Letters, Friday, May 10,2013

Have your say

No thought given for jobless pitmen

FIRST of all J Watson is quite correct in his statement regarding Labour closing more coal mines than Margaret Thatcher but he, like many others over the years, gives only half the facts.

 The words “redundancy” and “transfer” came in at the time. My father and myself worked at Harraton Colliery. My father was made redundant at the age of 63½, having worked in the mines from the age of 14. He was paid a lump sum of £163 and no pit pension until 65 years, which when paid was just over £1 per week. This cheque, the first he had ever had was put in Barclays Bank, blood money he called it, and left if there until he died aged 93.

 I was working, never paid board but helped him and my mother, plus his little amount in his old baccy pouch got them by until they both reached pension age.

 I took my transfer in 1965, when Harraton closed, and moved to Herrington Colliery. I worked alongside other lads from pits such as Lumley, Lambton, Sacriston, Glebe, Washington “F”, and many others. We were given a chance under Labour – given help to get to Doncaster, Derby and Nottinghamshire jobs.

 Under your so-called proud leader “Mrs T”, 160 mines or more closed and like the wars we have now, there is no thought given to what happens after any so called victory.

 Take France as an example, a so-called “hot headed workforce”, over there they were told five years before that a mine would be closing, so they could prepare for it. Last colliery closed was La Houve in the Lorraine Region on April, 23, 2004.”

 I never heard of any trouble.

Derek Young,


Vengeful acts

IN J Watson’s letter, May 2, he brings up the old chestnut about more coal mines being closed during the Labour Party’s term in office than during Thatcher’s time in the job. It is well documented that those pit closed under Labour were small uneconomic mines.

 Those workers who wanted to continue working underground were offered jobs in the profitable pits near the coast. They were not left jobless to be part of the over three million unemployed that we experienced under Thatcher in the 1980s.

 She began wreaking vengeance on the miners by closing all pits – profitable or not.

 People like J Watson like to put Thatcher up on a pedestal. One would think she was up there alongside Mother Teresa for canonisation to sainthood.

 To these people I ask, why was she turned out of Downing Street when she was?

 I do find it strange how that subject never gets a mention in any of the many letters revering her memory.

A Kelly,

Tunstall Vale,


What a killjoy

I READ with dismay the letter from Mick The Pen Brown who wants to ban barbecues.

 This man is a proper killjoy and I certainly would not want him at any of my summer events. Almost everything he writes about is negative. He sees no positive attributes in anything.

 The barbecue is a traditional summer event where family and friends can get together and have a good time.

 As for women in fake tan and hot pants, what’s wrong with that? Does he want them to sunbathe in overcoats and fur hats?

 I am looking forward to the summer barbecues with or without miseries like Mick The Pen on the scene.

Jayne Sutherland,


Insect is known as Shield Bug

IN response to Mark Dalton’s query about the bug on his garden table (Echo, May 7), the insect looks rather like a Hawthorn Shield Bug (Acanthosoma haemorrhoidale L).

 I don’t know a great deal about this particular order of insects but they are so called (Shield Bug) because of the shape of their body.

 They belong to a group (order) of insects known as the Hemiptera (True Bugs). This is then divided again into another group (sub-order): Heteroptera.

 This is an extremely large group of insects which has many tens of thousands of species. Greenfly or aphids belong to the sub-order Homoptera.

 Many other common garden insects also belong to the Heteropteran group: froghoppers, water boatmen and orange coloured assassin bugs are among them (Chinnery 1993).

 This particular species has been found more commonly in the South of the UK but are becoming more common here in the North.

 It is said that they feed on the berries of the Hawthorn and may hibernate over-winter and re-appear around April to October.

 Many species can become a pest to garden plants and agricultural crops, but I cannot say whether this is true of this particular one.

 More information can be found online (type in Shield Bug) or if anyone wants a really good guide to the insects of Britain, then I would recommend a copy of Michael Chinnery’s “Guide to the Insects of Britain and Northern Europe”. This is an excellent book for the amateur Natural Historian.

Carole Clark MSc BSc (Honours)

New bridge is much-needed

WITH the demise of the Vaux brewery, the Blue route option for a new Wear crossing became directly connected to Durham Road, according to two Wear Bridge Feasibility Studies by consultants R Travers Morgan (reports 1976 and 1991).

 For the past 13 years, the north side of the Vaux site has been clear for the implementation of the Blue route new bridge option via the pre-existing connection of St Michael’s way. 

 Is it still the intention of city planners, with their Strategic Transport Corridor (SSTC), to blight the potential for this much-needed new bridge to the Stadium of Light and Sheepfolds area by misplaced building in the economic master plan?

 And also to blight connectivity of the Vaux site with the city centre?

Ron McQuillan

Thanks to Samaritan

IN the early hours of Saturday, May 4, our daughter, through various events, found herself stranded, alone in Newcastle.

 As we drove around the city centre frantically trying to find her, we had a phone call to say she was home.

 It turned out a kind woman, driving past, had seen how distressed she was, decided to stop and drove her back to Sunderland, dropping her right at her door.

 We hope that this Good Samaritan will recognise herself and we would like to say thank you very much for your kindness

Mr and Mrs Jones,