A selection of readers’ letters from the Bury Free Press of Friday, November 20.
SILENCE ROW A ‘NON STORY’
RE Thurston Community College Armistice silence (Bury Free Press, November 13). Once again, a local wannabe hack creates a drama out of nothing. There is no story here. A handful of school children don’t like what the headmistress does, hasn’t this been the case since time began.
The views of a few service families should not be seen as the majority. A school is there to educate, which is what they did. If the children want to conduct their own two minute respect for loved ones at 11am, nobody stopped them. As far as I remember it is not law to have to do so.
I did have my own two minutes’ silence, but I will not criticise those that didn’t. Was the sacrifice of both world wars not about allowing freedom of choice?
The very fact that the school recognised the event and tried to educate the pupils on its significance is admirable. I am certain that by doing this in lesson time was the only way they could guarantee almost 100 per cent compliance. In hindsight, I would say remembering and respecting those who gave their lives during lesson time along with educating the children at the same time was the right thing to do, however maybe an opportunity for those with a greater knowledge and need to remember should be given the chance to maintain the 11 o’clock silence tradition in the school auditorium.
Please BFP, if you are going to write non stories like this you better keep a few pages clear each week to congratulate all the good work these schools do, or maybe the Twitter generation don’t inform you of such news.
-- Gary Kitley, via email
SIGNIFICANCE LOST ON PRINCIPAL
The principal of Thurston Community College seems to be very upset by the negative reaction to the college moving the time of Remembrance Day to 10.30am on the 11th of November
The significance of the actual time seems to have been lost on the Principal, the Remembrance is held on the 11th day of the 11th month at 11am because that was when hostilities officially ceased.
The actual peace had been signed a few hours earlier, that’s why the time of 11am is so significant.
Remembrance Sunday is the time to remember the sacrifice of all who died, serving our nation, including civilians from all walks of life, troops from the family of the Commonwealth, who came in their thousands, to the aid of Britain, the Mother Country during such a terrible war.
-- Tom Murray, Bury St Edmunds
A FAILURE TO UNDERSTAND
Mrs Wilson’s decision to move the timing of the Remembrance Day silence to better suit the convenience of the Thurston Community College is evidence of her failure to understand the basic purpose of the event.
For two minutes out of 24 hours, at a given time on a given day, the nation is united. It is not an option, any more than celebrating Christmas in May is an option. Celebrating at all is optional, as is marking a particular event, but to mark a national event at a time of one’s own convenience is ludicrous.
-- Joy Blake, via email
PUTTING OTHERS BEFORE OURSELVES
There are only a few days in the year when, as an individual or collectively, we put someone else’s needs and thoughts before our own. Remembrance Day being one such time.
So I was astonished that a school head thought it would be appropriate to move the time forward by half an hour, so that it would not disrupt school life.
A school is supposed to educate the next generation, not only academic subjects, but also in life skills and values. And not enforce the ‘me’ culture that is portrayed in papers, magazines or television every day by ‘wannabe celebrities’.
We all lead busy lives, which is why, on Remembrance Day, we stop and pause, and give thanks for the choices we have. It does not glorify war as there is no glory in burying the dead, only sadness and loss.
So is it too much to ask people to stop, give thanks and not to look at Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or other forms of social media and stand silent for two minutes?
-- Paul McGoochan, Bury St Edmunds
THE IDEA IS TO BUY A POPPY
I have been surprised to see the growing number of home-made poppies, knitted, beaded and crocheted this year.
Surely the idea is to buy poppies. The revenue from this sale offers much needed support to ex-service people and their families whose numbers, sadly, continue to grow.
Support the Poppy Appeal each and every year. They need us.
-- Catherine Buxton, Fornham St Martin
OWNERS SHOULD CHECK PLAYLIST
RE Megan Reynard’s letter about ‘disgustingly inappropriate music’ played at the Round Table fireworks event (Letters, November 13).
This is not the first time that RWSfm has offended the people of Bury St Edmunds. Surely it is the owners of this station who are to blame as they should be responsible for checking the DJ’s proposed playlist before such an important public event.
It certainly shows complete stupidity at the very least to play the song Blurred Lines as young children were getting up on stage to sing! Not only should this song be berated for the message it portrays, eloquently explained in Megan’s letter last week, but also because the writers, Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams plagiarised a 1977 record of Marvin Gaye’s called Got To Give It Up for which they were ordered to pay Gaye’s family $7.3 million in compensation earlier this year.
Sadly, no such compensation will be paid to Megan and others offended by this choice of music, but maybe the radio station will learn a lesson about how to run their business and take some responsibility for this rather than spreading the blame to others.
I was sad to read that The Round Table, who commissioned RWSfm, did not respond to Megan’s tweet but I really don’t think they can be blamed for the offensive and inappropriate choice of music. Their volunteers work very hard to raise money for good causes and it upsets me to see them embroiled in this controversy.
-- Sheila Burke, via email
WE’RE RELIANT ON RADIO STATION
We were concerned to read the letter last week from Megan Reynard, who found the decision of RWSfm to include the song Blurred Lines on their playlist for our charity fireworks display in the Abbey Gardens offensive. Whilst Ms Reynard did indeed not get a reply to her tweet, it is merely because she had an almost immediate public reply to her similar Facebook complaint on the same day, and also I understand, a response from RWSfm. I’m not in a position to comment about the controversy over this song, over which I now understand there has been some debate in the media, only to say that (rightly or wrongly), it is a mainstream pop song, played all over the world every day by radio stations, and is one of the best-selling songs of all time. We have not in the past received any advance copy of any playlist to be used, nor indeed the full lyrics; and whilst in the future we could do so, as a voluntary group primarily concerned with the safety and smooth execution of the event, it would not be practical for us to form a view on every song of its likelihood to offend somebody. We really do have to rely on the professional judgement of the radio station for that. We are very happy to offer Ms Reynard a full refund on her admission to the event. I’d like to end on a positive note by thanking our volunteers, the wonderful Voice Squad and all the attendees, for making this year the most successful ever, raising around £12,000 for local charities.
-- Daniel Boughton, Chairman, Bury St Edmunds Round Table
VISITORS ARE PUT OFF TOWN
It was interesting to read the article by Camille Berriman (Bury Free press, Noevmber 13) about moving all long-stay car parking to Ram Meadow and charging more for it. Working as a volunteer in the Tourist Information Point by the cathedral, I have lost count of the people who dash in asking ‘what can we see in two hours?’, because they have parked on the Angel Hill car park and find that it is extortionate. Although we give them information on how to get to the nearby Ram Meadow car park, which is much cheaper, they will say ‘I’ve already spent £3.50 and I’m not spending any more’.
We, of course, show them the excellent Tourist Guide leaflet that shows all the available places to visit, but in two hours that means the cathedral, St Mary’s Church and the Abbey Gardens, all of which are ‘free’. They will have no time to visit our excellent Moyes’s Hall museum, our varied, and individual shops, or the many eating places or even time for a coffee or tea, so the town loses out on extra earned money. This must also apply to those visitors who park in the equally high-priced car parks off Parkway, who have no time to see the wonders of our heritage sites. Perhaps better signing to a long stay ‘Visitors’ car park would be useful. This is something that needs urgent and serious attention, or we’ll lose visitors, because those who return home will say ‘don’t go to Bury St Edmunds, they charge a fortune for just two hours car parking, and we never even had time to see all the sights, the town, or have a coffee’.
All because of short-term thinking, and greed, by our council.
As an aside, the coach drop off and collection point on Angel Hill still has cars parking there, even though it clearly states ‘Coaches’.
-- Janet Simmons, Bury St Edmunds
NOT ENOUGH SECURE PARKING
My partner and I thought it appropriate to cycle to the Green Fair at the Apex this morning and were reminded that no secure cycle parking is provided near the Arc or Apex; in fact, very little secure cycle parking is provided in Bury St Edmunds town centre near shops or other places one might wish to park cycles, e.g. in the Buttermarket and near the Abbeygate Cinema in Hatter Street. There are many reasons why people should be encouraged to leave their cars behind and cycle, so can consideration be given to providing more cycle parking?
-- Perry Morley, Bury St Edmunds
THANKS FOR YOUR GENEROSITY
May I through your paper extend a sincere thank you to the wonderful people of Bury St Edmunds who gave so generously during the ‘Battle of Britain’ Wings Appeal 2015.
Branch members, along with Air Cadets from 301 Squadron (Bury) and 1451 Squadron (Haverhill) raised a grand total this year of £3,168.89.
Supporting ex-serving members of the RAF is just one part of our work. We also assist serving personnel, as well as dependent families. From survivors of World War Two to the men and women in service today, all can turn to the RAF Association when in need of welfare support.
But providing such services costs money. We do not receive any government funding and rely totally on the general public to help us raise the millions of pounds needed each year to continue our welfare work. So I give a big thank you to the people of Bury on behalf of our branch and the many who benefit from the work of RAFA.
-- Ernie Broom, Battle of Britain Wings Appeal organiser, Bury and Haverhill