I hope someone can help save Serve

Staff and users of the Ron Manning Centre in 2012
Staff and users of the Ron Manning Centre in 2012

I was aware of the decision to close the Serve day centres several weeks ago as my mother attends the Ron Manning Centre at Higham Ferrers on a Tuesday.

I am very disappointed with this decision as my mother is quite immobile and started attending the centre a couple of years ago after a spell in hospital.

This is about the only thing she has to look forward to each week and has made some lovely friends.

She struggles to get anywhere, but on Tuesdays she gets picked up, taken to the centre where they have lovely lunches and then brought home mid-afternoon.

I haven’t yet had time to research where else she could go but the staff there are brilliant and as some of the attendees suffer with dementia it obviously gives their carers a break as I know that some of them attend several times a week.

The cost is chargeable and I am sure many of those affected would be willing to perhaps pay a bit more.

My mother was given the news the day after Esther Rantzen had been on television promoting the Silverline phone link which is available 24 hours a day for elderly lonely people.

If the closure goes ahead there will be more elderly lonely people!

Although I visit each morning on my way to work, most days my mother does not see or speak to anyone else all day until I call her in the evening.

My mother does like to be independent and not be a burden but it is also important to keep her motivated, especially during the long winter days.

At the centre I know my mother feels secure as there is always a member of staff available.

I hope that somebody or some organisation can step in and do something.


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I think I’m sure it will be a good year

How often do we hear or use the words “I don’t know, I’m sure” when we face confusion or a misunderstanding?

The apparent contradictions in these words often escape us because we take for granted that life is a jumble of certainties and uncertainties, but we would rather not think too deeply about that.

We want to stick with what is familiar.

However, we are also aware at the back of our minds that something new can come along every day in our lives.

I am sure that all of us share in this tension.

We would prefer everything to be predictable but nothing ever is.

Old friends can sometimes surprise us.

Some events can shock us. People with long-held points of view can change their minds and leave us wondering if we ever really knew them.

Benjamin Franklin, the 18th century American statesman and scientist, once said that “there are only two things in life that are certain – death and taxes”.

From his experiences he could have added “uncertainty in all things”.

We live in a world where things go wrong and where things go right and we can predict neither.

So what do we do about this state of affairs?

I was bemused recently in a local high street to see a bank next to a shop that offered tarot readings and fortune telling.

Are they closer neighbours than they would admit? Both are in the business of peddling certainties but cannot guarantee anything.

“I don’t know, I’m sure” sums up both of them!

Newspapers and other media can often play on our fears or endeavour to inspire us.

Political leaders of every persuasion seek to do the same.

Advertising, in whatever shape or form, can sometimes play the same game.

We often give more credibility to satirists and playwrights as they can give us a far more pithy point of view about life than sermons and speeches.

It is more honest to say “I don’t know, I’m sure” than peddle false hopes.

Jesus, in his day, warned his followers about wolves in sheep’s clothing.

We need to take some people’s opinions with a pinch of salt.

However, the good Lord also had a great deal to say about the importance of love, integrity and honesty in our daily lives as being a sure foundation by which we can cope with the ups and downs of daily living.

We cannot escape from the reality of “I don’t know, I’m sure” this side of heaven, but we are assured by St Paul that heaven is on our side.

“I am convinced that... nothing in creation can ever separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus.”

It is this certainty that can help us all to wish one another a happy new year, I’m sure.


Barton Seagrave

Television should be free to watch

Unfortunately, my 86-year-old mother was admitted into Northampton General Hospital.

After excellent accident and emergency assessment and treatment, she was taken up to the stroke ward.

We were delighted to find out she could have the television on, we didn’t want her to miss the snooker!

We were disgusted to discover that it costs the patient £10 a day to view television.

We were in a position to pay this, but there would be many unable to do so.

When in hospital there is very little a patient can do except watch television, so surely this is just exploitation of the vulnerable and elderly.

How can we get free television back into our hospitals?


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Associations have helped reunions

Thanks to the letters section of this and many other local newspapers across the country printing my letters, I have collected lots of sailors.

Not just any old sailors, but those who have served at HMS Collingwood in Hampshire, or served in the Electrical Branch of the Royal Navy.

What have I done with them? Put them in contact with their old shipmates from when they trained or served together in the Electrical Department on various ships throughout the fleet via the newsletters and membership lists.

We have also received photographs and books for the archives before they were consigned to the scrap heap.

Reunions are very popular and the next one in April will be joining with other associations for a 70th anniversary of the launch of HMS.

Cavalier at the dock where it has been preserved and restored.

Two associations are welcoming new members, the Royal Naval Electrical Branch Association whose website can be found at www.rneba.org.uk and the HMS Collingwood Association whose website can be found at www.hmscollingwoodassociation.com.

Contact details can be found on either site, or contact me and I will forward them to the appropriate membership secretary.



7 Heath Road, Lake, Sandown, Isle of Wight, PO36 8PG

Doppelganger seen on TV show

My name is Linda Pryde and I currently live in Kusadasi in Turkey.

I follow UK television via YouTube and am a great fan of Come Dine With Me.

I watched the broadcast of November 6 featuring the grandfather of one of the competitors.

His name was Jackson and it appears he had a fish and chip shop in the Northants area.

His grandaughter’s surname was Reader. The amazing thing is he looked like my father’s twin.

I understand this is a very remote chance that you could point me in a direction that I may contact them.

Everyone is supposed to have a “doppelganger” but I am very curious to find out if there is a family connection.


lnp49@hotmail.co.uk ghps

Have your say on new gagging law

The gagging law is a law that would dramatically reduce what charities and campaign groups can do for a whole year before any election.

We’re handing in a petition to ask our MP to take a stand and protect freedom of speech.

The law is currently being debated in the House of Lords, but it may well be coming back to the House of Commons soon, so it’s really important to see where our MP stands on the issue.

To find out more about the law, you can visit the website secure.38degrees.org.uk/gagginglaw.

To read a report on the bill from an independent commission, you can visit civilsocietycommission.info.



Take the politics out of policing

I’d like to thank our local Police and Crime Commissioner Adam Simmonds for his response to my original letter in which I quite rightly pointed out the most up-to-date crime figures that were publicly available at the time.

I welcome the news certain crime is down since April, and look forward to seeing the detailed data when it is published in the public domain.

The Police and Crime Commissioner again claimed that there had been no reduction in the number of frontline staff on his watch.

According to ukcrimestats.com, we have six fewer PCSOs, 37 less constables and two fewer sergeants than a year ago.

These stats are compiled using figures supplied by Northamptonshire Police.

I said last time that when Labour win in 2015, I look forward to the politically minded commissioners being replaced with something independent and better value for money.

His party political response to my letter shows exactly why politics need to be taken out of policing.


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