Letters, November 18, 2016

Not undemocratic to change mind

An economist friend recently wrote to me in a state of extreme sadness. “Even though the ratio of Remain-to-Leave economists was 22-to-1,” he complained, “those of us who knew Brexit was a bad idea still had to fight 22 times harder to get our voices across, and failed.”

This is a sentiment shared across many fields of industry and expertise.

A local measure of this failure is John L Cooper’s claim “The Remainers main gripe, as I see it, is the possible shortage of unskilled labour if the foreigners leave.” This is untrue, although if Mr Cooper will ignore the world and its experts; intellectual leaders; Nobel Laureates and half of his own country - not to mention the news - I doubt if I will change his mind.

However, the main “gripe” in the high court case is whether or not the government has the right to remove your rights without legal or legislative scrutiny, as Mrs Scott’s letter helpfully pointed out. This hinges on whether or not Article 50 can be withdrawn.

If it cannot, then the “Remoaners” have a point. If it can, then the “Remoaners” also have a point, because Brexit is stoppable.

There is nothing undemocratic in being able to change your mind and stop things. It’s why we have elections.

Most Read


Vienna and Great Yarmouth

Wreck a reminder of sea dangers

As someone who enjoys walks along the splendid Gorleston seafront and refreshment at the Pier Hotel, Cliff Hotel and Jo Jos (who are a credit to the town with their investment in their facilities), I used to wonder about the wreck just offshore. I delved into Clifford Temple’s book, “Shipwrecked” and found the answers..

I now know that 100 years ago, on November 17, the Newcastle steamer White Swan, had dropped anchor to ride out one of the worst storms for years. She was en route from Hartlepool to Greenwich with coal.

She dragged her anchors and was grounded. The rocket brigade rescuers spent 13 hours trying to get a line on board and eventually the crew of 21 (including one woman) was rescued. The fierce gale and waves continued to batter the ship and wrecked her. The wreck remains a reminder of how dangerous our coast has been and is.


Victoria Street,


Teacher at school in the late 1950s

Please note that Thelma Kirk (obituary, November 11) was first teaching sport etc at the Technical High School around 1957/58 because I was taught by her. She certainly did not arrive in 1963.



Outside seats will disappoint birds

I have been a fan of Greggs ever since it opened in Yarmouth and been in on every occasion I can. Unfortunately the last few times have been very disappointing.

Once the dishwasher had broken and we were served tea in the takeaway cardboard cups, the food served up on paper bags, and the decor and seating is very tired.

There were hardly any customers this particular day whereas in the past you were fighting for a seat. I am talking about last week, and now I read in the Mercury they want to extend to a seating area outside. This I don’t agree with.

Firstly, get the inside sorted out to a higher standard, secondly it’s a sad sight to see the herring gulls all sitting on the Market Place waiting for a scrap. Seats outside Greggs will just make these poor birds more disappointed. I’d rather it didn’t happen.



Help with Mitchell and King families

My brother and I have been researching out family history for some time and are writing to the Mercury and its readers for help.

Having visited county records at Martineau Lane, who were most helpful, I found a lot of information regarding the Spaldings who were basically North Norfolk based, but am struggling with the maternal side of the family who were centred around Great Yarmouth/Gorleston.

And we are seeking information about the King and Mitchell families in the area. To narrow this down I am particularly interested in my great grandfather King, who I believe was Great Yarmouth harbour pilot around 1900 and lived at (No 90 I think) Springfield Road, Gorleston and grandfather Mitchell, who I believe was village school teacher at Bradwell at about the same time.

My particular interest is in both cases, their siblings, as the information about them is somewhat sketchy and, sadly, all of those who I would ask have now moved to the next world so do not have email addresses

I look forward to any replies, as any information will be gratefully received, so that hopefully if I need to make the 140-mile journey from where I live it will not be fruitless.

I wonder if any of the local history/heritage groups in the area would be able to help; if so, I can be contacted on email at mcsnat@gmail.com



Wonderful to be so sure of past

I say good luck to Mr Barkhuizen. It must be wonderful to be so sure of the past, the present and even the future. How easy it must be to abdicate all responsibility for actions, as long as they are according to a book, written long ago by people who were not there but received the wording from “on high”.

“It’s God’s will”. As I say, good luck to Mr Barkhuizen.


North Road,


Sport England backing bowls

I have been reading with a great deal of interest the letters in the Mercury regarding the future of the Marina Centre and in particular the indoor bowls section.

I was on the Great Yarmouth Sports Council when the Marina was planned and we volunteered to meet with the architects to advise and offer expertise in our various sports. At the time I was a National Basketball League but needless to say the architects declined this offer from local sports experts and lo and behold the sportshall had no spectator area, the bowls was put on the first floor with five not six rinks so county matches could not be played, and the swimming pool was a metre short of competition length. Not a great start.

I trust the present councillors will have ensured they, or their appointed agents, have adequately consulted the present users of the Marina and made use of their expertise.

I am not aware of any consultation between the council or their appointed agents and the national governing body of bowls (EIBA). Rushcliffe Council is working with EIBA and their agents to provide indoor bowls facilities following part closure of their sports complex.

Yarmouth Council faces a situation so many around the country find themselves in, that of trying to keep sports centres open with not enough income costs inevitably rising annually.

Many councils like Yarmouth outsource the management of these facilities but are those companies too pressurised to cut costs and increase fees, rather than acting in the interests of the local sports population.

The Marina as a sports centre is not in the best position as parking for all users is a nightmare; perhaps a new sports centre on an industrial estate with all of present users responsible for running their own sports with reception areas being manned by volunteers etc may be an answer, saving on management costs, with the council only being responsible for the building itself.

The government policy, just announced, is for Sport England to provide £7.5m towards clubs taking over sports facilities, £10m has been allocated for tackling inactivity and £3m to help volunteers. The idea is to get The Nation Active.

Closing the indoor bowls club at the Marina seems to be exactly opposite to what the government advocate.

The Marina Indoor Bowls Club is possibly the biggest sports club in the town with 150 playing members, so surely the council via their management team should be working more with them and other sports clubs to improve facilities, increase membership etc. It is no good us all shouting our support for our Rio athletes when we do not provide our local sports people a place to play, exercise, be coached, socialise, and generally enjoy the company of fellow athletes and supporters.

The EIBA, representing over 300 clubs in England, is more than happy and willing to work with all partners to find a way forward to guarantee the future of the Marina bowls club. Contact me on 01493 750008 or EIBA on 01664 481900. In a recent survey (Oct 2016) Sport England stated bowls has the capability to impact on physical and mental wellbeing, individual development, social and community development and economic development at a local level. It is a sport historically at the heart of local communities. I trust Yarmouth council appreciates this.


Director of Development for EIBA and Director of the Bowls Development Alliance

The common folk wanted a change

Towards the end of Trump/Clinton’s electioneering nothing good was said about Mr Trump, no-one seemed to study what he was really saying when he was being racial, and obnoxious to the political elite, because everyone believed Clinton would win. With all that unfavourable rhetoric, the point Trump made was missed. But one resident in Florida picked up on it: “What happened in the States, the Liberalists from the same family that have held high office for over 20 years (Democrats) thought and acted as only the white collar and upper crust voters were their only concern”.

They ignored the wants of blue collars, unemployed and the forced redundant unfortunates as though they did not matter. We know all about being ignored here in Great Yarmouth, elected and unelected officials went gaily ahead doing deals without considering what was the popular way forward by the people living in the borough, the gifting of the river port for an outer harbour to venture capitalists was not what the residents wanted.

David Cameron and many of the MPs that supported him, did not read the signs that were so clear to everyone else when agreeing to Brexit. The common folk wanted change. In England we wanted our country back, not for us to change. Most of Britain’s MPs were caught on the back foot, proving the electorate did not count, ring any bells re Trump?

We are English first and British second, as are the Scots, Irish and Welsh - not Europeans! We want to make our own laws again, we want decide how we protect our borders, and we decide who lives here, England for the English. I am not a racist, I have just had enough of both of the main parties, councillors, MPs and government believing they know what is good for us.


Burnt Lane,


Public services come together

On Sunday during the Remembrance Day Service in St George’s Park, Great Yarmouth, I was privileged to witness a wonderful reminder of when and how calmly the services and general public support each other during wartime, incidents, and in conflicts. With hundreds of others I was watching and joining in the Remembrance Service, when an unfortunate lady collapsed to the ground while pushing her baby with buggy into the crowd. Within seconds the male and female services members arrived on the scene; the Fire and Rescue Service, St John Ambulance Service, NHS Service, military medics; Guide leaders, as well as members of the public, working together as a remarkable team. This scene was reminiscent of how proficient our services can function together for the benefit of everyone.

After treatment, including receiving oxygen, it was rewarding for all to witness mother and baby reunited on a simple park bench, a sight to behold. The Service of Remembrance was completed without interruption or disturbance, making it rewarding for all.

For me personally it was one of those wonderful great occasions that made me feel proud to be British. I wonder how many others there that day felt as I do?


Princes Road,

Great Yarmouth

My pride and joy is damaged

Sometime late in the evening of November 10 or in the early hours of November 11, some nasty minded individual punctured two tyres of my Freelander 2, while it was parked on Abyssinia Road, behind my home on Havelock Road.

I can’t help but wonder whether this was just an isolated, random piece of vandalism committed by a moron or does someone dislike me for some unknown reason? Perhaps they just dislike my Freelander?

When something like this happens it makes you wonder why.

I believe this vandal does not know me personally so let me tell him something of myself in the hope he may question his actions before bringing misery onto someone else.

I have worked hard all my life with only two short periods of unemployment, starting with service in the Army in the sixties, various jobs afterwards and finally retiring after 13 years as a caretaker at the nearby St Georges Infant School.

The Freelander, my pride and joy, was bought when I retired three years ago and although second-hand, was the first decent car I have ever owned.

My insurance does not cover this vandalism and so the cost, which is over £200 to replace these tyres will have to come out of my pension and will certainly mean hardship for my wife and I.

I have reported this vile act to the police and will act upon their advice, but I do ask everyone around my neighbourhood to try and remember if they saw anything suspicious during the time of the incident, or know someone who was out and about during these hours to also contact the police. It may be your car next time.


Havelock Road,

Great Yarmouth

Amazed at council rollerskate plan

I am writing this letter regarding the future of skating in out local community. Last weekend I was privileged to watch 263 competitors compete at our Retroskate rink at the Marina Centre, with an age group ranging from three to 48 years if age. Over the two days of competition the event was watched by at least 800 people from towns as far away as Wales, Birmingham, Manchester, the south of the country, it was trouble free without a swear word being heard and the standard of skating was a very high level.

I am amazed that our local council would ever consider turning this venue into a car park. Hotels and restaurants benefitted from the influx of people from away – it was lovely to see so many children enjoy themselves. Surely we owe it to out selves to give out children a venue where they are safe and can express themselves in a sport they love.

The costumes were amazing and everybody left Sunday having thoroughly enjoyed themselves. In a town with a long history of skating, I would ask the council to seriously consider not changing this venue into another car park.

Other towns have much better sporting facilities than ourselves, so why take away from us one of the few venues left in town. It is used 52 weeks of the year and offers open sessions on a regular basis.


Scratby Road,


Southtown Road traffic nightmare

What is happening with the traffic on Southtown Road. This happens most Saturdays and even in the week. It can take 20-25 minutes to go in to town.

Very slow moving traffic. The traffic lights let four or five cars go and they go back to red. It’s not enjoyable sitting in traffic like this. If you have a appointment you have to leave a lot earlier. As soon as you hit the bottom of Southtown Road it’s a nightmare nowadays. I am sure it was never this bad before.



Four defibrillators are to be placed

I would like to say a big thank you to Chris Ames, director of business development, Martin Marsh senior operations manager, the staff, and all of the trustees and directors of Sentinel Leisure Trust, for funding four public defibrillators in the borough of Great Yarmouth.

They will be placed at the Marina Centre, Phoenix Pool, the Wellesley recreation ground and in Yarmouth town centre.

This came about from the sterling work of Jayne Biggs, of Heart2Heart Norfolk defibrillators, for schools and clubs. Jayne has placed several defibrillators throughout the borough, and still would appreciate help from the public and businesses throughout the area.

She came to me about two months ago, to see if I could help and I was more than happy. I approached Sentinel Leisure for their help and advice and it was an overwhelming yes from all involved.

The process started with one then two, and now it’s four defibrillators all to be paid for and installed by Sentinel. This process will begin in approximately two weeks.

Again I would like to thank Jayne for her determination, and those at Sentinel Leisure Trust.


Central and Northgate

Director and Trustee

Retroskate is a big asset to the town

At the weekend, I travelled with family to watch my grandchildren rollerskate in the Retroskate gala. Firstly, I would like to say how well it was run - great people, great atmosphere. But more importantly I understand there’s a chance that it could knocked down to be a car park.

On a bleak weekend in November a number of guest houses and hotels were busy. We spent money in your town in shops and restaurants and along the seafront. Have your councillors not seen how talented the children are from the borough?

One big concern for me is what happens to all the children who use Retroskate for pleasure as well as a sport. Will they be hanging around streets looking for things to do? Retroskate is a big asset to Great Yarmouth and should be saved.



Share memories of war bombings

On June 25 next year, it is the 75th anniversary of the firing and gutting of St Nicholas’ Church, Great Yarmouth by German incendiary bombs. The Minster Preservation Trust has organised events to commemorate the loss of the town’s parish church, which was deeply felt by the residents.

The events include an exhibition in the minster, concerts, Faure’s requiem, children’s activities etc. We would very much appreciate any reminiscences or photographs from people living in the town during the years of the Second World War. They would be recorded and made available to the public.

If you wish to participate in the project, please email Colin Stott at the Time and Tide Museum by email at colin.stott@norfolk.gov.uk


Chair, Minster Preservation Trust

Another great show at Pavilion

We enjoyed another great charity variety show, I Must Go Down To The Sea Again, at Gorleston Pavilion Theatre last week, this time in aid of the Mission To Seafarers.

In an area whose past, present and future commerce is dominated by North Sea related industries this must be a charity that has made a positive difference to many people’s lives.

A big thank you to all those who were involved in this production especially to Stuart and Kevin of Gorleston Pavilion, for the use of their premises. They have contributed so much to the local community, and of course to Dusty Miller for her relentless dedication to helping those in need.

Our society would be much poorer without the commitment of these people and those like them.



Vauxhall bridge for exiting Asda

I read with interest our council leader is concerned about traffic issues around the Asda exits stating a right turn is desperately needed at the traffic lights to help reduce flow toward the roundabout leading to exits for the bridge and Acle Straight.

Clearly something needs to be done as congestion is at times ridiculous with many motorists taking the offside lane up to the roundabout, to drive right round to enter the exit for the bridge in order to avoid the queue in the nearside lane. This action prevents other drivers from continuing onto the Acle Straight or into the Euro Centre.

A golden opportunity was lost when part of the Vauxhall bridge was restored but it is not too late as the side nearest Asda still requires work and there should be no reason why the existing structure can be strengthened in order to accept light vehicles. This would ease traffic leaving Asda by allowing vehicles to turn right onto the bridge and with a mini roundabout perhaps near the fish restaurant allowing traffic to either turn left at that point, travel over toward the town centre and or turn right to drive along the quay toward the Town Hall.

The bridge is a listed structure and should be maintained, so if money is available then surely the bridge should be given consideration.

There is far too much congestion from Harfeys roundabout and especially at Gapton roundabout, weekends is a nightmare with the roundabout almost solid from around 11am until after 2pm. Bad planning by allowing M&S and others to open at the retail park whereas the exits from Tesco would have been far more beneficial to both retailers and drivers.

A right turn at the Asda exit will not ease traffic. The Vauxhall bridge offers an alternative and solves the restoration problem and I urge the council to give this some serious thought.


Anglia Skills Academy