Letters, Monday, October 24th, 2011

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Hope for justice over Hillsborough

IT is great that a decision has been made to release all documents relating to the 1989 Hillsborough football disaster, which hopefully will lead to justice for the 96 football fans who lost their lives that day.

I can remember watching the graphic TV drama-documentary, “Hillsborough, the Truth!”. I am sure that Sunderland fans, or really any football fans, will tell you the experiences they had when in crowds in those days. The claustrophobia, the shortness of breath, the panic, when you were packed in like sardines. The relief of getting out of those situations was immense.

The programme showed the real truth, not least about the way the grieving families were treated by the press and the British judicial system.

Four major facts stick in my mind. First, why did Chief Superintendant David Duckenfield make the decision to open the gate to let the crowd outside into the tunnel leading to the central enclosure, which was already packed with Liverpool fans? It was a decision which Duckenfield will regret for the rest of his life. He later retired at the very young age of 46, on medical grounds, on a full pension.

His retirement halted disciplinary charges against him. Furthermore, no criminal or disciplinary charges were pursued against any police officer in the disaster.

The second major fact is that police could clearly see that fans were trapped behind the fences and getting crushed to death. But TV evidence showed officers braying them back with truncheons, when they were trying to escape.

Third major fact: police prevented the entry of firemen with bolt cutters into the ground, and fleets of ambulances, with the police saying they did not know that a disaster was happening. Where was the communication?

Fourth major fact; why did the authorities give the smaller end of the ground to Liverpool fans who had a far bigger ticket allocation?

There are lots of other major facts which were concealed by the police 22 years ago.

I just hope the relatives of the 96 people who should have not died that day get the justice that is owed to them.

Clive Lee, Hetton

Christmas idea

CHRISTMAS is fast approaching and, for many of us, our list of pre-December 25 tasks appears neverending.

However, Macmillan Cancer Support has a fantastic idea that will save you time while raising money to fund local cancer services.

Instead of spending ages writing Christmas cards to everyone you work with, why not order a giant Macmillan Christmas poster instead? Put it up in your office and let everyone sign a festive message while putting a donation in a collection box.

No hassle and no chance of upsetting a colleague by forgetting their card!

After Christmas just send the money donated to Macmillan to help us fund services including specialist nurses, helplines and grants for cancer patients with money worries.

To order a Christmas poster email ChristmasPosters@mktpoint.com or call 0844 264 1064.

Sarah Goldie, Fund-raising manager, Macmillan Cancer Support

Family’s thanks

WE would like to take the opportunity to say a massive thank-you for all donations that were made in lieu of flowers in memory of my beloved husband and a devoted dad, Eddie Buck. Sadly Eddie passed away on September 17 after a brave battle with cancer.

But thanks to the generosity of family and friends £738.50 was raised for the chemotherapy day case unit.

I’m sure the money raised will go some way to help equip the new unit. The staff on the unit are fantastic and do a brilliant job.

This is an amazing amount of money and such a good cause. So thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

Lynne, Sam and Kate Buck, Pitcairn Road, Pennywell, Sunderland

Farewell to warden

OWING to funding cuts we have lost our neighbourhood warden, Brendan King.

The people of Castletown and the committee of the community centre would like to say many thanks to Brendan for his dedication in all the tasks he was involved in.

He initiated many projects for the children of all ages, which kept them occupied and off the streets, and to the elderly he was their friend.

As a member of the Community Management Team, his help was invaluable.

We wish him well in his new job.

June Nixon, Chairwoman, Castletown Community Centre