SIR - I was disappointed, but far from surprised, to read the letter from your reader, Olivia Agate (Craven Herald letters, November 22) regarding the theft of a wreath with white, red and purple poppies from the Skipton War Memorial.

She comments that 'the white poppy controversy continues' as indeed it does. It is rare for a week to pass without somebody speaking to me on this issue - every single one supportive of the desire to remember all victims of warfare, both military and civilian. Indeed, when I laid the wreath on behalf of the town,

it was interesting to note the number of people who were wearing both red and white poppies, as indeed I was as I have done for many years. However, that one of the minority who opposed this belief should steal the wreath rather than allow another view to be expressed comes as no surprise. One can only wonder what they are frightened of in the democratic right of fellow citizens to express their remembrance in the way that Ms Agate chose to do.

What such folk would have done to her had she attempted to lay that wreath on Remembrance Sunday can only be a matter of conjecture.

That white, or even purple, poppies are offensive to those who have links with military personnel, is absolute nonsense.

I spent six years working closely with the British Army on the Rhine, staying out all night to support troops on night shoots, ploughing through mud, dust and snow to take them 'tea and a wad, and the love of God' to use their own terminology.

Then, when the first Gulf War was imminent, I pressed The Salvation Army to send a team to the Gulf, as we had been there on the front line in every major conflict since the second Boer War.

Perhaps I should have been less vociferous as, when the team was chosen, I was one member of it and spent the next few months in Al Jubail. It goes without saying that the lads were more than grateful. My credentials in support of those in active service bears any scrutiny.

I do not expect the wreath to be returned, suspecting it has already been destroyed, but would be delighted to be proven wrong.

My sympathy and support goes to Olivia Agate. Try again next year.

Councillor Alan Hickman

Mayor of Skipton.

Skipton Town Hall