Balance needed

Dear Editor,

I fully support your readers who think that Andover Advertiser is giving too much publicity to Cllr Luigi Gregori’s letters. The idea that editors are obliged to publish every letter received is ridiculous. Cllr Gregori’s letters are usually generic in nature and don’t contain anything that is topical or useful in taking issues further.

I note that he always ends his letters with an exhortation to “demand better” and the normal way of doing this is through the ballot box. I suspect that Cllr Gregori has one eye on the May local elections and is hoping that the ‘better’ result is a Liberal Democrat victory. I therefore think that the Andover Advertiser should redress the balance by seeking letters from other political parties and interested groups on their interpretation of what is “better”.

In the meantime, if you are looking for something to fill the empty Letter Page spaces, how about including more pictures from your readers? That might be a much better way to brighten people’s Fridays.

Mike Dean

Upper Clatford, Andover

Editor’s note: Our letters page is open to all readers, regardless of political background and persuasion. We strive to publish everyone’s letters, as long as they adhere to our publishing standards. All political parties are welcome to write in a letter for consideration. Email Sometimes we publish photos along with letters if necessary. But stand-alone pictures from our readers are published on special page for the Andover Advertiser Camera Club. This week’s picture spread is on pages 8 and 9.

Not very charity-minded

Dear Editor,

Recently my wife was waiting for a delivery from an Andover company, an organisation selling cards and goods for charity.As the parcel was several days later than promised,I contacted them and was appalled to receive a reply from the CEO himself telling me that he had delegated the job to someone else and as I was not an employee of the company not to contact him again and that he had no obligation to me and had no intention of communicating with me further on this matter.

Not the sort of reply I expected.

Not a very charitable company.

Ian Grigg

Ward Close, Andover

Waste of resources

Dear Editor,

Why has the Day Surgery in the Andover Hospital stopped doing endoscopy and is it permanent?

There has been a great deal of time and money spent on the unit and I feel it is such a shame that the Andover people have to travel to Winchester or Basingstoke when it could be done here.

Name and address supplied

Guidance clear

Dear Editor,

What part of ‘stay home, protect the NHS, save lives’ does Tony Barron (letters Feb 19) not understand?

Does he think that having people out and about delivering leaflets is a good enough reason NOT to adhere to Government guidance or does he think like some that the rules shouldn’t apply.

Robert Bray


Unsung heroes

Dear Editor,

Unpaid carers are carers outside the state or private sectors who provide essential support to their loved ones. They are the unsung heroes of the pandemic. In Hampshire we have a total of over 18,600 unpaid carers, and just under 13,000 receive a Carer’s Allowance of ££67.25 per week. These unpaid carers face big challenges every day, and their lives have been made even harder by the pandemic. Many carers face financial hardship, and they have been struggling for months, often relying on foodbanks to feed themselves and the people they care for.

Frankly this is not good enough. The Liberal Democrats have been campaigning since last November to increase the Carer’s Allowance from its current rate of £67.25 a week to £87.25, in line with the £20 a week uplift in Universal Credit announced at the start of the pandemic. There are also 6,000 people who are entitled to Carer’s Allowance but do not receive it due to overlapping benefits, mostly older carers on low incomes, and they should be given the extra £20 a week as well.

Currently, the Conservative Government plans only to raise the payment by 35p a week from April to £67.60. I would argue that outside the question of fairness, personal experience tells me unpaid carers save the state considerable amounts of money. If the unpaid carer system collapses, the taxpayer will have to step in and bear the burden which is far from insignificant. Care home costs are at the very least £500 per week. Our wonderful unpaid carers deserve our support, but they are too often forgotten or ignored. Demand better for them.

Cllr Luigi Gregori

Charlton Road, Andover

Vaccines a game changer

Dear Editor,

Well done Boris Johnson for not giving in to Tory backbenchers pressure for an early lifting of lockdown.

The vaccination programme is clearly a game changer so it is only right that any lifting is based upon data rather than rebels in his own party.

If anything, this is an opportunity for opposition MPs to unite with Boris in putting the national interest first.

So Keir Starmer, how about you stop playing and start playing ball?

I will believe it when I see it!

Geoffrey Brooking,


Portway plane

Dear Editor,

I attended Portway school and was always pretty miffed that we had a plane right outside of our classroom, and our young imaginative minds were never allowed to climb inside of it.

What was the point in us having it?

Martin Le Bon McGregor,

Via Facebook

RAF project

This month marks the 80th anniversary of the RAF Air Cadets and the RAF Benevolent Fund has joined forces with the youth organisation to help mark the milestone.

Throughout their 80-year history the air cadets have been inspiring their members to go on to great things, whether that be as part of the Royal Air Force itself or further afield. From Olympic medals and Oscar nominations to topping the charts or even becoming a NASA Astronaut.

Linford Christie OBE, Tom Fletcher, Dr Michael Foale, Rory Underwood MBE and Richard Burton were all members of this extraordinary youth organisation.

Throughout the years cadets have played a key role in helping us to be there for the RAF Family, whether that’s raising money, supporting events or helping to raise awareness.

To celebrate this anniversary, the RAF Benevolent Fund has launched an online book collecting memories from former and current members, asking them to share what their time as an air cadet meant to them. Visit for more information.

Mike Straney,

Director Fundraising and Communications, RAF Benevolent Fund (and former RAF Air Cadet)

Virtual catch-up

With the promise of an end of lockdown looming, I urge your readers to continue to check in on loved ones. One in six people live with an incurable condition called Raynaud’s that causes painful ‘attacks’ when it’s cold, so winter can be agonising.It’s likely you know someone with it but may not realise it.

As the only charity supporting people with Raynaud’s, Scleroderma and Raynaud’s UK is urging people to organise a virtual catch-up with friends and family to make sure they are okay and, at the same time, raise money to help us continue our vital work. We would love you to grab your favourite mug, get online together and donate £5 by texting CATCHUP to 70450.

Sue Farrington

Chief Executive, Scleroderma and Raynaud’s UK

Learn skills

Let’s stop the Government scrapping the Union Learning Fund in England at the end of March. This unique scheme provides lifelong learning in many local workplaces, bringing together employers, education providers and trade unions to give workers a second chance at learning by contributing time, money and resources.

Learning and re-skilling will be core to helping us recover from the impact of Covid-19 and dealing with the changing world of work because of automation. While we welcome the Government’s plans to invest £2.5 billion through the National Skills Fund, we are concerned about how effective that investment will be and who it will reach.

In our experience, union learning is uniquely able to engage and support thousands of ‘disadvantaged’ learners. Most had few, if any, qualifications and would never have considered attending a college, or signing up for an on-line course, if it were not for the support and encouragement of Union Learning reps in the workplace. Union Learn reaches the workers other schemes do not.

The cost of gaining new skills shouldn’t be out of reach for low paid key workers. We are asking the Chancellor to recognise the value of union learning and provide the necessary £12 million in the Budget on 3 March. I ask readers to support the campaign by signing the online TUC petition at:

Paddy Lillis

Usdaw General Secretary

Bliss family

When Bliss was founded in 1979 by a group of parents, our objective as a charity was set out “to support the life of babies in distress at birth”, and since our foundation we have always sought to deliver this for all babies admitted to neonatal care, whether they were born prematurely or at full term.

Over the past 41 years our reach has grown and we now work with many neonatal units in Southern England and across the UK. Having a baby in neonatal care can be incredibly distressing for families and Bliss offers emotional and practical support to empower families and equip them with the knowledge and skills they need to provide the best possible care to their baby, for however long they live and for however long their stay in neonatal care.

One in seven babies is born needing neonatal care in the UK, equating to 100,000 babies every year, but despite a common perception that neonatal care is only for babies born premature, more than 60 per cent of babies admitted to neonatal care are born at full term (at 37 weeks or more).

Our research shows these parents often feel that their experience on the neonatal unit differs to the experiences of families with premature babies. Many feel out of place, or that they don’t ‘belong’ on the unit, as they are often the only family with a full term baby there at the time.

Some of those babies may only spend a few days on a unit, some much longer, but they all need the same specialist care as premature babies, and their parents’ practical and emotional needs should be treated with the same care and respect.

That is why we have launched Hidden Neonatal Journeys, our new campaign to raise awareness of the challenges faced by the parents of full term but sick babies. If you have had a neonatal experience with your full term baby and been supported by Bliss, we would love to hear from you.

Sharing stories like yours helps Bliss to reach more parents in your local area, shows them that they are not alone, and also means we can continually improve the care provided to families. Only with your support can Bliss continue to work to ensure every baby gets the best start in life for generations to come.

To find out more about the campaign visit

Caroline Lee-Davey,

Chief Executive of Bliss

Workers’ rights

You may be aware that recently the Supreme Court ruled Uber drivers should be given workers’ rights, but what you might not know is that this landmark judgment will have repercussions for others working in the gig economy.

Leigh Day is also representing Addison Lee drivers and Stuart couriers in similar workers’ rights claims.

Both of these companies currently use contracts that class people working for them as ‘independent contractors’ which means they are not entitled to workers’ rights.

This judgment should be heeded as a warning to companies with a similar business model that they cannot continue to operate in this way.

We hope the Supreme Court’s decision helps Addison Lee and Stuart to recognise that the people working for them should be given the basic rights such as holiday pay and the National Minimum wage.

After all, all these people are asking for is to be treated fairly.

Michael Newman,

partner in the employment team at Leigh Day