Your Letters – Friday November 16, 2018

An act of much-needed togetherness

Letter of the Week: Charles Broxholme, Liversedge

I attended the Armistice commemoration in Heckmondwike along with my wife and son, a former serving soldier. 

What an incredibly moving ceremony it was. I would like to say a massive well done to all those involved in the organisation and staging of the event. 

I particularly appreciated the prayer from the imam and the laying of a wreath by the Ahmadiyya Youth organisation, an act of much needed togetherness in a world where the politics of division seems to be the preferred path.

Also noteworthy were the children representing various groups, performing their duties with charm and patience despite the appalling weather. 

Finally, to commend the work of the Spen Valley Historical Society who produced an amazing montage of photographs and details of Heckmondwike men who gave their lives in the Great War. 

Seeing the numbers coming from the same streets really brought home the sense of loss that must have been felt in the community and the futility of such a conflict. 

A truly remarkable piece of work.

Incredible work from our NHS

From: Leonard Gardner, Batley

I have previously congratulated Dewsbury and Pinderfields Hospitals on their excellent service and caring attitude to patients. I wish to say the same about the staff at St James’ Hospital in Leeds, particularly the cancer unit there. 

The staff talked to me, respected me, and looked after my wife whilst I was undergoing specific treatments. The transport section accommodated myself and my wife to the best of their ability considering the complexity of transporting numerous patients across the area to different addresses and at different times during the working day.

From the paintings displayed on the walls, to the volunteers playing the piano and directing visitors and patients within the hospital, all played their part in making my visit, and that of thousands of others I am sure, as stress-free as possible.

I hope my month’s treatment has worked, but even if it turns out to be only partially successful I know that the caring staff at St James’ did their very best and I want the staff on the cancer ward on Floor Zero Two to sleep well knowing they are a credit to the profession and to the NHS.

Without people like them the system just would not work.

A simple thank you somehow seems inadequate, yet it is meant from the bottom of my heart.

Whatever the outcome of my treatment may be, I will not forget the staff from St James’, Dewsbury and Pinderfields hospitals.

Long live the jewel in the crown, our NHS.

Disappointed in personal attack

From: Garry Kitchin, Batley

I have followed with great interest the recent debate over the supply of non-stunned halal meat to Kirklees’ schools, without this being disclosed openly. Aleks Lukic originally wrote in ‘Speakers’ Corner’ on November 2.

On her Facebook page, Coun Fazila Loonat posted a response titled ‘Political Slaughter’. I had some issues with its substance, but I was also disappointed to see much it was an ad hominem attack on Aleks personally.

I know Aleks quite well, and frankly we share very little in political outlook. 

I am not someone who will be found supporting most of the ideas he genuinely believes in. However, the personal attack on him was totally unjustified, and represents the kind of politics that pushed me to leave party politics in its entirety.

I like debates about principles and policies, not personalities. I re-read his piece, and there was no personal attack whatsoever. Therefore, I feel Coun Loonat’s response over the top and unnecessary.

On the substance of the issue – choice – whatever your dietary preference, it is vital you know what you are eating and how it was produced. The apparent lack of openness on this is disappointing.

On the animal welfare part of the debate, however the animal is slaughtered, suffering and cruelty are involved. 

Making a virtue of stunning over non-stunning is like one soldier saying to another that they are kinder as they kill with a bomb and not a rifle.

Coun Loonat’s quotes in her Facebook posting an industry worker. These quotes tally with the evidence uncovered over many years that the reality of stunned slaughter is terrible, and leads to significant suffering. 

There are instances of the abuse of animals prior to being slaughtered, including excessive beating and assaults.

Two final points. This quote from the ‘Political Slaughter’ article I found to be staggering:

“The meat on your plate has been killed, it’s as simple as that. At least with ritual slaughter you know it has been done with a religious reason.”

Is this seriously saying religious reasons are an adequate reason to do something that is acknowledged to cause suffering? Did I miss something?

Lastly, if someone likes food to be from sources free from inflicting suffering on sentient creatures, the only way is a plant-based diet. 

Otherwise they had better stock up on a whole load of cognitive dissonance to wash their steaks down with.

It’s our duty to remember

From: Ms A Rawat, Batley

Britain really knows how to commemorate and remember the people who lost their lives in the wars, or came back wounded, and the families of these people who endured alongside them.

You do them proud.

The First and Second World Wars were fought for freedom, and we enjoy that freedom now, and so I always show my respect at these commemorations.

And I shed tears as I watch films showing various aspects of the wars, from saying goodbye and marching off to films of the Battle of the Somme, when the soldiers got out and left the safety of their trenches knowing for certain what they were going towards. 

It is beyond belief what bravery was called for from them.

This year, of course, was an even more special commemoration being the centenary of World War One.

I attended a couple of commemoration events, one being readings representing different groups and aspects of the wars held at Dewsbury Library by the Yorkshire Dialect Group. 

It was a lovely, personal and emotional event and it really felt like you were there remembering and representing all those different people who got caught up in those horrible events. 

I hope these readings will take place every year and I will be there every year.

Lest we forget? No way. We will always remember them. We want to remember them but it is also our duty. 

Please support your RBL branch

From: Wendy Storey, Mirfield

What an emotive and poignant Remembrance Sunday it was in Batley, as I am sure all services around Great Britain were.

However, I was so proud to be a Batley lass on Sunday at the Remembrance service.

The pouring rain did not deter Batley people from turning up to pay their respects to our veterans past and present.

I was moved by the whole service and to see so many young people attending this year with their families as well as the veterans of all ages, some now frail yet braving the weather, to pay their respects.

The rain made it more poignant as we thought of what those brave men in World War One had to go through in the trenches.

The service was brought to a close with the very talented Natasha Harper singing ‘Keep The Home Fires Burning’, a very fitting end as the words pull at the heart strings.

The Batley branch of the Royal British Legion did a sterling job organising the Poppy Appeal and the parade and service.

A huge thank you must be given especially to Peter Brierley and Mary Day for all the hard work they do for the branch.

Sadly, membership is depleted at the branch and they desperately need new members to keep it going.

There is an AGM on Wednesday November 21 at Batley Irish Nash at 11am. 

Could I please ask people to come along and join? You don’t need to be an ex-serviceman just someone who cares and can give a bit of time to help keep it going.

Thank you Batley, you’re the best.

A very proud occasion

From: Tim Wood, Mirfield, on behalf of combined services parade associates

Last January preparations began for the organising of the Remembrance Sunday parade and service.

As the months passed away more and more associations, organisations and institutions were contacted with the intent to persuade them to take part. 

The response was excellent, it gave us the green light to make this year’s parade more special and more secure.

Commemorating 100 years since the Armistice was signed in 1918 was going to attract a lot of attention and so to do the occasion proud we trimmed up the town with large poppies along the parade route and placed Mirfield Remembers banners at various vantage points.

A reflective poppy was attached to trees in Ings Grove Park close to the war memorial, one for each of the names listed on the memorial plates.

We also ensured that a wooden cross with a poppy on it was placed on all the war graves in the local churchyards.

In the late hours of Saturday night a team of us went out laying traffic cones along the route of the march, ending up in Ings Grove Park where we swept away the leaves from the memorial and walkways.

On Sunday morning at the eleventh hour Ian Grange the RBL padre conducted a brief service at the Ings Grove memorial, well attended by the public.

A couple of hours later we arrived at Lowlands Road at the side of the canal ready to form up the three large marching columns which stretched for a quarter of a mile.

At 1400hrs the police had secured and cleared the parade route and the first section of Mirfield’s parade began, the rolling block kindly provided by Kirklees gritting team moved up with the police. 

Leading the first section was former police officer and RBL member Alan Mapplebeck, followed by motorbikes from the RBL riders section and other organisations, some on scooters, some in cars and some on cycles, and some in classic military vehicles.

Stepping off no.1 column was done by Sgt Maj Matthew Totton, stepping off no.2 column was done by RBL standard bearer Sean Guy. 

No.3 column was commanded by former army officer David Pinder, assisted by two former military sergeants Bob Stevenson and Tom McCarthy.

The music for the march and service was provided by Clifton and Lightcliffe A and B bands, with 868 Squadron corps of drums and the Salvation Army band for the hymns, plus our ace trumpeter for the Last Post and reveille, Peter Rhodes.

Keeping the route secure was done by the West Yorkshire Police with Sgt Kierston Knott superbly leading her professional team. 

Our own team of marshals and members of the Round Table did a very good static marshalling job for us.

The parade and service was conducted by our RBL chaplain Ian Grange and RBL members Barry Fretwell (president), David Horrobin (chair), and Sean Guy (standard bearer) with various other standard bearers taking part in the ceremony. 

Over 70 wreaths were laid this year. 

Our oldest regular participant at 100 years old, Bernard Richardson, a Dunkirk veteran, had a bad foot this year and could not attend, but sent his warmest wishes and both former serving army personnel and RBL members were acting provost once again.

On this proud occasion the people of Mirfield and further afield said ‘Today, we will remember them’.

Well done to all of you.

Some common sense views

From: Ben Marshall, Liversedge 

I’ve just been listening to the current Mayor of Sheffield on Radio Five Live – what an impressive-sounding gentleman who seems to be positive, engaging and intelligent.

We could do with him here in Kirklees!

Why can’t our politicians on a local  and national level not take radical views and just have some common sense for all?

With regards to the Momentum movement, I wonder how they would have got on with our late missed MP Mrs Cox?

This radical group remind me of the Militant movement of the 80s, based in Liverpool City Council and led by Derek Hatton, who I recall was unceremoniously booted out of a Labour conference by Neil Kinnock. 

I can’t see Mr Corbyn doing this sadly they won’t get my vote until they get themselves sorted, and neither will any of the others!

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