YEP Letters: February 28

From Leodis''Leeds New Bridge Coat of Arms courtesy of Leeds  Libraries
From Leodis''Leeds New Bridge Coat of Arms courtesy of Leeds Libraries
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Check out today’s YEP letters

Owls are symbolic for city of Leeds

John Appleyard, Liversedge

When I retired from Leeds City Council I was presented with a tie pin, among other things, with two owls emblazoned upon it.

The owls are symbolic for Leeds and come from the coat of arms belonging to Sir John Saville the first Alderman of Leeds. There is also an enjoyable owl trail around Leeds city centre. The owl is a creature of night, dwelling in ruins, woods and moors. Their beauty has appeared in poems by Sylvia Plath, Edward Lear, Wordsworth and Tennyson to name but a few. The little owl was introduced into Britain from continental Europe by the Yorkshire naturalist Charles Waterton in 1842, unfortunately his habit of giving birds a warm bath before release led to most dying on the spot. In Yorkshire, broth made from the hooting bird was used as a cure for whooping cough.

These facts and much more can be read in a beautiful little book called ‘The Secret Life of the Owl’ by John Lewis-Stempel. It’s an education to read it!

Universities put Yorkshire in the spotlight

Ian M Houston, Clydebuilt International, Washington DC.

ON a recent trip to Yorkshire from Washington DC, I had the pleasure of informally touring several university campuses and having many conversations with students and faculty.

I was struck by the common unifying theme in what they said – pride in attending university in Yorkshire and the specific school they were studying at. There was vibrancy in their voices, a sparkle in their eyes.

Students and staff spoke of diversity, location, research, and of a growing public commitment to their needs.

Yorkshire is the home to a remarkable set of unique universities and colleges.

According to Yorkshire Universities, higher education in the county attracts approximately 210,000 students each year including roughly 35,000 from 150 countries. These students inject significant resources into the regional economy with a purchasing power estimated at nearly £1bn.

The Universities of York and Leeds consistently and rightfully rank high as top research and academic institutions.

Yet the contributions of universities and students extends far beyond these two well respected schools to include fine institutions like York St John, Bradford, Leeds Beckett, Sheffield, Leeds Arts, Hull, to name a few.

There is a palpable energy of innovation across the region worthy of global investment. International business, research institutions, and universities outside of the UK should be forging partnerships with these schools, recruiting students, and setting up shop in Yorkshire which has first rate public transportation, standards of living, and natural beauty.

Additionally, international students should seriously consider attending one of these universities because of what the institutions offer academically, but also because

of location.

If one truly wants to go beyond the course to be studied, learn of Britain, and more directly absorb the British character of hard work, innovation, creativity, warmth, and hospitality, then seriously look at a university in Yorkshire.

Yorkshire higher education is truly delivering.

Global private enterprise, job recruiters, international universities and students who aspire to study in Britain need to be awake and alert to this dynamic culture of growth and innovation.

The simple message is: Think Yorkshire Universities!

Sad day of last city trams

Robert H Foster, Skipton

IN my first term at primary school, on a foggy November 7, 1959, my father took me to Leeds to travel on the last day of the city’s trams.

He said that it was a big mistake to abandon them. I wince whenever driving through Lawnswood where the segregated tram route is still clearly visible.

This week it is reported that those in charge of transport in Leeds propose a new regime of buses. Before they condemn those living in, working in and visiting Leeds to yet a third generation of inadequate city transport, might I suggest that these people spend a day in Switzerland? They should visit Basel and Zurich – both cities are about the same size as Leeds – and ride the tram systems there. They will see how public transport should be organised and the advantages to the environment and wellbeing conferred by trams.

Sheffield, Manchester, Nottingham, Birmingham and Edinburgh have recently re-installed tram systems while Liverpool, Newcastle and Glasgow have underground/metro systems in addition to London. It is tragic that Leeds intends to persist with buses.

Winter Olympics was ‘unrivalled success’

Peter Keighley, by email

The Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang are now over and already I am having withdrawal symptoms, especially with sports such as curling, skeleton and bobsleigh.

It’s great that Team GB has managed to get five medals this time round. As a sporting event, Pyeongchang 2018 has been an unrivalled success and all athletes that have taken part from all countries should be applauded. I have been particularly engrossed in the curling, what an intricate sport it is, precision personified. Another winter sport I enjoyed was two and four man bobsleigh, some may call it the Formula 1 of winter Olympic sport. Very exciting to watch. I do hope young people will take up these sports and increase Team GB’s chances of many more medals in the years to come.

Ovarian cancer awareness

Susan Calman, Target Ovarian Cancer Ambassador

I used to be one of the four out of five women in the UK that can’t name bloating as a major symptom of ovarian cancer.

Then my role model, the wonderful comedian Linda Smith, died from the disease. Now as an Ambassador for Target Ovarian Cancer, I am calling for more awareness of the disease during Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month this March. I want everyone to know the four symptoms – it could save lives: persistent bloating; feeling full; tummy pain; needing to wee more.

I’m asking your readers to join us to raise awareness and money to support Target Ovarian Cancer this March. It’s time to TAKE OVAR. Together we can make sure every woman knows the symptoms of ovarian cancer. Join us at your workplace, school or community: Bake Some Noise with a cake sale or coffee morning, join us on Friday March 9 for The Big Colour Clash by wearing your loudest outfit for a donation, or challenge yourself to tell 50 people about the symptoms and raise £50. We’ll send you everything you need for free. Call 020 7923 5474 or visit

Decades of dedicated research

Simon Gillespie, Chief Executive at the British Heart Foundation

There is a lot to be proud of since we were founded in 1961.

Seven in ten people now survive a heart attack; the idea of heart transplants is now a reality and the majority of babies born with congenital heart conditions now live on to adulthood.

We want to say thank you to everyone who has donated to the BHF over the years – your money has helped to make these breakthroughs and save millions of lives; we simply wouldn’t have come so far if it wasn’t for your generosity.

But unfortunately, heart disease and circulatory disease isn’t a done deal. In Yorkshire and The Humber, an estimated 620,000 people are living with cardiovascular disease, and every year around 13,600 people die from these conditions.

Heart and circulatory disease still devastates thousands of families every year and is the cause of more than a quarter of all deaths in the UK. Our fight isn’t over yet.

Up and down the nation, thousands of scientists are making it their mission to keep more families together.

As you read this letter, we are one step closer to finding a cure for heart failure, pioneering new methods of diagnosing inherited heart conditions and improving surgical procedures.

But these projects will cease to exist without donations, as they aren’t government funded. By donating to the BHF, you will be helping around 1,000 research projects in over 50 locations to unlock the key to beating heart disease for good. To be a part of this exciting prospect, please visit

Leavers voted out of patriotism

Alan Chapman, Bingley.

ACROSS social media, the Brexit debate descends towards the gutter, especially from the young.

The print media sets a more acceptable tone from more mature readers, but can occasionally get hostile.

I believe Remainers’ vile abuse and rage is unprecedented in modern politics and can be summed up as follows: Left-wing Remainers are determined to keep the UK in the EU so they may continue life under an unelected liberal/socialist permanent bureaucracy – the EU Commission that supersedes a Conservative government.

Right-wing Remainers are making money from the EU and simply talk out of their greedy pockets to the detriment of the UK. Leavers, like me, voted out of patriotism to set the country free.

Left in dark by airport tag

Mrs P Sykes, Otley.

I TOTALLY agree with correspondents over Leeds Bradford Airport – how can it be called an ‘international’ airport when you have to negotiate ice-covered steps from the plane then walk almost a quarter of a mile to get indoors? All in the dark I might add.