SIR - I was interested to read your story "Nest of rare crow kept secret" (T&A, May 12).

Three years ago there was a white crow in the valley at Mixenden, Halifax. I saw this bird regularly at least three times a week for almost a year.

Unfortunately due to work commitments I was re-located to a different city and was unable to follow its progress.

I had many a good laugh taking fellow ornithologists to view the bird. Some of the comments were unprintable.

I presume the bird is the same or one of its offspring as Queensbury is only a few miles up the valley.

I saw a white crow some 15 years ago at Leathley, between Pool and Harrogate. I have also seen a black and white blackbird which I reported to you some 20 years ago. Your photographer took a super picture which was shown in the T&A.

This location was Bowling Park but, alas, I never saw it again after the story was published.

Colour mutations do occur particularly with bird breeders pairing related birds ie brother to sister, mother to son. This does cause a colour mutation which must happen in the wild on occasions.

J Knowles, Ashbourne Way, Bradford 2

l EDITOR'S NOTE: We managed to find the picture of the black and white blackbird to which Mr Knowles referred in our library. We have reproduced it below.

SIR - I was recently reunited with a long-lost friend, thanks to the Trace a Friend section on your website and a young man called Mick. He explained to me that he read the T&A on the internet so I thought I would try it for myself.

I have lived in Tasmania for 16 years and have missed reading my daily copy of the T&A but that has changed now. I was shocked to see that the Provincial Building Society building had been demolished. I spent many happy hours there in the printing department prior to emigrating.

I look forward to keeping in touch with Bradford through the T&A.

Sylvia Brundle, Warragul Street, Norwood, Launceton, Tasmania.

SIR - Judith Donovan's obsession with opposing the Euro is leading her to seek ever more desperate arguments against it (Letters, May 1).

Making an analogy with the old exchange rate mechanism is particularly inappropriate. That was an attempt to keep separate currencies in a stable relationship, which proved difficult and expensive, not least for Britain which raised its interest rates excessively and saw a doubling of unemployment.

But that is exactly why most EU countries reached the conclusion that it would be better to have a shared currency in order to eliminate these problems once and for all.

The danger for Britain in staying out of the Euro is that we continue to suffer from exchange rate volat-ility, causing havoc for our manufacturing exporters in particular.

We are losing out on inward investment which is shifting massively to the Euro-zone. We continue to pay conversion costs and hedging costs within our single market, whereas most of our competitors have eliminated them for most of their transactions.

Whether or not we are quite ready to join now does not detract from the fact that, in the long run, staying out means losing out.

Lorraine Kirkwood, Belmont Crescent, Shipley.

SIR - I have read the continuing correspondence on the old topic of a cross-Bradford rail link.

The feasibility of such a link was explored by West Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive at my request about ten years ago, and their conclusions were not encouraging.

Because of the difference in levels between the Interchange and Forster Square Station, a railway heading north from the Interchange would not touch ground level until it reached Queen's Road.

Where it crossed the city centre it would have to be carried on stilts over the Broadway area or placed on a viaduct across Forster Square - neither of which would be visually attractive.

As the cost, which would be tremendous, would have to come from the Government, we would have to produce a very convincing economic case, including a forecast of passengers who would use the new link.

At the present time the Government is not prepared to finance small projects such as Apperley Bridge station, so the case for a cross-city link would have to be very convincing indeed.

Councillor J S King, Heaton Road, Heaton.

SIR - It is encouraging to see so many letters of support for a cross-rail link in Bradford. However I fear like many other good ideas in Bradford this one will get talked about but nothing will happen.

The benefits of a link are obvious but who will pay for such a scheme? How can support be gained? I for one will write to my MP but will this be enough? Can we be sure that the proposals for the Broadway development have taken the possible rail link into consideration?

I would welcome any idea on how the profile of the cross-rail proposal can be raised.

Tony Watt, Titus Street, Saltaire.

SIR - You reported on May 12 that Green councillors would not be involved with pacts. The following day you stated that Councillor Margaret Eaton had been elected Leader of the Council for the past two years "with the backing of the Liberal Democrats",

In 2002, the Liberal Democrats voted against Coun Eaton for Leader of the Council because at the time of the Council's AGM in May 2002 the Conservative Group would not commit themselves to a new three-year commitment to increase spending on schools.

The minutes of the Council meeting clearly show this. However because Labour and Green councillors chose to abstain, Coun Eaton was elected Leader of Council.

After the AGM the Conservatives subsequently agreed to put an extra £12million into education over the next three years and this was written into the Corporate Plan. There has never been a coalition between the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats.

This year the voters have again opted for a balanced council and we have taken the initiative by setting out our policy priorities in a letter to the leaders of the other groups. The outcome if this initiative is not yet known.

Howard Middleton (Chief Whip, Lib-Dem Group), Harrogate Terrace, Bradford 3

SIR - I see that tampering with our basic life's necessity has come to the fore again. I am referring to the proposals to add artificial fluoridation to the water used for domestic and commercial use.

Artificial fluoridation does not mimic natural occurring low levels of calcium fluoride. It adds to our water a raw waste product from the super phosphate fertiliser industry, commercial hexafluorosilicic acid. Its toxicity is similar to that of arsenic, but it is added to the water at 20 times the level allowed for arsenic.

Another factor is that we drink very little of this impure liquid as a large majority of it goes into the environment. God alone knows what happens when the fluoride acids meet other processes in the food chain and industry.

Some alkaline solutions may neutralise it but it will play havoc with the base salts. We must resist fluoridation at all costs.

Is it possible that the increase in tooth decay is responsible for the reluctance of dentists to treat patients on the NHS as private practice is more lucrative?

Derek Wright, Westbury Street, Bradford 4.

SIR - On holiday in Exmouth I met a couple from Cardiff. When I said I was from Bradford they said "Ah yes, the home of Gareth Gates and Bradford Bulls."

So we Bradfordians do have something to proud of.

Mrs I M Freeman, Moorside Gardens, Bradford 2.

SIR - After reading your report about the funeral "farce" (May 12) I would like to write in support of the Reverend Peter Hedge (pictured right) who has conducted three funerals I have attended, the last one being that of my stillborn grandson.

All of them were beautiful, and with his help and advice the funeral of my grandson at which there were a great many young people in distress was more peaceful than I could have believed possible.

I sympathise with the Kendall family that things went wrong, as occasionally they do, and I'm sure Mr Hedge feels greatly distressed by the events.

Sally Jackson, Hainsworth Moor Crescent, Bradford.