Letters, Tuesday, February 28th, 2012

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Hospital memories from Wearside

MY late father, George, used to work in the wages office at the General Hospital for quite a few years and he told me bits about Sunderland’s hospitals. For instance, the Kayll Road end of the General’s grounds is 100 feet higher than the Sorley Street end and I remember that it used to have its own bar in the block just behind the “old” nurses’ homes on the Chester Road side, where I and a friend were served cider but refused beer when we were about 12 or 13 at a Christmas disco in the early 70s.

Havelock Hospital was out in the country, with it being an infection hospital. Strangely it was only separated by a wall from Grindon Hall Hospital, where I was “stationed” for 18 months from 65 to 66 with a lad from Seaham. I have forgotten his name but he used to rock his “cot” until it tipped him out. If you recognise yourself, please get in touch.

I also remember my father saying: “If the planes come over bombing you here, don’t worry because there’s an air-raid shelter under the ‘hillock’ out in the grounds”. I don’t know if that bit was true or dad was just having a bit fun with me, but there is/was a wooded hillock in the grounds, just waiting to be excavated.

Over the water, Monkwearmouth Hospital has mainly flat roofing. This is because the hospital was built to be extended upwards.

Finally it is back over the water to the Royal Infirmary, another hospital I frequented, working there in the late 70s. The porters’ lodge used to be frequented by the late Ronnie White who would try to give the porters sandwiches that were “bright green” that were politely refused by them, my father included.

Now, as you all know, the Infirmary was built by donations from the people of Sunderland and should it be sold off I wonder if the relevant ancestors will receive their “donations” back?

Just a thought ...

Alan “The Quill” Vincent, Old Penshaw

Good neighbour

THANK you, Mr Oliver, for your kind letter. I’m not spiteful or nasty. Just to let you know I received the Best Neighbour award in 2004 from Gentoo. I used to put drops in a few of my neighbours’ eyes, take them to the doctor for their blood, gave them home-made pies and broth.

I had dozens of coffee evenings for people to go to Lourdes. Blue Watch in Ryhope were desperate for money to pay insurance. Yes, I’m well known for cadging raffle prizes. I raised £200.

A young, well-known swimmer needed money for travel expenses. I’ve knitted balaclavas for soldiers, even for young priests in Scotland. I’ve even taken friends who have died, so I looked after them as the families were working.

Councillor Oliver, I think you owe me an apology. I’m not a very fit person, I’ve got angina, am diabetic, high blood pressure and other ailments. Ask anyone in Ryhope. I’ve never been spiteful in my life. Not bad for an “ignorant” 81-year-old, but by God I’ve still got my buttons.

Grace Cassidy, Fee Terrace, Ryhope

Think-tank report

A LITTLE less than 12 months ago, Tracy Young from Washington wrote a rather sarcastic letter accusing the Labour Party of scaremongering by suggesting OAP free travel passes were under threat from this Coalition Government.

Lo and behold in my morning paper (the i) a report by the Social Market Foundation think-tank suggests just such action is necessary, along with the removal of winter fuel payments and free TV licences from “better-off pensioners,” i.e. those who have managed to put a bit away for their old age.

Now a report by a think-tank may not count for much, but experience shows that Government use these reports to soften up the impact when the “painful” decisions are made. It will not happen before the next election, but don’t hold your breath if the “caring” Tories get in.

Derek Robe, Helena House, Albert Court, Royal Courts, Sunderland

Dog-mess bags

DOG fouling is the pedestrians’ curse. Dogs are not the problem, it’s the owners. What sort of person allows their dog to foul a public place and then leave the mess for some unfortunate to put their foot in it?

Apart from health implications, it’s selfish, inconsiderate, irresponsible and downright lazy. Then there is the practice of picking up the mess and putting it in a little plastic bag only to throw the bag away in the street. What sort of a mindset do these people have? What do they think is going to happen to the bag and the contents? Lampposts and grass verges seem to be the most popular places to leave these bags to accumulate despite the council providing bins.

 So tell me dog owners, why do some of you leave these bags in the streets and elsewhere to blight our city? You know who the offenders are, so let’s have a bit of consideration to others.

J. Rowell, Herrington