OPINION: Christmas spirit alive and kicking

A HEARTWARMING offer has emerged out of the plight of David Rhodes, which has dominated our Mailbox in the last two editions.

He’s the guy who sits outside the Pied Calf in Spalding most days – in all weathers – strumming a guitar (very badly but he’s still got much nearer to a chord than I ever could).

This chap is not everyone’s cup of tea because beggars – for that’s what he is – are pooled together in many people’s eyes as scroungers and a blight on society who actually do pretty well out of their actions.

But I sense a different feeling about David. Readers were enlightened about his difficult history and health problems by a Mailbox contributor who has befriended him over the past year.

Besides the many letters of support for him was a phone call with an extraordinary offer.

The caller described himself as semi-retired and had obviously been touched by the story of David’s home being ransacked and torched while he was in hospital having chemotherapy treatment for cancer.

He said he was prepared to return the Moulton Chapel house to a habitable condition FOR NO COST.

Gut instinct told me this caller wasn’t out to make headlines for himself or even looking for recognition. I’d go as far as to say probably the last thing he wanted was to find himself the subject of an opinion column. He just genuinely wanted to help David enjoy a more comfortable life.

So far I’ve been unable to establish if his offer could be taken up, but he deserves a mention for such a noble and generous offer.

Take a bow, Steve Morley.

It’s time the ridiculous annual blessing of the county’s road gritters was scrapped.

The event is a source of bemusement in our office every year but we always cover it in the paper. But this year my bemusement turned to frustration, bordering on anger.

This simultaneous prayer ceremony held by clergy at all of Lincolnshire County Council highways depots had already been postponed once because the gritters were too busy but, ahem, ploughed ahead on Monday evening amid freezing fog and plummeting temperatures in Pode Hole, Thurlby, Boston and four other sites.

So county council staff across Lincolnshire were sidelined for a token event at the very time when they are needed most. And this against a backdrop of trying to identify savings.

I’ll probably get blasted for calling for the end of a religious ceremony which has the safety of people on our roads at heart.

But if anything needs a bit of help from above this winter, perhaps it should be the stock of grit itself – almost 60 per cent of which has already gone.