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Hospice now

HOW can there be an objection to relocating Marie Curie Hospice?

HOW can there be an objection to relocating Marie Curie Hospice? Do the Solihull people know what a terrible disease cancer is?

Do they know one in three people get cancer?

I sat with one friend who died in Warren Pearl. Now another friend is very ill. I will not close my eyes. We can’t cure cancer but we can ease the suffering for patient and family. Let’s not delay giving the help they need - a large and light hospice. Forget self, act now.

Mrs Marjorie Turner, Smirrells Road, Hall Green


Shed help

WE have a large green wheelie bin for garden waste, a black box for glass and bottles, a green box for paper, a white hessian bag for plastics, and soon our black wheelie bin for general waste. Please, when will we be receiving an extra garden shed to house all these receptacles? I hope it is soon.

Mrs L Sargent, Solihull


No perks

MR Tom Jordan in his letter of September 11 really should get his facts right. There are NO perks to being disabled.

My wife has been in great pain with a serious spinal problem, which makes every step very painful for over 20 years. She also has arthritis, and is generally unable to walk without support.

She receives the middle level of Mobility Allowance. This provides nothing towards transport. No car is provided - ever! We have to pay full car tax, and all the costs incurred in running a car, ie insurance, repairs, breakdown cover and servicing.

Is it too much to ask that some provisions be made for those whose lifestyle is limited by, and governed by, the pain they have to endure hour after hour?

Peter Miles, via e-mail


Still angry

I AM confused by Tom Jordan’s reply to my letter (Sept 4) regarding parking for the disabled at Solihull Hospital.

His reference to “such as she” suggests that he thinks I am the disabled person and that I receive financial benefits for being so.

This is clearly not the case – it is my 95-year-old father who holds the blue badge. He does not have a car and does not receive mobility allowance or any other financial assistance.

My main contention is that if Warwick and Redditch hospitals can allow free parking on the production of a blue badge, why is Solihull Hospital so averse to doing the same?

Since I wrote my letter to the chief executive at Solihull Hospital I have received a reply informing me that the main reason is because the open slots along the hospital service road are abused by drivers who do not hold blue badges.

This is particularly strange because the hospital has an arrangement whereby they can levy a £25 penalty notice on a driver who parks in these areas without a blue badge or a parking fee ticket. With the correct informative signage regarding this, non-blue badge holders would be more likely to refrain from parking in these areas.

So my case still stands - blue badge holders should be allowed to park free of charge in Solihull Hospital car park.

Diana Ellis, via e-mail


Dunce, David

I WISH the real picture of educational achievement were as rosy as David Jamieson believes (Solihull News).

Unfortunately his analogy of exam performance to running the mile simply doesn’t work.

The way we measure and run the mile hasn’t really changed, even if fitness levels have. But the way we measure students’ academic success has.

With more coursework, less challenging papers and more chance to retake it is as if students are driving rather than running the mile.

This is not to denigrate the hard work of teachers and students, yet both groups face an environment where politicians constantly tinker and confuse matters. Labour’s ‘McEducation’ policy has added layers of unnecessary bureaucracy, dumbed down and actually increased social divisions nationally.

And the naive dream of 50 per cent of young people attending university is parodied by the shortage of places on these courses and spiralling tuition fees. Nobody is fooled into thinking that Britain is brighter than ever. Slogans, gimmicks and turning schools into ‘mini-businesses’ might make good PR but the basics have been allowed to sink in a sea of phoney publicity.

Solihull Teacher


Flag thanks

THE Trustees of Age Concern Solihull wish to thank those who volunteered to collect on our flag day in the borough on Saturday, August 29, and also the public who gave generously and enabled us to collect a total of £999, our expenses being £45.51.

LE Bourne, chairman, Age Concern Solihull


Not a penny

I WOULD like to take issue with ‘know-all’ Tom Jordan regarding disabled parking. Not all disabled badge holders receive a mobility allowance. I can only walk a short distance due to arthritis in both hips and my spine. I also have heart disease. I, and many like me, do not claim a penny from the state. I am just grateful for my badge. In future get your facts right before going to the press.

Very angry reader, Solihull


Care questions

THE Care trust is responsible for buying health and some social care services for Solihull. A core function is to ‘commission’ services that meet local need and preferences.

Last year the Trust chairman resigned and in October one of the existing directors was appointed in his place.

Five months later the Trust forecast a deficit of millions of pounds - £12m was the last figure I saw. It is to be hoped that a difficulty of this size didn’t suddenly appear out of the blue. Moreover, the Trust’s funding from the Department of Health increased again this year by another five per cent - £16m. Trust reports refer to a ‘demand management’ programme to cut the deficit. What does that mean, and are we seeing the most obvious effects of this ‘demand management’ in maternity, and what other ‘demands’ are being managed? The Trust’s management costs of £9m certainly should be. They now cost each of us £48 a year, more than double what it was two years ago!

The council’s Scrutiny and Overview Committee has the job of holding the local NHS to account on our behalf. It would be interesting to know what its view is on the financial difficulties of the Care Trust and the effect these will have on providing safe maternity services at Solihull. The Leader of Solihull Council and two other councillors are Care Trust directors - they are appointed because they are councillors - and may be able to help colleagues in this respect. They certainly have a significant say in how the Care Trust is run and what services we get.

Mr T Singh, Coventry Road, Sheldon


Time to say sorry

YOUR correspondent Nikki Sinclair (Letters, Sept 4) feigns apology, when perhaps a genuine apology is required, for her party’s constant and negative demand for Britain’s withdrawal from the EU just when virtually the whole of our continent wants a united Europe, which in turn is vital to our interests.

Yet for all the denigration, your correspondent’s predictability was in blaming the EU just at a time when France and Germany are already beginning to extricate themselves from the global crunch and for all the criticism of the European budget, it amounts to less than 1.5 per cent of Gross Domestic Product.

One only has to look at the growing magnitude of the problems that need to be tackled at EU level such as energy, security, climate change, terrorism, transport etc and in macro economy diplomacy - nations such as China, India, United States and the European Union which will become intense and the UK could become isolated if we leave the EU.

As for the Lisbon Treaty, anyone taking an objective look would conclude that it’s certainly not the monster depicted by right wing political zealots.

G Rea, Yardley


Let’s twist again

I’M writing this letter to see if any of your older readers would still be interested in enjoying some night life.

I’m looking for people of 60 or over, but over 50s would be more than welcome and older people with disabilities, who would still like to dance to 60s and 70s disco music and meet new friends.If you are interested please e-mail me on If I get enough response I will enquire about venues and get back to you.

Gina Nicholson, Falkland Way, Solihull


Hymn to a triumph

I FEEL I must tell you about a most enjoyable evening last Friday at the Solihull Arts Complex Theatre.

Martin Hone introduced the audience - which included the Mayor - to Malcolm Stent and the Salvation Army Fellowship Band who performed a programme containing Malcolm’s favourite hymns. It was a great selection, starting with ‘Guide me o Thou Great Jehovah’ and including ‘Crown Him with Many Crowns’, ‘How Great Thou Art’ and ‘Thine be the Glory’.

Maggie O’Hara blended in with her delightful rendition of ‘The Old Rugged Cross’ and ‘The Wind Beneath My Wings’.

It was good to hear Malcolm Stent’s wonderful Brummie humour - it emphasised that comedy can be great without being blue.

I’m sure that the whole audience left having enjoyed quite a different evening - an inspirational fun night.

The event was so over-subscribed that another evening has been arranged for next February.

JL Hart, Cheltondale Road, Solihull


Shout it out

I HAVE just read the Faith Matters column by David Simpson. I can’t quite see the point. It’s dull - or is it a history lesson? There wasn’t any life in the piece, nor is there a message.

It is likely to put people off reading the Bible. The Jews have always been God’s chosen people, but from the beginning they have disobeyed God. Yes they have been punished and yes they are coming back to their homeland. This is a prophesy as a sign of the end times, this proves the Bible to be right. But Mr Simpson, why did you miss out the most important parts of the Bible?

It seems to me you have a few important facts and you have become excited, but it’s all exciting. Isaiah, Jerimiah. Ezekiel, Daniel and so on have all prophesied the future and all the prophesies have come true.

The arrival of the Messiah, that’s proof, Jesus Christ, God’s only begotten son, the teacher, the Rabbi, the light of the world (John 8 v12), Jesus who told us (John 14 v6) it is written I am the way, the truth and the life, no one comes to the father except through me.

Mr Simpson this is the proof you should be shouting about.

P Thomas, Baxters Rd, Shirley


Hand it over

I AM writing in response to ST Vaughan (Letters) who was discussing people who steal from charity shops by taking items placed in their doorways.

It is questionable whether theft is committed, as the person who makes the donation has relinquished their ownership of the property and theft can only occur if there is an owner.

I think the more pressing point is the fly tipping you - ST Vaughan and fellow people commit by placing items on the highway. I think most charities ask for donations to be made when their shops are open so as to avoid these offences.

S Hemmings, Solihull


Small change

RECENTLY I ran out of small change so I called into the Royal Bank of Scotland on Solihull High Street.

I politely asked the cashier to change me a £20 note for some smaller change - I was politely but firmly informed that unless I could prove I was one of their customers they could not assist me.

I re-entered the branch 30 minutes later and went to the enquiries counter and asked if my previous refusal was a bank policy and was told the management had instructed the staff on no account to change English currency notes for non-customers.

I went round to Barclays and was greeted with much courtesy and told they would change my note and how would I like it to be subdivided etc.

I then went into my own bank to see what attitude they would have, I was immediately asked was I a Lloyds customer or not? I then asked would this make a difference and was told it was not Lloyds TSB policy to help people out with change unless they banked with them. Across the road the HSBC kindly changed my note without any asking who did my banking for me.

It seems appalling to me that two of the larger banking chains which are being so highly subsidised by the public purse should be so totally unco-operative to someone wanting such a little assistance.

Name and address supplied


Enough of this

THE present government has the power to dictate our national policies because they have more than half of the MPs in the Commons, a majority of about 50.

How did they earn this majority? They did it by getting just 36 per cent of the votes cast in the UK 2005 general election. Yes - 36 per cent! That means that a ‘mere’ 64 per cent of the votes in the election went to other parties. When I last studied maths, 64 was a lot more than 36.

Labour thinks this system is so good that after 12 years of power they have done nothing to change it - though they have a more fair and rational system for MEPs and for Welsh and Scottish assemblies.

David Cameron says he does not want to change the system because he does not want people in ‘smoke-filled rooms’ to decide which parties join up to form a government. So he’s saying he doesn’t believe in two parties sharing together in the government, he wants the largest party to get a free ride to total power.

There are lots of different election systems in the democratic world, like in New Zealand, Germany, Ireland, for example, where there are still constituency MPs, but a fairer result based on the votes cast.

It’s a pity the Labour and Tory power grabbers can’t grow up, and catch up with the 21st century, instead of perpetuating the one-party-state based on an outdated undemocratic system.

D Hartley, Damsonwood


Snowy’s joy

I WOULD like to say a huge well done to 2nd Olton (St Margaret’s) Brownies!

As part of the centenary celebrations for Girl Guiding, each Rainbow, Brownie or Guide unit was invited to take part in a ‘Changing the World’ Project. 2nd Olton chose to support the project in aid of Camfed. Camfed works in some of the poorest countries in Africa to enable girls to go to school – as many as four out of five girls in Africa do not go to school because of poverty. The project had two challenges – to raise funds for Camfed and to spread the word about Camfed’s activities.

The Brownies took part in several activities where they compared their lives to that of girls in Africa, and thought of all the benefits of going to school. They also made African-style masks and drums.

I’d like to say a special thank you to Maddy’s grandparents for their very generous donation. Also a special mention to the Brownies who attend Our Lady of Compassion (Katie, Francesca, Caitlin, Olivia, Grace, Licia, Abby, Maddy and Sophie) who made bracelets and sold them at their school fair in aid of Camfed, raising a massive £50.10.

2nd Olton Brownies meet at St Margaret’s Church, Olton on Thursday from 6pm to 7.30pm. We have finished now for the summer, and will restart in September, when any enquiries are welcome.

Ruth Galvin, Snowy Owl, Solihull


On schedule

WELL done to Centro regarding the news that it has won an award for progress and improvement.

When it comes to public transport it is easy to knock the downside of the service - and no one denies that there is much more work to be done to improve the passengers’ lot, but let’s acknowledge the fact that service provision and information has generally been moving in the right direction.

A well-deserved award.

Phil Tonks, Operations Officer for England, Bus Users UK


Hospice fury

I AM appalled at the ill-informed bile that normally sound-minded individuals have levelled at those opposing the proposed Marie Curie Hospice at Marsh Lane. It is clear that many people confuse the wonderful work done by the Marie Curie caring staff with the hard-nosed business tactics of those who manage the charity.

It is also clear that most people have little or no understanding of the Marie Curie proposals, which is not surprising as Marie Curie has been secretive in its dealings with residents in and around Marsh Lane. Virtually every question asked by residents has been ignored.

The first thing to note is that the new building is so much more than a hospice. It is industrial sized with the in-patient beds occupying less than a quarter of the proposed building. Yet there are 179 office, meeting and conference spaces.

Secondly, there is simply no evidence to support the statements being made by Marie Curie that they would have to leave Solihull if they can not relocate to Marsh Lane.

Furthermore, anyone who thinks this will be a peaceful site where patients can sit quietly in the gardens or open their windows to gentle bird song needs to think again. It is wedged between two dual-carriageways.

There is also no evidence to support the claim that Marie Curie has searched 24 sites over the last eight years.

Finally, to the claims by Marie Curie officials that this would not become a precedent for further building on green belt land. Forgive my cynicism, but it is exactly that – any land developer simply needs to buy up relatively cheap green belt land, partner with a charity and then create a land-swap deal like Marie Curie has with Taylor Wimpey.

Name and address supplied



Cathrina Hulse
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Annette Belcher
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