SIR, - I really can't understand why someone should be 'disgusted' at 'being forced to rely on local shops' to do their Christmas shopping (Gazette Postbag, November 8).

I was rather looking forward to it this year, as I can shop more easily throughout the week now that I have finished work following the birth of my daughter.

I thought supporting local shops was a good thing and actually maybe we should all pledge to buy at least some of our Christmas presents from our local traders to show them that we do support them rather than spending our money at big anonymous retailers and contributing to their vast profits.

A few pounds spent in an independent shop really does make all the difference to keeping our small town a bit different.

Catherine MacIntosh-Dixon - 19, Mornington Road, Ilkley.

Please log off'

SIR, - So Disgusted of Ilkley' would like local council taxpayers to fund his internet access forChristmas, so that he does not have to use local shops.

How lucky we are in Ilkley to have such variety of local business, kept going by shopkeepers facing ever increasing costs , and baffling bureaucracy.

Disgusted of Ilkley may well save a few pounds shopping at but the cost to the town, and all of us, is much greater if we fail to support local shops.

How great will the mercy of the mighty Tesco be when that is all we have left?

So what can this retired shopkeeper say to Disgusted of Ilkley' except Merry Christmas, and don't forget to Log off !'

John North - Apartment 1,Crossbeck House, 8 Crossbeck Road, Ilkley.

Yellow lines

SIR, - Following on from comment made recently I would like to clarify a couple of issues relating to the double yellow lines outside St Margaret's Church on Queen's Road.

Firstly, St Margaret's Church was delighted to co-operate with the local authorities when these lines were first considered and welcomed them. It has saved members of our Church having to put cones out to warn drivers of the dangers of parking opposite a dangerous junction.

St Margaret's, though, is used as a venue for events that are not under our direct control. On a recent occasion we did ask the event organisers to inform members of their audience, who had parked on the double yellow lines, to kindly remove their cars.

Sadly, some of these cars did remain parked illegally, despite our efforts.

Worshippers at St Margaret's are usually well aware of the need to park safely and do so.

John L Sunderland - Church Warden, St Margaret's Church, Ilkley.

Macmillan cancer appeal

SIR, - Macmillan Cancer Support would like to hear from people of working age affected by cancer or from employers who have experience of managing people with a cancer diagnosis.

On November 20 we are launching our Working Through Cancer campaign and we need to hear your readers' experiences to help us develop information and support so that both employees and employers achieve the best outcomes when working people are diagnosed with cancer.

This year almost 100,000 people of working age will be diagnosed with cancer in the UK. However, evidence suggests people affected by cancer, and their employers, do not receive the advice and support they need to remain in or to return to work.

You can help. We need to hear your stories - both good and bad.

For Macmillan's current guidance, or to share your story with us, please log on to or tel: 08000 898 500.

Jo Parkinson - Communications Officer, Macmillan Cancer Support.

Animals in crisis

SIR, - Britain's animals are facing a crisis; they are treated as objects not living, feeling creatures.

Over the past few years the Alternative Animal Sanctuary has found the numbers of pets brought to them has increased rather than decreased. Owners have the money to purchase animals but unfortunately are not prepared to take on the responsibility to go with them.

Animals are a long-term commitment. Puppy farms are on the increase and pets can still be readily brought with no checks made into the suitability of owners.

The Alternative Animal Sanctuary's number of dogs has doubled in a week alone. On top of this two of the horses at The Sanctuary are in need of special treatment at a cost of £5,000 throughout the winter, without which their future is uncertain.

The Alternative Animal Sanctuary relies entirely on donations to feed, house and treat animals who have nowhere else to go. Your donation, no matter how large or small, will help .

Please send whatever you can to the registered charity (1111406) at the address below.

Tamara Lloyd - Director, The Alternative Animal Sanctuary, Windmill Road, Pepperstock, Luton, Beds, LU1 4LQ.

Rewarding visit

SIR, - On Sunday October 28 I visited the University of the Third Age Exhibition held in the Clark Foley Centre. It was held to celebrate the ten years that Ilkley has had a U3A. What an exhibition it was.

I had intended only visiting for a short while, invited by my mother who is a member, but I was spellbound by the variety and number of courses on offer and the displays of Tai Chi, croquet, bridge and Mah Jong. The stands showing what each course was about, more than 40in total, covered such subjects as French, Spanish, Latin, Italian, Readers' Group, Aspects of Japan, Italian renaissance art, poetry and more - too many to list here. It really was an amazing sight.

After the opening by the MP Ann Cryer, I estimate several hundred people wandered round and many would probably have decided to join the Ilkley U3A, which is open to anyone who has retired from paid work and includes members aged from the fifties to the nineties.

The Ilkley group (a branch of many in this country and round the world) has, in addition to the separate courses, monthly coffee mornings for all who can attend with a speaker or social activities.

I can only say it was well worth my coming down from Durham for the day. The friendly atmosphere and the range of activitirs on offer were excellent.. I wish the Ilkley U3A well and can only say how lucky Ilkley folk are to have such an organisations.

Carol Tritton - Durham.

Veterans plea

SIR, - The British Korean Veterans Association is trying to contact former members of HM Armed Forces who served in Korea/Japan from 1950-53 and also those servicemen and women who served in these two places at a later date with the Peace keeping Force 1953-57.

This appeal includes former members of the Merchant Navy, NAFFI, Red Cross and WRVS.

Any interested veteran should contact me at the address below. A steamp-addressed envelope would

BRIAN HOUGH - Ex-King's Liverpool Regiment, National Recuitment Officer, British Korean Veterans Association, 11 Wardle Brook Walk, Hattersley, Hyde, Cheshire SK14 3JG.