Thank you for all the kindness - letters to the Journal
PUBLISHED: 12:00 06 March 2020
Readers have been sending their views to the Journal. Here are just a few of them.
Whilst I often read in your column, people thanking the "Good Samaritans" of Exmouth, who have rushed to aid them, in the event of an accident, I thought I would write and say a big 'thank you' to the everyday people and, particularly, the wonderful shop assistants of Exmouth, who are always polite, chatty and exude kindness on a daily basis.
Having recently joined the ranks of the 'less-abled', I find that the workers, both female and male, in all the local shops in Exmouth as well as the bigger stores such as Lidl, Home Bargains, Tesco, the Co-ops etc are all very, very kind and helpful!
They are always more than willing to assist me in fetching an item that is at the far end of what seems a long aisle, or to pack or carry my shopping to my car.
Kindness that is above and beyond their expected duties.
I would like to express, through your column, my genuine appreciation and thanks to ALL OF THEM!
Their helpfulness DOES make a difference, when you are struggling with walking sticks, crutches and the necessary shopping!
Ms Linda Freer
School should be congratulated
Withycombe Raleigh Primary School are to be congratulated on the amazing co-ordination of skills that contributed to the recent story about 'London's Burning'.
The teaching and learning about living conditions in Tudor England was so well reflected in the imaginative art work behind the 'cardboard city'.
Thank you, Journal, for letting us enjoy what must have been an unforgettable experience for all concerned.
Loophole needs to be closed
In reply to Terry Redger's letter titled 'dog walks are allowed on beach', I would like to congratulate him finding this loophole that entitles him to walk his dog the whole length of the beach in mid summer.
He must be very proud of himself.
Exmouth has a wonderful beach and is the town's most valuable asset, dog walkers are welcomed but in summer part of the beach is restricted.
Most people understand that and they comply with the notices, understanding they are there for a reason, but then you get some people, some people who's entitlement to walk their dog the entire length of the beach is far more important then having a safe clean, dog free area of beach for thousands of other families to come and enjoy in the summer months.
I hope the council can change the rules to shut down this loophole quickly.
Dismayed by the sale of land
Surely I am not alone in feeling more than disappointed - I might say angry - at the news that part of the Rolle College site has been sold off to developers (Journal, February 12).
Those of us who bought shares in the social enterprise company which would have delivered a true community-based facility on that land (which, after all, had originally been given to Plymouth University) will even feel betrayed a second time as the memories of that episode flood back.
One assumes that the Deaf Academy had a business plan (including the sale of their two sites in Exeter) which did not require such a sale.
If so, this is opportunistic at best and might be called asset-stripping.
If not, it reveals the project to be seriously under-funded from the start.
No wonder they are still asking for charitable donations!
Was he on a different beach?
I refer to two Exmouth councillors one of whom was Geoff Jung talking about Exmouth beach on the regional news on Friday night.
They were saying how much people respected cleaning up after themselves regarding rubbish etc.
On that particular day I was on the beach to the right of the Octagon where he was standing (but not at the same time unfortunately) it was 10am and luckily I was watching where I was walking as I came across a pile of fresh dog mess.
And along they all went with their dogs racing around, one came and started pawing the back of my coat and proceeded to jump up until I shouted to the owners could they please call their dog off me!
Has Mr Jung been down to the beach in the summer?
I refer to the area next to the Harbour View café where the shelters are that lead directly on to the beach.
By 6pm, they are full of takeaway cartons, discarded drink cans and any other kind of litter you can find, also this area operates a dog ban which is continually flouted because the dog warden goes home at 5pm.
However, the dog ban signs are so small and faded that I am not surprised that holiday makers and residents don't know which parts they can and can't take dogs.
Hence the title!
Mrs C Goodall
Social networks must not drag their heels
I'm hugely encouraged by the landmark plans announced by the government to give Ofcom powers to regulate social networks.
The safety of children online has been compromised for too long, but this breakthrough could pave the way in setting a global standard in protecting children in their digital worlds.
The government has shown a commitment to leading change by standing up to big tech firms.
Now, ministers must move swiftly to ensure that Ofcom is given the necessary powers, allowing it to enforce substantial fines to social networks not doing enough to prevent adults grooming children on their sites.
The internet is a wonderful place for young people to learn and social networks form a big part of their friendships, enabling them to seek support from peers.
However, no longer should children be exposed to harmful content and abuse because of a slap-dash approach by tech giants.
It's why we've long called for, through our Wild West Web campaign, an independent regulator, safe accounts for children and detailed reporting on how tech firms are keeping children safe.
An estimated 90 online child sexual offences have taken place each day since the government published the Online Harms White Paper last April.
It's gone on too long and social networks must not be allowed to continue dragging their heels.
NSPCC, local campaigns manager for the South West of England
Kindness needs no explanation
"Why was Great-grandma crying when we went to see her?
" Because some people want to knock down Shandford, the big house she lives in."
"Because they want to replace her home with lots of flats and make money."
"Isn't that very naughty?"
Try to explain to a small child why money is the root of all evil.
Kindness and care should not require either explanation or justification in a civilized society.
Tourists need to be encouraged
I was astonished to read the letter from Mr Rodgers (Exmouth Journal, February 26, 2020) suggesting that the Council's dog control order regarding dogs on the beach could be bypassed on a legal technicality.
This is surely the last thing that someone claiming to be a responsible dog owner would consider. The council sets the rules in an attempt to satisfy the requirements of the 25 per cent who own dogs and the 75 per cent who don't (and I would suggest the rules are currently very much in favour of the 25 percent). To try and bypass these rules is the antithesis of responsible.
I am a dog lover myself, although I don't own one.
Unfortunately, regardless of legal loopholes, the council makes no effort to enforce their existing rules, and dogs are a normal sight in the 'dog free' area, and of course these are the ones belonging to irresponsible owners, not on a lead and taking no notice of their owners' attempts to control them.
It needs to be considered that many local shops and cafés are dependent on the tourist trade, and that dogs on the beach are a major deterrent to tourists.
We have been told on more than one occasion by visitors that they would not consider bringing their children to the beach in Exmouth because of the dogs.
We routinely head off to Scarborough and Whitby in June or July, where the beaches are very well managed with both dog and dog free areas.
And that will be the price of the insistence of a few irresponsible dog owners to disregard the rules - a town with little but charity shops and very few tourists.
Contrast that with Whitby, which has a very successful range of local shops and restaurants in far greater number than Exmouth, despite it being a much smaller town in a fairly remote location. Yes, there are other reasons, such as the cheap long term parking close to the town centre, and the abbey, but the well managed beach is surely a large part of their success.
I would add that both Scarborough and Whitby allocate almost half the beach to dogs, although in both cases the half nearest the town is the dog free area, and that in my opinion the area from Orcombe Point to the lifeboat station could be a permanent dog area, which might reduce the desire of irresponsible dog owners to spoil the experience of the seventy five per cent.
Ban puts heritage railways at risk
As one of the nation's 22,000 heritage railway volunteers, I am concerned at the government's decision to ban sales of bituminous coal.
The All-Party Parliamentary Group on Heritage Railways (APPGHR) in its report Steaming Ahead, published last July, warned of the unintended consequences of such a ban, advising that 'the government's policy (ie Clean Air Strategy)… will reduce demand for domestic coal with the likely consequence that the mining of British coal suitable for steam locomotives will cease'.
The loss of a domestic market of 130,000 tonnes per annum will render the home production of 35,000 tonnes pa for steam railways, ships and traction engines uneconomic, necessitating the importation of low-sulphur coal.
The establishment of a joint purchase scheme for heritage railways would incur set up costs of £1.5 million whilst conversion to oil-firing is uneconomic.
There is a serious risk that by imposing the ban next year with insufficient time for the industry to adapt the government will throw the baby out with the bathwater.
No-one would take issue with the government's objective but further consideration must be given as to how these goals are to be achieved, without needlessly placing the future of our heritage railways which bring pleasure to millions in jeopardy.
AL (Tony) Venning
Volunteer, South Devon Railway
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