Letters, Tuesday, February 24, 2015

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Show of strength save our station

THANK you to everyone who helped save our Sunderland City Centre fire station.

 People have been fighting against the planned closure of our Sunderland Central Fire Station since its announcement in November 2013.

 Sunderland people then attended the two consultation events and protested.

 Sunderland Fire Brigade Union (FBU) had 10,000 leaflets printed and firefighters posted them and handed them out in Market Square.

 A Facebook page was launched and collected nearly 8,000 followers. Many Sunderland people held meetings to help give support.

 Gratefully in February this year, after a Fire Authority budget meeting confirming the closure decision, our concerned Labour MP Julie Elliott got fully involved and together with our local paper Sunderland Echo, the fight became more fierce.

 The publicity and support from our Echo and local MP, along with our local radio station Sun FM, kept our campaign in the public eye for over a year.

 Petitioning in the Market Place, the Stadium of Light, the Air Show, Julie Elliott’s leaflets and door knocking campaigning, all kept up the pressure.

 Sunderland’s Trade Unions (TUC) then decided along with Julie and the Echo to hand in our massive petition at the next budget meeting in February last year.

 Sunderland TUC also organised a great, memorable, protest march from our threatened fire station to have a great show of strength – the ‘Sunderland 300’ march.

 On the day the petition was handed in, our local politicians listened to the public and reversed the closure decision.

 The people of Sunderland fought to save their fire station and ended up saving three.

 Well done Sunderland.

Gordon Chalk

Sunderland FBU and TUC

Fairness is missing

EVERYONE has had their say on our cup defeat at Bradford. We should have had a penalty, and the Bradford centre-half should have been sent off.

 Football commentators and neutral fans get excited when big clubs are knocked out by giant killers. This is the romance of the FA Cup. But if referees fail to make the correct decisions, or apply the laws of the game evenly to both teams, you’re bound to get cup upsets. Giant killing trumps fair play – is this what people want?

 It reminds me of the way we lost to Tranmere in 2000. They made a substitution just as one of their players was given a red card, so they played the last few minutes with 11 men when they should only have had 10.

 We protested to the FA – had they deliberately cheated? Their manager called us whingers and moaners, but our appeal was rejected, which Bob Murray and Peter Reid had to accept with dignity.

 We suffered because the rest of the football world wanted gallant little Tranmere to beat the Premier League team. It didn’t matter how.

Frank Seely,

Washington