Letters, Friday, August 5th, 2011

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So grateful to our wonderful NHS

OVER the past months I’ve read a lot of derogatory remarks about the NHS and in particular Sunderland Royal Hospital. However, I would like to express my most sincere thanks for the benefits I have received over the last 12 months.

I was diagnosed with bowel cancer at the beginning of June 2010 and over the course of the next eight weeks I had a full body CT Scan, an MRI Scan, one week of radiotherapy treatment, an operation for removal of the malignant tumour, and then, after a period of recovery, I commenced a six-month course of chemotherapy.

All of the medical staff I had the privilege to meet were courteous and caring. One person in particular was my guiding light and that person was Graham O’Dair, consultant colorectal surgeon. From my first meeting with him he gave me the confidence to look forward and take the relevant steps necessary to treat the disease.

The staff on Ward E50 were also very encouraging and caring at every stage of my treatment.

I’ve now been discharged from the oncology department but will continue to have regular check-ups through the colon outpatients’ clinic and can only give thanks for their due diligence.

I do have faith in the NHS and, as someone mentioned to me, when you step up one notch from the everyday cuts and scrapes they do shine and I can only once again express my sincere gratitude for the help, care and conscientiousness I encountered over the past 12 months.

T. Rowell, Sunderland

Labour’s failure

IT is difficult to know what kind of logic is applied to claim that Conservative city councillors are to blame for the lack of ambition on the seafront (Letters, July 28).

I pondered this for a while then realisation struck. It is all just a smokescreen to cover the Labour council’s 40 years of failure over the seafront and the city as a whole. In fact the seafront epitomises the state of the city after these 40 years of wasted opportunity under Labour control.

The writer should realise that people quote the achievements of South Shields not because they want to replicate what South Shields has done but to highlight the lack of ambition and ability in Sunderland’s ruling Labour group.

There is also reference to the economic reforms forced by the economic disaster left by the last Government, as an excuse for nothing happening on the seafront. Well, what happened during the 13 years of Labour government and, more to the point, Labour’s 40 years in control of Sunderland?

Even Redcar announced last week a £20million investment in their seafront’s regeneration.

What hope can the people of Sunderland have for the decline of the city to be reversed when Labour will not even acknowledge who is to blame?

Coun Alan Wright, Conservative, St Chad’s Ward

Growing problem

AFTER repeated phone calls to Sunderland Civic Centre regarding overhanging trees and weeds coming into our gardens, nothing seems to get done about it.

We try to keep our gardens neat and tidy but can’t because of the unsightly mess from council land.

This has been an ongoing problem for a number of years. When the gentleman from the Civic Centre rang he recognised there was a problem, so when is something going to be done about it?

They sent someone for 10 minutes with a strimmer which hasn’t helped.

Jane Adie, Laburnum Grove, Castletown

Walk success

ON Sunday, July 17, the Sunderland branch of the British Heart Foundation held its annual walk, the Jim Clark Memorial Walk, previously known as the Seaburn Stroll.

It was the first walk in Jim Clark’s memory. He was the last founder member of the Sunderland branch, which was formed 35 years ago. We lost Jim just before the walk last year, so this year we hoped would be a successful walk and 40 walkers took part and helped raise £2,000.

The walk was very kindly started by the Deputy Mayor of Sunderland, Councillor Iain Kay, and Deputy Mayoress Councillor Barbara McClennan, for which we are most grateful.

The weather up to start of the walk was wet. We put this down to Jim’s sense of humour, being a Newcastle supporter (sorry), but as the walkers assembled it stopped.

All the walkers thoroughly enjoyed the walk and the day, and to say thank you we are hoping to have a charity night sometime in September.

We would like to say thank you to the staff at the Seaburn Centre for their help on the day, and a very big thank-you to all the walkers. Without their support the walk would not have been as successful as it was.

Michael Roper, Sunderland branch secretary, British Heart Foundation

Chill out, Linda

I NORMALLY have sympathy for many of Linda Colling’s views, but her diatribe this week against the airshow was way off mark.

What a whinger! Was she at the same airshow as me? I know that it is a trademark of some journalists to exaggerate with the intent of provoking a reaction, and perhaps I have fallen into the trap, but here goes.

She complained about the absence of military aircraft, but has it not come to her attention that Britain (like it or not) is fighting two wars and that the aircraft and pilots are on operational duty?

Tut, tut, Linda – think before writing.

As for her feeling sick at the sight of so many “chavs” swilling Fosters on the seafront, where was she? On Saturday afternoon, I saw only one person in the crowd with an illicit can of beer, and on Friday evening the drinking was all taking place at the Roker Hotel, a situation that occurs every weekend in every town and city in the country.

OK, so chavs are to be pitied for their lifestyle, but please don’t tar everyone with the same brush of contempt – every one of the hundreds of thousand of ordinary people, mostly in family groups, who were enjoying themselves peacefully at the weekend.

She made much of an anonymous invective harangue by a so-called Roker resident who spoke in extremely intemperate language about stopping chavs from breeding. What has this Nazi-like propaganda to do with the airshow?

As for this same “Irate from Roker” rabbiting on about their back lane being filled with vomit and urine, I lived just off the seafront in Roker for 25 years and we never had any airshow trouble.

Where were all the drunks who were supposedly fighting, swearing and drinking in the evening? The police made a total of 15 arrests (as reported in the Echo) over the entire weekend of the airshow, and these were for minor offences. Not bad for a turnout of one million people attending the event.

Or are the police cooking the books, Linda, or perhaps not doing their duty in your eyes? Answers on a postcard, please.

I laughed at Linda’s plea for “something that’s a little bit more inspiring, tasteful, classier”. Sorry, but I don’t think that Sunderland can compete with Glyndebourne or the Edinburgh Festival

Finally, congratulations to the council. The airshow this year, although lacking the military aircraft, was thoroughly entertaining. The stunt displays were amazing, the approach of the Vulcan bomber was like something out of Close Encounters, and the entertainment, aerial display and fireworks on Friday night were superb.

The city fathers of that small place up the road would give their eye teeth, or even swap Joey Barton, for the chance of hosting something as great.

Chill out, Linda, and think fun.

Dave Grainger, Seaburn

One-sided attack

I HAVE just read the appalling one-sided article by Linda Colling.

I am told that over a million people attended the airshow.

According to your newspaper, there was 15 arrests. This hardly sounds like the widespread disorder mentioned by your correspondent.

She did not ask if the local hotels only accommodated people from Sunderland. No, sorry, they catered for people from all over the country, so the local economy gets a welcome boost.

It is reckoned that 12million pounds is spent over the weekend, all good news for a town like ours.

I forgot that only the people who live in Seaburn are allowed to be there.

Tom Cumiskey, Ardrossan Road, Sunderland

Make people pay

AS the dust dies down on another successful airshow, I feel I must ask the question: how many of the visitors actually know anything about aviation? Not too many, I reckon.

I feel that the airshow should not be a free event. There are too many folk just turning up to eat burgers, sit on deckchairs and cause trouble by swearing and getting drunk.

The problem is anyone can turn up and there are a lot of free loaders around.

The cost to produce a show like this is astronomical and there are too many people just jumping on the bandwagon, looking for a good day out that costs nothing.

There is also the issue of the damage these aircraft do to the environment, which is a major issue. Do people not care about this?

I also think that due to the vast amount of people that attend this event it causes major problems in the area and I for one am glad I do not have to live in the vicinity.

Folk were just getting legless, swearing and scoffing chips. Many of them showed no interest in the planes and I think it’s a disgrace.

At least if they had to pay these people wouldn’t turn up and folk who do live in the area would get some peace.

Mick “The Pen” Brown