Letters - November 20. 2019

Julie Andrews and the balloon modeller

By Suzanne Steedman
Wednesday, 20th November 2019, 5:00 pm
Julie Andrews
Julie Andrews

I am sending this on behalf of my nan who used to holiday in Blackpool from Oldham before she moved here to live.

The retro article in The gazette (November 15) brought back a memory for her which she would like to share.

On one of her visits as a child to Blackpool she was watching a show of a Canadian balloon modeler. She was called on stage along with a few other children. The presenter went along the line speaking to the children and making them a balloon model.

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She noticed the young girl on the end was getting ignored. She went back to her seat really upset that this girl had been ignored until her parents told her it was a 13-year-old Julie Andrews (pictured) and it was all part of the joke. Julie was in Blackpool because her parents were performing a show at the time.

Thanks for a great article which brought my nan some happy memories of visiting Blackpool.

Luke Taylor

via email


Imagine Duke

was Lennon...

I wonder if any of your readers thought, as I did, that the pic of Robin Duke feeding the sealions, looked so much like John Lennon!

David Nicholls



Manifesto for pensioners

A Pensioners’ Manifesto was launched on November 12 by the National Pensioners Convention.

The future of universal pensioner benefits, such as the over 75s TV licence, free prescriptions, bus travel and the winter fuel allowance, will be of great importance to older voters, amongst many other issues, when they consider who to vote for.

At the next General Election, the National Pensioners Convention (NPC) will be calling on all candidates to support a manifesto that will put the concerns of today’s and tomorrow’s pensioners at the heart of the political process.

In recent years, various politicians, think-tanks and media commentators have suggested that older people are the cause of many of the country’s problems - from the shortage of housing to the lack of hospital beds.

Some argue that the older generation have escaped austerity whilst the young are taking the brunt.

Such statements simply fund the generation divide.

Older people are just as vulnerable to the effects of austerity as the young and, in addition, they are concerned about the future of their children and grandchildren.

Thus, plans to take away benefits such as the bus pass will not help younger people but would be used to roll back the welfare state for everyone. Today’s generation is tomorrow’s Pensioner.

In reality, Britain is not a great place in which to grow old.

Our state pension is among one of the least adequate in the western world, our social care system is in crisis with 1.8 million people no longer getting the help they need and, in the last five years, 170,370 pensioners have died from cold-related illnesses.

That is why, at the next General Election, we will call on all candidates to support a manifesto that will put the concerns of today’s and tomorrow’s pensioners at the heart of the political process.

* A state pension set above the official poverty level, at around £220 a week, and linked to the triple lock of the higher of earnings, prices or 2.5 per cent.

* Greater funding for the NHS, an end to privatisation in the health service and a national care service funded from general taxation that is free at the point of delivery and without means-testing.

* Maintenance of universal pensioner benefits such as free bus travel, a £500 winter fuel allowance, free prescriptions and the reinstatement of the TV licence for the over 75s, fully funded by government.

* It is now time for a Commissioner for Older People, who can champion the rights of older people.

* A Brexit deal that safeguards equality, the EU health insurance card and the rights of those UK pensioners living abroad.

Garry Richardson