On a less happy note, the audience was a little sparse, even allowing for the fact that it was a Saturday matinee. I am told that the other performances also had fewer in the audience than the troupe had expected and hoped for. The reason is obvious – the show was originally scheduled to appear at Queens, and had to be moved at short notice when the trustees of the theatres betrayed their trust and closed the theatres. Whilst many people in outlying towns and villages of North Devon probably regularly travel to Barnstaple and are familiar with the town, the journey to Bideford is, for most, considerably longer and more of an unknown quantity, so it is not surprising that many who might have attended the performance at Queens stayed away.
In addition to the revenue lost through ticket sales that did not happen, I suspect that the troupe also lost a lot in advance ticket sales, the revenue from which presumably went to pay the administrators of the failed theatres trust! Given all this, it is to the credit of the troupe that the show went on.
Shows like this, put on by amateur societies, cost a surprisingly large amount to put on, and groups like Atlantic Coast Theatre can ill afford a badly attended show. If you can, please support Atlantic Coast Theatre in their future performances, as well as those of other local groups who would also have lost out thanks to the closure of Queens and Landmark.
Last week, with a couple of the other trustees of the museum, I attended a meeting with Des Brailey, the leader of North Devon District Council (NDDC), as well as other councillors and staff of NDDC, to discuss the future of the museum. The museum occupies its premises, the laundry of the old Ilfracombe Hotel, on a lease from NDDC (as successors to the former Ilfracombe Urban District Council), and that lease is due to expire in 2025. Obviously, if we are to extend the current building, the first order of business is to obtain an extension to the lease.
I am pleased to say that, although they could not promise financial support – disappointing, but understandable – the members of the council at the meeting were very supportive of our proposals, so let’s see where we go from here.
In the past, I have sometimes been a little critical of NDDC for its activities, or lack of them, in our town. However, I have to say that, with its unswerving support for the theatres and now its support for our museum, NDDC is beginning to look somewhat more Ilfracombe-friendly. Maybe I will have to be less unkind to them in the future.
Or maybe not!
I am still angry and upset at the lenient sentence handed down to the killer of poor Aiden Platt, but, after I had read Saturday’s Western Morning News, I was incandescent. Why? There were two reports of the trials of people who had caused deaths by dangerous driving, and, in both, the killer was sent to prison.
Daniel Smith, a youth worker and father of 2, was speeding and driving on the wrong side pf the road when he crashed headlong into a car and killed a young mother. He expressed remorse and, despite being injured himself, directed paramedics to deal first with the victims in the car into which he crashed. He said he lost control of his car on exiting a roundabout. He got 4 years and was banned from driving for 4 years after his release.
Elliott Allen, a young father, was driving with his pregnant wife when he hit the back of a motorcycle and killed the cyclist. He stayed with the cyclist and tried to help him until help arrived. He was sent to prison for two and a half years and banned from driving for 2 years. On appeal, his sentence was reduced to 1 year’s imprisonment. The appeal judge was reported as saying that “the court did not feel able to suspend the sentence as it had to consider what would be appropriate in other similar cases”. Yes, quite! This despite the fact that Allen was said to have “spent his life helping others” and despite an appeal for leniency from the victim’s father!
Allen seems to have suffered a momentary loss of concentration while Smith does appear to have been speeding, so there is some logic in the difference between their sentences. However, neither appears to have set out having deliberately incapacitated themselves by ingesting three illegal drugs, and, to that extent, I would suggest that their culpability is somewhat less than that of Aiden’s killer.
What other differences are there from Aiden’s killer that might justify the extraordinary leniency she received? Well, both Allen and Smith seem to have been valuable assets to their communities, rather than the druggie that Aiden’s killer was, so that doesn’t explain anything. Both also have young families, although these predate their accidents, unlike that of Aiden’s killer.
The only thing I can see is that Allen and Smith are both men, while Aiden’s killer is a woman. That, if true, is sexual discrimination of the worst kind. The judge who passed sentence should hang his head in shame, although there might be some excuse if he was swayed by an unusually eloquent lawyer. However, there can be no such excuse for the Attorney General, who refused permission to appeal a blatantly unfair sentence. He is a disgrace and should be sacked forthwith.
Keep crossing your legs – the Cove toilets are still closed.
And finally – the boats went in this weekend, so summer must be on its way. Along, of course, with hordes of grockles. But remember:
TREASURE A TOURIST!
Without them, we would not have half the amenities we have in our town and the rejuvenation we are beginning to experience would die instantly.