Letters, Monday, December 5th, 2011

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Disabled will be the hardest hit

THIS Government promised to protect the most vulnerable when making cuts, but current proposals in the Welfare Reform Bill will leave disabled people the hardest hit.

In May, my daughter, who like me is visually impaired, and I went to London with many others from the North East to march against time-limiting contributory Employment Support Allowance and the proposed cuts to Disability Living Allowance. I lobbied Julie Elliott MP, and have appreciated the support she has given the campaign then and since, including speaking up for the disabled at the civic centre last month, the night before many from Sunderland marched as part of more than 1,000 disabled people against the cuts on October 22.

I am hoping you will support the RNIB and the “Hardest Hit” campaign, as we send a Christmas card signed by more than 10,000 disabled people to David Cameron and Nick Clegg calling on the Government to improve the Welfare Reform Bill to make sure disabled people do not become the easiest targets of the cuts agenda.

Disabled people, those with long-term conditions and their families already face challenges on a day-to-day basis, including barriers to getting into work and education and meeting the extra costs of living with a disability. Further cuts to the support disabled people depend on risks pushing us into poverty, debt and isolation.

We can all take action to defend disabled people’s rights at rnib.org.uk/campaign to defend the hardest hit and side with disabled people when the Welfare Reform Bill returns to be voted on in the House of Commons.

Mary Hewison, RNIB Key Campaigner

Appeal thanks

ON behalf of the Royal British Legion Poppy Appeal, and in particular the Seaham branch, may I thank the people, schools, churches and organisations in our town and surrounding area for their wonderful support, generosity and goodwill.

In Seaham we have banked, to date, through the sale of poppies, wreaths, wristbands and lapel badges, the RBL carnival stall and raffle, and special events organised by Christ Church and Dawdon (2nd Seaham) Air Scouts, an amazing £18,683.81.

We still have to receive payment for a number of wreaths, and the sale of lapel badges and wristbands is ongoing, so this total will increase.

Our collectors worked unstintingly, as always, but we need to recruit new people for future years. This year again in Seaham we had members of the Army, Navy and Air Cadets, and Dawdon (2nd Seaham) Air Scouts helping our regular stalwarts in the collection and boosting our sales.

Last year the RB. paid out almost one and a half million pounds a week to help past and present service personnel and their dependants. This amount will escalate in the future as the RBL takes on the maintenance and running of the new homes and recovery units being built, and the new casualties of war.

We have large poppy tins in a number of venues around Seaham into which people can put any spare change throughout the year.

Special events to raise funds run throughout the year, and new sponsors are always welcome. If you can help, we’d love to hear from you. Contact your local branch or myself for details.

Elizabeth Armes, Poppy Appeal Organiser,

Royal British Legion (Seaham Branch)

Famous voice

TIM Gudgin, the voice of classified football results on BBC1’s Final Score, has retired.

He took over from Len Martin in 1995. He joined the BBC in 1952 and did voice-overs. Over the years he presented on radio with Music Box, Hancock’s Half Hour, Friday Night is Music Night, Housewives’ Choice, Top Of The Form and Quote and Unquote.

On January 1, 1966, he started on Grandstand. He also read the rugby, cricket and racing results. He also became a newsreader and presenter on BBC Radio 2.

He worked with personalities including Gabby Logan, Ray Stubbs, Des Lynam, Steve Rider, Sue Barker, Harry Carpenter, David Coleman and Frank Bough.

Saturday afternoons will never be the same again without the voice of Tim Gudgin. I hope he enjoys his retirement.

Terry Christie, Woodside Terrace, East Herrington

Festive example

MAY I invite your readers to enrol in the St Scrooge Society. The only requirement is that entrants should ignore Christmas.

Ideally members should be affluent and well able to afford the stupid excesses of the so-called festive season. Their example could stir the deserving poor to realise that there are no Joneses to keep up with, and they need not spend themselves into a year of debt.

So come on, all ye well heeled, and help your bare-footed brethren to see the folly of their ways.

B. McGill, South Bents