I tackled it
I can relate to the article referring to the speech problems Simon Bunnell had (Gazette, March 16).
I had a very bad stammer until my late teens, so bad that I gave up talking for a while.
I would go to meetings and listen to what was being said then go back home not having spoken from leaving the house until returning.
The reason being that if I tried to talk people would mock me!
Then someone pointed out that as a boy soprano I had won a lot of prizes on the Methodist circuit, and that you don’t stammer when singing.
I said you cannot go around singing to people all day or they would think that you were weird.
However I did start to think in rhythm and metre and adjusted my speech accordingly.
A by-product of this was that I found it very easy to write poetry.
Out of disability comes ability. A few years back there was a stall at the Teanlowe Centre in Poulton that was dealing with stammering.
When I went to see them and related the tales of my experience they looked at me as if I had come from another planet.
In the 1980s I had to become a public speaker overnight. I spoke on a lot of platforms with well known politicians and I also addressed the Militant Rally at the Royal Albert Hall.
I spoke to them, then I sang to them and the building was packed. I have fond memories of those days, it changed my life.
Following a large advert for a local law firm explaining about probate, I feel I must offer an explanation of just how easy it is to do it oneself.
For most of us, myself included, our first thought is to automatically visit a solicitor after a death.
A few years ago I had three family deaths in under three years. Hell on earth.
On my first visit to a solicitor she began to explain what a Grant of Probate entails.
I was amazed to realise there was nothing a first-class idiot (me) could not do.
My first probate dealt with a small business. My second, with stocks and shares. My third and last was extremely straightforward.
I rang the probate offices who explained everything, and paid them a visit with a million questions, a big writing pad and a pen.
Write it all down and ask questions. If you don’t understand, say so.
After getting all paperwork together, writing off to banks, building societies, insurance companies, premium bonds etc for various cancellations of accounts and policies, getting a house valuation, sending off certified copies of the death certificates, they sent me the info I needed for the probate form.
Any problems I just rang and asked for help. They were all very kind – even the VAT people and income tax.
Since then I have helped countless people or set them on the right track.
At this point I must say self-help will not apply when there is acrimony in the family, or when there are complicated business interests.
Matters do have to be reasonably straightforward, one size does not fit all.
And now a rather wonderful bonus. While on my first probate I suddenly realised I had the privilege of doing something for the family member who had died.
This really buoyed me up and helped carry me through a horrible time, plus my mind was occupied and I had a certain focus.
The forms have hardly altered in almost 20 years – you can do it.
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Central Drive bus lane
Coun John Jones, cabinet member for transport on Blackpool Council, says lots of signs have been put up to make people aware of the new road layout on Central Drive (Gazette ,March 5).
However, he goes on to say it will take time for people to get used to it.
Can I just remind him this is Blackpool, a tourist town, with tourists who don’t know the roads like locals.
These hundreds of tourists are driving on unfamiliar roads looking for their accommodation or attractions.
Does he think they will ‘get used to it’?
South Promenade hotels
I was pleased with your report highlighting the sorry state of South Promenade with all the empty hotels and closed care homes. My memory of this area as a child was of a bustling Prom with the solarium cafe being open early in the morning for holidaymakers to enjoy an early brew and purchase newspapers.
The area is now depressing, and not a welcome sight one would expect on arriving at Britain’s Premier holiday resort.