ASTHMA is a serious and growing problem in the UK. There are over 3.4 million people in the UK with asthma and regrettably it is the only treatable long-term medical condition in the western world which is still on the increase.

That's why I encourage your readers to run and fundraise for the National Asthma Campaign in next year's Flora London Marathon.

I am the National Asthma Campaign's Team Captain for the marathon and support the campaign's important work. It is the only independent UK charity dedicated to conquering asthma and improving the quality of life for people with asthma, investing over £16m directly into funding asthma research.

I haven't let asthma stop me in my career as an athlete. We hope you will join our team of 700 runners and help us achieve our fundraising target of £400,000. And if you haven't managed to secure a place, don't worry, we've got over 300 gold bond places available for Campaign runners.

To find out how you can join our team, or to make a donation, call Vicki Cullingworth at the National Asthma Campaign on 020 7704 5860. - Paula Radcliffe, World Half Marathon Champion and World 10,000m Silver Medallist.


MANY people are wondering why Britain has to contribute 20 per cent of the ground forces in the European rapid reaction force, when there are 15 nations in the EU. Furthermore, we remember the support from Europe during the Gulf War. Examples include Germany attempting to impede the transfer of 7th Armoured Division from Germany to Kuwait and the Belgians being too frightened to supply the allies with ammunition. - Raymond M Kelly, Chester-le-Street.

ALL of us who are opposed to a European Superstate have been worrying unnecessarily. Why can't we see it is only enhanced co-operation?

It is obvious that the EU requires a Police Force and an Army. They are only there to ensure you will co-operate. - S Feaster, Chairman Ryedale Branch, United Kingdom Independence Party.


TO relieve pressure on Crook town centre, why don't the breweries build some more pubs on the estates surrounding Crook?

Thousands of houses have been built over the years but not one public house. Would R Turner (HAS, Dec 5) like a pub where he lives? - J Dunn, Crook.


I ASSURE all those who are awaiting the publication of my book "Sunters-High-Wide and Mighty" the history of Sunter Brother's, the Northallerton based Transport Company, that it has been delayed and will now come out sometime in the early spring.

The delay was due to circumstances beyond my control. Could I also ask of any reader who may have information or personal photographs about the company to contact me on (01609) 774439. - AE Eaton, Northallerton.


I AM absolutely furious at the news that planners have rejected planning permission for the planned new RSPCA regional centre near Chester-le-Street.

I am not sure at whom to direct my rage; the planners for being seemingly bloody minded about a green belt area; or the RSPCA for not having made inquiries with the planners before building everybody's hopes up.

Surely this centre is worth fighting for, taking the pressure off NCDL and off overworked unpaid volunteers trying to cope with unwanted pets in the North-East. What sort of ridiculous world are we living in. The council itself owes an answer to the fast-growing problem of overbred unwanted animals.

Nothing is being done, year after year after year, in an area where cruelty and over breeding is rife. - P Ward Choppington.


THE children of St Joseph's School, Coundon, are to be heartily congratulated on their thoughtful letters (HAS, Dec 4) in response to my letter on vandalism (HAS Nov 23).

It is clear they gave the matter of respect much thought and discussion. It is good to learn that they have respect for each other and are so polite and well behaved.

These bright children, through their letters, have set a fine example to other children who are perhaps not so helpful as they are.

It would be nice to think that the vandals who attacked the war memorials and graveyards (which was the original thrust of my letter, remarking on the lack of respect shown by the vandals), could learn a thing or two from the pupils of St Joseph's. - EA Moralee, Billingham.


WHY does M Jordan (HAS, Dec 2) open a letter by stating as fact a theory he cannot prove?

The scientific predictions referred to, made decades ago, pale into insignificance against biblical predictions made up to 3,000 years ago, regarding the world in general, and the Jewish nation in particular.

Incidentally, scientists are divided in their opinions regarding a reason for current environmental problems, biblical writers are united in their belief in the reality of God.

Sceptics continue to come and go without making any real impression on world affairs. A Jewish carpenter 2,000 years ago claimed to share a unique relationship with the God you deny exists.

This man continues to exert mega influence throughout the world in general and in individual lives. - H Hodgson, Crook.