Letters, Saturday, June 11th, 2011

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Have your say

Action needed to revive our Port

I WOULD like to appeal to the new blood on the council before they sink into the inevitable moribund torpor like the rest of the visionless allowance-takers.

We have a new dynamic team running the Port, led by Mathew Hunt (Port director) and Captain Kevin Ullah (harbourmaster). They are turning the Port around after many many years of neglect by the aforementioned allowance-takers.

Council officers should be assigned the job of getting money from Europe to modernise the dock gates and entrances. Many, many billions are spent in Europe and we are long overdue our fair share.

The neglect includes letting Nissan, a literal stone’s throw from the Wear, ship cars out of the Tyne, the filling in of the easiest accessed dry docks on the east coast of Britain (Greenwells), letting Northumbrian Water run hundreds of road tanker journeys to Teesside when they have a viable tanker laid up in the dock etc, etc.

I could not envisage this team allowing this to happen without questions being raised. Give them the tools and they will undoubtedly turn the Port into a viable asset.

Michael Dodds, Saint Aldates Court, Grindon, Sunderland

Vote for projects

TWO Durham-based projects are calling on your readers to vote for them in the semi-finals of The National Lottery Awards 2011.

The National Lottery Awards recognise the difference that Lottery-funded projects – both big and small – make to local communities.

National Lottery funding goes to a wide variety of groups, including arts, education, environment, health, heritage, sport and charity and voluntary projects.

Access to Collections – The Bowes Museum, based in Barnard Castle, and Revival of Ancient Crafts, based in Villa Real School, have both been shortlisted as semi-finalists for the big difference they have made with Lottery money.

Both the Durham projects now need the public’s votes to help them reach the next stage of the competition.

If they get through, each project will have the chance to receive national recognition on a BBC One TV show later this year and a £2,000 cash prize to spend on its project.

Anyone can vote for any of the projects by going to www.lotterygoodcauses.org.uk/awards.

Voting ends at midday on Monday, June 20.

Jackie O’Sullivan, National Lottery Awards, London

The scarecrow

He stands too stiff on one wooden leg,

Straw from his worn jacket collar peeps.

Cross pole for arms point without hands,

“Crows, pigeons come be my friends”, he entreats.

He looks out over the gold wheat fields.

Here and there a blush with crimson Poppy

“Sit on my arms, friends, for my coat is sloppy.

Seems all I’m good for are wasps and bees”.

Dark storm clouds gather over his head.

The thunder rattles down his lonely peg leg.

A northerly wind whistles through the sedge.

If he were living, he might wish to be dead

Thankfully, the cloud breaks, it’s only a shower

Bright rays of sunlight cascade o’er the wheat flower.

The winds left him leaning, “If I only had feet...”

Crows to his cross pole, give power so sweet.

Harvest time nears in fields of gold, so it’s said.

Combines and reapers, tractor and trailer in tow,

All kinds of activity... but the scarecrow feels low.

No use now for his fearsome ways,

So it’s back to the shed, ‘til springtime’s new days.

Edward Ryles

Buying and helping

I AM writing to let you know of a nationwide initiative that can have a real impact on your local area.

More than 180 charities that make and sell goods in order to give employment to disabled and disadvantaged people have come together under a new banner www.JustBuy.org.uk.

I imagine that many of your local readers would be thrilled to know that they can now use this website to look up charities that work in this way in their local area. We call them “social firms”.

Quite simply, our 180-strong membership is turning “buying” into “giving”. Our members make everything from cup cakes to garden gates.

People can now buy everyday products that actually help some of the most vulnerable people in society in your community area.

People can buy products and services from ourselves and the other JustBuy companies knowing that the money they spend doesn’t just buy them the product, it all helps a good cause’.

David Sore, Clarity – Employment for Blind People