Closure impact

Closure of vital services is worrying for many people, especially the older generation, many of whom find internet and online transactions difficult.

We have been encouraged to use pharmacies to help doctors overcome the problem build-up of long waiting times.

It was, therefore, a shock to receive notification of the closure of the small Boots Pharmacy in Chapel Street, Thirsk, within the next two months. We have been directed to Tesco or Boots Market Place.

I dread to think of the queues in both venues, especially with the addition of ever-increasing residential property.

Accessibility to the pharmacy counter at the Market Place Boots is difficult, the waiting area non-existent and unless changes are made, queues in the aisles will hinder other people trying to access sales shelves.

The Chapel Street Pharmacy has given a service second to none. With excellent knowledgeable and friendly staff who go the extra mile, especially the pharmacist, they ensure patients with new prescriptions know exactly what they are for and how to take them.

I doubt this service will ever be the norm again. This closure should be reconsidered.

Money seems to be the only thought behind these closures..

I suspect many of the banks that have closed had a footfall sufficient to keep them open. The Chapel Street Pharmacy is certainly well used and I can think no reason other than greed by corporate bodies for the loss of these services.

P Pitts, Sowerby, Thirsk.

Contrasting results

YOUR edition of February 3 gave sharply contrasting reports on consultations. Thirty-two changes have been made to the A66 dual plans.

Meanwhile Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner Zoe Metcalfe had 55 per cent support for a maximum £5.60 increase in precept. So, she'll be asking for £14.03 as she claims there is significant public support for an increase up to £10.

When do we get another chance to vote? Will anyone bother with her next consultation?

C W Johnson, East Cowton.

Where’s the funding gone?

AS an avid cyclist I would like to add my two penn'orth to the discussion about blocking cyclists from exiting Darlington via Duke Street “Cycle restrictions” (D&S Times letters, Feb 3).

I was led to believe all the funding had been allocated for this project so I fail to understand how it can now be postponed indefinitely due to a lack of funding.

My late father had few words of wisdom but his most memorable was that "a camel is a horse designed by a committee" and in this instance I feel it fits the bill to a tee.

If this lack of money is due to a miscalculation someone needs sacking.

If it is due to mismanagement then someone needs sacking.

Either way it is another example of the inability of any of our recent councils and most have been Tory-led, to provide any meaningful cycling infrastructure in this town. Shame on them.

Robin Rutherford, Darlington.

Holocaust Day

A TALK by a local historian, Martin Peagram, on the Jews on Teesside, and a TV programme on the Holocaust struck me hard on the role of ordinary people, besides of course remembering the genocide of Jewish people.

I hadn’t realised before how those who had been friends and neighbours were going along to see the spectacle of Jews being shot and falling into a trench to be buried. How harassed some of the children were by fellow countrymen as they set off on the Kindertransport to safety.

The gas chambers did not happen overnight – the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust described ten stages of genocide ( The whole country may view with horror what happened in the genocide, but can everyone look at those ten steps and say that as “ordinary people” they are not part of it in any way?

We need to understand it isn’t just about what happened in Nazi Germany, it is what is, and has been, happening worldwide with genocides elsewhere.

The local history talk brought home how going back to when the refugees from the Spanish Civil War were welcomed in the UK, it was not with initial support from the Government, but the actions of “ordinary people”.

I am proud of the part played by people in Teesside in welcoming children from Spain and Nazi horrors, I am proud of those “ordinary people” who welcome those seeking sanctuary here today. But how much have we learned from history? I despair of the attitudes of our Government, and some of their followers, in their determination to demonise, and even turn back those seeking sanctuary with us.

Looking at those ten steps to genocide, how far along the way are we already?

Suzanne Fletcher, Eaglescliffe.

Energy meters

METERING and payment for power supply in the house is not a new thing.

In my boyhood, we had an electricity meter, high above the front door. When asked by my parents to put a shilling in the slot, my brother or I needed a chair or steps to reach it.

The gas meter was more accessible, in a front room cupboard. We never seemed to be deprived of our daily fare, or even Sunday dinner, by lack of coins in the meter.

Alan Pallister, Middleton St George.

Funding distribution

BEING non-political (I do however have a point of view) I like to try to take a balanced view of decisions made by political parties including the present government.

There are often comments in the media, that the "levelling up" funding amounts given are unfair as more goes to those areas who have Conservative MPs.

I haven't done my homework on that statement as life is too short (and I have Elvis Presley films to watch – again)!

What should be remembered as to why this might be is that there are 355 Conservative MPs to Labour's 195.

Labour at the last election did lose a lot of seats to the Conservatives – was that something to do with Labour's sitting on the fence attitude towards Brexit?

As far as the Liberal Democrats are concerned I do regretfully consider them to be a nonentity as despite democracy being in their title they actually went against the democratic Brexit vote of the electorate.

I have always thought the attitude to Brexit of the Labour and Lib Dem parties gave much strength to the EU in the discussions that followed and are still continuing.

One final point on levelling up is that there are some poorer areas in the South that are worthy of being included.

Mike Taylor, Darlington.

Care expense

I THANK J Fyles for their interest “A modest proposal” (D&S Times letters, Jan 27) in my overseas long-term care proposal “Outsourcing care” (D&S Times letters, Jan 20).

I will leave open the face-value versus satire question (though I have in the past been castigated for unrecognised satire).

I shall, however, revisit a couple of points from my (as usual) overly long original letter which didn’t make the final cut (though I won’t repeat my reference to Rwanda, which J Fyles seems to have picked up telepathically).

In Britain care home fees are upwards of £50,000 a year, and that is at current UK care staff pay rates, which some would argue are unsustainably low.

Labour costs in some other countries being a small fraction of ours, there is a very substantial potential saving.

For a care home resident in the UK receiving only very occasional visits (and there must be many with none), this would equate to a price tag of perhaps £10,000 per visit.

Some people look after their own parents at home. Others don’t and make only rare visits, but would like these to be over a conveniently short distance. If the former begrudge contributing to the latter, are we to accuse them of thinking like accountants?

Of course, not all care home residents are funded by the taxpayer. For self-funders, surviving several years while substantially incapacitated involves spending their kids’ inheritance in a way they wouldn’t have chosen.

If a much cheaper option were available, who can say whether they would or should take it?

For some, including myself, a warmer climate would be a significant pull. But why would we deny them that choice?

Setting aside my accountant guise, is this really about money? Even with the most generous plausible pay rise, are we going to see enough home-grown carers? Yet are we reckless enough to invite endless waves of migrants, each of which will move on from this starter-occupation at the first opportunity?

John Riseley, Harrogate.

Weapons supply

IN 1945 the UN was formed when the pain of the Second World War was very real, the nations of the world agreed that what was past was “untold sorrow”.

This is one of the first words of the UN charter. The first purpose listed after that, was a focus on “peace and security”.

Have we forgotten those feelings? Are we wiser or just more distant?

Our government is sending more and more weapons to Ukraine, no way is that the road to peace.

The weapons only mean more war, and while more weapons may determine the winning side, the only thing certain is the “untold sorrow”.

I do not want anybody to suffer and if you don’t, send an email or letter to your MP asking them to stop supplying those weapons.

This small effort may reduce misery, it might have no effect, but it is your opportunity to show you care.

Chris Pattison, Richmond.

Essential viewing

A BIG thank you to all who made the adaptation of the vet, Alf Wight’s lovable stories of James Herriot for TV viewing.

The superb acting of all the cast, the beautiful scenery on our doorstep, not forgetting the adorable animals, are a pleasure to watch.

I have visited the James Herriot Museum in Thirsk many times with my grandchildren and school children, even a friend from USA enjoyed it, it is a walk in history.

I’m sure Rosie and Jim must be very proud of their father and even more of the wonderful series on television, everything must have been so well thought of to have something so entertaining.

I can’t wait for the next series to follow and if anyone hasn’t watched the first series make sure you do! It’s for young and old, you won’t be disappointed.

I had the privilege to meet the actress Carol Drinkwater, the first TV Helen in the series, now living in France and she signed a book for me in Northallerton. Well done to all.

Betty McDonald, Northallerton.