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There was a festive flavour to our mailbag this week, with generous praise for a number of events.

ABBEY GARDENS LIGHTS EVENT WAS EXCEPTIONAL

Bravo West Suffolk Council for bringing IlluminAbbey to the Abbey Gardens. I’m sure it could have sold out three times over as so many people we spoke to said they couldn’t get tickets.

Letters to the Editor
Letters to the Editor

There truly was something for everyone and the gardens looked amazing, the music, lights, entertainment all were splendid.

It really was an exceptional event and we hope it returns for a longer run next year.

Jo Ellen and Fred Grzyb, The Great Churchyard, Bury St Edmunds

CONCERNS OVER COVID PASSPORTS

I have concerns regarding the possible introduction of vaccine passports and am involved in the campaign being run by The Together Declaration – https://togetherdeclaration.org

The campaign was formed with one main purpose, to unite people from all walks of life to oppose the government’s draconian response to Covid-19. It is vital that we now start to push back on the rapidly growing infringements on our personal freedoms, which are not only destroying businesses but also the mental and physical wellbeing of the British citizens.

Below is information I provided to Jo Churchill MP at her request, so she could present it to her colleagues in Parliament:

Covid-19 vaccines were designed to protect the vaccinated from serious disease, but data now shows unequivocally that none of the vaccines prevent you catching or transmitting coronavirus, which is the only logical basis for introducing vaccine passports. Most recently, a study published in The Lancet concluded that breakthrough infections in fully vaccinated people can efficiently transmit infection in the household setting. The concluding paragraph is very important, and ruins the public health case for Covid Passes: “Although current vaccines remain effective at preventing severe disease and deaths from Covid-19, our findings suggest that vaccination alone is not sufficient to prevent all transmission of the delta variant.”

To summarise my concerns:

  • Mandatory vaccine passports go against the advice of the UK Parliament’s Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee report into Covid-19 status certification, which found that the government could not make a strong scientific case for vaccine passports, and that they would be discriminatory.
  • The Government has failed to provide cost benefit analysis and impact assessment for public scrutiny.
  • Vaccine passports would be discriminatory on the grounds of race, religion and socio-economic status.
  • Vaccine passports damage the economy as they are impractical for many businesses to implement and will deter customers. Trade in Scottish nightclubs was reduced by 46 per cent in the first week after introduction.
  • - The vast majority of the adult population have had two (and in many cases three) doses of a Covid-19 vaccine and, according to the Office of National Statistics, nine out of 10 adults have antibodies to Covid-19, so any vaccine passport scheme introduced at this point would be costly, with only diminishing returns.
  • Vaccine passports damage informed consent. The Council of Europe resolution on Covid-19 vaccines urges member states to ‘ensure that citizens are informed that the vaccination is not mandatory and that no one is under political, social or other pressure to be vaccinated if they do not wish to do so; ensure that no one is discriminated against for not having been vaccinated, due to possible health risks or not wanting to be vaccinated’.

I am very concerned about this issue. All around Europe, including the UK, there are protests which show the strength of feeling and opposition to this proposed illiberal ‘papers please’ medical two-tier society.

Nicola Delglyn, via email

APOLOGIES TAKEN WITH A PINCH OF SALT

I see that, once again, we have been treated to the sorrowful resignation of a Downing Street aide.

I view this episode as the last in a long line of politicians, footballers and celebrities (major and minor), regretting (often tearfully) some action or other, which they feel proves that they do not need to follow the same rules as the rest of us – the Common Herd.

It could well be that, as I age, I am growing cynical and see these ‘heartfelt apologies’ as nothing more than sorrow that the poor behaviour or hypocrisy has been found out and, as such, they should be taken with a pinch of salt.

‘Suprema lex salus populi est’ is a phrase I am sure that many of our expensively educated elite know only too well although they choose to ignore it when it suits them.

Martin Webb, Bury St Edmunds

RETURN OF WONDERFUL CHRISTMAS TRADITION

At this time of year there are many and varied Christmas traditions, some old and some of newer origins.

Some Christmas carols have their roots in poetry and folk songs before emerging, perhaps with different musical settings, as the familiar carols we know.

In Sheffield there is a tradition of pub carols, starting after Remembrance Sunday and going through to Christmas Eve. On two consecutive years we travelled north to Sheffield, specifically to the Blue Ball, in Worrall, and the Royal Hotel, in Dungworth.

Many carols had alternative settings which were interestingly confusing for us and also other participants from a few miles away.

Christmas Trees were introduced by Prince Albert in 1840. From an inauspicious start in West Norfolk, Christmas tree festivals now span the length and breadth of the nation – they are varied and some are spectacular.

After a break because of the pandemic, the Christmas tree festival, and a Christmas fayre have returned to Stowmarket.The decorated trees in St Peter’s Church are spectacular – there is no other word which can accurately describe their illuminated splendour. Upon entering the church you descend into a wondrous world of colour and inspiration.The inclusion this year of again the Museum of East Anglian Life, and also now the John Peel Centre and other locations around the town have given back to the festival the profile that it had before the pandemic. Before 2020 the Christmas Tree Festival brought visitors from afar to visit the town because of the trees. Long may it continue in the future.

The organisers have again produced a first rate display. Well done indeed.

Christmas traditions can indeed become memorable because of their variety and excellence.

Graham Day, Stowmarket

WELCOME RETURN TO LIVE MUSIC

What a great show All We Want for Christmas Is You (at The Apex, Bury St Edmunds) was.

To combine the talents of The Voice Squad and The Galaxy Big Band was a stroke of genius, as they complemented each other perfectly, each taking their turn in the spotlight and combining to make a very special sound.

Each of the Voice ‘Squads’, grouped by age, put on a broad spread of songs ranging from the gentle, melodic, almost classical pieces right through to the downright raucous comedy numbers such as Dominic The Donkey.

The band played several established ‘Big Band’ favourites – mostly in the Glenn Miller style – and accompanied many of the Voice Squad items sensitively, coming in when needed and allowing the young people’s voices to be heard in the quieter passages.

All in all, it was a most welcome return to live entertainment at its very best and a reminder of what we’ve been missing. Well done to everybody.

All we need now is to see larger audiences in the theatre filling up those empty seats – you don’t know what you’re missing.

John Bottle, Thurston

-- Email your letters to letters@buryfreepress.co.uk