WHEN my daughter at the age of 24, and while staying with us on Skye, made the decision to end her life – she was suffering from anorexia and other problems – by chance I found her tucked away in her bedroom one afternoon. Surrounded by pill packets and some alcohol she had left a note saying that she was sorry but she could not cope with life any longer. She wanted peace.

In great distress I summoned help and she was taken away to hospital where resuscitation processes were set up and her deep unconsciousness abated. When I saw her later that day she was horrified and bewildered that she was still alive and would have to go on suffering. I felt as if I had committed an awful crime by preventing her desired death.

Another 11 years passed, years of great suffering, in and out of hospitals from Inverness to Exeter with no relief. She then determined that this time she would not be disturbed and her desired death taken from her. On a hillside, under a hedge with the photo of her beloved cats in her hand, she quietly died. She had left a note to say she must not be resuscitated, if found, or kept alive in a "vegetative state".

Alan Fitzpatrick (Letters, July 9) comments on John NE Rankin's point (Letters, July 8) in support of the proposed bill on assisted dying that there will have to be a "built-in safeguard that patients must be of sound mind to make a decision on their own end" and then Mr Fitzpatrick asks "by whom is it to be measured", that soundness of mind? What happens to those who are considered to be not of sound mind?

My daughter's suffering was not only mental but physical too; she no longer wished for or could sustain her existence. I "played God" by disobeying her wishes the first time I found her and vowed I would never do so again. If you say that you want to die, for whatever reason, your wishes should be heard, understood and obeyed. In the event that it is to remove you from a state of prolonged, terminal suffering then peace should be granted and assistance given. The only thing we really own in this world is our own body. Surely we have the right, after having lived a good and lawful life, to determine our death as we wish? Those left behind, those who loved us, then do the suffering; it has to be borne.

Thelma Edwards, Kelso.

* IN response to Alan Fitzpatrick, it is perfectly possible for someone with dementia to have a valid opinion. My father died in his 90th year, after three long and tortured (for everyone) years of suffering. Before he had to go into care, his last cogent words to me came after he had spilled a tin of white paint in the garage, then walked through the spillage and back into his cottage. I followed the trail of white footprints and found him sitting in a chair with his head in his hands, looking at the mess on the floor. He said: “This is no bloody life! We live far too long.” Very soon after he was in (excellent) care.

As a retired GP himself, he knew exactly where his journey was leading him, and he wanted no part of it. Life is about quality and many people with a variety of disabilities can still have a life of perfectly decent quality. Quantity is a bonus, but if there is no quality whatsoever, it is anything but.

John NE Rankin, Bridge of Allan.


YOUR report about Buckingham Palace Gardens being made open to the public ("Now you can picnic like royalty as Palace open to public", The Herald, July 9) reminds me of the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003.

The initial draft of that legislation excluded from public access land belonging to the Queen in a personal capacity. I lodged an amendment to extend public access to the Queen's land and my amendment was eventually approved. As a result, all members of the public have a right of access to Balmoral Estate and, unlike Buckingham Palace Gardens, there is no need to apply for a ticket.

My amendment sent out a powerful message: if the right to roam legislation is good enough for the Queen, then it should be good enough for every landowner in Scotland. Unfortunately there are still some selfish landowners around who use fences, locked gates and notices to stop people exercising their legal right of access. I would encourage walkers, cyclists and horse riders who encounter obstructions to report such unlawful conduct to the appropriate local council who have a duty to uphold access rights.

Dennis Canavan (former MSP for Falkirk West), Bannockburn.


I MUST take issue with Willan Loneskie’s plea for the relaxation of requirements for mask wearing (Letters, July 7). The overwhelming weight of scientific input indicates that mask wearing provides at least a degree of protection both for the wearer but, to a greater extent, for other people in the vicinity of the wearer. Mr Loneskie himself acknowledges that that is the case.

The problem of the disposal of used masks is a consideration but not in the context of protection against the virus, which must be a priority at this time when some Scottish hospitals are declared full up due to acute Covid and staffing pressures.

Making people seem less human and adverse affects on infants may be legitimate concerns, but not reasons to increase the risks of virus transmission.

Moreover, the wearing of masks demonstrates consideration for other people and provides a reminder that the virus, despite vaccinations, remains a real danger to public health and that spacial distancing, ventilation and hand washing, all as approved by Mr Loneskie, provide protection the importance of which may well be diluted in the public consciousness if the need for mask wearing is downgraded.

Again, mask wearing, unlike some other precautions, does not in itself appear to be a significant inhibitor of economic activity and therefore points the way towards a viable way of living with the virus, particularly if the efficacy and comfort and appearance of mask wearing can be improved by innovation.

Michael Sheridan, by Strachur, Argyll.


MY heart goes out to all those burying their loved ones and to all the brides and grooms living in Clackmannanshire who have to restrict their invited guests to 50 whilst those living in neighbouring Perth and Kinross, Fife and Falkirk, with vastly increased percentages of coronavirus cases, are allowed to have 100 attendees. Also to the owners of soft play businesses who are not permitted to operate.

As at July 5 2021, 12 local authority areas in Scotland allocated level 1 status have a higher percentage of coronavirus case per 100 thousand of population than Clackmannanshire, currently assigned level 2 status. Indeed the rate in East Lothian (607.9 and Level 1) is more than 2.9 times higher than Clackmannanshire (207.6).

Nicola Sturgeon and the Scottish Government introduced the unwieldy level system of their own volition and have failed to keep it up to date with current data.

The voters in this area will long remember the injustices, unfairness and anxieties felt at this time, especially the bereaved, the happy couples and the soft play business owners and their families.

Micky Cavanagh, Tullibody.


I WONDER if your columnist Bernard Bale ("The BBC lives on its past glories. That is not enough ... it is time to shut it down", The Herald, July 9) can explain to me what a "gay viewpoint" is when he writes: "The BBC has become obsessed with Covid. and ethnic minority, gay and left-wing viewpoints ... they want to shove down our throats."

I was under the impression that gay people's views were as varied as society as a whole, be it right-wing, left-wing, Tory, nationalist, republican, extremist or moderate.

Dougie Mac Nicol, Glasgow.


DESPITE being a diehard Scot I must congratulate England for reaching the final of the Euros. Their performances from the start of the tournament make them worthy finalists with progressive play and several players with the old Scottish trait of being able to dribble past an opponent. In short, they have been professional in their approach and performances.

Unfortunately the same cannot be said of the English commentators and pundits. If they want to act like supporters (jumping and whooping around the studio) they should pay at the gate and watch the game from the terracing . If being paid to commentate and or offer insightful comment they must act in a disciplined manner. I accept that they are also supporters but must learn to keep their emotions in check when working.

The doyen of rugby commentators, Bill McLaren, acted as a real model to generations of pundits and commentators with his fair analysis and comment. I remember when his son-in-law Alan Lawson was playing his first game for Scotland and scored a try. McLaren must have been bursting with pride but his commentary was as faultless as ever. No doubt off air he would have let himself go, but never on view to the public.

An incident in the England-Denmark semi final was a prime example. The game had about five minutes remaining when the commentators advised us Denmark had been playing for the past 20 minutes with 10 men. All substitutions had been made when another Dane was injured and had to leave the field. With information being spoon-fed to the commentary team why were the public not advised sooner? Too busy extolling the virtues of another English three-pass move, no doubt.

Ally Martin, Dundee.


I MUST take issue with your correspondent Neil Stewart (Letters, July 8). As BBC’s expert analyst John McEnroe might say to Mr Stewart: “You cannot be serious!”. To suggest that Martina Navratilova and Boris Becker “ramble in broken English” is absurd. Both Boris and Martina have lived in the UK and the US respectively for 30-plus years, and both are completely fluent in English. If you want to hear incoherent rambling, listen to the BBC’s coverage of the Euro football.

As for ex-players not necessarily being good commentators, I would again suggest that this surely does not apply to any of the BBC Wimbledon pundits; Messrs Becker, McEnroe, Austin, and Navratilova all provide the fascinating and authoritative insight that can only come from having been there, seen it, and done it all, harnessed as they are by the equally expert Sue Barker. While the old summer sport commentators of hallowed memory, such as Dan Maskell at Wimbledon and Henry Longhurst and the inimitable Peter Alliss at the golf are sadly missed, their successors in the commentary box are doing very well indeed, in my opinion. Incoherent they certainly are not.

Anthony Griffin, Newburgh, Aberdeenshire.

Read more: The only opinion that should matter in end of life debate is that of the dying person