Wednesday, 29 April 2015

The Marine comes clean about its future 

AS we all know, rumours spread like wildfire in Lyme - and are very often wide of the mark. It’s much the same in any small community. 

The rumour mill in Lyme has been working overtime following a couple of cryptic Facebook postings and half a story in a rival newspaper concerning the future of the Marine Theatre. 

We knew about what was happening but against my better judgement decided to hang fire as the livelihood of some of the staff was possibly under threat. 

Once the story appeared in the Bridport & Lyme Regis News, people were talking about the 
Marine being “in financial trouble again”. 

The people of Lyme have every right to be concerned about the Marine when the town council generously provides £30,000 of funding every year. 

I am a big admirer of the Marine and those volunteers who work so hard to maintain it and keep it going. Without them, the place would have closed down years ago. 

Like many locals (oops, can I say that?), I have a soft spot for the Marine. It’s where me and my mates did most of our courting at a time when the theatre played host to some of the top music acts in the country - the Big Beat Nites of the 60s. 

Over the years I have compered many events from the Marine stage and have rarely missed a chance of extolling its virtues. 

I’ve also been impressed with how the Marine has attracted so many top names in recent times in a programme led by its two artistic directors, Tim Bell and Harry Long. 

Alas, Tim and Harry are off to pastures new in a few weeks. 

So what’s actually going on down at the Marine? Manager Nigel Day, sadly, has lost his job in a belt- tightening exercise that hopefully will prevent the trust going cap in hand to the council again. 

We put a number of questions to them this week, based on some of the rumours flying around and they were honest enough to reply in detail. That doesn’t always happen when we ask some difficult questions. 

Lyme branch of the Royal British Legion in good hands 

REGULAR readers of this column will know that I am a big supporter of the Royal British Legion, especially the Lyme Regis branch. 

Small in number, they punch far above their weight and do wonderful work in and around the town for ex-service personnel, as well as raising thousands every year for the Earl Haig Poppy Fund. 

Although I have never served in the Armed Forces there is some military history in my family with my grandfather, Alfred Evans, who lived in Silver Street, being a career soldier, serving with the British Army in the Boer War, in India and in the Second World War before becoming a policeman. 

My father was in a reserved occupation making Spitfires throughout the war and his two brothers saw action in El Alamein and Arnhem. 

I got to know about the work of the Legion by being asked to compere their Festival of Remembrance, which I did for 15 years. 

Although it is 70 years since the end of the last war, with our troops sta- tioned at every hot spot around the world the need of the Legion is as essential as ever. 

Non-serving personnel are now able to become full members of the Legion and on Saturday Jackie and I attended the Lyme branch’s annual dinner at the Golf Club, where it was 
good to see so many younger people present. 

Eventually, the Legion will be run by the young and it would seem that Lyme is well placed to maintain the branch’s fine record. 

As the years pass by, every year there are a few more familiar faces missing but in passing the baton they can rest assured that the Legion in Lyme is in good hands. 

"TELL me it’s not true" was the email message I received when a good acquaintance of mine, who serves on a neighbouring council, heard that Lyme Regis Town Council was planning to make an addition to its Diversity & Equality Policy to prevent staff and members being discriminated against because of their place of birth, i.e. not local. 

It was a parting gift from the Gang of Five at one of their last meetings and predictably was not supported by four of the old school. 

“Is it true or is it a joke,” he asked. “Tell me it was a joke, please!” 

In these politically correct days such polices are common place in public bodies and are no doubt necessary in these enlightened days. 

Stirred by Mark Gage’s absurd and slanderous “racism” accusation at the recent parish meeting, Rikey Austin took it further by saying that she felt some people could be discriminated against because they were not born locally. Rubbish. 

Lyme has a proud record of welcoming its incomers who, increasingly in recent years, have played a crucial part in the social and community life of our town. 

It’s one of those policies that will stir up more trouble than it’s worth 

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