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Give Wisbech a break (the C of E is trying to)

17 May 2013


From Mr Miles Pateman

Sir, - It was saddening to read (Diary, 3 May) yet more negative references to Wisbech, and this time in a national newspaper ("Wisbech-bashing" is usually confined to the local press).

Although the Revd Robert Mackley does illustrate his experience of dire sermonising well with "angrily explaining how many women you could buy with a used car in Wisbech", it does, sadly, reinforce a long-held (in many corners) stereotype of Wisbech.

It is true that Wisbech is easily the most deprived town in Ely diocese, and in one of the most deprived rural areas of England. It is a town in a long post-industrial malaise; but the Church of England is active in the town's regeneration - as in the project to engage art and theology in deprived rural communities, funded by the Archbishops' Council.

Wisbech is struggling against a dead weight of negative opinion (much of it, admittedly, propagated by Wisbechians themselves), but (I believe) this is slowly being overcome.

Finally, I would like to encourage Fr Mackley to visit Wisbech, to come to the flat northern extremity of the diocese. If he does, perhaps the next time he is invited to preach somewhere as a guest, he may have a message of hope from a town and its parish experiencing a resurrection rather than a town of "urban home-truths".

30 Ramnoth Road
Wisbech PE13 2JA

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