Letters, February 5 2016

Thanks for the return of pouch

On Tuesday, January 26, I stupidly lost my pouch containing my bus pass and driving licence. On the evening of Thursday 28, a young lady returned them to me personally at home. Although I thanked her at the time, if she is reading the Great Yarmouth Mercury, I would like to thank her again.

This proves that there are still some caring people around.



Visit’s surreal relative find

I refer to an item “Father and son returned to find out more about ship building dynasty.”

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Through your pages I’d like to thank everyone who is involved in this journey of exploration – particularly Alan Hunt of Great Yarmouth Local History and Archaeological Society at whose invitation we had travelled to Great Yarmouth and who organised the visit to the original Crabtree shipbuilding site – now Alicat.

But there is a corollary to this story. Subsequent to the visit to the shipyard, Alan took us the following morning to the parish churchyard in Herringfleet where my grandfather was laid to rest together with several other members of the family.

Passing through St Olaves he pointed to a house which he believed had originally been occupied by a Crabtree.

Having travelled so far, I decided to approach the occupant and enquire if they might know anything about the family history.

What I discovered was the current occupant did indeed know a lot about the family history and she was a direct descendant of William Fox Crabtree, the founder of the dynasty.

She was, in fact my cousin. Until that moment neither she nor I had any inkling of each other’s existence – a truly surreal and emotional moment.

Once again I’d like to express my thanks to all involved in this truly extraordinary experience – particularly Great Yarmouth Local History and Archaeological Society to whom I owe a huge debt of thanks.


Llantwit Major.

Vale of Glamorgan

Precious little cash put back

Since the bowls club was set up in 1981 we have never had any major update or renovation of our venue or equipment. The original carpet wore out long ago and we have since had two hand-me-downs from other clubs. One from Browston and the other from Acle, and we were grateful for the donation.

Air conditioning was installed when the club was founded, but it failed and had to be removed. Because the bowls hall was then too hot, the ceiling was taken down to allow hot air to escape into the roof space. This exposed all the unsightly heating ducts and vents and the situation remains the same today. The only means of cooling is by four booster fans which suck in the outside air and blow it into the hall. We therefore have no control over the temperature but are reliant on the weather conditions, be it hot or cold.

The original lighting system became so outdated the fixtures couldn’t be replaced, so as they failed new ones were installed rink by rink. We were told a new set of lights was too expensive, so we have ended up with a bodge job which cast large shadows across the green.

We are the only club in the area to still be using the old fashioned flip- over scoreboards, all other venues have electronic versions with totaliser display. We had catering facilities until a few years ago when the kitchen was closed down in a health and safety campaign. So we lost the ability to hold money making social functions and provide meals for county and national competitions.

This was then followed by the closure of the bar area, where we had held quiz and race nights in the past, as it was deemed not to be financially viable. On the plus side we have been given a sprucing up of the toilets, carpeting of the walkways, new ditch liners, two hand rails for assistance onto the green, a coffee and water machine and a box of cots.

Despite all the negatives, it isn’t fixtures and fittings that make a club, it’s the members and we are a strong bunch who want to continue bowling, whether that is in an updated area within the Marina Centre, or in a new venue provided by the council.

We realise this is going to cost money but surely now is the time to use a little vision and help us attract more members and increase our revenue.

The findings of the Sport, Play and Leisure Strategy came up with the statement the bowls club isn’t financially viable. In the 31 years we have occupied the Marina Centre our members have contributed on average £20,000 per seven month season. This adds up to approx £620,000. Precious little of that has been ploughed back and we think it’s about time bowlers benefitted from some of that income.

Having been told at the council meeting it will still be some time before any decision is made on the redevelopment of the Marina Centre and therefore the future of the bowls club, I decided to add some further thoughts to the dialogue which might be of interest to you all.

Have you anything to add that I could have missed?



Great Yarmouth Indoor Bowls Club

Surgery award is well deserved

I read with interest your article regarding the outstanding rating awarded by the Care Quality Commission inspectors to the Park Surgery in Great Yarmouth. My family and I have been patients there ever since it was established and we cannot speak highly enough of the first class professional treatment and sympathetic consideration we have received from all the staff.

I have no doubt a great many people in the town share our appreciation.



Use the third bridge we have

With all the discussions and writing regarding the possible third Great Yarmouth river crossing costing millions of taxpayers money, why do the authorities not plumb for the obvious by utilising the crossing that already exists?

I’m referring to Vauxhall Bridge. With a relatively reasonable cost by building a simple new link from the current A12/A47 intersection to the existing dual Vauxhall Bridge, the original access route for the port can be reopened.

Knowing that the Victorians engineered the existing bridge to carry 70 ton steam locomotives with heavily loaded wagons, building lightweight cantilever walkways on both sides, would still permit pedestrian access to the railway station and Asda supermarket.

As a bonus existing traffic from the railway station and Asda approach would be able to enter the town without the double loop via the existing roundabout.

Knowing the A47 link to the north of England is on the cards plus with the port in experienced hands it would not be begging to request financial assisting from their management to subsidise Joe Public on a welcome improvement benefiting all.

For Great Yarmouth this solution would also ensure the future upkeep of another of the town’s historic monuments, Vauxhall Bridge.

As there have been many views regarding our councils needing to save costs perhaps Great Yarmouth Borough Council would consider the following? Between North Drive and the seafront there is a large council-run car park, currently locked. In the winter evenings this car park still has its lights flooding the vacant open areas. If the council arranged for the floodlights to not be switched on during winter evenings the daily power saving from this action would pay for the Town Hall’s interior electricity bill. Now that is a worthwhile saving venture.

Knowing that the normal functioning of councils covers many facets with power consuming functions there will no doubt be many more areas of power wastage that could be reduced or eliminated entirely saving millions of taxpayers expenditure across the nation. In the case of areas covered by the Mercury other readers may wish to expand upon this cost saving route?


Princes Road,

Great Yarmouth

Peter Pan was amazing theatre

I felt I had to write to you after the performance of Peter Pan at the Pavilion Theatre. The Stage Door production was absolutely fantastic and my children aged four and eight thoroughly enjoyed the excitement of the show.

The children in the show put on an amazing performance and it was such a magical evening. The staging was cleverly designed and my children faces were lit up and amazed by the flying scene in particular. I would like to say a special well done to Peter Pan and Wendy who had such beautiful voices and played the parts so well.

A fantastic evening had by all at an amazing theatre that is elegantly beautiful.



I was covered in mud too

No doubt some people think the letters I write in the Mercury have a touch of the VM about them (Victor Meldrew), and it is a sign you are getting old when your friends crack jokes about remembering when dinosaurs roamed the local building site.

Well, reading last week’s letters page I noticed another blast from the past, Mick Houghton, and was going to make a joke about stick in the muds, but I too ended up looking like a competitor from a mud wrestling competition after cycling down Cley Lane and falling off. What a mess. It has been a long time since I have been on a large building site in the winter, they are awful.

By the way, it was working for Mike when I helped build the new Grout bandage factory on the Harfreys estate in 1974. This factory was mentioned in the Mercury not so long ago and yes, I have some photos taken at the time.

Finally, as a nod to Jack Dye’s letter and others like it, I asked a young lady and her partner who had looked at houses in this area for comments and her reply was too expensive and no infrastructure. Well okay, this was just one comment and the only person I asked, but it is certainly suggestive.


Butt Lane,

Burgh Castle

The friendliest garage accolade

Three pensioners on their way home to north Herts on December 11 last year had the misfortune of their car breaking down at Herringfleet. We managed to nurse the car to Buckworth garage at St Olaves and asked for assistance. We were met with nothing but kindness.

One chap diagnosed a major fault with the automatic gearbox which, at this juncture, was irreparable. We were allowed to use their facilities and several phone calls were made on our behalf to Green Flag rescue services. Therefore, through your newspaper, I would like to declare that Buckworth garage deserves the accolade of being one of the friendliest garages one could ever use.


Plash Drive,


Congratulations to Park Surgery

Huge congratulations to the doctors, nurses and receptionists for their outstanding achievement at Park Surgery. They all do a very good job, just a terrible shame people fail to turn up for appointments. It just takes a phone call to cancel. Do these people not feel guilty? Everyone in this day and age has a phone so there is no excuse. Once again, well done.



Thanks for help after house fire

Regarding the house fire on January 20 in Daphne Way, Gorleston. We would like to say thank you to the fire brigade, police and the Red Cross, the lady who found my husband looking traumatised wandering around and brought him back to me, also Sylvia and Arthur Raven, who very quickly made us comfortable for the night which we very much appreciated.

Also all our friends who kept ringing us to see if we were okay.

But I’m sorry to say I couldn’t say the same for the gas board. They left us without any heating for two days. We were told by the police to ring our gas supplier which I did, Eon, and they sent us a national grid engineer who immediately said he couldn’t do it as they only work on outside pipework. We were told we would have to get a private engineer for the inside work, which included checking everything and pay them which we think is very unfair as the fire was nothing to do with us.

We didn’t start it but are paying the price in more ways than one.

Also Eon says they have had no contact with me regarding this issue. Why then did they send a national grid engineer to say they couldn’t do the job?


Daphne Way,


Pedestrian cross way is needed

There has been a couple of Mercury letters recently regarding road maintenance in Bradwell and the need for signs along the new Beacon Park link road. I would like to draw attention to a long-standing roads issue which appears to be ignored.

For decades now, since the A12 relief road was built along the old railway line, there has been a need for a pedestrian crossing at the Middleton Road and Lowestoft Road roundabout. This is across the A12 from Elmhurst Close to the old Lowestoft Road.

There are shops and a bus stop which can only be reached by crossing the A12 at this point (the footbridge is a long detour and not useful for people who find walking difficult).

The crossing is busy and dangerous, and used not just by elderly people but many school kids walking home from Cliff Park. At rush hours, it is virtually impossible to cross without a very long wait.

I would like to ask local councillors and highways people to get this crossing properly finished (clearly a crossing was intended here because the central reservation has railings in place) and at the very least get some signs put up to warn motorists of the presence of pedestrians (there are no signs at present). Not only do cars come up the A12 from Great Yarmouth but often corner at speed down onto the relief road from Middleton Road.

Particularly irritating is the promptness with which a full pedestrian crossing was put in place across the A12 near the Beacon Park roundabout. I would suggest this will have limited use, unlike the Elmhurst Close crossing which is frequently used and crying out for a crossing for years now. I notice too that some safety railings have been put in place along Gorleston Promenade, to stop people walking off the grassy cliffs. So, clearly there is money about!

Perhaps local councillors will make a move on the road crossing, in time for the May elections, please!


Upper Cliff Road,


Democracy is being attacked

Ours is supposedly the oldest parliamentary democracy in the world, and we talk often of our British belief in fair play. Yet with the Trade Union Bill, this Government are putting these values at risk.

We’ve already seen them make it harder to register to vote, soon they will redraw the Parliamentary map in a way that benefits the Conservative Party. Furthermore, hidden in the Trade Union Bill is a clause that is deliberately designed to cut off trade unions’ financial support for the Labour Party - while doing nothing to limit the hedge funds and millionaires that support the Tories.

They’re attacking democracy by silencing opposition, whether it’s from unions, campaigners, or charities; and by changing the rules to make it harder for anyone else to win an election.

As the House of Lords debate the Bill over the next weeks, I can only hope the Government will take the opportunity to embody the values of democracy and decency they claim to support, and drop these unfair proposals.


Exmouth Road,

Great Yarmouth

Memories of Chippy Brown

In reply to Jean Lavallee’s request for information: Chippy Brown was the commander of Great Yarmouth Sea Cadets when I was a member in the 1950s.

The ships under his control were the TS Ocean Emperor, an old Yarmouth fishing drifter registrarion YH172, which had been stripped of its steam engine and converted to the sea cadet training base It was no longer mobile and was moored on the South Quay by Friars Lane.

The other boat was an MFV, an ex naval vessel and Crabtrees engineers changed her petrol engine for a diesel engine. This ship was seaworthy and Commander Brown used this to train cadets



Norfolk Pillar is far from lost

I was puzzled by remarks made by J Deemer in his/her recent letter - in particular the reference to Nelson’s Monument or to give its correct title the Norfolk Pillar. What is meant by this “historic and majestic Monument is lost to everyone”? How is it lost?

The monument has stood for almost 200 years in the very spot chosen by the people of Yarmouth to commemorate a national hero. The area was very different at that time and the monument stood in the centre of a racecourse which the East Norfolk Militia used to exercise their horses.

Each part of the monument was chosen for a specific reason including Britannia herself and even the way she faces is significant (contrary to popular belief she does not face Burnham Thorpe - Nelson’s birthplace) She could be seen by passing ships approximately 17 miles out to sea.

In 2004 ahead of the bicentenary of the Battle of Trafalgar, a £1m project was undertaken to restore the monument where it was cleaned and repaired. Since this time the monument has been opened to the public for a limited amount of days each year.

A fantastic group of volunteers give their free time enabling both locals and visitors to make an ascent and learn the history of this Grade 1 listed monument.

In response to the quote regarding industry being pushed into this area by successive councils, I agree not much thought was given to the heritage of this area over the years when such decisions were made but hindsight is a wonderful thing. However the growth of this area did bring industry and jobs to the town which have benefited the majority of residents over the years. I am also told by many who worked in the area often spent their lunchtimes sitting at the monument.

As a councillor, Yarmouth born and bred, I have lived both in town and village and I do indeed know what deprivation looks like. I try to help countless residents with problems that have often resulted from some form of deprivation. So please J Deemer don’t generalise or make assumptions about councillors you have never met.

Finally, please can I take this opportunity to appeal anyone who might like to join our team of Guides at the Monument for later in the year to contact the Nelson Museum for an application form or contact me directly for more details.


Yarmouth Borough Council