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PUBLISHED: 15:18 03 June 2010 | UPDATED: 17:56 30 June 2010

RECENTLY much media attention has been given to some anniversaries of 70 years ago. In late May 1940, Yarmouth sent the Belle of the Broads and other vessels to Ramsgate to help with the Dunkirk operation.

RECENTLY much media attention has been given to some anniversaries of 70 years ago. In late May 1940, Yarmouth sent the Belle of the Broads and other vessels to Ramsgate to help with the Dunkirk operation. It is good to remember those brave men and their exploits but we should also remember the less glamorous contribution of people on the home front.

On the May 28 1940 all parents of schoolchildren received a letter from the Education Office stating the government wanted to move all Yarmouth's children to somewhere in the Midlands. Parents had to decide in 24 hours whether they wanted to let their children go. On Sunday, June 2, 2,000 children left Yarmouth, with their school teachers, to go to Retford, Notts. There they were allocated to volunteer foster parents in the town and surrounding rural areas. They remained for up to four years safe from the bombs which fell on Yarmouth.

As a boy of 13, I found it something of an adventure and made some Retford friends who I still have contact with. Other younger children may have found it more traumatic but, by and large, it all worked fairly well. I think the town of Yarmouth owes a debt of gratitude the people of Retford for that wartime service.

Six months ago I suggested to our borough council that it would be right to commemorate the 70th anniversary by thanking their opposite numbers at Retford, perhaps with a suitable gift for their Town Hall. Councillors accepted this idea but sadly the project sank under a sea of bureaucratic problems. Perhaps we can do something in 2020.

LIONEL BALLS

Bure Close

Great Yarmouth

I LIKE to read Mr John Cooper's comments on the outer harbour, but in the May 21 issue of Mercury he appeared to criticise the lack of refuelling facilities in the outer harbour. There are very few major ports in the world - I do not consider Yarmouth to be in that category - where quayside bunkering is available. It nearly always comes by barge, especially heavy fuel which most larger vessels now require. This is difficult to deliver from a quayside facility because of the heat required. So in the future, if larger vessels ever come here you can expect to see them followed in by a bunker barge. Fresh water is another commodity which often would be delivered by barge. While we are on the subject of the outer harbour: where would the containers offloaded in Yarmouth be delivered? Surely the nearest point would be the Midlands which have far better connections to established ports like Felixstowe and Harwich. I would like to make it clear that I would, as someone associated with the port for over 40 years, like to see the outer harbour successful for the sake of the town, not the port owners.

H G PERRY

Gorleston

FOR some time I have been reading in your columns about Great Yarmouth “needing” an elected Mayor and have found myself thinking it rather strange that the instigators are the leaders of the Labour Group on our borough council. Surely it was Labour who got rid of the Mayoral position some years ago saying the cost was too high; then the Conservative group reinstated it when they got back into overall power - or is my memory playing me tricks? I understand that the position is alternatively filled by members of each party on a yearly basis so why can't these men wait until it is their turn. My main problem with the whole thing is a referendum - at what cost? During these times of cut backs and economies, isn't there something better to do with our money? I also find the political element rather disturbing - a Mayor elected for four or five years choosing councillors for the cabinet, and no doubt receiving a bigger remuneration than our present one. As for being supported by someone who stood as a monkey - the mind boggles. I thought the people of Hartlepool are renowned for hanging monkeys!

PAULA WINSOR (Mrs)

Gorleston

DAVID Cameron and his coalition say they want to give more power to the people and have a more clear and transparent government but our council will have to be pulled kicking and screaming into this brave new era because it is alien that ratepayers should in any way be given a reasonable say in what goes on in the town hall.

There are instances of resident's letters and concerns not being answered. Of not giving us the full benefit of the Freedom of Information Act but using its failures to hide. Instead of it being our council, they deem it to be their prerogative to decide and any ratepayer who has the temerity to take any interest or question their decisions automatically becomes a "troublemaker." I am a member of this exclusive group and proud of it because it is when ratepayers speak with a single voice, which isn't often enough, we win battles.

After several attempts to change a "forum of residents" into a "Gorleston Councillors Scrutiny Committee" to suit their purposes better, the format has now been changed again and although I was previously a co-opted member of the committee my post for reasons unknown is no longer wanted and they haven't had the common courtesy to tell me. Apparently even the Labour councillors weren't told of these changes but found out when receiving the agenda for the coming meeting - this is democracy Yarmouth style. Will it take a Freedom of Information query with a wait of four weeks to find out the reason? I was voted on so surely I have to be voted off - and for good reason. It isn't over yet.

Great Yarmouth Residents Independent Scrutiny Group is in favour of the outer harbour, we want to see those jobs and tourists, Gorleston pier and Darby's Hard returned to pleasant parts of our heritage. The group was formed to question GYBC's negotiations concerning the outer harbour. The importance to residents should have been 1,000 jobs and thousands of extra tourists in return for nearly £20m of public (our) money. The council's success or failure is judged by how successful they were in getting the "holy grail" of jobs for our unemployed and ferries full of potential tourists. Have they achieved this or will they ever?

The scrutiny group sent a 100-page document to GYBC, with questions concerning the outer harbour supported by evidence. The eventual reply contained hundreds of words not saying anything or answering any questions and a final sentence which read: "The Borough Council is satisfied with this fuller explanation and there is nothing to be gained by further correspondence on the subject, I hope you will respect that".

This just about sums up the attitude of GYBC in not wanting, or is it not daring, to give fuller details of the whole affair. Why?

DENNIS DURRANT

Brett Avenue,

Gorleston

HAVING read Jerry Stones comment about cyclists rights to use the cycle paths provided, I totally agree they should use the paths and only the paths provided, not every footpath in Yarmouth especially the Haven Bridge on both sides, Bank Plain, Town Centre, Regent Road and Northgate Street. Did I miss the article when all these walkways became cycle paths?

The cyclists who use these footpaths are of all ages; they zoom towards you and come upon you from behind. They tell you to move aside and if you don't or you answer back telling them this is not a cyclepath you get verbally abused by some.

Today I saw an old lady with a walking stick nearly knocked over, because the woman cyclist coming towards her did not have enough space to get through, and the old lady had to quickly move to the side to avoid being hit. Do we have to wait for a person or child to be hurt or even forced off the bridge into the road?

If these cyclists do not feel confident about riding on the road they should not be on a bike. The police could stand there for a day and fine any cyclist breaking the law, and by the end of the day they could have made a fortune. Also, as we are a holiday resort, and really need all the good publicity as a resort, we can get, should any visitors really need to contend with the hazard of cyclists on our pavements that should not be there, while trying to have a nice break.

NIGEL CROWTHER

email

I WOULD like to congratulate the staff at Palmers menswear department for winning the national prize by Peter England as detailed in last week's Mercury. It comes as no surprise since the service I have received in there (both the menswear department as well as the store in general) has always been exemplary. I moved to Great Yarmouth with my wife eight years ago and a lot of the reasoning behind our move was the friendliness of the local people epitomised by the staff in the local independent shops.

What a stark contrast to my wife's recent experience at a national fashion chain store which typified the “Little Britain” caricature of “computer says no”. In a time when lots of national retailers are closing down, may I respectfully suggest the management of national chains visit Palmers or the plethora of local independents to see what customer service should be like.

Great Yarmouth has some excellent privately owned shops - it is good to see at least one of being rewarded in a national competition.

VICTOR LING

Email

MARK Watson raises some points in his letter (May 28) that require a response. I am well aware of the difference between voicing an opinion, which is what he does lucidly in his letter, and imposing the consequences of one's minority lifestyle choice on others. Read Ms Louise's letter again Mark; in it she suggests that the Market Chip stalls should consider changing the type of fat the chips are cooked in. That, if put into practice, would be an imposition for the majority of people.

The statement that vegans/vegetarians don't have lots of options I find bemusing. Less than a minute's walk from the chip stalls are others selling every type of fruit, nuts and vegetables imaginable, enough variety to satisfy any vegan's rumbling tummy. Most restaurants I visit locally also seem to have veggie options clearly marked as such on the menu.

Trawling the internet I can find no medical evidence to support Mark's assertion that an otherwise healthy vegetarian can become “very ill” by eating a small amount of animal protein or fat. Most independent nutritional advice would actually seem to support the inclusion of some animal protein and fat as part of a balanced diet.

If Mark just doesn't like the taste of meat then fine by me. If however, like some veggies I have met, he wishes to elevate this to some kind of quasi-religious belief or sees it as taking some sort of moral high-ground, then I do take issue with him.

I happen not to like rice Mark, but as it is a key part of their traditional cuisine I would not expect every Chinese or Thai restaurant to take it off the menu because of me, nor would I demand of them that they have to offer me an alternative.

Deny it if you will, but that parallels the attitude of many vegans/veggies towards meat and meat-derived products.

DENNIS J BEAN

Burgh St Peter,

Beccles

OVER the last few years it seems that most borough issues have been decided by a “cabinet.” In my opinion, it was far more democratic to have a full council meeting. This was usually held on the first Tuesday of every month in the evening.

Every councillor was expected to attend. In those days most councillors wore their robes, with the Mayor in his full regalia. The lady councillors such as Mrs Adlington and Mrs Batley wore their lovely hats with the special cockade. All this added to the dignity and authority of the meeting.

Every new or outstanding matter was fully discussed and then a committee formed for each project, the relative councillor for the ward becoming the chairman. All the proceedings were reported in the Yarmouth Mercury.

The public gallery was nearly always full and what a lively addition this made, even if one of them needed to be reprimanded on threat to leave. When it was mooted that a bridge might be built from Gorleston recreation ground to the Denes, many of us made objection as we lived near the recreation ground.

Birds Eye had just arrived in Yarmouth and I felt that mainly it was to help them. I have a full file of proceedings which makes interesting reading. Recently, if there had been thorough investigations and perceptions in the then proposed second harbour, as there were in 1968, we should not have the disaster of the Outer Harbour now. Let us bring back the full monthly council meetings!

CECILIA EBBAGE

Lovewell Road

Gorleston

AT the last Full Council Meeting in May, the Conservative administration abolished both the Great Yarmouth and Gorleston Area Scrutiny Committees. This decision was taken without any consultation with the opposition Labour party, co-opted members or residents.

This decision was taken with total disregard for the council's constitution and it leaves the residents of Gorleston without a forum at which they may raise issues and matters which have an impact across all wards in Gorleston which may then be brought to the attention of the council. The issues raised at these meetings in the past covered all wards where there are both Conservative and Labour councillors.

The five Labour councillors representing the Gorleston area opposed this move and wish to give the people of Gorleston a democratic platform to voice their opinion. At the last meeting of the Gorleston Committee, which had a good attendance, key issues were raised including the management plan of the conservation area and parking on the grass verges on the large estates.

As a result we will continue with this committee, inviting all councillors without officer or financial support from the Town Hall.

The first meeting is at the Cherry Road Community Centre, Cherry Road, Gorleston on Monday, June 14 at 6.30pm.

There will be a public question time of 20 minutes and included on the agenda is the issue of parking on grass verges - and the intention of appointing a working party of address the issues and bring forward proposals; as well to prepare a planning brief for Gorleston.

TREVOR WAINWRIGHT

Magdalen Ward Councillor

BERNARD WILLIAMSON

Claydon Ward Councillor

On behalf of the five Labour Councillors representing the Gorleston Wards

I WOULD like to complain about the noise levels coming from the Britannia Pier until 4am. I understand that we live in a seafront area, but it is also residential too, with many having no contact with the holiday trade.

Every Friday and Saturday my windows rattle to bass music, even down Regent Road, and now with the summer coming we must tolerate this six nights a week; even with double glazing my children have a job to sleep.

Complaints fall on deaf ears, the noise is insufferable and must be stopped.

It has been pointed out to me that under the 2002 licensing act, premises with late licenses should contain the noise inside, this clearly is not happening. Please understand this strong message from the seafront residents, we will not be put off anymore, and expect help from the people entrusted to look after are welfare

PETER OSBOURNE

Regent Road

Great Yarmouth

Congratulations to Norwich City on winning the league (season ticket), Lowestoft Town on winning theirs (watched them), Blofield on winning theirs yet again (watched them), both Gorleston teams, who finished in the top four of their leagues (season ticket) and Wroxham for getting to Wembley, despite not getting past Gorleston in the very first of an epic 12 qualifying rounds.

Also, to Sky TV and the others for all those matches. Yarmouth did not do too badly, winning their league, but I did not watch them. When does cricket finish? Has there been an election?

DEREK COOK

Middlestone Close

Gorleston

Editor's Note: Apologies to Mr Cook for the error in his letter on May 21 when Wroxham was changed to King's Lynn.

I read with interest the front page article on the crackdown on dog fouling. This initiative is no doubt to be welcomed, but in my view it does little more than scrape the surface of the problem of irresponsible dog owners in this borough. In my neighbourhood the quality of life for residents is being ruined not by dogs fouling but by the escalating problem of dogs barking.

These barking dogs spend their entire lives locked up by their owners in small enclosed spaces in the back of their properties. Typically, these dogs are never walked by their owners, receive no exercise, and are deprived of company. Seriously under stimulated, they have nothing to do but engage in behaviour that becomes a nuisance to others, including barking all day at each other and at anything that moves in their vicinity. Their owners seem to be completely lacking in any consideration or respect for other residents. The impact on their lives of those who live close to such dogs can be considerable.

The statutory and voluntary agencies that should be able easily to deal with this problem seem either unable or unwilling to tackle it. My efforts to engage these agencies in an effective response to the problem over the past five year have proved to be entirely fruitless. It may be on coincidence that the problem in this neighbourhood is far worse now that it was five years ago. It has been my experience that some of these agencies at best pay lip service to the problem and at worse engages in disinformation that conceals their intention to do nothing about the problem. They can also compound the problem by viewing victims as the nuisance.

Residents in this borough experiencing this nuisance seem to be virtually unprotected from it. It defies understanding why these agencies are not able to provide co-ordinated action to deal with this problem, taking into account that these dog owners are committing offences under multiple pieces of legislation. In my view this situation is entirely unacceptable. What about a borough crackdown on the owners of braking dogs?

Name and Address withheld

I WOULD like to thank Jonathan Newman, town centre manager, and his team of helpers for arranging the great Where's Wally? world record attempt on Bank Wally Day Monday. Although he just missed the record, from my vantage point overlooking the Market Place I could see all who attended seemed to be having a good time and there must have been at least a further 500 people enjoying the spectacle. This no doubt boosted the number of people in town on what is normally one of the quieter bank holidays, it certainly made it worthwhile for us to open, as I am sure it did many others. Organising these events is no doubt hard work for all concerned and we do not always appreciate or acknowledge this fact. I would like to record my thanks to Jonathan and the team for making it happen and look forward to the next attempt.

STUART McGEE

Palmers Department Store,

Great Yarmouth

MAY I extend an invitation to any reader who has served in the electrical, radio, radar, weapons or control branch of the Royal Navy and is looking for his ex-shipmates, to join the Royal Naval Electrical Branch Association with its new search facility?

The Royal Naval Electrical Branch Association is designed to reunite you with your old shipmates via membership lists, a regular newsletter and the ever popular reunions where old shipmates have met up again and many new friendships been formed. Further details and the latest colour newsletter, our best yet which describes a fantastic day observing today's training methods, are available from Mike Crowe, RNEBA, 7 Heath Road, Lake, Sandown, Isle of Wight, PO36 8PG or drop me an email at mike.crowe1@btinternet.com.

But that is not all. Thanks to a member's suggestion, we are implementing a very special and comprehensive 'Member's Ships List' in order that we can search out your old shipmates and contact you when we find someone you served with. A great association gets even better! No, we will not tell them you are in the association, we will ask you if you want contact, after all you may have pinched his girlfriend or owe him a fiver!

Contact me now, find your ex-shipmates and start swinging that lamp with them.

MIKE CRBOWE

P/M 977168

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