Letters, January 21
How long before you’re a local?
YOUR front page article, January 14, regarding Mr Frank Jackson seems to perpetuate the insular mentality of people in Hemsby, be they Norfolk born and bred or outsiders who have settled there.
Many years ago, I attended a funeral in the village and overheard a lady, who was well in her eighties, saying that another elderly lady was not a Hemsby person because the great-grandfather of the person who was speaking could remember the other lady’s family moving into the village. This would have meant that the “newcomer” had arrived as recently as the 1860s!
When I was on the parish council in the 1990s, a debate was held as to whether a man, who had died in Cambridgeshire, should be buried in the parish cemetery. The man in question had lived in the village from at least the 1940s and was forced to move away to be cared for during his last illness. Eventually, permission was granted!
I have been the Pastor of the Evangelical Congregational Church in the village since 1982. At that time the churchyard was completely overgrown and neglected, as were the outbuildings and the land at the rear of the chapel.
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It took my wife and I two solid weeks to clear the churchyard of the grass and weeds, during which time, we uncovered many gravestones which had been buried. When my wife’s father passed away he was interred in our churchyard. A number of months later my wife was berated by an elderly friend of ours, who was a church member, as to why this had occurred as we were “outsiders”. There are many other instances of a similar vein which could be quoted.
My wife and I empathise greatly with Mrs Jackson and the family in this matter and would convey to them our deepest commiserations. To be treated so unkindly following their bereavement must have added a great deal to their sorrow.
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FRANK LITTLE Revd
Hemsby Evangelical Congregational Church
Parish council needs shake-up
RE last week’s Mercury Page One story “You’re not villagers, widow told”, what a disgraceful way to treat a family in grief.
There are very strong feelings of discontent among the villagers for the way this case and others have been handled by the council.
There are many instances concerning the way the burial ground is operated, including charging double fees for loved ones to be reunited in the same plot, and no one is allowed to reserve a plot for themselves although they were born and bred in the village.
Residents of Hemsby: are you happy with your parish council? When decisions are being made are they putting your views across? When the next parish council elections are due it’s your chance to make your mark and change the members of the existing PC.
If you would be interested in standing as a candidate or would like to nominate somebody (with their permission), then please get in touch with Great Yarmouth Borough Council for a nomination form, from the Returning Officer.
Name and Address withheld
Disgraceful way to treat family
BODIES of servicemen killed abroad are now being brought home to be buried near their families.
It seems that Hemsby Parish Council were doing it the other way. I think it is disgraceful that Mr Frank Jackson’s family were treated like this.
I am also a Korea veteran, who served with the 1st Battalion Royal Norfolk Regiment.
J FRANK MOORE
Burial row laid to rest at meeting
A ROUTINE meeting of Hemsby Parish Council was held on Monday. At the meeting were county councillor Jim Shrimplin and George Jermany, one of Hemsby’s borough councillors. Shirley Weymouth, the parish clerk, is also a borough councillor for the village.
There were several parishioners, representatives of the Korean War Veterans Association, a local publican, a representative of the parish church and family of Frank Jackson, who died on December 23, and whose funeral had been cancelled following the refusal of the parish council to allow his burial in Hemsby burial ground, as they said he had not been a resident of the parish.
Chairman of the council Bob Reynolds, invited members of the public to address the council. Cllr Shrimplin spoke first and set out his understanding of the parish council’s right to control the burial ground, which was the property of the council.
A member of the Korean Veterans Association spoke next and made a powerful argument for Mr Jackson, an artillery gunner in Korea in 1950-53 who had been severely burned in action, to be buried in Hemsby where he had lived since 2003.
A local publican told the meeting the terribly bad national publicity the council’s decision had brought to Hemsby would probably affect the holiday trade in 2011, which many businesses and employees in the holiday trade were dependent on.
A former chairman of the parish council, who had been chairman when the rules governing the burial ground were brought in, explained that people who had holidayed at Hemsby over many years were wishing to be buried in the village and, as there was limited space in the burial ground it had been decided that use of the burial ground be restricted to parishioners only.
He went on to say he understood that the burial was being refused on the grounds that Mr Jackson was not a resident because planning rules meant he must vacate his caravan between mid January and the end of February.
He asked the council if he himself took three months holiday in Spain to save on heating costs would this mean he was not a resident?
Finally he suggested to the council that if they persisted in wanting to discuss the question of allowing Mr Jackson’s burial in private with press and public removed they would be breaking the rules as a council could only exclude the public if public knowledge could financially adversely affect the council.
There was further comment from the Jackson family and from other parishioners. At one point it was said it was not the council which had cancelled Mr Jackson’s proposed funeral, but one of the churchwardens then asked if the funeral had been held could Mr Jackson have been buried in the burial ground and the reply was “No”.
At this stage it became apparent that none of the parish councillors had been aware of the impasse over Mr Jackson’s burial until they read the story in The Mercury.
The meeting became quite noisy as members of the council each spoke to disclaim all knowledge of the problem prior to the publication in the Mercury. Cllr Keith Kyriacou then proposed that the item dealing with Mr Jackson’s burial be brought forward and discussed now and in public. This was seconded at once and all but one voted that the burial should go ahead.
Cllr Brooks proposed the burial ground rules should be revised, this was seconded and all were in agreement.
Name and Address withheld
Cannot fault this caring hospital
ALL too often we hear people moaning about our local hospital.
I was admitted to hospital on December 30 as I had gone into labour four weeks early.
As I cannot have children naturally and have to have a caesarean, I was very nervous but I was looked after so well in the delivery suite.
Just five minutes after my operation started, my gorgeous little boy was delivered, very tiny at 4lb 8oz, and was taken to special care as he also has a kidney problem. The attention they gave to him and us was outstanding and we couldn’t say a bad word about any of the hospital staff from the nurses down to the cleaners.
My room was cleaned daily and everyone was really friendly. My son stayed in special care for 10 days and was really well looked after.
I would like to say thank you to everyone who helped us during our stay and keep up the good work. We will never forget you.
Mrs AMANDA POWELL
Important card still not delivered
READING the report about the Christmas card which took three weeks to travel half a mile prompted me to write.
Last year, we lost a close member of our family very suddenly. As the first Christmas after a bereavement is very poignant for the partner, a carefully chosen Christmas card was dispatched to show we cared.
It was posted the second week of December with three dozen others; to date the card has not been delivered. Its destination was Norwich which is no distance at all.
Had I not have asked, the person concerned would not have told me she hadn’t received it and would have thought I hadn’t bothered to send a card.
I am still very annoyed at the incompetence of the postal service and will seriously consider hand delivering my cards, where possible, next Christmas.
How can move boost revenue?
Regarding the Register Office move, I do not know (and the article does not state) which services they will be moving.
I assume it is all sections. If this is the case then where will the marriages be held in the Town Hall? How will this “provide an income stream for the borough”? If income is moved it is only transferring revenue not making any more.
Oh I forgot, if marriages are held there, where will the persons attending the ceremony park their vehicles? Yes, that’s right, in a council-run car park if you can find a vacant space in the summer, and remember to leave plenty of time to get there. Parking is free at Ferryside.
Want some photographs after the ceremony? The Town Hall is not a photogenic situation, just look at the front of the building. There are noticeboards either side of the entrance, there is a cigarette stub bin on one side and the main hall is cramped and there is a public pavement.
Finally, it’s in the shade for most of the day, facing north, so it’s going to be cold and windy. How much will it cost to open the Town Hall as it is closed on Saturdays?
If staff have to come in they will expect to be paid a minimum of X number of hours, this will include not only the legal staff but also security and cleaning staff.
Revenue stream? That’s what they said about residents’ parking permits.
Jetty too historic to lay to waste
I SEE with concern that borough councillors on the development control committee had yet another proposal before them at their meeting on January 18 concerning the removal of the remaining jetty structure.
I am in full agreement with the letter from Derek Leak, treasurer of Great Yarmouth Archaeological and Local History Society, who expressed the view: “Before this decision is taken, I hope the significance of this site to the history and development of Great Yarmouth and the United Kingdom will be reconsidered by our 21st century burgesses.”
We all know that the remaining structure above ground is largely the work of the 1960s, and the proposal being considered now results partly from the neglect of the borough to keep the jetty structure in good repair in the intervening years.
Of course, the financial climate is not a good one to consider undertaking a rebuilding of the jetty. However, I was under the firm impression when Margaret Gooch, secretary of the Archaeological Society and I had a meeting with the head of regeneration and environment and the then conservation officer, that he would suggest the council develop a scheme to carry out the minimum repairs to make the jetty safe, leaving the remainder of the wooden structure in place.
Efforts would then be made over possibly quite a long period of time to restore the reminder of the structure. Is this consultation? Has the council reneged on this position?
English Heritage might have decided not to list the site for lack of information on what might lie below the surface. The council admits the site, which lies within a conservation area, being provided with a History Panel, on its own, is no compensation for the loss of the timber structure.
Photographs attached to the council’s report just add weight to the neglect of a structure which it should have been preserving as a major heritage site in a town which is supposed to promote its historical past.
The department of the environment’s policy dealing with ancient monuments and heritage sites would only permit the demolition of an unlisted building in a conservation area where the building makes no material contribution to the character or appearance of the area.
It is admitted by the council that the wooden jetty structure does make a contribution. The department will operate a presumption in favour of retaining any building which makes a positive contribution to the character or appearance of a conservation area.
In determining proposals for demolition of unlisted buildings the department will therefore take account of the part played in the architectural or historic interest of the area by the building for which demolition is proposed and make appropriate arrangements for recording the building before its demolition.
Norfolk Landscape Archaeology have responded professionally and disagree with the assessment of English Heritage, noting the wooden structure is incapable of being listed, being a structure stretching into the sea on an accreting beach. It goes on to say that the asset is of equivalent historical significance being the main pedestrian entry to Great Yarmouth, its association with William Prince of Orange and Lord Nelson and owing to its role in shaping the extra-mural street pattern of Great Yarmouth.
I submit that a thorough archaeological excavation needs to be part of the process before any further action takes pace. After all, the Elizabethan Rose Theatre was located on London’s South Bank and a careful archaeological excavation was carried out before the development continued, and the ground works of the theatre can still be viewed.
Why should a site in the town which probably contained the first marine pier to be built in England in 1560, where 18th century warships landed their captains at Yarmouth, which was a principal naval port and where Nelson himself departed from and landed after his battle victory at Copenhagen in the early 19th century, be treated any less favourably than these.
The site needs designating as an Ancient and Historical Monument with the council complying with all the conditions before attempting a destruction.
The documentation of the jetty construction and continual repairs is firmly recorded in the town records from the time of Manship (1619), Swinden (1772), Palmer (1872-75) and Crisp (1884).
There is a firm basis for an archaeological study. If councillors really want to put the town on the map, they should contact Time Team, who have had an enormously high profile in archaeology, heritage and discovery via TV for many years, to work with the Gressinghall Unit.
Now we know the real pecking order
SO the jetty and now Gorleston Pier are to be consigned to be backburner.
Well now we know, the only thing that matters is the outer harbour.
Miss R L FARMER
Join us on next twin town visit
IN 2011 we will be celebrating 55 years of twinning with Rambouillet and would like as many people as possible to be involved.
Have you been involved in the past, and would you like to renew your contact with Rambouillet? If so we should like to hear from you. If you have not been involved with twinning in the past and would like to know more about Rambouillet and the twinning then now is your chance. We have a coach booked for a group visit to Rambouillet for June 24-27 and you are welcome to join us. You will pay only your coach fare and spending money, stay with a family in Rambouillet, at their expense, and then take part in the programme of events our hosts plan for us. Any one in the borough is eligible to be part of twinning, so please get in touch on 01493 393416.
Chairman of Twinning
So simple to give pier a makeover
I HAVE read for the last two years about the Gorleston Pier, owned by Eastport, and I wonder sometimes who is running Eastport. For two years, the citizens of Gorleston have written about the loss of the pier to cars. Now it seems that Eastport want to close it to pedestrians. I would like to ask why? Yes, we know the road is pock marked with holes, etc but still why? Is the pier crumbling under the sea line? Have they actually had a report on that? If it isn’t crumbling under the sea line, why don’t they spend a few bob and redo the road and rent sections to stall holders, like someone selling fishing gear, or hand made articles, paintings, bead-work etc. This way it could be a thriving area. Perhaps have car boot sales in the summer.
If the pier is crumbling under the sea line, then we know it’s structural and maybe, just maybe something can be done about it. You could make it a holiday attraction with buskers doing their thing like they do in Covent Garden, London. It might take a bit of time to get it off the ground and known but a little advertising would not go amiss.
Rose deserves to put her feet up
WHAT sad news it is that Rose Good has had to make the difficult decision to close her charity shop, due to illness. I feel certain that people don’t realise just how tirelessly Rose has worked over the years, to raise thousands of pounds towards the well-being of our furry friends. As an ex-volunteer in her shop on Lowestoft Road, Gorleston, I saw just how much time and energy she spent dedicating her life to her charity work. Her shops have always been Aladdin’s caves, places where you are free to rummage and could never fail to find a bargain or two. This is how charity shops really should be! I just wanted to say that I for one will miss The Friends of Animals shop but it is time for Rose to take some time out, for herself, for the first time in years. You either loved her shops or hated them but nobody could ever deny the dedication and passion to the cause they were raising funds for. Well done Rose, now go and put your feet up!