Letters, Thursday, June 20, 2013

Have your say

Concert proved a costly experience

I BOUGHT disabled and carer tickets on November 2, 2012, at 16.58pm for the Bon Jovi Because We Can tour at the Stadium of Light, at a total cost of £78.37.

 That is tickets at £32.50 each plus an additional transaction fee of £5.25, which totals £70.25 with postage of £8.12.

 After repeatedly chasing the arrival of my tickets and being told I would receive them shortly, I then receive an email the day before the event informing me that I would need to collect my tickets from the venue’s box office the day of the event.

 This therefore meant I had to take the morning off work (resulting in a total loss of wages of £24.92). In addition to this due to my disability – I find it difficult to get around – I had to get a taxi to and from the box office at a cost of £18.80.

 I have therefore incurred costs of £51.84 that if they had issued tickets on time, through the post, which I had paid for, I would not have incurred this loss of money.

 I feel extremely disappointed with the service, especially to that of a disabled customer.

 I met a number of other ticket-holders who had similar issues with Seeticket regarding this event. It was very badly handled.

 I can not, however, fault the Stadium box office staff who have had to deal and will in all likely hood still be dealing with the fall out of this problem.

Jill Anderton

A lost opportunity

IN his letter of June 11, Simon Gordon takes the city to task because of the lack of forward thinking.

 As a seafront councillor I agree with some of the criticisms he makes, however, I resent the generalisation when he despairs about the ‘motley’ collection of all parties who all want to leave the situation as it is.

 Ok, Simon, what would you do?

 If he reads the Echo as often as he implies then he must read my comments about the lack of investment in the seafront and how badly it compares with that of South Shields. You could also add that Redcar is investing up to £75million on its seafront while Sunderland is investing £5million, part of which is funded by the Government.

 For years Sunderland City Council has promised a great deal and delivered little. Yes, we have a beautiful stretch of beach that has been allowed to stagnate because, although, there have been several costly seafront startegies resulting in the Seaburn master plan – nothing really worthwhile has been done.

 The future for the area seems to be more housing and an acceptance that South Shields has won the race to attract investment, which they have capitalised on.

 Recently, a former labour candidate for the Fulwell ward said it was unfair to compare the improvements by South Shields with the attempts to improve our seafront because where in the former had more depth the contrary was the case in Sunderland where housing is located very near, which then precludes large leisure-based facilities. With that sort of philosophy, how can one expect improvements?

 The seafront, Roker and Seaburn, have been neglected for years, of that there is no doubt, and it is only in the past three years that the council has suddenly become aware of its potential. Yes, there is the free Airshow, which attracts large crowds, but after 20 odd years it is increasingly obvious that it is beginning to look a little tired.

 Every time the condition of the seafront is raised by residents to Fulwell Ward Councillors they say ‘why hasn’t Seaburn got a swimming pool? Why is there no ice-rink?’ Features we councillors have asked about for years.

 The council provided the Aquatic Centre, near the Stadium of Light. The Olympic-size pool that was to put Sunderland on the map – well it didn’t and we all know why. Too expensive, too many hiccoughs and no parking spaces. As an attraction to the 2012 Olympic swimming hopefuls it was a flop because it was too far away from London.

 Nevertheless, the leisure centre at Washington is having a much-needed facelift, which will no doubt please the residents of that community, but it is too far away from the seafront.

 The loss of the Crowtree Leisure Centre has not resulted in a replacement – nor does it seem to be on the cards.

 The answer is for a sizeable wet leisure provision at Seaburn, but Sunderland Council seems to be hanging around for private development to provide recreational facilities.

 Until there is a concerted effort by the council to attract or to provide what is really needed then it will be yet another lost opportunity.

Coun George Howe,

Fulwell Ward Councillor

Help tracing families

RESEARCHING your family history and discovering your roots is of great interest to many people. However, for those who are adopted searching can be more complex, challenging and emotional.

 People may like to know that the charity, the British Association for Adoption and Fostering (BAAF) has updated its practical guide for adopted people Tracing Birth Relatives to help anyone searching for members of their birth family to do so as safely and effectively as possible.

 This free guide is full of valuable information from how to get started to advice on contacting relatives once you have found them. It also includes details of organisations throughout the UK who can help and support you with your search.

 Tracing Birth Relatives can be found together with lots more useful information about search and reunion by visiting www.adoptionsearchreunion.org.uk

Julia Feast OBE,

British Association for Adoption & Fostering (BAAF)

Don’t follow our path

WHAT an excellent idea, for Sunderland AFC to build links with Tanzania to help involve young people in sport over there.

 As long as it’s not simply a way of marketing sweat-shop produced, over-priced kit in a desperately poor country – that would be the worst kind of profiteering.

 Now that Newcastle United has surrendered all moral authority by accepting Wonga as a sponsor, let’s hope Sunderland AFC is not about to do the same.

Oliver Swingler,


I will fight for city

I’M a Sunderland lad, who married a girl from Pennywell. I am a family man with a three-year-old daughter and two stepchildren.

 I am a self-employed taxi driver and as such I get to see much of our beautiful city. I also get to see how our city is failing its citizens by giving them false promises.

 Time and time again I pick up passengers who point out where this council is going wrong. The Vaux site has been empty for 12 years – prime land that’s gone to ruin – and now it seems it’s to be turned into a cafe and bar quarter, yet there’s nothing in the city to draw people into the centre – no investment, no enterprise.

 We have one of the most beautiful coastlines in Great Britain. We are indeed a seaside town, yet there is nothing at Seaburn to lure tourists down to the seafront to take advantage of the beautiful area that it is.

 When I was growing up we had a fun fair, a showfield and ice-cream kiosks – there was life.

 The council seems to do nothing to embrace what we have and in some cases it is too little, too late.

 Sunderland is falling behind its South Tyneside neighbours as well as those in County Durham – look at Seaham .

 We all want change. We can all see the problems Sunderland has and we all moan and bicker about it and there really is only one way to start to make a difference.

 In May next year, I will be standing as an independent councillor for the St Anne’s ward, Pennywell. I will strive to do the best I can for the area. I won’t fill you with false hope. I love my area and the folk that live here. It won’t be easy but I know that change can happen in the St Anne’s ward.

 All I am asking you for is your support.

 Sunderland needs major change and by moaning to taxi drivers or each other it isn’t going to change but by standing together and believing it can, it will.

 I am loud and proud, and I will fight for what is right.

 We all know Sunderland is a beautiful place and only we can make change happen.

Kevin Stoker