I READ with interest in last week's Mercury the letter from Mrs McKay about the problems her father had encountered re a headstone in Magdalen Cemetery, Gorleston.

I READ with interest in last week's Mercury the letter from Mrs McKay about the problems her father had encountered re a headstone in Magdalen Cemetery, Gorleston. We have experienced the same problems.

We know for a fact that my parents' headstone was not wobbly and unsafe and it must have been the methods used by the council's “testing” equipment for “health and safety” reasons that made it so. We were amazed to visit the cemetery to find a large pole against our headstone with a notice attached saying it was unsafe. We are having the headstone rectified (at a cost) and hope the council is satisfied with the fee it receives from this.

We were also astounded to find a headstone, not far from my parents, which was leaning over and movable and looked clearly unsafe but with no pole or message attached. Do the council just go around looking to find graves that are attended and where they know that someone will do something about their note?

We also visit graves in the old Gorleston Cemetery and some of the very much older gravestones there are considerably larger and leaning over so much they could easily injure someone walking by if they fell. These graves are so old that the council probably think there is no point in taking any action about these as they will find nobody to collect any money from.

This leads us to conclude that it is more a money-making exercise than anything at all to do with health and safety. If the latter is the main criteria, surely the old cemetery should be looked at before the new. Health and Safety - don't make me laugh!


Most Read

Peregrine Road


THE letter from Mrs McKay about her mother's grave, struck a responsive chord. In 2005, after a notice was placed onto my in-laws' gravestone, which by the way was not loose, we arrived to put flowers on the grave only to find that the flowerpot which should have been integrated into the base of the stone, had been discarded and the hole filled with cement.

Thinking this was the work of vandals, we contacted the crematorium office only to be told the council had taken the action, as the stone had been deemed unsafe and the measure would rectify the problem once and for all. We brought a replacement marble flowerpot and thought that was an end to it.

However, a few weeks ago we were once again served a notice and we discovered on visiting the grave, that the stone had been tied to a wooden stake erected behind it. The stone still has no movement! We were extremely angry as the stone has already been damaged once, and we again contacted the crematorium office and were told the problem was with the cement holding the stone in place.

Why is this happening? The stone was only put back after the death of my father-in-law in 1992, so it is not very old compared with other memorials which seem to be okay. Is sub-standard mortar being used?

It's been said that these health and safety rules are to protect people who lean on the stones (well, don't lean on them), or to protect children who climb on them (perhaps they should be taught respect).

It seems you can't even die now to escape the credit crunch as this government is hell bent on making money at all costs, even at the expense of the Dear Departed!


Mill Lane


I WOULD like to say how a Christmas shopping trip to Great Yarmouth was spoilt by the large amount of money we had to pay for car park charges in the multi-storey car park. Five hours was £6.50 which is far too much. They have opened new shops in the shopping mall; New Look, Debenhams and soon a Pound Shop and new coffee shop, which is all very nice but the killer is the car park fees.

I, for one, will do my next lot of Christmas shopping in Norwich by going to the park and ride which is only £3.60 for all day - much cheaper and better shops and more choice. Sorry, but I think the town centre car park is a big mistake and it won't be long before other people feel they are being ripped off. Come on Yarmouth do something or lose your trade in the town centre.


Poplar Drive


CHRISTMAS as a time of giving is fast approaching us all. Giving comes in so many ways and is especially valued when it is to those in need. We are a local family who on two occasions have benefited from the generous support of the Lions Club.

The medical equipment we needed was beyond our means and when no one else could help it was the Lions that stepped in. They rightly receive publicity when donating to public charities, but their unsung support for local families also deserves to be known.

We are sure so many of your readers will hear and see the Lions Club Santa sleigh out and about in the weeks leading up to Christmas. What other sight and sound tells us that Christmas is coming? Their very presence brings so much joy and excitement especially to the children amongst us!

Please, please give them your support so in turn they can quietly go on supporting those in need in the local community. With many thanks from a very grateful local family.



Great Yarmouth

WHILST visiting the town on Wednesday, it was disappointing to see that Great Yarmouth's brand new “state of the art” Debenhams, has already resorted to cheap publicity by decorating the market square with advertising placards - even the yet-to-be unveiled Christmas tree didn't escape. Don't they have enough publicity on billboards around the town? Of course, Great Yarmouth's original Debenhams (formerly Arnolds) was in a more prominent position!




WITH reference to the article in last week's Mercury it was pleasing to see the Conservative councillor Barry Stone admit his party was wrong in opposing the new walk in health centres announced earlier this year by the Secretary of State for Health.

Cllr Stone's comments that “the fact it is going to be a walk in clinic should make it a lot easier for people to use when they need it,” and that the centre being on the site of the old Greyfriars Clinic was “a good move” is far different to the campaign waged by the British Medical Association and the Conservatives when the announcement was made, when they opposed with vigour the concept of the new walk in clinics.


WHILE I find David Bullock's argument in last week's Mercury concerning the removal of the pews at St Andrew's Church perhaps a little bizarre, I do find their removal equally so, plastic chairs aside! Is this really just a move for so called “modernisation” for modernisation sake?

The final decision I presume, has been made purely by the vicar and the parochial church council, prematurely thinking it not necessary to inform the congregation or Gorleston parishioners at large, although this is to who the church belongs.

The church itself is held in trust by the incumbent on behalf of the inhabitants of St Andrew's parish, therefore it is a divisive and arrogant move on the part of a very small minority to make such a major decision without reference to the parish at large who have never been involved in the decision or appear to want it.

Where does this kind of divisive decision begin and finish - who knows what could be next? Surely some form of consultation or referendum is needed for such a major change to the fabric of our church, now before the damage is done, before it is too late.


Brett Avenue


WE heard about the problems a householder had with snowballing youths over the past weekend. The comments made mirror the aggravation and torment we also suffered.

Several calls were made to Norfolk Police. Their answer on each occasion was either that they had no resources available, or that as no damage appeared to have been done, they were not going to respond to our call. We can accept that police resources are finite but when a householder has, as in our case, made several calls there ought to be a visible and early response.

For several hours on Sunday we were virtual prisoners in our own house. Is it not time that police priorities were reassessed to take account of the public's need? The police are, supposedly, there to protect and support the public when in need. We saw little of that and can presumably look forward to more police lethargy in the coming winter months.

Name and Address withheld

IT is with regret I feel I have to write such a letter regarding the local hobby fishermen that swarm to Gorleston beach on a regular basis, but something needs to be said about their unbearable dominance over what is supposed to be a public amenity.

During the summer/tourist months dog owners, like myself, are restricted to certain areas of the sands, due to health and safety reasons. Why then can there not be a fishing-only zone situated beyond the promenade heading towards Hopton for the same reasons?

All that seems to happen is that the fishermen encroach further and further up the beach towards the arcades, forcing all walkers to re-route around their lines. This not only limits the area for the plethora of dog walkers to allow their pets off the lead, but it also increases the potential for moments of friction between these fishermen and these dog owners. Only the other day I was verbally abused by a fisherman, who disliked the curiosity of my dog.

The amount of refuse left by the fishermen is obvious for all to see, as it is regularly grouped into small piles spaced at intervals. Moreover smouldering remains of a camp fire are abandoned with red hot embers ready to burn any passer-by. Recently I actually found a gutting knife, which any small child could have picked up and brandished.

I am all in favour of hobbies and pastimes, but I am also in favour of compromise, equality and mutual respect. At the moment there is none and something needs to be done about it by the powers that be. Hopefully sooner rather than later.



IN reply to the members of the Cobholm Community Centre, regarding the letters in last Friday's Mercury; the Remembrance Sunday service arrangements were the same as they have always been in past years. TS Warrior didn't attend because members had made arrangements to be elsewhere, so weren't available this year.


I HAVE considerable sympathy with the plight of J and M Dove and their experience of BT's charges. Like them I still whenever possible choose to pay my domestic bills by cheque, as it enables me to have full control over cash flow in and out and I have also had some problems with the odd incorrect direct debit payment in the past.

Whilst I have always found local BT staff very helpful, at a corporate level BT are as arrogant as it comes. I resent having to pay BT a totally arbitrary £4.50 charge for the privilege of paying my phone bill the way I, the customer, chooses. We're not talking about late payments here! But read on.

In mid-September my wife and I left for a two week holiday abroad. A BT bill must have been delivered within a day or so of us leaving, as by the time we had returned home not only was the bill there but also a “red” reminder letter. I wrote out a cheque and put it in the post the following day.

Four days later I received a heavy-handed letter telling me that despite being sent a reminder, as I had not yet paid the outstanding bill a “late payment charge” of £7.50 would be included on my next account. This represents an equivalent annual interest rate of approximately 150pc on the outstanding amount. This is loan-shark territory.

Also I was told I could be disconnected and have to pay a reconnection charge if there was any further delay. Immediately ringing the number given in the letter to check, BT account payments took me through, as is usual these days, to a non-human automated system that eventually told me my account was clear and that I owed nothing. I await with some interest my next bill from BT.


The Stables

Burgh St Peter

HAS anyone noticed since H Samuels had a refit 18 months ago the clock above the shop is never at the correct time? The Town Hall clock is covered over. St Nicholas' Church clock has no hands. It used to be said if you want to know the time ask a policeman - we don't see many of them about.


Sturdee Avenue

Great Yarmouth

I AM writing in response to the letter from Mrs B Wakefield of Hemsby in response to her letter regarding the MoD banning parcels to soldiers this Christmas. The MoD has asked members of the public not to send parcels to soldiers serving abroad unless they are addressed to named personnel.

Last year they experienced a back log of mail due to members of the public sending parcels to unnamed service personnel. This meant parcels from friends and family of soldiers, aid and equipment arrived late therefore the MoD is limiting the free postal system only to friends and families, with mail only being accepted if to a named person.

If Mrs Wakefield wishes to say thank you to our soldiers serving abroad the best way to do this is donate to charities such as UK4U www.uk4u.org, Help For Heroes or Support Our Soldiers as they run schemes to ensure all service personnel serving in Afghanistan and Iraq this Christmas receive a parcel.


Spruce Avenue

Ormesby St Margaret

TO the person who stole my purse, so cleverly out of my bag, tied to my trolley in Tesco's of Caister, I hope they enjoy my Christmas money I had saved from my pension, also £40 of birthday money I hadn't time to spend as I am a full-time carer for my husband with terminal cancer and only get out once in a while. I hope they win on my lottery tickets as well, as I had just bought two. May God forgive you because he is not being very kind to me at the moment.


Arthur Avenue,


IT was with great interest I read the gentleman's account of his close encounter of the first kind in the Mercury, November 14. Being a little bit off the planet myself at times perhaps I can shed some light on what he actually encountered.

The glowing fast-moving figure was not just a common and garden cyclist but what is technically called a 'defensive riding' cyclist in the trade, wearing his protective armour, be it ever so humble. This is necessary apparel for today's survivalist cyclist and sadly it is becoming more necessary if the number of the aging species is to survive, let alone flourish and multiply.

To achieve this, the writer must be aware he himself could be part of the problem being experienced by cyclists, namely being clipped by vehicles when they overtake, encounter vehicles driving or even parking in cycle lanes; being slip-streamed by fast moving closely overtaking cars, blinded by the headlights of inconsiderate motorists who see cyclists as a non-entity, knocked off bikes by non-indicating drivers turning left and not being aware of cyclists.

And, as for jumping red lights, many motorists seem not to be familiar with the red boxes at traffic lights which are for cyclists only to stop on without being run over by predatory motorists bent on a flying start and of course you never see motorists run through red lights! These same inconsiderate motorists soak cyclists and pedestrians when they drive through puddles and/or are happy to see pedestrians and cyclists standing in the rain trying to cross the road, and are not prepared to allow them to do so.

Yes, modern motorist, you may well be part of the problem and even if a cyclist has no lights for whatever reason, is it not the rule that motorists are supposed to drive at a speed that will allow them to stop within their lights' illumination length depending on driving conditions and the state of the road?

I cannot remember the last time I heard of a cyclist killing or injuring a mobile motorist but statistically motorists kill and maim thousands of cyclists yearly.



DID you leave Cliff Park High School in the summer of 1986? If so, I am arranging a reunion on Saturday, February 28, 2009. I have had lots of interest, so it should be a good night! If you would like to come please either ring/text me on 07739968695, email me via Facebook or Friends Reunited or email me at heidi.tennant@btinternet.com. Looking forward to seeing as many of you as possible!



THE newspapers tell us that more than half the British public believe that children are turning into feral animals, and our police chief tells us we adults must see the good in the nation's youth.

I believe both the public and the Chief Constable would have been heartened by a visit to the Pavilion Theatre at Gorleston last week where Dusmagrik Young Peoples' Theatre Co was performing Les Miserables. Not only would they have had a splendid evening's entertainment at a delightful Edwardian theatre with a company of young people taking the show to a new dimension, they would also have seen their mentors taking responsibility for that part of the nation's youth and doing it with very real dedication.

The discipline and dedication of these young people is second to none, not to mention hours of preparation in order to help those less fortunate than themselves, namely, Children in Need.

It was indeed with “a heart full and true” and pride that I left the theatre knowing full well that not only the future of live theatre but the future of the next generation would be safe and well in the hands of these young people.

As an ex police officer I am fully conversant with the sad plight of many young teenagers, but what I have encountered over recent years with these youngsters hopefully restores the balance somewhat.

Les Miserables is a wonderfully powerful piece of theatre from which we can all learn about patriotism, love and forgiveness. Indeed, one of the songs tells us “At the end of the day, you're another day older”. I would add to that, perhaps wiser too? I hope so.

As Gypsy is to be the company's next year production for Children in Need, and in view of the standard they have achieved, it is obvious that for the Original Dusmagrik “everything is coming up roses” for them and for us.

So “let's hear it” for the young people of our town and afford them the support and respect they fully deserve,


Linus Road


RE: Les Miserables performed by the original Dusmagrik Young Peoples Theatre Company. I was helping out backstage in the girls' dressing room all week, while these young people performed this wonderful show, and I just had to say how professional all these young girls and boys were and how hard the whole cast worked together to make this show a great success. With the guidance by Mary Carter as director and the musical knowledge by John Stephens they received the standing ovation they deserved.


Common Road,


MANY congratulations and thanks to director Mary Carter, musical director John Stephens and everybody connected with Dusmagrik Young People's Theatre Company's production of Les Miserables School Edition. It was a brave decision to take on this popular and difficult show - my favourite piece of musical theatre. I have seen the London show three times and was just as moved by the acting and singing of these young people (I laughed as much, too!).They all gave excellent performances, making their families and friends very proud, I'm sure. Here's to the next one!


Elm Avenue,


ON behalf of myself and friends who saw the Dusmagrik Young People's Theatre Company perform Les Miserables at the Gorleston Pavilion Theatre last week congratulate everybody involved in putting on such an excellent show. It was a wonderful production and to see the enthusiasm and enjoyment all the cast gave, was a credit to themselves and all in the production team.

Credit must also be given to John Stevens the musical director who provided us with the beautiful music. In this day, when young people are given such bad press, it was commendable to see the result of what would have been a lot of hard work and dedication. Very well done to all.


Home Farm House

West Somerton

ALL around the countryside there's roads from A to B

To access all the country is a real necessity

But when it gets to Yarmouth that's another thing to ponder

The experts reckon it's a waste to take a road to yonder

So we won't get a dualled track unless we keep on fighting

And tell them all in Parliament the death toll is quite frightening

So Norfolk folk get off your bum and shout 'till you are hoarse

Dual the “47” now - you know it's right of course

The ecology won't suffer much, so Percy Trett did say

He knows the ground we speak of and reckons there's no way

Much less would be forthcoming if we put a road right through

From Acle down to Yarmouth - it's well overdue!