Readers’s letters, November 17 2017

I sadly step down from my group

It is with deep sadness that I resign from membership of the Norfolk County Council Labour Group with effect from this Friday.

I feel extremely badly treated by the group with regard to my support for new £7m school buildings for the North Denes Primary School in my division and the establishment of a new special school in the old Alderman Swindell site.

I will of course continue to support Labour in the chamber but I will sit now as an Independent in order to better represent my constituents in Yarmouth North & Central and to campaign for the things that I feel are important for my particular community.

It will come as a wretch after over 40 years as a Labour Party member and after 30 years service as a local councillor firstly for Southtown & Cobholm and now for Yarmouth North & Central.

The party has been good to me and I have thoroughly enjoyed the opportunities I have had to influence events as a key member of the Celia Cameron and George Nobbs administrations at County Hall and as a chairman of the Norwich Airport Company for two years and chairman of the Great Yarmouth Port Authority for five years. I also worked as a full-time agent for the Labour Party for 11 years.

I do not wish to leave with any rancour and I wish my colleagues old and new my best wishes for the future. I am sure that we will work together to oppose the Tory Cuts which loom ahead over the next three years.

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Party switch was betrayal to me

Malcolm Bird, I must say I was not surprised at all that you left UKIP and went to the Conservatives, if you ask some of your fellow councillors I always said you were a Conservative not a UKIP man.

When you were elected in 2014 it was very popular to vote UKIP and that was probably the only reason you got in, in the June 2017 elections it was obvious UKIP had run its term and other parties were being voted for and funny enough seven UKIP Councillors have changed parties.

I think the wards that these seven councillors are in should have by-elections, those that voted UKIP voted this way for a reason and especially in Central and Northgate ward because I think I am correct in saying we have not had a Conservative Borough Councillor since the 1990’s.

You have betrayed those in Central and Northgate ward who voted for you because you were representing UKIP.

Earlier this year I wrote to all three leaders of Labour, UKIP and Conservative parties at the borough council about an issue where I live as it seems my ward councillors were not being able to help, only one of the leaders replied and that was Trevor Wainwright Labour leader, perhaps the other two were already discussing the future of some councillors jumping ship.

I wish more residents would go to the council meetings in the Town Hall it opens your eyes to what is going on and how these people vote. I only wish Central and Northgate still had Mick Castle and Lee Sutton as borough councillors, we miss them.


Nursery Terrace,

Great Yarmouth

Children were the service’s stars

As an elderly resident of Great Yarmouth, any person who despairs about the youth or the spirit of this town, could have done no worse than attend one of the Remembrance services at St George’s Theatre on Saturday and the service itself in St George’s Park on Sunday.

The weather was atrocious. Yet it was fully attended. The children, especially, were really brave and everyone stayed until the end.

Many parts of this town suffer from deprivation yet the involvement of local schools and their children in making the poppies and placing stones around the memorial fills me with great hope for the future. Not only for the next generation but the town itself.



Church ceremony was a disgrace

Through your pages I would like to express my disgust with St Andrews Church in Gorleston. Remembrance Sunday is a special personal service for many. The whole country pays its respects at 11am.

This happens every year and services incorporate the silence at 11 into this. But not so at St Andrews who clearly found it acceptable to do their service their way and not observe the silence until 11.10am I know I am not alone in being insulted by this lack of respect. Shame on you St Andrews church, hang your heads in shame.



What will bridge give the town?

Any other council planning to build something as expensive as the proposed bridge £120m would be acknowledged by the ratepayers as a step in the right direction.

But really Norfolk County Council, I shudder to think what a mess our children will inherit. The outer harbour was promised to promote employment for many unskilled residents, without listening to the companies on the South Denes peninsular they stick a pin in the map and say that will do, Gas House Quay for the bridge.

What they are doing is cutting the river in half, since Yarmouth was claimed from a sand bank, the port’s major sales point is 24 hours open with no docks or bridges to hold up the flow of shipping.

Now these same people with the help of GYBC, that killed the town centre and lashed out thousands on TV screens, gave away the river port when there was no need to as it was not in the transport ministers spec.

The list is endless of the times they threw away our money.

What this town needs is a council that listens and acts on the ideas and needs of the companies that rely on a solid customer base, which is something we have not got because council rates are pricing retailers out of business.

Here we are again NCC calling the shots and GYBC touching their forelock agreeing with everything they say. With the bridge we have a repetition of the outer harbour, a group of people ignorant of the needs of companies daily working with global shipping, it would be more prudent for NCC to consult with Great Yarmouth Port Users than GYBC.

NCC supervised the connecting road from the JPH to the Acle roundabout, another fine mess. Forget the bridge use the £120m to dual from Tesco to Acle town.

The problem that drivers have is not getting to the South Denes but into the town centre shopping and market.

Another bridge will cause more bottle necks in Gorleston exacerbating the tail backs on Southtown Road and the Acle Straight. At the same time losing income from shipping because of the reliance on waiting for a bridge lift, shipping will move to Ipswich, or Aberdeen or the continent.


Burnt Lane,


Leisure centre not needed

Regarding two letters in last week’s Mercury relating to the possibility of demolishing the seafront leisure centre and the new rebuild. I, as a local resident born and bred, would like to add my comments and say I am in total agreement with both these readers.

The present centre is a very ugly building and more like a prison than a leisure facility. The idea of a permanent skating rink and a decent swimming pool would be a much better idea.

For many years the seafront had a wonderful swimming pool, and though open aired and unheated was always busy.

Although I realise that in present times this would not be quite as acceptable, but something along those lines would.

Please no leisure centre. If there is to be one, please position it on the outskirts as suggested.

But do get rid of that dreadful blot on our landscape.


St Peters Plain

Great Yarmouth

Thank you for town centre store visit

I wish to thank Sue Patterson and David Howard for welcoming me to Palmers Department Store on their Party Night on November 1 to meet local people and for giving me the opportunity to sell my local history books.

It was a lovely atmosphere with drinks and nibbles, and a big draw.

My local history books are on sale in Music Lovers in Gorleston, Jarrold’s Store in Norwich, City Bookshop, Norwich and the Beccles Bookshop. If anyone has any trouble in purchasing a book they can get in touch with me at



Strange things do happen here

What a strange world we live in. We need social media to get us a third river crossing, when the need is there for all to see.

We want to knock down the Marina Centre and replace it with another, its only fault in my opinion being that it faces the wrong way, not facing and embracing the shoreline as it does in places like Felixstowe for example.

We have our very own Terracotta Army outside the Great Yarmouth Charter Academy at about 8.30 each morning as pupils line up before being admitted to class. A strange sight indeed.

Oh, and for some reason they have started to rope off parts of the dunes near the coastguard hut on North Denes.

Heaven help us all.


Collingwood Road,

Great Yarmouth

Don’t vote for defectors

I agree with councillor Trevor Wainwright that it comes as no surprise that seven Ukip councillors have defected over to the Tories. As some of them were Tories in the first place, they went over to Ukip because they knew that there was a good chance of getting voted in as people were fed up with Labour and the Tories.

Then this year when none of the got voted in they crossed over to the Tories. So no surprise when their leader at the borough council voted with the Tories and some of them followed her like sheep.

A year or two back my late husband county councillor Colin Aldred said that they were not true Ukip councillors when some of them voted with the Tories on certain things. He tried at Ukip meetings to put his point across about how things were run and were not right.

They did not like to be advised on things and after that some of them never spoke to him or got involved with him. He was never informed of monthly meetings. They would pass us on the street as if we had stood on something. I expect the ones who crossed over to the Tories think they stand a chance of getting voted in next year. I hope that all the people who voted and got them in last time that after this behaviour won’t vote for any of them.


Groomes Close,


Camp could care for homeless

Unfortunately on reading this week’s copy of the Mercury, I have no alternative but to counter the patronising remarks of P Long to my letter published previously in the paper. As I write this on the eve of Remembrance Day I think back to my own service as a member of the Royal Medical Army Corps, where I learned to look after and care for people and later I nursed and became a carer.

Because of my care and compassion I think of those in need and for this reason I thought that the Pontins site could be put to use, for a number of good causes.

Though P Long agreed with me initially, any negative thoughts about this idea he is trying to put on me, and to suggest I had said, and/or thought that the homeless should have a ‘free ride’ and not have to pay anything is totally unjust, and I am seeking an apology.

My ideas were simply for discussion, and I expected readers to reply with their own ideas, so that perhaps something could get going. I suggest the Salvation Army as administrators as they have dealt with the homeless, and also children from the cities, for holidays etc.

Who would deny some of the people of Grenfell Towers the chance to get away for a while from the problems they have?

I hope that gardening charities could keep the grounds in order.

GARY HELYER Nelson Road Central

Great Yarmouth

Concert sounded a good one to me

I was sorry to have missed Mary Hart Green’s students concert on Sunday, November 5 in St Paul’s Church. Looking at a mobile phone video it was an excellent show as ever.

Thank you Mary and her students for putting on this singing contribution to Remembrance. Why did I miss this - another special occasion as it was my granddaughter’s wedding in Bonny Scotland.


Hill Avenue


Why is site still laying empty?

I noticed the bowling alley site on Regent Road has not been developed on yet. I thought they would have started it by now. It does not look right now that bowling alley has gone.

P TURNER St Margaret’s Way,


Minster book is a masterpiece

Dr Paul Davies, archivist of St Nicholas Minster, author of several delightful books on the history of the Minster, including the magisterial work ‘Stories Behind the Stones’ has produced a scholarly, elegant volume on the restoration of the Church 1957-1961.

St Nicholas’ Church was destroyed in a devastating bombing raid which killed three residents of Great Yarmouth on the night of 24 June 1942. All but the tower shell, main walls and arches were reduced to ruins.

This volume is illustrated with reproductions of photographs of the Church prior to Second World War and also after war before the restoration. Lengthy discussions followed on the way forward regarding the Church and it was the drive, determination and enthusiasm of the then Vicar, Rev Gilbert Thurlow, that led to the rebuilding of the Church.

This fascinating book, based on Rev Thurlow’s methodical month by month account of the reconstruction examines every aspect of the restoration of the church fabric and furnishings.

The text is interspersed with photographs of various stages of the rebuild. The church was finally reconsecrated by the then Bishop of Norwich, Launcelot Fleming, on 8 May 1961, the Eve of the Feast of the Translation of St Nicholas.

This informative, lavishly illustrated volume would make a charming Christmas gift for all who love the Minster.

Printed by RPD Lithoprinters copies are available (£8) from the Minster Gift Shop and from Dr Paul Davies.



It is worth getting skates on

Council trucks have been to-ing and fro-ing all day, all the benches have been moved, and odd looking piles of gear clutter the market place.

Yes folks, it’s really happening. The ice rink is on its way. And I, for one, am glad. Yes, there is poverty in the borough and not everyone will be able to afford to have a go.

But does that mean those that can should be deprived of a bit of fun?

What we want is to attract people with money who will spend in the shops as well as liven the place up. The feel-good factor was sadly missing last year. The town centre was a dismal, festive-free zone, and no doubt takings must have been down at many of the shops.

It was just so…dull. At my age (73) I probably wont be slipping on my skates but just watching the children and families have a bit of fun and hearing the Christmas music is pleasurable enough for most of us.

It is a shame, admittedly, that it can’t seem to make money.

But overall I think it’s worth it and I am happy to pay my share for the sake of others even though I wont directly benefit. Isn’t that what democracy is all about?

Merry Christmas everyone!


Ormesby St Margaret

Pension group taking action

PAIN (Pension Action in Norfolk) is the Norfolk WASPI group and has nearly 700 members. Due to the large area covered, local groups are being formed within the county so that women adversely affected by the 1995 and 2011 Pensions Act can meet up to discuss the campaign and to help and support each other.

WASPI (Women Against State Pension Inequality) is campaigning to obtain compensation for women born in the 1950s, some of whom have lost as much as £45,000 due to the manner in which the Government has implemented and accelerated the process of bringing the age at which women receive their state pension to come in line with men.

WASPI does not oppose the age equalisation but is angry that the increases were introduced with little or no notice from the Government.

The first meeting of the Great Yarmouth Satellite group was held recently in the cafe in Sainsbury’s. About a dozen members attended and, whilst enjoying a cup of coffee, discussed ways to raise awareness of the campaign.



Did you know my shipyard father?

I am appealing for information about my father. I was conceived 1973 to my biological mother Julie and my dad Tony Thompson. They had met in Brighton.

My dad worked in Great Yarmouth in the shipyard Southtown Road as a skipper for a company called Cosag Marine Services ltd. This was a safety boat survey ship company that dissolved a few later.

At the time of Julie’s pregnancy with me she and my dad split up and she planned to have me adopted. This went as planned and Jackie and Tommy took me home to Hove from the hospital and named me Sherraleen Deanna. I had my mother’s maiden surname Ali until the adoption where I then would be called Bishop.

I don’t know what became of my dad, I hope he’s not alone in the world, I know he didn’t speak to his own father and I found him and he had died in 1990 never to have made up with my father.

So after trips to Great Yarmouth, door knocking and sitting in his old haunt pub across the way from the shipyard I’m at a loss. So if anyone knows of my father, any information would be appreciated. I’d love to hear from you. I just want to know he is ok and of course every daughter needs her daddy whatever the reasons were.

His name is Tony Thompson and would be in his 70’s now. Please email or call 07547799966.