Reader’s letters - Wednesday 05 March 2014

A tribute for Sir Tom Finney from New Zealand
A tribute for Sir Tom Finney from New Zealand
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Where were BMX bikers?

I called in at the Hoole Cycle Track drop-in consultation day on Saturday, expecting to see a number of BMX-type cycles parked outside the village hall, sadly there were none, just a car park full of cars.

On entering the village hall, I was hoping to see the group of teenagers who have been pushing for the building of the BMX-type cycle track for the last few years.

The only people on site were a number of Hoole parish councillors and members of the Hoole Scout Group.

I spoke to councillors Howard Davidson and Tom Brown. I asked why the group of teenagers who have been pushing for a cycle track were no where to be seen. The reply was most of the teenagers who wanted the cycle track were too busy doing other things or have moved on, whatever that means?

I have attended a number of meetings over the last year regarding the Hoole Cycle Track and, to date, none of the teenagers who wanted the cycle track were at any of these meetings.

It would seem the teenagers who were so desperate for the track to be built are as elusive as the Scarlet Pimpernel.

This track started life as just being a simple cycle track for teenagers, then it changed to a cycle track with the scout group area added, just before the plans were passed by SRBC Planning Committee.

It has now come to light the cycle track is now classed as a local amenity, I asked what this meant and was informed by a Hoole parish councillor this means the cycle track can now be used by any adult who wanted to do some BMX-type riding and that the site will be open from 8.30am to 9pm seven days a week.

The residents of Much Hoole and those who are going to be directly affected by the cycle track have well and truly been led up the garden path over this so-called much-needed cycle track, by those in power.

Mr I S Houghton, Much Hoole

Such a humble encounter

As a youngster, my dad took me along to PNE in the late 1950s and I enjoyed the privilege of watching Sir Tom Finney playing outside right on the turf at Deepdale, all I can say is sheer magic.

Years later I wrote From a Gin Palace to a King Palace, about the music halls of Preston. Being Preston born and bred, I sent him a letter requesting he might consider writing the foreword.

Imagine my delight when I got a call. I felt so happy he had taken the trouble to take my request so seriously and made an appointment to visit him. I knocked on his door and, to my surprise, whilst still dressed in his pyjamas, he invited me to sit down in the kitchen. Across the table sat the great man himself finishing his breakfast. I felt so humbled. Sir Tom invited me to have a cup of tea with him. I could not believe it. The great man making me a cup of tea for me in his pyjamas. What a measure of the man.

I told him that, when I was a young lad, he graciously took the time to sign his autograph. Sir Tom stated, “Yes, it’s thanks to people like you we got where we did”. I had a pleasant surprise when he handed me the photograph of The Splash, saying, “Would you like a photograph? Do you want me to sign it?” It now adorns my lounge, as a most treasured possession.

Sir Tom wrote an amusing foreword to the book in which he recalled going to pantomimes and seeing stars at Preston’s Royal Hippodrome and Palace theatres.

Sir Tom was taken to PNE by his dad when he was five and learned the game of football with his friends near his home at Holme Slack. He told me an amusing anecdote. Tommy Docherty had complained to management he was receiving less money than Sir Tom. “But Tom Finney is a better player than you,” they told him. “Not in the closed season,” retorted the Doc! I again had the privilege of enjoying his convivial company when he joined us for a book signing at Preston’s Waterstones. Sir Tom wrote the foreword, but needless to say, it was his autograph being sought.

I am saddened by his death and paid my respects outside The Minster. He was the greatest of footballers and yet a down to earth gentleman and Preston’s most famous son, the likes of which we will never see again. I support the grounds well of public opinion to reinstate the football museum as a permanent tribute to Sir Tom.

D J Hindle, Grimsargh

Thoughts from New Zealand

I thought your readers would like to see this photo (pictured on page 10) from the other side of the world.

My brother-in-law Billy Brogden flew the flag in Wanaka, New Zealand, to ensure he was part of Sir Tom’s funeral.

Sir Tom was a close neighbour of the Brogden family, in Manor House Lane, Preston.

Bill and my husband Jack have lots of fond memories of Sir Tom, who they say was a complete gentleman in every sense of the word.

The flag drew lots of attention from friends and neighbours, who now also know what an amazing man Sir Tom was. He is still respected and remembered many miles from “home”.

Margaret Brogden via email

Make craft fair a regular event

As a supporter of Preston market, I was delighted to see the Vintage Fair take place within the indoor market hall on Saturday. What a pleasure to see the upper market looking vibrant instead of the usual empty stalls. The vintage stalls were colourful and interesting and appeared to be drawing the crowds to them.

This is how we want our market to look every weekend.

Why can’t we have craft fairs and charity stalls here each Saturday? Before Christmas there were craft stalls in the Fishergate Centre, a lot of local people rented these, so why not in the market hall? Anything that improves Preston market is welcomed by both traders and people who shop in Preston.

Coun Christine Abram, Lea and Cottam

Danger of fixed odds machines

How touching of William Hills to be concerned that race horse and greyhounds will be shot if fixed odds terminals are banned.

Oh, hang on a minute, it’s not animal welfare they are worried about or even the future of racing. They say this retail betting funds the horse and greyhound racing, but we all know what they really care about is profits.

What about the financial devastation being caused to those punters addicted to these dangerous machines, dubbed the crack cocaine of gambling?

These terminals are adversely affecting individuals, their families and society in general, and they should permanently be put out to grass.

Paul Nuttall, UKIP North West MEP