Readers’ letters - November 23

The war memorial at the old Harris Orphanage. See letter
The war memorial at the old Harris Orphanage. See letter
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Public need full access

I write with reference to the article regarding the Harris Statue and to correct one or two misconceptions (LEP November 11).

I don’t want the statue moving to a new site. May I repeat, I don’t want the statue moving.

The only reason I got involved was because I received a phone call from a friend of mine who had been brought up opposite the Harris Orphanage, and he had been a professional soldier.

He informed me that he had a visit from a forces comrade who wished to visit the War Memorial. To his amazement, when they arrived, the gates were locked and there was a notice saying trespassers would be prosecuted. He asked me to get involved.

I approached the Bhailoks, and had a cordial meeting. But they informed me that it was private property and, as such, were allowed to limit access and, furthermore, envisaged in time the gates would be locked permanently. With this in mind, I had to think of alternative sites.

One idea was to remove part of the hedge adjoining the Harris and siting it there. But I was informed by my architects that I would have problems with taking up trees to accommodate the statue. The War Graves representative said the statue couldn’t be overshadowed by over-hanging trees as the roots could affect the footings of said statue. Another big problem would come from the Highways and Health and Safety who might consider it dangerous for the public.

An alternative was to move it a mile to the Harris School (Yousef Bhailok suggested this and also told me he would cover all expenses for the removal. A magnificent gesture). To say that I met with enthusiasm from the school was an understatement. In no way, shape or form, did the head teacher solicit any of this. She was only trying to help with providing a solution to the problem.

We discussed having a Garden of Remembrance with benches (two friends have already pledged the money to pay for them – Edgar Wallace and Mick Coughlan) and flower beds to frame the statue and fence it off so that the public would have access 24/7.

I come to the councillors who will ‘fight tooth and nail’ to keep the statue where it is. It’s a pity they didn’t fight tooth and nail to stop the sale of this part of Preston’s heritage, and have it written into any contract that the public would have permanent access to this tribute to our forgotten heroes. It’s a pity they didn’t put up more of a fight against officialdom rather than pick a fight with me, who only wants to perpetuate the memory of these brave men.

If these councillors want to fight with someone, get it in writing that the public will have access to the statue 24/7.

I hope when residents read this they will appreciate how much they have been let down.

Tony Slater, local boy and ex-soldier

P.S This will not cost the rate payers of Fulwood a penny. I don’t even charge expenses and I am not reimbursed by the council.

Labour MPs have to act soon

For 40 years I have worked alongside some of the poorest communities in England.

They need hope. That includes the hope of a Labour government.

Under Corbyn there is no such hope. Corbyn is nothing more than a backbench rebel rouser. He is out of his depth.

Only Labour MPs can save us from certain defeat at the next general election. They need to act swiftly before Corbyn’s hard left allies succeed in taking the Great Labour party forever.

In the 1980s the hard left were destroyed. With the SNP and the out of touch McCluskey, the extreme left think they have a once in a lifetime opportunity.

The hard left is the greatest threat to the poor, hard working class, and middle class, than any other movement in this country.

Labour MPs: Please act ASAP to save our party and country.

P.S: As an MP who has voted against his own party 500 five handed times, Corbyn deserves no loyalty or time.

Revd Graham Nelson, Preston

Leave action to the Americans

With the tragic news from Paris, it is inevitable that people in this country would react, even to the extent of taking formal action against the terrorists. As a veteran and keen observer of events passed, I would urge everyone to ensure that British troops are not involved with any form of action.

Why not? The things which will have to be done to the terrorists to bring them down will be questionable in action and offensive to most people.

It is necessary therefore to leave such action to the Americans. They have the option, safe in the knowledge they are supported by their Government, the people and the judiciary.

This would not be the case in the UK. The Government may support such action and wish to involve our troops, the people will, in the majority, support this, however, it is unlikely the judiciary would support such terrible and necessary action, citing laws and the Geneva Convention.

All enemies of democracy who act like these terrorists do not deserve any form of justice other than that of the sword!

The leader of the Labour Party, and any other politician, would do well to consider his position. If he cannot support necessary action, albeit distasteful, he is not in a position to lead this country!

K D Ashton via email

Day when star’s fiancee died

Ukulele legend George Formby’s fiancee, Penwortham-born girl Pat Howson, died 44 years ago yesterday.

Teacher Pat, who attended Balshaws Grammar School, Leyland, and later served in the WRENS during WWII, died from ovarian cancer, aged 46 on November 22, 1971.

Following the death of Beryl in December 1960, Formby was engaged to Pat, but he had a fatal heart attack at St Joseph’s Hospital, Preston, in March 1961.

Pat Howson died in a nursing home, in Ansdell, Lytham, and after a funeral service at St Wilfrid’s Church, Chapel Street, Preston, was buried at Preston Cemetery.

Pat Howson’s engagement to legend Formby changed her life forever, right up to her death.

A biography of Pat Howson’s life story is told in Formby’s Lost Love.

To order a signed copy, email for further details.

Andrew Atkinson, author of Formby’s Lost Love