PETER Mullen's tragedy (Echo, Dec 26) is that he was born too late to know that great man, Archbishop Michael Ramsey.

His dismissal of him as an amiable buffoon who went about apologising for his poor memory is wide of the mark.

Michael Ramsey was a dedicated priest of spirituality and prayer, steeped in the scholarship of the Bible, and especially the New Testament.

He had an amazing memory for people, which stood him in good stead wherever he went. My wife was introduced to him briefly in Durham, and years later was unexpectedly presented to him in what is now Tanzania when she was working there with the Universities Mission to Central Africa.

The fact that the meeting was as it were out of context posed no difficulty to Ramsey, who at once began to talk to her about details of her life in her home parish in Durham. Countless tales of this sort are told about Ramsey.

As he seems to favour the Roman Church, Peter Mullen would benefit from reading Michael Ramsey's book, The Gospel and the Catholic Church, published in 1936 and still one of the most perceptive contributions to the ecumenical debate. - Rev Henry Lee, Consett.

I MUST admire Peter Mullen (Echo, Dec 26) for his willingness to speak out concerning the Archbishop designate.

A very brave action indeed. I am sure that he could have gone on much longer had space been available.

For example, he could have made the point that Rowan Williams is a reputed Biblical scholar and yet he has either not read, or if he has read, he has failed to understand the following Biblical quotations: Leviticus Chapter 20 verse 13. Romans Chapter 1 verses 24-32. 2 Peter Chapter 2 verses 6-10, Jude verses 7&8. Galatians Chapter 5 verses 19-21 and Chapter 6 verses 7&8. Ephesians Chapter 5 verses 5-13, and finally 1 Corinthians Chapter 6 verses 9-11.

This letter may help people recall that we do have a framework (God given) in which to operate our lives and that there was a true meaning to life expressed in that first CHRISTmas. - Rev Ted Spiller, Thirsk.


I WISH you would publish the regulations governing the use of front fog lights on vehicles.

I understood from the police they should not be used unless visibility was under 150 metres. Now you see them in use in the town, all four lights on during the day, in traffic.

I have yet to see anybody being stopped for their use, as is also the case of cyclists using the pavements instead of the roads. - AR Tatman, Darlington.


I HOPE readers of Neil Herron's letters on the European Union see more into them than Willis Collinson's, "flogging the dead horse of imperial measures" (HAS, Dec 31).

This is a matter of freedom of expression, which is an essential freedom in a democratic society. As our British courts failed to uphold this right, the European Court of Human Rights will now consider the case and there is every reason to believe that British freedom of expression will prevail. If so, it will be a severe blow to the undemocratic EU and alert people to the threat that the proposed European constitution and elected regional assemblies will hold for our independence.

When the public realise the full implications, and that this is not just about imperial or metric, I expect the courage of the Metric Martyrs in standing up for the existence of the country as the true British know and want it will be more fully recognised. - J Heslop, Gainford.


I'M amazed by all the smug statements made by local councils about recycling of household waste.

It's staggering to hear councillors proposing a surcharge on plastic shopping bags and simultaneously encouraging the use of plastic bin bags. We have a perfectly efficient weekly collection of paper, cardboard, textiles AND plastic bags.

The overall problem of waste products needs to be tackled at source. Non biodegradable material emanates from manufacturers and wholesalers who are more concerned with dressing things up to increase sales or to find the cheapest, most convenient packaging.

There is no need to put milk in plastic containers: some suppliers already use waxed cardboard. Lots more fruit and other drinks could be sold in proofed cardboard packs. And these are just two examples: it is not difficult to find many others.

It's time the Government stepped in. It could issue guidelines to manufacturers and packers about eco-friendly containers and consider a surcharge at that level, specifically not to be passed on to the consumer, when the guidelines are ignored. At present the Government does little about this pressing problem and probably hasn't the courage to do so. - RK Bradley, Darlington.


WHILE this is the time of the year to look ahead, take a brief look and consider what of significance has been lost.

Since the folding of the SDP, turn-out at polling stations has steadily fallen. The death of Princess Diana lost the Royal Family a potential ambassador for royalty. Richard Branson was denied the opportunity to run the National Lottery, and now it is failing. Surprise, surprise.

Events like these substantially affect the nation and are the tip of an iceberg of denials of openness, justice and democracy in the workplace, the council chamber, compensations, full and proper health care and so on. How many can easily come up with examples. What future Britain? - Councillor Tony Pelton, Catterick.