PLEASE keep your letters to 250 words maximum giving your name, address and daytime telephone number - even on emails. Email: Write: Swindon Advertiser, 100 Victoria Road, Swindon, SN1 3BE. Phone: 01793 501806.

Anonymity is granted only at the discretion of the editor, who also reserves the right to edit letters.

Race day misery

The chaos and misery caused by the half marathon was astonishing for a number of reasons.

The breathtaking incompetence of the organisers, the lack of foresight, and the fact that no one other than the organisers seemed to know that just about every major road in the town would be closed for most of the day, for instance.

For me however, all these were eclipsed by the attitude and lack of contrition shown by the organisers after it became apparent that they had done such an appalling job.

To their credit, there was an apology, but that was followed by phrases such as, “we knew there would be chaos”, and “We’ll do better next year”, as reported in the Advertiser last night.

Perhaps race director Graeme Hardie should stop and think for a minute. Consider those people who missed flights, hospital appointments, family events on the last day of the school holidays.

Perhaps he should consider the potential tragic consequences of an ambulance or a police car being delayed.

He claims there were warning notices in place for three weeks. I haven’t seen one and I drive down Wootton Bassett Road almost every day. If they were there at all, they weren’t very visible. I didn’t see a single mention of road closures on the Swindon Advertiser website, or the local news. A leaflet through the door would have worked wonders.

I for one hope you don’t get the opportunity to do a better job next year.

A SMITH, Kingshill Road, Swindon

Editor’s note: The half marathon organising team worked closely with the Swindon Advertiser to ensure the planned road closures were heavily publicised - in our paper last Tuesday and Saturday, on our website, and via social media. We are sorry that you seem to have missed this advance warning.

GP referral problems

DO PEOPLE want their referral to a hospital specialist by their GP to be ‘reviewed’ (before it is ‘allowed’) by a nameless, faceless bureaucrat?

The report (“GP referrals will be subject to review” 2.9.17) tells us that NHS England wants to “slash the number of referrals made by family GPs to specialist services by 30 per cent.” Why?

And why 30 per cent – rather than 20 or 40 per cent? Is it to save money? Or is it to reduce the burden on hospitals that are missing their ‘targets’?

By what criteria will they decide that a referral is unnecessary or inappropriate? Many referrals are made to exclude serious disease; so the fact that they do not result in specialist treatment is irrelevant.

Dare one also suggest that some may be made for fear of being sued if, subsequently, it was deemed not to have been made soon enough?

It is difficult to understand how a third party - a doctor or lay person - can make a judgement without seeing the patient. If they were to do that – see a referral to see if the referral were valid – it would increase the number of referrals.

MALCOLM MORRISON, Prospect Hill, Swindon

Setting out facts

I AM grateful to A Woodward for his reasoned response to my letter of August 28. However, I do take issue with regard to a number of historical facts.

The first is the matter of NATO formed in 1949 as a unified military body to combat the perceived threat from the USSR, that it has maintained the peace cannot be a matter for debate as surely any study of European history will show that to be the case.

The Warsaw Pact of 1955 was a response to the formation of NATO, I never alluded to its formation as being anything but.

However, A Woodward is stretching logic to suggest the Warsaw Pact came about in response to what he refers to as ‘a crime against humanity’ in the dropping of a nuclear bomb by the Allied powers on Japan; an act which brought to an end a terrible era of war.

Where A Woodward blames NATO for the Russia/Crimea/Ukraine conflict I believe its genesis was in attempts by the EU to forge trade links with the Ukraine which Russia clearly saw as being detrimental to their economy.

They also recognised that if President Yanukovych signed a trade deal a secondary consequence would be that his country’s Black Sea fleet would be neutered and NATO warships would dominate. Hardly an ideal situation for him or Russia.

A Woodward can believe that the EU kept the peace among EU Nation States – but let’s not pretend that means 28 nation states; and let’s not forget that the extended 28-member EU as opposed to its former six-member EEC only came into being 45 years after the end of the Second World War.

DES MORGAN, Caraway Drive, Swindon

Girls were at risk

REGARDING the front page of the Advertiser on Wednesday, August 30. I am one of the people who raised concerns about the young girls playing on a green in Gorse Hill.

It was not the screaming that upset me and other people, it was the fact that these girls are outside sometimes going through the alleyway into the car park and on to the road unsupervised. What if they get hit by a car?

The only issue myself and others have are the safety and welfare of those little girls. I would like you to print my letter so your readers will know the truth.


Thanks for cash

Our family would like to thank the recently disbanded That’s Entertainment group. They donated £1, 820 to the charity Action For Pulmonary Fibrosis in memory of my husband Roger Pentecost, who sadly passed away aged 57 from the illness.

Roger enjoyed helping others, his humour was infectious, he was generous with his time, and it is lovely people remember him for this.

The charity is grateful for every penny people raise for them, and it brings us some comfort to do so.