Letters to The Buteman

Send your letters to The Buteman to news@buteman.com by Monday at 5pm.
Send your letters to The Buteman to news@buteman.com by Monday at 5pm.

This week’s letters to The Buteman include thanks from the organisers of a charity fashion show, memories of the golden era of stage and screen, and the roll-out of superfast broadband on Bute.

Huge boost for dialysis unit

Sir, – Bute Kidney Patients Support Group would like to thank everyone who attended the Fashion Show on Friday, May 27.

It was a great evening with the sum of £784 raised for the dialysis unit campaign. Particular thanks go to Glens and their models, everyone who supported us with raffle prizes, Marion and Lodge Rothesay St John 292 and all the helpers – we couldn’t do it without you. – Yours, etc.,

W A McFarlane

Secretary of Kidney Patients Support Group

27 Marine Place, Rothesay

Memories of a golden era

Sir, – How nice it was to see a write up of two bastions of Scotland’s pantomime tradition, Stanley Baxter and Allan Stewart, in The Buteman (May 27, 2016).

I have had the privilege of working with them both of them during my career. Both are ultimate professionals, both are very funny and both are entertainers.

One very petty complaint that we used to get when Stanley’s TV shows were on regularly, was that Stanley did not do as many “take offs” as he did on television.

We were told by the complainers that they had watched Stanley open a door, go through it and appear as a very different character. When it was explained to them that, on television, the cameras stopped to allow him (Stanley) to get changed into the new character. The reply was usually along the lines of, “No they don’t, I’ve seen it with my own eyes”. They always agreed that this small niggle had not impinged on their enjoyment of that evening’s performance.

Allan has performed in over 20 pantos in the Kings’ Theatre, Edinburgh, and now holds the record for the number of panto appearances in that venue.

Allan has always been a very versatile artiste with impressions, vocals and playing different musical instruments in his repertoire.

His usual character in panto is “Auntie May” as the dame, aided and abetted by his two long standing colleagues and friends, Grant Stott and Andy Gray (Chancer in the television series of “City Lights”!).

At every performance, all three get a rapturious welcome from their fans.

As far as I am aware, Stanley has never appeared professionally in Rothesay, although Allan has twice.

His first appearance was in the Winter Garden on a Sunday concert with Jack Radcliffe as top of the bill. This was on Sunday, July 29, 1962, and it was not until July 6, 1975, that he made his next appearance in the Pavilion, in a show entitled “A Night With Lena Zavaroni”.

I did not see this production but it must have been a variety fan’s dream with two of Scotland’s best loved and talented artistes on the same bill.

To add to the list of Scottish TV shows in the ’60s and ’70’s, I would add the iconic White Heather Club to those productions named in the write up. – Yours, etc.,

Iain Gillespie

37 East Princes Street, Rothesay

Roll-out on time and in budget

Sir, – In response to Michael Russell’s comments on the deployment of superfast broadband and quality of service from BT in Argyll and Bute, I wanted to provide an update to your readers.

BT is at the forefront of helping to deliver faster and better services to people in Argyll and Bute.

We know how important it is to maintain connections for rural communities and our engineers work hard, often in poor weather conditions, to keep our customers connected.

A number of severe storms damaged some customers’ lines over the winter and we brought in engineers from around the UK to get people reconnected as soon as possible.

Many of our customers are served by single cables into their homes and if these are damaged it can mean painstaking work to restore each individual line, especially with lightning damage.

Accessing ferries or using helicopters often proved impossible due to poor weather.

That said, we know we’ve got more to do on customer service and we are committed to improving.

We’re recruiting 35 new engineers across the Highlands and Islands, and we’re also taking on more people in our contact centres to help meet our pledge to handle more than 80 per cent of our customer service calls in the UK by 2016.

We’re also introducing a commitment to aim to repair residential faults up to 24 hours earlier than they are today.

BT is working very closely with HIE and the Scottish Government to deliver the £410 million Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband (DSSB) partnership, which is bringing high-speed broadband to areas where no commercial coverage was planned by any provider.

We’re investing £126 million in the DSSB partnership, on top of our commercial roll-out of fibre, and we don’t expect to see a return on our investment for more than a decade.

The partnership is on track to deliver superfast broadband to 95 per cent of Scottish homes and businesses by the end of March 2018.

In Argyll and Bute, the project is led by Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) with Openreach, BT’s local network business, delivering the project on the ground.

Today, more than 64 per cent of Argyll and Bute is able to benefit from faster fibre broadband services. Combined with commercial roll-out, Argyll and Bute is forecast to reach around 83per cent fibre broadband coverage by the end of 2016.

Once fibre broadband is deployed in an area, local people need to contact their service provider to upgrade their service.

Around one in five people in the area already have done so and we’d encourage more people to consider the benefits a more reliable and faster connection can bring them.

The Openreach network is open which means hundreds of services providers can use it to offer a range of services, as in the rest of the UK.

The fibre roll-out in the Highlands and Islands is the most complex being undertaken in the UK.

The huge engineering challenge of connecting communities via hundreds of miles of subsea links, wireless links and underground fibre optic cabling is one which our engineers have embraced by finding innovative solutions to reach remote communities.

The project is in its third year and is currently progressing on time and within budget. The deployment has been designed to reach the most premises possible, as quickly as possible, within the available budget.

An overview of timescales for local authority areas was available from the start of the project, with the majority of work in Argyll and Bute scheduled for this year.

As the roll-out has progressed, information on named towns and villages where work is happening has been released every three months. This ensures that the information is as accurate as possible.

An interactive map showing plans for each address is available at www.hie.co.uk/digital and with around seven months remaining on the current Highlands and Islands contract, the partnership is working to confirm its final detailed local plans. The next update is due in July. – Yours, etc.,

Brendan Dick

Director of BT Scotland

Alexander Graham Bell House

1 Lochside View

Edinburgh