175th anniversary

FIRST many congratulations to Hannah Chapman, Chris Lloyd and all their colleagues on the excellent anniversary supplement.

Readers may like to consider the physical effort in producing those early editions in the 19th Century.

The era of mechanical typesetting began with the invention of the Linotype machine in 1880.

For the first 35 years or so, every letter of every word, every space, every line across a column was cast on a separate piece of lead which was picked up by hand by a compositor as he composed the columns.

There are five letters and a space for the average English language word. When you count the words in a newspaper column, that's an awful lot of little pieces of lead!

I have very fond memories of Ernest Pannell, editor from 1961-78, who had yet another claim to fame.

He was an accomplished church bell ringer and gave many hours of his time to assist new recruits in and around Darlington as they ventured into the world of campanology.

Keep up the good work!

Peter Sotheran, Yearby, Redcar.

Powerful champion

MANY congratulations on the 175th anniversary of our D&S.

Our paper continues to powerfully champion our area and to raise its voice when it is necessary to do so. The anniversary supplement is absolutely magnificent.

Congratulations to the superb team that put it together. Here’s to many more generations finding our D&S alongside them through their lives.

Mark White OBE DL, Billingham.

Seaweed question

I SO immensely enjoyed the well-crafted D&S Times pull-out look-back at 175 years of its existence that I've downloaded it as a keepsake (being a digital subscriber). Congratulations.

Not being of a farming bent (I confess I am an ex-Echo journalist) I still even found interesting that part which was so intrinsic to the paper's ethos.

On that score, I'm surprised that in the year or more I've been back in the region I've not seen any mention of the amazing largest seaweed farm in the UK off the North Yorkshire coast.

They are growing three fast-growing species of kelp that can be used to make everything from a biodegradable alternative to plastic bottles to an umami-rich condiment already stocked in Selfridges, as well as eco-friendly fertiliser and cattle feed.

Tim Sinclair, Ovington, Richmond.

Golden goodbye

IT beggars belief that councils can even contemplate wasting vast amounts of council taxpayers money on golden redundancy payments or so-called golden handshakes “£225,000 settlement proposed for officer” (D&S Times, Sept 30).

In these hard times, we regularly hear of the rise in the number of food bank users, child poverty is rising, cost of living rises in food and fuel etc, and to cap it all services are diminishing.

So why does an employee who reportedly earns £132,676pa justify this kind of overrated pay-out?

If councils are prepared to offer this kind of money to staff then I suspect that we are being charged far too much council tax.

CP Atkinson, Great Ayton.

Council pay off

I CANNOT believe it. Five years after being critical of Darlington Borough Council for paying a sizeable leaving gift to Ada Burns, chief executive officer, I never thought I would get involved again with the wastage of taxpayer's money on a redundancy payment package for a leaving CEO.

About £225,000 is to be paid to Dr Justin Ives, chief executive of Hambleton District Council, as he is about to lose his position “£225,000 settlement proposed for officer” (D&S Times, Sept 30).

One of the reasons given for the generous package is that he has been doing the job for ten years. Did he not receive a lucrative salary for doing the job?

Dr Ives should refuse the enhanced payment (he won't however) and if he is struggling financially he should rely on voluntary contributions to a leaving present by his colleagues who knew him, which happens to most people in this situation.

Perhaps the collection could also be open to the wider public which would give him a better indication of how important the public viewed him.

If he does accept this package how does he sleep at night? In luxury I should think!

Mike Taylor, Darlington.

Painful lesson

NEVER again must Conservative Party members be given the job of selecting the leader of their party.

In preferring Liz Truss over Rishi Sunak they have shown complete disregard for the principle that the best man or woman should win.

It was manifestly clear throughout the leadership campaign that she was one-dimensional, incapable of thinking on her feet and, like her predecessor Boris Johnson and his belief that he was the new Winston Churchill, deluded in thinking she was the next Margaret Thatcher.

The events of the last two weeks have proved that to be absolutely laughable.

Mr Sunak was so very clearly the better bet and as we all now know understood the UK economy and how it works so much better that Ms Truss and her superficially clever Chancellor.

Their dismissal of what they called Treasury orthodoxy or “abacus economics” during the campaign and the reckless mini-budget has demonstrated a fundamental truth that, ultimately, you can only spend what you have earned. You can’t spend what you might hope to earn in the future through economic growth.

Apart from being politically naïve, their plans simply did not add up as the markets have taught them.

That’s a painful lesson for them and the frankly foolish party members who have propelled them to power.

The arrogance of the Prime Minister and her sidekick deserved all the humiliation heaped upon them this week.

Right now the Richmond MP looks like the wisest man in Westminster. Of course, it helps enormously that he can count. With or without an abacus.

Peter Gordon, Hutton Rudby, Yarm.


I AGREE entirely with Martin Whillock “Scrubby view” (D&S Times letters, Sept 23).

The view along the Hambleton escarpment from Sutton Bank Top to Whitestone Cliff, with the exception of Roulston Scar, has been left to go wild under the mismanagement of the North York Moors National Park Authority.

Years ago, it used to be kept under control by the judicious use of sheep which in springtime nibbled and kept down the scrubby trees and encouraged the growth of wild flowers such as hare bells.

I was born and grew up in Thirsk and frequently visited Sutton Bank top as I still do and have seen the decline over many years now.

If, as Martin points out, the scrubby trees were removed the views would again be restored and unspoiled.

The view of the White Horse at Kilburn has suffered a similar fate.

The growth of the trees at the bottom has made the legs look stubby. If the trees were removed the legs would be restored to their proper length.

James Wood, Ripon.

Rainfall rates

INCLUDED in the “Letters to the Editor” page last week (D&S Times, Sept 30) were two photographs showing evidence of this summer’s drought; one of a totally dry Beckdale in Helmsley and the other of a very low river in Swaledale.

Those who deny climate change would immediately comment that low rainfall has been known before, but this year we have seen parched land combined with record breaking high temperatures. In other parts of the world, such as East Africa, there has been no October rainy season for four years, and none is expected this year either. As a result, herds of animals lie dead on parched, barren land.

At the other extreme, we see death and destruction caused by Hurricane Ian in Cuba and Florida where the worst weather conditions ever experienced have been seen.

Yet, many world governments, including our own, continue to seek more supplies of gas and oil, which have much to do with the heating up of our planet.

Perhaps our current cost of living crisis, said to be caused by the rising energy prices, should concentrate our minds and those of our politicians to work towards a future of solar, wind and water, especially tidal, power. These would be sustainable and safe, providing a future for us all and for generations to come.

North Yorkshire is a beautiful county, as pictured in those photographs and also in the one of Roseberry Topping, but we need to preserve our countryside along with the whole of the natural world.

Helen Robson, Harmby, Leyburn.

Public services

THE Liz Truss cuts for the very rich were a kick in the face for ordinary people who are under huge pressure from rising prices and interest rates.

We hear that average households will get relatively small amounts of tax back – maybe £330 a year – and the weakest in society, nothing at all.

This "non-budget" shows all too clearly that tax cuts favour the rich, who actually quite rightly should be shouldering the burden of public services on which their good fortune is based.

There is a deeper point. We all know that our public services like the NHS, education, the legal system are getting worse by the day, week, year.

According to Liz Truss and groups like the Taxpayers Alliance (it sounds like a citizens' movement, actually it is a front for, and funded by, the super-rich) we all want tax cuts and all we want is tax cuts.

But when we get paid we are also "earning" the NHS, education and other public services (including military and police) through the tax we pay.

Quite apart from the shambles caused by Kwasi Kwarteng and Ms Truss, would your average family prefer a tax cut of pennies (less than a pound a day) or an NHS, schools, a legal system that were actually functional, fair and effective?

It is time the public services on which a happy and successful society depends are rebuilt and if that means a little more taxation of the wealthy, so be it.

R. Hildyard, Colburn.

Royal memories

I HAVE a treasured memory from when our Queen wished her lady in waiting to write to me thanking me for my kind condolences of the death of her beloved husband the Duke of Edinburgh.

I wrote to our Queen, that I had attended my dear husband of 63 years' funeral just three days before Prince Phillip sadly died. So I knew what she was going through.

I wrote a poem for my husband to go on his service sheet and thought it would be a comfort for her.

The Queen was sorry to learn that my own husband had died and Her Majesty sent her sympathy to me on this sad time. The lady in waiting was instructed to thank me once again for writing to the Queen as I did.

The Queen is now resting with her Prince Phillip, thank you, a job well done ma’am

Betty McDonald, Northallerton.

Strike impact

I HAVE a feeling the striking railway unions have shot themselves in the foot by choosing to walk out, affecting attendance at the London Marathon.

It will surely lose them public sympathy, as well as having an effect on charities, who depend on these events for the sponsorship they raise.

Charities have already lost out hugely during Covid, when the big events were not allowed to take place, and this year was a chance to catch up a bit. Shame on you, strikers.

Marian Codling, Sowerby.

Name approval

ROBERT CARTER’S proposal to name the new Northallerton bridge after our late Queen is to be applauded “Bridge name” (D&S Times letters, Sept 30).

“The Late Queen Elizabeth Bridge” does seem apt.

Keith Mungham, Potto.