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PRAISE FOR Hymns

It was heartening to see a Free Churchman write in glowing terms of hymn-writer John Wesley (Viewpoint 13.8.15), and mayhap Rev. Iain will go on to include some of John’s songs in his Sunday services.

John’s brother Charles wrote the most amazing stuff also, and I commend his God-honouring hymns to Rev. Iain.

That said I’m reminded that in church “you can sing all you want to and still get it wrong”, these words penned by modern praise writer Jimmy Needham, in a song called Clear the Stage.

He says worship is more than a song. He says jerk the pews and all the decorations, this is where the party ends. Pray for real upon your knees until they blister.

He wrote about tearing down whatever idols we may have, kicking out sin, giving God his place and worshipping none other.

Words to which the Wesley brothers, I have no doubt, would be the first to say amen.

Keith Fernie

Inverness

DEMENTIA

Dementia research published in The Lancet this week suggests that ‘attention to optimum health early in life might benefit cognitive health late in life’.

Inactivity is a risk factor for dementia, yet walking to school or work is a simple way to build more activity into our everyday routines.

Walking is good for mental health as well as physical health, and making one small change to our day can have a huge impact on our lives.

Living Streets organises the nationwide Walk to School and Walk to Work Weeks, as well as the well-established National Walking Month in May.

More advice, information and inspiration can be found at www.livingstreets.org.uk.

Tom Platt

Head of Research and Policy, Living Streets

Wentworth Street,

LONDON

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INTERNET ACCESS

According to recent figures released by the Office for National Statistics, there are approximately 5 million people in the UK who have never used the internet.

Scotland alone is home to 562,000 such people. The figures increase significantly for the most vulnerable groups within our society, such as the elderly.

This doesn’t account for the further millions of people who simply do not have digital skills or confidence needed to manage sensitive financial information safely online.

It also ignores the many thousands of disabled people (and their carers) whose often fluctuating physical abilities mean that managing their affairs online is often impractical or indeed impossible.

Despite these figures, many UK businesses such as banks, utility providers and telecoms companies have put more and more emphasis on digital communication as part of their approach to customer services.

Banks have encouraged customers to switch to online-only accounts.

Energy companies offer lower costs if you abandon the traditional paper bill. Even the Government is keen to push as many public services as possible online. All of these changes have been based on the assumption that it will be faster and easier for customers.

Many would have you believe that people who don’t want to manage their affairs online represent an insignificant minority.

These people are painted as Luddites clinging on to an outdated and impractical system.

The Keep Me Posted campaign is dedicated to making sure that everyone has a choice in how they receive bills and statements from their providers, and aren’t financially penalised for needing or wanting to manage their affairs by post.

We have found that most of us believe this should be a basic consumer right.

Our extensive research has also found that even people who are digitally capable tend to manage their affairs better if they communicate with their provider via post.

We must protect the rights of all consumers and make sure we don’t apply a ‘one size fits all’ approach to something as essential as customer communication with banks and other vital services.

Judith Donovan CBE, chair, Keep Me Posted,

London

POLIO PROJECT

As CEO of The British Polio Fellowship, I’m delighted to announce our latest project to raise awareness of the late effects of Polio and Post Polio Syndrome (PPS).

We’ll be projecting the colours of British Polio’s PPS Day emblem onto high-profile landmark buildings across the UK; and we’re extremely pleased to confirm the first landmark building as the Gateshead Millennium Bridge.

Showing the well-known landmarks in a different light will allow us to draw attention to the issues that surround those living with the late effects of Polio and PPS, estimated to affect around 120,000 people in the UK.

We’re putting a call out to the authorities of landmark buildings throughout Britain that would like to be involved.

There will be no cost; all we need is permission to project onto the building and your venue will not only be part of something extra special, you should receive a great deal of publicity for your building, too.

It’s the perfect opportunity to be part of an exciting project that is sure to capture the nation’s attention, whilst showing support for British Polio members and the wider differently able community.

We’re urging anyone responsible for landmark buildings across the country to get involved.

I’m really looking forward to seeing our colours on some of the country’s most iconic examples of architecture.

Thank you to the Millennium Bridge for getting the ball rolling! Please call the British Polio Fellowship on 0800 043 1935 for more information.

Ted Hill MBE

CEO, The British Polio Fellowship

Clarendon Road,

Watford

Green energy

The Western Isles, writes Dr Angus Morrison (Gazette August 12th) is one of the rich energy areas of Europe yet its residents face the injustice of fuel poverty.

Speaking of Europe, Germany and Denmark are hailed as the great example of wind power production countries, with a higher number of wind turbines than the UK.

They also have the highest power costs in Europe, 50 percent higher than in the UK, which means higher electricity bills.

They now invest massively in coal-fired power stations to reduce costs.

One exciting development, says Dr Morrison, is aligning community generation with local consumption, to export to the UK market.

But is the cost of a subsea cable justified? If wind power really is a win-win situation and makes massive returns, why isn’t Donald Trump or some rich power company not investing time in subsea cables?

More turbines means higher energy costs passed on to the consume.

There are also negative impacts from turbines on the tourism industry, landscape, property values, and there are health concerns.

Wind turbines are hardly an investment for our future in Scotland and will never produce a reduction in our power costs, let’s not be so silly to believe otherwise, though some may build up vain hope.

The imminent closure of Longannet and nuclear power stations we will be heavily dependent for guaranteed electric power from English power stations though at one time before the referendum, Alex Salmond said the opposite.

Donald Murray

Inverness

ASBESTOS

The news that mesothelioma sufferers contracting the killer disease as a result of negligent employers will not now have to pay thousands of pounds in legal fees to bring a claim is brilliant news for those living with asbestos-related cancers.

The Secretary of State for Justice, Michael Gove, finally conceded defeat over two pieces of legislation aimed at forcing victims to pay £10,000 just to go to court to claim compensation for criminal negligence.his legislation took no account of the unique position and reduced life expectancy of innocent victims with asbestos related diseases. Forcing them to use funds essential for their care would inevitably mean less of them would be inclined to go to court and the Secretary of State’s U-turn is a victory for common sense.

If the government wishes to cut the costs associated with such claims, the long-term solution is to tackle the issue of asbestos in the workplace and the on-going negligence of employers, many of whom the HSE continues to prosecute.

Asbestos remains a serious problem and dealing with asbestos without proper training remains a fatal mistake.

We set standards in asbestos training and ensure that our members meet those standards.

Our members are delivering asbestos awareness, non-licensable and licensable training nationwide.

Craig Evans

General Manager, UK Asbestos Training Association,

Markham Lane,

Chesterfield

PHOTO: Colin Cameron sent us this incredible shot of a sunset at the Lewis War Memorial in Stornoway.