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Chirnside Parish Church was firmly in winter’s grip when villager Allan Brown captured this image at the end of last month.

Please email photographs, with a brief caption, to berwickshirenews@jpress.co.uk

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

CONTRARY TO THE HEADLINES

As I sit with my pre-dinner drink reading the headlines in a newspaper (“Scottish Government reduces hospital beds by 600 in the last year”), I would like to record my praise for the care I received during my three-night stay in Borders General Hospital.

We live in a society where we seem to enjoy reporting and reading bad news, and I accept that my opinions may not be well-received by the aforemetioned newspaper.

Accepting that the NHS, in general, is headline news, I have to say my stay in hospital was five-star, and Dr Watkins and his team worked very hard under the constraints of a cash-strapped NHS.

Every one of the staff I came across was definitely in the right profession, and how they maintain their morale while working in difficult conditions is outstanding.

It may sound naive, and I realise many people may not have received the care I did, and many have their own justifiable complaints, but praise where praise is due. Well done BGH and Coldstream Health Centre.

June Swan

Coldstream

STAFF FRIENDLY, HELPFUL AND KIND

Can there be a better place than the Borders in which to shop? I doubt it very much.

Whether we visit large stores or smaller retail shops, village stores or garden centres, we have found staff all so friendly, helpful and kind.

At Argos a lovely young female member of staff couldn’t have put herself out more to find the correct piece of goods I required.

Congratulations to all. The Borders is truly the best.

Jean Cunningham

Birgham

TORY GOVERNMENT STRUGGLING

I refer to William Loneskie’s letter (“UK on course for a better future”, January 4) to remind him that we have not yet left the European Union and will not do for two years or so, and therefore are still benefiting from our membership.

The rosy picture he paints in his letter is encouraging, but nothing yet has changed.

It would be wise to remember that in 2016, 43% of all the UK’s exports were to the EU and that 54% of our imports were from the EU. Adjusting these trading patterns quickly could be difficult and heavily effect the prosperity of the whole of the UK.

The Tory government, as it ever so slowly gets to grips with the complexities of extracting us from the EU, is not giving the nation a lot of hope.

I would recommend Mr Loneskie reads John Grace’s book, “I, Maybot – The Rise & Fall”, to understand that we are being led by a group of elected representatives who are struggling to manage the situation for the benefit of all of us who live and work within the United Kingdom.

Tony Reed

Sutherland Gardens

Kelso

COLDSTREAM COFFEE MORNING

May we thank the British Legion (Sonia and committee) for hosting our coffee morning last Saturday, many helpers, people who donated prizes and scones etc., and Joy Thomson for her coffee-making.

Those attending are truly thanked as well, creating a very positive atmosphere, important to Coldstream.

We earned £418.61 which we were delighted with. It will help us maintain the conserved Lennel church and liaise with the council on an effective grass-cutting regime in the old churchyard, which hosted burials back to the 15th century.

We are a community interest company, limited by guarantee, and any improvements we make are ‘locked’ for good into the community.

While not wishing to be too ambitious, we would like, in the future, to help Coldstream and district with other improvements and whatever the impending ‘Community Action Plan’ highlights, we would like to help in some way. Anyone with a ‘heritage persuasion’, we would like to hear from you. Please follow our Facebook posts.

Meantime, we hope the coffee morning attendees enjoy the two booklets on Lennel church and churchyard.

Will Murray, Trevor Swan and Gerald Tait

Coldstream’s Heritage Ltd

WE DESERVE TO CHOOSE OUR FUTURE

I am grateful to Graham Holford (letters, January 4) for accepting my invitation to Unionists to defend the Union, and attempt to explain how Scotland benefits (letters, December 21).

Significantly, he concedes that, at the very least, the financial argument is “open to interpretation”, but can’t resist taking a childish dig at former First Minister Alex Salmond for suggesting that Scotland would not have squandered the billions of pounds of oil revenue as successive UK Governments have done. Look at how Norway used similar revenues to set up an oil fund which continues to benefit all its citizens, from the interest alone.

He says that, for him, stability and protection are the key issues:

Stability – to describe the current government as such after the swathe of resignations (sackings), gaffes, political blunders and the Brexit debacle must be an unusual new definition of stability. The current Prime Minister has lost any respect Britain may once have enjoyed abroad, and is struggling to hold her divided Cabinet together.

Protection – perhaps Mr Holford refers to the Trident nuclear system, based at Faslane, which the majority of Scots do not support or want, but are forced (as a member of the Union) to contribute to financially. The billions of pounds involved could be put to much better use for the benefit of everyone living in a peaceful, welcoming and inclusive Scotland.

Add to this all the many other UK vanity projects funded, in part, with our cash and it matters not whether the UK has “one of the strongest economies in the world” (we might debate that).

What really counts is what the money is used for – an underfunded NHS in crisis, homeless and rough sleeping figures on the rise, child poverty on the increase, the growing need for food banks (even by those in work), cutting pensions and help for the disabled – this does not look like a well-managed economy which works for everyone.

Unfortunately, Mr Holford then lowers the tone of the debate by comparing the SNP and all those who support independence (including Conservatives, Labour voters, the Greens and many others) to the BNP. The phrases “whingeing Scots” and “those horrible people over the border” have no place in a sensible discussion.

Independence is not, as he states, a desire to separate or isolate ourselves – quite the opposite. An independent Scotland able to choose its own path would take its rightful place in the world as a friendly, small country and neighbour, in a spirit of cooperation – like other independent nations across the globe.

Finally, I will attempt to answer his question.

He reckons “an alliance hundreds of years old” is worth saving – an alliance which has failed dismally in that time to deliver benefits equally to all parts of the United Kingdom.

Independence and membership of the EU are two different questions.

Scotland deserves to choose its own future, rather than be dragged along on the coat tails of successive Westminster governments, simply because we are outnumbered.

An independent Scotland will elect its own government (Tory, Labour, SNP or whatever) and that administration will follow the wishes of its electorate regarding the EU or indeed anything else – that’s what I call democracy.

J. Fairgrieve

Gordon

SKIPPING THE SERIAL WRITERS

I’m just wondering if anyone else is fed up with the serial letter writers to the local press.

I now just look for those correspondents’ names and skip to the other letters.

Lintie Gibson

Gattonside

Galashiels