Letters, Wednesday, December 12

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I NOTICE that work is proceeding apace on refurbishing the Vestry, sorry Renaissance, in Fawcett Street, and therein lies the problem.

I NOTICE that work is proceeding apace on refurbishing the Vestry, sorry Renaissance, in Fawcett Street, and therein lies the problem.

 Of the old town centre pubs remaining, The Ship Inn, The afore-mentioned Vestry, The Post Office, The Gannet and The Park all changed their names and remain closed, in fact the only pubs to change names and survive are The Borough (The Vine House), Chaplin’s (The Albion), Greens (Hat And Feather Vaults), The Londonderry (Londonderry Arms) and The Blandford (Blandford House) with The Burton House being the only pub to keep its original name if my memory is not malfunctioning (a wonderful website www.garyforeman.co.uk/p/sunderland-pubs.html helped provide the information)

 Of the other old pubs still surviving they have done so by reverting to their original names as in The Dun Cow, The Black Bull, The Beehive and Sinatra’s, in total we have 15 of the pre-1980s pubs left in the immediate town centre whereas in fact at one time, Sunderland was reported to have more drinking places than any other town of comparable size in the country.

 In 1880 there were 262 fully licensed houses and 377 beer houses in the town, however, that’s by the by.

 The point of all this is that in order to go back to the days of when The Vestry was very popular, Renaissance should revert to the name of The Vestry and also replace the ordinary glass windows with stained glass and in this way people would have to enter the building to look for their friends and invariably buy a meal and of course, drinks in the convivial atmosphere.


Alan ‘The Quill’ Vincent,

Old Penshaw.

Feeling cheated

I FEEL I must write this letter to warn people who have their gas and electricity supplied by nPower.

 I was persuaded to join their company. I am an 83-year-old pensioner living on my own. On joining the company they told me I would receive £100. Thirteen months on I am still waiting.

 I have phoned them on four occasions but to no avail. They just have no feelings whatsoever.

 I have been with nPower for 13 months at £104 per month but that stopped last month. This month they have taken £185 out by direct debit and I was told that this carries on from now on.

 In the last month they have taken £289, that is more than three weeks of my pension.

 I would bet that pretender Cameron does not have to sit in a cold house afraid to put the heater on.

 This once great country of ours is now irreparable. I am ashamed to be British.

 I have proof of everything I write – conned again. Needless to say I have left that company.

Les Morrell,

Plains Farm

Praise for Tracy

COULD I say some words of praise and admiration for a lovely lady called Tracy McCourt for all the heartache and grief she has been through in the last two years.

 She put that to one side to fight a very hard battle for her brother-in-law who died in police custody.

 The family are very close. I have known them since they were all babies.

 Tracy did this for all the family and didn’t she do very well. She went to a situation where most people would be reluctant to even think about. It was not easy and very upsetting but she got what was the right outcome for all the family.

 God bless you for being so brave Tracy and God bless all the family.

Councillor Geraldine Bleasdale

Sport reunion

A REUNION of ex-sports division staff will be held on Sunday at 7pm in the Cambridge Pub, Fulwell Road, Sunderland.

 I am looking for John, Lawson, Barry Gunn, John and Tony Ward, Sarah McAdam, Debbie Lorraine Kidd, Chris Jackson, Steve Greener and Richard Clark.

 Contact Kay 07745 704104 or Oriel 07973 559442.

Kay Lodge,


Help boost trade

I WAS disappointed with Coun Blackburn’s refusal at the November council meeting to countenance any measures in the run-up to Christmas to attract more car users into Sunderland’s city centre.

 At the previous meeting, in September, I suggested free parking from, say, 3pm to attract more people into the city to help ensure more business for city traders.

 Figures recently published for Newcastle’s “Alive after Five” scheme (which includes free parking after 5pm) show that initiative has brought £157million into their local economy.

 Nexus has announced its car parks will be free from 5pm in the run-up to Christmas and I understand South Tyneside is doing something similar.

 Sunderland Council needs to do something to attract shoppers into the centre. Too many Sunderland people prefer to shop outside the city. Other councils encourage shoppers. It’s high time Sunderland did the same and the run-up to Christmas is the ideal opportunity which should not be wasted.

Peter Wood (Coun),

Conservative Transport spokesman