Your Letters

A mixture of madness and mirth

Letter of the Week: D Atkinson

Dear Sir,

The decline of local pubs portrayed in The Forum recently by Tim Wood of The Old Colonial is a sobering view of how things are in the world of local pubs.

I too have run pubs the length and breadth of Yorkshire and the community local is a tough area in which to earn a living – a mixture of madness and mirth.

You have groups of people set in their ways, who sit in the same place every time, and if someone else is sitting in ‘their spot’, it’s almost pistols at dawn.

Then you get the customers who are phobic about what shape or type of glass they get their pint pulled in, the doom and gloom and grumpy merchants are alive and well in most pubs.

Then there’s the local Tommy Topit who’s done everything – I had one customer who claimed he had been in the SAS.

He’d explored far-off lands, dined regularly with stars and royalty and once saved a penalty against Pele – and the reality of it is was he used to have a milk round in Batley.

How people love a bargain and try it on. One chap ordered a ham salad, “but no onions, please, and do I get a discount for the onions?”

No, was the reply, we’ll put an extra raddish on your plate instead. He stormed out in disgust, uttering oaths.

One day a regular customer walked in and we noticed he was wearing a brown shoe on one foot and a black shoe on the other.

When this was pointed out he told us his right toe was swollen and the black shoe was more comfortable on that foot! That was a proper show-stopper.

The pub industry is one where it is not unusual to work a 16-hour day most days, take very little time off, and if you do get a break you can hear some happy soul remark “off again, we’ve paid for that”.

You try to keep your business at the forefront of community matters and get involved, and occasionally someone may say thank you.

Running a pub is not for the faint-hearted, and if there’s a landlord or landlady that’s done over 10 years they deserve a big pat on the back.

Pubs are a great British institution, support those who support you, because they way things are going in just a few short years there won’t be a lot left.


Lazenby has a solid record

From: John Appleyard, Liversedge

Dear Sir,

I have known Peter Lazenby, former journalist and father of the NUJ chapel at the Yorkshire Evening Post for almost 40 years.

He deserves greater respect than that afforded to him by Danny Lockwood (17/7/15).

Over those years I have helped Peter with several campaigns, which include the environmental reports he wrote regarding the cleaning up of the heavily-polluted River Aire  in Leeds during the European year of the environment.

He exposed the late Robert Maxwell’s swindling of pension funds in Leeds and also brought to our attention the dangers of asbestos on a Leeds council estate and the cruel deaths that occur from it.

Peter is a long-standing member of the Labour Party and an anti-racist campaigner who has received a number of death threats from far right groups, but he always soldiers on.

I wish there were more journalists like him who deal with serious issues instead of the lazy journalism we have today of idle gossip and tittle tattle.

Some of the tabloid newspapers have sunk to such a low level that its hard to believe anything they print.


What a great night at Nash

From: Seamus McCartney, Batley Carr

Dear Sir,

Who says good live entertainment is rare in Batley? Anyone ever spoke to someone from Sweden in Batley? Thought not!

Well, the next best thing was the ABBA tribute band ‘Voulez Vous’, which is French for ‘would you like to’, whatever they mean by that.

Yes! We would like to see them again at the Irish Nash Club, where they appeared to a packed audience last Friday.

It was a marvellous night, and well done to everyone who helped to make it a success.

The cost was equivalent to a couple of pints in a posh, boring pub.


Keep up the good work

From: Alec Suchi, Bradford

Dear Sir,

Your correspondent, Julie Austin reveals a very self-important and humourless  attitude, when replying to Danny Lockwood’s column (The Press, July 17).

Firstly as an actual fact, women are paid more than men in tennis, if the actual duration on court is considered. Although the prize money is equal, women’s matches last barely an hour and a two-hour match is very rare.

In contrast men often play a minimum of two hours but often three or more hours.

In the 2011 Australian Open final between Novak Djokovic and Rafa Nadal, the match was played over five sets and lasted more than five hours, the two contestants were close to exhaustion.

For myself I gladly pay 50 pence for a copy of The Press, although I could access a free copy, and as a matter of course will first read Mr Lockwood’s column and then the letters page, before perusing the remainder of the paper.

Keep up the good work Danny, with your irreverence and non-politically correct commentaries!


Bosses don’t give answers

From: Wendy Senior, Dewsbury

Dear Sir,

I am pleased to hear the NHS trust has decided to appeal the decision not to award it a £238 million contract to provide community health services in Kirklees.

Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust has lodged a formal complaint with the health regulator after the five-year care closer to home contract went to Locala.

This contract should have gone to the NHS trust, who will lose money because of this decision.

This affects the health of people in our area. Locala is a Batley-based private company, although chief executive Robert Flack insists it is not run for profit. Can anyone see the company’s books?

I would like to know how these decisions are taken. At a meeting earlier this month of the CCG group at Batley Town Hall Dr Kelly, chair of the board, announced that Locala had been given the contract for Care Closer to Home, no reasons of how or why they had come to the decision.

How do they get away with this? Can no-one hold them to account?

There is another decision made I would like to question. Dewsbury Women’s Centre, run by local ladies giving their time free and used by voluntary groups, has had its funds cut by the CCG board.

This centre is providing preventative care for Dewsbury women. I would like to know who and how many people voted to cut their funding.

The Women’s Centre in Dewsbury was refurbished free by local businesses. If you have not seen the centre, it is a beautifully-decorated set of rooms which can be used for meetings or coffee mornings etc, and it would be dreadful if it had to close.

The clinical commissioning group have a lot to answer for, and no-one can get a straight answer from them.


A big thank you!

From: Donal O’Driscoll, Crown of Lights Festival director

Dear Sir,

I’m exhausted as I’m writing this but had to say a big thank you to everyone who helped me put on the most successful Heckyfest to date.

The West Yorkshire 4x4 Volunteers, St John’s Ambulance, Herbert and Gary Hirst Fairground Rides and catering, Andy Chattaway’s Crafty Devilz, Angie’s fantastic face-painting team, the PCSOs and the police for their considerate attendance, and a special mention for Rob and his team at Retrac Toilet Hire who came back out Saturday evening to service all the excellent toilets after unprecedented use!

Now onto my own Crown of Lights team, with the litter-pickers headed up by the tireless Jacky Stringer.

To Gina Rhodes and Amy Williams for being my glamorous merchandise sellers and to my superb sound and light technical crew headed up by Pete Earnshaw.

In terms of funding support, a massive thank you to Batley and Spen District Committee.

Without them the event simply would not have happened. For sponsorship thanks to Discotechnology for supplying the official photographer Richard Foster.

Thanks also to Howard Cook for stepping in at the 11th hour and arranging sponsorship from Ponderosa.

The final big thank you has to go to all 26 fantastic acts who played for free due to their belief in wanting to keep this quality festival going in Heckmondwike.

Fingers crossed for a 14th festival!


What happened to this utopia?

From: Jack Bunn, Hanging Heaton

I was born and brought up in a village called Earlsheaton, on the border with Chickenley.

In those days we went to the local board or church school in the village.

We had a post office, three fish shops, four butchers, two newspaper shops and a bakers.

We had a village bobby and a police box on the town green outside one of the three pubs.

We used to have Earlsheaton Feast on the town green every year. We had a church and two Wesleyan chapels, we had a doctor and two slaughter houses to kill the beasts for the butchers.

We had two farms, a blacksmith shop and farrier to shoe horses. We had Syke Ing mill making blankets, Lyles Mill for yarn, a coal mine and umpteen day holes.

We had our own cemetery, we had a tramway service to Dewsbury and Ossett, a co-op store and little shops filled all the highway.

We had our own railway station, our own doctor, a joiner and undertaker.

My question is who lost us this little utopia and look what we have ended up with.

Our forefathers would turn in their graves if they could come back now.

I wonder if we had lost World War what would have happened. Once again I fear for my grandchildren in years to come.


Debacle lies at his own feet

From: Darren F Whitley, Cleckheaton

Dear Sir,

It was with some interest that I read the letter from Mr Hutchinson this week with regard to his election win at the town council election for Mirfield earlier this year.

It would appear that either Mr Hutchinson is very confused, is putting about misinformation, or simply believes that the law of the land should not/does not apply to himself.

It is a given fact that he was required to make a declaration of acceptance of his elected post by a given date, and he seems to accept that for whatever reason he failed to do so.

He raises that point that in 2011 some candidates declared late, but fails to recognise that they, as he could have done, made arrangement for a later declaration.

In any event, the situation is as it is, Mr Hutchinson failed to make his declaration, and the matter needs to be dealt with lawfully.

If, as Mr Hutchinson seems to plead, the law is not followed, surely the clerk to the town council is open to censure for failing to act within the constraints of the law.

Personally, I can see why an individual would not be willing to leave themselves open by acting in such a manner.

The next step therefore would be to advertise that the vacancy, and then the people of the ward in question can, if they wish, force a by-election to be held by putting forward a candidate (or candidates) for such an election.

Information in the public domain suggests that this is the position we are now in, with Mr Hutchinson the only candidate so far proposed.

How then can it be the ‘Tories who will be responsible for any by-election’?

As to the cost. Mr Hutchinson suggests that these ought to be met from reserves, and can be ‘restored at a later date’. Why should this be the case, and how does he propose they be so restored?

Unless he lives in a glass bubble he will know that all councils are suffering from cuts due to the large deficits left after the last Labour government.

There is therefore little or no confidence that excesses will occur in future for such restoration to take place.

Essentially, however Mr Hutchinson attempts to dress up the whole issue as a ‘Tory Party plan of exclusion’, the whole cause of the debacle lies squarely at his own feet since if he had completed his duties with regard to the declaration of acceptance there could have been no question of bending the law in his favour.

How he can say otherwise is beyond comprehension.

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