Your Letters

Warm tributes to Peter O’Neill

Letter of the Week: Abdul Ghaffar, Fiaz Rashid and Mohammed Sadiq Patel, Batley

Dear Sir,

We have been saddened by the sudden loss of former councillor Peter O’Neill, who was a truly remarkable man in more ways than words can describe.

Peter exuded warmth, love and generosity to everyone and always left a lasting impression upon those who he met.

We will always remember Peter for his passion and desire to seek justice and equality for all.

He never shirked a challenge and neither was he moved when confronted with the challenges of the day.

Peter was a true example to all of us in that he always fought to establish the true at the expense of falsehood and this was witnessed in none other than his opposition to war in Afghanistan, Iraq and most recently Syria.

For us, Peter was a man who strove to establish the rights of the Palestinian people and we will fondly remember him with regards to his unstinting service for this cause.

Peter was no ordinary politician and served our community in Batley with distinction and a sense of civic pride.

He was a proud Batelian who strove to do the best for the people of the town.

We will always be indebted to you, Peter, and we mourn your loss.

Peter we will never forget you and your loving family are an endearing testimony to your legacy. May you rest in peace, Peter.


He will be hard act to follow

From: Pat Crisp, Batley

Dear Sir,

I would like to pay tribute to Peter O’Neill, who sadly passed away, and thank him for all the hard work, help and support he gave me over the past 35 years.

Firstly as a Brownie Guider at St Mary’s Church, Batley, and secondly as a commuity rights activist with the Carlinghow and Crossbank Neighbourhood Watch.

He never missed a meeting and was always there with advice and sorting people’s problems out.

He will be a hard act to follow. Our thoughts are with all his family.


Let’s have less of all these

From: Mr AS Hemingway, Gomersal

Dear Sir,

Things to see the back of, or less of, in 2016:

• The House of Lords;

• The European Union;

• The title of ‘Dr’, preserved only for medical people. For example ex-Health Minister Dr John Reed; His ‘Dr’ bit was for a degree in communism in West Africa!

• Wayne Rooney (footballer);

• Double-barrelled names;

• The plethora of Lords and Baronesses;

• Any immigration over 20,000 a year;

• Angela Merkel;

• ‘Two Jags’ John Prescott and his efforts to talk posh, having become a member of the establishment.

• Mammoth pay grades for chief executives of councils, NHS, police and other public bodies;

• Unfairness. Failed executives (private and public) paid massive bonuses instead of being sacked.


Brian Firth remembered

From: Andrew Hutchinson, Dewsbury

Dear Sir,

I was saddened to hear of the sudden passing of Brian Firth on Tuesday December 29.

He was a popular, kind, caring, humble man of great honour and integrity.

Brain was my general election campaign manager in 2010, when I stood as the Liberal Democrat Parliamentary candidate.

I found him to be very thorough, committed and a man of boundless energy.

We would often be out together campaigning in the daylight hours and then putting up posters on lampposts into the early hours of the morning.

He never complained, no matter what the weather or workload was.

I also knew Brian from other areas of life in which our paths crossed.

He was a committed Christian and, along with his wife Collette was a member of the Dewsbury Minster choir and St John’s Church congregation, where he served as church warden.

He was an academic support worker at Huddersfield University, where he assisted disabled students. He was a member of Dewsbury Matters, the local history group. He was active in many other areas of life too.

A devoted husband, father and friend to so many; truly one-in-a-million, he will be sorely missed.


A few questions 

From: Christine Hyde, Dewsbury

Dear Sir,

With the £1 million spend on a new entrance for Dewsbury Hospital now under way for cosmetic reasons, I am prompted to share some questions the local clinical commissioning groups do not put to the public in their AGM or ‘engagement’ events.

These are: Should the NHS ‘fund’ profit-making management companies to plan and completely restructure the hospital services in England?

Should the NHS fund the administration costs of ‘the competitive market for healthcare’ to the tune of five per cent, 10 per cent, 15 per cent, 25 per cent or 30 per cent?

Should the NHS fund properly qualified doctors with five years’ training, or rely on volunteers and unpaid interns?

The chairs of Huddersfield and North Kirklees CCGs may or may not be interested in your views. Your parliamentary representative should certainly be!


Changes are a crazy idea

From: Wendy Senior, Dewsbury

Dear Sir,

Reading a newspaper last Saturday, I came across an article about A&E being centralised at Pinderfields Hospital six months earlier than planned, which means Dewsbury hospital will be downgraded to an urgent care centre treating minor ailments which will see critically ill and injured patients taken to a beefed-up A&E at Pinderfields Hospital.

How much is beefing it up going to cost? Why is money raised by Dewsbury people being spent in Wakefield?

I was at Dewsbury Hospital on Christmas Eve, I went to look at the new maternity unit and entrance being built and asked staff at the hospital what they thought about it.

They agreed with me, it is a crazy idea. One nurse said how are they going to transfer women with difficult births, but the trust members do not seem to care about lives lost, it is all about money.

I was also at Pinderfields Hospital on New Year’s Eve afternoon looking for somewhere to park.

There were no disabled parking spaces free, so we had to walk a long distance in the pouring rain. Where are all these extra people attending Pinderfields going to park?

It also says in the paper that after being warned by the Care Quality Commission about low staffing levels and poor hygiene levels in parts of the hospital trust, the precarious situation is leading to fears of more top-down reorganisation by the government.

This again is an EU directive – one large hospital for far too many people.

The same has happened with the recent floods – councils forbidden to dredge the rivers to protect the environment, and not the people.

Sir Stuart Rose and Sir Richard Branson insisting we stay in the EU because they are the large conglomerates who benefit most from the EU.


Water comedian

From: John Walshaw, Dewsbury

Dear Sir,

Regarding the recent flooding, and in an attempt to bring a little levity into a subject which is very serious to some people, I do apologise for any hurt feelings it may cause.

The Minister, when given a grilling about the recent flooding, tried to water it down, but has tarnished his reputation.

He was warned about cutts in spending, but said: “We’ve got a pool of money which we shall put on the stream, but these things tend to ebb and flow.

“We shall pump and pour more in instead of barging about laking as we are doing.”

In my own opinion, the quay to all this is to flood the area with money, wash away all the jetsam and flotsam and deadwood, lock the basin and levee a charge: Then wait for the tidal wave of complaints it produces.


Singing surface

From: Mark Adam and B Rhodes, Dunbottle Debating Society

Dear Sir,

It is said at certain times of the year, residents of parts of York can hear the clatter of armour, hooves and the swish of marauding Roman soldiers as the ghost army moves along historical byways of Eboracum.

There are the singing stones high above the Yorkshire Moors, on the way from Holmfirth to Derbyshire, where winds passing through the millstone grit outcrops mimic the lamented call of a young lass who, on hearing of the death of her lover in the Civil War, threw herself to her death below.

Around the old Bomber Command satellite stations near York and Selby, people can hear on one night of the year the eerie drone of a lone bomber circling high in the sky looking for an unfogged runway to land on – a true tale of the Halifax Bomber that crash-landed with the loss of the whole air crew on a foggy night in the early 1940s.

These are tales now set in Yorkshire folklore. There are hundreds to be told throughout Britain’s largest county.

Well, has anyone heard of the sighing surface of Dunbottle Lane?

Before Christmas, Dunbottle Lane was closed off for major resurfacing, and since its completion vehicles travelling along its route from St Mary’s Church to Greenside Road now emit a long and mournful sigh.

It is not an uncommon sight to see drivers pulled up at the roadside examining the underside of their vehicle, probably thinking their suspension was faulty.

Some local residents prone to differing sound frequencies are having trouble sleeping at night.

Different makes and models  of cars with differing tyres all emit varying noises, and sometimes it can be quite melodic, a symphony of the streets perhaps?

A local landlord is putting up a prize for the most apt name for the noise, with a folklore tale to go with it.

Knowing the landlord there will probably be more overtures yet to surface.


Join the picket

From: David Honeybell, Heckmondwike

Dear Sir,

The junior doctors who are taking strike action on Tuesday January 12 can by no stretch of the imagination be described as militants or hot heads or anarchists, or any other derogatory name the Tories reserve for other groups of striking workers.

They have spent years, not only at university, but gaining experience working for no pay on hospital wards.

These people don’t go on strike just on a whim. And they are NOT striking for more pay, whatever Cameron, Osborne or Hunt may say.

With their academic qualifications, they could all earn more in other walks of life.

These doctors are striking because they fear for patient safety if the working practices being forced onto them are implemented.

The junior doctors have to be supported, because if they lose their battle for patient safety, the whole of our NHS is in grave danger of becoming a thing of the past, because the government is relentless in its policy of privatising our NHS.

Our NHS must survive, and I urge everybody to join the picket line at Dewsbury District Hospital, and show the government the depth of feeling the public have for the junior doctors and our NHS.

Spend an hour with the doctors, let them know what you think. Help save our NHS for future generations. Please join the picket for an hour on Tuesday.


Health worries

From: Imelda Marsden, Mirfield (former general nurse, served on North Kirklees Community Health Council)

Dear Sir,

Let’s hope that health centres and hospital care in North Kirklees improve in 2016. Some hope!

At Mirfield Health Centre getting an appointment is near impossible; one could get an audience with the Pope quicker.

You telephone for an appointment in the morning, no appointment available; asked to phone back in the afternoon; still no appointment;  then told you can go and queue for an appointment at 7.30 in the morning, outside in all weathers!

Very ill patients, mothers with young babies and children are stood outside; then the doors open, you get to the desk and all the appointments are gone for the morning. It’s like the lottery.

Some travel down to the surgery by car; others take the bus and, if they’re lucky to get an appointment in the morning, go home and come back.

For those having to take the bus that’s four journeys. It could be a week going onto two to get an appointment.

Why does Mirfield Health Centre have such a problem with appointments, as when one manages to secure an appointment with a GP, they give a good service?

Ravensthorpe, Cleckheaton and Haworth Health Centres cover a large area, and have a similar ratio of GPs to patients.

Some patients at Mirfield are frightened to complain, in case they are thrown off the GP panel.

We need community health councils back, we fought for patient care in GP surgeries and hospitals. We had three office staff, the rest of us were voluntary.

One big thank you to MP Paula Sherriff.

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