Letters, Wednesday, September 10, 2014

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Are you related to brave lifesaver?

ON behalf of Sunderland Volunteer Life Brigade, I am trying to trace descendants of Reuben Swalwell (1887-1959) and his wife Jane, nee Leviss (1888-1943).

 Jane’s father, John Leviss, is the only Sunderland Brigadesman to lose his life during a rescue. This year is the 120th anniversary of his death and the Brigade would like to commemorate the event.

 We are in touch with a different branch of the family but if possible, would like to involve any of Reuben and Jane’s descendants.

 I believe that Reuben and Jane had two children, a daughter Isabella and a son John, both born in Sunderland. I can be contacted by email at kathleen.gill@virgin.net or by phone/text on 07990786220.

Katy Gill,

Sunderland Volunteer 
Life Brigade.

Memories of the first school cruise

SARAH Stoner’s recent spread on school cruises brought to mind the first one after the war.

 We were bound for Switzerland to learn to ski. I mention there that I could hardly stay upright, never mind move. The only names I remember are Mary Davidson and Mabel and Dorothy Boult. I’m not sure if Pauline Craggs, sister of WL Craggs may have been there.

 The voyage home is what is remembered well. Approaching Newhaven, the rough seas got even rougher and Newhaven was going up and down as we sank into troughs and rose on crests.  

 There was even a news flash about it, which alarmed our parents. I wonder if any female pensioners remember our adventure?

MK Shearer.

Ashya’s story isn’t all about money

IT is always sad and perhaps a little shameful when people use sick children to score political points.

 We have now seen an unsubstantiated claim that the decision not to give proton beam therapy to Ashya King, or any child with brain cancer, is all down to the cost (Echo Letters, September 3).

 However, the real reason given by qualified doctors was medulloblastoma “was not on the list of conditions which could benefit from the treatment”.

 Furthermore, if the use of proton beam therapy is being denied because of the cost, why are two treatment centres costing millions being built here?

 We saw in 1992 how using sick children to score political points backfired spectacularly when Labour’s Neil Kinnock tried it over a young girl and an ear operation.

 We also have a ridiculous claim that “the NHS was once the envy of the world, and now this government is selling it off to their friends for less than half-price”. Half the price of what? Who has put a monitory value on the NHS? Has the writer privileged information on this?

 Interestingly a privately run NHS hospital, Hinchingbrooke Health Care NHS Trust, owned by its doctors and nurses, was named in May as the top hospital in England, based on 12 indicators for ‘outstanding performance in high quality care to patients’.

 Before the usual culprits leap on this as proof of the Government’s intentions, it was Andy Burnham, Labour’s last health minister, who signed the order for this once failing, now thriving, hospital to be handed over to the private sector.

Alan Wright,

High Barnes.