From: Trevor Brockway, Upper Fant Road, Maidstone, Kent.
I HAVE just returned from a few days walking in the Yorkshire Dales National Park. While walking between Aysgarth and Hawes, I noticed many dead rabbits beside the track.
These were found 100-200 metres apart and did not look diseased. I then realised that I had not seen a single bird of prey on these grouse moors. I had seen many red kite, buzzard and kestrels on my journey from Kent. This aroused my suspicion that the rabbits were being used for bait to lure the birds down to be shot or perhaps the rabbits were poisoned. This would be a criminal act under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1982.
The following days were the same. While walking between Aysgarth and Askrigg and between West Burton and Horsehouse, there was not a single bird of prey.
I have since read two reports which say that the park is a hotspot for bird of prey persecution.
I am aware that grouse shooting brings in valuable income to the area, but so does tourism, such as recreational walking, etc. There should be a way to rear grouse but still protecting our beautiful birds.
Also, talking to local people, it would appear that it is common knowledge that birds of prey are shot. Although this is only anecdotal, it is another indication that the law is being breached and the problem does exist.
I will certainly not return to this area of the Dales until the persecution of birds is stopped, and would hope others would not visit.
I am sorry to be writing this letter but I feel so strongly about the issue and hope that it may go some way to stopping the illegal practice.
Happy 80th to Sir Alan
From: Edward Grainger, Botany Way, Nunthorpe, Middlesbrough.
I am sure that I echo very many thousands of Tykes in wishing Sir Alan Ayckbourn a very happy 80th birthday next month (The Yorkshire Post Magazine, March 23) and to hope that many more plays, after his recently completed 86th, come off his amazing production line.
When visiting Scarborough for the cricket on North Marine Road to support Yorkshire’s first team players, an evening stop-off at the Stephen Joseph Theatre is a must, especially so if one of Sir Alan’s plays is on offer.
I had the very great pleasure of meeting Sir Alan when my son Neil appeared in four of his plays and I remember in particular My Sister Sadie and The Champion of Paribanou.
On a later visit to see an Ayckbourn production, he kindly asked about Neil who, as with many actors, faces struggles to get work and when I mentioned this Sir Alan remarked that Neil was very talented and shouldn’t have any problem which was such a nice thing to say.
I know Neil regards his time at Scarborough as a stepping stone in his acting career to even greater things, one being playing opposite Martin Shaw in two episodes of Judge John Deed and appearing in two series of Hebburn, the Geordie sitcom, playing the pub singer Gemaise.
Congratulations Sir Alan/Mr Scarborough, your place as one of the greatest living playwrights is assured.
In sickness and in health
From: Esther Drewett, Station Road, Otley.
In response to letter from Helen Walker, CE Carers UK (The Yorkshire Post, March 26). As one of the so-called “unpaid carers” she refers to, I worry about the attitude to family values this phrase engenders.
I am first and foremost a wife of 52 years and a mother and consider it part of that privilege and I paraphrase “to hold family together and enable loved ones to get the most out of life”.
When I have approached authorities in Leeds area for advice and support on ongoing care for my husband the response has been helpful, appropriate and not intrusive.
The promise I made included the words “in sickness and in health” and though it can be frustrating and restricting sometimes that’s what family is about. Sadly we are losing that UK as we look more and more to Nanny State.
Check sums over schools
From: Nicholas Binns, Summer Lane, Wirksworth.
I WAS disappointed by the way in which one of your journalists swallowed the press release from the “School Cuts Coalition” (The Yorkshire Post, March 25). With a name like that they are hardly independent!
Another newspaper recently analysed a similar series of claims by a similar group, by checking accounts submitted to Companies House.
It turned out that the headteachers were earning £150,000-plus, while cleaning and equipment budgets had increased.
As my old maths teacher would say, “show your working”.
Christa sets high standard
From: Jean Wade, Oldcotes, Worksop.
I look forward to Christa Ackroyd’s extremely well-written articles (a rarity in present day journalism) in Life & Style every Wednesday.
This week’s, focussing on the victims of Peter Sutcliffe, was no exception.
Christa is indeed a true champion of common decency.
From: Mr R Urquhart, High Hunsley, Cottingham.
Now that postage stamps are to cost 14 bob (1st class) and 12/6d (2nd class) I felt obliged to advise you that the letters I submit to your good selves will be even more infrequent!