Letters, Thursday, March 31st, 201

Have your say

Bowled over by tenpin centre

M. SNOW, who recently had a letter published regarding the demise of tenpin bowling in Sunderland, must never have actually visited our lovely city centre as they would have seen one of the newest attractions – a state-of-the-art tenpin bowling alley in the form of Tenpin Sunderland.

 So when M. Snow moans about the lack of tenpin bowling, I really find it hard to comprehend what they are talking about. Surely the facts should have been looked at properly?

This vibrant attraction (Tenpin Sunderland – High Street) has been open for a couple of years now and has a thriving, well-attended youth club for six to 18-year-olds (with fully qualified instructors) as well as other leagues, not least among them a league for disabled users which has been created with the help of local nursing and care homes.

These leagues speak volumes about the courteous, friendly attitude of Tenpin staff who go out of their way to make sure all users have a great time.

Of course the tenpin bowling parties are available at Tenpin with lots of variety regarding excellent meals and drinks – even balloon animals and games organised by staff.

Exercise and activity as well as inclusion for all is encouraged by Tenpin Sunderland who provide excellent and convenient wheelchair access and internal lifts to help those that need it.

M. Snow does get one fact right – tenpin bowling is suitable for all ages. In fact Tenpin Sunderland is the current holder of the Inter City League trophy after beating Sheffield recently in a competition attended by youngsters from nine years to people in their 70s.

So it can be demonstrated that not only do Tenpin Sunderland attract all ages into friendly competition, they also actively encourage people from all around the country to visit our lovely city.

M. Snow should pop into Tenpin Sunderland and see what is available before bemoaning the lack of venues and possibilities.

Tenpin bowling is thriving in Sunderland – right in the heart of our city – so those who truly enjoy the sport regardless of local politics have nothing to worry about, and indeed quite a lot to be positive about.

Name and address supplied

Charity jump

REGULAR readers of the Echo may remember me as a fund-raiser for Grace House.

I am a 66-year-old amputee and up to last Christmas I had raised nearly £5,000 in 16 months.

However, I am determined to raise £10,000 this year and every year for the next decade, if I am spared.

As a boost to my fund-raising I have arranged to do a tandem parachute jump from 10,000 feet on April Fool’s Day.

I have been promised a lot of sponsorship and the generosity of North East folk never fails to amaze me.

Anyone can sponsor me online at www.justgiving.com/jeff-coxon, ring Grace House on 5166 302 or myself on 581 6913.

Thank you for any help, on behalf of all the children and their parents, who will use Grace House.

Also say a little – no big – prayer for me on April 1.

Many thanks.

Jeff Coxon, Lawnside, Seaham

Coalition success

HAVING being instrumental in bringing Nissan and thousands of jobs to Sunderland, Conservatives in Government have proved, if proof were needed, this was no one-off.

Having signed off the deal to bring Hitachi to the North East, the Government has paved the way for thousands of more jobs to be created here. The regional TUC estimates 9,000 jobs.

Yes the last Government was involved in the initial stages, but there was some doubt as to the plant coming to the North East.

I’ve no doubt the local Labour fanatics will be frantically trying to rewrite history on this latest achievement but, like Nissan, facts will speak for themselves.

It’s a pity that our very own Echo could not give any credit to the Government.

Even the local morning newspaper, not know for it’s Tory sympathies, said in its editorial “The Coalition Government deserves credit”.

Bob Francis, Conservative councillor, Fulwell Ward

Credit to city

I HAVE been meaning to write for some time, but as I am 84, time passes and I forget.

The people of Sunderland derserve to know that on November 30 last year my wife aged 77 slipped on ice and fell badly in a car park in St Annes on Sea, Lancashire, breaking her upper arm very badly, although we didn’t know that at the time.

In the next car to where she lay were four young men from Sunderland who said they were on football training or something of that nature.

They jumped out of their car, put their coats around my wife to keep her warm, standing in T-shirts themselves, and generally helped to get the ambulance.

When we finally departed in the ambulance I offered them some money “for a drink” but they refused to take it.

Young people today get a lot of bad publicity but these four were a great credit to their parents and their town, and I hope they get this message.

Robert (and Olga) Brewer, Ribble Point, Lytham, Lancs

Tradesman’s plea

I AM based in Hexham and I am one of a few traditional marine (ship’s) riggers working in the North East. That trade is defined by the ability to splice and manipulate wire and fibre rope to support the masts of a sailing boat and enable the spars and sails to be hoisted.

Other work may involve making lifting slings and guard rail wires.

As I am approaching retirement, I would like to compile a short reference work to record the skills and memories of people who may have worked in that and other trades such as in the wire rope factories in and around the North East.

I know that Sunderland was a major manufacturing base for the wire rope industry and for shipbuilding and would like to approach your readership with a view to accessing people with relevant knowledge.

Also, the tools of the trade are very specialised and often vary considerably from place to place. I would like to expand my collection of with a view to cataloguing them and making them accessible to people who want to learn about the trade.

As well as making up rigging, I also work with voluntary and historical organisations to pass on my skills and give people an awareness of what was once a vital trade in the maritime industry.

I feel that the work of the rigger and wire splicer is under represented in our industrial past, and no formal work has, to my knowledge, been completed on the subject since the 1950s.

If any Echo readers can help me with my project, I would be delighted to hear from them. They can phone me on 07940 438 250 or email me at nigelgray38@hotmail.com.

Nigel Gray, Hexham

Ban flat caps

THE flat cap, also known as the cheesecutter, has been around for years and is still a popular form of headwear in the North East.

Due to the passage of time I feel that the flat cap should be banned. There is no doubt in my mind that this image is bad for the region and is highlighting the North-South divide.

How on earth are we to attract inward investment to the city with this antiquated image?

It’s the same with women wearing trainers and headscarves – it really does bring down the area, and just as an example of how standards have dropped I have just left the Ormonde Street Post Office que where a young woman dressed in pyjamas and slippers was sending a parcel.

It’s a outrage that things have come to this.

Mick “The Pen” Brown

Fuel payment cut

THE “we are all in it together” Tory-led Coalition have come up with another corker.

In Osborne’s first budget he made a big play of the fact that the Coalition had kept the winter fuel payment.

In his second budget, no mention of the winter fuel payment. Why? Because the millionaire Chancellor had sneakily cut (yes, when domestic fuel bills are rising) the winter fuel payment by £50 per household and, even worse, if you are over 80 he had cut it by £100 per household.

In fact Osborne was that sly over the cut that when asked on the BBC news a cabinet minister did not know that the winter fuel payment had been cut.

Every day of this Coalition brings another lie, another U-turn, another broken promise.


Next move is vital

THE TUC demonstration last Saturday reflects the enormous strength and latent power of the working class as around 250,000 marched through London in protest at the swingeing cuts carried out by the millionaires and their wealthy backers in this Tory/Lib-Dem government.

The TUC should be proud of itself but its leaders should also be aware that they have let the genie out of the bottle and their next step is vital, especially as the Government won’t take any notice whatsoever.

While most people on the march were activists (and young), millions stayed at home wondering what the TUC’s next move will be to stop these cuts. The rampaging group of predominantly middle-class youth who call themselves anarchists and had their own futile agenda is a warning to the Labour and trade union movement.

As early as the 19th century Karl Marx condemned the anarchists for blowing up a baker’s shop in London. Unlike a demonstration or a strike when working people see their combined strength, these wasteful acts of individual action do nothing to raise the class consciousness of people and, ultimately, allow the police to clamp down even harder.

Media commentators put the number of anarchists at 150. I watched it live on television and it was more like six times that.

Back in the Thatcher years of the 1980s we saw a similar number of trade union protesters on the streets of Liverpool. The only way to escalate the protest was for the TUC to call a general strike. They didn’t and after a few more national demonstrations anger was (deliberately) dissipated, culminating in 5,000 people on a pitiful TUC march in Jarrow.

Times have changed. The reduction of trade union membership means young people in particular do not have that intrinsic link to the Labour movement they once had.

If the TUC doesn’t show a lead and take the protests to a higher level, then the 1,000 or so anarchists will be joined by tens of thousands of frustrated and alienated working-class youth who will take unco-ordinated and futile but, ultimately, destructive direct action.

Ed Waugh

Mistake corrected

IN the final broadcast of the Radio 4 programme A History of the World in 100 Objects, the director of the British Museum erroneously attributed the invention of the filament lamp to Thomas Edison, when it was actually invented by Joseph Swan of Sunderland and first demonstrated at the Literary and Philosophical Society in Newcastle.

As a Geordie I am always keen to point out to people that a Sunderland man deserves the credit for this invention that so changed the world. I therefore wrote to the director of the British Museum and pointed out his error.

I’m happy to inform the people of Sunderland that the lead curator has replied to me acknowledging that the invention should have been attributed to Swan, and saying that they have amended the online podcasts and transcripts of the programme to reflect this, and that reprints of the book have also been amended.

A good result for the North East, I’m sure you’ll agree.

G.W. Moffat, Beacon House, Granada Drive, Whitley Bay

No fan of panto

I WISH to congratulate the Empire in its choice of show for Christmas 2011. I must tell you I am anti-pantomime and have been all my life. I’m not complaining about the quality of pantomimes now and yesteryear, but I have always hated them.

Before and after the war my mother used to drag me to the Empire, but the thought of it used to make my toes curl. My mother used to adore them. She seemed to start laughing from the curtain going up to closing time.

The comedy seemed to go over my head as they seemed to be doing a Charlie Chaplin impression, which didn’t impress me, always falling around, which didn’t seem very funny.

During the war you had to take your gas mask to the Empire. Many times we used to go to a sweet shop on High Street Bank, explain to the owner that we had forgotten our gas masks and he would give us a cardboard box wrapped up like a mask so we were never refused entry. Happy days.

I’ve never been to the Empire for years but maybe I’ll go to see Legally Blonde. Anyway, it seems a better deal to me.

M.C. Bennett, Sorley Street, Millfield

Christian values

IN response to David Herring’s letter of March 25 I would like to thank him for his reply to my letter. May I say that I do not wish to turn this into a theological discussion on the impact religion has on the social behaviours and habits of modern-day society as we do not have the space or the time. But may I ask one question?

Do we not teach our children not to steal, or tell lies, not to murder, to show respect to our elders and to people in society? Do we not teach them what is right and wrong and teach them to share?

I believe the majority of people in this country promote such values. These are all in the teachings of the Bible on how to live, so whether or not people are practising Christians or never go to church we all teach Christian values, therefore we live in a Christian country.

To answer Mr Herring’s last question, and possibly to his dissatisfaction, yes there would be enough evidence to convict me of being a Christian.

But let’s not forget the important issue that my letter was trying to convey, which is that innocent people are dying because of their beliefs and our government chooses to look the other way.

Debra Waller, Grindon, Sunderland

SO Niall Quinn got his full house but it will be a long time before he fills that stadium again, after the garbage served up against a poor Liverpool side.

We can’t score a goal. One point from the last 18! The team looks burnt out and we are far from safe.

A. Burns, Thorney Close, Sunderland

ON the morning of Saturday, March 19, my wife had a very nasty fall on a bus in Woods Terrace, Murton at approximately 10.45am.

I would like to thank Margaret Duffel for staying with my wife until the arrival of the emergency services and would like to say well done to the paramedic, ambulance staff and Sunderland A&E Department. They all did us proud.

P. Taylor,

Grasmere Terrace, Murton

JUDY and Joe Sheriff would like to thank management and staff and everyone who made their Ruby Wedding celebration so special at Privilege Sunderland.

It was a fab night. Thank you all.

Judy, Joe and family

The Generals Wood, Harraton, Washington

ALZHEIMER’S will probably remain incurable for the foreseeable future, but early diagnosis is possible and desirable. The suggested age of 75 for testing is too late. DIY kits should be freely available to be used by family members, even on themselves.

Corpore Sano