Letters, Friday, February 21, 2014

Have your say

Act now to save our fire station

THE threat to close a fire station which is central in our city is beyond belief when we are the biggest populated city between Berwick and Leeds.

 Who is undermining our city?

 I support the firefighters’ charity – my husband having been a firefighter.

 I am shocked at how the firefighters’ pension issues have been dealt with.

 It is said the Government has £11.8billion for foreign aid – yet it is now robbing our firefighters.

 Where does its priorities lie?

 And where is the priority of the ‘powers that be’ who deem that Sunderland Central Fire Station can just be discarded?

 It’s one of the busiest fire stations in the region.

 Who in their right mind could suggest a new fire station at Marley Potts?

 I am so angry.

 Who pays the wages of these officials, who unbelievably assumed our fire station can be superfluous to what is so vital to our city centre?

 Time is vital when dealing with fire. Do they want to be faced with the wait should their lives be at risk from fire?

 They should not be in any position of authority at all. These people are not to be trusted – and never with decisions of finance in this city.

 It is time they were ousted and replaced with people of integrity.

 We have voices that need to be heard – and loud enough to drive out these so-called officials who flout good intelligence with damning decisions.

 Decisions such as the bulldozing of our Town Hall and replacing it with a £50million civic centre that is now a white


 We need to act to save our fire station.

Irene A Dalzell

Embrace tax rise

IF times are so hard, it really is surprising that the Labour Group is unwilling to put up the council tax, which it has the power to do by however much it wants, and reduce the impact of the cuts.

 In other local authorities, such as Brighton, this is what is being proposed with council tax rises that would ease spending pressures. But maybe here the Labour Group is running scared of the required referendum?

 If the question were put to the people, it could be that the answer is “no” in preference of lower tax and leaner council services.

 Away from the protestors, there may be a silent majority that knows that the nation’s finances have to be put in order and tough choices need to be made about who gets what.

 In fact, Sunderland, like other North East councils, has received far more per head of total Government spending than more affluent areas when all, rather than selected, grants are taken into account. Among them, grants such as the council tax freeze, the pupil premium and infant free schools meals bring in millions and come directly from the Coalition Government.

 So pleading poverty hardly stacks up when Sunderland City Council is set to spend £63million on capital projects and has £16million-worth of shares in Newcastle Airport in their pocket.

 Councils are having to move away from the begging bowl approach of never-ending Government grants to become agents of local growth to stimulate the city and make it self-sufficient.

 This is why it is no good moaning about incentives such as the New Homes Bonus, which increases funding to the council for every house built, instead it should be embraced.

Councillor Robert Oliver,

Leader Conservative Group

Plenty for older people to do

WITH so many of us retiring but still feeling the need to remain active and certainly not ready to give into “old age”, how we spend our retirement is important.

 There may be a total absence of activity or interests outside work and the family. This is a choice, of course, but people often cite the old chestnut ‘there’s nothing to do’.

 I have given this some thought lately after a conversation with friends on this issue and have perfected what I think is a pretty good response to this reaction.

 For example, on offer in my own community are well established groups for women. The Women’s Institute, Townswomen’s Guild and the Flower Club have been going for years.

 I support the Herrington Village Show Group, which involves a variety of activity groups from the leek growers to art groups that have mushroomed across the city in recent years.

 Last year there was an amazing display of sugarcraft at the show from groups operating out of East Herrington and Farringdon. This year the Embroiders’ Guild is joining us.

 The local Scottish dancing group has a regular booking at St Chad’s Church hall.

 There is a papercraft group based at the Methodist Church and Pilates at the Jubilee Centre Farringdon. Friends are members of the Ramblers’ Association and U3A has an amazing programme of events and activities.

 Then there is volunteering and community service, the older age group has a lot to offer in experience and expertise. I usually suggest friends view the Echo’s Down Your Way section on a Tuesday night too.

 There’s plenty going on in Sunderland.

Gillian Galbraith,

East Herrington

Such great kindness

I RECENTLY lost my wife, after her brave battle with ovarian cancer.

 I would like to thank the many people who helped Pauline through her darker moments and, likewise, helped and supported me.

 Among them are the staff on Ward 21 at the QE hospital, Gateshead, who provided a level of care and treatment second to none.

 The chemotherapy unit at the same hospital for providing a happy environment for those requiring treatment and the Macmillan nurses for their fantastic support.

 St Benedict’s hospice at Ryhope for making Pauline’s last couple of days as comfortable as possible and donations received in lieu of flowers mean it will be receiving £1,000 to help support its cause.

 Scollen & Wright, with special thanks to Jayne, for the care and attention to detail they provided for the funeral. Virgin Active health club for the great reception it arranged.

 Last, but by no means least, to everyone for their cards, love and support and to those who came along to Pauline’s funeral to help celebrate her life.

 I apologise for not being able to thank you all personally on the day.

Brian Gibbs

Stop moaning over cup tickets

IN reply to Mrs Leadbitter (February 8) and all the other so-called Sunderland Supporters who claim that they deserve a Cup Final ticket, the fact remains that to be entitled to one you must buy a season ticket – and rightly so.

 Quite frankly I am sick of people asking me where they can get a ticket.

 I have been attending games at Roker Park and SOL for many years – I can count on one hand the matches I have missed.

 I have also been to countless away games throughout the length of the country. So I am qualified to give a opinion on this subject.

 I have walked and driven through rain, hail and snow to watch the lads, it’s what a true supporter does.

 Believe me there have been more lows than highs.

 The fact is where were these super fans when Sunderland have been playing unattractive inferior opposition in Cup games on a windy and rainy Tuesday evening when the Stadium has been half full?

 I was there.

 Season tickets for the club have always been competitively priced in comparison with other clubs. They have to be in a an area like Sunderland, and you can even buy one over a few months.

 I think that SAFC has a very good marketing policy so the majority can afford one.

 I suggest that if people don’t want to miss a Cup Final in the future buy a season ticket.

Mick The Pen Brown

Humbled by little George

I AM a Newcastle United fan who’s feelings are still a bit raw after another derby defeat.

 However, I put that to one side when I saw the picture in the Echo of little George Johnson’s beaming face, when he acted as a mascot at the Hull game. Little George is suffering from a mystery illness.

 I wish him all the health and happiness for the future.

John(the pun)Watson,