Cllr Michael Lilley, Ryde:

I AM writing in response to your article (CP, 24-08-18) entitled ‘Children’s window-spotting competition leads councillor to believe landmark tower was for sale’.

The County Press has previously correctly reported on how the community is trying to find a sustainable plan for the future for the iconic tower over the past 18 months.

I love a joke especially the comment “Should have gone to Specsavers!” in response to your on-line report about how I as a foolish older adult misunderstood an advert in an estate agent’s window which happened to be a spot the mistake children’s competition.

There is nothing funnier than an old fool getting it wrong.

Whether a Shakespearean fool or Norman Wisdom singing “I am only a fool”, I am honoured to be put in the category of the old fool.

Standing as a local councillor to represent my community at age 60 instead of heading towards peaceful retirement is possibly extremely foolish.

The fact is the misunderstanding about the wonderful and UK’s most popular carnival, Ryde Carnival’s children’s window competition was that several “oldies” with no awareness of the spot the mistake aspect, thought the tower was up for sale.

Yes, we all needed our eyes tested but we genuinely love Appley Tower, beach and park, and want to make sure the IW Council (which wants to get rid of the tower as a council asset as part of its “cuts” to achieve a balanced budget in 2019/20) finds a way of the tower remaining in community ownership.

These old fools want all the children and future generations to enjoy Appley in its entirety, as we have done from our own childhood.

What was not reported in the article was Island 2000 working with Ryde residents in raising funds to undertake a feasibility study and development of a plan to present to IW Council in the autumn to prevent it from very realistically selling the tower.

The article, which was taken from my Facebook page, focused on one aspect but overlooked how many people were up in arms about the possibility of selling a Grade II-listed part of Ryde’s heritage and were reacting with a knowledge of the IW Council’s history of selling assets such as Ryde Theatre and St Thomas’s Church.

So, as correctly reported, the fight to save Appley Tower continues, led by a group of old fools or better termed older citizens who deeply care about what is left for future generations.

We are glad our foolishness has brought out a good laugh and raised awareness in the process.

I will be there at Ryde Carnival with my grandchildren this week and enjoy the jokes of “Michael, should have gone to Specsavers.”