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Bury Free Press readers' letters to the editor

Local elections, Bury in Bloom and a pair of successful swans are among the topics in this week's letters.


Martin Webb complains that the first-past-the-post system has delivered many councillors who are not supported by the majority of voters in a given area (Letters,

May 14).

Reader's letters
Reader's letters

He cites several examples, including from his home county of Devon. I prefer to look at the Suffolk County Council results here in West Suffolk on May 6. There were 14 divisions electing 16 councillors, which includes 2x2 member divisions, one in Bury and the other in Haverhill. Conservative candidates won 15 of the 16 seats. Here are a few examples:

Blackbourn – Ballot papers issued 3,449. Joanna Spicer 2,421 votes. That is 70 per cent of the votes cast;

Thingoe South – Karen Soons 2,192 votes (65 per cent).

Thingoe North – Beccy Hopfensperger 1,961 votes (64 per cent);

Clare – Bobby Bennett 2,322 votes (63 per cent).

The top four are female (misogynists please note).

Next comes Richard Rout (Hardwick) 1,806 votes (61 per cent);

Colin Noble (Row Heath) 1,620 votes (60 per cent);

David Roach (Haverhill East and Kedington) 1,188 votes (57 per cent);

Joe Mason (Haverhill Cangle) 1,994 votes (54 per cent) in a two-member division.

Just short of 50 per cent was Andy Drummond (Newmarket and Red Lodge) 1,232 votes (46 per cent). The next best of the other three candidates polled 497 votes, giving Andy a majority of 735 votes. It would be unkind to tell him that he hadn’t won due to some complicated alternative voting system, the political equivalent of VAR in football. The ball is in the back of the net, but it’s no goal!

David Nettleton, Bury St Edmunds

The swans and cygnets at Pakenham Water Mill photographed by volunteer Ian Robertson
The swans and cygnets at Pakenham Water Mill photographed by volunteer Ian Robertson


This pair of swans – photographed by volunteer Ian Robertson – has lived at Pakenham Water Mill for several years and regularly come down the millpond to be fed by visitors, each year bringing their latest brood of cygnets. Nine this year is a record number.

Later in the year when the have grown up and learned to fly, the adults will drive them off to make their own homes elsewhere. No teenagers hanging round the parents’ home here!

The historic mill owned by Suffolk Building Preservation Trust and run entirely by volunteers plans to re-open to visitors on June 24, virus permitting. You can still buy flour and enjoy the grounds at set times as listed on the website – pakenhamwatermill.org.uk

David Eddershaw, Pakenham Water Mill


The prolonged dry spell, coupled with an equally long period of cold

weather, has resulted in gardens being well behind this year, and taking this into account, might I suggest that the annual inspection (by Bury in Bloom) of the various forms of ‘florabunda’ in our lovely town be put back for a few weeks this year?

It has been far too cold – including frosts – to put bedding plants out, and even well established hydrangeas, fuchsias, montbrecia etc are not, as yet, in bud, unless grown under artificial conditions of course..

Name and address supplied


Your report on the inclusion of girls in the Cathedral choir (Bury Free Press, May 7) gives the impression that this is a revolutionary move for our cathedral, but this is not so.

When we moved to Bury in 1976 the choir contained both boys and girls singing together with male lay clerks under the direction of Harrison Oxley.

This continued until some time in the 1980s when a new Provost decided to remove the girls and have an all-male choir.

The current situation simply reverses that change and perhaps recognises the injustice of that decision.

I think that St Edmundsbury was the first cathedral in the country to have boys and girls together although that accolade is too often given to Salisbury.

So, welcome back girls.

David Dean, Bury St Edmunds


I should like to thank the person who handed my credit card into the customer services desk at Asda around 4.15pm on Tuesday, May 11.

Thinking of something else and not concentrating, I left it in the machine, realised when I got home, so went back and was really pleased to find it had been handed in.

It is so nice to know that honesty still exists.

Whoever you are, I hope you read this very big ‘Thank you’.

Pauline Davison, via email


While being located in a beautiful and idyllic setting, the countries of the Caribbean are in constant danger from extreme weather and other natural disasters. Tornadoes and tsunamis occur frequently, but perhaps there is nothing quite as terrifying as volcanic eruptions.

The story about the magnificent relief efforts of Rougham residents Jan and Dave Bacchus (Bury Free Press, April 23), reminded me that seismic events can occur at any time and in any situation, affecting us all.

The island of Montserrat, the ‘jewel of the Caribbean’, was, in the 1990s, devastated by the eruption of the dormant Soufriere Hill volcano. The major casualty was the capital Plymouth and, as expected the population of the island rapidly declined.

I had heard of the island principally because of the recording studio there used by musicians such as The Police and John Otway, but this event had worldwide coverage.

Then, this year, another volcano erupted, causing devastation to St Vincent island in the same archipelago. The erupting volcano was called La Soufriere.

Irish author, the late Pete McCarthy, travelled the world in the process of writing his book The Road to McCarthy (McCarthy in Alaska was his final stop). He visited places with connections to his family name: part of this journey included visiting Montserrat, which has a strong Irish connection. It was while on the island that he talked to a truck driver from Ipswich.

A few years later, I was running a local evening class for adult learners studying English. One of my group wanted to practise public presentation skills as she would be reading in church. To help her, I would select a passage every week for her to read to the group.

One evening I selected Pete McCarthy’s book, and the page I selected contained details of this encounter .

She started to read, stopped and exclaimed: “I don’t believe it! My brother said he had met a writer on the island. We didn’t believe him, but here it is.”

Adversity always brings out the best in people. A chance to assist in improving my student’s skills led to an unexpected moment and helped her overcome any nervousness she had.

I am sure that Dave and Jan have been very successful in their endeavours to raise monies for essential supplies for the islanders of St Vincent, including Dave’s family.

Actions as always speak louder than fine words. Well done indeed.

Graham Day, Stowmarket