Readers’ letters

Crosstalk 37 11
Crosstalk 37 11

Find out what our readers think of the stories making the Gazette headlines.

Hotel’s a dream

Dear Ed, – During the summer holidays I helped my 11-year-old son to realise his dream of cycling from Brighton to Glasgow to raise awareness of a Scottish charity he strongly cares about.

The charity is called Mary’s Meals; it feeds children in their place of education in 16 of the world’s poorest countries. Its vision is that every child will receive a daily meal in their place of education.

It started in October 2002 with enough to feed a small community of 200 for a year in Malawi; to date it is feeding more than 557,000 children daily.

There were lots of requests for me to support my son, each being met with a resounding NO, until my bright, usually cheerful lad cried out ‘How do you know it’s not possible? You’re not even trying’.

With that I felt he flipped my parenting around and I felt challenged to at least to try.

So I booked time off from work and, to cut a long story short, his dream came true, we reached the border in two weeks and Glasgow in two weeks and three days.

We had our fair few challenges. However, each one was met and dealt with beautifully, thanks to some wonderful people we met on the way. Which is why I am writing to you – to say thanks to the staff and manager of the Abington Hotel, all of whom were amazing.

We arrived at the Abington Hotel the weekend of the Edinburgh Tattoo only to find that there was no room as it was the busiest weekend of the year.

We had nowhere to stay, my son had a really bad leg injury, it was getting late and everywhere was full up.

I was trying to stay strong as we had just received bad news over the phone that my mother had just passed away.

I went back into the hotel and asked the manager (Duncan) if he could help us by keeping our bikes and getting a taxi to the nearest B&B available – 15 miles away – until the morning.

He was concerned about my son’s injury and gave us a warm place to attend to it, as well as soup and bread.

When asked what my budget was, I said that my son was my priority so I didn’t have one; I’d pay whatever it took to attend to my son’s wound and deal with terrible news.

The manager, even though they were busy, organised a nearby cottage for us to use for the night.

He said that the restaurant had finished but if we got settled and went back to the hotel he’d make sure we got a meal.

After our meal he joined us and told us he hoped we would get a good night’s sleep and be sure to go back in the morning to have breakfast.

He added that he wanted no payment – instead asking us to donate what we could afford to the charity.

This man is a true gent and treated us with true dignity, despite the fact we were dirty and wet after a tough day.

He gave us the strength to carry on and do the last 40 miles to Glasgow and reach our final destination. Charlie did incredibly well with his leg injury.

His Nana would have been so proud of him. You can check out his justgivingpage at www.justgiving.com/charliedoherty

Both Charlie and I would like to thank Duncan and the hotel staff – including Katie Wales, Jean McLelland and Catherine Tweedie – for showing us such kindness. We shall always remember them. – Yours etc.,

JULIE AND CHARLIE DOHERTY,

Erskine Close,

Bewbush Manor,

Crawley.

Make it happen

Dear Ed, – I refer to the letter entitled “Too little, too late” in the Gazette of November 3.

While the writer’s expectations may not have been fully met, my experience has shown that it can be effective to “accept that which we cannot change”, look positively at the opportunities which present themselves and apply our energy where it will have an impact.

I don’t have the knowledge to comment on what may have been promised in the past. What I can say is that any implied criticism of Biggar is misplaced.

Yes, we have worked closely with South Lanarkshire Council to improve the resources available in our community, but no, this was not “council-led” – it was led by the community.

We do not consider such investment our “right” – all parties had to work very hard for what has been achieved. But we believe ourselves privileged to be able to contribute to improving the quality of life for members of the community.

Since its refurbishment, the Corn Exchange has been used much more extensively, by many different groups, for all sorts of events and functions.

A lot of volunteer activity goes on behind the scenes and this is challenging and very time consuming.

However, the Trustees regard it as their obligation to ensure that this continues. We have to balance the books but we always welcome constructive criticism and new ideas and try to respond positively.

Beneficial change has been achieved through discussion, hands-on involvement and determination to deliver a result. It is up to us, individually and collectively, not to dwell on the obstacles but to take the opportunities and “make it happen”. – Yours etc.,

MIKE CHAD,

Station Road

Biggar.

Election secret?

Dear Ed, – It is an accepted principle of democratic elections that voting is normally by secret ballot. The recent election for the Royal Burgh of Lanark Community Council candidates has taken it a stage further. The election itself appears to have been a well kept secret.

There were no posters visible and the only prominent publicty given in your newspaper was the paid for Statutory Notice in a back page.

The polling station itself in the Tolbooth had a very small notice stuck on a window. It was staffed by two young ladies from 8am to 8pm and by 4pm, only 38 voters had attended.

The very unfortunate impression given is of public apathy in the Burgh or of local authority inefficiency. I know this to be untrue in both areas as there has been shown in the past a great deal of interest in Community Council activities and this lack of publicity does not reflect well.

As the founder chairman and as returning officer involved in several previous elections I found it most disappointing.

Most importantly it is very unfair to the public-spirited candidates who stood for election. – Yours etc.,

T HENRY SHANKS,

Friarsfield Road,

Lanark.

Editor’s Note: The election received coverage on P5 of our October 20 edition and P6 of our October 27 edition. I believe this was more than adequate reporting of a town’s community council election.

Quiz thank you

Dear Ed – I would like to thank everyone who took part in the charity pub quiz and fun night at Inn on the Loch recently. People donated most generously and their efforts raised £275.65 for Alzheimer Scotland. – Yours etc.,

NIKKI McLACHLAN,

Nemphlat Hill.