Vandalism is annoying enough as it is. But to see that people have scrawled swastikas and homophobic graffiti over Flintshire war memorials in the last few weeks is quite frankly unbelievable.

It was discovered on Monday, March 11, that the First World War Soldier statue, by Flint Castle, had been defaced with several of the offensive Nazi symbols and its accompanying letter branded with homophobic language.

The incident comes after vandals struck at the Connah’s Quay and Shotton war memorial on Monday, March 4 in which they defaced the plaque with a swastika, causing outrage across the town.

I doubt there’s much I can really say which hasn’t already been said by the communities in which those memorials are based, but words can’t really describe the level of disrespect and ignorance those actions show.

I hope those responsible have good long think about what they’ve done and maybe even come to the realisation that they could have just defaced a memorial paying tribute to one of their own relatives, or the relatives of someone they know.


IT WAS great to see so many pupils and teachers getting into the spirit of World Book Day.

The event is a fun way to promote the joy of reading and creative writing to the younger generation, which I think is a very important thing.

Not only can a good book boost vocabulary - it can educate us or challenge us to re-examine opinions and beliefs.

But with the abundance of electronic entertainment available these days, the activity of simply sitting down to read a good book faces plenty of competition for our attention.

I've encountered this problem, as I imagine many people have.

It's much easier to take in an entertaining film or get sucked into an engrossing TV series or videogame, for example.

And while those are perfectly enjoyable and valid forms of entertainment, reading just delivers a form of enjoyment that is unique.

Books may describe the setting, the characters, the events - but they invite the reader to paint the picture for themselves.

When I was in primary school I'd read a few shorter tales but my teacher suggested I try the His Dark Materials trilogy by Sir Philip Pullman.

At the time, those volumes felt gargantuan as I pulled them from the library shelf and I wondered if I actually stood a chance of sticking with it all the way to the end.

But a few chapters into book one (Northern Lights), I was completely hooked and I did not stop reading until I'd turned the final page in the third book (The Amber Spyglass).

I'm very glad my teacher recommended His Dark Materials. It really was a rich and detailed rollercoaster ride combining science fiction and fantasy which taxed my imagination as no book previously had.

And what had at first seemed an insurmountable task proved immensely rewarding and ultimately sparked my fondness for literature, then writing.

It is a series I've re-read many times since and I'd still recommend it to readers of all ages to this day.

But if His Dark Materials doesn't take your fancy, there are all kinds of books out there, in traditional and electronic formats.

They are, for the most part, very affordable if you are willing to shop around or even free if you choose to access your local library.

So I'd encourage people to carry on the message of World Book Day throughout the year and invite relatives, friends, and colleagues to pick up a book when they can!


IT could be easy to forget simple things like locking a door or closing a window when you’re getting to work, an appointment or something similar.

We could even forget to complete such tasks when we get home, with bags of shopping to get into the house or children.

And even though the car could be parked right outside your house, opportunist thieves might not be deterred.

We’ve reported on several thefts from vehicles since the start of the year.

I met with Alison Sharp, community safety sergeant for Flintshire and Wrexham, fairly recently to discuss the issue.

She told me that in a number of cases, the cars targeted had been left unlocked and she urged motorists across the region to make sure they secure their vehicles when they leave them.

I’d echo the advice of North Wales Police on the matter (available at - namely that simple measures can help protect your belongings.

Tips include never leaving anything on display in the vehicle, removing all belongings when leaving it, marking items such as CD players and closing all windows, as well as ensuring all doors are locked.