Have a flu jab
IF YOU’RE a carer, it’s important to think about being vaccinated. 
Flu often strikes ‘out of the blue’, leaving you with little or no time to organise alternative care. It can also be distressing and sometimes dangerous for a vulnerable person who is suddenly left without support. 
Carers who aren’t vaccinated are also more likely to pass the virus on to the person they care for, who may be particularly susceptible to catching the flu.
GP practices have been offering free NHS flu vaccinations to carers for a number of years. 
Many community pharmacies now also offer free NHS flu vaccinations to carers, if the carer is aged 18 and over and is the main carer of an older or disabled person whose welfare would be at risk if the carer was ill.
With fewer than one in ten carers receiving a flu jab last year, it is hoped that offering busy carers the option of having a flu jab while they’re waiting to collect a prescription or speak to the pharmacist will result in more carers being vaccinated.
If you are a carer and haven’t had your flu jab yet, either contact your GP practice or visit your local pharmacy and ask whether they are offering the service and please contact Herefordshire Carers Support for information or support with any aspect of your caring responsibilities.
Herefordshire Carers Support

Big advantage
AM I alone with the thought that the success of Team GB at the recent Olympiad is both morally and ethically questionable?
In fact, could it not be suggested that the unfair advantage of the Lottery millions pumped into Britain’s elite sports could be likened to the inequitable benefit gained through the use of illegal drugs?
The enhanced training, nutritional advice, coaching, medical and sports psychology and all the rest, together with the fact that their supreme beings no longer need work while preparing for gold, leaves less well-off countries and their athletes at a significant disadvantage.
Yes, it is wonderful that these men and women have succeeded and I would not wish to take that away from them, but is it really in the true amateur spirit of the games?
Ffynnon Gynnyd

Wildlife woe
I AM writing in dismay, disgust and disappointment that nearby evergreen trees/hedges have been destroyed, so now, local birds and wildlife will have less protection in the coming winter months. 
In modern suburbia, so many gardens are kept pristine with immaculate hedges and borders, concrete/brick front gardens, sprays etc, etc, with not much thought for the wildlife in constant danger of becoming extinct. 
With all the housing developments regularly taking more and more countryside and natural habitat, wild birds and animals will eventually be sadly gone forever! 
I appreciate many do care about our wildlife, but sadly many care more about their “perfect gardens”

Road changes
I AM still trying to work out the wisdom of the alterations in Holme Lacy road. 
The cycle path is now on the pavement in some places, then disappears. 
The wide pavement has sometimes got cars parked on it. 
Mixing bikes and pedestrians is not a good idea, but luckily most people cycle on the road, not the cycle paths. 
Now there is a new dotted line by people’s hedges and fences. What for? What a complete waste of money. 
The traffic queues are longer, creating more pollution, and nobody uses the road to nowhere. 
Before long, there will be another accident in Holme Lacy village or Mordiford as people try to avoid the bottle-necks in Hereford. 
Where is the common sense? We need the Eastern bypass.

Work to do 
MR BROWN’S letter, dated September 15, regarding the outcome of the EU referendum is far too rosy considering we have yet to start the leaving process.
Though I voted remain, I remember David Cameron saying that any majority constituted a win. The leave vote had a clear majority and even though the referendum was termed as only advisory and could be rejected by Parliament, this will not happen and neither will there be a second referendum.
The EU has many problems, particularly with the future of the Eurozone. A Euro currency without an unvested financial policy linked to monetary control operating across the Eurozone will eventually fail. 
This will lead to the Eurozone shrinking to a hub of the EU countries with big enough economies to meet the requirements.
From the British viewpoint, we need a leaving contract with the EU that covers all aspects, in particular the futures of EU people living and working in Britain and our people within the EU. These people may be treated fairly and given an assured future.
Theresa May, for her own reasons, has appointed Davis, Fox and Johnson as our negotiating team for leaving the EU. All three have stated that there is no requirement to retain access to the EU single market. 
This approach is a complete mistake, as forfrom a future of trade and investment, it is a crucial need to have access. Finally, when the leaving proposals are completed, it is essential that Parliament debate and vote on the leaving contracts.
Bank blow
ON FRIDAY, September 16, I needed to visit Barclays Bank, Kington, the time was approximately 11.20am. 
In I went, only to find seven customers in front of me, and another three people quickly followed me inside. 
How sad this little branch closed its doors for the last time at 12pm midday on September 23. I am certain it and all the helpful, friendly staff will be much missed by many people. 
It is all very well to say ‘go to the Post Office’ instead to do the necessary banking, but I cannot help but wonder, going at this rate, how long will it be before many Post Offices will also be closed down for good? 
Modern ways of banking and posting are inconvenient for many elderly members of the public and a lot of small traders alike. 
Another trusted and well-used service is lost and will be gone forever. 
Very, very sad.
Waste of cash
I WRITE with regard to Hereford Times article: Council Branding Refresh Approved. 
Our county council surely cannot be serious about spending money on re-branding, particularly when they are millions of pounds in debt and have had to reduce services and staff.
This is another piece of incompetence which almost eclipses many of their previous goofs, this one is surely a complete howler. 
It is better services not marketing frivolity that will regain the trust of the public. 
This proposed re-branding is a flagrant waste of public money in the face of rising indebtedness. The architects and supporters of this nonsense, whether officers or councillors, should surely be brought to book.
One has to ask is this re-branding an attempt of our secretive council to draw attention away from the departure of the chief financial officer and the latest allegation that the council has instructed all councillors not to speak directly to the press on any matter related to council business but to only do so through their communications department. 
Are they trying to hide something?

Sticky wicket
I HAVE read with interest Jim Sandford’s remarks regarding the demise of cricket in Herefordshire.
He has just retired after 25 years of being chairman of the Herefordshire Marches League as stated. 
In his 25 years of being chairman, a number of Herefordshire clubs folded, naming just a couple – Lads Club and Hereford City Sports Club. 
Lads Club had two sides in one division and were told they could not play in the same division, resulting eventually in the loss of both teams.
Looking at the 2016 league, Eastnor had two sides in the same division, Jim being the chairman of this club.
Jim took Eastnor from the Marches to the Worcestershire League, gaining promotion to the Birmingham league. 
Hence further travelling, earlier starts and longer seasons.
Some of the rules from these leagues were then introduced into the Marches League, earlier starts etc. 
With players not being up to standard, where does the fault lie? Regarding the babysitting comment and re coaching the colts, the colts pay a fee, bringing revenue for Eastnor! 
So does Eastnor just want the gifted players and so the players who just make up the side (the social players) can go elsewhere?
This seems short-sighted to me and others involved in cricket. 
Over the years you see names of local players, once coached at Eastnor who are now playing for surrounding clubs. Why is this? Where do Eastnor source their players from?  
Regarding the minor counties side, Eastnor have always been happy to host these games along with the under-17s matches. Is this for revenue only? 
So during Jim’s time as chairman surely he had the opportunity to address this, but it is only now he is saying it. Is this anything now to do with his own club Eastnor being relegated from the Birmingham League? 

Vaccine plea 
WITH reference to Felicity Norman’s letter (September 8) on the extension of the badger cull I would like to add that for this year, at least, badger vaccination has not been an option.
After defending my view, and that of my party (Labour), at hustings in 2015 that shooting badgers in the open would prove to be an ineffective and very expensive way of reducing TB in cattle, I arranged for vaccination of the badgers on my husband’s farm. 
Despite the voluntary group licensed to do this carrying out a sett survey, the subsequent vaccination has been delayed as no permits are being given for the importation of the vaccine. More significantly, this has meant the suspension of the vaccination policy in Wales under the Labour-led Welsh Assembly. This means that comparison between an area where vaccine has been deployed and areas where shooting has been used will be compromised. 
The reasons the relevant government department has given for not granting licences for vaccine importation relate to a current shortage of vaccines for human use and ongoing problems with the sole (approved) manufacturer of badger BCG.
I hope the promise that the government will continue efforts to resume sourcing is as true under the new ministers as it was when given last May and that vaccination will be able to resume in 2017.

Stop killing
WHILE driving through the beautiful Herefordshire countryside last Wednesday, I passed a large, very dead badger lying on the grass verge at the side of the road. I was not only distressed to see it but also angry that these lovely wild creatures are being killed. 
As Mr Wood stated last week (letters page), TB can transmitted in various ways, but the poor old badger is singled out for death.
If this continues, the badger will become extinct, then when cattle continue to contract TB, which creature will be next. 
It is our duty to protect the wildlife of this planet, not destroy it. Numbers of animal in the wild are decreasing at an alarming rate, it’s time the killing stopped.
Buy golf land
REGARDING the recent article on the problems of the Herefordshire Golf Club, I think it would be a very good idea for Herefordshire Council to approach golf courses, asking if owners would consider selling off their land for housing. 
After all, it is a well-known fact that golf courses are struggling and we need land for houses. In fact, only last week a major house-building magazine wrote an article asking the government to do this.
Herefordshire is an agricultural area, why take valuable farm land when there is land available on golf courses, which I imagine will already have access and services.
At the same time as considering this, Herefordshire Council should look at putting more staff into the department that deals with local searches.
A number of friends have recently said that house sales are almost grinding to a halt because it is taking eight weeks-plus to get back searches from the council. I’m not blaming the staff, they probably have no resource, but if we want to encourage growth in Herefordshire and we want people to move into the area, we don’t want their first experience to be one of delay!