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Recorder letters: World Book Day, Hammers statue, Brexit and D-Day veterans

PUBLISHED: 08:00 01 March 2017

Vickie Flores/Archant

World Book Day 2016, Southern Road Primary School. Yr 3 and 4 children and teachers (back) Rachel England, Helen Yearnshire, Caroline Sharp, Rebecca Pannifer, Lucy Tripp. Picture: VICKIE FLORES

Pledge your support this World Book Day

Dan Snow, TV Historian and Beanstalk ambassador, writes:

Today (March 2) marks the 20th anniversary of World Book Day, the biggest celebration of reading in more than 100 countries.

My kids have loved dashing into school dressed as Vikings and pirates for the day and it makes me happy to see them inspired by books and using their imaginations.

Reading connects us to the gigantic output of human creativity, it’s our login to life.

As we reflect on the enormous joy that it brings so many of us, it’s also important to remember there is a literacy crisis affecting thousands of children in this country: in 2016 over 200,000 children left primary school unable to read to the expected level.

Let’s be clear: reading makes children far more likely to become wealthy, happy and healthy adults, so dealing with this crisis is one of our greatest challenges as a society.

Thankfully, however, it is a problem we can solve, which is why I’m so passionate about my role as an ambassador for children’s literacy charity Beanstalk. Beanstalk trains volunteer reading helpers who provide one-to-one literacy support in primary schools to children who struggle with their reading.

They help pupils discover the magic of reading, turning reluctant and unconfident readers into children who can’t wait to open a book and discover the treasures inside.

This World Book Day, I’d encourage you to pass on your love of reading to the next generation by volunteering with Beanstalk. Visit beanstalkcharity.org.uk or call 020 7729 4087.

It’s right to move Hammers statue

Paul Lark, via email, writes:

I agree with Dave Evans (Newham Recorder sports reporter), that the statue should go where the team plays, London Stadium.

When it was originally erected, it was in appreciation of the club West Ham, not the area.

When Dave says no one will see it where it is, I’m sure he means the thousands of fans in future years.

Future generations of fans could see it along West Ham Way, both away fans and new fans. Who is going to see it, at the bottom end of Green Street other than the people who live there?

It has to be relocated before next season.

Surely a new one could be designed for the Boleyn.

Take back control of Brexit Britain

Will Podmore, name and address supplied, writes:

Anyone under 50 has never known life outside the European ‘community’ or ‘union’, with its increasing control over the taxes we pay it and its courts to enforce rules and dictats over what we are to be allowed to do in our own country.

Harking back will mean little to those generations. We must look forward.

The ‘uncertainty’ bemoaned by commentators blaming the Leave decision is a tremendous opportunity to throw the windows wide open and let fresh air in. Outside the EU everything is up for grabs. We can’t leave it to government – talk of ‘we won’t be allowed to do this’ or ‘the EU will dictate the terms’ will melt away if we decide to assert ourselves.

21st century Britain is a very different place from the 20th. The pace of change is rapid and all sorts of possibilities now open up to move forward.

What are they? We who live and work here must define them – we have the knowledge and imagination to do it. Nobody else can, nobody should tell us what is good for us.

Doctors, farmers and fishing communities have already begun to discuss what their industries should look like post-EU. What about the rest?

There is much to be done. The task is nothing less than building the new Britain, an independent Britain planning for a future that serves our interests.

We the people have to take charge, take responsibility – take control.

Quest to find our D-Day veterans

Nichola Rowlands, head of travel, Remembrance Travel, Royal British Legion, writes:

I’m currently on a mission to find every single surviving D Day veteran.

The Treasury is enabling a series of free-of-charge tours for D Day veterans to return to Normandy and pay their respects to their fallen comrades. The tours are being funded by the Treasury from LIBOR fines, and will enable a D Day veteran to return with a family member and carer on a six-night tour.

The 2017 tours will take place in March, April, May and September and will give Normandy veterans - now mostly in their 90s - the chance to revisit the Normandy beaches, cemeteries and memorials. They will be accompanied by a medic and a guide from the Royal British Legion, departing from London and will include Eurotunnel from Dover to Calais, accommodation, visits to Pegasus Bridge, Juno, Sword, Gold beaches, Arromanches, and war memorials, plus visits to personally specified cemeteries too.

Sadly, there is no database of D-Day veterans so we’re calling on the goodwill of the media and general public to spread the word.

So, if you do know a D-Day veteran, please do let them know about our free tours.

Normandy veterans wishing to benefit from this tour need to apply to our tour operator, Arena Travel on 01473 660800, or visit arenatravel.com/journeysofremembrance

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