Letters, Saturday. November 12th, 2011

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Time to confess about pub loss

AS you know, over many years I have campaigned for a veritable plethora, nay, myriad of causes beginning in the 80s with my “historic trail of Sunderland” diligently pointing out all the old buildings that cease to exist in our fair metropolis, to bring back the Adelaide, old pubs, town hall etc.

I have gone on about the Green Terrace taxi saga, our “wind tunnel” (aka Park Lane Interchange), famous faces that can be found in the good people of Sunderland and the ignorance of smokers among many other bits and pieces that fell out of my mind at the time.

But I have decided to come clean and hold my hands up to a heinous crime that I inadvertently committed 10 years ago, almost to the day as I write this sad tale.

You see, dear readers, I remember watching, with sad, tear-filled eyes and a lump in my throat, the destruction of Vaux Brewery, after the purchase of this fine brewery by Whitbread, and I said to myself “Then I shall save The Brewery Tap at least” and on that premise I decided that from small acorns large oak trees shall come forth and I duly penned a letter to the Echo’s Letters Page, which was printed on a Thursday evening, in which I mentioned that Beamish Museum was on the lookout for old pubs and wouldn’t it be awe-inspiring if the people owning the aforementioned building could donate it to Beamish and it would have been job done for me.

I remember looking at the Brewery tap the same night thinking “job done”, for the publicity in the Echo would save it, but when I went by the Friday afternoon I viewed with horror the hastened destruction of what was once The Neptune, ironically, a Whitbread house, and I can only conclude that somebody in power had read the Letters Page and thought “we must start the destruction ASAP before this campaign gathers momentum”.

Readers, I humbly apologise for inadvertently giving these people the excuse to hurry through the destruction of this fine boozer.

Alan “the Quill” Vincent, Old Penshaw

Souvenir medals

I VISITED the War Memorial in Mowbray Park and viewed the very praiseworthy new additions that surround it. As the father of a family with two serving soldiers, Northern Ireland, Iraq, Kosovo, Bosnia, Spec Opps Uzbekistan and also two tours in Afganistan I felt very proud.

However, with the forthcoming Remembrance Sunday due, I feel I must denounce the wearing of souvenir medals or “bling”, on veterans’ parades. A clear case of genuine campaign medals over commemorative medals.

Send £40 to a post box in the UK and you can award yourself a chocolate box decoration or souvenir medal commonly termed “bling”. Official campaign medals are earned; commemoratives are bought. The wearing of souvenirs is a desecration of standards and an abuse, so much so that many senior military figures denounce it unequivocally.

General The Lord Guthrie said: “I disapprove of the wearing of medals which are not official. I think it cheapens the real medals. I think those who wear them should be ashamed”.

Lt. Col. (Retd) Peter Lockyer (head of the Defence Medal Office) said: “I would be obliged if Soldier Magazine would run a feature on trinket medals, and at very best pour scorn on those who actually wear them”. Actually, “Soldier” did, in December 2006, Peter Leavey (Royal British Legion): “The Central Chancery ruling is that such medals should not be worn at all”.

So there it is – wearers of chocolate box or vanity medals may kid their wives and grandchildren but they do not kid serving and ex-serving personnel.

M. J. McCarthy, R.E. 884, Sunderland

Bringing up baby

THERE has been much publicity recently regarding the need for more people to offer to adopt children – quite an undertaking.

Just two years ago a lovely baby was born into this family, the news of the pregnancy coming as a shock as well as a surprise from a family member we thought would never have any children.

Mother and baby lived with us, the grandparents, for a number of months after the birth. At the time I was nearly 75 years old, so it proved to be a very tiring experience for me, but I loved every minute of the time I spent helping my daughter to nurture her baby – even during the night!

The love and bonding feeling has never gone away and I miss those very early days when I could nurse, cuddle and sing softly to her.

Unfortunately I am now approaching my 77th birthday – well past the broody stage – and I wish I could sit with my feet up more often, but I would give any tiny baby a cuddle and a song any time.

My two-year-old granddaughter is at the stage of asserting her own will and very mischievous and active with it, but she still lights me up with joy when I see her. Children need to feel loved and guided by someone they trust.

Grandma, Sunderland

Farmers’ market

I STRONGLY disagree with Mrs E. Parker (Letters, November 1).

We do need farmers’ markets in the city centre. I have bought fresh vegetables, duck eggs and ham shank at the Park Lane farmers’ market and I was pleased with everything I bought. I have not bought any cheese there, but the people at work did and spoke highly of it.

When I am in Newcastle I never miss a visit to the Grainger Market. I like to shop around.

John Watson, Granville Street, Sunderland