E-mail error prompts flood of good wishes

WITH her birthday, wedding anniversary and retirement all falling on the same day, Linda Bestow was bracing herself for a few cards and presents from family, friends, and colleagues.

WITH her birthday, wedding anniversary and retirement all falling on the same day, Linda Bestow was bracing herself for a few cards and presents from family, friends, and colleagues.

But the civil servant was surprised to get messages of goodwill from people she'd never heard of or spoken to before after an e-mail was inadvertently sent to hundreds of recipients outside her Suffolk council offices.

When the 60-year-old sent a message to staff at the Mid Suffolk District Council headquarters in Needham Market yesterday telling them to help themselves to free cakes and biscuits, the invitation ended up in the mail boxes of businesses and organisations across the region.

Mrs Bestow said she was inundated with replies from workers from the EDP, Anglia TV and local health trusts after a technical hitch led to the e-mail being sent to more than 400 people.


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The corporate information officer, who lives in East Bergholt, said she still had plenty of doughnuts, sausage rolls, tea cakes and muffins to give away, despite her e-mail entitled “cakes (and tangerines)” that said: “It's my 60th birthday, retirement (and 38th wedding anniversary as if I didn't have enough reasons) so have brought in loads of cakes, please come and help yourself.”

The grandmother, who has been dealing with all of Mid Suffolk District Council's Freedom of Information requests for the last four years, said the error came after a colleague told her to send the message to the local authority's 'All Staff' mailing list.

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“I have had all sorts of messages from people I've never spoken to before wishing me well for my retirement and asking me to send some cake in the post.

“I had put it down to a senior moment, but the All Staff list seems to have got mixed up with our global mailing list, which is now being fixed so that no one offering free cake suffers the same fate again!”

The mother-of-two and grandmother-of-seven has worked for Mid Suffolk District Council for 21 years and served 42 years in local government for other councils, including Ipswich County Borough, Ipswich Borough, and Suffolk Coastal, in various roles such as data protection and administration.

Mrs Bestow, who was treated to a leaving lunch at the Limes in Needham Market yesterday, said she was not sure what she would be doing with all her extra time, but was looking forward to playing more bowls during her retirement.

Have you been left red-faced after a gaffe? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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