A boy named Bev

Due to all our communications being via email, it’s easy to see how you made the assumption that I was female. Unfortunately the name ‘Bev’ has plagued me – but also helped me – through life, perhaps partly because of Johnny Cash and his song A Boy Named Sue.

As you have no doubt gathered by now, I am a nephew of George William Short, whose letter from the front you published in the last edition of C4S, not a niece.  

But no problem – I very quickly in life found that taking offence added to the problem, particularly in the playgrounds of my schooling days.

When asked for my name I answer by saying, “It’s Bev, I was too young to argue at the time.”

You see I was to be a Terry, but I was born in a maternity ward at Southlands Hospital and unfortunately I was a day too late because the lady in the next bed to my mum had a baby boy and called him Terry. Although my mum did not know the lady nor ever meet her again, it put her into a panic and she decided to choose something that no one else would use.

At that time the Daily Telegraph had a journalist whose name was Beverley Nichols, so I became Beverley John Pook, the John being my dad’s preference – an argument he lost. 

Actually at least a few famous men have had the name Beverley:

Bev Bevan: Of the Electric Light Orchestra.

Beverley Shenstone: Involved in the development of the Supermarine Spitfire.

Beverley Nichols: A journalist for the Daily Telegraph.

Through my life I have met four guys with the name and this has a peculiar coincidence in itself, as below. 

In order of introduction.

  • Beverley Croot: A fellow employee when I worked for Thorn Lighting.
  • Beverley Took: A friend of my cousin Roger.
  • Beverley John Snook: Chairman of the Royal Aero Club.

So Snook, Took, Croot and Pook.

Oh and the fourth was Beverley Williams. He broke the mould.

Bev Pook, Worthing

UK Parliament should be envied – and Brexit is testimony to that

Please send in your rants, your compliments, your observations, your thoughts – on anything at all about our county and life within it.

Send your letters by post to: Caring4Sussex, 19 Ruskin Road, Worthing, BN14 8DY. Alternatively use the contact page by clicking here.

Thank you for the coverage of Brexit and how Sussex will fare in your last issue. I write in response to those that cry that the UK is a world laughing stock because of Parliament’s handling of Brexit – yet that cry merely exposes their shallow, armchair world view.

If I were Chinese, Russian, Saudi Arabian, Venezuelan, Zimbabwean, to name but five of the many nation states ruled by corrupt, authoritarian or sham democratic regimes, I would be looking on in envy at we UK citizens, whose parliamentarians debate every minuscule detail, no matter how petty and trivial, of how we leave the European Union, itself open to controversy given its unelected yet all-powerful Commission.

Granted, this current generation of politicians leaves much to be desired.  But regardless of their ineptitude, what holds strong is our parliamentary system, which allows all views to be heard and debated until the facts are distilled and laws (on every facet of British life) are either passed or rejected accordingly.  

And if we don’t like the level of debate or calibre of debaters, we can join in and vote out those that fail the high standards we demand.

Democracy might only be the best of the worst governing systems – but I’d rather have it than the alternatives.

British politics today is far from a joke. It has long been and remains a beacon of hope and best-practice model of democratic governance to those forced to live at the mercy of corrupt despots and their cronies.

Peter Simpson, Worthing

Memories from the Front

I would like to comment on the stirring letter you reproduced from George William Short to his mother on 13th May 1915.  George, of course, is describing what became known as the Battle of Aubers Ridge, which took place at Richebourg l’Avoué, on Sunday, 9th May 1915 – and was an unmitigated disaster.

My grandfather’s younger brothers, Harold and Wilfred Linfield, also joined the 2nd Battalion Royal Sussex Regiment (RSR) and would have known George because they embarked for France on the same troop ship on 4th January 1915.  Luckily for Wilfred, as it turned out, he was invalided home in February with trench foot so he missed the battle which, he always claimed, probably saved his life. Not a single goal was achieved that day, not an inch of ground was won and the casualties were enormous – including Harold, who was mown down by German machine gun fire as soon as he climbed out of his trench at 5.30am. He was 21.

Not surprisingly, the scale of the disaster was kept quiet from the British public. A serious shortage of munitions meant that the initial bombardment was absurdly short – only 40 minutes – so that the wire entanglements in front of the German trenches remained uncut. The Germans had concealed machine guns in deep emplacements, strategically sited to rake every yard with bullets and scythed down the advancing British soldiers. Faulty ammunition and worn gun barrels caused some of the artillery to fall short of their targets, causing further British casualties.

When the roll call for the 2nd Battalion RSR was taken in the evening, it revealed two officers killed, nine wounded and three missing; in the ranks, 101 were dead, 118 ‘missing’ and 329 wounded.  It was a bad day for Sussex, especially as the 5th Battalion RSR was also there supporting the 2nd in the trench behind. Final casualty figures were 458 officers and 11,161 men, the vast majority within yards of their own front line.

After months of uncertainty, it wasn’t until September 1915 that Harold’s body was recovered and his devastated parents informed. The awful reality is that several thousand corpses remained where they had fallen, left to slowly decompose in the mud because it was too dangerous to retrieve them. At least Harold has a grave with a headstone – most of the soldiers killed on 9 May (some 93%) have no known grave and are recorded on the endless stone panels of the cemetery at Le Touret. George Short was a lucky man to survive, but how sad that he was killed in September at the Battle of Loos.

Interestingly, Aubers Ridge did achieve something positive – it brought to a head the scandalous shortage of munitions and the ensuing political row led to the formation of the Ministry of Munitions under Lloyd George.

Malcolm Linfield, West Chiltington


View from Tarring

Firstly, thank you for your very welcome Letters page. It is important I believe for any magazine, newspaper or journal to have one. I enjoy reading the public’s views on whatever subject, together with the fact they have taken the time to express their views, however they chose to do so. I prefer good old-fashioned letter writing myself although in the minority these days, I know.

Secondly thank you for your Spotlight on Tarring feature in your Spring edition. Most of the village hasn’t changed much over the years, shops however have changed hands, I do miss the old post office, the government in their wisdom having a cull as they do, in this case it was on post offices. The building now is a tea room establishment.

I married in St Andrews Church, which you featured, in March 1974. My wife and I still live in the same house, some 44 years later. Numerous housing, an estate in fact, was built on the old railway goods yard in Canterbury Road – you would have to be a certain age to remember this and I am. With the increase in housing, population and traffic increase, buildings come and go, and very close to Tarring Village ‘The Priory’ care home is being rebuilt as a 75-bed care home. In Parkfield Road another care home was demolished, I believe the new building will be flats, when completed. I hope the council have given serious thought to the extra traffic this will incur.

The worst aspect in the area is West Worthing railway station. I’ve always felt it should have been named Tarring Crossing or Tarring Station. It has the dubious distinction of being in the top three worst railway junctions in the UK.

As always, I look forward to your next Summer issue, it’s a pity we don’t have more than four issues a year. Any chance of more?

Geoffrey Freeman

Worthing


What exactly is Worthing doing with its development?

So where is Worthing going with its development plans? I see the safety hoarding has gone up around Teville Gate, which supposedly heralds the start in knocking that brutalist eyesore of a car park down, but will we merely be subjected to a pile of rubble for another 5 years while everyone bickers about what the new development should actually be?

What about Teville Gate House? That has lapsed into disrepair and is not included in the proposals? That seems a major oversight to me, and another example of a lack of joined-up thinking.

What about the proposed moving of the bus station from its current awkward location on the seafront? I seem to recall proposals to move it to the Teville Gate site to bring it closer to the mainline train station, which makes much more sense.

Repurposing the current bus station site, and opening up that stretch of Warwick Street to the seafront could transform Worthing town centre from a dingy collection of shops into a lovely open-air shopping and dining experience!

But alas, all has gone quiet on that front, and I suspect that whatever happens, it’ll be down to the greed of the developers and council, and what would be best for the locality and existing populace will be of little consideration, if at all.

Charles Lawrence, Worthing


What about specialised dementia care homes?

I read with great interest your last issue looking at the shortage of healthcare workers in Sussex, and you are right, this is something that both local government and parliament should address to change the situation.

But I wondered too whether you have noticed that this situation has been made worse in that there is also a shortage of private residential homes that deal with those, like my mother, who suffer from dementia? I know for a fact that availability, more generally, is so tight that some elderly people who require hospital treatment are often kept in far longer than needed because of the lack of availability of places for them.

It is not these patients’ fault that they have become an incredible drain on hospital resources, but the fact they are – and the situation is largely unchanged – shows the economic mismanagement that goes on. A bigger picture with more resources would actually save money! And create better health care too.

Philip Marsh, Houghton Bridge


Pay carers a decent salary

With reference to your cover story on the shortage of carers – the simple answer is to pay them a decent wage.

While I know that most carers go into this career because they are genuine, caring people, they still need to pay their bills and bring up their children.

I have worked in care and found it the most rewarding and fulfilling job – but it just didn’t make sense financially. I see in your magazine that various agencies are offering better conditions so maybe the situation has improved now.

I hope so, for all our sakes.

Jean Bolton, Nr. Burgess Hill


Newspapers available for the blind or partially sighted

Having read your Winter copy of Caring4Sussex and seeing the letters I wondered if your readers were aware of the local Talking Newspaper, The Voice of Progress, which sends CDs to people who are registered blind or partially sighted with local news items and magazines containing all sorts of articles about people and places of interest.

This is a charity and covers the area from Littlehampton to Shoreham and is recorded twice a month with volunteer readers. It is also on the web under www.voiceofprogress.co.uk and in December had a Christmas story and a pantomime.

The CDs are free to anyone who qualifies and requests them from: Rustington Hall, Station Rd, Rustington, West Sussex BN16 3AY. 01903 776569

Julie C. Round, Rustington


Give nurses free parking at Worthing Hospital

I refer to your last issue and how we need to get more healthcare workers for the elderly. This is a situation not helped by the high-handed approach by the administration at Worthing Hospital.

A friend of mine works 12-hour shifts looking after patients. She drives in to work to start at 7.30am. There is nowhere near the hospital that she can park – and she doesn’t fancy a 15-minute walk in the dark and the rain that early or when she knocks off at 8pm – so she has to park at the hospital.

The parking charge of £7.60 effectively knocks off her first hour’s salary, which goes to boost the profits of the private company that operates the parking. Why won’t the hospital give her and the other nurses some kind of parking exemption?

I think this is a scandal and needs to be looked into.

Name and address withheld at the request of the contributor


County lottery when it comes to care

My mum and dad live in Hertfordshire. My mum was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s four years ago and has rapidly deteriorated.

Despite the well-known fact that one in nine people are likely to develop this cruel disease, which means it will be a massive issue on a national level, on a county level my family has discovered that in Hertfordshire there is next to no support. In our case, none at all.

This devastatingly cruel disease’s impact on the individual and the whole family is life changing. We can’t yet predict who will get Alzheimer’s or any other form of dementia so, as with our family, most people will be totally unprepared for its devastating impact.

External, expert support and help are critical. We have so far received none. My mum doesn’t even have a social worker assigned to her case. Four years after diagnosis!

I have a couple of friends whose relatives have also suffered from this disease here in Sussex, and thank goodness the situation is completely different. They speak of help and support and a completely different attitude.

Just thought the readers should know to count their blessings in this county, and that if care is a lottery, we have drawn one of the winning tickets.

Nikki Hilton, Hove

Editor’s note: On receiving this letter C4S contacted West Sussex County Council to find out how the land lies here. This is their reply:

We’re sorry to hear about the lady’s experience.

In West Sussex, if you are identified as having memory concerns then you are referred on to the Memory Assessment Service (MAS) following blood tests etc to rule out any other causes. The MAS is commissioned through the Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust.

Following assessment in the MAS, you may be put on appropriate medication and this will be followed up by a dementia adviser who will provide post-diagnostic information, advice and support.

People with a dementia diagnosis, together with their family and friends’ carers, are supported in the community by health and social care services.

Admiral Nurses in the north of the county and countywide dementia support workers together with a number of local third sector services offer information, advice and support to the person with dementia and their family and friends and carers.

If there is a marked progression of the disease, with moderately advanced/advanced dementia, people can be supported by the Living Well With Dementia teams.

For people with acute crises (either for the patient or the carer) the person may be supported by the Dementia Crisis Service (DCS).

In addition to the above dementia-specific services, the county council commissions home respite, emergency respite and carer ‘home from hospital services’ that are delivered through a contract with Crossroads Care South Central, in partnership with the Red Cross.

We also commission a carer health team that has the primary focus of working with family carers in conjunction with the person who is being cared for. The team works proactively with the carer to ensure that they are considering their own health and wellbeing.


The Arundel bypass

I was surprised to learn that West Sussex County Council has backed Option 5A for the A27 Arundel bypass, although of the proposed options this does look like the best of a bad bunch. I’m not sure what the ‘economic benefits’, as Councillor Bob Lanzer is reported to have said, will be of having a bypass here.

As someone who drives through both Arundel and Worthing daily, I believe the biggest issue along that route is with the hold-up going through Worthing on the A27.

May I suggest a wiser use of the £260 million would be to build a bypass that goes around High Salvington and re-joins the A27 just beyond Lyons Farm (or even beyond North Lancing). This is not a new argument, 700 of us attended a public meeting last year about this very topic.

As for the Arundel bypass, I hope Highways England listens to us mere motorists, whose time behind the wheel is aggravated by bottlenecks, and does the sensible thing. I won’t hold my breath though.

Douglas Edge, Portslade


Where is the dementia care in West Sussex?

I’ve picked up your magazine on various occasions and have always found your coverage of Sussex useful and interesting.

I liked the last issue of your magazine but that’s because I’ve always liked Hugh Bonneville and didn’t know that he hailed from these parts!

But a quick question.

I wonder if you would consider expanding your coverage of care homes to write something about dementia care in West Sussex — which I know would be of real interest to many of us having to look after parents or family starting to suffer from this dreadful illness. What are the things we should look for in a good home that caters for this? I think this is all the more topical since I recently heard on the radio that there are more than 2,000 people in Chichester alone who suffer with dementia, and that Worthing has one of the highest rates in the country.

Michael Halls, Amberley


A thank-you letter

Having picked up a recent copy of Caring4Sussex at St Richards hospital in Chichester, I wanted to say thanks for providing this really nice magazine for free. I liked the new News round-up and it was lovely to read about Hugh Bonneville. It kept me nicely occupied while I was waiting for my appointment.

I visit Chichester on a weekly basis as I live in West Ashling and I look forward to picking up the next issue on my travels.

Jade Beevor, Chichester


What am I entitled to?

Congratulations on your magazine, Caring4Sussex – a great source of information.

I find that it is a complete nightmare trying to work out what I’m entitled to for my age, such as I know some can apply for free TV licences and help with doctor and/or hospital visits but I have no idea how to find out – could there be a page on help for that sort of thing?

Karen Hampton, Chichester

Editor’s note: This is a great suggestion, thanks.