Letters, Thursday, January 19th, 2012

Have your say

The rewards of good parenting

I AM sure all parents have thought over the years about the cost of having children. The cost from nappies to holidays, education and borrowing. How many wonder if all this cost is justified? How many are repaid by loving, caring, responsible family?

My only wish was they grow up healthy with jobs, a family – me, grandkids. Success with two out of three.

My repayment came a little at a time until September 2011 when I decided to retire and all three sons used their free time to decorate, sort furniture and help to move me to my present address.

Early December my car went off the road with bent valves. My youngest son Christopher, who works at a garage, worked at night (after normal work) to put new valves in. Unfortunately, the bent valves had weakened the engine, so by 11.55am on Christmas Day, on my way to Christmas dinner with ex-customers, the big end blew on the engine.

Having just started 18 days’ holiday, my son wasted no time. A week before I took out membership with the RAC. Within an hour I was towed to my son’s place of work and was on my way to Christmas dinner in a borrowed car.

Chris found a spare engine on the internet in Lincoln, got it and proceeded to fit it. A bit of bad luck as one of the pistons was damaged. Consulting a friend, he decided to cannibalise both engines and rebuild. By January 5, I had a car with a very smooth-running engine, which I am slowly running in.

I love driving and I think this the best Christmas present I could ever get.

“Good parenting does have its rewards.”

John Stott, Stridingedge, Blackfell

Petrol price rise

SOME weeks ago I predicted that when the Chancellor gave in to popular demand and dropped the proposed 1p/litre rise in fuel duty then the oil companies would up their prices anyway. Well, he did and they have.

On January 9 I noticed petrol at the pumps had risen by 1p/litre overnight. So instead of this rise going into the Treasury for the good of all (health, education etc) it goes into the coffers of the greedy oil companies.

To make matters worse, Osborne has said that the shortfall will be made up from the “benefit pot”. So once again the poorest of society are hit and the Tories’ friends in big business just get richer and richer.

Derek Robe, Helena House, Royal Courts, Sunderland

Socialist dogma

MARXIST theory tells us that socialism follows capitalism on the road to communism. Well, we all know where that ends up!

Followers of socialism are identified by the following – socialists learn nothing and forget nothing.

Thus I do not intend to argue with W. Quinn (Letters, January 7). That would be pointless – they never alter one jot of their opinions.

On the question of dereliction of financial responsibility, I well remember Liam Byrne, Financial Minister, leaving his successor a note to the effect that the money was spent – sorry, nothing left. What an indictment!

Meanwhile we await Ed Miliband admitting Labour were wrong in opposing Government cuts. He will have to, you know, eventually, or else surrender his position.

There is a chink of light in the distance for Labourites, a certain Mr Alastair Darling is hovering nearby. A clever and crafty foe. Beware, Ed!

Allan Wilkinson, Ferrand Drive, Houghton

True justice

MAY I say something controversial on the subject of “Justice for Nicki Allan”?

At the time of George Heron’s arrest there were plenty of people in Sunderland who said he’s been “fitted up by the bizzies”.

When he went on trial, I followed the reports of the case very carefully in the Echo and the national press.

I was astonished there was little real evidence against him, and felt the jury couldn’t possibly find him guilty. I wasn’t surprised when he was acquitted.

Everyone wants murderers to be caught and convicted, but you must have proof.

A confession made under duress is not enough.

Roland Green, Avebury Drive, Washington

New-bridge project

I REFER to the report on Page 6 of the Echo on December 16.

The history of Wear bridges was valid information ... but I really object to the pictorial and verbal disinformation spoon-fed to Echo reporters by Sunderland City Council. The large photograph entitled “Bridge of Size” (soon to be called Bridge of Sighs) has super-imposed upon it an artist’s impression of the technically and financially absurd design of the iconic bridge in a completely inappropriate location on the Wear.

Perhaps if the trick photography included a drawing of the Sunderland Yacht Club’s tallest specimen with its mast headlight touching the iconic bridge carriageway, then everyone would immediately see how disproportionate the total image really is.

Remember that the steel twisted pylons are proposed to reach over 600 feet into the sky. This is about six or seven times higher than Wearmouth Bridge!

If the readers of this letter (and the Audit Commission) try using their computers to Google the Zakim bridge, which is the longest cable stay bridge in the world, they will see that the people of Boston, in the United States, get good value for their taxes. The bridge caters for 10 lanes of traffic and four lanes of cars in both directions. The job was completed ahead of schedule on a fixed price of $100million.

Another value benchmark on the internet is the Hoover Dam By-pass Bridge.

The precedent of importing by road steel works from Germany has been set by the steel mesh methane exhaust gas pipe covers at the Stadium of Light. Therefore it not an impertinent question to ask under the terms of the Freedom of Information: will the iconic bridge steel pylons and the cable stays will be made in the UK or Germany?

Consultants Techniker have an office in London but this fact does not make them a British company. Raspberries to European rule, I say. The Government should be supporting the British economy.

Ron McQuillan, Sunderland

Mischief from Mick

I DON’T know who Mick The Pen is and I have no desire to meet him. However, I read with interest his letter regarding customers in the Ormonde Street Post Office wearing pyjamas. I am a loyal client of the post office and have been for many years. I have never seen anyone wearing such an outfit in the shop.

The area is quite affluent and I really feel as though this Mick The Pen is nothing more than mischief-making.

The staff work very hard and the customers are a friendly bunch. There are never any rows or arguments and certainly there has been no talk of anyone turning up to post a parcel or to cash in a pension wearing a frilly nightie.

I really think that Mick The Pen should write about more serious matters. There is much more to discuss than what folk wear in a post office queue.

Dorothy Lambert, Cleveland Road, Sunderland

Hospital fines

I AM absolutely fuming with the way my family have been treated by Sunderland Royal Hospital.

My six-week-old granddaughter was rushed to Accident and Emergency at the hospital at about 8pm. With all the panic I forgot to pay at the car park. I didn’t think we would be in as long as we were. It was 1.30am when we got out after all the necessary tests the staff had to do.

We got a parking fine. I appealed but with no joy.

Two weeks later my granddaughter was still in agony, so we took her back. Good job we did. She was kept in hospital for three days on a drip.

The poor child had ecoli in her waters, but the medical staff forgot to let us know. They blamed human error. All they could do was apologise.

Then we got our second parking ticket. We were 20 mins over. I have sent the photo of our paid ticket and appealed again. We will see if they have a heart.

At the end of the day my granddaughter could be scarred for life. Her kidneys could be scarred. The poor child is on antibiotics for three months.

Dave Robinson, Midlothian Close, Sunderland

Wrong name

A LETTER appeared in Tuesday’s Echo on on our website under the headline “End of ship saga”. It was signed “Ray Findlay and Mrs A. Owen, Balmoral Crescent, Houghton”.

In fact, the letter was from Mr Findlay alone, and Mrs Owen’s name had been added to it by mistake.

We apologise for the error and any embarrassment caused.

Search Party

WE are trying to contact a friend, who has moved to Sunderland during the last six months.

His name is Alan Shepherd. He moved (as far as I know) to a council-controlled residence in Sunderland to be near his son and daughter-in-law, whose names are Paul and Anita Shepherd, and his grandchildren.

He moved to Sunderland from Loughborough, Leicestershire.

He sent us a Christmas card but forgot to put his address or phone number in the message.

Trev and Lyn Stokes, 50 Inglenook Park, Barkby Thorpe Lane, Thurmaston, Leicester, LE4 8GN Tel. 0116 2604412

TO all the girls who went to Hendon Board School in the early 1950s: I know most of our teachers are gone now but some of the younger ones were Mrs Smith, nee Martin, who taught music, and Mrs Williamson, nee Simpson, a sports teacher.

There was also Miss Emmerson, who lived in the railway house at Ryhope, and Miss Wilson, who lived in Southwick.

If anyone knows anything about these teachers, could you please email me on annmackem@optusnet.com.au. Regards to you all

Ann Hansen (nee Pike)

MY name is Linda Owens (nee Linda Telser), age 55. I am trying to trace my biological father whose surname is McPherson.

I was born in Crampsall Hospital, Manchester. I last saw my father in Heaton Park, Manchester, in the 1960s. He is believed to be living in the Sheepfold Lane area of Manchester but has family connections in Sunderland.

Anyone with any information please contact me.

Linda Owens, 159 Mossley Road, Ashton Under Lyne, Lancs, 0L6 6NE. Tel. 07517 674214

I AM trying to trace my daughter, Carol Hutchison, whom I haven’t seen for four years.

She will be 38 now, and the last I knew she was living at Doxford Park.

If Carol or anyone who knows of her whereabouts reads this, I would be very grateful if they could contact me on 511 0575.

Mrs Hutchison, Tadcaster Road, Thorney Close