I had never heard of Wendy Atkin until I read your obituary of her (4 December). I was discharged from hospital last week following bowel surgery. The cancer was discovered because of the breakthrough bowel screening tests pioneered by this wonderful person. I and countless others probably owe our lives to Wendy and her colleagues. The question remains: Why is the name Wendy Atkins not widely known? Especially as her work has saved so many lives. Fellow Guardian readers, when you receive your screening letter, please do not ignore it – it saves lives.
• Mark Boyle (Letters, 6 December) completely misses my point. Pre-1989 the general public couldn’t see and hear the loutish behaviour in the House of Commons (merely reading about it is entirely different). By calling my claim “silly” rather than simply stating his own case, he has rather reinforced my argument about civility.
Dr Brigid Purcell
• I have found a formula that saves embarrassment when I am offered a seat on bus, tube or train (Letters, 5 December). I smile and tell the person making the offer: “At my age if I sit down I will have trouble getting up again.” It also has the merit of – almost – being true.
Thornton Heath, Surrey
• Our chocolate labrador would have a ball in the kitchen all night (Letters, 4 December). No doubt the contents of both her and the kitchen bin would be strewn over the floor by morning. Let them snuggle on the bed, I say.
• We’ve been bereft of central heating for four days. Our cats are the best thing since hot water bottles – and they don’t cool down.
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