Your Letters

An honest explanation

Letter of the Week: Shehzad Hussain, Conservative Dewsbury West council candidate

Dear Sir,

I have always been and will be open and honest about my conviction and the circumstances surrounding it.

I want to get all this into the open so people don’t feel I am hiding something. I never meant this to be offensive (the eBay member name Twin Towers 11 – editor) and I sincerely apologise if any offense was caused.

I am fully aware 67 Britons lost their lives and thousands of others. My question is, would the reaction have been the same if I hadn’t been a Muslim and from the ethnic minority?

It’s easy for people to make a judgement without knowing the facts.

The name wasn’t what it seemed and was a combination of fundraising I was doing for the Twin Towers Foundation and also I was born on September 11. There are many eBay users with the ID ‘twin towers’ from all over the world, who are from different races, religions.

A percentage of the sales of clothing was being given to the Twin Towers Foundation and I raised funds. I have always taken part in fundraising for local and international charities. Most recently I have helped organise a charity event for Cancer Research, Children in Need, the Syria appeal for victims and raised hundreds of pounds.

The offences happened in 2006, it took more than two years at court. It is almost 10 years on.

It was my only mistake, an error of judgement and I regret what happened. Refunds were given to everyone and I have taken my punishment. I was given a community service order and it was completed quickly and I got on with my life.

I came across the Prince’s Trust at an open event and because they work with young offenders I was asked if I would like to volunteer and help young people turn their life around after what I have been through.

It was the best thing I ever did and I would recommend it to anyone.

The trust is amazing and the staff go out of their way to help young people and young adults to turn their lives around.

My opponents are fearful and stand at every opportunity to lose the seat for Dewsbury West. It is astonishing what lengths my opponents will go to, to win their seats.

I challenge Labour councillors to have a open public debate regarding Dewsbury West and what have they achieved in the last 10 years.

I have already dealt with many issues from local people and they are very thankful.

“The neglect of Dewsbury West and the waste of taxpayers’ money cannot carry on like this,” I was told by a local community member, who tried on many occasions to contact the local councillors.

I hope the public will understand the circumstances and we can all move forward together make Dewsbury a better place to live and work.

Facts about music festival

From: Donal O’Driscoll, Festival Stage Events, Mirfield

Dear Sir,

There appears to be some confusion about the Mirfield Music Festival which is being proposed for Sunday May 25.

Is it a not-for-profit event? Is there a committee?

Here are the facts. No public money is being contributed for this event. No favours have been bestowed towards this event by Kirklees Council. Necessary licencing has to be in place and is being sought.

The event is being run on a commercial basis. If not enough tickets are sold the proceeds go to Kirkwood Hospice. If enough tickets are sold then Kirkwood Hospice is the official charity of the event and donations will be sought from the public on the day and hopefully enough money is made so that my company can also make a donation.

I have been involved in and organised family-friendly music festivals for over 12 years. I’ve lived in Mirfield for the last three and for over a year I’ve been keen to see a festival happen here.

The 100 Days of Culture, to celebrate the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for Yorkshire hosting the Grand Départ of the Tour de France, was the catalyst for me wanting to give people the choice whether or not they wanted a music festival in Mirfield to be part of that.

The town has strong ties with cycling and I’m sure everyone now knows we have our own local hero in Brian Robinson, the first Briton to win a stage of the Tour de France back in 1955.

As such, it seemed criminal that no event was being proposed for Mirfield as part of the 100 Days.

So I’m giving people a choice.

If you don’t want this family-friendly festival to happen, you don’t have to do anything.

If you do then tickets are currently just a fiver available at Wi’ Bits, Home & Body, Kirkwood Hospice Charity Shop, Ramsdens Butchers, The Missing Label and Sowerby Brothers Cycles. Also at The Flying Shuttle on Shillbank Lane and direct from Kirkwood Hospice on 01484 557911.

A big thank you to all these outlets and everyone else out there who are keen to see this event happen for Mirfield. Full details at www.mfest.biz.

‘Experts’ not always right

From: Peter Claydon, Dewsbury

Dear Sir,

The Government has argued that its failure to prepare for the disastrous flooding that has afflicted the Somerset Levels is down to a mistaken reliance on professional advice.

Here in North Kirklees the assumption that professional advice is always right has led Dewsbury’s MP and the Governing Body of our local Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) to the conclusion that the range of specialist services offered by Dewsbury and District Hospital should be scaled back.

If, in the Somerset Levels, the appropriate authorities had listened to the concerns of local people more, and to well-paid professional advisers less, then the area wouldn’t have suffered so badly as it has from the problems created by this year’s excessive rainfall.

The lesson that the North Kirklees CCG ought to take from the Somerset experience is that it should be vigorously challenging the professional advice it has received from third party vested interests, recommending the downgrading of our local hospital.

It should be giving proper heed to the aspirations and expectations of people who live in the area who do not want to see a valued local service eviscerated and run down.

Schools failing Chickenley kids

From: Mark Wilberforce, via email

Dear Sir,

I read that a recent OFSTED inspection has placed Chickenley Primary School back into special measures after it identified it as a failing school.

The report makes for grim reading, highlighting poor teaching and a leadership/governor structure that has, sadly, not kept a close enough eye on standards.

This is a double whammy for the area, since the last report for the local high school (whatever Earlsheaton High is now called) also judged it inadequate.

From infant, primary and through to secondary education, the children in Chickenley are being sent to amongst the worst schools in the country.

This is reflected in ONS data a couple of years back which found that out of 32,000 small estates across England the educational attainment of children in the Hazel/Walnut/Maple parts of Chickenley was the 27th worst – the bottom 0.1% in the country; outperformed by Tower Hamlets, Toxteth and most other inner-city sink estates you care to mention.

The ‘Princess’ estate was not far behind. I’m sure that the causes are complex, but a good starting point has to be in turning these schools around.

I really hope they succeed and that they get all the support that they need, so that we can serve these kids better.

Memories of St Patrick’s 

From: Peter Moreland, Heckmondwike

Dear Sir,

Do readers remember the St Patrick’s drama/theatre group? Perhaps you were a member or went to one of the shows at the Co-op Hall in Heckmondwike.

Any information would be helpful, including photos or programmes which we could scan for our Holy Spirit Centenary book.

Contact petermoreland@hotmail.com or on 01924 501774.

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