Reader’s letters - Thursday August 14, 2014

Coun Robert Boswell (left) raises the rainbow flag over Preston town hall to mark gay Pride week

Coun Robert Boswell (left) raises the rainbow flag over Preston town hall to mark gay Pride week

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Flag not a political gesture

The decision on flying any flags falls within my portfolio of responsibility on the council. I took the decision. However, it was with the support of the leader, the cabinet and the Labour group.

I do feel I would like to try and address some of the erroneous reporting and correspondence regarding our motivation to agree to the request to fly the Palestinian flag for five minutes over the entrance to Preston town hall.

Preston Council doesn’t take sides in international conflicts. We did not fly the Palestine flag because we are pro or anti any state. We did it because we are pro humanity and we saw a humanitarian crisis taking place in Gaza – we don’t see evidence of a comparable humanitarian crisis taking place in Israel.

We wished to use our - albeit very limited - influence to draw attention to this crisis and ask the international community to step in and stop this humanitarian crisis continuing.

That is not taking sides and we have constantly stated we are neutral on the causes and possible resolution of the conflict. Our motives and our message were no different from many other organisations which have made similar humanitarian pleas – including the United Nations, international charities, churches and other councils.

The shame in all this lies with the highly politically motivated individuals who have deliberately placed a political interpretation on a humanitarian gesture. Whilst people are arguing over the causes of the conflict and making cheap political points in regard to our gesture innocent people are dying.

It is the people who are ignoring all the information we have produced behind the rationale for our gesture that need to explain themselves.

What interpretation others chooses to place on our action is between them and their conscience but it was a humanitarian, not a political, act.

The flag flying protocol is agreed by council. The circumstances and decision making procedure with regard to flag flying is council policy and has been agreed by council. Only council can change it.

The protocol covers circumstances when the flag is flown. For example, we have, for several years, flown the Jamaican flag on Jamaican independence day; we fly the Rainbow flag during gay pride week and we raised the armed forces flag during Armed Forces Week in June.

We are a highly ethical council and feel we had a moral obligation to respond when a group of Preston people bring to our attention the extent of the suffering that is occurring in Gaza.

The flying of the Palestine flag does not in anyway divert resources or attention from the work we are doing to make Preston a better place to live in.

The quality and quantity of our services as always been our major concern. This has not been compromised.

However, we would be failing in our duty as human beings if we didn’t do something when evidence is presented to us as to the on-going humanitarian tragedy that is happening in Gaza.

Coun Robert Boswell, Communities and Environment

Change will hit town forever

I am very concerned and appalled knowing that Garstang is under real threat from profiteers.

The plans which have been submitted to the Wyre Council must not go ahead.

These plans, if they are allowed, will disfigure the face of Garstang.

Garstang has been known for a very long time as a place that draws people to come and holiday or visit for its charm and beauty.

The people of Garstang must raise their voices.

All this will change and decline very quickly and there are many people and people in high places who will stand by and allow this to happen.

Roy Hodges, Garstang

Memories of a wartime nurse

With reference to your articles on the First World War and Second World War, I thought that you may be interested in my mother, who was a nurse during both wars.

She was born Catherine Murphy, in Merthyr Tydfil, Wales, in 1898 and joined the nursing profession in her teens. During the First World War she was sent to Whittingham Hospital to help nurse wounded servicemen.

While in Preston she met and married my dad, Thomas Woods, who was in the army at that time. They settled in Preston after the war but she continued with nursing.

As doctors’ appointments had to be paid for in those days, as a small girl I can remember people

coming to our house asking for “Nurse Kitty” as she was known to visit various neighbours etc. who had someone ill in their house.

Mum used to go and help if she could. Come the Second World War and mum was still nursing. Tom was in the Royal Air Force and was sent to India for five years, and Kathleen and I were in the national fire service.

Not only working full time, my mother also volunteered her help in the famous station buffet for servicemen on Preston railway station during both wars, and also helped in an American officers buffet which was in the town centre.

She was certainly a hard worker. Sadly she died in 1955 of cancer in Sharoe Green Hospital where she was still nursing. She was a mum to be proud of.

Irene Cottam, Fulwood

Keeping weight under wraps

Popped into Ossy Mills this week and passing a line of gel-filled ‘Wonder Bras’ in lingerie I nipped into trimmings where amongst the scissors, needles and spool cases I was immediately drawn to a row of carded ‘Wonder Buttons.

This is a fascinatingly simple yet effective little device which increases waistband accommodation by elasticated means.

I took one out and whilst examining its impressive elasticity it struck me how useful it might be if fast food chains gave them away with each meal.

They could serve as a warning to diners of the consequences of too much fat, too much sugar and too big a meal.

Joseph G Dawson, Withnell