Chapter end

IT’S such a sad shame to see that the Odeon cinema on Darlington’s North Road is to close its doors for good on June 30 – “Closure announced of historic town cinema” (D&S Times Co Durham edition, Jun 17).

One of my earliest memories of going to the ABC as it was then, was to see Empire of the Ants (1977) with my dad (probably so we didn’t have to go round the shops).

It was on in screen three which then felt quite claustrophobic, especially for a seven-year-old and some pretty big ants.

As I grew up, my friends and I would get the train from Bishop to North Road station, run down the road to the cinema, get our popcorn and drink and then in for the latest blockbuster.

For a time we saw all the big films here – War Games, Ghostbusters, Superman III, Terminator, Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome, James Bond, Cocktail, Die Hard to name but a few.

Then along came the multi screens at Metro Centre and Teesside Park, but the ABC/Odeon still held a special place.

Once our children happened we would take them and their friends for birthday viewings – Mr Bean’s Holiday, Stardust, St Trinian’s, Shrek, Harry Potter.

And finally, most recently I have taken my parents to see Die Another Day and my granddaughter to see Clifford – four generations all enjoying the best seats, the best comfort and the most warm and friendly welcome from the team there.

Now this is to end it feels like a rather large chapter of life is closing too.

I am sure there will be readers of this letter who used to go to the ABC/Odeon – perhaps you’ll go again one last time before it closes?

Might see you there.

Andy Bramfitt, Darlington.

Community use

I AM sure someone has already thought of this and I have only been into the Darlington Odeon to visit the cinema but would it be a suitable space to recreate the much lamented Arts Centre?

A recent search for somewhere to hold a writing group introduced me to a number of people also seeking town centre spaces for community activities and the Arts Centre closure was constantly mentioned as a great loss to Darlington.

What about workshop spaces, meeting places, innovation opportunities and saving an historic building?

Susan Chapman, Darlington.

Carry on, Boris

WHAT a refreshing change it was to read "Busy Boris" from Trevor Mason (D&S letters, June 17).

I couldn’t agree more with his comments about our prime minister.

The coverage Boris has received from the media especially the BBC and political commentators has been way over the top and not "independent" or "unbiased" as it is supposed to be.

So carry on Boris don’t let these people win, because the alternative does not bear thinking about.

Mr P Beard, Romanby.

Tree re-planting

HAVING written to you previously regarding the hedges/trees which were removed by builders along Darlington Back Lane in Stockton therefore devastating the environment “Tree Destruction” (D&S Times letters, Mar 25), can Stockton Council be made to instruct the builders to replace the hedges/trees and put them back to as it was, even though it will need a number of years to grow and flourish?

After all there is more to life than money!

S Frank, Castlelevington, Yarm.

Collaborative solution

JOHN RISELEY seems to confuse several issues in his letter ‘Rwanda scheme’ (D&S Times letters, June 17).

He, like several others, recently state that there is no alternative to the government’s aim to deport asylum seekers to Rwanda as a form of punishment to deter other individuals from attempting to seek asylum in the UK.

How about recognising that we are an attractive destination for individuals who may be fleeing war, famine, persecution as many have sought to come here for many decades before, such as Huguenots, German Jews, Ugandan Asians, Hong Kong Chinese, etc.

We could for instance set up a proper functioning process to evaluate applications to come here and sort genuine cases out from others.

History surely tells us that those genuinely seeking asylum don’t do it to access our public services, they do it because this is a good, safe place to live and to work.

Regarding the ongoing despicable situation in France of people traffickers taking advantage of and making much money from desperate souls, how about we work with the French authorities to disrupt the supply chain of large inflatable dinghies with outboard motors.

Someone is supplying these in large numbers, and they don’t get them back.

Their sale and ownership should require a licence, they could even have a GPS tracker as a licence requirement.

We need to know who you sold it to, see a copy of their passport and know where it is?

How about, again working with the French authorities, we put a few covert agents apparently looking to cross the Channel and they find out who is looking to offer a crossing in return for several thousand pounds.

Follow the chain of command upwards, arrest and prosecute those concerned and anybody who tries to replace them.

I struggle to understand why these alternatives have not been considered or have been concluded to be too difficult by the fifth wealthiest nation in the world.

I think this time, the Archbishop of Canterbury and Prince Charles may have a point.

Stewart Brennan, Stokesley.

Rail prices

ON Saturday, June 11, I visited Darlington station to obtain four seat reservations for a trip to Birmingham on June 19, buying only two tickets for travel as my wife and I travel for free due to my service, in excess of 39 years, for British Rail.

One of the tickets for our grandson was £4 return and the other for our daughter £108 return.

Later that day it was decided different trains had to be used so I returned to the station on the Sunday to rebook.

Everything was the same except that because we were now going to travel before 9.30am the cost of a ticket for our daughter was £220.

If I had paid that amount our daughter would never have spoken to me again (I might be over reacting).

Anyway, reporting back to our daughter she got onto a website through her mobile phone (too modern for me) and got a ticket for £89 for the same earlier train! Something’s wrong and I love the railways.

However, without wishing to sound patronising, once again the staff on the counter (two ladies) were absolutely brilliant with their patience.

Finally, on receiving the price of £220 I did suggest to my wife that perhaps I should drive us all there – that certainly did not receive a favourable response. Was she telling me something I wonder?

Mike Taylor, Darlington.

Misplaced loyalty

LOYALTY is seen as a virtue, and it is.

Misplaced loyalty however can be dangerous.

The Trump mania on display in the USA has shown that abyss only too clearly.

Here in the UK we are witnessing members of parliament also showing a misplaced loyalty to an individual – never a healthy way to govern.

The recent resignation of the PM's ethics advisor may cause many politicians to reflect on where their true priorities lie, and to whom they should owe loyalty.

Who knows, that could even happen. If I was a gambler, I would not bet on it.

Alexandra Bailey, Darlington.

World beating

BORIS JOHNSON likes to claim that the UK is world-beating; for once I agree with him, but for all the wrong reasons.

In the first place, the UK has one of the worst records amongst the developed countries for its handling of Covid.

Secondly, thanks to the disaster of Brexit, the cost of living crisis is set to affect our economy more badly than any other G20 country except sanctioned Russia.

Thirdly, deporting asylum seekers to Rwanda breaks International Conventions on Refugees and Human Rights (and even the top civil servant at the Home Office does not belief this will act as a deterrent to illegal immigration).

And finally, the Northern Ireland Protocol Bill means that the UK cannot be trusted to adhere to its international treaty obligations, thereby again putting us on a par with Russia.

Wouldn’t it be nice if we could be world-beating by being one of the best for a change?

Alan Jordan, Middridge

Freedom attack

CONSERVATIVE Home Secretary Priti Patel's decision to extradite Julian Assange is an attack on UK press freedom.

It will have the gravest consequences for journalism. It shows the current Tory mindset is closer to that of a tyrannical regime than the government of a free country.

Assange founded Wikileaks, committed to telling us about what our political "masters" didn't want us to know. It published the US government's own documents, showing war crimes, civilian massacres, murder by drone and extra-judicial prison killings, all by the United States.

We learn of similar acts by the Putin regime from our morning paper and the TV news. But the US and its allies? A cover up. A wall of silence.

Assange broke through this, now he faces a possible 175-year jail sentence.

Punished for telling the truth, by a state of which he is not a citizen. It is a warning to journalists everywhere.

It is also a step towards total establishment control of what we watch, read and listen to.

C Walker, Darlington.

Energy saving

IN order to save energy, the Government should order all new build houses to be fitted with electricity generating roof tiles.

The extra costs could be offset by a partial government grant.

William Robotham, Barton.

On parade

ON Monday (June 20) I was part of Armed Forces Day Parade in Darlington market square and I was very privileged to meet some young Army Cadets from Polam School, we had a nice chat and a good laugh.

It was very pleasing to meet some charming young people who have set themselves to serve in the Armed Forces.

I wish them all the success they deserve, it was a pleasure to meet them. Best wishes to them all.

John Brant, Darlington.

Rail chaos

I BET George Stephenson would never have thought that the railways he invented would cause so much chaos all these years later

GO Wright, Sadberge.