SIR, - Can I through your newspaper, take this opportunity to say a huge thank you' to everybody who worked so hard a week last Saturday to ensure that once again Otley Show was a success.
Much work had been put in for a number of weeks prior to the event by many volunteers which meant that, when we were unfortunate enough to have atrocious weather on the day, everything ran very smoothly.
The continuous rain falling meant that the fields soon became muddy and our tractor drivers were working solidly for 12 hours or more. Therefore I must not only thank them for their endeavours but also I must thank all the exhibitors and the public for their patience and support in such adverse weather conditions.
Also thanks to the people of Otley who came along to support us. It was greatly appreciated.
Finally can I thank all my many committee members, stewards, friends and, in particular, my family for all their endeavours and hard work over the past year, without whose commitment Otley Show would not prosper.
Our thoughts now turn to the organisation of next year's show, when we hope the weather will be kinder to us.
Janet Raw Otley Show Secretary.
SIR, - Is there anyone in England who still believes this is a democracy?
The Palace of Westminster becomes more like Fawlty Towers every day full of Muppets and Basils who constantly poke Joe Public in the eye and hit us over the head with a frying pan.
And we accept this meekly, without protest, as normal behaviour just like Manuel!
Blair goes on a day trip to Baghdad, pops up like a glove puppet to congratulate the new Iraq Government surrounded by daily carnage.
Villages in Afghanistan are wiped out, killing children indiscriminately and these are reported as Talliban terrorists.
The Home Office's Minister, John Reid, rings his hands and declares his department is unfit for purpose' and dysfunctional as illegal immigrants work as cleaners in the department that is supposed to exclude them.
Blair's Tory grant maintained Education Bill gets approved in the House of Commons with support of his friends, the Conservatives. And when asked if parents could choose by ballot, the Minister responsible said, this was expensive and unnecessary'!
So there we have it! Democracy is unnecessary' and gets in the way. With this evidence is there anyone who still thinks this is a democracy?
Never mind. We have the humiliation of World Cup football to look forward to, 24-hour hour drinking and the Millennium Dome gambling casino.
So everything is lovely jubbly. We fly our little flags from cars in a dream world pretending we are the greatest. And we are. We are the world champion Manuels.
Malcolm Naylor 21 Grange View, Otley.
SIR, - Earlier this year the RSPCA urged members of the public to help prevent the senseless slaughter of thousands of badgers by writing to the Government about proposals for a massive badger cull.
The result was fantastic. The Government received a record 47,474 responses. Most opposed a cull. But this isn't the end of the matter.
The Government is still under pressure to withdraw badgers' legal protection and allow them to be shot, snared or even gassed because it is claimed this would reduce TB in cattle. A decision is expected this summer.
The latest scientific evidence reveals that killing badgers could actually increase TB levels in cattle. Expert advice is that the main factor in spreading the disease is not badgers but diseased cattle.
Millions of cattle are moved around the country every year and it is estimated that up to a third may be carrying undiagnosed TB. The RSPCA has strongly supported the Government's recent introduction of tests of cattle before they are moved.
We have also pressed for more routine testing of cattle, strict quarantining of new animals and financial help to farmers to pay for the tests.
There is currently an Early Day Motion (EDM) - a kind of petition which only MPs may sign. It urges the Government to act on the clear scientific evidence and concentrate on tackling the disease spread between cattle.
Members of the public may wish to encourage their local MP to sign the EDM on badgers. They can find their MP via (www.locata.co.uk/commons) or write to them at the House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA. Please act now to enlist MP's help in saving badgers from a terrible fate.
Alan Wolinski RSPCA Regional Manager for the North.
SIR, - Much has been written recently about asylum seekers, prisoners and immigration. One statistic, however, received very little coverage.
Last week it was announced that the number of children being locked up by the UK Government has gone up.
More than 2000 children are detained, with their families, in immigration detention centres each year. It's known that this causes distress, depression, confusion and behavioural changes.
They have committed no crime - and yet can find themselves locked up without a judge reviewing their case.
The Refugee Council has joined with Save the Children and Bail for Immigration Detainees to call for an end to this unnecessary and inhumane policy.
I would like to ask your readers to help us by logging on to www.noplaceforachild.org.uk for more information and to send an electronic postcard to the Home Secretary.
This is not about controlling immigration, it's an issue of children being locked up.
Maeve Sherlock Refugee Council, 240-250 Ferndale Road, London SW9 8BB.
SIR, - Most of you will agree that helping to improve the lives of others through volunteering is a good thing.
Many of you, however, will say that although you'd like to, you just don't have the time or even the right skills. I am going to dispel both those myths.
This summer sees the launch of the first ever CSV Make a Difference Summer Challenge, which is a chance for company employees to volunteer. Many companies across the UK give their staff time off work to take part in community activities.
This has resulted in hundreds of classrooms being painted, gardens created, and bags of litter collected. Not only have communities benefited but staff have had fun, learnt new skills and gained a real sense of achievement.
Research shows that more than half of staff who volunteer feel more productive in the workplace, with 88 per cent saying it improves staff morale.
The CSV Make a Difference Summer Challenge is about sharing skills. Everyone has a skill they can share - maybe you're a chef and could teach young mothers how to cook healthy meals, or a hairdresser who could give someone in hospital a make-over.
Perhaps you work in a bank and could give financial awareness training to homeless people. Activities taking place this year include staff from Barclays who are providing business and enterprise training to school leavers and staff from Computer Associates who are teaching primary school children how to build web pages.
If you run a business - large or small - then why not join us. If you are an employee then speak to your HR department about setting up an employee volunteering scheme.
For more information on how you can get involved go to www.csv.org.uk/difference.
Elizabeth Salter Head of Campaigns, CSV Make a Difference Day,CSV, 237 Pentonville Road,London.
SIR, - Many of your readers will be members or supporters of the National Trust and am sure will share my distress that the charity is contemplating allowing the hunting of deer with dogs on its land.
According to press reports it is prepared to allow hunts to use dogs to flush out deer to be shot. This is contrary to its existing policy of not allowing hunting of any sort on its lands.
It is not illegal, in certain circumstances to shoot deer but is a criminal act to allow dogs to chase them. The League against Cruel Sports has credible evidence that hunts are still allowing dogs to pursue animals until they are exhausted. Only when they are unable to run any further are they shot.
The hunts always claim that this is an 'accident' because the dogs get a scent and cannot restrain themselves from chasing the deer.
Given that some hunters have publicly declared their willingness to break the law and that many others have admitted to 'accidents' when their dogs get out of control, I am amazed that the trust is even contemplating allowing hunts back on to its land.
At the trust AGM in November there will be a resolution calling for a continuation of the ban on hunts on trust land. I am confident that the majority of members will support it.
I would also urge your readers to write to the trust expressing opposition to any change in the existing policy.
Douglas Batchelor Chief Executive, League Against Cruel Sports, 83-87 Union Street, London.
SIR, - Now that there are signs that dog owners are getting the message about poop scooping, is it too much to ask that horse riders clean up after their mounts have dirtied the roads outside our houses?
NAME AND ADDRESS SUPPLIED Yeadon.