Furore over ‘offensive’ content in parish mag

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Winslow’s parish magazine, Winslow Parish News, was withdrawn from sale in the shops this week following complaints about an article in it.

Under the heading Winslow Town Security Problems, owner of OakPark Alarms Trevor Goosey wrote about the cascade system that has been put in place by the town’s traders in response to recent episodes of intimidation by a band of children.

But it was the final paragraph of his article which has caused the furore.

In it, Mr Goosey alluded to “the fact that undesirables from Eastern Europe have now entered the country”.

Winslow resident Ruth Ash was one of several people who complained to the church, which publishes the magazine.

She said the content was “offensive”.

Ms Ash told the Advertiser: “It’s particularly offensive to the small community of hardworking Eastern Europeans who’ve made Winslow their home.”

Rector of St Laurence Church Belinda Searle-Barnes said she was deeply sorry the article had “slipped through the net”. The church immediately withdrew all copies from sale and is reissuing them without the offending page.

Mrs Searle-Barnes said: “Unfortunately our editor was taken ill at the time the magazine was being compiled.

“It was not something that would normally be included.

“It doesn’t reflect our views and all I can say is if anyone has been offended by it I will personally go and visit them.

“Once it came to light I was absolutely horrified, as were all of us. We tried to act as quickly as possible and I’ve responded personally to every concern.

“We will be carrying an apology in next month’s magazine.”

Mr Goosey said: “I would like to offer an unreserved apology if any offence was caused by the article. It was certainly not intentional.  

“I would like to clarify I was referring to a very small group of people who created a great deal of distress to the hardworking traders of Winslow. 

“I was not generalising a population in any way and it was not my intention to give this impression.”