I spotted his very heavy-looking Army rucksack, so I stopped and spoke to him. His partner, since they were teenagers, was sat across the road, enjoying the sunshine, after another night sleeping rough in the back streets.
I was to learn he had been medically discharged from the Queen’s Lancashire Regiment after sustaining an injury during a tour of Afghanistan. A fellow soldier had stood on an IED (improvised explosive device), losing both legs, and he was caught in the blast, seriously damaging his right leg. I was proudly shown the horrendous scar. They had been made homeless by an unscrupulous landlord.
What really struck me was he wasn’t “begging” when I stopped to speak to him. He wasn’t bitter about the hard knocks life had dealt him, he was just very optimistic about getting on his feet and protecting the girl he loves.
At this point I was feeling angry on his behalf, having some knowledge of the Armed Forces Covenant, which pledges support to our military personnel when they return to “civvy street”. More empty words from our politicians.
I wanted to wrap the pair up and take them home, but practically, all I could do was give them a few pounds for a cup of tea and a sandwich and my very best wishes.
If you see him – or anyone like him – please don’t pass him by. Sometimes just a kind word can make a big difference.
Helen Bishop (fellow military veteran)
Forget trams and look at the buses
It’s high time Blackpool transport department got its present house in order before considering the dubious expense of running a tram service up Talbot Road.
The state of many bus shelters up and down the town is deplorable. Vandals have not only shattered the glass, but left advertising sections exposed with wiring at the mercy of little fingers (even if the ‘juice’ is disconnected. Now the same vandals probably have turned to smashing adjacent time table stands. Even I know they need to replace all these – but not with glass.
As for the reliability of services running on time, and even allowing for some roadwork delays, I have recently had the following experiences. Service 10 (only an hourly one, incidentally) has been turning up at my Watson Road stop up to 20 minutes late. The same with a recent No.7 from Halfway House. This makes a farce of the listed timetables and causes great inconvenience for passengers.
I recently missed both a dental and doctor’s appointment on consecutive days due to the failure of the No.10 to arrive anywhere near the scheduled time.
Forget Talbot Road and concentrate on more established routes and give reliability back to our service.
Community service could be the answer
I read with interest the comments from Blackpool Council on the reasons why the grass verges are not being cut. Simple solution – pay back. Could the people on community service not carry this out ? Now that would be a Pay Back to the community.
Partnership offers hope of progress
For 15 years I represented Lancashire in the European Parliament, and I am deeply worried our votes on June 23 threaten the future of Britain and may destroy the stability of Europe, with consequences that will be good for no-one.
We seem to have lost sight of the big picture. For all its faults, the European Union has been a tremendous force for good.
How easily we forget that British troops and tanks were not so long ago based in Germany to defend us from the Soviet threat. Today, a host of former dictatorships have become democracies. Problems are resolved not on a bloody battlefield but around committee tables in Brussels. British values have been embraced as European values.
You hear a lot about EU rules and regulations, but it’s often the case that instead of 28 different rules we now have just one. That’s good for business, for exporters and for our pockets.
We protect our environment to a higher standard than ever before. We ensure there are common minimum standards of safety and health, and fairer treatment for women and ethnic minorities. We have put in place EU rules to stop bankers destroying our economies. It’s not all bad!
If we leave the EU we will still have to meet these standards in order to trade. We won’t become stronger by leaving the room where the decisions are made.
An isolated Britain cannot alone deal with the migrants crisis, combat terrorism, stand up to Putin, avoid Chinese bullying, or tackle climate change. European partnership offers our best hope of progress.
The British have become experts at criticising the EU, sometimes with good reason, but we would be poorer without it. Instead of running away we should be determined to take on a leadership role, making it our mission to ensure the EU is a force for good.
Lib Dem MEP 1999-2014
What does future hold if we stay in?
If we vote to stay in the the EU, what future will our children have? If immigration stays at the present level for years into the future, and more countries join, things will only get worse, as we will need more homes, schools, hospitals and doctors.
We have to think about the quality of life for our grandchildren and beyond. We cannot control immigration whilst in the EU, that’s a fact. It is common sense to vote LEAVE, before it is too late.
Mrs C Forrester