Whatever side of the political divide they are on, many people in Leeds North West agree that Greg Mulholland has been a fantastic MP for the last five years. I find it extraordinary that, considering how hard Greg has worked for this area, Conservative Clive Fox has written a nasty letter attacking him. It smacks of desperation.

It is also barefaced cheek for Coun Fox to attack Greg’s record, considering how badly he let people in Moorland Road down. He actually refused to support the residents’ campaign and backed the council highways department. He was quoted in this newspaper as saying “what is the point in promoting formal speed restrictions where, on the face of it, the authorities don’t feel there is a particular problem in the first place?”

You can imagine how angry the residents were! It was only when Greg Mulholland got involved and led the campaign that the council was forced to change its mind. No wonder people have turned their backs on the Tories and have backed Greg and the Liberal Democrats here.

The fact is that the Conservatives came a poor third in the General Election in 2005 and this time have selected a candidate who lives miles away, closer to Burnley than to Leeds!

So, if people want a great local MP, the only choice is Greg Mulholland and that is how I will be voting on May 6 and many local people will be doing the same.

Dawn Forman-Marshall

Old Lane, Bramhope

Redressing the balance on care for the elderly and disabled

Elections are rare in our shamocracy and the outcome so important that niceties can be dispensed with. Disingenuous leaflets from all parties come flying through the letterbox like a snowstorm whose promises melt quickly when it is over. All parties are equally guilty but one of note came from Labour candidate Councillor Judith Blake.

This leaflet is more notable for what it doesn’t say rather than what it does.

Careful readers will note that nowhere in her “pledges” does Coun Blake mention care of the elderly and disabled or their carers. Nor does she mention she was the deputy leader of the Labour Group on Leeds City Council when they were in control and voted to introduce means-tested charges for care under Labour’s (un)fairer charging policy in defiance of the consultation with the groups representing carers and service users.

Even though “free” social care is now in Labour’s manifesto, (which actually will cost at least £50,000, see my letter of last week) it is conspicuous by its absence in her leaflet. Maybe she is afraid of rattling the skeletons in her cupboard and reminding the public of her past record on care.

I am sure that Councillor Blake is decent enough but clearly does exactly what the Labour Party tell her regardless of what her constituents want. So the public must decide if they want an MP who serves the public or the party she belongs to? This is one candidate who has demonstrated where her loyalties lie and they are not in North West Leeds, at least as far as the elderly, disabled and carers are concerned.

The public should know all the facts and I hope this will redress the balance.

Malcolm Naylor

Grange View, Otley

Wharfemeadows Park is a wonderful sight

I was so pleased to read in last week’s Wharfedale & Airedale Observer that litter collections are due to commence this summer in both Wharfemeadows Park, pictured, and Yeadon Tarn, as I believe that the scheme was a success last year as Wharfemeadows park, which I use regulary, looked far better for it.

It's nice that three people in particular, Councillors Ryk Downes and Colin Campbell (both Lib Dem) and Phil Staniforth, of Leeds City Council’s parks and countryside department, listened to my complaint last year and have had the sense to put funding in place for this year before the park gets into the same state as it was last year. I would also like to point out that none of the other local councillors replied to me regarding my complaint last year apart from Nigel Francis, which showed how much they cared about it.

The two Lib Dem councillors mentioned above should be given a lot of credit for this as it shows that they listen to the people they represent and will be getting my vote in the up-coming local elections.

Credit should also go to the team who look after the park as they do a lovely job in keeping the park clean throughout the week and the floral displays at the front of the park are a wonderful sight to see during the summer months.

David Grant


Arthritis should be taken more seriously

Readers, particularly those who suffer from arthritis, will be interested to hear that the medical charity Arthritis Research Campaign (ARC) has changed its name to Arthritis Research UK.

Arthritis Research UK is the charity leading the fight against arthritis. We’re working to take the pain away from sufferers of more than 200 different types of arthritis and helping people to remain active. This is done by funding high-class research, providing information and campaigning. The name change is part of a major strategy to re-launch the fight against arthritis and one of the many positive changes we are making is to play a more proactive role to help sufferers with this painful and often crippling condition. We plan to start campaigning on behalf of people with arthritis and to ensure that the condition is taken more seriously by the medical profession – and the government. If you have access to the internet, do have a look at the newly re-launched website: arthritisresearchuk.org., In the Leeds Hospitals and University we have excellent research taking place and many types of treatment and medication are available to people with arthritis. I have experienced this over the last 48 years, having being diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis at the age of 15.

In Otley we have a volunteer fundraising group which collects at local supermarkets during the year and arranges other occasional fundraising events. If you are a member of a group or club and would like to adopt us your charity, or would like any further information, please contact me on 01943 872549.

Elizabeth Hoyle (Mrs)

Otley Branch Chairman, Arthritis Research UK

Much-needed donations support vital work in Haiti

Three months ago a massive earthquake struck Haiti, killing thousands and shattering the lives of many millions more.

I have just returned from Haiti and, 12 weeks later, much has been achieved. In March, Red Cross distributions of materials to construct basic shelters reached their millionth person.

However the needs are still vast, and the situation is further compounded by the rainy season which is threatening the wellbeing of thousands of vulnerable Haitians.

Despite challenging circumstances Red Cross teams on the ground are continuing to deliver life saving relief to those who need it most and on behalf of all of us at the British Red Cross, I would like to thank your readers for their overwhelming generosity which has helped make this possible. Thanks to you, the British Red Cross Haiti Earthquake Appeal has now raised nearly £9m. On top of this, the Disasters Emergency Committee appeal, which includes 13 member agencies, has so far raised £91m from the public, of which the British Red Cross will receive a share.

These much needed donations have gone towards supporting crucial work, such as the British Red Cross’ logistics and sanitation emergency response units, deployed to Haiti just days after the earthquake, where they are still working now, providing vital sanitation support to displaced people living in camps. Along with partner Red Cross and Red Crescent organisations, we are providing sanitation facilities, including toilets, drinking water and heath education to over 200,000 people in 87 different sites.

The relief and recovery needs in Haiti, both long and short term, are immense but thanks to the enormous generosity of the British public, we have raised enough money to make a real difference for them.

Thank you for your generosity.

Sir Nicholas Young

Chief Executive, British Red Cross

Animal campaigners hit out at ‘violent spectacle’

Many readers will have breathed a sigh of relief that there were no fatalities at Saturday's Grand National, whilst being unaware that during the three-day meeting at Aintree, four horses were killed – one on Thursday and three on Friday.

Two of the victims, Prudent Honour and Plaisir D'Estraval, broke their necks almost simultaneously at Valentine's Brook while pitted against 27 other horses in the Topham Chase. Neither of these inexperienced horses had faced the terrifying fences at Aintree before.

Schindlers Hunt was reported to have broken a front leg during the John Smith Melling Chase, and six-year-old mare, Pagan Starprincess, fell at the first obstacle in the 22-runner Silver Cross Handicap Hurdle. A post mortem revealed that she had suffered a head injury, when the shoe from another horse flew off and hit her skull.

The officials at Aintree and the industry representatives will no doubt congratulate themselves that no horses were killed in the Grand National itself on Saturday, although 26 of the 40 runners failed to finish the race. Eleven horses fell, seven were pulled up, seven unseated their riders and one refused to even start the race.

That no horses were killed in the Grand National was more a factor of luck than design. The race remains a disgusting and violent spectacle. Readers who wish to learn more should visit stopkillinghorses.com.

Fiona Pereira

Campaigner, Animal Aid Bradford Street, Tonbridge TN9 1AW

Big Brother winner runs marathon in memory of sister

I will be running in the 2010 Virgin London Marathon on Sunday, April 25, in support of The Children’s Trust, Tadworth. I would like to make an appeal to runners and cheerers to join me and The Children’s Trust team. For runners who are taking part in the famous event and have yet to decide which charity to support, please consider running for The Children’s Trust.

It is a great opportunity for runners to help make a difference to the lives of some of the UK’s most severely disabled children, including children with acquired brain injuries, who receive care, education and therapy at the trust. Every year thousands of children in the UK have an accident or illness that leaves them with a brain injury so severe that it will affect them for the rest of their lives. As a result of money raised through the marathon, the charity is hoping to reach out to help more children and their families. This year, the trust is fundraising to increase the reach of its community-based services and to add to its on-site accommodation for parents.

I am running in memory of my sister, Rachel, who died at just five years old as a result of meningitis, and I hope that by doing so, it will raise awareness of The Children’s Trust and its services.

If you would like to run for The Children’s Trust, or come and cheer on me and our other runners at one of the trust’s five cheering points – and also show your support for 16-year-old Rebecca Coles who is taking part in one of Phil Packer’s 26 Miles for 26 Charities in 26 Hours – please visit: thechildrenstrust.org.uk/londonmarathon, or telephone: 01737 364329.

Sophie Reade, Winner of Big Brother 10

On behalf of The Children’s Trust