LETTER: Care to retain bird population

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I was sorry to read in the WSCT of the 4th August (Horsham edition) that the increase of gulls seen in the town is causing some concern.

I think it is wonderful to hear the wild seashore sounds (certainly not screeching as described) and watch their beautiful flight from one’s inland garden...

It was recently an interesting sight to watch a herring gull mobbing a circling buzzard although the buzzard was probably as out-of-bounds over Horsham as the gull! Nearly all of our seabirds are having an increasingly difficult time finding enough of their natural food to feed their young and many species are in decline. Gulls have been forced to adapt to using other food found inland although less suitable.

The herring gull is now one of the 67 species of British birds on the red protected list.

Unfortunately, people, with the best intentions, feeding them have encouraged hungry birds to swoop down to grab the chance of a meal uninvited.

The other gull seen here regularly is the black-headed gull which visits Horsham Park pond. This is smaller and quite inoffensive.

I do hope that no one will do anything to harm these protected, graceful masters of the air.

We must take care to retain our wild bird population which is declining alarmingly.

Already the cheerful chirping of the house sparrow is only an occasional sound.

On other matters, I was very interested to read, in the Nostalgia pages of the 28th July WSCT, about the fire which destroyed Victory Road School in January 1940.

It was after this date (and I could prove it!) that I came to Horsham with my parents to escape the severe bombing of Eastbourne. This is the first time that I have been able to read an account of the fire and damage caused for which, in my school days, I was often blamed by fellow pupils. “You came from Eastbourne and burned our school down.”

It would have been a short walk from where we were staying in the war years in Swindon Road via the Recreation Ground to Victory Road but the temporary replacement Infants School was a large house in Hurst Road which was fairly recently demolished and replaced with Northbrook Court. After that the Junior Boys School was an even longer walk to the British Legion Huts behind the Ritz Cinema in North Street (now the Arts Centre).

I remember teachers Mrs Wheatland and Mrs Dancy.

Eventually the Boys School returned with pre-fabricated buildings to its own site where I also regretted that the cane of headmaster ‘Hooker’ Eyles had survived the fire!

Derek J. Santer

Highlands Avenue, Horsham

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