Letters, Wednesday, July 6th, 2011

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Right to delay Vaux site plans

CRITIC Doctor T states the obvious: that Holmeside is not the high standard it used to be, High Street would benefit from additional shops and the Vaux site cries out for developement.

These are notable yet equally negative improvements on Councillor Bob Francis’s outcry describing the city centre as a wasteland (Echo, June 24).

Unlike Dr T, I consider the council is correct to delay development of the Vaux site in the current volatile and very uncertain national housing and retail shopping environments. Plans for tower blocks of appartments plus more shops would surely be a monstrous waste of this valuable central riverside site. In present circumstances it is unthinkable to expand retail in both Vaux and Holmeside areas.

If the council had the foresight to develop national and international tourism, as this great city deserves,the quality shops and hotels would follow, built perhaps on the valuable riverside site.

Yes, I can also be a severe but, hopefully, positive critic. On a visit to The National Glass Centre last week I met two glass artists from abroad who were horrified that little British glass was displayed and none whatever of the vast Pyrex range or Hartley Wood products. Not a piece either there or in the city museum.

What are our councillors doing? Have the ex-employees of Joblings no voice? They can’t have a strike! Jimmy Davison particularly should be remembered and recognised alongside his colleagues. I worked in Torrington when Dartington Glass was born and the Swedish blowers thought we had none.

Since my last letter praising many positive aspects of Sunderland I have been told of others missed – Ryhope Pumping Station, football supporters voted best by football league, greatest proportion of female supporters, Souter Lighthouse (not strictly in the city), Washington Old Hall.

Bring the City of Adelaide, plus a Liberty ship, outside the glass centre and we’d have a major tourist magnet that would bring wealth and good jobs for many.

Ken Spencer, Sunderland

Successful parade

THE organisers of Forces Day Sunderland would like to thank all those who took part in the Veterans’ Parade on June 25.

The parade was lead by the splendid military music talents of the boys and girls from The Borneo Band and bugles of the Army Cadets, a fantastic spectacle appreciated by all who were present.

The association standards of The Coldstream and Light Division and the members of each branch were well turned out together with the boys and girls of the local Army Cadets.

Hundreds turned out along the seafront to applaud the parade and flag-wave us on.

This event will take place next year and will continue to grow year on year. We are already well into the planning phase for next year and we would very much welcome the participation of more ex-servicemen and women.

More information will be released in the media during the year ahead.

Keith Powell, Parade organiser

Cruel nicknames

MY mate Monty from Canon Cockin Street claimed he got his nickname from the war hero who defeated the Germans at Alamein. In fact we called him Monty because he was cross-eyed and reminded us of Sunderland’s great goalkeeper of the 60s. He never accepted that, no matter how much we made it clear to him. Children can be cruel.

Nicknames – don’t you just love them? When I was a boy it was the era of National Service, and I actually knew boys with servicemen’s nicknames: Nobby Clark, Smudger Smith, Spud Murphy. The other kids called me Raspberry Ripple – I can’t think why. Later I got called Henry Whippet. Did I look like a greyhound? Then we did human biology at school, and we were old enough now to be interested in the female anatomy, so I was renamed ’Enery Nipple.

There’s a brilliant scene in a film starring Michael Caine and Simon Callow. Caine is angry at Callow and shouts out his old schoolboy nickname. It’s too rude to repeat in a family newspaper, let’s just say he suffered from bad attacks of flatulence (well, we all had someone like that in our class, didn’t we?). The look of horror on Callow’s face is wonderful. Here is a professional man, educated, sophisticated, reduced to terror because someone has called him by his old nickname.

How many of us would cringe with fear if confronted with a hated childhood nickname?

Henry Whipple, Coach Road Estate, Washington

Birthday thanks

TO all family, relations and friends for the flowers, cards and gifts received on the occasion of my 90th birthday, for the party at the Knack Club, the tea for me by the Scouts Fellowship, a mighty thank-you.

Winnie Drennam, Queens Avenue, Seaham

Crowtree bowlers

FOLLOWING the recent announcement of cut-backs at Crowtree Leisure Centre and the comments from the ward councillor Paul Dixon suggesting it’s time to close Crowtree, I felt compelled to point out to your readership that the indoor bowls club is still very much alive and kicking on the second floor.

Back in 1977, when Crowtree was built, local bowlers formed the Sunderland Indoor Bowls Club and for the last 34 years it has been an active part of Crowtree.

During that time the club has contributed financially to the hall’s facilities by installing a new playing surface, portable seating, new underlay, new wood floor and a sound-proof wall.

The club is run by volunteers.

It currently has a combined mixed membership of 450, and from September to April it operates 15 weekly leagues. These generally run morning, mid-afternoon and evenings on most days, but each day there are full sessions left open for the casual bowler and general public.

On most days you would see around 250 of its members pass through the doors at Crowtree and that is without the general casual bowler.

The club runs a men’s section and a ladies’ section, both of which run internal competitions and compete in a county league and national team events.

As a club we have enjoyed county and national success and have seen several England internationals coming through our ranks.

In light of the current financial climate the club realises savings need to be made by the council, and the announcement of the removal of casual bowls is a blow to attracting new members of the general public into the sport.  

However, the club is looking at introducing something which would enable the casual bowler and members of the general public to continue use the bowls hall facilities.

With the Government’s current obsession on improving everyone’s health, bowls at Crowtree has played a big part in providing a safe, organised arena where both genders over a good age range can get a decent two-hour workout.

We realise Crowtree may be reaching the latter stages of its life and can only hope the council recognise the part that indoor bowls has played in the community and find provision to maintain bowls in Sunderland should the lights go out at Crowtree.

If anyone would like to try indoor bowls, feel free to contact me on 548 3292 or e-mail rmck1964@aol.com.

Richard Mckie, Secretary, Sunderland Indoor Bowls Club

I SEE the leisure centres are to feel the weight of the council cuts and the public has to suffer.

It is time the council started in the civic centre first. The council has millions of pounds in the bank – why do they not use some of this and save jobs and stop making the public suffer?

But the people just keep voting the same lot back year after year. In 40 years of Labour control what have they achieved? Nowt. So I suppose Sunderland gets what it deserves.

G. H. Liddle, Roker, Sunderland

I THINK that the event last Thursday, when over 1,000 schoolchildren were given free rides and refreshments, was a brilliant success.

The Variety Club of Great Britain, which subsidised the event, and in particular the North East representatives, Jim Cleghorn, Frank Cronin and Bob Gladwin, should be congratulated on their efforts.

I am sure that all the children had a fantastic afternoon.

Brenda Calvert, Hipsburn Drive, Sunderland

I WOULD like to thank the person who kindly took the registration number of the car that hit mine outside Barclays bank on The Green, Southwick on Monday, June 20, at 2pm. You didn’t leave your name. Once again thank you.

Mrs B. Stokoe, Clovelly Square, Hylton Castle