Letters, Saturday August 11th, 2012

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City should invest in Olympic future

I WAS at Gateshead Stadium at the English schools Championships recently.

I was astounded at how obviously evident the North- South divide was.

The Durham team, which partly consisted of youngsters from Sunderland Harriers, some of whom are extremely talented and of national standard, took part in most of the events, but the southern teams shone.

This was not because they had any more talent than our Sunderland youngsters. It was evident that they had been trained and nurtured to a high standard. I did some research while I was there and found that these teams had excellent indoor and outdoor training and event tracks with exceptional facilities.

Some were funded for gym memberships, also towards kit and equipment, whereas our poor Sunderland Harriers have to make do with an antiquated track of about 30 years old at Silksworth Sports Complex. It appears to have never been modernised, only has six lanes. All events now are held on eight lane tracks.

There is no spectators area or a specific meeting point for the athletes. No club house with changing or shower facilities for the club. This would be a great place for the team to meet and socialise before and after training, where parents could become more involved.

The Harriers have no place to train in winter, resulting in having to hire schools whenever possible.

No funding is available for kit or equipment, causing hardship for a lot of the families. The club has to raise funds by themselves

The council could take a lot more interest in the club. These talented young people are being let down so badly by the obvious lack of support and funding.

So come on, Sunderland City Council, invest in our young athletes as they are the Olympipc stars of tomorrow.

Let’s give these kids a break and the support and backing so they get the opportunity to shine for Sunderland and for Great Britain.

Mary Reid

Sunderland

Farewell thank-you

On behalf of St Benedict’s Hospice, I would like to thank all those who supported our stall at Seaham Carnival.

Despite the weather, many people turned out to enjoy the day and we raised £255.15.

The name of the doll was Milly.

The winning raffle numbers are: 1st 849; 2nd 923; 3rd 980; 4th 451; 5th 432. All prizes have been claimed.

I have fund-raised for St Benedict’s for the past 17 years and with help of family and friends and the generosity of the people of Seaham and further afield, have raised more than £6,000.

This was my last carnival as I am stepping down from fund-raising and would like to thank everyone who has supported and helped me over the years.

Other members of my family and friends will continue to fund-raise for St Benedict’s Hospice and I hope the people of Seaham will continue to support this very worthy cause.

Rose Tully

Marlborough,

Seaham

Uni not only route

While the rise in tuition fees has resulted in a fall in the number of UK university applications, the economic downturn has clearly played its part too.

Students are re-evaluating whether or not to start their university careers. Engineering has a central role to play in rebalancing the economy.

Rebalancing the UK’s economy will require qualified, skilled engineers and technicians at all levels.

A university education is not the only route.

Given the tough economic situation apprenticeships are a viable alternative to a traditional academic pathway. They provide a valid route into a rewarding and enjoyable career in engineering, equipping young people with the key practical and technical skills that are valued by employers.

International entries to university are also important for the future of engineering and related research as this diversity helps to build UK strengths for a more global world of engineering.

We need to ensure UK universities stay competitive in attracting and retaining such students.

Dr Mike Short CBE

President, Institution of Engineering and Technology

London

Why so long?

While the news of car exports via the Wear is encouraging, it does beg the question as to why it has taken all this time to achieve?

Horse..stable..door..bolted comes to mind.

I’ve often wondered what percentage of people from Sunderland make up the personnel of Nissan. I doubt few of the upper management.

Philip Findlay

Sunderland

Wonderful effort

Many thanks to those who contributed to the collection of £803.45 in the centre of Sunderland on July 28 for the Guide Dogs for the Blind.

Mrs Pat Orrell

Secretary

Sunderland & South Shields Guide Dogs for Blind