Letters - October 24, 2017

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I am a member of a small group of like-minded people mostly over 70 years of age who still enjoy riding small motorcycles.

We try to get out every two weeks and can do anything between 100 and 150 miles on our outings.

Some of our trips out are to specifically prearranged visits, as was the case last Thursday (October 19) when we visited Heysham power station for the conducted tour.

The weather forecast for the day suggested that the rain would hold off until after 4pm but in fact the downpour arrived almost an hour early meaning me and the bike got a thorough soaking.

My bike decided to die on the A585 adjacent to the turn off for Singleton, luckily by the slip road for Elswick.

I have breakdown recovery so made the call and was advised that recovery would be within 90 minutes, but for some reason it took quite a good deal longer.

I now know that Singleton is not the best place in the area to get a phone signal.

My call initially was placed at 3.45pm and I arrived at home at 8pm.

This is not a complaint about the service, as I was constantly missing calls due to poor reception, and the fact that constant rain had soaked my phone. I was without shelter and could not wear a crash helmet due to the fact that I needed to hear the phone.

Finally I was pinpointed by my recovery people using GPS location.

The reason for this letter is to humbly thank all those people who stopped to offer assistance. I believe I counted nine, some on motorcycles, others in commercial vehicles, and others in private cars.

I politely declined all offers because I firmly believed that help was on its way.

When out in my car I am always telling my wife that the roads are full of idiots. This is probably due to the fact that we no longer join the rush hour traffic and are perhaps no longer up to speed, being long retired.

One gentleman who stopped insisted that I took his umbrella which I still have, if you are reading this and recognise yourself please accept my sincere thanks for your generosity of spirit.

Douglas P Thomas

St Annes

PS. The bike started first time when it dried out.


Virgin Care ‘now rules the NHS’

A recent research analysis by Richard Murphy, a chartered accountant at Tax Research UK, states that Virgin Care Ltd, and other companies who are now in charge of NHS contracts, are unlikely to pay their fair share of taxes to the treasury, following the privilege of winning contracts from our publicly-funded NHS.

Murphy states that Virgin Care Ltd is “unlikely to pay any tax in the UK in the foreseeable future”.

Virgin Care Ltd, owned by Richard Branson, has been awarded large chunks of the NHS. Virgin Care and its parent company, Virgin Group, is made up of 13 holding companies, some of them offshore, based, guess where? In the British Virgin Islands Tax Haven!

It is the type of company structure that largely avoids tax liabilities, despite profiting heavily from income generated in the UK.

Branson, who is the chief beneficiary, is reported to have a net worth of £2.7 bn. Last year Virgin Care Ltd won a £700m contract to run 200 NHS and Social Care contracts in Bath and Somerset to more than 200,000 people.

In March the company sued the National Health Service after the healthcare group lost out on a contract to provide children’s services in Surrey.

Sadly this is the way the Tory government regard the National Health Service as companies like Virgin Care, Circle Holdings, G4S, and others are appointed as beneficiaries of our NHS that was for 70 years the pride and joy of an important system; protecting us from the cradle to the grave.

It is now providing profit for privateers who will put their own profit before the patients, and then to add insult to injury avoid paying tax for the privilege.

It is of course just another fix by a Tory government who bends to corporate business and their shareholders, many of whom are Tory ministers.

Marjorie Nye

On behalf of Blackpool Fylde and Wyre 38 degrees


Football is awash with money

The whole system of upper management at the FA needs to be changed, as it is so out of date with a culture of jobs for the boys

I also have to wonder why the government pays the FA more than £25m each year for facilities and coaching programmes. Football is awash with money at the top end of the game with players earning vast sums of money that are quiet frankly obscene.

The Premier League and Champions League should be paying the £25m not the taxpayer.

The development of players from the grass roots upward is in their own interest.

I would also charge a levy on all Premier League players over a certain salary and pay this directly into a local regional FA fund and i would extract this levy directly from their pay before their creative accountants have spirited it away to offshore accounts. That includes managers


Address supplied


As clocks change donate salary

As we draw near to the clocks going back, I can’t help but think how precious time is.

When my two-year-old daughter Nevaeh was diagnosed with Leukaemia in 2009, I desperately tried to cling on to every hour, afraid of what the future might bring.

Throughout everything my family has been through, one charity understood. Rainbow Trust Children’s Charity truly know how to support families who are caring for a seriously ill child. My family’s wonderful Rainbow Trust family support worker, Lyn, helped us with the practical challenges of juggling a very ill child alongside everyday life. She also helped us emotionally to cope with the unimaginable situation we found ourselves in and gave us precious time together as a family.

This October, as Nevaeh celebrates over five years of being cancer free, please support Rainbow Trust’s ‘Big Hour Campaign’ to make the most of your extra hour when the clocks go back, by donating an hour of your wages, or holding a 60-minute fundraiser.

Please visit rainbowtrust.org.uk/big-hour to find out more.

Thank you for your support.

Charmaine Green

Mum of three