Letters, Thursday, August 18th, 2011

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Pier has suffered serious neglect

FURTHER to the decision of the council to close the Roker Pier to enable repairs to the safety rail and decking, the report on the front page of the Echo does not mention the fact that the pier will be closed again later this year for repairs to the lighthouse.

The pier is the biggest attraction on the seafront. It is a permanent feature of great interest giving visitors an opportunity to exercise and participate in sea angling. Both activities are now being prevented by the lack of preventive and regular maintenance of the pier’s superstructure.

The lighthouse is in a shocking condition and will require a great deal of repair work and, not surprisingly, a large amount of money to put it right.

It is to be hoped that the two Labour councillors representing St Peter’s Ward, being members of the ruling group in council, will exert their influence on their council to actually get something done about the serious neglect of the pier. To be honest, I think they will be banging their heads on the council’s brick wall of indifference and neglect.

Recently a writer to the Letters Page stated that Conservative councillors had done nothing for the seafront. What humbug! Conservative councillors have been elected time and time again as the Fulwell electors voted them in.

They, the voters, know who is to blame for the stagnation of the seafront, the “on-off” Holmeside Triangle development, the Port, and the Farringdon Row project, all of which are on indefinite hold as the council wavers as to which way to go.

Good heavens they’ve had 40 years in which to make this city of ours special and they have failed. The latest embarrasment is the delay in approving the Sainsbury’s development in in the North West of the city. If this an example of the council’s boasting headline “The Sunderland Way of Working”, they should change it pretty quick ... it’s not working.

Perhaps your correspondent, who has the unmitigated gall to criticise hard-working Fulwell councillors, should ask the real culprits the reasons for the lack of progress in making Sunderland a great place.

Coun G. E. Howe

Doing nothing

WELCOME to Sunderland – or should it be the nothing land?

While the little resort up the road has a lovely fairground, what have we got? Nothing. They have a beautiful park with pedalos, steam train etc. What have we got? You guessed it, nothing.

The comedians on the council “av bin bragging” about the millions the airshow brings in, the millions Take That etc bring to the city.

Have they spent it? We don’t even have decent seats to sit on. The ones they’ve just put down are a joke.

We have the airshow for three days and our kids can’t feel the benefit of the fairground. They are off for six weeks or more. We have the room for crazy golf, paddling pools, fairs etc, but they do nothing.

Maybe the sign “Welcome to Sunderland” should read “Welcome to Never Never Land”.

After all the letters of concern from residents of Sunderland that have been written to our local paper, still they do nothing. Maybe Mick the Pen should be elected. We could do with a “laff”.

Norman Host, Eglinton Tower, Sunderland

Wing-walker, 91

ONE of the attractions at the airshow was the Breitling Wing Walker Ladies. What is not generally known in that field of expertise is a man who has recently entered the Guinness Book of Records.

He took off from Lydd Airfield in Kent, flew on the biplane at 1,000 feet, 100mph, to France, and returned after a glass of brandy.

He has raised more than £1million for cancer charities.

Who is this remarkable man? He is Tom Lackey, and he’s 91 years old. He took up wing walking 10 years ago, after his wife passed away.  

He certainly deserves a public honour.

After all, he must believe, as some of us also aged believe, life is not a problem to be solved but an experience to be lived.

Tom certainly believes in a wing and a prayer.

Bill Craddock, Donvale Road, Washington

MPs out of touch

SURPRISE, surprise, our three local MPs are against the return of the death penalty. One wonders how many more innocent people will have to die before they finally come to their senses.

Perhaps the MPs would tell us how many have been murdered by those given “life sentences” and subsequently released?

In a civilised society, those who commit heinous crimes are properly dealt with, but in Britain they are treated with kid gloves and kept in relative luxury, while the victim’s family get virtually no help from the state and often very little sympathy.

The contempt in which our local MPs hold the people of Sunderland demonstrates everything that is wrong with the Labour Party. They are in Parliament to represent the views of their constituents, not their own, so why do we suffer them?

M. Brown, Hendon Road, Sunderland

The lost heroes

PERHAPS the trouble with the youth of today is not that they are all bad, it’s just that their childhood was different from other generations and that they have no heroes to aspire to.

In my day we read comics and lots of the characters were fictional characters that we used to look up to and actually wish that we were them. Stars from the Victor and the Hotspur included Alf Tupper The Tough Of The Track. He lived on a riverboat, ate fish and chips and was a brilliant mid-distance runner.

There was Morgyn The Mighty, the strongest man in the world, and Captain Hercules from The Valiant who led platoons across enemy lines to defeat the Nazis.

The Victor always had a front cover that illustrated the life of a real hero, usually a soldier or airman who had won the Military Medal or the Victoria Cross. This was described in great detail. In fact I believe one front cover featured a soldier from our city (can any reader confirm this?)

Take a walk into any newsagent’s and have a look at the comic section now. Apart from the odd Dandy or Beano there are no others. This is a real shame as many kids learnt to read through buying comics.

It’s the same with films. We all used to go to the ABC on a Saturday morning and watch legends like Flash Gordon, The Lone Ranger and Zorro. Good always triumphed over evil, but they don’t make stars like this any more.

But we all wanted to be Zorro or the masked man on a white horse. Like the comics, these stars have all but disappeared and so have standards. That’s why children have it too easy these days – mollycoddled and living on diet of stringy chips and burgers.

Personally I think that all these yobs need a good thrashing and for society to get back to basics.

Mick “The Pen” Brown

Ditch Labour

I WOULD like to know what our dear MP Sharon Hodgson is so scared of. She is strongly against the retention of business rates for local councils. Could she be worried that she will have to actually do something to attract private business to this area?

For many years she and her fellow Labour MPs have sat idly by watching Sunderland go deeper and deeper into a local recession. What is the result? A city which has fallen short.

Why do we vote in these people time and time again? I am proud of my city, but a tear comes to my eye when I see it fall short. We have a small-town mentality caused by Labour MPs and councillors who sit in safe seats and think we should get second best. The Vaux site is a prime example of this.

For years they have stood in the way of jobs and progress. Labour, the party of the working man, has stopped working men like me and you getting jobs. They believe they know best and then get it wrong time and time again.

It filled me with anger when our MP Julie Elliott suggested sending jobs to the Tyne instead of here. Do they think we are fools?

It is time for this city to turn its back on the Labour Party. Private investment is needed now if we are to become the great city we can and should be. Give private companies the scaffolding to grow and watch us climb up and reach our potential

Dominic McDonough

Hospital stay

AFTER my recent stay in D48 I would like to thank Mr Green and his wonderful team for the excellent job they do. Also thanks to the nursing staff, physio team, domestic staff and the porters, especially Pat. Your hard work doesn’t go unnoticed.  

Thanks to you all. Keep up your excellent work.

Glyn Bathgate, Sunderland

Charity’s thanks

MEMBERS of the Sunderland and South Shields branch of Guide Dogs for the Blind Association would like to thank the people of Sunderland for their wonderful generosity during the collection day on July 23.

A total of £853.87 was raised. We are very grateful to everyone concerned.

Pat Orrell, Secretary, Sunderland and South Shields GDBA

Speed humps

REGARDING the ongoing saga of the demon traffic humps at Seaham, I was disgusted to learn from your article that nothing was to be considered, let alone done, until next spring.

We are being asked to be patient and “see what happens”. If we are expected to get used to them and stop complaining, well this is not going to happen.

Goodness knows what additional problems they will cause when the snow and ice of winter arrive.

The comments of Councillor Geraldine Bleasdale beggar belief. The traffic humps are far from being “fine” and she should take the time to observe the discomfort and annoyance on the faces of those she represents as they “bomb” along the road at 10-16mph.

Those responsible should have the decency and courage to hold their hands up and admit their costly mistake. We should not be allowed to be left to suffer for months.

Three humps would have been more than enough to slow traffic down and not antagonise everyone.

C. Coulthard, Daldon Grove, Seaham

Good and bad in park

I WRITE to say that while I think that the regeneration of Barnes Park has been very successful, it is now a victim of its own popularity.

It is packed to capacity during the summer holidays and you can’t seem to move for people. I am not a huge fan of all the wooden play equipment. While it is all very noble and environmentally friendly, the poor parents of children aged four or five get no respite from their kids whatsoever.

Before everyone throws their hands up in moral outrage, let me explain. Usually, in the park, while a small degree of parental supervision is required, the parent can stand and have an ice lolly in peace while their child plays, whereas now they need constant supervision on all the ropes and so forth.

It leads to more “helicopter parenting”, as I call it, and the children, unless they are, say, seven or upwards, can’t really run around unsupervised to any degree.

Why are there no swings in the older kids’ play area? This is a real shame as my little girl loves swings but she was sent away from the younger kids’ swings, rightfully so, I must add, because she was too tall.

I think that the pond looks beautiful, as do all the walks around the park, and, indeed, the bandstand as well, but why

not organise some more music in the bandstand during the summer holidays? Surely an enterprising soul must have thought of this one already.

However, on a more positive note, congratulations to the park lady who patrols the park regularly. I saw her successfully deal with a loud, foul-mouthed woman with an equally unpleasant dog, who was going to let her dog do its business in the small child’s play area, one Saturday. Some of these dog owners seem to think that they have carte blanche to let their dogs roam where they please, and yell a stream of invective if challenged. She is an asset to the park.

Helen Julia Kerr

Answers, please

W. QUINN, as usual, does not respond to questions asked but goes off on tangents, throwing up smokescreens (Letters, August 12).

My questions to him were simple: What did Blair and Brown do to curb News International excesses during their 13 years in power and what did Ed Milliband say to News International about breaking up the organisation during his 15 meetings with them?

Please, Mr Quinn, no more spurious history lessons, just answers.

Coun Alan Wright, Conservative, St Chad’s Ward

Things We Remember

WHEN people met and married a long time ago,

They worked long hours and wages were low.

No TV, no wireless, only a tin bath, times were hard,

Just cold water taps and a toilet down the yard,

No holidays abroad, no carpet on the floor

They had coal burning fires and did not lock their doors.

Children arrived, no pill in those days.

They had to live without any state aids.

Children were safe to go and play in the park,

Elderly folk could go for a walk in the dark.

No Valium, no drugs, or LSD,

They cured most of their ills with a cup of Ringtons tea.

No vandals, no muggers, they had nothing to rob.

They felt they were rich with a couple of bob.

I think people were happier in those by-gone days,

More caring, more kind, in so many ways.

The milkman and the paper lad would whistle and sing.

A night at Blackhall Cinema was like a mad fling.

People got their share of struggle and strife.

They just had to face it as a pattern in life.

When the kids had gone, they would look back through the years.

They did not think of the bad times and their trouble and tears,

But remembered the blessings, their home and their love

And shared them together, and they thanked God above.

Jimmy Taylor, Ex Blackhall Colliery miner, Mulberry, Coxhoe

New airshow site?

WHAT a great picture in the Echo recently of Herrington Country Park. Like I have said before, it would be a great place to hold the airshow.

It would also give the people of Seaburn and Roker a break.

J. Ferguson. St Luke’s Road, Sunderland