Letters, November 22 2103

Sad to see end of Star & Garter

Regarding your article in the November 8 issue of the Mercury on the end of the Star and Garter public house in Great Yarmouth. I am sorry to see it go, for I met my wife there on July 4, 1964 and it was quite a place.

But I guess times have changed for back in the 1960s Yarmouth was the place to be and the Star and Garter was always a fun place, when as I think Fred and his wife ran the place. Anyone else remember those days?


New Jersey, USA

Proper checking is important

As a newly formed uniformed youth organisation, the Junior Leaders Adventure Corps (JLAC) fully concur with the views of the letter writer (name and address withheld) in the Mercury, November 15.

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Our constitution and our unit policies require all staff to provide references, have DBS checks and attend safeguarding children training.

All adventure training is conducted at registered sites with qualified instructors and is fully risk assessed. Many of our staff are new and in accordance with our “Aim to Create Leaders” they are young and have much to learn. Our senior staff are highly qualified with a wealth of service and youth organisation experience and will monitor and guide those less experienced.

Parents, guardians and young people joining JLAC can be assured of a fully compliant and safe Unit environment.

If you would like to join JLAC or visit to check our records then come visit us on any Monday or Friday 6.30 to 9.30pm at the community building on The Conge, Great Yarmouth.

Lt Col (Retd) TC BYRNE

Senior Officer JLAC

Private sector should lead way

“The cautious words of John Cooper are a concern”, a statement in last week’s letter column. It seems two letter writers in the Mercury really do not understand the in’s and out’s of what the council is doing to our borough so people like Chris Wright (also last week) should research first before writing.

Mr Wright says: “It is interesting to see the councils have to take the lead in the absence of the private sector who are supposed to be leading the recovery”.

This is totally farcical, all GYBC does is promote itself. GYBC have not got the knowledge and expertise the private sector has, but instead of consulting with them they shut the door on them. This is a historic reason why Great Yarmouth never prospers as GYBC are full of “pipe dreams” without substance or finance.

How they are paying for this land I have no idea. All we are now seeing is a “regurgitation” of 1st East’s (remember them and the cost to the borough?) plans and a flawed area action plan of many years ago.

“Praising” GYBC/NCC is a confusion that those companies wanting to come to Yarmouth will not understand. NCC and GYBC, by buying this land for an Energy Park are not leading the way but “competing” with the private sector. The councils do not have money or a target for this Energy Park and are expecting the private sector to actually invest to create the concept!

The councils should be supporting the private sector by asking the private sector what is needed before making these plans. They should also be looking at the businesses that already exist in that area and their relevance to the energy Industry before trying to displace them.

We have an Enterprise Zone put in place for all energy-related companies to profit from by having greatly reduced business rates, but the council has allowed supermarkets into this area. The councils are now competing with the Enterprise Zone by forming the Energy Park idea. How confusing is this to the private sector who may want to invest in Yarmouth?


Burnt Lane,


Transport links left out in cold

Last week, a meeting in London with Stephen Hammond, the parliamentary under secretary of state for transport, celebrated taxpayer’s funding for the second phase of East West Rail. This ambitious scheme to link East Anglia with Reading aims to undo the closure of the Cambridge -Oxford section by Labour in 1967. (www.eastwestrail.org.uk)

In 2002, our town missed out when the first phase, the Norwich -Cambridge section service, was restored with public funds. It has proved to be a huge success even if Yarmouth people miss most of the connections and did not get through services.

Yarmouth was too late to get involved and as always Norwich won and our town remains a dead end. If the privatised railway was functioning properly there should be no need for such public sector funding. Rail companies should be investing more and showing initiative in developing new services. Greater Anglia/Abelio show no interest in putting our town on the rail map in a big way and are happy to leave us at a dead end with a station to match.

At the celebratory meeting, there was much talk of restoring the final section of East West Rail to provide the full link which cuts through major growth areas and “thinking centres”.

Our town was not mentioned or represented and unless we get more involved we will lose again and still be a shuttle service from Norwich.

Growth is vital to the town and beating unemployment. Excellent transport links are essential to growth. The A47 and our rail links have needed investment for years and there is no real sign of that changing.


Victoria Street,

Caister on Sea

Dad’s Army a real triumph

Never in the field of live theatre have so few performed for so many and left them craving more. Walmington was brought back to life by the brilliant portrayals of Jones, Pike, Fraser, Wilson, Walker and the sometimes poignant Captain Mainwaring in Dad’s Army at Gorleston Pavilion.

The beautifully performed songs of the Thirties combined with the Pathe News-style special effects gave us a production that fully justified the full houses that it played too.

Thanks to Kevin and Stuart’s enthusiasm for live theatre, Gorleston Pavilion continues to entertain us with such wonderful performances and Dad’s Army was surely one of the best.



We have our own airshow!

Who needs the Lowestoft airshow when we have our own natural daily airshow of cormorants and geese flying over from the continent going to roost on the Breydon Water. For people who haven’t seen them, they are missing a real treat. That’s what I call formation flying.



Dedication of our NHS staff

With all the recent criticism of the NHS in national and local press I felt the need to inform your readers of my own experience of the James Paget Hospital. On September 11, I went for a treadmill test due to breathing difficulties I was experiencing. This didn’t go well and the doctor recommended I be admitted immediately.

I remained in the JPUH until I could receive my operation in Papworth, a period of four weeks on Ward 2. For the whole of that period the care and nursing I received was first class and the domestic cleaning staff were a credit to their profession as the ward was kept spotless at all times.

At 57 years old this was my first stay in hospital since I was four and admit it was with some concern, due to press horror stories about conditions etc in the NHS in general , that I felt when I was admitted.

Concerns soon disappeared due to the care and dedication of the doctors, nurses domestics and all the other staff I received and I would to take this opportunity, through your pages, to thank them all.



Search for my cousin Carole

I am looking for my cousin, born Carole A Oddboy in Luton in 1947. She married in Luton 1972 to Howard Thornton. I think there is a Luton-Norfolk connection because my Aunt Ivy Oddboy, nee Curry, died in Norfolk 2006 - she was my mum’s sister. But Aunt Ivy always lived in Luton, so I can only believe she died while visiting her daughter in Norfolk.

I have found a Christopher William Thornton born in Norfolk 1979, mother’s maiden name Oddboy. It is such an unusual name. So where is Carole A Thornton? I have lots of photos and info to tell her. I hope your readers can help and I can be contacted my email at choya@hotmail.co.uk.


Chingford, London E4

Fables should be taught as fables

I’ve changed my mind. I wasn’t going to reply to the letter from Mr Huggins, but I felt compelled to after he has quoted my life as dead and lifeless and void of any joy and happiness. Yes, my life without your “God” is horrible. All I have left is art, music, literature, theatre, the magnificence of nature, mathematics, sex, the cosmos, friendship, history, science, imagination, dreams, oceans, mountains, love and the wonder of birth. It’s a sad ol’ life this living without a Sky Daddy.

Christians are modern day Paganists. The Christmas season is soon upon us, and it’s for some reason been linked to Christianity. In fact, in Pagan Rome, December 25 was reserved for celebrating the birth of “Natalis Solis Invictus” - The Unconquerable Sun. The biblical “Jesus” is referred to as ‘Light of the World’, this is because the 25th December (winters solstice) is a period when the Sun appears to “Return”.

This also means that those that worship on a Sunday are indirectly paying homage to the Roman Sun God. Most Christians will not like to admit it but their religion is simply repackaged Sun Worship from Ancient times. On that note, before I go “Fables should be taught as Fables. To teach superstitions as Truth is a most horrible thing” - Hypatia of Alexandria (370-415AD)



Be aware of Belton roads

May I through your column appeal to those drivers using the present diversionary route through Burgh Castle to please drive more considerately and be aware of the road conditions, which are completely different to most areas in Belton.

Under normal circumstances the volume of traffic via Stepshort and Mill Road is absolutely horrendous because motorists prefer to take this short cut rather than use New Road and so get delayed on the by-pass. We at the northern end of the village have every sympathy with the residents in that area and fully appreciate the problems they have to contend with on a permanent basis.

However, the present route is much more densely populated, the roads are narrower, there are more pedestrians and cyclists, and at the northern end of Butt Lane and High Road there are no footpaths or lights. Every day people, many elderly, walk along Butt Lane to the Post Office. Along much of the route there are sloping banks making it impossible to move out of the way of oncoming vehicles, and over the last two weeks there have been three instances of pedestrians almost being hit.

The 30mph speed limit around the village is frequently exceeded and drivers don’t even have the courtesy to slow down where there large amounts of lying water, posing yet a further hazard to pedestrians. These people simply have no idea about country lanes they are driving through this village as if it were the A12. The message is “Think pedestrian, think bike”

It is interesting to note that the people of Belton using public transport wanted the bus route via New Road as they didn’t like “going all round the houses”. Those with their own transport want, and do, just the opposite!


Butt Lane,

Burgh Castle

Thanks to two police officers

I would like to thank two police officers who I was very grateful to on November 16: Sgt Halliday and PC Ayres.

I had a diabetic hypo while driving near Sainsburys in Yarmouth. I pulled over near the traffic lights but after that I don’t remember anything apart from being breathalysed until I woke up in A&E in the Paget at 1am November 17. I was told the police officers had taken me unconscious to the police station in Howard Street, as well as my van. They had also contacted my daughter.

The officers came to the Paget and returned my keys. A big thank you to them, and to all at the JPH’s A&E department.



Modernisation gone too far

While watching “Dunkirk, the Forgotten Men” on Remembrance Sunday it reminded me of when my dad was alive and a Dunkirk veteran himself. We attended many remembrance services in honginham Church for the Dunkirk veterans.

The church is beautiful, intact and unspoilt, unlike our own village church in Belton, which was built in the 13th century and is being used as a village hall with youth clubs and jazz sessions.

We have a village centre and an institute, both very modern and comfortable inside which could be used for these events, so why aren’t they?

We now have a keyboard instead of an organ. It was broken up and thrown out; money could have been raised for it if an appeal had been started, as it has been for other church repairs, so was an organ deemed old-fashioned?

Where the organ stood there are three large settees so it looks like a hotel lounge bar. The font has vanished. Do we not have christenings any more?

The beautiful old pews are gone, taken out when there was nothing wrong with them. They looked lovely. In their place are “church chairs”, looking like a bingo hall.

There is a carpet covering the whole floor and the historic graves in the aisle; they are of people who were of some importance in the village over the years. There are also no proper Sunday services any more.

I suppose I could go to another church but Belton is my church. I was christened there as was my daughter, and attended every Sunday, all with no heating.

No other church has the same feeling for me as Belton church but now I cannot attend and look at the sad sight inside. Jesus threw out people who were misusing a temple, it’s a pity he is not around today.


Address withheld

Why turnaround parking change?

Following my recent comments concerning parking on the Market Place in Yarmouth on Saturdays, I must thank the council for reinstating the one-way system, but I did expect it to be in operation for more than two weeks.

This past weekend it was back to reversing and three-point (in my case four-point) turns to exit the parking area because the one-way turn at the end of the front rank had been given over to parking spaces again. I suppose that the lure of increased income was just too much to resist.

Because I work on the market on Saturdays it suits me to park there. But it looks as if I shall have to be better prepared to drive on this dodgem track by installing strong bumpers on my car, increasing my insurance cover and buying a crash hat.


High Street,


Mental health care concerns

There is a growing concern in each of our respective constituencies that mental health care services across Norfolk and Suffolk have reached melting point. Recent experience has shown the tragic consequences that can occur when senior health managers place too much emphasis on meeting financial targets (set out by Monitor - the NHS Financial regulator). All too often it is at the expense of patient care.

Many Trust staff feel there are unacceptable risks playing out in the region’s mental health services. We enclose quotes from from some workers who have brought these matters to our attention.

“I’ve been a mental health nurse at the Trust for 15 years. In that time I’ve never felt as concerned for my patients and the lack of care I can provide for them. What the Trust says about our ability to provide safe care for patients in the face of these cuts, and the reality on the ground is a nonsense.”

“On a regular basis I’ve seen people with genuine needs turned away only to return when they are in crisis. The impact this has on them, their treatment and their families is appalling. It’s heartbreaking for me and my colleagues to see people and know they’ll not get the help they need. We live in fear there will be a death that we could have prevented were it not for the recent cuts. People need to realise that Trust staff have been papering over the cracks for years by going the extra mile. But there are now so few of us, with so few resources, that’s no longer possible. I’m terrified that when things inevitably go wrong, me and my colleagues will be scapegoated for doing our best in the circumstances we have been forced in to.”

“I’m concerned that at some point the public will be endangered too. It really does feel like nothing more than a matter of time.”

For months, mental health staff have warned the cuts to the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust would have devastating consequences. The Trust has seen 20pc funding cut over four years that has translated into 400 nurses, social workers, psychologists, support workers and occupational therapist posts being axed.

New figures show that 38 serious incidents have been reported to the foundation trust in the five months since April. Of this figure, 20 related to the deaths of patients who had used the Trust’s services in the past six months.

Staff also tell us it is increasingly difficult to make clinical decisions based on need and the best interests of patients when resources and funding are so scarce.

It’s high time the politicians responsible for these cuts…politicians like Simon Wright MP, Chloe Smith MP, Norman Lamb MP. Brandon Lewis MP explained their actions to the public. Coalition politicians tell you the NHS hasn’t been cut and is safe in their hands but when you ask staff at the sharp end they will tell you a different story.

They should ultimately hang their heads in shame.


Labour’s general election candidate for Great Yarmouth


Labour’s general election candidate for Waveney

Appeal to locate my cousin

I am appealing for help in locating my cousin Margaret Lyons, who is about 47. I have been looking for many years and I recently learned she had been in the Great Yarmouth area. She was originally from Scotland. Her mother, who is 83, is ill and her brother and sisters are desperate to know Carol is well. I would be grateful if anyone knows of her and if they could contact me by email at breenaart@gmail.com or I can be reached by telephone on 01475 648780. Thank you.



NHS is politicians choice of football

Who would want to work for a company that is the politician’s favourite football of choice when they want to use negative publicly for their own cause? Who would want to watch on TV a slow news day being played out with media feeding on a “revelation” and then listen to the detail on the car radio while travelling to that place of work? Who would want to work in a culture that has initiatives and targets to appease the politicians that then drives the behaviours of management to achieve at all costs of patients and staff?

Is this what Nye Bevan had in mind when he devised the NHS for the good of all, he surely didn’t envisage the majority of good people drawn to a career in caring having to run this gauntlet every day?

Name and Address withheld

Your honesty is appreciated

Thank you to the driver of the No 8 bus that got to the James Paget Hospital on November 14 at 1.10pm and to the person who handed my handbag to the driver. Your kindness and honesty is much appreciated. My husband and I would like to thank you both personally, please leave name and phone number at the Mercury office. Also a huge thanks to the receptionists and volunteers at the JPH who gave so much care and help. Bless you all.


Nelson Road North,

Great Yarmouth

Well treated at the James Paget

I was sorry to read of some people’s bad experience with the James Paget Hospital. I would like to say my husband’s treatment was thankfully the complete opposite.

Early September I had to rush him into A&E where the doctors treated him, afterwards he was taken to the assessment ward and subsequently on to ward 5 where he was constantly monitored.

Unfortunately, my husband’s condition continued to deteriorate, however the hospital proceeded with endless tests and subsequently he was operated on and is recovering well.

In all of this time the staff was extremely attentive, concerned and professional. On arriving home the hospital continues to keep in touch to make sure all is well and for us to ask advice if required.

So on behalf of our family I would like top say a great big thank you especially to Mr Aryal and his team, A&E, the lovely nursing staff on ward 5 and in fact all the staff at the James Paget

I would also like to voice my support for a hospice which I think is desperately needed. I would have thought building one at Sidegate Road would be ideal.

I am slightly puzzled why a hospice at the JPH has rarely been mentioned until now, or have I missed something?

However, I do hope these lovely good people who instigated the idea of a hospice will come together for the benefit of the local people.


Cliff Park Estate,