Find out what our readers think of the stories making the Gazette’s headlines.
Dear Ed, – Now that the referendum debate has placed Scotland in the public eye, nationally and internationally, is it not time to promote and celebrate our past and present achievements?
Last week’s article on the two Carluke Andrews winning the National Fourball title almost 50 years ago did just that.
For over five hundred years Scotland and golf have been synonymous.
In 1457 James II banned golf in favour of archery, claiming it was “dangerous and a nuisance”. Fortunately in 1502 his grandson James IV repealed the ban, purchasing in Perth his own set of clubs thereby setting a precedent for subsequent Stewart monarchs.
His grand-daughter Mary Queen of Scots was a keen golfer (she introduced it to the French).
It is claimed that her son James VI/I took his clubs to England in 1603 resulting in the founding of the Royal Blackheath course which claims to be the oldest in the world, though this depends on the criteria applied.
The nine-hole Musselburgh, Old Course could also make this claim. Whatever the verdict, the very successful Ryder Cup this year might not have taken place if two Scotsmen, Robert Lockhart and John Reid, from Dunfermline had not exported the game to America in 1888 when they formed the Apple Tree Gang in New York which launched golf in the USA.
Earlier on in 1680 on Leith Links the first international game against the “Auld Enemy” took place. The contenders were the Duke of York (later James VII/III) and John Patersone, an Edinburgh shoemaker, against two arrogant English men who believed they would win. Dream on! With his half of the wager John built a house in Golfers Land in the Canongate which still stands today, a lasting reminder of Scots prowess.
The spin-off is not just national glory but a thriving golf tourist industry, demonstrated by the Ryder Cup attendance, and world-wide demand for Scottish golf course design and construction.
Though the game may have originated in the Netherlands, a derivative of the Dutch “colf”, Scotland has made it her own. Not bad for a nation the size of Scotland. – Yours etc.,
Adoption Wdoption week
Dear Ed, – At Barnardo’s Scotland we believe that every child has the right to grow up in a safe, secure and loving home. This especially applies to children who are taken into care because their parents are unable or unwilling to look after them.
We strongly believe it doesn’t have to end how it began - no child is beyond help - and for some, adoption will be their best chance of a permanent, loving family life.
I am very proud of our long and successful record of finding new families for children who cannot – for whatever reason - remain with their biological parents.
This week is National Adoption Week and this year the focus is on finding new parents for groups of brothers and sisters.
According to research carried out by the British Association of Adoption and Fostering around half of the 6,000 children in the UK currently waiting to be adopted, are in sibling groups.
I believe, as far as possible, brothers and sisters should be kept together.
As a father of four children, I couldn’t begin to imagine a circumstance in which they were wrenched apart.
That’s why we are launching a new appeal to find new parents willing to adopt groups of siblings, keeping them together and creating the secure and permanent home-life they so deserve.
We recognise that nowadays families come in all different shapes and sizes. That’s why we are casting our net far and wide in order to get the best match. We welcome enquiries from all, irrespective of age, faith, sexuality, marital status or background.
Adoption is a two way street. Clearly it is life changing for the children but it is also a life-enriching experience for the adoptive families.
Becoming a parent can be a daunting prospect for anyone – but at Barnardo’s Scotland we walk side by side with our adopters.
We pride ourselves on the quality of preparation, training and on-going support we give adoptive families to help them adjust to a ready-made family.
So if you think adoption could be for you, all we ask is for you to contact us on 08000 277 280 or www.barnardos.org.uk/WhyAdopt. – Yours etc.,
Dear Ed, – The UK’s tourist attractions are a hugely important part of our national heritage, but according to our new survey a third of the UK’s top tourist venues are not fully accessible to wheelchair users.
We also found that three out of 10 venues did not have essential accessibility information on their websites, only 17 per cent had all their staff trained in disability awareness and only 15 per cent were equipped with hoists – an indispensable item for many disabled visitors.
I work for Vitalise, an amazing national charity that provides essential respite breaks for people with disabilities and their carers.
We did the survey because we regularly take our guests on excursions to tourist attractions around the country.
We think that people with disabilities have a right to access all that society has to offer, so why should our proud cultural heritage be off limits to disabled people? Access should be a right, not a privilege.
What’s more, venues will be missing out on valuable income – the annual spending power of people with disabilities is around £212 billion.
We think visitor attractions should be talking to people with disabilities about accessibility. After all, who better to ask?
They can start by talking to Vitalise’s guests, who would be only too happy to tell them where they’re going wrong and what they need to put right!
To get things moving we’ve started a new campaign called #AccessNow. I’d like to call upon your readers to get behind #AccessNow by telling us your stories of poor accessibility - help us gather the evidence we need to push for urgent change.
For more information, visit www.vitalise.org.uk – Yours etc.,
GP Waiting times
Dear Ed, – I think it is an affront to the people of Lanark that the waiting time for an appointment with an unnamed GP in Woodstock Medical Centre is three weeks, and four working days for a telephone consultation with any doctor. – Yours etc.,
NAME AND ADDRESS SUPPLIED.
Dear Ed, – Due to a recent definitional change, nearly 20 per cent of all pupils in Scotland are now assessed as having an “additional support need” (ASN) by the Scottish Government.
Once only encompassing those with a significant support need, a range of pupils must now be given additional support.
This has diluted resources to the point that many severely learning disabled children and young people – those the Muir Maxwell Trust works with on a daily basis and the very group most in need of assistance – are in danger of simply being left behind.
The Scottish Government had a chance to rectify this situation with its most recent Draft Budget. Sadly, officials have ignored this burgeoning problem and promised no additional funds to help local authorities cope.
As schools buckle under the strain, the severely learning disabled are not necessarily getting the level of help they require to flourish.
The Scottish Government needs to act immediately to end this state of affairs. We must give Scotland’s severely learning disabled children and young people the proper level of support they so desperately need. Yours etc.,
Muir Maxwell Trust.