DCSIMG

I bet that shocked a few pundits . . .

Other people’s 25-to-one wins in the Grand National gave me great joy. It proved my long-held contention that sticking a random pin in a racecard is just as likely to make me money as all the tipsters put together. Sorry, Tony Jakobson, old chum. Shall we just agree not to believe a word in the Journal column of the other?

With the steady attrition of footpaths over the decades, it is an even greater achievement of Freckenham Parish Council to gain a new one properly delineated as a bequest to future generations. We let our liberties established over centuries by our pedestrian forefathers slip away too easily.

The very long-drawn-out legal battle over noise from Mildenhall Stadium ended in a way that has never struck me as clearly inspired by natural justice. However, the judges have spoken and that’s that. Except that now the case is taking a more ominous turn with a campaign to ease the rules over noise nuisance. Sorry, but that’s where the stadium and me part company. I was able to see things their way for years but not now matters have taken this twist.

The words “Better late than never” must surely have passed through the mind of Captain Jerry Roberts when the Journal first spearheaded the campaign to recognise the wartime triumphs of his old colleague Bill Tutte. The Tutte memorial campaign came just in time to comfort Tutte’s fellow code-breaker in the last days of his 93 years. Sadly, he will not be with us to unveil the memorial on Rutland Hill in June. The best way for anyone who has ever hesitated to chip into the fund would be to do so now with the magnificent Jerry Roberts in mind as well as our home-grown hero.

If Sharron Murgatroyd had not been crippled by a racing fall, would she have made her mark in the world even half as powerfully as she did from the wheelchair to which she was confined for 20 of her 54 years? Not long after the accident that ended her jockey career, I got to know Sharron quite well but it would be false to claim she was easy company. So fierce, so combative, so single-minded was she that it was like trying to chat with a force of nature. Her death in Bury Hospital leaves me wondering if her dreadful misfortune did not release in her something elemental that would never have surfaced otherwise. As it is, racing’s loss was literature and charity’s gain.

Calling the challenge to his Suffolk County Council leadership a “kick in the teeth” and “a big distraction” is scarcely in the spirit of democracy. I have no criticism of how Mark Bee has fulfilled this onerous role at a difficult time. Nor have I anything to say for or against the man who wants his job, Colin Noble. But the challenge must be seen as a sign of strength in the system and not an occasion for making nasty remarks. The amazing thing to me is that any one person, let alone two, would want to take on such a demanding and time-consuming post in the first place.

 

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