Letters and emails on August 6 2010

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A garden that’s hardly peaceful

I walk past the Peace Garden on Friargate every day and I am astounded by how this memorial is treated as a large rubbish tip. Young men and women sit or skateboard in this area swearing loudly and getting in people’s way. They certainly don’t have any respect for their surroundings. Every morning the poor refuse cleaners are there cleaning up their litter, mess and condoms. Why is this allowed to happen every day? Why don’t the police move them on because they are certainly causing a nuisance and I thought people could be fined for littering? I support David Cameron’s big society but for it to work the police and local authorities must ensure this sort of disrespectful behaviour is not tolerated. B Adams, Fulwood, via email

St John has to cover its costs

I read with concern the letter from DG, “Ambulance cover not so charitable.” Our volunteers give their time free to guard against loss of life at events around the country and they are trained and equipped to the highest standards. Of course, there is a cost implication in their training and equipment needs and this is an issue which we must deal with in the best way possible. If an event is run on a commercial basis and the organisers are making a profit, it is wise for us to cover our costs, not only for any vehicles on the day but for the maintenance and running costs of the fleet, uniform, equipment, communication resources and a host of other things that go towards getting a qualified first aider out to events. In some cases, if an event is organised on a purely charitable basis, we may very well be in a position to offer first aid cover without charge or for a small donation. DG is quite right in saying that we have recently launched a Commercial Transport Services Division and that paid members of staff are employed to run this scheme. However, the scheme was devised as a way of funding our volunteers and charitable operations by making the best use of the resources available to us. Through the scheme we are able to offer a service to support the North West Ambulance Service and some private hospitals in the county, which generates profits that can be ploughed straight back into our charitable mission. I am saddened that DG feels disappointed and would like to reassure everyone across Lancashire that St John Ambulance will continue to provide first aid care of the highest standard and that our volunteers will continue to receive the best training we can offer. Our first aiders make the difference for thousands of people every year. They’re ready to respond in all weathers, at all occasions, so everyone can enjoy themselves safe in the knowledge that first aid assistance is at hand. As a charity we need support to ensure this work continues. Philip Greenwood, County Executive Officer, St John Ambulance, Garstang Road, Preston

Soccer is selling its soul

If I have a favourite football team in the Premier League, it has to be Liverpool as they are a Lancashire club (historically) and they were the ones always on the television when I was growing up. So my heart sinks to read that they are £237m in debt and up for sale to the highest bidder, which could turn out to be a Chinese sports tycoon backed by the Chinese government. I find it so depressing that wealthy overseas corporations see our national game in purely financial terms. It’s the fans who will pay through the nose. They’d be better off down the park supporting youngsters playing just for the love of it. P Davies, Tarleton, via email

Baffled by the scales of justice

Age brings with it wisdom, so we are told; a more enhanced appreciation of why things are as they are. Yet my advanced years do not enable me to balance this equation: Two youths jailed for the manslaughter of an elderly man in a South London “happy slapping” incident equals eight years jail between them. And in the North East, a man jailed for damaging a library book also equals eight years. Now he was an old man and it was a very valuable book. But even so... John Stopford, New Longton

Price of petrol will have us pedalling

I refer to the article ‘My Cash,’ a weekly LEP item in which local business figures are pressed for their spending habits. An interesting topic, I find, but one which is ultimately depressing when the question “What price would petrol need to be before you got on your bike?” is posed. A recent correspondent (July 28) replied with the same knee-jerk reaction. In short, hell would freeze over first. Understandable if the question was: “What would you prefer, trepanning or open-heart surgery?”. It isn’t. Alternative transport usage should be there to supplement car journeys, not replace them. To use a bicycle instead of the car on only one workday a week would save 20% or more of your petrol - a considerable amount, effectively resulting in a free week’s petrol every fifth week. With the cost of fuel continuing to steeple, I can see before too long the question being re-phrased as “ What price would petrol need to come down to before you would consider using your car?” Martin Sutcliffe, Sutcliffe’s Cycles, Preston.

Here’s a well-timed grouse

With the so-called Glorious Twelfth rapidly approaching, let us consider a few of the many reasons why this bird-killing festival is nothing to celebrate. A large number of native birds and mammals who interfere with grouse shooting are trapped, poisoned or snared. Victims include stoats, weasels, and even iconic raptors such as hen harriers, red kites and golden eagles. An unnatural, heather-rich environment is created because the grouse thrive on young heather shoots. To create these fresh shoots, the heather is burned, which can harm wildlife and damage the environment. Furthermore, the harsh ‘management’ of moorlands causes grouse numbers to boom. But as they overburden the landscape, they become weakened and fall prey to a lethal parasitic infection - strongylosis. Consequently, a cycle of population boom and bust is the norm on Britain’s grouse moors. Finally, large quantities of lead shot are discharged, which is toxic to wildlife. In short, the 12th of August on Britain’s grouse moors is anything but glorious. Andrew Tyler, Director, Animal Aid

Reunion night for Lostock Hall crew

Did you leave Lostock Hall High School in the 1980s? Would you like to come to a school reunion on Friday, September 3? Tickets are £6.50 including supper. If so contact me, one of the 1982 leavers. Chris Hart (nee Toal) Tel: 01772 496691 or email me on cy001u1987@blueyonder.co.uk

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