£5,000 for Steve Cram was worth it

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KEN OAKDEN’S letter criticising the spending by Scarborough Borough Council on the ‘Seizing the Initiative of the Games Seminar’ was humorous but there was a distinct lack of any sound argument.

He accepted that the promotion of sport within a community is a commendable act, and I therefore presume that he considers that the spending was not wrong in principle, so the criticism seems to be solely about the amount of money spent.

If, as jokily suggested, the news item regarding the expenditure resulted in an increase of hypertension and myocardial infarction amongst Scarborough Evening News readers, then there might be an argument for the borough council to spend a great deal more money on promoting sport to subsequently achieve a healthier local population.

Steve Cram, MBE, is by no means a ‘latter day celebrity’. The former Olympic silver medallist, world champion and world record holder is a major athletics sports presenter and commentator for BBC Television, and as such his fee of £5,000 for a whole day’s presentation, which clearly included much time spent in preparation, was by no means excessive. I agree with the opinion of the so called ‘waggish’ councillor that Steve was excellent value for money, and fail to understand the remark that the councillor’s comment was seemingly so outrageous that it could be considered a joke.

If the promotion of sport in the borough should lead to an improvement of health in just a comparatively small number of individuals, this could subsequently result in a reduction in the amount of money spent on ancillary health care, although this might be difficult to prove.

However, if more youngsters are encouraged to participate in sport, and particularly those that might benefit from having something useful to do in their spare time, then this might subsequently lead to a reduction in petty vandalism in the borough, and so the money spent on such initiatives might not be considered to be profligate.

Perhaps the Freedom of Information Act can be invoked to reveal the cost to the taxpayers of a recent single act of vandalism which occurred at The Spa recently!

Mick Thompson

Byward Drive