I was delighted to read your recent article about Brent Thompson, pictured.

He has created two beautiful carved oak, individual designed heirloom pieces for our family. They have pride of place with us, and serve their purpose admirably. We are always reminded when we see them, of how fortunate we are to have a high calibre craftsman such as Brent within our own community.

Because skilled cabinet makers are becoming increasingly scarce, he could be described as a modern-day endangered species; not only for that reason but also for his modesty and the joy he finds in his life’s work – a rarity indeed – a truly happy man.

As my mother used to say: “A thing of beauty is a joy forever”. Here’s to you Brent and your work.

Rosemary Oxley

Endor Crescent, Burley-in-Wharfedale

How will children’s services £6.2m budget be spent?

Last week you reported of an increase in funding for Leeds Council’s children’s services of £6.2 million.

Without being churlish, this is welcome but it’s not the whole story.

This input follows an appalling and damning report of Leeds children’s services by the Care Quality Commission. The director responsible has been given a six-figure early retirement settlement whereas anyone else would be dismissed with a P45 for incompetence. But in the present political climate failure is rewarded as we have seen with the bankers. The victims are the taxpayers who fund it and the children who need care.

The executive councillor responsible for children’s services, Liberal Democrat Stewart Golton has authorised and was pleased to announce the temporary appointment of a new children’s director, Eleanor Brazil from Harringey at a pay rate of £1,000 per day.

Furthermore between 2004 and the present Leeds Council have spent £11 million on children’s services consultants. They also are responsible for this mess. So after funding pay-offs, excessive bureaucratic salaries and consultants, there won’t be much left for the children.

Leeds needs 30 more social workers but instead chooses to employ a here-today, gone-tomorrow bureaucrat at £1,000 per day.

So maybe the news isn’t as good as it appears and more of our council tax will end up down the plughole of Conservative and Liberal Democrat profligacy.

So, can I ask Coun Golton or one of our local Lib Dem councillors to explain in detail how the £6.2 million will be spent and provide a balance sheet so the poor taxpayers can see just how Leeds Council is squandering their money.

Malcolm Naylor

Grange View, Otley

Is your life blighted by too much light at night?

Are your readers' lives blighted by too much light at night? The Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) and the British Astronomical Association’s Campaign for Dark Skies are running a survey to find out how people are affected by light pollution, and where it is coming from. We’re hoping to gather evidence to support our campaign to rein in excessive lighting, which is also a huge waste of energy and money. At the moment, there is no requirement for the effects to be considered before new lighting schemes are put in place. The unrestricted spread of light can cause a variety of problems, an often-reported one is that people can find it difficult to sleep due to light spilling into their bedrooms or the glare from nearby domestic security lights. People often do not know where to turn to resolve the problem and so suffer in silence.

We would really like to hear from any of your readers who are affected by light pollution. This is a great opportunity for people to speak up about this issue and help us take their voices directly to the Government.

The link to our survey is oncpre.org.uk and it closes on Friday, February 12.

Shaun Spiers

Chief Executive, Campaign to Protect Rural England

Another opportunity to stop smoking for good

I’m writing this letter to congratulate everyone in Otley and wider Wharfedale and Aireborough who has managed to stop smoking this year, many of whom are regular readers of the Wharfedale & Airedale Observer.

Part of this has been down to the free support available through the NHS local Stop Smoking Services in this area, which has helped thousands of people start a new life without cigarettes.

Quitting smoking is one of the hardest things you can do – I should know, I’ve done it. One way of helping yourself is to stay positive and stay focused on the benefits, if not for yourself, then for the sake of others.

We all have a duty to protect our children and giving up smoking is the best way you can play a part in securing a healthier smoke-free future for our children and our local communities.

One in four people smoke across Yorkshire and the Humber, and there were 8,000 smoking-related deaths in the region last year. If you are a smoker, your children are more likely to grow up as smokers, too, so I would urge any of your readers who are thinking about giving up or who perhaps tried to give up in the New Year and didn’t quite manage it, to look ahead to No Smoking Day on March 10 and use that as an opportunity to try to give up for good.

Good luck to everyone who is planning on quitting and well done to everyone who has already quit.

Duncan Bannatyne

President of No Smoking Day

Veggie campaign says now is perfect time to kick meat habit

March is Veggie Month! So, if you, or someone you know, has been thinking about going veggie, this is the perfect time to kick the meat habit and open your mind, body and taste buds to the possibilities of new foods and improved health.

By going veggie, not only will you be helping to stop animal suffering, but vegetarians tend to have lower rates of diet-related diseases, such as obesity, heart disease, diabetes and some cancers. Switching to a plant-based diet will also significantly reduce your ecological footprint, because animal farming uses much more land, energy and water.

Contact Animal Aid on 01732 364546 to order a free Guide to Going Veggie. It includes nutritional information, shopping tips and recipes. Visit veggiemonth.com for more information and the opportunity to win a selection of vegetarian cookbooks.

Kelly Slade

Veggie Month Coordinator

Campaign to stop children being locked up

I am writing to ask you, your readers and our MPs to back the OutCry! campaign, a partnership between The Children’s Society and Bail for Immigration Detainees, which is demanding an end to the immigration detention of children (join the campaign at outcrycampaign.org.uk).

Every year, the UK immigration system locks up around 1,000 children. They have often fled countries where they experienced violence, war and discrimination. The children have committed no crime and are hidden from society. The effects are terrible. Many experience depression, weight loss, bed-wetting and even self-harm. This may be happening to children in our local community and I believe this is immoral and unacceptable.

Residents of our community cannot ignore this issue – it could be a child who lives on our streets, attends our local schools who is detained next.

Helen Kemp

Coach Road, Baildon

Don’t forget to tell licence authority you’re moving

With the recent release of Government figures showing some signs of recovery of the housing market – and with more people likely to be moving home as spring approaches – we’d like to remind home movers in your area to notify TV Licensing of any change of address.

Your TV licence doesn’t automatically move with you when you move house, so if you don’t notify us of your new address, you could end up unlicensed even though you’ve paid.

It's easy to update your details and you can do so up to three months in advance, so to minimise your stress levels, why not tick this job off your list before you move?

Log on to tvlicensing.co.uk or call 0300 790 6037 with your new details and you will then be correctly covered to watch television in your new home.

Phil Reed

TV Licensing