Centre’s a top asset

I WHOLEHEARTEDLY agree with the sentiments expressed by Jean Campbell: Earnley is a wonderful place. I have just returned from a week spent there, learning how to paint miniatures. Sadly I will not be able to go again because it is closing down!

The dream of its founder John Betts was dashed by the trustees in August this year when they coldly announced Earnley Concourse was to close on December 19. Mr Betts set up this centre in 1975 with the idea that it would provide a place where adults could study subjects of their choice. Thus Earnley was born, and opened in March 1975. Sadly Mr Betts died on August 12 that same year, but his benevolent legacy continued until the trustees announced it was to close.

No reason, no explanation, no hope for the future, just bald facts and callous treatment of staff, tutors and students alike, and the destruction of a place of peace, happiness and learning.

I have been attending for nearly 20 years on various courses, and always felt I was coming home. The staff are wonderful and give their all to make us happy and Earnley a special place; indeed it was a ‘window on the world’ when sometimes our times were bleak.

May I suggest the trustees go and look up at the portrait of John Betts and bow their heads in shame for what they are doing to the lives of hundreds, and their action of not fulfilling the trust placed in them.

Many of us have offered to help save Earnley, but to no avail. I cannot wish them a happy Christmas: they don’t deserve it. But my sincere thanks to all the staff and tutors for all they have given us. Happy Christmas to you all.

Angela Whyte