Meningits - the symptoms to look out for

I am writing in response to your story about the child from Burley-in-Wharfedale who died from suspected meningitis last week. Our thoughts are with the family at this very sad time.

Parents may be concerned, as meningitis can be a difficult disease to diagnose, since many of its symptoms are similar to those associated with illnesses such as flu. The rash that is commonly associated with meningitis doesn’t appear in all cases, so it is vital that people are aware of other symptoms.

Symptoms can include fever (possibly with cold hands and feet), headache, stiff neck, dislike of bright lights, drowsiness, joint pain, vomiting, diarrhoea and confusion. In babies, an unusual cry, dislike of being handled and refusing feeds are also signs that can point to meningitis. If in doubt, always seek urgent medical advice.

The Meningitis Trust has a freephone 24-hour nurse-led helpline providing information and support. Concerned parents should call 0800 028 18 28 or visit our website at We also offer a counselling service, home visits, one to ones, family days and financial support grants to those who have been affected by the illness. Information on these services can be found on our website or by contacting the helpline.

Matt Clarke

Community Development Officer, Meningitis Trust, 0845 120 4763,

Conduct of the parish council

In response to your front page article on Mr Dundas’s campaign for change in Ilkley’s electoral wards, I would comment that all parish council meetings are properly convened and held in the council chamber. Agenda items are debated and decisions taken as the law demands. Minutes are kept and published and available for inspection at any time – as are our accounts.

Applications for awards are put before councillors for consideration when received and perhaps Mr Dundas has been selective in his examples of awards granted – for example, over recent years Ben Rhydding Ward has received grants for the Ben Rhydding Cricket Club, Ben Rhydding Five-a-side Football, Pre-School Playgroup, De Mohicanen Scouts and Guides, St John’s Church, Ben Rhydding Primary School and the Bowling Club. Ilkley Parish is primarily a residential town and the leisure facilities, though mostly situated around the riverside, are used by residents throughout the parish.

The only land that Ilkley Parish Council owns is that for the Allotment Gardens; all other public land and buildings are the property of Bradford Council. Councillors’ contact details are listed on every copy of our quarterly newsletter which is delivered to every householder. The newsletter also reports on awards made and the parish’s audited accounts.

Bradford Council has commenced the procedure for a review as is required by law and democracy will take its course.

Christine Dale

Clerk to the Parish Council

A distortion of the truth

Regular readers of the Gazette know of Andrew Dundas’s tendency to create problems where none exist. His attempts at publicity in last week’s edition follow the same pathway.

Wherever they live, our current parish councillors put the needs of Ilkley as a whole above all and they work unstintingly and voluntarily to do just that.

Ben Rhydding’s amenity problems are the result of society’s changes and the loss of green spaces over the years – a subject Mr Dundas never addresses. In my lifetime, a useful small space below Wyvil Crescent is no longer used as a play area because the residents – who responded to efforts I made some years ago to provide something – did not want the noise, possibility of drug users, or burglars, on their back doorsteps.

Then, where else would Mr Dundas have put our valuable senior citizens homes at Dale Court or Fieldway than on the secondary IGS playing field as it then was?

Did he ever fight off the IWS development on the major playing field or was it worthwhile because of creating useful employment at the time?

Irrespective of political tags, the current councillors have a good cross section of views. They, and predecessors, lobbied to get children’s facilities in Backstone Way.

Mr Dundas lobbied for a parish precept when some recognised it would bring problems but now it is in place how can he possibly criticise support for the rugby grandstand, riverside path, play equipment at Riverside Gardens, the skate park and many other local activities – serving a true cross-section of residents and visitors.

His words are a distortion of the truth. Our parish councillors serve the community without fear or favour. If he must speak out he should concentrate on fighting the Tesco store planning re-submission. There is no issue on which everyone will ever agree but this move will surely destroy the lives of the majority of people living on Valley Drive, Little Lane, or adjacent roads and gridlock the town for everyone. Some of us care deeply about that, irrespective of where we live.

Mr Dundas seems to seek a role in life to divide our community rather than helping to unite it.

B J Cussons

Curly Hill, Ilkley

Workings of the parish council

In my dealings with Andrew Dundas, either face to face or by letter, I have found him hard to communicate with, or make any logical sense, and his sideswipe of the local parish council (Ilkley Gazette, November 20) only reinforces that view. In fact, some of his statements I would consider slanderous, apart from being wholly wrong.

Without going into the great diatribe that he seems to excel in, I will take just some of his main points.

He espouses that a redrawing of the boundaries will be a fairer distribution of votes, thereby ending the Conservative monopoly. Rubbish. In my time on the council, no issue was ever discussed or decided on political grounds.

He goes on to mention that the site of the former middle school at Ben Rhydding has been left derelict for years. He is obviously not aware of the planning that is going on to build on that site, and for some of the homes built to be affordable, a great need in Ilkley.

He also says that issues are decided out of chamber, and that the outcome is decided beforehand. No such action took place while I was on council. He also goes on to say that meetings were held in members’ homes. Where this took place, it was properly constituted and was acting as a sub-committee. Where it is held is of no consequence.

It is obvious that Andrew Dundas has little or no knowledge of the working of the parish council, and is spouting from ignorance. This ignorance could have been alleviated if he had taken the trouble to come and sit in on any council meeting, as these were open to the public. He was conspicuous by his absence.

A G Goldsbrough

Dale Court, Fieldway, Ilkley

True deprivation is not in Ilkley

I visit Ilkley regularly, it’s a lovely place, clearly wealthy.

The only big issues seem to be whether Tesco should be allowed to build an enlarged new store, the fear being that increased money off and two-for-one offers could decimate the rest of the affluent town centre. But no one is obliged to shop at one outlet.

Reading my copy of the Gazette (November 20) I was surprised to see front page headlines of poor areas in Ilkley and reading about depravation in Ben Rhydding. But this turned out to be a reference to the lack of children’s play facilities in that locality, seemingly a local political issue around the fairer distribution of funds. I was reassured that all was well in Ilkley.

In the evening I watched the Disasters Emergency Committee Congo Appeal on television. Now there is depravation on a massive scale. Are world events just passing us by?

R J Lacey

Wrose Road, Bradford

We need to know!

I agree with J Saltmarsh (Ilkley Gazette, November 20); for Tesco to go over the heads of Ilkley residents is potentially disastrous for the town and must be stopped. But how? Who do we write to? Who do we contact? How do we ensure that the Tesco is not allowed to succeed? We need to know.

Jonathan L Ingram

Wells Walk, Ilkley

End the demonisation

I support Barnardo’s campaign to end the demonisation of children and young people.

As a referee of junior football, I encounter hundreds of young people aged between 15 and 18. The overwhelming majority of these youngsters play in a very sporting manner, showing respect to me, their opponents and club officials. So how come we hear nothing but complaints about the young people of this country? Clearly there are some kids who misbehave but they need our help and support. They should not be demonised and we should be clear that the bad ones are the exception and not the rule.

When the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child reported on October 3, they stated their concerns at ‘the intolerance and inappropriate characterisation of children, especially adolescents, which exists in the UK, including the media’.

Most children and young people are not troublesome and make a positive contribution to their communities – they attend school, take part in activities and a significant number are volunteers. But there is still a perception that children are responsible for a significant amount of anti-social behaviour. The British Crime Survey noted that people felt that young people committed up to ‘half of all crime’ but in actual fact children are only responsible for 12 per cent of crime.

I would like your readers to show support for young people by: Signing up to the Barnardo’s campaign to stop the demonisation of children and young people Highlighting the positive contribution that the vast majority of children make to their communities Encouraging the media to help change the public’s perception of children more generally.

David Hastings

Shell Lane, Calverley, Pudsey

Cultural and economic mistake

Your readers may be aware that from this month the Government begins issuing what it calls, with an obvious nasty spin, “ID cards for foreigners”. They may not be aware what this means in practice. First affected will be students and those marrying Britons. The plan is that gradually residents from outside Europe will be fingerprinted and have to account for their movements. (Later so would we all.) This is irrelevant to refugees and the poor unskilled with nothing to lose.

But successful foreigners such as Robinho or Kevin Spacey, and the overseas students who subsidise our universities, have a lot of choice where they study or exercise their talents. Some will decide Britain has become too unfriendly. When the US introduced more hostile visa conditions three-four years ago, the numbers applying to study there fell by 15 per cent and Bill Gates complained that Microsoft could no longer hire some of the best software engineers.

If this scheme is continued it will lead to less fee income and lower international status for our educational institutions. British students will have to pay higher tuition costs to make up, and will have less money to spend with local businesses. Fewer of the world’s star performers in every field will choose to make their homes here than do now. We, the undersigned, value the contribution that these people currently make to our institutions and our society. We think our country should treat them as guests, not criminal suspects.

“ID cards for foreigners” is not just a small-minded slogan – Britain will suffer culturally and economically.

Phil Booth

National Coordinator, NO2ID

Guy Herbert

General Secretary, NO2ID

New use for cameras

It should come as no surprise that those who either delight in inflicting abuse, or turn a blind eye to it, are adept at lying to cover it up. This is true whether the abuse is of children or women at home; the elderly in care homes; wildlife in our countryside; or of animals in research laboratories, factory farms, circuses and the like.

If the authorities, and in particular the police, who are paid well to protect the weak and helpless really cannot see through the lies of the abusers perhaps the latest technology could help?

CCTV may be fine at monitoring the streets but this most appalling cruelty is usually inflicted out of sight. After over 35 years of investigative campaigning for animal welfare I have found that the videocamera is highly effective at bringing the truth to view and cutting through the lies.

Could we not make better use of the latest mini-camera systems to protect the vulnerable in our society? Cameras can be hidden just about anywhere and often are to provide television entertainment but surely they should be used more to stop this vile and brutal abuse of the helpless, with due deference to privacy laws of course.

M J Huskisson

Animal Welfare Information Service, PO Box 8, Halesworth, Suffolk