LOOKING for a non-boring route to fitness and general blubber bustin’, my friend and I ventured to the badminton sessions at Huddersfield Sports Centre on Sunday mornings.

This was not without some trepidation, though, as my friend had never played before and I used to play sometime just after the last Ice Age.

People of all ages from all backgrounds meet to learn new skills or improve on existing talents in a friendly atmosphere.

Along with two resident coaches, seasoned players from local clubs are there to give advice and tips. At just £2 for a three-hour session it’s unbelievable value.

In just a few weeks we have become much fitter and, OK, a bit leaner, but confident enough to join a badminton league club as well.

We are on our way to becoming super fit and are looking forward to wearing our knickers outside our leggings!

For this, a huge thank you to the sports centre, Kirklees Active Leisure and the organisers – for the badminton, not the fashion opportunities.

Beached Whales


Milking the motorist

I SUSPECT Kirklees will do the same as Calderdale and put car parking prices up to offset some savings.

As per usual, the motorist is seen as a cash cow.

A Calderdale councillor was quoted in the Examiner as saying: “I have no problem with putting up parking charges 10p in order to get some money in to offset other budget losses.’’

Martin Fletcher


Easy target for cuts

A LOT of people are writing in and condemning the forthcoming cuts to various services both at local and national level.

It’s quite right people take an interest and condemn particular service cuts. Sadly too many people are apathetic, as at election time when they vote for the same old party.

Looking at cuts to services for vulnerable people here in Kirklees, it is important to remember that our local elected officials have choices.

They don’t need to hit the most vulnerable, they have simply chosen an easy target and go on to blame national government which is attempting to sweep up the almighty mess of the Blair/Brown era.

Thinking of all the precious politically inspired non-jobs and services provision set up under the last and the previous Tory government, local officials do have a choice and can cut elsewhere.

For example, stop printing paper in community languages for those unwilling to integrate, along with scrapping translation services, again at local and national level. Get rid of the equality, race relations, health and safety navel-gazers and box tickers.

I went to a meeting with an inspector from the Primary Care Trust a few weeks back. He brought along two colleagues who contributed nothing, said nothing, made notes, drank the tea and could hardly manage a smile.

On the private practice side there was just me, on the public sector side there were three – one active, two non-active. Well done for job creation.

This is nothing new. I spent 12 miserable months working for a housing association and job creation where no job existed there was inspired.

So, Kirklees Council, stop hitting the weakest in society as your first target. Look at cutting members’ expenses first – perhaps even cutting the number of councillors.

But, sadly, like turkeys voting for Christmas, politicians reducing their own self-interest is unlikely.

If only we were as brave as the Tunisians.

Gez Sharp


We want our town back

I REFER to a recent item of news, ‘Kirklees mayoral bill revealed at £228,000’ (Examiner, January 11) – a large sum of money that some may consider an expense beyond our pockets in today’s mean times.

There used to be something reassuringly comforting and old-fashioned about having a town mayor.

I see a large jolly fellow, respected townsman and benefactor with a fondness for cigars and brandy, lovingly donning his chains whenever duty calls.

He’s always on hand at ribbon-cutting ceremonies, like opening Huddersfield’s brand new hospital (well, Halifax had one), like reopening the Kirkburton, Meltham and Holmfirth branch lines, like opening Huddersfield’s new relief road, by-pass or the M1/M62 link (with Cooper Bridge gyratory).

OK, I’m getting a bit over-excited, but you know what I mean.

He rides around in a well-buffed old Rolls Royce as he goes about his civic duties, like collecting the Queen from the railway station before proudly showing her our handsome town, or at least he could until Huddersfield was disfigured by miserable cereal-box architecture.

Sadly, ever since 1974 when a bureaucratic entity known as ‘Kirklees’ with its phoney name and artificial boundaries was created, the status of Huddersfield was so diminished that we no longer merited having our own mayor.

On this basis, I consider that a mayor of Kirklees be a complete waste of time and money and the position be abolished without further delay.

Of course it is important that we should have a mayor (as outlined above) but we need our town back first.

Uncle Grumpy


Use of Lottery funds

WE are calling on Examiner readers to nominate their favourite local Lottery-funded projects for recognition in The National Lottery Awards 2011.

The awards are the annual search to find the UK’s favourite Lottery-funded projects and recognise the dedication of the people behind them. Lottery players raise £28m every week for projects both large and small that make a difference to people, places and communities.

We would like to hear from readers if they know about a Lottery-funded project that has had a positive impact on the local area, made a real difference to people’s lives or if they are personally involved with a project that is transforming their community with the help of Lottery funding.

The National Lottery Awards have seven categories, each reflecting the main areas of Lottery funding – arts, education, environment, health, heritage, sport and voluntary/charity.

The projects that make it to the finals of The National Lottery Awards will receive national recognition at a star-studded event broadcast on BBC One later this year. They will also have a chance to win a £2,000 cash prize.

Readers can visit www.lotterygoodcauses.org.uk to find out more. Entries must be received by 5pm on Friday, February 18.

Rebecca Gowrley

The National Lottery Awards

Causing offence

RICHARD Huddleston (Political correction, Mailbag, January 28) classes ‘women, immigrants, homosexuals, the religious, the old, vegetarians’ alongside ‘thousands of other self-pitying groups in this country’.

I can assure him that, belonging as I do to a number of the groups he names, I am certainly not one to indulge in self-pity nor am I without a marked sense of humour where ‘innocent’ remarks are concerned.

What I can also assure him of is that I found the implications in his letter offensive. In fact, more offensive than the remarks to which he refers, as he has no qualms in setting them down on paper with the intention of making them public.

Lynn Meredith


Policing our thoughts

WHAT a fuss has been kicked up over the so-called sexist comments made by the two Sky Sports reporters.

Aren’t there a lot of touchy, over-sensitive people around? I wonder what happened to our British sense of humour.

However, there can never be legislation over people’s privately-held beliefs, no matter how many politically correct do-gooders there are.

I am reminded of a line in the song from Most Happy Fella which states: “Brother, you can’t go to gaol for what you’re thinking; matter of fact, neither can I.’’ Quite.

Elsie M Eva


Hole in the road

I WOULD like to ask Kirklees’ Highways why is there still a massive hole in the footpath outside the McDonald’s restaurant.

Is it a) a new litter bin, b) a water feature – when it rains c) the start of a new subway to the railway station, d) a place for Christmas tree next year, or e) a place for a new flower bed?

I ask myself how Huddersfield town centre shop keepers are not totally fed up with the state of the town centre.

Roger Daker


Changing speed limit

ANYONE who drives carefully and keeps to the limits needs to know that on Bradford Road at Bailiff Bridge the speed limit was changed overnight from 40mph to 30mph.

I got stopped at 38mph in what I knew was a 40mph limit. An unwanted event, having a clean licence and being unemployed the last 10 months.

J Hammond

Scapegoat Hill