Letters, Wednesday, November 2nd, 2011

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Some facts about football disaster

MR Lee has questions to ask about the Hillsborough disaster (October 24). Has he read the Taylor Report? I assume the Fawcett Street library still has a copy of it.

Liverpool fans were allocated the Leppings Lane end because the authorities decided there would be no “crossover” of rival fans. Because of the hooliganism of the 1980s, the two sets of supporters had to be kept separated. Liverpool fans coming from the west would have to go to Leppings Lane, the Forest fans would arrive from the south to the other end of the ground. Liverpool protested they needed a bigger ticker allocation, but to no avail.

Supt Duckenfield was told by his predecessor that on no account must big games be postponed or the kick-off delayed by crowd trouble. Did he fatally hesitate when he learned of the surge of fans at the Leppings Lane turnstiles?

In the 1980s the police treated opposition supporters like animals. I experienced that on my travels with SAFC fans.

Why did so many people travel from Liverpool without tickets? To soak up the atmosphere outside? Or did they hope for a situation where the big gates would have to be opened? Why did so many fans stay in the local pubs until the very last minute? This created the surge that overwhelmed everyone at the turnstiles.

Brian Clough caused a furore when he said that if Liverpool supporters had come to the ground early, sober, and in good order, there would have been no disaster. He knew the Forest fans were all in their seats half an hour before kick-off.

Frank Seely, Cotswold Close, Washington

Adoption appeal

NEXT week is national Adoption Week and Barnardo’s in the North East is looking to highlight a chronic shortage of people coming forward to adopt.

Children are being left in care for years because there are not enough people to adopt them and recent news of a record low in adoption rates was very disappointing – not least for the 1,000 children each year who are never found an adoptive family.

Successful adoptions not only transform the life of the child for the better, but also that of their new family. Seeing a child being transformed through the care and love they receive can be one of the most joyous experiences in an adoptive family’s life.

We at Barnardo’s are always inundated with the profiles of children – particularly sibling groups – who need new permanent families, so we are appealing for people who can offer a stable, safe and loving home for these children who urgently need to be settled into a new family.

We offer extensive preparation and training to adopters and provide a high level of emotional, practical and legal support to children and their adoptive families for as long as may be necessary after the adoption has taken place.

If you are interested in finding out more about adopting through Barnardo’s North East, please ring us for a chat and we can send you more information. The number to call is 0191 492 9000. We look forward to hearing from you.

Jonathan Ewen, Director, Barnardo’s North East

Seafront building

REGARDING the planned building on the seafront promenade reported in the Echo: although it is very welcome to see investment in our seafront area, I would like to write a note caution.

Part of our seafront’s appeal is the unspoiled Victorian look of the buildings and brickwork and, in my view, a building that looks like a Spanish villa would stick out like a sore thumb.  

How about trying to use similar sandstone-coloured bricks to fit in with the walls around the beach front?

The glass on top is a great idea, but please reconsider the whitewashed walls and modern wooden panels.

Chris Barker, Inverness Street, Sunderland

One-sided report

RECENTLY BBC Look North promised to look at life on benefits. Instead it shamelessly joined in the bullying of the unemployed, portraying one family as “living a life of luxury” on benefit, without once pointing out that most of that family’s income was in fact paid to a greedy landlord.

Rip-off rents are the real benefit black hole, although the gullible prefer to goad the victims of mass unemployment instead, seemingly oblivious to the fact that it could be themselves in the firing line very soon.

A regional news operation, funded by the taxpayer, trapped in its own comfort bubble, it is unwilling or incapable of providing the most basic news service.

It is useless and lazy, an affront to journalism. If the BBC is looking to make large savings here is one waste which should go.

Ian Hamilton, Shiney Row