Letters, August 1, 2014

Mystery warship was a cutter

Re your correspondent Nigel Robinson’s email about a mystery warship (Letters, July 25).

From our North Denes Coast Watch Tower I sighted the “warship” in question. It was in fact a Border Agency cutter. They do not show on AIS etc as their operations and location need to remain anonymous for obvious reasons.


Deputy Controller

North Denes Coast Watch

Stop feeding us religious debate

Most Read

The eternal debate on your letters page about religion is a waste of space as people will either believe in the Bible or not. No amount of preaching by Mr Barkuizen or Mr Hayes will convert non believers as they have already made up their own minds.

The Bible has so many contradictions and implausible stories that any enquiring mind would start to wonder what is true and what is not. The Noah’s Ark story springs to mind as I would like to know how all the animals that went into his ark arrived there in the first place - did the elephants walk from Africa or India, the kangaroos from Australia and all other animals from all parts of the world? He had 140 days of floods when the ark arrived at Mount Ararat - how did he feed them all and where did all the animal food come from to keep them alive?

As Mr Charnock pointed out last week in the letters page about Adam and Eve - where did Cain’s wife come from?

I think it is time to stop feeding us with this debate on religion and use the letters page to discuss local issues and concerns.



Gorleston: bliss Yarmouth: Yuk!

How nice it was to take a walk along Gorleston seafront; the prom was lovely and clean as was the beach - no dirty nappies or broken bottles or empty food containers, and on top of that you do not have to pay stupid parking fees to enjoy it,

Back in Great Yarmouth next day: parking £1.80 per hour, seafront covered in litter, beach covered in waste of all sorts, you are not allowed to take your dog on the beach between the piers in case they leave a deposit. But you are allowed to leave broken bottles and everything else, and what happens to all the parking fees visitors pay?



Fritton vintage fete thanks

I write to thank the young adults who held a vintage fete at Fritton Activity Centre last week. The 15 teenagers involved arranged the fete completely independently after a culmination of a month-long course which had seen them learn to work as a team, engage with businesses and generally become more informed and well rounded citizens.

They spent a week at a residential home for the elderly, again all planned by themselves, involving the residents in all different activities.

Their fete was extremely successful and they managed to raise over £800 which was donated to the residents of the residential home. I think these teenagers deserve a huge thank you, giving up their time and effort selflessly for the benefit of others. I have written this email because I am so proud of them all.



We take our dog on bus trips

In response to Alan Marshall’s letter of last week. Like you, both myself and husband now retired and also with a small dog, took to using our bus passes and taking a few trips which is very nice.

We have had no problems with any drivers refusing to take our dog, as you say there is no charge and only being a small dog can be kept under control and sit on your lap.

We would feel very awkward if after waiting for the bus only to be told by the driver “Sorry, I am allergic to dogs you can’t bring it on.” It could be annoying and upsetting. So the answer to your query is to as you say phone beforehand and try to find out. Good luck!



Fast response to care emergency

On July 8, I had to call the emergency services to my father and in such a very short time after putting the phone down two responders arrived at the house. They looked after my father until the ambulance arrived and continued to attend to him whilst the ambulance staff were with him.

On behalf of my father and the whole family I would personally like to thank both the responders and the ambulance staff from the Waveney team. Their care was exceptional in such a harrowing time for my father. The two services worked together and they deserve the recognition.



M&S, please re-think move

After hearing the shock news of M&S moving from the town centre, I felt I would just like to add my own comments to those of your previous readers.

Being a local resident, born and bred, I can well remember the present store being built many, many years ago and to which it moved into following its move from the then temporary accommodation further along the other end of the Market Place which previously had been a cinema. For the older generation like myself who shop there on a regular basis several times a week, this will be a great blow for us, as the new proposed store is not on a bus route and not very accessible,

and we don’t all have cars. I think also a lot of M&S custom does in fact stem from the older generation as families would favour the larger supermarkets.

There have been many changes to Great Yarmouth over the years, and so many different shops have come and gone, but M&S has always been there. For it to move away now I feel is a great travesty, not only for shoppers like myself, but for the town as a whole.

A little more thought before the final decision. Please!


St Peter’s Plain

Great Yarmouth

Yes, re-open harbour road

It was interesting to read over the last few weeks some of your contributors campaigning to have the harbour’s mouth road re-opened. This echoes my sentiments via my letter sometime ago, when the outer harbour failed to live up to expectations. At the time the container cranes made their brief visit before removal.

Since then there has been no earthly reason to have the area so secure for its purpose ie for a bonded or safe parking site for the traffic envisaged. It is only a quayside now.

I was in the area, at both ends, a few weeks ago and it was like a ghost town, no sign of life at all. Presumably it was the town council which was prepared to close a public highway for the building of this white elephant. So let us all band together to bring pressure to reinstate this highway which belongs to all of us.

It was an area enjoyed by many for the views, picnics, walking and general relaxing. Perhaps more can be made of the area ie a café, toilets, and area to watch shipping.

The outer harbour owes this town big time.



Dance Estelle show brilliant

I was overwhelmed with delight watching the Dance Estelle show at the Hippodrome Circus. The show was brilliant and was Estelle’s 12th show in 11 years. It showed months of hard work by students by ranging from two to adults.

As always the “babies” stole the show – among its youngest member at two and a half was Estelle’s own son Josh, who made his mummy and daddy proud as he danced on stage enjoying every moment of his debut.

Students showcased dances of all disciplines in tap, jazz, modern, ballet and gym routines. The audience was treated to solos and an aerial display from past students. Over 200 students filled the stage for a thrilling finale, what a spectacular!

I would personally like to say a huge well done to all involved from lighting and sound technicians, backstage helpers, parents; beautiful costumes by Sarah and above all Estelle Clifton and her student dancers.


Poplar Avenue,


Today it is a social jungle

In reference to the new interim chief executive of Great Yarmouth Borough Council being paid almost £1,000 a day. When are we going to wake up to the fact that we live predominantly in an economic and social jungle motivated – and all too often afflicted – by the love of money?


Falcon Court,

Great Yarmouth

Cadets parade was impressive

On behalf of the chairman and all members of Great Yarmouth Royal Norfolk/Royal Anglian Regimental Association who attended the passing out parade 901 Troop Marine Cadets. we must congratulate on a very professional display of drill. The standard of smartness was excellent.

Their parents and the staff must be very proud indeed. We are sure Lord Dannatt could not beliueve the high standard of the band and corps of drums. The whole day was a magnificent display of enthusiasm by these young girls and boys.

We are sure General Sir Richard Dannatt will long remember this day, as will the cadets at being presented with their awards by such a senior Army officer.


Branch Welfare Officer

Watch out they want our votes!

The General Election must be coming. After four years of cuts and the need to reduce the deficit, we suddenly have an extra £18m for schools (Mercury 25/7), £500k for road repairs and extra for struggling children’s services. Flood and erosion cuts reversed (although no money for Hemsby).

Nationally, £1bn has been found for security services. Free school meals if closed kitchens can be rebuilt in time. What is child benefit for if not to feed your children? I thought the Government was meant to be cutting public expenditure, yet as soon as the election approaches money suddenly appears.

We had Conservative borough and county councils for years yet we are told they have been over-spending and need to make draconian cuts. The borough council finances are unsustainable.

A figure of £150k has been spent on consultants who typically will say the obvious and now £200k pa on a chief executive who should be paid by results.

Local Tory MPs are now seeking to spend on the A47, rail improvements and cry out when there are NHS cuts. They borrow to pay benefits claimants instead of funding job creation schemes so useful local projects can be undertaken.

It is very convenient the A11 dualling will finish soon and I wonder why not in a non election year! I await the announcement Yarmouth railway station is to be improved rather than closed. No doubt, the minimum wage will be increased beyond inflation and so it should.

I hope voters can see beyond such cynical moves and remember tax cuts for the rich, the granny tax and benefits reform mess.


Victoria Street,


No compassion after mistake

My nephew has recently been awarded a blue badge for parking. His father took him into Yarmouth recently for an appointment to finalise his business affairs as he has just been told he is losing his fight against cancer.

My nephew is the only child of my brother who also lost his wife to cancer three years ago, so you can imagine he is struggling to cope with the current situation/

He wanted to park as close as possible for the appointment as my nephew cannot walk very far. He did not park on double yellow lines as is his right when displaying the blue badge and unfortunately my nephew has lost the ability to read and write very clearly because of his condition and wrongly advised his father he did not need to pay for the car park but only to display his blue badge.

Obviously they now realise this is incorrect as you are still required to pay and display.

Within 10 minutes a parking fine was put on my brother in law’s car. Having gone home and read the conditions of use he realised his mistake and wrote to GYBC explaining their current circumstances. He apologised and enclosed a cheque covering the fine but asked for leniency on this one occasion. GYBC parking services replied by saying, and I quote: “unfortunately the reasons given were not sufficient for me to cancel this PCN.”

Thank you, I am overwhelmed with the compassion shown.

Name and Address withheld

Should stores subsidise bus?

The move of high street stores out of town could be the end of the town, and the stores, if we do not get the right sort of transport between the two. But whose responsibility is it?

Should the stores subsidise shopper buses from the town, say to Tesco then across to the other outlets on Gapton Hall, or what is most needed – a regular bus route so workers can get to and from work daily.

I say this because recently I had an interview for the TJ Morris store opening shortly. To my knowledge they were coming to the old Bennetts warehouse, so I was shocked they were opening in the old Comet store on Gapton Hall. When he asked if I had any questions I asked the interviewer if he knew there was no public transport to his new store. He did not.

If companies are paying thousands of pounds to open new stores they should have the facilities on hand to create a market and not rely on passing trade. Similarly these people who have waited many weeks for work deserve the chance to be able to get there in a dignified manner, which public transport provides, and not having to walk or cycle in all elements.

One of those who wrote to the paper was correct. Make the business and shops out of town and make the town centre for homes only, as we could pedestrianise the road and appeal to tourists. But that won’t happen with crazy cyclists.


Nelson Road Central,

Great Yarmouth

There’s no bus to Bus Forum!

Re: Have your say over bus services (Mercury, July 25). How does the Norfolk Bus Forum expect people to get to the King’s Centre in Yarmouth as it is nowhere near a bus route. Or do they only want car owners to attend? I bet they will all arrive by car.


Harley Road,

Great Yarmouth

Council situation affects us all

On Friday morning your report on the front page caused me to choke on my cereal. In the present climate of seeking ‘compensayshun’ for every perceived upset in life do I have a case to make against our borough council for this?

After all, in spite of claims to the contrary, there does appear to be a large sum of taxpayer’s money available for them to waste on consultants. What a platform for a Grumpy Old Man!

Seriously, this is not a subject for levity. I have always believed that we, the townsfolk, elect councillors to administer the affairs of Great Yarmouth to the best of their ability and in an open manner.

To this end they have a staff of competent officers to implement decisions for the good of the town.

You report that, effectively by their own admission, Cllrs Wainwright, Jeal, Williamson, Plant, Coleman et al do not feel capable of fulfilling these obligations so perhaps they should stand down and the renumeration they claim could go some way toward the huge amount to be paid to Mr Mitchell.

I write as a retired local businessman, with no political axe to grind, seeking clarity on a situation which appears to be without precedent and which affects us all. I am still having difficulty in understanding the ramifications of the procedures involved in the new CEO’s appointment.

It seems the council will pay a recruitment company an unspecified sum and they in turn will then pay Mr Mitchell’s company to award him an extremely lucrative contract. Additionally for good measure he will be bringing in a team says Cllr Plant. Will this be from his own company and a costly extra which may lead to redundancies amongst our own Town Hall employees?

Will Mr Mitchell devote all his time and energies to Yarmouth or will he continue in his position heading up Starburst Consultancy Ltd? Please enlighten me.

I wonder if the councillor responsible for tourism in Yarmouth has considered how this affair will be regarded in the national news media. That should generate some publicity!



Happy to shop in the new M&S

I would like to put my feelings about the closure and relocation of the local M&S. I retired in December from the Great Yarmouth store after 37 years.

The staff at this store are always friendly and feel like they are part of one big family. Yes, they have their ups and downs but they are always there to help each other and their loyal customers regardless. The big problem with the store is the minority of customers who always complain (and yes they are probably right) about the lack of an escalator (there is a lift), only come in for the food reductions and not full price stock, moan about buying a bag but happy to let you pack it for them, huff and puff about having to queue to pay (it’s not Tesco where they have the room to supply many checkouts).

The textile side also suffers by purchases made in Norwich which are retuned for refund in the store and then have to be sent back to our depot (a service the company is happy to offer but not so good for the store profit) They also complain about lack of stock but once again it is only a small store with limited space but offers a good next day delivery on goods ordered.

Yes, lack of parking is a problem but they offer collect by car at the rear of the store. Not easy to drive to maybe with taxis and deliveries going on but if the council could look into it I think a good solution would be to use Regent Street for the taxis instead. Also the very congested bus stop at the town hall could be moved to Regent Street as well and you could hop straight on a bus with your shopping.

However, I shall be happy to shop at the new store I think it will be good for staff and customers and I feel sure something will be done to enable regular customers to access it in the future by public transport


Sandpiper Close


Burning in hell is nonsense

I would like to ask Mr Barkhuizen why in order to be a Christian it is necessary to believe all that is written in the Bible? I am of the opinion that the Book of Revelation, which he quotes from, was written as propaganda to frighten people to become unquestioning members of the One True Church. Incidentally, taken literally, the idea of burning in hell is nonsense because when we die we are no longer in the flesh – so what is there to burn?

I also wonder how anyone can believe how a loving, merciful god as portrayed by Jesus Christ can condemn millions of people who may have lived perfectly decent lives to endless suffering merely because they don’t perform certain rites and hold certain views.

I freely accept that where people have known God’s word revealed through Jesus, and have rejected it, that they will receive in the afterlife a measure of correction, but everlasting torment, never.


Springfield Road,


Selfish attitude of your writers

I have just finished reading the current edition of the Mercury and am astounded by the selfish attitude of many of the correspondents who are obviously motorists, who advocate free parking throughout the town.

The gentleman who suggested Regent Street could be freed up to allow parking does not consider even pedestrians. Imagine the scenario whereby cars are parked, possibly both sides off the street, with numerous bus movements, plus lorries parking to unload to various premises. What an absolute nightmare!

I agree the parking strategy of the town needs looking at and surely, especially in the winter months when the public car parks are less busy, reduced costs or even free parking could be allowed, between say 10am to 4pm, to enable shoppers to get their purchases.

Unfortunately this would still not be enough to stop the slide of the town centre into almost oblivion. For too long our local councillors have been wringing their hands in anguish at the decline. But as soon as suggestions are raised to help alleviate the problems the same cry is heard: there is no money to help. I ask myself how many businesses could be helped on the £200,000 being spent on our new chief executive!


East Norfolk Transport Users Association

Enjoy life, it won’t hurt you

Firstly I would like to applaud Mr Barkhuizen on his entertaining commentary on the local church scene. Yes, back in the 1970s there were no satanic electric guitars then! God forbid having any fun, that’s for the heathen. However, the world has changed slightly since the good ‘ol days of 1975, take that into account. Go out and enjoy life, smile I promise it won’t hurt.

PS I love bouncy castles. Jesus loves them too.



Is God playing devil’s advocate?

How does Mr Hayes know that god didn’t in fact mean fool as in a person who acts unwisely or imprudently, a silly person? Or was god in fact playing devils advocate, leaving the word open to suggestion? The little tease! Mind you, it’s selective about the actual meaning of the bible. With over 50 different versions, no wonder there are many dubious of its meaning.

Any book with the term “version” should be questioned. I mean, if it’s god’s word then surely there should only be the one version? here are a couple of contradictions:

“The Lord is good to all” - Psalm 145:6. “I make peace and create evil. I the Lord do all these things” - Isaiah 45:7.

Or: “I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved” - Genesis 32:30. “No man hath seen God at any time” - John 1:18

As Mr Charnock points out, the bible is not a factual account. And I also agree with T Lilly, let’s keep religion out of the local letters. Reality is, if Christians were quiet you wouldn’t hear from Atheists. If Atheists were quiet, you would still hear from Christians.

Mr Gahan, correct. It’s the most deceitful and suppressing book known to man, it’s the biggest reason and cause of death we will ever know. It’s truly worrying.

Have a lovely week people, till the next chapter....



Worship comes from the heart

Well, well, Mr Barkuizen, here we go again, with constant criticism of those churches that have worship songs and a band is involved. Does God care about drums, bass guitars, electric guitars, etc being used to worship Him? The answer is a resounding no, as long as our worship comes from the heart.

I currently attend Cliff Park Community Church and on July 20, we held a “fun day”. This involved games, children having tiger faces painted on, a bouncy castle, a tea and coffee tent with cakes, and dear oh dear, a worship band, playing songs that were sung to and meant for God.

And the one thing that struck me as I was on the welcome gate and then seeing the people leave was how many leaving the “fun day” had smiles on their faces and said how much they enjoyed themselves. You see, they did not see us ramming the Bible down their throats. There are so many more ways to witness for Christ, like showing an example by the way we live, being honest,not partaking in gossip, being gentle etc and most of all, showing Christ is meaningful in our lives, by helping people, by being caring, by treating people the way that you would like to be treated. God is a “God of Love, Forgiveness,and Mercy”, as well as being a God of Judgment. Get the balance absolutely equal, Mr Barkuizen.

Christ mentioned an “eternal hell for those who reject him”, but He also made sure He told people that God “does not want a single person to go there, but for everyone to have eternal life.”


Turin Way,

Hopton on Sea

Toilets needed at Gapton park

Whether the stores move to Gapton Hall or not, has anyone considered the only toilet facilIties are those in McDonalds, unless you want to risk life and limb crossing to Tesco/B&Q.

Has anyone thought of building a new toilet block there? With the threatened impact of stranded pensioners I would have thought it was a necessity.

I feel certain buses will run to and from town and quite a few of us wrinklies do drive you know. We just can’t park in town. Apropos of nothing why does the Mercury give space to E Barkhuizen. Beware Mr B those fiery lakes might be nipping at your heels should they indeed exist. Don’t they say “Be still because the presence of the Lord is here”. Old Nick with his toasting fork and bluster is just that, bluster and filibuster to scare the masses.



Thanks Mary, and thanks all for the lively debate on religion. However, we’re closing this very long run of discussion. There are some letters which we didn’t have room for this week. They will be the final ones printed - until no doubt, the subject revives again later in the year!

Anne Edwards, Editor

Cliff Top Festival was brilliant

Congratulations to Vicky Webber, and other members of the organising team of Gorleston Cliff Top Gala. It was absolutely brilliant, especially the weather which they must really depend on.

There was huge crowds in the music arena listening to 18 bands over the weekend. All bands provided entertainment free of charge, with a special well done to Howie Marsh and his sound engineers.

The children’s arena featured Punch and Judy, magician, mask making, Professor Wild and a storyteller.

The event was attended by security marshalls, local police and medics alike not forgetting the guys picking up the litter making sure the 2014 festival was trouble free, well executed. The festival ended at 10pm with a fireworks display opposite the ravine, then came the mass exodus hundreds of happy well entertained crowd.

Congratulations, well done, you made us all happy!



Sad to see High Street shop go

Sorry to see that another specialist shop is closing in Gorleston High Street. The Dance shop has been there for nine years, giving wonderful service to the community, but customers are preferring to buy online rather than supporting their local traders. They’ll rue the day because there will be nothing left soon apart from cafes, charity shops and bookies. I’ve never written to a newspaper before but this sad news has prompted me to act. Such a shame!



Sort out these screaming gulls!

After seeing the report in a national newspaper I wonder if our council will take a leaf out of Plymouth City Council’s book and bring in fines for people feeding the seagulls. Year after year the situation gets worse with the seagulls screaming at all times of the day and night and, when they are raising their babies will attack you with no provocation.

Enough is enough, the mess on washing, windows, cars and people is beyond a joke. Something must be done.


Lancaster Road,

Great Yarmouth