Christmas poem

Have your say

Sheffield Christmas, (Inspired by, but apologies to, Sir John Betjeman)

The bells of Sheffield churches ring,

The Christmas lights are lit again –

Phosphorescent hues o’er seven hills

Brighten the Steel City’s domain,

In shops and parks and Meadowhall,

From Mosborough to Ecclesall.

Holly and yew glow glossy green

And fakish firs in windows shine

Where shimmering lights can be seen,

In neighbours’ houses, and in mine.

Churches sound the bells of Advent

To herald the divine event.

The pubs and bars roar out good cheer,

I hear the tram sound, hum and clang,

I’m dazzled by The Moor dahn theer

Where last year carolling choirs sang.

The Peace Gardens and Cutlers’ Hall

Wish all the best to one and all.

And all our shops on Christmas Eve

Are strewn with bells and fairy lights

As last-gasp shoppers dodge and weave

To stock their bags with tasty bites,

And bulbous clouds darken the sky

As The Day itself is well nigh.

And daughters wrap up socks for Dad,

And teenage boys give scent to Mum,

And kids’ impatience drives them mad,

And Santa’s served mince pies and rum

To warm the cockles of his heart

(Or perhaps for dad’s early start).

And is it true? They say it’s true,

Though surely no tale is stranger,

Seen on cards sent to me, and you,

A Baby, there, in a manger.

Holy Spirit, Father, and Son,

Celebration, solemn or fun.

And is it true? They say it is,

As loving hands tie strings and bows

Around well-intentioned pressies,

For Uncle and Joe and Auntie Rose,

DVDs and music boxset

And ale to keep the whistle wet.

But excess and extravagance,

All the singing and festive fayre,

All the Christmastime indulgence,

None can with this sole Truth compare –

“That God was Man in Palestine

And lives today in Bread and Wine.”

Steve Damms


Bad name not just for you

Oh Susan, (Richardson), you don’t disappoint. Please feel free to lose your patience with me.

You have every right to your opinion but should remember that letters printed on Your Say appear on The Star website, read worldwide, particularly by expats.

Some of your hysterical past letters didn’t help our beautiful city although re-reading my letter I should have made it clear the ‘bad name’ wasn’t meant just for you.

You obviously missed the whole bad press. Placard waving, singing protesters are neither peaceful nor quiet.

The Star has printed letters from residents complaining of protesters standing alongside trees outside their homes and door knocking ‘persuading’ them to sign petitions.

Perhaps you didn’t see residents in the studio of Calendar a few days after the showing of the Western Road ervice on The One show?

The trees outside their homes had damaged drives, walls and roots were encroaching on the foundations of their homes. Facts from the horses mouth, not false information from the Council.

Perhaps you should access the STAG refreshed site, You will find all the information there regarding the trees on Western Road. There are 57 remaining from the original 97, a photo of an illegible plaque and the fact that residents paid for it all.

Unfortunately it isn’t clear whether some of the 57 remaining are original. Wonder if anything was said when almost half the trees were felled?

A comment from one resident of 27 years: “I think the council should recompense us for the lack of maintenance during this time.”

I agree with new planting making it up to 97 again but not London plane trees. They release millions of tiny seeds which can irritate people with breathing problems.

On the STAG site a list of campaigning groups gives the numbers of ‘healthy’ trees involved. Makes interesting reading. They are mostly in the south of Sheffield and there are definitely not big numbers.

My point about the Vernon oak was that huge oak trees should be in woods, fields or country estates, definitely not road trees.

The huge canopies are great at keeping the pollution high in our industrial city but create a tunnel effect for exhaust fumes at road level and rising in modern Sheffield.

Other than four years in London in the 1960s I have spent my life in a couple of villages in the north of Sheffield.

My information is taken from the full five years of the contract, not the last couple of years.

Our villages have enjoyed three/four years of seeing young trees flourishing alongside middle-aged and mature trees.

Perhaps you would find Wikipedia interesting. Sheffield City is estimated to contain more than two million trees and more trees per person than any other city in Europe, winning an award in 2005.

The city has woodland, parks, over four square miles of water and 52 square miles of National Park, not forgetting 36,000 + street trees. So much oxygen making!

I was very pleased with the comment on my letter by a well-respected Sheffield historian, JT you speak a lot of sense. I rest my case.

Jennie Turner


Pressure from the top?

Did Damian Green have porn on his work computer eight years ago?

It was supposed to have been found by the police, yet they did nothing, so we are led to believe.

The police officers who looked into all this at the time didn’t take it any further.

Why was it swept under the carpet? Was that pressure from the top?

Yet all these years later they are choosing to talk about it now.

If there were concerns they should have made their voices heard back then.

Theresa doesn’t have many allies right now. I bet she is hoping this story will die down as she wont want to lose him.

Jayne Grayson

by email

We’re only millhands

To the puzzle challenge setters, some of the nine-letter ones this week been crazy, Galantine, obeisance,

Blimey we’re only millhands, not Stephen Hawking.

Well some of us, we don’t do bad though, apart from Cheesy, who makes Joey Essex look like a Mastermind champ.

The Pluto posse