I was very interested to read (Letters, 25 November) of the project started by Irene Owens to send sewing machines to Zimbabwe. I wonder if she knows about the charity Tools for Self Reliance? TFSR has groups of volunteers in many parts of the UK. They collect and repair hand tools, which are shipped to a number of African countries. They are particularly keen to accept donations of manual sewing machines. A visit to their website, www.tfsr.org, will enable anyone wishing to donate sewing machines to contact the charity to find their nearest collection point. Hopefully in this way Irene Owen’s project can continue to help many more African families to start a small business sufficient to feed and educate their children.
John O Machin
Calverley, West Yorkshire
• Simon Jenkins (This is not a strategy – it’s a fast track to the dark ages of rail, Opinion, 30 November) writes about Beeching, but fails to mention that the minister of transport was Ernest Marples, a managing director of the road construction company Marples Ridgway. Marples later had to leave the country for Monaco, to avoid prosecution for tax fraud.
• Graham White (Letters, 5 December) describes UK factory orders hitting a four-year high as “a ray of sunshine”. Wouldn’t be down to the instant devaluation after the Brexit vote would it? Just asking…
• For my great-grandmother, taking babies to work was not a matter of choice (Letters, 5 December). She was a farm labourer in County Antrim in the late 19th century (think Tess of the D’Urbervilles in much harsher weather). To keep them quiet while they worked in the fields, she and her co-workers would dose their babies with laudanum and lay them down under the hedges until they were granted enough of a break to tend to them.
• The weekend’s Survation poll gave Labour an 8% lead over the Conservatives in England and a 3% lead in Scotland. How then do you explain Monday’s headline “Theories on why Labour is failing to surge ahead” (Letters, 4 December)? Was someone not on the ball or were you determined to present a downbeat assessment of Labour’s prospects?
Source: The Guardian