Letters to the Mercury - 1 July 2011

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Wonderful support

Thank you to the people of Stamford who turned out to support the festival parade of floats through the streets of Stamford and on the Recreation Ground on what was a wonderful day last Saturday.

Our special thanks go to the schools, the clubs, and all participant groups who worked so hard in preparing their floats and entries.

Thanks also to all the clubs that provided such fantastic entertainment on the Recreation Ground during the afternoon and to our friends at Stamford police station, CS Ellis, RAF Wittering, the fire and ambulance services together with St John Ambulance.

Thanks to the generosity of the people of Stamford we collected a substantial amount of money, all of which will now go to deserving local charities and good causes.

David Epps

President, Stamford and District Kiwanis

MEMBERS of Ketton and District Royal Naval Association would like to thank the people of Stamford and beyond for their wonderful support of our tombola stall held at the Stamford Festival on Saturday.

It was a great success, and the money collected will go to local charities at Christmas.

Once again many thanks.

MG COPELAND

Honorary secretary, RNA, Churchill Road, Stamford

High time we moved on

I SEE Prince William has been made a colonel, how hard that must have been for him!

The Queen has waved her magic wand and he is now the Duke of Cambridge. His wife, like many other young women, was an ordinary person walking down the street. She bags herself a prince and the next thing we know she has the grand title of Duchess.

To me this whole royal thing has become the stuff of fairytales.

Now we are about to see at Wimbledon the top tennis lady players having to perform the demeaning practice of curtsying to probably the likes of Kate Middleton, who I would think finds it very embarrassing.

I think as a nation it is high time we moved on a bit.

BRIAN SHERWIN

Dyke Fen, Bourne

Downside of academies

The Mercury has recently contained many reports about schools who are celebrating their conversion to academy status.

All these reports stress the alleged positive results of conversion, particularly the extra money.

However, there is no extra money. Academies are given a one-off £25,000 start-up grant to cover the legal and administrative costs of coming out of local authority control.

After that academies will be given only the amount of money which the local authority previously kept to pay for necessary office and legal responsibilities.

Although it is true that some schools that converted early did receive a windfall, the Department for Education has warned that such funding is unsustainable.

And some of these newly-converted academies have discovered they have been financially disadvantaged because they are having to pay more for the licences for their school administration IT system.

But the worst aspect of academy conversion from the point of view of parents is that if they have an unresolved complaint against an academy they will not be able to take their complaint to the local authority because local authority control has been removed.

Parents will have to complain directly to the Secretary of State for Education.

At the present time the Department for Education has no section set up to deal specifically with complaints about academies.

Similarly with admissions, if a parent is not happy because a child has not been given a place at an academy, then s/he will not be able to use the local authority appeal procedure but will have go to an independent panel set up by academies themselves.

If the parent is still not satisfied then s/he will have to appeal directly to the Secretary of State. It is unclear how the Department will be able to cope with admission appeals from hundreds of parents.

Unfortunately, school governing bodies, parents and the public are not being told the downside of academy conversion.

They are only given the spin sent out by the Department, whose website has airbrushed out local authority maintained schools.

Governors and parents who want a more-rounded picture of academy conversion can log on to the Local Schools Network, www.localschoolsnetwork.org.uk

Janet Downs

Bridge Street, Deeping St James

We’re just being realistic

Residents in King’s Cliffe never wanted any kind of hazardous waste dumped so near to the village.

This was imposed on them several years ago by a High Court decision which over-ruled the wishes of all local decision-makers including Northamptonshire County Council.

One of the reasons for opposing it was the fear of where it would lead, and we were right to be fearful.

Now it seems acceptable for us to receive low-level radioactive waste on top of hazardous waste, and yet we are accused of being alarmist and over-dramatising the situation.

It suits the Government to solve the radioactive waste problem by bringing it to a secretive dump in the countryside where it hoped it could get away with it without too much opposition.

Far from over-reacting, we are simply being realistic and protective of our environment, our residents and also opening the eyes of everyone to what could happen anywhere.

Paul and Jane Rose

Bridge Street, King’s Cliffe

Good luck to the strikers

Good luck to the teachers and public service workers in their fight with the government over changes to their pensions.

I hope the strike is totally disruptive and able to prove to the government that they cannot over ride existing contracts at will.

The government truly did inherit a difficult situation but neglect always to tell us it was the fault of their banking friends.

Friends who have not had their contracts changed but have had their bonuses increased and no doubt their pensions.

Why one rule for the bankers and another for the teachers?

The coalition are not hesitating to spend £40m per month on getting regime change in Libya, probably small change on what is being spent in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Money which could have been spent on reducing our deficit, protecting teacher’s pensions and saving the jobs of doctors and nurses in our health service.

I wonder if the pension schemes for the government ministers are to be changed?

Will they have to work longer, pay more and get less?

I doubt it, although as most of them appear to be millionaires it will hardly affect them.

George Hetherington

Kettering Road, Stamford

Kindness at the chip shop

I would like to thank Blair Butler and Conor from the Boundary Fish and Chips restaurant in Deeping St James for rescuing a damsel in distress.

Last Saturday my frail and elderly mother was on her mobility scooter for the first time and was caught in the heavy rain.

As she was trying to find shelter near the Boundary the staff saw her distress and came to her rescue.

She was given a chair to sit on and a hot cup of tea.

When I came to pick her up and wondered how to get both her and the scooter home the manager, Blair Butler, offered to put the scooter in his trailer and drive it back to my mother’s with the help of his young member of staff Conor.

I can’t thank them enough for their kindness and thoughtfulness.

They went out of their way to help a stranger who wasn’t even their customer.

If anyone says chivalry is dead, I beg to differ.

Susan Scammell

Forge Court,

Market Deeping

A rude awakening!

Of course people were quite right about that rude statue of Michelangelo’s David in Edmonds Close.

I hear from a well- informed source that some folk also want something done about that new rudie-rudie shop in the High Street – you know, the one next door to jewellers.

They have women’s rude undergarments on show just inside the door. I mean the rude things that support their, well, their – you know, their top bits!

The moral decline in this town is appalling.

Len Loullis

Hillary Close, Stamford