Letters, August 12, 2016

Greyfriars doctor spotted illness

I am writing to express my opinion on the closure of Greyfriars walk in centre.

Early one morning four years ago my daughter Jo phoned the out of hours surgery as my granddaughter had been coughing up blood through the night. The doctor on call advised best not to move her and give plenty of fluids and to take paracetamol, and said the blood was probably from the strain of coughing. At no point was this classed as an emergency, and the doctor was happy to make this assumption over the phone. Very unhappy, my daughter, thank goodness, feeling this was not adequate advice drove from Martham to Greyfriars walk in centre, and was able to see a doctor face to face. By this time my granddaughter was getting steadily worse. And the doctor advised her to go straight to James Paget Hospital where she was diagnosed with pneumonia after having an X-ray, put on a drip, and was in hospital for three days, and was very poorly.

So, when your doctors surgery is closed, and you feel the need to see a doctor for assessment like in my daughter’s case, when it’s out of hours, as she was not happy with the diagnosis over the phone, it’s so important to be able to make a choice, and be able to have a diagnosis and prescribe relevant treatment or be advised to go to hospital, in which case she was.

A report in last week’s Mercury, said the James Paget Hospital was having high attendance figures between July 1 and July 29. It was said this is the highest figure in the hospital’s history.

I felt the need to ask why are they closing Greyfriars, it needs to keep open. We need it even more, it would help ease the situation at the Paget. It was stated it is not used as much as it should be. Advertise it more round the town, and in local papers

Perhaps people will go in for advice and diagnosis and this could help to take the pressure off the James Paget where all who work there do a wonderful job.

Most Read


Repps Road,


Paget expansion: where to park?

Plans to improve the JPH (Mercury, August 5), are certainly impressive, if long overdue. When you go to the hospital you have to believe the treatment received is the best that can possibly be given. Experience suggests this is almost always indeed the case at the Paget.

One of the main worries associated with a visit is therefore just how long it will take to be seen at A&E - and hopefully this very issue is being addressed by the current forward planning taking place, again not a minute too soon. An even bigger worry would appear to be where on earth you are going to park, and any mention of this in the forward planning seems conspicuous by its absence.

What a wonderful opportunity this would be to take a leaf out of the book of those enlightened hospital trusts in Wales and Scotland, and I may have heard that there are some in England too, by announcing the new, refurbished JPH will also be offering free hospital parking.

I am not exactly holding my breath however.


Collingwood Road,

Great Yarmouth

Caravans hold up was surreal

I know if you were travelling from Acle a couple of days ago towards Billockby-Filby, you may not have been smiling because of the traffic hold up, which was petty bad, behind two Romany Gypsy caravans.

I felt though it was not really different to traffic jams the hay haulage tractors cause... just more beautiful to see in such an automated world of noise, speed and size of transportation.

I had seen them parked up on the verge opposite the Acle M&S and petrol station and the area around them was spotless. The horses looked so healthy and the owners gave a wave as I passed.

I did get caught up behind them and when I turned off I wanted to get in front to get a photograph. When they passed me in the layby just near Billockby the smiles and waves from both caravans were plentiful... and there were no worries about the traffic passing so close.

It was surreal really to see the ornately carved caravan and the man at the front almost oblivious to what was behind but just with the horses so pristine plodding through the beautiful Norfolk countryside with no cares in the world.

Thank you for this wonderful experience, that just showed what pace of life we could take if we wanted.



Building policy destroys villages

I have lived in Martham all of my life and since 1983 have resided at Rising Way, where the latest outline planning proposal is about to be submitted.

I think I speak for most of the Martham residents that enough is enough of the overbuild of properties/housing estates in the village. This policy of build, build, build, wherever and whatever has destroyed not only Martham but other coastal parishes such as Hemsby, Ormesby, Caister etc.

The current infrastructure of this village cannot cope at present, some of the points in question:

1 No parking in the .village

2 Roads become “clogged” with cars/buses/ especially along Black Street, a very narrow road where we have the middle school, elderly sheltered housing, plus the church

3 The medical centre despite claims from authorities etc is overstretched and overburdened.

4 Issues with flooding; this never used to occur, but with properties now built on what was flood relief, flooding is now very common.

With regard to the land agents/estate agents’ claim regarding the positive aspects that more development will bring. The truth is there will only be more disruption, chaos and upheaval and more importantly this will not involve much local long term employment.

Yes, these are described as “affordable” but strangely many of the purchasers are people wishing to re-locate from London, Essex, Midlands etc hoping to enjoy a quiet retirement.

Is the landowner prepared to invest in a multi-storey car park somewhere in the village or I would expect the next move will be to convert our lovely village greens for parking Also will Norfolk County Council install a roundabout at the exit of Repps Road onto the A149?

Name and Address withheld

Why no evening hydraulic lift taxi?

My stepdad has MS and is wheelchair dependent. He cannot get access to anywhere as he has no feeling from his waist down, he also has only one leg.

We went out for tea on a Sunday recently, getting a taxi with a hydraulic lift at 4.45pm to get his wheelchair into the vehicle.

When we wanted to go home at 6.30pm, I called the four main taxi companies in Yarmouth but not one of them had a hydraulic lift taxi available. We had no choice but to walk home; my dad was freezing.

It’s absolutely disgraceful in this day and age. Do these taxi firms think that disabled people don’t go out after 5pm?



Please muzzle powerful dogs

Please publish a warning to owners of large, powerful dogs. Today a Rottweiler managed to slip his lead, despite the efforts of his owner, and came after my muzzled greyhound on Gorleston seafront. A very frightening experience which could have been a lot worse as neither dog was injured.

The gentleman concerned was most apologetic. But I beg owners of large, powerful dogs to use a muzzle on them when out in public. The heat could well have exacerbated the problem. No-one wants a dead or injured dog, or worse, a child.



Reassuring to see legacy rejected

Referring to Judith Daniels’ comprehensive letter, how reassuring to see the Blair legacy and subversion being rejected!


Falcon Court,

Great Yarmouth

Pond incident was terrifying

Myself, my father and brother went down to Gorleston yacht pond with our model boats, as we have done regularly since the 1980s as my father built them. They always draw a crowd and some holidaymakers (about 10 to 14 of them) were asking lots of questions.

They wanted a go, a request we often get, but we said no as the craft cost a few hundred pounds and it takes talent to control them. One boy, about nine years old, kept harassing my son, aged seven, for a go with his boat, and he said no. The parents then egged him on to push my son in the water, and he did. My son cannot swim and was frightened out of his life. Thankfully others rushed to his rescue and pulled him out, but the parents of the boy who pushed him laughed and thought it hilarious! The police did attend after they got mouthy and I did get their registration plates.

A group of girls went and got my son a towel and brought him some sweets.

Me, my brother and father have been coming here for years and this is the worst thing that has ever happened to us! What is happening to the world!



Dykes controlled the rain drainage

Last week, while reading Anne Burcham’s letter concerning the flooding on Burgh Road, Gorleston, my memory was stirred into thinking back to the 1940s.

Burgh Road has a bit of history. It was the southern boundary of marshland which caused it to develop only on its southern side. The northern boundary of the marsh being Suffolk Road.

Drainage of the water then was controlled by dykes; a sluice gate for the main drain around Queen Anne’s Road, with a pumping station situated at the junction of Malthouse Lane and Beccles Road where there now stands three toilets.

I wonder now if there is still a pumping station on this site? If it is, curiosity gets me wondering if these pumps are powerful enough to cope with today’s volume of water?

Water, we all know, does not flow uphill without assistance! Massive sewer pipes are all well and good but if the water does not flow without this assistance, further infrastructure is needed.

Now, with the Gapton Hall development perhaps this is being coped with in some other way?


Gonville Road,


A blooming good show in borough

Gardens and allotments around the borough will be judged by the In Bloom organisation again soon. Anyone may freely notice the proud efforts of those who take care of their surroundings for flowers and produce.

The parks department keeping St George’s tidy compensates somewhat for residents and visitors after the shocking fire in Regent Road. Thanks to all concerned.


Mill Lane,


Reg Kray meek and compliant

Concerning doubts about Reginald Kray’s stay at Blundeston Prison: I was told by a senior officer at the prison that Reginald had acted as what amounted to his servant. He was described as meek, compliant and small, all characteristics which some may find surprising.

That was some years ago, after visits by prisoners to local homes had been stopped to protect them from predatory women who were attracted to convicts. Doubts about his stay at Blundeston may have arisen because websites for some unknown reason mention only Reginald’s stay at Maidstone and Wayland.

Name and address withheld

The town needs to be redesigned

What a sad day and a disaster for the town. The fire on Regent Road could not have happened at such an important time with the summer in full flow. I hope the council can help the people and their businesses to get up and running very soon.

The town has, unfortunately many empty shops, but these businesses need to be in the Regent Road or seafront areas.

What is happening to the old Regent Cinema? It looks very closed and empty when you walk past; this could be used as an indoor market? The old BhS store could be made into a bowling alley and bar, because no-one will use it as a shop, it is too big.

And what is being done to the Winter Gardens, this could be made into an indoor market, but alas no-one will spend any money on it, if we are not careful, the Winter Gardens could be destroyed, if nothing is done to it.

The sad thing is the town needs to be redesigned completely, I do think that holidaymakers come up from seafront and once they get to McDonald’s, from coming up Regent Road they think the town has ended. You can’t sea the Market Place from the top of Regent Road, and the Victoria Arcade is to one side and is not highlighted.

Also all these holidaymakers never seem to go on to the quay and to the many museums and see the boats in the harbour. For historical reasons Regent Street is a dog leg from Regent Road, so it is time for Regent Road to go from the seafront right down to the quay. Then the holidaymakers will get the full Great Yarmouth experience.



Delighted to see fire diver picture

When Pleasurewood Hills announced fire diving in their programme a couple of years ago, I wrote to the Mercury and Journal to remind readers there had been a fire diver in this area before - Rex Reed. Nobody responded.

Lo and behold I was delighted to see, in last Friday’s Mercury, a colour photo of one of Rex’s dives! I met him and his wife in the summer of 1964 but never actually saw him perform as I was invariably at work so I was pleased (and surprised) to see that photo.

Despite the large crowd in attendance, Rex did not make a fortune from his daredevil act and struggled to survive. As soon as the performance was over and Mrs Reed came along with the hat, the crowd (in typical fashion) melted away!

I don’t know where he was in 1965 but in 1966 I saw his board outside the South Pier at Lowestoft. I never saw reference to him ever again. He was not a local man and visited tourist areas wherever the crowds were likely to be.

Rex’s jump was different to the diver at Pleasurewood Hills (a performance I have seen). The latter set fire to his or her clothes and jumped into water. Rex set fire to the sea before jumping. Would setting fire to the sea be allowed nowadays? A gallon of petrol then would have set him back four shillings and ten pence (just under 25p now), allowable against expenses?

Your correspondent Mr Woolford mentioned the Del Monico Hotel opposite the Britannia Pier, owned by the late Percy Warnes. His brother had the Savoy Restaurant and hotel in Pier Walk opposite the Floral Hall in Gorleston.

After Percy retired, he and his wife ran a Mace convenience store at Witton Green in Lowestoft. I recognised their names on the top of the shop - “Percy and Hanni Warnes”. Percy’s name was removed over 20 years ago after he passed away, leaving Hanni to run the shop for a few more years until she retired when her name too disappeared.

I have had opportunity to look around the Britannia Pier recently. What a sorry site! No fishing from there any more, feeling the structure shake as waves crashed into it.

When I did a seasonal job on the pier in the summer of 1960, the sea came at least half way along. The Billy Fury show was in full swing that summer (matinees only) and Billy often took a break walking around the pier.

In the photo published last week can be seen the steps on the left where customers descended for a short, high speed trip in Toby Sutton’s speedboat. The steps have long gone - and the speedboats!

56 years ago? Seems like last year!



Bridle ways are not maintained

I recently contacted the council regarding the overgrown bridle paths in the Bradwell area, Jews Lane and Clay Lane. I was told point blank these are no longer going to be maintained by either the local or highways departments.

When the Bradwell relief road was opened they installed wooden corrals to protect users from the main road traffic and also re-surfaced Jews Lane behind the Oriel School, which is very busy with schoolchildren walking to and from school.

Whilst I accept this is a very low priority in the grand scheme of things it sticks in my gut that someone within the local council has authorised the spending of people’s taxes on resurfacing bridle paths, installing bridle way signs plus promoting the ethos that we as a nation should do more exercise, only to find areas of natural beauty and long established walks through the countryside are no longer there for us to enjoy.



Ashamed to be from this town

After living and working overseas for the last 15 years, it’s always good to come back to Norfolk once a year and to visit the town of Great Yarmouth where I grew up and had so much fun.

But I have to say now each year I return I become more and more disappointed with what I come back to. I took a drive around the old town in July, what did I see? Pubs boarded up, shops boarded up, roundabouts overgrown with weeds, pavements overgrown with weeds, rubbish everywhere, seagull droppings on park and market benches where people like to sit, the list goes on and on. What once was a bustling town with tourists and a portion of industry to support employment has become what I can only describe as the “armpit” of Norfolk, and I am truly ashamed to admit this town is where I am from.

I hope Great Yarmouth borough councillors are very proud of themselves.



Cliff top gala was fantastic weekend

Wow, what a fantastic weekend was celebrated at the annual Gorleston cliff top gala. I attended with my family on both days and was amazed at all the support from different participants.

A special thanks to all the organisers and staff involved in the preparation and the clean up and I would like to say a massive thank you to everyone who supported this event to make it a great success and also to everyone who attended to see what great events can be showcased within the borough.


Gorleston ward

Gratitude to the 999 services

I’m sure many of us have been listening to people’s opinions about the fire on Regent Road last Friday, it truly Is devastating for all concerned. I live very close to the scene and watched as the whole thing unravelled, but my letter is not about the fire, it’s to express my gratitude to all of the emergency services, I was woken at around 3.30 am and watched police and fire crews arrive.

I am well aware this is their job, but you don’t get fires like this to tackle everyday, and those men and women carried out their duties as if they were being instructed from a manual.

I would like to say a massive thank you to all of those people, especially the policeman who waited for my daughter and I to leave our house, you should all be very proud of yourselves. I can honestly say my family is very proud of you. Thank you.


Saxon Road,

Great Yarmouth

Open up stores to help the traders

After the major fire in Regent Road on Friday, leaving traders out of business and losing hundreds, if not thousands, of pounds out of the pocket, the council is saying it wants to help them set up again for the summer season.

Would it be possible to open up the empty M&S store or even BhS store for a few weeks to help out. That could happen sooner rather than later and they could still be in the location near to where they were.

It may seem a lot to ask but seems to be an answer. It was such a sad day on Friday, August 5, my thoughts go out to the people involved, and praise for all the services involved. It must have been difficult for all.


The Pastures,


Jeremy Corbyn is not up to the job

As a member of the electorate who is certainly not in despair, but positively enjoying the thorough shake-up underway in British politics, I really must respond to Judith A Daniels to bring a spark of reality to her mazy, existential and epistolatory cri de coeur in last week’s letters page.

I have always been politically left of centre, but it is very obvious to me that Jeremy Corbyn is just not up to the job. He inspires little confidence, is often vague and unsure when interviewed, and has presented me with no clear and inviting picture at all of his vision for the country. In short a man uncomfortable in his suit of clothes, or rather tank top and flares as one witty Labour MP has observed, which does bring us straight on to the demise of BhS.

The parallels are obvious, with both BhS and the Labour party failing to keep pace with changes in society, lack-lustre presentation, and a product range that few wanted any more, even at knock-down prices. People at the top may well be intent on feathering their own nests, but the whole management team and their strategy over several years are the real culprits in failures like this.

She wants a way forward where everyone has their rightful say and not just the privileged few; well we just had a referendum where they did have their say, but she and the top people didn’t like the result at all. It’s our democracy Judith, and by definition the people never get it wrong. Throw off the dull, out of date and unstylish “BhS” politics and get ready to welcome what’s coming next, or should I say Next!


Cliff Hill,


Hospital staff are angels on earth

I would like to say a big thank you to all auxiliary staff; Jane, Audrey, Anita, Diane and Mitch. to name but a few, as well as nurses, all staff who looked after my husband Paul for all his needs for the nine to 10 weeks on ward 6 of the James Paget Hospital - and to me when I had my little wobbly moments.

It’s not just the patients they look after but their visitors too. Nothing was too much for them. Angels on earth.


Hughs Green,


Gorleston lifeboat history please

I hope your readers might be able to help me. I am carrying out some research into the Gorleston Volunteer Lifeboat, and their service throughout the late 19th century and early 20th century. I am particularly interested in two rescues undertaken by the Elizabeth Simpson which resulted in special medals being awarded.

The first was the loss of the Christean on the 14 October 1903, and the second was the loss of the SS War Valley in February 1919.

I would love to hear from any readers who might have stories or photos of the lifeboat and her crew, and I’m working on a project to catalogue surviving medals awarded to the crew so would love to hear from any readers who have examples of the medals, or know of surviving medals

Any help would be great. I can be emailed on johnnieshipley@hotmail.com



Methodist Chapel stood on BhS site

I have spent the last two weeks at BhS on Regent Road courtesy of the manager Maria and Jane, whose patience and help I am most grateful for, both making notes and taking photographs on the shop floor and behind the scenes. This is something that I have been doing for some years now, in order to have a record of Great Yarmouth as it was.

I was able to take many images of the upper areas of the shop where the stock was kept along with various offices and was surprised by how big the area was. A box of old photographs (over 400) was discovered which I have scanned, these show many displays over the years, some social events including presentations, carnival float etc.

These I intend to archive.

I also intend at a later date to gather as much information on British Home Stores in Great Yarmouth to complete my mini archive. Several local people can remember the store’s predecessor Greens but were unaware during the 1800’s that it was a Methodist Church. The crypt is still believed to be under the present building.

If anybody is interested in contributing information, images or just comments could they do so through the good offices of the “Merc”.

Finally, may I record here how impressed I was with each and every member of staff who, although knowing that their jobs were gone, continued faithfully, courteously and with dignity serving these final customers up until the last minutes before closure. You were a great credit to yourselves and the town.



Regent Bowl was always busy

I was sorry to hear of the devastating fire which destroyed the Regent Bowling building. I first started going there in 1974 and it was always busy.


St Margaret’s Way,


So, this village land is unused?

Reference Repps Road, Martham, housing development proposal. The Mercury stated that this development was on unused land. Admittedly the proposed entrance site is not used and has not been for several years.

However I was intrigued to see a combine harvester gathering wonderful grain for food use trundling up and down this “unused” land on the evening of Monday, August 8. Unused? Really?


Repps Road,