Defend NHS

WHEN people cast their votes today they may be thinking of their jobs, their incomes or their tax bills. Fortunately most voters will be in good health, but sooner or later all of us, and our families, will come to need our National Health Service.

As I have pointed out before in letters to The Journal, this government has manifestly failed to support the NHS in many ways – chronic underfunding, picking an unnecessary fight with junior doctors, neglecting mental health and pursuing a deliberate and ideologically driven agenda to privatise services.

Salisbury District Hospital is not under immediate threat, but similar hospitals elsewhere have closed or been downgraded. Anyone who truly cares about protecting the long-term future of our NHS should think carefully about whether they should vote for a party which, at its heart, does not value or cherish our most precious public service.

Dr Robert Scott-Jupp, Salisbury

It was a slur

CLLR Walsh’s personal attack on the chairman of the area board (Journal Postbag, June 1, ‘Minority plea’) was completely unwarranted, politically motivated, and a rather nasty slur on her Christian faith.

In fact the majority decision taken to deny the LGBT group funding this time was reached because the application informed us that “We hope that approximately 15 young people locally will benefit directly” and that other funding was being secured from elsewhere.

Consequently, I concluded that this was not good use of the board’s very limited funds. I was reassured that the project would go ahead with or without funding from this area board and joined all the board members, including the chairman, in wishing them every success in their venture.

Cllr Derek Brown, St Mark’s and Bishopdown

Car park coins or car park con?

IN a slightly paranoid moment I wondered if there is an ulterior motive in the dragging of heels going on over updating the parking machines to take new legal tender.

Could it simply be that, given long enough, we will all abandon coins and use our phones to buy our parking, at which time the cash machines will be removed or, even cheaper sealed, reducing the cost of collection of heavy coins and also improving security. The councils involved will then earn even more from charging their iniquitous fees. Or am I just an old cynic?

John Robert Dalton, Middle Woodford

Thanks to all

THROUGH your columns please may I thank all those who contributed to the Diocese of Salisbury’s Lent Appeal for emergency aid for South Sudan.

The total raised exceeded £82,000 and is being used by Christian Aid as part of the Disaster Emergency Committee’s response to famine in that country.

It was an extraordinarily generous response that will save lives and help build sustainability for the future.

In fact, Lent gifts from the Diocese to South Sudan exceeded £115,000, thanks to other local initiatives such as the churches in the Chalke Deanery raising £12,000 for their link Diocese of Cuiebet, and St Mark’s in Salisbury giving £15,000 for ministerial training in a country where the churches are almost the only hope for building civil society.

Generous giving is not all one way. We receive greatly from this international link and we also learn that being generous is part of what it is to be human. Thank you to everyone who contributed.

On Sunday, June 18, from 2-5pm, my wife and I would be pleased to welcome as many as can come to our home, South Canonry in the Cathedral Close, for the annual summer fete for the Medical Link for the South Sudan at South Canonry.

The Rt Revd Nicholas Holtam, Bishop of Salisbury

We need help

FOR National Volunteers’ Week (June 1-7) I want to pay tribute to all of our volunteers at Wiltshire Air Ambulance.

We are a small team and our volunteers are so important in helping to raise the £3.25 million a year we need to operate our lifesaving service and for our major fundraising appeal to raise the remaining £1.25 million for our new airbase at Semington, near Melksham.

Our volunteers give up their free time to spread the word about our lifesaving work. As well as volunteering in our shops, they represent us by attending events which raise funds for us, by manning stalls and selling our merchandise, in all weathers.

They also give talks to groups in the community, carry out bucket collections and sort and distribute our 30,000 Christmas cards.

We have many requests to attend community events which raise funds for Wiltshire Air Ambulance and in 2016 our volunteers covered 163 events, amounting to about 1,304 hours – an incredible achievement and thank you to everyone who took part!

We are truly grateful to our volunteers for their commitment and we’d love for more people to join us.

If you are interested in volunteering drop us a line at or call the charity team on 01380 739453.

Jemma Brown, Volunteer Manager, Wiltshire Air Ambulance

Was this true?

AFTER reading in the Journal, June 1, the letter from Gabriel Pepper of Salisbury about living in Salisbury all of his life (he is now 74), how then does he happen to have lived in Andover all his life (as printed in the Andover Advertiser the day after the Journal came out)?

I know people get very passionate about their voting but surely they cannot live and vote in two places at once. I hope to read your reply in your letters page soon.

Thank you.

V Clarke, Barford St Martin

This was bias

OUTRAGED to see that The Journal had accepted and published a full page advertisement for John Glen, especially as it was placed directly opposite Questions to Salisbury Candidates.

I was under the impression that local newspapers should maintain a neutral position in the run-up to an election. This looks very much like an endorsement by the paper, especially as it probably gives no time for a right of reply by other candidates.

Mr P I and Mrs H R Poole, Andover

EDITOR'S NOTE: The Journal does not endorse any political party. It accepts advertising from all parties so long as it is within the rules of the Advertising Standards Authority. The Labour Party also advertised in the same edition.

Is king right?

HAS King Arthur Pendragon mixed up his solstices? Perhaps he should attend the winter solstice instead of trying to get free parking for the summer solstice (Journal, June 1).

Our ancient ancestors apparently feared that, as the winter days got shorter, the sun might vanish forever. It is thought that Stonehenge was built to show the return of the sun at the winter solstice and the lengthening daytime.

A topical question: as a royal personage, how can King Arthur Pendragon stand for Parliament? MPs are normally commoners, not nobility or royalty.

Richard Maples, Salisbury

Votes thanks

MAY I, through your newspaper, extend my thanks to all those who voted for me at the recent city elections. As my supporters will know, unfortunately I did not have enough votes to become the councillor for the Harnham ward for a second term, but I am sure that the new councillors will take up the challenge to represent the district. I wish them every success in their new role in the future Graham Alexander Former city councillor (2013-17) Moth muddle THE photographs accompanying your article ‘Look out for rare larvae’ (Journal, May 18) are of webs with the larvae of the lackey moth, not the small eggar moth. The two species are closely related and the larvae of both form webs from which they feed. However the appearance of the larvae of the lackey and the small eggar is very different. Unlike the small eggar, the lackey is relatively common.

Your readers should not follow the suggestion of releasing moths into places where they do not already occur as this could affect existing populations of other species and cause confusion for biological recording.

Do by all means make the observations David Hargreaves suggests but then release the moths back where you found them.

Dr John Muggleton, Wilton

How intrusive

I HAVE every sympathy with Sarah Hannah, (Journal, May 25). I attended one of their ‘work assessments’ with a gentleman who has mental and learning difficulties and who has been on benefits most of his life.

One question was: ‘Have you ever considered suicide?’, which I felt was very intrusive and objectionable. I nearly asked the interviewer if she had ever considered a diet but resisted the temptation.

He was placed on the ‘work’ schedule but we had that overturned on appeal.

Name and address supplied

Act urgently

AMESBURY residents – are you aware that when you pay your council tax, a proportion goes towards the building of a new history centre in our town??

However our council are dragging their feet and a building has not been started.

A new council has been elected by our community and as a resident I am asking them to take some urgent action on this.

Christine Thompson, Amesbury

Music matters

I WAS heartened to read Dave Andrew’s piece about how strong music is in Salisbury, despite government cuts.

After graduating, I taught class music in a variety of secondary schools. At a comprehensive school with 2,000 pupils I had a good music allowance. Each child in a class of 30 could have an instrument to play. We had a variety of guitars, melodicas, recorders, etc. It was great fun.

Years later I was in a Portsmouth shop when a young man came up and asked: “Aren’t you Mrs Buckley? You taught me the guitar in class. I still play, Miss.” What a tribute.

Yes, music in schools is highly important. Well done music teacher Dave Andrews, director of music. Music matters.

Deidre Buckley, Amesbury