Olympic flame brings repeat of history

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From: Don Booker, Hall Place, Monk Bretton, Barnsley.

olympic medallist Dorothy Hyman carried the Olympic flame through a former mining village in South Yorkshire on its journey through the UK.

It was Lundwood, a deprived area of Barnsley, but the flame brought out hundreds of villagers who lined the streets. Children from local schools made their own torches and sang as the procession moved through the area.

What a joy to see so many smiling faces from people forgetting the problems of the world and what a flame can do.

The occasion meant that history was repeating itself, because in Millennium year the Bishop of Manchester, Nigel McCulloch, carried the flame on a giant candle through a Lundwood primary school as part of his Carry the Light of Christ campaign into the new millennium.

Sadly, the Grange Gate school had nothing planned for the start of the new century and they asked me for ideas. I approached Bishop Nigel who at the time was Bishop of Wakefield, and he agreed to extend his campaign.

I asked every child, every teacher, secretary, dinner lady and caretaker to take part by writing a prayer and making a wish for the new Millennium. More than 350 responded, yet only two had ever visited a church.

Bishop Nigel and his wife Celia attended sessions and took along the giant candle which had started its journey to the Holy Land. Every child touched the candle before returning to their classrooms.

The flame from the candle brought joy to the school where all those prayers were used over the years at assemblies.

Let us hope that the light from the Olympic torch will bring as much happiness to the world as that candle flame – which had been seen in every church in the diocese – did for the young people of Lundwood.

It certainly made a bright start to their new century.

From: John Gordon, Whitcliffe Lane, Ripon.

The first Olympic Games were held in 797 BC and lasted one day. Competitors were awarded a palm leaf for running fast. To run fast seems to me to be a very worthwhile accomplishment. One can imagine all sorts of situations when it would come in useful.

To dive synchronously, however, which is one of the events in the modern Games, seems a very odd thing to want to do and I cannot see when you would need such a skill. Does not this indicate that the modern Games last too long and are too sophisticated?

From: Brian Sheridan, Redmires Road, Sheffield.

john Eoin Douglas’s main objection to the Olympic Games is that if any of the Royal Family or Margaret Thatcher were to die during the proceedings, contractual obligations would preclude abandonment of the Games, thus showing disrespect for the deceased (Yorkshire Post, July 30).

Is he seriously suggesting that any major event or festival should not be embarked upon just in case someone “important” dies?

The Heysel football disaster was a different matter: both young and old perished tragically. The death of the senior royals or Margaret Thatcher will be sad, but not tragic. That European Cup Final should never have gone ahead. There was also a stronger case for abandoning the 1972 Munich Olympics.

If there is a sad (not tragic) event during the Games it should not be beyond the organisers to deal with it sensitively.

Logicality meets spin

From: Malcolm Naylor, Otley.

Tim Friedman (Yorkshire Post, July 29) accuses me of political logicality for calling for an end to the privatisation of essential services and public utilities. I accuse him of political spin and misrepresentation.

He attributed my arguments as being uncritical support for trade union leaders. This was never mentioned or implied.

Union action is an entirely different issue and occurs indiscriminately in both private and public services. It is a symptom of much deeper problems of inequality that exist in society. It has nothing whatsoever to do with nationalisation. So, who is being politically illogical and who is using political spin?

Privatisation has its place but not in the provision of essential public services and only when properly controlled and limited in scope. To place security, education, health, water, energy supply and the economy in the hands of global capitalists is dangerous and puts this country at risk. Their only loyalty is to greed and personal wealth. Not the well-being of this country.

Fortunately, the general public have more common sense than to believe Tim Friedman’s political dogma and spin. Such arguments insult our intelligence and should be treated with the contempt they deserve.

A burden shared...

From: Ross Taggart, The Avenue, Eaglescliffe, Stockton-on-Tees.

as a lifelong Marxist, I am naturally an avid listener to BBC Radio Four’s Today programme as it fearlessly continues the glorious struggle to rid us of the brutal coalition Government 
that is presently trampling the faces of the workers into 
the mud!

I am though a little puzzled as to why the presenters of the programme have made barely a mention of one particularly enormous social injustice, namely the successful effort by the well-paid and wealthy to avoid paying their fair share of the tax burden. Their television colleagues seem equally averse to broaching the subject.

Could it be a vicious capitalist plot to silence our intrepid crusaders? Or is it, as I have 
heard suggested, that they are 
all merely comedians?