Letters, June 16, 2011

WITH budgets all over the country being squeezed, especially the police, I would like to comment on a story in last week’s DFP (June 9).

“Police helicopter catches burglars” was the headline. The police helicopter was called out to help police already on the ground hunt for two men seen entering an empty unit on an industrial estate. Surely it is not a good use of our, or their, money to launch the helicopter to find two men who hadn’t really done anything and who, when caught, only received a caution?

There are many times when we hear of the helicopter being used for such relatively trivial matters. Surely this is akin to using a hammer to crack a nut? And a very expensive hammer at that.

I have no problem with it being used for missing people, armed robberies and suchlike, but something like this I find a complete waste of money.

Martin Napier, Sprotbrough

Poor turn out at the minster

ON Saturday morning I happened to be in town to coincide with the mayoral procession to the minster.

An excellent turnout and sound from the Armthorpe band , a good visual panorama of the splendour of mayoral finery, maces, gaiters et al.

But one thing was missing. Where were the plethora of ‘democratically elected representatives’ of our fair town?

True, there were a number in attendance but the number couldn’t have been much lower.

Full marks to Yvonne Woodcock for turning up. Aren’t our ‘democratically elected representatives’ supposed to involve themselves in civic duties, not only to continue tradition but to work together for the betterment of the people of Doncaster?

In my naivety I thought there might have been more of our ‘democratically elected representatives’ in attendance, but it was a Saturday and perhaps they might not have been able to claim expenses, a free lunch or an attendance allowance?

What a disgrace. I would say that those non-attenders should be ashamed of themselves, but there are a lot more serious issues than a paltry procession to worry them and there doesn’t seem to be any concern over those more pressing matters.

Frank Booler, Blaxton

Is Labour in the driving seat?

ON reading the last edition of the Free Press, the council’s chief executive made the statement that it didn’t make any difference if the ruling Labour group refused to let any of their members join the elected mayor’s cabinet because everyone is working together for the good of Doncaster. Why, I ask, did the Labour group set up a shadow cabinet? I believe the reason being is to overrule the plans put forward by the mayor and his cabinet.

It is all about power in the chamber. If things turn sour the mayor shoulders the blame, if all is fine then it will because of the shadow cabinet.

It was not long since that we had Donnygate ruled by the Labour group, what we have now in the chamber is Powergate and yet again being run by the Labour group. You just have to look who holds the chair and vice chair positions on all committees.

It will be interesting to see who is going to take the responsibility for sacking several hundreds of the workforce in the coming months.

D Mullins, Goodison Boulevard, Cantley

Moral duty to give to charity

FOLLOWING the appearance in a recent television programme about poverty of a small British child who was so miserable she said that she did not want to grow up, today in parliament the Prime Minister was asked for his reaction to this distressing statement.

Mr Cameron then cynically proceeded to take this as an opportunity to defend the Government’s commitment to spending 0.7% of GDP on foreign aid.

Mr Cameron argues that we are morally obliged to use the money to help the poorest people in the world, and that a collateral gain is that we are simultaneously improving the security of the UK.

He just doesn’t get it.

Firstly, anyone who thinks about it can see that because we are current borrowing 25% of the money the Government spends every year there is no “spare” money to give away, and that the true cost of this 0.7% of GDP will include the long-term interest our children will have to pay on our borrowings to fund, among other things, good works.

Secondly, saying that spending money on aid keeps us safe is disingenuous. If poor people don’t like your country or your culture giving them money won’t help. Indeed it often makes them deeply resentful.

All of us should give as much as we can afford to charity. It is however our moral duty to do this not the Government’s.

If there were ever to be a surplus of tax income at the end of the year the Government should then give it back to taxpayers for them to send it to the third world, via a charity of their choice, should they wish to do so.

Mick Andrews (UKIP), Thorne Road, Doncaster

I’d love to hear from Bradburys

I WONDER if any of your readers can help me in the research of my family tree?

I am searching for my grandfather’s relatives. He was Arthur Bradbury and he was born in 1891. His parents were John and Mary and he had three brothers, John Fred and Henry.

He also had three sisters Mary, Jane and Hilda. Arthur and Fred were born in Auckley and I think the others were born in Rossington and Branton.

Arthur married Elizabeth Darvill at Thorne Parish Church in 1920 and they had two children together, Arthur (my dad) and George. Unfortunately, the marriage didn’t last and he left Thorne, but I don’t think he moved too far away. I believe he died around about 1966.

I know that there are a few Bradburys around the Doncaster area and wondered if any of them are related to grandad. I would love to hear from anyone who may be related or knew the family.

Please contact me via e-mail wendymeadowcroft@fsmail.net

Wendy Meadowcroft (nee Bradbury), South Redish, Stockport

Chance to revist battlefields

I AM writing to you on behalf of World War II veterans who, due to a lack of advertising, may not have been aware that in 2010 financial grants, Heroes Return II, were available from the Big Lottery Fund to enable veterans, male or female, to pay a visit of remembrance to the theatre of war that they were involved in.

It appears that the number of veterans claiming these grants were far less than anticipated resulting in these grants being extended to December 31, 2012.

The grants range from £150 to cover travel and accommodation for veteran, spouse and carer, within the UK, £1,300 to Northern Europe and £5.500 to the Far East.

These grants are also available to widows and widowers of veterans.

As I have received a grant for a visit I made last December, I would be more than willing to advise any of your readers on how and where to claim.

Ted Cachart, chairman of the 49 Squadron Association, 4 Cottage Close, Heage, Belper,Derbyshire, DE56 2BS. Tel: 01773 853181, e mail: ted@49squadron.co.uk

Park and Ride is helping

DONCASTER mayor Peter Davies said re a local park and ride: “166 cars use the sites which were built to accommodate 750 vehicles”

Mr Davies said he wanted to see the scheme “closed down” and was asking the Government to not favour one type of transport over another.

What exactly did the mayor expect? That the Park and Ride would be full with 750 cars on the day it opened?

166 cars not driving into the town is a useful contribution. One assumes the mayor, like most mayors, drives around in a large subsidised car?

Moving around the town in several tonnes of steel makes him ill-qualified to speak on any transport issues: we can safely disregard his comments.

Edward Baxter, Mattersey Hall, Doncaster

Editor’s note: Mr Davies, does not have, and never has had, an official car.

Library poll will “skew” results

IN any democratic organisation it is fair and reasonable that a libraries questionnaire takes into account what the majority of local people may want in their communities.

The libraries questionnaire fails to do this because there is no box to tick if communities want to retain their local libraries in their current form.

The mayor implies in his covering letter that any non-return of the questionnaire will skew the results such that they will be assumed to mean people do not need/want a library service.

I quote ‘if we do not hear from you, we will take the view that you do not require access to a library service in your community’.

It seems to me that the mayor wants to close the 14 libraries by fair means or foul in order to save £1.2 million out of a council budget of £440 million.

Doug Wright, Chantry Close, Cantley

Our bus service is still very bad

SIX months ago First Bus asked for comments on how to improve their service. As one of those who participated I can say that you learned nothing as far as the people who use the 78 Woodlands bus are concerned.

Tuesday, May 31, I was standing at The Oval bus stop waiting for 78 1.47pm bus to Doncaster until almost 1.55pm. I saw a first bus turn off the main road and down onto the Drury Estate.

When the 2.02pm bus turned up and I queried why the last bus had not come on the estate. I was informed me that the other bus was running late so had been sent ‘out of service’ to avoid having to stop and pick up passengers. What is the point of sending buses out of you leave most of the passengers stranded and do not run to your printed timetable?

Another day this week a driver was asked to wait as a disabled lady was making her way to the bus, he drove off. The same week the 11.30am Woodlands 78 did not turn up at The Oval.,

Mrs Mary Paton, Lawn Avenue, Woodlands

Gala success was team effort

I REFER to the editorial in the Free Press (June 9, p14) under the heading “Time to play in the sun”

I very much appreciate the accolade in your write up which states that Francis Jackson was the organiser of the gala around the lake, there are others behind the scene and I am only one of many who also need to be congratulated on their efforts.

Yes it was a team effort and whilst some may do a little more than others, if it wasn’t for all then the event would not be as successful as it was.

Francis Jackson, Chair and Mayor of Askern Town