Readers’ letters. October 20 2017

Danger drive to London recalled

It is 4.30am on October 16, 1987. Noise and constant pressure on the roof, as if to see how much it would take before giving way.

An early start as we were scheduled to take elder son to the railway station, home from recent graduation at university prior to an extended trip to the USA.

Packed and ready, we set out in our van, husband, son and myself intending to drive to Great Yarmouth station but there is no way out of Great Ormesby due to fallen trees and telegraph poles. We had to circle round and go inland intending to make for Acle station instead. We managed to get there with several detours but no-one to ask, no radio in the transit and of course no mobile phones.

We decided to carry on for Norwich and eventually reached it. Many phone lines were down so there was minimal information but definitely no trains as the lines were blocked.

What could we do but carry on towards London as we were afraid our son would lose his ticket to America if he didn’t show up.

How my husband managed to keep the transit on the road I’ll never know. Lorries and cars overturned, cargoes and trees as well as building materials were strewn along the carriageway. We had to bypass areas by driving across fields.

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Sore and bruised we reached London, dodging roofing tiles, lamp-posts and chimney pots. We were late, well after the requested time but the airline office told us only a minority had managed to turn up and those had been booked into a hotel as all flights had been grounded.

After an admittedly tearful goodbye, husband and I set off for home by the same tortuous route arriving home well after 10pm.

Never forgotten.


North Road,


Thanks for help with car push

A big thank you to a young man on a motorcycle and three young ladies from a nearby office who came to me and my wife’s assistants when our car broke down near the traffic lights to the Haven Bridge on Friday, October 13. As we are both in our 70s the help they gave us in pushing the car out of the way was invaluable.

Mr and Mrs N DYE


Call four weeks before illness?

Years ago you could phone up your local doctor and could be seen the same day. Not the case nowadays.

I don’t go to my surgery much but went in to make an appointment but was told I might have to wait three weeks. What is going on?

It’s not getting any better. It’s a good job I am not having a heart attack. So now you have to phone a month before you are going to be ill. It’s all gone down the pan with this NHS.



Gentleman of the highest order

How sad to read in your paper of the death of David Snell, a character and gentleman of the highest order.

I had the pleasure of working with him for some years at the Sixth Form College and I do not think it would be presumptuous of me to speak on behalf of many others who were there at the time when I say that he was a very special person who brought happiness and joy to all those he met.

He brought a degree of reality and humanity to the somewhat unreal world of education, with its targets, initiatives, assessment, restructuring, interminable meetings and so on. Perhaps the words of Horace are apt here: “We should study carefully that which will best promote a tranquil state of mind”.

David certainly helped a great deal in this regard. A sad loss.


Collingwood Road,

Great Yarmouth

Koolunga fated to be built on

Re the report about trees being poisoned in the Mercury last week. Councillor Graham Plant is of the opinion as to “why would someone want to damage something so beautiful?” regarding the tree poisoning at Koolunga.

Sadly, someone who doesn’t want the “mess they make”, “or the trees cast a shadow”, or maybe the person responsible just wants to see the land built on and the protected trees will stop them from doing just that!

I would like to understand why people are just so very greedy and ignorant of the reasons we need to take care of trees. Sadly, I doubt the council will prosecute the culprit, but watch councillors grant permission for a new build on Koolunga.



Tree poisoning and felling problems

It comes as no surprise to me at the poisoning of the tree in Gorleston, as this sort of thing has been going on for years. With the large sums of money to be made out of our rich clients from London it is obvious that there are going to be a lot more cunning plans to pass planning laws etc.

At the risk of repeating myself the Broads Authority have had to issue warning notices to stop tree felling in the area. Tree felling in the Waveney Forest/Fritton Woods area has been going on for years, also at Burgh Castle and Burgh Road, where the Forestry Commission took people to court some years ago, or so I have been told by local people.


Butt Lane,

Burgh Castle

Start here with new activities

If your readers who are over 40 and live in the Borough would like to try out some new activities the next “Start my week here” project might be just what they are looking for!

The project provides the opportunity for people to decide what activities they would like to try, where & when and then we go along as a small group to try them out. The next sessions start on Monday, October 30 at 10am in The Lighthouse Medical Cetre in the old Greyfriars Walk In centre building.

People do not have to be patients at that surgery to come along. Sessions are free and last six weeks. People attending past sessions have said: “I’ve really enjoyed it. It makes it much easier to go in as a group”. “I’ve enjoyed getting to know new people and trying new things”.

We have tried bowling, table tennis, walks, a tour of the library, dancing, arts and crafts, singing and much more. We have also enjoyed a good laugh, cups of tea/coffee and having fun!

If readers would like to join in please contact myself or the Priory Centre reception for an application form. Or call me for a chat on 07747107910 or email me on”


Great Yarmouth Community Trust

The Priory Centre

I saw UFO travel at 7,000mph

I read Mr C Godbold’s letter with interest where he tells of seeing a UFO. I saw a UFO pass over Yarmouth seafront at great speed heading north in August 1956. A long time ago but it was so remarkable it is stamped on my mind.

I was in early teens and I had an interest in jet aircraft. When I saw the UFO I was walking along the promenade with my parents going north. It passed directly overheard, was a saucer shape, silver grey, silent and it kept a straight path.

Its speed was such that it became just a dot and was gone in about four seconds. If the horizon line is eight miles away, then it was doing at least 7,000mph. No jet plane then or now can do that.

What was equally surprising to me was despite the crowds of holidaymakers about, no one seemed to have noticed it. Neither had my parents. They ribbed me for days over it.

Years later I read in a book that in August 1956 a UFO had been spotted by a radar station. They alerted Lakenheath. The crew of a C-47 reported seeing it, as did the pilot of a Venom jet sent up to investigate it.

In the sixties I joined the British UFO Research Association. There is a stigma attached to the UFO subject, misinformation is put out.


Church Road,


Smugglers cove was playground

Last week’s feature on Koolunga sent my mind back to my childhood. As a child Koolunga was somewhere sinister for us to play. The scope of our area of play was Darbys Hard and Koolunga, with Koolunga being the most imaginative to our young minds as it conjured up pictures of pirates and smugglers.

We took a construction we found to be the exit of a smugglers cave, situated a few metres in from the wall on High Road. Our suspicions were raised because we could never keep a candle alight over the shallow well like hole.

The only association then of an owner was the name Addison Williams, who we never did see. In the 1930s the place was always unoccupied. A more sinister part of a house to me as a child was what we thought to be a slaughter house, a small brick construction we thought had blood soaked walls. This was to the right hand side of Koolunga. Please, do not read too much into a child’s imagination.


Gonville Road,


Public meeting call aimed at MP

As secretary of the trades union council that has raised concerns about Universal Credit, I welcome the Government’s decision to end call charges for the Universal Credit helpline and all DWP help lines by the end of the year. This will save hard pressed claimants money and enable them to access help and advice.

Pressure from within the Conservative Party, from opposition MPs and the third sector, heightened by media coverage has brought about this change.

I do however wonder about our MPs refusal to attend a public meeting called by Great Yarmouth Borough Council earlier in the year on the subject of the roll out of Universal Credit, and whether if he had taken up the challenge, met and listened to the concerns of his constituents that change may have occurred earlier.

I don’t hear or see Brandon Lewis label backbench Conservative MPs as playing political games, a reason cited for his refusal to attend a council hosted discussion on Universal Credit. His refusal to attend led to the council not pursuing a public meeting on Universal Credit.

Come on Mr Lewis - hold that public meeting, surely you have something to say on the subject now.



Great Yarmouth TUC

Be proud of our sports heroes

What a delight it was to read about the wonderful winners and runners-up of the Great Yarmouth sports awards in last week’s Mercury. Every one of them is an inspiration to all of us living in the borough.

It was lovely to see all ages represented and a variety of different sports and activities featured and I hope it inspires other to take up a sport.

The benefits of sport are many and varied, from boosting fitness to making friends and building up confidence. The sports partnership, Sentinel Trust and the council should be praised for organising the awards. I hope that there are just as many nominees for next year’s award as there were for this year.



Lovely to see the Paget awards

How lovely to see the people working at the James Paget Hospital getting awards – they all looked so happy!

I too am happy: happy we have a fine hospital on our doorstep which employs local people as well in all sorts of roles.

It isn’t perfect, but nothing is perfect with the NHS these days (if it ever was perfect?) and there are challenges it must face but we are very lucky to have a big hospital at our heart. There are many places where the nearest big hospital is an hour or more away by road.

It makes visiting very difficult especially in the evenings when public transport always seems to be more limited. In my case, I managed to take a taxi to see my husband on an evening when he was in hospital for a serious illness five years ago. The rest of the time I caught a bus for afternoon visiting.

The awards I saw in the Mercury last week seemed to cover all departments and not only nursing and clinical staff but also the people who look after the car park. How wonderful. They must all feel like one big family.

Thank you staff of the James Paget Hospital, and thank you to the Mercury for letting us see these happy faces and celebrate their achievements.



School closure motion vote

This week at the full Norfolk County Council meeting I submitted the following motion:

The council believes the concerns expressed by the parents and community during the consultation on the future of Alderman Swindell School should be fully discussed and debated by all members of the Children’s Services Committee before any decisions are made under delegated powers by the Director of Children’s Services

An amendment of ‘In addition the council believes that the community should be reassured that all commitment to the Alderman Swindell site is solely for the purpose of education, not housing’ was also proposed.

In my speech I spoke of the absolute need for democratic open discussion and the duty of all members to recognise the validity of concerns expressed and provide an opportunity for those to be discussed at committee.

Unfortunately my motion was unsuccessful with the majority of members voting against it.

I thank Colleen Walker for seconding my motion and Emma Corlett in speaking so eloquently in support.

I am naturally disappointed with this decision but am committed to continue to support the majority concerns expressed by members of my local community.

Mike Smith-Clare


Yarmouth Nelson and Southtown

A team of us set up swimming club

I have just read through the Mercury report online about my Pride of Britain nomination and I would like to say I helped to start the Marina Centre Disabled Swimming Club it wasn’t just me.

There were five of us but three have passed away, on so there is only myself and Pat Hollis remaining from the original group who continue to run the group each week with the help of our committee. I did not just want to take the credit alone so apologies to Pat Hollis.

Betty Brown