Poppies 2018

Some of you may be aware that at the end of August last year (2017), I took on the responsibility for organising the Poppy Appeal in Cromer and the surrounding area.

Poppy collecting / fundraising is something I have done for nearly 15 years and for the last 8 or so years the metal poppy pin has been available to the public making a donation.

Each year I am located outside the Nat West Bank in Cromer. A and chair is set up for me and from there I sit with my tray of poppies. Setting aside the reason for me being there it is a fantastic opportunity to meet and talk to people. They want to tell me about their father or their grandfather who fought in one of the two World Wars. They are proud of their relatives and what they did for their country and they are proud to remember or honour them by wearing a poppy, As a collector of 20th century medals I am always interested to hear which medals their brave relatives were awarded and last year met someone whose great-grandfather was awarded a Military Cross in WWI.

Returning to the metal poppy pin, for numerous reason we have never had enough to meet the demand in Cromer but to solve this, as soon as the 1918 / 2018 pin was available, I ordered 800 pins for the public. This year, anyone who wants one should be able to get one without any problem.

Whilst ordering the 1918 / 2018 pins I noticed an item that confirms that in the centenary year of the end of WWI the Royal British Legion Poppy Appeal have acknowledged that the pins have become extremely collectible. They have released a set of 5 pins dated 1914 / 2014, 1915 / 2015, 1916 / 2016, 1917 / 2017, 1918 / 2018 which can be mounted on a card, as shown on the photograph.

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All the Poppy Pins from 2014 to 2018, marking the centenary of the Great War, 1914 to 1918.

There are not endless supplies of these and I doubt whether they will be available by the time the annual Remembrance period comes along in October and November. They come supplied with the card, flat and the five pins individually packed for you to assemble yourself.

If you have any questions or would like to get your hands on one of these please let me know and we can arrange something.

Finally, as the Poppy Appeal Organiser for Cromer, I can confidently state that every penny or pound or coin and note you donate goes straight to the funds of the Royal British Legion Poppy Appeal.

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New Year’s Day Fireworks in Cromer – at last.

One of the things I do as a Town Councillor is working on the New Year’s Day Fireworks Sub Committee.  I joined shortly after being elected to the Town Council and have enjoyed every minute.

Due to my mobility issues, I can’t stand or walk around collecting the donations nor can I sit counting the money after the display so I help by opening the buckets in preparation for counting and every year I am alway  amazed at the generosity of people. Every bucket has notes in it £5, £10 and the occasional £20 and it is worth noting that the majority of £5 notes are the new Winston Churchill note. Nest year there will be the new multi-sided £1 coin to look forward to.

The annual fireworks takes place on New Year’s Day but this year due to a high-wind warning, it was postponed one week. The council, committee and fireworks display team – Titanium Fireworks came under some criticism for this postponement. Many people believed it was because of the rain but even a torrential downpour is not an issue for display standard fireworks. The weather that prompted the postponement was a 23 – 25 North / North Easterly wind. Having met with Titanium last Thursday evening and studying the weather reports it was visibly apparent that the correct decision had been taken.

The following link is a link to the BBC East 360° camera of the fireworks – enjoy!

BBC East Cromer Fireworks 2017

Anyway, tonight the display started dead on time and although the crowd felt smaller the usual favoured viewing places were fully taken by keen observers. The count of money took around two hours and early indications are that the money collected this year added to the donations since the millennium show that over £100,000 has been collected in donations with a vast amount given to local groups and charities.

For several private reasons, sadly for me this will be my last year as a member of the Fireworks Committee and I respectfully ask that if you live locally you may want to join and help in some capacity as there is always something you can do. If you are interested, please feel free to contact the Town Council on Cromer 01263 512254

Hope you enjoyed the display and Happy New Year.

 

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Letter in the North Norfolk News

Last week in response to a decision from the Works & General Committee which I chair, I submitted a letter outlining current issues at the No.2 cemetery in Cromer. It’s N0.2 because the cemetery located closer to town near Argos is older and therefore No.1. Personally, I prefer to call it the “new” cemetery.

Cromer residents will be more than aware that at the cemetery our new crematorium is being built by Westerleigh. The facility will be an asset to the people of Cromer and surrounding towns and villages and will increase the choice given to bereaved families.

To construct the building a new and improved electric supply has to be installed along with water and a telephone service to meet the demands of the crematorium. This would result in a road closure which means that any visitors to the cemetery would need to drive via East Runton to gain access. Along with other matters, a letter to the press was believed to be the best way to inform the public.

Here is a copy of the letter I sent to the North Norfolk News. In fairness to the paper, they occasionally have to edit and / or cut submissions for a variety of reasons so this is my submission.

 

Dear Sir

As Chairman of the Work & General Committee at Cromer Town Council, it was agreed that through your pages, I write to inform residents of some updates concerning the No. 2 cemetery on Holt Road in Cromer.

In order that work to the entrance road to the cemetery can be undertaken and along with the installation of electricity and other utilities at the new crematorium, both the Holt Road and Davey Hill entrance to the cemetery will not be accessible from the A148 Holt Road for two days from 7-November.

This means that any visitors requiring access to the cemetery during this period will need to do so via East Runton on the A149 and then onto the Felbrigg Road and Davey Hill. The side entrance to the cemetery will be open during this time.

For anyone unfamiliar with this route, I would suggest caution as the road is very narrow.

As part of this work, the main drive in the cemetery will also be inaccessible as a trench for the utilities will have been dug. Following completion of this work, we have an agreement that a new tarmac road will be laid by Westerleigh.

Cromer Town Council have continued to work closely with Westerleigh, the crematorium developers and both the officers and myself are in regular contact with them and other parties during the construction of the facility and we are pleased to note the progress to date.

Visitors to the cemetery may have noticed that work has been taken to reinstate and repair fallen, laid or damaged over 200 headstones at a cost of nearly £20,000. This is the first time in many years the council have been able to conduct this work so we are particularly pleased to complete this project.

Unfortunately, because of some memorials being laid for many years, where they lay, the grass and surface is now uneven. Also, due to the nature of cemeteries, there are other places where the surface has settled and left the ground uneven. To level the surface, the usual process is to cut the turf, remove it, fill and level the surface with soil and replace the turf. This occurs several times each year but following the reinstatement of so many headstones, there will be much more of this work than usual so we would ask visitors to the cemetery to take additional care until this work has been completed.

Turning to the Cemetery Chapel, my first visit to the chapel was for a funeral in 2002 and I remember it being very cold and in need of some interior work. My committee have taken on this challenge and have improved the heating system to modern and effective heaters, the walls have been decorated and water damage to the exterior has been repaired. Apart from the obvious use at funerals, it is also available for other uses. If you have never been in the Chapel or would like to have a look inside the Chapel, please contact the Council on Cromer 01263 512254 to make an appointment.

The council works hard to make the cemetery a beautiful place where we can visit our loved ones’ final resting place. However, we don’t always get it right every time but looking after a cemetery isn’t easy and it is a very emotive responsibility. However, the officers and every member of Cromer Town Council want to get it right so I hope that you continue to see improvements. The officers and myself visit the cemetery at least once a week and react to any issues as quickly as we can but if at any time you have concerns, please contact Cromer Town Council on 01263 512254.

Cllr. David Pritchard

Chairman Works & General Committee

Cromer Town Council

 

Whenever you submit a letter for publication you can never be sure of the reception by the public. So far, the people I have spoken to in the street and read the letter, has been fine. However, the real test comes the week after when the public have had an opportunity to write in. Hopefully, it will be received well but I’ll have to wait and see.

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This time of year….

It is this time of year when my thoughts along with the nation turn towards remembering those who gave their lives so that we can enjoy our freedom. The freedom that allows me to write a blog like this, to speak freely in the street, to stand-up in Council and speak on a variety of subject and to agree with as many things as I disagree with.

Each year for the last 11 years I have sold poppies. The reason behind my decision had nothing to do with the death of my Great Grandfather at Passchendaele in September 1917 nor my father’s service in the RAF through WWII. It was as a result of staying up late one night and watching the treatment of British prisoners of war at the cruel hands of the Japanese.I found the film really upsetting and thought that if my father had been in the wrong place at the wrong time in WWII, I may never had been born. I cannot remember the name of the film but immediately after the film I went on-line and entered my details on a Royal British Legion site as a volunteer poppy seller. I felt I had to do something and to give something back. To date, I have not joined the Royal British Legion and I suppose the main reason is that I have never actually been asked to do so!

Earlier this year I was presented with a certificate for selling poppies for 10 years and I was extremely honoured to receive it.

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My 10 year certificate of appreciation for selling poppies.

The first few years I sold poppies I went door to door in an area of the town where there were no steps or long driveways. I found it hard work as I work during the day and so could only go out collecting in the evenings. Understandably people are not keen on answering their doors after dark and those that did never seemed to have change or insisted on arguing with me as to why war is wrong.

As my mobility worsened I decided  a change of strategy was needed so instead of going door to door I set up in the town centre. With a folding chair and folding table for the last several years I have collected from the same spot (outside Nat’West’) and as I am a creature of habit, I have also worn the same hoodie every year!

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Me selling poppies in Cromer on Saturday 29-October.

This year as ever the people of Cromer were extremely generous and although I look away it isn’t always possible to ignore what is going into the collecting “tin”. Starting around six years ago the Royal British Legion (RBL) sell metal poppy pins and as the years continue, a new pin is produced each year. The RBL suggest a minimum donation of £2.00 to cover the cost of the pins and they are really sought after. When I put on Facebook I was selling poppies this year, I immediately had a message from an old school friend  asking me to reserve some for him if he sends me the money which was a pleasure to do.

Last year on one Saturday because of the generosity of the people of Cromer, from my “tin” donations amounting to £181.14 was raised.

raised-12

This is the notification of how much I collect. Last year I collected for one day in my usual place outside the Nat’ West’ and raised £181.14. This went towards the town total of £11712.36. A fantastic donation for the residents and visitors of Cromer. Well done!

 

This year, the pins were on low stock almost on day one and this year in particular have been difficult to obtain. However, the main concept is to actually purchase a “real” poppy which actually raises more funds than the metal one so if you do purchase a metal pin, please also put some more money in the “tin” and get a “real” poppy as well

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Additionally, this year was 100 years since the Battle of Somme commenced and with the anniversary on 01-July, the RBL released two more pins.

somme-cornflowerjw1165-battle-of-somme-lapel_pin2

I was able to get the round version of the pin and I proudly wore the pin during the 18 hour through the night vigil that took place in Cromer.

In Cromer this forthcoming Friday – the 11-November, the public are invited to come together at the Field of Remembrance in the grounds of our beautiful Parish Church to join in a silence at 11:00am which as you know is the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month. This was the date when the armistice was signed in a railway carriage to end the First World War in 1918 – ironically, Hitler used the same railway carriage to force the French surrender on 22-June-1940.

Remembrance Sunday will be held in Cromer on Sunday 13-November with the parade marching off at 14:40 to join us in the Parish Church at 15:00. Once again, this year I will be proud to be laying a wreath at the Cromer World War 1 memorial on behalf of the War Memorial Restoration Committee. I will publish a picture of the wreath later this week.

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The medals of my late father, William (Bill) Pritchard left to right, 1939-1945 Star, the Burma Star, the Defence Medal, the War Medal 1939-1945.

Finally, for the third year I will be extremely proud to wear my father’s medals from World War 2 on my right side along with my Past Mayor medal on my left side. My father showed me his medals during his life but I never knew him to wear them. His medals and the medals given to every serviceman and woman are small token for what they have done for me, you and every person in this country. With this in mind, please wear your poppy with pride and even if you don’t know of anyone to remember, please just stop for a few minutes and think about what has been done for you and what could have happened if things had been so different.

 

 

 

 

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An appeal from “The Centre Left” to members of the Labour Party.

I recently received this message which not only gave me some serious food for thought but also hit home as to where we are in the Labour Party. Under Corbyn it is without any doubt whatsoever, a million miles from government which is where we want and actually need to be.

What I fail to understand is why the loony lefties are so scared of government; perhaps they really are scared of responsibility.

 

Anyway, have a read and think carefully…..

 

Dear Labour member,

This is a letter to you from someone who loves the party and sees it in desperate trouble.

Apologies in advance: this is going to be tough. There is not really any way to be nice about it, so here goes.

To the party’s right: you need to up your game. Owen Smith – and Angela Eagle until a few weeks ago – have made a brave stand. But you cannot let yourselves be out-organised by the Corbynites. For example, if your rally is going to get only modest support, don’t do a rally at all, do something else. If you play who-pulls-a-bigger-crowd with Corbyn, you will lose. Lay out your candidate’s stall early and don’t let their opponent define them.

Please also do not let these clowns get away with subverting your local party structure. They are organising against you and you must organise back. You cannot be nice about this, too much is at stake.

Your opponents also have generous supplies of cash, thanks to the leaders of the larger trade unions having scant accountability to their members as to where they channel their subs. You will have to be truly inventive to counter that. But you can still win and there is still all to play for.

To the hard left: I do not care about you. With the notable exception of Dennis Skinner, you have no real love for this party and would see it burn. And frankly, you are not even that sure about democracy, either. Your ideas put into action will undoubtedly end in disaster and chaos; they always do. Our mission is now to ensure you do not take our party with you as collateral damage.

To remaining members of the soft left still supporting Corbyn: you are the key. This is in your hands and, with the best will in the world, you need to wake up. You probably supported Corbyn because you thought he was nice, decent and a breath of fresh air.

But you missed an important fact: he is, and always has been, hard left. Your views and his are really not the same (and, if you would take the time to check just a few facts easily available on the internet about his past associations, you might actually begin to wonder about his decency, too. But I digress).

So, you are supporting him now not because your views coincide, but because you feel he has been put upon by the media and the party’s right, and are leaping to his defence. In time-honoured Labour fashion, you are standing up for him as if he were a potentially disadvantaged minority, as you would rightly stand up for ethnic or LGBT minorities. And probably also because you never really liked those Blairite and Brownite types anyway, so supporting Corbyn against them feels like “sticking it to the man”.

But the truth is this: Corbyn is not disadvantaged, he is the front runner, and the opprobrium he has received in the mainstream press is really a hundred per cent his own fault. When even the neutral BBC and the left-leaning Guardian – employer of his current, hard-left press spokesman, remember – starts being labelled anti-Corbyn, it’s because you’re doing something wrong.

Your continuing support for him is not only sentimental in the face of strong evidence against doing so, but it is a self-indulgence which is now threatening the very future of your party. It is not the time for protesting and sticking it to the man. This leader cannot win an election and, worse, he is busy refashioning the party in such a way that no future leader will ever have the means to, either. And if you think mass deselections in the PLP is really going to help us win the next election, you are already lost to reason.

In short, the party is dividing into two factions: Labour and Corbyn-Labour. The latter of these is fast becoming not merely a cult of personality, but a political death cult and your cross on the ballot paper will decide whether it wins.

This is no longer a struggle for the soul of the Labour party we all care about. It is a struggle for its existence.

If after reading this you still think Corbyn is the answer then the party is doomed. Any chance of government at every level has gone and it will be your fault.

 

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The reason why Corbyn must go.

This leaflet is the EXACT reason I am against Corbyn.

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Keir Mather acknowledged and thanked for the image.   @KeirAMather

His election has opened the doors for the extreme left to scrape their disgusting way into my party – the The Labour Party. Call them what you want: the Socialist Party, SWP, Militant, and even Momentum. They know that the wonderful British public would never go anywhere near this disgusting bunch so they piggy-back their way into mainstream politics and by sheer infiltration, slowly take over the party.

In 1986 and at the age of 19, I spoke at the Labour Party Wales conference and I condemned Militant as a cancer leaching onto the party. It took time but through the hard work of Neil Kinnock Militant and their vile kind were gone.

Then came the glory days of success and victory under Blair but under the current useless leadership we find ourselves back in the 80’s.Shout, scream, protest and damage the party may as well be the mantra of the extremists I regularly encounter on Facebook, Twitter and indeed within the Labour Party – locally and nationally. Not one of them talks of government. The party was created to govern but the extremists don’t want government which is a good job as they would have our submarines used as troop carriers to go and make tea for our enemies. They talk of peaceful negotiations with our terrorist enemies, if so can I nominate Corbyn to go first to Syria. Let’s see what he thinks of peaceful negotiations then.

We now have an unfortunate election; I say unfortunate as the people who have to work closer to Corbyn, more than anyone else realise he is not up to the job. Almost from day one he has shown himself to be unpatriotic (we know that anyway from his affection shown to terrorist organisations), he has shown himself to be unwilling to defend our country and he has shown himself to be interested only in an extreme left and unwinnable agenda.

For the sake of the party, Corbyn has to go.

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After a long break…….

After a break of twelve months I have been encouraged to start using my blog once more. First of all, despite trying I can’t seem to be able to remove the word “mayor” from the blog title. I was Mayor of Cromer for the year 2013-2014 and enjoyed myself immensely. Since then the Town Council have had Cllr. Tony Nash (Retd) and now Cllr. Tim Adams as Mayor so I am now history – so to speak.

There is so much to write about but never sure really where to start other than to say that when you start it is often difficult to stop. I have so much I can write about be it my council duties, the council, my politics and political beliefs or just my views on what I see around me here in Cromer or around the country or in the world at large.

In the past I receive comments on what I have written either directly onto this blog or sent to me by personal message. I like them all but please remember, same with my Facebook, I take into account everyone who may read what I write so I don’t want anyone offended so no bad language or comments that I may deem as inappropriate or offensive.

Finally, as a reminder, all comments made on here are mine and mine alone and do not reflect on the views or decisions of the members or officers of Cromer Town Council or any other body, group, employer or organisation I am a member of or affiliated.

Anyway, nice to be back and will be with you very soon.

 

I was just about to sign out and in the background was a recording of “The Chase” when the Bradley Walsh asked a contestant “Where does a tanner work” to which the contestant replied with all seriousness, “In a tanning shop”. How do we sleep at night?

 

 

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