Letters, Tuesday, July 7, 2015

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Remember ‘the few’

Starting on July 10, and continuing throughout the summer, people across the country will be marking the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Britain.

 As we recall those fateful days and celebrate the bravery of the airmen involved, we also remember our enduring debt of gratitude to all who serve or have served.

 The RAF Benevolent Fund believes it is important for the country to share in the memory of that battle, which played out in the summer skies overhead and saw the heroism of “the few” save Britain from invasion.

 We want to invite people across the UK to join us in showing their thanks for “the few” and celebrating a defining moment in our nation’s history.

 That is why we are launching the RAF Benevolent Fund’s inaugural Great British Sunday Lunch.

 A chance for families, friends, and communities to gather together on September 13 to host their own lunch, whether it be around the dining table or on a picnic rug in the late summer sun.

 We hope readers will join us and help us raise vital funds so we can continue to support RAF veterans, serving personnel and their families.

 Readers can find more information and sign up at www.rafbf.org/gbsl.

Air Marshal Christopher Nickols,

Controller

RAF Benevolent Fund

Time is no great healer

The Troubles were a dark chapter in Ireland’s history; a low point for Anglo-Irish relations.

 The conflict claimed the lives of 3,530 people and 45,000 more were injured.

 Despite a most lethal struggle, peace was achieve, forgiveness given and (a degree) of normality restored.

 The Good Friday Agreement, as well the other steps towards amity, helped to put to bed the issue of Northern Ireland’s place in the United Kingdom.

 Mercifully, long has it been since Northern Ireland made the same headline news that it made in the late 20th Century.

 However, there remains one chapter of our own history – one less destructive and one certainly less deadly – that a great many seemingly cannot forget or forgive: Margaret Thatcher’s premiership.

 Curiously, 17 years since the Good Friday Agreement is enough time for the Irish to learn to live peaceably with one another but 30 years since the end of the miners’ strike is not enough for many in this city and in our region to put the anguish of the Thatcher era behind them.

 If only I had a pound for every time I heard that someone will not vote Tory, or never will vote Tory, because of what Thatcher did – well over a generation ago.

Craig Robinson,

via email