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The Oxford vaccine is a game changer. Despite caution from establishment and politicians, the country can absolutely look to the future with confidence.

The vaccine will be safe and easily distributed and lead to a significant economic recovery in 2021. Jo Churchill MP, recently criticised in these pages, has played a full role in ensuring that the UK has access to 100 million vaccine doses. These have been in production since July, and the Government deserves credit for enabling and ensuring that the country’s population has first access to this world beating cure.

Letters to the Editor (42426023)
Letters to the Editor (42426023)

There should also be a Brexit deal in the next week or so which will remove the uncertainty which has hung over business for nearly four years.

All of this means that Suffolk must get on the front foot in 2021. Bury St Edmunds always fares better than most of the country, but complacency is dangerous.

West Suffolk Council has delivered grants and financial support with great efficiency this year, but it must turn to growth ambitions next year. The Town Centre Masterplan sits on the shelf, it needs to be picked up again .

The town council has over £500,000 available in its bank account for the town and its community. Of late there has been too much ideology on the council and not enough action . The Labour Party’s councillors might still be fighting Corbyn’s wars but the real battle is to deliver value for their residents with maximum collaboration and minimum fuss! Now is the time for Bury St Edmunds to flourish, from the Abbey 1000 celebrations to fixing the pavements! The town council is well placed to deliver, let’s see it spend tax-payers’ money now, not sit in committees scoring party political points.

Andrew Speed, via email


Isn’t it strange how sometimes important things get forgotten over time? I am clearing out a lot of correspondence during the lockdown restrictions, as I imagine a few others are.

I found this plan showing the proposed sports facilities for King Edward VI school, which of course was the site of the West Suffolk running track.

Old sports plans for King Edward School (43306938)
Old sports plans for King Edward School (43306938)

This is part of report K133 dated 6th September 1995, which was available to the public at the time.

A local newspaper noted in an edition dated,September 15, 1995, that: “A scheme for a floodlit athletics track and an all weather sports pitch is to go ahead in Bury St Edmunds.” The St Edmundsbury recreation committee were happy with the proposals and the article goes on to say: “A report says providing an athletics track in Bury is considered a priority by the Eastern Region Sports Council.”

There is, of course, a sixth form college and parking on that site now.

Some other paperwork I have found proposed a new football pitch at the back of the Railway Club, but this never happened. Houses will be built here.

Why did all these proposed sports facilities die a death, does anybody know?

Richard Mortlock, via email


The article by William Mata about the Customer Service category of the Bury Free Press Business Awards (Bury Free Press, November 20) couldn’t have come at a better time, and although Our Bury St Edmunds (award sponsor) chief executive Mark Cordell’s imperitive advice may be too late for some, the remainder of businesses still struggling to stay afloat, would do well to read, digest, and take on board the obvious common sense of Mr Cordell’s words.

I don’t know if the scheme is still running, but years ago there was a two-day course called ‘The customer comes first’ attended by staff of some of the country’s biggest businesses including household names.

Having attended this course myself at the behest of my boss at the time, I can vouch for the good common sense of the course which embodied many of the points raised by Mr Cordell. Unfortunately – as a nation – we are not good at service to the customer unless we own the business ourselves, which, of course, sheds a completely different light upon the matter.

Brian Davies, Bury St Edmunds


There were many points for agreement in John Parsons’ letter of last week regarding the Aldi application for a store to the east of Bury town, albeit not in its present form, with all the ancillary retail units. However he goes too far in his blanket criticism of the council’s ‘petty niceties of their self-imposed planning system’.

If one thing can be said of St Edmundsbury Council, now part of West Suffolk Council, is its foresight in long-term planning for the development and expansion of the whole town, its environs and its residents.

Ever since it invested in the old Rougham Airfield in the 1970s, there has been a continuum of measured progress, within national and local requirements, to make sure the whole community benefited from what ensued.

For comparison, just over the border in Mid-Suffolk, due to willful negligence or woeful naivety and contrary to central government guidance, the councillors, of whatever hue, and the officers, failed to formulate a local development plan which has resulted in uncoordinated urban sprawl and insufficient infrastructure, not to mention destruction of the natural environment and to the glee of property speculators.

Furthermore, Mid-Suffolk Council also invested, not in local development but out-of-county property speculation so taking locally generated funds away from potential, much-needed local job creation, something West Suffolk Council also avoided. On top of this, it then moved the council offices to Ipswich. The point of this being that the Thurston explosion in housing units has a knock-on effect for Bury as a whole and has to be taken into consideration, albeit outside of its jurisdiction, by West Suffolk Council, which it is doing with due diligence obviously much to the frustration of Mr Parsons and other residents of Moreton Hall for their short-term demands but much to the benefit of the whole community in the long-term.

Aldi is probably aware of all this with an eye to profits rather than altruistic concerns for the local community; if the store and ancillary units is in the wrong place, attracting customers from far and wide, Thurston in particular but also all along the A14 corridor, east and west, then the future actual drawbacks for local road users will far outweigh the present perceived convenience of this retailer in their midst.

Malcolm Searle, Bury St Edmunds


Around 10,000 people are diagnosed with the pancreatic cancer every year in the UK and around 1030 will be from The East of England. Tragically more than half of people with will die within the first three months of diagnosis. Pancreatic cancer hasn’t stopped because of Covid-19.

We know that during the first lockdown people were reluctant to go to their GP, that’s why during this year’s Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month we’re doing all we can to raise awareness of the symptoms and, urging anyone whose systems persist, to use the NHS. There’s no time to wait.

If more of us know the symptoms – which include tummy and back pain, indigestion, itchy skin or yellow skin or eyes, unexplained weight loss and oily floating poo – it could lead to more people being diagnosed earlier. Crucially, this could increase their chances of being eligible for life-saving surgery.

I urge your readers to find out more about the disease and if they are worried that they have the symptoms of pancreatic cancer they should speak to their GP as soon as possible.

We’d like to make sure people living with pancreatic cancer and their loved ones across the UK (NI/Wales) know that Pancreatic Cancer UK is here for them. Our free and confidential Support Line is run by Specialist Nurses, my colleagues and myself. If you would like to speak to a Specialist Nurse you can call 0808 801 0707 or email nurse@pancreaticcancer.org.uk Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday 10am-4pm and Wednesday 10am-6pm.

Dianne Dobson, Pancreatic Cancer UK Specialist Nurse


With another national lockdown in place, Age UK has sadly had to close the doors of its 250 charity shops across the country for a second time. But some good news is there’s still a way for people in the East of England to bag themselves a bargain and support older people most in need.

Age UK’s eBay shop sells a wide range of new and good quality items, including Christmas cards and decorations, homeware and gifts festive season extra special this year.

Older people need us now more than ever and the money raised through eBay will help to fund the charity’s vital work, including its information and advice and friendship services, which have been a lifeline for older people during the lockdowns and throughout the coronavirus crisis.

We are so grateful for all the support our shops in the East of England have received from our customers and local residents throughout this challenging time, and we look forward to welcoming you back to our stores as soon as we are able to. You can visit Age UK’s official eBay page at: www.ebay.co.uk/str/ageukwarrington

Our shops are also in need of volunteers for when we reopen again. To find out how you can help please visit: www.ageuk.org.uk/shops

Nick Smith, Head of Retail at Age UK

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