READERS’ LETTERS: From the Bury Free Press of Friday, January 16

Readers' letters
Readers' letters

A selection of readers’ letters from the Bury Free Press of Friday, January 16,


With the permanent closure of the Manor House/Swan Lane car park last month and the imminent closure of the private parking behind the old Shire Hall, the south side of Bury St Edmunds will become devoid of any public car parks at all.

This, I’m sure, will cause problems for matinée audiences at the Theatre Royal, visitors to the Records Office, Greene King Visitors’ Centre and the magistrates’ court.

It is a long walk from the nearest car parks on the other side of town.

It is now too late and there does not appear to be land available for a new car park. Did anyone at our local authority consider when selling off these facilities, that many attractions that bring visitors and tourists to our lovely town will soon have no convenient parking?

-- Dee Sharp, Beyton


Having received an invitation to attend the ‘Silent Vigil’ organised to take place outside The Apex last Saturday in commemoration of the Paris shootings, I felt it would be a good opportunity to stand together with others in a subdued spirit of quiet reflection and respect.

How wrong I was! Far from being a ‘silent’ vigil the majority of the participants indulged in a constant buzz of inconsequential and unrelated chatter, there was a frequent shifting around of individuals as some of the group were re arranged for a barrage of photographs, and the PCSOs standing quietly in The Apex foyer were persuaded to come out and stand on the fringe of the group, presumably for a more effective photo opportunity. Much of the event appeared to be stage-managed in a self-conscious attempt at publicity. Personally, I found it distasteful that photographs were taken (for what purpose?) when we were commemorating a group of individuals who would never be able to take a photograph again, or have their photograph taken.

The chatter was simply disrespectful, and made it difficult for those of us who did want to reflect, remember and respect the victims, to do so in an appropriate manner. This wasn’t supposed to be about any of the organising groups proving they were ‘doing their bit’, the point, and more importantly the opportunity, was sadly missed for people in Bury St Edmunds to show solidarity and sympathy with others in relation to the Paris tragedy. A vigil is not a rally or a demonstration and the focus of a Silent Vigil is by definition . . . silence.

-- Penelope Blakemore, Bury St Edmunds


We have heard a lot recently about the crisis in A&E. The traditional political parties say that it is caused by an ageing population and problems in the social care system. But their solution is to tinker with staffing levels and cut funding a little less, when we should be trying to find long-term solutions.

The real point is, why do so many of us get ill despite huge advances in medical research? Probably because of our lifestyles. We eat too much, we eat the wrong foods, we don’t exercise enough. But Government policies actually encourage this. Transport policies keep us in our cars rather than walking or cycling. Lobbying by food manufacturers prevents clearer food labelling. Alcohol is still allowed to be sold too cheaply. And school sport continues to decline.

If we could change these policies, we wouldn’t need extra funding for the NHS. At present, Type 2 diabetes – strongly linked to obesity – costs the NHS 10 per cent of its annual budget, and heart disease costs nearly another 10 per cent.

So can the right policies help save the NHS – and help more of us stay out of hospital entirely? Yes – but only if we vote for them!

-- Helen Geake, Green Party Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Bury St Edmunds


Whilst West Suffolk Hospital did not have to declare a major incident, as was the case at Addenbrooke’s recently (Staff praised for A&E effort – Bury Free Press, January 9), David Cameron must be the only person still refusing to recognise the scale of the crisis currently affecting Accident & Emergency departments across the country.

The reason for the crisis is sometimes described by commentators as complex, and whilst it is true that long-term changes relating to improved medical science, longer life expectancy and changes to individuals’ lifestyles do impact on the service, I would suggest the reason for the crisis is far more straightforward.

The Tories once again, through a toxic mix of political ideology and incompetence, have managed within five years to destroy all the progress made by Labour between 1997 – 2010. Before the 2010 General Election David Cameron promised ‘no more top-down reorganisation of the NHS’ then, within months of coming to power, his Health Secretary, Andrew Lansley, launched the biggest top- down reorganisation in the history of the NHS, in the shape of the Health & Social Care Act at a cost of £3 billion – money that is now desperately needed for frontline services. In short, David Cameron lied about the Tories’ plans for the NHS.

Cameron proudly speaks of ring-fencing NHS spending but takes no account of the inflation – busting costs of the service and the extra spending required to meet the demands of an aging population.

In 2010 David Cameron made the promise that the Tories would ‘cut the deficit not the NHS’.

The answer to the current crisis is not complex at all, it is quite simple – you can never trust the Tories with the NHS.

-- Richard Soer, Great Barton


All admire the rehabilitation Focus 12 provides for those suffering from drug and alcohol abuse – sometimes linked with obesity.

It seems surprising that the Rev Canon Matthew Vernon with the Very RevFrances Ward, the Dean, are encouraging the staging in the cathedral of an exclusive ball for Focus 12 (Bury Free Press, January 9) providing, as one of the main attractions, sumptuous food (a drinks and canapés reception followed by a four-course meal) with the more alcohol drunk increasing the proceeds.

Perhaps I am being ‘Holier than Thou’ or a kill-joy. I enjoy food and drink – and yes, not always in moderation – but it does seem incongruous, verging on the hypocritical, sending a message that it is okay for the largely wealthy and/or successful to indulge themselves in the cathedral because it is for charity.

From a non-churchgoer.

-- Simon Harding, Bury St Edmunds


To the father and daughter who helped the couple whose car almost set on fire in Sainsbury’s car park on Thursday, January 8, we would like to say: thank you so much for your outstanding help in the matter. On top of all the help they gave initially, the daughter was so kind as to bring us a cup of tea each from the café, and refused payment, while we waited for the recovery vehicle. You both are amongst the many good people in the world. And it was the alternator setting on fire as you correctly said in the beginning that was the culprit. You both walk tall.

Thank you.

-- Trevor Dores, via email


Have you any unwanted Christmas presents, or have you had a clear-out over the festive period? If so, why not donate items you do not want to St Nicholas Hospice Care.

Donations of new or second-hand items are always needed for our 11 shops, where they will be re-sold to raise funds to help provide care and support to people facing long term and life-threatening illnesses, and their families.

We also welcome unwanted furniture to sell through our retail centre and furniture outlets.

Collection of good quality sofas, chairs, tables, cabinets and other items can be arranged.

If you received any gifts that were not your cup of tea this Christmas, we would love to have them to sell in our shops. Or, if you’ve had a clear-out and have found items you no longer want but someone else might, we would be grateful of them.

We have shops in Bury St Edmunds, Thetford, Brandon, Mildenhall, Sudbury, Newmarket and Haverhill.

If you have any furniture or larger items to donate, contact our Donation Centre, on Chapel Pond Hill, Bury, on 01284 747622. General donations can be dropped off during opening hours at the Donation Centre or at any of our shops.

For more information about shops and opening times, go to

-- Julie Roy, Finance Director, St Nicholas Hospice Care


I had a fall in the street a week ago and a couple in a car saw what happened and stopped. The husband helped me up and, as I was in so much pain with my wrist, they took me straight to hospital.

I had broken a bone in the wrist.

This couple were so caring and helpful and it gave me faith in human nature that there are good people around. Once again, a big thank you to them.

-- B Bannister, Bury St Edmunds