Beacon lighting

I WOULD like to thank Romanby Council for the excellent performance on Thursday evening for the lighting of the beacon.

I am not a resident of Romanby but it was the nearest beacon to my village, in fact I saw several residents from my village. Maybe they were disappointed like me that our town council at Brompton did not have the foresight to arrange anything for the residents.

Nevertheless, Romanby excelled themselves.

Thank you to the residents and councillors. Maybe you could have a word with our council and pass on some of your expertise.

C Wood, Brompton, Northallerton.

Bus service

SOME months ago, I wrote to 20 town and parish councils along the A684 route of the Sunday DalesBus No 856.

This through service – which starts at the Buck Inn – passes Northallerton railway station (very handy for passengers with luggage) and includes Romanby, Ainderby Steeple, Morton-on-Swale, Leeming Bar, Aiskew, Bedale, Crakehall, Patrick Brompton, Constable Burton, Harmby, Leyburn, Wensley, West Witton, Aysgarth Falls Corner and Aysgarth, Worton and Bainbridge, en route to Hawes and Gayle.

It is a fantastic route for scenery and walking, for interesting destinations, and for access to many summer Sunday events.

Some councils – and Northallerton BID (Business Improvement District) – have generously contributed funding to help maintain continuity of the 856 service, and I offer them heartfelt thanks. Unfortunately North Yorkshire County Council does not support this service, although it is of very real benefit to residents, visitors and local businesses along the route of the A684. For passengers who show valid concessionary passes (and, if requested, ID), travel is free on the 856.

As well as the need for funding, there is a form of non-financial support that would help more passengers to use and benefit from the 856 bus service – a short lift to the nearest bus stop!

For would-be passengers who cannot walk as far as their local bus stop (or carry their shopping home), a short lift by a friend or neighbour at the start of the day – and to be met at the bus stop on return – may be all that is needed to enable them to enjoy an independent day or half day out.

The current timetable is given on

Ruth Annison, Askrigg.


ON June 6, Rishi Sunak offered the nation and his local constituents the following statement: “The PM has shown the strong leadership our country needs. I am backing him today and will continue to back him.”

For a man considered to be intelligent this is a position smeared with short term political calculation rather than rational judgement.

As the holder of an MBA from Stanford he will have been exposed to the literature and practice of leadership but sadly seems to have forgotten his postgraduate studies. As a practising Hindu he will be aware of the emphasis his religion places on truth and honesty as fundamental components of his faith.

In his communication with local political allies he will be mindful of the recent statement by the Conservative leader of the county council that the behaviour of the PM has cost the majority group many votes in the local election.

Above all he ignores (and, indeed, appears to be contemptuous) of the countless letters written by local constituents asking for reassurance that he is committed to integrity and standards in public life.

Is this what it’s come to? Do voters’ views count for nothing? I am ashamed to name Rishi Sunak as my MP, not for his role in his designated office but as a knowing facilitator of the degradation of our political system.

R C Pennington, Stokesley.

Future for Boris

PAST Prime Ministers appear to have adapted to life after the top job. Tony Blair and David Cameron have done very well out of their speaking tours. Theresa May has kept her seat in the House of Commons and clearly enjoys being able to speak her mind. John Major is able to do what he wants and watch cricket.

After the vote of confidence on Monday, Boris Johnson looks as though he is on the way out. The future must be exercising his mind. He could try to keep his seat in the Commons, but that could be difficult. If successful he would have to exist on £70,000 a year, which after the perks of No 10 and with his expensive tastes, might be a challenge.

With his record of lying, incompetence and duplicity who would offer him a job? Even the right wing papers might think twice about it.

John Ashton, Richmond.

Replacement PM

SO 211 MPs voted to support the lying and deceitful Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Monday. In my view, any person who votes for such a scoundrel is themselves guilty of the same deceit. The quicker we have a replacement that can be trusted the better.

Wynn Griffiths, Thornton le Moor.

No alternative

THE recent vote of confidence in favour of Boris Johnson’s leadership may not reflect the electorate’s opinion but, like it or not, the simple fact is there is currently no credible alternative to the present incumbent in any particular political party nor are there signs of any potential successor willing and capable of taking on the role.

It is a case of Hobson’s Choice and the “devil” you know for the foreseeable future, but there’s always hope.

P. Holmes, Barnard Castle.

Voting record

I DON’T normally praise North East Conservative MPs, but in the case of Bishop Auckland’s MP Dehenna Davison, she certainly needs congratulating.

She was the only North East Conservative MP to say she voted against the Prime Minister in the recent no-confidence vote in which prize escapologist Boris Johnson won by the skin of his teeth.

All too predictably, the other Teesside Tories did not follow suit. Instead they followed like sheep.

Boris is no longer an electoral superstar who won a resounding landslide in 2019.

He had to beg many a wavering MP to vote for him and even then 148 Conservatives wanted rid.

Boris may think he’s superglued himself to No 10, but his slender victory has not ‘’drawn a line’’ under the partygate scandal.

In fact it has angered the public even more.

The next big challenge for the PM are two by-elections on the 23rd of this month.

The betting for the seat at Wakefield will have the Red Wallers, wailing.

Labour are currently 1/40 with the bookies (meaning for every £40 bet you win £1).

It’s Labour’s dead cert versus Conservatives dead meat.

Stephen Dixon, Redcar.

Metric support

I LOVE 99 per cent things British but I cannot agree with the Government’s proposal to bring back the imperial system of pounds, ounces etc, to the detriment of the metric system.

To change how we measure things, rather than strengthening industry and commerce, would cause additional problems.

The public would be confused and, in the long term, our children would suffer unnecessarily.

The metric system was one of the few good things that came out of the French Revolution, because it simplified things by using tenths, hundredths and thousandths.

So, for example, we get ten millimetres in a centimetre, 100 centimetres in a metre, 1,000 metres in a kilometre; and also 1,000 millilitres in a litre and 1,000 grams in a kilogram.

The metric system is so much simpler for our kids than 16 ounces in a pound, 14 pounds in a stone, eight stones in a hundredweight and 20 hundredweights in a ton; as well as 12 inches in a foot, three feet in a yard, 22 yards in a chain, ten chains in a furlong and eight furlongs in a mile.

Why complicate things? Let’s stay metric!

Steve Kay, Deputy Leader, Redcar & Cleveland Council.


THE Animal Justice Project protesters at the Darlington Farmers Auction Mart on Saturday, May 28, seemed to contradict themselves by their actions. They seek an end to livestock farming for human consumption, advocating a vegan lifestyle to benefit the environment and animals. And yet they spent the day letting off flares, how will this benefit the environment?

Malcolm McGregor, Saltburn.

NHS financing

AS the government and Sajid Javid announce a series of so called “new” NHS diagnostic centres right across the UK you must ask, how are these being financed?

Is the equipment leased at great expense to the taxpayer under these highly inefficient lease back PFI-type deals? Or is the equipment bought and owned by our NHS?

When we the taxpayers lease equipment from private companies like Phillips and Allianz this always turns out to be a very bad deal for the taxpayer and a very expensive way of treating people in our NHS long term.

Cllr Nigel Boddy (Lib Dem) North Road Ward, Darlington.

Big lunch

PERSONAL contact with friends, family and neighbours is one of the things I sorely missed during the pandemic and it’s so lovely that 2022 has been a year when we could start celebrating and being together once again.

The jubilee celebrations reminded me of all the wonderful fetes and events I’ve been to over the years, particularly when my son was young.

Although I’m still not sure he’s forgiven me for making him walk all around the village wearing a boat costume I’d made for a fancy-dress competition – even though he won!

During the recent long bank holiday weekend, I was busy working on the next series of Call the Midwife and not able to get to a street party of my own, but those scenes of communities coming together across the country were wonderful to see.

This month, a charity I’m a big supporter of, Action for Children, is partnering with Iceland to encourage friends, families and neighbours to foster their own sense of community and get together and host a Big Lunch. Although it doesn’t have to be big.

A picnic in the park or lunch with friends will do. So, if like me, you didn’t get the chance to get together with those you love over the jubilee weekend, and you want to it’s not too late. By hosting a Big Lunch for Action for Children, you can also raise money to help to support vulnerable children and families around the country.

Visit for all you need to get started. Thank you,

Jenny Agutter.

Another ground

WHAT are Darlington Football Club thinking about when they say they need a new ground?

I’m sorry guys, but how many new grounds do you want, where’s the money coming from, and where has a new ground got you in the past?

It is only 19 years since Darlington Football Club was situated in the centre of the town at Feethams where, with financial help from the Football Foundation, a brand new stand had just been built with refreshment bars attached.

All those thousands of pounds were wasted because George Reynolds, the chairman of the club at the time, devoted all his time and resources into building the Arena, an out of town financial disaster which eventually was the reason the club were relegated.

In the season just finished, 2021-22, Darlington, finished 13th out of the 22 clubs in the National League North, not even halfway.

They are nearer to Mars and Saturn than they are to the Football League.

A little bit of advice to Darlington Football Club, concentrate all your energies and resources into building a team good enough to get back into the Football League division two, then think about a new ground.

Name supplied, County Durham.