I’M very concerned about the lack of Covid-19 testing, and the dire situation schools and businesses in Ryedale are going to find themselves in.

One recent example, an 11-year-old, was sent home from school with a sore throat and slight cough, the school said she couldn’t return without a Covid-19 test.

Her mum, who is self-employed, had to cancel clients to stay at home together with the youngest daughter who also couldn’t return to school.

Both parents tried in vain to get a test for their daughter to no avail. Finally after hours on the phone they were given details of a home test but told not to divulge where it was from due to limited numbers.

This will have a vast knock-on effect in schools as teachers are told to self-isolate until they too can get a test if showing symptoms. Where are these test centres that are supposed to be available to everyone?

As winter approaches there’s going to be people stuck at home that could be in work as they have to wait for a test. There will be workforce shortages and the impact on the economy and the mental health and wellbeing of those affected could be catastrophic.

There has to be testing readily available in order for society to try to regain some form of normality as this pandemic isn’t going away as we had all hoped for.

Cllr Angela Raine, Ryedale District Council

Let’s work together

FOLLOWING on from Ian Conlan’s letter last week, horses and cycles are not natural bedfellows but riders and cyclists have mostly learnt to get along.

As a horse rider, walker and cyclist I look for every opportunity to get off the road, but sadly there is often no alternative and so you have to rely on the motorist to drive with care when passing or approaching.

There is so much traffic on our roads now so let’s work together to try and achieve this much needed off road route.

Alison Fuller, Pickering

Song is a hymn

IN the 17th century the seas around Britain were ruled by North African Muslim Slavers (Barbary Pirates). They stopped British ships and carried off the crews to be sold as slaves in Algiers and Tripoli.

The situation became so bad that fishermen from Devon and Cornwall wouldn’t be put out to sea in case they were captured by North African slave traders.

Between 1609 and 1616, 466 British ships were captured by slave traders in the English Channel, Irish Sea and North Atlantic and the crews were sold into slavery. In 1625, a raiding party landed at Mount’s Bay in Cornwall and 60 people who had taken refuge in a local church were dragged out, loaded up and taken off to Africa to be sold as slaves.

On August 12, 1625, the mayor of Plymouth wrote to London for military help after 27 ships had been seized by the North African Muslim Slave Traders in just 10 days. In 1645, 240 people were seized as slaves in Cornwall. The situation only began to change after the end of the English Civil War when the Royal Navy was built up under Oliver Cromwell. By 1700, North African Slavers generally knew better than to bother with the British Isles in return for slaves because of the Royal Navy. It was a triumph that Britain was finally able to control its coastal waters.

It was in commemoration of this that in 1740, James Thompson wrote Rule Britannia. It is a hymn in thanksgiving rather than a proclamation of aggressive nationalism.

D Brotherton, Whitwell-on-the-Hill