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Frome teacher makes headlines with red marker

Suzy Howlett picks up a new pen for marking at Ellenbray

Suzy Howlett picks up a new pen for marking at Ellenbray

AFROMEteacher took the internet by storm this week when a UKIP leaflet she marked for spelling and grammar errors went viral online before making national headlines. 

Suzy Howlett, an advisory teacher in the local area, originally made the corrections to entertain a handful of Facebook friends, but the picture has since appeared on BBC News, ITV, The Telegraph, Daily Mail, The Independent, and The Mirror as well websites all over the world.

Suzy said, “I spent two minutes marking the page with a red pen and sent the photo to my children, who shared it on the internet, then by the time I got home from work the next day the picture had gone viral and I had journalists on the phone and in my garden!

“I was absolutely astonished that it was so popular, and everything has been a bit mad. I’ve been treated a bit like a celebrity in Frome and people have approached me wanting to take selfies with me.

“I’ve been overwhelmed with nice comments, and I’d like to make it perfectly clear that there is no shame at all in having difficulty with spelling, punctuation, or grammar. However, I would encourage those who do to make sure their work is proofread.

“Many of the children I teach are learning English as a second language, but I think they could teach Mr. Tanswell a thing or two about apostrophes!

“I’d also like to confirm that this was not an attack on UKIP; I have no political affiliations.”

The leaflet, purportedly from local UKIP councillors Derek Tanswell and Sharon Snook, was rife with grammatical errors, and over 30 individual corrections were made by the primary school teacher. Amongst them were long unpunctuated sentences,  and the repeated use of “your” instead of “you’ll”.

Derek Tanswell, Mendip District Councillor and Somerset County Councillor for Frome’s Market Ward sent this reply to Frome Times, “The election in Park has become very unpleasant and with my phone number being plastered all over the internet, no thought was given to my children.  I have been told this as I have had friends calling from Spain etc and asking.

“I had to inform the police as I was getting really worried, I have not seen the articles yet as I have been very busy with the election. I have had hundreds of calls which have lead to threats and abuse against me and I am frightened for my family, this is an attempt to undermine democracy.

“There is a pattern here but I am sure you won’t allow that in the small reply you will allow me to make, like which is very worrying for instance. The Green’s nominations papers for District were handed in at Mendip and have been lost or stolen so they can’t stand in Park, which is wrong and Sharon and I  have complained to the Chief Executive, that’s not democracy and they must be allowed to stand.  Since we joined UKIP, we have been given great support from most people; however a minority are ripping down our boards in Frome and going to these extremes.

“Whatever is going on here, most people see through it and have pledge to vote for us as they see this as an act of bullying and the very unpleasant side of politics.

“I would like to add if this teacher concern was genuine she could have returned it to me and asked me to reply, however she has not and acted in an act of humiliation. I don’t think the people of Frome will see her in a good light and will she her for what she is.”

Suzy, having been offered money for her story, decided to use her five minutes of fame to raise awareness of the malaria charity her son works for; Against Malaria Foundation. Find out more about their work at