Letters, November 26

Jack’s gone, but never forgotten

HOW saddened I was to hear that dear old Jack Chase had finally passed away at the ripe old age of 104. I was fortunate enough to attend a celebration of his work on the Caister parish council just a few weeks ago and it was pleasing to see he was still as sharp as a tack and as witty and funny as ever.

As a kid, I worked with Jack in the holiday trade. He was the old sage of building works and regulations and the man who knew everything and everybody. His stories and exploits used to inspire me on to better things and his advice and sure-fire accurate comment was a great back board of encouragement and, of course, correction along the way.

He often reminded me of how he knew my father when our family first arrived in Far East Anglia back in the early 1970s. Jack told me my dad was bamboozled by Jack’s business salary negotiation which simply was: “All I want is enough.”

This was back in the days when the old Caister group had just been sold to Ladbroke holidays and the welcome mat was not always rolled out to the Ladbroke team by the Caister diehards. Mr Chase was very welcoming.

In 2010, I was delighted to give a speech at Caister golf club where the captain is expected to pontificate to the assembled past captains of the club. Jack was in attendance and it made me feel so proud he was there.

When I first joined the golf club over 20 years ago, Jack was one of my seconders. When I was asked by the then captain why I should be permitted to join this great and historic golf club, Jack replied, “I’ll tell you why. It’s because he had the good sense to marry a Caister girl.”

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So, goodbye Jack, and I wonder if in these austere times we will ever really see his like again.



Great Yarmouth and Caister Golf Club

Resounding vote for the status quo

ON Thursday, November 18, at an all members meeting of the Great Yarmouth Constituency Labour Party, we held a discussion on the merits of having a directly elected mayor for the borough.

The case for, was presented by borough councillor and leader of the Labour group Mick Castle, and the case against was made by councillor Brian Walker.

An extensive debate followed, and resulted in a vote against supporting the directly elected mayor by a resounding two to one in favour of maintaining the status-quo.

One of the many concerns expressed was that there would not be any real benefits for the extra costs involved and too much power given to one individual was not in the interest of good governance.

If any resident or organisation would like to discuss any of the issues further, we would be pleased if you contacted the Great Yarmouth Labour party



Great Yarmouth Constituency Labour Party

Why bother if it stays the same?

IF the campaign for an elected mayor succeeds, will this mean we will have someone who actually knows how to run things, or will we have a member of the same crew that has given away our assets and ruined our harbour?

If it’s the second option, why waste the money?


Mill Lane,


Ultimately, the voters will decide

SO, both main political parties locally – Labour and Conservative alike – have now come down against an elected mayor for Great Yarmouth.

The decision on whether to move to an elected mayor chosen by 70,000 local voters rather than as few as 20 councillors (the minimum majority), will ultimately be made by local people themselves at the referendum to be held in March 2011. There will also be similar referendums in 12 or 13 other English towns and cities.

The “Yes to a Great Yarmouth Elected Mayor” campaign has always been and remains totally non-party-political and its committee of 12 includes people of all, and no particular, political persuasion, including local business people and community activists.

I am indeed proud this is the case because I don’t think the question of elected mayors is intrinsically party-political. The new Tory local government minister Eric Pickles, for his part, isn’t abolishing the legislation – in fact he is actively promoting more elected mayors as a means of reinvigorating interest in local politics.

As a Labour man, of course I was disappointed to see the local Labour Party voting against the introduction of an elected mayor. It certainly won’t inhibit me from campaigning for change in my personal capacity. People know where I stand.

I have absolutely no doubt, though, that both main parties will ultimately put up candidates to be Great Yarmouth’s first directly-elected mayor in 2011, if local people vote “Yes” in sufficient numbers next spring.


Town Wall Road,

Great Yarmouth

Put thought into savings, not cuts

THE news these days does not convey much positive thinking in relation to any counter-measures by local government to save money.

Just looking around the Great Yarmouth area there are numerous opportunities for the authorities to add money to their shortfall in funds.

On the seafront, the cost of converting the end tennis court to become an extension of the existing adjacent car park would be amply covered by its use during the spring and autumn half term school holidays. This would still leave the other tennis courts operational during the summer.

What about integrating road trains to cover town and rural residential, along with industrial areas, which are all off normal bus routes? The road trains could also offer new or supplement existing school bus services (road trains can negotiate roads and lanes not suitable for conventional buses).

Combine the streetside bins and wheelie bins rubbish collections with route overlaps to collect from more used areas such as the seafront and Market Place – without any conversions to existing equipment.

Along with existing well publicised savings such as low wattage lighting and office paper collections in council properties, the list goes on and on.

Perhaps, one day, someone representing the council will produce a press release stating that they can save capital outlay without any loss of public services.

Simply by looking at what we already have and what we can improve on, can help make savings.


Princes Road,

Great Yarmouth

Welcome awaits at our baby caf�

I WONDER how many people have been concerned about the word “cuts” being bandied around by the government and local councils. We wait with bated breath to see which services will disappear next.

Until I became a first-time mum I didn’t realise just how many wonderful services and facilities were available and I’m well aware if we don’t continue to use them we will most certainly lose them!

Being an “older” first time mum I had concerns about not fitting in but couldn’t have been more wrong! One particularly dear to me is the Baby Caf�s for breastfeeding mums where I have made some amazing friends of different ages and backgrounds. I have noticed, however, the numbers dwindling and wonder if new mums imagine, as I did, that we all sit around for two hours and talk only about breastfeeding.

Let me dispel that image by saying the support is there if needed but most weeks we drink tea and coffee, eat the fruit and cake provided and chat about the joys of being a mummy and anything else that happens to arise.

I should also mention it is a “drop-in” facility so you don’t have to be there for the full two hours or commit to every week. I look forward to seeing many more of you breastfeeding mums over the coming months.



When can I hope to see the light?

HOW long to switch a light on? I have been doing battle with Great Yarmouth street lighting over the last 16 weeks regarding an unlit service road (lamp no 347R) between North Denes and Walpole Road.

I no longer believe a word they tell me. Over the last five weeks I have been told “tomorrow”, and have even offered coffee and biscuits without success. I shall let you all know should I ever see the light.


North Denes Road

Great Yarmouth

Please support bid to keep base

I AM writing as leader of Great Yarmouth Borough Council to add the council’s support to retain the RAF base at Marham.

The base is an important economic driver for the economy, both in the local vicinity and Norfolk as a whole. We have already seen the reduction of bases in Norfolk and the impact that that has had on local economies and communities.

I would strongly urge the coalition government to retain the RAF base at Marham for the benefit of both the Norfolk economy and the Norfolk community which has a long history of supporting military bases.



Great Yarmouth Borough Council

Disabled parking signs not clear

MY husband and I are both disabled OAPs living in Suffolk. At the beginning of November we parked in Palmers car park in Yarmouth. When we returned to the car after an hour it was to find a �75 fine stuck on the driver’s window.

Despite an appeal to Yarmouth Borough Council, I received correspondence demanding �75 or be taken to court.

I paid �35 within the 14-day period but then received a second demand stating that as I had appealed I had to pay the full amount of �75. At the time we had no idea Yarmouth council charged disabled people in their car parks. Suffolk disabled people do not have to pay for parking.

There are totally inadequate notices in Palmers car park:

1 The council notice concerning disabled people having to pay is on a wall of the sub-station with faces up the car park. So when you drive up towards the rear entrance of Palmers the notice is behind you and out of sight.

2 On the ground is the still the “disabled logo” but the word “PAY” should have been painted underneath this logo.

3 A stand should have been installed by the disabled spaces stating that disabled people now had to pay as “free” parking for the disabled was no longer applicable.

Apparently, I was informed at the Town Hall, an announcement had been made in a local paper in August 2008 informing disabled drivers in future they had to pay.

I have been put under a lot of unnecessary stress and I would hate other disabled people being treated like I have been recently by the council.

Yarmouth council is certainly not encouraging out of town shoppers. Have they not heard of national hardship and compassion and goodwill at Christmas-time?


Oulton Broad

Shop local? Not if the music’s loud

THERE has been a lot of advertisements regarding local shopping. May I say that I do dread trying to shop in town because of the playing of terrible music.

In one shop I told them if I wanted to go to a disco I certainly would. Shop assistants don’t care whether we like the loud music or not. I am so pleased the person wrote recently about this subject.

We want peace when we are shopping. I am afraid that if I hear loud music from a store I will not enter it.

I hope all store owners will consider this problem and they do something about it, otherwise they will lose our custom. As for me, I will go elsewhere or shop online.


Church Road


Can you further my research?

I AM researching for a book with the working title The Norfolk Jews. I am hoping your readers in Gorleston will have heard of the murder of a Jewish wealthy businessman some 200 years ago.

They were known as the Gorleston Jew Killers. It is alleged that one of the killers later lived in Australia and admitted his part of the killing on his death bed.

I can be contacted at Michael Ross Film and TV Limited, 6b St Philips Road, Norwich NR2 3BL.


How not to run a parcel service

I RECENTLY was sent a parcel by courier, who stated they would deliver on a certain day. On that day they sent a text, giving me a two hour window for delivery.

As with most courier companies I am sure if I had been out they would have called again the next day.

Now, compare this with the service given by the “biggest”? parcel delivery outfit in the country ie The Royal Mail. They will deliver to your home once, with no prior notice.

If you are out or unable to get to the door quick enough, that’s it. They will leave a note stating you can pick the item up from Yarmouth delivery office, and get this: between 7-10am, then from 2-6pm. Saturdays 7am-1pm.

So, if you work in town you have no chance of picking it up in your lunch hour. So at the peak time of day they are closed for four hours. Imagine the queues that form there at 2pm!

They must have a death wish for the business. If you ran a business sending out goods to customers, which service would you opt for in hoping to keep your customers happy? In this day and age in a competitive market, you would have thought the Royal Mail would drag this service into the present century.

Clearly they just do not care about their customers, as this is just about the worst example of customer care you could come across. No wonder they are losing business at a rapid rate.



We can’t afford to delay repairs

RE last week’s item in The Mercury, where I warned of the continuing deterioration of the seawall at the south end of the prom, and current scouring of the beach in that area.

Two years ago, the attitude was “do nothing” and now it is “do later”, which is the council’s attitude to many things including Gorleston pier.

Here we were told to wait until EastPort makes a profit then we will push them to do repairs. Yet, still the situation deteriorates until we will eventually be told because of health and safety it will be closed. We are now seeing a similar situation with the seawall.

Waiting till spring to do simple repairs to the seawall is stupid when they agree it does need repair. Moisture gets in and expands when it freezes. The expansion causes more cracks and surface break-up, and, when salty air gets in, causes corrosion in the structure and compounds a bad situation.

If, and I am only saying if, the sea did reach the wall and batters it, a small problem could become a major one. I have no wish to see this happening, but why take chances? I really do believe that it would be good insurance to do the repairs, so why delay?

We have seen at this early point in the winter how quickly scouring tides can make inroads into the beach and that is what protects our flawed seawall.

One week the groynes were buried then suddenly they were standing proud above the sand.


Brett Avenue


Stop selling and just serve, please

I WAS in the main post office in Great Yarmouth last Friday morning in quite a long queue with four tills open.

All we could hear was the tellers trying to sell phone top-ups, insurances and investments oblivious to the people waiting.

Instead of gaining trade they were losing it as three people left the queue, I expect to go elsewhere. The elderly lady in front of me said she hoped they weren’t going to take too long as she couldn’t stand for very long.

May I suggest these services are advertised on the screen or on posters on the line barriers so the customers are dealt with quickly. Also, an “Express” counter opened for pensions and to sell stamps would, I am sure, be appreciated by the public.



Bowers & Barr Ltd

Nothing like a bit of live local footie

AS a local man, and a football fan, I have always had the belief you should support your local side.

As I live in Gorleston, I go to Emerald Park. Unfortunately, I’m in a minority, as the attendance is mostly under 100. I am fully aware this is not Arsenal, or Man Utd, but whatever standard of football it is, you should go local.

Yarmouth Town fare equally poorly, so I ask why more local people don’t come and support their local club, they sure could do with the extra money.

Gorleston has a good population who could give their support and if we all came together and had good crowds we would be more successful.

So come on all you armchair fans, put your coat on and come on down to your local football ground. What more could you want on a Saturday? Win, lose or draw, you cant beat a bit of live footie.


St Annes Crescent


Serious concerns about outfall pipe

SORRY to harp on continuously about erosion, but with the recent scouring of sand from Gorleston beach, I feel something serious has happened around the sewer outfall, just north of the cafe on the Lower Parade.

I fear a landslip is imminent in that area. The reason for my concern is the sudden appearance of cracks in the upper walkway, the level just before the top of the cliffs between the sewer station and the cafe. Possible cause. Damage to the outfall sewer pipe.


Gonville Road


No need for so much negativity

LAST week’s Mercury reported the excellent news that offshore company Seajacks is developing a new base next to the outer harbour and expects to create 50 new jobs.

In the same week, the local press reported that the largest grain ship ever loaded in Norfolk or Suffolk had left the harbour’s new grain terminal bound for Mauritania, bringing the total throughput to more than 80,000 tons in the terminal’s first year of operation.

EastPort reports over 130 ship calls to the outer harbour already this year and the inner river port is having one of its busiest ever years.

Strange, then, that in the face of all the available evidence there should have been so many negative comments in the Mercury’s letter pages.

The original business case for the outer harbour was developed nearly 10 years ago. At that time the ro-ro ferry market was booming but offshore wind farms were still at the small-scale experimental stage.

Since then, container traffic has first boomed then collapsed. But this borough – and indeed the whole of Norfolk – has never doubted that investment in the outer harbour would, ultimately, pay handsome dividends in terms of jobs and wealth creation.

No doubt, the departure of the two container cranes will be a very visible sign of the changing economic climate but, as one door in the market place closes, so others open and it is good that EastPort is able to adapt its business strategy to focus on new opportunities in renewable energy.

After only 10 months of trading, the outer harbour is already generating revenues and jobs for Great Yarmouth and Norfolk.

We have no doubt that it will continue to do so, and we assure you that both sides of the council chamber will continue to support the outer harbour’s future success.


Leader of the Council


Leader of the Labour Group

There has to be a better alternative

MAY I request space among constant criticism of our outer harbour to breach the silence and on behalf of many dejected unemployed to ask: Is there a more civilised alternative to this economic and social jungle?


Falcon Court

Great Yarmouth

Maybe now we can see the sea

I HAVE had a thought regarding the outer harbour after the cranes have been removed.

Will it mean that we will once again be able to sit in our cars, eat our ice creams and look out over the sea!


Kipling Close,

Caister on Sea

How will this saga look in the future?

IN two or three hundred years time, what will historians think of the whole outer harbour project – and what of those who dreamed it all up? A pity we will not be here to know!


Marine Parade,


Excellent show – a joy to the end

I ALWAYS attend the Original Dusmagrik Young Peoples Theatre Company’s shows at the Pavilion and last week was no exception.

This company under the direction of Mary Carter and musical director John Stevens was superb – these youngsters just get better and better. Anything Goes was a joy from beginning to end, the dancing singing, the costumes and the sheer enthusiasm of the cast made for a wonderful toe-tapping night out.

Musical comedy is always a tough medium to crack but this company did it with style and confidence – they really are something special. I understand some of the leading players leave after this show as they have turned 18, but no one need worry because with players of the calibre of sweet-voiced Jane Colledge, acting skills of Taylor Seabrook, Tom and Emily Forder, the Russell boys, Aiden Pulford, Jordan Hughes and all the rest of them, this company is in safe hands for years to come.

Megan Barr was a brilliant Reno Sweeney, Jamie Morgan, Lawrence Cook, Jonathan Rust and Emma Riches were all a joy. I don’t know what the next show is but I’m first in line for my tickets thanks!



We’ll definitely be back for more!

STAYING with friends for the weekend we were persuaded to go along to Gorleston Pavilion to see the Original Dusmagrik Young People’s Theatre Company perform Anything Goes.

What a treat! Eat your heart out X Factor, this lot are too good for you. Superb all round performances and attention to subtle detail made this a joy from beginning to end.

Megan Barr and Jamie Morgan in the lead roles turned in wonderful performances you could really believe in, supported by a most excellent cast. I can’t name everybody of course but I see a star of the future in Taylor Seabrook who plays Mrs Harcourt with style and confidence, quite an actress, and Thomas Forder, James and Connor Russell, Emma Riches and Laurence Cook were fabulous value for money as were all the cast.

And how wonderful to experience “live” music, a rare thing these days. Excellent choreography too and gorgeous costumes.

Congratulations to director Mary Carter, you’re a star yourself. We’ll be back for more!


Musical brought back memories

WHEN the SS American sailed into the “safe port” of the Pavilion Theatre last week, the crew and passengers of the Original Dusmagrik Young People’s Theatre turned out to be a strange mixture of wanted criminals and the elite of American society.

“Dusmagrik has done it again!” were the comments I heard, as the packed audience left the theatre after an exciting evening of song, drama, versatility – and totally convincing and professional performances of all the old favourites from Cole Porter’s Anything Goes, directed once again by the excellent Mary Carter. Wonderful memories of old musicals came flooding back and at one point shades of Ethel Merman and Robert Preston filled my mind.

Yet again, these young people were giving their all for the benefit of others; namely Children in Need.

Many congratulations from a few old mentors — you made us very proud. We thank you and your new mentors for it, and as you sail out of “port” we wish you bon voyage with your next production.


Beat the funding axe on sports

AS a company that has long supported the physical wellbeing of children, Haven Holidays is very concerned about the government’s plans to axe �162m of ring fenced funding for school sport and how this will impact on youngsters in the Norwich area.

With the 2012 Olympics just around the corner we are actively encouraging younger children to embrace sport and fitness.

We have initiated a scheme, now in its third year, to provide thousands of pre-schools and nurseries nationwide with free sports equipment, and are urging any local early years settings who have yet to register to make sure they take advantage of the free kit. This will help to ensure that Norfolk’s toddlers remain less affected by government cuts and can stay physically active while still having fun.

Haven Fun & Fitness is a web-based scheme that provides substantial bags or boxes of sports kit especially chosen to appeal to younger users. Typically the kit includes balls, hoops, cones, skipping ropes, soft foam flyers and a mini parachute. This year, pre-schools who have already taken part in the scheme will be able to opt for a ‘Sports Day’ package complete with team bands and certificates.

No voucher collection or purchase is required. Early years settings simply need to register their interest on www.havenfunfitness.com and encourage parents to visit the website and leave a simple message of support.

We hope that Norwich benefits as much as possible from this scheme.


Haven Fun & Fitness Giveaway Campaign

Remembrance Day Thanks

MAY I take this opportunity on behalf of the Royal British Legion, Great Yarmouth, to thank all the people involved with the Remembrance Day parade: the mayor of Great Yarmouth, Michael Jeal, the veterans and all associations, also troops from the A (Norfolk and Suffolk) Company Third Battalion of the Royal Anglians, the team rector of Great Yarmouth, Rev Chris Terry and members of the borough council, Great Yarmouth Brass Band, the parade marshall, Lt Col Terry Byrne MBE, and also the youth band, Eastern Spirit, which led the parade for their very first Remembrance Day. Also thanks for the overwhelming support of the people of Great Yarmouth. We remain indebted to all and thank you for your response.


Chairman, Royal British Legion,

Great Yarmouth Branch