Give church another chance

I don’t know which, if any, church Kevin J Dempsey attends but I disagree with most of his remarks (August 30).

My wife and I arrived in England from Australia some nine weeks ago.

In that period we have attended three different churches, one being Romsey Abbey in Hampshire, perhaps one place where one could easily be ignored among a very large congregation.

It wasn’t so, we felt mostly welcome and it was a wonderful experience.

Here in the Wigan area we have been to two churches, both Anglican and have been made very welcome at both.

At St John’s in Abram not only were we made welcome by many of the congregation but on our third visit my wife and I were invited to take the communion bread and wine to the altar; we felt quite honoured to receive such an invitation.

We were also invited to join the church but as we are only temporarily in the area had to decline.

At St Benedict’s in Platt Bridge one of the church wardens came to us before the service had even started and welcomed us; we were also invited to stay for tea after the service.

On leaving we were each presented with a small wooden cross made by one of the parishioners.

It’s a gesture apparently made to all visitors.

At the church we attended in Australia, also Anglican, we had two people at each service who were nominated to welcome all visitors and to invite them to tea.

One of the main aims of the church today is for fellowship and is often the first place where newcomers to an area can make friends.

For Mr Dempsey’s information none of the following major wars were due to religion: Boer war; World Wars, I and II, Korean and the Vietnam War, to name but a few.

As for the church needing to enter the 21st century I trust it doesn’t; in the 10 years since it started we have seen little else but wars, terrorism on an unprecedented scale, plus a huge increase in the use of drugs, violence and crime.

Even the present wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are largely a result of the West wanting to control the oil from that region and nothing to do with religion.

Mr Dempsey is certainly entitled to his opinion but maybe it’s time he gave the church another chance.

Bill Sargeant,


Happy to meet in church . . .

I have to reply to Mr K J Dempsey, you say that “churches today are full of hypocrites who do not know the meaning of Christianity”. I say to you, which churches?

You also say that churches are full of cliques, what cliques Kevin Dempsey? I think Mr Dempsey needs to take a reality check and visit Billinge Family Church. And I will willingly meet you anywhere!

April Davies,

address supplied.

Point made by Warrior crowds

In reply to your un-named correspondent as to whether it is a myth that Wigan is a rugby town, I will provide the answer. NO!

Trust someone to make a sneering remark at another magnificent Warriors success (suspect jealousy here). Every team that goes to Wembley takes a “bandwagon” following in any sport.

The matches against Salford and Bradford which were mentioned in the letter attracted “only” just over 13,000 (actually one was nearer 14,000 and on live TV) were excellent considering Salford only brought around 200 fans and Bradford around 75. The same goes for most other games as only Saints and Warrington bring a decent following.

Even when Huddersfield pitched up with a crowd nearer 20,000 there were only around 1,500 away fans. Point made.

Steve Almond.

address supplied.

Warning over plans for NHS

I am wondering if the readers of this paper are aware that the third reading of the health bill takes place in parliament on September 7? What this means is that effectively the NHS will be open to privatization.

Yours and my health service will be open for private companies to come in and take over hospitals and other services which at the moment are in the public domain.

If we just stop to think about it for a moment the NHS belongs to us and we pay for it in our taxes. It does not belong to the Government or anyone else – in fact the voting public has not given the government a mandate for this act of vandalism .

David Cameron gave us assurances before the last election that the NHS would be safe in his hands and would get increased funding in real terms. What have we got – £20bn cuts.

We can see what happens when private capital enters health. Trafford has apparently already gone bust and there are another 18 in a similar position.

The doctors’ union the BMA opposes this privatization, even the Tory press has said that it will be a cash cow for big business.

It does not take a lot of thought to work out that big business will want its pound of flesh so something will haveto give and that will mean front line clinical services.

Rationing of operations, charging to see your GP, and being told that we will need extra private insurance on top of national insurance contributions, if you have a history of poor health you will not get insurance, I believe they are already rationing operations.

Our health service is the envy of the world, we all know that it is not perfect, but what is?

But it is a damn sight better than what is in store if we do not oppose this bill. We owe it to our children and grandchildren. You can help by signing the petition at the moment there are 450 thousand signatures. Also visit wigan&leigh save our NHS/keep our NHS public on facebook

Ian Heyes,

Firs Park Crescent,


It’s still ‘The Monaco’ to us

They can call it what they want but for more than 50 years it has always been “The Monaco” and to the people of Hindley and district it always will be.

The Rose Club sounds like a working men’s club.

Name and address supplied

Pensions have to be fair for all

I am a retired Occupational Pension Scheme professional and I read with interest the letter submitted by Syd Hall regarding the Heinz pension scheme.

I would have expected that on the introduction of the Heinz Pension scheme, negotiations would have taken place between the management and trade union representatives on the structure of the scheme.

f this was the case I am sure that it must have been agreed that there would not be any increases to pensions in payment and the level of contributions were determined by this decision. If for example guaranteed increases in payment of say 3% per annum was to be paid that would have resulted in a higher contribution rate.

The suggestion that some older pensioners should receive Index linked increases would be a complete non-starter as this would be seen as discriminating against younger pensioners of the Scheme and it would be completely unaffordable. Furthermore HJ Heinz does have to consider current employees’ future investment in the business, shareholders, and the threat from competition of which there are many in the current economic climate.

One final point is that the Occupational Pension Schemes throughout the UK were decimated by Gordon Brown in the 1990s by the then Labour Government’s decision to cease allowing Schemes to re-claim the tax payable on their investments. Had this practice been adopted, maybe HJ Heinz could have been more geneorus in their ex-gratia pension increases.

A former ASTMS union member and Pension Scheme Trustee,

name and address supplied.

Boxing research

I am researching my father, Gus Foran’s boxing record. He fought a Wigan man, Billy Ashton on March 28, 1940.

I would be very grateful for any information or photographs of Billy. Hope your readers can help.

Gerard Foran,

46 Inigo Road,

Stoneycroft, Liverpool. (Tel. 0151 230 0720).