ON behalf of the Ryedale Free Fridge, operating from the Wesley Centre, Malton, we want to give a big thank you and shout out to all our local providers of good surplus food these last few months.

Especially the local Norton and Malton food-producing companies, big and small, bakers of wonderful pies, sausage rolls and bread, the greengrocers and participating supermarkets whose generosity meant people could eat. We could not have reached so many people without you.

The newly-formed Ryedale Volunteer Group delivered food boxes to the housebound, with the excess food going onto outreach stalls in the towns.

Thank you to all the new younger volunteers who have enthusiastically stepped forward to help.

The two towns, along with Pickering, have produced an amazing co-ordinated response to this crisis. The various community kitchens and fish and chip runs have, and still do, produce hundreds of hot meals, with volunteers helping people at home.

Groups have linked up to avoid duplication and the council has drawn things. Not many towns have a heart this big.

Lindsay Wrightson, Ryedale Free Fridge chairperson

Devolution move

YOUR readers may be unaware that at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic lockdown, our democratically-elected government removed the decision-making powers of democratically-elected councillors and handed them to council chief executives. Council meetings understandably ceased. This situation will continue until at least September.

There are vast and inevitable worldwide impacts from Covid-19 on the economy, unemployment, poverty, food production and supply lines, physical and mental health.

Consequently, there will be massive organisational and economic repercussions for the repaying of debts, incurred by huge borrowing, for years to come.

Public finances are in a parlous state from the cost of dealing with the impacts of lockdown on local businesses and residents alike. Many councils are on the brink of bankruptcy. Most “business as usual” at every level has been side-lined to deal with a crisis quite reasonably compared to a war footing. Apparently, resources are too stretched for an interim inquiry to learn vital lessons in time for a likely winter spike.

Despite the above, the government has decided to embark on devolving control to the regions and electing mayors, dependent on major reorganisation of local authorities. The last one in 1972 involved significant cost and time. The deadline for input from local councils, including RDC is September.

Do others agree that now is not the ideal time for a major government reorganisation of the deckchairs on the Titanic? Shouldn’t council chief executives be highlighting they are otherwise occupied managing the emergency lifeboat stations?

Cllr Mike Potter, Pickering West Ward

Real dangers

I FEAR that Clive Milson (Letters, July 15) has fallen prey to misinformation and conspiracy theories which are indeed Orwellian since Winston Smith’s job in the Ministry of Truth is rewriting “facts” to fit the wishes of Big Brother.

We do not know yet what the survival rate is for Covid. Currently the official mortality rate in the UK is around 15 per cent, but even two per cent of a population is a devastating loss of life.

The 46,000 UK deaths so far are an underestimate, since this reflects only those who were tested. Hydroxychloroquine has been shown to not only to be ineffective in treating the disease, but can pose serious cardiac health risks.

A vaccine is likely the only way that this virus can be prevented from returning multiple times, killing “only” two per cent (or more) with each wave.

My brother in Texas was seriously ill and the state is now in the middle of a rapid spike, which shows what happens when we pander to those who say there is an “overreaction”.

I have seen medical students that I taught at Hull York Medical School exhausted and traumatised by the overwhelming impact of this disease on the NHS. Do not belittle the very real dangers of a global pandemic.

Ryedale has been exceptionally lucky because of its rural character and the willingness of its citizens to adhere (for the most part) to the rules.

Of course we all want this to end, but we also all need to look beyond ourselves and do all we can to help those hurting, physically and economically, without increasing the very real risks to as all.

Jean McKendree, Westow