Purfleet, by Mark Leslie, February 14, 2017

Purfleet Quay - Capt Vancouver statue.
Purfleet Quay - Capt Vancouver statue.

Hi and welcome to a new column – well, I say new, but of course, older readers may recognise that the name Purfleet graced the pages of the Lynn News for many years under previous editors.

My name is Mark Leslie and I’m the present incumbant. I’ll be in this space, along with other colleagues, to open what I hope will be a dialogue with you, the reader.

As you may know, we’ve had a bit of change here recently at the paper as it became one of 13 Johnston Press titles sold to the Cambridge-based Iliffe Media group.

Apart from the Lynn News, it includes the Fenland Citizen, which is also produced here in Purfleet Street.

It is a very exciting time for us. We now have a go-ahead management dedicated to making our titles as good as they can possibly be. Our staff are very enthused for the future.

And Iliffe have made it very clear that part of its ethos is making sure that we hear loud and clear from you what you want from your paper – and what you don’t.

This has been THE local paper since 1840 and we need to reflect what you want.

We don’t get it right all the time, we know that. Let us know what you think. Even if it is not always immediately apparent, your thoughts can make a difference.

*One of the things I’m most proud of in the paper is the letters page. I think I can say that it is one of the livelier local newspaper letters pages that I’ve ever seen.

One thing I would admit though. I’ve not done a scientific study of the genders of letter writers but my impression is that men correspondents rather outweigh women when it comes to putting pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard).

So take this as an appeal to the women of West Norfolk to make their voice more heard in 2017.

*Our front page story today is something that is dear to my heart in that it is about encouraging pupils in West Norfolk to think in terms of going to university.

It is no secret that educational attainment in Norfolk as a whole has not really been good enough in the past years.

There are no-doubt many soci0-economic reasons for that, and geography too plays a part as teachers perhaps want to pursue careers in bigger cities than on offer here in relatively-isolated Norfolk.

But ultimately, time and again, educationalists will say that what governs how well children do is the expectations and encouragement they receive in the home.

That is clear from how very well many children from seemingly-disadvantaged immigrant family backgrounds do. The families see qualifications as key to advancement.

Parental pressure from pushy parents can have its downsides. Not everyone needs to be hot-housed! But it is good to see that the College of West Anglia is doing its bit to make children