Bitter row in town after ‘prescription queen’ volunteer replaced

Liz Withington. Picture: Submitted

Liz Withington. Picture: Submitted - Credit: Submitted

A community support group backed by a town council has apologised after a row broke out and a town’s deputy mayor was urged to resign.

MASH co-founder Jo Powers with volunteer Jane Garry (on bike). Picture: Submitted

MASH co-founder Jo Powers with volunteer Jane Garry (on bike). Picture: Submitted - Credit: Submitted

The founders of Mutual Aid Sheringham (MASh) community support group claimed that district councillor Liz Withington, who founded ‘rival’ Sheringham Community Support (SCS), replaced street volunteer Jane Garry without informing her.

Mrs Garry, who is known as the “prescription queen” for her efforts in delivering medication for self-isolating people, backed up the claims on Facebook, saying she was really upset to find she had been kicked out of the group and replaced with another volunteer for no reason. Notes have been put on doors telling SCS volunteers their help is not wanted and MASh put up ‘Withington Resign!’ placards around the town.

Caz New, who runs the MASh Facebook group, said a note was posted through each door in Uplands Road with Mrs Garry’s name crossed out as a volunteer.

She said: “Our wonderful prescription queen Jane Garry has been victim to petty politics in our wonderful community.

“Lots of people contacted Jane out of worry and concern that she’d had an accident on her trusty bike or come down with coronavirus.

“We will not tolerate this sabotage any further.”

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She has made a formal complaint to the head of democratic services at North Norfolk District Council.

In a statement, Sheringham Community Support said: “SCS regrets that there has been a misunderstanding about Jane Garry’s status as an SCS Street Volunteer based on her FB post in which it was stated that she was no longer a member of the SCS organisation. “We have since learned that Jane was unaware of this comment on FB indicating she was no longer a member of SCS.

“SCS are however delighted that she wishes to continue as a Street Volunteer working within SCS procedures.

“SCS would also like to take this opportunity to thank both Jane and all the other volunteers from community organisations, the churches, friends and family and good-hearted individuals who are all working so hard to support the community through this difficult time.”

Mrs Withington said: “The behaviour of some members of the community has been both intimidating and threatening, with abusive social media posts, blatant lies, and threats to come to my home. This has been personally devastating and left me concerned for my safety and my family’s wellbeing. More so, this has been particularly upsetting as I my only motivation has ever been to serve my community, especially through this global pandemic. I find it beyond belief that anyone could believe this abusive behaviour was in any way acceptable.”