Letters, September 20, 2013

Team work is key to festival

Having gradually recovered from the Maritime Festival weekend, I would like to thank some of the people who help make the weekend what it is.

Firstly to thank John Postle for his gracious appreciation in last week’s Mercury, but also to all the committee who support me and the event whole heartedly. It really is team work. They have worked tirelessly, not just over the weekend but throughout all the months of preparation as well, and most of them as volunteers.

Also to all the sponsors and local companies who always respond very positively. Great Yarmouth is very fortunate to have such supportive companies who contribute to this very large tourism event.

The list is too many to mention and there is always a danger of leaving people out, but there are a lot of good people in our town who all help out - not because they have to but because they want to.

I would like to give a special mention to Eastport, who regularly get bad press but as far as the festival is concerned we could not run it without their support and enthusiasm.

Also to Alan Carr our tourism officer who always goes above and beyond the call of duty and has done so for 14 years. We are very lucky to have him in our town.

Most Read

As regards to a Mr Stringer’s letter of disappointment in the Mercury last week. I would like to point out that in fact we had seven ships/boats, and we are always looking to provide a range of vessels from historic to offshore support as well as tall ships. The Morgenstar was very well received and the sailings very popular.

For the record it costs in excess of £20,000 to get a tall ship to visit, and if Mr Stringer would like to help us financially next year to get more ships that would be great.

I have had very good feedback from everyone else and the donations people have given will help ensure that we continue for another year, September 6 and 7 2014.

To Mercury readers and people that attended, thank you for coming, numbers were close to 30,000 again.


Chairman Great Yarmouth Maritime Festival Committee

Officials do not measure up

Spokesmen for Norfolk County Council who continue to insinuate that the government has determined that secondary school aged children who live less than three miles from their school should not have a free bus-pass need some correction. (September 6).

Government announced an expectation that children who live over three miles from school should have a free pass but local councils determine that children who live less than three miles away should not. Councils can choose to provide free passes to children no matter how far away they live.

When judging the situation of Demi-Leigh one needs first to consider the past record of the NCC education office. It took a schoolboy to describe the problems that could arise when walking to school along a West Somerton farm track. NCC could not even identify the correct right of way and then, it has been alleged, they even mistakenly surveyed yet a third path. One must wonder if these people can be trusted to measure a distance, even with the most up to date technology.

For example, measuring wheels are not that inaccurate and over three miles should be able to arrive at a figure within fifty yards or so of the true distance so one must ask, what human errors could account for the difference between the distance measured by wheel and by GIS instruments? Technology is only as good as the people who use it while no instrument is idiot proof so one cannot have too much confidence in the accuracy of any measurement made by those responsible for the West Somerton mistakes.

Seventy years ago children were known to walk six miles to school - albeit hanging on the back of a beet or other lorry for some of the way - in order to save a few pence train fare. But road conditions and traffic have changed; too often do we read of pedestrians being killed by out of control cars. Children in Africa can walk safely to schools over ten miles away but Gorleston is not Africa. Our roads, dark and often ice bound in winter, may be frequented by some not very nice people.

If Demi-Leigh is to go to Cliff Park School - and tradition has always been that children may attend the same school as their brothers and sisters - then she should certainly be allowed a free bus pass. In fact there is plenty of reason to allow children to have a free pass even if they live two miles or even less away.



Little better in our local corner

We are, according to the Chancellor, “turning the corner” in the economy. Well, according to the people I have been speaking to that corner is not located in Caister or Great Yarmouth or Gorleston.

We are now told that those who can only find part time or low paid work simply aren’t working hard enough and should be sanctioned.

Working for less money that you can live on is never a choice. It is forced upon those who are doing their best under almost impossible circumstances. It’s not so much turning a corner as being backed into one. I guess that’s the difference between millionaires and us normal folk!


Labour PPC for Great Yarmouth

Countering quote with another

In E Barkhuizen’s last epistle (September 6) he directly addresses those who hate his letters, amongst whom I am happy to count myself. He attempts to justify them by saying he ‘simply quotes the... unchanging words of...God.

For ‘simply quotes’, please read ‘mindlessly regurgitates’. I wonder which of the over 50 versions of the Bible these ‘unchanging’ words come from?

He finishes his letter with the statutory threat to all those who don’t think the same way as he does, a similar tactic used by the Taliban and fundamentalists the world over to repress intellectual enquiry, stifle freedom and deny education.

Mr Barkhuizen uses a long quote in his letter. I will permit myself a shorter one, from Émile Chartier, French essayist and philosopher:

‘Nothing is more dangerous than an idea, when it’s the only one we have.’


Queens Road

Great Yarmouth

More a matter of when not what

In reply to my letter the previous week, Mr Gervais in his letter last week says his beliefs are “based on evidence, common sense and reason. Theists [believers in God] beliefs are based on anecdotal [unreliable] lessons...”

I could reply at length and give many proofs for the truth of the Christian faith (such as, for example, the historical fact of Jesus’ physical rising from the dead, which proves He was who He said He was – God). But there is not enough space here to do so.

Mr Gervais, despite the mountain of proof to the contrary, has made his mind up that Christianity is false – without first looking at all the evidence. Had he investigated the facts, he would have been forced into a different conclusion.

Nevertheless, all who read this letter will one day find out who’s right: the followers of the Lord Jesus, Mr Gervais the atheist, spiritualists, or one of the many beliefs in the world today.

Death is one appointment each of us will keep. But are you willing to gamble with eternity? It will be too late, forever, to mend your ways once you’ve died (and the clock may stop for you tonight).

“Now as he [the apostle Paul] reasoned about righteousness, self-control, and the judgment to come, Felix [the Roman governor] was afraid and answered, ‘Go away for now; when I have a convenient time I will call for you’” (Acts 24:25).


Albemarle Road,


Bring memories to Christchurch

We invite you to help us celebrate the 75th anniversary at Central Hall/Christchurch since the church moved from Regent Road (Bhs) to the present site opposite St George’s Theatre in 1938.

Did you go to the Sunday School or get married at the church? Have you any family connections to the church?

We would like anyone with family connections or memories of this church to join us on September 28 and for a service to be held on the Sunday September 29 at Christchurch 10.45am-12pm. After the service stop and join us for a cuop of tea or coffee and recall old memories. Bring along any photos you may have, perhaps renew old friendships or start new ones.

We will be happy to see you one and all.


c/o Christchurch

Re-visit disco days with Pete

In the summer of 1974 I visited a disco on Marine Parade, Great Yarmouth, called The Senator. The reason I used to go to this disco was because the DJs played soul music and Tamla Mowtown. At the time that was the music I was interested in.

Next year will be the 40th anniversary of when I first visited the Senator so I would like to get up a reunion. Anyone interested can call me on 01493 369938.


St Margaret’s Way,


Awaiting answer from boaster MP

With reference to Brandon Lewis’s column From the Commons in the Mercury September 6 in which he boasts of his handling of problems encountered by constituents and how “how it is amazing how quickly public bodies and other organisations react when they receive a letter from an MP asing for action to be taken.”

I am personally very disappointed in our local MPs lack of response or action when I wrote to him on July 3 on matters relating to Yarmouth council and Norwich council. As of today, 70 days later, I am still awaiting an acknowledgement let alone any action on his part.

I leave readers to guess where my vote will be going come the next elections.


Albert Gate Road,

Great Yarmouth

Circus was a fine production

Spectacular - A word often misused. Not so when used to describe this year’s Circus presentation at Great Yarmouth Hippodrome. Anyone who failed to see this production really missed the finest entertainment this town had to offer this summer.

Many thanks and congratulations to the Jay family.


Windsor Avenue,

Great Yarmouth

Prizes made mockery of entry

Friday the 13th - lucky for some, others not so lucky.

A lady in Winterton-on-Sea had a display of hanging baskets and window boxes easily deserving of a gold award and this view was spoken about by many, not just me. However she forgot to post her entry in time, so not being too upset she said maybe next year.

On the Friday September 13 at the town hall awards night awards were given and announced that judges were so impressed with some floral displays of people who hadn’t even “entered” the competition that they were given prize awards, one even given a gold award despite not being up for consideration.

This in my opinion was and is totally wrong. Why should anyone bother to enter if judges are going to look at un-entered displays especially when they obviously didn’t consider all gardens not entered, hence nothing for the lady in Winterton-on-Sea. They can’t say they didn’t or couldn’t see it, being in the most prominent position in the village opposite the Post Office.

Back to my reason for writing to you, If you’re not entered you can’t and shouldn’t win it, just like the lottery.

It was good night at the town hall and the food laid on was excellent thanks to whoever was responsible.


via email

Help me find my cousin Margaret

I am writing in hope of finding my cousin. Margaret Lyons last know address is Albany Road, Great Yarmouth.

She has been missing for nearly 20 years and her family in Scotland are desperate to find her. I can be contacted via 01475 648780 or breenaart@googlemail.com.


via email

I too refused port payments

I refer to the letters in the Mercury over the last two weeks about councillors on the board of the Great Yarmouth Port Authority.

When I read the letter of September 6 it seemed to raise very similar concerns to my own but about a month before then I had made my decision upon the issue of payments by refusing any payments on the basis of the current workload.

I have also checked with the Norfolk County Council who appointed me and agreed my role in this respect and for this I am comfortable in representing them given my experience of local government and commercial background.

At my first and only meeting on July 30 2013 the clerk of the GYPA read the criteria for board membership and after the meeting I discussed further asking for details of workload and past accounts. I then made and communicated the decision not to receive payments but will be continuing an active role for the Norfolk County Council.

I hope this clarifies my position - I do not like discussions through the press so if anyone would like to discuss this issue with me personally I will be pleased to do so.


County councillor for Caister on sea


Thank you, you did a super job

Re Cobholm Fun Day I would just like to point out that it it weren’t for Margaret Jennis this fun day may not have even taken place. Margaret had so many hurdles in her way but managed to clear them all with her constant hard work, making phone calls and taking letters into local companies asking for a donation - all of which paid off.

The bouncy castle hire for the day was even paid for out of her own pocket. You should be proud of yourself for all that you achieved with the help of the credit union hosting the event and TS Warrior, the ladies doing face painting all day, the lovely cupcakes and horse and carriage rides. It turned out to be an enjoyable day, showing true community spirit.


Century Road,


Cycle path was ill-planned

I noticed in last week’s Mercury that police were planning to clamp down on cyclists illegally riding on the Haven Bridge footpath.

Whilst I personally have no problem with this I do question the lack of common sense used by the planners who decided to put a cycle lane in the footpath alongside the Matalan store. This is just as dangerous and I have witnessed many “near hits “ on this section of footpath. It also leads directly to the Haven Bridge, so many cyclists may think that as it is ok to cycle along the footpath at that point it is also ok to continue over the bridge.

I trust that the police will also “clamp down” on the numerous cyclists that ride on the pavements along the length of Southtown Road rather than use the cycle paths. Or the ones that use the cycle paths but travel in the wrong direction.


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Take a leak and risk a soaking

Further to Laura Bird’s comments in The Mercury September 13. I was looking out of my window at Priory Plain Great Yarmouth for my son and two small grandaughters coming from Norwich. There were three men in their twenties walking past, one walked onto the private car park and urinated between the bins. I would like to send the message to whoever it was - I would know him again. Next time he will get a nice bucket of hot soapy water over him.


via email

Let’s sell the whole lot off

I see in the Mercury (13/9) that the Government is set to privatise the Royal Mail. These assets have been built up over generations and are clearly successful if judged by profits. No doubt, based on past experience with rail, gas, and electric companies we will see increased prices and fat cats getting rich at the expense of ordinary folk, probably with the profits exported.

The failure of these private companies to invest their huge profits has seen the taxpayer having to fund rail investment, broadband, wind farms and yet face the threat of power cuts and ever increasing price increases. The privatised water industry has recently been accused of over pricing. Council houses were sold off and not replaced leading to a shortage of social housing and private landlords being subsidised by taxpayers via housing benefits.

Our councils face further cuts after years of alleged over spending, in spite of being Tory led for years, My solution is a massive privatisation. Sell off the boating lakes, waterways, tennis courts, bowling greens, football fields, toilets, theatres, libraries and museums and let the private sector provide. Why is the taxpayer subsidising leisure and the holiday industry? Going further, higher education students have to pay for education, why not further education? Why not restrict access to education and cut the school leaving age? Adult education should cover their costs. Never mind the past investment as huge savings could be made and the profiteers could develop the sites.

Beeching helped close many rail lines, including Yarmouth to Lowestoft, why not a major road closure programme? There are so many back roads serving obscure hamlets which are uneconomic and could be closed or privatised. Some have alternative routes in any case. The state of the Acle New Road and the failure to dual it may indicate this is being planned. Abandoning coastal erosion prevention would save some even more, although this may be happening already?


Victoria Street,


What happened to park and ride

After reading of the latest proposal to close the toilets at the leisure centre and turn the land into car parking, I’ve come to the conclusion that the council is plotting to bring about the demise of Great Yarmouth’s holiday industry.

In my opinion it will take more than a few car parking spaces to turn around the fortunes of the leisure centre which has always been a white elephant.

If parking is the real problem then perhaps the signs advertising the non-existent Park and Ride could be fetched up and an actual facility be instigated to ease the congestion.



A simple line would clarify

I’ve today been approached by a PCSO on Haven Bridge asking me to get off my cycle and walk across as this is not a cycle path. A “number of complaints” from pedestrians has sparked the requirement for two officers to attend the scene. I wonder if any other cyclist has had issues with pedestrians using the cycle lanes, especially the path leading from Matalan to the Bridge? Again the markings aren’t very clear about where the cycle lane is, but I have had several near misses because pedestrians are using it.

A solution needs to be found as soon as possible because the junction at the Two Bears Hotel and the road leading up to the bridge and over to the town hall is extremely dangerous for cyclists. The sheer amount of traffic and the size of the vehicles including buses and large lorries over 30 feet long coming in both directions can be quite daunting, especially when you need to swap lanes. The council are on one hand promoting healthy lifestyles and getting people back on their bikes then on the other hand they are risking safety and threatening fines? Which one is it?

All that needs to happen is a dividing line on the paths as it is wide enough for cyclists and pedestrians. I hope common sense prevails.



Rail bridge was my playground

I was very interested to read about the resoration of the old Vauxhall Bridge. I was born in 1934 at 6 Saloon Street, one of many slum houses with gas lighting and outside toilets. We were flanked by the station on one side and a derelict foundry by the river. The bridge was a favourite play ground for all the kids.

My father had a small holding where Asda now stands and ran a horse and cart in the summer for the visitors. In the winter he put the horse to a plough and cultivated the area which is now a car park.

The report says that the bridge was closed to traffic in 1953. I can only tell you in the 1960s red and blue buses used the bridge to and from the station. It was not uncommon to see three or four double deckers fully loaded rattling over the old wooden structure. I drove over there many times.


Castle Hill


Lack of seats harms seafront

My wife and I have regularly visited our friends in Gorleston from Stevenage, Hertfordshire, for over 40 years and were lucky enough to enjoy this past weekend by the coast, making the most of the Heritage day on Saturday. The weather was fine and we walked along the promenade admiring the renovated shelters and crossing our fingers that they remain graffiti-free. We commented on the sparcity of benches in each shelter, but assumed more were on order. But then as we reached the model boating lake and headed past the Ocean Rooms we noticed the seating was missing competely. Whatever will holiday makers do at the height of the season? Where will they eat their chips and ices? Where will children dust the sand off their feet? Where will pensioners sit and dream?

New railings are all well and good, but what has happened to the lovely line of seats that used to stretch as far as the eye could see? Surely they can be revived with a coat of paint and reinstated. The whole character of that part of the sea front has been destroyed. It is the timeless unchanged character of Gorleston that is its most outstanding attraction. Please tell us that all is not lost.

Bring back our benches!


via email

A bumpy ride and few ships

We were very disappointed with the Maritime Festival this year. We went on Sunday to have a look. Usually there are two or three tall ships, now there was only one. What happened to the Grand Turk? And how about replacing the cobbles with flag stones - most uncomfortable to be pushed in a wheelchair over the cobbles.


Stone Road,

Cobholm Island

Anyone got my old scooter?

The Great Yarmouth Scooter Rally organised by Norfolk’s own Sidewinders Scooter Club was a great success and brought hundreds of visitors to the town from all over the country.

Having been one of the original Great Yarmouth Mods, known as ‘Lucky’ (bit of a joke!) I wonder, what happened to the rest of the original “GY 59’ers” from the mid-sixties? Personally I’d like to know if anyone knows of my old scooter, which may be rusting in a shed somewhere. It was a Lambretta LD 150 Reg. BEX 325. If you know of it, were an original mod yourelf or know any please e-mail via gymods@macuk.f9.co.uk.



Ticked off over steeple climb

Your story about people climbing the outside of the steeple using the scaffolding in place reminded me of an adventure me and and some other boys, the names of whom I cannot remember, decided to embark on.

We had been told that the view from the top of the steeple was truly fantastic. It was also supposed to be the tallest steeple in Norfolk, beating Martham Church by “two herrings length.” We knew that the vicar, I believe he was the Reverend Howard, would never give us permission to climb the steeple stairs the entrance to which was via the vestry. We therefore waited until the coast was clear and made our way up the very uneven steps right to the top. The view was every bit as good as we had been led to believe. Once back in the vestry we decide to keep our adventure secret. The “secret” did not last long as my parents, John and Zelia Green, gave me a right good telling off and then to compound this, the vicar also caught up with us and ticked us off again. I think we all suffered both parental and vicar tellings-off. We never ventured near the steeple again. My parents, who were both born and raised in the village, and lived in a prefab at 3 Winmer Avenue, subsequently purchased a brand new house on Kitchener Road in Great Yarmouth and we all moved on my 14th birthday in December 1960. This included my younger sister Nola as well, and we both lived with our parents until we got married. Since 1995 I have been playing bowls every summer at Winterton and in a way have maintained a link with the village by doing this. If this strikes a chord with any of the other participants, then I would be interested to hear from them. My telephone number is 720992.


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I was very interested to read about the bus pass situation encountered by the parents of Demi Leigh Rowland.

My son commenced at the East Norfolk Sixth Form College last September and my daughter this September. My son was assessed as eligible for subsidised travel and only one year later, my daughter is not eligible. The refusal letter claims that the walking route from our home to the college is now less than three miles even though neither of the buildings have moved.

To check this assumption I walked various possible routes from door to door using a GPS tracker and all walking routes exceeded three miles.

I appealed to Norfolk County Council and eventually I was sent a map extract from their GIS software that assesses the walking route as 2.945 miles - apparently just 96 yards less than the required three miles.

When I looked at the route clearly marked on this map I was astounded and angry at the assumptions made by the person carrying out the assessments.

The chosen route goes along Beccles Road up to the flyover for the bypass. The walking route then climbs a vertical wall up onto the bypass - where pedestrians are not allowed to walk. Further along the bypass where Church Lane crosses as a flyover the walking route then climbs another vertical wall to turn left onto Church Lane to access the college.

The route does not use Shrublands Way which can clearly be seen on the map as separate from the chosen route. The detour to use Shrublands Way is further than the assessed route and it certainly exceeds the required three miles from our home.

The letter from David Halfyard last week questions the accuracy of the Geographical Information System software used by Norfolk County Council. Even if the software was completely accurate the council have a duty of care to ensure that local knowledge is used and the routes chosen are physically possible to walk.

I have again appealed to Norfolk County Council to make the point that their chosen walking is impossible but the council have sadly chosen to ignore this appeal.

I have heard that there are a number of families in my area near Northgate Street that have similarly been refused subsidised travel and in many cases this will be because the council has chosen a route that is impossible to walk. If you think that you may be affected by this I urge you to appeal to Norfolk County Council.

There is another point that is relevant in this whole saga. For the first time, it is compulsory for my daughter and those currently in Year 11 to receive one extra year of education - in effect the education leaving age is now 17+. It should not be a 50pc travel subsidy that is being offered to this year, it should be 100pc in line with all students that have not reached the official education leaving age.


Great Yarmouth



I`ve been following the continued argument about cyclists using the pavement instead of the road. Especially this week with the £50 on the spot fine if you use your bike on Haven Bridge, issued by our ever efficient police force, again hitting wHere the true crime is.. ignoring lesser important issues of burglary, violence, drugs etc etc.

As an everyday commuter to work on, sorry to say, a bicycle there is one question which has never been asked by the complaining public who insist we should all be banished to cycle hell - why do we use the unauthorised pavements? Because it’s so dangerous using any roads around town, that’s why. I have to go down Southtown then back along South Quay. Not much worries me, but when some idiot seems fit that he is as good a driver as Jenson Button, gets to within inches of me and my bike at over the speed limit because he is cool, then sorry I’m taking the safer option. I don`t want my 10 year old daughter visiting me in hospital because I had to bike on the road. If I have to pass a pedestrian, I pass around them. I look out for them, and slow down for them. There is loads of us cyclists using this way of transport to get to and from work on a daily basis. The police have to stop using us as an easy money-making target and look at the bigger picture and fine the idiots who make our roads a dangerous place. Then maybe we will use the roads to bike on and feel safe. I look forward to the big people carrier driving, speeding public backlash. At the end of the day it`s a community, respect our ways, and we will yours.


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