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READERS' VIEWS: Your letters to the Bury Free Press of Friday, August 3

By Newsdesk Bury

Sothgate Church at the community centre (3362279)
Sothgate Church at the community centre (3362279)


I read with interest Bishop Martin Seeley’s column (BFP, July 27) on getting local churches to return to their historic role of being a hub for their communities. For the past 45 years, Bury has had just such a church – Southgate – which is at in the centre of the community it serves, being neighbours with the local shopping precinct, pub and primary school.

It is a church with no building of its own apart from a small room: it has used the main hall and all the facilities of Southgate Community Centre since the time it was built in 1977 to serve the new Nowton Estate. In 2010, faced with the prospect of St Edmundsbury Council selling off all of its community centres, it joined forces with local people to take on the ownership and running of the Centre, forming Southgate Community Partnership, which is thriving greatly helped by having a very dynamic chair who lives locally.

Church services take place in a building which supports Zumba, slimming and dance classes, yoga, keep fit, coffee mornings and youth clubs, and organises day trips to London, a Valentine’s Ball and an annual community fun day. Statutory services use the building for an NHS diabetic eye-screening service. This list is by no means exhaustive.

The church also does not stick to the comfort of a building, and we like to have some fun, too.

Last week, we had a Going on a Prayer Hunt (with apologies to Michael Rosen), whereby we all set out with maps to discover eight prayer stations around the Nowton Neighbourhood, with lots of fun activities including blowing bubbles, throwing frisbees, sketching lilies, pinning leaves on trees and creating a natural collage. Fortunately, most of us found our way back!

Our new Cathedral Dean wants us all to have more fun in church – take note, Joe. We are all looking forward to Bishop Martin visiting us on Sunday, October 14, and telling him more about how a successful community church is thriving.

Bob Jones

Bury St Edmunds


I was totally shocked and disgusted to see the photograph of a lady covered in flour and eggs. As a long-term resident who lived on Oakes Road - my parents lived on the Howard for 48 years - I frankly thought it was a photo stunt. Now we know it was no stunt, it was an assault on a lady by four young thugs who thought it was funny, a jolly jape, a bit of a laugh, and they were so stupid that they put an image of the assault on social media. The whole community is disgusted. They have shamed our estate, our community and their own parents; how would they feel if it was their mother, aunt or grandmother. As one of the town councillors for the area we hope that the law will not make it a slap on the wrist, but proceed with assault charges. These young lads are lucky that Bury St Edmunds doesn’t have the stocks any more, the shops would be empty of flour and eggs. They would appear on social media deserving the same punishment meted out to that lady with no thought for her health or wellbeing.

A sad day for our community, a sad day for all the young people on our estate who do good for our community.

Cllr Tom Murray

St Olave’s Ward,

Bury St Edmunds


These boys should be locked up in custody if they wilfully targeted and abused a woman sitting on a park bench.

The woman should be the centre of police concern, not the boys.

The boys who apparently thought it so funny and brave that they filmed it, are cowards and their parents or whoever cares for them should also be under arrest and prosecuted in the same way owners of aggressive dogs are treated.

John Winlow

via email


Whilst I totally agree damaging recently-planted trees is mindless and thoughtless, unless these idiots have actually dug up the said trees, they have not “destroyed” them at all. Their stumps may not look very nice for the moment, but given time they should recover, re-shoot and survive, so why The Bury Society sees the need to rush out and replant them, is a mystery.

Nature is a wonderful survivor, as anyone who has seen a tree felled by lightning will testify, many of them rejuvenate given time. Sadly, they are usually chopped down or dug up in haste, giving them no opportunity to recover. So unless these numpties have actually dug them up, they haven’t “destroyed” them at all. Save your money (sorry, our money) Bury Society, and be patient.

Mrs P Harber

Bury St Edmunds


We hear daily about the wonderful work done by so many to support charities of every type in all manner of ways and are grateful to live in such a society.

Sadly, in this same society we have thieves, violent louts and vandals like the scum who have destroyed a line of recently planted trees.

B Perrett

via email


In case they’re not reviewed elsewhere, I felt the need to share my joy, having seen two superb shows this week – Dream Nights at The Apex and Footloose at the Theatre Royal.

I didn’t know what to expect in Dream Nights – not being a great fan of A Midsummer Night’s Dream and, frankly, not really understanding the plot at all!

However, I was intrigued by the idea of setting the whole thing to a soundtrack of 50s and 60s pop songs (definitely my era) so I gave it a go. Boy, was I glad that I did! The whole ‘DN25’ cast (around 30, in an age range of late teens to “very mature”!) was totally professional in terms of great dance moves, excellent vocals, imaginative costumes and well delivered lines. The choreography was top class and, with its superb lighting effects, the whole show could easily be transferred to the West End, it was that good. Shame it didn’t reach a wider audience.

Although the entire cast all played their parts to perfection, I just have to single out Joe Beach who gave an absolutely stand-out showstopper of a performance as Nick Bottom – this guy has talent to spare!

Footloose, on the other hand, was a firm favourite large-cast musical which suited the Suffolk Young People’s Theatre perfectly. The story’s corny – of course – but provides a vehicle for some energetic dance numbers and some excellent vocals, both in groups and solos. The high standard of performance was a tribute to the impressive amount of work accomplished in the very short “summer school” run by the SYPT (all between 14 and 21 years of age) and is proof of the tremendous talent base there is in our area.

The only downside was that it was on probably the hottest night of the recent heatwave – and our fabulous Theatre Royal was constructed long before air conditioning was even thought about, unlike The Apex, which was comfortably cool in the auditorium a couple of days earlier. There’s been a lot of comment recently about the “value” derived from the subsidy The Apex receives from local ratepayers – and the Theatre Royal, as a charity, must manage its affairs prudently, of course – but I, for one, am very glad both these shows were given the support they so richly deserve.

John Bottle



A huge thank you to the Bury St Edmunds public who contributed to the charity collection held on Wednesday, July 18, on behalf of The Fishermen’s Mission. The very generous people of Bury St Edmunds donated £177 which is just brilliant. As a charity, we receive no Government or National Lottery money to help us in our vital work with the families of UK fishermen who have lost their lives to the sea. Public collections such as this one are crucial to us at The Fishermen’s Mission. Many people are unaware of the cost paid by the men who catch our fish, and collections such as this one allow us to continue our support of those who risk their lives to feed our nation.

Andy Malcolm

Fundraising manager

East of England

The Fishermen’s Mission


I expect some of your readers will – with regret – have heard of the death of Mary Ellis, the famous lady aviator who collected and delivered a range of aircraft from Spitfire fighter planes to Wellington bombers during WW2.

She was a member of the Air Transport Auxiliary, a civilian organisation whose activities freed up RAF pilots for active duties, and during her time with ATA flew close on 1,000 aircraft. She leaves just three fellow compatriots from those wartime days, one being Eleanor Wadsworth, originally from Nottingham

who now lives in Bury St Edmunds. It would be nice to think the nation would show its gratitude to these brave ladies, by either a statue of Mary Ellis, who was 101 years old at the time of her death, with the names of her compatriots, or at the very least, a plaque in their memory, sited appropriately.

Brian Davies

Bury St Edmunds

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