Letters, Thursday, April 7th, 2011

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Why the delay in traffic calming?

I FELT compelled to write after I received a leaflet from a Labour Party candidate in the Barnes ward claiming that Conservative councillors quashed plans for traffic-calming around Barnes School at a planning and highways meeting in November 2005.

I live in the immediate area, have family members attending the school and attended Barnes School myself so I have a close interest in this subject. In fact as a child I was injured in a traffic accident outside the school so understand the importance of the problem.

Wanting to know if this was correct, I obtained the minutes of the meeting (22/11/05) and found that this was not the case. The traffic-calming measures were approved at the meeting not quashed. A consultation process was raised and it was requested that the views of residents and local businesses be obtained. This was refused and the plans passed, so I must ask why it has taken the Labour-dominated council over five years to implement the required safety works.

Indeed a neighbour remembered that we had received a letter from the council some years ago informing us the measures approved were to commence, complete with a map of the streets to be affected, and he had wondered why nothing had happended. I am appalled at misleading information on such an important local issue.

Name and address supplied

City overlooked

I WAS annoyed to hear on the Radio Four programme History of the World in 100 Objects the director of the British Museum say that Thomas Edison invented the filament lamp when we know it was invented by Joseph Swan of Sunderland.

I am pleased that G.W. Moffatt put him right and he and John Coates have both corrected this in your Letters Page. Since then, on Saturday, March 26, on Channel Four’s Seven Ages of Britain, Bethany Hughes stated Bede was sent to Jarrow in 680AD to learn from Benedict Biscop – no mention of St Peter’s Monkwearmouth. I understood Jarrow monastery wasn’t even built at that time. It was founded by Coelfrith in 682AD. Bede would be 10 years old then. The dedication stone is dated 685AD.

I am sure Bede would spend a great deal of his life at Jarrow, but it does annoy me that the importance of St Peter’s, Sunderland, is ignored. I realise that Bede’s World, Jarrow is a tourist attraction so once again Sunderland misses out.

Joyce Dixon, Newbottle

Couple’s thanks

MANY thanks to our family and friends for the lovely cards and donations in lieu of presents to Help For Heroes. A cheque for £500 has been sent.

Also thanks to Ann from the Pie Shop, your buffet was superb, and to Awesome Productions, your disco was super. Thanks also go to the committee and staff from St Leonard’s Catholic Club.

You all made our Golden Wedding such a wonderful occasion. Love to you all and God bless.

Tom and Cathy Donkin

On the buses

I AGREE with the letter writer re. keep our bus passes. We pensioners, who have worked all our lives, are entitled to some perks. Why don’t the bus companies make a flat charge for people who take up to four or six seats with the huge prams and pushchairs and the weekly shopping?

I witnessed a wheelchair and carer unable to board the bus last week to be left in the wind and rain because these seats were occupied by a large pushchair with no child (on the mother’s knee) and about six bags hanging from the handles.

What is the matter with the younger generation unable to walk two stops? I walked miles with my children in the pram, as others my age also did. We had no choice. I try to walk as much as possible, but please, now the legs are tired, the hips need replacing and we are unable to cart heavy bags, let us have peace of mind and a little respect in our twilight years. It catches up with everyone.

A keep fit pensioner

Thanks for support

I WOULD like to thank all the people of Town End Farm, Hylton Castle and Castletown who voted for me four years ago to be Labour councillor for the Castle Ward.

During those four years I tried my best and hope I never let anyone down, and if I did fail to achieve some things it wasn’t for lack of trying.

I also want to thank all council officers, councillors and the people of the Castle Ward and Sunderland for their patience, kindness and encouragement they gave me to try new things and, hopefully, make a difference.

I was very humbled by councillors and the public giving me a standing ovation in the Council Chamber at my last council meeting, and I appreciate that special honour very much.

There will be tough times ahead with £58million cut from this year’s budget, and I would very much like to have been involved to help us all get through it, but for reasons beyond mine and Sunderland Labour Party’s control it is not to be.

I wish Steve Foster, who is replacing me, the very best in the election and hope everyone will support him, acknowledging that if Steve had not stepped in then Castle Ward would have had someone who does not live in the Ward imposed on us.

So many thanks to everyone once again. It might not always have been a pleasure but it certainly has been a privilege to be a councillor for the Castle Ward and Sunderland.

Coun Denny Wilson

Comparing prices

IN reply to Peter Johnson (Letters, March 30), I think he is being totally unrealistic comparing the price of fish 50 years ago with anything 50 years ago. Fish was so abundant it was possibly cheaper than the chips – the only food not rationed during the war.

Now compare the costs with something more realistic like Newcastle Brown or gold. Forty-five years ago Brown Ale was 2s/6d, so 280 bottles equalled one £35 funeral. Today Brown Ale is £1.59 a bottle, or 1,949 bottles for a £3,100 funeral.

Fifty years ago gold was 35 dollars an ounce. Today it’s about 1,000 dollars an ounce – still only one third the rise in funeral costs

John Palmer, Roker

Funeral figures

I THINK I will have been around longer than Mr Johnson, and I cannot recall fish and chips being as cheap as one shilling (5p). However, I can recall, that a tradesman in the shipyards earned £8 15s for 47 hours.

Accepting that his figure for a funeral is correct (£35), one would have to work four weeks to pay for a funeral. Dividing £3,100 by four means that a person has to earn £775 week to meet this comparison. The average wage in the UK is £423 a week, so using the same calculation one will have to work 7.3 weeks.

So unless I have miscalculated, the cost of a funeral using Mr Johnson’s comparison should be £423 multiplied by four weeks, which equals £1,692.

I am recalling wages as they were in 1955. Is what I am saying logical? All Mr Johnson has proved is that the price of fish and chips has rocketed.

Baggy pants

Core values

I THANK Debra for her gentle response to my reply to her letter – and, of course, I was not challenging her individual right to refer to herself as a Christian.

However, I feel that she has not supported her case by quoting the various standards of behaviour that children are taught, because none of these values are solely preached by Christians. They are the values held by most creeds, and indeed (as I said in my last letter) folk with no religious beliefs.

Therefore, particularly in this day and age, it is not enough to claim these standards as proof positive of a Christian life actively led.

Additionally, of course, there is the point that many citizens of this country who belong to other creeds will not feel comfortable at the suggestion that they do not hold decent values.

We must never lose sight of the fact that “Love thy neighbour as thyself” is one of the two core values of the Christian way of life.

David Herring

Smoke, no fire

ON Wednesday, March 22, at 5.30pm our house filled with smoke. The fire alarm was on. We have an emergency telecare phone in. I panicked and pressed the red button.

All the services came out – ambulance, fire brigade, social care, telecare, police – all in a few minutes.

Our neighbours, Bernadette and Michael, saw the smoke and came along to help.

My husband and I are very grateful to all the people. Thank you all.

It was an electrical fault on the microwave. No fire.

Matterson Family, Holborn Road, Sunderland