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He’s Sir Bob to me

What a superb piece about Bob Packer’s impending retirement (EA 20th Dec).

Firstly, let me declare an interest. I’ve known Bob since our Plessey days 50 years ago and I’m proud to call him a friend. But then that’s Bob’s special charisma, he makes everyone he deals with feel like they’re his friend.

I’d venture to suggest there is not a better known or more appreciated small business owner in our town. Anyone who knows him well, knows that he loves to gossip and yet uniquely over all these years, I’ve never heard him say a bad word about anybody.

Bob began with jig and tool design back in the 60s and for years worked in Stratton near the Crown pub. He slowly morphed into construction design with no formal training. All he ever needed was a sharp pencil, a rubber, a dyeline machine and an acetate sheet. I’d say 10% of Swindon’s extentions and spec builds started out on his drawing board! If ever you had a planning idea or problem there was really only one guy in Swindon to sort it. A lifelong citizen of Haydon Wick, we were on the parish council together in the 70s and whilst we had the green hut, I remember him creating a set of drawings for what was to become the Haydon Centre over a weekend. Those drawings were almost exactly what we ended up with.

Irrepressibly optimistic, approachable, generous, knowledgeable and hard-working but for all that much loved, respected and a diligent head of his large family.

You see all this stuff around where clapped out politicos become ‘Sir’ this and ‘Dame’ that but I always think these are honours bestowed by the establishment on each other rather than any real appreciation by the populace. Well I can happily ignore all these… Robert P will always be ‘Sir Bob’ to me!

As for terminal, well I suppose we’re all suffering from that ailment sooner or later but I’ve a feeling that there’s plenty more life in the old dog yet! (Please don’t tell wife Angie about the extension).

John Stooke, Haydon End

A dim decision?

The Swindon Advertiser ran a story recently that Swindon Council were replacing all the street lights in the town at a cost of £7 million.

Swindon would need to borrow the £7 million but the future savings on the cost of electricity would cover the repayments on the loan.

About ten years ago all the concrete lampposts were required to be replaced in Swindon with metal street lights because European Union Directives thought the concrete ones were old and unsafe.

EU Regulation EC 245/2009 came into force in April 2017 and introduced a completely new set of lighting regulations. So once again perfectly good street lights will have to be changed to comply with the latest EU Regulations.

Steve Halden, Beaufort Green, Swindon

Farcical situation

At least 40 illegal immigrants were stopped by Border Force officials trying to cross the English Channel to land in the UK on Christmas Day.

All the illegals come from Islamic countries. All 40 are now in the UK, and the children under the care of the already overstretched social services.

Meanwhile the Home Office comes out with the usual platitudes: “We are working with the French authorities to target these gangs (really? how come they ‘re rarely caught?) who exploit vulnerable people and put lives at risk.”

These so-called vulnerable people who “put lives at risk” are surely the childrens’ parents.

Illegals pay thousands of pounds to traffickers to take such risks - traffickers don’t work for peanuts or where there is no demand. Not exactly poverty-stricken immigrants are they? How come they made it across Europe unchallenged? Without such demand there would be no traffickers in the first place.

What is the point of the border patrols if the great majority of illegals caught are not sent back as a warning to other potential illegal immigrants? It’s farcical. More pressure on housing, jobs and public services, the NHS, etc.

Never mind, Molly Scott Cato has advised us (Adver 15/12/18) that “We (ie the Government) currently have a great deal of control over who comes into the country.”

Most reassuring Molly.

Jeff Adams, Bloomsbury, Swindon

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