Letters, May 17, 3013

Paying tribute to MRCC officers

Now that the Maritime Rescue Co-ordination Centre based in Great Yarmouth has closed (note it never was a call centre as some have like to portray it), I would like to pay tribute to all those who over the past years have loyally served as coastguard officers at the station. Many lives have been saved because of their ability to understand, plan and instigate the rescue of mariners, sailors and those in trouble on the coast.

Do not underestimate the knowledge and training required by coastguard officers so that they can carry out the role given to them. And even as we were closing, those remaining officers carried out their duties with stoic professionalism right up until the last maritime broadcast.

I have been lucky to be the officer in charge of the MRCC and the senior CG officer in the area for the past 12 years and would like to say a big thank you to all those who served with me during this period. Having moved to Norfolk 30 years ago as a CG Officer based in Hunstanton it has been a privilege to work alongside both the voluntary CGs and the full time officers and I thank them all.

I know I leave the area in safe hands with my colleagues at Humber and Thames MRCCs taking the reins.


District Controller (retired)

Most Read

HM Coastguard

Prom cycling letters irritated

During recent weeks I have read various letters regarding cycling on Gorleston Prom with mild amusement. There were a couple of further letters in last week’s Mercury which irritated me.

The letter from Brian Evans suggests that the definition of promenade relating to “walking” is reason enough for cyclists to be banned is pedantic in the extreme. This facility should be used by all as long as everyone (be they walkers/dogs on and off leads/children on bikes and scooters/ roller skaters/ skateboards and, yes, cyclists) shows proper consideration for others. I say - live and let live.

By the way, the Concise Oxford Dictionary includes “to walk or drive” in the definition of a Promenade.

Nick Cheever’s letter states that the tables and chairs outside JayJays Beach Cafe are reason enough to ban cyclists. I would suggest the real issue to address is why tables and chairs extend over a far wider area than previously. I feel obliged to dismount to ensure there are no accidents when cycling past the cafe.

Would a council officer be able to confirm the area being used is as designated?


Marine Parade,


Blue badge-rs outside my home

I agree with Mark Durrant about the use of the disabled blue badges. My own house has double yellow lines outside it. There are a large number of cars that pull up, display the blue badge, then the driver leaps out and runs down the road to do some shopping.



Spending lists, as well as cuts?

I find our local politicians quite confusing. Local MPs claim they want cuts in public expenditure and tax cuts.

They now seem to be developing spending lists. Anti-erosion measures, Acle New Road improvements and rail station improvements (for one train an hour). They want improved ambulance and child care services. All very laudable but with cuts?

Local Tory councillors say they did not see the impact of UKIP. Obviously they did not notice what happened at the borough elections. Our MP seems more concerned about the Labour result than the Tory third place, 1,000 votes behind Labour and 2,400 behind UKIP. Clearly, Labour has still to get their message across but the Government must listen more and get people back to work.

It is all very well changing the benefits to encourage people to get back to work. With nearly 4,000 unemployed locally and many not using their skills fully, getting back to work is not easy and a programme of job creation is needed. This could be largely paid for by benefit savings and from existing training budgets.

Similarly, the Tory Norfolk County Council gave away £4m in mainly non essential community grants, seeks to build a controversial a incinerator and spends millions buying Coltishall Airfield. Spendthrift Tories. Hardly surprising they lost control of the county council.


Victoria Street,


Newly-built bus shelter attacked

We have waited years to get a bus shelter in Trinity Avenue, Gorleston and then some yobs come along and having nothing better to do break the glass! We have only had it a month or so before this happened. Let’s hope when I have reported the damage, these youths will try and respect things a bit more.



The gospels are in existence

I would like to thank Roger Hayes for providing a nice illustration of what can happen with evidence, even written evidence. I did not claim that Christ’s divinity was decided at the Council of Nicaea. What I said was the Constantine called the Council to decide on the divinity of Christ. I did not say they had done so.

The council was called to deal with the Arian Controversy which was started by Arius, a Libyan Presbyter, who claimed that as Jesus was created by God then he was not as divine as God. A doctrine which I believe the eastern orthodox religions still believe. The concept is far to complex to go into in this letter but it is sufficient to say Theodosius had to call another conference in Constantinople in 381 AD to try to resolve the matter so the 315 conference did not complete the task.

It baffles me how Roger can claim the canonised gospels excluded hearsay and second hand evidence when we are not even certain who wrote them but it appears to be certain it was not by any witnesses as they were written many years after. I would also like to ask how he knows the Nicene conference excluded the other gospels on the grounds that they were not reliable. Also their existence is not a rumour; they do exist and scholars have deciphered some and are working on the others.

I would also like to comment on Mark Durrant’s point about blue badge holders parking habits. As a blue badge holder I agree with him. If I go to Palmers I park and pay but quite often there is no space in the car park so I will park on the road.

I was surprised to hear only one disabled space was occupied. I have never seen that except on Sunday and then only rarely. Having said that I don’t think the cars parked on Howard Street are causing a great problem so I am not sure it is important.

Finally I must thank Mr Barkhuizen for his contribution last week. I did not understand what he was on about but thanks anyway.


Royal Naval Hospital

Great Yarmouth

Acle call to join the celebrations

Calling all ex Acle United players. On behalf of Acle United we are appealing to all former players and supporter to join us for the club’s 100th anniversary celebrations and presentation night at Acle Social Club. The event is on May 25.

We are also appealing for any photographs or press cuttings anyone has, as well as memorabilia.

The cost for the special celebration evening is £15 per person, and this includes entertainment from Dumbfoundus and a buffet. Anyone interested, call Robbie on 07920 236912 or email acleunited@hotmail.co.uk


Acle United Secretary

This is not God I recognise

I don’t know what sort of God Eldo Barkhuizen prays to but it ain’t one I recognise. My God is a forgiving, loving God who welcomes sinners who repent. How do he know what them dear departed were thinking the moment they died? They might have repented but didn’t see fit to tell him!

Is Mr Barkhuizen trying to make out he’s one of them there soothsayers or a mystic medium, communicating with the dead? As for the poor “chappy up front”, what’s he expect a man of the cloth to do when conducting a funeral, condemn them to Hell! I’m surprised that he dared venture into the CofE den of inequity to start with. He has made it clear over the years that he ain’t of that persuasion.

If he wants to start quoting the Good Book I’ll give him one. Having read his squit last week, Corinthians Chapter 13: came to me in a day-dream (I’m serious, it did!)

(1) Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angles, and have no charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.

(2) And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I nothing!

(11) When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.

(13) And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity!

I think Mr Barkhuizen should pay attention to the advice given in Matthew 7:7. He should show greater understanding (and charity) to those less perfect than himself.


West Caister

Letter should not have been in

Shame on Mr Barkhuizen for his cruel letter in last week’s Mercury and even more shame on the Mercury for publishing it. How dare he attend someone’s funeral and then criticise what the priest said about the couple being together in heaven. If that was their belief then that is where they will be.

What most people have is a simple faith and belief in a forgiving God and that they will be in their particular heaven in the end.

Why criticise the priest for what after all is one of the basics of his Christian faith? How cruel to the surviving family members to quote the bible suggesting that the deceased was a sinner etc. Mr Barkhuizen has nothing more than anyone else. He has a faith and a belief, nothing more - no knowledge, no certainty and he will remain in ignorance the same as all of us as to the truth until such time as any of us cross. In the meantime I suggest he keeps his beliefs to himself, leaves others in peace with theirs. I really think it’s time the Mercury stopped giving space to this man. I think we all know his views and have had enough of hearing them. He calls people unholy. I think he is the unholiest of them all. My thoughts go out to the bereaved family for having had to have endure this insult to their loved one.


Caister Road,

Great Yarmouth

Yes, you need spiritual rebirth

Referring to the letter from Mr Barkhuizen about our need to be “born-again”. Well you are absolutely right, Mr Barkhuizen, that Jesus Christ mentioned to one of the high priests, in Nicodemus, in his need to be born-again to have a spiritual rebirth, to acknowledge Jesus Christ as Lord.

This applies to all of us. We do not receive eternal life by being religious, or even by believing in God as we are told in the Bible that “even the demons believe in God, but tremble”.

We receive eternal life by accepting Christ as Lord, asking for forgiveness and accepting that He (Jesus) died for us on the cross. I did just that when I was 14, and I have never regretted it.

But you mentioned about a funeral you attended, Mr Barkuzien, how the person was not “born-again”. You, and certainly no-one else knows whether that person made their peace with God in the last moments of their life. It would have been extremely insensitive for the man who was conducting the funeral to blurt out anything contrary.

Remember the thief on the cross, dying along with Jesus, how he asked Jesus to remember him, when Christ went to paradise. You also mentioned “many born-again Christians are unholy”. This is true, Mr Barkhuizen, but just remember this, we are all in the same boat when it comes to sin.

When a man looks at a woman in a lustful way, he is then guilty of committing adultery with her. The words of Christ in Matthew chapter 5, and he also mentions anger as well. Christ also states about “judging one another, and stop worrying about the tiny splinter in someone else’s eye, whilst there is a great big log in our own”.


Turin Way,

Hopton on Sea

Cut councillors and save cash

I have written a number of times stating my view we have far too many councillors and £210,000 paid to them by Yarmouth Borough Council from our rates rather proves that. Much of this would be better spent on local facilities and services and to do that I would make many changes and thus save money.

First, there would be just nine wards, exactly the same as there were for the recent county council elections. Each of these should return two councillors to the borough council once every four years and this change would cut the number of councillors and save costs of more frequent elections. In that way, this useless cabinet system could be abolished so there would be no extra perks for that role.

Lower fees should be paid to councillors, subject to negotiation. As a starting point the chairman and leader to be paid £3,000, leader of the opposition £1,000, portfolio or committee chairmen £500 and every council member not a flat rate, but a payment by results system of a meeting attendance allowance at £100. In that way councillors will be encouraged to attend and negate the oft-claimed statement they are only in it for the money. All councillors could claim genuine expenses, inspected and approved by the borough chief officer.

Professional councillors will say without these payments such a plan would reduce the probability of people wishing to be councillors. They claim with reduced payments only the retired, self employed, farmers or people with time on their hands, could be councillors. This would certainly not be so if any loss of earnings and other associated costs are reimbursed to any person of any age.

Another argument used by professional politicians to defend their income is that they work really hard as a councillor.

I am sure some do, but I would point out a vast number of things councillors were responsible for have been sold off, abolished or abandoned; the buses, racecourse, jetty, many council houses, Winter Gardens, harbour mouth land holdings and much more come to mind.

Finally, I would point out councillors are generally unqualified, holding no academic qualification or professional training in that role; they, like the retired, have to learn by experience.


Busseys Loke,


Why no interest in a carnival?

I write to say, like many Mercury readers, also someone who loves Great Yarmouth with everything it represents, along with its long and colourful history, how sorry I was to read about the beach festival being cancelled.

I know there are those who were and remain against such events, with I suspect good reason, but as a promoter myself I appreciate you can never win ‘em all. I can see both sides.

However, having also had my plans to organise a carnival for the resort this year cancelled due to low take-up and interest, I can feel for those who are disappointed. Such events bring so much enjoyment and business into the town.

If I were one of the powers that be, also on the staff of the tourism authority, I would have been doing everything possible to make such an event take place.

I feel Yarmouth borough council does not appear to fall over backwards to help promoters, or indeed put such events on. Am I wrong? Like a carnival, special events bring business in which can offset the traders and business losses when the weather is bad, and takings low.

But I am just one person, obsessed with reading the Mercury every week for info and which knocks hats off other publications.

I just wish there were more people interested in making Great Yarmouth buzz like no other, as it sure as hell needs something.


Cherry Close,


Christendom has glorified wars

If Derek Brown and Dave Gahan are right, then the life, ministry and death of Jesus Christ are a complete waste of time.

On the other hand it must be agreed that if everyone lived by the standards that Christ set then there would be no wars, no need for locks on doors, no fear of women and children being abused, so need for national boundaries.

Sadly the churches of Christendom with their memorial to the “glorious dead” have glorified wars, as one clergymen said to me: “The more Germans you kill the better Christian you will be.” However, I was also told: “Christ suffered for you leaving you a model for you to follow his steps closely.”


Wherry Way,

Great Yarmouth

Kingdom of God in the hereafter

In reply to Mr Barkhuizen’s letter; I do not think it is for him to say if the people referred to are “born again Christians” or not. As Jesus said: “Judge not so you are not judged.” In addition, the Kingdom of God he mentions is in the here and now, not in the hereafter. This is express in the Lord’s Prayer and elsewhere.

In my opinion, being “born again” means abandoning some of the traditional values which are held and living one’s life according to the principles laid down in the sermon on the mount and other places in the gospels. It does not mean foregoing simple secular pleasures in life.

When he came to the apostle Paul, however, he seems to have been obsessed with what he termed the “sins of the flesh”, whereas Jesus, although he did not condone them, made allowances, knowing we all have basic instincts (John Ch8v7).

If we try to live as God requires as expressed through Jesus Christ I have no doubt we can leave it safely with God how we are dealt with when we depart this life.


Springfield Road,


It was no protest vote in elections

In reply to ex-County Councillor Barry Stone’s comment in the Mercury, May 10, stating that he refused to acknowledge UKIP candidates as serious politicians and that UIKIP are not really politicians (that was an insult) and that it was a protest vote, which it was not.

The reason was that voters are fed up with all the broken promises of the three main parties, they promise they will listen to the voters before an election and as soon as they get elected they take no notice. A good example is David Cameron and Nick Clegg; all they think about is giving £53m per day to the EU.

Did Mr Stone have any experience when he was first elected as a Tory candidate?

All parties have to start somewhere and learn all the pros and cons. As for the three main parties they have a whip so they have to do and say what the whip tells them.

UKIP does not have a whip so each candidate does not have to be told what they can not do and say.

They are free to put their own point across, that’s the difference between them and the other main parties they will listen to what the voters have to say and try to help them not ignore them once elected.



Catalina article jogged memory

Your article about the Catalina flying boat was very interesting. “Seaplane pilot thrilled to see himself in print” Mercury, April 26. When I was in Papua New Guinea we had an unusual “commute” to our working place once a month involving a Catalina.

From our flat in Port Morsby, capital of Papua, a van down to the harbour, then a boat out to a Catalina, followed by a long flight west to land on the Bamu river.

Then either a nine-hour launch trip to our base at Komewu, or a 20-minure flight in a de Havilland beaver floatplane. Then either a five-minutes helicopter flight to our home base or a rather longer boat trip by dugout canoe.

Most of my flying was on helicopters, and most of my time in Catalinas was as a poassenger. But I was checked out as P2 (co-pilot) of the Catalina on my Australian Commercial Pilot’s licence.

So very few hours on the Catalina, but I wonder how many people in Norfolk have one?


Habgood Close,