Letters, Friday, June 15th, 2012

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Memories and royal reflections

WHEN I was a small boy the Queen visited Sunderland. Was it 1954? We got the afternoon off school, and I remember standing among the crowds outside Monkwearmouth station. We waited for hours until it got dark. Then everyone roared, a car shot past with people inside, and that was that.

After all the anticipation and excitement, it was over in a few seconds. Even a young child like me wondered if it was worth it.

I was reminded of this as I watched the Jubilee Thames Pageant. It’s astonishing that while other countries have abolished their monarchies and elect their Heads of State, we are still happy to stand on pavements waving Union Jacks and cheering.

Perhaps the arrogant posh boys who govern us know the British Establishment will survive as long as we have the Royals at its apex.

Now there’s something I want to reveal to everyone. I was born in 1948, the same year as the Prince of Wales. Too much of a coincidence, I think. In fact I believe I am the true heir to the throne. Charles is really a changeling who was exchanged for me and smuggled into my cot. It should have been me who had a life of luxury and privilege and married the lovely Diana.

I keep shouting all this through the door of my padded cell, but the nurses won’t believe me. My analyst Dr Fassbender says if I don’t shut up they’ll force me to wear an iron mask, but I’m sure Echo readers will petition for my release once I tell you my first act as King will be to lead my soldiers over the Tyne Bridge and capture the Sport Direct Arena.

Henry Whipple, Coach Road Estate, Washington

Special thanks

I WOULD like to thank everyone who came to my fund-raising night on May 10 at Fulwell Firemen’s Club. The money raised (over £500) has enabled me to go and give help and advice at a school for disabled children in a village called Athi in Kenya. I will be there when you read this letter. The trip was organised by a charity called Hands Around the World.

Thank you again to all the people who came and all friends, family and local businesses who kindly donated money, prizes and food.

Amy Cullen, Haversham Park, Fulwell

Young TV addicts

AS a resident of the city and not obsessed by aspects of new technology, and having a daughter and three grandsons, I wonder should we view with any concern the information imparted by your recent story on the Kidsmart Kit, donated by computer giant IBM, for youngsters to be given a headstart in early years educational venues and community hubs across the city?

The possible concern is based on some research (of which I have a copy) that children by the age of seven spend an average of 6.1 hours a day watching television, with some 10 and 11-year-olds having access to five screens at home. These figures are expected to rise.

Are parents falling into the trap of this technology acting as babysitters? Should parents regain control? Technology should be a tool not a burden, or a health risk, eg the risk of Type-2 diabetes or changing the brain’s circuitry in a way that sounds like the effects of drug addiction.

A child health conference in Glasgow had a doctor who maintains under-threes should be banned from all small screens. Or as a senior citizen for some time, am I being too concerned? My MP Sharon Hodgson, shadow minister for Children and families, will be receive a copy of the research.

Bill Craddock, Donvale Road, Washington

Unworthy remarks

I HAVE noticed lately that the Conservative Party has returned to its roots as the Nasty Party. People may have noticed how David Cameron spends time at Prime Minister’s Questions making insulting remarks about people.

It would seem that this is an organised programme for the party. This has passed down to the Deputy Leader of the Conservative group in Sunderland (Letters June 2).

Councillor Wood may have a legitimate point to make about a charity backing a particular Labour candidate for the Northumbria Police Commissioner elections. However, does he have to make remarks about particular people connected with that charity?

This is unworthy of a true debate on this matter. Councillor Wood proves to all his lack of basic manners and charity – a true blue member of his party.

Mike Brennan, Ryhope Road, Sunderland

Reunion funds

TO everyone who attended the St Thomas Aquinas 30-year reunion at The Avenue on June 9, a total of £200 was raised for Help The Heroes.

Big thanks to all who came. I hope you all had a great night, and see you at the next one.

Ann Walsh, Stansfield Street, Roker

Sport before soaps

I AM mystified by the attitude of certain Wearsiders who are annoyed at the amount of coverage by the BBC and ITV of the Euros and the forthcoming Olympics. Apparently many of the soaps will be moved or dropped in favour of sport.

Do these people not realise that sport is much more important than what’s going on in the Rovers Return and the Queen Vic? The country will get a boost if England win the Euros or we win a few gold medals.

I don’t think that there is enough sport on TV and if there was more it would encourage future athletes and soccer players to create a more competitive community.

I know from standing in the post office queues that there was a outpouring of grief from the Blue Rinse brigade when Betty Turpin of Coronation Street died a couple of months ago, but let’s face facts – finding out the secret ingredients in her hot pot hardly set the world alight.

Mick “The Pen” Brown

Falklands future

IT is kind of hard to take Philip Thompson’s letter seriously (Letters, June 4). France waging war against this country? I do not care what international support they might get. Impossible!

Regarding the French Exocet missiles used by the Argentinians in the Falkland Islands conflict, I recall those being bought from some International Arms Dealer and not sold direct by the French.

Argentina can make all the claims they like about the Falkland Islands, but it would be incomprehensible to try to gain them by force. Not only is there a modern airport in existence there but the place is defended like a fortress. I know this as I spent 14 months helping to construct it in 1984-85.

Some Argentina politicians may well be trying to win votes by making claims to their right to ownership of the Islands, as the dictator Galtieri did to his cost, but it will never happen. Those peat-covered, wind-swept islands containing half a million sheep will always be British.

The people there resolutelywant it so.

A. A. Kelly, Tunstall Vale, Sunderland

Misread letter

JOE Hall must have misread, probably deliberately, my earlier letter, given the content of his response (Letters, June 11).

My letter did not refer to the state of the UK economy, nor who was to blame for the basket case this Government inherited.

I had expressed concern for the resultant contagion that could engulf European countries if the euro currency continues and that this could be avoided if the likes of Greece left the single currency in an orderly fashion.

The establishment of the euro currency was not an economic measure but was always a political adventure by the EU fanatics in pursuit of the formation of a European Super State.

My reference to Nick Clegg and Red Ed Miliband was that these are Euro fanatics and would have us in the euro at the blink of an eye – a move that would leave the UK in the same trouble as Spain, Greece, Ireland and Italy.

Alan Wright, Barnes View, Sunderland

Bad weather

THIS country has had some atrocious weather recently, and people moan about it like it is someone’s fault, but it’s just the poor climate we live in.

Personally, I blame the dreadfull song by Rihanna, “Umbrella”, for the last six years of depressions during our summers.

My house was recently flooded and I am awaiting a rain cheque from my insurers.

John “The Pun” Watson, Pensher View, Washington