Letters, Monday, July 29, 2013

Have your say

Search is on for 60 diamond champions

THERE are many older volunteers in the North of England who do amazing, but often under-recognised, work helping others in the community.

 Older people’s charity Royal Voluntary Service has launched the 2013 Diamond Champions awards, sponsored by McCarthy & Stone and supported by HRH The Duchess of Cornwall as president of the charity, to celebrate the work of volunteers aged 60 and over.

 Sixty Diamond Champions will be chosen, including 10 from the North of England; 12 people from across Britain will be invited to a reception in the autumn.

 We want people in the North of England to nominate their volunteer hero and celebrate the difference they make to the lives of others.

 Nominations can be made at royalvoluntaryservice.org.uk/diamondchampions and the closing date is September 15 – so get nominating!

Carol Nevison,

Royal Voluntary Service head of operations for

the North of England.

Not all that golden

RECENTLY in these pages Fiona Hall, a soon to retire Lib Dem MEP for the North East, treated us to a vision of a gold-plated future for Britain in Europe, thanks to, she claims, a great EU trade deal with President Obama.

 Four hundred thousand new jobs guaranteed with spin-offs galore for our region.

 I know that it is easy to pour scorn on such pie in the sky, albeit well-meaning or rather well-paid optimism, so I’ll resist the temptation to ask if these jobs will arrive in time to employ the Eastern European influx.

 As I never tire of reminding everyone, our job market already plays host to nearly a million Eastern Europeans but MPs ignore this problem because there is nothing they can do about it while we are in the EU.

 Judging by the skill with which Fiona, using a Beatrix Potter style, describes the benefits of this remarkable trade coup, I have little doubt that her gold-plated future is assured in the literary world of children’s fiction, given the eminently possible event of her EU pension fund going south with the demise of the Euro.

Denis Gillon,


All parties to blame

YET another writer has suggested that the closure of Remploy factories was a fact enjoyed by the Conservatives, as if Labour had an unblemished record in that sphere of employment.

 In September 2007, Peter Hain abused these very workers by announcing closures and then raising hopes of securing their positions only to dash them after the Labour party conference a month later – a very cynical act from a supposedly caring party.

 In 2008, they closed 28 out of 83 factories that were open at that time.

  In truth, the closures have been caused by the EU preventing us from directing work to Remploy (making them loss-makers) and an over-zealous civil service implementing EU tendering regulations, unlike the French and others who appear to pick and choose which regulations to apply.

 The Socialist Worker party was extremely vociferous in its criticism of the Labour Party at the time, so we can hardly blame Conservatives for this state of affairs.

 I am hardly a Tory apologist, as I loathe all three main parties with equal contempt, but the writer of the letter (Echo July 12) should take counselling if those views, drippping with venom, are sincerely held.

 Vote for an Independent to return to a Government where members vote for real people’s concerns instead of preserving their own seats on the gravy train.

Kevin Leary

Help save ship

I AM currently campaigning to try to stop the cutting up for scrap of ex-Navy warship and veteran from the Falklands Campaign, HMS Plymouth

 Even if you have supported previous petitions, please go to the Government’s ‘e petitions’ website then, under petition search, enter the words (all joined) savehmsplymouth2013.

 Please spread the word. Thanks.

FE Sharpe,