Local heroes deserve recognition

ALL too often, it is the bad things in life which make the news - so we are delighted today to recognise the success of two of the unsung heroes of Ipswich.

ALL too often, it is the bad things in life which make the news - so we are delighted today to recognise the success of two of the unsung heroes of Ipswich.

Billy Brennan is a hero in the job that he does - as head of cultural services at the borough he helps bring colour, music, and fun to the life of the town.

But he is also a real-life karate kid. A star of the martial art who has done much to popularise the sport among youngsters.

It is entirely fitting that a real-life local hero like Billy should be among the first people to receive an honorary degree from UCS - rubbing shoulders with other celebrities with connections to the county.

Meanwhile Polly Rodwell is preparing to hang up the chalk - or the marker-pen - at the end of a 34-year teaching career, most of it spent at Holywells School.

Mrs Rodwell has taught languages to thousands of pupils - and her career at the school ends on a high as she picks up a special award for her work at the school.

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She has every right to be proud of the fact that her students have gone on to study languages at top universities, and it is good news for education in Suffolk to know that all her experience will not be lost as she intends to carry on with some teaching - and in helping develop the teaching skills of others.

TODAY'S fire at Trimley showed just how much we owe to the emergency services who are prepared to go the extra mile whatever the hour.

Volunteer firefighters based at Felixstowe were the first on the scene at the blaze - but some of their work had already been done by a police officer who had put himself at risk to help reach those trapped.

Members of the public, awoken by the early-hours commotion, also helped deal with the incident.

The best possible news to emerge was that no one was killed or seriously hurt as a result of the early-morning drama.

A mixture of professionalism and goodwill from all those involved in tackling the incident meant that the outcome was as good as could have been wished for.

Of course there are concerns about how the fire started - and that is now something for the police and fire services investigators to study.

But the fast response of all those involved in the aftermath of the blaze deserves praise and thanks from all concerned.

PENSIONERS who lost thousands of pounds - and in many cases their hopes of a secure retirement - in the wake of the near-collapse of insurance giant Equitable Life have the right to feel sore about the government's inaction in the run-up to its crisis eight years ago.

Now that inaction has been attacked by the Parliamentary Ombudsman who has called for compensation to be paid to those who took out policies while not realising the company's dire financial state.

The government really ought to accept the criticism straight away, but already it is delaying making a decision on what it should do in response to the report.

That is an appalling way to treat people who had taken advice for decades to prepare for their own retirement and then found that a lifetime of prudence left them with an inadequate pension.