Letters, Saturday, April16th, 2011

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When Russians took off for space

SO it’s 50 years since the Soviet Union sent Yuri Gargarin into space.

I have a vivid recollection of that day in 1961. We had a chemistry lesson at school and the teacher was in an angry mood. He shouted at us: “The Russians have put a man into space. Fifty years ago they were a country of serfs and peasants. At the moment we are third on the list behind the Russians and the Americans. By the time you lot are the next scientific generation, we won’t even be on the list.”

We were all very quiet until he calmed down. If one of us had given him a wrong look we would probably have been boiled in sulphuric acid. Looking back, I see how funny it was. Fancy blaming a bunch of schoolboys for Britain falling behind in the space race!

There is a reason the Russians achieved the first manned space flight. At the end of the Second World War American armies invaded Germany from the west and Russian armies from the east. Both were in a race to grab the best German rocket scientists to work for them. When the Russians put Gargarin into space, the Americans explained: ‘Their Germans are better than ours.’

And who did the British have? Professor Quatermass, but he was only a fictional character on TV.

J. Ridler, Hylton Road, Sunderland

Sack Bruce now

THIS is an open letter to Niall Quinn. I will never forget when you stated, and I quote: “We are going to appoint a first-class manager”, and who do we get? Steve Bruce.

Come off it, Niall. What has he won at the other clubs he managed? Exactly nothing. So why did you lump him on us?

He is keeping his form all right – nearly relegated last season and now fighting to stay up this season.

Some first-class manager, Niall, don’t you agree? One point from the last 24 and three goals. Some first-class manager, Niall.

When you read the Echo every week it’s the same excuse – the injuries we get in training. It makes you wonder what is going on on the training pitch.

So, before he wastes another £50million on rubbish, sack him, because I wonder what the owner thinks of him now.

Sack him now, Niall, never mind a full inquest at the end of the season because if you don’t you will see a drop in season tickets for next season.

By the way, I am a season ticket holder in the West Stand and have been a supporter for over 60 years.

Do it now, Niall. Sack him and please thousands of supporters.

G. Napier, Shaw Street, Seaham

Fond memories

IN reply to the letter from “Baggy Pants”, I lived in Winchester Terrace. The Lord Robert pub was on the end.

I remember at the bottom of the back lane I used to buy a fish lot at Ganny Oliver’s for tuppence, 24 eggs for a shilling along Hendon Road at Harry Berg’s.

There was a one shilling parcel at Waggot’s butcher’s on a Saturday morning, where there was always a queue, and 1/6 for a parcel with a lovely piece of brisket, a chop and sausage.

There is too much greed today, it’s all about profit.

Happy days.

Mrs E. Trusty, Grafton Street, Millfield, Sunderland

Happy wanderers

YA knaa Missus! Sunderland Wanderers Missus!

Ah luv to gan wandering

Along a mountain track

And as ah gan ah luv ta sing

Me knapsack on me back.

That’s cos ah’m daft as a brush. But here’s fowerty daft people just like me walkin in the rain in Cockfield gannin ta Copley. Grit big smiles all owa their fyaces. Nivver mind the weather as lang as we’re together.

Ah sez: “We are yea, luvly happy people, just walkin in the rain getting soakin wet, like?”

Missus! Them is members of the Sunderland and Houghton Ramblers. Not only that. This bonny lass came from Hedworth Street.

Missus! Tell Ryhope Top Club there’s competition in Cockfield. Pigeons, whippets, horses and a lorra canny totty at the grab-a-granny dance at Cockfield Club.

Little Billy Craggs, Front Street, Cockfield