October 10: Prayers for the people of Teesside

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Clergy united after closure of Redcar steelworks

From: Dr. Mark Bonnington (New and Independent Churches in the North East) Chair of North East Churches Acting Together, the Rt Rev Paul Butler (Bishop of Durham), the Rev John Claydon (Regional Minister, Northern Baptist Association), the Rt Rev Seamus Cunningham (Bishop of Hexham and Newcastle), Bishop Terry Drainey (Bishop of Middlesbrough), the Rt Rev Paul Ferguson (Bishop of Whitby), the Rev Ruth Gee (Chair of the Darlington District of the Methodist Church), the Rev Stephen Lindridge (Chair of the Newcastle District of the Methodist Church), Majors Denis and Olive Lomax (Divisional Commanders, Northern Salvation Army), the Rev Lis Mullen (Moderator of the Northern Synod of the United Reformed Church), the Rev Paul Revill (Regional Minister, Northern Baptist Association), the Rt Rev Frank White (Assistant Bishop of Newcastle Diocese).

THE people of Teesside remain deeply uncertain and concerned about the potential for future steel production in the region. In recent days we have watched and listened as discussions have unfolded around the future of steel production on Teesside, but nothing has been said that would allay the uncertainty as to whether the Redcar plant will be mothballed, or closed completely.

What we do know is that this will have a profound effect on the people of Teesside. Some 1,700 posts will be made redundant directly from the steel works, 500 from the coking works and other businesses will be both directly and indirectly affected. Families and local businesses will suffer as income in the region drops. We know that this sort of economic impact on a community has far more reaching effects on relationships, health, child poverty and employment. This in an area already struggling with the effects of austerity measures.

We welcome the Government’s offer of £80m to support the community. We hope that this, in partnership with others, is part of a long-term commitment to support a community that has been committed to making steel production work on Teesside. Whilst acknowledging that the global economy is challenging for steel production and being appreciative of recent statements of support by the Business Minister, many in this region would have hoped for more direct support for the industry at a time when much publicity is being given to the Northern Powerhouse and the economy of the North East.

We would urge that there be strategic and forward looking thinking and planning for the region and for other areas of the country suffering from the continuing decline of heavy industry.

Local churches will continue to pray, offer pastoral care, assist those affected in material and practical ways and work with others to seek outcomes that lead to a flourishing Teesside.

Please join us in praying for the people of Teesside.

Travel to the airport

From: Mrs Barbara Farrer, New Yorkshire Cottages, Rawdon, Leeds.

WITH regard to the proposed link road from the A65 to Leeds Bradford Airport: Have any of the Leeds City councillors taken the bus from Leeds to the airport? The main delays are from the middle of Leeds to the Horsforth roundabout, and not much can be done about that section of Kirkstall Road..

At the roundabout at Horsforth at the moment, there is a big hold-up but hopefully – when all the work has been finished – traffic should flow better.

From the roundabout, there is almost a clear run through to the airport.

Since the sequence of lights have been changed at the Rawdon crossroads, there do not appear to be long queues waiting to turn onto the A658.

Traffic does build up at the Bayton Lane crossroads, but surely a change to the traffic light sequence could be implemented. This before the drastic step of carving through green belt land, costing millions, is taken.

Concentrate on home

From: Peter Rickaby, West Park, Selby.

PAROCHIAL politicians seem to know nothing better than sticking their noses into matters which are not of their concern, a recent example being Coun Julie Dore, leader of Sheffield City Council, instigating a debate within the council chamber so she can criticise the Government’s stance on the Syrian refugee crisis.

Her brief is to look after Sheffield, not to tell the Government how to run its foreign policy.

The toddler firefighter

From: Jeanette Garnett, Leeds.

AT three and a half in 1939, my husband, Brian Garnett, was the mascot for Gipton Fire Station.

The men made him a uniform and fashioned him a belt and axe. He and featured in an article by The Yorkshire Post to help with recruitment.

The article was reported as far away as Australia.

They also made him a pipe from a stick and acorn and he sat and ‘smoked’ with them in their rest room. He has lots of photos of the men and himself and some of the men on parade and being inspected.

He moved to Gipton Fire Station in 1937 when he was about six months old.

In those days all three emergency services were combined so not only were they firemen, they were also police and ambulance. Perhaps the current firefighters would be interested to see the photos.