Letters from The Northern Echo


I WAS interested to read your reports of the Selby rail disaster and your publicity about the state of the approaches to railway bridges.

Late one night I was one of two passing motorists who prevented a similar tragedy at Thirsk station bridge. A gentleman flagged me down to say an approaching car had failed to come over the bridge and was presumed to be on the railway line.

While he went to telephone 999, I rescued two dazed young men from their Mini which had made a pancake landing on the track, which was covered with timber from the wooden fence which I moved as soon as possible - only to be accused by a railway official who arrived later of trespassing on the line in the middle of the night without permission. - HH Dyson, Romanby, Northallerton.


IT is sad the Durham University Hospital has had a tremendous run of bad publicity since it opened.

In October, I was admitted to the hospital for a hip replacement, only to be told, minutes before the operation, it had been cancelled owing to a missing part from a machine. I was devastated to be told at the last minute the operation was to be delayed. I was sent back home. The consultant did apologise for the cancellation.

Once again I was admitted to the hospital on November 12, and the operation was a great success.

May I thank doctors, consultant and staff for the smooth way the hip was replaced? A big thank you must go to the University Hospital nurses for the 24-hour care.

Let me also praise the hospital-at-home nurses and the district nurses for the daily care they provided, and let me not forget Durham's community rehabilitation unit, Earls House, for the part it played. - J Taylor, Coxhoe.


I READ (Echo, Dec 8) that a policy has been launched to make it safer for people to walk along the streets of Darlington.

This is good news for pedestrians, especially those who are not so nimble on their feet.

However, the biggest problem is not being addressed - cyclists who use the pavements as race tracks. It is an offence in law to cycle on pavements. Until cyclists are prosecuted and given on the spot fines for committing this offence then this policy - Pavements for People - will be a complete waste of time. - R Elliott, Darlington.


IF in these troubled times we are inclined to think that Christ's birthday is on a par with Santa Claus or Harry Potter, let the following facts give you hope this Christmas.

If we took just 11 of the prophecies of the Old Testament which were fulfilled down to the minute details at his coming, hundreds of years later, it has been calculated that the odds or combined probability of those happening by chance would be one chance in ten billion times a billion.

These facts along give us reason to trust our lives with the one who was born in a stable. - W Manton, Rushyford.


I RATHER enjoyed Harry Mead's hilarious column, the True Definition of an Englishman (Echo, Dec 12). I particularly liked what he had to say about dress.

Like Mr Mead, I too have never worn a pair of jeans, preferring a pair of trousers instead. But may I say that the two of us are in good company, because that great crooner Frank Sinatra never wore a pair of jeans either. - LD Wilson, Guisborough.


FRANK McManus (HAS, Dec 12) thinks I have not done my homework on the Afghanistan situation and states that we need law not gang warfare.

How can he ever talk about law when writing the words bin Laden and Saddam Hussein? Was it lawful to bomb the trade buildings in New York killing thousands of innocent people?

Was it lawful to invade Kuwait, raping and torturing its citizens?

As for gang warfare, it is the only language these evil dictators understand.

If the Western ideology and way of life in Britain is so intolerable to certain people, there is an alternative. - JL Thompson, Crook.


IN November's edition of Sedgefield Borough's 'newspaper', the council leader claims the recent mayoral referendum result "shows ... the Council is well run ... and (people) are happy with what we are doing... ". Actually all it shows is that fewer than two out of ten registered voters, a small majority of those voting, preferred the 'leader with cabinet' option. Hardly a ringing endorsement.

Moreover, anecdotal evidence suggests some voted, not against a mayoral system, but against the proposed salary of the mayor, who they believed almost certainly would be one of the present ruling group. Why pay more for the same old product?

He also says that an "impressive 33.3 per cent of the electorate used their vote".

Impressive? Two out of three not voting is far from impressive, especially in a postal vote.

In national government circles, we call such propaganda 'spin', but we tend to overlook it in local government. Such 'spinning' by the controlling group of a local authority, paid for out of council tax, is a misuse of public money, and is unfair to other political parties and independents, and is likely to produce even more cynicism among the electors, leading to an even lower turnout in future elections. - H Robinson, Shildon.