Letters to the editor


Free speech is still allowed in Britain

Jonny Logan is not the first to be irked by the frequency of my letters in your paper (Berwickshire News, August 15) but in spite of that I am always delighted when they produce a response.

Fortunately free speech is still allowed in Britain and the Berwickshire News promotes it as not one of my letters has ever been censored, unlike many newspapers.

To answer Mr Logan’s query – no, I have never stood for office. I do not wish my views to be hamstrung by the necessities of party politics. However, I am a member of a party (guess which one!) but as an ordinary citizen am free to express my opinions as long as they are not racist, sexist or offensive.

On that last note, I am puzzled by the interpretation of my reference to fuddy-duddies by Fenton Robb, your correspondent of the same date above. I meant no offence by my use of this common term for older people of whom I am one.

The youngsters I spoke to at the Border Union Show were not early teens but young people up to their 30s and as I said many were surprisingly well informed about the implications for an independent Scotland, as were many older people it has to be said. But I wonder how many of them would be offended by Mr Robb’s implied comparison of the Hitler youth of 1930s totalitarian Nazi Germany with the young people of democratic, inclusive and free Scotland?

Mr Robb accuses me of mawkish sentimentality; how does he answer the charge of using insulting and inappropriate comparisons?

I do hope many more Scottish voters will join in this debate because it is a very important issue.

Do we wish to control our own destiny, or continue to be ruled by governments alien to Scottish culture?

Richard Walthew,

Whitsome Tofts, Duns.


True barbarity of Stalinism

By having his letter published in last week’s paper, Gregory Lauder-Frost singularly disproves his point that media reaction to his comment was ‘Stalinist’.

He shows a scant knowledge of the true barbarity of Stalinism, including its almost total censorship.

His widely reported comment that Doreen Lawrence (now Baroness Lawrence) is ‘a complete nobody’ also seems to contradict the very views he purports to represent: common sense and decency. Doreen Lawrence has been courageous in her campaign against racism and has given much more to society than she has taken.

It would be nice if we could say that about everybody.

Roger MacGinty,

Ivy Cottage, Hutton.

civic week

Honour to carry the flag

Could I through your columns thank everyone involved in all the committees that helped to make Coldstream Civic week such a great success.

I have had a great summer attending the other border town Common Ridings and festivals but nothing could surpass being in Coldstream during Civic Week and having the honour of carrying the flag on behalf of the people of Coldstream.

I would like to thank all those who put my name forward for the position of right hand man enabling me to become Coldstreamer, but most of all I would like to thank the people of Coldstream who turned out to support the events during the week without whom it wouldn’t happen.

Once again thank you.

Grant Campbell,

Coldstreamer 2013.

Successful rideouts

Through your paper could I please thank everyone that was involved in making Coldstream Civic Week 2013 the huge success it was.

The weather was kind to us this year which made our job slightly easier but the continued support and hard work of not only our own committee but that of Presenting Coldstream, Ex-Coldstreamers, Police Scotland, Border Search and Rescue, Coldstream Pipe Band and our many landowners that made it all fall into place and work so well.Thank you!

Can I also thank anyone who has sponsored or assisted financially in any manner, we cannot put on the rides at Civic Week without your help, it is very much appreciated.

Finally I would like to thank the principles and their families and of course the people of Coldstream for making Coldstream Civic Week ‘Second to none’.

Victoria Dickson,

Chairperson, Coldstream Riders Association.


One of the best ever

The Coldstream Civic Week Art Exhibition this year was adjudged one of the best and thanks are due to the many artists who showed their works and to all those who hung, laboured, catalogued and served at the desk.

Many thanks are also due to the visitors whose generosity raised £300 for the McMillan Nurses Charity.

This year’s winner of the Jim Page Memorial Prize for the painting chosen by the public was William Young from Duns for his beautifully textured painting of a fox cub peering furtively from a hole in a timbered building and we join his admirers in congratulating him for his success.

Ron Gale,

Convener, Coldstream Art Group.


Coldingham ‘carbuncle’

I am just writing to say how dismayed I was by the carbuncle that is under construction at Coldingham Bay.

I did some online research and came up with this promotional video, which I imagine you have seen http://www.inhousefilms.com/portfolio/coldingham/ but its cynical disregard for the beautiful coastline is shocking.

I can find no trace of the planning application on Scottish Borders Council’s website which is strange and the owner of the site should be a matter of public knowledge since the land sale was presumably registered.

I cannot imagine that any keen ‘walker, surfer, diver’ would want to be the subject of such hatred and disgust from all locals.

Do you really now know who owns it?

Pandora Maxwell.


Cancer charity benefits

May I, through your paper take the opportunity to thank all my family and friends who attended my recent 50th birthday celebrations in the corporate hospitality suite at Berwick Bandits Speedway.

A great evening was had by all (regular speedway goers and novices alike) with the wonderful sum of £300 also being raised in aid of Cancer Research.

I would also like to personally thank John Anderson and his hospitality team for looking after us so well throughout the evening.

It really was an excellent night – thanks to all.

David Young,

Lawfield, Coldingham.


Berwick is a dying town

By mid-morning this Bank Holiday Monday, the sun was shining and all seemed well with the world.

My wife and I decided to visit the delightful environs of Berwick-upon-Tweed in search of some holiday retail therapy.

Shortly after midday things were not so cheerful. Two Northumberland County Council trafficwardens had descended upon the town centre and ticketed a large number of parked cars. And so, our holiday shopping was supplemented by an unwelcome £50 parking ticket.

I queried the ticket with a warden.

I would have liked to portray him as a surly fellow. That would have constituted a gross calumny. He was a man heartily enjoying his work.

Apparently, this was one of the best and most productive days of the year

‘Of course, if I wasn’t here it would be mayhem on a bank holiday,’ quoth he.

In fact, on Hide Hill where I was parked, there were at least a dozen spaces available.

Almost as many empty parking spaces as abandoned, closed up shops.

And most of the parked cars now sported plastic coated appendages on their windscreens.

Does it not possibly occur to Northumberland County Council that there might be some linkage?

Delightful as Berwick-upon-Tweed might be, it is a dying town with an increasingly moribund High Street.

Paul Harris,

High Street, Coldingham.

house of lords

Elitist institutions

Reforming the monarchy along with a reform of titles for the House of Lords so boys and girls are on the same footing is going to appear a good thing.

But elitist institutions defy any attempt to make them democratic or fair.

The rule that the oldest child gets all does not play fair to younger children does it? I am the youngest of six children, five of them boys. Isn’t the principle of primogeniture unfair to me?

Introducing life peerages in 1958, that was a change for the better which was a breath of new life for the House of Lords. Now, we have to face it this reform is tired and has run its course.

David Cameron’s proposals are a fig leaf.

He thinks everything must change so everything can stay the same.

However, David Cameron lacks the timing, cunning, learning and vision of that old political magician his predecessor Harold MacMillan. MacMillan was able to re invigorate the Lords back in 1958.

Cameron will never do the same by tinkering with the rules of succession.

Nigel F. Boddy,

Fife Road, Darlington.


Boost for RNLI funds

On behalf of the Burnmouth RNLI Branch members, I would like to thank the people of Paxton, Hutton, Foulden, Mordington, Lamberton and Burnmouth for their support given to us in our recent annual House to House collections.

A total of £458-62 was collected.

Once again a big thank you to all the collectors and donators.

Our next event will be Afternoon Cream Teas on Sunday, October 13, from 2.30 to 4pm with Christmas cards, raffle and bring and buy.

Margaret Driscoll,



Pimms in the garden

Through your newspaper we wish to express our most sincere thanks to everyone who made the Pimms in the Garden such a huge success.

The ladies who help and donate so generously, the shops and businesses who donated and most of all to everyone who came along on the night, our little garden was overwhelmed!

We receive such great support for our cause in whatever we do. The fantastic total of £900 was raised through the event.

Thank you all so very very much.

May and Bert Kinghorn,

Local Organiser, Cancer Research UK.


Navy seeks your help

In 1953, the Royal Navy’s helicopter search and rescue service was founded, making 2013 its 60th anniversary and it’s looking for a little bit of help from the people of Scotland, where the red and grey liveried Sea Kings are a familiar sight across the nation.

To celebrate this significant diamond milestone, an appeal is being made to both former Royal Navy search and rescue crew members, as well as those who have been rescued by one of the Senior Service helicopters, to come forward with their stories.

These tales will help form the back bone of an on-going project to bring together all aspects of the service within a comprehensive archive – preserving the history for years tocome.

Over the six decades, Royal Navy search and rescue has, at some time, operated out of a total of 11 bases, eight of them now either decommissioned or no longer in RN hands.

Two of these were in Scotland at RNAS Lossiemouth, also known as HMS Fulmar, from 1953 to 1963 and HMS Gannet at Prestwick from 1971 to present.

There was also a base at RNAS Anthorn in Cumbria on the Solway Firth, which not only served the north of England, but also extended its reach into southern Scotland – most notably Dumfries and Galloway and The Borders.

Royal Naval Air Station Culdrose and HMS Gannet in Prestwick continue to operate this lifesaving service – together carrying out well over 500 sorties a year to people in distress.

RNAS Yeovilton remains operational, but no longer has a SAR capability.

Were you rescued in the last 60 years by one of the Royal Navy’s helicopters?

Do you know someone who was and who may like to tell their story?

Or, alternatively, are you a former crew member of one of the RN search and rescue squadrons with tales to tell?

The Royal Navy would love to hear all about memories held across the nation.

In recent years, personnel from HMS Gannet have been decorated with operational honours for their part in some notable rescues.

If you would like to share your experiences, please email your story (there is a form online at the Royal Navy website – link below) to navycu-771sar60@mod.uk including your name and contact details, as well as when you served or were rescued.

Please do not send pictures, though letting us know if you have any available would be much appreciated.

Alternatively send your memories on a printed form to RN SAR 60, 771 NAS, RNAS Culdrose, Helston, Cornwall, TR12 7RH.

See http://www.royalnavy.mod.uk/News-and-Events/Special-Events/SAR-60/Request-forStories for more information and to download the form.

Fiona Holland,

UK Regions Media Officer, Royal Navy.