READERS’ LETTERS

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What our readers have been writing about this week

Sir, – Are you looking to take on the ultimate challenge in 2012? Look no further as Children Today have the solution for you! Trek Mount Kilimanjaro with us from the 14th – 23rd September 2012 to raise essential funds for disabled children in the UK.

The start of your amazing adventure begins in Moshi where you will get a good night’s rest before travelling to the Marangu Gate where your trek will start. In total you will travel 77 kilometres along the Marangu Route, passing through unique and breathtaking scenery as you hike your way through one of Africa’s greatest icons to reach the Uhuru Peak.

Ceri Ward, fundraiser for Children Today says: “Put yourself to the ultimate test in 2012 and join Children Today for the definitive physical challenge.”

Children Today provide vital, life enhancing pieces of specialised equipment for disabled and sick children. Their aim is to ensure that every disabled child and young person fulfils their potential and leads an active childhood. Children Today receive no statutory funding and rely on the generosity of their supporters to help fund these essential pieces of equipment.

The world’s largest free standing mountain is waiting to be conquered by you; so what are you waiting for, call Ceri Ward on 01244 335622 or email ceri@childrentoday.org.uk for a free information pack.

CERI WARD

Fundraiser

Children Today.

Last chance for Far East visit

Sir, – In March 2012, I am taking a group of Far East POWs/wives/widows/siblings on a poignant return visit to the locations where they were incarcerated-namely: JAVA, AMBON & HARUKU.

Sadly out of a group of 23 the actual number of veterans in the group has dwindled to four.

Bearing in mind the average age of the veterans is 90 plus it’s hardly surprising. Regrettably failing health etc. is taking its toll.

This for sure will be the last such visit and I want to make absolutely sure every Far East veteran out there is aware of this tour. Subject to Big Lottery terms and conditions, the trip will be covered by lottery funding-to the value of £1800. An equal amount will be given for a relative and a carer to accompany. This is absolutely the last chance as lottery funding ends on January 31.

The visit to honour and remember what was sacrificed for us is being organised by: John Babbage babbagejohn7@gmail.com tel. 01582 737 172 and includes many members of The Java Far Eastern Prisoner of War Club, which is the largest and only remaining nationwide Club for these veterans and their widows.

The itinerary and bookings are currently being finalized. If you would like to join this trip or learn more about The Java FEPOW Club visit the Club’s web site www.thejavafepowclub42.org. – Yours etc.,

LESLEY CLARK

Chairman and treasurer

Java FEPOW Club

Be aware of benefits

Sir, – Recent research has revealed that pension incomes are expected to hit a five year low for people retiring this year, meaning that one in five will have to survive on less than £10,000 a year. The recession has seen a fall in pension funds and annuity rates, which, when combined with inflation rises mean that thousands will struggle to make ends meet.

However, this isn’t just a problem facing future pensioners. Our own research reveals that today’s pensioners are already struggling; yet many are not aware of the financial support available to them. Two thirds of pensioners on low incomes, who could be eligible for Pension Credit do not believe they qualify; yet a quarter of them struggle with bills, a third with housing costs and one in ten are forced to skip meals. The latest government figures show that the amount of Pension Credit unclaimed annually was between £1.6bn and £2.9bn.

We would like to remind your readers of how important it is that pensioners are aware of their potential welfare benefits entitlement. Pensioners have to deal with a terribly complicated benefits system, which often deters them from claiming much-needed funds. Yet, it is easy to access the free Turn2us benefits calculator and establish entitlement, how much is available and where to claim - www.turn2us.org.uk. Those without internet access can call our freephone helpline on 0808 802 2000. – Yours etc.,

Alison Taylor

Director of Turn2us

200 Shepherds Bush Road

London W6 7NL