VALERIE Howkins said it all in last week's Mercury about the insensitive clearance of the memorial garden in the area next to St George's Theatre.I wrote to the Mercury when the garden was first cleared and the only person who had the decency to write to me was Peter Howkins, who at the time was chairman of St George's Theatre.

VALERIE Howkins said it all in last week's Mercury about the insensitive clearance of the memorial garden in the area next to St George's Theatre.

I wrote to the Mercury when the garden was first cleared and the only person who had the decency to write to me was Peter Howkins, who at the time was chairman of St George's Theatre. Yes, as Valerie said: “Why weren't we all consulted?”

My sister came from Australia with her husband's ashes and Valerie arranged a service for the family at the memorial garden. My sister dedicated a beautiful tree with a plaque, a rose bush with a plaque and a bench from their daughter and son, again with a plaque on it. His wish was to put his ashes there because he used to box in the hall opposite St George's as a boy.

RSM Reginald Gray (Dolly) joined the 12th Royal Lancers in 1936. He served in France and Dunkirk. He then volunteered for the lst Airborne Parachute Battalion and was in Tunisia and North Africa and Arnhem. He was captured at Arnhem, but escaped and swam the Rhone.

His post-war service was in the 2nd Battalion, and 11th and 22nd SAS and he served in Cyprus, Egypt, Jordan, Persian Gulf and Malaya, where he was parachuted into the jungle. He also served in Sicily and North Africa.

The irony of it all is that my sister's ashes should have been brought back too to be put there, but with the desecration of the memorial garden and the anger and disgust the children felt, there seemed no point in doing so. There wasn't any respect shown to an outstanding war veteran and a patriot to the very end, was there?

Most Read


Well Street

Great Yarmouth

I WAS very disappointed to read the article in Friday's Mercury about the Norfolk Coalition of Disabled People's campaign to have all children with special needs educated in mainstream schools rather than special schools such as the John Grant School at Caister. Their misguided and blinkered belief that one system fits all is at odds with the knowledge and understanding of parents of children who suffer with severe learning disabilities. Each disabled child has to be assessed for what is right for them on an individual basis, and so where the opportunity arises for a child who suffers from either less severe learning disabilities or physical disabilities to integrate within a mainstream school that is geared up in every aspect of their care, welfare and education, then they should be given that opportunity. However, as a parent of two sons aged 18 and 21 who have Fragile X Syndrome, a condition that whilst not affecting them physically has left them with severe learning disabilities, I know there was only one viable option of schooling for them. My wife and I have been very satisfied with the education and care our sons have received at John Grant School during their time there. It is a school that has changed a lot over the last 16 years, but one that has moved ahead in it's specialised field due to hard working headteachers (especially the current), staff and governors.

My final point is that the example of Stephen Hawking, given by Carl Grint of NCODP, as a person who has excelled in education despite his disabilities, is both a very emotive example but also an incorrect one. I am sure every right-minded person admires Hawking for remarkably overcoming the problems of a neuro-muscular dystrophy that is related to a form of motor neurone disease, but he had completed his education at school and Oxford University (where he also coxed a rowing crew) before being diagnosed with MND at the age of 21, and did not finally lose his ability to speak until he needed an emergency tracheotomy after contracting pneumonia at the age of 43.


East Anglian Way,


THE place of special schools is one which requires serious debate. The needs of the children and carers should be of primary concern. It should not be of some desire for political correctness which I feel was part of the reasoning from the Norfolk Coalition of Disabled People (Mercury, April 30). I do have to question the example used by Mr Grint of Stephen Hawkins in this debate. Prof Hawkins did attended a mainstream school and commenced his degree at university. However, at that time he had no disability. He was not diagnosed with ALS, a form of MND (motor neurone disease) until his 21st birthday, by which time he already had his first degree. Schooling for special needs children should be on an individual basis which, if you remove special schools such as John Grant, will automatically prevent one invaluable possible solution for any child.


Youell Avenue,


I READ the letter headed “Unpleasant experience” and I agree with all that John Durrant said about the public toilets in Great Yarmouth and Gorleston. It's a pity it has reached such a stage.



SO after just four years a road deemed to last 20 years is in danger of disintegrating because Great Yarmouth is based on a sandbank. Don't we all know the origins of the town? Shouldn't the contractors specifications have been overseen by the council? Shouldn't work have been checked as it progressed? Is the council as culpable as the contractors?

Should we now be worried that at some point in the future, hundreds of heavy lorries that may be pounding a route from the outer harbour through the town to distant parts could be a major hazard? South Quay was strengthened but in view of what has happened on the seafront was it sufficient? The outer harbour now has a big question mark as to whether our council were sufficiently up to looking after our interests when negotiating the deal with IPH. Council taxpayers now have financial responsibilities we never had before. Gorleston pier was given away for what purpose?

There is a 30-year embargo on Great Yarmouth Port Authority records held at Norfolk Record Office and a six-year embargo on some records held by a public quango. So far the outer harbour is simply living off our prosperous inner harbour. Why is there all this secrecy concerned with this venture from GYBC, NCC and Eastport? GYBC has contributed ratepayers land and money to this project, as has the county council (NCC) and government of which we as ratepayers and taxpayers are the final paymasters so as stakeholders we are fully entitled to know what are the full details of this deal.

Over the last few weeks, members of the Greater Yarmouth Independent Scrutiny Group have been putting a well researched argument in the Mercury for an inquiry to find how the deal was progressed. A 100 page document is now being studied by GYBC and NCC outlining complaints submitted by the above group.

On page 2 of last week's Mercury there is an item which describes the final manoeuvre in this project which would give Eastport sweeping powers making them a virtual sovereign state within the borough. It together with all the other information we have given via the Mercury should be essential reading for anyone with an interest in our borough. Our group has made a formal objection to this Harbour Revision Order but at a borough council cabinet meeting John Cooper and I attended it was agreed no objection would be made, without even discussing it.


Brett Avenue,


CORRESPONDENT Mrs Clark (Letters, April 16) doesn't have a problem with the Jetty boys. So would the Jetty boys and girls like to go to Scratby where they are welcome and give Great Yarmouth residents a rest from their noise nuisance and speeding. Then, Mrs Clark, tell us they are not a problem and the police exercise is not a waste of time.


Marine Parade

Great Yarmouth

I READ with annoyance that again Gorleston has been pencilled for BT`s 24 meg ADSL2 broadband upgrade but not Great Yarmouth. I set up the Broadband for Yarmouth Campaign a good six years ago, at that time Yarmouth was the not getting any kind of broadband from BT unless we "proved" 350 premises would be interested. I would like to inform those in Yarmouth and Gorleston that a number of LLU (Local Loop Unbundle) providers have their kit in our exchanges already to connect at up to 20 meg, These are Sky and TalkTalk. I use TalkTalk and I am a distance of about three-quareters of a mile from the Yarmouth Exchange and receive an impressive 18 meg and at a staggering cheaper rate than BT wants to charge for their products. BT isn't the be all and end all of service providers and to be honest why should customers stay loyal to a company that serves them last with the latest technology? BT is already rolling out a 50 meg FTTC (Fibre to the Cabinet) Service, this again isn`t pencilled in for Yarmouth or even Gorleston for that matter. Virgin Media, over it`s cable network, already provides a 50 meg service to some parts of Yarmouth and Gorleston.


Walpole Road

Great Yarmouth

WE at the MOTHs (Memorable Order of Tin Hats) have organised a memorial service at St George's Park in Great Yarmouth at the second world war memorial on June 6 at 11am. In attendance will be the mayor of Yarmouth, ex-servicemen's organisations and cadets. A short service will be led by the Rev Arthur Bowles and a bugler and piper will sound the Last Post. Standards will also be in attendance as will a member of the Chelsea Pensioners, on this day to commemorate D-Day.



WITH reference to M E Hoods letter, April 30, who's comments on the the Gapton Hall Roundabout markings I consider to be offensive, are opposed to my beliefs which are: students would have more intelligence than the person who actually designed this fiasco. The question I ask is why do some individuals assume that students are of low intelligence and from this, are stereotyped across society. In addition to this, my stepson and his friends (who are currently studying at East Norfolk Sixth Form College) are all working extremely hard to acquire their A-levels, and are clever young adults. I would also like to add as to what age does the writer believe that students are, as they can be of any age, despite their knowledge of roundabouts.


Midland Close,

Great Yarmouth

WELL done Mr Hubbard. Your letter last week was spot on and reminded me of the fact there was no vote on the smoking ban in pubs. It should have been left to landlords to make the decision. Democracy is a government voted in to speak on behalf of the people not to take away your liberties. It is a shame we didn't all stand together and throw it out.



IN response to the letter, Let's move it to Scroby Sands, April 23. On behalf of Burgh Castle Parish Council I would like to clarify some points. Firstly and most importantly there is not a proposed development for Burgh Castle. We have all, with input from residents been discussing any possible desires by government to increase dwellings. This is country wide and so we decided as a council to be pro-active and draw up maps of areas where land owners “wish” to sell part of their land to developers. We strongly oppose any further development and indeed are putting together a portfolio outlining the reasons why this would be totally inpracticable. I would further like to point out that the parish council does not have the authority to accept, nor refuse, planning applications, we merely offer our local knowledge as to whether it would be in the interest of the village. The final word goes to the borough council. I hope this clears any misunderstanding; the strategic plan for the village is to retain its rural harmony.


Burgh Castle Parish Clerk

MRS M Farmery wrote to The Mercury with a less than complimentary opinion about 1st East's website (April 23). What do you think? If you visit the website www.1steast.co.uk you will be able to see the project work of the urban regeneration company for Lowestoft and Great Yarmouth as well as company documents such as the minutes and business plan. The media has recently been highlighting the wind farm opportunities for the two towns. If you visit the website you will see the part 1st East is playing to attract these businesses and the jobs they will bring. While you are at the website, why not sign up to the e-newsletter? The next edition is being published in mid-may and will concentrate on the burgeoning energy opportunities.


Communications and Marketing Manager

1st East

ON Sunday, August 15 our third Reunion Lunch for any 1950's or 1960's Guides from the 22nd Great Yarmouth Company will be held. I would be very pleased to hear from any ex Guides who may wish to join us. Please contact either by letter at 37 Catton Court, Norwich NR6 7AJ or email kstarling179@btinternet.com


I HAVE watched the Prime Ministerial Debates and each party promises to help the less well off, but how long will they take? We may be able to help you now. If you are in need and have a military connection, then SSAFA (Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Families Association) Forces Help could help immediately. To find out more, or to become a volunteer, contact the Norfolk branch on 01603 403322 (9am to 12.30pm), out of hours answerphone.


Chairman, Norfolk Branch

IT was good to read that the Newtown Youth Centre will go ahead. I hope that when a name for the centre is suggested that the person who began this work and gave time and effort will not be forgotten, and I believe it would be a nice gesture to name the centre The Ray Higgleton Centre.


Sturdee Avenue

Great Yarmouth

RE: Pontins Holiday Camp and the Bear Hotel. What a wonderful opportunity these sites are for the council to commandeer them along with other long-term vacant properties to re-house the mass homeless and 7,000 plus on the council house waiting list. We are forced to leave Great Yarmouth as I and my children are about to become homeless. Our landlord wanted us out and with only a six month short hold tenancy agreement that had ran for some years and local landlords and letting agents not accepting persons receiving local housing allowances, we had no choice. Having worked for 39 years, I am now unable to work due to a spinal disease. It seems my former landlord can rent to a larger number of workers for �70 a week. That is better than the �490 a month we paid. The waiting list for social housing is so long it is not an option.


Address withheld

I HAVE been reading the commemorative book written by A A C Hedges for the Great Yarmouth Corporation on the 750th anniversary of the granting of a charter to the town by King John in 1209, the 1973 edition.

Apart from its local history, some know to me, some not, I was very interested to see that there was once a bandstand in the market place. It left me wondering when it was removed, who decided it should be, and why it was removed. It seems to me it would still be a great asset even now, and a central pleasure for the many folk who sit around that area, and a great publicity draw - so much better than an unwatched television screen.

I remember there were some fine entertainers there last year, like the singer, Richard Stark and the violinist, Andrew Hubbard, the Peruvian band, various country singers and our own local, Barry Wild, and so on. They were all most enjoyable.

We have our own Great Yarmouth Brass Band, who would make a very good addition to our pleasure and are very much unused locally, in spite of the charity work they do, not only here, but as far away as Hopton and Oulton Broad. It seems odd to me that being Great Yarmouth's own band, we cannot afford to let them play on Yarmouth front, as they did last year, yet Gorleston cannot only have them, but a brand new bandstand as well.

Come on, Yarmouth - wake up! You have a lot of potential, so start making the most of it.