Your Letters – Friday July 19, 2019

Help us remember them

Letter of the Week: Fr Nicholas Hird, Cleckheaton

In the late summer a group of pilgrims from the area will be travelling to the Normandy area; a place much in the news lately in regard to the 75th anniversary commemorations of the events of D-Day. 

This group will be visiting the last resting places of a number of local men, including Pte Frank Riley (Earlsheaton), Pte Lewis Williamson (Healey), Pte Harold Watkins (Dewsbury Moor), Pte Jack Hutchinson (Dewsbury), Pte Nelson Sykes (Thornhill) and Trooper Wilfred Barstow (Liversedge), who were all killed in 1944.

In view of this planned visit I would like to let the families of these men know that a token of remembrance will be laid upon their graves.

If any family member of any of these men were able to offer me some biographical detail of their relative, I would be most grateful. 

This would most certainly add a further poignancy to our visit. Email:

Stunned to see photo

From: Michael Stott, Ossett

While digesting Mike Popplewell’s column last week in The Press, imagine my reaction upon being confronted by a faded photograph of my late mother included in his nostalgic look back at 1934. 

Eileen Morris was indeed carnival queen when she was 13, and the most heart-warming aspect of it is to realise she was chosen by all the pupils themselves following a ballot at St Ignatius School in Ossett. 

I have researched that period in her life, resulting in locating two press photographs of the occasion, however I’d never seen the one reproduced in your column until last week. 

She was never too enamoured with the occasion herself, looking upon it as something else to be done along with lessons while at school. 

However I’d like to think she’d be as tickled as me at it surfacing all these years later!

She passed away in 1994, so my eternal gratitude to your chronicler.

My fab NHS experience

From: Chris Jenkinson, Dewsbury

Recently I was booked into Pinderfields Hospital in Wakefield to have a small lump removed from one of my toes.

It was all going to be done under local anaesthetic, but nevertheless I was extremely nervous as I hate operations of any type.

Getting there was totally trouble-free as there was very little traffic ... so far so good. I arrived at Ward 40 on time and from the minute I arrived I was treated like a king. 

The staff were extremely helpful and were total experts at putting me at ease.

After I had been checked and prepped I was directed to a waiting area with a TV to sit with two other people.

At one point I decided to go for a drink and the receptionist made one for me. I thought this was great as I knew the lady was going above and beyond the call of duty.

When I went in for the op I was made to feel relaxed and all my questions were answered immediately. 

Considering the situation it was turned into an almost pleasurable experience ... I was beginning to feel good 

Afterwards I was bandaged and taken to a waiting area where I was handed some painkillers and again, above and beyond the call of duty, I was offered some lunch.

The icing on the cake appeared when a member of staff took me outside in a wheelchair and helped me on a hospital shuttle bus which took me, free of charge, from Wakefield to Dewsbury Hospital.

This was getting better by the minute. At Dewsbury I was picked up by a friend and driven the last 3/4 mile home. I had saved £12.50 on the return journey.

I found this whole experience so good and satisfying that I felt compelled to write in the knowledge that I have had a wonderful and reassuring experience with the NHS hospitals in my area.

The excellent staff were more than prepared to go the extra mile for their patients.

Thank you to the NHS for a job well done and another satisfied customer.

‘Secret’ bus

From: Barbara Schiff, Mirfield

No doubt in response to the distress caused by the withdrawal of the 253 bus and the meeting held about this, Arriva has extended the route of the 261 bus on some journeys so that some buses travel between Mirfield and Cleckheaton.

This is a very limited service running only mornings during the week, until mid-afternoon on a Saturday and not at all on a Sunday.

However even this very limited service is kept a closely-guarded secret as the sign at the bus stop in Mirfield still reads to Heckmondwike – likewise the times of the bus have not been updated.

No doubt the service will soon be withdrawn, with the reason given that it is not well-used.

This is hardly surprising since most people will not know it exists.

First-class performances

From: Geoff Camponi, Heckmondwike

Many thanks to the organisers for the memorial concert held at Dewsbury Town Hall on Saaturday July 13, in memory of the Thornhill Combs Colliery disaster in 1893, when 139 men and boys were killed. The youngest boy was only 12 years of age. 

The entertainment from the world-famous Grimethorpe Colliery Band, Skelmanthorpe Male Voice Choir and compere Peter McVeigh was first-class.

The standing ovation that the band and choir received at the end of the concert was a fitting end to a wonderful night.

The invitation by the organisers to all ex-miners to be their guests at the concert was much appreciated.

A wonderful experience

From: Barbara Lumb, Liversedge

On Saturday, we had the great privilege of attending a memorial concert in Dewsbury Town Hall. 

This was held in memory of the Thornhill Mining Disaster, one of the worst tragedies in mining history when, on July 4 1893, an explosion at Combs Pit in Thornhill killed 139 men and boys. 

Only seven survived out of the whole shift and most families in Thornhill lost a loved one. 

This was of special significance to me because my great  grandfather, Richard Halstead, as one of the pit deputies was in the first party of rescuers who went down the pit that dreadful day.

This was not just a memorial service, however, it was a memorable one for the packed audience in the town hall. 

The truly talented Grimethorpe Colliery Band and the Skelmanthorpe Male Voice Choir, together with their charismatic conductors, produced an evening of total pleasure. 

The standing ovation and rapturous applause said it all. Thank you so much to all who organised such a wonderful musical experience.

A special end to their year

From: David A Wood, via email

Today (Wednesday), along with family members we had the pleasure of attending the celebration day for the nursery children at Batley Parish JI&N CofE School. 

Here the past 12 months of their young lives were celebrated and a certificate was given to each child. A lovely memento of early school lives was topped off with a wonderful presentation by the bairns in song and dance. 

One of the songs was very poignant as each girl and boy looked at the child next to them and sang ‘you are a friend’ followed by ‘and you’ ‘and you’ ‘and you’ as they turned to one another with the words echoing throughout the nursery.

What a beautiful way to close the first year of school and what a powerful message! If only we grown-ups could have those words in our hearts our world would be such a better place. 

Perhaps this morning our little ones have given us a lesson – will we learn from it? Thank you Batley Parish for such a special end to our children’s year with you.

Complain now or lose it

From: Christine Hyde, Dewsbury

GP services in Kirklees and England are going through the biggest shake-up in at least 29 years, according to the GP boss who ‘buys in’ GP services for local people.

Government policy has made the GP role unattractive so there are 100 vacant GP training places in Kirklees practices, according to Dr Ollerton. 

The shake-up means patients will not in some cases see a GP. 

The receptionist, now rebranded a ‘trained care navigator’, asks what’s wrong then decides, probably by checking a tick sheet online, where to send you – either to a pharmacist, physiotherapist, nurse, or new for 2019, physician associate or social prescriber.

This is an utter erosion of the NHS but conveniently fits in with the new government and NHS England agenda of removing the ‘dependency culture.’ 

The shake-up hides the developing ‘hostile environment’ for poorly and disabled people. 

Seventeen procedures and some medicines have been cut or made ‘hard to get’ locally, and in some areas it is 100 procedures. We need to watch our CCGs for more cuts. 

The whole of West Yorkshire and Harrogate Health and Care Partnership was told to cut £22m between 2016 and next year. The smaller you cut the NHS-provided pieces  the easier to remove them later, one at a time.

This new US-style system involving Kirklees Council is inefficient. In some areas it’s already been trialled. 

A friend’s brother was sent to a physiotherapist for pain in his back. 

After he’d spent a year going through excercises but getting worse, he was eventually found to have bowel cancer which was inoperable. Dr Ollerton said this was a rare case, but the former MP Andrew Lansley had similar backache and by the time he was diagnosed, it was stage 3 bowel cancer. 

He, fortunately for him, was not sent to a physiotherapist. We are witnessing the Incredible Shrinking NHS. Complain to your MP and councillors. We need to complain loudly, or lose high-quality healthcare for those who cannot pay.

Found guilty by diktat

From: Alec Suchi, Bradford

Danny Lockwood provides an informative account of how the 1981 Contempt of Court Act had been interpreted in its most narrow sense to find Tommy Robinson in breach of it, in order to justify his incarceration (Ed Lines, July 12).

In the above case, the two judges at the Old Bailey decided Mr Robinson’s guilt without the presence of a jury, a situation analogous to the diplock courts in Northern Ireland.

It is clear their decision was politically motivated, acting on behalf of the state and in furtherance of its agenda. In contrast, a jury may have found Mr Robinson not guilty.

Trial by jury is guaranteed under the Magna Carta (1215) and is the foundation and definition of democracy whereby those prosecuted are judged by their peers, and who may find the defendants not guilty, even if the decision is contrary to the expectations of the state.

Today trial by jury has been undermined whereby judges direct the jury to consider all allegations within the existing legislation, but not to examine whether the legislation itself is just and fair.

In marked contrast, a genuine trial by jury, as permitted in Common Law and stipulated in Magna Carta allows the jury to question particular laws if considered unjust and to find the defendant not guilty as a result. 

This would render legislation perceived as unjust unenforceable and thus annulled.

In this way the supreme sovereignty will reside with the people in trial by jury and not through the “will” of parliament as is widely believed.

The former Prime Minister, John Major, had threatened to take action in court should the future Prime Minister attempt to pursue a no-deal Brexit by proroguing parliament. 

During the ensuing deliberations, the sovereignty of parliament and the constitutional position of the Queen were discussed. 

However in Common Law, which has existed for millennia and had been partially codified by Alfred the Great and further codified in Magna Carta, the people are sovereign through trial by jury and not parliament.

Neither is the Queen above the law but is subject to it. Today Common Law has been unconstitutionally subverted, and this was clearly seen in the Tommy Robinson case as he was found guilty by judges acting according to particular diktats, and not by his peers.

The real threat of no Brexit

From: Colin Walshaw, Scholes

So, after all the obfuscation we now have the truth, Labour is the party of Remain.

No longer the party of the people and the democratic vote or being capable of abiding by election promises and manifestos.

They have now joined the band of deniers who branded Leavers as ignorant of the facts surrounding the EU. 

On the contrary, it is Remainers who are ignorant of the facts on the EU. 

It is not the lovely cushy and soft protector of all things nice. The facts are it’s a totally undemocratic bureaucracy, which ignores the will of the people. 

Most people do not realise the useless and ineffectual EU parliament for what it is, and the overwhelming power of the President of the Commission and the commission itself, all unelected! Profligacy, corruption and waste abound.

The cry of the remainers is what about our trade, workers rights and EU immigrants resident here? 

Business will sort out trade, not governments, Britain is and always has been a leader in workers’ rights legislation and we have already promised EU residents rights.

The real problem with the EU is being hidden from us, it is the Euro. 

The longer we stay wedded to the EU the greater the danger economically.

Target two is an automated backdoor bailout mechanism for southern Europe, the means by which money is transferred around the Eurozone to keep the currency in balance, mainly transferring funds from the richer northern countries, (German Bundesbank, Banque de France and Banca d’Italia) to the impoverished southern states such as Greece, Spain and Portugal. It is automatic and unstoppable.

The critical nature of Italy’s banks are a linchpin in this system and failure would be catastrophic. A number of scenarios could cause a failure at anytime and the European Central Bank does not have the reserves to save the default of any country, let alone Italy.

But we are not in the Euro, the remainers cry. However we are amongst the largest investors in the Euro, with an exposure to Italy alone of over 200 billion Euros, and a large proportion of trade with Europe being done in Euros.

When the Euro inevitably collapses it will make 2008 look like November the 5th, bonfire night. 

The near-nuclear explosion will vaporise anyone near the epicenter, those on the outside near the perimeter will be irradiated, but not fatally. If we have managed to increase our worldwide trade outside the EU we will to some extent be less vulnerable to the ensuing crash of world stock markets. 

Businesses largely reliant on EU business will be decimated, due to the inability of customers to pay outstanding debt. 

So you remain-supporting Labour acolytes get some backbone, like Sarah Champion (Labour MP), who cannot support a remain party when it goes against democracy.

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