From: Canon Michael Storey, Healey Wood Road, Brighouse.
AT this time of year it is interesting to see how Christmas is marked in the towns of Calderdale.
This year there seem to have been more than the usual number of Nativity Plays in schools. In contrast, in Sowerby Bridge, there has been a “Winterlight” Festival, seemingly based on pagan traditions. In Halifax the birth of Mohammed was marked by 6,000 people coming together with a banner, the width of a street, proclaiming: “Birthday of the final Messenger of God , Muhammad.”
All this would make for something of a mystery to anyone coming here from another planet. Is this the season to celebrate the Birth of Jesus, Son of God? I do hope that all the Muslims in that procession do thank God that there is freedom in this country to proclaim their message. Just imagine a Christian banner being taken round the streets of any major city in the Middle East. Sadly, the Christians would be quickly “removed”.
Thank God for Jesus who loves us all.
From: Mike Padgham, Chair, Independent Care Group, Scarborough.
THIS has been a turbulent year and for many people, Christmas and New Year is at last a time when some people can relax and spend quality time with their family and friends.
But as we enjoy the festive period I want us all to spare a thought for those people who maybe won’t enjoy this time of year as much as others.
For some older and vulnerable people, this can be a lonely time, particularly for those with few friends or relatives close by. Please try to look out for anyone who might be lonely this Christmas and call in on them or even invite them to join your celebrations. There is an excellent charity, Silver Line, which provides support for older people. You can call them if you or someone you know might be experiencing loneliness on 0800 4708090.
And also please remember the carers, paid and unpaid, who will forego their break to ensure those people who need care get the help they need. They will be working throughout the festive season, in many cases round the clock. In 2017 we surely have to find a way to get them better recognition and a fairer deal for social care too. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you all!
Unions plot disruption
From: Phil Hanson, Baildon.
WE have several unions striking as we run up to Christmas and the prospect of more (Bernard Ingham, The Yorkshire Post, December 21). One thing is very clear in that these industrial disputes are fuelled by the political agenda of the union leaderships.
At a time when Labour is in disarray and faces wipe out at the hands of Ukip, it is clear the left have decided to cause disruption across the country in an attempt to undermine confidence in the elected government.
Those arguing that train drivers cannot be trusted to safely close train doors are blind to progress and stuck in the 1960s where unions fought to retain the status quo. Technology has brought about massive change that enables trains, including the London Underground, to be operated without any drivers. So as I say, these strikes are nothing more that a conspiracy.
Dark times for town lamps
From: ME Wright, Harrogate.
THANKS to Harrogate Civic Society and English Heritage, a handful of the town’s handsome, historic ‘gas’ lamps are now protected from the predations of North Yorkshire County Council (The Yorkshire Post, December 19).
Most of the original 900 or so have already been replaced by scrawny lengths of scaffolding pole, topped with either an up-turned boat or, slightly less obtrusive grill pan – completely out of keeping with their Victorian surroundings.
The pre-conversion uproar in the local Press carried a list of NYCC’s questionable excuses. They dredged up the spurious and irrelevant ‘reason’ that they were actually 1930s cast-offs from Leeds and therefore bogus.
Funding for good causes
From: Philippa Charles, Director, The Garfield Weston Foundation.
REGARDING your article ‘Warning of crisis as 25,000 struggle for home’ (The Yorkshire Post, December 19), I am keen to let charitable organisations like St George’s Crypt know that there is funding available through the Garfield Weston Foundation, in particular through the Weston Charity Awards.
The awards work tirelessly to alleviate disadvantage in the fields of youth, welfare and community, helping those in need across Yorkshire. Each winning charity in 2017 will receive £6,500 in funding and get valuable access to a team of senior business mentors through our partner Pilotlight.
Applications for the Weston Charity Awards 2017 are now open at www.westoncharityawards.org. The deadline for applications is 13 January 2017.
Merkel faces backlash
From: Hilary Andrews, Nursery Lane, Leeds.
I KNOW Nigel Farage can be a pain, but I think that Angela Merkel will be worried about the nationality and immigration status of the man who ran alorry into the Christmas market in Berlin.
Next year is an election year for her and she lost a lot of popularity with the German people because of her policy of letting all immigrants come to Europe and to Germany in particular. Is the end of the European Union in sight?