Reader letters of the week: Speeding drivers, education for prisoners and war time heroes

George Osborne (L) and Michael Gove (R) are given a tour of HMP Brixton. AFP PHOTO / ADRIAN DENNIS

George Osborne (L) and Michael Gove (R) are given a tour of HMP Brixton. AFP PHOTO / ADRIAN DENNIS - Credit: AFP

Here are some of the best reader letters we have seen so far this week, you can join the discussion by commenting below.

• Appeal to motorists- keep your speed down and drive safely

Monday January 25

Paul Thomas,

Wroxham Road, Coltishall.

We are so lucky to have a beautiful county, relatively safe from many of the troubles of the world – but may I appeal to the drivers of Norfolk to take care and stop speeding.

Out walking, in icy, slippery conditions, across the picturesque Coltishall common by the river Bure, I was appalled when a Jaguar car accelerated at a ridiculous rate and overtook at speed two cars respecting, just, the limited 30mph limit (it should be 20!) The Jaguar was approaching, on this narrow main road, both a bend and blind side turning. Had anyone been coming on either there would have been a fatal smash – indeed there have been several accidents here over the years, the last one, sadly, fatal.

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Many vehicles abuse this beauty spot road with cars and vans going too fast.

We also see heavy lorries, sometimes with drivers on their phones. The danger is even greater in summer, when drivers look at the river, crowded with yachts and cruisers.

While welcoming visitors, and urging their 'safe' appreciation of the view, may we request below 30mph limit driving, care and safety. And please, the police and county should drop the limit to 20mph. A speed warning indicator and slow signs make absolutely no difference.

Parish council-manned speed camera units do slow cars up – but are too infrequent and when not there, many drivers just go back to abusing the limit.

So, drivers of Norfolk, please be grateful for our scenery and relatively uncrowded roads – but keep your speed down please!

• Providing education for prisoners should be central to penal system

Tuesday January 26

Jim Mitchell,

Famona Road, Carlton Colville.

The recent pictures of disgraced peer Lord Hanningfield addressing members of the House of Lords about his experiences of life in jail was most illuminating.

He stated it was apparent that the lack of formal education, with many offenders not able to read or write, had a major effect on their lives and more importantly on their future prospects in breaking the cycle of re-offending.

It is a pity that not more of Lord Hanningfield's colleagues did not feel able to learn from one of their own members – about the difficulties in restructuring the lives of certain people (not the hardened career villains) but those educationally and socially inadequate — languishing in a sort of underclass.

By the same token there are always the 'clever' individuals who will strive to challenge authority in an attempt to 'beat the system'. Prison for these people is an acceptable and calculated risk. But for a sizeable percentage of the incarcerated, the prospect of formalised education and beneficial life skills can lead to a hopeful and satisfying future.

Indeed, the Lord Chancellor, Michael Gove, in a major speech on prison policy in July 2015, stated: 'Prisoners lacked the right incentives to learn and there was little pressure on staff to prioritise education.'

Mr Gove went on: 'I am attracted to the idea of earned release for those offenders who make a commitment to serious educational activity, who show by their changed attitude that they wish to contribute to society and who work hard to acquire proper qualifications, which are externally validated and respected by employers.'

Furthermore, Mr Gove said in a written statement published on September 8 that one of the most important things he could do as justice secretary was make sure that prisoners got the numeracy and literacy skills they needed to make them employable.

It has to be recognised that nearly half of prisoners report that they have no qualifications and 42pc of people in prison say they had been expelled or permanently excluded from school.

So, providing all people with both the knowledge and skills to help them lead a law-abiding life on release from prison should be the central objective of a modern and effective penal system. Although, it is troubling to realise that in his last report the chief inspector of prisons found the worst results for work, training and education in the last 10 years.

• Airmen came thousands of miles from home to help fight for peace

Wednesday January 27

Dick Melton,

Willow Road, Hunstanton.

I was very interested in the letter (EDP January 22) from John Martin about Flight Lieutenant Guy Menzies DFC from Christchurch, New Zealand. Among the World War Two graves here in Hunstanton cemetery we have a pilot officer (pilot) Raymond Thomas Kean. He also came from New Zealand, he was the son of Michael and Margaret Kean of Dunedin, Otago.

Pilot officer Kean joined the air force in August 1938, he trained at Prestwick, Shropshire and King's Lynn, and was confirmed as pilot officer on August 29, 1939.

On May 3, 1940, he and his crew were flying a Hudson N3719 when they were set upon by three ME109s. They shot one down and managed to out-turn the other two and though injured himself, Kean, by flying low, managed to escape. He reached Bircham Newton but his navigator had to land the plane. The plane was found to have 242 bullet and 12 cannon shell holes. He was awarded the DFC and his navigator the DFM.

On one mission, pilot officer Kean and his crew were forced to ditch by the Dyck Lighthouse four miles off the coast from Calais. Also during the Dunkirk evacuation Kean and his crew in Hudson N7333 flew into a formation of six BF109s shooting two of them down.

On August 5, 1940, at 6pm pilot officer Kean, flying P5133, stalled and crashed at Syderstone whilst flying into RAF Bircham Newton from search patrol. Pilot officer Kean and his three crew were all killed.

He was only 22 years old and he had been in the RAF just two years. He was buried at Hunstanton on August 9, 1940. He and Flight Lieutenant Menzies came thousands of miles from their homeland to help us fight for peace; they and many others like them should never be forgotten.

A few years back I wrote to New Zealand to see if I could find any relatives of pilot officer Kean but I was unsuccessful.

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