I AM writing to draw attention to the wonderful efforts of a small group of people in East Morton who have given generously of their time to raise enough money to transform what used to be a padlocked (and therefore unused) public convenience into a village shop.

It may sound like an odd idea, but it isn’t. Morton is quite a sizeable village but it doesn’t have a shop.

I wrote a poem about it for a fundraising competition they held. It began something like this: “How convenient to make a convenience store, From what was a public convenience before . . .”

I am quite elderly and I don’t have a car. There are many people like me and I think I can speak for them. We really would like to have a local shop. At the bottom of my street I have a bus stop, a postbox, a pub and now, soon, a shop. The world is my oyster.

I consider the people who have put this thing together as local community heroes. They give their time and don’t expect any remuneration. But they do need a bit more money to bring this project to fruition. They have raised most of what was required by their own sterling efforts.

Week in, week out, the Keighley News prints items about the villages around, who rely heavily on the voluntary contributions of residents. They clean up parks, pick up litter, tend to flowerbeds etc. They even clean up some of the public toilets that still struggle to exist.

It is sad Bradford Metropolitan Council can no longer afford to pay for these basic public services, but at least these ventures foster a community spirit that was always there. This is certainly strong in East Morton, for some residents anyway. They don’t need much more help; they have done most of it on their own.

An issue like this may seem trivial to some of you, but it isn’t. If you examine it, it links to so many other problematic areas Keighley is faced with. Traffic troubles, for example. For its size, the town has a preponderance of supermarkets. Most of those cars you see passing by every day are just doing that, passing by. Their drivers aren’t here to stop and spend other money. They are just passing through. Some of them are looking for the cheapest supermarket to do their fortnightly shop, otherwise they are going somewhere else.

Morton is quite a big village. It doesn’t have a supermarket nor does it have a village shop – yet.

The Keighley News has reported on the fears of shop-owners in Cavendish Street that their neighbours are thinking of closing on a Saturday because there aren’t enough customers. Greenwoods is on its knees for the same reasons. We should be ashamed of ourselves. We drive to supermarkets and our local shops die.

A town like Keighley becomes a kind of drive-in, drive-out supermarket. But it seems not to occur to the people who govern the place that they are surrounded by towns who do attract people to visit; Skipton, Ilkley, Hebden Bridge etc. These places don’t seem to think like Keighley.

CHRISTOPHER ACKROYD Bethel Street, East Morton