AS a funeral director in Darlington, I feel I must write to give my opinion on the state of the cemeteries in the town.

During 20 years in my profession in this area, I have only in the past few months noticed how neglected the cemeteries are becoming.

On carrying out a funeral recently in East Cemetery, a member of the family asked me if the cemetery "always looked as neglected". My honest answer was: "Only recently."

An employee of the council said they were too busy planting out roundabouts in the town to care properly for the cemeteries.

Surely a bereaved family deserves more.

Surely everyone having a funeral carried out deserves the cemeteries to appear tidy at all times.

I understand responsibility for grounds maintenance in cemeteries lies with Darlington Borough Council's Street Scene teams, so come on, get your act together and may the people of Darlington see some improvements where they deserve them most - at a time of bereavement. - Bryan A Shepherd, Whitehouse Funeral Service, Darlington.


I ENJOYED reading the letter from Mike McTimoney, of the Darlington Cycling Campaign (HAS, Page 11, June 19). One of his comments gives the answer to all this correspondence regarding our town centre Pedestrian Heart - which it isn't.

May I first take up his comments regarding wheelchairs and prams, as they are pushed by pedestrians at a walking pace.

That is Okay, and let us not forget that many of these people are not able to walk - we are fortunate.

Now to the part of his letter that pleases me most - to my mind it is the answer to all this correspondence.

He says: "The new design makes it much safer for cyclists to use the area."

Well lucky you. It doesn't make me feel safer, but you are on your cycle.

I am an elderly pedestrian, afraid to walk in your safe area, the area that is wrongly called "the pedestrianised heart of our town".

I feel Mr McTimoney's quote gives the answer to everyone who has expressed concern.

In a nutshell, cyclists feel safer, pedestrians most certainly do not. Thank you for sorting this problem out. I rest my case. - Mrs Paddy Dinsdale, Darlington.

I AGREE with Beryl Hankin (HAS, Page 10, June 18) about the new "lolly stick" signs appearing in Darlington town centre.

The old signs were more in keeping with our heritage - more sympathetically designed for our town.

The new seating, again, is also inappropriate. It already looks shabby and is uncared for. There is a constant accumulation of food embedded in the crevices on and around the seats. Perhaps no one likes using the new bins hugging them. An advantage of the old iron seats was that they could be hosed daily and were comfortable.

I think the "other" meaning of "pedestrian" is appropriate for the heart of our town - prosaic, uninspired, flat.

The sole has been taken out of the heart of Darlington. Why is Darlington Borough Council determined to obliterate our heritage at every turn. Disappointingly, I find nothing positive to say about the work undertaken.

Like Beryl Hannifin, I see the borough council stumbling on, making more illogical and flawed decisions. - K Devin, Darlington.