Letters, Friday, May 27th, 2011

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Home thoughts from a native son

HERE are some comments from a Makem visiting his former home:

Sunderland Station – insufficient signs to direct arrivals to main exit and main pick-up points.

Arrival on Grand Central was late and several passengers climbed stairs only to find ourselves in a back alley. Only because I was a former resident of Sunderland was I able to find our way.

The taxi service at the station could be better co-ordinated with the arrival of trains, especially when they are late-evening services and the option of a bus service is drastically reduced. Other cities manage it as standard practice.

Make sure there are clearer directions for new passengers’ arrival at the platform to get to their destination safely.

I was looking for the expensive revamp of the station. There were some new posters up about lost property, but nothing to depict the wonderful sites of Sunderland and its seafront.

On the ground floor I could not see any significant changes to the station entrance – those white brick tiles still remind me of public toilets/urinals.

It has since been pointed out to me about an “artistic wall”, which I must presume used up most of the revamp budget. When I viewed it I was bored in less than five minutes, so I pity the regular commuters.

I put these comments on to a complaint form I was given at the new Sunderland Tourist Board Office, situated at a desk (with a phone) among the library shelves on the second floor of our Central Library. I also filled in a form re the demise of a tourist office for visitors and locals.

We have lost a great asset to Sunderland and its replacement is not easily found – or worth the effort of finding. Two floors up on an escalator with your luggage is not an easy task, with no facility to browse brochures or purchases. It will be closed at bank holiday weekends so at least the visiting tourist will not realise what they are unable to access.

Give Sunderland the welcome its visitors deserve. If the Bede site gets international recognition it seems it will be despite the council support for tourism.

M. Campbell, Glan Rhyd, Coed Eva, Cwmbran, South Wales

It doesn’t add up

IT seems that the UK is to give £12billion that we have not got for overseas aid. Correct me if I am wrong, we are £1trillion in debt. This form of mathematics I was not taught at school.

Also for some strange reason it is announced that it is in our interests to stay in the EU. This adds more to the UK’s debt and, in the view of around 80 per cent of the people in this country, we should not be bailing out the Euro failures, especially as that is not the UK’s currency. This year we have contributed £19.2billion to the EU.

We should leave the EU and restore our sovereignty and also cut down foreign aid as we do not have the money to carry it out.

M. Matthews, Aiskell Street, Sunderland

Grateful patient

I HAVE recently returned home after being a patient in Sunderland Royal Hospital for several weeks. I wish to thank Mr G. Farook, consultant surgeon, Mr Saif, registrar, and their splendid team for saving my life.

Ward C30, a big thank-you to everyone for the loving tender care shown to me. You are friends for life. I will never forget you.

To my many friends for their concern during this period, their constant phone calls, beautiful cards and prayers said on my behalf I say thank you.

M. Wall-Palmer, Seaham

Pub music threat

SOME years ago there was an idea floating around of “small is beautiful”.

For years the Smugglers pub, on Roker beach promenade, has been a great live music venue. In fact, owners Paul and Donna intended that the pub specialise in live music as well as provide good beer.

This was a bold move as many places relied on television sport. It paid off, not without a struggle, and for years had a great live music reputation, and many established and emerging performers got their experience there. Bands love to play the Smugglers and the customers love the bands.

However, the council, in its wisdom (is that the word?), is planning to put a gate on the road so that vehicle access to the pub ends quite some distance away. This will severely restrict access for musicians to load their equipment and threatens the very future of live music at the pub.

The Smugglers is also a pleasant watering hole for a walk on the seafront and the opportunity to sit and enjoy the view.

I would urge the council to think again. The Smugglers is a little gem. I recall many a time the atmosphere has been buzzing on a music night.

M. Ewing, Bede Street, Roker, Sunderland

Thanks to voters

I WOULD like to take this opportunity to thank the constituents of Ryhope and Grangetown who took the time to go out and vote for me in the council elections on May 5.

I would also like to thank my fellow councillor Alan Emerson for his support and would also like to thank the members of Ryhope and Grangetown Labour Party for their help in this year’s election.

I promise the people of Ryhope and Grangetown I will continue in my efforts to get the very best I can for my ward.

Coun Ellen Ball, Ryhope and Grangetown Ward

Leek show invite

FOR the past five years local businessman John Morrell has sponsored the annual leek show at Washington Gardeners WMC. His involvement has helped that show to flourish and ensures that the whole community can join in and exhibit all of their homegrown produce.

These are stiff economic times and many workingmen’s clubs are finding it hard to make ends meet.

Usworth & District WMC is no exception to this and the funding that the committee normally provides for the leek show has had to be stopped.

Once again John Morrell, of Walker & Morrell Funeral Directors, has stepped in to help the wider community of Washington. With his financial support the leek club will be able to organise its usual annual show.

Now hundreds of local people can come into the show room and be part of something that is fun, competitive and inclusive.

At the moment there is a huge wave of interest in gardening, allotments and growing from established growers and families who are just getting started with just a small plot.

How many of these green-fingered planters have said “I can do as good as that”? Well, this is a way into the green revolution.

You do not have to be Monty Don to take part and if you don’t try you will never see your name in lights on the exhibitors’ table.

It is a commonly used phrase but in this case it really is about first taking part and, if possible, winning is a bonus.

Our shows begin at the end of August and will be advertised in the local Washington Star and Concord shopping centre to give everyone time to produce their prized produce.

Good luck.

Mick Fitzgerald, Secretary/treasurer

Concert noise

I WONDER if the Stadium of Light have given local residents any thought at all when they arrange for concerts to be held.

It seems doubtful, considering the fact that we have had to put up with days of rehersals going on for hours, even after 9pm. The noise can be heard from as far as the Stadium of Light Metro station and Carley Road.

This is disturbing young children and sick residents who may wish to be in bed before then. Indeed it is now 9.45 and we can still hear the noise going on.

Why should local residents put up with this disturbance? I for one will be making a noise complaint to the council, and urge the SoL big-wigs to give some consideration to local residents instead of just being led by thoughts of the revenue it will bring them!

Mrs J.White, Southwick

Charity’s thank-you

I WOULD like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who donated to Marie Curie Cancer Care at their recent street collections which took place in Sunderland during March 2011.

The collections raised the fantastic amount of £1,764.64.

Thanks go to our supporters who helped with the collection and to the public who gave so generously.

Marie Curie provides a free service for people with cancer and other life-limiting illnesses, their families and friends from across the North East. At our purpose-built hospice in Newcastle, we care for over 500 people as in-patients as well as offering an extensive day care service to our patients.

Complementing the work we do at Newcastle hospice, our team of dedicated Marie Curie Nurses work across the region offering people end-of-life care in their own home, which is the key objective of Marie Curie Cancer Care – giving patients a choice in where they spend their final days.

If anyone would like to become a volunteer collector at our collections, please call us on 0191 219 1234.

J. Dennison, Marie Curie Cancer Care

Olympic Torch

I WISH to congratulate the Echo on showing people that we should have the Olympic torch coming to Sunderland and not just bypassing it.

As you said, we are really the top city in the North East. There are not many towns that have got boxers and other kinds of sport.

I left Sunderland a few years ago, but I always keep coming back, as my heart is always in the city and the people I know.

So to all the people in Sunderland, and especially your paper, keep demanding to have the Olympic torch coming because we are the best city in the North East and, to your paper, keep up the good work.

Jimmy Shields, Thornbrake, Leam Lane, Gateshead