Letters, Thursday, October 13th, 2011

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Sports hall team should be backed

HAVING read the report in the Sunderland Echo on Monday, October 3, I am totally disgusted with the decision of Sunderland City Council not to allow North East Sports to take on the lease of a sports hall in Southwick which has not been used for some time.

Mr Curtis and his team are to be applauded for their hard work and dedication in organising our youngsters. It is so important that we give him, and his team, all the support we can in these difficult times, when juvenile crime and gang culture are on the increase.

With the help of people like Mr Curtis and his team, along with the development that has taken place, Southwick is becoming a desirable area to live.

When we talk about cost-cutting measures, would it not have been more cost-effective to have bought the Vaux site when it was first put on the market and developed it, instead of allowing it to develop into a legal mess and becoming a financial burden on the tax payer, not only in legal fees but in lost revenue and, at the end of the day, having to find two million pounds to clear up the mess left behind by the demolition contractors?

We are told by the city council how every week government cutbacks are preventing the council funding various projects, yet we see how the council can find £24,681 for bottled water.

When reading the story on Mr Curtis, it was as if history was repeating itself. It was not so very long ago when Sunderland City Council were assessing ex-servicemen for council tax. They were only one of a few councils in the country that classed their war pension as income.

After causing these ex-servicemen so much stress, the council had the audacity to send the Mayor to the Armistice Parade.

I often wonder what sort of people are running our city.

F. W. Shiels, Rydal Mount, Fulwell,

Sunderland

Such kindness

PLEASE allow us to thank some wonderful, caring people. Without them we’d have been lost.

My husband Bob (81 years old) collapsed in The Galleries and the help received from strangers was marvellous.

They were absolute treasures, and I pray everyone found to be in this situation is as lucky as we were.

Firstly a lovely man, Russell Sladen, of Sulgrave. He was on his hands and knees talking to Bob and he did bring Bob around. Russell, I honestly thought you were a doctor. Now I know you aren’t, but you were brilliant. Thank you so much to you and your lovely lady.

A lovely young lady, Kelly, from Bodycare – thank you for bringing a seat for Bob and your very kind caring.

Two security men, Dave (Marr I think) and Phil, for care and phoning an ambulance, thank you.

To John Stephenson, Albany, your caring kindness will always remembered by both of us.

To Sharon and caring friends at The Westwood, thank you Sharon for your ongoing care, and many other people whose names I don’t know, such as ambulance drivers, thank you all so very much.

Bob is recovering well now. He is back from hospital, and we will never forget the kindness we were shown. It certainly restores your faith.

The last word to Russell. hope we see you again and, young man, you should be a doctor.

God bless you and heartfelt thanks.

Bob and Stella Hall, Albany, Washington

Hot air over water

CAMERON is currently reducing workers’ rights even further. Therefore it’s no surprise to read the local Tories have imitated the cruel behaviour of their leader and protested against the council for spending money to quench the thirst of the workers.

I presume the figures for the cost of water were not hidden under a rock. So is our council tax being wasted on Tory councillors who are supposed to be forever diligent in observing council spending yet had to depend on an ordinary citizen to inform them of what was going on under their noses?

However, as usual this hysterical outburst from Dominic McDonough had no foundation. The precise and comprehensive reply from the council illustrated how the Tory claim had no substance. In other words, full of hot air.

W. Quinn, Duke Street, Millfield, Sunderland

Writer’s obsession

HAS Tom Lynn ever written a letter without a reference to our black and white neighbours?

His letters are always worth reading, but his obsession with Newcastle United leaves him looking a bitter man.

Would he accept a derby win and relegation? Methinks yes.

Alan Jones, Walden Close, Ouston

Panto’s rubbish

THE Empire is leading the way by not producing another pantomime this year, and I was delighted to see that it is putting on a Christmas show featuring Matthew Kelly.

The days of the pantomime are dying, and deservedly so. I find this type of entertainment to be immature and childish. What is so funny about children and parents shouting things like “Oh yes he will” and “He’s over there”?

Being of above average intelligence and being blessed with a high IQ, the pantomime did nothing for me. Even at an early age I was reading the works of Dickens and Shakespeare, which was far more inspirational than paying to watch men dressed up as women with a load of over-the-top make-up on their faces telling daft stories.

I remember when I went once there was even two men disguised a cow. Of course, I spotted this straight away and left.

The other point is the scripts they use are so naff and have been going around for years. Cinderella, Jack and the Beanstalk, Aladdin – it’s the same old patter year after year.

Crummy sets, irrelevant pop songs with a lot of corny jokes we have all heard before thrown in.

The only winners are the self-indulgent writers of such rubbish. They must be laughing all the way to the bank when you think of all the people who pay to watch such drivel, and the noise is dreadful: a load of screaming children usually wearing Mickey Mouse ears or waving a luminous wand.

I cannot believe that pantomime has gone on so long. It’s only tradition.

There is no acting skill on show and the stars who play the parts love it. I am not surprised – they get thousands of pounds for working a few weeks over Christmas and get to stop in the best hotels.

Children would be better off studying Romeo and Juliet, Macbeth or reading the Look and Learn annual. At least this will teach them something.They will learn nothing from a pantomime.

Mick “The Pen” Brown

Toddle thanks

I’D like to say a special thank-you to the Sunderland toddlers who walked on the wild side this summer, raising money for the UK’s largest children’s charity, Barnardo’s.

This year’s animal-themed Big Toddle attracted more than 300 toddlers dressed as bears, lions, tigers and many other animals, in events all over the city.

So far this year, nearly 400,000 toddlers have taken part in events across the country – and it’s not too late for parents and nurseries to host their own toddle event.

Big Toddles are still happening all over the country, in back gardens and in local parks, and nurseries can be encouraged to organise their own Big Toddle events too.

Simply invite your friends or neighbours to take part in a short sponsored walk, and enjoy taking part in the UK’s number one fund-raising event for under-fives.

I’d like to encourage all readers to join in the fun. All money raised for Barnardo’s goes to local projects that help and support disadvantaged and vulnerable under-fives.

Find out more about The Big Toddle by visiting www.bigtoddle.co.uk or call 0845 270 9900.

Thank you for taking part in Barnardo’s Big Toddle 2011 and for making a real difference to children’s lives.

Suzi Campbell, Barnardo’s North East Community fund-raiser

Hotel for health

SUNDERLAND Council should not waste its money on another hotel. The NHS already has the finest for hospitality, service and politeness and much more.

I’m talking about the Cardiology Department at Sunderland Royal (in every sense of the word) Hospital where I was fortunate enough to spend the weekend recently.

The NHS is truly alive and kicking. God Bless you all.

A. Pollitt, Mere Knolls Road, Sunderland

Rethink on park

A FEW weeks ago I wrote to you with some very adverse comments about Barnes Park. In fact, I was so sarcastic that I renamed the park “Bairns Park”.

Recently I walked through the park again. I could speak at great length about it, but unfortunately I am not able to because my mouth is full eating my own words.

The comments that I made about skateboards, litter and children running through flower beds were all accurate at the time. On my recent visit it was completely different – the schools were not on holiday.

I realised then, of course, that it wasn’t the park that was at fault but the human beings who were using the park, or should I say, the human beings who were misusing the park, but that brings up an entirely new topic.

The park itself looked wonderful and the designers of it should be congratulated. It is not their fault the misbehaviour of the people who are using it – it is ours.

Wilson Taylor, Pilgrims Court, Newcastle