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All that’s Charity is not gold

An extremely well respected ex resident of Whittington recently posted the following item on her Facebook page.

People in our area work, for the community, free of charge.  But Charities are not always the least cost alternative. In response to the above I posted the following on Facebook.

John Keegan It doesn’t end there. Paid staff in charities receive substantially more than their counterparts in business. And yet they encourage volunteers to work for nothing. They open High Street Shops and pay no Business Rates, whilst legitimate businesses close. – Shakespeare said it – “All that glitters is not gold”.

Having been a Trustee of the Lancaster Council for Voluntary Service and the Company Secretary of a local charity I am well aware that some charities are not the most cost efficient way of spreading charitable giving from individuals, to those in need.

John Keegan

Whittington SpID – Closure?

Readers of the Blog will be aware I have expressed doubts about the need for a SpID and the process followed by the Parish Council both in their deliberations with their failure to consult and inform the community about the issues of need, cost and possible benefits.

In the discussion which preceded the Parish Council Meeting which took place on 20th November a number of points emerged which confirmed the widely held belief that traffic speeds through the centre of the village are too high given the poor provision of footpaths.

It was decided that the Highways Department should be consulted about other options which might reduce the speed of traffic, such as chicanes and a lower speed limit.  It was recognised that cost restraints may be an important factor.

The Chairman was of the opinion that the speed limit through Arkholme has been reduced to 20mph because of the presence of the school.  It was pointed out that the speed limit remains at 30mph and is only reduced over a short distance and for a short period of time when school is opening or closing.

No further action will be taken until discussions have taken place with the Highway Authority.  It was accepted that it would be unlikely that a SpID would be of any positive benefit.

Graham Williams

Village Defibrillator

The last time I died was at 10:00pm on the evening of Tuesday 11 July 2000.

At that time my first responders were my next door neighbour Samer Nashef, a cardiothoracic surgeon,

and his wife, Sandie Nashef, a partner in our local GP practice, and Occupational Health Doctor for M&S in East Anglia.

They carried out CPR until the ambulance arrived.  They broke nine of my ribs in order to keep blood flowing around my brain, in an endeavour to preserve as many brain cells as possible.

The following Monday I had £25,000 worth of Implantable Cardiovertor Defibrillator (ICD) sewn into my chest, courtesy of BUPA.

A year later Maureen and I moved to Whittington.  No longer were we blessed by having a skilled First Responder living next door, or even anywhere local at that time, but we did have Rt. Rev. Gordon Bates, the retired Suffragan Bishop  of Whitby living three doors away, and he promised me a smooth transition to the after life should I have a repeat event.

Yesterday evening our local first responder R Read, resident of Nanny Hall, gave an excellent presentation to the Parish Council, on the importance of having an AED (Automated External Defibrillator) available to our community in Whittington.

During the PC meeting which followed the presentation the council decided to support the purchase of an AED and to investigate cooperation with the Village Hall Trustees, together with the possible application of funds received recently from the County Parish Champion, towards this cause.  The cost of such a device is in the order of £1,500, a much better deal than the £25,000 it cost BUPA to provide mine.

When an AED is made available via a special box mounted in a suitable location it is referred to as a cPAD (Community Public Access Defibrillator).  Such a device has a power supply that keeps the AED at the temperature required.  The box can also be fitted with a code access lock, to which access is provided via a 999 call.  This is desirable as a first responder is dispatched to support the member of the public making use of the automated device.

As I mentioned earlier we only have one local first responder living in the Whittington Parish.  More volunteers are desperately required.  Full training and support would be given to anyone who would like to consider participating in this valuable service.

In the first instance Vice Chairman of the Parish Council, Colin Hall, is coordinating activities in this venture.  Colin can be contacted on his email address: sellethall@hotmail.com, or by phone to 015242 71865.

Even if you don’t feel able to be a first responder please voice your views in favour of having an AED available in the village, the next time you are speaking with your local Councillor.

John Keegam

The Media

In the 1960’s and 70’s I was heavily involved in politics. I was Chairman of the Cumbria Liberal Party, I co-chaired the Britain in Europe campaign in 1975 with Willy Whitelaw (MP for Penrith & The Borders and Minister of State for Northern Ireland at the time), I was agent for Allan Beith when he was elected as Liberal MP to the Berwick Constituency in 1973.

I knew exactly which pubs in Newton-le-Willows, and later in Carlisle, to go to in order to meet up with the stringer for the Earlestown & Newton News, the Warrington Guardian, the St. Helens Reporter, the Cumberland News or the Westmorland Gazette.

Pay for a couple of pints of mild and you had a few inches in the following weeks newspaper, or a spot on BBC Radio Carlisle, or even Border Television (both of which required attendance at the Pinegrove Hotel on London Road, Carlisle).

Stringers have gone, reporters never get off their bums, they send a contract photographer to get a shot which they may, or may not, use.

People still buy local newspapers but these are available, free of charge, on line and the news on line changes nearly every hour. National papers are exactly the same. Most people read national daily’s on line, only commuters buy hard copies.

The exceptions are people who buy newspapers because they are deeply in to crosswords. And, of course, people who read the best newspaper available in the UK (very few pictures, no tat) the Financial Times.

The reason that TV and Radio programs never (ever) mention the FT is that the FT only reports facts and does not report speculation, therefore it lacks “public interest”. Personally I prefer straight up and down facts, I will then do the speculation on what the facts mean.

My rant is now over.  But I would love to hear the opinions of all of you as to what it is you see or read which helps to form your opinions.

John Keegan


The Village Blog