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Your letters in the Free Press, May 3


I have been privileged to have organised four major charity events at The Apex over the past five years, with three of them being sell-outs. Southgate Church in Bury has promoted these concerts as fundraisers for the local Christian charity, Chaplain in the Workplace, which provides help and support to people where they work.

This past Saturday we had the UK’s premier Christian singer/songwriter with his superb band of talented musicians, who gave the packed house an evening to remember. They gave great praise to the quality of the venue and the helpfulness and professionalism of all Apex staff who supported them.

“It is the best venue we have visited,” was the unsolicited positive comment made.

The downside is that, for us, the costs of running an event at The Apex have risen by 50 per cent since our first venture in 2014. For a small charity, that it is a big burden to bear, and one that might preclude us from running shows there in the future.

Clearly there is a need for West Suffolk Council to keep costs under control, but not, in my view, at the expense of losing the community ethos which was part of the original vision. With many big name shops closing or under threat, we need to maintain the vibrancy of our town centre.

I cannot believe that the recent Sunday Times accolade of Bury being the best place in East Anglia to live was not in some way influenced by the contribution to life of the town that The Apex plays.

I say: Come on, let’s celebrate and say Hallelujah for The Apex!

Bob Jones

Bury St Edmunds


I was interested to see the comment by Brian Davies (Letters & Opinion, April 26) on local motoring experiences. I purposely made my letter ‘local’, since this is a local paper. He is correct in saying that my motoring now, at the age of nearly 77, is mainly local, or at least within a 50-mile radius. (A pity this is not reflected in my car insurance!)

What I did not mention is that I previously held a Class 1 HGV licence and drove big articulated lorries for many years. I actually learned to drive trucks in the Army and started driving civilian artics before the HGV licence was even invented. (So that is a long time ago!) I have driven big trucks all over the country, including in London, and in Ireland, and did my fair share of ‘motorway bashing’. My best job was a ‘night trunk’, with a big Scania and a tri-axle refrigerated trailer, before gratefully retiring at 60 and living a quiet, rural existence, tending my garden. I do offer courtesy to others, like slowing down to a crawl when passing horse riders, flashing my headlights to allow drivers to come out of exits and junctions, and allowing big trucks to swing wide on corners.

I don’t actually like driving now, but it is a necessity when one lives ‘in the sticks’ with a poor bus service. I avoid motorways and dual carriageways now, since they are such race tracks, and prefer more rural roads. Much more pleasant, like going back in time.

John Shayer



One in eight of the seats on the West Suffolk Council were uncontested in the May 2 local elections.

Twenty-five polling stations covering those seats were not opened. The voters in these wards have been disenfranchised.

Out of 43 wards, 16 offered the choice of only Labour or Conservative candidates. Is there any reason why anyone in these wards who did not wish to support a representative of these two parties should vote?

Without some sort of proportional representation the choice of candidates for nearly all voters is pitifully small, to the point of non-existence.

The only benefit that one might realistically expect from voting is the exercise gained from walking to the polling station. The loss in terms of disenfranchisement, disillusionment and frustration with the political system is incalculable.

J A Robertson

Via email


For the first time in 62 years of active membership of the Labour movement and party, I am considering not voting Labour in the European Parliament elections on May 23. Brexit is clearly the most important issue at present, whose effect, if we should leave, will dominate our economic, social and political life for at least the next 10 or 15 years. It is inevitable the Euro elections will be seen as an indicator of feeling about Brexit.

The Labour Party has a clear, unanimously set by its last conference, to seek an agreement protecting jobs, the economy, health and safety, the environment and workers’ rights, and to put any decision to a confirmatory vote.

I am sure that all the Labour European Parliament candidates will support Labour policy. However, it seems that the leadership may leave the confirmatory vote out of the Manifesto. If so, then thousands of loyal labour supporters will feel obliged to use their votes for one of the other parties supporting a further vote. Corbyn and some close colleagues believe he has to appeal to Leave voters for support as remainers will have nowhere else to go. He is mistaken. Thousands like me require an unequivocal commitment for a further vote from Labour.

The elected deputy leader of the Labour Party, Tom Watson, has stressed the need for the party to support the confirmatory vote or lose the support of many thousands like me who see the potential economic and social crisis of Brexit as the most critical political decision in Britain since the end of the Second World War.

It does seem strange that as well as apparently going against the policy unanimously supported at the Labour conference, the leader may not even consult the Shadow Cabinet who are all appointed by him. Democracy within the party is crucial if it is to survive this challenge.

All elections, whether for local councils or the European Parliament, taking place in May will be overshadowed by Brexit. It would be a great pity if local candidates seeking to do their best for local people were overwhelmed by candidates standing on the issue of Brexit only.

So I shall continue to support candidates promoting Labour values.

Roger Spiller



First and foremost, I wish to apologise to reader/letter writer Barbara Krys (Letters & Opinion, April 26), who, it would seem, I unwittingly offended in my letter re jobs and the EU (Letters & Opinion, April 19).

I can assure her no offence was intended, but as a child of the early part of the 20th century (not the 18th or the 19th), I stick to my guns and meant what I said. ‘Made in England’ did not mean anything other than what it said.

Each of the three other states, when combined with England, became the United Kingdom, with each member identifying itself individually on manufactured goods, and rightly so.

‘Made in England’ meant just that, and the workforce was almost exclusively indigenous, but times have changed and we are no longer known as ‘the Workshop of the World’, with most goods arriving here in containers from just about anywhere in the world, particularly China, Japan and India.

No doubt Ms Krys – if she reads this letter – will have realised the writer is of a different age, who – along along with just about anyone with an opinion (irrespective of age) – is frightened to open their mouth for fear of offending someone or other.

Sadly, we find ourselves ‘walking on eggshells’ most of the time, and in some cases being prohibited from using words from our own rich language.

Name and address supplied


There is an increasing number of very big 4x4 vehicles in Bury St Edmunds.

I mention Bury St Edmunds as it is a smallish town.

There is no need for these size vehicles: there are smaller 4x4s. The main culprits are the Audi Q6 and the BMW X4, X5 and X6.

There ought to be separate car parking spaces for these vehicles. I know that you can’t ban them until there is Government legislation.

I know that the families with children will say they are safer... but are they?

I hope it is not becoming like London, where they clog up the streets! There must be some awfully well-off people that can afford these vehicles.

John Watkin

Via email