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Sir, – Although I have never bought into the doom and gloom about Cupar it was still wonderful to read such a positive headline on the front page of last week's Fife Herald.
I can't remember Cupar looking so good – the flower displays and colour throughout the town is as good as anywhere and better than 99.9 per cent of other places that I visit and the Cupar in Bloom team deserve the thanks of all Cupar residents. There is vibrancy in the town with flourishing community groups, voluntary organisations, sports clubs with Cupar Hearts being multi-trophy winners – note the new clubhouse for the tennis club at Duffus Park with the new all-weather pitch just about to get underway.
Our parks – Duffus and Haugh – are the envy of many similar sized towns. Where else could you see a park as colourful as the Haugh in Cupar? The four schools in Cupar and the schools in the surrounding villages are amongst the best in Fife and the pupils that they 'turn out' should make us proud of our young people.
A vibrant town and community depends though on local people getting involved and continually coming up with new ideas to refresh the town and local community.
With that in mind I would like to remind all Herald readers that all the community councils in Fife will be 're-elected' over the next few weeks. Community councils play an important role in all of our communities – in many ways they act as a community watchdog, they play a co-ordinating role and they are absolutely crucial in representing the interests of their local community. There are also many things happening in our communities that wouldn't be there without the involvement of the local community council - e.g. Farmers market in Cupar (Cupar Community Council); Community Speedwatch (Cults and Pitlessie Community Council); Over Development in Ceres (Ceres Community Council).
So if we want to retain strong communities and build on what we have I would encourage local people to consider putting themselves forward for their local Community Council. For details of how to do this, please contact the local office in County Buildings, Cupar. – Yours, etc.
CLLR. Bryan Poole,
49 South Road,
Cupar KY15 5JF.
Sir, - Over the past two weeks you have published two contradictory letters under the title 'Council waste', the first from 'Disgusted council employee", indicating that Fife Council staff are highly inefficient and wasteful and the second from Kate Hughes, saying that the council staff are hard working, conscientious and efficient.
I think this discrepancy might be resolved if we looked at some objective measures. I thought an easy one to look at would be the number of 'sick days' per employee. Unfortunately, Fife's website (fifedirect) does not give sick day data. However, I tracked down an article from the Sunday Times (January 18, 2009 reported on the Taxpayers Alliance site). The following figures are given for 'sick days' per year per employee in Scotland: Private sector 6; local authority average 14; Fife 16
It will be interesting to see if other readers can suggest any other objective measures of council performance. In the meantime, I think the score is Disgusted Council Employee 1, Kate Hughes 0. – Yours, etc.,
DR JAMES CARTER,
Sir, – Asking Green Cat Renewables acting for farmer Douglas Rennie to think again about their application for three 100 metre high turbines will fall on deaf ears. They have already ignored the Ministry of Defence who signalled loud and clear to Green Cat months ago that if there was an application for these turbines on that site they would object and they have.
This would-be as a response to a pre-planning inquiry from Green Cat to the MoD along the lines of question: "Here are the co-ordinates and these are the heights of the turbines in our Clatto wind cluster proposal, are there any problems?" Answer: "Yes, they are all in line of sight of the air traffic control radar at Leuchars and if you make an application for this proposal we will object".
Nevertheless, without proposing any mitigation like drastically reducing the height of the turbines Green Cat blunders on and submits an application. There are many other reasons why this application is unacceptable and Fife Council should not recommend approval for this development with an outstanding objection from Defence Estates so this is, to use windfarm parlance, a "show stopper". With this knowledge, why did they go ahead with the application?
The farmer chose this form of diversification and has no doubt paid chunky fees to his agent for his expert advice and guidance.He should maybe think about doing something else and consider asking for his money back. – Yours, etc.
Coaltown of Callange,
Sir, – Last week your correspondent, Mic Watts, expressed some confusion as to why a migrant worker was pursued so vigorously by the police for shining a laser-pen at a Tornado aircraft. The tone of his letter is that this might be seen as a 'non event' and a waste of tax-payers money.
May I explain why this is a serious problem? Put simply laser pens can dazzle or blind a pilot either temporarily or permanently. Illegal laser pens are easy to obtain and can be very powerful. They are capable of destroying cells on your retina almost immediately and before you feel the pain. Even legal pens are not 'eye-safe' and can cause a long lasting and painful dazzle effect.
Modern airliner cockpits are full of glass panels which provide a mass of reflection paths for laser light. It is possible for both pilots to be dazzled or blinded even if they are looking in different directions and away from the source. Not all airliners can be landed automatically and even if they can this is not obtained by the flick of a switch.
Imagine your pilot trying to complete a complex series of actions to program the computers in his 'plane while suffering shock, pain and blindness, all in close proximity to the ground.
Modern military aircraft can certainly carry counter-measures against this kind of attack. They had them 15 years ago and they can only have improved in capability since then.
Like many defensive military systems they are deployed where they are most likely to be needed and that would probably be during wartime and not on training flights close to your home-base in peacetime Scotland. For these reasons lasers fired into the sky are a real problem.
Laser lightshows must be notified to the authorities so that pilots are forewarned and can avoid them. Laser pen attacks are rightly seen as 'endangering flight' by the police and anyone malicious enough, or with a low enough IQ, to fire a laser at an aircraft of any type therefore deserves everything he gets. – Yours, etc.
Sir, – I write in relation to a recent MORI poll revealing that over half (51 per cent) of young Scots would be interested in setting up and running a community based energy project. The Scottish Government has set an ambitious target of having 50 per cent of Scottish energy coming from renewable sources by 2020 so the interest of this group will most certainly be welcomed.
In rural locations and throughout Fife, a number of community projects have already been established with communities realising how the wealth of natural resources can benefit them.
Community groups and individuals could embark on a range of projects – from generating solar and wind power through to using wood fuel heating systems and geothermal technology.
There are a number of opportunities in regards to generating renewable energy. With the demand for renewables and the appetite for generating power both continuing to grow – the time to act is now. – Yours, etc.,
Sir, — Fife Council has let it be known, by minutes of the Community Council Liaison meeting, that Community Council Elections will take place on October 14.
I have been lobbying for many weeks for a public announcement to be made because, presumably, nominations will be required by mid September and given summer holidays, the earliest and widest possible publicity is needed in good time to ensure maximum possible involvement of candidates.
When nominations are eventually called for, I would appeal to community minded people to stand, because in my experience as both a Fife Councillor and a Community Council Chair, I know how important it is to have effective community councils as a link with Fife Council.
Community councils are often criticised by thoughtless people for not doing what they have no power to do. What they can do is to represent the views of residents and thus influence decisions made by Fife Council and some other bodies.
It is essential that Community Councils comprise people who have the interests of their community at heart but do not have any selfish agenda. — Yours, etc.,
1 Royal Terrace,
Sir, — 'Cupar in Bloom' has certainly done the town proud this year. The baskets, planting and bedding all around town are a joy. Walking round Tarvit Ponds twice a day, I've watched with interest the wood become an 'educational resource' with information boards etc.
I've seen some of the hard work done by Mr Cunningham to achieve this: replacing damaged seats, removal of litter and replacement of gravel amongst other things.
How very frustrating therefore, that the day before the RHS judges were due to visit, all this effort was sabotaged by the person who owns/rents the adjacent field. At the most visible spot by the entrance to Tarvit Wood, shrubs were hacked down and left in unsightly heaps together with rotten fence posts and dangerous coils of old barbed wire.
As I understand there's no intention of putting stock into this field immediately, why was this done at a time which co-incided with the judges' visit?— Yours, etc.,
Sir, — Mr Methven (Fife Herald, August 13) wonders why dogs are banned from Elie beach.
The answer is probably because some dog owners allow their dogs to defecate on the beach or jump up on children or bite their beachballs thus making a nuisance of themselves.
My nine year old is still terrified of dogs having been chased by several over the years at the East Sands, St Andrews — Yours, etc.,
Sir, — I am hoping that you can publish a request for me in your paper.
I am looking for the family of the late Andrew Mills Wallace (1901) and Violet Wilson Irons born in 1911 in Fife.
All known children — Gordon, Violet, Regina, Victor and Raymond were born in Cupar, Fife in the 1930s and 1940s.
My connection is that I am a granddaughter of Violet Irons' sister Maria Irons and my mother has lost touch with all her cousins and would dearly love to be reunited with them.
My mother's name was Patricia Robertson then and she grew up in Glasgow.
Thank you for any help you may be able to give me. — Yours, etc.,
212 Polwell Lane,
Sir, — Have any of your readers with ME (also known as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome) tried graded exercise therapy, graded activity therapy or exercise on prescription? If so, we need them to tell us about their experience.
There are significant variations between the outcomes reported by NHS clinics and those reported to us by large numbers of people with this illness. We are working to find out why.
If you have tried one of these physical rehabilitation approaches, which one was it, how did it go and who administered the treatment?
Please tell us by taking part in our survey, online at www.afme.org.uk or phone for a copy on 0117 9301325. — Yours, etc.,
SIR PETER SPENCER,
Action for M.E.
Sir, — On behalf of the British Red Cross, I would like to offer my heartfelt thanks to the people of Scotland for their magnificent support during our annual appeal week.
The total raised in Scotland during Red Cross Appeal Week 2010 was a fantastic 195,000. Every penny of this sum will change lives and save lives in Scotland, throughout the rest of the UK and abroad.
And it's all thanks to you — our 5000 Red Cross volunteers, our staff and supporters, people who staged events and people who donated. People who cared.
This small country has always been generous in the past and, despite the difficult economic times we live in now, that generosity and spirit of humanity continues to shine.
The desire to help people in times of crisis, whoever and wherever they may be, is the fundamental reason the Red Cross exists. Once again the people of Scotland, have demonstrated how close that principle lies to their own hearts. Thank you all. — Yours, etc.,
UK Director, Scotland
British Red Cross.
Sir, — Are you strong, probably in the younger age bracket, and don't mind hard work? Morven Santos and her parents, Ted and Deirdre Collington, who lived in Strathkinness when Ted was pastor of the Eden Fellowship in St Andrews and Morven taught at Ceres Primary School, run the New Destiny Adventure Centre in Brazil, a Christian adventure playground where disadvantaged children from the favelas can come for a spell away from the city, have fun and learn about Christian love and laughter.
Their much-needed building work - new staff accommodation - is nearing completion and they are not far short of the target figure to complete it. But there is a major problem in that they need more help to build it. Surprisingly, it is proving very difficult to find anyone locally willing to assist with the work.
Would anyone be willing to volunteer to go out to Brazil for a short time to help with the work? Building experience isn't necessary, but you have to be fit and fairly strong. Morven, Ted and Deirdre and their team are lovely people and look after all those who have gone out to help them in the past.
Check out the website www.ndaventura.org and if you are interested, contact me on 01334 850669 email: firstname.lastname@example.org or email to their UK Rep Moira Gray, email@example.com
Donations may be sent to: New Destiny Trust, Royal Bank of Scotland, Grantown-on-Spey, Sort code 83 22 19, Account number 00167388. — Yours, etc.,
Sir, — On Saturday, August 14, the Fife Folk Museum had a fund raising project in Tesco in Cupar when a number of volunteers packed bags for customers.
This realised the wonderful total of 280.24 and the trustees would like to thank everyone who so generously contributed and the management of Tesco's who made us very welcome on a busy Saturday. — Yours, etc.,
Fife Folk Museum Trust.
Sir, — If you had a Primary 7 pupil who left Castlehill Primary School last term and are interested in purchasing a DVD of the Summer Assembly (cost 5) please contact the school office on 01334 659453.— Yours, etc.,
MRS CAROL OPDAHL,
Castlehill Primary School,
Sir, — On Elie beach last Sunday I saw a ludicrous sight which you may find interesting, two signs beside each other on the beach. One said: 'Award beach area — you are requested not to bring your dog on to this area please.' The other said: 'Caution: Vehicles driving on the beach.'
Fife Council obviously recognises the fact that cars driving on the beach is a potentially hazardous activity — people have been killed on beaches by cars — but nevertheless allow it.
However, dogs are seen to be a much greater threat and are completely banned. I would love to hear Fife Council's explanation of how they see these threats. A small dog is more of a hazard than a large 4x4 for example. — Yours, etc.
Sir, — This year will be the 21st anniversary of our fund-raising activities and a big thank you to all of you who have supported us over the years! Since 1989 we have raised over 400,000 and donated 97 powered and 26 manual wheelchairs.
Once again our main fund-raising event of the year will be our charity dinner to be held in the Craw's Nest Hotel, Anstruther, on Sunday, October 3, at 7.30 p.m. Last year's dinner was a great success, with all tickets selling out very quickly. Over 12,000 was raised on the evening and a fantastic night of entertainment was had by all.
We would urge you to come along and support this year's event particularly as it will be our 21st birthday! Tickets are very reasonably priced and can be obtained from the Craw's Nest Hotel, telephone no. 01333 310691, or by contacting myself directly at the address below.
As usual the calibre of the speakers is first class. These include Duncan McKenzie (ex Everton and Leeds United football player and one of the most sought after speakers in the country), Adger Brown (Variety Club entertainer and also a stalwart of the East Neuk Wheelchair Appeal charity dinner) and Willie Allan (a former teacher and well-known speaker), while our chairman for the evening is none other than TV and radio star Andy Cameron who has supported the dinner for many years. I am sure you will agree that these individuals will make for a great night of entertainment. — Yours, etc.,
ELEANOR BOWMAN MBE,
East Neuk Wheelchair Appeal,
37b Pittenweem Road,
Anstruther KY10 3DS.
Sir, — I would like to thank all the readers who supported and donated afer last week's article, 'Duncan on the march at Pipefest'. You helped me raise over 300 for C.H.A.S (Children's Hospice Association Scotland), a Scottish charity established to provide hospice services in Scotland for children and young people with life-limiting conditions.
I had a great day at Pipefest, and I'm already looking forward to the next event. The thrill of walking down the Royal Mile with fellow pipers, playing to cheering supporters that lined the pavements, including my girlfriend Lynne and my sister Heather was an experience I will never forget. Playing in the front rank in the massed pipes and drums at the end of the afternoon in Holyrood Park will also live long in the memory.
I would also like to thank the Eclipse Soccer Club womens under 17s from Houston Texas and AMsportstours. I piped the Eclipse team on to the pitch in St Andrews on Saturday evening for a game they were playing. When I told them about Pipefest, they kindly donated 100 between them.
Readers can still donate at http://www.justgiving.com/duncdonaldpipefest2010 — Yours, etc.,
Sir, — A year or two back you printed a letter of mine in which I mentioned a mother in Israel whose son was attacked by an Arab mob and who now runs a organisation helping other people who have suffered from terror attacks.
I found her testimony on the web this week and thought that other Fife Herald readers might like to hear her story: http://www.youtube.com/user/ JewsForJesus?feature=pyv&ad=5352362132&kw=israeli#p/u/8/9SRNyyupVVU — Yours, etc.,
41 Bridieswell Gardens,
Sir, — At the moment there are not enough working class people elected to government. When I say government, I mean government of any form e.g. local council, Scottish Parliament, Westminster etc.
There are simply far too many career politicians. We need people who have suffered social deprivation, social injustice and social mobility issues elected to government, as I believe that these people can fight and acknowledge these specific problems within society. These people don't need a case study to analyse, because to them that life is reality!
I'm optimistic that we can engage with these people to achieve social justice for them and start too see mobilisation of working class champions into government. I fundamentally believe that this has to be the next step in political life. It would also act as a measure to restore faith in our damaged political systems as it stands !
Too many people are being ignored and abused. We must work together too achieve equality, social justice for all and most importantly stop this tide of unfairness. — Yours, etc.,
Sir, — Further to our previous letter, this is to give residents of Falkland an update on the situation regarding the Pleasance walls and gables.
After Fife Council served two enforcement notices, one requiring Lomond Homes to restore the demolished wall and another to repair the gable ends and the roofs of the barn and byre and remaining boundary wall, Lomond Homes appealed against the former notice.
Fife Council and the Historic Falkland Action Group have sent their responses to the appeal. The Appeals Directorate has appointed a reporter who will consider all the evidence and make a decision; regrettably this may take some time.
However, no appeal was legally possible against the notice regarding the gable ends, and it is understood that negotiations are proceeding between Fife Council and Lomond Homes, as to how they should be strengthened and the roofs restored, allowing the scaffolding and traffic lights to be removed.
This group will do all within its powers to ensure the matter is brought to a satisfactory conclusion as quickly as can be, and will continue to keep the community informed so far as is possible. — Yours, etc.,
Sir, — A recent survey shows that approximately 80 per cent of people in Fife and Tayside are happy with the service of the local health service. My local health centre gives excellent treatment to patients from the GPs, but my experience — shared by others I have talked to — is that the difficulty is trying to get access to the GPs. You have to explain your problems to reception staff within earshot of peolple waiting waiting behind you in the hope that you will get an appointment sooner rather than later.
To make an appointment quickly they have introduced a phone-in system, but that results in the phone lines being jammed and callers being unable to get through. They have leaflets on the desk showing how many appointments are missed. Some routine appoinments are made so far ahead that they are easily forgotten. Quicker appointments might result in fewer people forgetting that they have been made.
However, I must comend the care that you get from the GPs and nurses once you get passed the reception desk. — Yours, etc.,
NAME AND ADDRESS SUPPLIED.
Sir, — The shopping delivery and pension collection services are to be terminated from September and it can now be revealed that despite all the reassurances from Fife Council, people who have been assessed as still to be in need of the service with no other source of help, are simply to be given a list of agencies who do this type of work.
The plan to axe these services was announced in the budget papers in February of this year amidst considerable protest from the Campaign Against Charges and Cuts group and the public at large. In order to assuage fears, the social work service advised that everyone who receives the service would be assessed and those found still to be in need would be offered suitable alternatives. They hired new social workers on temporary contracts to do the assessments and this work has still to be completed. The assessment exercise so far has found that significant numbers of people still require the service, in some instances 80-90 per cent.
It is appalling that this service is to go. Those who receive it are some of the most vulnerable people in Fife — many are housebound and have nobody to provide for them. There have been categorical assurances to service users, the press, councillors and the public that the service would not go, but would simply be delivered differently. People have been left worrying and wondering. However, it is now clear that social work have reneged on their promise to older and disabled people. The list which is to be given out provides names of agencies and the hourly rate they charge for the service. This ranges from 6-19.98; only one is listed as doing pension collection.
CACC has had dozens of calls from people who were frantic at the thought of not having their shopping done and I feel that we have been complicit when we have reassured then that they would not be left high and dry. It was a lie that we bought into and we feel bitterly resentful at the way we and everyone else have been misled by Fife Council. It now seems that only those who can afford to pay will have access to services.
What it boils down to is that the council is simply divesting themselves of their duty to provide assistance to those they have already assessed to be in need. We know from the past when the council tried to put a blanket charge on the shopping delivery that hundreds of people stopped it because they couldn't afford to pay the 7. They came back once the charges were means-tested. So far the council has not found anybody well enough off to charge, so instead of taking that message on board they are simply telling people they have to fend for themselves. It's shocking — they're leaving vulnerable people at risk and in danger of exploitation.
Real questions have to be asked of Fife Council as to what their intentions have been from the off. Did they bring in assessors to appease people temporarily, or is it the case that they don't like the results that they are coming up with, namely that the vast majority of people receiving shopping and pension collection really cannot do without the service? At a time when Fife Council is claiming to be in financial crisis, how can it be feasible to bring in a team of new workers to add to the financial burden when they are simply ignoring the results of the assessments?
Meantime, there is a freeze on filling social worker vacancies and the shopping delivery drivers are to be paid off in September. Workers within the shopping service put together a paper in which they identified almost 50 per cent savings for the service which has been ignored by management. It would appear that this is more about privatising services rather than budgetary constraints. This is an SNP/Lib Dem administration and yet the SNP in Hollyrood has pledged to protect frontline services. — Yours, etc.,
Campaign Against Charges
Sir, — Councillor Mike Scott-Hayward misleads readers, and his constituents, in his recent letter (Fife Herald, July 30). The feed-in tariff for renewable energy does not involve Mr Huhne pumping the country's scarce cash into an inefficient form of energy. He is wrong on two counts there.
Cash for the feed-in tariff comes from the utility companies, not the Government. This is consistent with the polluter pays principle, and internalising environmental costs, recognised in international environmental law. We signed up to these obligations. It is also sound economics.
Councillor Scott-Hayward also seems to have missed the basic point that the feed-in tariff is specifically aimed at households and communities. There is a different, pre-existing, system aimed at commercial developers. I have been saying long before he has that communities can get more financial benefit from wind energy than they will get from a commercial developer. This is what the Largoward windmills co-operative proposal is all about. And, with the country's cash scarce as it is, I thought Mike Scott-Hayward would appreciate a proposal that is not dependent on grant money.
On the subject of inefficiency, he confuses the capacity factor of an electricity generator with the proportion of time it generates electricity, and its efficiency. These are not the same things at all. We don't say your car's annual mileage, how often you drive it, and its miles per gallon can be described with the same number. When he says that at best wind turbines will run only 30 per cent of the year, this is simply not true. — Yours, etc.,
Cupar KY15 4BY.
Sir, — I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone for their support and friendship over the period of 24 years that I have taught at Springfield Primary School.
I have some great memories to take with me on my retiral, and the book of memories presented by the parents and friends will be to the forefront. I was very moved that so many had so many nice things to say!
Thanks also for the generosity shown by all in the retiral gifts I received. I hope to see many of you again the future. Best wishes. — Yours, etc.,
NEIL P. ROBERTSON,
Freuchie KY15 7EP.
Sir, — The organisers of this year's Big Tent festival should be giving themselves a big pat on the back this week.
No doubt exhausted from their efforts, they deserve to be recognised for staging what must be one of the most important events in this area.
The sheer scale of organisation is immense and despite obviously having to meet lots of regulations including the dreaded health and safety criteria, they managed to pull off an event in a cordoned-off area, which unlike other music festivals, didn't feel like a fortress.
Staff at the gates were pleasant and helpful and certaintly not 'jobs worths' like some other large-scale events requiring security, and visitors numbers were not too big that you felt claustrophobic.
Food and drink prices were also on the reasonable side, especially given the high quality produce on sale, and everyone serving seemed to be enjoying the friendly, uplifting atmosphere.
There's no doubting some will have made lots of money, but on the upside of that it's all money for the local economy and the area in which we live.
Well done Big Tent organisers, but please stay true to the original ethos, don't get too big and don't let the money-making middle men in! — Yours, etc.,
BIG TENT FAN,
Sir, — Urging owners to clean up after their pets, Councillor Margaret Kennedy (Fife Herald, July 23) is quoted as saying that a few owners are prepared to allow their dogs "to do the toilet" (sic) in public places, leaving the results where they are deposited, a hazard to pedestrians and to child health.
The mere notion of Fido or Rover "doing the toilet" had me near helpless with laughter. For sheer prissy euphemism, it put me in mind of a well-authenticated episode concerning a late fellow-officer of mine.
As a young subaltern in a Scottish regiment engaged in the Malayan campaign of the 1950s against Communist-inspired terrorists, he regularly led his platoon on extended patrols in dense jungle where the high temperature & humidity were very trying. The risk of ambush was ever-present, things made worse by being unable to wash properly for long periods. Many of the Jocks (and some officers) were National Servicemen.
At one point, a Jock of his patrol said: "Aw, Sir, I need the bathroom!" to which which my friend replied: "Well, when you find it, tell me where it is. Right now, I could do with a bath." — Yours, etc.,
DOWN TO EARTH.
Name and address supplied.
Sir, — We will soon face the equivalent of a 'gold rush' of wind turbines in north east Fife. And 'gold' is the reason — the heavy subsidy with which the Government backs the drive to install turbines across the country is known as the 'feed-in tariff'. People would be well advised to look that up on the internet, for two reasons:
Firstly, the opportunity to get the cash subsidy is available to almost everyone, down to individual households. In some cases, the subsidy is (or has been) for green energy installations such as ground source heat, water power and photovoltaic energy. These I understand as they are reasonably predictable, but the subsidy is a waste of money when handed to turbine installations: at best the turbines will run only 30per cent of the year; in the year just passing that was actually only 17 per cent as the wind didn't blow as much as green politicians would wish. Still, individual families should look at what is there for them (other than wind!).
But, secondly, communities should watch out for developers planning to create windfarms; they, including the University of St Andrews, are, or will be, offering to set up funds for communities "so they can benefit from the windfarms". I just say; get the full figures from them — they will be taking a huge slice of the cake for themselves. Where a community itself sets up a trust, it can get the feed-in tariff directly, all of it, and generally, for the single community turbine, that will more than equal the bribe from developers whose installations will add to the wholesale swamping of the countryside.
If you must have a turbine on your horizon, make sure it's your turbine. For as long, anyway, as Mr Huhne can pump the country's scarce cash into this inefficient form of energy. — Yours, etc.,
CLLR. MIKE SCOTT-HAYWARD,
Sir, — I write to thank the staff and customers of Tesco in Cupar for their support and kind donations to our collecting cans on Friday, July 9 and Saturday, July 10. In spite of the weather and the 'credit crunch', a total of 605 was raised over the two days — a record for Home-Start East Fife can collections.
Home-Start provides a unique service for families — recruiting and training volunteers to support parents with young children at home. Home-Start runs more services and has more volunteers supporting more families than any other family support charity in the UK.
Across Fife, Home-Start volunteers visit families at home each week, supporting parents in situations as diverse as postnatal depression, isolation, bereavement, multiple births, illness and disability, or who are just finding parenting a struggle. We also run two family support groups where families and children are supported by staff and volunteers in a safe environment.
The volunteers provide practical and emotional support and help to build the family's confidence and ability to cope.
Every donation, no matter how small, makes a difference to the families we support through the difficulties they are facing and, as such, is very much appreciated.
If anyone would like more information on Home-Start East Fife and our volunteering opportunities, please contact our office on 01334 477 548, visit our website at www.home-start-eastfife.org.uk or e-mail us on firstname.lastname@example.org — Yours, etc.,
Home-Start East Fife.
Sir, — At present there are two war memorial plaques in Falkland, one in the church and another in the war memorial building.
There are some discrepancies betwen the two, and apparently the names of some of the fallen from the Falkland area are ommitted from both.
It has been sugested that a new plaque, including all the names, and perhaps adding any from subsequent conflicts, should be erected in an appropriate outdoor site, so that it would be more easily accessible.
Anyone with any information or views is asked to contact me as soon as possible at the address below on on 01337 857581. — Yours, etc.,
Falkland Community Council,
1 Royal Terrace,
Falkland KY15 7AX.
Sir, — For approximately 30 years I have been collecting British brewery advertising items, ranging from old adverts to ceramic match strikers.
However, my true passion is that of collecting pre-1970 British brewery trays and I particularly like pre-war black backed Scottish brewery trays.
In fact I believe I have Britain's, if not the world's, biggest collection with over 1500 trays, some dating as far back as the 1880s.
However, despite the size of my collection, appearances both on radio and TV, I am still missing a number of trays — some of which could have originally been used in pubs from within your area.
Indeed, I know of a brewery tray that was produced by a long gone St Andrews brewery, that of DS Ireland, Argyll Brewery.
Could any of your readers help locate this tray or other old Scottish items?
Did anyone have a relative who once worked for the above brewery?
If anyone does have a tray I'd greatly appreciate a call on 01333 313797 or 07715369540 or e-mail email@example.com or write to me at the address below. — Yours, etc.,
4 Still Park,
Off West Shore,
Pittenweem KY10 2NT.
Sir, — As I look out of my window I see a wall being built. It is quite a substantial wall and it appears it is being built in a traditional manner. It is pleasing to note that the work is being carried out with minimum disruption to traffic, pedestrians and residents.
About 30 yards down the road there is another (partly removed) wall, though considerably older than the young pretender it appears they are to be of similar stature. One noticeable difference is that despite the complete lack of activity on this wall it is surrounded with fences, scaffolding (erected and abandoned), cones, pallets and various other building site ornamentation, all arranged to give visitors a wonderful first impression as they enter the village. To ensure said visitors get the full benefit of this attraction they have thoughtfully erected a set of traffic lights to allow people to stop and admire the view.
It seems this arrangement is to be with us for a good while yet so is it not time to do what should have been done months ago? Half the wall has gone and poses no danger; a simple arrangement of braced boards would prevent any masonry falling from what remains, keep the footpath closed but open up the road?
Surely cost cannot be an issue? I dread to think how much of my council tax has gone on equipment and plant hire just to provide me with a red amber and green disco outside my living room window. — Yours, etc.,
Sir, — Falkland Cricket Club this year is celebrating a major milestone, the 150th anniversary of the club. Many events are taking place, including a Cricket Festival week beginning on Tuesday, July 20, and a 'Players' Reunion' on Saturday, August 14.
We very much want to hear from ex players who may have lost touch with the club. We want you to be involved in what is a really special year for the club!
Please contact me on 01337 857019 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org — Yours, etc.,
Falkland Cricket Club.
Sir, — I usually walk to Haugh Park via Waterend Road as my two young boys like to feed the ducks en-route to the park. On several occasions, however, I have walked down the under pass at South Bridge to join the river walk to be met by parked cars on Waterend Road which leave no room for a buggy to fit through.
I realise there is a garage and residential homes situated here and cars have a right to park on the road, which is not the widest, but surely drivers could leave enough room for a buggy or wheelchair to get past. I then have to retrace my steps and go via town or Station Road.
So please drivers in future have a little consideration and leave some room. — Yours, etc.,
NAME AND ADDRESS SUPPLIED.
Sir, — Thank you to the anonymous person who left a box of strawberries on my doorstep, 20lb to be precise.
I wondered if they had been delivered to the wrong address. I took them inside.
Next morning we contacted all the local growers and nobody knew anything about them.
As they were just about over ripe, I thought I should make jam and as I could not use them all I gave some out to several friends who also made jam.
As I don't eat much jam I will give it to some pensioners who would not make jam for themselves.
I would like to know who the generous donor was. Thank you again. — Yours, etc.,
Sir, — I would like to take the opportunity to thank everyone who took part in the word puzzle on behalf of Children with Cancer and Leukaemia Advice and Support for Parents. The sum raised was 235 of which we are very grateful.
The prize which was donated, was a giant noughts and crosses outdoor game and was won by local man Johnny Laing. Once again, many thanks. — Yours, etc.,
1 Whinpark Place,
Sir, — I am writing to you regarding the article on page three of the Fife Herald on July 2.
We did not object to the farmers' market taking place in the Crossgate in Cupar.
We have in fact sent a letter of support for the venture as a response to the planning application.
I have today spoken to Chris Smith at Fife Council planning department who has acknowledged we sent a letter of support and the objection was listed in error, which will be amended as soon as possible.
We, as other local businesses, would support any measures that would help revitalise Cupar as a shopping centre not only for our valued local customers but also new custom from further afield. — Yours, etc.,
A. M. COUPER,
Sir, — I am writing with reference to your piece on the proposed Tay Bridge Park and Ride (Fife Herald, June 24).
The need for such a development has been identified by both SEStran and Tactran as a priority in our Regional Transport Strategies (RTS,). It is also recognised as being of strategic importance in the Government's Strategic Transport Projects Review (STPR).
However, there are one or two errors which I would be grateful if you would note, and correct: In paragraph 3 you refer to SEStran & Tactran as government agencies. They are in fact statutory bodies, created under the transport (Scotland) act 2005 and are supervised by a board of directors. In respect of SEStran, the Board is made up of Councillors from our eight partnership local authorities and a number of appointed 'non-councillors'.
In paragraph 4, please note that the bridge car park will not be affected at all and will not accommodate buses. The Park and Ride site will accommodate both cars and buses and, therefore, the scheme does not involve the construction of a pedestrian bridge.
The development will be a major asset for both Fife and Dundee. Residents of north-east Fife will benefit by having an alternative to parking in Dundee centre and reduced traffic growth on the Tay Road Bridge.
It will also complement traffic changes in Dundee city centre and any traffic increase that may occur subsequent to the imminent redevelopment of Dundee Waterfront.
By anticipating demand now, we can help alleviate congestion problems in the future and assist Dundee's economic development.
As this project will develop over an extended period, I would be grateful if you would publish a correction of the points highlighted above, so that your readers will have access to the most accurate coverage possible as the project unfolds. — Yours, etc.,
COUNCILLOR RUSSELL IMRIE,
Chair of SEStran,
South East Scotland Transport Partnership,
8b McDonald Road,
Sir, — I read with much interest and sadness the article in the Fife Herald dated June 4, concerning the demolition of Campbell's Tower.
Mrs Elizabeth Elder obviously thinks her mother, Mrs Dodds, is the last remaining member of the Campbell family, but that is not entirely true, as my mother, Eva Lillian Campbell, was sister to Mrs Dodd's father, Robert Campbell, making Mrs Dodds cousin to myself and two sisters living in Nottinghamshire. John Johnston Campbell was also our grandfather.
Our mother was only 10 years old when her father died, and 21 when she married my father and moved to Nottinghamshire.
Our mother died in 1961 when I was 15 years old.
Wanting to know more about our family history, my late husband and I spent many hours in Cupar Library doing research.
I was delighted to find our grandfather's wet fish shop in Bonnygate and also Eden View, John Johnston's home, so you see we are also distressed to hear of its demolition.
To put the record straight, I hope you will consider publishing this letter. — Yours, etc.,
E. TRELOAR (MRS),
3 Curtis Close,
Sir, — I am a former pupil of Bell Baxter High School. This time two years ago, after six years of education at the establishment, my high school days came to an end.
In my final two years, much to my surprise, I was appointed prefect. In the past few days, the current Bell Baxter pupils have also been told whether they have been successful in their application to this post.
A great number of pupils will have made themselves, their classmates and their families very proud of their achievement. However, some of the pupils may not be so deserving of this role.
Prefect comes from the Latin meaning 'put in charge'. A Prefect's role at Bell Baxter High School is simple: turn up to your duties and represent your school. It is important for a school such as Bell Baxter to be represented in a good light.
Everyday a sea of pupils can be seen, by every driver, pensioner and shopkeeper in the area, charging down the street of the Bonnygate for their afternoon lunch. Bad representation would make this a frightening sight to many who see it, good representation would diffuse the fear.
My concern is bad representation and my concerns come from the experiences I have had with the prefect selection process and those who have been selected.
I contributed very little to the school and the community, my reports of misbehaviour were endless, I was constantly stood in front of a guidance teacher, depute rector or even the rector himself coming up with excuses as to why I had behaved so inappropriately and yet, I was appointed as prefect.
I used to sit beside a boy on the bus who was from the same village as me. He was extremely well behaved, did well in all of his exams, represented his school countless times for various things (from sporting to art events). Yet, he remained without the same badge I had been awarded. Surely the boy I sat beside on the bus would have been a much better candidate than myself for school prefect. And this is not just one isolated case.
This year, I have learned that pupils who have even been excluded from school for periods of time have been appointed the role of prefect - leaving out those who you may assume are better deserving…
Is this some theorised plan for a kind of 'High School Rehabilitation for Misbehaved Pupils'? - Give them responsibility and maybe they'll grow up a bit? And what kind of message does this send to the younger pupils of the school? "Why stop misbehaving now when I know I'll be rewarded for it later..?"
In no other school have I heard of gross misconduct being rewarded in such a way. And the frightening thing?
The younger pupils who have heard this message loud and clear are the very same ones that swarm the streets of Cupar on any given lunchtime or at the end of the school day.
They're the ones on the school buses throwing pencils out the windows at innocent pensioners or mothers with small children. They're the ones that do all of this because they know it's going to be ok in the end, they're going to get a nice big shiny badge and crisp blue blazer as a reward.
I don't think the Depute Rectors of Bell Baxter High School take the community that surrounds the school into consideration when appointing their Prefects. When having the misbehaved pupils 'put in charge'.
They should, if they had any morals at all, they should. Because when the bell rings for lunchtime and the ocean of pupils leave the school gates to hit the streets of Cupar, no innocent pedestrian, driver or shopkeeper wants to find themselves caught in that crowd. — Yours, etc.,
NAME AND ADDRESS SUPPLIED.
Sir, — For last four or five weeks a group of 'school age' youths have been spending most evenings in Falkland Palace orchard, the curling pond field and the bowling club.
Several times these youths have been informed to keep out of the construction site but re-appear most evenings and tramp through the grounds of the bowling club and orchard.
The local school was contacted to see if there was anything they could do, a vist was made and it was hoped this would help but the continued presence has now seen acts of vandalism.
Benches have been broken, gates smashed, trees damaged, safety barriers pulled down and profiles broken.
The police were informed and it is hoped they can do something. Falkland, like several communities in Fife, relies on the handful of citizens who put in hours and hours of hard work.
What are these youths interested in - causing damage? It's almost the school summer holidays so I hope parents will remind their children to keep out these sites in the evenings.
I am sure the bowling club and football team would welcome the youths to get involved in sport and if they joined these clubs, maybe they would see the hard work that goes on behind the scenes and learn to respect.
It's a great shame to see hard work destroyed. — Yours, etc.,
NAME AND ADDRESS SUPPLIED.
Sir, — I'm sure that after last year's strange weather patterns and the ensuing flooding, that those of us who were victims to a greater or lesser degree are enjoying our summer.
However, as soon as those rain clouds start rolling in, the anxiety will creep back into our lives.
Will the council have any sand bags to dish out? If cutbacks continue, I suspect not! Will all the field drains be cleared? I suspect not, for the same reason. Will burns and river banks be cleared of loose debris? I suspect not.
After researching flood defences on the net, it would seem as if Fife Council and I have both arrived at the same conclusion. (Probably along with a number of other flood victims in the U.K.) Prevention is better than cure, whether it's permanent protection replacement air bricks, or flood barriers, or both.
I have had my flood barriers installed - they are lightweight, very portable, easily stored, and very easily fitted should the forecast be doom, gloom and more gloom in the form of torrential rain.
These barriers, affectionately known as 'flood angels', are easily fitted in a matter of minutes, and once tightened with a key, are completely water tight.
Fife Council has apparantly invested in this system, (in Cupar) but I am unaware of any information having been given out to the general public, especially those who were affected not once but many times during the past 12 months.
I may well be doing the Council a disfavour, perhaps they have distributed this information, but it hasn't reached me.
Suffice it to say, I am more than willing to share my 'flood angel' information/experience with anyone who wants to protect their property from possible flood water in the future. — Yours, etc.,
Valerie B Crowe
Sir, — I read with interest the article regarding the planning application to demolish Pickletillum Inn and replace it with housing.
I have driven past the Inn every day for many years and have seen it gradually deteriorate into it's present state.
It appears that very little has been done in the past decade at least to maintain this property.
This is a great shame as the old part of the Inn which is parallel to the road is a building with much character.
What I cannot understand is if the current owners have the money to develop this site as intended, presumably they have the finances to retain and renovate the older part of the building and then sell it on at a realistic price, to someone who could run the business.
I was not surprised the recent attempt to sell it was unsuccessful given the asking price.
I seriously wonder if this hasn't been planned all along to make the maximum profit out of a small site regardless of the history and heritage of the area.
Of course we are dealing with an absentee landlord. Enough said? — Yours, etc.,
Sir, — The Big Tent is is Scotland's greatest eco- friendly festival, and the underlying theme is all about avoiding the use of certain products which can harm, both the air we breathe and the soil remaining fertile.
Yet the festival field has been sprayed with weedkiller to eradicate thistles and nettles and moles have been poisoned.
The festival theme is all about advising the public to avoid the use of such harmful products as weedkiller and poisons.
The valuable role thistles and nettles do in maintaining the balance of nature, has been ignored.
On a happier note this festival is a bonanza of fabulous music and entertainment.
Perhaps on future occasions, a more eco-friendly solution will prevail in dealing with nettles, thistles and moles.
Otherwise, let us not call this an 'eco-friendly festival' in the future. — Yours, etc.,
Old Town House,
Sir, — Disease of the heart and circulation is Scotland's biggest killer. Around 19,000 men women and children are dying every year — that's more than twice the population of Cupar.
British Heart Foundation (BHF) Scotland is the nation's heart charity and we are fighting heart disease in Fife. But we cannot do this without your readers' help.
BHF Scotland urgently needs people from Cupar who will help with various tasks, ranging from placing collecting cans in your local shops or clubs to organising fund-raising events that get your community involved.
We are already helping heart patients in Fife. Two health coaches have recently been recruited, thanks to 100,000 funding from BHF Scotland, to support heart patients and help them live a heart healthy lifestyle, through for example, healthy eating and exercise.
You really can help us save lives in Cupar and help save the life you love. Contact me today on 0131 561 3364 or e-mail email@example.com — Yours, etc.,
Fund-raising volunteer manager,
British Heart Foundation Scotland.
Sir, — Can I take this opportunity to thank the organisers of Falkland Festival and Falkland Traditional Music Festival for a wonderful weekend.
A great ceilidh on Friday night was followed by a sublime musical experience on Saturday evening.
Saturday evening's venue was the Newton of Falkand village hall, a wonderful couthy wee place.
The line-up kicked off with Caitlin Clark and Adin Graham who were worthy competition winners earlier in the day. They were followed by Randan, a driving four piece who played Scottish and Irish music and song to the very highest standards.
The headline act of the evening had a tough couple of acts to follow but Jim Malcolm was equal to the task.
Wonderful singing and musicianship in such an intimate setting made for a wonderful evenings entertainment.
Sunday featured the traditonal ceilidh and sessions, another great weekend winds up this years festival.
The only downside was the fact that the numbers supporting these events could have been greater.
Use it or lose it Falkland, you have a great community team working hard all year who deserve your support.— Yours, etc.,
Sir, — We were happy to again host Newburgh Highland Games on our land at Robbie's Park on the banks of the Tay. It was a lovely sunny day and all the hard work by the committee and others was rewarded with what was an enjoyable day for both spectators and competitors alike.
Newburgh, like many communities, relies on the usual handful of citizens who roll up their sleeves and put in a lot of time and effort to make these events enjoyable for everyone.
It was therefore a great shame that such a nice day was marred by the actions of a few (young) individuals, who took it upon themselves to vandalise Robbie's tractor.
It is not worth pursuing the issue through the courts, as they and the police are busy enough as it is. Equally I do not want to let one incident put us off hosting the games in future.
However, I do feel that in small communities like our own, it is beholden on the families and friends of the persistent mindless few, to reign them in and at least try and instil in them some kind of moral code.
As a family we will be delighted to host the games in the park again next summer, let us just hope that the day isn't spoiled again. — Yours, etc.,
ANDREW McKENZIE SMITH,
Lindores Abbey House,
Sir, — I refer to recent correspondence concerning Falkland and Falkland in Bloom. Falkland is held in the highest esteem by communities throughout Britain, and indeed Europe. It is the benchmark of excellence in community involvement and pride which many communities strive to attain. And yet Falkland in Bloom is the target of constant disparaging remarks and complaints by a group of individuals.
In recent weeks Falkland in Bloom has been accused of vandalising a wildflower meadow, which they created last year and which they were doubling in size this year as part of a three year programme to treble the size created last year. So by extending a facility which was widely praised last year they are accused of vandalism.
Next they were accused (falsely) of killing moles, an assertion very ably dismissed by Councillor David MacDiarmid in his letter of June 11.
Now they are accused of ripping up Brunton Green in Falkland and laying turf over a hard track. Again the facts are distorted in the cause of a good 'greet'. In fact, the turf was laid over Kreet plastic honeycomb mesh to allow vehicular access to the property in question. This mesh supports the weight of the vehicle whilst allowing the grass to grow through the mesh. I doubt if the old green was so much admired by visitors and I am sure that visitors will approve of the planting of scented plants for the benefit of the partially sighted.
So what would benefit Falkland most: The demise of this group of detractors or the demise of Falkland in Bloom?
I can assure the residents of Falkland that the small group of unpaid volunteers who give so freely of their time, energies and expertise, year in and year out to provide the floral baskets and displays that so enhance the village and entice visitors to come and view the stunning displays, are sickened, demotivated and demoralised by the constant denegration of this small group of residents.
So come on Falkland, support, encourage and be proud of Falkland in Bloom, or risk losing it altogether. — Yours, etc.,
A FRIEND OF FALKLAND,
(Name and address supplied).
Sir, — Many thanks to the staff, patients and their families and the helpers and visitors who turned up to our recent open day at Weston Day Hospital.
This year's fete was held on the same day as the Cupar Children's Gala in order to create a carnival atmosphere in the town and likewise was blessed with good weather.
The grand sum of 1224 was raised and this will go towards a summer house for the patients to use in the garden.
Once again, many thanks to all who contributed to an enjoyable day. — Yours, etc.,
Sir, — Re my previous letter (Fife Herald, April 16) about my wonky door. Councillor Andrew Arbuckle arrived hotfoot at my door the next day promising to do something, or at least ask what the situation was. I'm still waiting! I suppose now that his party is running the country he will not have time to bother about my door!
Anyway, I digress, since my last letter the council has re-lagged my loft. The water tank and wiring is up there, but the rafters are covered and it would be dodgy to try to go up there now without crawlboards. I asked about this, and was told nobody else had asked.
I have been informed that the central heating is to be upgraded and the roofs re-tiled. A fat lot of good that will do if the door does not keep the wind out. It would take a Philadelphia lawyer to understand the workings of our council. — Yours, etc.,
23 Queens Gardens,
Sir, — On behalf of the trustees and members of Fife Folk Museum, may I express our thanks to people from all over the local area for their support of the Fife Folk Museum's Midsummer Market on Sunday, June 20. This is one of our major fund-raisers and I am delighted to report that 945.34 was raised for museum funds from the sales on the various stalls and refreshments.
With a perfect summer's day, the new location for the market in the museum garden and Mr John Rodger's carriage and four elegant horses in the car park we received a great many kind and approving comments which completed a very successful day. We are very grateful for the generous donations in cash and in kind which helped to realise this excellent total. — Yours, etc.,
Fife Folk Museum Trust.
Sir, — Many people who use the internet today will have came across a site on Freecycling. However, it is now being attacked by east Europeans and Nigerians replying to adverts to obtain name and details of people who have goods to freecycle.
Rather than using the internet, why don't people arrive at a car park or other venue in their town every Saturday or Sunday, displaying what they want rid of?
Each Saturday in various English towns and cities people bring unwanted items for people to take if wished — a legal alternative to skip raking! If no-one takes it, there are always charity shops to donate to or just put in skips.
This helps you get rid of your junk, and also helps the council and others. What do readers think of that idea? — Yours, etc.,
NAME AND ADDRESS SUPPLIED.
Sir, — After being stopped today by an officious ambulance driver at the end of Coal Road who insisted on blocking the road and telling me off at length for going the wrong way down a one-way street, I would like to clarify to others that Coal Road is (as I thought) open to two-way traffic going to the recycling centre, where I had just come from.
Driving in Cupar is annoying enough without this kind of thing. — Yours, etc.,
1 Beech Bank,
Cupar KY15 4PW.
Sir, — Through your columns, may I congratulate Yvonne Gray Dance Studio on the show 'Sweet Dreams' in St Andrews Town Hall on the afternoon of Saturday, June 19. Another first class show, yet again raising funds for charity.
A big thank you must go to Yvonne for her donation of 350 to North East Fife Breathe Easy which is very much appreciated and received with grateful thanks. — Yours, etc.,
North East Fife Breathe Easy.
Sir, — I cannot believe the negative letters being sent in regarding Cupar shops. Talk about kicking a town centre when it's down!
Last week's letter writer commented there are no electrical shops — there was Scottish Power up to 2001 and KK Electrics after them, but with not enough support from the locals they both closed. Probably the same could be said for many of the types of shops we don't now have.
Imagine for a moment that your little corner shop closed down — how convenient is it for you to get to a supermarket for milk/bread when you unexpectedly run out? A car journey — perhaps having to drag reluctant kids with you — all for just a pint of milk.
I cannot speak for other shopkeepers, but with a supersize supermarket looming I know about going that extra mile for my customers so perhaps a visit to your local shops instead of moaning and hiding behind e-mail letters would prove to you why they are worth keeping.
Instead of moaning about what Cupar hasn't got we should appreciate what it does have to offer. Take a look around you shoppers — not just in the main streets but the small side streets and closes of Cupar. Those shops may not be there for much longer and once they're gone, they're gone for good so use them or lose them. — Yours, etc.,
43 Meadowside Road,
Cupar KY15 5DD.
Sir, — I was interested to read in the Fife Herald (May 21) that a group of traders from Cupar had met recently to discuss how Cupar business could be improved following the recent road disruption. However, whilst the views of businesses may be informative they are 'only one leg on a three legged stool'. The other 'legs' supporting Cupar are the shoppers and the landlords/council.
Shoppers are vital to the survival of the town centre, but shoppers will not shop where their needs are not being met: The right goods provided by the right people in the right place at the right price.
Right goods: Local businesses understandably have an interest in minimising competition and therefore will not be inclined to encourage any business which puts them at a disadvantage. So discussions with traders alone will not improve Cupar's business potential in the longer term. For shoppers, competition is essential because the more choice there is in Cupar the more likely shoppers will shop locally and more shoppers mean more business for all traders.
Right people: Good customer care. Whilst service in most shops is friendly and helpful, there are a few shops where staff can be a little unfriendly, particularly to our young people. I appreciate that negative experiences affect how customers are treated but poor service is seen by all of us and word gets round a small town pretty quickly.
Right place: Many of the basic items we need, particularly clothes, are not available in Cupar. We need to attract a range of outlets which meet shopper's needs.
Right price: The larger shops can provide regular offers, but this is not often a feature of smaller traders. It is always possible for any trader to negotiate reductions from suppliers and pass this on to customers as weekly promotions. The local shops could consider doing more to find out what customers want and use this to negotiate deals with suppliers, passing savings on to customers.
Perhaps what Cupar needs is: A survey of shoppers: What would we like to see in Cupar? What would encourage us to do more of our shopping in Cupar? Continued efforts by businesses to provide friendly service and the introduction of weekly promotions or events to attract customers. Joint efforts by landlords and Fife Council to support businesses — landlords through reasonable rental rates (and hence property rates) and good property maintenance, and Fife Council through improved town centre design, reduced (or no) parking fees, support for community events which attract shoppers to Cupar.
What about innovative ideas: Customer nominations for monthly and annual 'best dressed window'. Customer feedback — encourage positive comments where we have received good service helps traders and customers. Town centre map of shops, and services like the maps in larger shopping centres. A strategic direction for Cupar in terms of niche development rather than trying to compete against the larger markets i.e. could Cupar become known as the best place to get: Home-baked products/best individual coffee shops; specialist art/crafts; most polite place to shop; specialist historic tours.
I am sure there are many more ways to revitalise Cupar and I hope that everyone will be invited to contribute — we all have a vested interest in seeing Cupar succeed. — Yours, etc.,
Cupar KY15 5ER.
Sir, — Your letter writer urges Newburgh to 'wake up' (Fife Herald, May 21). Possibly because he has only lived in the area for a short time he may not know there is a big demand for housing in Newburgh. Unlike many local people, perhaps, his family is not waiting for a house to rent.
The community council has been supportive of the Stephens proposal for a number of years. The development will be gradual with about 20 houses being planned every year for the next decade. It will provide a number of different types of houses; both to rent and to buy.
The development will also help our local shops. We are fortunate in having so many shops in Newburgh and we want to keep them. The primary school needs more pupils. This summer the school will lose a teacher because of a drop in the pupil numbers.
It is proposed that the development will also include a number of starter units for businesses. There has been a need for this for some time in Newburgh.
He is wrong in trying to scare people over a lack of space in the cemetery as Fife Council has promised sufficient land will be reserved for this for the future. Newburgh has a lot to gain from this development and that is without mentioning the possibility of Stephens providing sports facilities as part of the development. — Yours, etc.,
Sir, — Hugh Hoffman (Fife Herald Correspondence, May 28) is not alone in believing the recent Fife Health Board election was poorly presented and conducted. Connecting with the public is one of the major problems for Fife NHS and a subject that has not been properly addressed for some time.
A much broader and all-encompassing approach is required and the board's executive members need to rethink how they make and keep contact with the public they serve.
Shona Robison, Scotland's minister for public health, will carry out an annual review of the performance of the NHS Fife chairman, chief executive and directors on August 17 this year. Those who agree with Mr Hoffman's letter may wish to raise their concerns with the minister before the review.
As Margaret Mead, the renowned anthropologist, once said: "Never doubt that a small group of committed citizens can change the world; indeed it is the only thing that ever has". Very true, provided that the group has an opportunity, as in this case, to do so. — Yours, etc.,
On behalf of SODS
(Save Our Dispensing Surgeries),
3 Smithy Lane,
Balmullo KY16 0FG.
Sir, — Through your columns, I would like to thank all those who supported or helped with the fund-raising coffee morning of M.E. Support Fife on May 22. The event, at Age Concern, Cupar, was well attended, and the efforts of the helpers in supplying punters with pancakes and coffee, after their purchases, seemed to be appreciated. The total raised was 1200, and this will go to M.E. Research UK, the only UK research body devoted solely to research on M.E. MERUK is based at Ninewells and in Perth.
A second beneficiary will be a new support group for Parents of Children with M.E. in Fife. The parent running this new venture is Carol Berwick, whose own daughter has had M.E. from the age of nine. She is keen to start a network which will support parents facing the daunting task of caring for a youngster who is too ill to attend school because of the muscle pain, cognitive dysfunction and severe fatigue that come with the illness.
For more information on the Parents' Support Group, contact Carol Berwick, tel: 01592 770165. For information on M.E. Support Fife, contact Catherine Meikle, tel: 01334 653202.
The working group appointed by the Scottish Health Department to draft new guidelines for GPs regarding the care of patients with M.E.-CFS has completed its task, and it is now up to patients to evaluate these, in partnership with their GPs. Patients will have an opportunity to consider these at a workshop and buffet lunch in Cupar on Saturday, June 19. (For details, tel: 01334 653202). — Yours, etc.,
ME Support Fife.
Sir, — Surely Mr Garrett (Fife Herald, May 28) is confusing principles with policies when he quotes "principles have no point without power to put them into effect" in an effort to justify the Con-Lib pact.
I've always understood that principles were the fixed core values / ethics / morals / beliefs that governed honest, honourable behaviour. Indeed, it's the upholding of principles that, over the centuries, has often lead to resignations, fines, imprisonments or even death. Is he implying all such people were fools?
Whilst I realise it must be difficult to defend what many see as indefensible, I cannot accept that at Westminster level 'situational ethics' are now considered right and proper. That is, that principles can be adapted, manipulated or jettisoned altogether in situations that threaten self-interest or advancement. Such actions, now cloaked in the guise of being for the good of the country, can in no way be defended.
Once trust is broken, it cannot be regained. — Yours, etc.,
36 St Michaels Drive,
Sir, — I would like to correct Bob Beveridge's assertion (Fife Herald, May 21) that mole control is somehow related to the acquisition of awards. It is Fife Council who attend to the cutting of grass in the play park and deal with any infestations.
I personally feel privileged to have represented Fife Council at the Entente Florale award ceremony in Ripon in 2007 when Falkland won gold in their category. I was told afterwards that this was the first ever unanimous decision from all the judges who represented every European country — a huge accolade for Falkland.
I learned so much from that experience. The Royal Horticultural Society is not just about flowers and floral displays. Britain in Bloom judges would pay no attention to mole hills on green space, particularly when this green space is in a rural location. Britain in Bloom is not about manicured communities, but about communities that have pride of place.
There is however a big emphasis on the environment, sustainable planting, conservation and biodiversity — the creation of wild flower areas to encourage wildlife, insects, bees etc. Working closely with schools and other organisations is also of great importance. These are all areas that are visible and Falkland in Bloom fulfill, but I know the many hours that members put in behind the scenes to make all of this happen.
During my time as a local councillor, I have spoken with many people, all of whom say how fortunate I am to live in this village. Surely local businesses must benefit from all those who come to admire Falkland. I have also recently noticed that estate agents make reference to 'award winning village' in their adverts, which indicates to me that property prices are enhanced as a consequence.
In conclusion, I know there are many others who like me really do appreciate the tremendous effort put in by Falkland in Bloom and other voluntary organisations who take a real pride in this beautiful village. I feel these, too few, folk need encouragement and support of their time and effort.
I wonder what would happen if these voluntary organisations, whose aim is to improve life for all of us, ceased to exist. — Yours, etc.,
CLLR. DAVID MacDIARMID.
Sir, — The impassioned letter from Bob Beveridge defending the rights of Falkland's moles (Fife Herald Correspondence, May 21) raises (not 'begs') some basic questions which merit closer scrutiny.
Mr Beveridge may or may not accept God's ruling in Genesis 1 v 26 "...and let them (mankind) have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth." Whether he accepts it or not, these words have dictated the history of mankind's attitude to the rest of the animal kingdom. A strict interpretation of that Divine injunction can only be that mankind owes an inescapable duty of care to the animal kingdom, and as a corollary, that mankind has the right to decide what lives and what dies.
To be more specific, how does Mr Beveridge regard spiders? Like me, I expect that he ejects them from his house with great care, preserving their tiny lives at all costs. What about rats? Does he admire their long tails and cute noses, or like the majority abhor them, possibly mindful of the 1.5 million humans estimated to have perished in the Black Death (1348-50), carried by rat-borne fleas, and devoid of qualm on seeing a terrier shake Ratty lifeless?
When the cat rids his dwelling of mice, proudly bringing the evidence for display, does he scold clever Baudrons or fuss over her? When malicious wasps menace his barbecue, does he zap them without hesitation, or wait to be stung? Returning to our start-point, does the busy burrowing mole keep to the play area, or is the prized neighbouring lawn next on his agenda?
Equally, it is hard for my old auntie to accept that dear departed Fido will not be there to welcome her when she finally goes to her heavenly reward. The philosopher Descartes (1596-1650) aptly summed up the difference between humans and the rest of animal life: "Brutes consider not", meaning that animals other than humans have no soul. If they did have rational souls, then flies and ants would share the reward of our after-life, a position impossible to maintain by reasoned argument. Despite occasional indications to the contrary (Holocaust, Baby P), humans are superior to other animals. — Yours, etc.,
Sir, — Residents of Falkland may be wondering why nothing appears to be happening around the historic walls and buildings along the Pleasance, which were so much in the news during April.
The reason is that, in order to ensure that the historic walls and gable ends are restored and preserved, Fife Council has carefully prepared two legal repair notices, which were served on Lomond Homes and the landowner on May 14. These used sections of the Conservation Area Act for the first time in Scotland, that had been identified by Falkland campaigners.
The first notice requires the landowner to stabilise the intact gables, then repair the walls and re-roof the buildings with traditional methods and materials. The work had to start by May 31.
The second notice concerns development (in this case demolition) without planning permission, and requires the landowner to submit plans, by mid-June, for rebuilding of the demolished wall in exactly the same position as it was, again using conservation methods. If the landowner does nothing, then the council has powers to undertake the work, and recover their costs.
Discussions are to take place this week between the council and representatives of the landowner. It is to be hoped that the walls and re-roofing repairs are acted on swiftly, and can remove the traffic lights, and re-instate the Palace approach to last for another 300 years. — Yours, etc.,
HISTORIC FALKLAND ACTION GROUP.
Sir, — Last winter, Fife Council ran a 'consult the public' exercise in Cupar, among other places. They seemed seriously interested in individuals' views on how the council should economise. There was time for one-to-one discussion.
Having answered various questions, I asked the council representative a question in my turn. What proportion of the normal applicable fare would Fife Council pay to the transport undertakings for free bus tickets and 50p rail tickets issued to Fife concession-holders? The answer, to my surprise, was 100 per cent.
How many of those free or very cheap journeys would still have taken place in the absence of the concession? I didn't get an answer. More importantly, had the council officials thought about this issue before approving the concessions? My strong impression was: No, the question had not even been asked.
Perhaps they missed a trick. I for one have gratefully made dozens of journeys by public transport rather than car (or stay at home), since receiving my Fife concession card. Many others too must have been encouraged to take trips. Did the council really not even try to bargain the transport undertakings down to a 50 per cent or 75 per cent reimbursement on the grounds that the concession was bound to boost uptake of public transport, selling tickets that would otherwise have remained unsold? If they had driven a harder bargain with the rail and bus companies, they might not have run out of money so soon.
Perhaps this could be considered before the bus concessions too come up for withdrawal? — Yours, etc.,
Sir, — I am not surprised Cupar has come bottom of the league for shoppers — what does Cupar have to offer?
There are no freezer shops (Farmfoods or Iceland), and where can you buy CDs and videos now that W. H. Smith has stopped selling them and Woolworths has ceased trading?
I am a young and fit 60-year-old — where can I buy reasonably priced clothing that is neither too trendy or dowdy? If I want swimming goggles / bathing suit or shuttlecocks, I have to go to Kirkcaldy. The same town if I need electrical goods! I could go on — the list is endless!
So come on traders — do not blame the closure of the Bonnygate for a couple of months on this situation. At least, once the large Tesco is up and running there should be some more choice. If there were as many decent shops as there are churches or pubs, the public might be more inclined to shop in Cupar. — Yours, etc.,
1 Bowling Green Place,
Sir, — Through the Fife Herald letters page I would like to extend an invitation to all adults, including fifth and sixth year pupils at Bell Baxter, to come along to an information session at Cupar police station about Community Speedwatch this coming Wednesday, June 2, at 6.30 p.m.
Councillors Roger Guy, Margaret Kennedy and I have been contacted on numerous occasions regarding concerns about speeding and dangerous driving in Cupar and the surrounding villages, including speeding in the vicinity of our schools.
We have followed the concerns up with Fife Constabulary who have agreed to pilot a Community Speedwatch initiative, the first in Fife, in this area. All we need now is the support of local people to help us run this initiative.
So please put the date in your diary and come along to hear more. You will be given a very warm welcome. — Yours, etc.,
COUNCILLOR BRYAN POOLE,
49 South Road,
Cupar KY15 5JF.
Sir, — I respect Bryan Poole (Fife Herald Correspondence, May 21) and understand his position as an Independent but presumably he stood for election because he believed, as do other candidates, that he could do something worthwhile for his fellows.
Political parties are groups of candidates who share similar but not identical views of what needs to be done, and their election manifestos are, effectively, compromises of their collective views, agreed to make a strong, clear set of policies to put before the electorate. They then campaign forcefully on these manifestos in order to attract the attention and support of the electorate.
The General Election did not produce a clear win for any party. There were various possible combinations of parties, but only the Liberal Conservative coalition provided one that gave the strong, stable government which is desperately needed at this troubled time. Critics offer no alternative which would have met this essential requirement.
It is often said that 'Principles have no point without the power to put them into effect.' Though the coalition document probably does not exactly meet the wishes of any single MP or indeed elector, Cameron and Clegg have produced an agreement which includes the majority of the policies from each of the individual Conservative and Liberal Democrat manifestos.
This is a remarkable achievement and, hopefully, will allow a period of stability which any reasonable person must agree is needed.
It is perfectly true that in North East Fife it was a two horse race between a Liberal and a Tory; if Menzies Campbell had not won, not only would the constituency have lost a very diligent and experienced representative, the country would have lost his wise counsel. — Yours, etc.,
North East & Central Fife
Sir, — Essie Tough (Fife Herald Correspondence, May 14) seems to have taken my missive of a few weeks ago somewhat personally. It's all in the reading methinks! I am also unaware of my elevation to spokesman for Smith Anderson and certainly do not speak on their behalf.
I can understand her concerns for the preservation of the local architectural fabric, Lomond Vale being a prime example. The wall further down The Pleasance, not so. I don't, however, discount the concerns that the infrastructure under the road surface may be taking a pounding . . .but not only in Cross Wynd!
We should though, consider the following facts: Modern heavy goods vehicles are regulated in such a way that the most weight that any wheel would be putting on the road, in my belief, is 5.25 tonnes. Most of them would be 3.75 tonnes or under. This is not incomparable with the smaller vehicles that serviced the factory many years ago which would have required many more vehicle movements per day to move the same quantity of freight.
Most modern lorries are now fitted with air suspension, a system which is acknowledged to be 'road friendly' by both vehicle designers and civil engineers. They are also subject to much more frequent and rigorous regulation than in the past. The axle weight limitations of the lorries servicing the factory are exactly the same as the lorries which come around emptying our wheelie bins — how do we get around that? This does not discount the possibility that they may be causing some gradual damage to the roadway.
If my reading of my co-respondant's initial letter is correct, Mr Smeaton made no definitive statement on the current situation with regard to Cross Wynd and was 'quick to bat off' any future liability. Likewise his colleague remains nameless thus absolving himself from any responsibility.
I'm afraid we are unlikely to find anyone at the local authority who has either the courage or the political naivity to enforce a weight restriction, exemption or otherwise, which might endanger local employment. I might also venture that Essie Tough will find her pleas to our transportation service for seismic analysis will fall on stoney ground.
So where does this leave us? Status quo, as unacceptable as it may be to some. — Yours, etc.,
Sir, — Fife is in the process of electing 12 lay members to join Fife Health Board. I have been sent a ballot paper with over 60 candidates, from which I am asked to select my choices in order of preference. There is also a booklet in which each candidate has a few lines to put forward their case.
Unfortunately, the voting pack contains no information about the role of the health board, nor the duties and responsibilities of the board members, nor an explanation of how electing members will make a difference to the way things are done at present (I believe that members are currently appointed though I do not know by whom). I do not recognise any of the candidates' names.
I have been advised that information on some of my queries is available on the health board website — unfortunately this fact was not included in the voting pack but was given to me by someone else. Having the information on the health board's website is of little relevance to the many people who do not have internet access at home (I have seen figures quoted recently that only 60 per cent of Scottish households have internet access so the remaining 40 per cent are being overlooked).
So although one can only applaud the principle of trying to involve local people in the running of the health board, the present effort is so half-hearted that it is impossible for the layman (i.e. myself) to make any sensible decisions. The election is pointless when the electors are not in a position to make an informed choice.
I therefore regret that I have had to spoil my ballot paper and return it unanswered. — Yours, etc.,
6 Church Lane,
Ladybank KY15 7LY.
Sir, — Seeing the photograph of Bell Baxter High School prefects in 1946 (Fife Herald, May 21) instantly called to mind the well-known words of LP Hartley: "The past is a foreign country: they do things differently there."
More's the pity! What a tidy, confident and well-presented group of youngsters, and their presumed rector, (not headteacher) properly gowned and in mortarboard as befitted the occasion. Just look at those neckties, tied, rather than just hanging about the person as if to see how much the wearer can get away with. And don't imagine that they had changed out of scruffy clothes just for the photograph. Repressed, stereotyped, 'hudden doon'?
Far from it. Long after 1946, many of my childhood friends and fellow undergraduates were products of Bell Baxter HS, amusing, clever, couth.
Any member of the public who has had the misfortune to travel on bus route 64 to Glenrothes ('the bus from hell') which uplifts pupils from BBHS at 15:37 can testify to today's poor standards of dress and conduct. — Yours, etc.,