Sir, - I feel I must write in response to Cynthia Wilcox (D&S letters, June 28). Firstly, I agree with everything she says. Richmond, our beautiful Richmond, is a disgrace. Just look at 33 Frenchgate (council offices), the flower bed at the rear of Trinity Square, the information board on Trinity Square.

All of the litter bins need a coat of paint as do most of the benches. Who would sit on the bench at the rear of the tourist information office and the seats down at the Falls are no better.

I don't want to knock Richmond, I love it, but please let's see it spruced up. Just a couple of coats of paint on the fixtures and fittings would make a vast difference.

It would also be nice to see the streets weed free. Queens Road, Castle Walk, Pottergate, everywhere you look there are weeds. If one of the town council shopkeepers asked for permission to replace the paving slabs outside his shop with tarmac, do you think it would be granted? I doubt it, so why can the council do it!

I think we need a "Friends of Richmond" again to keep the council on its toes, because it just doesn't seem to notice the things that would make Richmond a nice town to live in again and attractive for tourists.


Pilmoor Drive,


Postgate puzzle

Sir, - Reading about Father Postgate, one wonders how a Catholic priest was hanged in 1679 (D&S, June 28) when the time they attempted to assassinate Queen Elizabeth I was 100 years before - and the 17th century saw the return of Catholic kings. Unlike France, when about to become a "protestant" country, it was invaded by a Spanish army and a law established that the king had to be Catholic (1589), so there seems to be a lot of confusion about 1679.

(I am not a clergyman so I am not intentionally telling fibs).

It was a time when the non-conformist churches appeared and Quakers were persecuted and yet Father Postgate hanged?

I see it was in the reign of Charles II. According to the historian, G M Trevelyan, the king secretly wished to change the Anglican church to Roman Catholic. The pope was not interested but he found support from the King of France and the French Jesuits.

At heart it was a battle between the English parliamentary trend and Continental despotism. The Duke of York was a Catholic and became King James II, so Father Postgate is a puzzle, particularly as Mr and Mrs Frieze were burnt together at the stake for not believing that bread in the mass turned into flesh outside the digestive system.


High Street,

Great Ayton.

Write to union

Sir, - I would like to take the opportunity to encourage your readers to write to the RMT union, urging them to give their members - our conductors - a ballot on the latest offer made by Arriva Trains Northern.

We recently increased our offer from three to four per cent after the RMT indicated that the offer would be accepted. We are therefore both astonished and frustrated that the RMT then decided to reject the offer without putting it to a vote of their members.

We have no difficulty in recruiting conductors on their current rates and we are not losing conductors to other train operators. If the RMT continues with their policy of strike action, by the end of this year our conductors will each have lost £2,500.

This week sees the 14th day of conductor strike action by the RMT, with nine further days of disruption planned for the rest of the year. The effect of strike action on our customers and employees in pursuit of the RMT's unrealistic demands is intolerable.

Please write to Bob Crow, General Secretary, National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers, Unity House, 39 Chalton Street, London, NW1 1JD.


Managing Director,

Arriva Trains Northern,


Worthwhile festival

Sir, - With reference to your recent report (D&S, June 28) that £150,000 was spent in Leyburn over the Dales' Festival of Food and Drink weekend and that some Leyburn business did not benefit, it is inevitable that with such a venture there will be winners and losers.

No doubt there were far more winners. A Leyburn non-food retailer told me that he would like a festival every week!

I do not know how the figure was arrived at, did it include the £2000+ that was taken by St Matthew's Church at its various events over the weekend and similarly those at the Methodist Church Hall? What about the knock on effect to other businesses around Leyburn? Even your own Spectator had to travel to Richmond to get a meal following his visit to the festival.

There will also be the benefit of people coming back to the area at other times of the year and spending their money.

The suggestion that the festival be moved out of town would spoil the whole thing. There was a very special atmosphere in the town over the weekend, something that could not be recreated in the middle of a field. How many visitors would come from the field into the town? Nowhere near the 15,000 that came in this year.

No doubt the organisers will learn from this year's experience, but please, keep the festival in the town.

Jonathan Oldfield

St Mary's Mount,


More White Stuff

Sir, - We at the Milk Development Council (MDC) were extremely disappointed that the Dairy Industry Federation (now the Dairy Industry Association Ltd) could not find a way to continue the "White Stuff" campaign, despite its significant success.

As a consequence of this success, the MDC remains convinced that there is a need to improve consumer awareness of the whole range of dairy products with the positive objective of increasing consumption.

Milk and dairy products have their place within the diet but do so in competition with other foods. To ensure that milk and dairy products grow in popularity and are retained within the diet, consumer education and regular promotional reminders are essential.

To this end the MDC has in recent weeks been in direct discussion with dairy companies to investigate the potential for joint-funded company and regional promotional activity under the "White Stuff" banner. The dairies have submitted a whole list of exciting and innovative promotional ideas, which the council is proposing to support.

In addition to the development of the School Milk Bar Scheme with First Milk, dairy companies are proposing a series of other school milk initiatives across the country.

However, school milk is not the only initiative. Inventive proposals have been made to promote milk in restaurants, on milk rounds and through the support of youth sport.

The joint-funded "Say Cheese" campaign launched back in March was a great success in terms of press coverage, particularly in the women's and food magazine sector. The council and the British Cheese Board intend to follow up this success with a further campaign, highlighting the health and nutritional benefits of cheese to parents of school age children and direct to children to develop the cheese eating habit.

It is only by developing our markets that we can encourage consumption to return profitability to the industry, which must be our prime objective.


Chairman, Milk Development