WHISPERING SMITH: Westerns set me on this lifelong trail for treasure

WHEN a North Lane Rustington Primary schoolboy, I had great difficulty with learning to read.

My mother knew a schoolteacher who lived on the posh side of Wendy Ridge and she, out of friendship with my mother, gave me after-school reading lessons. She was very astute and quickly saw that it was more of a lack of interest in the school reading material than an inability to learn and, hearing from my mother of my love of all things cowboy, she started me off on the cheap Western Library series.

I was weaned away from laziness by John Hunter’s Lucky Lannigan and Zane Grey novels, among other westerns of that era.

I mention this because, on the prom the other day, I bumped into a young woman and her mum and was reminded of days spent at Georgian Gardens School in Rustington, helping youngsters who, like me at their age, were finding so much difficulty with the written word.

Now this lovely young woman who remembered me was introducing me to her own beautiful young daughter. How time flies…

IN just three years, nearly 1,300 trees have been planted in and around Littlehampton as part of The Big Tree Plant, the aim of which was to plant a million trees nationwide.

The token millionth tree will be planted in Bristol on February 5 and celebrations will take place at all local sites.

Congratulations to Dee Christensen and her team at Arun District Council. The local squirrels, birds and dogs will be delighted with her effort, as are we.

FLOOD prevention work on the east bank is getting nearer to completion, much to everyone’s relief.

I guess they are now preparing to dig up the Tarmac extension, narrow the pavement and widen the road again back to its ‘car parking’ status. So many people have said to me this temporary improvement was a missed permanent future opportunity.

THE Forlorn Horse is still on its muddy, draughty bank but has been moved around the corner and away from the main Yapton Road so, I guess, both West Sussex highways and the RSPCA will be relieved and hope it will be a case of out of sight out of mind. I hope they are wrong.