Letters to the editor – June 03, 2022

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Waverley costs

Sir,

I am delighted Waverley is back in service, but deeply concerned on how we can cover operating costs this season given the current fuel price.

The focus over the past few weeks has been on getting everything ship shape for passengers.

Now Waverley is sailing daily I am faced with the stark reality of buying fuel at a cost which has increased by more than 50 per cent since 2021.

We have, very reluctantly, introduced a modest fuel surcharge of £3 to go a little way towards keeping the paddles turning.

Despite this I am determined that as many people as possible will step aboard to enjoy the unique experience of sailing on the world’s last sea-going paddle steamer.

We have several schools booked to travel in the coming weeks and throughout the summer there are many free trips for kids. For Waverley to survive we need the next generation to sail and work on her.

She also needs the continued support of the general public in the coming months or we will face a serious financial crisis that will put her continued operation at risk.

In 2020 new modern boilers were installed following a major fundraising appeal, but they burn fuel at a rate of over £11 per minute, an average daily fuel bill that tops £7,000.

Paul Semple Waverley Excursions General Manager

Tea party appeal

Sir,

The end-of-life charity Marie Curie is calling on people across Scotland to throw a Blooming Great Tea Party in June and July to help fund vital care and support for those living with a terminal illness, and their families.

Every penny raised from a Blooming Great Tea Party will go towards ensuring more people have access to the care and support they need at the end of life.

Marie Curie is dependent on public donations so that it can continue caring for people at the end of life in their own homes and at its two Scottish hospices.

Donations also support its information and support services, including a telephone line which provides a listening ear to anyone dealing with any aspect of death, dying and bereavement.

Hosting a Blooming Great Tea Party is easy. Whether you want to bake up a storm at home or pop to the shops for some tasty treats, you’ll be helping to support people in your local area living with a terminal illness.

We’d encourage supporters to make the most of the Queen’s Jubilee bank holiday weekend in June too – a perfect occasion to raise a cuppa and some money for a blooming great cause. Just don’t forget to price your slice!

To find out more about Marie Curie’s Blooming Great Tea Party, including top tips for planning your party, recipes and downloadable materials, visit mariecurie.org.uk/teaparty.

Ashley Thomson, Head of Fundraising Scotland, Marie Curie

RAF Benevolent fund – thanks for royal support

Sir,

As we celebrate Her Majesty The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, marking 70 years of service, I would like to thank Her Majesty for her continuous support of the RAF Benevolent Fund, being the charity’s Patron since 1952.

One memorable event for the fund was in June 2012 when Her Majesty attended the unveiling of the fund’s Bomber Command memorial in Green Park, London, the 10 year anniversary of which is on June 26.

The memorial pays tribute to the 55,573 airmen who lost their lives serving in Bomber Command during the Second World War and the unveiling was attended by thousands of veterans and relatives.

Her Majesty The Queen has always been a tireless supporter of the fund’s work, providing welfare services for the whole RAF family – from serving personnel and veterans to their partners and children.

It is a privilege to celebrate the Platinum Jubilee with cherished memories of Her Majesty’s commitment not only to the RAF but to all the Armed Forces.

Air Vice-Marshal Chris Elliot, Chief Executive, RAF Benevolent Fund

Praise for CalMac staff

Sir,

Of late, most news involving CalMac appears to have items about new ferry costs, delays or communities concerned about the services provided and often comes across in a very negative vein.

Please could I offer a few words of praise to CalMac, in particular the front-line staff that most travellers will meet on ferry journeys.

Having made several trips of late to different locations, all staff and crew were very helpful and friendly. I was very impressed how quick and efficient the disabled access was, having to use it on a temporary basis.

Whatever happens in the boardrooms and with committees regarding the future of CalMac ferry services, I, for one, am more than happy to travel knowing that the company has got it right regarding staff and customer relationships. Long may it continue.

Ernie Brittain-Dodd, Seil.

Island cash should benefit locals

Sir,

I’m rather surprised that the Scottish government is moving ahead with plans to pay young people and families £50,000 to move to some of our remotest islands with interest expressed from applicants as far away as Ecuador.

The first ‘golden welcomes’ will be offered by the Government within weeks in an attempt to tackle depopulation of the Scottish islands where populations range from one person to around 20,000.

Having looked at just how much money this plan would cost the hard-pressed taxpayer wouldn’t that money be better spent improving local services and infrastructure on the Islands?

We want young people with families who have some connection with our islands not people just tempted by the cash on offer.

Lack of housing is a huge problem our islands are very often attracting early retirees and second home owners.

Poor transport connections including constant ferry disruptions, slow or non-existent broadband and unaffordable housing are just some of the factors holding back the economic prosperity of so many of our islands.

These should be addressed before we throw good money after bad by attempting paying people to move to our island communities.

Alastair Redman, Port Charlotte, Islay