Letters

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March 30 is indeed a significant date in Berwick’s and possibly Scotland’s history.

It might seem fanciful, but if Edward I had not attacked Berwick with the severity he had, Berwick might have gone on to be capital of Scotland, such was its importance economically.

However, Mr Marshall makes the common and understandable mistake of seeing this event through 21st century eyes comparing this to the war crimes we have seen more recently in various parts of the world. These are war crimes as we have a morality laid down in the Geneva Convention that all parties know they should abide by.

The 13th century was a far more brutal period. Their’s was a code of war based on honour.

Edward I was encamped at Coldstream before the attack. He summoned the burgesses of Berwick to “discuss a peace” which was probably something along the lines of “Surrender the town or its going to be a really bad day.”

Now I’m no apologist for Edward, but when after a day of waiting no-one had even bothered to turn up, what was he supposed to do? By the standards of his day, he was obliged to attack the town.

Some have said that he need not have gone so far but he was probably sending a message to the rest of Scotland that he meant business.

The really strange thing is, why didn’t the burgesses not attempt to meet Edward? They surely would have known they couldn’t defend the town with its rudimentary defences.

In answer to Mr Marshall’s suggestion that we mark this date in town I would suggest caution. By all means utilise the unique position Berwick has - its changing nationality - as a tourism hook but these are events from 700 years ago and remembering them might stir up animosity in some quarters.

For more about the background to this event (and more on Berwick’s history) please visit my blog berwicktimelines.tumblr.com.

Or Facebook Jim Herbert - Berwick Time Lines.

Jim Herbert,

Railway Street, Berwick.

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On behalf of Berwick and District Motorcycle Club I would like to thank everyone for their kind donation of Easter eggs (over 400) for the clubs annual Easter egg run which takes the eggs to different homes and hospitals for kids though our area.

This year we delivered eggs to Berwick’s Grove School, Border General Hospital, Seaton Hall and Garden House, where all the eggs were very much appreciated. Without all your support this event could not be done so a big thank you to all who donated the eggs.

Robert Jeffrey,

Berwick and District Motorcycle Club.

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Why is it only the Greens and UKIP want us to have a referendum this year on our membership of the EU?

The other parties will pay a heavy price in forthcoming elections if we do not see a change of heart from them. We can still get back the good times and live in sustainable communities with honesty and mutual respect for each other with good community services free or subsidised at the point of delivery but only if we all make a supreme effort.

We have lost control of our borders and we must get it back immediately.

If we must come out of the European adventure to regain control of our borders then so be it

If there is to be an NHS and a welfare state in Britain it seems obvious to me we must take back control of our borders, come out of the EU and substitute our relationship with Europe with a free trade deal of the type currently being offered to the USA.

Others have taken advantage of our hospitality and generosity of spirit. Whilst it is in our own interest to help others it must be on our own terms and not theirs.

No one suggested ever the Good Samaritan should give away his house.

We are entitled to have a referendum on Europe this year before the door is left open to all of Rumania and Bulgaria. Taking away benefits to new incomers as this government proposes is not the answer.

This will only cause a crime wave of aggressive begging and pickpocketing on our street. Whole families with small children will be sleeping in bus shelters.

If you don’t believe me, go to Paris and see the policy in action, as I did last year.

It is not just his own future Mr Cameron is gambling with and leaving the door wide open to Romania and Bulgaria cannot be his choice alone.

Nigel F. Boddy,

Fife Road, Darlington.

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Could we please say a massive thank you to solicitor Emma Horne, and Morisons’ Solicitors, for continuing to support our charity and the families we support.

Emma’s invaluable advice and guidance which she offers to the Carers of the Borders to help them prepare for the financial future of the person they care for has proven to be very important, reassuring and popular.

Emma will continue to offer 30 minute free advice to Carers on the last Friday of April (Friday 26th), May (Friday 31st) and June (Friday 28th) in Galashiels.

Anyone wishing to make an appointment to see Emma to discuss Wills, Powers of Attroney, Guardianships, and any other financial matters with Emma are welcome to contact us to book a slot.

Telephone; 01896 668961 or Email; baags@btconnect.com

Derek Purvis,

BAAGS.

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Everyone has seen the very distressing recent images of sheep being rescued from snowdrifts and we have heard members of the public understandably asking why this has happened and what could have been done to prevent it?

In common with other areas, parts of our region have been hit not only with heavy snow but also strong winds that have caused severe drifting – blocking roads and burying dry-stone walls.

Hill farmers and their stock are well used to and well equipped to deal with snow during winter – this is a natural part of the changing seasons.

What has made this so exceptional is the quantity of snow, the prolonged low temperatures and strong winds so much later in the season when sheep are at their most vulnerable in late pregnancy or early lambing.

In response farmers have done everything possible to prepare and care for their stock – bringing them down to lower levels where possible, stocking up on fodder and for sheep used to coming indoors, bringing them into available buildings.

For many hill sheep ‘hefted’ to the moors, bringing them inside is simply not an option. They are bred to live outside and spend their whole lives on their home range or heft.

Bringing them inside during late pregnancy would be far too stressful – in fact many simply refuse to leave their heft.

These sheep are natural foragers and often do better on the moor than on lower land near the farm where they are cooped up and reliant on the farmer for food.

In these circumstances, the farmer’s challenge is to provide additional food and spend as much time as possible with them – assisting where individuals may have got caught behind walls in drifts.

Most farmers in our area report that while it may not be the worst snow event they have faced in a lifetime – it is the worst spring they can remember. This is something they cannot control, only do their best for their animals at a time of tremendous adversity.

Hans Pörksen,

Chairman, NFU Livestock Board.

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I recently spoke to a senior-age lady who had just come out of Borders General Hospital.

I asked her how long she had been in there, she replied five days “and that was enough”. She said she hadn’t been able to sleep because of all the chattering and noise at night.

In 1996 I certainly experienced this problem, and I was over three weeks in there after a major cancer operation. Because of the lack of sleep I came out a crying, jibbering mess.

I wrote to the trust managers saying they must stress to staff how important it is for patients to have quiet and peace at night to hasten their recovery.

Yes, of course there is some disturbance at night on the wards – that can’t be helped – but for nurses to be talking and laughing sometimes loudly in the corridors is inexcusable.

I recall a time when I was in the Old Radcliffe Infirmary, Oxford, during the 1950s and there was complete silence on the ward, with a senior nurse at a desk making sure this would happen.

Come on trust managers at the Borders General, get your act together and get to grips with this problem.

Jean Cunningham,

Birgham.
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Thanks to everyone who came along and supported us at the Borders Tourism and Business Forum at Springwood.

We made £539 profit from the tearoom on the day and this sum has been donated to Marie Curie Cancer Care.

Mary Slater,

(volunteer fundraiser) Marie Curie Cancer Care.

railway

A lack of planning

Now that work is under way on the Borders railway, I find myself increasingly amazed at the lack of planning.

Millions of pounds spent in preparation work without planning consent being in place for various elements, no clear indication of what is going where, people still in the dark as to whether or not they will be affected by the works.

No wonder all the preferred consortia withdrew from the proposal.

However, the biggest bug-bear will be the loss of Plumtree Brae, effectively cutting the western end of Galashiels in two.

It will be interesting to see what the effects of the two-week closure which began on March 25 had on the people of the town.

Sherry M. Fowler,

Galashiels.

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I am writing to you about Borders Bus Services.

I am an old age pensioner living in Kelso, so I now rely on public transport to get around. In the Borders we are lucky to have good bus operators giving a good service – with the exception of one operator, Munro’s of Jedburgh.

Once again, on Monday (Yes, April Fools’ Day), we where let down by this operator when the 12:00 bus from Edinburgh did not run due to a breakdown.

Also, the 09:10 departure from Edinburgh broke down at Earlston.

How many more failures do we, the traveling public, have to put up with?

As I said, I live in Kelso, so I am lucky as I can use Perryman’s buses up to St Boswells. I travel that part of the route in comfort with a driver who looks like a driver in a uniform – smart and tidy – in a clean, warm bus.

At St Boswells I get into a dirty cold bus and more than likely we will breakdown before Edinburgh.

An observation I have made is that Perryman’s and the First bus drivers always give you time to sit down and give you a comfortable run to your destination. Munro’s drivers never give you time to sit down and its normally a rough run.

I always talk to fellow passengers and most of them are sick to death of the bad service this company provides.

Can Scottish Borders Council not do something to improve this bad situation?

K.B. Anderson,

Kelso