I’m sure your readers will remember the story of Anne the elephant who, earlier this year, was shown to be suffering abuse at the hands of her groom at a UK circus.

The public were horrified, and hundreds took to the street to protest outside the circus.

Thousands of people were motivated to write to their MPs and urge them to introduce a ban on the use of wild animals in circuses.

It seemed that the Government was listening, and in May Defra announced that they were “minded to pursue a ban.”

However, the Government quickly U-turned and announced that they would be introducing a regulatory system instead.

Not only would this system fail to protect the welfare of the animals currently in circuses, it would put other animals at risk of being introduced in the future.

The Captive Animals Protection Society and other animal welfare organisations were certain that a regulatory system was not enough to protect wild animals. Thankfully, the public agreed.

Over the past few weeks, MPs have received tens of thousands of letters from people calling for a ban.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank everybody who wrote, emailed or spoke to their MP about this issue.

Recently, the House of Commons voted unanimously in support of a ban being introduced by July next year.

Without our supporters, and the thousands of people who wrote to their MPs, this victory would not have been possible.

Thank you to everybody who got involved in this important campaign.

We will now continue to work with the coalition of animal protection charities to ensure that the Government honours the vote and introduces a ban on the use of wild animals in circuses to take effect next summer.

In the mean time, please continue to vote with your feet and boycott circuses that feature wild animals.

Fiona Peacock Campaigns Officer The Captive Animals' Protection Society

Lots of cash

Through the letters page I would like to thank all the generous Sainsbury customers who gave to the recent local NSPCC collection at the Stratton Store. The amazing result was £751.04, which was more than we dared hope for. Thank you all for your support.

Thanks also to the Sainsbury Store, at Stratton, for allowing us to collect, and to the Customer Services Staff who are always so helpful. A big thank you must also go to our team of volunteers who turn out time and again to collect in aid of the local NSPCC. NSPCC has projects on two sites in Swindon and help many children and families each year. ChildLine received nearly 3,000 calls last year from local children wanting someone to talk to, these were from landlines and many more were from mobiles. The adult helpline gave advice to many adults in our area who were worried about a child.

The NSPCC relies on fundraising such as this for 85 per cent of its income, so events such as these collections are vital.

Your support of this very worthwhile charity is crucial and if you can help us please contact Patrick Weaver at pweaver@NSPCC.org.uk or ring me on 01793 530912.

Useful numbers: ChildLine 0800 1111 NSPCC Adult helpline 0808 800 5000 Thank you again to all those who gave so generously.

SUE HOOPER NSPCC Collections Organiser Swindon

Guide dog thanks

Swindon Guide Dogs would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who donated to our bucket collection at Sainsbury’s Stratton on June 25 and 26. We raised a staggering £1140.

We have 20 guide dog owners in the Swindon area and it costs our charity £5 a day to support these partnerships.

The £5 pays for dog food, vets bills and breeding and comes to an annual total of £36,500 just in our area alone.

All it costs a guide dog owner to have a dog is just 50p.

Are you up for a challenge? Would you like to abseil 100 feet and raise funds for Swindon Guide Dogs in the process?

Now you can. We are holding an abseil event on Sunday September 18, at The County Ground, the home of Swindon Town Football Club.

There is a registration fee of £20, which can be returned on the day or can be used as part of your minimum sponsorship of £100.

To apply ring 0845 372 7345 or email leamingtonadmin@guidedogs.

org.uk for more details.

Alan Fletcher Chairman Swindon Guide Dogs

Skills needed

As the job market in the south west becomes increasingly crowded, it’s interesting to see that 85 per cent of businesses in the region rate a “can-do” attitude and soft skills, such as interpersonal and communications skills, as the most important attributes they looked for when recruiting new workers.

With an influx of applicants fighting for fewer vacancies, from university-leavers competing for a small pool of graduate schemes, to a host of 18 year-olds entering the job market for the first time, it’s no surprise that businesses are spoiled for choice.

With “street-smart” fast overtaking “book-smart”, applicants in the south west will be well advised to showcase their personable side in interviews, as businesses increasingly look for workers with the right soft skills.

Paul Lawrence, Head of Business Markets South West Virgin Media Business

Beat meningitis

We would like to ask any of your fitness-minded readers to run for Meningitis UK in this year’s Bristol Half Marathon, which has become one of the largest and most popular half marathons in the country.

Full support will be given and everyone who participates will receive a free running vest or T-shirt, and a handy information pack including hints and tips on how to prepare.

Anyone who has already secured an independent place can choose to run for Meningitis UK and we would love for participants to become part of our Meningitis Musketeers team on September 11.

Meningitis UK has a single focus – to find a vaccine to eradicate all forms of meningitis.

Tragically, meningitis and meningococcal septicaemia continue to affect thousands of people in the UK every year And they kill more children under five than any other infectious disease.

Our Search 4 A Vaccine Campaign aims to raise £7m to fund research into eradicating all forms of meningitis and its associated diseases.

Everyone who runs for Meningitis UK will be part of the Meningitis Musketeers team, with the motto “All 4 One And One 4 All” – to highlight the devastating fact that meningitis can kill in under four hours and the importance of our Search 4 A Vaccine Campaign.

If you would like to take part in the Bristol Half Marathon and help us achieve our vision, contact Toya on 0117 373 7373 for a sponsorship pack.

Toya Champ Fundraiser Meningitis UK