YOU recently published an article about a book I have written entitled, “Oh brother what a journey!”
The facts reported were only peripheral to the main purpose of the book, which centred on my 40-year ambition to meet for the first time my brother.
My father was born in South Shields in 1896 and after the 1926 Miners’ strike like many others, had to search for work on his bike all over the north of England.
He eventually managed to find a job at the New Rossington mine. After just six years his wife suddenly died leaving him with four young children in 1933.
These tragic circumstances were compounded two years later when he had a dreadful accident down the mine being buried up to his neck, consequently breaking seven bones in his back.
During these dark days a child migrant scheme for disadvantaged children was being promoted by a newspaper. One of his children (Jack) heard of it and subsequently went to Australia at the age of 13 in 1938.
I am the eldest of my father’s second family and it was my ambition for 40 years to meet Jack. My mother kept every letter he wrote from 1938 until 1949 after which we lost contact with him.
I give ten-year time slices of Jack growing up in rural Australia contrasting it with what life was like for me growing up in deprived circumstances in Rossington in the 1940s and 50s. Four years of research went into the book including two visits to Australia.
The foreword is written by the well know screen writer Roy Clarke (Last of the Summer Wine, Open All Hours, etc).
The whole story is contained in the book which is available from The Tourist Information Centre, Doncaster and Taylor’s Florist shop in Rossington price £6.50.
Ernest Bridgewood, Doncaster
Does the council dislike greenery?
SOME 12 months ago our councillors and the environment section decided that 100-year-old hedgerows on the field adjacent to East Lane in Stainforth were an attraction for drug users and underage boozers, so they considered cutting these well-established beautiful trees down to eliminate these bad habits and then grass the area to compensate the loss.
This playing field, which hosts a basketball court, swings, rocking horse, slides, roundabout etc for the dear little children to play on, is marred by (yes, you guessed right) boozers and other happy pastimes. We have even heard of an alleged rape in the same area.
Now the council are not satisfied with the new grassed area and have decided to cover it with concrete and put more play things there. Why do our council dislike green areas?
If the council have too much cash in their purse might I suggest speed cameras on every street would be more beneficial, or is this too much to ask?
Mr B Doane, Coronation Road, Stainforth
Our centre is safe to visit
I READ with interest Margaret Herbert’s letter in last week’s Free Press, “What to do with High School”, and am aware that a number of suggestions have been put forward for future use of this building including the archives, local studies and Doncaster and District Family History Society sharing the premises.
This would bring three connected organisations under one roof and in a town centre location. There would then be a possibility of any unused space being made available for other activities. As Margaret says, the cost of refurbishment could possibly be met by selling off other council properties.
Speaking as the Chairman of the Doncaster and District Family History Society, I do have a problem with Margaret’s inference that the King Edward Road site, which houses Doncaster Archives and ourselves, is in a threatening location.
I believe that Margaret’s experience dates back at least two years, maybe longer, and was a fairly isolated incident although most areas of Doncaster do suffer from anti-social behaviour from time to time with Balby being no better or worse than many others.
What I do know is that during the past three years we have had around 10,000 visitors to our Research Centre and have not had any reports of problems from our visitors in accessing the centre.
Similarly, I have not heard of any problems with visitors to the Archives, with whom we do have an excellent two-way working relationship.
Our centre is manned during opening hours by our volunteers who provide an excellent, professional and welcome service for visitors and it would be disappointing for Margaret’s comments to deter family and local historians from paying a visit to King Edward Road.
I can understand Margaret’s comments regarding travelling to the centre although there are two bus services that stop outside the door and Balby Road is only a five minute walk away. There is, however, ample parking at the centre and this is free of charge. By all means, let us put our minds to finding a permanent solution to the future of the Girl’s High School but let’s refrain from undermining other organisations as a means of pressurising the local authority.
David Rollin, Chairman, Doncaster & District Family History Society, Welbeck Road, Doncaster
Cheaper flights are needed
FOR the last few weeks I have been reading in the Doncaster Free Press reports about the Doncaster Robin Hood Airport.
How people of our area are not supporting it, then how new businesses are coming in. Then one day last week I received an email from the airport itself, saying how my family and myself had not gone through the airport this year.
Since the email was one I couldn’t reply to I thought you at the Free Press were my only way of getting heard.
This year the cheap airlines are not flying from there to Alicante and, like a few hundred other Yorkshire people, we own a holiday home in the area.
We like to go three or four times a year and have done for the last 12 years.
Now there are hundreds of us who can’t afford to pay the extortionate price the only airline that flies from there are charging. So that is why we can’t support our local area airport, until they get another cheap airline to join Robin Hood and satisfy hundreds of Yorkshire people.
Mrs C A Aspinall, Grange Avenue, Bawtry
Let’s start with emptying the bins
OVER the last few weeks readers have been sending letters to the Free Press about their concerns with the litter problems in all areas of the borough, so it is obvious that things are not right with how the work is managed and carried out, or that there is no longer the workforce numbers (sweepers) to do the job.
I do understand that the government are bleeding all local authorities dry with withdrawing funds etc, but to cut the priority service, street cleansing just does not make sense, why because it costs more in the long run.
In time the detritus fills the gullies and then this in turn blocks the drains, and this then causes localised flooding, it’s the same thing with potholes in footpaths and the carriageways ignore at your peril.
So Councillor Ransome, as the cabinet member for the environment how about getting things back to how they were when we had clean streets and litter bins emptied regularly instead of leaving them overflowing for days.
How can you keep giving fines out to people who do not dispose of litter properly, when the bins are overflowing, when even you or the management teams don’t seem able to get the strategy gullies and litter bins.
Let’s go back to the time when no more than four supervisors looked after 50/60 workers and things were cleaner in the towns and villages.
Linda Howe, St John’s Road, Balby
We should get the Lakeside going
HAVE you another Ben Ainsley in Hyde park, not the London version, here in Doncaster. Perhaps he is at primary school in Hexthorpe or maybe we have another Dame Ellen Macarthur at Hall Cross school.
How will we know? Well perhaps we may be able to find out if we make the full Lakeside Leisure dream come true.
That was a marina at Doncaster’s lakeside. It gets better, its already built, it has sat there for years waiting for someone to fit it with pontoons.
Then we will be able to hear the soft tinkle of sailing rigging in the breeze. My sister Janet would have loved that.
Can you imagine the view from the Mallard Mountain? Colourful sails dancing on the twinkling lake. So why has it not happened?
Green algae in the lake water. This is caused by methane seeping into the lake, this is from the landfill underneath the mountain, this landfil was dumped by the council in the sixties. However, wildlife flourishes on Lakeside.
We have been pumping the lake with oxygen for years. Who knows the present environmental water position? If we can have dragon boats on the lake, why not a dingy sailing club?
Let me make it clear, I am not in favour of noisy jet-skis or motorised boats of any description except in a safety role.
Noise from power boats is not environmentally acceptable near housing, offices and hotels. “Inspire the next generation” said the Olympic chairman Lord Sebastian Coe. Let’s produce a sailing Olympic Gold in Doncaster, make Lakeside marina Doncaster’s Olympic legacy.
Philip R Matthews, Thealby Gardens, Bessacarr
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This week’s picture comes from Ian Simms of Rossington who sent us his Rossington sunset.