Artist Paul was an amazing talent The death of Paul Karslake, as reported by Matthew Critchell, in Tuesday’s Echo, is a deeply sad loss to Essex art.

Paul was one of our shining lights in south Essex. He offered so much encouragement to up and coming artists in the region, and for his own art he was of world renown.

I collaborated with him on and off over many years, and of course visited his studios to see an incredible amount of work he was engaged in from portraits to ‘Hares About Town’, which he was working on as a fundraising project in association with the charity Havens Hospices.

I hope they will name one of the hares after him – a fitting tribute, to be put in a prominent position in Southend.

Paul was a gregarious sort of guy, self promoting his work which many artists are forced to do nowadays, but on the other hand he had the tenacity to work in self-isolation until his project was completed.

When times are settled and we are back to normal, I hope that the Focal Point art Gallery can be persuaded to mount a retrospective exhibition of his work.

VIN HARROP Rosslyn Road, Billericay

Now the Tories value the NHS

READING James Duddridge’s letter today, praising the NHS, I was reminded of his voting record in the Commons.

He was one of the Tory majority who voted against increasing nurses pay – and also voted in favour of removing the nursing bursary. Two decisions which contributed to the current shortage.

Just goes to show how what goes round comes round. So now Mr Duddridge is only too quick to praise NHS staff. Perhaps when the next recommended pay rise for health workers is put before the Commons, he’ll vote in favour.

FREDDIE DAWKINS Parkanaur Avenue, Thorpe Bay

Virus is not the only killer at large

WHILE we are being bombarded with news of deaths caused by the virus there is not a single word about what is the normal mortality rate and from what cause. Well from December 2017 to March 2018 the National Pensioners’ Convention claimed that just from being unable to combat the cold 50,100 saw their end. The comparable figure for 2018-19 is 23,200.

The other major cause of premature death is the chronic underfunding of adult care. Successive governments have produced many papers and reports but consistently kept their heads firmly in the sand. This shows the fatal weakness of democracy. Money is needed and taxes should provide it. However, that would cost votes so it never gets done. NPC reckons from mid 2017 to November 2019 74,000 died awaiting social care!

These figures rather put Covid-19 into perspective.


Isolation letter must be readable for blind

Can Sir David Amess MP please ask this question to the Government? If the million letters that are being sent out to tell people to self isolate, will they be in an accessible format to those with sight problems?

When the referendum letters went out to households, they were not sent to blind and partially sighted in a form they could read.

With this letter, is is a matter of life or death that it will be sent out in large print, braille or on audio format.

JILL-ALLEN KING OBE Silversea Drive, Westcliff

Austerity has left us ill prepared for virus

COUNCILLOR Kevin Buck may think he is up to speed with primary school-level maths, although I have my doubts.

However he clearly lacks the common sense of an eleven year old, but I do give him top marks for hypocrisy.

The Tory Government, which he presumably supports, have just thrown their fiscal plans down the drain and announced spending and therefore borrowing plans designed to make his leader look like a man of the people.

Had a Labour Prime Minister done this he would no doubt be apoplectic and muttering about the Socialist magic money tree.

The differnece between the preceeding years of Tory governance and the current administration in Southend is that now we are seeing genuine moves to make the borough a better place for all residents and a lot of hard work is being done to reverse the decimation of local services that too many years of ideological austerity and Tory misrule have caused. RACHELLE STONE Priory Court, Roots Hall Drive, Southend