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Bury Free Press readers' letters

The lack of NHS dentist places for children spark letters this week, plus there's some optimism for the coming year.


I read your article about NHS dentists (Bury Free Press, December 25). This is a huge issue.

Letters to the editor
Letters to the editor

My three children have been without an NHS dentist for five years and haven’t had a check up in that time.

My son is 13 and my twin girls are eight. As a family were were with the Guildhall dentist surgery. We moved house and had missed the reminder letter for our six month check up. We were struck off their NHS list and have not been able to get a dentist place on NHS since.

I am now having to consider private dentist service so that my children can get the care they deserve. The problem is I am currently furloughed from work and really cannot afford to pay privately.

We are UK born and bred and pay our taxes. We should be entitled to NHS dentist care for our children but as the article stated there are no places available anywhere. This issue needs to be addressed with some urgency by the NHS.

Marie Flowers, via email


The letter from a reader in last week’s paper highlighted the gaping hole in health provision here in Bury.

The inability to eat, sleep or lead a normal life is identical, whether caused by a severe dental problem or a broken jaw. Yet the one will be speedily and effectively treated at the local hospital, entirely free, while the other requires an often lengthy wait and a bill far in excess of the cost of a prescription. And, as I discovered, requiring up to six trips (including a cancelled operation) to Ipswich. If all GP surgeries closed down and only private practices remained in Bury there would be, to put it mildly, an outcry, not least in the pages of your newspaper.

Until dentists (and that other vital service, opticians) are brought into the NHS on the same terms of cost and availability as the other branches of medical care, the creeping privatisation of the NHS will proceed to the point where only those able to pay will be able to lead a normal, healthy life,without the fear of disability or poverty should they fall ill or have an accident.

The privatisation of dental services must be halted, and reversed, immediately and I urge you to use the voice of the Bury Free Press to support this.

Robin Parkes, via email


I am writing to thank each and everyone of you that has supported your local Gatehouse charity throughout 2020, which has been hard for everybody but particularly those most vulnerable and alone.

This year more than any other, I have been overwhelmed by the donations received. Through your support we have provided 639 food parcels (just over eight tonnes of food) to those in need across the area in December alone, unfortunately due to Covid we were not able to provide dinners on Christmas Day, however 70 people attended a Christmas lunch at our premises the week before in a Covid- secure setting.

The week was lovely despite the restrictions and additional safety measures, with much fun and laughter, and plenty to eat, so many people commented on how pleased they were to be able to meet in a safe environment, many of whom had not spoken or seen friends and family for many months. Without this lunch being provided many of these people would have been alone and some would have been hungry.

The meaning of Christmas was captured for a few hours at our lunches. Every person left happy, warm and with full bellies, and not forgetting they each got a prezzie. Each year the Gatehouse project brings together the whole community by way of volunteers, financial and practical help.Although we have had to reduce numbers of volunteers and clients visiting us to ensure that the core staff and volunteers stay safe and well to continue the service, we have stayed in touch with everyone by telephone to ensure they too are safe and comforted.

In 2020 we have worked very closely with both the statutory and volunteer agencies to provide essential items to those who have been rehoused temporarily due to covid, homelessness or difficult living circumstances.

Our charity relies completely on donations and although food stocks are now high, we are currently low on furniture items such as, cookers, fridges,washing machines, chest of drawers, coffee tables, small sofas in good condition, pots and pans and other small items. If you are able to donate any of these please email homestore@gatehouse.org.uk

If you would like to donate financially to enable us to continue to run our services in Bury St Edmunds and East Anglia please use the online facility www.localgiving.org/charity/gatehouse/.

Once again Thankyou for all your support and we hope to continue to serve you all in what we hope will be a brighter 2021 and beyond.

Amanda Bloomfield , CEO, Gatehouse


I wonder, in these times of extensive coverage of climate change – David Attenborough’s plea for us all ‘to all play our part’ and the programme Skating On Thin Ice presented by Torvill & Deane showing the alarming rate that the ice is melting shown over the Christmas period –why Mulleys buses stand in St Andrew’s Street, opposite the Tesco Express, with engine idling, sometimes for 10 minutes or more, and taxis, parked in the loading bay outside Tesco Express, sit with engines idling and no passengers?

Also a plea to someone savvy on social media, please make the 18 to 23 year olds (I realise this age group neither watch the news nor read a newspaper) aware of guidelines for Covid – to wear a mask outside as well as in shops, social distancing –no more than two, and no communal hugging.

Susan Daniels, via email


I was delighted to read the letter (Bury Free Press, December 25) from the Independent district councillor for Mildenhall criticising me for me for being political and I thank him for drawing further attention to my campaign to stop the Sunnica solar farm development from surrounding the villages and blighting the lives of the people of Worlington, Freckenham, Mildenhall and Barton Mills.

Whilst joining me in fighting against Sunnica, the councillor creates divide where there should be none. I make no apology for centring my election campaign for the Mildenhall divisional seat for Suffolk County Council squarely against the Sunnica development because the final planning decision will be made by politicians. Politics is all about people and delivering on their aspirations and it is very naïve to suggest otherwise. A wide collation of parish and town councils plus the Conservative district council, the Conservative county council, and now our Conservative member of parliament, are all against the current Sunnica proposal and we will only succeed in stopping it if we remain united.

I would respectfully remind the Independent councillor of Churchill’s wise words that, “My enemy’s enemy is my friend.” I am standing against Sunnica because, among so many other objections, it is too close to residents’ homes. I would invite the councillor to join me in directing our fire on the common cause, not against a fellow campaigner.

Lance Stanbury, Conservative County Council candidate, Mildenhall


Re Robert Boby Way Car Park in Bury St Edmunds.

This car park is now private – it’s been taken off the council list of car parks, there is new signage which states it is now private and only for use by customers of the businesses there. It says two hours free, but how is this managed? When did the council hand this over? Is it connected to the town centre masterplan (MAP) intentions that are now on the council website where it talks about improving the pedestrian access from there to the arc and across King’s Road?

Has anyone been caught out by this change? Bits of the car park were marked off right before Christmas and now it’s a private operated car park.

I used this car park a lot to pop to bank or dentist as an hour of parking at 20p was good value and meant you could just quickly get in and out. Now, unless you are visiting Halfords or TKMax you can’t park there . . . so a more expensive parking choice only.

Who would have thought the council would do that?

Michelle Wilson, via email


I would like to take this opportunity to say thank you to players of People’s Postcode Lottery in Suffolk, in an incredibly challenging year for us all.

Since 2005 those playing across Britain have raised over £600 million for good causes, which is just incredible. Over £6 million of this we have been grateful to receive at Sightsavers.

Money raised by players has been indispensable in helping Sightsavers to fund, in 2020 alone, eye services for more than 49,000 people and more than 500 sight-saving cataract surgeries.

in 2020 funding also helped us to support the Covid-19 response. Children with disabilities kept learning throughout the pandemic, thanks to distance learning equipment and teacher training, PPE and hygiene kits. Children like Marie in Sierra Leone, who is blind and was at danger of being left behind when schools closed, until she was given a typewriter, radio and assistance so that she could keep studying.

So once again, a big thank you to all the players in Suffolk and across the country.

To find out about some of the lives being turned around by players’ support, please head on over to www.sightsavers.org/ppl or give Sightsavers a call on 0800 089 2020.

Dr Caroline Harper CBE, Sightsavers CEO


It is the time of year we ask ourselves what can we do to make ourselvesbetter persons and if possible improve lives of others.

This year we are spoiled for choice.I have finally, resolved ontrying to enhance the livesof our children.

Many wonderful people are working to tackle food poverty but I have been wondering about their education and future employment..

So, I have resolved to support the local schools theirfund-raising activities so that they can help pay for school trips,

To promote the Town Twinning movement so that young people can form friendships and have visits virtually and then physically with young people from other countries andthereby enhance their own foreign language skills.

And also support local businesses like the Bury Language School who, besides welcoming students from around the world to come and learn English,give us the opportunity to welcome them into our homes and learn about them too.

Happy New year to the BFP readers and good luck with your own resolutions.

Helen Korfanty, Bury St Edmunds


We would like to thank the kind person who found a Christmas card addressed to us in Northgate Street. They left a lovely message on the back to say ‘found in Northgate Street soaking wet. Now dry and popped in letterbox Merry Xmas’. This was such a kind gesture and really appreciated.

Alan and Sharon Cain, via email


Well, that was one of the strangest festive seasons I am sure most of us have experienced.

We approached Christmas with a sense of altered plans, adapting – as we have become so capable at doing – to limited contact and a scaled-down celebration, only to discover it was going to be reduced even further at the last minute.

Depending on where you live, you may have struggled with the Tier 2 to Tier 4 border issues. Suddenly, our family were plummeted into two different areas and our best-laid plans were thrown up in the air.

Of course, once we hit Boxing Day, none of this really mattered, as everyone in the East of England plunged into Tier 4, not knowing when we might next glean back our precious freedoms, or whether further restrictions might be placed upon us as the days roll by.

One thing I have noticed over the past few weeks is that there has been so much more time available to reflect and rest.

This enforced isolation can be incredibly lonely for many and living alone brings huge challenges at a time like this.

I only hope support bubbles have allowed people to team together, offering kindness and compassion to those who need it.

Despite the difficulties it can throw up, and the feelings it can generate, there has been a unique opportunity to embrace this time as a period of restoration.

Those long, lingering days between Christmas and new year regularly provide a chance to slow down; filled with films, reading, board games and being together with few demands on time. This year, however, things felt different.

Restricted to essential travel only, those days really did stretch before us: an endless number of hours, ticking away as we watched the steady disappearance of 2020 and looked forward to the glistening hope of 2021.

Time slowed, trickling through our fingers, as we hunkered down, winter raging outside our homes, while a new variant of Covid-19 gathered strength as it spread across our communities.

Surely the next year would bring some respite, and the promise of a new future on the horizon?

For most of us, I am sure that the celebration of the new year normally brings with it an abundance of dreams and goals for the coming 12 months. We eagerly set resolutions that might bring longed-for change or improvements in our lives.

It seems a natural time to think forward, to ponder on what the coming months will bring, to look inward, reflecting on our personal development and possible achievements.

Yet this year, as I sat quietly in those days awaiting January, I found myself looking outward. Peering down the tunnel of 2021, catching sight of a glimmer of light, a spark of hope and the promise of a path forward. By no means was this a straightforward route. I think we all know there are many twists and turns to come; the first few months of the year will continue to throw obstacles our way.

But beneath it all there is a sign of light emerging from the darkness. We humans are an amazing species. In less than 12 months, science has provided us with potential solutions, and they keep on rolling in.

Faced with a pandemic of immense proportions, the world’s brightest and smartest scientists have worked tirelessly to bring answers to the worries we face.

The bumpy road is far from over, but hope lives on, and that flickering light will grow stronger, illuminating the path ahead.

So, as we move into the first few weeks of 2021, let us work together to move forward, to generate a feeling of optimism and positivity in our communities and, as the Queen herself told us on Christmas Day, make sure that the spirit of selflessness, love and, above all, hope guide us in the times ahead.

Carrie Prior, Sudbury


As we look forward to the coming year and reflect on the extraordinary year that 2020 has been, I would like to thank everyone who has supported East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices (Each), whether by taking on a virtual fund-raising challenge, visiting our shops and being patient in order for us to prioritise safety, hoarding items at home during lockdowns to donate to our shops in more relaxed periods, carrying out vital volunteering activities despite the unusual circumstances or making a monetary donation.

In spite of the challenges posed by Covid, everyone here at The Treehouse has adapted extremely well and continues turning outstanding support from our communities into outstanding support for the families who need it most. Complex nursing and end of life care has continued in our hospices and families’ homes where required, though we of course try hard to keep face-to-face interactions to a minimum, with many of our holistic services now being delivered in different and innovative ways online.

We plan to keep delivering our care and support as best and as safely as possible in 2021, and we hope we can count on continued generosity from our supporters. It has never been more needed, unfortunately, as disruption to

fund-raising and shops currently leaves us forecasting a loss of £2.2 million in funding over the next 12 months – that is a third of the total we need to provide crucial support to hundreds of families across East Anglia. If you would like to find out more about what Each does and how you can help, please endeavour to take a look at our website at www.each.org.uk.

Nathan Muskett, Each Service Manager, The Treehouse