Letters to the editor

A selection of letters from our readers

Sir, – It was disappointing to read that the catering charges for the Burgh Hall are likely to exclude many community groups from the facility. However, I am glad to inform readers that the various village halls in the Linlithgow area have excellent facilities and are open for business for all occasions at very reasonable rates. Please see the council website for details on how to book.–Yours etc.,

NEIL DONALD

chair,

Philpstoun Village Hall

Committee

I sky spy

Sir, – On the recent correspondence on UFOs, many Unidentified Flying Objects are subsequently identified as artificial earth satellites. Currently they are often sightings of the manned International Space Station (ISS). This is brighter than any star or planet and is seen in the night sky for a week or so every few weeks. Like Susan Reid’s UFO it travels from west to east, and takes about five minutes to cross the sky. On any clear night satellites can be seen crossing the sky, some like the Iridium Flares produce spectacular bright flares and then apparently vanish. I don’t know what the reported objects were but passes of the ISS and other bright satellites can be predicted or identified for the West Lothian area using the website Heavens Above www.heavens-above.com

As a five year old I saw the second space satellite Sputnik 2 go over from my back garden. It had the first animal in space on board, a mongrel dog called Laika. Then at Christmas 1968 I saw an apparently new bright star to the south. This became fuzzy over the evening and was in fact the spacecraft Apollo 8 leaving earth orbit and heading for the moon carrying the first men to leave this planet. Explained sightings or not it’s still worth looking up at the night sky, there are still unexplained objects and away from light pollution there’s always the chance of seeing a beautiful aurora in the northern sky. –Yours etc.,

ROGER LIVERMORE

High Street

Linlithgow.

Budget figure

Sir,– Could I correct a misleading statement in your last issue indi- cating that Falkirk Council was facing a 2.6 per cent cut in its annual budget.

Confronted with a £1.3billion reduction from the Westminster Government some cuts were inevit-able but the Scottish Government has dealt very fairly with local government. In the case of Falkirk Council the reduction is less than one per cent – the second lowest reduction in all Scotland.

This leaves Falkirk Council considerably better off than anticipated.

Taking major financial decisions as “knee-jerk” reactions based on inadequate information before the actual financial position is known is hardly a businesslike way to manage our public affairs. The consequences are that the less well off in our local community are denied access to important and sometimes vital services. – Yours etc.,

JOHN CONSTABLE

Bo’ness & Blackness Ward

Senior service

Sir, – After the retiral of our minister, the delay in getting permission to appoint a new minister and recent concerns about finance, members of Carriden Parish Church have been a bit dispirited and down at heart.

However, the feeling of “doom and gloom” changed after last Sunday’s special service in Carriden Church for the senior saints of Carriden. The service was so uplifting that the thought of the possible closure of Carriden did not bear thinking about.

The service was attended by approximately 200 people, both young and old. The star of the congregation was Bob Erskine who had recently celebrated his 100th birthday. His wife Susan, who is in her 99th year was, as usual, by his side. In many of the pews were 70, 80 and other 90 year olds who had made a big effort with the assistance of their church elders to attend this service. Some were in wheelchairs and some of them had not seen each other for many months or even years.

The Reverend Tom Cuthell who had personally co-ordinated the service, preached a very uplifting sermon stating that when we think about growing old, we should remember that the emphasis should be on the growing and not on the old. Age is a process that allows us to pass on our experiences and our love to the younger generations. Age gives us an opportunity to develop and share loving relationships. During the children’s address, our auxilliary minister, the Rev. David Wandrum, assured us that God loves us whether we are young or old and that everyone is in His care. After the service nearly everyone stayed to enjoy an excellent light lunch provided and served by members of the congregation. To stand in the church, listening to the chatter from the “golden oldies” gave all of us a real lift. . – Yours etc.,

RONALD B. VANCE

Depute Session Clerk,

St John’s Way,

Bo’ness.