Letters, September 18 2015

Pensioners can use vet service

In response to the letter from V M Speller in last week’s paper. I can confirm that pensioners in receipt of state pension and or pension credits are most welcome to use the subsided veterinary services at the RSPCA welfare clinic in Great Yarmouth and have been for the last few years.

This is also open to people claiming working tax credits who also work but are on low wages. The clinic is locally funded by the RSPCA East Norfolk branch who pay the servicing vet to attend, and who also have to raise the finances locally to keep the clinic open.


RSPCA East Norfolk

Few stalls with maritime links

I was interested to read the report on this year’s Maritime Festival last week, the chairman of the festival suggested a figure of approximately 30,000 over the two days - a figure been bandied about for the last few years - gone are the heady days of 2003 to 2010 when figures of approximately 40,000/50,000 were attending.

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It was great to see the Swedish Gotheborg attending the festival, a ship that cost many thousands of pounds to secure for the festival but very disappointing that she and the Jubilee Sailing Trust vessel Lord Nelson took second place to a redundant offshore vessel (owned by Red Seven, a company in liquidation) that has been moored on the South Quay for many weeks which was turned around for the festival to take centre stage.

I am surprised the festival organisers didn’t allow the liquidation company to have a For Sale sign on her, although she did make up in mass for the lack of vessels attending the festival.

The retail stalls area contained very few with maritime items for sale, most just having props such as boats and sailors on the tables. At one time the only stalls allowed to attend were those which sold items associated with the sea or broads whether it was books, ornaments, antiques and collectibles or jewellery.

Nearly a third of the quay now seems to be taken up with food outlets again very few with a maritime or seaside connection.

If it wasn’t for the usual attendance of the traditional maritime crafts being demonstrated and artists Ernie Childs and Joe Crowfoot plus the Shanty Singers and other exhibitions the festival would be very poor indeed.

We used to support the festival every year spending all day both days around the festival, now we find that no more than two hours around it is more than enough and most of that was spent talking to old friends.

Unfortunately an event that seems to be taking steps backwards rather than forwards. Although still a good event for the town, it seems to be going the same way as Great Yarmouth Christmas Fayre and becoming an event gradually changing. but not for the better..



Medal should be owned by town

Like others I’ve been following the Fred Sadd George Medal saga. I agree with Councillor Jeal that the medal should be owned by the town, however what concerns me is just how did it get into private hands after being donated to the Fire Brigade? Even Councillor Jeal admitted it had been proudly on display at the Fire Station.

If sold by the Fire Brigade, then they have done a great disservice and shown little respect to Fred Sadd and all the heroes that serve in the service.



There used to be a vets in Caister

My cat sadly died because the vets are so far away from Caister and the surrounding villages. He became very ill one morning at 2am and when ringing my vets was told to go to Lowestoft. However, he did not make it that far.

Many years ago there was a vets in Caister and there would definitely be enough patients so I don’t understand why all vets are the other side of the river!



Wellington had engine failure

I read the piece in the Mercury, September 11, about the Wellington bomber Z8397 that crash-landed on the beach at California and exploded killing the crew.

I have researched this crash and crew and this is the information I managed to find. On the 29/30 September 1941, 139 aircraft took part in a raid on Stettin in Germany. This target was further than Berlin.

Sixty-nine of the aircraft taking part were Wellingtons and nine of those came from 12 Squadron and one of those was being flown by Sgt Frank Tothill and his crew, Sgt Dunlop, Sgt Cosgrove, Sgt Pilkington, Sgt Todman and F/S Nordon. While flying over the Danish coast their aircraft W5361 had engine problems, the starboard engine failed and they had to turn back after jettisoning their bombs in the sea returning to base safely.

Ten days later on night 10/11 October 1941, Sgt Tothill with the same crew this time flying Z8397 were taking part in a mission to Cologne when again their aircraft suffered engine failure and they flew back to England at sea level but unfortunately this time the aircraft crash landed at California and exploded, killing the crew.

Flying back at sea level at night with one engine out would have been very difficult with not enough power to take evasive action if needed and it seems most likely they misjudged their position and flew into the cliffs.



Mercury missing a trick or two

Following on from your recent front page scoops concerning a school badge testicle lookalike, and the wrong colour school shoe sole, I feel the Mercury is missing a trick or two. I know for a fact my neighbour’s daughter went to the wrong lesson on her first day of high school, and little Jimmy down the road was told off for not packing a rubber in his pencil case.

Raise your game, Mercury! The public must be aware of what’s going on out there!



Young lady came to our rescue

Through your paper, two very grateful pensioners would very much like to thank the young lady who came to our rescue when we were lost near Scratby on Wednesday last week. We have no name for her, we just know she was delivering phone directories. She went out of her way to give us a lift right to our holiday camp.



A prescription to restore the Great

I have been aware of the undercurrent of concern for Great Yarmouth’s future that is reflected in the Mercury’s letters, and also from people I’ve met in conversation.

This is a prescription to start restoring the “Great” into Great Yarmouth;

Abandon the lame casino/hotel ambitions (The Edge), this has limited appeal and little momentum, instead... just invite-in a world-class rollercoaster for a far broader international destination appeal... it would put Great Yarmouth straight back onto the world map with an all-season attraction.

Sort out the “landing-strip”; travelling the Acle Straight is already an extraordinary panoramic approach with a big sky, but the first impressions of Great Yarmouth are just billboards and a dog-eared train station. An avenue of palms upon the approach could say so much more to a new visitors.

Finish-off painting that Bascule Bridge! Looks to be parked at just two-thirds completed.

A ferry-link to Holland (as earlier promised).... and maybe even follow this up with a leisure boat marina.

An Oil and Gas Discovery Centre.. The North Sea Story is waiting to be told.

Collectively deal with litter and fly-tipping... residents taking more ownership, clearing the region outside homes, and maybe adopt and take care of a bit of public space.

Just first thoughts, would be interested on other reader’s desires for Great Yarmouth?

Name and Address withheld

You don’t learn with your feet

I feel really sorry for the young girl and the story of her shoes with the wrong colour soles. I cannot see what difference it makes what colour they are. At the end of the day you don’t learn with your feet.

Whatever next, maybe a certain colour of underwear? When I was at school we were lucky to have a new pair of shoes to start the new term and may I say it didn’t matter what colour they were as long as they didn’t have holes in the soles.

As long as children look clean and smart what does it matter about the soles on shoes? Do teachers go around looking at feet all day, I don’t think so.

Maybe the school will come up with another £25 for a new pair.



No investment in the bowls area

Apparently the bowls rinks are not viable because they do not make a profit for the Marina Centre, but this should be offset by other amenities so all members of the community can benefit from better, or maintained, health through fitness and leisure.

Why is bowls a loss maker? Lack of promotion and little or no financial input since 1981 is the answer. The whole area is antiquated, heating has always been erratic and varies from really hot to very cold, lighting is poor and not yet completed, the old flip over scoreboards have never been updated and there are no food facilities or comfortable seating, just a drinks machine.

When the green needed replacing, the council and centre said they could not afford it. We then had a cast off carpet from Browston Bowls Club and later one from Acle which they had rejected as worn out but which was still betters than ours!

Another big problem has been the council’s refusal, in spite of repeated requests, to provide adequate parking spaces, though a start was made in 2014/15 – in readiness for a new lease?

The bowls rinks are, and I quote “an over-provision”. In other words, wipe out the sport for the OAPs and others who are not so fit. Not to mention those who, during the next 15-20 years (council figures) will be deprived of the exercise, companionship and competition that bowls offers.

I am sure it is not too late for the council and Sentinel to find space for bowls in the centre, so please reconsider and reinstate the bowls rinks.

Name and Address withheld

‘Sweeping away’ lives of elderly

It is not the bowls rinks that the council and Sentinel Leisure Trust are “sweeping away” but the local, mainly elderly bowlers whose lives revolve around the competitive exercise, friendship and league games played against many other clubs in Norfolk.

Bowlers, as stakeholders, should have been consulted and certainly have priority over the extras for an approximate 10-week holiday season, and other luxury amenities.

The council has a legal obligation to provide sports facilities for the elderly and those who can no longer participate in more active sports. Their suggested venues, Potters, Browston and Acle are simply not viable (except on paper).

The councillors were elected to represent the people of Great Yarmouth. Where does their loyalty lie? To the health and well-being of residents or to a private limited company for financial gain? It should not be all about money.

In view of this, under the Freedom of Information Act, members of the bowls club would like answers to the following questions:

1 How much of the taxpayers money did the council spend in 2014/15 on exterior and interior renovations and car parking spaces (at last!) prior to the signing of the lease?

2 How much of the £7.6m proposed council spend this year will be allocated to the Marina Centre?

3 What annual fee will the council receive for the lease?

4 Did the council give Sentinel carte blanche to draw up these plans, including the removal of the bowls rinks without consulting stakeholders, in order to secure the lease?

I believe that in the last financial year our councillors were [paid £155,000 to look after our interests, so please think again and restore the bowls rinks.


Address withheld

Wrong shoes action is picky

I don’t often write to the Mercury although I am a regular reader. But I really have to comment on your front page article this week (September 11) about the young girl having to paint the soles of her shoes.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m all for maintaining “the highest of standards” as the head teacher Mr Gilbert-Barnham of Ormiston Venture Academy, put it. But I just cannot see the relevance of the soles of hers to her studies!

The Ormiston has had a chequered history over the years, going from excellent when it was the Technical High School back in the 1950s in Southtown, right through until it moved to Gorleston and became the Oriel.

It “sank” a bit after that, I believe, but was pulled back up to standard by the American lady (I forget her name), and seems to have regained its former glory under Mr Gilbert-Barnham – well done!

I went there, many moons ago, and my daughter in law and then my two grand-daughters very recently. I’ve always taken an interest in it because of this.

Teachers always insisted on high standards and mostly got them but I think this present issue is being a bit picky or over the top.

And being in seclusion is certainly not helping the poor girl’s studies. In fact it must be highly disturbing.

Please, headmaster, after having said that students work has to be “exciting and engaging”, don’t you think you should help Shakira to achieve this, instead of hindering it?


Norwich Road,


Bowls = exercise for many elderly

The members of Great Yarmouth Indoor Bowls’ Committee were informed on September 1 about the proposed closure of the Indoor Bowls at the Marina. This was due to the fact the Marina, as a whole, had made a loss last year of £450,000 and that the future development of the Centre would mean loss making facilities would be axed.

Unfortunately the bowls is included in that equation. The bowls committee made a suggestion to the council and Sentinel that if other leisure pursuits were held at the Marina ie wrestling, boxing, exhibitions etc where the general public could attend as paying customers, they would raise extra money, rather than taking away a much-needed sporting facility for the older members of the borough.

The answer was that if there was not such a big loss it would not be necessary for the bowls to go. We understand the Marina needs to utilise the space the bowls hall at present takes up, but surely we could be re-sited in the building even if it meant losing a rink (4 instead of 5). In the winter especially, this facility is very important to our members, allowing them to not only get exercise (which the government is supposed to be encouraging) but giving them a purpose to go out.

It is all about cost and after careful thought and looking at the detailed plans which have already been drawn up by an outside firm of architects (not our council drawing office) it seems a decision on the future of the Marina has already been decided, without thought for the welfare of the local residents.

Not everyone wants or is able to join the gym!



Recycling staff congratulations

I would like to congratulate all the team members who do a fantastic job at Caister Recycling Centre. Having had to make visits to the centre by myself, I was extremely grateful they were so helpful and friendly.

I would suggest should anyone be unsure on what is acceptable under the rules of Norfolk County Council, of what goods/weight can be disposed of, then they can ring the centre beforehand, to save feeling frustrated about a wasted journey. Thank you all again for being super efficient.



Highest praise for the Paget

I would like to let all the readers know of my recent eight-day stay I have just had in Ward 15, Bay 5 in the JPH. I was admitted on September 1 and discharged on September 9. The reason I was there was due to me contracting pneumonia along with a serious chest infection and a very high temperature.

I have nothing but the highest praise and thanks to all the staff on this particular ward. This praise and thanks is intended for everybody associated with my stay and wellbeing, from the cleaners all the way to the doctors/consultants.

They are understaffed and working to the limit but still finding time to cater to all patients needs. I found them all to have a very professional manner, a smile and an encouraging word, and all the staff will go the extra mile to assist patients and I felt very safe and secure their care. Their attention to detail was second to none.


Beach Road


Young dictating to us ‘oldies’

What is happening to great Yarmouth? No shops and now activities for the older generation being axed. Our bowling club on the outdoor greens folded owing to the borough council messing with fees and taking away the facilities. The NHS took Northgate bowls land back for building. But what building?

Now the Marina Centre is pushing the indoor bowls out. Having been bowling there some years, most days in the week for winter exercise, I was shocked to learn through the Mercury that someone tells us there are “other clubs”! Why should the younger world dictate to us “oldies”?

Not only does this discussion floor local activities, it has a knock on effect on county bowling which we enjoy. Local amenities are not going to be helped wither with extras: beauty, bigger café, parlours for this and that. The Marina Centre has always kept bowling in the background anyway.

Come on, cater for all ages in Great Yarmouth!


Great Yarmouth

Shoe sole rule is ludicrous

As a parent of a student at Ormiston I have to agree that the rule regarding the colour of the sole of a student’s shoe is utterly ludicrous. I am glad this issue has been raised but i do believe this is only the tip of the iceberg regarding some of these so called rules.

Whilst I fully understand the need for standards to be upheld I really cannot comprehend how isolating a student by putting them into seclusion is beneficial to their education. We are continually being told how damaging it is to our children’s learning if they have days off from school - yet if you go to school ready to learn but have the wrong colour soles you won’t be allowed to participate in lessons!

On occasions when I have been at the school I have seen members of the teaching staff in high heels, significant amounts of jewellery, piercings and tattoos on show -all of these are also on the banned list for students.

Whatever happened to leading by example?If its not appropriate for students then maybe it’s not appropriate for staff.


Great Yarmouth Borough Council

Heritage Open Days were treat

I have been told the older you get the less you enjoy the life and events around you. I must say this has not been the case for me, and the recent Heritage Open Days activities around this area have proved that.

I visited as many venues as possible in the time available and gained tremendous enjoyment from this varied experience. So I would like to say a very big thank you to all organisers and individuals who have given up their time and knowledge which so much impressed me, along with the many other visitors.

In my case, I give thanks for the fine exhibitions of photos in the newspaper offices, these certainly brought back many distant memories of the area and its events for me, so well done. Then my deep thanks to the lady at the Fishermen’s Hospital for all her knowledge about this gem. I particularly enjoyed the tale of the James Paget Hospital trying to discharge patients into the building.

Next was to the Royal Assembly Rooms where I was shown around by a gentleman who had clearly done his historic research, and who presented an eye-opening experience of the Masonic Lodge, its members and their activities. This building proved to be most historic, housing a large number of exhibits and the staff proved most friendl, so a very well done.

This was followed by an absolute outstanding visit to what is a real Norfolk historical gem – the former St Nicholas Royal Naval Hospital. I and other visitors, many of who had worked there years ago, were greeted by three extremely helpful home owners from the present building. These people are in my view doing a really fine and outstanding job of keeping the history of the site alive. It was good to return and view the almost unchanged Chapel, and also a former ward, so it is very well done to this group and the residents.

My final visit took place during much of the morning on Sunday at the Priory Gardens Past Times Fayre. This was a truly outstanding event, very well organised and one that must be repeated.

Please accept my grateful thanks from a well pleased visitor


Busseys Loke,


We are not nation of cat lovers

I feel I must reply to the letter, September 4, from P Cullom regarding cat mess. As I have always said I have to pick my dog’s mess up and if I don’t I could be prosecuted while ignorant cat owners do not have to.

I do not see what human mess has to do with cats or dogs.

Lastly we are not a nation of cat lovers. I dislike them, my neighbours dislike them, several people on my road dislike them. I would say more people like dogs.


Caister on Sea

A big thank you for charity fun

On behalf of Noah, Mark and myself, I would just like to say a very big thank you to everyone who came to the Unique charity fun day last Sunday at Emerald Park. Also to the kind people who had stalls, dressed up, and helped on the day. But above all to Noah’s cousins Lisa and Katie, who organised the whole event and did a fantastic job. Our final total raised is £1,855 for Unique.


North Cove

Knitted triangles for the newborns

While reading an article given to me on knitted triangles for the Norfolk and Norwich Hospital, neo natal unit, I thought if they required these items, why not the JPH.

The story is, infants who are not ready to leave their incubators for a cuddle from their parents (for varied reasons), are given knitted triangles, two inches on each side, which are able to take on the smell of the mother or father and in a short space of time this infant will recognise the smell of their parents, bringing comfort to a tiny infant and maybe the start of the baby’s “bottom drawer”.

I made contact with Lyn Baker, head of unit, who said this service would be appreciated.

Over just a few weeks almost 200 triangles have been delivered, a hinged box has also been provided and another member of our village over 60s club, the Happy Rollers, decorated this box.

Anyone who would like to knit these small triangles are asked to send a stamped addressed envelope for a copy of the pattern to the JPH neo natal unit please. No openwork or sequins which are a danger to tiny fingers.

I would like to thank Gwen, Elfrida, Chris and Gordon for helping me get this service off the ground.



Thanks for the care of my uncle

I would like to express my gratitude to all the staff of the JPUH for their dedicated care of my uncle, Martin Horace Buddery, throughout his protracted illness.

The magnificent care and compassion shown by staff of the many departments where he was a patient, EADU, SSMU, Intensive Care, Ward 15 and Ward 1, will linger long in the memory. I also wish to thank the members of the Hospital Chaplaincy Team for their valued support.

Shakespeare wrote that ingratitude is “sharper than a serpent’s tooth” but I would be gratified if staff would accept this short letter, although inadequate, as an expression of my heartfelt thanks.