Reader’s letters - Thursday January 29, 2015

Memory: Rabbi Howell, Britain's first Romany footballer

Memory: Rabbi Howell, Britain's first Romany footballer

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Time to honour a pioneer

With Sheffield United once more about to go head to head with Preston North End I am reminded again that Rabbi Howell, a pioneering player who played for both clubs in the period 1890-1903 lies in an unmarked grave in Preston Old Cemetery.

Rab was the first Romany footballer. The campaign to get Rab recognised has support from Football Unites Racism Divides but, so far, approaches to PNE to see if they would be willing to lend support have been turned down.

It is such a shame when supporting this would send a strong anti-discrimination message. Romani people have long contributed to British culture - they have lived here since at least the middle ages, and yet there is still so much prejudice - at football grounds anti-Romany remarks remain a problem and don’t seem to carry the same taboo as other forms of racism.

Rab put down roots in Preston after he retired following a leg-break he sustained in a game against Burnley he then started a greengrocer’s business.

It appears, though, he died in relative poverty and his family couldn’t afford a headstone. He has many descendants in the town, including Preston’s current Mayor. It would be fantastic if anyone could get PNE to change their mind.

Steven Kay, via e-mail

North End need a goal scorer

Simon you have (not before time) rectified the goal keeping position, the defence have behind them a keeper they can trust. We are a bit up and down with the performance but still hang there especially with several struggling clubs to come to Deepdale.

For heaven’s sake surely there are better strikers around than Beckford and Ebanks-Blake, both these men use to be very good goal scorers but as time goes by they are I’m afraid to say not good enough. The team in general is a useful team but have no cutting edge.

No doubt we’ll easily make the lottery at the seasons end but the people who support PNE don’t want to go through that again. A goal scorer at League One level is a gospel priority.

Brian Lockley, Fulwood

Time for action not words

The demonstrations in favour of the Living Wage identified many important issues. There has been a huge expansion in the number of minimum wage jobs over the past four years.

Many of those paid the minimum wage can only manage because they receive a variety of benefits. The Government rightly judges they will need extra to be able to cope.

Because the companies have therefore been able to develop these large low paid work forces they have been enabled to build their profits in part at the expense of the taxpayer who is required to finance the benefits which make it possible. The sums of money involved are considerable. As the number of minimum wage jobs has increased the Office for Budget Responsibility estimates that an extra £900m will be required for tax credits alone above the sums already budgeted. Approximately 0.7 per cent of the money spent on benefits is claimed through fraud. I wonder what percentage of profits is generated when necessary benefit payments subsidise low paid work?

I note with interest that both the major parties support the Living Wage. However, it is improbable Mr Miliband’s five year plan for increases in the minimum wage will bring it to the level of the Living Wage likely to be necessary in 2019/20.

Meanwhile, Mr Cameron has not taken the opportunity while in Government to introduce the Living Wage of which he says he approves. Fine words butter no parsnips, gentlemen.

Nick Morgan, Lancaster

Providing help to young people

Many people have days when they don’t want to leave the house, but thankfully they are few and far between.

But for one in seven young people in the North West, these feelings of anxiety are overwhelming and they often struggle to step out of their own front door (LEP January 16).

The Prince’s Trust Macquarie Youth Index reveals unemployed young people are even more likely to feel this way, causing them to slip further and further from the jobs market.Looking for a job isn’t just about getting the right qualifications. Anyone who’s ever interviewed someone will know a strong CV counts for nothing if the candidate can’t even look you in the eye. Youth unemployment may be falling, but there are still thousands of young people who will struggle to find a job on their own. Many of these young people are facing additional difficulties – from a troubled home life to bullying, health problems or being the caregiver for family members. These problems can destroy a young person’s confidence and make leaving the house – let alone finding a job – a huge challenge.

At The Prince’s Trust, we know these young people need support to get their lives on track. Our programmes help thousands of young people every year, giving them the skills and confidence they need to tackle the problems they are facing and take the first steps towards a job.

For these young people, the right support can open up a world of opportunities which would otherwise be closed to them.

Jonathan Townsend, director for the North of England, The Prince’s Trust

Health service is brilliant

I recently have had a severe chest and throat infection. Fortunately, I was seen within hours by my doctor at Withnell Health Centre, and given treatment.

And when I thought it was worsening at the weekend, I was advised/helped by the emergency team at Euxton, which reassured me greatly. In the meantime, I had a broken tooth and I was seen at 8.45am on a Monday by my dentist in Dole Lane, Chorley, and sorted.

What crisis in the NHS? It’s brilliant, just sadly abused by drunks, and people going to A&E with very minor problems. They do a super job.

Bob Mason, Brinscall