Letters to the editor


Not a pheasant thing to do

October 1 marked the beginning of the four-month pheasant shooting season.

Around 40 million of these birds are intensively reared every year, using industrial hatcheries, cages, sheds and, finally, release pens to provide feathered targets for “guns” who commonly pay £1,000 a day.

Because of the enfeeblement that results from being reared in captivity, it is estimated that around half of the birds die before they can be gunned down. They perish from exposure, starvation, disease and predation or under the wheels of motor vehicles.

These factors make pheasant rearing the very opposite of efficient food production. In fact, figures from the shooting industry itself show that it costs more than 13 times as much to rear pheasants and get them airborne than the shot birds will fetch retail.

Large numbers of farmed pheasants inevitably attract – and probably boost the populations of – predator species such as stoats, weasels, foxes and members of the crow family. Gamekeepers label them as “vermin” and kill them with guns, traps and snares.

Species ranging from badgers to cats and dogs – and even protected birds of prey – are also caught and killed. Shooters, additionally, blight the landscape by discharging thousands of tons of toxic lead shot every year.

The production of birds for “sport shooting” has been banned in Holland. For powerful animal welfare and environmental reasons, we should follow its lead.

Andrew Tyler,

Director, Animal Aid, Tonbridge, Kent.


Miliband’s hypocrisy

With new analysis by the Taxpayers’ Alliance suggesting subsidies to “green” generators will top £22billion by 2020 – costing each British household an extra £425 over the next six years – we must be clear that the reason the fat-cat energy giants can reap such sums is because Labour leader Ed Miliband gave them the tools to do so when he was Energy Secretary under Gordon Brown.

What utter hypocrisy that he now intends to freeze utility bills for 20 months if Labour wins the general election in 2015, while avoiding any pledge to unravel the very policy framework that drives price rises in the first place.

As energy regulator Ofgem also warns of the increasing likelihood of blackouts in the near future due to an electricity supply crunch, it is worth remembering that the £22billion we will have spent by 2020 – mostly on giant, industrial wind turbines – would build three state-of-the-art, third-generation nuclear reactors, including full waste disposal and decommissioning costs.

Instead, we see turbine developers encouraged to build ever more costly, inefficient developments that will do nothing to cut CO2 emissions, all the while spurred on by a toxic combination of Mr Miliband’s past mistakes and the SNP Government’s own narrow-minded fixation on wind renewables.

What we’re left with is an energy policy that will neither deliver sufficient electricity to power Scotland sustainably, nor enough carbon reductions to tackle climate change.

Struan Stevenson,

(Scottish Conservative MEP)

crash research

Trying to trace airman’s family

I am part of the Melton Aviation Society and am running a project that is researching the crash of a Wellington bomber – LN281 – from No. 14 Officer Training Unit, RAF Market Harborough, with the aim of erecting a memorial next year which will be the 70th anniversary.

I am trying to trace family members of Sergeant Robert McCudden who was a wireless operator serving with the RAF.

He was born in 1925 and was the son of Alexander and Christina McCudden, of Kilncroft, Selkirk.

Robert was killed on August 13, 1944, when his Wellington bomber crashed in Melton Mowbray,Leicestershire, with the loss of seven out of eight crew members. He is buried in Selkirk Cemetery.

I would like to hear from anyone who is related to Robert and has any information about him, his time in the RAF and the crash.

Obviously, we would love to invite family members to the unveiling of the memorial next year.

Brian Fare,

(telephone: 07885 938945; email: brian.fare@hotmail.com; web: www.brianfareaviationart.co.uk

wind farms

Flight path for geese

I was riding near the Halliburton Road on Monday morning and was surprised to see several skeins of geese flying north east from Rumbletonrig towards the loch on the moor.

I do hope that TCI have been made aware that this seems to be a flight path of the geese. They seemed to be going directly over the area proposed for the windfarm.

Tim Culham,


Hule Moss

Goosanders fly in to roost

Hule Moss on Sunday (October 6) at daybreak was cool but bright and clear.

This revealed pinkfoot numbers had steadily increased to 3,500. One surprise was the presence of significant numbers of goosanders, nearly 250. Hule Moss has now been designated as their main roost site in the Borders.

They later flighted out, with the pinkfoot towards Rumbleton Rig on their way to feeding grounds at Smailholm and Bemersyde Moss.

Steven Oliver and James D. Lough,



Panic in the ‘Yes’ ranks

Congratulations to Richard Walthew onn his extended letter.

Up until now I had not observed any connection between David Cameron and the Nazi Party. Surely Sam would refuse to allow him to attend the Group meetings?

At the same time I feel that credit must be given to his friend Alex Orr for his extreme industry in producing the same letter for the Berwickshire News, Southern Reporter and Scotsman all on the same day or perhaps an indication of panic inthe ‘Yes’ ranks at the decline in Poll ratings?

James D. Lough,

Norris Close, Duns.

will aid

Make a Will month

Five solicitors officers in Berwickshire and East Lothian have kindly agreed to join Will Aid’s Make a Will Month to raise money for charity and help local people put their affairs in order.

They are offering to draw up Wills for your readers during November without charging their normal fee. Instead they are suggesting that the will-maker donates a similar amount to Will Aid.

This fantastic initiative (which this year celebrates its 25th anniversary) encourages people to write a proper Will to protect their loved ones and raises money to help others.

But, its success depends to a great extent on local publicity. The Will Aid campaign raised over £2m nationwide last year and with your help we can do even better in 2013 for our anniversary campaign.

Solicitors in Berwickshire taking part in the campaign are: Melrose and Porteous, Mrs Melanie Roberts, 47 Market Square, Duns, telephone 01361 882752; J.D. Clark and Allan, Miss Fiona Gaddes, Tolbooth House, Market Square, Duns, telephone 01361 882501; Melrose and Porteous, Mrs Melanie Roberts, 1 Manse Road, Eyemouth, teklephone 01890 751557.

Those in East Lothian taking part include: Garden Stirling Burnet, Mr A. Borrowman, 39 High Street, Dunbar, telephone 01368 862376 and Brooke and Brown WS, Mr Brian Dale, 116 High Street, Dunbar, telephone 01368 862746.

Please contact any of these solicitors to book you appointment in plenty of time before. November.

Sue Davison,

Will Aid.


Collingwood shipmates

Thanks to the local newspapers round the country printing my recent letters about HMS Collingwood, many readers who have served there, those on courses, cooks, Wrens, stewards, stores, etc, have been in contact.

We can see that a lot of old shipmates are going to be reunited. Some, now well into their 80s, like those who served back to the 1940s, and many from the 1950s, 60s through to the 1980s.

A superb reunion weekend has now been arranged for next April and is already booking. This is for those who served at HMS Collingwood, including wives, husbands or partners, who are always welcomed. This will take place in the Chatham area to coincide with the 70th Birthday of HMS Cavalier which will be open to the public. The reunion includes entry to Chatham Historic Dockyard and its exhibitions.

An added bonus and a delight, is to hear from the sons and daughters with tales and photos. And to answer a common question, yes we would like those photos or good copies for our archives and for the nostalgic displays at the reunion.

For details of the HMS Collingwood Association, and the reunion, contact the membership secretary Peter Lacey, Heathfield, Lapford, Crediton, Devon. EX17 6PZ or email him placey58@btinternet.com and please mention this newspaper.

The same deal applies to this letter as the previous ones, bring this letter with you to the reunion and I will buy you a tot and a sherry for your wife or partner and drink a toast to ‘The Local Newspaper’?

Mike Crowe,

Chairman, Lake Sandown, Isle of Wight.

great north run

In memory of Grandad

I would like to thank everyone, most sincerely for all the sponsorship money, especially the ladies of Cornhill who ran a bingo night and to the girls of Cornhill Village Shop.

I ran the Great North Run 2013 in aid of Parkinson’s Disease, in memory of my Grandad, Tucker Hope. It was an amazing experience and would look to do it again next year.I have raised £1,100 so far with more still to come in. A very big thank you to everyone for their kindness and sponsors.

Sarah Hope,

High Street, Coldstream.


Eyemouth’s generosity

May I, through your paper, thank the people of Eyemouth who gave so generously to the World’s Greatest Coffee Morning which raised a fantastic £863.20.

A special thank you goes to the residents of Swan Court who raised £356.60.

Liz Lough,

Eyemouth Branch, Macmillan Cancer Support.


Pay-day loan despair

The new findings on pay-day loans released by Christians Against Poverty are deeply concerning.

They highlight the desperate lengths that people are going to in order to pay their soaring bills, feed their families and keep a roof over their heads.

It is particularly worrying that many of the payday loan companies do not check that individuals have sufficient income to pay them back. With 80 per cent taking out more than one loan to repay existing borrowing, coupled with interest rates as high as 4,000 per cent, it is all too easy for people to end up trapped in a spiral of debt that is difficult to escape.

Many people on low incomes are unaware of benefits or charitable funds available to them. We found that almost half of people who were unemployed and had taken out a pay-day loan had never checked their welfare benefits eligibility. Yet benefits and charitable funds exist to help those with financial hardship – something that could happen to anyone one of us at any time due to illness, job loss, family breakdown etc. We urge anyone who is struggling to consider all their options. They can use our free website tools at www.turn2us.org.uk to check entitlements to benefits and tax credits, and see if they are eligible for one of 3,000 charitable grants which could make all the difference.

Alison Taylor.

Director, Turn2us, Shepherds Bush Road, London.


Caring council

We carried out a Funeral at Cockburnspath on Monday, October 7, only to find the road from the church to the cemetery closed for resurfacing.

Scottish Borders Council were approached to see if we, as the cortege, could get though instead of going on a 20 minute diversion, and at the time agreed by us and the council, all workmen, machinery and barrier’s were cleared from the road, and we were able to pass through and with respect from all the workmen there.

On behalf of myself and the family a big thank you to Scottish Borders Council’s roads department for all the help given.

William Ian Main,

Funeral Directors, Dunbar.


Great support

I would like to say a big thank you to eveyone who came to support our car boot and table top sale on Saturday. There was a great turnout which helped us to realise the fantastic sum of £570. In such austere times we really are very grateful for the help and support of our staff, service users, parents and carers and of course the good people of Duns and further afield.

All at Lanark Lodge,