Letters, November 14 2014

Marks & Spencer filled bomb hole

Interestingly in his letter about free parking in Great Yarmouth, E Watson (November 7) mentions that when M&S closes it will leave a big hole in the ground.

Younger readers might be interested to learn where the present M&S sprung up from - a big hole in the ground, after the original store was bombed during the Second World War.


Middlestone Close,


Troops didn’t stop for rain

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Well, Sunday we should have been remembering those that gave their lives for us. What a complete sham. At 11am while the rest of the country was paying their respects, Great Yarmouth didn’t.

It appears the official party don’t like a drop of rain. I haven’t read in any history books of our poor troops stopping when the weather was wet. Far from it.

Those that organised the said parade should hang their heads in shame.

And the person who should have stopped everyone for the most important part of the service, the two minute silence, should have done better instead of worrying about how those laying the wreaths were going to pass through the congregation.

It’s about time this whole service was left to be organised by the ex-military in the town. Enough said I think.



Disappointment at service move

My husband and I went to St George’s Park park to attend the Remembrance Service on November 9. We were very disappointed to find that it had been switched to the Church because of what they said were adverse weather conditions. It was hardly raining.

Like many others - approximately 100 - that arrived around 10.50am it was too late to go to the Church. Surely a Remembrance Service should be held at the War Memorial in the park, whatever the weather.

Mr and Mrs J O OVERALL


Better links to coast needed

It seems they are talking about better rail links London to Norwich. What about the road links to the coast.

In June 1999 as a Caister parish councillor, I managed to get a deputation to visit, Lord Whitty, the Roads Minister at the time, to question the dualling of the A47. He was a waste of time!

I wrote a letter to the Mercury in September 2000, and a Mrs Morgan from Derby replied telling us (Mercury, October 6 2000) to relax! On the October 20 2000 I pointed out to her, from her address if she tripped over the doorstep she would land on either the M1, A52 or the A38 – a quality of road we would like.

On October 12 2001 I questioned why we don’t qualify for dualling – Brighton and Blackpool have a motorway to within a whisker of their seafronts. Maybe we should have the Party conferences here!

I also pointed out that in the east of the England, we are the poor relations, or maybe it’s the quality of our MPs.

My next point is, on November 30 2012, people had questioned the feasibility of going over marshland, even though Percy Trett had said that only six frogs and a toad may be displaced. Surely, they could run the new road alongside the railway to Halvergate bridge and then move over to the existing road.

My last grouse is, I was working for Norfolkline when they wanted to build the outer harbour.

They, Maersk, were prepared to do it all, and fund it, as it was a £5m project to create and run the outer harbour, but the Port Authority stopped it, as they somehow wanted to run it with no funding.

So Great Yarmouth lost 200 direct, and goodness knows how many indirect, jobs.


Caister on Sea

Proms shelter area is beautiful

In response to restoration of the lower proms shelter in Gorleston, I would like to say a big thank you and well done. I think the whole area is positively beautiful, the picture with the sun shining on it is wonderful, I love it and it’s been a long time coming.

I sat on the middle seat only last week and my four year old grandson was playing and running around it so happy.

It was cold but peaceful, I felt thankful something nice had happened to the poor old shelter. There is not so much seating now but let’s be thankful for small mercies.

Let’s hope and pray it stays as it is for years to come! Well done JW Cockrill.



Shelters lovely, but more seats

The shelters have been restored superbly and are well deserving of commendation. The only slight issue is why not put back the bench seating as it originally was? There are fewer seats on the lower prom as it is.

Usually no more than two people sit on the seats at a time. In the height of the season people are wandering about with their chips, ice creams etc looking for somewhere to sit.

The donated seats are making up for the shortfall. But the benches taken near the horse trough have never been replaced.



No alert about town roadworks

First Eastern Counties buses would like to apologise to bus passengers who experienced delays while using our services on Wednesday and Thursday, November 5 and 6.

Unfortunately all town services were delayed for more than one hour due to electrical works on Haven Bridge, for which we were given no prior warning. When we are informed about forthcoming roadworks, every effort is made to ensure our passengers are not delayed and alternative routes are taken.

To our passengers - please accept our apologies and thank you for your patience.


Great Yarmouth depot operations manager,

First Eastern Counties

Why does our bus not arrive?

Through your paper I would like to say that First Bus are a total joke. Twice this week the 9.35am has not turned up, first on Tuesday, November 4 and then on Friday, November 7. The number 6 Bradwell is always doing this I complained to First and they sent two free tickets.

Perhaps they can tell me when we will get a reliable service? It is no joke getting to the stop and they don’t turn up, then you have to stand there for nearly an hour and it is not good when you are not good on your legs.

So please, First Bus, get it sorted.


Green Lane,


Politicians will soon be assesed

It was interesting to read the message from the MP in From the Commons. I would like to send a message to the Commons which is different: I am an ordinary person and like most people in the town do not earn £90k a year and depend on the NHS and the state for services like education.

I have not forgotten the granny tax where pensioners lost part of their tax allowance on the same day high earners had their tax rate reduced. I have not forgotten the VAT increase or the unbridled profits of energy firms which impact so heavily on ordinary people.

The benefits system certainly needs reform but the bedroom tax and review of disabled benefits has caused severe hardship, even suicides. Where is the social housing to back up the impact of the bedroom tax? Likewise,the pension age is rising rather than increasing national insurance contributions.

The formerly Tory controlled local councils were deemed to have been prolific in their spending and have seen huge cuts to government grants and thus their ability to maintain services. This in spite of concerns over education and social service provision.

Police budgets have been cut, in spite of the terrorism threat and other demands. Millions are being wasted on Police Commissioners who are an unnecessary and unwanted level of bureaucracy.

The NHS is in crisis with over spent budgets as the staff struggle to cope with ever increasing demand. A and E struggles to cope and one wonders what will happen this winter. Some GPs are unable to offer timely appointments.

Local mental health services, already the Cinderella of NHS services, struggle to cope. The local ambulance service has under performed for years. Long term pressure will increase as we live longer and the population grows. It will need more than budgets to be just maintained. Not a problem if one has private health care. Meanwhile huge sums are spent on a re-organisation!

Immigration is a big concern locally with the impact on the demand for local services. Little has been done while border controls are such we do not even know who is here. The Passport Office has been is in disarray with backlogs.

Meanwhile. Norfolk Tory MPs are complaining the A47 needs upgrading, rail services are inadequate, broadband and mobile phone reception is inadequate, Hardly surprising if investment in infrastructure is seen as a burden for future generations.

The Chancellor supports HS2, HS3 and London Crossrail and MPs across the land plead for their projects but we are promised more tax cuts and spending cuts. That seems odd and contradictory.

Still, it is the General Election soon. The Conservatives can be judged, Labour will be re-assessed and UKIP will be seen as an alternative to both with immigration high on the local agenda.

The borough of Great Yarmouth should get plenty of media attention.


Victoria Street,

Caister on Sea

Festival was a moving service

I would just like to say that The Festival of Remembrance at St George’s Theatre last Saturday was a credit to all who took part and organised it.

It was very moving and those who paid the ultimate price for us were remembered in a sincere ceremony which included many contributions from the citizens and children of Great Yarmouth. Thank you all for the wonderful experience.


Marine Crescent,

Great Yarmouth

On a par with the Albert Hall

On Saturday, my wife and I attended the Festival of Remembrance at St George’s Theatre. In line with all the other comments we heard on the day we thought this was a very polished, well put together piece of theatre on a par with the Festival of Remembrance at the Royal Albert Hall.

The coordination of the band playing on stage, the speeches and the service with the film clips and photos projected above the stage was very impressive especially the Dambusters March sequence. The two minute silence with poppies falling from the roof was a very emotional affair.

Many people have been involved in putting this remembrance service together so it would be unfair to mention one or two but it must be said that having Tony Mallion linking it all together was a master stroke that ensured a very professional link all the way through.

Was this a one-off or will it return next year? We hope so.


Royal Naval Hospital,

Great Yarmouth

Why was the Silence late?

As an ex-serviceman, attending the Service of Remembrance in the Minster last Sunday was, for me, a very emotional experience. Seeing the people in their thousands, from all round the borough, swelling the congregation to “standing room only”, was a heart warming experience

The health and safety fraternity would have had a field day as too “human rights” if the episode in Hull is anything to go by where ex-servicemen are not allowed to wear their medals in public.

I was gladdened to see the people of Great Yarmouth show their patriotism, rising to the occasion, as one, to attend this special service commemorating the centenary since the beginning of the First World War. Likewise, the service was to remember all the thousands of men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice for their country since 1914.

Saying that, it is a pity that they were let down by the organisers short sightedness!

The simple fact that the two minute silence was not held until well after 11am set the tone of the service and possibly why so many people left the Minster before the service started/concluded? Was the reason for the lateness of the hour because the dignitaries, like many others, were late in arriving?

Some of the older generation are made of sterner stuff and had originally attended St George’s Park for the service.

The printed programme had made no provision for a “wet weather routine” ie “in case of rain (any) the service will be held in St Nicholas”.

Had there been this proviso the youngsters and others congregating in St George’s Park and the Market Place would have been in the Minster for the two minute silence to take place on time....and not got wet!


West Caister

People missed out on service

Some Caister parishioners have expressed their disappointment at the lack of communication and total lack of organisation at the Remembrance Service in Great Yarmouth.

Some were not aware of the shift of location into St Nicholas Minster and missed the service completely.

Others missed out due to the lack of outdoor speakers which could have relayed the service to those standing outside in the rain, many of whom were elderly and yet stood and remembered why they were there on Sunday.

There is really no excuse for such poor organisation as the bad weather was widely forecast and it should have been relatively easy to have a “wet weather” alternative programme available, especially bearing in mind the age and mobility of those attending.


Caister on Sea

Dismay at health centre changes

I am very disappointed to note the NHS Walk-in Centre so recently built in Howard Street South is now only available as such “out of hours” because by stealth it has become just another doctors’ surgery during normal working hours.

I knew nothing about this as a local county councillor and certainly don’t recall any proper public debate about such a change. My daughter, who lives in Bradwell, took her eldest son there last week and was told she would need to take him instead to her own GP in Bradwell - which was in the event unable to give him an emergency appointment that day.

This isn’t good enough! Surely the downgrading of the Yarmouth Walk-In Centre will just add to the pressure on the James Paget Hospital’s A&E department.


County councillor for Yarmouth North and Central

Can you help out as a trustee?

St George’s Theatre in Great Yarmouth is a vibrant community theatre housed in a 300-year-old Grade 1 listed building. The theatre and its environs have recently been completely refurbished with a multi-million pound regeneration grant resulting in a 300-seater venue with a new build café bar and box office.

The board of trustees comprises of committed local people and is looking to appoint three new trustees. Following its skills survey, the board is looking especially for new members who have skills in: marketing, arts funding, catering, and legal and minority groups.

If you are interested in finding out more or applying please contact me at barry_g_coleman@hotmail.com or call 01493 740782.


Chairman of Trustees

I remembered a quiet hero

A personal dedication to a quiet hero.

When a group of schoolchildren from Cliff Park School were showing me the project they were doing in conjunction with Time and Tide Museum; which, like the Royal British Legion challenge, urged people to follow someone who had experienced WW1, the children asked me if I would join with them and do the same.

Initially, I thought of my great grandfather who survived the war only to die later of the injuries that mustard gas inflicted on his lungs. But then I started to tell the children about a woman from Norfolk, who captivated the hearts of millions, a hundred years ago.

I really don’t remember when I became aware of Edith Cavell. She quietly crept into my consciousness in the same unassuming way she became a hero to millions at the beginning of the First World War. As the centenary approached, I wanted to mark the occasion in a way that felt right to me.

Edith, the daughter of a clergyman, started working as a governess, but found her true calling as a nurse. She was ahead of her time and, I believe, she would have changed the world through her nursing which she believed was a profession as well as a personal calling and vocation. These were radical beliefs at the time which were difficult for a woman to hold.

Then history played its part. While nursing in Brussels the First World War broke out. Caring for the sick and injured behind enemy lines Edith found out the terrible fate befalling British servicemen and worked with others to help them escape back to Britain.

She was caught and confessed to try and save her comrades. But on 12 October 1915 she was executed by firing squad in Brussels.

After the war her body was brought back to Britain. Her family were offered a funeral at Westminster Abbey but chose instead to have her buried in Norwich cathedral.

In recent years I have been privileged to attend the Remembrance Day events in Great Yarmouth. This year, while attending an international conference on regeneration, I decided to go to the place where she died in Belgium. I told my MEP Richard Howitt what I wanted to do, and why, and he accompanied me on my personal pilgrimage.

The memorial to Edith, and other fallen heroes, is in a residential area in a busy part of Brussels. The memorial however was silent. At the head of rows and rows of graves stands a small white plaque, as unpretentious and quiet as I imagine Edith to have been.

I took with me a large poppy made by children from Southtown and Cobholm which said Great Yarmouth in the centre. It looked so small once I laid it on her stone.

I have spent so much time thinking about Edith this year. How hard it must have been to choose her life in peacetime. How brave she was to save others. How scared she must have been standing in front of the guns, waiting to die.

This year right wing groups have tried to use the poppy as a cynical political tool. The sacrifice of so many people is too important to forget and too special to abuse.

This November I decided to remember a quiet hero in a quiet way and in conclusion, I cannot improve upon Edith Cavell’s words the night before her execution: “Patriotism is not enough, I must have no hatred or bitterness towards anyone.”


Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Great Yarmouth

Anonymous gift is appreciated

Through your columns, and on behalf of Great Yarmouth Stroke Group, our members would like to say thank you for an anonymous donation received. What a generous and kind person. The donation is much appreciated.


Group organiser

There is plenty to do here

Where to live from choice? Norfolk in general and Great Yarmouth in particular have been cited recently in two national daily newspapers as good places to live. Many of us who have been here for 25 years or more already know that and would readily agree to such comment.

As well as the choice of coastal beaches there are the Broads and plenty of places in which to walk. Also a wide range of clubs and activities to be found by all ages.

Recent examples of physical activity are young Mark Spinks of Caister. He went out of county to be judged in Yorkshire in May. In October in Warwickshire finals he was glad to be judged fourth, from the many who entered to show off their fitness.

Another, young Miss Leah Shepherd’s interested include triathlons. Also playing women’s football, as she does, is another increasingly popular sport like cycling or sailing.

Appropriate challenges are available to anyone who is interested and prepared to give time and thought to a commitment. Well done you two, as examples to others.


Mill Lane,


Grotto cash for hospice charity

May I just clarify a small point in the article regarding the Christmas light switch on in Gorleston. It quite rightly stated that Santa will be in his Grotto in Fusion Hair Salon on November 23, but the proceeds will be towards the East Coast Hospice charity, and not East Anglian Children’s Hospice as written.


Community Fundraiser

East Coast Hospice

What’s latest on seafront casino?

With the new Marstons and Frankie and Benny’s being built, Yarmouth can start to have a new look.

However, has anyone heard anything about The Edge, a new casino cinema etc which was won by the Pleasure Beach Corp? There seemed to be much hype a few years ago but nothing since and no date for work to begin. I think I speak for many people when I say if Palace Bingo had won then it would have been built already and Yarmouth could start to entice people once again.



Remembrance disappointment

How disappointed we were to discover that the memorial service always held in St George’s Park would be at St Nicholas Minster because of “adverse weather conditions”.

I do not think the brave men and women who fought for us were given the choice to fight or not, because it was raining! Perhaps we should have stayed at home and watched the ceremony on television.

At least The Queen always attends, come rain or shine, and places her wreath on the appropriate memorial.


Tern Gardens,


Thanks to all for the service

May we through your letters page pay tribute to all involved in the Remembrance Sunday service, particularly as the inclement weather caused the local branch of the Royal British Legion to take a decision to move the service to St Nicholas Minster at short notice.

We have a duty of care to our war veterans, our elderly and younger members the society.

Our special thanks go to all of those who paraded through the town with a special thank you to the crew of HMS Dauntless who made a special trip here to help commemorate all conflicts including both world wars.

Also a big thank you to the civic team, who were responsible for organising the move to the church; and to Rev Terry and his support team. To all who joined us in this very moving tribute we thank you and apologise for any inconvenience caused.



Royal British Legion, Great Yarmouth branch

Festival a fine remembrance

My wife and I attended the Festival of Remembrance at St George’s Theatre on Saturday and would like to congratulate the organisers and those who took part on a job well done.

The service was respectful, reflective and informative and greatly appreciated by the audience and the theatre was full. Perhaps it could become an annual event?

I have been fortunate to have visited the war cemeteries at Arlington USA and on one of the memorials is carved four words about two feet high: “Freedom Is Not Free”.

These words say it all in the case of human lives lost in both the First and Second World Wars to give us the democracy and freedom we experience in our country, and other democracies around the world.


Laurel Drive,