Education Trusts Lessons from Auschwitz Project for post-16 students and was accompanied by two students from East Norfolk Sixth Form College, Adam Smith and Jo Mallett. We all found the experience both emotional and educational.

This exceptional project is supported by the government and students from across the region have been able to participate in this unforgettable and emotional visit, which is prepared for and followed up with a half day seminar that gives participants the opportunity to reflect on their experience.

As you reported last week, the Holocaust Memorial Day Commemoration was held at the Kitchener Road Jewish Cemetery and I was very proud that Adam and Jo were there to represent me and lay a wreath on my behalf. As Canon Michael Woods reminded those at the commemoration we were not only remembering the tragic loss of life in the second world war, but also those who have suffered as the result of war or famine since.


MP for Great Yarmouth

I HAVE been reading in the Mercury for the past few weeks about schools wanting a 20mph limit. Mrs Elizabeth Davis of Homefield Primary said that not all schools need a 20mph speed limit.

I cannot believe this irresponsibility; all schools need a 20mph limit. I used to drive a school bus taking children to and from school and even today still have to go to Great Yarmouth High with my son. Asking people round the school gates, the answer is always the same - slow down. Some people are coming past at an exorbitant rate.

I would also like to point out that there is a 30mph speed limit along Caister Road. Very few people seem to know that this is the case, as after a 30mph Sam unit (flashing speed limit) was placed up on a post, I counted 188 cars doing 37-63mph in the space of one and a half hours - so I only hope the 20mph speed limit outside schools will be monitored.


Caister Road,

Great Yarmouth

WOW … it's amazing isn't it they finally turned the traffic lights off on Gapton Hall Roundabout, or was it an act of God and they finally broke. We travelled round the roundabout on three separate occasions on Sunday, February 1 and each of these times there was no queues to be seen. Hopefully it will stay like this and we will get to use the roundabout as it is designed to be used.


Burgh Castle

HAVING read Colin Tooke's fascinating book Great Yarmouth and Gorleston the 20th Century 1900-1999, it was interesting to read about the depression and unemployment in the Twenties, that through unemployment schemes, created some of Great Yarmouth's housing estates and tourist attractions such as the Waterways, which still exist today.

I feel we can learn from those times in the economic decline we now face. We should get the unemployed involved in salvaging and regenerating parts of Great Yarmouth and its historic buildings. Not only would it make financial sense - earn your right to benefits while putting back into the community, but the sense of pride and pulling together of the community.

Take the art school in Trafalgar Road, a once beautiful building used as an incident control centre during the second world war, now in an extremely sad state of repair and the sorry scene you have to see when arriving by train is not welcoming, why can this not be improved?

I'm sure there are many more areas. Let's take the credit crunch and turn it into something positive and rewarding and beneficial to all.


Norwich Road,


IT was most gratifying to see that the mayor and mayoress of Great Yarmouth, Cllr and Mrs Terry Easter, together with representatives of Trinity House and the clergy, assembled at sea to mark the 100th anniversary of the Cockle Gat tragedy in which six Yarmouth and Gorleston men lost their lives in the execution of their Trinity House duties.

Apart from chief mate, Walter Bound, who miraculously survived the ordeal, the only other member of the stricken crew who was picked up barely alive, and who, despite frantic and valiant efforts aboard the Argus, had died before they reached port, was William Thomas Moore Forder. This courageous man was my great grandfather.

I became aware of the nature of his demise, when researching my family tree, when I came across an old newspaper, The Yarmouth Independent, dated February 6, 1909. This newspaper had been handed down through the family, and imparted a full and graphic account of the tragedy.

Although this may now have disappeared into the mists of maritime history, it is still alive within our family records inasmuch that with the help of some of the descendants of those who lost their lives, I put together in 2006 a small, although not published, book detailing the events as they unfurled; from the explosion at sea, the inquest and thence the church services and ultimately the funeral service of William Forder - an event which brought the town of Great Yarmouth to a standstill.

How poignant that, today, February 1, is bringing forth those same weather conditions which those brave Trinity House men faced 100 years ago to the day - fierce bitterly cold easterly winds driving snow blizzards over a treacherous sea. Should any of your readers be interested in a copy of the booklet, they can contact me at my email address WilliamMariaTurner@talktalk.net


King's Lynn

See Page 15 for full report

WITH reference to Diana Kane's letter last week (Verges ruined by cars). It's a shame that a lady who hasn't visited the area for some has to bring this to people's attention. It's not just Yarmouth that suffers from this problem, Gorleston is fast becoming an eyesore. Just take a walk down Queens Crescent and see the disgusting state of the grass verges - just muddy trenches.

Some people have no regard for the appearance of their community. At night you cannot walk down one side of the road for the amount of cars parked on the verges, even encroaching on to the pavement; no thought for other pedestrians. I thought this was against the law. Where are the street wardens, the community police and foremost, the council?

This has been our family home for 53 years, and it saddens me to see the area being let down by the minority. So come on people, be proud of where you live, and your surroundings, and clean up this mess.


Lincoln Avenue


I WOULD like to draw a close to the sorry saga of my in-laws' gravestone. First, we had the council filling the flower holder with cement as it was deemed unsafe, then we had the wooden stake positioned behind it because of the 'wrong' cement and now the final insult! Just before Christmas, a bunch of artificial roses were placed on the grave using our replacement marble pot. A week later all that remained was the marble base of the flower pot. Everything else had been stolen, so we have now given up trying to put flowers on the grave for our loved ones as we are thwarted at every turn. Perhaps the blokes who are pulling and pushing the gravestones could pause for a moment and keep an eye out for the thieves and vandals!


Mill Lane


YOU may have wondered how all this upsetting business about headstones started, well I suspect it was from an article published in the Evening Standard in September 2008.

An MP called Greg Hands was concerned about a story concerning the needless removal or flattening of thousands of gravestones, and as is usual, blamed it on Health and Safety. He really should have known better, but we all know politicians are never slow to jump on a bandwagon or even start one off.

Unfortunately, you get knee-jerk reactions from people who simply issue insane orders blaming it on “Health and Safety.”

This is why it all seems so upsetting to those poor relatives who cannot get an answer to what they clearly see as stupidity.

For the true facts go onto the Health and Safety Executive's own website where you can read the following reply from the HSE to the Evening Standard: “The risk from unsafe memorials is extremely low, however toppling gravestones have, on rare occasions, caused injuries to the public. While local authorities have a responsibility to manage this risk, HSE expects them to do so in a sensible, proportionate manner that does not cause unnecessary distress to family members. This involves them following their own industry guidance, such as that produced by the Institute of Cemetery and Crematorium Management and the British Standard that set out procedures for testing stability.”

I could not have put it better


Havelock Road

Great Yarmouth

ON January 25, our daughter Tallulah, 7, unbelievably decided to climb around the stair banisters on our landing. She fell 15ft down the stairwell, landing on her head. After her playmate Jude alerted us, we found her a minute later, limp, blue, not breathing and, to our eyes, dead. Thankfully, she wasn't, and now a week later, she is recovering well with a severe concussion, and remarkably few bruises, on the sofa at home. The banisters are boarded up too.

We would like to thank and praise the work of those who helped her recover. The paramedics and ambulance crews, Maria, Dave, Howard and others, were at her side within minutes of the accident and were superb in their efficiency, care and consideration. We counted 11 people waiting for us in A&E, headed by Dr Karl Blank the intensive care consultant, and including anaesthetists, radiologists, nurses and assistants. Her scans were not only checked by radiology, paediatric and ICU consultants at the JPH, but also wired through to Addenbrooke's expert paediatric neurologists immediately.

In less than an hour, she was sedated, scanned and settled in ICU for a 48-hour stay, where she, and we, were constantly doted on by the fantastically caring staff, including Dr Pieter Bothma and his team of doctors, the nursing staff of Kathy, Jill, Steve, Ian, Katherine, and a host of others we were too frazzled to remember. Thanks also go to the wonderful staff on the Children's Unit in Ward 10 where she spent Tuesday night, and who have been a lifeline since her arrival back at home.

There may be plenty to debate about the NHS but, when we needed it most, these selfless people delivered the most impressive care we have ever witnessed. They should be incredibly proud and, as a family, we thank them from the bottom of our hearts for giving us back our little girl.


Pound Lane


I CANNOT believe that over 80 schools were closed Monday morning due to “bad weather.” I was brought up on a farm and had over a mile to walk to school. The winters were worse then and our teacher cycled two and a half miles to get to school. It was never closed and we loved it. Today's children are coddled; good walks would do them good, or is it the teachers and mothers that can't be bothered to get up? After all, the main roads are clear and most of them drive 4x4s which are designed for rough weather. By the way, the schools are never closed in Austria and Switzerland.


Address withheld

THE news in this week's Mercury that the restaurant at Anna Sewell's House is to close, brought to my mind the fact that Great Yarmouth Toc H used it as a meeting place for several years. The Toc H lamp on the latticed windows at the front (the surviving one of two originals) is testament to this.

Readers may recall that Toc H was the charity movement started by the Rev Phillip “Tubby” Clayon immediately after the first world war, inspired by the servicemen's club he ran at Talbot House, Poperinge, Belgium during the war.

Hostels and branches sprang up around the country and Yarmouth was there in the early days. The local branch was started by “Inky” Bean, a young Yarmouth printer and a foundation member of Toc H. Inky later ran the Toc H Servicemen's Club on King Street during the second world war before moving to Cambridge to run a similar club.

(His cohorts in Cambridge were Mr Dunnett and Mr Gorne so the club there was inevitably known as the Bean and Gorne and Dunnett Club). Inky then moved to Southampton where he was warden at the Toc H Hostel for Seafaring Boys.

Back in Yarmouth, Toc H moved from original premises at St Andrew's Institute on North Quay to the Deaf and Dumb Institute on Albion Road; rooms above a pub on the corner of King Street and York Road; the Anna Sewell House; the vicarage; and perhaps elsewhere. They took part in many activities in the town including hospitals day where they always had a stall on the front.

The original Great Yarmouth Lamp of Maintenance (as in “Dim as a Toc H Lamp”) is still around and was dedicated to the drifter fleet, those fishing boats turned over to military service during world war one.

And although Yarmouth Toc H has long since folded, Gorleston Toc H still meets regularly on Friday nights at the Shrublands Centre - proudly (but sadly) bearing the badge of the last Toc H branch in Norfolk. If any readers wish to share their memories of Toc H with me I am always glad to hear from them. Any memories to Docking Farm Cottage, Docking Farm, Oulton NR11 6QZ.


Toc H - Norfolk Activities


DID you leave Cliff Park High School in the summer of 1986? If so, I am arranging a reunion on Saturday, February 28. If you would like to come please contact me on 07739968695 or via Facebook or Friends Reunited.

HEIDI TENNANT (nee Staples)

Station Road