Letters, Saturday, December 24th, 2011

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Company unhappy over bus plans

IT would appear again that the management of Go North East buses are not happy bunnies about the proposed introduction of quality contracts for the bus network in Sunderland. This would allow Nexus and the council to have greater control on bus routes.

Peter Huntley, managing director of Go North East,seems to forget that his company has a long history of cutting and changing bus services in Sunderland.

Here are a few facts which he seems to have forgotten. They cut the popular 141 service in 2006 without any public consultation. In 2008, they failed to attend a public meeting about the changes to then 133 service.

They refused to talk to democratically elected councillors until recently. They paid thousands of pounds to use the image rights of The Magic Roundabout to promote a route. They refused to reveal the cost until I made a Freedom of Information request.

They have different colour schemes for most bus and routes. Does it not make sense to have just one colour scheme on their buses and routes? These little things could save the company money which could be better used on services instead of on cheap gimmicks.

Go North East have never shown any interest in attending council meetings to give their views on local transport or to allow councillors to question them and hold them directly accountable. To me they seem more interested in looking after their rich city shareholders than the public they are supposed to serve.

As Wilfie Smith said: “Power to the people!”

Coun David Errington, Labour, Doxford Ward

Closure mistake

IN questioning the wisdom of Peterlee Town Council’s decision to close the much-needed, much-valued and easily accessible Peterlee Information Centre, I am voicing the views of a number of dismayed and outraged residents.

Obviously, no right-minded person want to see taxpayers’ money being wasted or misused in any way. We expect public finance to be managed wisely and effectively to the benefit of our local communities.

However, by choosing to deprive local people of the many essential and highly useful services provided by Peterlee Information Centre and its obliging staff, the town council is doing this community a major disservice.

Peterlee Town Council urgently needs to get its priorities right and to serve the interests of the people properly by keeping this award-winning asset open.

Maria Rafferty, Hawes Road, Peterlee

Reunion success

A BIG thank-you to all ex-players, supporters and friends who attended Sunderland Catholic Club on Saturday, December 17 – in adverse conditions – for an over-40s’ football team reunion.

The club’s boiler had broken down, so there was no heating, but this did not stop the dancing, though most were jiving in top coats.

Excellent entertainment by Paul Priestley.

Fantastic work from organisers Dave Chambers, Billy Gilboy, and Brian (the cat) Cowie.

Thanks to the club for the use of the premises. It was a great night which raised £300 for Breast Cancer Research.

Thanks to all.

George Wallis, Ex-team secretary

Lewis Carroll links

WITH reference to Sarah Stoner’s feature on the Walrus and the Carpenter (Echo, December 8), she itemises Spottey’s Hole, Hope and Care, Hylton Castle, Sunderland-Wonderland, Jabberwocky parodying the Lambton Worm etc and says they “... have been put forward by generations of Wearsiders as theories of how Sunderland may have inspired the writings of Lewis Carroll”.

These theories actually first appeared in literature in my book A Town Like Alice’s in 1997. However, what are not in my book are the errors regarding Carroll, such as: “He is known to have been a frequent visitor at Southwick Rectory.” He did in fact only visit it twice, both times after the two Alice books were already published.

Another quote is also in error “... and also stayed with his cousin Margaret Wilcox at Highcroft House, Whitburn”. Highcroft House was built for and was the residence of Margaret’s brother Herbert Wilcox and his family. Margaret lived futher down Lizard Lane.

On the subject of the walrus, it is asserted Capt Wiggins “... brought it over from Siberia ... it was stored in a warehouse ... next door to where Carroll’s uncle worked as a Customs Collector”.

This uncle, William Wilcox, had died two years before Wiggins’ Siberian voyage.

On Wiggins and Carroll: “The two men were friends”. There is no evidence that they ever met. Carroll’s only visit to Sunderland in the years Wiggins was here (1869-1975) was two days in 1872.

At the end of the feature, my talk at the Museum in February is stated as “Alice in Wonderland” whereas it will be entitled appropriately, “The Walrus and the Carpenter”.

Michael Bute, Lewis Carroll Society