SIR, - I read the report in last week's edition of the Gazette regarding the Airedale NHS Trust's first report on its performance and feel I must comment on the contents.

I moved to Ilkley more than nine years ago suffering from chronic heart failure which requires careful monitoring. Other medical ailments needing treatment have developed over the years and I have visited the Airedale Hospital on a regular basis for outpatient appointments, day surgery and as an inpatient.

If the condition has required urgent treatment I have been seen very quickly. For less urgent conditions I have been notified by the hospital and given an approximate waiting time.

In every case I have received care and attention from all the staff involved. The newly constructed car park makes parking very much easier and I consider the parking charge of £2 to be well spent.

I feel very fortunate to live in the Airedale Hospital's catchment area.

Beryl Hill, Maufe Way,Ilkley.

Ben's appeal

SIR, - I am writing to remind your readers that The Prince's Trust 30th Birthday Concert is taking place this Saturday and we need everyone's help to raise thousands of pounds to give hope to an increasingly lost generation of more than one million young people who are in neither work nor education and whom we often dismiss as layabouts' and hoodies'.

I will be presenting on ITV 1 some of the best musical talent from the last 30 years including Pink, Sugababes, Ozzy Osborne, the Bee Gees' Barry and Robin Gibb, McFly, Lionel Richie and Will Young. And, if that weren't enough, Embrace will sing their first live rendition of the England World Cup anthem and Ronan Keating will perform his new duet with Kate Rusby. It should be a great show!

And, remember, one of the highlights of the ITV1 show will be Ant and Dec's world exclusive interview with the Prince of Wales, Prince William and Prince Harry together.

You can still get involved and help to change young lives by watching the show and calling the BT-enabled donation line number, 0845 656 3030 (calls charged at local rate) or donating online at (and then click on DONATE).

Celebrities will join call centre volunteers at call centres across the UK, including one at BT Tower and another at ITV's studios, to make sure as many calls can be answered in the shortest possible time because every call counts! Every penny will help change lives.

Ben Elton Comedian and playwright.

Gambling appeal

SIR, - I am looking for moving stories from the partners of gamblers for a documentary series for ITV1 called Britain's Love Story.

Do you love a gambler? Have you stood by your husband, wife or partner for a number of years despite their gambling problems?

I am looking for people to take part in an ITV 1 series about the British in love and would like to include personal stories of the ups and downs of loving and living with a gambler.

If you have a strong, moving story to tell please contact me on 0117 925 8589 at Testimony Films, 12 Great George Street, Bristol BS1 5RH or (

Mary Parsons Testimony Films.

Show delight

SIR, - I would really like to thank your newspaper for the tickets for Spirit of The Horse, which I won in a competition in the Wharfedale Observer.

Having seen the show two years ago, I knew what to expect and it was brilliant. Three nine-year-old girls accompanied me (Abbie, Jenny and Emma), and we had a fabulous afternoon. Once again, many thanks and I will keep entering the competitions,. This is the best one yet that I have won.

Judith Brown, Abbie, Jenny and Emma, Cemetery Road,Yeadon.

No intimidation

SIR, - Following this week's focus on animal rights extremism, the RSPCA would like to make one thing absolutely clear: we undeservedly condemn the action of those who take part in intimidation and violence in the name of bringing laboratory experiments on animals to an end.

In our view, campaigns to intimidate shareholders, or the one carried out by the four guinea pig farm activists who were sentenced after admitting charges of conspiracy to blackmail, have only succeeded in damaging the animal welfare cause.

Whilst we welcome discussion surrounding the moral status of animals in society, the use of intimidation and violence is completely unacceptable and has absolutely no place in this or any other debate.

The public debate about animal testing has become nothing more than a slanging match between someone in a lab coat and someone in a balaclava. All this does is entrench views so such an extent that legitimate concerns about animal suffering and justification for individual experiments are lost.

The RSPCA is deeply concerned about the suffering of animals in experiments and believes there should be much more commitment to replacing animals with humane alternatives.

Until this can be achieved, the society works in a constructive way to ensure the numbers of animals used and the levels of suffering are reduced as much as possible.

This way of working delivers the animal welfare message exactly where it is needed with most chance of it being taken up.

Alan Wolinski Regional manager for the North, RSPCA.

Pensions justice

SIR, - On the same day the assisted death Bill was blocked by the House of Lords, the Blair-Brown coalition delayed the restoration of the pension link to earnings until 2012. Was this a coincidence?

There are already three million pensioners below the poverty threshold and by 2012 there will be many more. Many will not live long enough if it ever materialises. Brown has already declared it will only happen if it is affordable!

The Establishment is doing everything it can to keep pensioners in poverty and shorten our lives. Although we created the present prosperity, when our productive lives are over we are to be disposed of as cheaply as possible.

Before pensioners rejoice they should understand this proposal would increase their pension by only £1.30 per week in real terms and still be means tested. That is if they are lucky enough to live long enough to enjoy this princely sum.

It will be delayed as long as possible to minimise costs but when it comes to taxing pension funds, trust funds and inheritance tax, tax is applied retrospectively. There is only one thing to say about this proposal. Rubbish. Pensioners want justice now not when they are in their coffins.

Blair, Brown and all Establishment politicians are interested only in themselves and pensioners must oust these scoundrels before they do any more damage.

Malcolm Naylor 21 Grange View, Otley.

Traffic issues

SIR, - Just what is it about traffic problems and Ilkley? Over the past year or two we have had a number of measures taken on the roads through and around the town and yet not one single problem seems to have been solved. Indeed, if the pages of the Ilkley Gazette are anything to go by, there are even more problems today.

1 Congestion in Ilkley was tackled by putting traffic lights at the east and west ends of the town. This has simply moved the tailbacks further along the road and, in the case of the Victoria Road lights, led to increased congestion caused by vehicles having to wait to turn right.

2 Problems with speeders in Cowpasture Road were dealt with by installing quite the most ludicrous mini-roundabout there has ever been. Its position is such that many motorists ignore it all together. Some months ago Coun Anne Hawkesworth, who is in charge of environment for Bradford Council, went on record as saying that the mini-rounabout had been installed in the wrong place. Yet nothing has been done about it.

3 If you have driven from Addingham, managed to get through the Victoria Road traffic lights, negotiated the monstrous mini-roundabout in Cowpasture Road, and feel in an adventurous mood, you can tackle the humps on the moor road at Burley Woodhead.

These are the crudest speed humps around, lead to cars bunching up and adding to the air pollution, and can hardly be said to have reduced accidents on a road where there weren't any.

All in all, instead of solving traffic problems, all that seems to have happeded is that we have added to them. If that is the intention, I suppose the next step would be to put a mini-roundabout (with or without lights) in Brook Street at the junction with Railway Road.

FED UP Name and address supplied.