Letters, March 3 2014

It was with great interest that I read P Long’s letter in response to my own. To answer the question, I was last in the Market Place on Monday, February 24 enjoying a bowl or two of delicious hot peas, the secret of long life! I also visit the market on Saturdays and in all weathers.

Yes, we know how the market has shrunk in recent years and maybe like the stores in town they are suffering from difficult trading conditions. I am sorry to read that P Long has yet to come across a cheerful trader. Maybe I am just lucky.

Yarmouth is not that bad, the council is doing a good job considering the unfair cuts they are suffering from central government, the same political party that started the out of town shopping malls that are destroying town centres throughout the UK, not just in Great Yarmouth. If you do not drive or own a car it’s not easy to get to those soulless concrete jungles full of square boxes, and more so for OAPs.

I agree re food shops. Yes, we all have to eat, but please let us all stop knocking Great Yarmouth, it’s still a great place to live with far lower crime figures then in many towns in the UK. I suppose the bottom line is if anyone finds Yarmouth that bad they could move away!

Let’s talk up our famous old town. It’s so easy to criticise. Regarding local shop assistants treating you with contempt? I just must be very lucky on my weekly shopping trip to Sainsburys. I defy anybody to find more pleasant, cheerful and helpful staff, likewise my local Coop chemist… and the list goes on.



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The real meaning of Pancake Day.

Walking around Great Yarmouth supermarkets and seeing their wares for the “Celebration of Pancake Day” made me smile. Colleagues and friends equally amusing by their belief it is tradition on Pancake Day to eat pancakes.

I asked a colleague why her family ate pancakes on Shrove Tuesday. She said “because it is tradition”. A little further probing,she reiterated it is a tradition going back centuries: on pancake day you buy in the ingredients and make pancakes, that is what you do!’ I asked why and she said she didn’t know, only that it’s tradition!

Paradoxically she is 100pc right and 100pc wrong. The origin of Pancake Day was to use up all dairy foods (eggs, milk, cheese, butter etc) in preparation for the following day, Ash Wednesday, which in Orthodox Christianity is a day of fasting (from meat and dairy products prior to the days of refrigeration) and preparation for lent, a six-week period of fasting, self denial, prayer and almsgiving!

Ash Wednesday marks the first day of Lent, which leads to a greater and closer relationship with the Master of Easter: the Lord Jesus Christ, son of the living God and second person of the Holy Trinity who was crucified, died, buried and rose from the dead. That is the meaning of the celebration of Easter. It is also the meaning of Pancake Day.

Pancake Day is absolutely meaningless unless one also believes in the Risen Christ whose resurrection we celebrate. More importantly, to accept Him as Lord and Saviour and enter into a meaningful personal relationship with Him that shall endure for ever.


Beccles Road,


There are jobs if you want one.

I read with amazement the letters concerning the lack of jobs in the Great Yarmouth area.

One letter was about Brandon Lewis and his jobs fair and the jobs being short term and zero hours etc. If you really want a job even short term is better than nothing and people in work have more chance of a better job coming along.

We advertise each week in the Advertiser for taxi drivers, as does our main competitor. So far we have had one applicant who is working already as a taxi driver and he decided to stay where he was.

We pay more than the minimum rate, and employ PAYE as well as self employed drivers so where are all these out of work people seeking jobs in the town? Most of our employees have been with us a considerable time and are certainly not on zero hour contracts.

I am not sure how many unemployed there are in Great Yarmouth but assuming thousands there must be a fair percentage with a driving licence and good health who are capable of driving a taxi.


Swift Taxis

Tourism could be put at risk.

I was most impressed to read that the local Conservative councillors had framed an alternative budget to that of the Labour councillors who run the council. Their colleagues in Norfolk could not face the task.

Both councils are facing huge cuts due to their alleged past over-spending, imposed by communities minister and Yarmouth MP, Brandon Lewis.

There is a total disregard of the local issues which the Conservative councillors made some attempt to address. To read that the new councillors should be cutting council tax is the most amazing and out of touch idea yet. They set the previous budgets and their government says they were over-spending.

Great Yarmouth must be really perfect. In which case, why may we get “assisted status”? Assisted status is for towns facing problems. How will reducing council tax help the town? A few pence per week is nothing to most people but makes a huge hole for the community budget.

Surely local Tories are not so obsessed with cuts they do not wish to address the problems of the town? More cuts are promised, one needs to build financial reserves to face them and not cut them.

It seems some local councillors are not reading the Mercury thoroughly.

The town needs regeneration of the town centre - even Poundstretcher is leaving. The state of the market, dog poo and litter, litter everywhere will not be cured by cuts. A town with few trees and poor landscaping on the approaches to the town needs spending not cuts.

The bus and rail stations are in need of revamps. The housing stock needs upgrading and new council homes needed. How do cuts help? Heritage buildings are in need of a revamp. Leisure facilities need of upgrading and development.

Tourism is at risk if the offer is not improved. How will cuts help? Do we want to see more cuts in health and welfare services? Perhaps if we are wealthy and can pay.

The 2,500 unemployed need as much support as possible and more than a Jobs Fair. The Job Centre, who have little choice but to attend, is open to all in any case! CV help and education information is readily available and hardly a reason to attend.

I wonder if most local Tory councillors live in the villages where life is idyllic unless you live in Winterton or Somerton which, according to our MP, have social deprivation issues.


Victoria Street,

Caister on Sea

If only oil had been found here

After listening to a debate about Scottish Independence and North Sea oil, I thought how different Great Yarmouth’s fortunes would have been if the oil had been found off our shoreline and not Scotland’s.

We would have been an affluent town with casinos and nightlife and our town centre would be thriving. Even the Acle Straight would probably have been dualled to accommodate the extra traffic. Alas, it was not meant to be as the oilmen went north and Yarmouth’s prospects went west!

We were left with our only saleable assets - our proximity to the sea and while we might not have had the liquid gold, we still had our golden sands. Even now families enjoy coming to the seaside, be it for a week or just on a day trip.

That’s why I can’t understand the short sightedness of the council increasing car parking charges thus deterring visitors from coming to the town. It’s a case of killing the goose that laid the golden egg.



Dance school help thanks

I would like to thank several people who have helped my dance school in our recent time of upheaval. The girls and I have lots of people to thank, starting with some other local dance teachers, Jimmy and June Harman for the gift of trophies and plaques for our future competitions.

I would also like to thank them personally for all their help to me in the past.

Next we would like to thank Barry and Jackie for installing the fabulous glitterball, we love it! Also a big thanks to Cliff Park, especially the caretakers for a great place to teach in. I have also received a lot of support from another well known pair of dance teachers, Nigel and Larinda Smith and I am very grateful.

Lastly thanks to Julie Sandall, my partner in crime! I could not do it without you. Julie and I would like to thank all the pupils and their parents (and grandparents) for their continued support, long may it continue.



Farewell to the harbour chief

Last Friday evening the Cliff Hotel was the venue for Mr Jamie Frater’s leaving party. As most of you know, Jamie was for the past 22 months CEO of Great Yarmouth Port Company, and he replaced Mr Eddie Freeman who headed the building of the Outer Harbour.

Jamie Frater came in with a listening, softly-softly approach, and there was an attitude turnaround to the port’s profile. His departure is a sad event, and by the great number of people who were at the party it shows the strong feeling at Jamie leaving Great Yarmouth.

What was prominent at the Cliff Hotel was the total absence of any councillor or council officer, this despite eight years of conflict with myself and the public over the council’s dealings with the harbour, the reams of letters from councillors in support of Great Yarmouth Port Company.

But is the council trying to compete with the Port over blighting companies on South Denes with their “Energy Park” and giving what I believe to be preferential treatment to Beacon Park (council land)?

Let us hope the new man in charge will have just a little support from the council, especially those three councillors that take £2,800 each as expenses for sitting four times a year on the GYPA Board.


Burnt Lane,


What a mess on the Beaconsfield

While walking through the Beaconsfield recreation ground this morning, Monday, I was appalled at the number of discarded water bottles left on the football pitches.

I think there were at least 20. On enquiring of the groundsman, who was having to pick these up, he said they were from the football at the weekend. Surely someone should be made responsible for clearing these away as they leave a blight on a lovely green space?



To vanished helpers, thanks

I would like to thank the man and woman who came to my aid when I came off my bicycle at Beacon Park last Friday afternoon, February 28 at around 4pm. I am very grateful to them for coming to my assistance.

There didn’t appear to be a soul around when I came off my cycle but they were there and when I looked around after I had recovered, they had vanished. I have no idea from where they came or where they went to, so would like to thank them both through the Mercury.


Beccles Road,


Encourage more into this town

Correspondent L Burwood has totally missed the specific point I was trying to make, which was, that, with or without my blue blinkers on, whenever this council is short of funds then instead of looking at imaginative ways of raising revenue, like reducing business rates to encourage more businesses to open in the town, they look at the poor old motorist - in this case the visitor, who brings much needed revenue into the town, to furnish the cash.

The previous attempt with residents’ parking charges collapsed in disarray when the supposed residents’ response numbers were shown to not be as they should.

As I asked earlier, which towns was Cllr Wainwright using as his comparison to justify the increase in parking fees, will he give us the courtesy of a reply?

Also the £88,000 forecasted by Cllr Wainwright as the revenue likely to be raised, is not going to go far towards his supposed £2m shortfall, assuming of course that his figures are correct and have included a calculation to cover the drop off in visitors not prepared to pay these swingeing charges.



Let’s teach the national anthem

For G-d and Country, doesn’t mean a thing nowadays, we know it should, but if children at school at assembly do not sing the National Anthem, how do you expect them to be proud of their heritage?

When I and my children went to school we said the Lord’s Prayer at assembly. I’m not a Christian, but I still said it.

We sang the National Anthem, so we all knew the words. How can one not put out their chest when singing that other song, Land of Hope and Glory, or of Britain ruling the waves.

In America, every school sings the National Anthem and in every class there is the flag with the Stars and Stripes. Before every baseball, football, soccer, or any sports event, no matter how big, or small, the American National Anthem is sung, with hand over hearts. That’s what I call patriotism, and believe it or not it starts at an early age at school.

So education board what are you going to do about it, can you hear the echo of old soldiers as they stuck out their chests fighting for the right of freedom, but mostly yelling, “For Queen (King) G-d and Country.”


Yallop Avenue,


Help with family research please

I am doing some family research for a friend, John Chapman, who is 79 and originates from Norwich but now lives in Cornwall.

He knows very little of his Chapman relatives (his father’s family) because his mother did not get on with her in-laws and they were never discussed.

John’s grandmother was Amelia Sarah Chapman who until 1918 worked and lived as a seamstress/tailoress in Yarmouth’s Rows with her six children; Lillian, Rose, Frank, Gladys, William and Horace (John’s father).

Towards the end of World War One, Amelia moved to 159 Middlegate Street and in the late 1920s to Beachfield, 22 North Drive, where she was joined by her daughter, Rose, and Rose’s children, Stella and Raymond.

That large detached building in North Drive is now the Knight’s Court Hotel.

At the outbreak of World War Two the family moved away from North Drive, presumably because the seafront became a military area, and possibly to London.

The information we have gleaned so far has been from official sources; census data, Kelly’s Directories and the Register of Electors. Now John is keen to know if any Mercury readers might have personal recollections of this Chapman family or of what business was run from their Beachfield home from 1930 to 1939.

The improvement in fortune from Row 122 to apparent prosperity on North Drive and, later on, in London is an intriguing “rags to riches” story.

John can recall hearing a story that his Aunt Gladys (Chapman) had a wealthy gentleman friend believed to have been “a Maharajah”!

I would be grateful for any information to shed light on this family mystery so I can pass it on.



We spend a lot on the seafront

I have just read on your website of the increased parking costs for the town and am appalled. My family and I come in three or four cars from Bedford at least once a month for the day, from May to October.

The young ones enjoy themselves on the beach and we oldies take time out to relax, whether the sun is shining or not.

There are seven adults and six youngsters; we could bring packed meals and drinks but we don’t. Instead we eat in a seafront cafe or restaurant as a treat; and buy drinks from shops or little businesses on the seafront.

It costs a pretty penny what with petrol as well; but to have to pay even more for parking is a disgrace! Doesn’t Great Yarmouth want our money anymore?

We reckon we spend between us, the adults that is, around £60 each on the day - not counting the petrol, and it all goes to local traders to hopefully help their business.

The extra odd pound or two will make a different with four cars. We will look nearer to home to go.