Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Rinky Tinks we loved you!

THE demise of any  business is hugely stressful and often has a lasting effect, very often on employees fearing for their jobs and certainly on the bosses who may well have invested all they possess in the venture.

No one in their right mind goes into business thinking they are going to fail. But failure can be fatal to their future lives.

I talk from experience here. With the local newspaper industry ravaged by the recession, my wife and I went through countless sleepless nights to keep the View from in business. 

As the town’s biggest private enterprise employer, with more than 30 young people working for us, our main priority was to keep them in jobs.

The strain had a big impact on our health and certainly on our bank balance.

I clearly remember siting at my desk one New Year’s Eve wondering what to do next. But we struggled through and we eventually managed to offload the business (and much of the worry) to a private investor and then to the biggest publisher of independent jobs in the UK. 

It’s no longer our business and sometimes that hurts but we are as committed as ever. 

Like many in Lyme, I was saddened to hear that the Rinky Tinks ice-cream parlour on the seafront had been closed down by their landlord, Lyme Regis Town Council.

It would be unwise and unhelpful to comment on circumstances of this unfortunate situation.

But there can be no denying that Rinky Tinks made a big impact on the seafront and owners Lucinda and Peter Cliff threw themselves into the spirit of Lyme, supporting the carnival and other local events. They will certainly be missed. 

With seaside concessions, no matter how well you run your business or how entrepreneurial you are, the final factor in success or failure can often be the weather.

We are told there will be no lack of those who wish to take on Rinky Tinks, which is good, but we should spare a kindly thought for the Cliffs and those who worked for them.

In a very short time they created quite an iconic seaside attraction. I wish them well for the future. 

Why so secret?

WHEN the current town council was swept into office with several new faces, we were promised greater accountability and transparency and a desire to involve the people of Lyme more in the decision making process. 

There was even talk of staging council meetings at various locations around the town to encourage more people to attend. What happened to that idea?

In reality, the reverse has been the situation. Lyme Regis Town Council has, I believe, has become one of the most secretive I have covered with more items being debated behind closed doors than any other local authority in the area.  We cover four other local councils and none of them go into secret session with such alarming regularity.

The Lyme council even went into committee recently to discuss the United Beach Missions’ use of the main beach, a hot topic locally.

When barring the press and public from such deliberations, they invariably hide behind the cloak of “protecting financial information”.

I have written before in this column about the amount of discussion that goes on between some councillors via email, and a number of councillors are very wary of the weekly committee chairmen’s meeting with no public minutes kept.

Some have even told me that the first they hear of certain matters is when they read them in this newspaper.

If you share these worries, ask the question at the annual town meeting which takes place on April 11th.


THE generosity of the people of Lyme Regis never ceases to amaze me. 

On Saturday evening the hard working Woodmead Halls committee, led by Stan Williams, organised a fundraising event in memory of one of its most industrious members, respected local musician Jim Sweetland.

Jim, a tireless worker for the halls over many years and former founder and chairman of Lyme Regis Town Band, was keen to get a defibrillator installed at the halls. Music was one of Jim’s great passions and he was a popular member of the Three Counties Swing Band, having played for many years with the Rowland Halliday Dance Orchestra.

The Three Counties band agreed to give their services free for Saturday’s concert, the halls committee laid on a ploughman’s supper and Jim’s family organised a draw. 

As a personal friend of Jim’s for many years going back to the Rowland Halliday days, I was asked to compere the evening and we set ourselves the target of raising £1,000.

Thanks to generous support from the League of Friends of Lyme Regis Health Service and the Rotary Club of Lyme Regis, and other donations on the night, when we counted up we were delighted that a total of £3,150 had been raised. 

We now need a few hundred more to install the equipment but Jimmy would have been delighted that we raised enough to cover the purchase of the defibrillator at the first event.

It was a very enjoyable evening, well supported by local people who knew Jim so well.
Thank you for your wonderful support.  If the defibrillator saves just one life in the years to come the effort will have been well worthwhile. 

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