Letters, Wednesday, May 2nd, 2012

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Make use of grandparents

I READ an article about grandparents asking social workers to use them instead of putting children into care.

I think it is a splendid idea for a suitable family member to be entrusted with the care of a baby at risk, if the child must be removed from his or her natural parents.

However, adoption is a permanent action, it seems to me. If there is a temporary problem with the safe care of a child and it is decided by social services to move the child for foster care, I would have thought it better, where possible, to use family members known and loved by the said child than to house the child with strangers.

I am not involved in child care work. Indeed I am a grandmother, well past my sell-by date, you might say, but there is obviously a shortage for foster carers and what better solution than the above? Grandmothers have already brought up children so must have some experience in their care.

I think too much action today in many walks of life is done by the book, where common sense and feelings are not considered. We all have differing levels of mental ability and common sense, so not all cases should be put on the same level for consideration.

Doting grandmother, Sunderland (Name and address supplied)

Support banner

IT was nice to read in Saturday’s Echo about the restoration of the Wheatley Hill miners’ banner. Congratulations are to be extended to all who helped with this fantastic achievement.

Regular readers of the Echo will know of the coverage the new Houghton and Lambton banners received when they were commissioned in 2004 by the Banner Heritage Group, ably led by the late George Rowe and Pat Simmons, after many years of tireless fund-raising.

Between 1872 and 2004 Houghton Colliery presented no less than seven banners at the Durham Miners’ Gala. The lifespan of a banner can be short – many are made from delicate silk and some were even stored with no thought for their care, often rolled up when damp following a wet Big Meeting.

Two of Houghton’s seven banners survive – the fifth which dates from around 1939 and the seventh from 2004. The old relic can be seen on display in Wetherspoon’s Wild Boar pub, while the younger sibling is still presented each year at Durham.

Last year, George Rowe would have been proud to see his grandson carrying the Houghton banner at the Big Meeting. However, I was disappointed that there were very few Houghtonians marching behind it. This was in stark contrast to some other banners (such as Usworth Lodge) which had hundreds marching along with them.

As many will know, George, a former miner, sadly passed away in October 2008, suffering from cancer and emphysema. Each year he would say to me: “This is the last time I’ll get to the Big Meeting” – and I never wanted to believe him.

The 2012 Durham Miners’ Gala is not far off. Leet us honour the achievement of George Rowe by turning out and supporting the Houghton banner.

Paul Lanagan, Chairman, Houghton-le-Spring Heritage Society

Charity’s plea

I AM inviting your fitness-minded readers in Sunderland to soak up the electric atmosphere of the Great North Run in support of Meningitis UK.

More than 50,000 runners will gather on September 16 for the world’s most popular half-marathon.

By pounding the pavements for our charity, runners would be helping us to achieve our ultimate goal of stamping out meningitis for good.

Meningitis UK is focused on funding pioneering research to develop preventative vaccines to protect future generations.

We are offering 35 Golden Bond places to people interested in supporting the fight against a disease which shatters lives, affecting 3,400 people a year in the UK.

Those who want to be a part of this legendary run will receive one of our “Meningitis Musketeers” vests, an inspiring fund-raising pack and lots of moral support while you train and on the day from our team.

For more information about how to claim your Golden Bond place, please call me, Liz Gough on 0117 303 33 43 or email lizgough@meningitisuk.org

Liz Gough, Fund-raiser, Meningitis UK

Thanks to staff

I WISH to take this opportunity to thank all the doctors, nurses, tea makers and everyone else during my stay in hospital.

They were all very pleasant, cheerful and a credit to their profession.

God bless you all.

R. Martin, Tudor Grove, Sunderland