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The continuing row about wheelchair access to taxis plus the WI launches a new environmental campaign.


The letter from the West Suffolk Labour Group (Bury Free Press, August 13) appears to miss the point about all taxis being wheelchair accessible.

Should all taxis be wheelchair accessible?
Should all taxis be wheelchair accessible?

The able bodied can use both kinds of taxi – the disabled cannot. Many in wheelchairs can only move from a wheelchair to a car seat and out again with considerable assistance from someone who is aware of their problems and knows the correct method of doing this. Many in wheelchairs wish to be as independent as possible and do not usually travel with the equipment that will aid transfer from their chair to another seat. Transfers are often delicate and complicated operations that may not be advisable.

As a consequence, if there are only a limited number of wheelchair accessible taxis, it will be the person in a wheelchair who has to wait around – for who knows how long – until an appropriate vehicle becomes available. Once again, the needs of the disabled will come second.

Furthermore, although some people may find it difficult to climb into a wheelchair accessible taxi, this is a problem that can easily be resolved by having an extra step available and there is no reason why the seats cannot be made more comfortable if this is the real problem. However, I suspect that many do not like using the wheelchair accessible taxis as they have a certain stigma and are less attractive than a saloon car.


Therefore, as the mother of a tetraplegic wheelchair user – I cannot agree with this objection and wholeheartedly support the requirement that all taxis should be wheelchair accessible.

Nicola Iannelli-Popham, Abbeygate Town Councillor


I write as a constituent of Jo Churchill in reply to comments made last week (Letters, August 27). Twice in the previous few months I have contacted her office with a problem and been amazed by the speed of reply and actions taken.

This resulted, in both cases, to my concerns being dealt with quickly and successfully leaving me most grateful for such efficiency.

Joan Dean, Bury St Edmunds


In the Bury Free Press of August 27, Messrs Cook and Ruston have raised the issue of ‘speed bumps’ in Hepworth as if it is something new. Speed calming measures have been ongoing for two years and at all stages residents have been kept informed of ongoing developments.

The parish magazine has had articles, the minutes of parish council meetings are on the village noticeboard, in the magazine and on the village website.

A Suffolk County Council speed survey was conducted in 2020 which reinforced the Speedwatch group’s concerns that clearly showed a massive speeding problem in the village with speeds of over 70mph recorded.

There is further consultation before any of this will go ahead.

I have no idea why there is a suggestion that new residents are raising this issue or that people may leave the village. I have lived here for 17 years and speeding in the village has always been a problem which Cllr Spicer and the parish council are tackling in a thorough and professional way. There is no intention to install speed bumps but speed ramps designed to minimise noise and calm traffic.

Willoughby Goddard, The Street, Hepworth


Microplastic fibres are small plastic fragments, 5mm or smaller, that are shed from synthetic clothes when laundered, ending up in the sea and in the wider environment. The problem is massive and, due to their size, these microplastic fibres are readily digested by aquatic life, causing death, and also end up in the food we eat.

The End Plastic Soup campaign is part of the Women’s Institute’s many environmental campaigns and the National Federation of WI Public Affairs Department is acting as the Secretariat to the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Microplastics (APPG on Microplastics)

Over the last few months, the NFWI Public Affairs Department has been working with the office of Alberto Costa MP, the chair of the APPG on Microplastics, to put together a detailed report assessing the environmental effects of predominantly synthetic microfibres emitted from clothing during the laundry process, and holistically during the lifecycle of a garment.

The report lists six recommendations for the Government that, if implemented, would significantly reduce the volume of microfibres from laundry emitted into the environment, helping to clean up our rivers, river banks and seas.

The report has been put together with help and advice from 35 different groups, including global domestic appliance corporations; the textiles industry; academia; industry and retail; and the environmental sector.

Following the publication of the report, the NFWI will be working with Alberto Costa MP to secure meetings with high-level DEFRA ministers to urge ministers to implement our six policy recommendations.

To find out more about the WI’s End Plastic Soup campaign, the APPG on Microplastics report is available at www.thewi.org.uk

To find out more about Suffolk West Federation of WIs contact: www.suffolk-west.thewi.org.uk

Gwen Williams and Annie Phillips, Suffolk West Federation of WIs


Can I say a big thank-you to the complete strangers who came to my aid when I fell on some broken paving in town on Saturday, August 21.

A kind lady and gentleman helped me back on my feet. Apart from dented pride and bruising, no other damage was done. Once again, thank you to those good Samaritans.

P Thomas, Bury St Edmunds


With onerous Covid restrictions receding, a late morning trip on a bright summer’s day to a rarely visited corner of north Suffolk. Driving along in the sunlight, some of the lyrics of the 1980 hit by Thomas Dolby, called Windpower, came to mind:. “Scatter the seed and furrow in our land”.

The objective of the trip was to visit Thelnetham Windmill, a summer outing organised by the East Anglian Practical Classics Car Club. Turning right at Hopton it was not long before we saw the white sails of the mill glistening in the sunlight, and they were turning. Despite being in a hollow rather than on top of a hill, the mill was clearly very visible.

The existing brick mill at Thelnetham was built in just six months in 1819 on the site of a former Post Mill. After several ownerships it finally ceased working in July 1924, becoming very dilapidated and derelict.

Over the years it was gradually restored, and it is now owned by the Suffolk Building Preservation Trust and run by a very dedicated team of volunteers.

On arrival, we went on a tour of the mill, climbing the ladders to the top and thereby following the flow of the milling process. Our guide explained that the 64ft Sails were not solid timber, but wooden frames over which material is stretched and painted. The cap sits on the top of the mill and ran around on a track, but was not fixed in any other way. A fantail ensured that the sails were always turned into the prevailing wind.

He explained how the sacks of grain were lifted up to a hopper, where they descended by gravity through to the stone floor where they were ground between two French Burr stones. Interestingly, these stones comprised of segments, like an orange and were not whole stones. Smoothing, or ‘dressing’ of the stones had to be carried out at intervals, with imperfections being identified by means of a special ‘paint stick. With our guide’s knowledge and appropriate anecdotes, we were suitably informed and entertained.

Tours continued throughout the afternoon until 4pm, but for us, completion of the tour meant that an excellent afternoon tea, prepared by the volunteers was ready for us – an opportunity to rest and reflect upon what had been a wonderful visit, before ‘sailing along’ home.

Credit is due to the volunteers who so whole-heartedly support the project and make the visitor experience exceptional. My thanks are due to them as it has to be the best mill visit I have ever made.

Suffolk has many unknown ‘gems’ to visit – this one would win a triple gold medal!

Graham Day, Stowmarket

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