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A proud occasion

I want to give my public congratulations to all who are working to acknowledge, and raise awareness of, the GWR Medical Fund Society and have awarded the Health Hydro building a Blue Plaque.

I wish I could have been at the ceremony, but as I live in Seattle, distance prevented me from attending. However I’m certain there will be an excellent visual record of the occasion.

As a Swindonian and a grand-daughter of the long-serving chair of its organizing committee, I’m proud of the fact that the extraordinary institution that was the GWR Medical Fund Society originated in Swindon. It came into being through the vision and dedication of the people who worked ‘inside’ and who built the community of New Swindon.

I was interested to read that like my own, Mike Atwell’s grandfather served on the GWR MFS committee. Mike unveiled the Blue Plaque, and I’m really glad he did the honours. I wish we could locate more descendants of those dedicated committee members, they would be justifiably proud of their ancestors.

Five of the 15-member committee served for three decades: F Baldwin, WE Reeves, and HP Webb, 1917-1947; GW Brunger, 1917-1948; and GW Haynes from 1919 to the official end of the Society in 1949. This service is extraordinary, especially considering that it was voluntary - and that they fined themselves for being late or missing a meeting!

Swindon Civic Voice, the Mechanics Institute Trust, Swindon Heritage, the swimmers’ organisations and others have worked together to honour the GWR Medical Fund Society and the workers who created it.

All my very best wishes, and congratulations to all those who have contributed to honouring the national gem that was created in our home town.

Maggie Brunger, Seattle, USA

A terrible mess

I walk about the lovely area of Covingham with my little Westie twice a day. I would imagine there are hundreds if not thousands who walk their dogs around their personal environments in the Swindon area in which they take pride, as I do. What saddens, me might be thought by some as a trivial matter.

Walking around the Covingham recreation ground near the skating park one evening I encountered a multitude of foolcap papers littered around the grass, a few feet from a litter bin. Two days later after buying my local paper, two young lads I was walking behind threw an empty drinks can onto the grass - a few feet from a litter bin.

I often see empty cigarette packets thrown on the ground a few feet from a litter bin. I almost forgot to mention the empty cans of alcohol strewn about the area.

Does this matter not get back the basics of parenthood, and a sense of values that should be adhered to for the rest of your life?

Bill Williams, Merlin Way, Covingham, Swindon

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