I FEEL Irene Munro (Letters, July 18), has missed my main point (Letters, July 17). It is that in one part of the United Kingdom women who are in desperate straits cannot get the medical and social care that they would certainly get in the rest of the country. That they should have to travel far from home and be burdened with expense that they can ill afford, or put themselves at high risk with an unsafe home abortion, because of political, legal, and, I have to say sadly, religious, pressures, is unacceptable.

To claim that such women often seek termination because of the inconvenience of having a third child is frankly offensive. Women have many reasons for seeking help, and in my long experience in medical practice inconvenience does not feature among them. What women in Northern Ireland need is sympathy and understanding, and above all professional help, not dogma and persecution. They should not have to go elsewhere to find them.

Dr Tom Smith, Girvan.

Let us salute the also-rans

AND the winner is ... well for me this sports day it was the wee girl from Primary 4 who gleefully high-fived the parents looking on as she ran past after her race, exclaiming "I was last!"

Of course Rosemary Goring ("Roger that: Learn to embrace defeat in a healthy manner", The Herald, July 17) is right that "all of us know, from an astonishingly early age, that we are better at some things than others". Years ago my brother-in-law ran a junior football team and at the end of season parents and friends gathered for the prize-giving (if that's the right word). Medals were dished out until all that remained on the table, glinting tantalisingly in the sun, was the big silver cup, the Player of the Year trophy.

Breaths were held as the boys (for they were all boys) waited to hear who had won this coveted award. A name was announced and a stunned wee guy stepped forward to collect the big prize, to be congratulated and we all heard the manager tell him: "We needed you." He was the sub who had faithfully turned up every Saturday to spend much of his time on the bench. There's a moral there somewhere. Here's to the "also-rans".

Patricia Allison, Giffnock.

I ENJOYED Rosemary Goring's article in which she wrote "Nobody likes losing but handling it well is all part of what makes for greatness."

Having worked with young people aged 5-18, I often had to argue the importance of teaching them two things:

1. Everyone can't be the winner; 2. How to cope with defeat (and in fact winning) in an appropriate, positive way.

Nowadays in all aspects of life – work, leisure, personal – we are so focused on winning and being the best. This is resulting in increased anxiety and mental health issues for all ages. There can only be one winner, but those who are unsuccessful should know they are every bit as valuable as human beings and how to take something positive out of the experience

We must understand the importance of coping with "not winning". Resilience is the key – we need to promote it in all levels of society and in all situations. Only then will people be able to move on from disappointment in a positive way.

Sue Wade, Ayr.