YEP Letters: April 17

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Check out today’s YEP letters

Searching for photo information

Susan Peberdy, by email

I have been scanning my late mother’s photo albums. Among them is one that belonged to her brother, Douglas Gordon Rathwell. He was born in Lachine, Quebec, Canada in 1922 and served in the Royal Canadian Air Force as a navigator. He was stationed at Croft Air Field during WWII and was killed six weeks before the end of the war.

Among the many photographs (all taken in England) in Doug’s album are several of him with a young woman (pictured). It is pretty clear that they cared for each other. On the back of one of them is written ‘Mr and Mrs CH Ward, 16 Langdale Gardens, Headingley, Leeds’. I am guessing these are the parents of the young woman and they lived in Headingley.

I have looked at the photographs in my uncle’s album many times, but it was only yesterday that I removed them to be scanned and noticed the address on the back of one of them. The photos have always saddened me as I know the devastating effect his death had on his family. I have wondered for many years about the young woman who figured so prominently in so many of the photos. I am hoping a reader might be familiar with the Ward family and might be able to enlighten me as to the woman’s name and what became of her.

Action needed on nursing home provision

Coun Caroline Anderson, Shadow Spokesman for Adult Social Care, Adel & Wharfedale Ward

It was interesting to read your coverage of the continuing problems associated with residential and nursing home provision in Leeds (Adult social care failures are ‘wholly unacceptable’ –YEP April 8). It is clear that firm action is need and needed urgently.

The statistics are extremely worrying: 49 per cent of nursing homes rated as in need of improvement and a further seven per cent inadequate. As your readers will be aware there has been a campaign by residents across Leeds over proposals to close three council-run homes rated as ‘good’.

Given the comments made by Coun Rebecca Charlwood, the responsible Executive Board Member, in your article I am not entirely sure the issue is being taken seriously enough.

To suggest that the poor inspections are simply a result of homes not being ‘exam ready’ seems flippant to say the least when over half are classed as failing to reach a ‘good’ standard. Surely not all of these are homes that are poorly prepared for a CQC Inspection?

We have been calling on the council to look at new delivery models based on partnership with the independent sector for three months now.

It featured in our budget proposals, that were rejected, and we also raised the matter at the last council meeting which was again opposed by Coun Charlwood and her colleagues.

Your coverage serves to highlight the value of the proposals we have put forward, collaboration and partnership are the way forward on this issue and we stand ready to work with anyone to see a new delivery model put in place that retains council involvement in residential care in Leeds. It is just a pity that on two occasions already this idea has been knocked back.

Don’t be afraid to tackle terror

David Schofield, Garforth

I FOUND watching the recent service at Westminster Abbey remembering those who were killed and injured as a result of the terrorist attack in Westminster very moving and quite emotional.

This was in stark contrast to the anger and outrage I felt immediately following the attack, and particularly the statement Jeremy Corbyn made at the time. He said that it would be wrong for the counter-terrorism agencies to focus on Muslim communities.

Oh really? Who else did he have in mind? The WI? Darby and Joan Clubs? The Mothers’ Union? Come on Mr Corbyn, get real. These are murdering cowardly terrorists we are talking about.

It’s about time Mr Corbyn, and others like him, faced up to the truth, however unpleasant that may be.

I believe and accept that not all Muslims are terrorists, of course, but I also believe we should not be afraid to tackle terror.

Drawbacks to
arming police

Shaun Kavanagh, Leeds

Regarding all police officers being armed, I doubt all officers would wish to be armed.

Having been an armed officer myself, those who carry firearms are selected carefully and I doubt, certainly in the present day, that many officers would meet those requirements.

That is not intended to insult but it is a fact. Furthermore, even if they were, it is doubtful all would wish to carry firearms. Thankfully the UK does not have the same gun culture as some countries and, whilst there are increasing incidents, there are many armed officers on daily patrol ready to deal with them.

As for the possibility of a future debate on the subject of all officers being armed, then such a debate will probably be a long time in the waiting. If there were such a debate, the likely outcome would be negative. That said, if the outcome was positive, there would be a significant egress of officers by way of resignations or retirements.

That in itself could create mayhem by depleting forces of the valuable experience required to maintain policing levels. Such a move would most certainly take a significant amount of a time to replace and stretch financial resources even further than imaginable.

History repeats a bleak picture

Graham Branston, Rawdon

WHAT an unstable and deeply worrying world we are currently experiencing.

As if the global terrorist atrocities with innocent people killed aren’t bad enough, we have recently seen the grotesque consequences of the effects of chemical weapons on men, women and even children in Syria.

The cliché that history repeats itself is so true at present.

Every so often world peace is threatened by a tyrant and at the present time we have at least three who don’t seem to care about the needless loss of lives.

They are Vladimir Putin, Bashar al-Assad and Kim Jong-un. Throw Donald Trump and Xi Jinping into the mix and the international picture is bleak.

Another well worn cliché is that those who live by the sword die by the sword – it has certainly been borne out historically.

It may happen again in our lifetime, but the question to ask is at what cost to life when tyrants are deluded by their frightening power?

Walk outside and explore

Stephen Ryan, Head of the North, Diabetes UK

With spring’s flowers in full bloom and May heralding the beginning of National Walking Month, there has never been a better time to head outdoors for a walk.

Walking is a great way of enjoying the warmer weather as well as an easy and convenient way of getting fit and staying healthy. It can also help people manage Type 1 diabetes, Type 2 diabetes or help reduce the risk of Type 2 diabetes.

Being more physically active doesn’t have to involve going to the gym, long-distance runs or intensive aerobics classes. Getting more active can begin by making small changes to your lifestyle.

Walking is something you can fit around your daily life and it doesn’t have to cost a penny.

Just 30 minutes of walking, five times a week, can make a real difference to your health. To find out more about the impact, or to get some hints and tips on staying active, you can visit our website at diabetes.org.uk.

There you will find a whole host of information -from exercise tips to healthy and delicious recipes- and if you are feeling particularly adventurous, you can also find information on our 1 million steps challenge.

It runs between July and September and is a great way of getting into walking, remaining active, and raising vital funds to help tackle diabetes across the UK.

So what are we waiting for? Its National Walking Month, the sun is shining, so let’s get out there and explore!

Government needs to change track

Yvette Cooper, MP for Normanton, Pontefract and Castleford

Across our area vital services are being heavily cut.

Schools are the Government’s latest target - with £6 million a year planned cuts from Five Towns schools.

It’s an outrage. Especially as some wealthier areas will get more money, so will grammars and free schools. It’s normal high schools and primary schools like ours that the Conservatives have decided to hit.

But it’s not just education. Neighbourhood police officers, social care for the elderly, children’s centres, road repairs, swimming pools – all are badly hit this year, even though it will cost us more in rising crime or poorer health later. Often Wakefield Council ends up taking flak for cuts in local services – for example over Pontefract Golf Club. Yet they have little choice and councils across the North are being forced into these decisions.

Ministers want people to blame local councils for these cuts. We shouldn’t fall for it. By 2020 the Conservative government will have cut £185m from Wakefield Council’s budget.

Labour councils are losing on average £340 per household compared to only £68 for Tory councils. And at the same time the Conservatives are spending billions on tax cuts for the wealthiest estates, and biggest corporations.

For the sake of our children’s education and local services, this government needs to change track.

HS2 millstone for taxpayers

James Morris, Altofts

in the financial year 2015/16 the 11 directors of HS2 were paid a total of £1,597,162.

On top of that there were the salaries of 366 senior managers and 684 employees, consultants and the like so it’s hardly surprising that the chief executive stated that at the time of his report the overall cost of HS2 was estimated at £55.7bn at 2015 prices.

One of the strategic goals of HS2 is ‘delivering value to the UK taxpayer and passengers’ –but unless this vanity project is cancelled it will, in my opinion, be an ongoing financial millstone around the neck of the UK taxpayer.

If the fares cost one third more as they do on HS1 then that’s hardly good value for passengers when it comes to saving them just 20 minutes on a Leeds-London journey.

According to the HS2 2015/16 annual report ‘the board seeks to uphold the seven key principles of public life: selflessness, integrity, objectivity, accountability, openness, honesty and leadership’.

Interesting to note that HS2 Ltd doesn’t have anyone on its board to represent the public/passengers/customers. Enough is enough. The country cannot afford HS2 so it must be stopped.

Support the Rainbow Trust this Easter

Nell McAndrew, model and athlete

It’s hard not to notice an abundance of Easter eggs lining shop aisles as families (mine included) have a happy Easter celebration together.

I count myself incredibly lucky though – because for thousands of families caring for a life-threatened or terminally-ill child, the luxury of family time together is one they can’t take for granted.

I am a proud supporter of Rainbow Trust Children’s Charity that supports over 2,000 families in England caring for a seriously-ill child.

This Easter, Rainbow Trust’s network of Family Support Workers will be doing everything they can to help make life a little easier for these families by providing emotional and practical support.

It might be helping families spend time together by volunteering to transport them to hospital, or supporting brothers and sisters to mark Easter by making cards and cakes.

It could be giving a few precious hours of respite to parents so they can be with their other children away from medicines, doctors and hospitals.

Please spare a thought for these families this Easter and, if you can, donate to Rainbow Trust, to help support even more families as they face their worst nightmare.

Just visit rainbowtrust.org.uk/donate or text RAIN18 £3 to 70070 to make a £3 donation.

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YEP Letters: August 22