Letter To Mr John Riby From Nigel Ward, published with kind permission of Nigel and tagged with the keywords : Letters & Nigel ward

The decay of Whitby’s east pier lighthouse was reported to John Riby in this email. That was [fergcorp_cdt_single date=”11th september 2010″], as far as we are aware, no repairs have been undertaken to date. If you know different then please let us know.

Mr John RIBY – Head of Technical Services – SBC

Hello John,

It is some considerable time since last we corresponded, so let me begin by expressing the hope that this email finds you in good health and spirits, and that your plans for the future are progressing well.

This morning, I had the wonderful experience of going to the top of the West Pier Lighthouse, in company with your colleague Howard Foster, and I was reminded of an incident perhaps a year ago, perhaps longer. One morning, my wife strolled to the end of the East Pier with our late dog, Lulli, and happened to notice that the door of the East Pier Lighthouse was off its hinges, leaving the Lighthouse wide open. She took the opportunity of ascending to have a look round.

I was not in good health that morning, but later in the day, I visited the Lighthouse to confirm for myself that my wife’s report of general disrepair (especially the woodwork) was accurate.

By that time, somebody had been along and affixed a large sheet of ply-wood over the aperture, with screws. I believe it has remained so ever since.

Now I am wondering if the state of neglect of this iconic symbol of Whitby has been shut away and conveniently forgotten.

I hope you can assure me that this is not the case, and that plans are in place to restore the Lighthouse (inside and out). My I see those plans, please?

On another matter:

I am very disappointed to have had sight of a very unsatisfactory letter from your Harbour Master Martin Willis to Ken, of the family Graham. Aside from its high-handed tone (about which, more in a moment), I am sure you will agree that the correct protocol would have been to present an Agenda for the meeting to which he was inviting Ken. Certainly, 24 hours is a completely unsatisfactory notice for a meeting of any nature, even had it been expressed in courteous terms. There should surely also have been a clearly defined statement of the precise issues Ken was being summoned to address, supported by witness statements (of course, with personal details redacted to ensure compliance with the Data Protection laws) as well as photographs, video or sound recordings supporting the Harbour Master’s position. Martin seems to imagine that he may, at his own prerogative, convene a kangaroo court at a day’s notice. He cannot.

Certainly, it should have been pointed out to Ken that he was within his rights to bring along a friend or colleague to act as a witness, and indeed the opportunity to bring along a legal or union representative should have been outlined.

Had this example of high-handedness arisen ‘out of the blue’, as it were. I may have been inclined to pass over it without comment (just as I passed over the unfortunate circumstances of the Swing-Bridge breakdown at the beginning of August – knowing, as I did, that nothing could be gained by adding to your burden of responsibilities).

However, this incident falls swiftly on the heels of a very ill-considered email from Martin Willis to me on 11th August 2010. I find it rude, wittingly offensive, and completely inappropriate conduct in a servant of the public.

I have copied his email here below for your convenience of reference.