‘Shoe letter lady’ - my reponse to everyone

Congratulations to the town council of Warwick, for the wonderful idea of the Freedom of the Town march. The troops, their families, indeed all the people who were there enjoyed the parade.

Judith Sutcliffe (JS) made a big mistake in her letter (Leamington Courier 25/5) by mentioning the mayor’s shoes.

However, the mayoral comments in a national newspaper of “It’s not as if I burnt the flag” and “I won’t be throwing the shoes away” would appear not to have deterred JS from trying to inform the public about issues relating to the very poor publicity for this event.

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Just as an aside, JS seems to think that the new lady mayoress is a lecturer in military history – was she not consulted about military protocol?

Who is this JS? She must have too much time on her hands!

A case in point, is the time she spent on the day of the freedom march trying to distribute all those wristbands that had not been allocated.

She offered her services to the mayor by phone on the morning of the march, in that she would go to the hotels and anywhere else in Warwick to try and utilise what she had felt was a great resource in supporting our troops.

The mayor agreed to enable this by speaking to her staff to release the wristbands to her.

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Understandably, perhaps, on a morning when the mayor was to be interviewed on television, she was short of time, and forgot to speak to her staff, who quite rightly refused to release wristbands to JS.

Undeterred, she went back to the Tourist Information Office to obtain leaflets she could distribute at the castle because visitors did not know what was happening. Hasn’t JS got better things to do with her time?

She even had time to chat to lots of people on the day. An Australian lady said “If this is so historic – where are the kids?”

Or the ITN cameraman in Castle Hill who said: “We were promised 2,000 people in the crowd on this stretch of road.” JS spoke to him because 20 minutes before the soldiers came out at Castle Island, she and he were the only two people on Castle Hill.

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She even spoke to police officers who told her a total of 50 police officers were on duty for the event. Mostly to man the road closure barriers, but a whole police support unit on standby in the event of crowd control.

You as a town council must have expected a major crowd for requesting the police to give you such support.

I hope that JS has learnt lessons from this whole episode. In her many years of experience with police and military services, she has been part of the organisation and operational staff of many, many far bigger events than this. Surely Judith knew that things did not always go to plan?

The girls at the Tourist Information Office are a credit to the town. Their patience in listening to JS on the day trying to help ‘make it happen’, is to their personal credit.

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Finally, just one last thing. JS is of the opinion that perhaps the Royal British Legion had not been asked to circulate details about the event because she did not see their colours on parade.

Perhaps for the best? The widow, of one of our well decorated glider heroes at Pegasus Bridge – the first military action of the Invasion - said to JS through her tears “She trod on the flag” and silently, mimed lowering the colour.

We Will Remember Them. - Judith Sutcliffe, A Patriot.