From our postbag

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Grateful thanks of GP’s patients

Sir, – As one of the first patients who stepped in the door of Dr Cochran’s surgery 21 years ago, I wish an opportunity to thank an extraordinary GP (‘Patients suffer as admin soars, Linlithgow edition P1 May 2 edition).

Dr Cochran has served our family wonderfully over all these years.

I guess we took for granted the fact that an appointment was usually always available on the day you phoned sick.
Dr Cochran was extremely

accessible, friendly, informative without being superior, and interested in your life. A great service delivered in an unstressed and unhurried


Perhaps he was a master of disguise and a true professional in that we were never aware of his frustrations when

dealing with, as we are now aware, and surmounting 
paper work.

I know that I speak on behalf of hundreds of patients who will certainly miss him and, along with them, I want to say a huge thank you and wish him well in his retirement.

Undoubtedly very hard to replace and very sincerely missed. – Yours etc.,

Gillian Manning

Sir, – Next week, up and down the country, people will be raising funds for Christian Aid.

In past years Linlithgow has responded most generously and, hopefully, will do so again this year.

But what does Christian Aid do?

It addresses the effects of poverty around the world regardless of colour or creed.

Nearly one billion people go to bed hungry every night and two million children die from malnutrition every year.

Poor sanitation kills a child every 20 seconds despite many diseases being preventable and treatable.

Christian Aid confronts human rights abuses: 69 million school-age children not receiving any education, women, although performing two-thirds of the world’s working-hours, receive only a tenth of the world’s income.

Christian Aid campaigns against the malpractices of multi-national.

Christian Aid is also concerned by climate change which can devastate the lives of the very people it seeks to assist.

When fields are flooded or parched, hunger becomes more acute and, with no surplus crop to sell, they fall even deeper into poverty.

Water-borne diseases strike and medicines are inaccessible.

Then there is the provision of emergency aid when war and conflict cause people to flee for their lives e.g. food, shelter, water, sanitation, medical care, schooling in refugee camps and the wherewithal to restart shattered lives.

Funding for such good work always seems in short supply. Christian Aid Week is our chance to reverse that.

Even with 70 collectors we do not cover every area. New volunteers are always welcome.

Charities are legally allowed to collect from ‘‘no cold caller’’ households.

The only unusual part is tactfully asking whether someone in the donor’s household pays tax and if yes, asking them to write their name and post code on the Gift Aid form on the flap of the red envelope.

This simple act adds 25 per cent more to their donation at no extra cost to themselves.

I am sure “Linlithgow will once again be kind to strangers” in 2014. – Yours etc.,

William Ross


Sir, – This week is Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Week.

Do your readers know this disabling neurological disease is most commonly diagnosed in young people aged 20-30? And that it affects more than 100,000 people in the UK?

But while the outward signs of this disease may be clear to see, what we don’t see are the emotional effects that MS can have.

At Vitalise - the amazing national charity that I work for - we understand the importance of being able to get away from the stresses of daily life, if only for a short while. Vitalise provides a respite lifeline for people with many different disabilities and their carers at our three accessible UK centres, enabling them to restore their strength and face life’s daily challenges with renewed hope.

While at present there remains no cure for MS - or even a proper idea of what causes it - Vitalise has a solution for those who may be feeling the strain. It’s very simple: take a break with us, relax - and remember you’re not alone!

We simply wouldn’t be able to continue giving our guests the breaks they so desperately need without the help of our wonderful supporters, whose generosity enables us to turn the hope of a break into a reality. To find out more about our breaks or ways to support us, please visit:, or call us on 0303 303 0147. – Yours etc.,

Stephanie Stone