Letters, January 15 2021


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Photograph brought back 1960s memories

The photograph published in your November 27 edition alongside news of an electricity upgrade on Jura and Islay was of great interest to me as, when I was a trainee surveyor, we did the line all the way from Lochgilphead via Tayvallich.

BICC submarine department then took the cable over to Jura where we picked it up, went across the island via Craighouse and then across to Port Askaig on Islay and terminated in Bowmore.

We must have built a great line as that was about 1962.

We stayed with the McArthur family in Craighouse which was the best digs I have ever been in. I was brought up in Princes Street and it was the first time I had been out the Wee Toon. I was only 16 or 17 so it was strange to me.

I loved the folks on the island who made us so welcome. Once I qualified, I went around a bit, to Africa, west and east, and the West Indies, but Jura was better than anywhere I went. I hope the people of Jura see this.

Leslie McArthur, Carluke, South Lanarkshire.

Icy and ungritted pavements

I have contacted our roads department about the icy and, at times, ungritted pavements in my council ward.

Many of my justifiably concerned constituents have been in regular contact with me on this matter.

With all that is going on, whether it’s the latest lockdown or a decreasing local authority budget, our hard-working roads workers are thinly stretched and do not have an easy task. However, when it comes to our pavements and roads, safety must always come first.

Our pavements must be safe to walk on all year round.

Councillor Alastair Redman, Kintyre and the Islands.

Failure to make Rest and Be Thankful progress

The Scottish Government spin machine’s use of phrases last week like ‘encouraging progress’ about the works at the Rest and Be Thankful cannot disguise its failure to make any real progress towards a solution.

At an online briefing session last month, I questioned Transport Minister Michael Matheson on why it says it could take at least five years before it even starts work on a proper solution.

He waffled on about planning permission, environmental impact assessments and compensating landowners. This is ridiculous. I’ve attended 14 years of meetings on the A83 and all we get is fobbed off with pathetic excuses.

We need a government which will delivers results, not spends all its time plotting to get independence while ignoring the real issues like a closed A83 which blight people’s lives.

Councillor Alan Reid, Cowal.

Fundraising a part of your new year’s resolutions?

The new year is usually a time for a fresh start – making resolutions, getting fit, setting new challenges and goals. But with the continuing uncertainty caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, it seems harder to commit to making a change.

With restrictions ongoing, it’s becoming even more important for us to find new and innovative ways to raise vital funds for NSPCC Scotland to help children at risk of abuse and neglect.

Children have been greatly affected by the pandemic. Since the first lockdown measures were introduced, the average monthly number of referrals from the NSPCC’s helpline to agencies in Scotland, such as the police or children’s services, have been more than 50 per cent higher than the first three months of 2020. And the effects are far from over.

Even with social distancing, there are still many ways you can fundraise for us. From hosting a virtual quiz or coffee morning to selling handmade crafts, cakes or old clothes, we’ve got lots of great virtual fundraising ideas you can try while following the Scottish Government’s advice on social distancing.

By volunteering just a couple of hours each month, fundraising in your local area, you can help make 2021 a better year for children.

So please think about using your new year passion and enthusiasm to come up with some ideas to fundraise and help us be there when children need us most.

To find out more or to request your fundraising pack, visit www.nspcc.org.uk/support-us/events-fundraising/new-year-challenge or email jen.lindsay@nspcc.org,uk

Jen Lindsay, community fundraising manager for NSPCC Scotland.

Make #OneSmallChange to cut your risk of stroke

A new survey by the Stroke Association shows that 45 per cent of people in Scotland don’t know that high blood pressure is the biggest risk factor for stroke, one of the leading causes of death and disability in Scotland.

This is really worrying because 13.8 per cent of people in Scotland have high blood pressure.

Smoking, drinking alcohol, being physically inactive and sitting for long periods, can contribute to high blood pressure, diabetes, and being an unhealthy weight, all of which increase your risk of stroke.

You can start to reduce your risk of stroke by making small changes to your lifestyle.

To launch the first ever national Stroke Prevention Day on January 14, we’ve worked with our partners at the Rotary Club, LoSalt and OMRON Healthcare to help you make #OneSmallChange to reduce your risk of stroke.

It’s often easiest to start off small and pick something that’s achievable for you.

This may be swapping your after-work alcoholic drink for a soft one, getting up and moving regularly during the day, cutting down on salt or sugar, or joining an online exercise group.

Just go to our website www.stroke.org.uk/PreventionDay and receive tailored advice plus monthly emails with hints and tips.

We would like you to pledge to make the change for three months, then let us know how you get on and how you found ways of sticking to your pledge.

The things you tell us will help others across the UK to reduce their risk of stroke and lead a healthier lifestyle in 2021.

Juliet Bouverie, chief executive, The Stroke Association.