Letters, Friday, March 8, 2013

Have your say

Mobile is phoney safety precaution

I READ with interest your article regarding the pupil having his mobile phone confiscated by school, despite the fact it was a safety precaution.

 Several decades ago I had to get two buses to school and two back home again, at the tender age of 11.

 Yes, times have changed. However, there were evil people and dangerous situations then, which had to be dealt with, without mobile phones.

 As far as making sure children are safe where they should be after school by phoning them on a mobile, here, I think the word ‘mobile’ may be a clue.

 Think about it, they could be anywhere when they answer, or it could simply go to voice mail.

A Quinn,

St Leonard Street,


Wallet thank you

I WOULD like to thank the owner and staff at Rosemary’s Cafe, Sea Road, Fulwell for the return of my lost wallet, contents, money and bank cards. Thanks again.

Mr W McKenzie

History repeating itself again?

IN 1807, William Wilberforce fought for and got slavery abolished in the British Empire, while in Great Britain women and very young children were climbing chimneys, going down mines and working all hours in factories at great danger to themselves.

 Last week our esteemed (by whom?) Prime Minister, David Cameron was giving money to countries that don’t want or need it (billions that we don’t have).

 Meanwhile, the media was screaming about the disgusting amount of child poverty in the UK. History repeating itself?

Name and address supplied

Poor are trapped by bedroom tax

COUNCILLOR Robert Oliver said recently it was a mistake to call the bedroom tax an “equalisation of benefits”.

 The councillor should realise that whatever it is called, or the reason it was implemented, is secondary to the fact it is an inhumane policy which will drive the poorest in the land further into poverty.

 For example, a mother in a three-bedroom house with two sons away in the forces – she will have to pay tax on two bedrooms.

 A couple in a two-bedroom house sleep in separate rooms because of their disabilities – they still have to pay tax on one bedroom.

 I feel sorry for the single people in the city living in social housing and desperate to downsize.

 They will be trapped in paying the bedroom tax because the Housing Office has told them there are no one-bedroom properties available.

 The records show there are very few one-bedroom properties in the North East, and we have the same problems at national level.

 There are 180,000 English social tenants “under-occupying” two-bedroom houses and fewer than 70,000 one-bedroom homes available. These figures are common knowledge, and obviously, known to the Government.

 Yet they went ahead with the scheme, forcing the vulnerable out of their homes knowing they could not provide them with alternative accommodation.

W. Quinn,



Amazing thanks for your generosity

AFTER an amazing January when you gave the Grace House clown more than £2,500, you excelled yourselves by donating nearly £3,000 in February.

 Words almost fail me. While myself and the clown rarely see eye-to-eye on anything, I must admit that he does a decent job for Grace House.

 However he can “whinge for England,” particularly when he is sent out in freezing conditions and I stay in a nice warm house all day.

 February began with a very good £292 at Sainsburys, in Fulwell, followed by more than £451 the next day, Saturday, February 2, at Sainsburys in The Galleries.

 On Friday, February 8, almost £172 was collected at the small Gilesgate Sainsburys followed by £411 next day at Asda Peterlee.

 The following Friday almost £347 was raised at Asda Spennymoor. I gave the clown Saturday, February 16 off. On Wednesday, February 20 and Thursday, February 21, an amazing £936 was donated by customers at Tesco at Kingston Park, north of Newcastle.

 The sheer generosity of people made the long journey and traffic jams bearable. The final collection for February was on Saturday 23, when £220 was raised at Sainsburys, in Fulwell.

 Two personal donations of £25 and £30 were sent to my home, and Park Lane Cards in Byron Place raised nearly £30 when they filled their first collection box of 2013.

 Matalan at Pallion has kindly adopted Grace House as its chosen charity for a year, so the clown will be making monthly visits starting on Saturday, March 16. Once again, I thank you all from the bottom of my heart, and God bless you all.

Jeff Coxon,



Can you help with family research?

I WOULD like to find any descendants of Robert Barlow, born in South Hetton 1838, died 1914.

 He was married to Hannah Cummings, born in Easington 1870, died 1909.

 They had two sons, Arthur Balfour Barlow, born in New Seaham in 1892 and William Foster Barlow, also New Seaham in 1903.

 Robert was previously married to Mary Nicholson and they had four children. One was called Thomas, born in 1863. He was married to Hannah Spence, born in 1862. They had five children, Catherine, 1884, Alice, 1886, William, 1889, Margaret, 1891 and Hannah Millicent, 1897.  

 Thomas re-married to Margaret Appleton, born in Byers Green in 1860.

 I would also like to find any descendants of a Thomason Brown, born in Chester-le-Street in 1886. In the 1901 Census she was living at 25 Model Street, Seaham with Robert, Hannah and Arthur Barlow as a domestic servant.

 She married John Taylor and had a daughter, Isabella born 1919. Isabella married Philip Tweedy in 1944. Philip Tweedy was the son of Alice Barlow and Henry Tweedy.

 I am trying to find out any information about William Foster Barlow in particular. My father enlisted in the army in 1925 and on his army service record, he states that his next-of-kin is his stepbrother Thomas Barlow, 24 Model Street, Seaham.

 The strange thing is that my father changed his name to Richard Thornton for whatever reason he may have had at the time of his enlistment.

 My father always told my mother and the whole family that he was an orphan and was brought up by two aunts in Seaham.

 No one seems to know anything more. It wasn’t until I received his service record that I found out about Thomas Barlow and that my father’s birth-date was different to the one I had always known.

 Thanks to the Seaham Family History Group, I found out that the birth date was exactly the same date as William Foster Barlow and that there were no records of a Richard Thornton’s birth.

 As there was such a big age difference between Thomas and William I was further confused but then I found out about Robert being married twice and his second wife was much younger than him.

 On my father’s death certificate it gives his father’s name as Robert Thornton, coal miner, but I cannot find any Robert or Richard Thornton in the records.

 Robert Barlow was an overman in the mines which could be a connection.

Patricia Thornton, 13 Vine Close, Gateshead, Tyne and Wear, NE8 2NZ

Best of luck to magic man Mick

I READ in the Sunderland Echo, on February 27, about the ex-fireman Mick Redfearn and his love of his hobby, magic. And from his hobby he is now an entertainer, and best of all, he is a member of the Newcastle Magic Circle.

 I read this with interest because I’ve taken up this hobby. Mind you, I’m far from being good, but I’m still trying.

 Magic is my main hobby, but another hobby is ventriloquism. I haven’t got a voice for my doll but again I’m trying. Juggling is also another hobby.

 To Mick Redfearn, good luck to you. I understand that your dad inspired you, and another person that gave you the magic bug was David Nixon.

 Well, if you are performing at the South Tyneside International Magic Festival, all the best to you.

Edwin Robinson,

Zetland Square,