Sports shop closure is sad loss to town

I read with great sadness in the Keighley News of the impending closure of Willis Walker's sports shop.

I accept that in these modern times we have numerous opportunities of making our purchases, often without leaving the comfort of our own homes, but nothing compares with being able to handle theequipment that we hope to own and play with and taking advice from the experts.

We will miss specialist shops like Willis Walker's and, indeed, other outlets that will inevitably disappear from our town centres.

Following my appointment as secretary of Cullingworth Cricket Club in April of 1965, just a few weeks before the start of a new season, I vividly remember going to see 'Mr' Walker, wishing to buy new tackle for the fast approaching season.

In those days players did not own their own equipment, and relied upon the club to provide everything that was required in order to play cricket.

Playing equipment was the largest expense that a club then had. I had to explain to Mr Walker that although we owed him for most of the previous season's purchases, we did not have the funds with which to pay him.

His immediate reply was by way ofsaying: "Well, lad, I suppose you'll pay us when you can. Tell me what you want and I'll put it on the bill".

And pay him we did, but it took us a few years to catch up.

In those times, and for many years to follow, Willis Walker and his son Peter supported most, if not all, of the cricket clubs in the area, and, I dare say, football and other sports clubs.

While I was in a position to do so, I insisted on my club showing loyalty to Willis Walker's as Willis, Peter, Andrew and Tony had shown us.

Many clubs would not have survived without them. I will forever remember with affection Willis and Peter for their friendship and support, and wish Andrew and Tony all the best for the future.


Roydwood Terrace Cullingworth

'Bully boy' geese are just being protective

In response to Letter of the Week (March 22) regarding 'bully boy geese'.

We hope this was a joke because we have been visiting the tarn and feeding the geese for years.

Yes, they hiss at you, that is what geese do! They are only protecting their territory and each other from dogs and children who harass them.

They appreciate some bread, particularly when the tarn is frozen over in winter, and can be fed by hand.

A lot of people enjoy going to the tarn and watching the birds, so Mr Applebee, eat your red cabbage with something else and avoid the tarn if you don't like geese!


Goose Cote Lane Oakworth, Keighley

Politicians must act to save countryside It is a shame that this Government and Bradford and Keighley councils do not practice what they preach regarding the protection of the countryside, safeguarded land and green belt land.

The groups of people protesting about the wanton destruction of our countryside, which is also part of our heritage, are only putting into practice what Bradford and Keighley councillors merely preach about.

They cannot be serious about saving our countryside when all that is being allowed to happen is countryside destroyed for profit by developers and nothing is said or done.

It is a shame but not surprising under the present government that all this is happening. So it is yet again left to local people to band together to do what Government preach about but do not carry out, protect our countryside.


North Dean Avenue Keighley

Electorate won't forget

I have watched with increasing anger and concern as the Health and Social Care Bill has passed through the House of Commons and the Lords, backed by our local MP Kris Hopkins.

The way this Bill has been foisted upon the British public is an affront to the democratic process and shows complete disregard for the views of health professionals and the electorate.

Before the General Election David Cameron promised that "there would be no top down re-organisation of the NHS" and that the NHS was safe in his hands. There was no mention of the planned changes in the Conservative manifesto or in the Coalition agreement with the Lib Dems.

If the electorate had known what Cameron and Lansley were planning they would not have voted for them.

The Bill is opposed by every group that works in the NHS and recent opinion polls show massive public concern, but it is still pushed through. It has become a political virility test for the Government. The Bill has had more than 1,000 amendments but has still passed into law with the basic principle intact, that the NHS is to be opened up to market forces and creeping privatisation.

Backed up by European Competition Law, Private Health Companies will exert their right to bid for lucrative contracts within the NHS.

They won't of course be interested in any of the difficult and expensive services provided now by the NHS. Money that should go to patient care will be diverted to profits, bonuses and dividends to shareholders.

I have written to Kris Hopkins several times about the NHS detailing my concerns but have received only standard letters, presumably sent to anyone who wrote to him about the NHS; none of which addressed my concerns.

I hope Kris Hopkins is prepared to take a hit, I won't forget what he has voted for nor, I hope, will the rest of the electorate in his constituency.