Letters, July 4, 2014

Travelling by train no better

Daring to travel by train again after my time -wasting experiences of the past, I see things are no better.

Ros McManus (Letters, June 27) commented on the half-finished bridge repairs where the opportunity to ease traffic congestion on the Acle New Road by making repairs to allow car use for Asda and station traffic was missed so we can all enjoy the views of the jams!

I also see the overflow car park looks out of use covered in dead weeds with no clear signs it is a station car park! Presumably, it is hoped to claim it is unused and can be sold.

Arriving 15 minutes early to beat any queues, the ticket office was unstaffed as the clerk was out cleaning! Obviously a cost-cutting exercise to boost profits.

Three minutes before departure time, the clerk arrives to tell me I could have used the ticket machine. What if I had a travel query?

Another member of staff later suggests some trains could become driver only with even less staff to help.

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On the shuttle train to Norwich, I find the crew is going to Cambridge with me but not the train so we all change. Likewise, an East Midlands train sits around and could have started back at Yarmouth to help revive our fortunes.

The Midlands used to be a key source for visitors. I now read that through trains from Norwich to Liverpool may be cut back to terminate at Nottingham. I thought rail privatisation was meant to make things better.

On arriving back, the station concourse and ticket office is locked and passengers hang around for the train with no waiting room.

On reflection, I realise we are not getting a better station as the rail company is planning to de-staff the station as no-one is using the ticket office and do not need waiting rooms.

Ironic since, earlier in the day, I had just heard a splendid speech by George Freeman, MP for MId-Norfolk, on the potential for rail stations to be a portal entry to towns and a hub of activity.

He also made the point that the railway can regenerate towns with frequent and fast services. Not for us it seems.


Victoria Street,

Caister on Sea

What’s going on at Stalham High?

I have been a school governor for nearly 30 years. In all that time I have never witnessed the shenanigans and secrecy surrounding Stalham Academy.

The junior school became an academy on May 1 run by the Right for Success Trust after it fell into special measures in March. The new interim executive board appears to be made up of individuals associated with the trust and none of the original governors remain.

Parents are understandably concerned about their children’s education.

Communication from the trust has been poor and the lack of transparency is only adding to the ambiguity of the situation. Will the trust turn up at the next Stalham Town Council meeting on July 7 to explain the school’s future?


Labour Parliamentary candidate for North Norfolk


Anybody help me trace Billy?

I am trying to locate a long-lost cousin who I have reason to believe lives in the St Thomas Road area of Hemsby. His name is Billy Oddboy, and I would be greatful if anyone knows of him to email me at choya@hotmail.co.uk



Readers decide on ‘conspiracy’

Mr Moss, in his letter last week, scoffs at what I wrote in 2003 of the aerosols (“chemtrails”) in the sky – sprayed on us daily. Mercury readers can watch the sky and decide for themselves whether this is just a “conspiracy theory”. I decided years ago – based on the facts of the matter. See, for example, http://tinyurl.com/k84hggy. This is like the debate between Christians and atheistic evolutionists. Those who deny there’s a God who created the universe will believe only what suits them – even though the proof of His artistry stares them in the face daily. Here are a few facts on evolution: http://tinyurl.com/nxnxksk.

“The fool has said in his heart, ‘There is no God’” (Psalm 14:1).


Albemarle Road,


Seafront noise has an impact

The Letters pages in the Mercury usually feature something I find particularly interesting and last week there were no less than three such items. I would like to comment on these in reverse chronological order.

Firstly I must agree with the lady complaining of the loud disturbances at night on South Beach Parade. We have put up with them for many years so perhaps another voice in protest will have a result. I share her concerns regarding the dirty areas and would also add that the long-term parking of commercial vehicles in what is and has always been clearly a residential area is un-neighbourly. She is correct in stating our town’s holiday business depends on making a good impression on our visitors and we must support our tourism industry wherever possible.

As a member of Great Yarmouth Swimming Club (the ‘Bloaters’) in the post-war years, I competed in the Pier to Pier race on many occasions. One of the safety men and the rowing boat owner was Mr Nichols, a longshore fisherman, retired standard-dress diver, window cleaner and good friend.

By the way it was not necessarily the strongest or fastest swimmer who won but the craftiest who took advice from the local beachmen. I recall watching Ronnie Brett with amazement as he headed out toward Scroby Sands rather than the direction of the Wellington Pier. Then as he was swept in by the strong tide I realised he had taken advice from an expert. Needless to say he won!

Finally, I come to the letter concerning the ‘fire diver’ on the pier in the 1930s. In those days my father was a shareholder of the New Britannia Pier Company which was formed after one of its several (some said ‘convenient’) fires, and as small boys, my late friend Douggie Jackson and I would spend our leisure hours there fishing on the lower deck, watching the summer shows rehearsing, playing the slot-machines and just getting into mischief.

I remember the diver and his wife, who took care of the collections, and their daughter who was about our age. They were very friendly and I believe their name was something like Brama, although that may have been a stage name. After the obligatory spiel he would make his spectacular plunge from a platform about 30 feet from the surface of the sea. Nowadays our friends at ‘elf an’ safety would have nipped this performance in the bud or he would have been prosecuted for polluting the water.


Seafield Close,

Great Yarmouth

Commandants are basic rules

P Reeve is quite right us atheists have nothing to offer but the truth. The truth as far as we know it for there is still much to discover. We are not content with comfortable myths telling us how wonderful it is going to be when we die provided we obey some rules invented by a priest many years ago.

The ten commandments has been put forward as an example but if you study them, apart from the first three which are just about worshiping some imaginary god, they are just basic rules which most civilised societies will live by even if they have never heard of the bible.

Also you have to wonder how the Israelites managed before Moses gave them the commandments. The problem with rules is that they are not always followed. P Reeve tells us the Moses produced them but if you have a look at Numbers, Ch 31 verses 16 to 19, he appears to have forgotten them. Of course the bible will say that the Midianites offended god and were therefore sinners but do we really think this applies to baby boys. I think we need to face it that if what the bible says about Moses is true he was a nasty piece of work.

A land grabber who committed genocide.


Royal Naval Hospital,

Great Yarmouth

New homes to blame for flood?

Here we are again, flooded inside our homes, due to another extreme cloud burst on June 27. We were told in September 25, 2006 when we last flooded, it was a once in a 100 years occurrence, we are now just eight years down the line and we are inundated again; with several near misses inbetween.

This time it was even worse because we have now had the bases of nine affordable homes put in place in the field next to our properties and therefore the water has been displaced onto the surrounding land, roads and properties.

The houses we live in were built in 1947 and had never been flooded until 2006 after two houses were built on orchard land opposite our homes a few years earlier. Prior to the houses being built the rainwater used to run through the orchard and drain out into a ditch in Pontin’s.

When the two houses were built, the land was raised leaving us lower than they are; consequently the water comes directly into us. Residents on Newport Road protested against any more homes being built when planning permission was being sought to erect the nine new homes on Newport Road but there views were just ignored.

There are four properties affected with varying degrees of damage and we now face several months of disruption and unpleasantness before we are back to “normal”.

It’s all very well saying these are extreme events and only happen every 100 years but we all know that’s a load of rubbish and is a cop out for local and borough authorities to refrain from improving our antiquated drainage system. If the people who make decisions were personally affected they would see things from a different point of view.


Newport Road,


I, too, recall the famous fire diver

Referring to the letter by Pauline Lynch, I recall in the 1930s the famous high diver performing his act at Great Yarmouth Pleasure Beach during the evening, and engulfed in flames!

Observing this as a child, I was terrified he might misjudge and smash his head on the edge of the water tank!


Falcon Court,

Great Yarmouth

Where are pier swim cups?

I was interested in reading David Laws’ letter in last week’s Mercury regarding the Shearley Cup. I am currently writing the second volume of Great Yarmouth’s Sporting Heritage and have found that the Shearley Cup was first competed for in 1920.

A pier to pier swimming cup that precedes this is the Ulph Cup which was first competed for in 1887, this however was later converted to a 1,000 yard race in the pool when Yarmouth’s swimming pool was opened in the early 1920’s.

I would be interested to know the current whereabouts of both these cups, and whether anyone has any photographs of the races or the winners. The Ulph Cup in particular was competed for by many of the country’s finest swimmers, two notable local winners being Kenneth and William Hamilton Deane.

I can be contacted on 01493 302512.


East Anglian Way,


People swear for the effect it has

In response to Mabel Try’s letter last week I am sure there are many sociological research papers on why people swear. It is a known reaction to a stressful event eg stubbing a toe or trapping a finger.

It is also part of feeling included in a group where all use similar words, so swearing breeds swearing.

In addition, some people use such words sadly because they were brought up with this as a normal use of language again swearing breeds swearing.

Swearing too can be used when people don’t have a level of vocabulary in order to find an alternate way to express themselves, and also people swear for effect, in that others (older or people in positions of authority) might be shocked and friends impressed.

However, the increase in everyday use of disgusting language, in my view, relates directly to a general loss of any sense of decency in much of our society. Together, with other aspects of social degradation, including lack of any moral values, some groups in society move further and further away from previously accepted behaviour.

Sadly when society then accepts this behaviour as normal (just watch some of the television programmes to see the extent of this acceptance) we continue down the slippery slope down to the abyss.

Please continue to be shocked Mabel by such language, don’t accept this as the new norm and pray to God, He did after all teach us the morals and values by which most of us still live, that we all be saved from the ultimate consequences of antisocial behaviour and social degradation.


Buxton Avenue,


Councillors have been so helpful

After reading some of the letters lately that run down some of our councillors I would like to say how helpful they can be.

My wife has been trying to get resident parking for the area where we live in Yarmouth for over two years and I would like to thank Cllrs Castle, Wainwright, Linden, Sutton and also Charles Marsden, who have all helped my wife with advice and attended meetings with her where the parking bay scheme has been discussed.

They have all been so helpful and have always been there when my wife has asked for advice.

I would also like to say if people have problems in their area look out for groups that are available to help, most areas have one of these groups.

In our area we have PONY (People of North Yarmouth), and they will help if they can with problems people face - but you have to bring it to their attention.

PONY has a public meeting on July 14, 7.30pm at Yarmouth FC clubhouse, please attend these meetings if you have concerns.


Nursery Terrace,

Great Yarmouth

EU deal will hit food standards

Following the food scandals of recent years, people are becoming much more aware of what goes into our food. The last thing we need is lower legal standards, but a deal being negotiated between the EU and the US could result in exactly that.

The EU-US trade deal aims to ‘harmonise’ European and American rules in food safety and many other areas, which in practice may mean slashing European standards to match the much lower US levels. So, products like hormone-treated beef and pork, and chicken washed in chlorine, sold by US companies but currently banned here, could appear on supermarket shelves in the UK.

Food is just one area in which this deal would give multinational companies much more influence in our lives. Health care and education are among the others. The deal threatens our ability to run our society in the way we choose, and it must be stopped.


Alder Close,

Great Yarmouth

‘Nimby’ reflects a true recation

“…a shameful nimby campaign based on a misrepresentation of facts and fanning of hysterical rumours about the housing being for “offenders” and “undesirables”…” roared Cllr Mick Castle from the pages of the Mercury Letters (June 13) as he again got his teeth into the electorate.

It would seem that phrases used, such as “nimby” and “affordable housing”, have developed negative connotations that are used as a gibe rather than a true description of events and reaction. Recently the editor of the Mercury invited those with planning responsibilities to perhaps comment on borough housing strategy. I expect a reply will be on the council website and includes definitions of affordable, so no comment.

I would like to think those who assessed and turned down the Salisbury Road proposals took into account population density and its ongoing legacy. As pointed out by others, there is plenty of brownfield land in Great Yarmouth to develop that doesn’t include that given away to support the outer harbour project.

Reading on the best was yet to come in Mr Castle’s letter “…Also probably the number one most vulnerable remaining unprotected site in the town, with regard to an incursion by travellers, will have been suitably secured….”

So there we have it, part of the Yarmouth strategy is borne out of being frightened by travellers rather than UKIP.


Clarence Road,


Tatty posters are an eyesore

Much has been written in recent weeks about graffiti in varying degrees of artistic merit that has been seen throughout the town. However, what I find just as unacceptable is the presence of posters attached to public buildings, empty shops, lamp-posts etc advertising commercial events.

A case in point is of three posters advertising an event which ended on June 1, attached to two bottle banks and one paper bank, in Gorleston High Street. The outdated posters remain there in a dilapidated condition.

When I was a child I was intrigued by a notice that stated “Bill stickers will be prosecuted”. I wondered who Bill Stickers was and what offence he had committed. But joking aside this is serious and I trust those responsible for placing the posters will have the decency to remove them and ensure the surfaces to which they were attached are left in good condition.


Avenue Road,