Planning chief who runs Kesgrave Bell says swear-word sign was ‘not aimed of offend’

Debbie McCallum in fancy dress starting the Kesgrave 5k race, which she helped organise

Debbie McCallum in fancy dress starting the Kesgrave 5k race, which she helped organise

A Suffolk planning chief, who is also a pub landlady, has said she did not intend to offend anyone after a complaint was made about the use of swear-word on a sign outside her business.

Debbie McCallum, who is chairman of Suffolk Coastal District Council’s planning committee, said she would consider the choice of language in future, following concerns about the A-board outside the Bell in Kesgrave.

The sign was publicising an event held to celebrate Mrs McCallum’s 16th wedding anniversary, which coincided with when she and her husband began running the pub.

The sign invited people to dress in a “S**t shirt” for the event, which prompted a complaint from a “concerned resident”.

“To say that I am, and am sure that I am not the only person, disgusted in the language used in the name of the event is an understatement,” said the resident, who did not give their name.

Mrs McCallum said the sign was outside the pub for four days last month and led to “no direct complaints”.

“It was a bit of fun and not aimed to offend,” she added “I will, however, think about wording events in future.”

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Mrs McCallum, who is one of Kesgrave’s district councillors, highlighted the good work that had been achieved at the Bell, including raising more than £100,000 for charity, as well as a number of community events, such as the Kesgrave 5km run and fireworks display.

She has also thanked those who attended the event the sign was publicising.

“We had three generations of customers, some of whom were only 18 when we arrived at the Bell and met partners in the pub and now have families of their own – and what a pleasure it has been to see this,” she said.

“A great night was had by all and ‘thank you’ for the great effort you put into your fancy dress.”

Robin Spittle, the priest at All Saints’ Church in Kesgrave, has offered his support.

“The church and pub are next door to each other and are two buildings that are both community minded,” he added.

“The work that Debbie does in Kesgrave is incredible. She is the heart of the community and anyone who knows her would not be offended.”