Readers’ letters - March 20

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Choice: Caretakers or vandals of our planet

I read an important article 
in the i this week about plastic bottles polluting our seas.

The article focuses on the impact of the world’s biggest soft drinks companies on the marine environment and it doesn’t make pleasant reading.

There is so much plastic that it can even be found on our dinner plate.

Consumers in this country drink 35 million plastic bottles every day, but only 20 million of these are recycled.

The other thrown-away bottles often end up as part of the five trillion pieces of plastic polluting our seas, and where they poison marine animals.

These bottles are made from standard PET (polyethylene terephthalate) and can take hundreds of years to degrade.

It has been suggested a bottle return scheme could help the issue and this, I feel, would be a great idea.

Not buying so much, reusing our plastic bottles and recycling them are three ideas we could all take up.

Whether one is religious, spiritual or not, we humans do have the ability and power to act as much-needed ‘caretakers of the earth’ instead of being the vandals we currently are, directly or indirectly.

Will we have to face the next generation and admit, “sorry, we destroyed your once beautiful clean planet”?




We were on SS Yorkshire too

I am writing to say how very interesting and moving I have found the article in the Lancashire Post about the sinking of the Bibby Line ship, the SS Yorkshire, off Gibraltar on October 17, 1939 (LP Retro March 1).

The story about Maureen and her brother, Cyril, Dixon being saved from drowning, I found extraordinarily poignant and brings my own beginnings very much to mind.

My parents came home to Preston from southern India in March 1939 for the birth of their first child.

My father was an agent for the Imperial Bank of India.

They boarded the MV Derbyshire at Bombay on March 13, 1939.

I don’t have the date they arrived at Marseilles.

My parents’ names were Reginald Cecil Leigh and Eve Christians Leigh (nee Ascroft).

Because war with Germany had been declared – only three days before the day I was born in the Preston Royal Infirmary, September 6, 1939 – they had to quickly book passage to get back to India.

My mother always said: “The first ship we booked got torpedoed and we had to book another one...”

But I don’t think she ever named the ship.

(My mother died in 1995).

I was vaccinated at six weeks old in Preston and, after one night at the Euston Hotel, London, my parents, with me in tow, boarded the P&O RMS Orcades, bound for Australia on November 17, 1939.

The three of us are all listed in the Passenger List which I have still.

We disembarked safely at Colombo on December 9, 1939.

There were boat drills twice a day and my mother said she went to her bunk fully dressed every night for fear of being torpedoed.

After reading this article about the Yorkshire and the timing of when it was sunk – October 17 – I am convinced it must be the ship we were probably booked on.

We all had to remain in India for the duration of the war.

When we returned, in February 1946, we were on the Burma – but I don’t know which line that was with.

There were four of us, my parents, myself and my brother William, who was born in India (should have been five but a sister, who died at 12 months, was buried in India).

Liz Hedley

Much Hoole



for our parks

I am writing this letter concerning the two Looking Back pictures of Preston, Lancashire, pictured in the Post recently (LP March 2 and March 6).

One was the bandstand, the other was a Victorian lamp.

Why can’t a replica of the bandstand be made and located on Moor Park?

A lot of work is being done already.

It could be placed near the road to stop people damaging it and it would be a nice showpiece.

Avenham Park has nice things on it.

Also why can’t they make a Victorian lamp post and put it near the little park or on the corner of Stanley Street?

Also when is a statue going to be made, representing the cotton mills and workers in Lancashire?

Money should be spent on the right things (our heritage).

Preston Born and Bred

Address supplied


Welfare must come first

I cannot believe what I have read in the Post regarding the four children from Leyland living in squalor (LP March 10).

Social services should hang their heads in shame.

My sister is a grand-mother to two adopted children who were removed in identical circumstances.

There were four children in total, and the youngest two were adopted by my niece.

Both children are lovely but they still have problems. The early years of love and nurture are paramount to a child’s development.

If a child is not nurtured, problems will obviously occur.

I can’t understand why social services haven’t taken this on board.

I realise that social services try to keep families together but it should be the children’s welfare first.

In this case it’s too late for the parents and the children should come first.



My instructor was a TV star

The above Looking Back is a picture of members of Preston Thaiboxing Club (Phraya Pichai camp) in 1989 with chief instructor John Ryan.

He was also an actor who appeared in plays, films and television.

He played the lead role in A Streetcar Named Desire, alongside Susannah York, at the Bolton Octagon Theatre.

He was Sean Connery’s stunt double in the film Medicine Man, and also acted on television in Coronation Street, playing truck driver Charlie Whelan.

Pictured from left to right are Rick Gray, Neil Abercrombie, Sam Barker, John Ryan, Shannon Barker, Steve Scott and Dave Jones.

Rick Gray

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