Letters from The Northern Echo


ONE in eight of you will be carers - that is people who care, unpaid, for a relative, partner or friend, or for a child with a disability. During our special awareness week, Carers Week, June 11-17 - when we celebrate the contribution that six million people in the UK make through caring - we are urging carers to ensure that when they next visit their GP, the practice knows about their caring situation and they are placed on a register or list of carers. Research shows that carers identify their GP and community nurse as the most important sources of support. We want primary health care teams to recognise carers as partners and take their needs into account. Every year, significant numbers of carers suffer from ill health, injury or have deteriorating health as a result of long hours of caring duties. Not only do they often neglect their own health but they have additional burdens such as isolation and loneliness, emotional stress, financial worries and lack of information or support. With health currently such a vital issue on this country's agenda, we cannot afford to ignore the service that carers provide. After all, most of us will care for someone at some point in our lives. - Francine Bates, Chief Executive, Contact a Family; Alison Ryan, Chief Executive, The Princess Royal Trust for Carers; Alison Thompson, Chief Executive, Caring For Carers; Diana Whitworth, Chief Executive, Carers National Association.


THERE is still time for you to nominate your choice for the national People of the Year Awards. RADAR (The Royal Association for Disability and Rehabilitation), the charity which organises these annual awards, would like to have your choice. It can be somebody already famous who you feel has achieved still more over the last 12 months, or somebody who has made an outstanding contribution to life in the community or performed an act of heroism or unselfishness. The awards will be presented at a ceremony at the Savoy Hotel, London, later in the year. RADAR, with the Queen Mother as its patron, is the national lifeline and voice for the UK's eight million plus disabled people. These awards have been made annually for over 40 years. We would very much like to hear from you. - Carolyn Richards, RADAR, 12 City Forum, 150 City Road, London, EC1V 8AF.


OUR politicians are meant to represent us, the voters, not to create an atmosphere of fear by introducing a police state. The current racial and moral problems in our country will not be overcome by foisting responsibility onto the police by increasing their powers, which will include the seizure of property on suspicion that an offence has been or will be committed. Incidentally, I believe that the police force today is so stretched that it could not cope with any further powers. A better solution could surely be found. Our politicians should be guiding our country back to morality by re-education and by personal example. Unfortunately, this can't happen while we are led by many of those in the current group of politicians. - E Hutchman, Darlington.


YOU stated (Echo, May 25) that Catterick Village Parish Council sanctioned the opening of a footpath in Oran Lane. I would like to put the record straight on that point. The Oran Lane footpath was never reopened, the footpath that was opened in error was from Swale Lane to Swale Pastures Lane. As soon as the mistake was realised, the signs were replaced. Mr Hodgson was present at our parish council meeting when I stated that Oran Lane would not be one of the rights of way the parish council would put forward to the district council for assessment as to whether it was reopened or not. - Margaret Tickner, Catterick Village Parish Council.


SMOKERS appear to demand that they have a right to inflict cancer of the lungs on other non-addicted members of the public. If people killed other innocent people by dangerous driving, they would pay the penalty. Most drug addicts injure and kill themselves unless they are strong-willed enough to conquer their addiction but smokers kill other unaddicted members of the public. So why do they keep on advocating their right to do so? It is only a few years ago that organisations such as those affirmed that smoking did not affect anyone's health. In fact, advertisements insisted that you needed to smoke for your throat's sake. Fortunately, that is now known to be a blatant lie and, to pretend that passive smoking does not kill, is also an untruth. More people have died through inhaling the fumes of the dried leaves of the tobacco plant than were killed in two world wars and it is a painful demise. Most of the so-called anti-smoking lobby are sympathetic towards smokers. They know that almost 100 per cent have tried to stop smoking. We must stop trying to encourage gullible youngsters to smoke. You will never get adults to do so. To say that smokers are persecuted is ridiculous. It is the victims of smokers who are being persecuted. Why should bars and restaurants have to be heavily ventilated when the smoker can leave the premises for a few minutes and deposit his fumes outside? Why should employers also have to make provisions to accommodate smokers? - E Reynolds, Wheatley Hill.