Reader’s letters - Friday May 08, 2015

VE Day celebrations on Preston's Flag Market 70 years ago to the day (see letter)
VE Day celebrations on Preston's Flag Market 70 years ago to the day (see letter)
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Day peace came to nation

On the 70th anniversary of VE day I am reminded of the actual day itself. I was eight-years-old at the time and vaguely aware that there had been a war going on for as long as I could remember.

Trundling down to the air raid shelter whenever the siren sounded had become par for the course and all the rationing and shortages to me were just part of everyday life.

So why were mum and dad so excited on this particular day? “The war’s over son,” explained dad, “And everything’s going to be different from now on.”

Well in South Meadow Lane that day it certainly was. We all went out into the street where all our neighbours were meeting up, shaking hands and hugging each other and it wasn’t long before beer bottles appeared as if by magic and all the grown-ups were consuming it as if there was no tomorrow.

A somewhat ‘sozzled’ dad then told me to put my coat on as we were going up town to the flag market to join in the celebrations. By the time we arrived, the market square and adjoining streets were packed with thousands of happy people and singing, dancing and the letting off of fireworks became the order of the day.

Then someone shouted that the Mayor had appeared on the town hall steps and was about to address the euphoric gathering. “I can’t see anything,” I cried mournfully as the throng surged forward, separating me from my parents. It was then two strong hands grasped me round the middle and I was hoisted up on to the shoulders of a huge khaki clad soldier and probably had the best view of anybody. What the mayor said I haven’t a clue.

All I remember is that every few words he uttered was followed by much clapping and roars of approval from the assembled crowd. At the end of his victory speech the crowd began to sing all the war-time favourites and the impromptu sing-a-long was eventually brought to an end by innumerable choruses of ‘Land of Hope and Glory’ and ‘There’ll Always be an England’. From my lofty position I spied my dad and after a few words and further handshakes the soldier returned me to his care.

It must have been very late in the night before we finally made our way back down Fishergate Hill to the ‘lane’ and as I lay in my bed that night, I finally dropped off to the seemingly endless sounds of merriment. It certainly had been a day and night to remember and there was never to be another one like it. Well not until VJ night anyway – but that’s another story.

Derek Rogerson, Bamber Bridge

Warning over a nuisance caller

Last week, when my phone rang and the caller display showed a number, I answered my phone to be met with, “Are you the owner of the house?”

Alarm bells rang, after all, if someone was calling me legitimately, they would know my name, wouldn’t they?

I didn’t tell her whether I was or not, but asked why she was calling, to which she responded, “because you have been getting unwanted calls”. She then started to tell me about a contraption which could prevent unwanted calls, to which I responded “Is it free?” She fluffed a bit, and said something which seemed to imply “No”.

I also told her that my phone number was Telephone Preference Service registered which should help prevent unwanted calls, so she shouldn’t have called me; again she told me that was why she was calling me, to help stop unwanted calls.

I then informed her I did not know who she was, I hadn’t asked her to call, and that for all I knew she could be trying to gain access to my bank account!

If she wanted to sell me something she could post her company’s details. Stupidly, I didn’t ask her name or name of her company, and didn’t dial 1471 to make a note from where the call had come so I couldn’t inform the TPS. Please warn folk to be careful, as I believe it is a scam.

JR Ratcliffe, via email

Stop decline of precious haven

As a lifelong resident of Coppull, I was utterly disgusted with the state of the Yarrow Valley, or, as we used to call it, Birkacre.

This was and still is a beautiful area, with abundant wildlife and was my playground in my childhood and teens.

A serene area where I could enjoy the diversity of nature throughout the seasons.

My father and his friends would also enjoy Birkacre, pursuing his hobby of angling. It was an oasis from the hustle and bustle of his working life.

However, now that it has been made into a ‘park’, it is no longer so. I appreciate all the hard work that has been done to make this an attraction to more people, but I also feel it is unfortunately becoming detrimental to the area, attracting more people, yes, but some who are unappreciative of its beauty and natural diversity.

After reading about the little girl who was attacked by a dog on the playground (LEP April 14), I decided to visit ‘Birkacre’ again.

What did I see to make me so incensed? There were crowds of people, many with dogs still not on leads, running free, and not being controlled.

There are notices on the trees stating that dogs should be on leads, but no one seemed to be taking any notice.

Daffodils, many planted by Coppull schoolchildren, had been murdered and tossed by the handful into the river and the Lodge.

There were so many that the grebe were building nests with them. The quiet, peaceful and diverse natural habitat that once was Birkacre is no more, despite the Lodges being part of a wildlife corridor. It has been developed into a playground and is not being respected by many visitors.

Yes, there are wardens, but at the time I visited, none were to be seen.

Until I passed the cafe, and saw that they were sitting there instead of encouraging good behaviour in the park.

May I suggest either more wardens be employed or that the existing ones take their breaks at different times to try to educate the public into the value of our natural habitat and, in so doing, hopefully prevent this vandalism in the future?

Please let us keep Birkacre or Yarrow Valley Park as a wildlife haven.

We are all part of nature and as such we must respect and care for our fellow members, flora and fauna.

Joan Heaton, via email