Deepest sympathy to family of drowned toddler

Contributed by editor on Feb 19, 2009 - 12:00 AM

Howard's Way.... a weekly
column from the Rt. Hon. Michael Howard QC. MP. 

19 February 2009


In these difficult times it is, unfortunately, more common to read of
things closing than things opening.

So it was a particular pleasure, on Monday morning, to attend the
opening of the New Romney Warren Halt of the Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch

The railway is one of Shepway’s jewels but no new halt has been provided
for over 80 years. Now it will be possible for people to use the train
to visit the Romney Marsh Visitors centre.

The halt cost £27,000 which came from a variety of sources, the biggest
single contribution coming from Councillor Fred Wood-Brignall’s
Councillor’s Fund. It is an excellent addition to Shepway’s visitor

The centre itself is very well worth a visit. Currently it is hosting an
excellent exhibition on environmental issues. The exhibits have been
contributed by the primary schools on the Marsh – Brenzett, Brookland,
Lydd, Greatstone, Dymchurch and St Nicholas’s, New Romney. It has only a
few days to go so hurry along while it lasts.

One thing which astounded me on Monday was the information that the
trains can only stop at this new halt when travelling towards Dymchurch.
Apparently health and safety experts deem the act of crossing the track
too dangerous to allow trains travelling towards New Romney to stop. I
was not the only person present to find this ridiculous. As more than
one of them said to me, “It is ludicrous to expect this railway to have
the same standards as one with trains travelling at 150 mph.”

Of course health and safety must be taken seriously but surely a sense
of proportion is also necessary.

And no amount of “health and safety” will prevent some tragedies. My
deepest sympathy goes to the family of the young girl who was drowned at
Folkestone at the weekend. Every parent will share in the grief of her
nearest and dearest.

What a tragedy that the extraordinary efforts of those who tried to
rescue her were not better rewarded.