Recorder letters: Charities need support, free transport for young and Covid testing

The PDSA is asking people to sign up for the World Big Dog Walk Challenge. Picture: Lauren De Boise

The PDSA is asking people to sign up for the World Big Dog Walk Challenge. Picture: Lauren De Boise - Credit: Lauren De Boise

Letters, contributions and comments sent in from Recorder readers this week.

Rise expected in pets needing us

Lynne James, PDSA Vet, writes:

At PDSA, the UK’s leading vet charity, we provide life-saving care to pets in need and believe no pet should suffer due to financial hardship.

But the coronavirus pandemic has left us facing a national crisis. With the country plunged into financial uncertainly, and more than a million extra Universal Credit claims, we expect the number of pets needing our help to increase by around 50,000. So support from local animal lovers is needed now more than ever.

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We’re urging dog owners and their four-legged friends to put their best paw forward and support our vital service by signing up to the World Big Dog Walk Challenge.

Joining celebrities and animal lovers across the UK, all you need to do is choose a suitable distance for you and your dog to complete during September.

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This could be your regular “walkies” route around your local park or why not stretch yourself and take on a more challenging distance? Whatever the distance, every small step will make a big different to the lives of poorly pets in desperate need of life-saving treatment.

Our veterinary service has been a lifeline to so many pets and their owners across the UK during the crisis so by choosing to support PDSA through this fun virtual event, we can continue our vital work saving sick and injured pets in need.

Visit for more information and to sign up.

Reverse decision to scrap Zip Card

Dr Alison Moore, Local London Assembly member, writes:

It has been out in the open for a while that the government shoehorned in the suspension of free travel for thousands of young Londoners condition in the final days of the negotiations, forcing TfL to accept the deal in front of them or risk going bust.

Thousands of young Londoners from the poorest families, and particularly those from BAME communities, will be hit the hardest by the suspension of the Zip Card.

It remains to be seen how ministers plan to successfully implement this policy, even in its now delayed and watered-down format. The chorus of calls from young students, parents and charities for the government to cut its losses and perform a full U-turn on this cannot be ignored any longer.

Wear pink to help fight breast cancer

Addie Mitchell, clinical nurse specialist, Breast Cancer Now, writes:

I am writing to ask your readers to join us on October 23 and take part in the UK’s biggest and boldest pink fundraiser, wear it pink.

The coronavirus outbreak has been an unprecedented situation for us all. Speaking to people affected by breast cancer, I know it continues to be an extremely difficult and uncertain time for so many affected by the disease.

While the NHS has taken extensive steps to minimise the impact on cancer services, many people have seen their treatment paused or delayed either to help reduce their risk of contracting Covid-19 or as the NHS has tried to cope with the demands during the outbreak. I’ve spoken to people with incurable secondary breast cancer, who had anxious months without treatments that had been helping to keep their disease stable. During this time, Breast Cancer Now’s support services are even more important.

The coronavirus pandemic is also having a significant impact on our ability to fundraise, and therefore our ability to fund research and provide support at a time when people have never needed it more.

Breast Cancer Now’s wear it pink day helps us continue to make world-class breast cancer research and life-changing care happen through the vital funds that are raised by people across Essex each year. Without this fundraising, we simply cannot continue to be here for people affected by breast cancer, now and in the future.

So, if there was ever a time to find that pink top, grab that pink tie or dig out that pink tutu, that time is now. Fundraisers can register to claim a free fundraising pack at

Whether your wear it pink day is held online, an event with your household or a socially-distanced event, we hope you can join us in helping to fund life-saving breast cancer research and life-changing care for those affected by breast cancer.

Testing too far away from home

Dr Peter English, BMA public health medicine committee chairman, writes:

It’s ludicrous that people are being directed so far from their homes for testing. In some cases, it means driving for three hours – and back – which is completely inappropriate at the best of times, let alone for someone who may be ill with Covid-19 symptoms. Travelling such distances are expensive, and that’s if individuals have access to a car at all.

This is an issue doctors are incredibly concerned about – with understandably worried patients contacting them for advice about what they can do when told to travel so far.

Furthermore, effective testing relies on widespread take-up among the public, and being directed so far from home will be a huge disincentive to people who need to get tested.

We understand there is limited testing capacity, but the logic of moving so much of it away from areas with low infection rates is flawed – as it means the programme is less likely to identify new spikes early, allowing swift action to be taken.

While the government pins its hopes of a “return to normal” on mass testing – with vast sums of money already handed out to private companies at a huge cost to the taxpayer – we can see the present system is not working.

Without getting the basics right, and ensuring people can easily and safely access tests, this goal looks a long way off.

Please support Noah’s Ark

Konnie Huq, former Blue Peter presenter and Noah’s Ark supporter writes:

It’s absolutely right that children should be taught about environmental issues at school.

They will be the guardians of the future of our planet and as such they need all the knowledge and encouragement they can get. Although in many cases I’m sure they already know more than their parents.

My own kids each have an eco-ambassador in their classes, they know all about recycling and using the car less!

To support The Noah’s Ark Foundation in their efforts, please visit to donate and help to continue their work.

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