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Firstly, let me congratulate the children of Sunnyside Primary School in Glasgow school on their efforts to combat unnecessary plastic waste by highlighting plastic straws, featured in last week’s Banner.
However, it must be remembered that, for some people, using a straw is not a choice but a necessity to be able to drink independently. Many disabled people, including myself, find paper straws unfit for purpose. I have used paper straws many times, mainly on Arran, and always find that halfway through my drink, the straw is soggy and unpleasant in my mouth, and too squashed to get any more liquid out, meaning I resort to the emergency supplies of plastic straws I always carry so I can finish the drink. The alternative is using 2-3 paper straws per drink, which could also be seen as unnecessary waste.
Maybe as part of their campaign, the children could encourage paper straw manufacturers to produce more robust paper straws, which could be used efficiently and effectively by all members of society, something I would certainly support.
In the meantime, a compromise could possibly be Arran cafes routinely serving paper straws, but keeping a box of plastic straws in reserve, for customers who specifically ask for them. If that was the case, the amount of plastic straws used would still reduce dramatically, but those that need them could still drink comfortably.
The letter in last week’s Banner about Great Ormond Street Hospital returning donations from the President’s Club, after reports of misogynistic behaviour at their dinner made the point that there is no such thing as bad money.
One day later I read that British banks and financial institutions are receiving more that 70 billion pounds laundered by huge international operations involved in drugs and numerous other illegal operations. Good money or bad?
In some ways he is right. Money is neutral and a means of exchange but surely Great Ormond Street was right to dissociate itself from a club, now defunct, which set such a bad example to children and adults.
Heather and Matthew Johnston wish to thank all friends on Arran and beyond who have helped make the last few weeks since Donald’s tragic death a little easier to bear. The cards, letters, flowers and expressions of love and comfort have been overwhelming.
Thank you to the ambulance and dire crews and the police who turned up on that terrible afternoon and Dr Graham Thomson. Thank you to the Hendrys for their comforting and dignified attendance.
Thank you to Euan and Amy Henderson of the Drift Inn for their continuing support and for laying on a party that Donald would certainly have enjoyed.
Special thanks to Lamlash Church, especially Ian Watt and the Rev Lily McKinnon and to Rev Angus Adamson for his words both in the church and at the graveside, a moving and at times amusing tribute to a wonderful husband and father and certainly a true Lamlash character.
Heather and Matthew Johnston,
There are few of us young or old who are not at least vaguely familiar with the famous recruitment poster from 1914 in which a demonstrative and glaring Lord Kitchener points right at us and proclaims that he and our country ‘needs you’.
It is one of the most iconic and enduring images of the First World War and serves as a reminder that military service back then – and during the second global conflict that followed 21 years later – was all-encompassing rather than the situation today where each and every one of us has a choice as to whether we wish to serve our country in this most important of ways.
It is the unspoken hope that our world will never suffer war on this scale ever again, but it is a stark fact of modern life that, as I write, there are countless conflicts taking place across the globe; many of which involving our brave servicemen and servicewomen.
We here at Poppyscotland are committed to providing life-changing support to the Armed Forces community. Many of your readers will be most familiar with us through the annual Scottish Poppy Appeal. The money raised from the Appeal allows us to provide tailored funding and assistance, and we also fund services in advice, employment, housing, mental health, mobility and respite.
This year, though, as we mark 100 years since the signing of the Armistice that heralded the beginning of the end of the First World War, it is Poppyscotland’s turn to say: ‘Your country needs you!’ We have launched The 1918 Poppy Pledge; a fundraising quest that is inspiring groups, schools, businesses, clubs and organisations around the country to take on the challenge of raising £1,918 – or more – in 2018.
The Poppy Pledge – which can take any fundraising form the participants see fit – will be a lasting tribute to those who fell in the First World War, but, importantly, it will also allow us to make a step change in the scale of support Poppyscotland is able to provide those in the Armed Forces community who rely on our support today. Your brave troops and their families need you. Will you take The Pledge?
For more information, please visit: www.poppyscotland.org.uk/poppypledge.
Head of Fundraising at Poppyscotland.