Letters - January 12, 2016

Legendary comic Ken Dodd.
Legendary comic Ken Dodd.
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ACCOLADE

We should make Ken freeman of borough

A splendid piece from Jacqui Morley in Friday’s paper (Look At It This Way, Gazette, January 9).

When Ken Dodd shuffles off this mortal coil (and at 88 he must be on borrowed time), when all the tributes are paid to this remarkable link with the golden age of the variety stage, right at the front of that queue of hypocrites and hand-wringers, elbows flailing, voices screaming to be the first among many, will be a posse of PR people and Blackpool Council chiefs. They will be the first to claim ownership of a genius who has entertained crowds for all his life, as comic, singer, thespian and failed accountant.

Blackpool has been his second stage home after his native Liverpool, and he has performed here every year since topping the bill in his summer season show in 1958. We of the Grand Theatre are particularly in debt to him, since it was his commitment to live theatre, and his help in saving venues from demolition, and becoming the Grand Appeal’s first patron, which gave real impetus to our fund-raising campaign to buy it from First Leisure.

Tax evader, yes; Tory all his life, probably; friend of Margaret Thatcher, yes. But do these attributes deny him further recognition than the OBE she bestowed upon him ?

Blackpool may not be able to give him a deserved knighthood. But we could mark his unique contribution to Blackpool’s success by making him a Freeman of the Borough while we still can. You can bet he’d want to appear on the Opera House stage after the ceremony and give us a memorable thank-you, which would more than pay for the few quid a scroll and a box to hold it in would cost.

Publicity of the right kind. What are we waiting for?

David Owen LLB (Manc)

Layton

Blackpool

EDUCATION

Response to school threat was correct

The police and school officials did the right thing by taking a serious view of the online threats of a potential shooting at Montgomery School. Equally, with all the uncertainty, worried parents should not be penalised for keeping their children at home last week.

We are approaching the 20th anniversary of the Dunblane school massacre, which remains a sad memory in our recent history.

How does anyone measure the credibility of such disturbing threats posted on social media?

The authorities were placed in the unenviable position of being damned if they do or damned if they don’t with regard to taking appropriate action.

I hope a positive legacy can be found from this drama, and what has seemed a complex investigation.

The reasons behind it need to be fully understood and a tough message from schools and the police of the serious consequences of a moment of madness on social media.

I believe teachers have a challenging job in an age of high expectations at all levels, and not only require academic qualifications, but those of a social worker and a crowd control expert.

Support for teachers who are doing their best to make a difference should be acknowledged.

Stephen Pierre

via Email

RECOGNITION

Jacqui’s words were better than an MBE

Talk about New Year’s Honours!

May I, on behalf of every single person who gave time to the Cards for Good Causes shop over those 28 years, say Jacqui Morley’s words in her article on Friday (Look At It This Way, Gazette, January 8) were worth more than ANY gong going.

Kathleen Smith

via email

CHARITY

Give up some time to help others this year

As we begin 2016 and the world starts to look ahead to the Rio Paralympics (and Olympics, of course), I am writing to ask if your readers would like to volunteer with Leonard Cheshire Disability.

As well as supporting disabled people to live life the way they choose, the work will enable you to master many new skills and discover an amazing new side to yourself.

Whether you can spare a few hours a week or support us occasionally, your assistance is really appreciated.

You can help in many different ways, such as using your IT skills to help a disabled person to write an email or surf the internet, supporting disabled people to access sports facilities, gardening, being a shopping buddy or helping out with activities like art or cookery.

Across many parts of the country, we are particularly keen to recruit new volunteer drivers, as well as volunteers to support disabled people in the evenings and weekends.

Some people are put off volunteering because they don’t know what to expect, but this doesn’t matter. The most important thing is the willingness to support others and be a part of something bigger. In return you’ll have fun, meet new people and form lasting friendships.

To find out how to become a Leonard Cheshire volunteer, visit www.leonardcheshire.org, call 020 3242 0296 or email volunteers@leonardcheshire.org

Begoña Mendez

Volunteer Enabling 
Co-ordinator, Leonard Cheshire Disability