Letters, Tuesday, January 31st, 2012

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We need to act over drink deaths

THERE are 8,790 new reasons why the Government needs to act swiftly to stop the UK drinking itself to death.

The Office for National Statistics has just published research on alcohol-related deaths in the UK during 2010. It revealed that 8,790 people died due to a range of conditions including chronic liver disease and cirrhosis. That’s 8,790 families missing a son or a daughter, a husband of wife, a mother or a father, a brother or a sister because a loved one drank too much.

As usual, the North East bears the brunt – with higher rates of death than any other English region, and we’ve had enough.

We’ve seen an astonishing leap in alcohol-related deaths over the last two decades. For instance, the latest figures reveal that since 1991, the rate of male deaths in North East has increased by 160 per cent compared to a national increase of 94 per cent.

People are dying because alcohol is way too cheap.

They’re dying because alcohol is available on nearly every street corner at all hours of the day and night.

They’re dying because alcohol is far too heavily promoted. The alcohol industry spends something like £800million a year on marketing, which is having a huge impact on recruiting the next generation of problem drinkers from among our children.

We need to turn back the rising tide of alcohol-related deaths by introducing a range of measures which include greater restrictions on alcohol marketing and a minimum price per unit of alcohol.

David Cameron has already signalled his interest in a minimum price – a move that we, as organisations responsible for reducing alcohol consumption in our respective regions, applaud. On behalf of the North East we would urge him to continue his investigations as a matter of priority.

Colin Shevills, Director of Balance, The North East Alcohol Office

No real answers

DOGMATIC Allan Wilkinson (Letters, January 19) made me laugh with his mumbo-jumbo on political theory. You see I’ve heard it all before, and it’s used by writers like Allan who apparently talk a load of baloney because they have no real answers for me.

He suggested I was a socialist then bizarrely used the insinuation as an excuse not to reply to my previous correspondence. In other words, no real answers for me.

Everything Mr Wilkinson wrote is irrelevant to matters under discussion. He said socialists learn nothing and forget nothing. Well if you learn nothing there’s nothing to forget! I apologise for talking in riddles like Allan.

Anyway there’s an old saying that I learned way back in the Cold War, which I have never forgotten. It’s also a bit of good advice for Mr Wilkinson, and goes like this: If you have nothing relevant or sensible to say, don’t be foolhardy – keep your mouth firmly closed.

W. Quinn, Duke Street, Millfield

Repairs delayed

CONTRARY to rumours circulating, the repairs to Barley Mow bowls pavilion have not started.

I have in my possession an email from the Parks Department stating work would start subject to the loss adjuster’s approval on November 21, 2011, and all work would be complete and off the site by March 9, 2012.

Alas this is not so. I was informed that the plans had gone back to the loss adjuster again. I take it that this is the third different adjuster, so your guess is as good as mine as to if or when

the repairs will begin. I think the Vaux site comes mind.

G. Gibson, Chairman

Use park and ride

I HAVE been reading many letters recently about parking difficulties in the hospital grounds. Not once has a hospital spokesman or the Echo thought to mention the excellent park and ride services that operate from Silksworth and The Stadium of Light.

These buses are free and drop off right next to Chester Clinic door. There is a service every half-hour in both directions. It is often underused, but if the service is not properly advertised how will people know about it?

The drivers are always courteous and helpful and the journey and hospital visit hassle free. So please use it or lose it, as the saying goes.

Joan Temple

Special thanks

THE Little Sisters of the Poor, Holy Cross Home, Ettrick Grove, Sunderland would like to thank the following school choirs: Sunderland High Junior School, St Mary’s Primary School and St Joseph’s Primary School who all sang carols in the Bridges over Christmas.

Our thanks also to the people of Sunderland who generously donated to the collection.

Little Sisters of the Poor, Ettrick Grove, High Barnes