IT is easy to criticise our public services when they fall short. They are working under major constraints and an austerity policy which seems designed to undermine them.

In this case, however, I would like to pay tribute to some of the services and the people who work in them.

My mother-in-law has just died from a brain tumour at the age of 92. This was first diagnosed at the beginning of August and the family had to endure a gradual decline from that time on, ending with her being bedridden for the last few weeks of her life. She had a very sharp mind right up to the time when she was unable to speak and I have no doubt beyond. She expressed a wish to be cared for at home, and thankfully due to the home care available from the medical and care teams she was able to die with dignity.

I cannot over-emphasise my regard for the people in home care, the district nurses, doctors and the Marie Curie charity who looked after her in the last days. They do a very difficult job.

I would like to thank each and every one of them, and I am privileged to live in a country that provides this level of care.
Colin Harvey

I write to commend the Hamish MacPherson articles on the Scottish Covenanters for the concision and skill deployed in explaining a complex time in Scotland’s past. Too little attention is paid to this time, which was instrumental in shaping Scottish identity.

Covenanting heritage was once well-known, when statues were erected in Stirling’s Valley Cemetery in the 1850s to the Reverend James Guthrie, James Renwick and the female covenanters who perished in the Solway. The Reverend James Guthrie, minister of the Holy Rude Church in Stirling was judicially murdered in 1661 for his religious and political beliefs. His portrait, ring and chair are among the treasures of the Stirling Smith Art Gallery and Museum.

With a secular society and a film and television industry permanently engaged with the Tudors, there is unlikely to be any programmes on or about the Scottish Covenanters at any time soon, and the MacPherson articles are to be treasured.

Burns wrote that “The Solemn League and Covenant / Cost Scotland blood, cost Scotland tears / But it sealed freedom’s sacred cause / If thou’rt a slave, indulge thy sneers.”
Elspeth King
Director, Stirling Smith Art Gallery and Museum