Prince Philip

IT was very sad to hear that HRH, The Duke of Edinburgh, had died. I had hoped he would celebrate his 100th birthday.

I shook hands with him on two occasions. Firstly, when he presented me with the Duke of Edinburgh Gold Award, at Holyrood Palace, Edinburgh. I was the first person from Stockton-on-Tees to gain the Gold Award.

The second occasion was at the 2014 annual general meeting of the Royal Institute of Navigation in London. His Royal Highness was a fellow of the institute and also its patron.

He personally awarded me fellowship of the institute for services to marine navigation and education.

I am the only fellow residing in North-East England. At our meeting I wore my D of E Gold Award lapel badge.

Apart from discussing navigation, he recognised my lapel badge and we discussed the D of E award scheme. He was surprised when I mentioned that the scheme had now become quite expensive to take part in. He said he would look into it.

He will be sadly missed, particularly by all who met him.

David Williams, Great Ayton.

Prayers for duke

THE sad death of Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, reminded me of the writings of Kahlil Gibran; only when the Prophet had to leave did people beg him to stay on for a while, that is, we miss rather more that which we have lost.

Whilst I would not call the duke a prophet, we will miss him as he was an essential part of our democratic system in his support for the monarch and those who will follow Her Majesty.

He was a hard worker, to whom duty was paramount, a man of wisdom and the perfect example of a gentleman.

He personally experienced the lives of ordinary people and refugees, as well as a tough time in the Navy. We have lost a great man and we should all pray that he will be received by God and that God will protect the Royal Family from indescribable grief.

There has been talk of what to put on the spare plinth at Trafalgar Square; the answer is obvious. We should also have an additional national Bank Holiday called "Consort Day”.

Let us all share in the sadness and loss which the nation has suffered, after a difficult time for all of us.

Bernard Borman, Leyburn.

Never forgotten

I AM saddened by the death of Prince Philip. When I was chairman of the first unitary Durham County Council in 2009/10 I had the pleasure of meeting him at the Royal Garden Party.

What a great guy! With a terrific sense of humour, although tinged with a hint of sarcasm at times he left an impression on me with his wit and humour.

Our conversation went like this ....

HRH: “What do you do for a living?”

Me: “I am a councillor sir.”

HRH: “Not that, what is your proper job?”

Me: “My council is preparing to become a unitary council to prepare for regional government.”

HRH: “Regional Government, jobs for the boys who can’t cope with the pressures at Westminster.”

So the conversation went on and all had a good time. An experience to be remembered for the rest of my life.

RIP HRH Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.

Ald Brian Myers. MBE. JP, Crook.

Royal surname

MANY years ago I wrote to HRH Prince Philip with a suggestion regarding rainforest loss, he being at that time, the right and perhaps the only person to contact on such matters. He sent me a gracious and friendly personal reply pointing out that this was already being pursued as "debt for nature swap". That is more than one might have expected for an idea which was good but not original.

In wondering how we might show the respect due to him, I turn to the question of the family name given to his children, which had rankled with him.

The original contenders were Windsor and Mountbatten. One had been plucked from the air as a replacement for Saxe-Coburg and Gotha to disown the German connections of George V, the Queen's grandfather. The other was the Duke's maternal family name Anglicised from Battenberg for similar reasons and promoted by his maternal uncle.

Besides the artificiality of these names, neither fits the tradition of patrilineal naming. This would instead give children of the Queen and Prince Philip his paternal line name of Oldenburg or its Glücksburg branch.

Having left the political construct of Europe but not that cultural and ethnic community, it would a friendly gesture to show that the natural but continental name for our royal house is acceptable to us, as it used to be.

We now celebrate such reclaiming of origins by people previously driven to submerge their identities. Why should this be any less so for our royalty?

John Riseley, Harrogate.

Over the top

WRITING this on Saturday afternoon I don't wish to be judged insensitive (but I'm sure I will be) but I think after yesterday (April 9) I have heard enough about the Duke of Edinburgh to last a lifetime. (The Queen won't read this will she?).

I am sure the Duke did much good work during his privileged lifetime but so did the surgeon who performed my operation last summer at the South Tees University Hospital (Mr Ralph White and his team) and they don't get any publicity.

The coverage of the duke's death by the BBC (and perhaps other channels) was exceptional but way over the top time-wise and I only saw about an hour, therefore I am assuming the rest of it was also very good. It even continued today meaning I missed the first 15 minutes of 'Football Focus' as I had arranged to tape it on BBC One but it had been moved to BBC Two.

Mike Taylor, Darlington.

Funeral respect

I REALLY hope that respect will be shown and given to Her Majesty The Queen and her family this coming Saturday for the funeral of her husband HRH Prince Philip, The Duke of Edinburgh.

The funeral is to start at 3pm. What I am suggesting is no sport whatsoever to take place from 2.30pm until 5pm. Or cancel it all for the full day. As we have no spectators attending football, cricket, rugby, horse racing etc, the senior officials of the respective sports can, I am sure, arrange or re-arrange this without upsetting thousands of people. They can do at times upon the whim of some individuals shuffle fixtures about. At the moment all the sporting venues have is about 100 personnel presiding. The TV and radio companies will be covering the funeral. Our MPs and councillors are showing their respect, standing down for the full week, not doing any canvassing leading to the up and coming local elections.

David Johnson, Bishop Auckland.

Miserly pay deals

ONE doesn't envy the Government its task in the current situation but I feel rather ashamed of the way it is rewarding the people who have borne such a heavy part of the caring.

The NHS workers, many of whom have died in the execution of their duties, are to be rewarded with a measly one per cent pay rise.

And the contribution by our teachers, who have been struggling at home, stuck in front of a computer or lap-top, for months on end, often to the detriment of their health, desperately trying to keep the children occupied and excited, has been almost ignored. And their reward? A total pay freeze.

I know where I shall NOT be putting my X come the next election.

Daphne Clarke, Richmond.

Cameron’s lobbying

THE contacts between David Cameron, Greensill his employer, government ministers and the chancellor have been much reported.

That phrase "not guilty of any wrong doing" has been repeated firmly and with utter conviction by those involved.

The scheme involved the payment methods of NHS workers, those front line people who have worked relentlessly for the past dreadful year.

Prostitution takes many forms. It always involves selling yourself in one way or another.

The above separate statements are of course unrelated in any way.

Alexandra Bailey, Darlington.


ON passing through Darlington’s Haughton Road roundabout when it was getting constructed, several large trees were being planted.

I thought "expensive but nice", but on passing after completion, several I suspect very expensive cast iron eyesores had been erected – plus they are a distraction for people who struggle with roundabouts.

In these times when councils are bleating on about lack of money, I think it's disgusting that funds can be blatantly squandered in this way.

G Robson, Darlington.

Sporting winner

I KNOW it is only April but in my book, at the moment there is only one winner for this year’s BBC Sports Personality of the Year – Rachel Blackmore, the Queen of Cheltenham and now the first female jockey to win the Grand National.

Not only is she as good as any male jockey, she is better than any of them.

For non-racing people who consider it is only a riding a horse sport, it is one of the toughest and most dangerous sports there is. It is truly incredible what she has achieved this year.

Thomas Ball, Barnard Castle.

Help for the blind

WITH lockdown restrictions easing, there is an understandable buzz of excitement in the air as people head outside to see loved ones and enjoy the warmer weather. But we are hearing from many blind and partially sighted people who are anxious about public spaces becoming busier and have lost confidence in going outside after a year of Covid restrictions.

Measures to enforce social distancing often rely on the ability to see things like signs, queuing systems, or barriers. When you can’t see these changes, they can create new obstacles to navigate and further erode confidence.

We’re asking the public to help us safely social distance as the restrictions change. By being aware of the challenges we might face, and simply asking if assistance is needed, you can help us keep our independence and stay safe.

We’re also calling for local authorities and businesses to take action, so that measures designed to protect us are inclusive to everyone, not just to those who can see them. RNIB’s website has more information about this.

Our "new normal" should be as open and inclusive as possible, to help everyone get back outside – not make it more difficult.

David Clarke, director of services, RNIB (Royal National Institute of Blind People)