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From Our Files: Christmas post runs smoothly, students cite 'lazy' teachers, and steam rally owes VAT

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There was a drop of about 3% in the amount of correspondence posted and parcels, too, were less during the Yuletide in the Lymington postal area. There was a generous response to the appeal to post early. A large part of the parcels had been posted by December 20th, December 21st was also a heavy day for postings, but afterwards they dropped appreciably. The bulk of the Christmas mail was generally delivered well before Christmas Day and the post on Christmas morning actually was comparatively light.

It was not possible to recruit all the extra hands required, but 60 temporary sorters and deliverers were secured, the majority of whom were juveniles between the ages of 16 and 17. All worked splendidly and were a very valuable help.

There was a very healthy demand for the National Savings Christmas card, saving stamps and tokens as a form of Christmas gifts and the sales of postal orders too, was appreciably heavier than previously at Christmas.

The suspension of the Greetings telegram service had the desired effect of limiting the amount of telegraph traffic and it was apparent that in other directions, people refrained from using the telegraph services unnecessarily and thus eased the position created by the labour storage.


Mr Desmond H. Stevenson, R.N., only son of Mr and Mrs Q.J. Stevenson, of Station Road, New Milton, is a Leading Writer on the staff of the Admiral Sir Bruce Fraser, Commander-in-Chief of the Home Fleet, and is serving in his flagship HMS Duke of York.

His parents think that he must have been on board in the notable Naval action in the Arctic, which resulted in the sinking of the German battleship Scharnhorst when she made an unsuccessful effort to attack a convoy on the way to Russia.

“Dizzy” Stevenson is an old boy of Speedwell School, New Milton.


“The general public has been so infuriated by press pictures of student violence that few realise students may have real grievances,” said Dr L.R. Wood, headmaster of Brockenhurst Grammar School, speaking at the school’s speech day.

Dr Wood spoke of questionnaires which he had sent out in 1966 and 1967 to old students completing their first term at college.

“Far too many students”, he said, “complained of lazy or inefficient lecturers, men who grudged the time they had to give to teaching, who were only concerned with their private piece of research and who were quite uninterested in their students.”

The Headmasters’ Association he said had repeatedly drawn attention to the absence of professional training for university teachers and of promotion incentives for those who would like to take their teaching seriously. It has had to bring pressure on departments which habitually take in a large number of students in the first year with a view to reducing them arbitrarily in the second year, apparently to a pre-determined figure.

And, he went on, “departmental heads who wish to be progressive may be frustrated by an out of date university or college machine. The very size of some institutions and their scattered nature makes it difficult to get to know students. For years we have hesitated to recommend candidates to go to a certain famous London University School unless unusually tough and single-minded, for there they must make their way with very little guidance from the staff”.


During the four weeks ended December 4th, the Lymington Employment Exchange found jobs for 56 men and 13 women, bringing the total for the year to over 800 placings. This indicates an improvement of 158 placed in employment when compared with 1967.

The numbers of unemployed in the Lymington area up to December 9th are: men 238, women 14 a drop of 4 on the November figures.

In Christchurch, jobs were found for 88 men and women during the four weeks ended December 4th, bringing the total number of placings for the year to nearly 1,000. This was achieved in spite of a substantial reduction in the number of unfilled vacancies which averaged 183 a month in 1968 compared with 223 in 1967, when a total of 1,059 people was paced in employment. On December 9th, 506 men and women were registered as unemployed, compared with 471 on November 11th and 498 in December 1967, reflecting the normal seasonal increase.

Current vacancies for men include skilled sheet metal workers, aircraft detail fitters, toolmakers, centre lathe turners, universal millers, aircraft draughtsmen and technical illustrators. Vacancies for women include nurses and pupil nurses, coil winders, clerks and typists, assembly workers, drill and press operators and other factory jobs, catering and laundry work.


Twenty-three years ago, a small group of Netley Marsh enthusiasts organised a steam rally to raise funds for a new roof on the village church. Such was its success that the event became an annual affair, and has grown to the biggest of its kind on the South Coast – and last year’s sum of £18,000 meant that over £250,000 has been distributed to local hospitals and charities over the years.

But now, at the Netley Marsh Steam Engine Rally Ltd’s annual thrash, it has been revealed that for the first time there will be no donation to charity this year, owing to the VAT man claiming a £20,000 bill covering the past three years.

“I am sure that only a few of the helpers and exhibitors are aware that the organising of a rally such as ours has, over the past few years, come under the watchful eye of our legislators,” rally chairman Brian Vokes said in his annual report. “This has given us many problems on and off the rally field.”


The Forestry Commission if not pressing so hard for the licensing / charging of individual horse riders in the New Forest following negotiations with the new New Forest Equestrian Association formed to protect the interests of those who ride and drive in the Forest. But, says the Association’s chairman, Ian Davis, the Commission has not given up the principle of charging and will charge riding stables and livery yards, both commercial and private, if an effective means of doing so can be found

The NFEA, he has assured members, will continue to oppose any form of charging but has agreed to obtain the view of those who operate stables and yards on the principle of some form of contribution.

The Association and the Forestry Commission have agreed a voluntary code of conduct for riders based on common sense as an alternative to regulation, said Mr Davis. The code was being put into its final format prior to printing and would be issued early in the New Year as a joint production, with both sides promoting it. The Commission, he added, had agreed to pay the costs of design and printing.

Mr Davis said a working group had been established to resolve specific problems and issues. First action would be to visit some locations on the Forest, where the laying of a short section of well-drained track could remove the need for riders to create wide churned up areas by attempting to avoid deep mud, and select two or three of them as potential sites for experimental track to be put down.

The Commission, he said, now accepted that its original proposal to lay all-weather tracks throughout the Forest was not feasible, and that co-operation with the NFEA could help it solve those problems that do exist and save significant amounts of money.

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