Letters, Friday, February 3rd, 2012

Have your say

Modern ‘poverty’ isn’t true poverty

HOW do you take children out of poverty? Do you increase benefits further than the equivalent of a working average wage these days of £35,000? Can we be sure that any extra would not be wasted?

During the 1970s, when times were again tough, I recall a hard-working acquaintance who handed his wife his pay packet every week, taking pocket money for himself. During his holidays (last week in July and first in August) the club steward received his pay packets and was told to use the money to pay for his drink until there was nothing left. His wife had to save for 50 weeks to keep herself and two children. Have men changed? I don’t know, but I can guess.

Modern poverty appears to consist of the following in many cases: Children seem to wear designer clothing when they accompany their parent to the new church on Sundays, ie the supermarket. The shopping trolley is filled up as follows: alcohol, dog food, fast food and then necessities.

In the 1950s the average boy owned two shirts, one pair of trousers and a scuffed pair of shoes. Many times I stayed at home, too embarrassed to wear my clothes on a Sunday.

On the other hand we ate well – mothers could cook in those days. We enjoyed shepherd’s pie, liver and onions, dumplings and all sorts of cheap, enjoyable, tasty meals. We therefore grew up with constitutions like the proverbial horse and ailed very little then or now (no obesity in particular).

Did we live in poverty? Of course not. Incidentally, those meals took little more time to prepare than fast food, so there is no reason to plead a lack of time to cook these meals. My wife and I still eat the same food. An average main course for two people costs £2-£3.

We can only rate poverty when assessing income per head. Right? No, wrong. Assess how money is spent in households then you get the answer and, inevitably, the solution. The do-gooders, the Church and media delude themselves. They know that if they spelled things out as I have, then they would be giving the game away. The argument about incomes would be lost, along with the next election.

True poverty is poverty of thought and lack of education in the right subject. Can it be corrected? Yes, but only by looking back. This generation must suffer as did their antecedents, really feel the anguish, then they will begin to appreciate true poverty. That’s the only way.

Allan Wilkinson, Ferrand Drive, Houghton

A magic idea

I WOULD like to see a magic dealer’s shop in the Bridges or just outside the Bridges in Sunderland.

I’ve written to Davenport Magic Shop in London about Sunderland because the Davenports are the best. I’ve put an idea in their head for them to come to Sunderland.

I’ve written to them about Sunderland – the Empire theatre, the Winter Gardens, Mowbray Park, Park Lane Interchange, the civic centre, even what a first-class shopping centre the Bridges is.

Well it’s up to them if they want to visit Sunderland’s Bridges or not. I’ve done my best by telling them of our city.

Edwin Robinson, Zetland Square, Sunderland

Such generosity

TOP of my wish list at Christmas was a dictionary with new superlatives to use when describing the kindness and generosity of the North East public when giving to the Grace House Appeal. This did not materialise so I’ll have to use the ones I’ve used before.

On Saturday, January 21, customers at Sainbury’s in Fulwell donated a fantastic total of £531. That is truly remarkable for a smaller store and you should all take a bow.

Collections at Morrisons at Seaburn on Friday and Saturday, January 27-28, amounted to £620 and £637 respectively. These figures are mind-blowing and I am so very grateful. 2012 is a massive year for Grace House and I‘m sure that I speak for Kathy Secker and all the staff at Grace House whom I express my deepest gratitude to you all.

I feel that I am increasingly playing small role to my alter-ego “Coco the Clown”. He puts a smile on so many faces but I’m becoming worried about how much I enjoy putting my make-up and lippy on! It will be handbags next no doubt.

Raising approaching £2,000 in January is a brilliant start towards reaching my revised target of £15,000 per year. God bless you all.

Jeff Coxon, Lawnside, Seaham

Great workers

WE would like to thank Gentoo who came to our home and installed the new coal-effect fire and combi boiler. The three lads, who were called Alfie, Gary and Ian, did an absolute brilliant job as did the electricians, called Liam and Dave

So once again thank you all very much.

Mr and Mrs McLaren, Victory Street, Pallion, Sunderland

Beeb backs down

THE decision by the BBC Trust to back down in the face of public opposition to cuts in regional broadcasting is a significant victory for common sense and is a damning riposte to the BBC hierarchy’s misnomer of a policy, “Delivering Quality First”.

People power has won this particular victory and the fact that they suggested it in the first place reflects how out of touch the bureaucrats and accountants leading the BBC Trust are with the day-to-day lives of ordinary people outside London.

The good news is that regions across the UK will maintain their regional identity – for now!

BBC Trust chairman Lord Patten said changes to the “Delivering Quality First” cost-cutting proposals should “cost the BBC no more than £10million” a year. While there is no definite news on the scale of cuts local BBC services face, we are still talking about 20 per cent rather than the proposed 40 per cent.

As anyone can see, the battle to save local BBC services still rages. The “salami” tactic will be their method of attack now, making small but many cuts hoping people won’t notice.

It’s up to us, the BBC licence payers, to ensure the continuation of quality broadcasting on radio and television, like the North East’s regional affairs programme Inside Out.

In the last few weeks alone, Inside Out has taken up controversial local issues such as the alleged bullying of staff at Newcastle College, how silicone breast implants have affected North East women and foetal alcohol syndrome.

The BBC belongs to the people, not well-heeled, well-connected London-based bureaucrats.

Ed Waugh

Bridge site negelcted

THE full council meeting report by Ross Robertson (Echo, January 26) manifests the weird sense of values and mental perspectives of Sunderland’s council members when comparing famous bridges.

Above the headline “Golden Aye” is the photograph and council leader Paul Watson, a model of the “Iconic” bridge and the Golden Gate bridge in San Francisco.

When praising the landmark design of the two bridges, perhaps Coun Robert Oliver and Coun Paul Watson should consider that the Golden Gate bridge was needed to be 4,200 foot long, whereas at Claxheugh, the banks of the Wear are only about three to four hundred feet apart.

Rock solid foundations on both sides of the Wear are readily available to accommodate the best of five options, the Claxheugh route, for a new Wear bridge. This choice of location has been neglected for the past 38 years.

With the demolition of the Vaux brewery, a simple amendment to the blue route, as prescribed by two “New Wear bridge feasibility studies”, at a cost of millions of pounds of public funds, has been awaiting action by the Sunderland Council for the past 11 years … to connect the Stadium of Light area to a bridgehead on the Vaux site and the South Radial Route.

Our city council, by reason of their weird sense of values and perspectives, are planning to blight this unique opportunity to relieve the over-worked Wearmouth bridge.

Ron McQuillan

End pub smoking ban

I AM sick of people bleating on about how good it is not being able to smoke in pubs.This ban has destroyed many public houses.You just have to walk around any city centre, Sunderland included, and you will see scores of people standing around outside in freezing conditions smoking.

As a cigar smoker myself – King Edwards, actually – I am appalled at the way smokers are treated in this country. I blame do-gooders. There are lots of them about and they are ruining the pub trade.

If I had my way, I would make non-smokers stand outside. Let’s face it, there are more smokers standing outside bars than there are non-smokers inside. If this ban goes on much longer, there will be no pubs left.

Mick “The Pen” Brown

Search Party

I AM trying to trace my birth parents. I was born in Crumpsall Hospital, Manchester, on August 5, 1956.

My birth parents, Mr and Mrs McPherson, were going through a bad patch and couldn’t copy with a baby so they asked Eileen Ada Hall and Frank Telser if they would look after me and bring me up.

I don’t know if my birth parents are living but I know they had other children beside me. I am sure my birth parents were living in the Sheepfold Lane area, Presswich, Manchester, and I know my birth father had family connections in the Sunderland area and Middleton, Manchester.

If anybody can help me trace them or their whereabouts, or if anybody has any information on my family, please contact me, I would be very grateful.

Linda Owens (nee Telser), 159 Mossley Road, Ashton-under-Lyne, Lancs OL6 6NE Tel. 07517 674214

I AM trying to trace my daughter, Carol Hutchinson. She will be 38 now. The last I knew of her was four years ago when she was living at Doxford Park.

I would be very grateful if Carol or anyone who knows of her whereabouts could get in touch with me.

Mrs Hutchinson, Tadcaster Road, Thorney Close, Tel. 511 0575

I AM trying to trace the daughter of Peggy Lamb who may have lived in the Shiney Row area. Her daughter may live in the Penshaw area.

Her name is Hilda, but I do not know her married name.  

Could she or anyone who knows her whereabouts please contact me.

Mrs J. Marriott, Lady Street, Houghton, Tel. 526 7916

I WOULD like to get in touch with my lost friend Rita, formerly of Weymouth, who moved back to Seaham.

I have lost her address. Please get in touch.

Jennifer Anderson, 127a Dorchester Road, Weymouth, Dorset. DT4 7LA. Tel 078248 77007

TO Maureen, I am sorry for losing touch and hope you will read this.

My new address is 43 Bond Close. Tel. 0191 447 7358