I read with interest the letter from the chairman of the Wilts & Berks Canal Trust (Mr Lang) concerning what is in my opinion, the absolutely impractical idea of a canal through the centre of Swindon.

He quotes what is happening in Liverpool but ignores the fact that we are a much smaller community than Liverpool, and whilst they have plenty of room on former dock areas for waterways and waterside cultural facilities (another similar example is Manchester, which in addition to these facilities, has a modern tramway), Swindon on the other hand is an entirely different proposition.

Apparently we are too small a town to warrant a modern tramway/light railway system, a guided bus system is all we shall get.

If Mr Lang manages to talk Forward Swindon into the idea that as long as we get a canal running through the centre of Swindon from east to west, all will be well.

My question is how do we get people into Swindon with the loss of Westcott Place, Faringdon Road etc to the canal?

I am fully in favour of the current Forward Swindon proposals, which bring the canal in from the north following the former canal route through the Railway Works site crossing Station Road and then terminating in a basin adjacent to the town centre. This will give an opportunity for canal enthusiasts to visit Swindon without disrupting the whole of the town’s traffic system.

Reg Palk Retired chartered surveyor Bradene Close Swindon

A touching tale

What a delightful and touching story. I am not the author, however, I would like to share it with your readers as it tells the true meaning of Christmas: My husband Alan and I were Christmas shopping in a factory outlet village when we visited a china shop full of beautiful items at discounted prices.

We entered with the intention of just looking. However, Alan was very taken with a china nativity set. He set about persuading me that we should buy it. Then he noticed there was no baby Jesus in the scene. I went to speak to the young assistant and he explained that because the baby Jesus was the only movable figure in the sets, several had been stolen. As a result, he said, they kept Jesus in the box.

I said that we would like to buy the nativity set, but asked the assistant to check first that Jesus was in the box.

I added: “There’s no Christmas without Jesus.”

Quick as a flash, he told me I had made a political statement.

“No,” I replied, “It’s a statement of faith.”

I then asked if he knew that there was historical proof that Jesus had lived on Earth. He had a vague but not very accurate idea as he seemed to think that Jesus was part of some pagan belief. While this conversation was going on, he was checking the packaging and triumphantly showed me that the baby Jesus was indeed in the box.

This Christmas, our china nativity set graces our home and it will give great pleasure for many years to come. I am happy to say while the china Jesus lives in the box, the real Jesus lives in my heart, and not just at Christmas!

I must repeat I didn’t write this story but I thought it was wonderful.

William Abraham Rodbourne Swindon

Thanks for aid

I am writing to thank you and your readers for the support for the British Heart Foundation’s (BHF) South West Shops’ Great British Bag-athon.

The campaign, which took place throughout September, was a huge success and we’re very grateful to the South West community for joining in and donating so many bags full of lovely things.

We had an amazing response throughout September and thanks to the tremendous contribution from the South West we have been able to raise over 570,000 bags across the UK as a whole – this could be worth a possible £11,400,000!

BHF South West Shops are always in need of donations and it doesn’t have to be just clothes – good quality CDs, DVDs, books, toys and ornaments are all welcome. In addition, if you are planning a house clearout our Furniture & Electrical Stores are always in need of good quality homeware. For those of you that have bulky items to donate or large numbers of bags you can also book a free collection from your door by calling 0844 412 5000.

To find your local BHF Shops please visit bhf.org.uk/shops or call 0844 412 5000 to book a free collection.

Annita Riddle BHF Shops Area Manager

Grateful trust

I am writing to thank independent bakers and the public who helped to raise money for The Children’s Trust during this year’s National Doughnut Week.

Over £20,000 was raised during the annual event which was held in May.

The money raised will help to enhance the lives of some of the UK’s most severely disabled children, who receive specialist care at The Children’s Trust.

In addition to thanking kind-hearted bakers and the public who supported the fundraising week, I would like to thank Christopher Freeman from Dunn’s Bakery (London), who is the founder of National Doughnut Week, and also the sponsor CSM United Kingdom Ltd. During the last 21 years, over £750,000 has been raised for children’s charities – a fantastic achievement!

2013 National Doughnut Week will take place from May 11-18, and we hope that more independent and high street bakers will join in this fun event and help to raise more money for some very special children.

For further information about The Children’s Trust, visit: www.thechildrenstrust. org.uk Katie Roberts Head of Community Fundraising The Children’s Trust

History lesson

Steve Jack’s defence of Israel’s highly military apartheid state doesn’t even attempt to answer any of the facts I indicated around the attack on Gaza.

He quotes a self serving piece of hypocrisy from Golda Meir but ignores her much more telling, “there is no such thing as a Palestinian people”.

Israel was founded on the brutal expulsion of Palestinians from their homes. Every move to appease Israel by neighbouring states has led to the accelerating theft of Palestinian lands. It is simply breathtaking that Steve Jack appeals to history to hide all this. Mainstream Israeli historians are well aware of it although it doesn’t stop most of them supporting the brutality.

When he says Arab states haven’t lifted a finger for Palestine he is right but this has no relevance. The region has been dominated by Western clients; dictatorships which deliver the goods for oil companies and Western power.

The peoples of the Middle East are sick of this and their democratic movements hold the prospect of a democratic settlement for the Palestinian people. No wonder Israel’s establishment look so nervous.

Peter Smith Woodside Avenue Swindon

Top fundraising

Highworth and District Branch of the RNLI would like to thank all who supported us at the Tesco Store on December 8; we raised £78.65. We also raised £99.81 at Warneford School on December 18.

Our grateful thanks to Tesco and Warneford School for allowing us to use their premises for this worthy cause.

Our Christmas social raised £365 on 2nd December at Wrag Barn. Thank you to the attendees for their kind generosity.

If you feel you could help this worthy cause please phone for more information on 762421 or Steve Coombs on 762788 or visit our website at http://www. highworthrnli.hostoi.com/ Thank you for your support.

Ron Rose Highworth and District RNLI