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Save the fading gravestones

PUBLISHED: 17:33 01 August 2008 | UPDATED: 11:31 03 July 2010

FADING gravestones (Letters, July 18). Over the years, several important gravestones in St Nicholas' Churchyard have been eroded so their inscriptions have worn away and historical significance lost.

FADING gravestones (Letters, July 18). Over the years, several important gravestones in St Nicholas' Churchyard have been eroded so their inscriptions have worn away and historical significance lost. These include gravestones commemorating John Ostler, the captain of the revenue cutter Hunter, who was drowned with 32 members of his crew off Happisburgh Sands in 1807; John Sayers, captain of the revenue cutter Ranger, who was involved in a skirmish with smugglers in Robin Hood's Bay, and who drowned with his 30-man crew in 1822; and William Carter, the master of the schooner, Young Daniel of Great Yarmouth, who with his wife and two children lost their lives when their schooner was run down by a Spanish brig on a voyage to France in 1849.

All these gravestones are now completely devoid of any lettering or decoration.

The gravestone of James Sharman, veteran of the battle of Trafalgar, is in poor condition with the face of the stone flaking off.

The number of such gravestones eroded beyond recognition and lost to history in the churchyard is numerous. Following the fall of the suspension bridge in 1845 Great Yarmouth townsmen raised a large amount of money in memory of those who had died. This money was used to restore St Nicholas' Church and to found the Priory School to educate poor children of the town. At one time there were five gravestones commemorating children who drowned in the disaster of 1845.

We are now left with the gravestone of George Beloe, with its detailed engraving of the bridge, which is deteriorating fast and will soon be illegible. Surely it would be better to re-cut it to preserve it for future generations, rather than lose it to the weather, as the borough conservation officer wishes. Surely the actual gravestone, even if it is re-cut, has more meaning and is preferable to a mere photograph.

PAUL DAVIES,

Vice chairman

Yarmouth Archaeological Society

Archivist of St Nicholas' Church

THE beauty of the original eight-hourly police shift system was that precisely the same area and population was patrolled by the same number of officers with the same resources every eight hours, the only variable being the quality of personnel. It was thus very easy to stimulate a healthy spirit of competition between the shifts and we all know that competition is one of the best ways to drive up standards.

If a particular shift was running up excessive overtime, incurring a high number of complaints, or suffering an unusual amount of sick leave, it was relatively easy to objectively measure these statistics, ask questions and take remedial action.

On the surface it might seem sensible to deploy the bulk of the manpower at the busiest times using complex shift patterns, but such reasoning could be proved to be flawed, because in the golden olden days, when eight-hour shifts were the norm and public criticism of our police was nowhere near the level it is now, the time when operational demands on officers were low was used to patrol the streets, show the flag, build up community relations, write annual appraisals and deal with welfare problems.

To have officers come on duty with a view to working full steam ahead for eight hours is likely to cause burn-out and high absenteeism levels, which is likely to defeat the objective of making optimum use of resources.

With regards to claims that eight-hour shifts have a "destructive effect on domestic and social life", I was always under the impression that police pay was calculated to reflect the fact that unsocial hours were part and parcel of the job.

It is fortunate that shift workers in the private sector, which generates the income to pay the taxes which provide the salaries in the public sector, are not bleating about the rigorous conditions of the jobs they have chosen in the full knowledge of salaries offered and hardships involved.

JOHN KENNY

Habgood Close

Acle

IN reply to the letter in last week's Mercury from M Smith, Caister. I'm the mother of the young lad that was killed at the junction of Prince of Wales road and Norwich road. It is not a fact of life that we need these “big buses” through our village as a short cut/rabbit warren. Buses have trouble getting through when cars are parked outside people's houses. This is the second young life we have lost to these “big buses” through our village.

I hope and pray that it will make people think that next time it could be someone that they know and love. I would not like anyone to go through the pain and loss that I am going through. Mathew was a very fun-loving lad with lots of friends who will miss him greatly - a young life taken far to soon. So please help us to bring back the smaller buses to our village.

Mathew's funeral was on July 17. A big thank you to Rev Charles Pall, Simon at East Anglian Co-operative Funeral Services, Karen and Paul at The White Swan, also George Healey and Sid Webster from Acle Police Station, and all of Mathew's family and friends that made me very proud to be his mother.

H CAILE,

Caister

I WOULD like to respond to the “Tragic loss but we need buses” article. I am disgusted and cannot believe there are such people out there. May I remind these people that two young lads have been killed by a bus on a housing estate. They should still be here today and probably would be if those buses did not go down there, Desira Park was not designed to take such buses.

Yes, I do agree people get killed on main roads every day but come on, Prince of Wales Road is hardly a main road, people buy houses on that estate to bring up their families not to get killed. There is a bus stop on either side of Norwich Road, the bus can go up Norwich Road turn at roundabout and come back, yes you may have to walk a little further but come on walking is hardly going to kill you. May I say how sorry I am to both sets of families who have lost their sons in such terrible circumstances, I cannot even begin to understand what they are going through but my thoughts have been with them.

MRS L HIGGINS

Ormesby Road

Caister

I WAS horrified to read the letter from M Smith of Caister, saying they are sorry to hear of the tragic loss of a teenager but we still need buses. I ask at the cost of how many more lives?

My elderly parents do not have a car and rely on public transport and certainly do not share the views of M Smith. This housing estate was not designed to take double-decker buses. On the morning of this fatal accident, I was astounded to see three other double-deckers were waiting to get out of Prince of Wales Road at 8am - absolutely ridiculous. Furthermore, later that week I came across another double-decker bus at a bend in this same road, causing me to brake and nearly come to a standstill. With regard to the large lorries; they are few and far between and are there because they are making deliveries. They are also not timetabled to be there at the same time day in and day out. My deepest sympathy goes out to the family concerned, who still have these unnecessary reminders passing their house numerous times every single day.

BARBARA PEACE

Barnard Close

Gorleston

I WAS astounded to read, hidden away in last week's Mercury, and in the form of two readers' letters, that Fritton Woods has been earmarked as a potential aggregate quarrying site. By whom, I would like to know, and in what time frame?

Mention was also made of a government petition which sounds a little suspicious, but perhaps everyone should sign it as a starting salvo. Go to www.petitions.pm.gov.uk/fritton-woods/

Despite its essential rurality, this part of the country is not particularly blessed with an abundance of easily accessible woodland locations for a wide range of recreational pursuits. I can think of Bacton Woods at North Walsham, Horsford Woods, north of Norwich and of course, Mousehold Heath in Norwich itself (imagine the outcry if that was threatened in any way?).

Our own Waveney Forest/Fritton Woods need all the protection they can get and the letter writers, Dennis Durrant and Donna-Marie Mileham are to be congratulated in this regard.

MIKE SPRAGG

Collingwood Road

Great Yarmouth

Editor's note: The Mercury has been following this story for some time. On April 4, we carried a Page 9 lead on the issue, and there was a follow up page lead on June 27. The Letters columns have had many contributions about the issue and readers have been signposted as to where they could make their protest.

ANYONE who has no access to the internet can sign the “Don't destroy” Fritton Woods paper petition at either of the two pet shops in Gorleston High Street or Iceland.

DENNIS DURRANT

Brett Avenue

Gorleston

EVERYONE has the right to voice their opinions, whether believers or non-believers. The sad thing is that many look at those who claim to believe the Bible and yet who prove by their actions that they don't.

I was brought up in the Church of England, but when I began to look into its record I found it completely failed to live up to the laws and principles by which it claimed to be guided. I found too, that all other religions follow the same pattern, and I am sure that if the man Jesus (and he was a man, and never claimed to be God), would be hounded by the religious leaders of today and treated as a criminal, as he would show them up for what they are.

I was living a corrupt life which I knew was wrong, but could not escape from it. Fortunately a lorry driver who had had very little education contacted me and taught me the truth about God, about Jesus, about God's kingdom, about death and many other things.

So now, in spite of my still being an imperfect creature, I have a hope of a life before me which is beyond compare and I would recommend it to anyone who really wishes to know what life is all about.

PHILIP KNIGHT

Wherry Way

Great Yarmouth

LAST week Letters, Michael Woods scorned “fossilised churchmanship.” I assume this translates as “biblical Christianity.” He also wrote of “sitting in a bath of nostalgia, looking at the past and frightened to get out.” But if we cut loose from the Bible, as Mr Woods suggests, and pursue our own agenda (as the Church of England has done), then anything goes: women bishops, Druid archbishops, and canons who reject the canon of Scripture. And as for the Newfrontiers Kings Centre… We've had Benny Hinn, the Purpose Driven Life, and now Todd Bentley. What next? To see more of Mr Bentley in action, go on the Internet, Google “Todd Bentley Calling Down Angels” and watch.

ELDO BARKHUIZEN

Albemarle Road

Gorleston


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