I WRITE in praise of Pickering library.

Since moving to North Yorkshire from Norfolk in 1987, Pickering library has enabled me to extend my reading, it has provided me with information and I have watched with admiration as it has developed and changed over the years.

In the late 1980s/early 1990s it was an attractive, welcoming, quiet retreat which frequently stocked newly-published titles. However, government and county council cutbacks led to a reduction in the number of new titles available.

Fortunately, careful management and information about the excellent ordering scheme (whereby any book can be ordered on payment of £1 and is usually in the library waiting for collection within a week or 10 days) meant that the library continued to be very good.

Over the years from the mid-1990s to the present day it has metamorphosed into an excellent place for borrowing books, reading newspapers, discovering useful information, working on the computers, enjoying and learning from the many exhibitions, displays and talks, meeting people or just having a cup of coffee.

It has become not just a library but a wonderful, multi-purpose resource. Its position in the centre of Pickering in a very attractive, light, airy, spacious building means that it is at the heart of the community. The staff have worked tirelessly to maintain this invaluable establishment.

Extremely harsh government cuts have resulted in North Yorkshire County Council reducing funding for many aspects of community life. The dedication shown by Liz and the hard-working staff is to be repaid in 2017, not with thanks, but with offers of early retirement, loss of jobs and a library which is to be run by volunteers with possibly one paid professional in attendance.

If you are not a regular visitor to the Pickering library please go and see how good it is before it disappears for ever or before its services are drastically reduced.

Finally, I should like to express my personal thanks to the staff of Pickering Library for all the pleasure and learning I have been able to have over the past 28 years.

Maureen Weston, Thornton-le-Dale


Time to honour cricket legend

LAST month, Welcome to Yorkshire and the Grand Depart bike ride chief executive Gary Verity officially became Sir Gary Verity after receiving the honour fromHRH Prince Charles at Buckingham Palace.

I feel his second cousin, the late former Yorkshire and England cricket legend Headley Verity, would have been immensely proud for their family name.

However, on balance I feel that Headley could have been an equally deserving recipient of such a prestigious honour for his monumental and outstanding bowling performances at county and test match levels. Headley had the unique distinction of claiming the wicket of the greatest batsman in test match history, Don Bradman, more times than any other bowler during the 1930s, when the Don was at his most ruthless and brilliant best (career average 99.94). When test cricket resumed after the war 1946/7, although in the twilight of his illustrious career he was still the best batsman in the world.

It was in this period that Alec Bedser came second only to Headley in his dismissals of the great man. By comparison Headley’s test bowling average 24.37, Alec’s test bowling average 24.89. In his retirement from playing Alec went on to become chairman of the test selectors and was later to become Sir Alec Bedser in the same way as Don Bradman had become Sir Donald Bradman.

Sadly on July 31, 1943, Headley paid the supreme sacrifice, dying from shrapnel wounds while leading his men as a captain in the Green Howards in Caserta, Italy. His dying words being “keep going lads”.

A quote from Sir Donald Bradman, Headley had no breaking point.

Mike Kitching, Town Street, Old Malton


Fracking visit gave a different picture

“WE need to paint a picture for local people to show them that [fracking can be done without industrialising the countryside]. At the moment, we are losing the PR war.”.

Is this a quote from fossil fuel industry, keen to foist fracking on a sceptical public? Or perhaps from the Westminster government, wishing to test out this controversial technique on the North? No – it’s from our own MP, Kevin Hollinrake, in a debate in Parliament on December 15, declaring war on his constituents.

Having heard that Mr Hollinrake was reassured by his visit to Pennsylvania, my wife and I decided to visit the same areas and meet some of the same people, hoping that we would be similarly reassured. We were not reassured. We met people with poisoned water sources, heard stories of a decimated tourist industry, found out about the boom-and-bust impact with itinerant workers swarming through then moving on, of residents taking sides and communities being ripped apart in bitter quarrels.

The big corporations had arrived with stories of being good neighbours, of tucking themselves away in quiet corners, of it all being different from what had happened in other US states. Isn’t this the same story Mr Hollinrake is now peddling to us? Was his Pennsylvania visit just a sham part of his self-proclaimed “PR war”? The people he visited in Pennsylvania certainly think so.

Steven White, Great Edstone


No confusion over ward by-election

I WAS disappointed with Elizabeth Shields comments following the Derwent ward by-election, ie, “However it is quite clear that because of no logo or description of our party on the ballot paper, voters saw the word Liberal and assumed it must be Liberal Democrats”.

Firstly, Mr Potter polled more than three times the number of votes that Mr Allanson, the Liberal Democratic candidate achieved. It beggars belief that many voters were confused as Elizabeth suggests.

Secondly, it is entirely feasible that some voters didn’t vote Liberal (Mr Potter), because they thought he was the Liberal Democrat candidate. Well done to Mike Potter and his teamhard working, hard canvassing colleagues.

Mark Benson, Allerston