YEP Letters: May 15

PC Tom White (left) and Pc Jordan Howson having been given Award for saving the life of 53 year old man, at Pudsey Police Station..11th May 2017 ..Picture by Simon Hulme
PC Tom White (left) and Pc Jordan Howson having been given Award for saving the life of 53 year old man, at Pudsey Police Station..11th May 2017 ..Picture by Simon Hulme
Have your say

Check out today’s YEP letters

Congratulations to hero officers

Shaun Kavanagh, Leeds 27

Many congratulations to West Yorkshire Police Officers Tom White and Jordan Howson for saving the life of Christopher Woodhead as reported in the YEP May 12.

As PC Howson indicated, a day on duty can sometimes be mundane but then along comes a day when you go home feeling you made a difference and earned your crust, especially having saved someone, as both officers know all too well.

All too often the police come under criticism from varying directions but the books are balanced when incidents like this are brought to the fore and so they should be.

It is a tremendous feeling to have saved a life and I speak from experience, so congratulations to both officers who gave Christopher Woodhead the benefit of their training. To Mr Woodhead, I am sure everyone wishes you a speedy recovery.

Action needed to stop cycling on pavements

Trevor Wainwright, Castleford

In reply to “Cyclists are just as much a hazard” (YEP Letters May 5) I would agree, something needs to be done to stop them being as such.

I have seen them blatantly ride on pavements doing wheelies, totally ignoring pedestrians, some with young children, and when told to refrain giving a mouthful back. I have seen them stop on pavements expecting pedestrians to step into the road, it is the same with the subways, either urban or on railway stations.

Rule 64 of the Highway code states: “You must not cycle on a pavement,” so why is it not being enforced, do they think they are above the law? On one occasion I saw a cyclist angrily point at a car driver who whilst waiting at a junction was just slightly over the cycle lane, yet later saw the same cyclist blatantly riding on the pavement, despite a cycle lane being on the road.

On canal towpaths surely it is not beyond the bounds of courtesy to either have a bell fitted or simply say “passing on your right/left please” it does work, and leads to a far better relationship between pedestrians and cyclists.

Yes, cyclists are vulnerable but are often their own worst enemies. I have seen them ride without lights at night, on the opposite side of the road into oncoming traffic, riding with no hands talking on mobiles, not stopping at junctions, resulting in near misses which had it not been for the vigilance of the other road user may have had a tragic ending, not to mention thinking they are above the law when it comes to red traffic lights.

Not all cyclists are like this, there are responsible ones just as are there are responsible vehicle drivers, but it is time something was done.

Perhaps a compulsory highway code test, or even bringing back the old cycling proficiency test, or the police doing their job with regards to cycling offences. In an accident there is always sympathy for the victim, but if they are taught and act correctly there is every chance of them not becoming the victim.

Are we really all in it together?

Allen Jenkinson, Huddersfield

FIFTEEN years ago, there were 21 UK-based billionaires in the Sunday Times Rich List, Now there are 134.

Over the past 12 months, 19 have seen their wealth rise by more than £1bn within a single year. As many people remain anxious about Britain’s future outside the EU, the total wealth of Britain’s 1,000 richest individuals and families soared to £658bn – a rise of 14 per cent on last year. The combined wealth of the top 500 surged to £580bn, more than the £575bn total wealth of the 1,000 richest people in 2016.

Robert Watts, the list’s compiler, says: “While many of us worried about the outcome of the EU referendum, many of Britain’s richest people just kept calm and carried on making billions.”

Top of the list were Sri and Gopi Hinduja with £16.2bn up £3.2bn on last year. £1bn per year equates to £2.7m a day, or to put it another way, £114,000 an hour.

The 134 represents only the tip of the iceberg, the threshold to join this elite club is £100m. I would like to ask Theresa May to explain again why the austerity measures are still with us and how we’re really all in it together. If we are, I, for one, don’t get it.

Why waste money on HS2?

Martin J Phillips, Leeds 16

I understand that Virgin Trains are planning to introduce new “Azuma” trains on the East Coast line between London and Leeds.

They claim this will reduce journey times by 20 minutes. If that is the case why is the government wasting billions of pounds on HS2 when Virgin have already found a cheaper way to achieve the same results on existing track?

This money can now be put to better use improving the rest of the rail infrastructure in Leeds and West Yorkshire.

Council should back free parking scheme

Sir Bill O’Brien, Pontefract

Last year’s Pontefract liquorice festival demonstrates what can be achieved to help the wellbeing and economy of Pontefract with cooperation from the district council.

The thousands of shoppers, visitors and traders thronging the town without any charge for parking their cars, nor with any problems reported of finding somewhere to park, show Pontefract at its best.

The day before the festival, the council’s events team organised children’s attractions in the castle which, again, was very successful, with no charging for car parking in the immediate vicinity.

The liquorice festival is only once a year but our appeal to the council for free car parking on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons would attract additional shoppers and visitors twice each week; and more so on other days once the offerings of our town centre had been sampled. The town could organise events and special offers, creating increased footfall in the town and more sales for local businesses, building on the successes instigated by the Town Centre Partnership.

Pontefract has a great deal to offer but, without its own town council, it has to rely on Wakefield Council to decide if support to local initiatives is approved.

Once again, we appeal to the council for car parking charges to be withdrawn on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons to assist Pomfretians and visitors in gaining affordable access to the town’s varied attractions.

Take part in charity challenge

Janet Morrison, Chief Executive of Independent Age

I’m writing to let readers know about a brand new fundraising campaign that Independent Age, the older people’s charity, is launching in May.

The 100in10 challenge invites participants to cover a total of 100km in 10 weeks in any way they choose. All donations will go towards the charity’s work towards helping older people stay independent for as long as possible.

Participants can take part in the challenge either as an individual or a team, and will help raise funds to support older people to live more independently. Those who take part can walk, run, swim, cycle or be as creative as they like to reach the ‘100’ target in 10 weeks. For those who are less athletically inclined, they could even try baking 100 cookies in 10 weeks instead!

Independent Age is an older people’s charity that provides regular friendly contact, a strong campaigning voice and free, impartial advice on the issues that matter to older people: care and support, money and benefits, health and mobility.

We hope that people get behind our brand new 100in10 fundraising challenge and enjoy taking part.

Every penny raised from this campaign will go towards our advice and friendship services and will help us speak up for those who are lonely, vulnerable or in need of help, so participants really will be making a big difference to the lives of older people.

Everyone in Yorkshire and the Humber can sign up for the 100in10 challenge now at

Challenging but rewarding work on park

Colin White, chairman of the Friends of Friarwood Valley Gardens, Pontefract

I would strongly encourage the formation of a friends group for the purpose of improving Castleford’s Valley Gardens.

In 2012 we formed a Friends of Friarwood Valley Gardens because of concern about the deterioration of Pontefract’s Valley Gardens, which had once been the town’s pride and joy with a profusion of flower beds, rose garden, stream, paddling pool, stage and aviary.

This was all long gone as the park was restructured by the council for easier maintenance, and the effect of vandalism made the aviary
 and paddling pool unsustainable.

Over five years our small group of enthusiastic hardworking volunteers has made significant improvements: we have restored the sensory garden, completely replanted the 31 beds of the rose garden, built a children’s playground, renovated the former aviary as a pinhole camera, installed nine new benches and three picnic tables and organised four events each year.

In addition, we have been awarded a Tesco Bags of Help grant to reinstate the outdoor stage, which should be in place for the summer, and the Pontefract North Ward Local Capital Fund is providing five more new benches and some garden renovation work.

These improvements have been possible through fundraising, donations and grants from Wakefield Council, WDH, Wren, Yorkshire Gardens Trust and Tesco, as well as the dedicated hard work of our volunteers.

A properly constituted voluntary community group can apply for grants, coordinate fundraising and volunteering, and from our experience, will get active support from Wakefield Council.

To commit to improving your local park is a challenging but very rewarding venture.

Anti-social activity is a continuing blight and sometimes it feels like we’re taking two steps forward, and then one step back. But we are continuing to make improvements and our community is again proud of its Valley Gardens.

Get involved in Shoesday event

Yvonne Wright, SMA Support UK

Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) Support UK’s annual schools fundraiser takes place on July 11 and the charity is looking for local schools to take part in this event.

The Shoesday idea is simple, ask staff and pupils to come to school in odd shoes and to donate £1 to Spinal Muscular Atrophy Support UK.

You could wear wacky shoes, crazy laces, odd socks or even customise your shoes with some decoration.

SMA Support UK is a small charity and with your support we can help make a big difference to the lives of families affected by SMA.

Spinal Muscular Atrophy is a rare, genetically inherited neuromuscular condition. SMA may affect crawling and walking ability, arm, hand, head and neck movement, breathing and swallowing.

SMA is often grouped into ‘Types’. Types of SMA are based on the age at which symptoms first appear and what physical ‘milestones’ a baby or child is likely to achieve.

Sadly, usually due to breathing difficulties, most children with SMA Type 1 rarely survive beyond two years of age. We provide information, emotional support, practical advice and guidance to families affected by SMA.

SMA Support UK supports and empowers anyone affected by Spinal Muscular Atrophy.

They are advocates for better services and access to new treatments, raise public awareness and fund research initiatives.

To sign up for this fundraiser go to our website

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