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An absolute joy
I would like to take this opportunity to thank my colleagues and friends for making my last day at Corrie Primary School such a special one. I was absolutely overwhelmed with the sheer volume of cards, flowers, cakes, gifts and good wishes for which I am extremely grateful.
A beautiful painting of Corrie primary now has pride of place in my home; painted by the very talented Yvonne Bailey. Special thanks go to Shirley and Jane for their unstinting support and advice over the years. Finally, being piped out of school by Malcolm Wheeler was certainly the icing on the cake!
It has been a privilege to teach at Corrie primary and I shall always remember the special times I had there. Who would have known I could put on a Christmas extravaganza with the support of my talented colleagues, Ann, Julie and Sarah! I will also never forget the panto visit where we were nearly stranded on the mainland due to faulty radar on the Cally Isles. Rooms were booked and plan B was almost activated! From the summer fairs to the church services; they all hold a special place in my heart.
Throughout it all there has been one constant; the weans! The children are the real stars of the school. In my five years as their teacher I have laughed, sang, danced and shared their wee stories and triumphs. It has been an absolute joy and I will miss them dreadfully.
However, on a lighter note, it is with great pleasure that I hand over my chalk and duster to Miss Rachel Pearson. She will be a wonderful addition to Corrie primary and a breath of fresh air. I wish her all the very best in her new post.
Time for radical change
Having read the rural economy and connectivity committee report on the ferry fiasco, which castigates all concerned, and CMAL in particular, it is disappointing to note there is no comment on the basic unsuitability of the craft as designed.
The sheer size of Glen Sannox will condemn the people of Arran to 25 further years of weather-related disruption. Furthermore, the passenger capacity of the vessel intended for the Minch triangle is some three times greater than required and, again, the sheer size is necessitating the spending of huge sums on the piers used.
Doubtless CMAL will seek to justify the over-provision of passenger capacity on the need for interchangeability across routes but this argument does not wash given the requests of users to provide two smaller vessels which would have proved less expensive, with smaller crews, lower fuel consumption and which would have provided a more frequent, less disrupted service without the need to spend vast sums updating piers and harbours.
It is unfortunate that CMAL continues to ignore the requests of islanders, many with seagoing experience, and all having experience of generations of ferry use. It is time to have a complete reappraisal of ferry procurement more attuned to the needs of islanders and more suited to the limitations of the harbours involved. Scaling up continues to escalate weather-related disruption. It is sobering to reflect that the combined cost of these ships, together with associated shore works, would have purchased some 15 catamarans such as Alfred, which can take 98 cars, enough to have replaced ALL large vessels in the fleet.
The government cannot, again, kick this matter into the long grass. Perhaps our first minister should get on with governing and abandon the daily party political broadcast. It was recently pointed out that, during the Falklands war, Margaret Thatcher, like her or not, appointed a spokesman to give the daily briefings while she got on with the business of government. Perhaps our FM should take a leaf out of her book, though, perhaps not too many!
It is time for the government to put an embargo on further design and procurement until a team, prepared to embrace modern practice, is installed. They could do worse than examine, in detail, the outstanding success of Western Ferries and Pentland Ferries which provide an excellent service to their respective communities totally without subsidy. The taxpayers’ money is being squandered without any apparent accountability. It is time for radical change.
J Patrick Maclean,
Reverend John G Webster (Letters, January 1) regrets the absence of Church of Scotland services this Christmas Eve and Christmas Day on Arran. Assembling together may raise the risk of spreading lethal coronavirus. Many of us steadfastly oppose abortion and euthanasia, often citing the bible’s reverence for human life. Alternative mission strategies may be required for these strange times. This Christmas saw churches in Belfast distribute tens of thousands of copies of John’s Gospel produced by The Pocket Testament League.
Dr James Hardy,