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World cup ‘coming home’?

Sir,

I have always found amusing the claim by English fans and commentators that a World Cup win would see football ‘coming home’.

If it were truly ‘coming home’ it would be returning to Scotland and not to England, for it was the Scots who truly devised the modern version of the game as we know it. Without our civilising intervention, what England might have given the world was just another version of rugby.

When the so-called Football Association’ was formed at the instigation of a young solicitor from Hull, Ebenezer Morley, what he proposed would be seen now as a basis for rugby with extra violence.

Morley’s draft laws provided that a player could not only run with the ball in his hands but that opponents could stop him by charging, holding, tripping or hacking. A more civilised code did emerge but the English game was still mainly a question of head-down dribbling.

It was the Scots who had the notion of artfully distributing the ball among the players. It started with young men, from Perthshire and the Highlands mainly, who gathered at Queen’s Park in Glasgow in 1867. They obtained a copy of the FA laws and amended them to conform with an almost scientific blend of dribbling and passing.

When they invented passing, these men invented football. Far from being an English game, it was one that was conceived to confound the English, because the Scots, being generally smaller than their opponents in football’s oldest international rivalry, could hardly afford to take them on physically.

As Scots we can truly feel pride some pride this week as England take on Croatia in the World Cup semi-final. To have the English borrowing our history is quite a compliment, the only downside being that we are not in Russia to share in the glory of our invention of the ‘beautiful game’.

Alex Orr, Edinburgh

Walk for cancer

Sir,

As a keen walker I’m delighted to be supporting Bowel Cancer UK and Beating Bowel Cancer’s Walk Together to save lives and improve the quality of life for all those affected by the disease.

My mum was diagnosed with bowel cancer and is thankfully now recovered, so I know how important it is to raise awareness.

Walk Together is a perfect opportunity to bring people together from all ‘walks’ of life, to show our support for those undergoing treatment, remember loved ones and help stop people dying from bowel cancer. It’s a sponsored walk for people of all ages and abilities.

Every year almost 3,700 people are diagnosed with bowel cancer in Scotland and more than 1,600 people die from the disease. However that shouldn’t be the case. It’s treatable and curable, especially if diagnosed early.

Sign up to the walk in Edinburgh on Saturday September 1 or to receive a fundraising pack with everything you need to hold your own memorable walk, visit bowelcanceruk.org.uk/walktogether

If you need inspiration on walks in your area, visit The Outdoor Guide at theoutdoorguide.co.uk

TV presenter Julia Bradbury, London

Overgrown drains in East Kintyre

Sir,

I was delighted to attend the latest East Kintyre Community Council meeting yesterday and hear about numerous issues from local members, including Saddell signage, the water problem at the harbour’s man-hole cover, Brackley Cemetery concerns, the need for new speed limit signs for Shore Road and the Brae and the need for larger bins at the harbour.

I also spoke directly to my constituents including many business owners in Tarbert and Carradale.

The problems with blocked drains continues in East Kintyre, with many individual drains still to be fixed even though myself and others have raised this matters with our roads department many times before. Some of these drains have now shockingly become overgrown.

I will press this matter yet again to make sure the drains across my council ward are not left in disrepair in the future.

Councillor Alastair Redman, Isle of Islay

RAF milestone leaves a legacy for future generations

Sir

As the nation looked to the skies on Tuesday (July 10) to see the RAF’s most historic and newest aircraft fly over Buckingham Palace, it was a moment to pause and reflect on the sacrifices made by all RAF personnel during 100 years of service.

The flypast also marked the midway point for the RAF100 Appeal, a major fundraising drive launched by the RAF and its four main charities. The RAF100 Appeal brings together the Royal Air Force, the RAF Association, the RAF Benevolent Fund, the RAF Charitable Trust, and the RAF Museum to establish a legacy that matches the vision of Viscount Trenchard who steered the formation of the RAF in 1918.

The appeal encourages the British public to get involved in the celebrations and help repay ‘the debt we owe’ and help to raise funds for the past, present and future RAF Family, inspiring, honouring and supporting all who have given so much.

The centenary year of the Royal Air Force provides a unique opportunity to commemorate the service and the sacrifice of those who have gone before.  Very few British people can look back at their family history over the past 100 years and find themselves untouched by the courage, capability and achievements of the men and women who served – and continue to serve – in our Royal Air Force. The RAF100 Appeal provides an opportunity to show their appreciation and help support RAF charities.

People like Battle of Britain veteran Stan Hartill who serviced the Spitfires night after night during the Second World War, who lives in comfort and dignity thanks to the RAF Benevolent Fund, one of the appeal charities; or Mike Goody, injured while on patrol with the RAF Regiment in Afghanistan, whose home adaptations have given him back his independence.

As we look towards the next 100 years for the Air Force it is my wish that the legacy of this milestone will be to ensure their sacrifices are not forgotten, their memories live on to inspire the next generation. The RAF100 Appeal will support tens of thousands of individuals, young people, serving personnel and veterans.

To find out more or get involved visit: raf100appeal.org

Chairman of the RAF100 Appeal, Simon Collins