Classic Bobby

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So sad to hear about the passing of Bobby Knutt.

So sad to hear about the passing of Bobby Knutt. I met him on quite a few occasions throughout the years and he came across as a real genuine guy. To say he was pretty well known, he obviously didn’t try to act like something he wasn’t. So down to earth you could imagine him talking to the Queen as if she was one of his mates. A naturally funny guy.

One of my lasting memories of him was in the Black Swan one Saturday afternoon. He normally did two spots but this particular day he got on stage and immediately apologises to the audience. He said I’m sorry to have to tell you that due to my agent getting his wires crossed, I have been ‘double booked’ with here and The Marples, so to be fair I’m going to do one spot here then hightail up to the Marples and do my second spot there.” Is that ok with you lot?” The next thing, I thought was hilarious. Bobby finished his first spot in the Swan, literally jumped off the stage, ran through the pub and ran straight up to the Marples in Fitzalan Square, but with all the audience running behind him, into the Marples, grabs his microphone and says,”well it’s nice to see some new faces”. Classic Bobby.

I’ve often wondered what all the public that day thought when they saw about 40 or 50 people chasing this black curly-haired bespectacled man through Sheffield town centre. Thanks for the memories Bobby.

Ted Fowler

by email

Classical studies

I was lucky enough to have some excellent teachers at High Storrs Comprehensive from 1982 - 1987 and my A Levels included: Classical Studies, Sociology and English Literature.

People I’ve met over the years, have commented on how lucky I was to study such a varied set of eye-opening A Levels, they are quite right and High Storrs are the ones to thank for it. I have very fond memories, as many do - of the Head of Classical Studies Ray Everett and Georgina Johnson, who was the first person ever to show me the inside of a university, and not to forget Mrs Susan Birks, (aunt to Lisa Snowdon). All thanks to their good hearts and belief in equal opportunity.

Louise Wilcockson

by email

The Welfare State cost

Not long before the 1997 general election, Peter Snow on BBC2 Newsnight asked a member of the Institute of Fiscal Studies: “How can we reduce the cost of the welfare state?” If people aren’t aware, from 1979 to 1997 the Tories more than doubled the cost in 18 years as they are the party of benefit reliance.

The reply from the Institute of Fiscal Studies was: “It’s simple, renationalise utilities and get people back into work.” Privatisation - no profits going back into the system, more taxpayers’ subsidies thrown at them, profits to shareholders, fatcats.

S Ellis

S65

Revival of interest

Interesting to see a revival of interest in the Wicker Arches especially the recent letter from Jim Mason.

Yes a Luftwaffe Bomb did land on the Arches and you can still see its imprint underneath. Like the parachute mine shrapnel damage on the City Hall, War Memorial and the still recognisable upper elevation of Col Sanders in Waingate/Market Place these echoes of the events of December 1940 should be left to remind future generations of Sheffielders of what their forebears had to endure.

As for the Arches themselves the late Jan Wilson wanted them spruced up but as usual in this neck of the woods little has happened.

The horrendous colour scheme of Tesco as you approach it from Savile Street may have been intended to enhance the area but all it does is highlight the shabbiness and litter problems of the immediate area.

Ron Clayton

S6

A tax on the poor

Fixed odds betting terminals and to a lesser extent the National Lottery and the like, are a tax on the poor.

It beggars belief that these machines have so little regulation from Central Government, as does the loan shark industry which is allowed to roam this country taking money with menace like a modern day Dick Turpin.

Regulations in this country can be quite severe when it comes to parking, fishing and dog ownership, to name just a few.

But multinational companies and wealthy individuals can rob and persecute vulnerable people with impunity, sometimes causing them to take their own lives, as they see it as the only way out of the nightmare they find themselves in.

The welfare of the people should be the supreme law.

The vulnerable and poor in our society need more protection on these important matters. I support the campaign to reduce the maximum stake on these machines from £100 per bet, to £2 per bet.

Coun John Booker

by email

Library week

October 9-14 marks Library Week in Sheffield and across the UK. It also marks around three years since Sheffield Council replaced a professional library service provided by professional library staff at 16 branch libraries with a volunteer-run service.

The original plan was for voluntary groups to be able to raise funds to keep the libraries open independent of the council, saving the council £800,000 a year. In reality, this proved wildly unrealistic as volunteer groups such as the one in Stannington were unable to raise anything like the amount needed to keep branch libraries open, with the council saving face by raiding the health and social care budget to fund its failed volunteer-led model. It is also clear that turning over libraries to volunteers has made the service unattractive for library users, with many choosing to no longer visit once the staff had left. Subsidies given to volunteer libraries across Sheffield could have paid for roughly a third of the library assistants sacked in 2014 to be retained, or for adult social care. Volunteer libraries are a complete waste of time and resources in this time of austerity. Stannington and 15 other Sheffield communities who lost library staff in 2014 deserve better.

Martin Vaughan

Stannington, S6

Who put her in charge?

Brexit talks ongoing all we ever hear but I would like to know who made Angela Merkel the one in charge? She’s always having a dig at Britain and what she expects. Germany is one country in Europe, who made her the chief spokeswoman?

Jayne Grayson

by email

Tribute to the hippies

Hippies?Neil from the Young Ones was one. Dylan from the Magic Roundabout was one. The Sex Pistols said never trust one. Monica is right, where have all the hippies gone?

There are a few still knocking about, but not in the numbers there used to be. By the way the Battle of the Beanfield is immortalised in song by the late Ian Dury. The song Itinerant Child from the 1998 album Mr Love Pants is Ian’s tribute to the hippies at the Beanfield.

Mr H

by email