Readers' letters - July 13

A reader writes about loneliness affecting elderly people
A reader writes about loneliness affecting elderly people
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Young today will be old tomorrow

We hear much these days about an ageing population and the burden of increased longevity on the state and on society in general.

Old age is seemingly portrayed as the fault of the individual, who, from the state’s point of view, should have paid twice, not just into their state pension but into another more fruitful benefit and thus better planned for retirement or conveniently ‘popped their clogs’ earlier, thus making life easier for politicians by freeing up jobs and houses for the young.

There isn’t anyone on earth who isn’t going to grow old and ultimately feel the burden and bewilderment that may come with age and retirement.

Incomprehensible at first, but like winter it finally arrives.

First the feeling of idleness, then hopelessness, and finally despair, stemming very much from the shock of exchanging the helm of one’s own ship for a leaky rudderless rowing boat with one oar.

Don’t get me wrong, retirement can be a great time for those with huge pension pots, large loving families and perfect health but, for the less fortunate, old age can be a testing time, especially with no more than four walls and a TV for company.

Automatically sidelined and forgotten, able-bodied pensioners are left staring out of windows, watching the world speed by, oblivious of their plight. No local buses anymore, shops hard to get to, no prospects to speak of, no one to speak to, perhaps for days on end – too proud to ask, too proud to pick up a phone.

What goes round comes round and busy today soon becomes idle tomorrow and those vitally important meetings are now no more than memories in a faded diary.

A shadowy fragment of the past, one of so many fragments, like the mildewy Filofax sat on a tin of Simonize in an empty garage that once held the wheels of fortune; lost in what looking back

now seems like an instant.

Sadly, omitted from the diary are the words: Save! Save! Save!

Joseph G Dawson


first world war

Trip to WW1 battlefields

2018 marks the Centenary of the Armistice ending the First World War, and also the Centenary of the Royal Air Force.

To mark the occasion, I will be leading a coach party to visit France and Belgium to follow the events of 1918 on the battlefields between October 21 and 26. We will follow the German Spring advance and the Allied response and victory in the Autumn.

En route we will visit the Centenary exhibition at the Royal Air Force Museum in London to see original planes used in the war. We will visit the Armistice Railway Carriage in France and sites associated with the Red Baron Manfred von Richthofen and Mick Mannock VC, the Cumbrian padre T.B. Hardy VC DSO MC and the poet Wilfred Owen. We will also take part in the Menin Gate Ceremony in Ieper/ Ypres.

There will be an opportunity to visit a relative’s grave or memorial by prior arrangement.

We still have a few places left.

For more details, I can be contacted on 01368 866826, by email at and by post at the address below.

David Raw

The Stable, Kirkland Road, Skirwith, Cumbria



Medics should get paid more

My wife recently underwent surgery with, I am glad to say, a great outcome for us. She received wonderful care and attention at all stages.

Yet the BBC was paying the actor Derek Thompson a salary in the region of £350,000 to £399,999 for his medical role in the TV drama Casualty.

Meanwhile, the salary for a general surgeon employed in the NHS is £76,000 to £120,000.

I shall be forever grateful to the NHS and all the staff we met, and ever disappointed by the BBC. This one actor’s salary alone could pay for up to three qualified medics! How did we get to this situation?

Mike Bytheway

via email

food & drink

Bland flavour of our veg

The person who complained of the lack of flavour in previously very enjoyable Jersey Royals is totally correct (LP Letters, June 14).

It happened at the time English cauliflowers and other vegetables all became disappointingly bland.

I’m told removing the taste allows them to last longer. This is pointless to me. It means I and others stop buying them.

C Astley



MPs represent constituents

MPs should remember that they were chosen to represent their constituents. If their constituents voted for Brexit then they should do the same, regardless of their personal view.

JB Haggas via email


A full English Brexit please...

When will our current landlady, Mrs May, realise that her paying customers asked for a full English Brexit and not a continental one?

Harry Santiuste

Address supplied