War Memorial Gary Trouton

Letters to the Editor

March 2003

A bumper mail-bag with more fallout from Les Lawrence's comments

Dear Mr Thompson,

With reference to the contributions to the Pump by Mr L Lawrence, I would just like to say that because of them, I stopped buying the Pump. I know I had a choice whether to read them or not, but there were so many of his very unfunny letters and articles that I thought buying it was a complete waste of my money. I don't know the man and he never called on me when he was collecting insurance, so for that I am truly thankful.

I also wonder why, month after month, certain people complain of noise from the mill, waxy deposits, bad smells and now we have white powder on the car, all of which is blamed on Favor Parker.

I have lived in Stoke ferry for 30 years, 20 of them in Oxborough Road, during which time my children and seven of my grandchildren have lived and gone to school in the village. None of them have been involved in accidents due to Favor Parker lorries and none of them have suffered ill health because of anything emitted from the factory or the mill, but two of my children and myself have found employment with them.

I have never been disturbed by noise from the mill, nor have I found waxy deposits or white powder; maybe my eyesight and hearing are not as good as some peoples, but I did actually notice that there was a factory when I decided I wanted to live here. Also it seems that the obnoxious smell is coming from the Sugar factory and that is something most people have known for a long time! Can they not stop and think and be grateful that they and their children are not inhaling car fumes and perhaps think that animal feed production smells are not too bad after all?

Yours truly,

Mrs VE Bonnett

Dear Ray,

Following the letter from Les Lawrence, I would like to put in my own half ha-pence; also to put the records straight.

I, like many other people, I am sure, feel that the Pump needs to have a balanced content, and would be extremely sorry not to see Les contributing in the future. I accept that his articles may not be to everybodies taste but it would be a sad world if all our likes and dislikes were the same.

With reference to Les' letter, the starting point of the controversy, I feel that it is sad that a somewhat tongue in cheek suggestion has raised such feelings. I agree with Les that one cannot stand still, and that the Pump must look into the future. I would, however, point out to Les that his statement that all the committee are against expansion is an unsubstantiated accusation, and that I would ask him in future to check his facts carefully.

I, like all of the committee, look forward to many years of the Pump and am sure that it will thrive and prosper and indeed increase its circulation. Before this can be done, however, the logistical support must be correct and the resources suitable. If this is not in place, the quality that we have thrived so hard to attain, will be lost, and this would be a great tragedy.

Brian R Harrison

Dear Ray,

Further to Ron Watts' Soapbox last month, I agree entirely with him over the leniency that exists within the judiciary when it comes to sentencing. Indeed, I wrote a similar article some time ago. I consider that the period given as a prison sentence should embody three things: firstly, it should be long enough to act as a deterrent in the context of the crime; secondly, it is a punishment; and thirdly the necessary length of time deemed appropriate to help readjust the miscreant to the proper way of life. And if there are fixed guidelines for certain crimes, they should be adhered to: not as in a recent case of a young burglar who was given seven years for over 600 break-ins of old people's homes when the maximum available penalty was fourteen years. Whatever would you have to do to earn the full term, I wonder?

I come onto one particular type of crime that has been troubling me greatly in the last ten years or so. I refer to sex crimes, particularly those perpetrated on children. At present, when a guilty party is sent down, it is for a prison term where much money is spent on medication and medical care. In the majority of cases the people will re-offend and more state funds will be spent again. I believe that such people suffer from an illness, if you like, and are very unhappy people. Why not castrate them rather than intern them? Radical, eh? I don't think so. You have the ultimate deterrent, state funds are saved, and the men concerned will lead much happier lives. Paedophilia could even become a thing of the past, in time. Would any government introduce it? I doubt it, but put to a referendum it would, I am sure, be supported by a massive majority.

Yours sincerely,

Graham Forster

Dear Ray,

Oh dear something of a tantrum from Les. The thought came to mind of a spoilt child who cannot get his own way, stamping his foot and shouting.

I'm afraid that if he puts his head above the parapet by writing letters such as in the December edition he must expect to be shot at. (With words, not bullets of course.) Several people have thanked me for writing to you, and have said that they agree wholeheartedly with the contents of my last letter to you. Even going so far as to say that, as Les was not writing so much, they would buy the Pump regularly again. So we are increasing circulation already!!

Considering in his previous letter he wanted to change the name of the magazine, all so quickly he was very free with the name 'Pump' in the February edition.

The Village Pump is produced, collated, and distributed by a dedicated band of volunteers. Who, as well as giving freely of their time to bring forth a good magazine, enjoy the social side of the enterprise as Les has experienced at collating and other gatherings. If you increase the workload too much it starts to become a chore rather than a pleasure. Suddenly there are fewer volunteers and a lot more work for those that are left.

No doubt a collating machine could be purchased to cope with large numbers of the magazine. I would think that such a machine is expensive, and in order to pay for it the cost of The Pump would have to rise. Which could be self-defeating if sales go down as a result. Besides it takes the people out of the equation, depriving them the pleasure of a social get-together whilst completing the task in hand.

Also there comes a point in increased revenue, so I understand, that tax becomes payable because, in the Taxman's eyes, it has become a profit making business. Is this where we would prefer a proportion of the subscription money to go, or would it be better to spend it on upgrading the computer, and printer etc. to continue to improve the quality of the magazine?

I know our Editor is grateful for all contributions, (Well the ones that he can print without being arrested), and it is the variety of contributions that makes The Pump what it is. So maybe in the future if the Pump is being overwhelmed with one subject, or contributor, a little prudent use of the old blue pencil might prevent this situation arising again.

As I said before, being local is important to us, just as it is no doubt for Methwold and Northwold with their local magazines. I'm sure they would be right chuffed to be taken over by the Village Pump in order that Les's plans to dominate the magazine world were carried out. So keep you a knocking yer ol noggin agin that brick wall bor!!

Yours sincerely,

Ray Garrett

Dear Ray,

In the difficult business of publishing, if 275 copies of the Village Pump are actually sold each month (as mentioned in derisory tone in last month's issue) then this must be seen as an on-going success story.

One must not forget that, 'in the real world', such publications are shared between family and friends.

Keep up the good work.

Pat Holton

Dear Ray,

I came back from hospital last Wednesday after my Cardioversersion; it was an experience I have never encountered before. I was worried before I went but was glad of the experience. It didn't do everything but it means that I have to stay on the same tablets for the rest of my life. That I can live with.

The thing that upsets me most is someone always moaning about how much I eat. I know I have a weight problem. The nurse at the hospital told me not to starve myself; then someone with a big mouth telling what I should or shouldn't eat. Not the sort of response needed when one is just out of hospital!

Then people say they care. The only thing is they can't mind their own damn business. What does it matter what I eat? I wish people would keep their big mouths shut?

From your friend as always,


Dear Editor,

I really enjoyed the feature "Can't Believe You Made It" by Anne Zizzler, in February issue. I recognized it all and had a giggle. I called the three teenage Boys in our house to listen while I read it to them (they don't read themselves). Halfway through there was a big yawn, followed by a shout of boring. I was really annoyed that they could not appreciate the article in the same way. It also highlighted the age gap, which wasn't so funny.

Anne Solway.

Dear Editor,

Having been rather busy throughout the last few months I now have started to read through the back numbers of The Village Pump. I noticed two letters in the December edition, both of them were written by Les Lawrence criticising the way the Pump is run. The next month Les didn't write to the Editor but three other readers did. Mr Les Lawrence had upset them with his letters. As I do write for the magazine, whenever I have something worth writing or sometimes even a paragraph of utter drivel, it seems to entertain and not upset the readers. Norfolk is such a friendly place to live and I am happy to be able to enjoy my hobby without causing too much hassle.

In February's Pump Mr Lawrence retaliated in no uncertain tones. But how does he know how many children or people under thirty read the Pump? My husband and I take Pumps to the Downham Market Surgeries every month. Our grandchildren read our Pump when they visit us and they come to the collating then too. Even if they are too young to help, they have a book to read or they bring a toy to play with while we get on with our job. I do believe they are proud of their grandparents' pieces when they see them in the magazine.

Get with it Mr Lawrence, read the letters. Without our readers the pump will die and we will all miss it. We have made so many friends through The Pump; we help with the collating and have a good old natter or a mardle (I do hope those two words mean the same thing) and Mr T delivers the Pump around our village. Even the snow didn't stop my man; off he went as usual. Life's more fun when you can enjoy helping people, Les.

Well that is a weight off my chest. I'm off to see if the washing has dried. Our house has to settle back into the old routine. Toby will miss Yvonne and I will write to her on his behalf. 'Bye for now Ray, love to your family and all your pets,

Janet Tilburn

Dear Editor,

We were disappointed to read Mr Les Lawrence's letter in February's Village Pump that you had suggested he discontinued his nonsense serial "The Story So Far"; also he stated his other item "Food for Thought" on hold.

In these days we all need a bit of humour to brighten our dull life. In our opinion the Village Pump without Mr Les Lawrence is like Christmas without "Morecambe and Wise."

Yours sincerely,

Readers with sense of humour

Dear Ray,

I was sorry to read Les Lawrence's letter in last month's Pump. Les has been a mainstay of the Pump for some time and I am sure his many readers will be disappointed if he stops submitting contributions. I am equally sure that those letters opposing some of Les's suggestions had nothing to do with the fact that he lives in Methwold, surely we welcome contributions and suggestions from anyone that is interested enough to offer them.

I certainly agree with Les that it would be a great pity if there is a potential to increase sales and that potential is not being realised because of limits to production that could possibly be overcome. The idea that the Pump might aim to cover a larger area is more questionable to my mind. It is, after all, intended to be a 'village' newsletter and, in my view, it should not aim to be anything other than that, rather it should endeavour to be a better local newsletter. Without its very local relevance the Pump has no justification for its existence. A West Norfolk Gazette, as Les suggests, would need to have relevance to W Norfolk and as such would have to compete with such as the Lynn News

I agree with Les that it tends to be an 'old folks magazine'. This is not the intention of course but it cannot be denied that the elderly members of the community are more likely to be those with the time to contribute to and to read the Pump. I am sure that our editor and the committee do what they can to elicit contributions from younger folk.

What is needed, perhaps, is fewer items from contributors like me and more local news. Perhaps we could find some budding journalists among the school children who could act as reporters to ferret out the news and let us know what is going on. It would be nice if all the parish councils for the area could be persuaded to publish the minutes of their meetings in the Pump. A brief monthly report from the school giving details of their extra curricula activities, staff changes, league tables etc would be of wide interest, especially to the younger members of the community, as would more reports from local sports and social clubs. A diary of forthcoming events would also be useful. All very well, of course, but how do you get people to co-operate? Perhaps a reminder each month to those people responsible for the various activities would help, but I know how difficult it can be.

Whatever happens in the future I do hope that we continue to see 'Les Lawrence' at the bottom of a page in the Pump.

Ron Watts

Dear Ray,

Whilst visiting friends, (yes I do have some) the other day, along with a nice cup of tea, we decided to put our heads together and do the factual crossword in the EDP. On this occasion we managed to complete it and we were all quite chuffed with ourselves. Anyway the talk got round to quizzes and I said that our Village Pump magazine liked to put in things like that. In response, our friends said they had some copies of puzzles, which they would let us have to put in the magazine.

Here's one for this month, hopefully there will be one or two more for other editions. They couldn't remember where they came from, so I apologise if I'm abusing any copyright. Good luck.


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