This is what you have been writing to us about this week.

To send your own letter, email

Please note, any letters sent to the Bucks Free Press office are only being picked up periodically during lockdown.

Dog poo is a huge problem
I live in a small village in the High Wycombe area.

For some time now not just in my village but all their seems to be a big problem with dog fouling and lots of irresponsible people that think it’s ok to not pick it up.

I regularly use the River Thames at Marlow to go fishing and walking along the path from Marlow up to Temple Bridge is not nice.

I’ve put posts on Facebook to which people are firing silly comments about flicking it with sticks etc.

I want this to stop not just here but everywhere in the UK - it’s not on.

I’ve recently seen a post in the Daily Mail about a small child losing her eyesight due to careless people leaving dog mess about.

Please, please can we do something about this?
Name and address withheld

People friendly roads are needed
As the lockdown is slowly lifted and businesses have started to reopen our town centre roads are thankfully getting back to normal and starting to fill up with the noise, danger and pollution of motor traffic once again.

Of course, this is accepted as a necessary consequence of the freedom and convenience that cars give us.

Since car ownership really took off in the 1950s more public space and ancient buildings have been sacrificed to make room for more cars.

£Billions are spent on schemes to move drivers quicker to a different queue, in and around streets that were never designed for cars or HGVs.

The Wycombe district Local Plans and Regeneration Strategies all echo research about the benefits of sustainable and ‘active’ modes of transport.

Over reliance on car transport and high carbon footprints have been highlighted as a threat to our economic development in the latest Bucks LEP economic plan.

And yet successive council leaders have at best, paid lip service to the evidence but generally kicked-the-can-down-the-road when making strategic decisions about connected, sustainable infrastructure in between and within our towns.

A smart new cycle path on the latest housing development will never be fully utilised if it just leads onto a kerbside on the A40!

As councils and businesses think about how to allow more space for people in our town centres I would urge them to look at the evidence and frame thinking around creating places that residents and shoppers want to be in rather than a place that ‘you’ can move in and out of as quickly as possible in your car.

In between our towns we need segregated pathways (fit for bikes/mobility scooters etc. for the average commuter or family) as direct routes between existing residential/retail and commercial areas and/or alongside our ‘A’ roads.

Shared, traffic calmed, ‘people-friendly’ roads should be the norm in our town centres.

With 10,000 new households anticipated over the next 10+ years in Wycombe district alone, it's an expense we can’t afford not to make.
Mark Skoyles, Marlow

Why such stark inequality in Covid-19?
I was interested to read about the ‘stark’ inequalities in the Covid-19 linked deaths in Buckinghamshire (Bucks Free Press, June 19 edition) but Amersham-on-the-hill and Chesham Bois – really? No explanation was given for this apparent anomaly in the article.

Could it be because, as one of the most affluent parts of Bucks, that many of these residents went away skiing in the period prior to the pandemic?

I have read that some of the ski resorts in Austria, for example, tried to cover up the fact that coronavirus cases were rife in some of their resorts, so as not to deter visitors.

This seems to me to be a likely explanation for these somewhat surprising figures as these areas are hardly deprived.
Judith Orr, Amersham

Every death deserves dignity
I regularly watch the daily Covid-19 government briefing, but I wonder if anyone else has noticed that recently more and more often, any words of condolence to the families of the bereaved are being omitted from the daily figure.

Usually there’s the customary, “and sadly x number have died”, but frequently now the minister leading the briefing that day is much keener to rush on from there to point out that today’s figure is lower than this time last week and significantly much lower than at the start of the pandemic.

If fills me with great unease and much sadness that I fear the daily number of the deceased is being reduced to a mere figure now and that we’re all being desensitised to this actually representing families each day who are having to cope with the devastating loss of their loved ones.

The people who have succumbed to this deadly virus were treasured grandparents, mothers, fathers, siblings, friend, real human beings who, in many cases, still have a vastly reduced number of mourners allowed at their funerals, adding to the circumstances of the unbearable loss.

So, Government ministers, all of you, at this time of unapparelled chaos and uncertainty, please acknowledge that every death is a loss to humanity, and each deserve the dignity of a pause in your proceedings to humbly acknowledge that.
Wendy Graham, High Wycombe

Response to information request
Mr Fry of Newbury & District Sunday Football League wanted to know about a cup final in 1975/76 season played at Wokingham (Bucks Free Press letters page, June 19).

A lot of archives from that period was not looked after. I am the archiver and committee member for High Wycombe Sunday Football Combination, who one of the teams played for and it is difficult to dig up old results and programmes for that time.

The only thing he should try is when the High Wycombe Library is open is look at the archives of the Bucks Free Press on microfilm to see whether there is a match report at the time as the Bucks Free Press of that time was more local teams friendly not only Wycombe Wanderers of today.
John Hawes, committee member High Wycombe Sunday Football Combination

EU countries are sovereign nations
Every country that's in the European Union is an independent sovereign nation.

The member countries voluntarily pool some of their powers to gain strength and the benefits of size.

The countries use their sovereign powers to set up a shared organisation and make it binding upon themselves - according to the principles of the Charter of the United Nations.

What's it for? Some of the aims are:

- to support democratic values like equality between men and women, non-discrimination on ground of nationality, solidarity, human rights and the rule of law;

- to work together on the matters of common interest;

- to build a single market.

As Frans Timmermans put in in the European Parliament on 28 February 2018, "There is no contradiction between being a fully-fledged, active member of the European Union and being a sovereign nation".
Phil Jones, European Movement UK, High Wycombe

Thanks for all your support during challenge
During lockdown I set myself the challenge of running 20 half marathons. Before the pandemic struck, I was due to take part in 20 half marathons around the Bucks region, the first should have been Reading on the 5th April but one by one each one was cancelled.

I saw a guy on the news in Italy who completed a marathon on his balcony. This gave me the idea of doing the 20 in my back garden.

So on the 5th April, instead of running Reading, I ran 1,006 laps of my back garden. The great thing about this challenge is how it evolved – the first was on a Sunday and by Thursday I felt okay, so I ran another on the Thursday.

I continued with this until here we are today.

There was to be one other change; after running three in the back garden I was starting to go a little stir crazy and decided to break it up. I came up with the idea of running six and a half laps on the village but in fancy dress.

The idea for this was to involve the community and put a smile on their faces.

The first on the streets was Thursday 16th, this was my fourth half marathon and I was dressed as a hotdog!

The response was great, so I continued these every Thursday and the costumes just evolved as the whole challenge had.

My sixth run fell on St George’s Day so I ran one lap as a dragon and then the remainder as St George. For the eighth it was Captain Moore’s 100th birthday – I ran as a birthday cake.

The 10th run was the day before VE Day celebrations, so I was head to toe as the Union Jack. Every Thursday this continued as did the runs in the back garden.

Please can I take the opportunity to thank everyone who has supported me throughout this challenge – you have all been amazing and I would have really struggled without you.

For the last one, the theme was the rainbow, so lots of bright colours. This is to say a massive thank you to the NHS and all keyworkers who have gone that extra mile throughout the pandemic and as a nod to this I am going to run an extra mile to show my support and thanks.

They have all been truly incredible.
Giles Cuthbert, Flackwell Heath

Educate yourself and use your voice
The murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis has sparked a monumental social movement for change across the globe.

It highlighted the importance of the Black Lives Matter movement and the need to actively work towards creating a society where everyone possesses equal rights and opportunities, regardless of skin colour.

The moment to unite and speak out against racism has come at an unfortunate time. In the climate of this global pandemic our lives are changing radically every day, causing many of us to experience overwhelming feelings of anxiety. Despite inviting criticism, the sacrifices made by protesters cannot be ignored.

The call for change is undeniable, demonstrated by the thousands who are willing to risk their lives to liberate future generations from the racial injustices they had to endure.

Protests have been recorded in all 50 states in America and at least 18 other countries. They’re not only campaigning for justice, but also to change systems that discriminate against them.

It’s extremely important that we are aware of the effects of systemic racism because it is detrimental to the lives of ethnic minorities within our country, especially the black community.

Individual experiences of systemic racism do not make the headlines or spark protests in the same way as incidents of police brutality, but continually restrict the opportunities and level of success black people can achieve.

It is important to note that unconscious bias in employment and education does not indicate that everyone in our society is inherently racist. Systemic racism is a result of 400 years of oppression, forming systems designed to restrict the black community.

When looking for employment “British citizens from ethnic minority backgrounds have to send, on average, 60% more job applications to get a positive response from employers compared to their white counterparts” according to research from The University of Oxford (2019).

Discrimination is present in the workplace and in our education system. Research from Sociologist, R. Skellington, reported black children in England and Wales are four times as likely to be excluded from school for the same offence as their white counterparts. Consequently, this forces young black people into a cycle of poor educational achievement and lack of faith in government institutions.

Additionally, the current school curriculum lacks a conversation around race. Secondary school education is a great opportunity to enable children to understand and be aware of prejudice; providing a safe space to talk about these issues with their teachers and peers.

Colonial Britain and the British Empire are taught in school, however there is little balance and a lack of knowledge about the atrocities they caused. The way to cure this lack of understanding is education, not just through what we choose to read ourselves but also what we learn in school from a young age. Thousands of students have taken the initiative to petition for change in the national curriculum.

Locally, many former and current secondary school students are in contact with their schools to make changes to the curriculum in years 7 to 9 which is not restricted by the national curriculum.

Students from Chesham Grammar School are requesting discussions about racism and racial inequality to be held in PSHE lessons. Additionally, including topics such as The British Civil Rights movement and all aspects of British colonialism and imperialism should be made compulsory.

After the death of George Floyd, The Black Lives Matter movement turned their attention to the suspicious circumstances surrounding 12-year-old Shukri Abdi’s death in the summer of 2019; successfully forcing the reopening of the investigation in the context that she suffered racial bullying at school.

Within schools, many students tolerate an environment where racism is normalised; tormented by hurtful racial slurs among their peers excused as ‘just banter’. Curriculum changes and increased staff awareness will stop this demoralising behaviour being ignored.

We are continually made aware by the media of the ongoing violence and racism in America, but we must understand that our local community and country also suffers racial tensions. These may be more discreet but equally as dangerous.

Official figures (2018) show that the Metropolitan police increased stop and search by 19% in the black community from the previous year. Analysis of this increase, commissioned by the Guardian, also shows that “searches of black people were less likely to detect crime than those conducted on white people, and most stops found no wrongdoing”.

How angry did the video of George Floyd’s murder make you feel? There are many ways for you to get involved in supporting the Black Lives Matter movement to demand justice.

Protests and increased awareness in schools are great ways to support the movement and eradicate prejudice, but we cannot stop there.

Sign petitions, educate yourself and use your voice.
Molly Paine, address withheld