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Biden has chance to restore vision

Many Suffolk Free Press readers will have watched on TV last week the swearing-in of Joe Biden as the 46th President of the United States.

His inaugural speech in Washington was both impressive and conciliatory and, one hopes (though time will tell), will go a long way to heal the nation’s divided communities now the Trump era has finally come to an end.

The inauguration ceremony provided a sharp contrast to the events on Capitol Hill two weeks earlier when a militant crowd of Donald Trump supporters, unwilling to accept the legitimacy of Biden’s election victory and incited by the then president, stormed the US Congress building on Capitol Hill – a building subsequently guarded by hundreds of National Guards troops.

Write to us and give us your view on a local matter (44160039)
Write to us and give us your view on a local matter (44160039)

One person who, if still alive, would have been horrified by the events on Capitol Hill on January 6 is John Winthrop, a former Lord of the Manor of Groton in Suffolk, who led the puritans in their emigration to New England in 1630, founded the city of Boston, and became the first governor of the Massachusetts Bay Company.

His sermon, ‘A Model of Christian Charity’, delivered on board the Arbella while crossing the Atlantic Ocean, is legendary, especially this quotation (based on words in Matthew 5.14 from the Sermon on the Mount): “... we must consider that we shall be as a city upon a hill, the eyes of all people are upon us.”

Winthrop did not have Capitol Hill in mind, but the eyes of millions of people around the world were on that particular hill last week.

Winthrop’s sermon also included these words, “Now the only way to avoid this shipwreck and to provide for our prosperity is to follow the counsel of Micah, to do justly, to love mercy, to walk humble with our God.” (Micah 6.8).

Former US presidents John Kennedy, Ronald Reagan and Barack Obama have used or alluded to Winthrop’s sermon in speeches. Biden did not do so, though 22-year-old National Youth Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman alluded to it her poem The Hill We Climb, which she read as part of the inauguration ceremony and which included these words, “while we have our eyes on the future, history has its eyes on us.” And, as she ended her poem, “For there is always light, if only we’re brave enough to see it. If only we’re brave enough to be it.”

Let us all wish President Biden godspeed in restoring Winthrop’s vision of America being a beacon in the world when leading the government of our friends ‘across the pond’ over the next four years.

David Lamming

Holbrook Barn Road


We have no-one but ourselves to blame

I wonder if Mr Goddard (Letters, Free Press, January 21) would be prepared to give me the name of his optician, as he clearly has a prescription for the most amazing rose-tinted glasses if he sees the deal with the EU as anything but disastrous for our country.

Already British businesses are describing the deal as ‘a Brexit nightmare’ and are being pushed to breaking point.

British fishing crews are talking of betrayal as they find they are unable to sell their fresh fish into EU markets because of delays at ports. Fishermen are also discovering that the deal has not given them the 12-mile exclusion zone for foreign vessels that they were promised.

Musicians and other performers from the UK now have to have visas to tour in Europe, increasing their costs. Then, of course, there is the whole Irish border, which seems to be making life increasingly difficult for those living in Northern Ireland.

The issue of Brussels imposing increasing bureaucracy is now seen as laughable compared with the bureaucracy that is now needed to trade with Europe.

We have yet to see the full impact as Covid restrictions are limiting the production and movement of goods, but we already know there are likely to be longer queues at UK ports as firms battle with much more paperwork than they needed before.

These difficulties cannot be blamed on the perfidious Europeans trying to make life more difficult for us Brits. They are the inevitable result of leaving a trading bloc and ploughing our own furrow.

What is more, they were entirely predictable, but played down by Mr Johnson and his gung-ho Brexiteers.

Our economy will continue to suffer thanks to this deal and it will be the majority of us who will feel the consequences in our pay packets and cuts to services.

So, Mr Goddard, where did you get your rose-tinted glasses from? I hope they weren’t imported from the EU.

Richard Stainer

Felsham Road

Bradfield St George

Allow me to rule on contradictory point

There’s not much to make you smile at the moment, but two things in last week’s Free Press did just that.

Your picture of Station Road car park says it all about our gutless district council. It’s funny how it can pick and choose what rules it enforces and which ones it is happy to overlook.

On one hand, the excellent petition produced by Thomas Morelli could not be allowed due to a lack of full addresses of those that signed up.

On the other hand, your picture showed travellers parked up on the car park in contravention of the council’s rules concerning parking over white lines, leaving litter and failing to pay for time spent over three hours.

What action did the council take? Other than giving them an age to move on, not a lot – no parking charges or fines but I’m sure their welfare department went along to ensure they had everything they needed for their stay.

How different it would have been had we, the humble taxpayer, done the same thing.

Then we come to Bob Darvell’s latest letter.

Two other delights missing from his account were Izal toilet paper (which was like sandpaper) – if you were lucky, that is, and cut-out cardboard insoles to repair holes in your shoes.

Most of us had nothing to shout about but they were happy days.

Keep smiling.

David Riddlestone

Chaucer Road


An unneeded layer of bureaucracy

It is a sad state of affairs when people feel that they have to demonstrate at officials’ houses in order to make their views heard.

It is no surprise, however, with Babergh’s remote administration located outside the district and with its disdain for any form of communication other than via the internet.

The district council regularly sidelines the views and concerns of the local population – just take the merging of the two district councils as an example.

Why not do a thorough job and do away with this expensive and unneeded layer of bureaucracy.

Give town and parish councils more say on local matters or, dare I say it, borough councils the powers to deal with affairs that directly relate to them, including parking.

Let the county council take care of other district matters benefiting us all, including the resulting cost savings, which has been a chief argument in favour of the district councils merging.

Roger Parsons


Hospitals would have come in handy

I note that, in these somewhat difficult times, the Government is yet again shifting blame on to the public regarding the pressure placed upon hospitals as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

Much of which may be correct, but I would hasten to point out it was not the public who demolished two hospitals in Sudbury, and then sold the land for private housing development.

It was not the public who began building a promised new hospital in Sudbury, on People’s Park, and then changed their minds, demolished what had been built, and then sold the land on yet again for private development.

I think those hospitals may have been quite useful at this present time. Still, the NHS trust knows best.

Bob Darvell

Orchard Place


Pin down origins before name change

I wanted to get in touch regarding the issue with the Black Boy in Sudbury.

Having experienced racism – I have three mixed raced sons, all now young men – I have thought long and hard about whether the name of the pub is offensive or not.

I read the comments in last week’s article that states the founder of Greene King could have had links to the slave trade, so it’s possible he named the pub for the wrong reasons. If that is the case, then I suppose the name could be seen to be an issue.

However, my family own the home next door, which is now Kings Mews, Black Boy Yard. It’s the flat above the old Kings shop that you can see in this painting (above).

The painting was done in 1973 and shows the original sign.

When I tried to conduct some research into the history of the name, I learned that hundreds of years ago, a coloured lad travelled from the Far East to bring gold to the Corn Exchange in Sudbury. He stayed at the pub, hence it was called the Black Boy.

Our property next to the pub was built in the 16th century, so I know the pub is also very old.

If this is true, then I don’t think the name is racist – it’s simply a record of a true event that occurred in the history of Sudbury and, therefore, should not be changed.

Could we not get advice from a historian to clear this matter up and then decide if it’s the right thing to do to change the name.

Kerry Lockwood

Kings Mews, Black Boy Yard


Will new name fit regal connection?

I was interested to read that Greene King is thinking of renaming the Black Boy pubs in Bury St Edmunds and Sudbury.

I noted that the Black Boy name was given to King Charles II due to his jet black hair and swarthy complexion.

It was also given to young chimney sweeps sent up those large Tudor chimneys. At the end of the day, they would be covered in soot, hence the name.

So will Greene King rename these pubs King Charles II?

Tom Murray

Bury St Edmunds

It would be wrong to destroy this gem

Reading Anne Grimshaw’s article on Belle Vue House in last week’s Suffolk Free Press, I wanted to say how much I enjoyed such an informative piece, especially the pictures that accompanied it.

Belle Vue House is a very valuable asset for Sudbury – and one that should not be purely financial.

Sadly, I have never had the opportunity to go inside, but the building itself is highly attractive and is beautifully set in the park. I was, therefore, unaware of the historic architecture, particularly its painted glass windows.

It would be wonderful if the building could be preserved in some way and not razed to the ground. Maybe it could become another draw for our attractive town.

Thank you Anne and the Suffolk Free Press for bringing this to readers’ attention. Please, Babergh, do not destroy this gem.

Lesley Anslow

Weavers Close


I must have missed improvements ...

In your report of the district council meeting (Free Press, January 21), I noted that the authority subsidises free parking in Sudbury at a cost of £185,000 per annum.

I feel a breakdown of this expenditure might assist residents in understanding where this significant sum is employed each year in what must be a magnificent rolling programme of improvements – the results of which have so far escaped my attention.

James Woodard

Clarence Road


We must stick to the rules to beat virus

There have been various reports of a chink of light emerging at the end of the (Covid-19) tunnel and, providing we stick to the widely published rules, there is every reason to hope we can eventually free ourselves of this dreadful virus.

But this time we cannot afford to take our foot off the pedal, which we very foolishly did at the end of 2020, bringing a surge of hospitalisations and death in its wake.

The best scientific brains have worked their socks off to produce vaccines to save lives, and the least we can do is to obey the rules.

Other than for medical reasons, would abstainers gather themselves together and depart these shores for the Isle of St Elsewhere, leaving the rest of us to know exactly where we stand.

Brian Davies

Bury St Edmunds

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