Rules change

TIM Stroud’s letter (Journal, April 20) exemplifies how the rules of engagement have changed since the June, 2016 referendum. It now appears that any objection to the process of the upcoming Brexit negotiation must not be challenged because ‘the people have decided.’ He knows full well that Mrs May’s decision to go to the country is based purely on short-term electoral advantage and buying herself time. He also knows that the Prime Minister has all the necessary tools at her disposal to obtain her objectives without calling this election.

What happened to her promise that the 48 per cent would be listened to?

It has been dumped under the ludicrous banner that ‘No Deal is Better Than a Bad Deal’. The debates in Parliament should be rigorous and challenging and the Remain voices heard even though it is accepted that Brexit will still happen. I feel that this country has changed for the worse and I object to being referred to as a ‘traitor’ or ‘saboteur’ by that pernicious publication the Daily Mail or being told by those who complain about all the laws that Brussels impose on us but cannot name, that if I don’t like it I should emigrate. I care about and contribute to this country as much as they do, but my caring is based on analysis of each issue and then reaching conclusions, not blind nationalism.

Stephen Hatcher, Salisbury

EU links vital

I READ with sadness the letter from Timothy Stroud regarding the General Election.

I was taught that when your friends and neighbours are in difficult times then you should offer a hand of friendship stand by them in their time of need. Mr Stroud appears to live by a different mantra. I hope the majority of the good people of Salisbury see the sense in supporting continued close links with the EU, for the sake of the EU and the UK, and will reject the ideological rush for a hard Brexit espoused by the Conservative party.

While I cannot fault the PM’s political savvy in calling an election when the opposition is weak, it comes at a time when 30 members of Parliament and election agents are under investigation by the CPS for election expenses fraud – conveniently forgotten by Mr Stroud.

Toby Proctor, Salisbury

£420 cycle

THE 1st Downton Scout Troop wishes to thank everyone who supported their cycle endurance event at the Downton Cuckoo Fare on Saturday. Twelve scouts participated in the 24-hour activity, each scout contributing a minimum of two hours’ cycling. There were exceptional performances from Sean Q, who cycled for more than six hours as well as Paul D and Ollie, who both cycled for more than five hours.

The purpose of this scouting activity was to raise money for an African scouting charity and also for the scouts to complete a couple of requirements for their International Challenge badge. Donations received were just over £420 and the cumulative distance travelled on the two exercise bikes was about 800 miles (nearly 1300 km).

Kevin, Rikki and Chil, The Downton Scout Leaders

Budding trees

IN RESPONSE to the letter in last Thursday’s Journal about new trees in Victoria Park, the ones which appear to be dead are beech trees and they will soon be coming into bud.

Bob Norman, Salisbury

Binding plans

DO not the rules and regulations need to be changed with regard to planning?

In reality the conditions should become a legal document and be binding when passed.

Far too often plans are adjusted or altered to the contractor’s advantage. If they are on the drawing or description then they should be binding through until it is completed.

Even before that, many plans are turned down on personal reasons brought up by councillors, many who cannot even interpret a plan or recognise the area they are in.

I was once a victim of that and waited for two years and two changes of window design and redrawn plans done. An expensive and time wasting period.

In the end I had an independent review by an good architect who could see no reason why the first plan was ever turned down in the first place.

Planning designated councillors really do need training in areas.

House buyers these days pay far too heavy a price and put up with far too much poor workmanship to discover they are not getting what they thought they were.

John Wigglesworth, Durrington

Under radar

PEOPLE of Salisbury like their music; you only have to look at the support there is for the numerous excellent choirs that abound our city.

I was therefore disappointed to find that when I attended a special concert laid on by the Royal British Legion Salisbury City Band last Saturday afternoon at St Thomas’s Church the audience was extremely thin on the ground. Perhaps it just slipped under the radar.

Left wondering why, as the concert unfolded, I could only conclude that many must have thought “oh dear – military marching music – not for me”. Oh, how you missed out, people of Salisbury! This was a concert of wide-ranging music under the considerable skills of musical director Ed McDermott, who conducted a very talented band, many of whom came originally via that most demanding of taskmasters, the Military Bands of the Royal Marines School. Just to get in you must be proficient in at least two musical instruments and only the best of the best survive.

Needless to say Ed was one, having had the honour of playing on the Royal Yacht Britannia for her Majesty the Queen. And, didn’t it show!

A magic arrangement had the strong tune of Loch Lomond, with that heart tingling Oh Danny Boy arising somewhere from the centre, and inter-reacting to each other as the piece develops. Another hugely evocative piece was the slow movement from Philip Sparke’s Theatre Music. For lovers of jazz (and there are plenty of them around Salisbury), there was a brilliant medley from between and just after the wars – it got the whole of St Thomas stomping despite the low attendance. For those who love their musicals, there was a superb range of music paying tribute to Rodgers and Hammerstein. At the end, the band rightly got their standing ovation and demands for more. Those who came know just how good it was.

Given that all this talent is given free to raise money for charities (and don’t forget the many hours of rehearsals) it is sad that the Royal British Legion Salisbury City Band does not have more support. So, please, next time you see or hear that they are producing a concert, don’t have preconceptions that it is all about marching music. As Ed himself says, “I just love conducting this band – I can throw anything at them and they can play it, and play it really well”.

And Ed, although I’ve never met you, perhaps you need to review your approach to advertising. It is always difficult when dealing with charities as to how much you can afford to spend to try to enhance what may come in. Good luck.

John DM Taylor, Great Wishford

I’m grateful

I HAD a fall in Durrington on April 20 – my fault – and being dazed, as I could tell I hadn’t broken anything (except my glasses). So I got on the bus, where a kind young lady gave me half her packet of wipes to help clean up the bleeding.

The driver, Scott Bailey and a lady called Margaret who volunteers at Alabare, were so kind and I stayed on the bus with them in Amesbury until the paramedics arrived.

The friendly and patient driver and Margaret and the young lady, and the paramedic staff, were also very kind and like the Salisbury Reds bus company, really deserve medals.

The paramedic staff checked me over and took me to Durrington Avon Valley surgery to see the efficient medical lady there. Smiles help and patience everywhere – and Steristrips to patch me up.

On Saturday I went to the Salisbury drop-in centre where the doctor, Odette, repatched my Steristrips.

Thank you so much to everyone who gave me so much kindness, help and reassurance.

Mary Barnes, Durrington

Proud of UK

BRITAIN keeps its promises, particularly to those most in need. For 10 years, our commitment to spend 0.7 per cent of our national income on aid has been testament to that, and featured in all the major political party manifestos running up to the last General Election.

I am proud of the UK’s history of providing life-saving aid to the world’s most vulnerable children. As the first major economy to reach this spending target, the UK has shown how a transparent, independent and accountable approach to aid funding can change the world.

It is the right thing to do, and it shows the world that we are bigger than just ourselves. Immunising millions of children against preventable diseases makes us a bigger Britain. Supporting our doctors and nurses to lead the fight against Ebola makes us a bigger Britain. Creating jobs and trade opportunities in developing countries makes us a bigger Britain.

This election must be an opportunity for all parties to reaffirm that commitment. We are big enough to help people both at home and abroad. Let us all call on our future politicians to show their commitment to the most vulnerable by protecting UK aid.

Maxine Moore, Winterslow

Help thanks

BEMERTON Heath Residents Association would like to thank everyone who supported our Easter event on Sunday, April 16. Amazing turnout, lots of smiling faces from most age ranges. Huge thanks also to Smyths Toystore for donating eggs we very much appreciate it. Thanks to all the helpers too.

Jennifer Bolwell, Bemerton Heath Residents Association

Efficient care

MAY I, through your letters column, express my thanks to the Salisbury Ambulance Service and A&E for their efficient care and kindness to me when I was admitted to A&E in the night in mid-April, and able to return to my daughter’s the following morning.

Myra Neasham Aubade, Pembrokeshire


I enjoyed the Journal Bygone feature of April 20, but was left wondering whether Mr Bailey ever completed his retirement project; does anyone know?

Paul McNulty, Salisbury