Bus timetable

Dear Editor,

At the bus station yesterday, trying to find bus times/services, we found the timetables (in quite small print) were on a notice board hung immediately over a seating area, which was occupied - as many seats were at that time.

Obviously the occupants did not much appreciate perfect strangers leaning over them to try and decipher these timetables.

I can understand their frustration, especially when Covid is still prevalent - and we wondered why on earth it was considered a good idea to put this important information in such a site in the first place?

Can the authorities possibly arrange for these timetables to be situated in a more accessible place, and reduce the nuisance to everyone that exists at present?

It would be much appreciated.

J Hutchins, Salisbury Road

Co-op support

Dear Editor,

We’re delighted that Friends of Ludgershall has been chosen to benefit from the Co-op Local Community Fund.

As you can imagine, the last 18 months have been really challenging for small groups like ours. The pandemic has drastically affected us, so we’re grateful to have this partnership with the local Co-op.

There are just 10 weeks to go before the funding round closes. We’ve just been notified that there’s still unallocated money because some Co-op members haven’t selected their cause yet.

We’re urging local members to choose us as their cause, so that we are able to help more people in the Ludgershall area.

We offer friendship and services to vulnerable adults in the area, who might be physically, mentally, or emotionally disabled, and for those who are lonely and benefit from company. We open on Thursdays 10.30.am-3pm and offer a two-course lunch, refreshments are provided through the day. Activities also outings are provided.

When members buy selected Co-op branded products and services, 1p from every pound spent goes to support causes like ours.

Co-op members can select us as their local cause by visiting the Co-op website or giving a call to Co-op membership.

Please feel free to contact me on 01980 843159 if you’d like any more information.

John Penny Treasurer, Friends of Ludgershall

Afghan problem

Dear Editor

What we are witnessing in Afghanistan a defining moment in our current history, one that will shape our foreign policy for years to come.

Over recent days the debate on the situation has, quite rightly, remained high on the agenda. Our priority, of course, should be how we can secure the safe return of British citizens as well as those Afghans whose lives are now in danger in the hands of a Taliban that will want revenge and we must also understand what we can do to support those displaced from their homes.

I am a little disappointed to have seen negativity from some residents over this situation. I personally don’t agree with them.

Afghanistan is now in the grips of a humanitarian crisis that this country has a moral duty to help resolve. The “we should help our own” brigade seems only to forget that opportunities to “help our own” have happened and caused many complaints at the time.

I would also stress that we can, and must, do both and I applaud the many MPs, local councils, and councillors across the country have had the moral courage to stand up and be counted in this debate.

I am pleased to see that the Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council has been one of many to reach out to offer assistance to the many Afghans, who have risked their lives alongside NATO Forces.

I look forward to being able to see the detail of what that looks like in real terms as and when we are called upon as we have a moral obligation to help.

Many residents of the borough will have seen action in Afghanistan during our 20-year deployment to the region and it would be good to have seen some direction on where to find help and support in this difficult time. Many of us, quite rightly, have not known where to turn for support and have relied on each other to direct where the help is needed.

With our borough so close to an RAF base that will be operating as part of the current support task what support or signposting is the council able to offer?

I will agree that a phone call from the foreign secretary Dominic Raab at the time would not have prevented this from happening but it could have ensured the safety and lives of many hundreds, if not thousands, of people who are now at risk. And it would have no doubt provided a bit of morale to those involved with a very difficult and distressing task that was approaching at the time.

The endless list of excuses suggesting Mr Raab was prioritising other things is laughable and it seems that, despite sitting in the House of Commons all day during the debate on the situation.

Some Conservative MPs agree Dominic Raab needs to go. What does she expect to gain out of this? Others in similar positions have fallen a little more graciously on their swords, such as Conservative Peer, Lord Carrington, who resigned after not foreseeing the Argentinian invasion of the Falklands, it’s time some Conservatives took lead from their predecessors.

Without a doubt, this issue has been extremely distressing for many people. We should never be put in a similar situation again.

Once the immediate issues are resolved there are important questions to be asked of how the government allowed it to happen and more importantly what we need to do to prevent it from happening again.

Over 150 thousand troops and many more contractors, aid workers, and diplomats all deserve answers and that is why I believe there should be a public inquiry into the fall of Afghanistan.

Alex Lee, Basingstoke

Amport House

Dear Editor,

Your front page story regarding Amport House doesn’t mention that Amport was the headquarters of Royal Air Force, Maintenance Command during the war. When Maintenance Command moved into their new building, (nicknamed Andover Secondary Modern) to the south of the airfield, Monxton Road, Amport, became the Royal Air Force Chaplaincy Training Centre and eventually the tri-service Chaplaincy Centre. As far as I know it was never an Army base. May I ask what will happen to the beautiful chapel and the museum?

Frank Saunders, Winterdyne Mews, Andover

More history

Dear Editor,

Amongst recent news of Amport House and its proposed future use, an important period in its WWII history was missed out. It was requestioned by the RAF earlier than its Chaplaincy period when in the early years of WWII it was headquarters for RAF Maintenance Command – a very important cog in that wing of military activities. My mother (Blanche Helen Farlow) was in the WAAF and worked there as a shorthand typist. Wikipedia reports that its owner then, Colonel Sofer Whitburn DSO, donated his entire wine cellar to the officers mess - no doubt a very popular gesture.

Not so many years ago before military security tightened up, it was possible to look around the entire Sir Edwin Lutyens–Gertrude Jekyll gardens as part of the open gardens schemes. This included being able to have tea in one part of the House.

Whatever the future of Amport House is the preservation of it in a recognisable form including the gardens will add to the heritage of the district.

Phil Farlow, Abbotts Ann

EDITOR’S RESPONSE: Thank you to Mr Saunders and Mr Farlow for writing in about Amport House. We would love to hear from anyone with stories, memories and further information. Please write to us at Andover Advertiser, 5 Upper Brook St, Winchester, SO23 8AL.