Wednesday, 24 June 2015

The mystery of the shredded paper trail 

I’VE written about some weird and wonderful things in my years as a journalist but nothing quite as bizarre as this.

Having returned to the View From office from London last week, I opened an email from Lisa Tuck, clerk to Charmouth Parish Council, asking if I could shed any light on the paper that had been strewn throughout the village, from the top of the main street to the bottom, much of which was the View from Bridport.

I had no idea what she was talking about so I despatched Alison King, my girl-Friday, to investigate. She telephoned to say “you better come over here right away”.

Much of the paper littering the street had been shredded. Initially I thought perhaps the culprit was someone with a grudge against the View (it does happen). Remember the toilet paper incident at the Guildhall? And for months obscenities were scrawled into the dirt on our delivery vans about me. This being a family newspaper, I don’t feel comfortable revealing what they actually said about me. Let’s just say they were questioning my parentage! Don’t worry, I am used to it.

But as well as the View from Bridport, there were bits from The Sun and The Star (nice to be in such salacious company!) and various leaflets, thrown in the hedges and deposited by the roadside kerbs and in driveways. So we ruled out the grudge theory.

But the most unusual thing about this mystery is that we were informed by some of the locals that a similar incident happened at the same time last year and the year before.

We don’t distribute our Bridport edition in Charmouth so we checked our outlets in Bridport to see if loads of papers had been removed from the various dump bins in the supermarkets. But this was clearly not the case.

Why someone would go to the trouble of shedding dozens of papers and then scatter them in Charmouth, I just don’t know.

Lyme police were made aware of the incident and also knew that it had happened in previous years. They are investigating but they are as mystified as we are.

If there is anyone out there who can shed any light on this, we would be most grateful.

We did our best to clear up as much of the discarded paper as possible. I even had Ali out at 5.30am the next morning picking up the rubbish in Charmouth. There’s dedication for you.

The parish council did not expect us to do this but we felt obliged as most of the paper came from us.

We even trawled through the internet to see if someone had started some weird craze like “Tear Up Your Local Paper and Scatter It Down Your Street Day”. No luck there.

We will probably never know. To be truthful, I’m not even sure I want to know.

I HOPE our new council will find time to take a look at some of the town’s most scruffy areas and tidy them up.

They could do worse than to start at the head of the Marine Parade, the entrance to Lyme’s shop window, a phrase coined by the late Victor Homyer, fisherman cum-councillor.

The very least they could do is to keep the unsightly bus shelter clean and the rotunda advertising the Marine Theatre,  an ugly construction, also needs attention.

Cyclists go that extra mile for Candles On the Cobb

CONGRATULATIONS to the 35 cycling enthusiasts who completed the 174-mile sponsored ride from Land’s End to Lyme Regis to raise money for Candles On The Cobb, Lyme’s premier and most financially successful attraction.

The event was billed as “Land’s End to John The Bakers” and you will have had to live in Lyme for many years to remember the bakery in Coombe Street.

A big crowd gathered on the seafront late on Sunday afternoon to welcome the riders home, led down the town and along the parade by a grinning Mike Higgs, who founded Candles On The Cobb with his great friend Phil Street.

Before hitting on the Candles On The Cobb idea, former town crier Phil, who now lives and works in France, and Mike got up to all sorts of crazy fundraising ideas so I can imagine the “John The Baker’s” idea may well have been cooked up over a few pints.

The event took a great deal of organising and will have raised a considerable amount to help finance the next Candles On The Cobb, which takes place Sunday, August 30th, the sixth time it has been staged since 2000.

Having compered three of the six events, I know just how emotional the event can be with people buying candles in memory of their loved ones and then seeing their flickering flame lighting up Lyme’s most famous landmark. 

The sight of the Cobb illuminated by the candles makes for a very special occasion, witnessed by tens of thousands over the years.

To date, the six events have raised £76,000 for various national charities and local youth projects.  Half the proceeds from this year’s event will go to the Make A Wish UK charity  with local youth groups getting the rest.

Mike has a hard working and creative committee behind him and they are going all out to top the £100,000 mark this year which will be a fantastic achievement. 

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