Readers' letters - February 24

Memories of a Shrove Tuesday bike ride

By The Newsroom
Friday, 24th February 2017, 3:56 pm
Updated Wednesday, 1st March 2017, 9:22 am
Picture of River Dunsop, outside Dunsop Bridge, by Graham Wilkinson
Picture of River Dunsop, outside Dunsop Bridge, by Graham Wilkinson

Back in the 1950s, apprentices at Leyland Motors (and I was one) would look forward to Shrove Tuesday.

No, it wasn’t the thought of pancakes for tea.

Better than that, it was the prospect of a day off. For many years, apprentices of all trades would enjoy Shrove Tuesday as a day off work.

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In Leyland, the official line was to work from 7.30am to 10am. In the apprentices’ training department, this time was enforced.

On the shop floor, as long as you clocked on before 7.30am, you could make your way home.

Back then, in 1958, I was a keen cyclist. The day was cool and dry, a day out on the bike would be ideal. The Trough of Bowland came to mind.

Living in Preston then, and with a sandwich and flask in the bike’s saddlebag, it’s time to go.

Along Watling Street Road and heading for Longridge, passing the massive Courtaulds Factory. In 1958, it was nearing its half way life, of a mere 40 years.

Soon I was passing through Grimsargh. Parcels were still dealt with at the small railway station. Along with Longridge, both stations had a daily goods service (steam-hauled, of course).

Passing through Longridge now and heading for Chipping, the roads were very quiet and I was enjoying the bike ride. My bike then was a Hercules tourist frame 531 tubing, with three speed hub gear.

Through Chipping and onto Whitewell. What lovely views. Next it was Dunsop Bridge, the very centre of England. Now a very strange occurrence happened here.

On leaving Dunsop Bridge, I never saw another soul. No cars. I had the place to myself until I had climbed Boundary Hill and entered Scorton. The only living thing I saw was the many sheep on the fells.

After Scorton, came Garstang and the A6 South to Preston.

It had been a bike ride to remember. Thanks to Google, the date was February 18, 1958.

P.s I don’t think the day off for apprentices on Shrove Tuesdays is allowed today.

Errol H Simister

Bamber Bridge


Stunned by behaviour

Some protestors are NOT decent!

Having seen some anti-fracking protestors in action, I was stunned by Barbara Richardson’s letter (LP, February 20).

I have been even more stunned by the behaviour of some at Preston New Road.

Just consider two local ones. Two years ago, I was walking near County Hall when a leading protestor came up and rudely harassed my companion and then called in more for the fray.

Another one goes around interviewing people with his mobile phone, shoving it in their faces and shouting questions at them.

He then puts the videos online. He is still doing this and last week videoed himself removing tape from lorries where hauliers had covered up the firm’s name to avoid issues.

There has been the spectacle of eight chaining themselves to a fence to stop the work.

While the police were dealing with this, one nice protestor was banging a metal dish right in the face of a policeman.

Protestors do not need others to denigrate them as they successfully do it themselves.

People do have a right to peaceful protest, but this is not peaceful and is sheer intimidation.

The reason why fracking has been allowed is that all technical bodies were unanimous in saying that fracking is safe, or rather, as safe as any other industry.

However, by saying this, the Government and others implicitly said that the concerns of anti-frackers are without foundation.

Barbara Richardson tries to dismiss the reliability of local business groups who support fracking, but evades the issue of the misinformation of anti-fracking groups, be they Friends of the Earth or local “community” groups.

The litany of danger to health and environment gets tedious in its inaccuracy and scare-mongering.

As time goes on and Cuadrilla demonstrates that the process of fracking is benign, more and more will be disillusioned by the scare stories of the past five years.

Michael Roberts

Address supplied


Take a tougher line on protests

When are Lancashire Constabulary going to take a tougher line of action with the law-breaking shale gas protestors at Preston New Road, Little Plumpton?

As a regular user of the A584 to Preston, all I want is to get to work on time every day, and this mob is making my life a misery.

On Monday morning, the road was again closed in both directions for a two-hour period.

This is unacceptable, and more should be done to end this misery for residents and road users alike.

Far from being ‘locals’, it is clear that many of these protesters are hard-line anarchists from all over the country.

How can the organiser speak of peaceful and lawful protests?

If what was happening at the Cuadrilla gates wasn’t unlawful, there would have been no arrests!

Three so-called ‘Blackpool’ men arrested gave their address as Dugdales Close, which is presumably the land where they have camped out near B&Q.

So why are these ‘swampies’ not protesting outside 10 Downing Street?

After all, it was the Government who approved the shale gas exploration in the first place.

Why should we all suffer for the sake of a dozen fanatics?

Mad Commuter

Lytham St Annes


Not happy with ‘sharing’ space

I have just returned from a nerve-wracking visit to Fishergate.

As a disabled user of a mobility scooter, I am not happy ‘sharing’ the space occupied by buses, cars, et cetera, not to mention pedestrians – many of whom treat mobility scooter users as though we have landed from outer space, with no entitlement whatsoever to occupy the shared area.

Thus I am reluctant to venture away from the city centre towards the Fishergate Centre.

This means I am not able to shop in the various stores in the centre.

I am sure there will be other disabled people in the same situation.

Erika baron



Broadcast I Daniel Blake

I have just watched the Ken Loach film, I Daniel Blake. What a moving but disturbing view of life in 2017. I hope the BBC has the courage to broadcast this film (it is a BBC film) on TV before the next election.

Graham Dixon

The Village of Gregson Lane


Thanks, I found Cousin Arthur

Thank you for publishing my appeal to find a long-lost cousin, Arthur, on July 16, 2016. He got in touch with the rest of the family after about 55 years.

Alan Willacy